Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Segenting, Batu Pahat (19th August 2007)

5th-ku (Mum's 5th younger brother) and family were back in town. Mum and I were supposed to visit Auntie Lee at her home in Minyak Beku whilst 5th-ku and his sons wanted to check out this temple in Segenting (also in Minyak Beku) where you could 'touch fish' so we all decided to do a day trip out together.

Minyak Beku is located in the district of Batu Pahat and if you drive all the way until the end of the road, you will end up in Minyak Beku beach (the beach is located about 8km from Batu Pahat town). It is said that when the area was opened up for settlement, there stood a tall 'keruing' tree which eked out a yellow sap that coagulates easily, thus the name Minyak Beku (literally translated to 'coagulated oil').

Mum and I went to pick up 5th-ku and sons, Dequan and Dejun, this morning from Mama's house and went in search of Auntie Lee’s house (and fruit farm) in Minyak Beku. Auntie Lee used to work in one of the offices in the Chinese Chamber of Commerce which was how I got to know her.

Wow, Auntie Lee and her sister sure have green fingers! Just look at the variety of plants and fruits they grow in their garden. We had the opportunity to try several exotic fruits in her house. One of the fruits we tried was the dragon fruit, a fruit of a cactus species with flowers only bloom at night. The large white flowers are called Moonflower or Queen of the Night. The fruit comes in 3 types - the one Auntie Lee grows are ones of red flesh with pink skin. What does it taste like? Actually, quite similar to the kiwifruit because of the sesame seed-sized black crunchy seeds found in the flesh of both fruits. I do advise you not to get the juice on your clothes - the beetroot-like colour does stain even on your fingers but comes off with a bit of scrubbing and soap. Gives a nice colour to the tongue :)

Another fruit that we tried looked like a durian but has the flesh and taste of a custard apple. Nice though I suggest you share the fruit because it's quite a serving (you might feel a bit sick if you finish the whole fruit in one sitting). Photos at Auntie Lee's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157602201269880/detail/

Auntie Lee gave us directions to this temple we were heading to next located in Segenting. Segenting is a fishing village in Batu Pahat. There is a exit to Segenting from the main Minyak Beku road just before reaching the Minyak Beku beach. The road into Segenting was rather narrow and in not-so-good condition - a bit of a bumpy ride!

Most of the houses (some old ones made of wood, modern-day ones of brick) in the area have stilts to brave the high tides that occur almost everyday. As the residents are fishermen, they pray to the gods for a good harvest thus you would find a lot of temples in this fishing village.

At the end of our drive lies a small temple named Chong Long Gong in Chinese. And the reason why it is popular is because there are several huge Arapaima fish in their pond! The largest one measures up to 6.5 feet!! The locals believe that touching the Arapaima will bring good luck and prosperity, even winning first prize in betting numbers if you are able to touch Arapaima’s head. I'm not sure how true that is but it sure attracts a lot of tourists and local residents to this temple. The fish, obviously 'immuned' to human touch, would swim slowly by for you to touch it. I tried touching one and it felt rather slimy...

Not far away from the temple lies Lovers Bridge and many people believe couples who come and walk till the end of the bridge together will stay happy together (really??). If I'm not wrong, the bridge used to be made of wooden planks on stilts and I was so afraid to walk the bridge, even with a bunch of my college mates at my side. The bridge is now made of cement though I can't help feeling a little anxious walking the bridge that leads into the sea.

We had a nice seafood lunch in a restaurant in the village - crabs, fried squid, fish and noodles. Yum! Photos from the remaining of our day: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157602209319123/detail/

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