Kampong Sucimurni – Glimpsing Malay Culture

by Joseph Ellis on February 24, 2014

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One evening during our stay at Tanjong Jara Resort, we strolled into a cultural gathering.  Actually our noses led us there.  There was an aroma of something cooking by the beach and sounds of laughter and gaiety in the air. So away we went to investigate the source of merriment and behold what an enjoyable evening it turned out to be. The resort had organised for its guests a small glimpse of what would be in a typical Malay kampong.

This resort certainly knew how to keep us entertained with all the fun filled activities that pack its weekly calendar.  We had already bicycled through a sleepy fishing hamlet, learnt to cook up some local Malay delicacies at the cooking class, headed off to a night market and soothed ourselves with an invigorating Malay Spa experience.  Now here we were at the beach enjoying an evening of cultural amalgamation of song, food and games at Kampong Sucimurni.

And yes, our nostrils led us to stalls of fish snacks, pancakes, prawn fritters and lots of local coffee. We soon joined the other guests and immersed ourselves into gaiety on display.  Besides food, there were games, music, art and a bamboo dance on display.

Then there was Jara the macaque who climbed up coconut trees and personally picked up the best coconuts right of the tree for us. He went about this in a very professional manner. When he was done picking he quietly sat by a coconut tree and ate his share of the coconut unaffected by all the attention he generated.

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Jara the macaque on his coconut break

At the food stalls…

Keropok Lekor is a traditional Terengganu fish snack made by grinding processed fish meat into a paste. Mixing it with salt and sago flour and then then deep-frying it, it is served with dipping sauces.

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Keropok Lekor is sometimes refered to as fish sausages

Apam Balik is a pancake-styled snack made from all-purpose flour. It is stuffed with more than a sufficient amount of sugar, peanuts and sprinkles of corn.

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Apam balik is great for those who crave a combination of sugar and peanuts

Cucur Udang are prawn fritters. It is made from flour that is mixed with a variety of finely cut vegetables and prawns and deep fried into small bite sized pieces.

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Chef Dolis serving up some prawn fritters to the guests

Games and calculated dance moves…

Congkak is a game of mathematics played by womenfolk in ancient times that only required dug out holes in the earth and tamarind seeds. Today, it is an oval solid wood block with two rows of five, seven, or nine holes and two large holes at both ends called “home”. Congkak, played with shells, marbles, pebbles or tamarind seeds, requires two players.

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Guests trying their hand at congkak

Sepak Takraw also known as sepak raga, is a traditional ball game in which a ball, made by weaving strips of buluh or bamboo, is passed about using any part of the body except the lower arms and hands. There are two main types of sepak takraw: bulatan (circle) and jaring (net). Sepak raga bulatan is the original form in which players form a circle and try to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible. Sepak takraw jaring is the modern version in which the ball is passed across a court over a high net.

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Sepak raga in action

Bamboo Dance,Two long bamboo poles are held horizontally above the ground at ankle-height. They are clapped together to a high-tempo drumbeat. Requiring great agility, dancers are required to jump over or between the poles without getting their feet caught.

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Guests trying out the bamboo dance…

Music and art…

A group of villagers performing using the kompang

Arguably the most popular Malay traditional instrument, the kompang is widely used in a variety of social occasions such as the National Day parades, official functions and weddings. Similar to the tambourine but without the jingling metal discs, this hand drum is most commonly played in large ensembles, where various rhythmic composite patterns are produced by overlapping multiple layers of different rhythms.

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Batik Painting refers to the process of dyeing fabric by making use of a resistant technique; covering areas of cloth with wax to prevent it absorbing colours. The colours in batik are much more resistant to wear than those of painted or printed fabrics because the cloth is completely immersed in dye.

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Guests could even try their skills at batik painting

After the event we walked along the fascinating beach to gaze as the tides rolled up the shore. We were happy and relaxed. We travel because we want not just to see great scenery but to catch a glimpse of the culture of people that inhabit different parts of the globe. Most time, we go looking for an experience of the local way of life. But at Tanjong Jara Resort, culture came looking for us and found us willing to be swept away.

Tanjong Jara Resort is located at Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun 23000 Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia. Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle takes place every Saturday from 5-6pm at the Anjung Gardens and is complimentary for resort guests. For more details on the other daily activities conducted by the resort, visit their official website.

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