The untold story of Yap Ah Loy’s Panglima, Chong Piang

The untold story of Yap Ah Loy’s Panglima, Chong Piang

While not much is known about Chong Piang in the history books, his descendants still carry on his legacy in Pulau Gadong, Melaka

CHONG Piang, one of the commanding officers serving under the third Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur Yap Ah Loy, was known for his bravery, as he oversaw security and strategies for the battles in Ampang and Rawang.

He was also known to be one of the two ‘Panglima’ that stood by Yap Ah Loy’s side until the end of the Selangor civil war before returning to Pulau Gadong, Melaka, where he owned and farmed the land 170 years ago – which his descendants still own to this very day.

While there is not much known about Chong Piang in the official history books – The Vibes Culture and Lifestyle had the privilege of making their way to Pulau Gadong to meet with the descendants of Chong Piang.

Some of Chong Piang’s descendants gather to share memories. – Alif Omar/The Vibes pic

“My father Teo Geok Lin told me that his grandfather Chong Piang together with his brother walked all the way from Cheng Chern – Province of Guangdong, China to the village of Pulau Gadong, the Strait Settlement of Malacca, during the 1850s when Chong Piang was about 20 years old,” said Dr Teo Ban Kiat, who is a 4th generation descendant of Chong Piang himself.

Although tens of thousands of people from the southern coastal provinces of China were driven to migrate out of poverty and despair during that period, according to Dr Teo, Chong Piang had different reasons.

The Heritage Center was built and officiated by then Chief Minister of Melaka Adly Zahari in 2019. – Alif Omar/The Vibes pic

“I suspect that he might have their own reasons for leaving… offending the authorities could be one of the reasons why they escaped in the middle of the night,” he added.

For the record, Chong Piang was among the two ‘Panglima’ (the other is identified as Wong Hiu Fatt) chosen by Yap Ah Loy, with many other Malays and Chinese, in defeating his enemies.

Fourth, fifth and sixth generation descendants of Chong Piang visit his graveyard at the Bukit Jelutung Chinese Cemetery in Batu Berendam, Melaka. – Alif Omar/The Vibes pic

Returning to Melaka after the battles in Kuala Lumpur, it is understood that Chong Piang ran into the law which resulted in him changing his surname to Teo to avoid being captured by the authorities.

Chong Piang continued to live in Pulau Gadong, until his death in 1893.

Panglima Chong Piang’s tombstone in Bukit Jelutung Chinese Cemetery in Batu Berendam, Melaka. – Alif Omar/The Vibes pic

Today, the family land has been partially transformed into a resort, so that descendants as well as tourists can visit what belonged to Chong Piang.

Apart from the resort, there is also a heritage centre there, while a library in the honour of the Chong Piang is on its way.

Its purpose is to share information and knowledge of ancestors which are not recorded in the official documents and should be told and passed on to future generations.

source – The Vibes

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