Green fields and purple waters

2 01 2016

A veritable feast of colour awaits the visitor to Sekinchan. A seemingly laid back town along the northern Selangor coast, it has, in the time since it featured in the 2011 TV series “The Seeds of Life”, become popular as a destination for an excursion with the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur less than an hour and a half’s drive away. Set in the midst of vibrant green paddy fields and boasting of a riverine harbour painted by a substantial fleet of fishing boats, wooden jetties and the river’s brown, almost purple waters, Sekinchan is a destination that is especially popular with photographers.

JeromeLim-2271

The river mouth near Pantai Redang, Sekinchan

There are two very distinct sides to Sekinchan, each set on either side of Malaysian Federal Route 5. The main thoroughfare that brings the busloads of visitors into the town, also divides it into a landward side on the east in which most of the town’s agricultural activities take place, and a seaward side in the west where its harbour and its fishing related activities are concentrated in. The rather picturesque paddy fields in the east, said to be among the highest yielding in the country, are also amongst the country’s most photographed.

The paddy fields.

The paddy fields.

Another view of the paddy fields.

Another view of the paddy fields.

More paddy fields.

More paddy fields.

A wooden bridge over an irrigation canal.

A wooden bridge over an irrigation canal.

The western side, with its crowd of boats and jetties in what is known locally as Ang Mo Kang or Red Hair Harbour, also provides many opportunities for the photographer, as does the nearby Pantai Redang (Redang Beach). It is just south of Pantai Redang that the river which plays host to the fishing harbour spills into the sea, providing the observer with a seascape at low tide coloured by a rare mix of hues:  the purple of the river, the mud brown of the tidal flats, the grey of the shallow waters of the sea, all against the blue of the sky.

The fishing harbour.

The fishing harbour.

The purple stream.

The purple stream spilling into the sea close to Pantai Redang.

Fish being sorted out for sale.

Fish being sorted out.

Pantai Redang, is also where the colour red features rather prominently. It is where the wishing tree stands, painted almost  red by thousands of ribbons on the hopes and wishes of many have been penned. In the shadow of the tree stands the equally red Datuk Kong (拿督公) temple from which one can obtain the weighted red ribbons that must be thrown up to the tree after one’s wishes are inscribed.

The wishing tree at Pantai Redang.

The wishing tree at Pantai Redang.

The Datuk Kong temple.

The Datuk Kong temple.

A window into the Datuk Kong temple.

A window into the Datuk Kong temple.

Besides the many attractions (there are many more) the visitor should pay a visit to – should one have the time, a visit to one of the many seafood restaurants in town offering the freshest of catches for a meal is a must before hitting the road. A quick visit to the old parts of town on the eastern side is also recommended for its quaint looking shops, as is a stop at one of the fruit stalls lining the road out of town for what must surely be Sekinchan’s best offering – its sweet and extremely juicy large green mangoes.

A seafood restaurant.

A seafood restaurant.

A shopfront in the old town.

A shopfront in the old town.

An old kopitiam.

An old kopitiam.

A temple.

A temple.

Fruits on display at a roadside fruit stall.

Fruits on display at a roadside fruit stall – fruits – especially the delicious huge juicy mangoes seen on the top, are recommended buys from Sekinchan.


 





Sights and smells of a forgotten past

15 06 2010

Isn’t it just wonderful that smells can sometimes evoke a memory that has been stashed away in the corner of your mind? It was the case for me, wondering around the beach at Jimbaran where in the midst of the boats and nets that littered the beach, I was greeted by a smell that I had known from the many night catching crabs at the Mata Jetty or in my wanderings through some of the coastal villages of Singapore. It was a smell that came from rotting fish mixed with the salt from the sea, which, together with the scene before my eyes, brought a sense of déjà vu. Surveying the scene: the splash of colours that the boats brought to the white of the sand of the beach, as well as the grey and brown of newer nets sitting next to those yellowed by through use, it did seem indeed that it was one that I had once been familiar with. It is probably a scene that is typical of the many fishing villages that can be found all over the Malay Archipelago, typical of Singapore once, but out of place in the modern metropolis much of Singapore has become.

The sight and smell of the fishing nets at Jimbaran, brought with it a reminiscence of a forgotten Singapore.

Baskets on the beach.

For a brief moment, I did forget where I was, as I weaved my way through nets and baskets, gratefully drawing in with each breath, a smell which I would otherwise not have found too pleasing. I had imagined that I was back where I might have once been, watching the boats as they came ashore to be greeted by the small crowd which had gathered in anticipation of having the first pick of the slippery silvery harvest that came with each boat. For that brief moment, I felt that I was home again, home amongst the sights and smells I had once taken for granted.

Fishing Boats at East Coast Beach, 1976. For a brief moment I was transported to a scene from the Singapore of old, similar to this.

Around the beach at Jimbaran:

Fisherman tending to their equipment on Jimbaran Beach. Sights similar to this would have been common in the coastal fishing villages of Singapore.

Fisherman at Jimbaran, Bali.

An outrigger stabilised fishing boat.

A close up of the baskets.

The beach at Jimbaran, Bali. The sight of colourful fishing boats on the beach somehow makes me feel at home. A common sight in much of the Malay Archipelago, it was once common on the beaches of Singapore as well.