|This rest house lies on the hillock overlooking the padang.|
ACCORDING to a local who saw me painting the Raub Rest House at Jalan Dato Abdullah recently, the name of the township came from the Malay term “raup”, which means a scoop. The 70-something pakcik told me that his grandfather had related to him a story about a farmer and his two sons who had ventured to set up farm in the wilderness.
After having cleared and ploughed the land, the farmer and his son went to the river to get water to irrigate the plots. Upon reaching the river, they were not only attracted by the crystal-clear waters but also the glitter on the riverbed. Curious, they took a scoop of sand from the bottom of riverbed to see what the glitter was and were surprised to find gold nuggets among the grains of sand.
The news of their finding spread quickly and prospectors came from near and far to look for gold. There was so much gold in the river that every dulang of sand washed would yield a “raup” or a scoop of gold. Hence, the township became known as “Raup” or Raub today. It is said that the area where the padang is now located used to be a waterlogged piece of land that yielded the highest amount of gold deposits.
Another story told was that Raub received its name from the Rao (or Rawo) immigrant community who lived in the area who were mostly farmers and miners. The area, then known as the Rao Valley, became Raub in later years.
I painted his colonial-style rest house seated beneath an old raintree on the south-eastern end. This old rest house is located on top of a hillock which offers it a commanding view of Raub town. The rest house was built in 1908 and had been described as one of the finest in Pahang and Selangor in an old newspaper cutting of the 1930s. Back those days, whenever there was a major event in town, its premises were reserved for the accommodation of VIPs and top government officials.
Today, the rest house is still popular with tourists, especially those who want to experience a little bit of nostalgia in the bustling town centre. On the walls of the rest house’s high ceiling lobby are old photographs and newspaper cuttings that mark the various milestone events in the town that gold made famous.
|An old clock greets visitors on the ground floor.|
|The padang as seen from the arched doorway of the rest house.|