We’ve been waiting for it since the end of our last workshop in 2011, and it finally came – BRATs Kuala Selangor 2012, the first BRATs workshop of the year!

And Kuala Selangor can only mean one thing – Fireflies. And seafood. And monkeys. And forests. Wait, there was some awesome history too…

All we can say is, there’s so much to Kuala Selangor that people don’t know about apart from the AMAZING firefly boat rides, and the BRATs got to dig a little deeper to discover all of it.

‘Til the next workshop in June, here are the stories of Kuala Selangor as told by the BRATs:

Lure of the City

Pasir Penambang in Kuala Selangor, Selangor, may seem like a quiet, sleepy town at first, but the folks in this Chinese fishing village tell a different story.

When we met Kea Ting Sai, 65, he was sitting alone in his wooden house, peeling a basket of onions. The retired fisherman was in the middle of preparing a meal just for him and his wife. They are the only people still living in their old house.

Meanwhile, Chong Gong Jong, a 47-year-old businessman, was chatting with his friend Shum Tian Lai, 56 at a local coffee shop. This is where they both spend their time everyday.
What Kea and Chong have in common is that their children are no longer around to keep them company.

“I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to see my grandchildren often,” said Chong. “They won’t get to experience village life like I did.”

The BRATs rushing around Pasir Penambang trying to get their stories.

Fisherman Loh Tian Ting, 55, has been fishing for 42 years. He recounts the days of fishing in the Indian Ocean, some 30 years back, which he says was the best time of his life.

“When I was younger we took a boat out to the ocean and stayed out at sea for five days, but now I don’t go out that far or for that long. Life is harder now that business is bad because the catch has decreased,” he said, adding that these days the fishermen can only catch around 300kg of fish per trip.

Lim Kee Yee, 29, has been fishing since he was nine years old. “I’ve been doing this for very long, but I love my job,” he said. He is not the only one who feels that way. All of the fishermen in Pasir Penambang love their jobs. Unfortunately, business is becoming slow and because of that, these days the older villagers are encouraging their children to leave the village in search of a better future elsewhere.

Most of the locals the BRATs interviewed were older people, many of whom lamented the fact that their children were leaving the village and their family businesses.

The village’s new generation, too, find the city life very attractive. They prefer the challenge of finding a job in a city with millions of people, than simply inheriting their parents’ small businesses.

Chong believes the education system has improved tremendously and it has the potential to open more doors to a better future in the city. “The children are better-educated than we ever were. Education gives them the opportunity to secure a job more easily. If that means moving to the city, I agree with it,” said Chong.

Blacksmith Lim Loong Hoi, 74, pounds away in his shop each day to make ends meet. His business goes back about 100 years to when his grandfather first started the company. “I have seven children, but none of them are willing to take over the business,” he said.

Low Jing Wen, 15, a student at SMK Seri Tanjung, was born here. She intends to leave the fishing village when she is older. She echoes the sentiments of most of the young people living in the village when she said, “I want a better life.”

Pasir Penambang is famous for fishballs and other seafood products, and the BRATs spoke to several locals who are trying to keep the industry going.

With their children elsewhere, most of the businesses in Pasir Penampang are slowly dying out, though this is not the case for most of the shops selling fish products. Khoo Kui Geok, 56, whose fishball business flourished after getting some publicity in the papers, said her family’s business is still going strong. Many other proprietors of similar businesses echoed her sentiment.

Other stories by BRATs Kuala Selangor 2012:

Natural glow: The Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park

Bukti Melawati: A hidden gem

Monkey business: Don’t feed monkeys!

“Park Life” with the Kuala Selangor Nature Park manager

Tell us what you think!

Go top