Category: My New Village

Hokkiens in Hainanese village [巴莪十九支]

Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily

Kampung Batu 19 or Paya Redan is a small village located 1km from Pagoh. Despite being known as a Hainanese village, most of its villagers today are Hokkiens, as many Hainanese villagers have moved out while many Hokkiens have moved into the village. There are currently less than 20 Hainanese households, or less than 50 Hainanese villagers, left in the village.

The village had 300 to 400 villagers from 1951 to 1952, and more than 90% of them were Hainanese and thus, the village was known as a Hainanese village. At that time, villagers of other Chinese ethic groups, and even children of the only Malay family in the village, could speak Hainanese.

Today, some houses have been vacant. Hokkien villagers have accounted for 60% of the population, while Hainanese villagers accounted for only 30%.

Two ancient wells in Kampung Paya Redan have been retained, which were the main source of water before the village received water supply.

The older generation of villagers can still speak Hainanese while most of the younger generation are Hokkiens.

Veteran Hokkien villager Lin Jin Ta, 93, who moved into the village in early days, said, “There was only one well in early days and the second well was dug due to population growth.”

During the era without water supply, women in the village would fetch water from the well or wash clothes with well water every morning, afternoon and evening, forming a bustling scene. Today, the wells provide water for emergency needs.

Veteran villager Fu Shi Lan, 96, recalled, “All villagers would be mobilised when there was a wedding in the village, all villagers were chefs, helpers and guests at the same time.”

She pointed out that since the houses were built on rented land and part of it was Malay reservation land, many villagers have moved out to buy land or houses while some young people have also moved to cities for better job opportunities, the village has thus gradually declined and the lively scene during weddings can now be hardly seen.

Today, many houses have been vacant or rented to foreign workers, and villagers are worried that it might one day become a foreign worker village.

Former villager who has moved to Pagoh, Li Qi Chuan, 71, said that the Hainanese attach great importance to education for children. There were only about 50 households in early days but they still contributed to found a Chinese primary school.

During the initial phase, the SJK(C) Yih Chiau was an evening school with students of various ages. The school was converted into a subsidised school in the 1960s and is currently having 27 students. The number of students once reached over a hundred people during its heydays.

Li also said that as houses are built close to each other, villagers have maintained close ties.

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Category: My New Village