Friday, August 13, 2010

Noordin Street

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Noordin Street

Noordin Street or Lebuh Noordin, Noordin is a male Muslim name from Nur al-Din (Arabic: نور الدين ‎),and also surname. It composed of the elements Nur, meaning light and ad-Din, meaning of the faith. The street is however named after an Indian Muslim merchant, Mahomed Noordin Merican, and one of the founders of the Kapitan Kling Mosque, also a Kapitan Kling(a community leader appointed for Indian in Penang).

The Chinese called it ji-tiau-lor(2nd street), the 2nd road after Prangin Canal or Prangin Ditch.

It is within the Seven Streets Precinct, a working class neighborhood, with residents mainly Chinese Hockkien. Noordin Street is the only street in the Seven Streets Precinct named after a Muslim.

lǒ-lǐn ke(罗粦街), "Lo-lin" is the Chinese pronunciation for Noordin and "ke" means street, so called after the business premises of Mr. H.M.Noordin. Noordin street is not called lo-lin street, as the name had been used for Chulia street(part of the street), east of Pitt Street. original street within the Francis Light Grid called Market Street ; Lo-lin-ke(羅粦街), which was named after HM Noordin shop there is earlier than Noordin Street.

Mahomed Merican Noordin (b1778? - d 1870)from India

Mahomed Noordin Merican, who arrived at Penang in 1820, with his mother Fatima and his elder brother, Abdur Cauder Merican, who became the Kapitan Keling. The brother's residence in Penang was at Kampong Kolam( Tanjung Puthukarei).

Mahomed Noordin Merican came to Malaya from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, India (but he is not a Chola, as I have earlier reported here, but rather a Turlekan, a people originating from a place in Turkey). The word "Merican" is derived from the word "Mericalayar", which means "people from the sea", to denote their seafaring activities and businesses(Timothy Tye,2008).

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Their ancestral home - Nagapattinam

Nagapattinam District is a coastal district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The town of Nagapattinam is the district capital, lies on the eastern coast, 350 kilometers down south of the State capital Chennai and 145 kilometers east of Tiruchirappalli. Nagapattinam (Tamil: நாகப்பட்டினம் (nākappaṭṭinam) (previously spelt Nagapatnam or Negapatam) is a coastal city and a municipality in Nagapattinam District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the administrative headquarters of Nagapattinam District, it was carved out by bifurcating the composite Thanjavur district on October 18, 1991. Other names of the town are Naganadu, Cholakula Vallippatinam and Shiva Rajadhani. Nagapattinam was the major port for Cholas dynasty. Nearby towns include Tiruvarur, Karaikal and Mayiladuthurai.The major language spoken in the Nagapattinam District is Tamil spoken as a mother tongue by Hindus, Christians and Muslims alike. The vast majority of the population are Hindu by religion, with Muslims and Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains.

The town was taken by the British from the Dutch in 1781 (who had been formally brought into the war in 1780). When the Dutch and British reached a peace agreement in 1784, Nagapattinam was formally ceded to the British. It was before the founding of Penang as British colony in 1786.

But other sources mentioned that his brother Abdur Cauder Merican or Caudeer Mydin (Mohudeen) Merican, Abdul Qauder Mohideen Merican( b1759 - d1834) was from Proto Novo, Arcots(Tamil: ஆற்காடு); and some even said he was from Thanjavur (Tamil: தஞ்சாவூர் (tañcāvūr)), also known as Thanjai (Tamil: தஞ்சை (tañcāi)) or by its anglicised name Tanjore.

1820 - Left Tamil Naidu, India; and arrived at Penang island with his mother and his eldest brother. His brother Abdur Cauder Merican( b1759 - d1834) was a Kapitan Kling, the community leader appointed to take care of Tamil community in Penang. His brother came earlier to coastal Kedah in 1770. In 1786, he led a group of Tamil Muslim traders from Kedah, together with Koh Lay Kuan, the first Chinese Kapitan; to follow Capt Francis Light to Penang. Captain Francis Light appointed him as Kapitan Kling in 1801, the leader of Indian community in Penang. Kling is the term applied to South Indian. Abdur Cauder Merican was staying in Kampong Kolam or Pool Village. in 1820, Kapitan Kling was 61 years old at advance age, it may be his intention to bring over his younger brother to help in his business. He died in 1834 and buried at Kampong Kolam, Penang.

1834? - succeed his brother as Kapitan Kling when his brother Abdur Cauder Merican passed away in 1834.

1848 - Son MM Noordin was born in Penang

1853 - V M Noordin was established in 1853, in Penang(pg 99, Singapore Directory 1877). VM Noordin or Vappoo Merican Nordin is his eldest son.

1863 - M. N. K. Mahomed Noordin Co was established

1869 - Mahomed Noordin Merican created an endowment in 1869,14 he was probably aware of the state of the waqaf lands

1870 - Mahomed Noordin Merican passed away at the age of 92 in 1870. He however started the Noordin Merican family( or Merican Noordin family) in Penang, where the surname was passed to future generation.

1872 - In the classic legal case of decision by Lord Macnaghten of the Privy Council in Badar Bee v. Habib Merican Noordin (1909) A.C. 615. The appellant petitioned to have it declared that the devise and gifts contained in the 6th clause of the testator's will were void, and that the lands comprised therein and the income thereof being undisposed of belonged to the testator's next of kin. By that 6th clause he gave certain lands in Penang which he directed to be called "the wakkoff of Mahomed Noordin," to trustees for certain purposes. The case had become a source of law for Estoppel. Habib Merican Noordin is the son, Badar Bee may be the daughter.

1879 - He died in 1879, leaving 6 sons and 5 daughters.

He was reported to be a landlord in Penang, holding many shops and houses, and a large estate in Province Wellsley, Noordin estate. He was a Municipal Commissioner and Justice of Peace or JP. He also contributed to built the aquaduct from waterfall to the city(Light Street/Leith Street area). This was the Penang first water supply system, even before the pipe system was used. Even he was a Muslim, he also provide assistance to many Christian institution. The spirit of religion harmony started from the generation. Many of today's generation should be shameful for not following the examples of our city historical figures. Pitt street become street of harmony and Noordin Street was named after his brother.

Mahomed Mashurdin Merican Noordin s/o Mahomed Merican Noordin(b 1848- d 1924)or M.M.Noordin.

Mahomed Noordin Merican's 4th son, Mahomed Mashurdin Merican Noordin, was also known as MM Noordin. He was the proprietor of MM Noordin(Penang and Singapore)

He was English educated at Penang Free School, and had been to Europe 3 times; and two of his children were studied in England. A merchant who export local produces to Europe, India and China.

1848 - He was born in 1848 and died in 1924, in the house called Clifton, in Northam Road.

He was the leader of the Indian Muslim community of George Town. The British authorities made him a Municipal Commissioner and a Justice of the Peace - he was one of the first Muslims to be accorded such an honor. He was also a juror.

Married Siti Kalthum Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Habshee.

MM Noordin was the owner of Noordin Estate at Seberang Prai.

1853 - N.M.Noordin was established in 1853(pg 100, Singapore Directory 1877). M.N.Nordin is located at King Street, Penang. NM Noordin is Naina Merican Noordin, a merchant.

1863 - M. N. K. Mohamed Noordin Co was established.

1867 - Penang Riot

1870 - M.M. Noordin started Koran classes in the Malay, Tamil and Malabari languages(source: Growing Roots: The Story of Tamil Communities in Penang, Penang story project). His father, Mahomed Merican Noordin passed away at the age of 92 in 1870.

1877 - Mahomed Mashroydin Merican Noordin, was a trader at Chulia Street(Pg 24, the 1877 Singapore directory).

1904 - Penang Jurors 1904 list included Mahomed Mashurdin Merican Noordin, merchant; Northam Road.

1913 - Weekly Sun, 18 January 1913, Page 4, M. N. K. MOHAMED NOORDIN & CO., GENERAL MERCHANTS, reported branch located at 86-88, North Bridge Road, Singapore.

Died in 1924, in the house called Clifton, in Northam Road

His children Aladin Merican Noordin(A.M. Noordin) s/o Mahomed Mashurdin Merican Noordin; who married Wan Soo Merican Noordin(born Mohamed). His son Isdin Merican Noordin s/o Aladin Merican Noordin@Wan Noordin(b 1911- d?) or I.M.Noordin( b 14th July 1919), married Rafeah bt Mashohor. I.M.Noordin was a famous jockeys in Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak.

The Straits Times, 16 November 1925, Page 8, Pinang Gazette reported that the 3 large properties belonging to the estate of the late Mr. Mohamed Noordin(or MM Noordin), have been sold to Mr Lim Cheng Teik;-
(i) Marble Hall, between Kelawai Road, Pangkor Road and Burma Road, 722000 sq ft
(ii)Babington Estate, 440,000 sq ft, located at Perak Road
(iii)Suffolk House, a million sq ft, located at Aier Etam Road

Merican Noordin family business

The Singapore directory for the Straits Settlements 1877 Pg 100 reported that M.N.Nordin(should be NM Noordin?) as a sole proprietorship was established in 1863, the firm is an agent for Singapore Steamship Company Ltd.

Mr M.N.Nordin(should be NM Noordin?) is located at King Street, Penang. Another V.M. Nordin also mentioned as merchant, located at King Street, may be the brother.

Mahomed Mashroydin Merican Noordin(MM Noordin), was stated as trader(1877 directory). Mohamed Merican Noordin had died in 1870

1. V.M. Noordin(established in 1853)
Pg 99 reported, partner V.M.Noordin(Vappoo Merican Noordin, should be sole proprietorship, as only one partner was reported). Family members Noor Mohamed Merican was one of the Assistants. The location is Union Street.

2. NM Noordin(Established 1863)
Pg 100 reported NM Noordin(Naina Merican Noordin) was the sole partner, Assistants from family members included Chowta Merican, Caderash Merican. The company was the agency for Singapore Steamship Co Ltd. Located at King Street.

3. M. N. K. Mahomed Noordin Co., established in 1863

The Noordins ran a fleet of ships that called at the ports along the Straits of Malacca, Myanmar, China, India, the Middle East and Europe

The Noordin Family Tomb

The Noordin Family Tomb originally served as the mausoleum for Mahomed Noordin Merican's mother, Fatimah. However, Noordin himself was also buried there when he died in 1870. Noordin Family Tomb at Chulia Street, built in the 1800s by Mohamed Merican Noordin who succeeded to the position of Kapitan Kling after his brother died. His brother was however buried at Kampong Kolam.

At the turn of the century, Mohamed Merican Noordin (a Tamil Muslim who came to Penang around 1820), succeeded Kapitan Kling (or leader of the Tamils) as the most prominent Chulia in Penang. He had a family tomb built for his mother by Indian masons. The vestibule of the tomb accommodated one of the first schools for the Muslim community and he had endowed it with twenty dollars per month "for the learning of English, Hindoostanee, Malay, Tamil, Malabar and the Alkoran" (cited in Khoo, 1993: 73; emphasis added). That Malabar (presumably Malayalam, or Arabi Malayalam-Malayalam written in Arabic script which was popular among Malabar Muslims) was one of the languages being taught and studied in Penang speaks of the importance enjoyed by the Malabari Muslim community in the state during that period.(Professor Suresh Narayanan,2001)

The Noordin Family Tomb originally housed a school called Dunam Pillay. Classes were held there for learning the Al-Quran, Arabic, Malabar, Hindi, Tamil and English were held there. It became a tomb after it was used as a mausoleum to Mahomed Noordin Merican's mother(Timothy Tye,2008).

After standing in a run-down state for decades, the Noordin Family Tomb was recently restored. Now it houses the Galeri Seni Lukis Persatuan Pelukis Melayu Pulau Pinang (Penang Malay Artist Association Art Gallery).

The Merican Noordin family

Mahomed Noordin Merican(b1778? - d 1870) from India. He died in 1879, leaving 6 sons and 5 daughters. His children are Mahomed Mashurdin(MM Noordin), Habib, Nasoordin, Bapoo(may be Vappoo), Naina, Rajadin, Tang Chee Mah, Fatimah Nachiar. (not completed list , source: from one of the family facebook).

Merican Noordin family is a big family now. Mahomed Noordin leant from the Chinese having the surname passed down to the future generation.

1. Vappoo Merican Noordin(VM Noordin)-1st son

Vappoo Merican Noordin(VM Noordin), merchant, Union Street, Pg 27
1874 - Government Gazette dated 26-12-1873 announced Vappoo Merican Noordin will hold office of Municipal Commisioner for 2 years(Straits Times Overland Journal, 31 December 1873, Page 6). He is the eldest son of Mohamed Merican Noordin

Vappoo Merican Noordin, the Indian or Jawi-pekan leader of the Red Flag, together with Che long(Haji Mahomed Noor), Syed Mohamed Alatas( or Al-Attas)in Penang,1879. Their headquarter was at Acheen Street, Penang. He was a merchant in his father's company at Chulia Street.

Government Gazette dated 24-1-1879, announced that Vappoo Merican Noordin was one of the Municipal Commissioner appointed for the year 1879. The others were Mr Foo Tye Sin, Henry de Mornay, and JMR Magalhaens(source: Straits Times Overland Journal, 1 February 1879, Page 1). Vapoo Merican Noordin, a merchant in Chulia Street, and having his residence in Acheen Street, the area under the influence of Che Long. He was a Justice of Peace (as reported in the list in Directory of Singapore 1877 pg 61)

Note: In 1867, after the bloody Penang Riots involving fighting between rival Sino-Malay groups, which also demonstrated the possibility of Sino-Malay cooperation, the British went into overdrive to separate the races. It was better for the Malays and Chinese and Indians not to mix “too much”. It was not long after the incident that an Inspectorate of Police was established (1872), indirect rule through headmen ended in the Straits Settlements and secret societies that operated quite openly were regulated and later disbanded (1885).

His son, Ismail Merican Vappoo Merican Nordin was the member of Kedah state council in 1943. In December 1943, the Siamese authorities made some changes in the administration by re-using British pre-War model. According to the plan, the role of the army in the administration was deleted. By so doing, the Sultan was once again made the Head of State, ruling with the aid of a Siamese advisor. The Siamese authorities also returned the administration of the State to the Montri Sabha Council, formerly known as the State Council.

The following were members of the Montri Sabha Saibur:
Sultan Badlishah President
Tunku Yaakob Deputy President
Hj. Md. Shariff Osman Secretary
En. Kassim Che Ismail Writer
En. Ismail Merican Vappoo Merican Nordin ?

There was another source from internet mentioned Bapoo Merican Noordin, Son of Mohd Nordin and Fatimah, Brother of Naina, Habib, Shabudin, Mohd Nasoodin, Mohd Murshordin, Che Jah, Noor Mohd Nachir, Tang Chee Mah, Mawah Bee, Rajah Bee and Muck Doom Bee. Bapoo may be Vappoo?...

2. NM Noordin, Naina Merican Noordin, merchant , King street pg 27

Neina Merican, JP(Directory of Singapore 1877 pg 61)
Nina Merican Noordin died in Penang, having first made a will dated 16th December 1879, by which he appointed his brother Vapoo Merican Noordin as executor.

Note: Naina, Neina, Nina may be the same person

3. Habib Merican Noodin, trader, Hutton Lane(pg 23, Directory of Singapore 1877)
Bader Bee -v- Habib Merican Noordin [1909] on Law of Estoppel. Where a party could have appealed against an earlier decision of a court, but did not, he would later be estopped from denying that decision. The case was decided by Lord Macnaghten in 1909.

4.Mahomed Nashurdin, 5th clerk, District Office; Bukit Mertajam; Bukit Mertajam, Province Wellesley. He is the 3rd son.(Nasruddin Merican Noordin)

5. Habib Harry Merican Noordin, Son of Mohd Murshordin and Sona (Aarab),
Brother of Aladin, Rajadin, Che Jah, Izadin, , Che Rajah, Noordin and Omar.

Note : may be son of Mahomed Mashurdin(MM Noordin)

Family of Abdur Cauder Merican( b1759 - d1834)

He married with a Kedah Malay princess, Tengku Wan Chik Taiboo or Tengku Maheran, daughter of Sultan Abdullah Mukaram Syah. Their issues are Othman Naina Merican, Othman Sah Merican, Othman Nachiar, Othman Kandoo, Othman Bee Bee dan Othman Wan Niar.

Othman Nina Merican, 5th clerk, Treasury; Transfer Road(the son of Cauder Moheedin Merican(from Singapore Directory, 1877).

Related articles

1. From Malabaris to Malaysians: The Untold Story of Malayalees in Penang(2001), by Professor Suresh Narayanan, Universiti Sains Malaysia,
2. Misteri Etnik: Kapitan Keling pengasas masyarakat Jawi Peranakan Pulau Pinang(2010), by Azrul Affandi Sobry,
3. "Cases heard and determined in Her Majesty's Supreme court of the Straits Settlements, 1808-1884." (1890), by James William Norton-Kyshe, Straits Settlements. Supreme Court, Singapore and Straits Printing Office,Singapore
4. Makam Keluarga Noordin,
5. This is the blog of Aladdin @ Alen Noordin, who is the grandson of MM Noordin(1848-1924) and son of Om Noordin(b 1911-d1980)
6. Merican-Noordin-Family,
7. History of kapitan keling mosque,


  1. Can you tell me the source for your information on MM Noordin's (1848-1924) wife's and childrens' names? Thank you.

  2. I am not academician, just a blogger, normally and frequently I did not remember the source. You can visit facebook on Merican-Noordin Family, if you are searching for the root. . Some of the source are from Singapore directory during the colonial days.