This is a forgotten sad story of a Chinese leader Liu Shan Bang, the Twelve Kongsi operating in the Mau San gold mine, and the once prosperous self governed mining town of Bau Lama or Mau San.
Mau San Tian Tsze Lung Kung is more than a century old. It was founded
around the time when gold & antimony were discovered in Mau San,
about 1820 – 1830. The host deity is Lau Chu Tian Tsze, a deity of
Hakka origin since most of the miners were Hakka, originally mostly from
Sambas, Kalimantan. This temple provided the pioneer miners spiritual
supports and also served as a centre for cultural activities & other
administrative matters of the Twelve Kongsi.
the arrival of Sir James Brooke, Sarawak was under the rule of Brunei.
Around that time, Sarawak, particularly the settlement around the gold
mining areas were facing an uprising against the Brunei ruling from
native Dayaks and the Malays. James Brooke assisted the Sultan of Brunei
to settle the local civil war & thus was granted the White Rajah to
As the Brooke Administration began to establish
his rule over Sarawak, he began to impose taxes etc, prohibited opium
& wine trading, and restricted trading & export of gold &
antimony, particularly to the self governing Mau San and the Twelve
It was said that James Brooke earlier on had established
agreement with the Twelve Kongsi of non intervention on respective
areas, partly of his busy involvement with the local civil war between
Brunei & local Dayaks, and earlier political circumstances.
Twelve Kongsi and the Chinese miners in Mau San had already well
established since then. They were well contented in their self rulings
since the earlier Brunei poor administration, & the civil war.
reforming Brooke administration had angered the Mau San miners &
the Twelve Kongsi, and thus a rebellion was started against the White
The rebellion was initiated in 1857 at Tian Tsze Lung Kung in Mau San by Liu Shan Bang, the leader of the Twelve Kongsi.
armed miners, without proper weapons & military training, paddled
down the Sarawak River & attacked the Astana. James Brooke escaped
the assault. Five Europeans were killed, and one was mistaken to be
James Brooke. With no political will & planning the Chinese miners
stayed or ruled Kuching for 3 days before returning to their base.
then, James Brooke had already been given time for retaliation. The
counter attacks by Brooke’s army, with combined forces of Skrang Iban
warriors & Malays loyal to him, defeated the Chinese miners badly.
Jugan Siniawan, more than a hundred miners were killed; including the
leader Liu Shan Bang himself. Dead bodies were left & decomposed
everywhere in the area. The smell was said to be so bad that the nearby
place is now called 'Buso' (in Malay, it means rotten or stink). The
Shan Teck Temple in Siniawan was later constructed in memory of the
tragic event of Liu Shan Bang & his associates.
remaining miners retreated further to Mau San, some escaped to
Kalimantan, most perished on the way. Many miners & families hid in
nearby cave (the Ghost Cave named after the tragedy) and subsequently
hunted down & killed by the Rajah forces; most were suffocated to
death, including many women & children. The Mau San mining
settlement, together with the Twelve Kongsi was thus wiped out after the
decomposed smell of dead bodies in Ghost Cave & surrounding areas
in Mau San had lasted for weeks; it is not known whether the town, ‘Bau’
(means smelly, in Malay), got its name from the incident.