Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow
  1. Ngai C O says:


    There was a feature article in Star Online – ‘from hairy fruit cape’ to Tambun Temples a few years back that also showed the advertisement.

  2. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Thanks for the tip, Ngai C O.

    I read the article and noticed the following:

    Only in Malaysia: at the muhibbah Tong Wah Tong cave temple, staff are proud of their ‘Lord Ganesha,’ a natural limestone formation that supposedly resembles the Hindu deity.

    I thought the notion of a muhibbah temple might be of interest to ika. It’s just the kind of thing Mano and I were discussing.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      You and Mano are so right. I have seen many Chinese in rural areas pray to Lord Murugan, even as recently as last year. I think I have recent photos to prove my point. They used joss sticks.

      Other similarities are that both religions use kavadis, go into a trance and walk on hot charcoal.

      The Goddess of Mercy or Quan Yin is variously known as a female and gender neutral.

      Getting back to the advertisement, let us say the plantation were owned by Chinese, or Malay or Indian one could then substitute British with any of the three. What effect would it have?

      Of course, tea originally came from south western China. The British liked it and grew it in their colonies to break the Chinese monopoly.

      But then, it is drunk world wide next to coffee.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    Have you come across similar advertisements in the past?

    Yes, the “Buy British” concept was integral to the Empire. One might even say it was a primary purpose of having an empire. Around the globe, certain local industries were discouraged or even destroyed (manufacture of textiles in India, for example) so that locals would have no choice but to “buy British.” (Aside: This is why Gandhi asked Indians to make their own cloth at home, and why they put a spinning-wheel on the flag of India.)

    Now while all this sounds bad enough, one can argue that other empires — the Spanish one, for example — caused even more economic damage.

    —— Tea in Perak

    The plant was first grown in Perak in the late 1880s. The prime location was Cicely Estate[*1], up in the hills between Taiping and Kuala Kangsar. The estate was owned by the government, rented out to a towkay Lee, and managed by a Fred Watson. Only small quantities of tea were grown, more or less experimentally, but the result was at least as good as tea from China, India, or Ceylon. It was sold in Ipoh and as far away as Singapore and London.

    —— “Perak Tea”

    “Perak Tea” was first available only in Ipoh, around Christmas time, 1932. The product, distributed by McAlister & Co., was successful among consumers and even won awards for quality. By 1933 it was available for export.

    In accordance with the slogan “Buy British: Think Malayan,” “Perak Tea” was packaged with a printed paper label that bore the state’s colours as well as a Union Jack in the background. Beneath the label, the tea was tightly packed in a sheet of … lead foil.[*2]

    Another slogan used was “Think Malayan: Drink Her Best.”

    The advertisement shown above is from the 1930s. I see in the database (item 540) that the date is estimated as 1928, but that’s not possible because in that year the product was not yet in existence. I’d say 1933 or 1934 is correct.

    I also notice that the advertisement is displayed in the Kinta Valley book (p. 180), but as far as I can tell the authors only display it, without estimating a date or discussing the product.

    —— James Ferguson and Changkat Kinding Estate

    Changkat Kinding Estate was developed by James “Fergie” Ferguson.

    Arriving in Malaya from Aberdeenshire as a teenager in 1906, Fergie first worked alongside a number of fellow Scotsmen in Kuala Kurau (Krian) for the Perak Sugar Cultivation Company. (The database gives 1908 as the year of his arrival but that’s an error.) In 1909, he left Kuala Kurau and went off to seek his own fortune.

    In 1912, at the tender age of 24, Fergie became the manager of a rubber estate in Chemor — close enough to Ipoh that he ventured frequently into town, soon moving into a house there and joining the Club as well as the largely Scottish congregation at St. Andrew’s.

    In 1919, he quit his post in Chemor and joined Macfadyen, Wilde and Co, visiting agents.[*3] (The database gives the year as 1924 but this is an error.) At the same time, he became involved in the buying and selling of rubber estates.

    In 1930, Fergie and a colleague, Sydney Palmer[*4], opened Changkat Kinding Estate, where they planted tea and rubber. Tea was an attractive crop at the time because, due to the Depression, it was more profitable than rubber. “Perak Tea” was a very successful product.

    At Changkat Kinding, Fergie was devoted to the welfare of his workers. He built them unusually comfortable living quarters that included running water, electricity, and even a swimming pool. He encouraged them to keep livestock on estate land. He even went so far as to open (and pay for) a Tamil school for their children.[*5]

    Among Ipoh’s elite, too, Fergie was known for his civic-mindedness. Along with Bob Brash, Harry Nutter, and others, he was a Freemason (even before his time in Chemor). In the late 20s he was appointed member of the FMS Federal Council, on which body he served with Ipoh lawyer S. N. Veerasamy, Kinta miner Cheah Cheang Lim, and the Raja di-Hilir of Perak (among others).

    In 1939, Fergie created a new company, Malayan Producers, which comprised Changkat Kinding as well as Jalong Tinggi, another estate he had been involved with near Sungei Siput. When he died in the early ’50s, his son, John, better known as “Bill,” took over.[*6]

    Malayan Producers was still a going concern in the ’60s but after that I lost track.


    If it would be useful I could send you this comment as a PDF, in which I could include images, including a few taken at Changkat Kinding before the war.



    [*1] Later there was a Cicely Estate near Telok Anson, but it had nothing to do with tea.

    [*2] Lead-foil packaging is still in use today, but now it’s used mostly as a shield against radioactivity.

    [*3] The firm had been founded by Eric Macfadyen and E. G. Wilde. Just after Fergie joined, Macfadyen retired and the firm became known as Wilde and Co. One of the estates on Fergie’s rounds as a visiting agent was Tremelbye, which had been opened up by the Dane who, earlier, first brought Cold Storage foods to Ipoh (via Telok Anson).

    [*4] Just as Fergie went on from this small beginning to become a prominent planter in Ipoh, so, too, did Palmer in KL.

    [*5] Later, during the so-called Emergency, Fergie opened another school on the estate, this time for the children of Chinese squatters.

    [*6] Mano might be interested to hear that Bill Ferguson’s favourite pastime was auto-racing. He drove a Cooper.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      You mentioned Gandhi. British Colonialism destroyed the textile industry in India which in turn turned Britain into the world’s largest textile producer at one time. So did many other enterprises that existed before.

      Many research studies have been done, one of which is below. Click on “Economic Impact of the British Rule in India | Indian History” to find out more.

      As for lead, it is a toxic metal that was widely used as water pipes, in roofing and as the outer sheath of outdoor telephone and electrical cables. I remember seeing such a telephone cable in Ipoh in the 60s.

  4. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Ngai C O

    You mentioned Gandhi. British Colonialism destroyed the textile industry in India which in turn turned Britain into the world’s largest textile producer at one time.

    Yes, and to recover, in 1921 Gandhi led a boycott of British textiles.

    Then, while on a trip to England in 1931, he was invited by a textile manufacturer to visited the Lancashire mill towns that were adversely affected by the boycott. The manufacturer wanted him to see what effect the boycott was having on the workers: people caught in the Great Depression and further battered economically by the Indians’ refusal to buy their products.

    How did the workers respond to Gandhi’s visit? Believe it or not they cheered him warmly and celebrated his presence! They must have sensed his deep affinity for the poor. Later, he wrote: “They treated me as one of their own. I shall never forget that.”

    A few short films — news-reels — were made to document Gandhi’s trip. For example:


    You mentioned a study about the “Economic Impact of the British Rule in India.” From that study:

    While India had been for centuries the largest exporter of cotton goods in the world, it was now transformed into an importer of British cotton products and an exporter of raw cotton.

    That’s what empires are for.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      Thanks for the info and YouTube clip.

      The Colonial Office still exists and I am not sure what it does.

      Below are three links which might be of interest to you and others to add to the history of relevance beyond what we already know.

      The forgotten governors of the British Empire – Telegraph.
      Jeremy Paxman: what empire did for Britain.
      british malaya and the rise of chinese influence by johnna noel lash.

  5. Raman says:

    Hi Ipoh remembered. I was thrilled to read your comments on Changkat Kinding Estate and James Scot Ferguson who established the estate. He died probably 3 or 4 years after I was born in the estate. CKE brings back very fond memories of my childhood. 22 years there is something I will always cherish. I will appreciate it if you could send your comment as pdf including the prewar images that you mentioned.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Raman

      It may take me a week or three but yes, I’d be delighted to send you what I have. Please make sure that ipohWorld has your e-mail address; you can send it via the “Contact Us” link at the top of this page.

      He died probably 3 or 4 years after I was born in the estate.

      After spending months in the hospital, Fergie died in late 1950. He was not much more than sixty years old.

      CKE brings back very fond memories of my childhood. 22 years there is something I will always cherish.

      That’s wonderful. Feel free to share your memories, and photographs, too, if you have them. Thanks.

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