Gong Hei Go Trip!
Since we’re still in the festive mood for Chinese New Year, here’s something I did that doesn’t revolve around cycling. Just in case you’d like to get to know a bit more about my regular life!
On the first day of CNY, I visited a friend at Teluk Intan. The 2 hour drive was smooth and we were blessed with a great, sunny weather. The humble township is surrounded by the Perak river and wherever it’s not water, it’s the palm oil estates.
Being in such close proximity to the waters, seafood had to be fresh! So I went straight for the gold – a simple, unadorned steamed garoupa fish head – so tasty!
Teluk Intan is widely known as a small town in Malaysia but by Perak’s definitions, it is one of the largest areas. It’s developed in a sense yet you will see the simple ways of living in its purest forms.
My friend’s neighbour, for instance, reared goats in a self-built kandang (enclosure) and a tank filled to brim with freshwater prawns. The house was one of those fishing village homes that you see stilted above waters.
We even fell off the platform of these rotten, aged wooden planks.
I can imagine living here to be a state of serenity. Not just that, the evenings were scenic when the sun set.
We also managed to visit the oldest temple in Teluk Intan, Hock Soon Temple.
Said to be known as Hock Soon Keong, the temple’s origins are unknown except that it was built in 1883. During the British colonial era, this temple was the meeting grounds for the Hokkien Chinese community in Teluk Intan – a culture that’s still going strong today although no longer limited to the Hokkien.
Next tourist attraction: the Leaning Tower of
Pisa Teluk Intan. A construct built in 1885 by a builder named Leong Choon Cheong. The history of the tower that began tilting 4 years after its construction probably can’t beat its Italian counterpart, but still a sight to see! The clock at the top rings every 15 minutes.
Because it’s Chinese New Year, prawns are a must in the feast line up!
Age-old traditional Chinese New Year games that are perfect for a village by the sea! You place stakes on your choice of a shellfish or animal and the chosen one wins.
The next day we prepared for the real celebration! Firecrackers are a surefire way of knowing that you are in an unadulterated traditional Chinese household. And that’s not all..
The families in the area were also well-prepared for a full-on ceremony to usher in Choy Sun (God of Prosperity) for a year of wealth and good fortune. Seen here is a helper preparing the Sang Choi (fresh lettuce) for the lion dance. The fresh vegetable symbolises life and vitality.
Of course, the lion dance went out with a bang!
The Choy Sun giving out red packets to children in the village. Looking at all these traditions, I have to admit that the city life is sometimes clouded by the constant need to change. So much so that a lot of people neglect these little things that make Chinese New Year authentic.
I’m so glad I visited and what a nostalgic experience! Best of all, I brought home a little Fook (fortune) myself.