The fishing village
Most people living in fishing villages in this part of Malaysia are Chinese. Many of the fishermen have houses build half in the sea.
Panchor, a little town, were this story happened is such a village. The houses are build in a way that when it is high tide, the water comes to houses. Many houses here have their nets on the veranda. When it's high tide, they catch fish from their verandas. You can't get it fresher then that.
Usually at daytime, the men sell fish on the boat, fresh from that morning. Others clean the fish and preparing for either consumption or transport to other places in Malaysia or abroad.
The women are busy in the household or selling fish at the market. The fishing village of Panchor is small but lively. But when you arrive from the main road in Panchor, there's no boat to see. For boats you have to pass the village until you reach the harbor.
My friend David, who lives up north from here called me. If I was interested in visiting a little village called Panchor. This little fishing village is located just north of Pantai Remis. David would pick us up at our house in Sitiawan.
About an hour later I heard a car honking the horn. It was David.
David is an Indian Malaysian and, like me a cyclist. With him, he brought two friends, one Indian, one Chinese. We drove to the village of Panchor.
The village is complete Chinese. The view of a Chinese with an Indian and a white man is rare in this village. If Indians come there, they are usually policemen. Therefore David was closely watched.
Our Chinese friends' name is Ah Moi. He seems to know all the villages around the north-east coast of Malaysia it seemed. I had met him before in another village and there too he was familiar with each and everyone. And David had told me earlier Ah Moi was very well known in many places here.
We went to one of his many friends there. The query was if we were interested in visiting a fish-farm. Of course we were interested. So we went to one of the fishermen's boats.
However, it was a day of prayer for the Chinese fishermen. Good luck for us. We were invited for (the first of) a meal with the fishermen on the dock. The men pushed us to drink some beer. Their motto is: "without beer, no fun". But Ah Moi took us away after about 15 minutes. There was more to do according to him. So we went on the boat and went to one of the farms.
It was a 15 minute sailing from the village. Here too men were eating and mostly drinking. We were just too late for the feeding of the fish so there wasn't much to see apart of big areas floating in the open sea where fish was breed.
And there were many farms around in front of the coast. Whilst sailing out to the fish-farm gave us the opportunity to see the village from a different perspective. Now we could see proper how many houses were partly build in the sea.
Back in the Fishing village
Back in the village Ah Moi took us to a little restaurant. From here we had a view over life in this little fishing village. Normally fishermen are at daytime busy with cleaning their boats or repairing their nets. The women do their household and also sell their fish on the markets.
Today was a day of prayer. None of the men were at work. The women were busy with preparing the traditional food required for a day like this.
Ah Moi and David ordered some extraordinary dishes of the prawns we had been given. And whilst we were eating we saw a group of Singaporeans coming up. They spoke to a boat owner and a bit later they went, like us before, out to the farm (?).
Meanwhile some of the fishermen were getting quite drunk. Some started singing traditional and less traditional songs. One of the older guys was dancing on the table until another took me off. I saw the that man later sleeping in a corner and again some time later drinking more beer.
Going back home
It was around 9 or so we left. The experience in this little fishing village had been fantastic. The generosity of the villagers had been fantastic. These people are so sweet. Whatever they thought we may like, they gave us. No payment was accepted, in fact it was seen as an insult since we were the guests. David and Ah Moi had given us something special we would not easily forget.
And during the drive back home, which took about an hour or so, we were silent and thinking about our day. Hospitality still exists, and not just that. It exists next door sometimes without knowing.
Nearby Taiping is a mangrove forest. Inside the forest you will find several charcoal factories using the mangrove trees to produce charcoal. It's a great day out from Taiping.
Ecology Camp in Taiping
Mr. Goh includes the Charcoal factory and a visit to the mangrove forest for his team building activities. I joined. We went to Gua Temperung caves and Kuala Sepetang mangrove forest.