On 4 and 5 May, nine Malay Language students and four international students made a trip to Kukup, Johor, to assimilate ourselves into typical rural/suburban Malaysian lifestyle, and be able to use the language we have learned thus far with the locals there.
When we first arrived, we went into the village or “kampung”, as most would call it, and snooped around to visit the small and various shops. We conversed in Malay and learned new words that we students would never need to use in Singapore, like “kedai runcit” because we wouldn’t have any reason but to call any shop a sundry shop.
The itinerary was simple, which was why it was so great. As soon as we got there, we were taken on a boat ride to the chalet on stilts above the waters, where we would be staying. Without much waiting at all, we were brought on foot to a seafood restaurant closer to the mainland, where we had typical Malaysian Chinese “Tze-Char” food, such as steamed chilli fish that was caught locally, stir-fried bak choy, Assam prawns, etc. As a Malaysian, this meal refreshed my memory of the amazing meals I have had with my family, and brought back many nostalgic memories.
After our meal, we went back to the chalet for our long-awaited rest from the tiredness of the bus journey, as well as from the sweltering heat. We then proceeded to the paintball activity, which was really enjoyable for everyone because the teams were split into three “equal” groups so the games were closely matched. Not having done paintball before, it was quite an experience for me because prior to this, I didn’t know much about fighting besides the video games I used to play, so this whole event was super exciting and exhilarating.
When we all reached the chalet and had washed up, we had a lot of free time to explore the area or rest in the air-conditioned rooms, which was probably the highlight of this trip because it really was like a holiday and we got to interact with locals and really enjoyed the relaxedness of Malaysian country-esque life. What’s more, the chalet had a pool table, dart machine, ping pong table, and best of all, a jetty that extended from our chalet out to the deeper sea.
Later in the evening, some of my friends and I rented a fishing rod (for a remarkably cheap price, if I may add), and we went fishing at the end of the jetty, while watching the sun set and listening to old songs.
For dinner, we were treated to a satay party. Satay is a Malay dish that consists of skewered meat that is barbecued over a charcoal grill. The next day, we were brought to a different Tze-Char restaurant for lunch, which was equally as good as, or possibly even better than the previous day’s food, consisting of butter-fried prawns, steamed local fish, chilli crab, beancurd and a stir- fried vegetable dish. It was really heavenly.
Again, as a Malaysian who’s quite skeptical about a school trip to Malaysia, my home country, only because I thought I knew all there was to know about it, I feel I learned a lot about the rural/suburban part of my country, and people who live there. In my honest opinion, this trip was very beneficial to all who went on it because besides learning about the people there, everyone had a great time.
Jakob Yoong, 5 CKS