Last 2 weeks in Batu Pahat (25th August - 5th September 2007)

Have you ever tried soya milk (beverage made from soybeans) with cincau (black coloured jelly-like dessert drink)? I thought it was really strange when 5th-ku told me about it - I've never had the 2 drinks mixed together! Apparently the new drink these days and it's quite nice - you have to try it :) It even has its own name, Michael Jackson, because it's part black and part white! A photo of the drink:

I mentioned in my previous postings that there is now a trend to have coffee in a kopitiam (traditional breakfast and coffee shop found in Malaysia). Mum and Dad took me to so many during my time back home! The brew of coffee varies with each shop but you will always be able to order kaya toast in any of them. Here's us again, this time in a kopitiam in Pacific Batu Pahat Mall (this is a new hypermarket located on Jalan Kluang, just opened in January 2007):

Tuesday, 28th August 2007: Meng Li and I went to visit Ley In today who has just became a new mother - congratulations on the birth of your baby boy!! He's adorable and according to Ley In, he is growing day-by-day. Wow...I really take my hat off to you, Ley In - I can't imagine being a mum at this point in time and I think Meng Li would agree with me on this. "You'll cope and know what to do" was the response Ley In gave us when we asked how she took things with stride. But most of all, I can see that she's very happy with her life and that's what matters the most :) Photos taken of Ley In and son:

Thursday, 30th August 2007: My brother's back home for the week so Dad decided to take the family out on a day trip to Kukup, Pontian, a small fishing village located about 22kms south of Batu Pahat. Kukup is essentially a fishing community that is famous for its open-air seafood restaurants and cage cultured fish farms. There is also a ferry terminal and immigration checkpoint, where one can book a passage to Batam Island and Tanjung Balai (Karimun Island), both in Indonesia.

We left home around 8am and slowly made our way to the visitor centre in Kukup. I went in to find out how we could get to Pulau Kukup but got stuck there listening to the lady behind the counter telling me all about the ecosystem and habitat in the island. Dad thought he came in to rescue me but got sucked in as well - the woman went on and on like a machine gun! She was very knowledgeable of the island and we would have liked to stay on but had to hurry due to the sudden change in weather.

Pulau Kukup measures approximately 647 hectares, and is surrounded by some 800 hectares of mudflats. It lies a stone’s throw away from the 150-year-old fishing village of Kukup. In olden times, Pulau Kukup used to be a beacon for the many traders and seafarers who made their way through the Malacca Strait and notorious hideout for the vicious pirates who plagued them. Today, this mangrove island is one of the national parks in Johor.

An old Malay legend has it that island was once the abode of 4 celestial princesses. Their peaceful existence was shattered one day when one of them fell in love with a sailor, and against all advice, eloped. A dreadful cruse befell the place, and the island was engulfed by the sea which later re-emerged. However, unlike every other island around Johor, this one was totally covered in mangroves.

From time to time, people have tried to settle on the island but without success. Some say it is because the island is the gateway to the spirit world. Whatever the case may be, the island remains uninhibited by man to this day.

As we walked to the jetty to catch our ride to the island, we passed by the fishing village which used to be made up of wooden houses built on bakau (mangrove) stilts. With prosperity and modernization, these have since given way to brick-and-mortar dwellings. The weather got worse as we approached the jetty with umbrellas in hand - I wondered if the trip will go on...To my outmost surprise, the boatman took us to the island despite the rain! And that lady behind the counter - she was our guide for the day!!

It costed us RM5 each to enter the national park and RM5 per person return boat trip. There was no one else besides my family and the guide in the park - felt rather exclusive :) Pity it was raining heavily and most of the wildlife went in hiding. Still, it was an interesting trip. The whole walk in the park took us roughly about an hour - there were lots of stops to see the different mangrove trees, crabs and other mud creatures, and we also walked the 600m boardwalk, the 30m 6-floor observation tower (only Dad, me and the guide went up) and the 30m suspension bridge with two 15m tower respectively at each end of the suspension bridge (you should have seen Andin's face when he found out we had to cross the bridge - haha...).

Given good weather, you would also be able to take a boat ride through Sungai Ular (Snake River) and see some more wildlife in their natural habitat. Word of advice - make sure you put on insect repellent before you enter the park. I got bitten real bad by small mosquito-like insects. Left me itching for weeks!

Part of the tour included visiting one of the cage cultured fish farm, which was somewhat similar to the one I went to in Sungai Kilim, Langkawi. Mum and Andin didn't join in and stayed on the boat - too afraid to walk the plank, guys?? Dad and I followed the boatman and guide to see some interesting fishes in the farm and Dad even touched a baby sand shark!

Our guide was great and the way she conducted the tour (repeating information again and again) left us feeling more knowledgeable about the wetlands than before. Though her tour was voluntary, Dad gave her RM40 as a token of appreciation.

Your trip is not complete if you left without sampling the seafood in this area so make sure you stop at one of the restaurants for a meal before heading home. Photos from our trip in Kukup:

Friday, 31st August 2007: Today's a public holiday as it's National Day in Malaysia. This year is Malaysia's 50th anniversary of indepedence from the British since 1957. Days leading to the national day, you could see lots of vehicles covered with the Malaysian flag, Jalur Gemilang (which mean 'stripes of glory'), and children on bicycles with a huge flag attached to their bike (the flag pole looked like it would tip the bike over).

My family and I went to Muar to visit my paternal grandparents (it's routine that we visit them at least once a week). Mum decided to celebrate my birthday in advance so brought a tiramisu cheesecake along which she bought from La Luna Cakes & Breads on Jalan Rahmat. That's very much in advance, Mum, like 3 weeks! But it was nice :) Photos of us in Muar:

I had been looking for a cobbler for a few days now - I wanted to get the bottom of my ladies' shoes soled with leather so that it'll be easier to dance on. In Wellington, you would have to go to a shop to get it done for NZD20-25; here in Batu Pahat, you need to look for a tukang kasut i.e. cobbler, most of the time found at the corridor outside shop or office buildings, and it costed me RM15 for the job. It's rather uncommon to see such road-side cobblers these days. A photo of the cobbler at work:

My last few days in BP was spent spending time with my folks, shopping and packing up my stuff for my trip back to NZ. Andin's back in university to study his masters and I left home for Singapore on Wednesday morning to catch my flight to Wellington that afternoon. This has been my longest break in Malaysia (I've always only spent 3 weeks at home) and it was great that I had the chance to see much more of the country this time round. Photos taken during the last couple of days:


  1. Hi Angel,

    Hope you are having fun wherever you are! :)
    Ley In's bb boy is soooo adorable! Very boyish! Haha....
    Take care and keep in touch!



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