Sitiawan: The Promised Land of the Foochows

loading Rubber tapping in Sitiawan.

Home to Foochow settlers since the turn of the century, Sitiawan continues to reflect the close-knit community’s heritage and religious ties.

Sitiawan gets its name from the tragic tale of two elephants, one of which perished after becoming stuck in mud, while the other drowned as it faithfully clung to its friend as the tide of the Dindings River rose. The river was subsequently called “Sungai Gajah Mati” (“River of the Dead Elephant”), and the nearby village “Kampung Gajah Mati” (“Dead Elephant Village”).

In 1887, owing to a bad outbreak of smallpox, Penghulu Haji Mohd Ali petitioned the then-Superintendent of Lower Perak, Noel Denison, to rename the place out of superstition.1 The name “Sungai Setia Kawan” (“River of the Faithful Friend”) was adopted, while the village became “Kampung Setia Kawan”, later shortened to “Sitiawan” before a formal recognition by the Resident of Perak, Sir Hugh Low.2


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