The origin of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) is Brazil. Through the dangerous and arduous efforts of Henry Wickham (and Kew Gardens), rubber from the Amazon was introduced to the east via Ceylon. H.N. Ridley was the key man who caused rubber to be planted in large scale in Malaya.
For the natural resource that greatly benefit Malaysia and the whole world in so many ways - economically, industrially, employment, welfare, technology ... thank you Brazil.
H.N. Ridley, rubber's foster-father (left), with an assistant standing
next to a rubber tree in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Seven-year old rubber trees. After five years trees begin to yield latex, which reaches its maximum after ten years.
Using a special knife to scrape a thin layer of bark to let the white latex to ooze and flow into a cup placed at the base of the cut.
Well maintained rubber plantation. A tapper is given a task of 400 trees to tap per day (morning).
Rubber - gender equalizer. (Some of the pictures below belong to the yesteryears).
Mosquitoes, leeches, scorpians, snakes etc are commonly found inhabiting rubber holdings. Other wild animals may roam under the shaded trees and tappers fear them.
Security during the communist insurgency.
With the aid of headlamp to make the cut when the morning light is still dim.
During floods, on a small perahu to tap rubber.
Using a ladder to tap at higher trunk level.
Indonesia. Now the largest producer of rubber. Malaysia used to be at the top now third ranking in the world after Thailand.