Monday, July 12, 2010

Sungei Jerik(双溪热力), Pahang

Sungei Jerik(双溪热力)


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Sungei Jerik((双溪热力), literally means Jerik river. It is a small town, located at the route between Maran and Jerantut. It is also close to Pusat Jengka, and Jengka Ulu Jempul. Formerly it was just an estate town called Loong Tiao(農場) or Tiong Kiat(重吉), named after a Chinese businessman Ng Tiong Kiat(1892-1966). Later it become Tong Kiat, may be the local Malay community cannot pronounce the word "Tiong", and it slowly become Tong, and the town is called Tong Kiat. It was only renamed Sg Jerik in the 70s. But the Chinese still call the town Tong Kiat. The town is within the Maran district of Pahang state, located at the central of Malaya Peninsular in Malaysia. This is not a tourist area, most of us will not visit the town.

Ng Tiong Kiat 黃重吉(1892-1966)
Ng Tiong Kiat is from Yongchun County, Fujian Province, China(福建省永春縣卿園鄉). He followed his father and brothers to Malaya. He later do business in Kuala Lumpur and Klang, owned many business, including rubber factories and plantations.
He was involved in founding of Chung Hwa High School(吉隆坡中華學校), Kuala Lumpur in 1919, today it is one of the top Chinese school in the country. During World War II, he was involved with anti- Japanese movement, and was wanted by the Japanese military. He escaped and hide in Sg Jerik Ng Tiong Kiat Farm. The village town was named after the name of the farm, in short "Tong Kiat". Two months later, Japan surrender. In the post war period, he was involved in re-establishment of three Chinese schools, namely Kuen Cheng Girls School(坤成女子中学)、Confucian Private Secondary School(尊孔独立中学) and Chong Hwa Independent High School(中华独立中学)in Kuala Lumpur. He also co-found China Press (中國報) in 1946 together with Sir Tun Henry Lee Hau Shik or H. S. Lee (敦李孝式爵士,1900-1988). He was a Chinese school educationalist in all his life.

In the early 80s, when I first visited the town, it was only one street town, with two rows of single storey wooden shops along the road. The dusty non-metaled road along the route to Jerantut. There was no water and electricity supplied then. It is famous for its durian, and is a shopping place for the nearby Felda settlers. It is not a sleeping small town, as it will be busy during the pay days for the Felda settler nearby. There is a Chinese primary school SJK (C) JERIK (热力华文小学), and police station. During the raining days, the town is wet and muddy, and may be flooded. There is a bus service serving the town, from Maran to Jerantut. The village town is mainly agri based with some retail businesses. The population is dominantly Chinese with some Indian and Malay, but the surrounding Felda villages are mainly Malays. The town is surrounded by oil palm plantation of either Felda or the small holder of the local farmers. There may be some orchard and animal farm. The communal relationship between the Chinese in Sg Jerik and Malay Felda Jengka settlers from nearby villages are close.

Note: Bandar Pusat Jengka is the centre of the Jengka Triangle which is known as FELDA Jengka. The Jengka Triangle (Malay: Segitiga Jengka), which is the largest FELDA settlement in Malaysia, is one of the successful Malaysian government's project to eradicate poverty among its citizen. There are 25 settlement in Jengka , and other 7 Felda settlement. The settlement are mainly oil palm plantation with some rubber plantation.

You can go to Sg Jerik either from Jerantut or Lebuhraya Pantai Timur (East Coast Highway). From East Coast Highway, there are two routes,one through Felda Jengka, the other through Maran. From Karak along the highway where you turn left to Jengka 2 , and at a T junction turn right where there used to have a Felda police pondok,which is within Felda Ulu Jempul, after that another T junction to Maran-Jerantut route, you turn left again and straight to Sg Jerik town. Jerantut route will be longer and winding, but I do not know is that any improvement now. There is another route from Maran town, before reaching Maran town(about 1 km from Maran town), there is a curving junction on the left, after Malay village, you follow the route. The road Highway 64 is a winding road towards Jerantut, along the way at about 22 kms from the East Weat Highway junction it will pass through a famous Indian temple Sri Marathandavar Bala Dhandayuthapani Aalayam Temple(address: 100 km, Jalan Kuantan - Jerantut), and at about the 30th km, the road will reach Sg Jerik town on the way to Jerantut. This route is seldom used unless it is Hindu festival, where Indian Hindu from all over Malaysia will come, and the place become active. Panguni Uthiram (March/April) is the grand festival here. In those days there used to be around 500 'archanai's. Now the number exceeds 300,000!

I still remember a friendly family selling vegetables, at a wooden house along the road. One of the son is a reporter working in Kuantan with the main Chinese newspaper in the country. Another son was once a politician. Most of the villagers are very friendly. They lead a simple life. There is also a coffee shop owner who is the village leader and his wife are nice couple. And there are others that I cannot remember.

Recently it was reported that there was a strange infection of Leptospirosis and Meliodosis on Sg Jerik's villagers. It was widely reported in local Chinese newspapers. Most of the villagers infected are the one who went to the nearby waterfall. They were infested by the disease after helping to rescue a Malay drown victim near the waterfall. The latest news reported that, out of 83 villagers involved in rescue work, 13 were reported infested and six rescuers were dead. The waterfall was reported to be contaminated with the bacteria. The authority has now closed the waterfall for two month duration.

Leptospirosis; Melioidosis are caused by bacteria found in contaminated soil and water, especially in agricultural fields during the rainy season; causes wound infections or pneumonia.

Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis (also known as Weil's disease, Weil's syndrome, canicola fever, canefield fever, nanukayami fever, 7-day fever, Rat Catcher's Yellows, Fort Bragg fever, and Pretibial fever is a bacterial zoonotic disease caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira that affects humans and a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. The disease was first described by Adolf Weil in 1886 when he reported an "acute infectious disease with enlargement of spleen, jaundice and nephritis". Leptospira was first observed in 1907 from a post mortem renal tissue slice. In 1908, Inada and Ito first identified it as the causative organism and in 1916 noted its presence in rats.

Though being recognised among the world's most common zoonoses, leptospirosis is a relatively rare bacterial infection in humans. The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes. Outside of tropical areas, leptospirosis cases have a relatively distinct seasonality with most of them occurring August–September/February–March.

Leptospirosis is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal and is contagious as long as it is still moist. Although rats, mice and moles are important primary hosts, a wide range of other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows, sheep, raccoons, possums, skunks, and certain marine mammals are able to carry and transmit the disease as secondary hosts. Dogs may lick the urine of an infected animal off the grass or soil, or drink from an infected puddle. There have been reports of "house dogs" contracting leptospirosis apparently from licking the urine of infected mice that entered the house. The type of habitats most likely to carry infective bacteria are muddy riverbanks, ditches, gullies, and muddy livestock rearing areas where there is regular passage of either wild or farm mammals. There is a direct correlation between the amount of rainfall and the incidence of leptospirosis, making it seasonal in temperate climates and year-round in tropical climates.

Leptospirosis is also transmitted by the semen of infected animals. Slaughterhouse workers can contract the disease through contact with infected blood or body fluids.

Humans become infected through contact with water, food, or soil containing urine from these infected animals. This may happen by swallowing contaminated food or water, or through skin contact. The disease is not known to be spread from person to person and cases of bacterial dissemination in convalescence are extremely rare in humans. Leptospirosis is common among water-sport enthusiasts in specific areas as prolonged immersion in water is known to promote the entry of the bacteria. Surfers and whitewater paddlers are at especially high risk in areas that have been shown to contain the bacteria, and can contract the disease by swallowing contaminated water, splashing contaminated water into their eyes or nose, or exposing open wounds to infected water. Occupations at risk include veterinarians, slaughterhouse workers, farmers, sewer workers, and people working on derelict buildings, rowers are also sometimes known to contact the disease.

Leptospiral infection in humans causes a range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis is a biphasic disease that begins with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, myalgias, intense headache). The first phase resolves, and the patient is briefly asymptomatic until the second phase begins. This is characterized by meningitis, liver damage (causing jaundice), and renal failure. The infection is often wrongly diagnosed due to the wide range of symptoms. This leads to a lower registered number of cases than actually exist. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash. The symptoms in humans appear after a 4–14 day incubation period.

Please refer to http://www.leptospirosis.org/ for further information.

Melioidosis
Melioidosis (also called Whitmore disease or Nightcliff gardener's disease) is an infectious disease caused by a Gram-negative bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei(類鼻疽伯克氏菌), found in soil and water. It is of public health importance in endemic areas, particularly in Thailand and northern Australia. It exists in acute and chronic forms. Symptoms may include pain in chest, bones, or joints; cough; skin infections, lung nodules and pneumonia.

B. pseudomallei was thought to be a member of the Pseudomonas genus and was previously known as Pseudomonas pseudomallei. It is phylogenetically related closely to Burkholderia mallei which causes glanders, an infection primarily of horses, donkeys and mules. The name Melioidosis is derived from the Greek melis meaning "a distemper of asses" with the suffixes -oid meaning "similar to" and -osis meaning "a condition" i.e. a condition similar to glanders.

(source: wikipedia)

But I am puzzled with the news how the two different types of bacteria are infested in the same water source, the waterfall. I prayed that my friends in the village town are fine and well, and the matter will be under controlled soon.


(吉隆坡13日马新社讯)卫生部长拿督斯里廖中莱强调,日前在马兰双溪热力村爆发的6人相继死亡案例,是由鉤端螺旋体病(Leptospirosis)及类鼻疽(Meliodosis)两种病菌所致,而非如各中文报所报导的因“离奇怪病”而死。

他说,上述病菌在热带国家属普遍病菌,卫生部有治疗的方法。因此,民众毋须感到惊慌。

“我们暂时封锁了该瀑布,以抽取瀑布水样本进行化验,一旦完成工作后将重新开放该瀑布。”

廖中莱今日在吉隆坡会议中心为马来西亚私人医院协会(APHM)国际保健会展主持开幕后,对媒体这么说。

廖中莱重申,当地目前没有再爆发新病例,而在医院接受治疗的7名患者也在康复中。

“我希望参加露营的人士需注意卫生,若出现发烧症状需尽早求医。”

据报导,6名在上个月26日参与马兰双溪热力瀑布一宗溺毙案的尸体打捞工作的人士,前后被传染上不明怪病,在10天内相继离奇毙命。当中至少有2人被鉴定为肺部感染细茵而不治。

由于当地民众不了解死者的死亡原因,引发各界议论纷纷,甚至皆认为是因“离奇怪病”而死。

Related articles

1. http://www.zuiyanhong.com/(for picture of old and new town)
2. http://vphotosoul.blogspot.com/2009/04/my-first-photo-travel-sg-jerik-small.html

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