Press & Reviews
Star, Central, Tuesday
13 March 2007
Tan Ju-Eng, photos by Chua Kok Hwa
alive the memories of a courageous couple
is a quaint one-street town. The name of the quiet town may be
familiar to locals and some historians but it is not a designated
is by invitation that we found ourselves knocking on the door
of No 74, Main Street, Papan one morning. On the outside, this
house did not look any different from the row of houses across
couple: Some of the photographs of Sybil and Dr Kathigasu which
adorn the walls at House No 74, Main Street, Papan.
Law Saik Hong opened the door and invited us in, we were captivated,
not by what we saw but more of what we felt when we stepped in.
felt like we had actually stepped into the house of legendary
World War Two heroine Sybil Kathigasu and her husband Dr A C Kathigasu.
and Dr Kathigasu were famous for their work in helping to treat
wounded guerrillas during the war in this house.
did not know what Dr Kathigasus clinic looked like so I
worked on recreating the feel of the place with things from their
era, Law said as he pointed to a long cabinet which he had
obtained from a clinic in Ipoh.
the past: A portion of the house filled with old furniture discarded
pick up some of the stuff that people here throw away, especially
from that era,'' he said.
also showed us an old portrait of a rich man named Hew Chin Sin,
which he had picked up. The walls are also covered with photographs
of the Kartigasu couple.
the living room we went into the backyard where Law had lined
the floor with pebbles and tiles.
More items from the past.
He has also planted herbs like the Pegaga, Aloe Vera and Snake
this place was once used for medical purposes, I thought it would
be appropriate to plant herbs, he said.
are two other rooms in the back yard and he uses the one with
a raised platform as a bedroom and the other is made to look like
sees himself as a custodian of history and this personally funded
project has been his passion for the past four years.
managed to persuade the house owner to rent the lower part of
the house to him.
The cabinet which Law obtained from a clinic in Ipoh is now filled
with books and other items.
camps out here often and sometimes his friends join him.
who have read No Dram of Mercy by Sybil about her experiences
in Papan would find it meaningful to take a walk up the hills
at the end of the road.
55, is the president of the Perak Heritage Society and is a designer.
worked for Selangor Pewter for a while before joining the family
business in investment and properties.
site: House No 74, Main Street, Papan, is a tribute to Sybil and
her husband Dr A C Kathigasu.
the 80s he has been drawn to the beauty of this town and
its isolation but only came across the house in 2003 while driving
around with his niece.
Sybils last surviving daughter Olga Kathigasu, 86, two years
ago has given more meaning to this project.
took the authors of the book Faces of Courage, Norma Miraflor
and Ian Ward, together with Olga, for a tour of the house.
the visit, Olga had the chance to relive some of her memories
of time spent at the house.
narrations are published in Faces of Courage.
me, heritage means preserving history,'' said Law, adding that
he hoped house No 74, Main Street would help to draw more interest
in the history of Papan.