indepth

A tale of two cities in Seremban

Seremban

SEREMBAN (Sept 8): The common perception of Seremban is as a pit stop for holiday makers travelling to Port Dickson, Melaka or even Johor but the Negeri Sembilan capital has much more to offer.

Besides the famous Seremban Siew Pau and Haji Sharif cendol, photography enthusiasts will have a good time recording the old businesses such the bakeries, and bicycle and coffee shops when visiting the old town.

However, while the old Seremban goes to sleep early at about 8pm, its new siblings are ready to entertain.

Unlike the old Seremban town, where businesses pull down their shutters at nightfall, the younger Seremban 2 and upcoming Seremban 3 are up into the wee hours with an array of eateries and coffee joints.

SerembanIronically, despite the many new malls, such as Jusco, Mydin and Palm Mall, most mothers still prefer doing their weekly wet market shopping at Pasar Besar Seremban.

According to Shuman Vasu, who calls Seremban his hometown, it is no longer a sleepy place.

“It has changed and expanded to accommodate the people it has attracted to call their home,” he said.

“While paving way for the new, Seremban has still maintained the old, so it feels good to come home every time,” said the father of two, who works in Kuala Lumpur.

Seremban resident Joe Chelliah, 71, said the outlines of colonial town planning that once made Seremban a popular town with the British can still be traced.

“The gardens, the railway station and administrative buildings retain a small section of its history,” he said.

He said the town’s quaint railway station was built in 1924 to transport tin to ports nearby.

“The infrastructure of old Seremban was centred on transporting raw materials and tin ore. The community, mainly Chinese traders, built their lives around the mining industry.

“Today, the tin mines have all but disappeared. Seremban is now the main transport hub for Negeri Sembilan and the community serves the industrial parks that have sprung up to replace the tin industry,” he added.

The musician also shared memories of how the Lake Gardens attracted nature lovers and families at the weekends.

Seremban

Rajinder Singh, 61 recalls how people from Seremban were very sociable.

“When I was growing up, I remember people were together, there was a constant need to be in touch with each other through get-togethers and games,” he said.

He added that things started to change in the 80s when technology took over.

“Technology kept coming in even though we were not ready. Our pace of life changed so did the rhythm in the beats of our hearts,” he said, adding that the best part of our culture was lost in the process.

“I don’t think the children of today know how to play the games we used to,” he said.

He added that those days, it was a big deal to go to the theatre.

“Today, Seremban has a number of malls where you can watch a movie,” he said.

He hoped the old Seremban would not lose its essence and tradition while the newer Seremban takes over.

“It is good to have change, but we must not forget the old.”

Seremban

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