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林中雋 著

contents Table of contents LIVING IN DENSITY pg 003



pg 022


pg 041

Rifle Range was

part of the cemetery

during WW2 It was reported to be the place of Japanese armies killed their captives during Japanese’s occupation. This area are named because of this reason.



first low cost project built in 1969 In the local Hokkien patois, Rifle Range is called Pak Cheng Por. The name Rifle Range hails back to the 1950s when the site was used for target practices. It was the first time, the precast concrete elements were used to construct mass houses. This short span of construction helped satisfy the huge demand for housing at that time.

DEVELOPED under the

late Penang

Chief Minister

Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee Penang has implemented a very comprehensive and expanded low-cost housing programme. In conjunction with this low-cost housing broad emphasis will be given to social housing which will be in respect of slum clearance and resettlement.

the largest COMPLEX concentration FACILITIES of low cost house units


concept HiRE-PURCHASE SCHEMe Back in the 1970s, maintenance was only RM15 a month. Residents who willing to paid RM30 monthly under the hire-purchase scheme for 30 years, would end up owning the unit. Many residents are now the owners of their units

in Penang Rifle Range Flats contains 3,699 flat units in nine blocks, Reported there are 25,024 residents in Rifle Range Flats . It is with the highest population density per square feet in Penang.

The buildings was

designed by

German architect

The high quality building materials make the structure of building very strong. Architects have reportedly said there were still rock solid.

There are one wet market complex,which has a public library and a community hall. On the right of the wet market is the one of the longest hawker complex in Penang,and Malaysia. Rifle Range foods in the hawker complex are good and cheap. It provide opportunity for residents to earn a living as a food hawker. There are lack of basic amenities such as halls, playground, carparking etc for the community in Rifle Range Flats. Opposite the Rifle Range Flats is the United Hokkien Cemetery of Batu Gantong. This is the place the residents used to have morning exercise, the kids used to have badminton in the hall of cremation plant,jogging, learn cycling.


3,735 of residential and shop units


square feet for every single room units.

OTHERS 1,500

10 %

INDIA 2,000


MALAY 3,500

25 %

of total number of residents




45 %




9 blocks ONE UNIT 24 units ONE ROOM from A to J

at each level

17-18 300 SQUARE FEET storey 4 units of 2 rooms units at the four corners

The staircase will be surrounded by the wire gate when you are in higher floor to avoid any accident happen.

The staircase which below 10th floor are very dark, especially in the afternoon.

BETWEEN THE LINES staircase structure The staircase in the middle served units on both sides of the corridor.

Being a outsider that bringing a camera still raised plenty of eyebrows but I managed to go through the staitways up on to the roof tops. The walls, corridors and public area are so badly vandalised by the residents. The staircase in the middle of the block are dark and dangerous especially in afternoon. You can’t even realize if somebody hide behind the staircase.


HEAVEN You can easily found satellite cable in front of each house units. Most of them are subcribeded to Astro. The family of residents normally subcribeded for their parents to make them can spend their time on watching tv show.


ROOFTOP Outdated antennae cover the rooftop of the building. The antennae are far more well arranged now

There are three lifts serving in each block. Each lifts are only can be reach into certain blocks.

The lifts button has designed with morse code to help the handikap in the flats.

letterbox The faulty lifts are a perennial problem at the flats. The residents especially senior citizens here are sick of the service of the lifts who broken down like once a month.

The first post box rifle range until now still usable. Some of the senior citizens tend to keeping their asset inside the postbox. They thought that the box are safest place for them to keep the things.



KOPITIAM The places where you can smell the coffee and reminiscene the old days. Many old folks like to spend their morning in the kopitiamcoffee shop in Hokkien dialect.



LIFE one

one room


generation of Mr Peng are works in dental field


years old and still servicing in the block.



technician Mr Peng is a dental technician, which help the people to install the denture.He still using the material from Italy to ensure the high quality of his services.

2,000+ pairs of teeth has been planted to his patients.

Even though he is now aged 80 years old, he still managed to meet one to three customers everyday.

Mr Peng are busy mixing the ingredients to make a mold for his patients.



CLASS doesn’t means we cant live HERE HAPPILY

HOUSE SALON There are many of residents run their business inside their house units, either they are getting licenced or unlicenced. Auntie Nancy are one of them who operate salon in her house because she is not afford to rent a place for her business last time. She lives here with his son after her husband passed away. She is proud to say that the salon has afford her son to finish his studies in universities. She is fluent in Cantonese and Hokkien dialect, but she is actually come from Thailand. She knew a lot of friends here because of her friendly atttitude and strong adaptility.

Auntie Nancy showed her white board to me, board who record the time of booking by different customers. She wrote the only simple words she knew.

She placed the hair chair in the kitchen to save more space and easy for water supply.

理髮店 2 IN 1 SALON The hair salon who located at Block H are operated by Mr Tan and Mrs Lee. Both of them are couple for 45 years.They separated their shop into indoor and outdoor. Mr Tan in charge of male customers while Mrs Lee in charge of female customers.


outdoor 室外

cut, shave, trim

75 The British-made chairs which is certainly over 75 years old. The chairs was bought secondhand years ago and it’s still in good condition - old, but sturdy!

Mr Lee likes to pull off the window protector when the times he feels hot. He get the protector from his elder sister which passed away ten years ago. He still keep it in good condition.

čŁ ç¸Ť

the stories of tailor and dressmaker Mr Lee and Mr Tan not only sells needles, but also zipper, fabric and others, She also provide sewing services for the neighbours in Rifle Range Flats. She are still making clothing for some customers. She is professional and famous in making Shanghai style of CheongSam. But now most of the people prefer to buy the clothes in shopping malls instead of making clothes in tailor shop. "Our business peaked between 1970 and 1988, but as tailor industry faded, trade started to decline," explained Mr.s Tan.

Secondhand collector Mrs Tan loves to collect old stuffs like box of cracker and old calendar. She thinks that we should fully used the thing before we throw it into the dustbin. Sometimes, her friends like to give her secondhand stuff too.





TRAFFIC LIGHTS Rifle Range is horrendously overcrowded and turns to be a hotspot of traffic jam. The vehicles getting more in Rifle Range flats . The residents more likely choose to ignore the traffic lights and cross over the road without using the zebra lines. It is very dangerous especially for those senior citizens who bring their grandchild. You can see the scene happened in every minute in front of the bustop of Rifle Range flats.


AGeING POPULATION Rifle Range flats is still associated with Penang’s underclass, dominated by an ageing population. After four decades since it was built, most second generation Rifle Range dwellers have shifted out, while their elderly parents refused to budge. Most of them have the sense of belonging towards the place they lived. It’s ironic that you can see the old and very young generation in the flats easily.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES There are many inconsiderate habits done by some of the residents. One of it are open burning. They simply burn rubbish in anywhere.T his is due to the low awareness of the old residents towards environment.

CAUSE AND fear of crime The security of Rifle Range flats are getting alerted due to the inceasing number of snatch theft cases. Kim Chuan, a widow who had just moved into the Rifle Range flats two weeks ago was walking alone near Block J of the flats when her handbag was snatched by a motorcyclist. It became a hot topic after the CCTV footage showed that there are seven heartless passers passed by theaccident scene but without lifting a finger to help her as she lay unconscious on the road with a cracked skull at the Rifle Range flats. "Unsafe" has become another new bad label by the outsiders toward Rifle Range flats.

Life In Rifle Range Flats  

This publication intoduced one of the oldest low cost housing project in Penang-Rifle Range Flats.

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