Celluloid memories: a family portrait of Almarhum Sultan Idris I

Almarhum Sultan Idris and his consort, Tengku Permaisuri Uteh Mariah, posing for a family portrait. Standing from left: YAM Raja Abdul Rashid ibni Sultan Idris, YAM Raja Harun Al-Rashid ibni Sultan Idris and YAM Raja Shuib ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris. Standing to the left of Almarhum Sultan Idris is YAM Raja Shahruddin ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris and Almarhum's grandsons - all issue of YAM Raja Harun Al-Rashid, from left: YM Raja Aman Shah, YM Raja Ariff Shah and YM Raja Shahar Shah.

This is a photo of Almarhum Sultan Idris I and his consort, Tengku Permaisuri Uteh Mariah (seated leftmost), and their sons and grandsons. The year when the photograph was taken is not known but a best estimate (based on the appearance of Almarhum’s grandsons) may be circa 1910’s.

This photo was kindly shared by YM Raja Nur Jannah Raja Hirdan, from a collection belonging to Raja Fauziah (Ku Diah) binti Raja Shoran, grand-daughter to Almarhum Raja Bendahara Abdul Rashid ibni Sultan Idris I.

Automobile series: Raja Dato’ Amir Razman’s Sunbeam Alpine

Raja Dato’ Amir Razman and his wife, Raja Datin Mariam Raja Abdul Rashid, posing with the Sunbeam Alpine. Photo taken in 1964. (Photo courtesy of Raja Izal Shah Raja Iskandar)

The Sunbeam Alpine is a British marque that was driven by Sean Connery in a car chase scene in the James Bond film Dr. No, although it never did reached the heights of other Bond cars like the Aston Martin or the Lotus! This superb specimen is owned by the late Raja Dato’ Amir Razman, at this time ADC to Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah II, seen here posing with his wife, Raja Datin Mariam binti Raja Bendahara Abdul Rashid. There have been several opinions given as to the location where this photo was taken. However, we have received information by the son of Raja Balkish Raja Dato’ Amir that this photo was taken at Cameron Highlands.

The Alpine was first produced in 1959 and a total of five series were released until 1968. The Series I-III were available in both open and removable hardtop versions, whilst the Series IV included a convertible version. From the photo, it is likely that Raja Amir’s Alpine was either a Series II, III or IV, and it would have had a 1.6 litre 82 bhp engine.

The Sunbeam marque was then sold in Malaya by Wearnes Brothers.

How Kuala Kangsar was saved

by Raja Mariam Raja Mohamed Iskandar

The first time I heard of the name Suzuki was in the SembangKuala post ‘A spy in our midst’. This name surfaced again yesterday in Taiping. This time the name came with a face.

On a courtesy call to an uncle, YM Raja Halid bin Raja Berima[1], 78, of Assam Kumbang, Taiping, an old picture tumbled out of an envelope containing old family snapshots. As the picture was not exactly new to us,  it was not really given much of an attention. Except, an Oriental man with a confident pose attracted my interest because in his white jacket and pants with a hat to boot, he stood out. I took a second look and when asked, Ayah Halid said, “Oh, itu Suzuki. A photographer very close to the royal family.”

K. Suzuki is seen standing on the far right. Raja Perempuan Kelsom is seated and standing from left are Raja Ali, Tengku Adlan and DYAM Raja Di-Hilir Idris. (Photo courtesy of YM Raja Halid Raja Berima)

A photographer?! My mind raced back to the aforementioned SembangKuala post that I had read and without hesitation, I exclaimed, ‘He’s a Japanese spy!” The picture was taken pre-World War II although the exact year is unknown. It was taken at Istana Kolam (a name recognisable only to a dwindling few now) with Almarhumah Raja Perempuan Kelsom, a young Raja Di-Hilir Idris ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Tengku Adlan and Raja Ali bin Raja Kulop Muhammad, the Pawang Di-Raja. Raja Halid said when Suzuki returned to Japan before the World War II erupted, he was holding the rank of a colonel. He was known to have such an affection for Kuala Kangsar that because of his influence, Kuala Kangsar was spared during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1941. Ipoh and Taiping were targets of Japanese bombings, but Kuala Kangsar escaped unscathed, according to Raja Halid.

As a Kuala Kangsarian, for that, I say “Thank you, Suzuki-san“, posthumously.

[1]Raja Halid bin Raja Berima is a direct descendant of Marhum Muda Sultan Mahmud Shah (Raja Kimas) ibni Sultan Muhammad Shah, the 16th Sultan of Perak (1765-1773).


Raja Mariam Raja Mohamed Iskandar lives in Rapat Setia, Ipoh.