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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Tanjung Sepat 2016

Thursday 11th February 2016

On the 3rd day of Chinese New Year, we went to visit the best place to experience the excitement of Chinese New Year; none other than Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Dong Zen Temple (东禅寺)  at Jenjarom, Banting.

We spent one night at Hotel Garden, Banting after feasted our eyes on thousands of colorful lights at the annual event. Ji Yen happily snapped  a zillion photo shoots of selfie or groupie (group selfie) photos with her smartphone till her battery runs out. No worries, she can be rest assured, she are ready to continue go shooting anytime.

I am prepared with  Portable Charger Power Bank External Battery to ensure we do not run out of battery life while on-the-go. It would be handy if the temple also provide  Mobile Phone Charger Vending Machine someday.

We're were all tired and exhausted from walking along the area to take photos but nevertheless everyone is happy. The stunning view of beautiful floral and colorful lantern made us forget all the tiredness. This year we enjoyed to the fullest and no early departure. We are gonna party till we drop.

 I have been planning for this Beggar chicken's trip for a few weeks at the famous Restaurant Bukit Jugra, Banting but when I finally calling about the reservation, the owner informed me that the restaurant  will be closed for a week during Chinese New Year.

Oh, No! That's odd, most Chinese restaurants are choosing to remain open during Chinese New Year  and ready for more customers. Restaurants enjoy brisk business over long New Year holidays.

Aargh! Why Closed? Don't You Want More Money?

This reminds me of my sister favorite storytelling, and share with us while on the road trip here. She tells the story of Fisherman and the Businessman.

It goes something like this..

One fine day , a fisherman was lying in the warm afternoon sun on a beautiful beach, with his pole propped up and his line cast out into the water. An  enthusiastic businessman walked by.

“You aren’t going to catch many fish with that technique” said the businessman to the fisherman. “You should  put more effort into work harder.”
The fisherman looked up and cheerful and calm asked, “And what is it good for?"

The businessman replied that he would catch more fish, you will earn more than twice as much with  much greater haul of fish.
Save the surplus, and invest in a boat and fishing nets, which would let him catch  even greater number of fish.
Again the fisherman asked, “And what is it good for?"

Somewhat irritated, the businessman explained that he could then reinvest the even greater surplus and buy more boats and hire staff, becoming a small business and catching ever more fish.
Again the fisherman asked him again the same question as before, “And what is it good for?"

Now the businessman  blow his ​top. “What part don't you understand?Don’t you know that you can become so rich that you never have to work for a living again? You could spend the rest of your days sitting on this beach, just enjoying this beautiful sunset!”
The fisherman’s eyes lit up and  sarcastically replied ,“And what the heck do you think I’m doing right now?”

He look at him dumbfounded, lost for words.

Simplicity invites us to pursue the things we value most, remove the blindfold of distractions that keep us from living and enjoying life to the fullest.

Well, good for you. Perhaps the restaurant owner learned the story from somewhere.
The moral of the story is that when we stop chasing the world’s definition of happiness, we begin to recognize the decision to experience happiness has been right in front of us all along. Friends and family can bring joy into your life that money could not buy.

My initial plan is dashed.  We've got to go with Plan B  to fall back.  An alternative plan is to visit Tanjung Sepat for a one day trip.

Tanjung Sepat is quiet fishing village that turned into a tourist spot in Kuala Langat, Selangor and located about 1/2 hour away from where we stay overnight.  Conveniently located nearby Sepang Gold Coast, it offers day trippers a choice of good, affordable and fresh seafood  plus  evening view of the beach is fabulous. At the end of days can present the best opportunities for shooting at the beach especially in the evening when you can see the stunning shot of  great sunsets and sunrises in the morning.

Welcome arch on the main road leading to Tanjung Sepat new village.

 It is a rare occurrence to find the village street unusually quiet in a along a generally busy street. Perhaps some of the villager go for CNY holidays with family and friends headed somewhere else.

It says, the Voluntary Fire Station of Tanjong Sepat. Why is 'Tanjong' spell that way, instead of 'Tanjung'? Excuse the spelling but what I am assuming is that it is the old Malay spelling? 

My hunch was right. 'Tanjong' (updated spelling after the 1972 spelling reform is 'Tanjung')
Few years ago, the fire station is nothing more that a wooden house and a simple metal carport to protect the firefighting  truck  from the weather but now  brought up to modern standards.

What I found amazing is that when one realizes that the fire station is unmanned, with volunteers fire and rescue personnel are ready to go into action  if needed. That's a splendid way.  Way to go, man. I find such self-reliance admirable.

When it comes to Tanjung Sepat, Seafood and Bak Kut Teh  are the synonyms. They are absolutely delicious and a must-try if visiting this predominantly Chinese fishing village.

 Let's not forgetting to try the famous Ah Hock Bak Kut Teh which operates at 8am to 12.30pm. We didn't have the chance to try as we usually arrived here way past noon.

Bak kut teh is a soup based dish consisting of different cuts of pork meat simmered in a herb based broth for hours. In Tanjung Sepat, Ah Hock Bak Kut Teh reinvented  Bak Kut Teh featuring not only pork, but fish, crab as well as prawn.

Before savor the taste of famous Ah Hock Bak Kut Teh I can't comment whether the seafood will clash with the smell of Bak Kut Teh herb.  Sometimes we will remember the old saying “too much ingredients spoil the soup”. I'll reserve comment on that for now, for the time being,

While most of the wooden houses have been rebuilt, part of which still remains many old houses that has stood the test of time, having been a part of history even before Malaya’s independence.

The Tanghao tradition is kept pretty much alive in the old houses in the rural areas.Most of the older homes had a signboard in bold characters hanging above the entrance with Han surname or so I thought. Two big golden characters hung above the main door .

 So young people like me or from the younger Chinese generation often have seemingly will not know what is Tang Hao. On our last trip, I was confused by two letter Chinese Character hung at the household main. It’s easy to mistakenly assume that the entrance as the surname of the family (ancestor) residing in that particular house.

To explain it in simple terms. The Chinese Art will be the origin of group name for each and every Chinese family name or surname. It serves as some sort of trademark of each Chinese family name.

According to the Chinese tradition, each family would have their family hall mark reflecting the place where their progenitor originated. The name – tanghao - could be translated as the - mark of the ancestral hall. 

Don't forget your roots, my friend.

Well, so much for the hallmark, and sayonara to traditional practices. Another tradition bites the dust.

Alas, be it here or there, tang hao - literally hall mark, one hardly could find this tradition being practiced in the homes in the new housing estates and apartment blocks. Younger generation no longer supports the traditional culture of 'tang hao' , it is no longer fashionable  to display such archaic plaque.

Tanjung Sepat Chinese Methodist Church which serve the local community.

Most of the residents in Tanjung Sepat practice Taoism, that  explain why the religious fishermen built many Taoist temples in the small village. 
One of the many temples in Tanjung Sepat. I’m not sure how many temples are there. I have lost count but I think it is at least four or five Taoist temples.

A temple is dedicated to God of Thunder,  雷公.

What does the Chinese alphabet on the floor says?

Mom prayed for rain  as El Niño looms,  have mercy upon us? Give us rain but spare us, 雷公 Lei Gong (God of Thunder) from your scary thunder and lightning. 

Okay, I put the ideas into make up my own little story. 

Can you see the resemblance?  Dropping the hammer and chisel back into the toolbox, ta-da! voilà. you've got Birdman.

It can get very windy on beach. You get to relax, feel the breezy wind going through your hair and you fall asleep within minutes. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Do you sell ice cream?No! He's not a  ICE-CREAM VENDOR.  Ingenious idea. An umbrella canopy for the motorcyclist.

A group of old folks used to spend time near this beach while visitors  admiring the scenic view at seafood restaurants by the seaside.Their makeshift camps or hangout spot, however, had been emptied. The Tanjung Sepat Old Folks Club,had been disbanded or merely shifted somewhere else?

A new retaining wall protecting it from erosion, allows waves to crash into the shore.

My family had our dinner at the restaurant Ban Joo Hin.

We sat looking at this overhead menu board drooling at the thought of the impending crab fest. 

To our disappointment, the Boss informed that the house specialty,  Fried crab with "mee hoon" or rice vermicelli Sold out! Oh Chien, Fried Oyster Omelette Sold Out! What else? Now I have nothing to eat boohoo...

Fortunately, when Mohd Haslin and Tai fell onto the mud below, the tide was low.

Flashback to 2013, just three short years ago...The Tanjung Sepat jetty collapsed when Tanjung Sepat state assemblyman Ir Mohd Haslin Hassan and the village head were inspecting the jetty after receiving complaints from residents in the area. 

"This new 306m long pier will replace the old one. Tanjung Sepat jetty was and still a major attraction especially among the tourists,” said Azmin adding that the total cost for building the new jetty will be funded fully by the state government..

The reconstruction of this new jetty will replace the old jetty which had collapsed three years ago.

Rapid progress on new jetty. Ladies and gentleman I give you the new Qingren Qiao!
Oops. Spoke too soon. It is not ready yet. Please be patient.

The original timber beams are gone from the surface, replaced by harder-wearing concrete, but 
 I love old wooden jetties and wooden signs in the past. The wooden jetty evoke nostalgia for the inevitably fleeting nature of childhood but it is important to tourism and also fit the locals to gave a safe fishing jetty.

Apparently, the place is called Lovers Jetty as courting couples will spend a good deal of time just “hanging out” and enjoying the romantic sunset. Hey, married couples should also enjoy rekindling love in a marriage.
Whether or not the 拍拖(Cantonese paak3 to1) or courting still can have the same feeling as the way it used to, it remains to be seen? I can imagine..Happy couple holding hands looking in the sunset. (in the past). 

Nowadays, they often use their mobiles to take pictures of themselves and posts it on a social media like Twitter and Facebook.  Don't waste all your time on social networks, put the cell phone down and spend more time talking and courtship.  If a gadget is absorbing most of your paak to time … throw it away!  Don't blame it on Cupid or Lovers Jetty if you fail!

A total of RM3.1 million has been allocated to rebuild the Tanjung Sepat jetty.  Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali visits the Tanjung Sepat jetty project site. 

Lai, lai. Come, come...Hawker at a roadside stall that sells  local dry seafood products and freshly blended fruit juices. 

On your way to Lover's Bridge,you'll come across  a notably very famous local products shop called Qingren Qiao Local Products Shop.A first-time visitor will stop and  wondering what do we have here? Is it a museum or souvenirs shop or local shop, selling mainly local produce?  

Well, you've got them all correctly.

The gimmick behind this is pretty darn clever as I say stop the car and explore the surrounding. 
At the front of the shop, it looked more like a museum than a shop. You got my attention, you got my attention to wanted to look around.

Even more fascinating tour awaits visitors at the back of the shop.

You'll realize that this is a well known tourist spot,  judging by looking at photos of  famous personalities taken together with the owner's at his compound  which  hang prominently on the wall.

A young Mr. Simon Yam (任達華), was among the many famous VIP visited the Qingren Qiao Local Products Shop 

Sooner or later, more roadside stall will be doing roadside business giving the Qingren Qiao Local Product Shop unwelcome sight of their competitor.

Qingren Qiao Local Products Shop selling a variety of preserved  seafood products. 

 Go away, little girl. Stay away from the Vase. Inside the vase is a carnivorous creature!

Hey dude. Don't think you can fool me. I wasn't born yesterday.

Why tie the creepy severed hand prop around the vase? Mystery water creature is staged! We might still feel afraid in our last trip but the prop give away the answer to those new visitors haven't seen before.

Why are there so many long arm Plush Monkey in a tree? Don't you know this year known as the Year of the Monkey?

Anyway, another interesting part of this shop is the  things of yesteryear it exhibit surrounding the building. It's really pleasure to take picture with these old stuff as some fun props and paraphernalia.
In today's world, all you need is a flick of switch to start the flame. My mother will say: " You don't know how lucky you are living in the modern age".

Its a nice place to tell the kids about yesteryear- the old fashioned kitchen. "A long time ago in a galaxy kitchen far, far away...". Nah, that's a bit exaggerated.

There is no such thing as gas stove in those days. Before my mom can start cooking, she need to start a fire at traditional wood cooking stove. It is not as simple to use as it seems .

To begin with you can't just go out and buy fire wood at grocery store as you can go and cut your own firewood. It's free in a nearby forest. One of my aunt is given the task to bring home the firewood. There are times the dry woods are found on high cliff. It was much easier going up a cliff than going down. Sometimes she has to sit on the gunny sack to slide down the cliff slowly.

To bring it home, she used a  carrying pole to transport the bundle of wooden twigs on both end of the pole, just like the picture above.

 My sister and I shared a rocking horse when we were younger, but I'm sad to say parents nowadays not found of buying.

 You're never too old to be riding a rocking horse, here we have carefully constructed  rocking horse to provide years of pleasure to both Young and Old.

Hi-Yo, Silver! Away! Lone Ranger's new faithful sidekick... Kungfu Panda

Usually coconut trees will grow straight (but  seldom straight, and often leans because of the wind, fruit load, and instability of the soil). A 'mutant' coconut tree with 5 branches, the picture was taken on 1970.

An image of a fish head with a human lower half .“A mermaid” at the shore of Tanjung Sepat , this was more than 60 years ago? No, but the actual story is from a Cairo newspaper on Saturday 7 April 1973 , claims it was caught in the Red Sea off Yemen.

How Bizzare? A “mermaid” with a fish’s head and the hips and legs of a fully-developed woman. Clearly, therefore, the hoax had indeed originated in or around Yemen during the early 1970s.

The idea is just as crazy as Stephen Chow's 'The Mermaid' (美人鱼). 
'Our ancestors were fish'.
Hey, ain't this just a salted fish? A mermaid that consists of a baby doll glued to a piece of salted fish.

The Truth Is Out There...No, there is no such thing as Mermaids, Loch Ness monster and Dragon. We're kidding ourselves .

Dead whale washes ashore on shore of Tanjung Sepat.  Reportedly measured to be 48ft long and 8ft wide, this whale carcass found  in 1972. The package looks like a soap. (Nah, couldn't possible from the dead whale blubber?)

Fading compilations of newspaper articles covering the Qingren Qiao Local Products Shop. 

Shoo.Oh, it's that nice little girl again! You're blocking the view of my Little Children on a Bicycle Mural. (The original one at  Armenian Street, George Town, Penang)

Fake chickens and rabbits in portable cage made from bamboo weave "to keep them from wandering off". 

It is never a good idea to go to Tanjung Sepat during big holidays or school holidays could result in  long queues at tourist attractions and packed eateries.

Having say that, you want to rethink again. Where is the fun if you not having competition? Would you like to go to a place nobody wants?

When we revisited this nice place in future, the new Tanjung Sepat Lover's Bridge will definitely be ready.

Between September and October of 1995, the villagers of Tanjung Sepat Laut, Sepang, witnessed an unidentifiable flying object hovering roughly a hundred meters above the forest, half a mile away from their village.

My close encounter of the Tg Sepat kind.

Oh No,  not another tourist.. let me first  press a button to 

activate the universal translator between sentences, first what 

they say..

Hey earthling san! I can't find my way. My GPS broke down. 

Do You Know the Way to Tg.Sepat?

The Alien to English translation:

Nice to meet you, Mr.Earthling . I can't find my way. My GPS 

is broken now.

Do You Know the Way to Tg. Sepat?

I replied him, It's just ahead dude!  Have a fun trip.

The English to Alien translation:

 Its just aHead dude!  Have a fun trip.

An alien's visit to earth is not quite complete without visiting Lover's bridge? Hmmm

So what could the bright spots be, other than alien spacecrafts signaling at me? 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind? The aliens communicate with a sequence of 5 musical notes..Re, Mi, Do, Do, So..

Perhaps, even aliens has found a favorite evening spot for courting aliens couples to enjoy the sunset. 
How about you? 

What Are You Still Waiting For? 

So lets go to Tanjung Sepat ! 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Then Sze Koon temple - CNY2016 night view

The Chinese New Year begins on 8 February and  ends January 17, 2017. Start the Monkey Year with these foods to bring you bundles of joy, happiness and luck and most importantly, good health!

Chinese New Year 2016 Monkey Stuff toys. 

Centipede Hill  or Then Sze Khoon Temple/蜈蚣山天师宫 is just within walking distance from my place.  It's a shame to be so close to the place and not drop by for the temple.

During this period the temple stays open late at night (until 10pm or, some days, midnight).

After the Chinese New Year , it will resume normal operating hours from 7am t o 7pm daily.

Colorful giant ornate joss sticks with dragon symbol may take one and a half to two days to burn completely. 

A view looking down the Then Sze Koon temple car park.

Looking at the temple from below.  
For one, it looks near but devotees and visitors have to climb 264 steps to reach the temple.

Mum pay her respect to the Na Tuk Gong (拿督公) or Datuk Kong, all refer to the same deity who are local guardian spirits worshiped in Malaysia, Singapore and parts of Indonesia. Before the arrival of Islam, Malay culture practiced the worship of Datuk Keramat or Datuk Kong.

 Its  the first full moon of the Chinese New Year 2016 which  appear bright n round.  What better way to enjoy the Chap Goh Meh!

Blue moon
you saw me standing alone 
without a dream in my heart
without a love on my own.

Oops, wrong song. Possible the best and most appropriate Chinese song ever about the moon is 'The Moon Represents My Heart'. Rock star Bon Jovi last year released a music video singing that Chinese classic love song. 'Chap Goh Mei' itself means the 15th night of Chinese New Year in Hokkien which also marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebration. 

This could happen at any time and we can see the colorful LED decor lighting effects brighten up the place on the dark nights.

Shazam!  It's a different world. Lighting and camera angles can all make a big difference.

When dusk fell the lights came on and we were treated to an astounding visual display of Pagoda Tower.

Worshipers making offerings of incense, flowers and candles to Then Sze deity.

Newspaper clipping article about a golden color centipede found. Centipedes occur in several colors and patterns but most common are brown and reddish orange

 A picture frame, framed and hung on the wall showing the Golden Centipede.

How did it became to known also as Wu Gong Hill? In 1998, a reporter from a Chinese daily came to pray to the Then Sze deity and spotted a white centipede. He struck first price after buying numbers from a gambling outlet. He was so pleased that he wrote stories about this. Since then whenever people see a centipede they will associate good luck with it.

Spiral incense cones hanging from the ceiling of temple. Mom pray and ask God for guidance - please look after all my family, keep them healthy and well in body and mind and to be safe all the time.

Kwan Yin's statue stands within a small Koi pond with a rock backdrop. 

Me and My Mom! Like Mother Like Son

There was a steady stream of visitors into the temple after dark.

Swarms of  visitors  came down here like a cloud of locusts and  wandering round.

Tang Sanzang/Xuanzang. He is sent on a mission to Tianzhu (an ancient Chinese name for India) to fetch a set of Buddhist scriptures back to China for the purpose of spreading Buddhism in his native land. 

His Buddhist name "Sha Wujing", given by Bodhisattva Guanyin, means "sand aware of purity"

Is it real or only in my head?  We have to accept the fact that he's just a fictional but somehow my head tells me Monkey King is a legend but my heart tells me he's real.

Somebody get  that damn spotlight off me.

Please stop referring to me as Monkey King. I want to know as Sun Wu Kong the Great Sage Equal of Heaven or the Handsome Monkey.

The bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin) helps Xuanzang find three powerful supernatural beings to be his bodyguard - Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing - to aid and protect him on his journey. 

The three in the  background become Xuanzang's disciples and will receive enlightenment and redemption for their past sins once the pilgrimage is complete.

At night, the view of Seremban from Hilltop

 Hey! I'm practicing Tai Chi. 

Now, class, please stand up. Let me teach a very simple movement of Tai Chi. 
First, you separate your legs to make a 60 degree angle. 
Second, imagine there is a big watermelon in front of you, and you are holding it.
Then, use one hand to hold it, and another hand to cut the watermelon into half.
Give half to your left, and half to your right.

The Tai chi symbol is also known as the yin yang symbol.
What is Tai Chi? The Chinese say:"Where there is Tai Chi, there is peace and harmony between the positive and the negative." This is also one important spirits of Chinese philosophy: Martial art is not designed for fighting to win, but for maintaining harmony both physically and mentally within our bodies, as well as for developing a healthy and peaceful mind.

Mom, you look like a tree literally speaking. 

Mothers are so much like trees. Both are in a perennial state of giving. Trees give life-sustaining things such as oxygen, fruit and shelter; while providing beauty and harmony. 

Selfie Stick goes for a spin around the temple.  I felt like a child grab by the arms and spin them around.

 It's back to normal tomorrow as the The Lantern Festival, on 22 February 2016, celebrates the end of the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival.

Well, I've got this particular one dough sculpture while visiting Genting Highland from way back 12 years ago. Dough sculpture artisan from Shanghai, China can knead rice flour dough into a figurine resembling you or various other interesting personalities in 20 minutes.

Dough sculpture, also called dough flower, is a popular folk art of molding figurines from glutinous rice flour in China.
Dough figurines of Monkey King welcome the New Year 2004. It has taken its toll for sure, the  phoenix-feather cap and  dropping a section of its leg.

The next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028. Will I still be around in 12 years time?
God only knows.