The calming sight and soothing sounds of the river belie the ferocious battles that was fought beside it during the Second World War. The road outside was littered with casualties from the British Indian Army attempting to thwart the invasion.
It was on this road that invading Japanese tanks rumbled through in its drive to capture Singapore in the south. This was the old road going north or south until the tolled-Slim River highway was constructed in the 1960s.
74 years later, the actions of the brave men are mostly forgotten or ignored. The river that bore witness remains as stoic as the giant, mossy boulders.
The stoical stance lessens the pain of indignation, I guess. Its banks are now littered with styrofoam boxes from disregardful picnickers.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 50, f22, 1/2 sec.
So thanks to Mokhtar, I ended up in this strange cowboy town known as Slim Village. The shops are erected in a horse-shoe pattern and the street sign says Taylor Road. It is really remote and I love it.
Expecting a tumbleweed to roll out anytime or someone to challenge me to a fight, I walked cautiously in the middle of the main street. Wait. There is only one street.
I ended up in front an Indian restaurant. The head waiter came out and stared at me instead of asking if I want to eat or drink. A group of Orang Asli guys inside the coffee shop were also staring at me.
Two nasty Chinese gangster-types eating outside dropped their cutlery and started staring at me, too. The tension was thick enough to fry on the roti prata pan and the silence deafening.
So I stared back as aggressively and took a picture in between. That was the moment the angry-looking cook behind reached for his knife. Since I am facing imminent death, I might as well ask for one last drink.
I asked: “Aneh, Fanta Grape atau Kickapoo ada?” (Do you have Fanta Grape or Kickapoo soft drink?) .
Luckily for me, it turned out be an icebreaker. The unblinking man replied: “Ada Fanta, boss. Mau ais?” (Got Fanta, boss. Ice to go?) .
Suddenly the Chinese gangsters laughed, the cook laughed, and the Orang Asli people laughed and all was cool. Phew!
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 125, f4, 1/250 sec.
At the entrance of the town (or village) of Behrang Ulu is a striking green-painted shack. It turned out be a fascinating, old school Malay coffee shop.
A banana fritters hawker nearby told me the kedai kopi is opened only in the morning. I think that cat n the chair likes it that way.
Behrang Ulu is quite unique in that it is not only a multi-racial new village but it also has a town sign written in Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Must come again to have coffee and a chat with the locals.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/250 sec.