Friday, June 19, 2009

Urban Kampong

1.0 Introduction
This report presents the study of traditional Malay Kampong and a case study of
present Malay Kampong. The following gives an introduction to general purpose of study.
As well as an overall preview of this report.
1.1 General Purpose of Study
This report aims to study the spirit of a traditional Malay Kampung and how it is
being related to the present Malay Kampung.
The goal of this study is to understand the needs of the present Malay Kampung
which we did a site visit on which is Kampung Banghuris at Sepang, Selangor and later
on, from the results we analyzed from the case study, form suitable proposals which will
be able to bring back the essence of a traditional Malay Kampung into the present time
Malay Kampung and at the same time enhancing it.
1.2 Preview of Report
This report will first explain the essence of a traditional Malay Kampong in terms
of how a traditional Malay Kampong sustains itself and how the community co-exists
with each other.
A site visit has been conducted at Kampung Banghuris whereby we studied its
history and background of formation. Next, we analyze and compare the present Malay
Kampung to a traditional Malay Kampung in terms of identity, layout and planning,
livelihood of its inhabitants, industries that existed, architecture as well as the cultural
and social scene. Besides that, we also researched the needs of the villagers and the
problems they faced by interviewing the villagers themselves. A first-hand experience is
also needed in order to get a better understanding and an outsider’s stance on the village
Last but not least, we provide proposals which we believe could enhance the spirit
of the Malay Kampung, fulfill the needs of villagers, help them conquer the problems
they are having in the present Malay Kampung and further enhance the condition of the
2.0 Research Analysis
From research done regarding the traditional kampong, we found out that the
traditional Malay Kampung is a self sustainable community. Besides that, Malay villages
are made up of close-knit communities where the community spirit is very strong. The
following are the analysis which we had done from our research on how a traditional
Malay kampung is in general terms.
2.1 Self Sustainable Community
The traditional Malay kampung is a self-sustainable community. They were able
to survive without the need for cosmopolitan delights. The main reason behind it would
be the character of the community that resides in them. The first example of it would be
the economic activities done. A traditional Malay village depends either on agriculture,
plantations or fishing. The economic activities depends a lot on the geographical
condition of the village. Usually, Malay kampung are usually situated near rivers which
is the main source of irrigation and drinking water. A kampung located near the river
mouth or the sea will focus more on fishing while agriculture becomes a secondary
source of food. It goes the other way if the kampong is located in the inlands. However,
so longs as the kampong is close to any water sources, even inland villages may also have
fishing as a main source of income.
The main activity in an agriculture-driven kampong is growing padi (Rice). In
addition, vegetable and fruit growing is also another source of food for the needs of
villagers; of course this has to depend on the geographical condition of the area. In a
traditional Malay Kampung, villagers worked together in the Padi fields instead of
working alone. This ensures that each farmer can take care of everyone’s fields from
pests and this understated belief between everyone decreases the possibilities of bad crop
harvests. Besides that, rearing poultry is another activity which would supplement the
villagers needs especially when it comes to main protein source. Chickens provide meat
and eggs which the villagers can use for their own domestic purposes or even sell or trade
them for other goods.
Malay kampung that focuses on fishing activities can be found on coastal areas.
Most male villagers in these areas are fishermen. In the early mornings, they would go
out to sea in groups where they will look for suitable areas to fish. Women staying on
ground would be involved in other activities that benefit the family such as raring animals
such as cow, chicken, goat and etc as a supplement to food sources. Besides that, they
also grow crops during the monsoon season when they are unable going out to sea.
The crops and fish are mainly for the domestic uses. However, extra food
produced might be trade with the neighboring areas. In short, a traditional Malay
Kampong supports itself quite successfully.
2.2 Close-knit Community
Close-knit community is the best keyword to describe a traditional Malay
Kampong. The community spirit is very strong in a traditional Malay Kampong as
villagers know their neighbors very well. They live as a community that would look after
each other’s wellbeing.
Due to the closeness of villagers, traditional Malay Kampong have less concern
reagrding security because everyone knows each other. This ability to look after and trust
each other made it possible to open up their homes to everyone, eliminating the need for
fences which cuts of contact whatsoever.
In the daytime, villagers would work together in the fields or plantations or in
some cases, fishing or rearing animals. Those who have spare time may visit each other
just to have conversations or even play traditional games such as ‘congkak’ which is a
traditional board game. The children who came back from school may play together, be it
singing or dancing. All this could not have happened had it not been for the fact that the
community is a cohesive one.
In short, Malay villagers work and play as a community. Therefore, community
spaces are definitely not a lacking element. This can be seen in the traditional Malay
Kampong Layout which will be discussed in the following section.
2.3 Layout of Traditional Malay Kampong
A traditional Malay Kampong is formed by small communities clustering around
the center of the kampong. Community spaces are very important in a traditional Malay
kampong because Malay kampong is a close-knit community.
2.3.1 The Small Community Forms the kampong
Malay Houses in a Traditional Malay Kampong are clustered around the center of
the kampong. There are usually several houses forming a small community. These small
communities are one of the components of a traditional Malay Kampong. Members of the
small community will look after each other and work together. For instance, Figure 1
indicates the community working together to repair fishing nets.
(Figure 1: Community working together to repair fishing nets. Lim. 1987 )
2.3.2 The Community Spaces
Community spaces are very important for a Traditional Malay Kampong. The community
spaces for a small community can be seen in a typical Malay house. A typical Malay
House will have the selang and anjung which are the gathering places of a small
community. Selang is situated at the rear portion of a house which is an area dominated
by the female while Anjung at the front is dominated by the male. Females in a small
community usually gather at the Selang for much needed gossips and chit-chat. While on
the other hand, the male folks would discuss male-related issues in the Anjung. Figure 2
shows the design layout of a typical traditional Malay House.
(Figure 2: Typical Traditional Malay House Layout)
The community space for bigger community, the kampong itself is conveniently
situated at the center of the kampong where or sometimes deemed the heart of the
kampong. There are community facilities such as Surau, place for praying, schools, and
the Balai (office) attached to penghulu’s (leader of the Kampong) residence. Usually,
there are large open compounds among these community facilities. These compounds are
used for the purpose of gathering and for special events like dancing during a festive. In
other words, the heart of kampong is the meeting point of the small communities that
surrounds it. Some kampong may also have a small market at the heart of Kampong for
the need of villagers. This is where the women would come to sell the produce cultivated
for extra income.
(Figure 3: Selling vegetables and fruits in the market)
3.0 Case Study
Much has been studied about Kampung Banghuris which is the village we
conducted our study on. The following are the results of our case study which includes
Access, Identity, Layout and Planning, Livelihood, Tourism, Industry, Architecture as
well as the Cultural and Social scene.
3.1 Access
We have found out that there is no clear entrance to the kampung. The signs are
misleading and insignificant. On the day of our site visit, we used up a lot of time
searching for the entrance despite being given instructions to the village. It was later on
that we had to contact the leader of the village (Ketua Kampung) to guide us to our
We also found out that the roads are not wide enough to accommodate long and
large vehicles. Busses especially those that carry tourists have a difficult time especially
in sharp turns. In some bends, bus drivers have to be careful not to drive into the drains
beside the road. There is no gateway to show a clear entrance to the village.
We felt that a gateway should be placed directly over the road that leads into the
village. A gateway is important to show the identity of the villagers who lived there. It
can also be a welcoming feature for visitors, thus enhancing the journey before entering
the village.
3.2 Identity
Once assigned to our respective hosts of the day, we were introduced to the
immediate family as well as the relatives who happen to live in the same area as well.
What we found out was most of the villagers are descendents of Javanese people who
came to the area a long time ago. There are also mixtures of other Malay races with their
own distinct identity. When communicating with one another, they prefer to use their
Javanese dialect and when they communicate with visitors they switched back to English
or Malay which shows their versatility in terms of language usage.
3.3 Layout and Planning
The layout of the kampong is rather spread-out. Families with blood-ties usually
lived in one area where they can help each other out. Usually, a plot of land is inhabited
by three to four families. In the heart of the kampung lies the Balai (Community Centre),
the community field and the Surau (Prayer Hall). This is where the village folks would
gather for activities such as welcoming the visitors or for performances and discussions
regarding the welfare of the kampung. Industries are also spread out along the outskirts of
the village close to the raw sources needed for their industry.
(Figure 4: Balai-Community Centre where community folks gather)
3.4 Livelihood
The villagers of Kampung Banghuris used work in the oil palm plantations, coffee
plantations and smaller scale farming. Since the late 90’s, villagers are switching to a
more commercialized livelihood. The introduction of light industries especially in the
food processing department had enhanced the profitability of the raw sources available in
the kampung. Besides that, the introduction of the Homestay programme had brought in
additional income to the families that are part of the programme itself. The new
generations that lived in the village that remained there usually have jobs in the
government headquarters in Putrajaya. Some are working for the administration in nearby
Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Others also have jobs in surrounding areas such as
Shah Alam, Puchong, Dengkil or Nilai. The incomes that they brought back from these
jobs have supplemented the families to live a comfortable life. As for our group, the
houses we have visited have everything that a modern family needs and wants; clean
water, electricity, entertainment appliances, satelite broadcast programmes, internet
access, wireless connections. When asked about how satisfied the villagers are with their
life there, all of them said that they were happy and contented with the current condition.
We quote a villager saying that she would prefer to live in this kampung rather than in the
city even though her brothers and sisters have homes there because she feels safe with her
families here and she already had everything she needed.
3.5 Tourism
Tourism came as a follow up to the pact which the kampung did with the
government to supplement the tourism in the area. A Homestay Programme was initiated
which encourages tourists especially those from foreign countries to experience a Malay
kampung life first-hand. The programme basically comes in packages which the visitors
would choose to their liking. Most of the visitors are encouraged to choose the whole-day
tour which gives a wider and much deeper understanding of how people lived in the
village. Included in the day-time package is lunch with the host families where visitors
try out authentic Malay cuisine, a visit to the industries in the area, oil palm plantation,
coffee plantation and Plant-A-tree campaign. The night-time package includes dinner,
cultural performances and a night time tour.
(Figure 5: Coffee Plantation)
3.6 Industry
The industries involved in the village are light industries, mostly in the food
processing business. These industries are also involved in the tourism aspect of the
village whereby visitors get to see first hand how food production is done in small scale
or in some cases medium and high-tech scales. These industries in a way, enhance the
experience visitors get, not only can they try out some of the work, they also get to
sample some of the goods. A good example would be the “ubi keledek” factory. Ubi
keledek which is the Malay word for cassava/tapioca is grown locally and then
transported to the factory where visitors can have a look at how they are washed, cut and
then sliced using low tech measures which is also efficient. The interesting part would be
the frying of the cassava. Visitors can taste as much of these processed goods as they
want and later on, if they choose to buy them, they would proceed to the market hall. The
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3.7 Architecture
The architecture in the kampung is rather basic. Despite the fact that most
villagers are descendents from Java, the architecture styles are commonly local. However,
the older houses inhabited by the oldest generations have distinct Malay flair to them.
Some house implemented the older Malay traditional beliefs like the Tiang Ibu and the
different colored clothes which protects the home owners from harm but this is a rare
case and when we asked a grandfather who used to do so, he said all he could remember
was that it was just a minor belief and now he does not believe in it anymore. The houses
built by the younger generation no longer have the true essence of a Malay house; they
are mostly modernized versions of the older houses. Timber is still the main construction
material but the roofs are now replaced by corrugated zinc profiles which are more
weather-hardy compared to the traditional clay slates or “atap roofs’”
(Figure 8: Common Malay House in Kampong Banghuris)
3.8 Cultural and Social scene
The community here is completely different from an urban setting. Most of the
village folks are closely related by blood. The culture is distinctly Malay. Although most
of the villagers are Javanese descendents, they are still able to hold on to their roots.
Since Kampung Banghuris is made up of three villages, the head of the villages still have
their position and they still retain the responsibility of caring for the welfare of their own
people. However, there is a main “Ketua Kampung” which oversees the development of
the village. He is also the one who supervises the Homestay programme.
Villagers regularly visit each other whenever possible. Since it is a relaxed environment,
everyone is free to roam the village grounds and help out with the village folks. This is a
rare find in urban areas where even neighbors do not seem to know who lived next door.
Besides that, every time after lunch or tea time, the families would gather in one area and
talk throughout the day. They will share gossips and news and discuss issues; we too
were included in the discussion of the kampung life as well as other topics which
surprisingly were mind-opening. Our experiences with the families thought us that there
is much to learn from the other person.
4.0 Conclusion
When we compare the present Malay Kampong (Kampung Banghuris) to a
traditional Malay Kampong, we found out that some significant essences of the
traditional Malay Kampong are still being maintained in a present Malay Kampong while
some have been lost. For example, the concept of small community forming the kampong
is still maintained. This can be seen where there is a common space in between three to
four families who actually forms a small community. The families would gather in this
space in the afternoons or evenings. In addition, the concept of the heart of the kampong
in a Traditional Malay Kampong is still retained in the present Malay Kampong.
Kampong Banghuris has a surau, a balai and an open-air compound which is the
community field all located within the center of the village.
On the other hand, there are some essences of a Traditional Malay Kampong that
has been changed or modified to suit the present time. One example of this phenomenon
is the change of activities and role of the kampung. Kampong Banghuris unlike any
typical traditional Malay Kampong involves itself in the tourism sector to sustain itself.
Besides tourism being the main activity, small scale industries are also defining the role
of the kampong. Several small industries involved in the food industry. Hence, tourism
became the major income of the Kampong to sustain the villagers. However, the idea of
living and working in the kampong still lingers on.
To conclude, Kampung Banghuris shows that a kampong has to evolve to be able
to sustain itself in a new era. The role of the kampong may have changed little in
different aspects but the spirit which it beholds is still the same. The community who
lives in the kampong is still a close-knit one; the essence of community living will be still
maintained, and it shall be maintained.
5.0 Proposals
Kampung Banghuris is very much tourism oriented. Therefore, it is very
important for the authority to develop Kampung Banghuris into an important landmark
and a better place to visit. There are many approaches that the authority could consider in
order to enhance the tourism spot in the village. Kampung Banghuris offered home stay
program to international and local tourist, and also involved in light industry to increase
the villagers’ income.
Therefore, authorities should reinvigorate the traditional architecture in the
planning of the kampong itself. Mixing in Malay and Javanese architecture could bring
back the old time feeling of the origin of the villagers in Kampung Banghuris. Thus, the
visitors could live in a real kampong environment.
Preserving the culture and history of the kampong is important. It helps to show
the real identity of the kampong. By preserving these cultures and histories, visitors could
understand the way Malay villagers live in the older days.
Authorities should let visitors participate in various activities and participate in
hands on activities like gardening, fishing, feeding animals and many more. By this,
visitors can feel the real working life of the villagers in a kampong.
Since there’s no clear entrance getting into Kampung Banghuris, authorities
should create a well defined entrance for the visitors. This will eventually lead visitors
into the kampong without having wrong turns and lost in that area.
Community spirit is important in a kampong. Therefore, communal spaces should
be created so that villagers and also visitors could gather at a place to share their daily life
routine with each other. The communal spaces could also be a place to do performance
and other kind of activities.
Kampung Banghuris is normally visited by Japanese and other western tourists.
Therefore, the authorities should provide more information to the visitors who visits the
5.1 Reinvigorating of Traditional Architecture, Propose Annex-Resort
In order to enhance the village, the authority could extend and supplement the
home stay program into an interesting spot where the tourists could feel the true life and
color of Malay culture in Malaysia. The home stay program offered actually letting the
tourist to stay in the house of their host family.
From the visits, most of the houses there are not of an original Malay traditional
house. Many features of a Malay traditional house had been modified to suite with the
modern living. For example, some of the houses had covered up the ventilated roof with
ceiling to installed air-conditioned and some had break away from the traditional layout.
So, annex resorts which is attached to the host house of the family is proposed to
allow tourists to experience the true life and color of a traditional Malay culture.
Different resorts will be designed in different style of a traditional Malay house. So,
tourists can actually chose which type of Malay house they wish to live in. The main
activities will still held in the host house. They can still hanging around in the living area
with the family, using their kitchens and having dinner together with the family members.
The resorts are just the annex to enhance the home-stay program.
(Figure 9: Annexes with traditional architecture)
5.2 Preserving Culture and History, Propose Museum
After the site visit to Kampong Banghuris, we found out that many Malay cultures
are not been practiced and it slowly buried by the new way of living. Thus, the culture
must be preserved or recorded to avoid these cultures being lost.
Basically the villagers introduce the historical substance of the kampong by
bringing the visitors to the exact spot. This actually will take time to travel all the way to
each spot. It will cause inconvenient for tourists and visitors to view on a particular
historical objects at outdoor when it rains.
The museum could be built in a very traditional Malay and Javanese architecture
due to their origins and culture.
Museum proposed to function as a record the culture, identities and history of the
kampong. This place actually open to public, which acquires, conserves, researches,
communicates and exhibits for purposes of study where the exhibition and educational
interpretation can be the objects that having historical value. Other than that, museum
will also introduce the local culture and identities to tourists and visitors by preserving all
the historical substance inside to avoid the culture being lost and enable visitors to
explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment.
5.3 Participation of Hands On Activities, Proposed Gardens and Farms
Some interesting activities could be introduced to tourists who visit Kampung
Banghuris. Visitors not only experience staying with the host family, the host family also
could offer more hands on activities for the visitors. Visitors could actually to plant their
own vegetables, fruits, flowers, or even collect chicken eggs or feed animals with the host
family. Community garden, poultry farm, fruit garden, vegetable garden, or animal farm
could be introduced in the village itself. Introducing these gardens and farms could
provide an opportunity for the visitors to experience the kampong real working life in the
5.4 A Well Defined Entrance, Proposed Gateway
After visiting to the Kampung Banghuris at Sungai Pelek, one of the problems
was there is no clear entrance to guide tourists and visitors toward the kampong even
though there is a sign board nearby the entrance. This problem is occurring because of the
site was kampong area with poor road system that currently haven’t been develop well.
The roads toward the entrance of the kampong are small and narrow which gives
inconvenient for heavy vehicle such as tourist busses.
This problem can be solved by proposing a gateway at the entrance of the
kampong. The design can be a Malay or Javanese traditional crafting gateway with
decoration on both sides. It functions as giving clear entrance and identity of the
kampong and at the same time create the sense of welcoming. It will be more obvious
where it located near to the main road and also giving more secure to public. Beside, the
road system can be improve by widen the road and provides car parking near the entrance
for vehicle to drop off. By having this proposal, tourists and visitors can enjoy the trip
during their traveling without any lost in direction to the kampong.
(Figure 10: Gateway of the kampong)
5.5 Community Spirit, Proposed Amphitheater And Central Market
The amphitheater is proposed to function as a casual gathering place for the
community. It can become a place for the adults to chit-chat and also for the children to
have activities such as playing sports, dancing, singing and having informal classes. In
this case, the knowledge of traditional dances and music can be passed to the next
generation. Other than that, it will be a proper arena for performances such as traditional
dances, traditional music, instrumentation, singing, dramas and plays.
Other than that, it will also be a place for the villagers to interact with the tourists
of the home-stay program. Tourists can hang-out there during night time to enjoy the
performances. Besides, the performers can also teach those who are interested how to
dance and play the musical instruments. Here, the visitors can learn more about the
Malay traditional performing arts and enjoy themselves very much.
(Figure 11: Singing performance) (Figure 12: Dancing performance)
(Figure 13: Musical performance)
From the visit to the kampong, in order to buy the product made by the villagers,
visitors need to travel from one place to another.
The market will be a bazaar where kampong folks gather to sell goods they had
produced such as home-made cakes and bun, ‘kerepek’, tit-bits, Malay food, fruits,
vegetables, fish and even handicrafts and clothes. In this case, villagers and even the
tourists can get everything they need in one place, and this eliminates the need to travel
far just to get to another shops. The transaction will be much faster and it will also be
more convenient for the sellers and also buyers. It will become another point of interest
of the kampong. . It also helps to strengthen the community spirit of the kampong by
gathering the kampong folks in the market.
(Figure 14: Vegetables sold in the market)
(Figure 15: Handicrafts sold in market)
(Figure 16: Light industry product sold In market)
5.6 Info Needs, Proposed Information Centre
According to the Kampung Banghuris visit, there is another problem of poor in
communicate between foreign tourists and local villagers. Most of the kampong villagers
are not well in foreign language, only a few villagers familiar with English. But when
there is foreign tourists visit the kampong, they need to translate the language by using
the dictionary and translate again one word by one word to another. This creates many
difficulties on communication between each other because of they don’t understand the
language using by each other.
However, in order to have better communication between foreign tourist
and local people, an information centre is proposed. The aim of the information centre is
to give the convenient for tourists and visitors collect data and request for relevant
information. This information centre is ready to serve huge number of visitors due to
different nationalities and it will be able to provide translator for foreign visitors which
can help in communication of each other and better understanding of the kampong.
(Figure 17: Example of Information Centre)
5.7 Space Planning
All these important places like the information centre, museum, amphitheater, and
market are proposed to cluster at the heart of the kampong so that it could blend in with
the kampong context. Everyone from the kampong will gather at the heart of the
kampong every morning to communicate with each other. Then the annexes will be
spreading through the whole kampong attaching to the host house. The gardens and farms
could be located at the backyard of every host house so that every visitor could
experience the real working life in a kampong. To enhance the community spirit in the
kampong, gazebos will be added at every junction of the road. This could let one small
community to actually gather and meet with another small community at the gazebos.
Reference List
Lee Jee Yuan. 1987. “The Malay House: Rediscovering Malaysia’s Indigenous
Shelter System” Institut Masyaraka.

1 comment:

Samsudin Noor Aimran said...

Can you share with me the original article. I am now study on kampong's pattern. Please send me email at Tq