Aki’s Gallery: A Treasure Trove of Antiques, Exhibits a 104-Year-Old Sugarcane Machine

By: Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali

Upon entering Aki’s Gallery, one is immediately struck with awe at the diverse collection of antique items adorning every corner of the old Malay house, each undoubtedly holding its piece of history.

The old Malay house, built in 1957, belongs to Lukhman Mahmud, 63, better known as Tok Aki, residing in Kampung Chepor, Lenggong.

“I’ve been amassing these antiquities for over 15 years, with some generously contributed by individuals for display here.”

“Currently, there are over 500 antique items on exhibit. Though initially, my wife wasn’t entirely supportive of this hobby, it didn’t deter my interest. Since then, I began contemplating establishing a gallery.

“Most of these antique items are stored in cabinets to appear tidy and appealing, including irons, carpentry tools, telephones, ironware, and wedding accessories,” he said during a media interview as part of the 2024 Perak Tourism Carnival.

Passing through a moderately spacious area, a sudden wave of childhood nostalgia washes over the writer. The kitchen, equipped with an old wooden stove, neatly arranged crockery on shelves, and various other utensils, truly evokes memories.

According to Tok Aki, the old Malay house is divided into three sections: the veranda space, the main house, and the kitchen.

“The veranda space is located outside after ascending the main stairs. It serves as a welcoming area for guests as well as a space for men to chat.

“The main house (middle space) also doubles as the guest area inside the house. Most of this space has a small room for daughters.

“Meanwhile, the kitchen is located at the back of the house, smaller in size compared to the main space. It is used for cooking and storing kitchen utensils,” he said.

Meanwhile, outside, an equally captivating display of old items includes ancient pottery, field ploughs, water containers, old barber shop chairs, and rubber tapping equipment.

However, what particularly caught the writer’s attention was a sugarcane-squeezing machine belonging to Tok Aki’s father-in-law. The machine dates back to the 1920s.

“This sugarcane machine, 104 years old, was used to extract juice from sugarcane stalks. During that time, sugar was made from sugarcane for daily use.

“Sugarcane sugar could also be eaten with boiled or fried cassava. If kept for a long time, sugarcane sugar would turn into brown sugar, used as a sweetener for coffee and tea,” he said.

Tok Aki further added that each item he owns holds its sentimental value and can provide education to the younger generation.

“In addition to providing knowledge through the history of the exhibited items, I am also willing to share stories about the history of Lenggong.

“I believe there are still many who have not deeply understood the history of Lenggong, including its geological perspective, cultural heritage, and traditional cuisine. In truth, Lenggong is an area rich in awe-inspiring history,” he said.

Those interested in sharing experiences with Tok Aki can spend time visiting Aki’s Gallery located in Kg. Chepor, Lenggong.

The entrance fee is RM10.00 for adults, RM5.00 for high school students, and free for primary school students.

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