Story behind Jalan Batu Perempuan and Jalan Batu Jantan at Air Itam


By Emilia Ismail

Jalan Batu Jantan and Jalan Batu Perempuan didn’t get their names because someone ran out of ideas to name the roads in Air Itam — the names originated from a “tragic” love story! 😉

Legend has it that two rocks, one male and the other female, located just a short distance away from each other, used to get together to mate. How they moved was never explained but moved and mated they did according to the stories. There was also no account if they ever produced baby rocks.

Those living nearby knew about the happenings but their superstitions and beliefs taught them such supernatural occurrences were better left undisturbed lest they suffer the wrath of the spirits of the rocks.

When the British arrived in the late-18th century and discovered the goings-on, they built a road between the two rocks with the sole purpose of breaking the magic. The rocks have been permanently separated since then.

Another version is that British soldiers on patrol chanced upon the rocks going through their rituals. The male rock was shot and lay mortally wounded by the side of the road, unable to get back to its original resting place. The female rock was unscathed. Since then, neither the female nor male rock have been seen moving again. To add insult to injury, houses have been built around both stones, blocking their view of each other.

Whether either version really happened or not, it will never be known for sure. But what is certain is that there are indeed two rocks near Air Itam that are known to the local community as the male and female rocks. Their legend was further immortalised when two side roads were named after them. Jalan Batu Perempuan is on the right and Jalan Batu Jantan on the left of the main road leading to the town.


Sources: The Borneo Post

Emilia IsmailEmilia Ismail is the co-founder of Penang Hidden Gems and is an amateur “historian” who enjoys discovering lesser-known historical information about Penang properties. (More about Penang Hidden Gems)

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