Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Parade of the Goddess Mazhu -- 妈祖游神

The Greatest Event of the Year

The greatest event of the year in Sungai Rengit is the parade of the Goddess Mazhu in celebration of Her birthday. This happens every 3 years and almost every villagers participate. Those are not staying in the town or those working else where, young or old, everyone comes back to join the fun.

The temple of Goddess Mazhu is the richest temple in the town. The temple even build its own 3 storey building. The temple itself is small and never got expanded over the year though. The Goddess is said to be a good carer to Her believers, especially to the fishermen. From time to time, there are tourist buses coming here just to bring the believers to pay respect to the Goddess.

Inviting the Goddess to control the 'holy stick' (hokkien: ki2 ki1-起枝) before the starting of the parade. The holy stick would sit in one of the sedans.

Nowadays, people or teams from outside of the town are also invited to join the parade, such as this dragon or lion dance team.
When i was a teenager, i thought joining activities of the temple is really superstitious - 迷信 and old fashioned - 老土 (i think this is a phase of growing up. :) Now, i like it to see the younger generation to join the events hold by the temple, i see it as the passing down of the culture. - 薪火相传

In the team of the lady flower basket carriers, most of them are the young local girls. But if you take a closer look, there are even adult men who dressed like a girl to join the team, as a repay of the kindness to the Goddess.-酬神

The believers joined the parade and crowded the road - 万人空巷. They walked with the parade team for 5km to reach the other temple by the sea at Sungai Buntu -三湾. The hardcore one, walked there and walked back. But most people would come back by bus or van or car.
My husband was the representative of my family, he walked 5km with the parade!

Part of the parade.

The sedan with the Goddess sitted inside was 'not in control' and moving all around in the street. My uncle who used to join as the sedan carrier said, during his year, they had to 'push' and 'pull' the sedan way much more than now. The carriers always ended up with muscle pain the next day.
Some of the carriers 'disappeared' when there were not many audiences and only reappeared again when it was near to the temple.

The parade arrived at the destination temple -观音庙 which is 5km away, by the sea.

The parade returned to the temple and whether you walked 5km or not, everyone can have the free lunch provided by the temple.

Walking Around Sungai Rengit...

Memories as a child

In my Form 1 Geography project, it was about to find out the origin of the name of the town you are staying. I remember i had a manuscript of 'Sejarah Pengerang' (The History of Pengerang) from my sister. I got my project done by using that manuscript. It said, the name 'Sungai Rengit' is coming from the river (Sungai) and a kind of tree which used to grow by the river, which were' rengit' trees. i did not know anyone who knew rengit tree, but there used to be mangroves by the river. Now, even the mangroves have disappeared, not to mention the rengit trees, if it ever exist. As for the chinese name si(4) wan(1) dao(3)四湾岛 (literally means the fourth cove island), if you counted from Tanjung Pengelih, Sungai Rengit is believed to be the forth cove by the sea. It is called an island because long time ago, there is no road access to here from Kota Tinggi. People had to take a boat to go to the bigger town or city. My sister was borned in 1976 and my mom had to take a boat to go the the hospital in Johor Bahru to give birth. Due to this, people mistaken or considered this 'forth cove' as an island.

This is one of the fishermen jetty, it is at the river mouth of Sungai Rengit, beside of the bridge.
When i was in primary school, for unknown reason, mantis shrimps were something that nobody wanted to buy. So i came to the jetty in the evening time when the fishermen came back from their catch, and went back home with a big bag of shrimps for free.

Near by the bridge is a 'Y' junction and this piece of land is at that junction.
When i were young, we called here san(1) jiao(3) po(1) 三角坡 [the triangle slope]. There were a few swings, see-saw and other things for children to play. Eventually, they built a garage to park the fire engines and now, it is just merely for decoration.

My grandma told me that, those tower liked structure on the sea are oil rigs. i doubted it, as i don't think we produce oil here. But later on, my friend who studied petro chemical told me that, they are oil rigs! I am still not sure what are these rigs doing here, as nobody i asked seems like can tell me for sure. Some of the rigs are so near that you are able to swim towards it! [such as the nearest one to Kampung Jawa -- tou(2) wan(1)头湾].

We called here da(4) cao(3) chang(3)[big field]. It is shared by both Yok Poon and Sungai Rengit Primary School. Any special event of the town, this is the place for it. In the evening, there are always people playing football.
When i was in the primary school, this is the field where we were trained by Sir Ganeshen (the only Indian teacher in the chinese school) for run. One round of the field is 400 meter.

This is considered as the main street of Sungai Rengit. There are many more tall buildings (more than one storey) than it used to be. There are a few new shops and restaurants, including local product shops (the only real local products are the pastry and may be the seafood at the restaurants -- even in the restaurant, nowadays, they important many seafood from else where), a bakery or patteseries, a steak restaurant (!) and shop selling bubble tea and waffles.
Most of these shops or restaurants are opened or invested by the local younger generations who earned a bit of the money else where and have confidence over the potential the town.

Medan Ikan Bakar or the grilled fish square is the only hawker centre in the town. On the 4th and 18th day of the month, there is a night market just beside of the square. The night market is the best place to try different kind of local snacks, such as apom-apom, bamboo rice, bird nest water (the owner sold this for at least 20 years already) ... There are also clothes, electric appliances, plants ...

Medan Ikan Bakar have good views. It is by the sea and you can feel the breeze and even see the sunset. Nowadays, you can see many big ships on the sea. I read it some where saying that, this part of water is the international grey zone between Singapore and Malaysia. These ships are parking here so that they do not have to pay the anchor fees, while waiting to get into the habour in Singapore.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Places for Activities

Desaru Beach

i personally have strong affection to Desaru Beach. When we were young, it was the greatest day outing we could get with family. It was only feasible during time when aunties or uncles came back, as we did not have car. I have good memories in this place and when possible, i always wanted to visit here.
Desaru is around 30km from Sungai Rengit.

A Chinese newspaper, Guang Ming Jit Poh (光明日報) mentioned about Desaru as a place for family outing. (16th May 2012)


Desaru used to be a very popular weekend escape for residents of Singapore. They come to enjoy the attractive 25 km stretch of beaches and golf courses.
Nowadays, i think Singaporean know Desaru Fruits Farm more than Desaru Beach.
In the non-rainy months, the water is very blue and relatively calmer.

Over the years, i think the public beach areas looked run down. However, it is still a popular place for the local to enjoy picnic, flying kites with the children and enjoy the strong wave of South China Sea.
The beach managed by the hotels are cleaner.
We used to come and stay in the apartment or hotel, just for a weekend break or Chinese New Year family activities.

One of the resort or apartment invested by Jacky Chan (he was here for the ceremony) had a grand opening years ago. But eventually, it closed down. It had reopen again when we came.
The government is making efforts to develop this ares more. When the Senai-Desaru Expressway complected, it will connect Desaru to Johor Bahru in 45 minutes, compared to the present 1.5-2 hours.

When the weather is good and in the season -- not raining season, between April to July, this is how the beach looked like.
This is how the beach appears as in my memory too. Blue sky and crystal blue water.
(Picture is courtesy from aunty Elena and friends.)

Besides from hotel, there are also apartment for rental. i remembered i came here with my family and we brought our own small stove and had potluck in the apartment.
(Picture is courtesy from aunty Elena and friends.)

Sebana Cove

During its grand opening, like many 'feverish' local who had a little bit of money, my uncle became the member of the resort. So we got the opportunities to come and enjoy the facilities, for us, the most interesting thing is obviously not the tennis courts, but the swimming pool.
The resort is quite well maintained. It looked the same as in my memories as far as 15 years ago when we first visited there.
Sebana is around 10km from Sungai Rengit.

Located at the tranquil Santi River, Sebana Cove is integrated with golf, marina, residential and holiday resort.
This is the most expensive and most comfortable rented accommodation you can get around Pengerang areas.

During weekends, the resort come alive and is crowded with either local who comes back to Pengerang, or visitors from Singapore.
If you truely want a very quiet place to enjoy your holiday, come during weekday.
You can enjoy the relaxed ambience of the marina, play golf, enjoy the mangroves or simply sunbath by the pool. The whole place is almost all yours!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My Home Sweet Home

No place is warmer than home

Having a baby and exclusively breastfeeding have taken a lot of my time. The tiny little thing can scream so loud that sometimes it amazed you. The shore has became less accessible to me, as my coming back home time didn't fit to the tide and most importantly, i was just simply too busy taking care of the baby. The first time when i returned to the hometown with the one month old baby, i didn't even get to leave the house compound for more than 20 minutes. The tiny princess just wanted to feed all the times! i looked at the shore from far and thinking, the next time when we come back, may be the princess can already explore the shore together with me.

The behind of my house.
Grandma and mom used to grow vegetable on the land and sale them.
That is their favorite activity and we think that is a form of exercise to them too.
Since grandma got heart attached, the land is now in charged by the maid.
If you go to Pengerang and would like to purchase the fruits or vegetable that you saw at people's house, don't be shy, just ask.
If people don't give it to you, they would still be happy to sell it to you.

The banana trees which my mom grown outside of the house.
The bundle got stolen just right before she wanted to harvest it. She was rather upset with the incident.

I remember a friend cooked aloe vera dessert before. It was some kind of sticky thing.
When we were kids, we cut and apply aloe vera juice directly on the legs as a super moisturizer.
I am not sure how effective it is and as far as i know, some aloe vera is poisonous.

Sweet potato leaves were the best selling vegetable for mom and grandmom.
They sold it to the local restaurant by a serving portion at RM 2 and in turn, this dish is charged RM 8 in the restaurant.
If the restaurant place the order, grandma used to wake up at 5.30am to pluck the leaves from the soil, remove the hard skin of the stem and cut/break the leaves and stem into the cooking size.
Towards the end, the soil would get into the nails and this is a tedious job to be done.

i couldn't believe that grandma managed to grow white carrot!
I thought carrot only grows in mild or cold temperature.

The fireworks during Chinese New Year are always what we all looking forward to.
Many wealthy villagers will light their private big fireworks, comparable to the kind they had for national event.
This one was lighted by the neighbour right beside of my house. The noise was loud at its maximum and the effects are massive.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Special Feature (3): Don't Let This Be the Last Year of the Tiger

The tiger is our national animal. Our heritage. But today only less than 500 of them remain in the wild. As Malaysians, we need to stand up and protect our heritage.
Speak to your children. Speak to your leaders. Everyone of us can make a difference.

For further information, please visit MYCAT (, WWF Malaysia ( and Department of Wildlife & National Parks (


When i was in Secondary school, i joined the school trip and visited the Istana in Johor. I always remember the tiger sample that i saw. It was the belonging of one of the Sultans and it signified the courage and wisdom of the Sultan. The Sultan had passed away for years, giving His share to fertilise the earth, however, his works of bravery remains there. At those ages, it was not an easy tasks to hunt and kill a beast like this. Nobody would sympathised the loser tiger, that struggle in the pool of blood. The big cat, might even had it skins peel off before it breathed its last air. Its death was just to prove the capability of somebody. Since when, the tigers which are associated to the kings, have been drove into the dead angle by us human beings. There are not many of the tiger left now.
In the TV drama, sometimes we would see the leader of the bandits was sitting on the chair with tiger skins on top. People believed that, one will be the leader like the king of the jungle by seated on its skin. In the end, the poor King of the Jungle lost to the bullets, lost even its pennis to people who believed that, eating the tiger pennis will enhance the sexual ability of man.
Nowadays, most of the countries wanted to have hight GDP. Gradually, we all become selfish and care only about ourselves and look only at money. We clear the forest and made the land into agriculture used, animals farming or just to build house. Where can those animals, including tigers, that used to stay in the forest go?
I myself do not have special feelings to the tiger. I believed the old saying: Every lives have the rights to stay alive. Killing is not the way to move forward or to solve a problem. The teeth of the tiger will not make somebody's life to be better. Only the quality within ones could enhance someone's live.
Please let the tigers live.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Access to Pengerang (3): Via Tanjung Pengelih Jetty

I last went back home probably by April 2008, i returned home again on Xmas 2009. Many changes in the town since then. Even the jetty, the boat fees and the taxi fees are different now.

The new immigration complex is completed with modern male and female toilet. There is a room marking as nursing room as well, but unfortunately, it is used as the cleaner room instead.
There are proper seats for passengers waiting for the boat too.

The jetty to alight and board from the board is decorated and have a floating platform now. It seems like safer.

The marina is totally new. It wasn't there at the old jetty last time.
The speed boats, the new boat services, are anchored here.

To go back to Singapore, submit your passport at the first counter. The boat man will keep the passport for a while and when they collected enough passport, they will call you to collect your passport and every passenger will ask to queue up to pass through the immigration together.
The bumb boat leaves when there are 12 passengers, sometimes they ask you to top up the fare so that the boat can leave earlier. Eg. The current boat fee is RM 15 per person if there are 12 passengers. If they are only 10 passengers, the boat man will ask everyone whether they are willing to pay RM 3 in extra, which is RM 18 per person, so that the boat can leave without waiting for another 2 more passengers.
There are at least one boat leaving from Singapore/Tanjung Pengelih to Tanjung Pengelih/Singapore at 7am and 1pm. The boat fee from Singapore is SGD 8 per person and from Tanjung Pengelih is RM 15. But the fees from Tanjung Pengelih will become SGD 8 after 1pm. It means, the boat man will ask for Singapore dollars after 1pm.
The taxi fees from Sungai Rengit to Tanjung Pengelih is RM 20 per taxi or RM 5 per person. The taxi will move only when there are 4 passengers, or else you have to 'top up' the fare (包车).

This is the new office for the speed boat services from Tanjung Pengelih to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Singapore. They have a fixed schedule but the fare is rather expensive. My friend said, it takes only 20 minutes to arrive in Singapore.

The schedule and price of the speedboat.
It is a good option if you don't mind to pay.