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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

RUBBER TAPPER'S DAUGHTER


Brazil is where the mother of all rubber trees originate.


Rubber trees in Indonesia originated from seedlings imported in 1876.


Past laboratory scene at the Rubber Research Institute of Malaya (RRIM), Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.


Well maintained rubber trees under tapping in estate planting. New breed of rubber clones are fast growing tappable 5 years after planting, produce more latex and trunks can be used for timber at replanting cycle of about 25 years. The rubber price currently is very low after enjoying the boom a year ago.

Indian rubber tappers (coolies) bringing back collected latex in pails to the estate factory for processing into rubber sheets. The formed the backbone of labour for the rubber industry in the past.


Tapping (cutting the bark thinly) manually using a special knife to induce latex flow. Tapping must start early the morning at 6am when more latex flow. By 10am a tapper could finish a task of 350 trees and start collecting latex into pails from the first tree tapped. By 11am the pails of latex must reach the factory and coagulation and processing into rubber sheets. For the village smallholders they have own or shared small milling machines to produce ribbed sheets. It was when the latex has been coagulated in the tin trays that I enjoyed touching them while helping my father when small.


Weighing bales of dried rubber sheets from smallholders at a licensed dealer's shop found in the rurals or small towns all over the country.


The rubber tapper's daughter.






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