Thursday, January 2, 2020

Malaysia Telegraph Museum (Taiping)

Many might not know, but Taiping boast to have 33 first in Malaysia. And you must be wondering what do I mean by ’33 first’ right?
Well, there are 33 items that were implemented or erected in Malaysia located in Taiping, such as the Lake Garden – 1884, Telegraph Office – 1877, Railway – 1885, Museum – 1886, General Hospital – 1881 among others.

And today, I would like to share one of it… the Telegraph Museum.

The Telegraph Office (PWD 103) is located at the end of the first railway line in Malaya between Taiping to Port Weld, where the Post & Telegraph Department (P&T) is, the original name of the present Telekom Malaysia (TM).

Telegraph office are usually located at the trail station as telegraph instruments were installed at each station as information travels faster via railway back in the 19th century. Prior to that it was via horse carriage hence crucial information might take weeks or months to reach the other party. The telegraph is an important medium of communication for sending critical news, and this message was known as telegram. Telegram service in Malaysia was terminated in 2012.

2 things that thrilled me the most, (1) Gutta Percha and (2) Laying of submarine cable. The rest are the telegraph communications system use back then. Let us focus on the 2 item mentioned earlier shall we [wink].

Gutta Percha

Is a tough plastic substance from the latex of Malaysian tree (especially Palaquium gutta or locally known as pokok Nyatoh Taban Merah) that resembles rubber but contains more resin and is used as cable insulation and extensively for submarine and underground cables due to its non-conductivity for electricity and heat, and imperviousness to water.

Also displayed is the Gutta Percha grindstone aside from the actually tree itself. There is a brief explanation on how the Gutta Percha sap is extracted by crushing and grinding the tree’s leaves under granite roller. The sap is put into a pot and boiled with a little water to prevent it hardening when exposure to air. Very informative.

Laying of submarine cable

Have you ever wondered how back in the 10th century a telegraph cable is being laid on the seabed?
The first submarine communications cables laid in the South East Asia linked Singapore to Jakarta in 1870 carried telegraphy traffic, establishing the first instant telecommunications links between continents. The South East Asia Commonwealth (SEACOM) system went live in 1967.

Where else in 1874, the 1st inland telegraph lines link Taiping and Kuala Kangsar, and later a few more linkage including from Simpang to Port Weld (Kuala Sepetang). In fact within in Taiping itself, telegraph network links between the British Resident General’s office to critical and important places such as the police station, army and of course the hospital.

Also being showcased here is the Bukit Mertajam Railway Footbridge, museum restoration process, sample of telegrams and a copy of Mat Kilau activity report that was sent via telegram in 1895.

Telekom Museum in KL and Telegraph Museum in Taiping are under Telekom Malaysia (TM) via its foundation Yayasan Telekom Malaysia (YTM). YTM mission is to continue its role in preserving arts, culture and our national heritage.

Operating Hour
Monday – Sunday : 9am – 5pm (except for public holidays)

Entrance Fee
Adult : RM8 (MyCard), RM15 (Foreigner)
Kids : RM5 (MyCard), RM10 (Foreigner)
Old citizen : RM5
Student : RM3

The VM2020 Heritage and Family Fun 2019 Media Fam Trip is organized by Tourism Malaysia in partnership with all its sponsors.

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