Category: My Hometown

My Hometown :: The Big House in Grisek [玉射]

The appearance of Grisek has significantly changed.

The appearance of Grisek has significantly changed.

Grisek and Kundang Ulu are two new villagers located by Sungai Muar in Johor.

Sungai Muar has played an important role in the development history of the two new villages.

As recorded in The Malay Annals, the then Sultan of Malacca Mahmud Shah fled to Kampung Raja Pagoh after defeated by the Portuguese army. One day, he went for fishing at Sungai Muar and when he reached the riverside, he heard the sound “grisek” from the woods by the river, and thus, he named the place “Grisek”.

Grisek used to be a new village adopting the Kangchu System. It is understood that Grisek has more than 150 years of history. According to veteran villagers, there was a “big house” similar to the siheyuan or Chinese quadrangles in China. It was managed by the Kangchu.

The “big house” housed about eight households in the 1960s and 1970s but some parts of the house collapsed after they moved out and the whole building was gone in end of 1980s.

The villagers pointed out that the “big house” served as a local court. It was said that there was also a prison inside the house, as well as a dormitory that could accommodate nearly 100 people. There was even a school inside the house in early days.

Grisek village head Li Kai Li, 57, said that due to the rapid growth in neighbouring Bukit Gambir, many young people have moved to the town with greater development opportunities, causing population loss in Grisek.

He pointed out that many rubber estates in Grisek has now been turned into oil palm plantations. Although farming is one of the major economic activities, many factories have been built in recent years, driving the development of local economy.

“Factories need a great number of foreign workers and they need to buy a range of items, bringing some economic impacts to businesses in the village,” he said.

Veteran villager Fu Ya Qin, 73, can still clearly remember the British colonial era. He lamented with a sigh that life in the barbed village was very difficult. They left the village under the police’s supervision in early morning and were required to return in the evening. And they were not allowed to bring food out the village.

He said that they were not allowed to buy rice more than the amount fixed according to the number of family members. Spot checks were frequent and many innocent villagers were detained for investigation.

He said that before land was opened for roads, Sungai Muar was the major waterway. Today, the jetty has been well preserved and it serves as a witness of history.

“Sungai Muar was an important waterway, but it had caused severe floating, including the floods in 2006, 2009 and 2011. When it comes to year end each year, we will pay more attention to the water level,” he said.

Zhou Rui Qin, 52, who has lived in the village since four years old, said that Grisek is a strategic location for factories as it is about 200km from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, facilitating the transport of goods.

Zhou opines that although Grisek has gradually evolved into an “old folk village”, it still has some development potential and the village now has about 30 factories.

“Viewing from the perspective of manufacturers, electricity and water supply here is fairy stable and road conditions are also considered good. It is a good place for wholesale business or manufacturing,” he said.

Veteran villager Zheng Zheng He, 65, is a board director of SJK(C) Pei Eng. He said that the school is currently having over 160 students and well equipped with smart teaching facilities. However, the number of students has gradually dropped due to the loss of population.

Zheng is also the Treasury of a Chinese temple with more than 130 years of history.

Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE

– See more at: http://www.mysinchew.com/node/106277

Location Map:

GPS Coordinates: 2.20808N, 102.71012E Geotag Icon Show on map

Category: My Hometown

Leave your comment via Facebook account. Thanks!
Editor says:

Pei Eng Chinese school was first housed in the Big House before it was moved to the present premise in the new village after the village was established by British colonial during Malayan Emergency Period.

The Big House resembles Chinese tulou (土楼) with an open courtyard in the middle and a few residential units surrounding the courtyard.

I frequently visited the Big House in 70s before it was crumbled because my neighbor’s pals worked in a rubber processing workshop located inside the building. A classmate also resided in one of residential units.

I have submitted Pei Eng Primary School location to Google Map and was added yesterday.