Villagers who are Buddhists go to the Manju Suddhi Buddhist temple in the neighbouring Sungai Chua New Village.
It is believed that Kampung Baru Kwan Tung (Kwan Tung New Village) was named as such because of the influx of migrants from the Guangdong province in China, who came to Malaya to work in the tin-mining industry.
According to village head Lim Thian Ser, 60, the factory area in the village used to be a mining pool.
“We used to be part of the Sungai Chua New Village until it was divided into three, namely Sungai Chua, Kwan Tung and Bukit Angkat.
“We were also previously known as Kampung Kwan Tung Baru because villagers lived in the newer part of Kwan Tung. But the village has since been renamed Kampung Baru Kwan Tung,” he said.
Having lived here for more than 50 years, Lim has witnessed first-hand the changes and development over the years.
“Youths are moving away in search of greener pastures.
A bird’s eye view of Kwan Tung New Village in Kajang. Photos: OH ING YEEN/The Star
“It used to be just Malaysians but now we see many foreign workers here too; they work at the nearby factories,” he said.
Most of the villagers are of Hakka and Hokkien descent.
Lim spoke both dialects to other villagers as we took a walk around the village located in Kajang.
At the entrance to the village is a britghtly painted tyre which bears the village’s name.
Next to it is the Kopitiam Lian Hing, where villagers are seen having breakfast.
A stone’s throw away is the Sungai Chua market, which attracts not just villagers living nearby but other Kajang folk, too, said Lim.
One thing visitors will notice fairly quickly is the raised ground or flood barriers at the front of houses.
This is because villagers have been suffering the effects of floods for years, forcing them to make the grounds higher to prevent flooding.
Thankfully the situation has improved following the drainage system upgrade a few years ago.
Villagers enjoying breakfast at Kopitiam Lian Hing. (My Village My Home: Kampung Baru Kwan Tung, Kajang)
Part of the village is an industrial area. And among the factories is a 22-year-old Chinese Temple called Shun Nam Gong.
Temple caretaker Khaw Tham Chye, who is also a medium, said the deity worshipped in the temple was known as Fa Zhu Gong.
“This is not a conducive place for a temple as it is very dusty because of the surrounding factories.
“We plan to relocate but are now faced with problems at the new site because of protests from residents living nearby,” he said.
Although the temple is currently in an obscure location, it is very much a part of the social media network.
“Every five years, we have a parade and this year it will be held in August.
“We have listed all the information as well as videos of our past activities on our Facebook page,” said Khaw, adding that visitors were welcome to watch the parade next month.
Villagers sometimes visit the Manju Suddhi Buddhist Temple at Sungai Chua New Village next door to pay homage to the same deity.
And yes, this Buddhist temple also has its own Facebook page and website.
Shun Nam Gong’s caretaker Khaw Tham Chye is a medium.
At lunch time, Lim and the other village committee members took me to Restoran Siaw Kah for spicy soup.
Restaurant owner Siaw Kek Kwee said the soup served at the restaurant was based on his grandfather’s recipe.
The soup gets its kick from ginger and pepper.
“It is a common dish among households here. Previously we used pepper powder, now we use peppercorn as it is more fragrant and spicy.
“In the old days, rubber tappers would have it for breakfast before they begin their day,” he said.
Before the village tour ended, Lim shared with me the committee’s plans to set up a weekend class for poor children.
“We plan to have art and calligraphy classes,” he said, adding that they were looking for volunteers.