The story of Raub – “THE RAUB GOLD MINE”
RAUB; is the quaint small town that is to host the first Asia Pacific Biodynamic Conference 2022 in Malaysia from 21st -23rd October 2022. It is located about 100km from Kuala Lumpur and has a population of 90,000.
Raub has a glittering historical past as an early gold settlement.
“The new Eldorado” or “The Eldorado of Malaya. That’s what the small town of Raub was known as in the late 1800s after the discovery of gold fields. Back in 1889, The Brisbane Telegraph wrote of “very peculiar gold bearing stone” and stone samples that are” wonderfully rich”. The word, “Raub” is “to scoop up” in the Malay language. One can just imagine how gold-rich was the soil then. In 2014, Victor Bibby wrote a book; “Golden Raub” detailing how his great grandfather from Australia; William Bibby came on elephants to operate the first gold mine in Raub, finding fame and fortune as a mining pioneer in the wild Malayan tropical rainforest jungle. Early prospectors were surprised to find local natives wearing all sorts of rude ornaments made of fine gold. Robert Sefton, an early pioneer gold prospector declared “Raub as the richest known mine in the world”. (V.Bibby 2014 “Golden Raub”)
Raub Hole, the first gold field was located at Bukit Koman, a small village. Bukit Koman was once known as the “Malaysia gold capital”. It is just 2 km from the APBC venue.
The Australian Syndicate operated the mines until 1961. In the 1980s, gold mining was revived by Kim Chaun Mining, a company owned by a local tycoon Woon Pak Then until 2010. Thereafter the Raub Australian Gold mining Company operated for another few years.
The depletion of gold marked the end of the golden era.
The Edible Gold
Today, Raub has entered another new golden era. It is now world renowned for the “yellow edible gold”; the durian.
Durian, the king of fruits
Love it or hate it, spiky durian is one of the most profitable fruits for farmers and exporters in Malaysia due to its strong demand from overseas. The fruit has been identified as a source of agricultural wealth in the country and currently, Malaysia is ranked the second largest exporter of durian globally. Malaysia serves the Hong Kong, Singapore, and China markets. In 2030, the demand for durians in China is expected to exceed US$ 25B (DHL) Today, Raub is known as the “durian capital of Malaysia”. To many, the spiky durian is regarded as having a pleasant, sweet fragrance; to others, the smell is revolting. Its odour led to its banishment from hotels and public transportation.
THE MUSANG KING
Raub is the home and largest producer of Malaysia’s famed “musang king- 猫山王” durian. Its favorable microclimate of hilly mountains and cool weather is suitable for durians. The former China ambassador to Malaysia, Li Bai described the musang king durian as the “best durian in the world”.
For durian aficionados, Musang King is undisputedly the crown jewel out of the 200 cultivars of Durio Zibethinus in Malaysia. Durian connoisseurs passionately describe their tasting experiences as “aromatic, beautiful bright yellow with a wrinkled membrane added with the uniqueness of thick flesh, small core, and melt-in-mouth goodness with marvelous leveling of taste sensory.
BIODYNAMIC AND DURIANS
Most durian farmers practice conventional chemical farming. Organic farming is a rarity and is practiced by a pitiful few.
Adverse Environmental Impact
Chemical fertilizer, weedicide, herbicide, fungicide, and pesticide are used extensively for fruit protection. Chemicals-laced fruits inevitably result in health issues.
Huge, rounded, heavy, and asymmetrical “handsome” durians with super green husks are essentially end products of extensive usage of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. Materialism rules. Farmers and consumers look for “form” rather than substance. Bigger, rounder, and more beautiful shapes. The qualitative nutritive aspect is compromised by the quantitative.
The widespread clearing of land for planting durian is exacting a heavy toll on the environment. The widespread use of chemical “cocktails” is causing serious erosion, soil degradation, air(burning), and water pollution from washouts to rivers.
The stars once spoke to man.
It is world destiny that they are silent now
To be aware of this silence can become pain for earthly man
Rudolf Steiner, the spiritual scientist in his wisdom foresaw this tragic phenomenon a hundred years ago.
Today’s modern farming is so disconnected from the natural rules of the universe. Materialism rules and outweighs all other considerations. In pursuit of material gains, man is paying a very heavy price.
Our soil is dying. The foundation that sustains life is dying. The pain for earthly man.
But all is not lost
THE BIODYNAMIC IMPULSE
But in the deepening silence, there grows and ripens what man speaks to the stars.
To be aware of that speaking can become strength for Spirit man.
The Biodynamic impulse that takes root in Malaysia is fast spreading to provide an alternative to durian farming in Raub.
THE THREE BIODYNAMIC BROTHERS OF RAUB
The three durian farmers are Thomas Yam, Yap Ming Yeow, and Wing Chan. Thomas Yam first experienced the magic of biodynamics more than 15 years ago in 2007 when he stayed on a biodynamic farm in Munich, Germany. Impressed and captivated by the Biodynamic environment, he eagerly seeks to discover about Biodynamics.
Today, Thomas is the project leader for the MDA PGS program for the Biodynamic durian Group. He started his durian farm six years ago after attending a biodynamic course. Animals were introduced to his farm to provide input for composting.
RU FARM is another durian farm that was taken over by Wing Chan from his father. Originally farmed conventionally, the farm was converted to organic and subsequently, under the guidance and encouragement of Thomas, the Biodynamic method was adopted. A big river runs along its boundary. Cattles are also kept on the farm.
Yap Ming Yeow’s SIAMM FARM （闲坊）is another organic durian farm with mature old durian trees of more than 50 years of age. A beautiful river runs along its perimeter. An interesting feature of this farm is the presence of animals in the farm. There are cattle, goats, and plenty of free-range chickens on the farm. These are the pioneers that are operating durian farms in a biodynamic way.
RAUB, THE HOME OF THE MALAYSIA DEMETER ASSOCIATION (MDA)
The home of MDA is in Raub. The Biodynamic training centre is located at Fay Farm, where regular BD workshops/ seminars and annual preps making take place. It is located at an altitude of 1,500 ft above sea level, surrounded by rainforests with a breathtaking view of the Benom mountain range.
Fay Farm, RU Farm and SIAMM Farm are venues for the upcoming APBC 2022.
And we look forward to welcoming all to Raub, Malaysia.
Dr Yap Kim Fay
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