The Backstreet Boys Sepak Takraw Championship

Behind the wall of spectators, is an exciting game of sepak takraw. The community organises some informal events for the special day of Eid.

Fittingly, one of the events is Sepak Takraw, a favourite sport played here on Sundays. Sepak takraw is a kind of foot volleyball played with a woven rattan ball.

Some historians believe the Burmese ‘Chinlone’ artform (single-player takraw-style kicking) was derived from Cuju (catch ball), a form of military exercise from ancient China circa 3rd century BC.

Given that it is a public holiday today, many of the migrant workers are not just here to support their teams but also to catch up with fellow villagers from home. It is serious competition for the teams and just as serious socialising for the supporters.

Public holiday breaks are fewer for them as not all holidays are recognised by their employers. Many workers may also opt to work overtime for additional wages.

This ‘village’ consists of 90 percent Muslim migrants from Myanmar and because it is Eid-ul-Fitr, there is a festive and cheerful atmosphere all round.

Back to the game; Tekong Karin passes the ball to Obai who scored with a tumbling somersault. The third (hidden) player is Tun Tun Min.

Seeing the crowd’s enthusiasm and the thunderous cheers form both sides, I asked some of the spectators who’s playing who? They replied “Sama Kampung” or “from the same village”.

Having witnessed their skills and passion for the game, I am not surprised their countrymen back home are moving beyond village championships. Myanmar won the Gold for men’s doubles in the recent SEA Games.

Next: How I was inducted into a Rohingya Rave Party.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f9, 1/400 sec.

Sungai Bil Waterfalls

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.

Loving Slim River Already

Near the entrance to Slim River town is a Taiping Lake Gardens-style park. Love the majestic trees and serene lake view. Officially, the park is known as Taman Tasik YDP.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/125 sec.

The Yellow Lake Of Proton City

Nestled within a quiet housing estate in Proton City is a picturesque but deserted park. Risqi, 4 and Rifa, 7, were taking in the the view of the lake from under a gazebo.

Their mother Nani, a science teacher from a school in nearby Kuala Slim, told me the lake was a tin-mining pit. She reckoned the yellowish water was caused by heavy rain the night before.

I was also told by other Tanjung Malim folks that, on weekends, it is a popular place for kite flying and other recreational activities.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 200, f6.3, 1/250 sec.