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Familial bonds strength of village

The Star Online logo The Star Online 8/2/2018 FOONG PEK YEE

THEY may be staying in the city but their attachment to the village remains strong.

Kampung Baru Chendrong chief Chin Wan Seng, 58, attributed the bond to filial piety.

“They will return to the village for major festive seasons like Chinese New Year and Qing Ming.

“Some of them who are nearer home, like from Kuala Lumpur, also come back on the weekends,” he said.

Good connectivity as well as use of social media have helped to keep and strengthen family ties, he added.

And Chin draws on this network to organise events for the village in Batu Gajah, Perak.

a group of people standing in front of a building: The current enrolment in SJK(C) Thung Hon is about 140, against over 600 pupils in the 1980s. © Provided by The Star Online The current enrolment in SJK(C) Thung Hon is about 140, against over 600 pupils in the 1980s.
The current enrolment in SJK(C) Thung Hon is about 140, against over 600 pupils in the 1980s.

“We are having a five-day basketball competition in the village starting Feb 15, in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations.

“We use Facebook to connect with people. Six teams have signed up to take part,” he told StarMetro during a visit to the village in Kampar recently.

He pointed out that the competition, a form of social connection, would be a great way for them to catch up with one another.

Chin also believes in using modern technology to provide a more conducive and safe living environment for the villagers.

He has installed a RM6,500 CCTV (closed-circuit television) in the village committee’s office to monitor key areas, including the entrance to the village’s Chinese primary school, SJK(C) Thung Hon.

a car parked on the side of a building: Some houses in Kampung Baru Chendrong were rebuilt while some maintained their original facade like these two houses. © Provided by The Star Online Some houses in Kampung Baru Chendrong were rebuilt while some maintained their original facade like these two houses.
Some houses in Kampung Baru Chendrong were rebuilt while some maintained their original facade like these two houses.

Village committee clerk Wong Lee Lian, 58, who monitors the CCTV, said the images captured were very useful.

For instance, she said, they could identify the person who stole a motorcycle belonging to a villager. “The images were so clear that the accused could not deny he had committed the theft,” she said.

While he hopes the CCTV is just a precautionary measure, Chin said the real-time information is useful when an incident takes place.

On security in the village, he said it was and still is peaceful.

a man riding a motorcycle on a city street: Villagers lead a laid-back life in Kampung Baru Chendrong. © Provided by The Star Online Villagers lead a laid-back life in Kampung Baru Chendrong.
Villagers lead a laid-back life in Kampung Baru Chendrong.

Kampung Baru Chendrong is a fast aging village with not much economic activity.

There are a few sundry shops and coffeeshops to cater to the villagers.

A sundry shop owner in the village said business remained steady because her customers were regulars.

The villagers, she added, liked the convenience of a neighbourhood shop.

She said there was also a restaurant in the village which is quite popular.

“The restaurant is just down the road.

“The one with many cars parked outside,” she said.

a man and a woman standing in a room: Chin (right)looking at the CCTV monitor, as Kampung Baru Wah Loong chief Daniel Wa (centre) takes a closer look at the images on the screen. Seated is Chin‘s assistant, Wong. © Provided by The Star Online Chin (right)looking at the CCTV monitor, as Kampung Baru Wah Loong chief Daniel Wa (centre) takes a closer look at the images on the screen. Seated is Chin‘s assistant, Wong.
Chin (right) looking at the CCTV monitor, as Kampung Baru Wah Loong chief Daniel Wa (centre) takes a closer look at the images on the screen. Seated is Chin‘s assistant, Wong.

Although Chin could not see much potential in terms of tourism, he remains optimistic that the village can find a new lease of life.

He hopes the young will use their creativity to come up with ideas that could generate economic activity to revive the village.

Chin said more than 20 elderly villagers passed away in the last year alone compared to three births.

He said there were more than 400 houses in the village with some 2,000 residents.

This, he added, was a stark contrast to the population of 4,000 the village had before the youth started moving to the big cities for work three decades ago.

The school enrolment also dropped in tandem, from 600 to 140 pupils.

It may be a race against time to rejuvenate the village but, it can never be too late when concerted efforts are made and there is a shared vision.

The entrance to Kampung Baru Chendrong, an almost 70-year-old village which is fast greying. © Provided by The Star Online The entrance to Kampung Baru Chendrong, an almost 70-year-old village which is fast greying.

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