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Kampung Pictures Daily 'Pertemuan' at 'Penarikan'
'Pertemuan' at 'Penarikan' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nanda   
Saturday, 26 December 2009 18:46

Pertemuan... The word carries a beautiful meaning and this is an instance where the beauty of the word will not be captured in its entirety should the literal translation be applied in an attempt to convey it in English.



Indeed, it was a beautiful Pertemuan at the location where the Jempol river meets the Muar river. Legend has it that a group of Pasai first explored and were the pioneers of this place. It is also said that it was used as a meeting spot for traders from East Coast and Siam using the short-cut to Malacca along Jempol and Serting rivers towards Pahang.


It is here that we met this Abang. Humble and with an aura of reverence for the place where we were, little by little, he recounted the history lessons handed down to him through the stories recited by his elders. From Hang Tuah and Tun Teja, to the historical tombs and the various merchants in their ships of the days gone by, he painted for us a picture of what we used to be, a society where diversity was its hallmark, cultures were interwoven, boundaries were an abstract notion and entrenched into our collective psyche was the notion of 'Hormat'.

'Satu benda yang Abang nak cakap, apa-apa pun, tak kira Melayu ke, Cina ke, India ke, sape-sape je lah, kita kena hormat. Semua sama je. India ada kepercayaan dia, Cina ada kepercayaan dia, Melayu pun ada kepercayaan dia, semua menuju kepada yang sama. Kita jangan riak.'

Standing there at the place of Pertemuan, one cannot help but be humbled by these words and the wisdom that they contain in them.




Now, the Pasai, apart from pioneering the area near the Pertemuan, also discovered the way to create a short-cut for the ships travelling from east to west and vice versa. It involved travelling onshore while pulling one's boat for about 300 metres and resuming the journey through the adjacent river. This path through land was named Jalan Penarikan, derived from the action of tarik – pulling the boats onshore.

It was told that the Arabs had to go through an arduous and at times perilous journey through the Straits of Melaka, Tebrau, and the South China Sea in order to reach Siam. Hearing the grouses from the Arabs, the Pasai revealed to them that there was a short cut but they would have to pull their boats onshore for a kilometre or so. One day, the Pasai showed them the route. From Melaka, they sailed along the Muar River to reach Jempol River. Here, they pulled their boats on shore to the Serting River and continued their journey along Bera River to Kuala Bera from which they proceeded to the South China Sea through the Pahang River.

This place has stood witness to many events in our history. Legend has it that while on the run with Tun Teja, Hang Tuah used Jalan Penarikan to flee to Pahang. Legend also has it that the same journey was made by the last Sultan of Melaka, when Melaka fell to the hands of the Portuguese.



Today, walking through the oil palm estates, tracing the steps that may have been taken by our elders, it is hard to imagine that this place which was once very prominent and often used and mentioned in our historical narratives is not physically identifiable. A highway lies lazily, parallel to the two rivers, splitting what must have been the very ground where the Pasai started to pull their boats to continue their journey on the other river.

As we attempt to retrace the path of Penarikan, evidences of the past lie scattered around everywhere, lying in their solitude, staring us right in the face, confronting us, calling out to tell us their stories.

And the stories that they have and the secrets that they safeguard... One can only imagine what they would have witnessed and how rich those stories might have been.



The scattered graves beside Serting River, the lone tombstone lying in the middle of nowhere in the midst of the bushes springing forth from what must have certainly been the river bed years ago, tell us that the river that today looks like a small irrelevant capillary was once a proud artery that pumped into the surrounding community resources and provided means of contact with others.

The giant in the form of the Bahau Mountain, standing tall, watching all that is unfolding through its tired eyes, its almost barren body stripped bare where the amber colour of its naked soil is the only scenery it has got to offer, must once have been the proud guardian that both offered itself as a marker and also a bastion for defence.

In the presence of these silent guardians, images of the earlier settlements and past civilisation come alive.



Jalan Penarikan is now reduced to the graphic depiction on the signboard of Kampung Jambu Lapan and is kept alive by the elderly residents who know the stories that Penarikan has got to tell.

Their stories are meant to be passed down to us. If those elders who are now long gone and those guardians in the forms of tombstones, rivers, trees and mountains could speak, probably they would tell us about our ancestors and how they too learned Hormat at the Pertemuan and Penarikan.



Further info:


Pictures by Suatu Ketika

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Only registered users can write comments!
Eric  - Missed this one trip :( |2010-01-05 06:53:55
Sad to have missed this trip. What delights me, by contrast, is the small wonder this website is becoming.
sing |2010-01-05 17:49:10
Thank you for preserving this piece of history for our children.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2010 14:39

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