Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gambang(甘孟), Pahang

Gambang is the 2nd tin mining town in Pahang that I know, which was facing the same fate as Sungai Lembing. The tin mining was abandoned, but unlike Sungei Lembing it is locate close to the state capital, Kuantan. The people in Gambang still can depend on their rubber plantation, fruit orchard; and some of the residents are able find job in Kuantan without relocation. The town still maintain some activities, and going on with daily life, there is not much diaspora of resident like Sungai Lembing.

When I left Kuantan, the early 2000. Gambang still a small quiet town, without much development. The local business was depended on the local residents and settlers from nearby Felda oil palm settlements. The MEC city, the pet project by the former Dr M was failed and abandoned. Later on the place was taken over by University of Pahang. The theme park show some earth movement, and sign board was set up; but no further activities. However the completion of East Coast Highway later on, did provide some boost to the town.

Gambang is famous for its food; especially dishes cooked from meat of wild jungle animals; many travellers stopped by for lunch or dinner while on the way to KL. During the durian season, you can get some fruits from the nearby orchard and Felda settlement. There is also a famous singing group in Gambang, which is popular in Pahang area. They are most needed for stage show during the Ghost Festival, in the 7th month of lunar calendar. And they said Gambang produced fair beautiful girls like Sungai Lembibg and Ipoh. Some said that is because they drink water that contain minerals like other mining towns.

The recently opened Bukit Gambang Water park, using the ex-mining site will surely provide some life to Gambang town, it will generate business activities to the small town.

View Larger Map

Gambang is a town in Pahang, Malaysia. It is about 30 km from the state capital, Kuantan. It is located at a junction between Federal route Jkr-ft2.png, MEC Highway or Lebuhraya MEC (Federal route Jkr-ft222.png) and Tun Razak Highway (Federal route Jkr-ft12.png).

Gambang is an ex-mining town. Most of the residents in the town are Chinese Hakka people. The town is located at the main road between Kuantan and Kuala Lumpur. If you travel from Kl to Gambang, there is a row of shop houses at the left, and market was at the right. There are only few shop houses at the right after the market. The new village is up the hill slop on the left after the shop houses. The Chinese primary school, SJK(C)Gambang(甘孟国民型华文小学) are there. Not far down the street to Kuantan, there is a temple , then a government clinic. After that you arrived at the cross road, on the right it will lead you to Segamat , Johore. On the left following the Lebuhraya MEC is the MEC city, The Malaysia Electric Corporation(来西亚国产电器集团有限公司 or MEC) town (Bandar MEC) and electrical appliances manufacturing factory is located here. It is accessible via the Gambang Interchange of the East Coast Expressway (ECE) Mes-e8.png. Gambang is also the location of Universiti Malaysia Pahang's temporary campus(formerly known as KUKTeM). Going straight the road can lead to Kuantan town,or through East Coast Highway(东海岸高速公路) to Kemaman, Trengganu.

The name
The name Gambang is a Malay term for a musical instrument called gambang,or should properly called a gambang kayu ('wooden gambang') is a xylophone-like instrument used among peoples of Indonesia and the southern Philippines in gamelan and kulintang, with wooden bars as opposed to the metallic ones of the more typical metallophones in a gamelan. A largely obsolete instrument, the gambang gangsa, is a similar instrument made with metal bars. Why the town was named after musical instrument?.

I do not know is it related to the Orang Asli, there is orang asli villages in nearby Lake Cini or Tasik cini, a lake near the Pahang River, inhabited by Jakun branch of the Orang Asli. The 12,565 acres (5,026 hectares) Tasik Chini is the second largest fresh water lake in Malaysia and is made up of a series of 12 interconnecting lakes. Chini River, which drains from the lake, flows into Pahang River. (For further info of Tasik Cini, visit Is it named after the musical instrument used by the Jakun?

Loke Yew & Tin Mining

Loke Yew was the owner of tin mine at Sungai Belat, about 2 km from Gambang town. He is the one that built the Kuantan port, may be jetty, obviously not today's Kuantan Port. The jetty is located at Kuantan river, may be just opposite the Kuantan hospital. Kuantan jetty is 5 km from Sungai Belat, at those day to reach Sungai Belat you need to take sampan( a small boat) from Kuantan jetty to Sungai Belat tin mine, after landed at the river bank, it still need to walk 25km through jungle path to the tin mine. Later on bicycle was used. Loke Yew later open a road from Kuantan to Gambang and Kuala Belat. A bus company was later opened by him to operate service between the two places. Loke Yew was the largest shareholder in Pahang Motor Car Service, owned shares in the Raub Straits Trading Company. It was reported that Loke Yew was the main person behind the development of Kuantan, Bentong and Gambang.

Biography of Loke Yew

Loke Yew (陸佑), CMG, LL.D. (1845-1917) was a famous businessman and philanthropist during the British Malaya era. He played a significant role in the growth of Kuala Lumpur and was one of the founding fathers of Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur.

His actual name was Wong Loke Yew and born of humble parentage in the village of Dong Jiang in the district of Heshan(鹤山), in the Guangdong Province of China in 1845. He was the only son in a family of four children, and spent his childhood working as a farm hand before he decided to set sail to Malaya to seek his fortune. He was only 13 years old then. The young Wong dropped his surname Wong upon arriving in Singapore, and changed his middle name to 陸(Lù) as he thought the new name sounded more auspicious. His relatives recommended him for his first job at Kwong Man General Store, a provision shop in Market Street and earned $20 a month. The young Loke scrimped and managed to save $99 after 4 years of hard work. With the money, he started his own provision store called Tong Hing Loong(興隆號). His business gradually grew and Loke left his staff in charge of the store while he traveled to northern Malaya, particularly Perak to explore the tin mining business

The ambitious young man took great risks in his new venture in Perak, and lost nearly $60,000 in his first four years. But he persisted in keeping the business going until he found a rich tin deposit in Kelian Bahru in Perak. His tin-mining business suddenly took an upswing, and Loke then went on to acquire and own many more tin mines, and rubber and coconut plantations in Perak. He also ventured into supplying provisions to British troops during the Perak War, running a pawnbroking business, and even obtained monopoly for liquor sales, gambling licences and other privileges from the colonial government. One of the tin mine was at Sungai Belat, Pahang, about 2 km from Gambang town.

Loke Yew died on 24 February 1917 from malaria and his funeral was one of the grandest of those times. He was buried at Hawthornden Estate (a rubber estate he owned), presently close to where army quarters of the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) are located, and a bronze statue of him was erected in front of his grave. Loke Yew also contributed to the Chinese communities in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Loke Yew left an estate estimated at over ₤10 million a business empire composed of rubber plantations, factories and banks(Note: Kwaong Yik Bank open in July 1915,which later become subsidiary of Malayan Banking). Jalan Loke Yew in Kuala Lumpur and Bentong are named after him.
(extract from

History of Gambang

1800s - Late 1800s, discovery of tin ore in Sungai Bela.
1900- Fire destroyed the old town Sungai Bela. The fire also resulted in some villagers turned to agriculture, particularly rubber planting. Some of them started paddy planting in Sri Jaya(斯裡再也), 3 hours of bicycling from Gambang.

1911- The new town was developed at Gambang after fire destroyed the old town at Sungai Belat. The current venue of University Malaysia Pahang . Today there are still some mining pool remained in the area. The tin mining activities and businesses slowly moved to the new town.

1914- The grandest occasion of Gambang history is when in 1914; the opening of a Pei Ying Chinese primary school(培英學校), many personalities from KL, Kuantan, and Gambang attended the function.

1917 - Loke Yew died on 24 February 1917 from malaria

1941 - Japanese occupation

1980s - Tine mining declined

1997- MEC city was opened by Dr Mahatir on 17-3-1997. It was the pet project of the former Prime Minister. The project was faced with failure.

2002 - University Malaysia Pahang

2009 - Bukit Gambang Water Park

Bukit Gambang Resort City
Bukit Gambang Resort City is to be the first and largest water park resort city in the East Coast of Malaysia. Bukit Gambang Water Park opens its door on 22 July 2009.
Bukit Gambang Water Park spans across 60 acres offering non-stop fun and exceitment! Amongst the unique and fascinating attractions include a man-made 20-acre lake with breathtaking views and which is also suitable for a wide variety of fun water sports. Check out the 25,000 sq ft wave pool that will surely offer a whale of a time! Not to mention the family river raft rides and a 6-lane racer slides with a timing scoreboard

With the Children Fantasy Island ("penguin island"), special Kidz Zone, the Adventurous Typhoon River as well as a 1 kilometer long man-made sandy beach, neverending fun and merriment awaits for the young and young at heart!

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