A tale of two pekans – Telok Kumbar and Bayan Lepas


This is a down memory lane photos, which I think my brother in PJ will want to see.

For some reasons, Bayan Lepas never seem to develop. It is a good thing actually. Our old kampung house is still there but I cannot find a way to walk there and I don’t think I even remember which is my childhood home. I know it is number 32 though.


The pekan is still there and the road as narrow as it was. The Haniffa nasi kandar still sell curry fish but I have never buy it for decades already.


This quaint mosque stays authentic and original.


This spot is where the cinema and Tamil school used to be. It has two rows of houses now. Sadly, Bayan Lepas has no identity of its own because it is just two rows of shophouses and nothing else. Eventhough it has the airport, it is a very laid back pekan. I sort of miss the bendang padi. My primary school which is also second bro’s primary school, Bayan Lepas English School which was later changed to Sek. Keb. Seri Permai, is now some quarters for the airport staffs. But Sekolah Keb. (C) Chung San which my father and eldest sister used to teach did not have the luck of moving away.

When I was in primary school, the teacher used to stop teaching when a plane landed. We could see the tourists getting down from the lauyeah plane. I was one of those little, kampung kid who waved at tourists.


Over the years, Telok Kumbar which is my hubby’s hometown has developed a lot. The hill which used to be owned by my maternal grandpa (but unfortunately taken by the gov. because he was too superstitious to prepare a will) now have some expensive condos. Telok Kumbar is a much more interesting pekan than Bayan Lepas because it is near the sea.


The Kedai Nasi Taat is where hubby and I used to have breakfast when we stayed with my mother-in-law over the weekends. Pak Lah too patronised this shop before he became minister in KL.


This site here? Sorry lah, but two women were burnt to death on this spot. It used to be my mother-in-law shophouse until the kid next door played with fire and burned down 6-7 wooden shophouses. The two women were the kid’s father’s friends. The two women have no relatives to claim their souls. I know ‘cos the undertaker came to do it themselves, bring umbrellas and calling them to follow him etc. If you are the developer, don’t sue me ok? I am recollecting the time when my poor mother-in-law fled her burning home with only the clothes on her back. Make sure those who are going to work or stay here ask the two women not to kacau them, ok?

It is actually very nice to stay in small pekans like these because everyone knows everyone. If you are in trouble, neighbours will rally around you. However, don’t do anything scandalous or else it is riuh sekampung.

18 thoughts on “A tale of two pekans – Telok Kumbar and Bayan Lepas

  1. I do miss my chilhood time where I stay in the kampung (mine is in Kamunting, Taiping). It’s very nice. Like you say, when you are in trouble all the neighbour will come and help but don’t do anything scandalous – the whole kampung will get to know and will talk about it for sometimes.

    Erina´s last blog post..Home Cook Food Is Always The Best

  2. What a coincident of your posting on your kampung. Just got back from a remote place some 450km from BKK. Sawah padi and green farms, clean air and innocent kids playing in nature’s surrounding. Beautiful and serene. I hope our local kampung scenes will not change, to preserve culture and some idyllic lifestyle…..

    Agnes Tan´s last blog post..Have You Forgotten “Hello World”?

  3. Hi Lillian,
    My grandpa lived and died in the house opposite the Sinaran Bros shop.Is the house, the shop, still there ?
    My grandpa was a famous man in Bayan Lepas. Is the name Haji Azyze familiar to you.Maybe your elders might remember.Cheers.

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  5. When I was a kid, I use to visit and stay with my grandma during the school holidays. One small kampong in Kedah. One street only. No electricity, so my aunt have to set up and light the kerosene lamps at night. No modern toilet …. no need to go into the gory details.Cooking was done on a stove heated with rubber wood.

    Since I am from Penang,from Tanjong my grandma would say, the visits were always an exiting adventure!Wow! I get to play with my cousins the whole day! Run around the kampong!My grandma kept pigs and chickens and I get to hold the warm newly laid eggs!

    Later my grandma,my uncle and family moved to town. I really miss those carefree days.

  6. Adui Mak Lillian, that pekan was my kampung too!!! I used to lived in the government quarters facing the airport, and was still there when they upgraded it to Int’l Airport. Literally watch the planes come and go, played at the contruction site. Our house was the last one before the telekom office, no. 25B if I still remember correctly.

    And as kecik monyet, I had to walk through the kampung to go the buy grated coconut for santan from Ramasamy shop, which faced the cinema. Chung San was my kindergarten school too. And I remember very well the government clinic, we used to collect all the old glass bottles to for them to recycle…

    You know what I remember most about my childhood there? SNAKES!!
    Snakes in the backyard, in the toilet, in the chicken coop (which was in the backyard), in the front yard when I had to clean the drain, snakes killed my neighbour’s shaggy dog. Luckily I had 2 expert snake killers in the family – my mom and dad… don’t play play.. mr. long always never had a chance with them. (sulfur helps to keep them away too other than mom & pop)

    Memories… From good ol Bayan Lepas to Dallas Texas, what a contrast.

  7. Dominic – Wuah, I got lots of school friends staying in the quarters there. I know Vijaya, Ooi Ding Ding and Lee Thiam Sin wor. Anyone you familiar with? I know all about snakes. Not just tame ones but cobras in the house. And yes, I sell bananas to the Indian shop. I also collect pinang, dry them and sell. Gee, didn’t know our childhood was so fun hor?

  8. Pak Shah – I know Sinaran Bros but I cannot recall if it is in Permatang Damar Laut or in Bayan Lepas. My brothers would know Haji Azyze I think.

  9. And from your 1st picture there, the shop with the “Toshiba” sign…that’s where we get our electrical appliances, a few doors away on the other side of the pajak store is the barber shop where I transform into Kojak every so often. The motocycle at the top far right, near the pokok pinang, that’s Ramasamy’s sundry shop, facing the intersection (I forget)…

    Thank you so much for memory lane.

  10. Lillian, I left that place when I was 7 to go to Island Glades.., all the kids there seems to be older than me. I know most of the Uncle’s names : the Harriets, De Voz, Jaswant Singh, Ariffin, Uncle Kumar (was my neighbour).. Me n mom was just talking about an old friend from the neighbourhood 2-3 weeks ago…

  11. Terence – Both also lengluis ler. They were trapped by the window grill and couldn’t escape as they work at night and were sleeping. I think they are looking for one lengjai hensem like you to be their lover wor. Sei ler, only you can see that means they want you. Threesome!

  12. Pak Shah:
    I had a classmate whose father was known as Hj Rafei and they stayed just after Bayan Lepas town (near the road going towards Telok Kumbar). Heard he had an Arab wife. He was, I recall, one of the more prominent men in BL and whenever there was a school function (Bayan Lepas English School) he would be there. I remember the famous Sinaran Bros (from Kampong Seronok ?)and when I was in primary school I heard one of the brothers had a Japanese wife ?. I may recall your grandpa Hj Azyze if you tell me more of your background ?
    My grandpa, a Sinin goldsmith in BL, was an unknown but I heard he helped set up the Chinese school in BL. (In those days the Sinins were mostly goldsmiths or carpenters).The pioneer school was located at another site from the present one which is near the airport.

  13. And what happened to the cinema? Among the shows I saw was “Shane”, “Samson & Delilah”, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” and “The Magnificent 7”. Back then tickets were only 40 & 65 cents. And before the shows start,invariably the songs by Russ Hamilton will come on.
    Way before that used to see countless Amoy shows when dragged along by my mother. We were probably around 5-8 years old. Almost traumatised by Lee Mok Sau too, and Brother No. 4 (Patrick Tse) was still a teenager.

  14. Bro – I also didn’t notice they have torn down the cinema and made way for housing projects. Only last week I noticed no more cinema and that Indian family where big bro used to go, the shop facing the road, next to the cinema. The post office is also closed down. But the Shell station is still as tiny as before. The cinema seats with lice which would cause big itchy bumps on our thighs. My era is Ching Hsiang Ling, Chen Chen, Ling Ching Sia. Next round, I get down from the car and take better pics. For history sake.

  15. pakshah – Now that my second bro mentioned Kampung Seronok, I recalled seeing Sinaran Bros still there. It is a printing shop, right? Kampong Seronok was turned into some tourist spot but it seems neglected now. When I have a chance, I go and investigate a bit and take photos, ok? A lot of my school friends came from Kampong Seronok. Maheran, Norela and etc. In fact, all my primary school friends are Malays.

  16. Hi All,

    My parents’ ancestors were from B.Lepas long long time ago. My late great granny was a mid-wife called Bidan Telaha whose house was the second house in the row opposite the mosque – next to the restaurant now the land was sold to the restaurant owner, now being renovated bigger. I remember those happy days when visited my great granny, me and my siblings used to run all over the kampung, play sorok-sorok jumping in the clean grass longkang, running after the chicken..plucking buah rokam so red and attractive but sour in the mouth! So nice days. Then great granny would make delicious traditional kueh for us, all the old people there were great cooks. Great granny’s kitchen used only 2 big stones as the stools and she burnt the woods to heat up. Yeah, B.Lepas is crowded now, the road is too small to occupy very heavy traffic from the flats and apartments above. Long gone all the serene land with children’s laughter but replaced by honk honk honk.

    Pakshah- my late grandfather cikgu Salim, might know your father. My eldest uncle – people call him Tarzan if anyone remember.

  17. hai lilian…im penangites too live in kelawai…few days ago i went to kampung seronok bayan lepas penang for my cultural landscape study…and i saw this message from
    9:54 pm on March 16th, 2009 3 Hi Lillian,
    My grandpa lived and died in the house opposite the Sinaran Bros shop.Is the house, the shop, still there ?
    My grandpa was a famous man in Bayan Lepas. Is the name Haji Azyze familiar to you.Maybe your elders might remember.Cheers.

    i wish i can get some of old photo from that village..i really hope if i can contact pak shah..if anyone have some pic about kampung seronok in elder time..for example wedding photo..tradisional games or any activity in that kampung please do send it to me for my final project in landscape architecture..i really hope for it..and here is my facebook fanthaghiroroses@yahoo.com please add me..if anyone have some information or any story about kampung seronok..thanks

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