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Archive for the ‘My Hometown’ Category

A couple of months ago, I found myself with a collection of old photographs left in my care by a relative. Among these photos, there are some photos of Batu Pahat taken during the late 50s and 60s. I thought I might as well share it here on my blog. Even though I was given the task to sell this print but I feel that they are too priceless to be sold off. It’s part of our history. 🙂

This is a photo of Ai Chun before the new school blocks and hall were built thus covering this from public view. If anyone has gone into the school before, this original building can still be found somewhere in the middle of the compound.

The fire station when it was taken on 1st January 1959 (hence said the description in the photo).

I have no idea where this is, but according to the description its Bukit Istana. Would this be the building where the royalties stay when they drop by in Batu Pahat, near to Kampung Istana. To me it looks like the old house situated near to Tasik Y, at the small hill where the government quarters used to be situated. Could someone shed a light on where this is located? All comments are welcomed.

Cathay cinema during the 60s before it was refurbished to be a exhibition hall a couple of years back. Does anyone missed the creaky wooden chairs and the sticky floor that greeted them once you stepped into the hall? Or the stalls selling tit bits lining the side of it whenever there is a blockbuster showing.

I guess that’s all for Part 1, will post more soon …. I hope.

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Otak-otak is a fish cake found throughout Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.  It is also known as otah-otah, otah or otak in Singapore. It can be eaten as a snack or with bread or rice as part of a meal.

Otak-otak is made by mixing fish paste (usually mackerel) with a mixture of spices including chillies, garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemon grass and coconut milk. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf that has been softened by steaming, then grilled or steamed.

While fish otak-otak is most common, otak-otak is also commonly made with prawns, often resulting in a more textured variety.  

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I have been quite a regular patron at this stall at Glutton Square. There are a few otak-otak stalls over there, this one is located at the end of the square (near the junction to YC Superstore). That’s the owner busy grilling the otak-otak to some customers. The lady giving the ‘V’ sign is the owner of the BBQ chicken wings next to this stall ( I will review it later).

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What I like about this stall is that the owner is very friendly and the price is competitive. Furthermore the otak-otak is quite thick and its not so salty like the ones sold at other stalls. The spicyness is also just right.

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Here you can find the owner grilling the otak-otak over the electric grill. (That’s my order).

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Usually after grilling he will immediately wrap the otak-otak up, its best to take this when its hot.

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My orders of 40 otak-otak freshly grilled.

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The texture of otak-otak is just nice. It was not overdone (burnt). When you people come back or visit this town, do give this stall a visit, you won’t regret it.

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Beef noodle soup is a Chinese noodle soup dish composed of stewed beef, beef broth, vegetables and Chinese noodles. It exists in various forms throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. It was created by the Hui people (a Chinese Muslim group) during the Tang Dynasty of China.

In the West, this food may be served in a small portion as a soup. In China, a large bowl of it is often taken as a whole meal with or without any side dish.

In Chinese, “牛肉麵” literally means “cattle-meat-noodles”. If one orders “牛肉湯麵” or “cattle-meat-soup-noodles” in a restaurant in Taiwan, China, or Hong Kong, one might be given a very inexpensive bowl of noodles in only beef broth but no beef. Since beef has become much more affordable these days, most restaurants no longer provide these broth-only noodles. If one orders a “牛肉湯” or “cattle-meat-soup”, one could be given a more expensive bowl of beef broth with chunks of beef in it but without noodles. A common Vietnamese version of this dish is called Pho. (Taken from wikipedia)

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The simple signboard of the only beef noodles stall in Batu Pahat. Had breakfast with philip today.

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The uncle who has been selling the noodles for more than 30 years. When I asked the auntie how old uncle has been in operation, she said many years, so I tried to ask 20 years? Auntie said, more than that. I am sure most of you remembered this uncle.

He used to operate at the Jalan Jenang Chia Pa Sat before it was torn down and replaced with Hong Leong Bank building now. His son used to help him but has since seek greener pastures elsewhere. Most of the time uncle is alone handling the stall.

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The sizzling hot bowl of beef noodles costing RM6.00 for a big bowl and RM5.00 for a small one. The soup has a very thick aroma of beef and spices. The beef portions are also generous (meat, stomach, tongue, etc.) Its like sup lembu but chinese version.

The chilli sauce that comes with it isn’t spicy hot, it has a blend of ginger and vinegar into it. Complements nicely with the beef. Bon Apetit!

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This is another temple where tourists comes during the weekends to pray for good fortune and ask for lucky numbers. It’s located at Jalan Shahbandar (the road where Glutton Square is at) and its exactly the junction turning into Taman Pantai. This is the main entrance of the temple.

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There are 2 hard-not-to-miss guardian stone lions sitting on each side of the entrance. This is one of the lions.

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There are ample of parking space outside the temple, the first thing you are going to see are the lines of tourist buses parked and the numerous outstation cars parked around and inside the temple.

You will notice these lanterns when you enter through the main entrance. Below the lanterns you will see strips of papers, people write out their wishes and attached them to the lantern, hoping that it will come true.

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You will notice this well somewhere near the deity praying altars. It is said that the water has been blessed by the dragon king and whoever that washes with it will have good blessings by the god.

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Some of the other attractions in this temple include this steel bridge, which says that when you cross it, something good will happen to you daily and yearly. (Mandarin illiterate here, translators needed).

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At the end of the bridge you will see this golden statue of ‘Tua Pek Kong’.

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There are instructions like where you touch the deity, you will be blessed with certain fortune, I have taken a close up picture of the instructions.

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My curiosity nature got to me when I saw this creature.

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It’s a “Long Kui” aka Dragon Tortoise. This is the front view of it.

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And a side view of the statue.

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There is also a white (albino) crocodile beside this dragon tortoise, what it does I do not know.

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These round shaped turntables represent the gaming industry in Malaysia and Singapore. You can see they are categorized to Toto, Magnum 4D, 1+3 Damacai and Singapore 4D. You need to make a small donation beneath the white turny thingie and then take a spin at it.

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This flotable platform is where the temple people do their rites when the festival day arrives. (Don’t ask me when, I don’t know).

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The dragon king deity himself …

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and his minions, the Turtle General …

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and the Shrimp General.

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There is also this bronze made heavy looking nicely crafted plaque near the altar.

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There is a small hill within the temple grounds, when you climb up it, you will see this nice tibetan looking bell.

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This is a general overview of the temple with all the attractions I have just stated.

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There is a souvenir stand in the temple for people to buy some trinkets back home to their loved ones.

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Author’s Note: I did not go into detail about the lucky numbers part. You have to buy a pineapple there, put your lucky numbers to it, then walk to the Tua Pek Kong deity within the temple and then chant with the medium, bring the pineapple home and pray your number comes out.

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Hibiscus Garden in Batu Pahat

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I bet a lot of you don’t know where this is. If you don’t come back often, its okay to be clueless. Still no idea? How about a bigger picture showing somemore background.

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Give up? This is actually a place for people to do light exercise. It also serves as a hibiscus garden for people to know about the varieties of the flower. It is located between the Stadium and Parit Dobi (the infamous big drain).

I believe these are hibiscus too, but grown in clusters. I am no botanist, so if I have mis-identified the flower, feel free to leave your comments and I will make the adjustment.

Edit: This is Kock’s Bauhinia. Scientific name is Bauhinia kockiana. It is also a creeper and originate from Peninsular Malaysia. Thanks to Lulu for the tip.

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This would be the official national flower, what breed I have no idea. This is the side view of it.

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This is the front view.

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Another variety with larger and rounder petals.

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The scattered petals hibiscus.

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The pink variant.

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Last of the lot, this one has an inner dark colour compared to the rest found in the park.

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And that concludes my introduction to the hibiscus, our national flower.

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Most people go to temples to pray for good health, fortune and blessings for family members or close friends. This temple in particular caters to the fortune part. On weekends you can usually see busloads of tourists coming to this temple, not only singaporeans but aunties from other malaysian states as well. All of them come here just to ‘stroke the lucky fishes’ found in this temple.

The picture below show the crowd surrounding one such pools in the temple.

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More people jostling for a place to get near the fishes. So what kind of fishes are they, gold fishes, arowana, flower horn?

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Nope, none of the above are correct, the tourists are there to touch the arapaimas. Native to South American rivers, these fishes can grow up to 3 metres long. This particular pool houses between 4-5 of such fishes but these are small ones. There is another pool above this temple which houses the giants, but I did not take the pictures there, too crowded and obnoxious aunties trying to touch the fishes and then parking there, not moving, such selfish people.

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See the auntie in white Tee, still there when I took this picture in another angle.

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Some of the nice deity statues and the dragon king’s minions around the temple.

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Tha main altar of the dragon king facing the Straits of Malacca. Segenting Village is primarily a fishing village, the villagers here pray to the dragon king for safety at sea and a bountiful catch before they set out to sea.

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You can see this set of tortoise and turtle statuette with a pineapple on their back beside this altar. Some people pray to them for longevity, whereas some if they cannot touch the fishes would just hug the golden pineapple for good luck.

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The mundane and tranquility scene around the temple, the main fishing village.

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This is one of the longest jetty in this village. Its also known as the ‘Lovers Bridge’. There was a time when a lot of couples dated on this bridge and thats how it got the name. Not safe to go at night, might get robbed. But a lot of anglers still do fish at this jetty.

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The only island off the coast of Batu Pahat, Pulau Sialu. History has it that this used to be a prison for offenders long ago before colonization. Offenders are simply sent off to this island to serve their sentence. Plenty of fishes around here, so food ain’t a problem. There is a small lighthouse on this island but its no longer functional.

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Edit: A fellow blogger and friend from Singapore came to visit me 2 weeks ago, her name is Catherine or in blogger’s world, Princess Lana Janelle. She has also posted her encounters in the temple in her blog. Do go and visit it here, Princess Lana trip to Batu Pahat.

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I am going to show today a few photos of Batu Pahat from the 1970s and present. The present photos I took it just this morning. As for the 1970s photos, its been taken by a Peace Corp teacher from the U.S. when he was posted in SDBL (Sekolah Datuk Bentara Luar), his name is Larry Pupkiewicz.

This is the famous roundabout landmark of Batu Pahat. It has this century old tree in the middle of it. Many attempts have been made to chop this tree down, but mysterious things keep happening like the chainsaw broke, saw refuse to cut, etc. So it was decided that this tree stays. This is a photo of it during the 1970s, note the volkswagen car.

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This here is the present photo of the landmark, the tree is now much bigger and there has been some beautification project around the roundabout. Note the perodua kancil to prove that its present.

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This is the Kuan Yin Deity temple located near the roundabout. In the 1970s, its just a wooden shed with an urn in front of it.

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Over the years, it has been renovated and the original wooden shed has been torn down, in place is the same temple but a more beautiful one.

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This is the Ma Chor Keng temple, its also known as the Lim Clan Association. In the past, if there is a certain lim you need to find, this is the place to go. Consider this the yellow pages of the past. Much has not changed for this temple except that its owners are different. It has been given a fresh coat of paint and the urn is now much bigger than what it was from the past. The temple during the 1970s.

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The temple at present times.

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