Also known as Batu Bersurat in Malay, the Tiger Rock is one of the most intriguing objects found in Pangkor Island. Located near the ancient Dutch Fort, the large boulder sits under a huge pavilion purposely built to protect the historical object. A lot of mysteries surround this rock; the locals even believe it’s a living rock and that it grows bigger and bigger as years pass. It’s still a mystery who did the inscription. Also, different stories and theories are made on the meaning of the carved drawings and initials.
Batu Bersurat, which literally means “Sacred Written Rock”, measures 10.7 meters long, 4.6 meters wide and 4.3 meters tall. From a distance, it looks like a typical granite boulder but when inspected, you’ll notice the carved etchings on its side. The carved drawing shows an image of a tiger trying to maul a child. According to the locals, it has been engraved by the Dutch in remembrance of the Dutch dignitary’s son taken by a tiger on the island. Allegedly, the child got lost while playing near the boulders in 1743, during the supremacy of Sultan Muzaffar Syah III (1728 – 1756). Another disturbing version of the story claimed that the Bugis and Malay tribe abducted and killed the Dutch child, to revenge the cruelty and abusive treatment of the Dutch to the locals. When the Dutch soldiers searched for the boy, the local people created a story that they saw the child carried away by a tiger. However, other villagers in Pangkor Island believed that it was not the tiger that had taken the child, but rather the dissatisfied Malay warriors who wanted to free Pangkor from the Dutch. With this story, the soldiers carved the inscription on the rock showing the Malays as the tiger. This is the reason why it is called as Tiger Rock today.
Besides the carved drawings, there are also letters, symbols and numbers etched on the stone. These include the Dutch insignia ‘VOC’ which stands for Vereenigde Oost-Indische Companie or the Dutch East India Company, the letters ‘If Carlo 1743’ and two round-shaped leaves. Other carvings are the letters ‘IK’, ‘R.O’, ‘BVH’, PVL’, ‘VM’, ‘PP’ and ‘MA’. The etched letters are probably the initials of the people who carved in the stone and perhaps, carved in year 1748 as it was etched as well. Apart from the mysteries of this rock, it is believed that the Dutch left treasure and there are claims that it is hidden in a den of secret caves at the back of the Dutch Fort, just within near the Tiger Rock. However, two old coins were only found and so far, that is all. Well, the Dutch Fort, the Batu Bersurat and the other beautiful spots in Pangkor Island are already enough treasures that should be preserved.
Today, the old Tiger Rock still draws more and more tourists and travelers to take a glimpse of this historical object. The sketches on the rock will serve as a memory of the interesting history of Pangkor Island.