Life in a sea village in Tanjung Piai

Azneal Ishak

Modified 7 Nov 2019, 7:07 am

South of Kukup's ferry terminal in Tanjung Piai is a fishing village with a rich history.

Established 140 years ago, Kampung Nelayan Air Masin started out as a tiny village before developing into a well-known producer of ocean-based goods.

Buildings and homes are stretched out into the sea, raised above the waters by sturdy pillars.

In the past, the only way to get around the village was by using sampan. A 1km-long bridge connecting parts of the village was built after World War Two. 

However, cars are unable to enter the village as the roads are only wide enough for motorbikes.

The village's 1,000-odd residents comprising about 100 households are predominantly of Hokkien Chinese heritage.

One of the key products from the village is belacan, a paste made mainly from shrimp called udang geragau. Most of the belacan produced here are sent to Malacca or Singapore.

The villagers also began fish farming 20 years ago and there are now some 70 farms. However, the fish there are increasingly affected by water pollution. Most of the fish are sold to local restaurants or exported to Singapore.

A worker rakes geragau shrimps which are being dried to make belacan.

Fisherfolk bringing up their catch at Kampung Air Masin.

Children drop by a 'claw machine' arcade in the village.

Roads in the village are only wide enough for motorbikes, not cars.

Villagers often use bicycles to make their way around through narrow pathways.

Dried geragau shrimps are turned into belacan paste.

Small boats help transport people and goods.

A villager lights incense at his house in Kukup Village.

Fisherfolk sell their fish to local restaurants or export them to Singapore.

Fishing boats pass by kelongs - platforms where fish are being reared.