By: Aida Aziz
PENGKALAN HULU: Many are already aware of the use of the Perak accent or dialect (Perak’s Malay spoken language) which symbolizes the uniqueness and distinguishes the society of Perak from other states.
But still, many people overlook that this vast and rich state of natural resources is rich with a heap of dialects in each particular district.
The dialect or way of speaking is also related to the history of an area, previous governments and foreign colonies.
However, the topic to be covered is not about the Perak dialect, but the story of Raja Reman and his gallery which is now in Pengkalan Hulu.
Even so, there is a connection with the Patani dialect which is synonymous there with the government, it can be said that the dialect there is the same as that spoken by some residents in Batu Kurau.
As everyone knows, Pengkalan Hulu or formerly known as Kroh, is located on the international border between Malaysia and Thailand, in addition to its position near the border of Perak and Kedah.
Who is Raja Reman? Of course, there are still people who don’t know about the genealogy of the Patani Malay kingdom during the 19th century in Hulu Perak, where the rule lasted for almost 100 years.
According to the Secretary of the Perak Heritage Association, Nor Hisham Zulkiflee, it is believed that reman is taken from the word rahman.
There is another opinion that the name reman comes from the Malay language of Patani which is rama which means ‘a big gathering’.
“According to sources from the Hulu Perak book, there is a story about the area here once being controlled by the Reman kingdom. It started in the early 19th century when a relative of the king of Patani, Tuan Tok Nik Tok Leh, raised himself as king in Reman.
“This Reman is part of the Patani region, at that time this government began to split due to pressure from Siam, so some of its regions established their government.
“This kingdom is located on the border with Hulu Perak in Klian Intan where there is a tin mining area, this area is contested between the Perak and Reman governments.
“Thus a series of wars took place and caused a large part of the Hulu Perak area to fall into the hands of the Reman government, among the effects of the colony that can be seen is Rahman Hydraulic Tin, the mining of more than 100 years is still being carried out until now,” he said when met here, recently this.
It is understood that apart from Tuan Tok Nik Tok Leh, the reign of the descendants of the Reman Kings consists of Tuan Nik Ulu (1849-1867), Tuan Timur (1867-1875) and Tuan Jagung (1875-1901).
He said the Reman government also expanded the tin mining area from the downstream to the upstream of Sungai Rui.
The Siamese village on the upper reaches of Sungai Rui known as Kampung Pong was created to house the Siamese who were brought in by them to work in the tin mine in Klian Intan.
Nor Hisham added that, until today, Hulu Perak is inhabited by many Malays of Patani descent who have their customs and dialect.
“The effect of almost 100 years can be seen through the dialect, the Siamese Chinese community settled here and there is still a lot of Southern Thai influence here,” he added.
Meanwhile, touching on the gallery of Istana Singgah Raja Reman created by his heirs in Kampung Selarong, he said the support of many parties is needed to help preserve history here.
This historian also said that although the efforts have been mobilized by the heirs of Raja Reman, parties such as the Heritage Department, the state government and the tourism department are doing their best to ensure that this heritage material does not disappear.
“The former residence of Raja Reman was turned into the Raja Reman Gallery, originally it was said to be part of Raja Reman’s palace.
“The gallery or Istana Singgah Raja Reman is still cared for by his heirs, they are always open to receive guests, according to one of his heirs, Roslan, it started opening in 2018.
“Apart from that, continuous efforts are being made to conserve the house, there are some parts of the gallery that have been damaged and they hope that the authorities such as the local authority (PBT) and heritage will come down and see and help,” he added.
Meanwhile, on behalf of the association, he also hopes that action can be taken as soon as possible to ensure that the wealth of heritage here is not lost.
“It would be better if there was a sign here to make it easier for visitors to come because it would be a loss because it has the potential to be a tourist product, plus it is close to the border crossing into Perak,” he added.