Saturday, February 25, 2012

Batu Tenggek (Sitting Boulder) - Remembrance

Location: Teluk Intan, Perak, Malaysia

Located in Teluk Intan is the queer Batu Tenggek that is listed within most travel guides and blogs on the place but there is surprisingly little information about it apart from those that are echoed among the said guides, given the fact that it is comparably more famous than Hock Soon Temple (福顺宫).

Sitting on top of a pedestal is the boulder that is famed in Teluk Intan yet surprisingly little was said about why it was chosen to be erected here.

Placed at the side of a road intersection, the boulder that should have been a landmark of Teluk Intan somehow became an overlooked monument. Residents passing by regard the piece as nothing more than part of the landscape which rarely changes across the decades. Once in a while, curious visitors will seek the rock out and snapped pictures of it, trying their best to pierce the mystery of its significance, leaving when they found no explanation and that there are more famous landmarks to visit.

In fact, the date and original purpose of erecting this piece of unimpressive rock is as much a mystery up for debate and speculation. The common legend circulating on the web is that the boulder was originally a small stone around the size of a matchbox left by a British soldier. Over time, the stone gained material and grew into its current size and growing still.

Most think of this as what it is - pure legend from a superstitious era. To me, most legends tell a tale to warn the future, remember the past, or to refrain the future from repeating the errors of the ancestors. Every legend is spawned from real events, only that the history is lost and only the legend remains. Maybe one day someone will uncover the true history behind this boulder and its true story once more shared to the younger generation.

Ode of Remembrance, a part of Lawrence Binyon's poem 'For the Fallen', was carved into the pedestal seating the boulder. The inscribed years commemorates the casualties of World War I.

What is generally agreed though is the fact that Batu Tenggek is now a local war memorial dedicated to the fallen of World War I and II. Carved into the pedestal that lifted the boulder into place is a line from the ode known as Ode of Remembrance, which is taken from Laurence Binyon's poem, For the Fallen. I was ignorant of this until I searched for Binyon and this poem, which was written by him to remember the fallen of both major conflicts of the world, the First and Second World War. The ode is still recited on memorial services throughout many parts of the world.

A view of the Sitting Boulder from an angle. Short span of stone steps leading to the memorial are laid in a way that the visitor is walking up to the memorial.

Queer as it may be to have a boulder as a war memorial, Batu Tenggek remains part of most visitors' itinerary during their travel to Teluk Intan although most are ignorant to its true purpose, just as I was. There is no doubt though that the boulder will continue to stand as still as death and stubborn as a mule against the ravages of storms and time, silently hymning the ode for the unnamed soldiers who lost their lives in securing victory for their country.

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."








Environment:         Historical location
Suitable for:           A definite location to see a piece of Teluk Intan, and to commemorate the fallen soldiers.




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