A Shattered Dream




Though born and raised in a village but spent most of my adulthood in the city, I long to return to the simplicity of life in the countryside after I retired from my hectic professional practice.

An opportunity came in late 90s when I volunteered to take over the running of a small rubber/oil palm plantation (about 110 acres) in Pagoh, Johore. The plantation was solely managed, for over twenty years, by my second brother who lived in Muar, about 30km away. He was getting on in age and as his youngest brother, who was one of the major co-owners, I thought it was my obligation to take over from him.

Why not? A 2-hour drive from home in PJ can transport me to a tranquil environment where the hurly-burly of city living can suddenly seem so very far away - and that I thought was the place where I could relive the peace and magic of my carefree childhood days.

The Plantation

The plantation consists of seven lots with a total of over 110 acres. It is located about 10km from Pagoh, a small one-street rural town where there isn't a single hotel or any recreational facility around like a cinema or a pub. The plantation is accessible directly from the trunk road leading from Pagoh to Lenga, another small rural town.

Public utilities like water, electricity and telecommunication are readily available.

There is a small stream running along the boundary of the plantation and it empties into the Muar River less than one kilometer away. Opposite the plantation and across the trunk road is a small Malay Kampong called Kg. Rencong. About one kilometer behind the plantation is a Chinese village called Batu 23.


Site plan of the plantation

My second brother bought the plantation in 1971 which was already planted with rubber trees in three bigger lots of about 86 acres while the four smaller lots next to the stream were covered with bushes. Soon after the purchase, my brother cleared the bushes and planted the land with oil palm trees.

The plantation was then registered under my second brother (40%), I (40%) and my eldest brother (20%).

In 1972 a partnership was registered under the name of Hock Chuan Ladang Getah comprising all the three co-owners of the land.

In 1979, I transferred my 40% shares of the plantation to my real property company, Astoh Realty Sdn. Bhd.

In 1995, upon the demise of my eldest brother, his 20% shares of the plantation were inherited by two of his sons with each becoming the registered proprietor of 10% shares of the plantation.

After my second brother had looked after the plantation for 25 years and due to old age of the trees, particularly rubber, the plantation was leased to a local farmer in June 1996 to harvest for a period of three years. The intention was to redevelop the land after the expiration of the lease.

When I took over from my brother in 1998, the oil palm trees were about 20 years old and the rubber trees 25 years old. The only option then was to replant the whole plantation with oil palms after the expiry of the lease.











                                                                     Old rubber and oil palm trees

My Plan

To realize this dream, I planned to build a pleasant timber house in the plantation with enough land for planting of some fruit trees and organic vegetables for own consumption. The initial concept of the timber building was mooted by an MNS member, who had experience in building timber structures in Endau Rompin National Park. These structures were constructed by the local Orang Asli with his supervision.

With the initial concept of the timber building, I asked my architect-friend, Max to transform it into proper architectural drawings. It was basically a raised single-storey timber structure with a hexagon main hall supported at the centre by a solid timber column.

The design of the structure would incorporate two living quarters and a car porch located on three sides of the main hall.


The Proposed timber structure

To manage the plantation I intended to recruit five foreign workers, with one or two having experience working in other oil palm plantations in Malaysia. To accommodate these workers I would renovate the existing workers’ quarters.

The old workers’ quarters

When all these were done, I intended to spend at least half of my retirement in the plantation

nakedeyeview.com.my 2008