A House in Perak Road is the Birthplace of Malaysia's Modern Radio

𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝘄𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝗞𝗵𝗼𝗼 𝗦𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗘𝘄𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗸 𝗥𝗼𝗮𝗱 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗺𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗠𝗮𝗹𝗮𝘆𝘀𝗶𝗮.


Majority of us have forgotten the importance of radio in keeping the public informed and entertained. In 1934, Penang Wireless Society (PWS) managed to get the necessary equipment, successfully test broadcasted, and obtained the necessary licenses and were given the codename ZHJ.


And so, 𝗭𝗛𝗝 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗼𝗿𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱𝗰𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝗠𝗮𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗮.


The original site of ZHG station in Perak Road, Penang.

According to Just for the Love of It: Popular Music in Penang, 1930s-1960s, ZHG station had become a feature of Penang's popular entertainment by 1936.


Prominent Penangite, Khoo Sian Ewe, was heavily involved with PWS and even allowed his premise in Perak Road to be used by PWS rent-free.

In December 1941, ZHJ broadcasted the news of the outbreak of war in Malaya, and continued to broadcast during the war years.


𝗙𝗮𝗺𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀

When Penang was left in chaos after the British had left the state prior to the arrival of the Japanese troop, Saravanamuttu (fondly known as uncle Sara), the then Straits Echo editor, managed to transmit the following message to the Japanese through the still intact Penang Wireless Society's broadcasting station. The message took the form of a simple appeal to the Japanese headquarters in northern Malaya:


🔊𝙿𝚎𝚗𝚊𝚗𝚐 𝚑𝚊𝚜 𝚋𝚎𝚎𝚗 𝚎𝚟𝚊𝚌𝚞𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚋𝚢 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝙱𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚜𝚑. 𝚃𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚗𝚘 𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚎 𝚝𝚛𝚘𝚘𝚙𝚜 𝚘𝚛 𝚊𝚗𝚢 𝚍𝚎𝚏𝚎𝚗𝚜𝚎𝚜 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝𝚜𝚘𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚒𝚗 𝙿𝚎𝚗𝚊𝚗𝚐. 𝙿𝚕𝚎𝚊𝚜𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚏𝚛𝚊𝚒𝚗 𝚏𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚋𝚘𝚖𝚋𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝙿𝚎𝚗𝚊𝚗𝚐.

The broadcast appeal was repeated at half-hourly intervals interspersed with music from ZHJ.🔊

When the Japanese landed in Penang, the Japanese wasted no time in broadcasting proper gander to Malaya and their opening words were:

🔊𝙷𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚘 𝚂𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚊𝚙𝚘𝚛𝚎, 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚒𝚜 𝙿𝚎𝚗𝚊𝚗𝚐 𝚌𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚒𝚗𝚐. 𝙷𝚘𝚠 𝚍𝚘 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚕𝚒𝚔𝚎 𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚋𝚘𝚖𝚋𝚒𝚗𝚐?🔊


P/S: In 1941, Singapore was bombed hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

: For the Love of It: Popular Music in Penang, 1930s-1960s. : 37 Jalan Perak (near the bend to Jalan Macalister). Thanks to fellow Penang Hidden Gemmers Chan KS and Jim Lim for identifying the exact address.




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