The Origin of Kampung Kiulap

During lunchtime yesterday, I spent it by visiting the book fair again. There are lots of bargains to be had, new books to be looked at and interesting educational stuffs. This is about the only time that we have such a concentration of books to be at least the quarter of Borders. The books I have to admit looked much better, even our local ones. I guess there is much progress in terms of book cover and book design. Anyway, I am not talking about books.

I saw this on the cover of an older Pusaka, the Brunei History Centre publication. I seemed to have missed out on the 2007 edition as I thought I had all the 16 Pusaka editions. The cover had a photograph of a Lanjang, a big Brunei copper pot. This pot can be used to cook rice or ketupat or I guess anything that requires boiling and simmering.

This particular pot is a community pot. Back in 1941, in the days when not many people can afford a Lanjang, the villagers of Kampung Kiulap decided to pool together an amount equal to about $4 each family. Those who can't afford $4 can provide other things instead. Remember $4 is a large sum of money in those days. I remembered my later father in law in the 1950s and 1960s only received $5 allowance as an Imam, so imagine what $4 is in the 1940s. So the villagers collected enough money and ask for this pot to be made to order at Kampung Ujung Bukit.

This pot weighs 30 kilogram and was inscribed in jawi 'Alamat Lanjang ini Wakaf Kemuafakatan Kampong Kiulap Pada Jamadilawal Sanat 1360/1941" which loosely translates to that this pot is a symbol of the community of Kampung Kiulap made on Jamadilawal 1360/1941. It is said that rice cooked in this pot tastes so much nicer.

Where does Kampung Kiulap gets its name? In the 1950s, I was told by my minister who lived there, unlike today which has four lane highways bordering it, there was no road there. One has to go to Kiulap either by boat or by cutting across the Kubur Rangas. I understand there was a small road beside the kubur. So Kiulap was quite inaccessible until the mosque was built and the Hassanal Bolkiah Highway cutting across it in the 1980s. In fact it was hard to imagine Kiulap turning into the next Gadong as it has today with the many shophouses and shopping complexes there.

Before that Kiulap was a farming area. People from Tamoi, Lurong Dalam, Sungai Kedayan and even from Kumbang Pasang, Pintu Malim and Kota Batu goes there to farm. The agricultural goods include black pepper, sirih (tobacco leaves), gambir and paddy. Usually the activities are done in the morning and by afternoon they would leave. So in between, the farmers built small huts which are known by Bruneians as Sulap or Chulap. According to Hajah Siti Aisah who wrote the article, over the years, the sulap or chulap became Kiulap.

Even in the 1950s and 1960s, sirih and gambir was still being planted. One of MOD officers was telling me how he and his father worked hard to plant sirih. For some reason, Kiulap was known for its sirih then. The sirih when dried are taken to the tamu to be sold.

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