The Pahang Sungai Lembing Museum was set up to remember the glory days of the area as the richest producer of tin when the country, Malaysia, was the largest producer in the world.
However, tin is no more an important ore in the world, having been replaced by plastics, alluminium and other cheaper synthetic resources for what were previously its end products, like tins and containers for foods and drinks.
With the decline in tin production, Sungai Lembing town itself has slowly dwindled in size and importance, but the memories of its heydays are still vivid in the minds of its old residents.
With the establishment of this Pahang Sungai Lembing Museum, it is hoped that the present and future generations can comprehend and see the importance it had played in the economic and social development of Pahang state as well as the country.
A serene town tucked away about 42 km northwest of Kuantan, and almost "deserted" nowadays, the town offers a glimpse into Malaysia’s bygone days during the British and Japanese eras. Here you will also find charming heritage buildings that are reminiscent of its rich past.
During its heyday, Sungai Lembing had the largest, longest and deepest subterranean tin mine in the world and was once the richest town and producer of tin in Pahang.
It was considered as the El-Dorado of the East in the then Malaya, as it contained a large community of white British people at Lembah Sungai Kenau ("Kenau River Valley").
Tin has been mined in Pahang since the prehistoric times. A Chinese Muslim and Arabic scholar, Fei Hsin, in 1436 wrote and gave an account of Pahang and its people, and amongst others, he wrote:
"Products of the country are lignum-aloes, camphor, tin and a kind of wood used in dyeing."
In fact, at Sungai Lembing, there were lode mining as well as alluvial mining activities prior to the arrival of the Europeans in 1888.
And before that it had been worked for more than 100 years by the Chinese and Malays by using open-cast mining.
When the British came to Pahang in the late 1800s, the mining concession area at Sungai Lembing was taken over by the British owned Pahang Corporation.
Later, the Pahang Corporation and existing loss-making mining companies in Pahang were wound up and combined to form the Pahang Consolidated Company Ltd. in 1906. This company started to intensively mine the area until its closure in 1986.
During the peak periods of the tin industry, the Sungai Lembing mines in Pahang contributed about 70 percent of the tin exports of Pahang.
But as tin lost its luster and other minerals and synthetic materials replaced its uses, the mines here slowly ceased to operate and became just memories of old.
So it is as well that this Pahang Sungai Lembing Museum be established to show the present and future generations the vibrant and colorful days of the town's past, its vital importance in the economy of the state and country, and as a dedication to the workers and personalities who once contributed to its glorious days.
The Pahang Sungai Lembing Museum, formerly the residence of a British official, is under the management of the Department of Museums and Antiquities.
In this Museum you can find various exhibits and artifacts from the town’s glorious tin-rich days, including mining equipment, mineworkers’ costumes, furniture and tableware.
On the way to Sungai Lembing, at the 12 km milestone, is located the Lao Zi Temple where we can find an Antique House containing antiques of Chinese origin.
The Golden Dragon structure there is said to be the longest in the world, measuring 2,700 feet long. It has a walkway where one can walk into the Dragon through the tail and come out at the mouth.
Inside this Dragon the words of the Dao De Jing are written in the walkway, and it is believed by the Chinese that when one comes out from the Dragon’s mouth, one has possessed the mystical prowess of the dragon, and will therefore obtain good luck and fortune.
The "Dao De Jing" is the philosophical teachings of Taoism and contains the wisdom of Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism. The book is translated into more than 15 languages, and the poems and sayings of the book have affected many aspects of Chinese philosophy, culture and society.
END OF SIDE-NOTE
Well, I took the walk inside the Dragon’s mouth and let’s see whether I will obtain good luck and fortune.
Hey, I’m feeling lucky already!!
I do hope you've enjoyed the trip to the Pahang Sungai Lembing Museum.
And if you wish to know where to stay and accommodation, visit this Pahang Hotels and Resorts Directory for contact numbers of hotels and resorts in the state.
And, as always...
*** SELAMAT DATANG***