Sarawakian’s rich cultures and customs, unique traditional rituals, dances, foods, and costumes are among the things that continue to intrigue and fascinate visitors and researchers from around the world. Their warm hospitality and simple ways of life are also some of the traits that many visitors find endearing. I guess, the fascination for this exotic […]
Greeted by a dozen ducks, quacking a cacophonic welcome, is a pleasant surprise as one sets foot on dry land at Pantai Suri Village. Goats and sheep wander aimlessly, chewing on small shrubs. Everything seems peaceful and very laidback.
The silent whisper of ripening paddy fields swaying gently in the wind greets visitors, as they step into Kampung Seterpa. Running barefoot, a small boy pushes his small tricycle across the beaten footpath at the edge of the paddy fields. A rooster crows loudly, breaking the deafening silence.
"When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future." -- Dian Fossey
I have idolised Dian Fossey, the zoologist ever since I watched Gorillas in the Mist on television. She was the champion of the gorillas in Africa and had dedicated her life to preserve and protect the great apes from extinction. Without her painstaking research and groundbreaking studies, we might never have known or cared about the primates’ existence.
I may not have the single minded devotion that Dian Fossey had for the majestic mountain gorillas of Rwanda but I am passionate about the conservation of wildlife. Although I’ve made a practise of donating money to various wildlife organisations, I have never participated in any conservation programme.
So, I believe it was fate that brought me all the way to Matang Wildlife Centre in Kuching, Sarawak, last July. I was in Sarawak for a holiday but a friend had invited me to attend the launching of a conservation programme called Heart2Heart with Orangutan at the rehabilitation centre.
Opulent Chinese mother-of pearl dining table graces the massive hallway. Tiles inlaid with small, brownish chintz decks the accompanying living room.
Richly woven tapestry adorns the walls; pictures of a wealthy Baba-Nyonya couple, the Penang Peranakans, hang demurely alongside.
The scent of old antique wooden teak lingers in the air.
‘It is World War II. Bombs fall as hungry villagers raided warehouses for food.
Amidst the mayhem, a villager named Ah Ham spotted a melon-shaped teapot on the ground. As he bent to pick it up, he heard a piece of shrapnel whizz just above his head. The melon teapot had saved his life!
For many years, the teapot was Ah Ham’s constant companion. He used the teapot daily and often entertained his guests with his wartime story and his miraculous brush with death.
Keropok lekor, anyone?
Tasty, crunchy, fishy, yummy are likely some of the words you’ll come across by Malaysians and visitors alike, in describing the popular traditional snack, keropok lekor.
Keropok lekor, a specialty of the state of Terengganu and states situated along the east coast Peninsular Malaysia is a heavenly indulgence with its crunchy, slightly fishy taste, a popular treat among locals.
Its shiny green skin dazzled brightly under the hot, morning sun. Next to it, grew another round, shiny green fruit; its small size screaming for attention.
Workers are seen tearing away the old newspapers around the other fruits, offering a glimpse of the succulent home-grown apples.
The smooth jawi script, intricately carved with the words ‘Tengku Khazijah binti Seri Maharaja Sultan Abdul Jalil, Riau 1127 (Hijrah)’, shone brightly in the glass case. The words were inscribed onto a silver tray, replete with small motifs.
It must have once been an important household item, used by the Riau royal family. Present in the early days of the Riau Sultanate, it would have been used to carry delicious cooked food, and warm drinks for family members, guests and friends.
The trees bristle violently in the chill wind.
A large orange nose peers shyly from the tree tops. Wide-eyed with weary lines under its eyes, the proboscis scans the horizon.
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