IN A LITTLE PLANK BUILDING
Photograph taken behind the Dog in 1884- when they didn't say cheese

The Royal Selangor Club was started in 1884 and of the original members, Messrs. H.F. Bellamy, D.G. Campbell, S.E. Harper, D.G. Gordon, A.C. Norman, S.B.R. Reyne, H.C. Syers, K. Tambusamy Pillai and A.R. Venning are still in the state (1892).It was started on a very small scale, in a little plank building with attap roof.
Very soon it had to be extended and improved and for this purpose was raised in June 1885, a loan of $900 in 18 shares of $50 each, of which $450 was repaid on August1, 1896 and the balance after a further period of 12 months


FUN IN AND OUT OF THE GAY OLD DOG

There was no Town Hall in the early "90's so Amateur (and travelling profesional) Theatricals were performed at the Selangor Club. Everyone was expected to sing or play some instrument in public. "Messrs. Alexander and Dougal sang "The Larboard Watch" - they finished together", runs a contempory comment.

People present at smoking concerts volunteered or were called upon to sing or play. Women were not admitted. Two ladies, resenting this

  The second club house
exclusion, on one occasion hid under the building to hear what was going on. Unfortunately one of them laughed so loudly at some joke that their presence was discovered and they were invited to come inside - and that was the end of smoking concerts for men only.

THE ROARING TWENTIES

Not much is known of the goings-on in the club during the roaring twenties. The officials records were lost during the three-year (1942-45) Japanese Occupation period. Drinking - "Our drink is whisky (at tiffin), beer being too billious for ordinary occasions." "Andrew Usher" was a favourite brand. Whisky at $1/- per bottle was popular. German champagne cost less $1/- per bottle.

  Off to the Dog in (1900) style
Watching football on the Padang 1903  

Dancing - Polanaises, polkas, waltzes, etc. Constant complaints about the "dirt of the Club floor soiling ladies' ezquisite toilettes."

"St. Andrew's Night was first celebrated by a dinner in 1894. The Chinese staff were somewhat perplexed. One of them commited the enormity of cutting the haggis for sandwiches."

One big event in the twenties was the gathering of thousands of people on the Club padang to cheer the Duke of Windsor (then Prince of Wales) during his visit to Kuala Lumpur in 1922. Landing at Port Swettenham (now Port Kelang) on March 28, he was met by four Rulers. His three-day visit was filled with pomp and ceremony, a State banquet, ball and reception.

Several Club members are said to have been included in the polo team (captained by then Sultan of Perak) which played against the Prince's side. In the visiting team was a young lieutenant, the Lord Louis Mountbatten. He returned 23 years later as Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia, at the time of the Japanese surrender.

 

The Prince of Wales at the Selangor Club in 1922

Kuala Lumpur - and The Dog - suffered severe flooding. Two club members were on commission that drew up a flood prevention scheme in 1921. Because of the slump then, however, the scheme together with several others had to be shelved. There were major floods in 1911 and 1917. The worst occured in December 1925 and December 1926. The 1926 floods isolated Kuala Lumpur for several days. The story goes that there was enough water over the padang for one happy club member - then a leading lawyer in town - to swim from the Dog to the Government offices. It appears the lawyer had taken a bet with one of his drinking friends that he would do the distance without touching the ground. The wager? A double gin sling.

When the floods were over, Club members helped to retrieve bank notes valued at several million dollars from the flooded strongroom of the Chartered Bank. These they dried in the open, near the padang, under the watchful eye of an armed guard.

 

THE DOG IN FLAME

Fire razed the main portion of the club on the night of December 20, 1970. It started from the kitchen around 10.30 p.m. Damage was estimated at more than $1.5 million. There were no casualties. The straits Times - front page report said: The cooks tried to put out the fire using extinguishers.

At that time there were about 400 people, including some children, being entertained by the Selangor Philharmonic Society in a Christmas concert. A guest said that before the fire started there was a five minute power failure. "But we thought it was only temporary. "Soon after that someone told us that there was a fire and everybody should walk out quietly. There was no panic. Everybody walked out normally. We had all the time to leave the place." More than 50 firemen, including about 20 who were off-duty fought the blaze. It took them more than an hour to get it under control. Firemen swung into action by spraying the Long Bar and the billiard room adjoining the main portion to prevent the fire from spreading. In the meantime the club's workers saved some of the furniture by throwing them onto the padang. More than 10,000 people watched the firemen fight the blaze. The then president of the Club, Encik Mohamed Khir Johari (former Minister of Commerce and Industry) said: "The Dog is insured for $ 1-million. We hope to have it repaired in about eight months." Encik Khir added that most of the club records were destroyed. This included unpaid bills!

Fifteen hours after the blaze the Club's annual children's Christmas party went on as usual. And children being children, enjoyed themselves thoroughly while officials and workmen were busy sorting out the multi-million dollar mess. Said the then Club Manager, Mr. Joe Speelman, "we just couldn't find it in our hearts to cancel the party in spite of difficulties. We had to keep the spirit of Christmas. "The kids had been looking forward to the party for weeks." The Long Bar which up to then had been restricted to men only was open to women too. Four of the club's other bars were destroyed. Mr. John Preston, the Dog's vice-president said most of the club documents had been salvaged and that the club could keep in touch with its members.

When asked about the club accounts, Mr. Preston is reported to have refused to comment. But a club spokesman said that most of the bills had been destroyed. "We can only hope that all members will settle what they think they owe," he is reported as having said. A large number of members thronged the Dog for the regular New Year's eve party that year. A long shed was put up on the padang for this.

THEN CAME THE FLOOD

Three days after the New Year party came the floods - and the Dog was in the midst of it all. The Club and all the buildings around it - Secretariat, Book Club, St. Mary's Church - were in several feet of water.

Worst hit was the padang. It took weeks to clear the field of silt and mud after flood waters had receded.

"THE CLUB MUST BE REBUILT AT ANY COST"

" In August 1971 plans for the new building were displayed for members' approval. These plans were later submitted to City Hall. And that set the stage for a series of ding-dong negotiations lasting seven years. At one stage, in October 1972, the Government announced that it needed the Padang for a Civic Centre. The club would have to go. A number of alternative sites were proposed.

First, it was an area off Jalan Duta. Then a site near Parliament House. Later, the Dog was offered land off Ampang, near the Polo Club. Finally Damansara. By then, four years had gone since the fire. A lot of discussion. No decisions. Frustrating for the Management Committee then under President Tan Sri Taib Andak.

 
And red tape bound The Dog for a further three yeas during which Tan Sri Taib lobbied his friends in high places. In 1977, the late Justice Tan Sri H.S. Ong was elected president. He and Datuk Justice Harun M.Hashim, then Vice President, convened an Extra-ordinary General Meeting to discuss the future of the club. The club was told to re-open discussions with City Hall on the plans it had submitted in 1972. With the death of Tan Sri Ong in 1978, Datuk Justice Harun took over the Presidency and responsibility for getting The Dog back on all fours. In July 1978 he got the answer from the City Hall. "O.K. Go ahead. Rebuild on present site."
Nov. 5, 1978, the contractors under the architect, Mr. Fong Ying Leong, started work. December 1980, the project estimated to cost more than $6 million was completed. The Selangor Club has one of the finest buildings in Asia. Truly a national center for Malaysian life.
 

BUKIT KIARA SPORT ANNEXE

The Royal Selangor Club Kiara Sport Annexe was official opened on Sunday June 7, 1998 by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Ja'faar Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

It was 10 years, almost to the day, that the Padang was turned into a construction site and Malaysia's oldest sporting club ceased to exist as a venue for sporting excellence. The opening marked the culmination of years of wheeling and dealing, plus a lot of hardwork by a dedicated band of Presidents and members. To witness the Agong cut the ribbon to unveil the plaque commemorating the occasion was a moment to treasure in the long and celebrated history of the Royal Selangor Club
 
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