Thursday, 28 March 2013

Jelutong Press

I cannot find information on the location of Jelutong Press which was owned by Syed Sheikh Al-Hadi. It should be somewhere in Jelutong, Penang.

Jelutong Press is important because it was an early Malay press in Malaya. It published books on Malay fiction based on foreign folklore, Turkish, Arabic or Egyptian.

I have listed Syed Sheikh Al-Hadi's publications elsewhere on the Internet.

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Update 3 September 2013:

In 1919, Syed Sheikh shifted to Penang and lived at 410 Jalan Jelutong (main street), near the Esso petrol station. Syed Sheikh’s residence in Penang was close to Masjid Jamek Jelutong, in Mukim Jelutong. A tram line ran on Jalan Jelutong. The tram line has been removed. Jalan Jelutong is a busy and congested road today. Syed Sheikh's residence is now a Chinese temple run by vegetarian nuns who cook and giveaway food to the poor. The Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) has informed at the Penang and Hajj 2013 conference, that it will try and buy back or repossess the house for history's sake and for Syed Sheikh's repute as a foremost radical movement fighter for Islamic reform way back then. Syed Sheikh's stand on Islamic reform is used everywhere in Malaysia today.

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Syed Sheikh’s eldest son, Syed Alwi al-Hady’s family lived across the road at 431 Jelutong Road, Penang.

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Prof. Eric Tagliacozzo’s hajj abstract booklet which was distributed at the Penang and Hajj 2013 conference at the E&O Hotel in Penang, 17-18 August 2013 is a useful resource on history of the hajj pilgrimage.


Prof. Eric Tagliacozzo’s hajj abstract booklet (page 18) featured a small image of a hajj booklet with the caption: Alwee bin Syeikh Abdul Hadi, Penerangan, Teguran dan Nasihat Atas Pelayaran Naik Haji ke ‘tanah suci’, 431 Jelutong Press, Pulau Pinang.

The hajj booklet featured on page 18 was authored by Alwi bin Sheikh Alhady and was published by Jelutong Press, with an image of the Kaabah on the front cover. The caption in Prof. Eric's booklet indicates that Jelutong Press was extant at 431 Jalan Jelutong.


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Another photo from Arkib Negara Malaysia showed that most probably Jelutong Press was annexed to Syed Alwi al-Hady’s house at 431 Jalan Jelutong. Jelutong Press at 431 Jalan Jelutong would be on the opposite side of the road compared to Syed Sheikh’s al-Hadi's residence. It could be 20 houses or doors farther down the road on Jalan Jelutong (towards the Chinese clan jetties).

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Jelutong Press ceased to function just before WWII. The reason for its closing is unknown and neither did Syed Alwi or Dr SMA Alhady mention the reasons why in the accounts of the family in the book The Real Cry of Syed Sheikh Alhady. It could be due to the high cost of lithography printing (newsprint and ink) as WWII already broke out in Europe in 1939. In addition, shipping routes to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Far East via the Suez Canal were controlled by the army. This could have affected shipping of printing materials.

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I read somewhere that Jelutong Press has been demolished and now a paint shop stands on site. It will be worth to search for the site at 431 Jalan Jelutong and to look it up in old maps and booklets of the late 1920s- early 1930s.

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