Malaysian collector has a house full of Merdeka-era books, newspapers and documents


  • Books
  • Thursday, 28 May 2020

Anuar displaying the country’s "Proclamation of Independence” document issued on Merdeka Day in 1957. It was handed out to state government officials back then. Photo: Bernama

Near the sandy beach of Cherang Ruku in Pasir Puteh in Kelantan stands a wooden house (on the main road of Kampung Cherang Ruku), which is a treasure trove of historical items, books, documents and forgotten everyday artefacts.

Anuar Salleh's house of antiques contains his amazing vintage collection, which he started amassing since he was 25.

In the hall area, Anuar has carefully displayed hundreds of old newspapers (wrapped with plastic) dating back to the 1950s on the wall, while hundreds of rare books are also hung up and stacked on the floor.

Among the prized artefacts are a 156-year-old oil lamp and a 1957 Raleigh bicycle, said Anuar.

Apart from books and documents, Anuar, who is trader, also keeps copper pieces, grinding stones, vinyl records and oil cans.

A selection of Anuar's vintage books dating back to the 1950s. Photo: BernamaA selection of Anuar's vintage books dating back to the 1950s. Photo: Bernama

"My most precious artefact is an oil lamp made in 1864 ,which I found when rummaging through an old house in Kuala Semerak here. I stumbled upon the old lamp about five years ago and from research, it was used in a British merchant ship, ” he said.

Anuar, 42, said he has a copy of "Kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu” souvenir book published on Aug 31, 1957 by the government.

He also has an original copy of the country’s "Proclamation of Independence” document issued on Merdeka Day in 1957. These documents were distributed to state government officials.

"Both have historical value and they were acquired while going through old houses which were about to be demolished.

Anuar showing a Hari Raya Aidilfitri card, featuring the first Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in the late 1950s. Photo: BernamaAnuar showing a Hari Raya Aidilfitri card, featuring the first Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in the late 1950s. Photo: Bernama

"Last month, a lecturer from Universiti Malaya borrowed the 30-page independence book for reference, and restored it with the co-operation of the National Archives,” he said.

With glowing pride, Anuar also talks about an old Raleigh bicycle he bought in 2006 from the owner in nearby Kampung Gaal.

He said the bicycle, made in 1955 in England, is still fitted with a carbide lamp and leather bag hanging on the saddle.

In fact, the bicycle's original receipt shows it was purchased for RM187 on July 9, 1957. According to the owner, his grandfather bought the bicycle solely to commemorate the country’s independence, said Anuar. - Bernama

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