A day at Menglembu

Well this was what the trip was all about. Meeting he family and going to the places where my Father and Grandparents had lived. So many little snippets of information. With the Genealogy I had done on my mums tree, I knew to expect conflicting stories, often based on simple misinterpretations. I had been told of three tin mines and 7 wives, but now there was one tin mine and 8 wives. There were three houses, but in a different town. They knew where two of them were, but not the third. I had been told they were in a row, but now they were spread over two blocks of the same street.


Here is some of what I learned. In a way this is just  sketch set of notes for later further research.

  • My grandmother was a fierce woman, though uneducated. She would go with my grandfather to meet with the British about the mining things like mining licences and water licences as she was a hard negotiator.
  • The fifth wife was the only one in the family who spoke English, so she would sometimes go, I guess as a translator.
  • The mine was on a hill side. The photos of a hill side are the site of the mine. Though we did not go all the way up the hill.
  • My Grandfather died before the Japanese invaded. I should have realise this, but I had failed to notice it.
  • They had to pay most of their money to the Japanese to be allowed to keep the mine.
  • The girls were forced to cut their hair short and dress like boys to protect them from the Japanese occupiers.
  • I am not sure about the split for the money when my grandfather died. I have hears that it was an equal split, but there is much resentment in the family about it. I think there is much more to this.
  • The pictures of the school are of the school where my father went to school. It is the ACS or Anglo Chinese School.
  • Only my grandmother seems to have been keen on schooling out of the various wives.
  • Only one of the wives remarried. (maybe the last?)
  • My father moved to live with an uncle in Ipoh with his brother and mother. The two building on the corner in the first photo are of this house and the shop next door that. The uncle owned both.
  • The houses with me standing in front are the houses they lived in. The one called Goodles Kitchen Kafe is the one they think was the third house.
  • Menglembu is famous for producing peanuts.