A ‘SEMPURNA’ SNACK FOR MALAYSIANS

Bun­tong’s Kg Kacang Putih started out in 1940s and has since be­come a legacy

New Straits Times - - News - ZAHRATULHAYAT MAT ARIF IPOH news@nst.com.my

BE­FORE branded potato chips and other snacks filled the shelves of su­per­mar­kets, Malaysians en­joyed munch­ing on “kacang putih” as their favourite snack.

“Kacang putih” is an as­sort­ment of fried peanuts, salted tapi­oca chips or spicy curry mu­rukku. The ori­gin of the snack is from In­dia and its recipe handed down through the gen­er­a­tions.

But not many peo­ple know how Kam­pung Kacang Putih in Bun­tong here came about.

It be­gan in the 1940s with a group of “kacang putih” sell­ers and their fam­i­lies who were squat­ters at the foot of the Gu­nung Cheroh lime­stone hill here.

How­ever, on Oct 19, 1973, the mas­sive lime­stone cliff face of Gu­nung Cheroh col­lapsed and crushed 42 peo­ple.

Be­cause of the tragedy, the state gov­ern­ment de­clared the area off lim­its and re­lo­cated the res­i­dents to a new area here.

Hence, the birth of Kam­pung Kacang Putih. In 1974, the re­main­ing 30 fam­i­lies from Gu­nung Cheroh set­tled into their new homes in the vil­lage.

Years later, their busi­ness had prospered due to the in­creas­ing de­mand for “kacang putih”. To­day, there are more than 40 fam­i­lies in the vil­lage in­volved in the “kacang putih” busi­ness.

Mu­rukku, pakoda, poori, pakoda Sri Lanka, omapodi, kadalai and tapi­oca chips are only a few of more than 50 types of “kacang putih” that can be found in the vil­lage.

The third gen­er­a­tion of Sempurna kacang putih man­u­fac­turer J. Bubaneswary, 27, said the busi­ness started when her grand­fa­ther, Chin­nasamy Nadar, came from In­dia to then Malaya.

“My grand­fa­ther brought his wife and three sons to start a new life here by sell­ing ‘kacang putih’.

“How­ever, my grand­fa­ther, grand­mother and my father’s brother de­cided to re­turn to In­dia, leav­ing my father and another brother here. Dad made ‘kacang putih’ at a very young age.”

The sec­ond of six sib­lings said her father, C. Jaya­balan, 67, sold “kacang putih” at SRJK (C) Poi Lam’s school can­teen.

“Af­ter many years of sell­ing ‘kacang putih’ out­side the school com­pound, the head­mas­ter al­lowed my father to sell it in­side the can­teen. He used to earn 20 to 30 sen per day when he was sell­ing out­side the school but af­ter mov­ing into the can­teen, he made RM20 to RM30 per day.”

Bubaneswary said the com­pany was named “Sempurna” (per­fect) as her father be­lieved the word was mean­ing­ful to Malaysians, who formed a mul­tira­cial, multi-eth­nic and multi-re­li­gious so­ci­ety.

“Ninety per cent of my father’s cus­tomers are Malays. Sempurna is per­fect for all.

“Ev­ery­one en­joys ‘kacang putih’ and my father told me that his busi­ness has made the races sit to­gether and share the snack.

“This is some­thing beau­ti­ful in Malaysia that my father dis­cov­ered. Peo­ple here live in har­mony,” said Bubanewasry, who han­dles the fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive mat­ters of the com­pany.

PIC BY AB­DUL­LAH YU­SOF

C. Jaya­balan (cen­tre) and his chil­dren, J. Bubaneswary (left) and J. Shasiku­mar, at their shop in Bun­tong, Ipoh, yes­ter­day.

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