Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Old Trades Of Batu Pahat

Hi Folks,

As I have promise before , I will definitely do an article or rather a Photo Journey on the Old Trades of Batu Pahat. I believe most of you would have known or at least heard of Batu Pahat by now. If Not , please do a Google on it or look for it in wikipedia. Batu Pahat was reknown for its salted fish in the past, It was formerly known as Bandar Penggaram, which means "town of salt-makers". In 1893/1894, the present township was founded by Dato' Bentara Luar, Mohamed Salleh bin Perang, acting on the orders of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Abu Bakar.

As with most Old Township in Malaysia, Batu Pahat along with the others, still has a sizable amount of Folks who manage to maintain and pass on those ... '' Old Trades ''.  Believe it or not, the amount of Old trades can easily be compared to those of  Malacca. But unlike most towns, Batu Pahat is rather unique in that it has through History brought about some of the most Talented man & Women , in both the Business and Political Scenes ( Read my earlier Post on this ). May be it's the '' Feng Sui '' or the Schools & Teachers, Dieties & Gods ( B.P. has the most Temples Per sq. ft than any other towns ) in Malaysia if not Asia. There are about 450 or more of which 300 plus are Registered. It's clearly a case of '' Where The Environment Makes The Man ''.... And I am glad to say that I am one of them ....Ha,Ha.

Now for the '' Old Trades '' that makes the Town what it is Yesterday, today and the near future.  As usual I will arrange them in photos of their respective Trades & Professions. Most of them are my friends and whenever possible I will add their names or their shop Title.  Please take this as a Photographic journey rather than a Photo journalistic article. Take Grace in any Mistakes that I may have made as I am really a slow typist and one prone to errors...Ha,Ha. Enjoy !!!

Due to the overwhelming request for  some of my old Batu Pahat Pics, I have today ( 22/11/2016 ) uploaded them for your viewing  pleasure ... Ha, Ha. This are Vintage pics from the 20's to 40's from the Colonial Batu Pahat.  Lots of you who were born even in the 50's doesn't even know or recognise some of the scenes here. I won't be identifying any of the places here as this is a Quiz for anyone Young or Old . Try naming as much places as possible ... Adooii . There will be a number to each picture and if you quest all of it right, I will give you a Treat over here in B.P. You can call me at : 019-7119019 or just place a comment below ....Thanks.

By the way, all pics are copyright, so ask me if you need it for commercial usage. Other than that, feel free to share . Most of the negatives are with me and they were handed down to me by my Late Brother whose interest in Photography lead me to what I am today ... Thanks.

Here we go ... Pic # 1.

Pic # 2

Pic # 3

Pic # 4

Pic # 5

Pic # 6

Here's an update as of 27/5/2014 ....Just manage to get two wonderful Pic of the then Old Ferry Terminal and the second a view from across the B.P. River....Cheers !! Pics are from Arkib Negara cawangan Johor. I used to swim along this Terminal at Jalan Shahbandar.

  A view of the Batu Pahat Ferry Terminal  from the across the river ... 1955 .

The view of Perserai from across the River .... 1928.

 After years of using the Ferry services, it was  finally taken over by the the big thing ... The Bridge . It was completed on July 1967 and was officially open on July 1st and later to the public on 23/7/67 with a Toll charge of 20cts for motorcycles,  80cts for cars and $ 1.80 for lorries and buses. 

Here's a pic from an archive on the official opening day on July the 1st 1967... Truly Down Memory Lane Stuff !!

I shall start with the '' Makan '' or '' Food '' Trades. Most of you local folks would have known some if not all of them here. Batu pahat is also a food heaven besides the famous '' Nasi Briyani , Asam Pedas, Kopi Puteh Senggarang or Apollo Yam Rice ''. There's more to it than meets the eyes down here in B.P.

Those Makan Sutra Trades ...!!! 

This is an update that's long overdue ( 28/10/2014 ), and the thought of not including my longtime Latin Dancing classmate is unbelievable !! Here he is, '' Ah Choon '' in his ( one of the oldest ) '' Mun Chiang Kueh '' Stall .  Few know that this Man was once a '' Cha-Cha '' Dancing King of B.P. Believe me, this Man has some smooth moves under his belt, besides having a skilled pair of hands ... Cha, Cha, Cha !!

 The Best of the rest below ... !!

           The Famous '' Mun Chiang Kueh '' at Nam Ah Huei Coffee Shop

 The above Pic is one of the many old Food trades spread across S.E. Asia. Those '' Keng Che Mee or Sar Kak Mee ( Thirty Cents Mee ) and better known to us Oldies as '' Salon Mee '' here in B.P.  This one above is one of the Two Famous ones and its called '' Ah Sar '' Sar Kak Mee'', here seen taken taken over by Ah Sar's Daughter in Law.

                    The '' SATAY '' from Kampung Satay at '' Tong Ah '' Coffee Shop

                      The Spicy '' Lontong '' also at '' Tong Ah '' Coffee Shop

Another favorite of mine, Now nearer to my Home .... The '' OM '' Indian Rojak at the Main road of Taman Perdana.

Now for the Noodles side of things, Those Delicious ... '' Wan Tan Mee '' of Batu Pahat. Here's two of my favorite and they are Famous among locals here. Guess Who ...???

We all know that '' Mee Rebus '' is a traditional malay food, But here in B.P., there's an exception, A chinese '' Mee Rebus '' Seller that's equally popular here. The Mee Rebus of Jalan Abu Bakar ( Formerly at Sin Mee Hing Cafe ) at Jalan Sultanah.

Not forgetting the famous '' Fish Ball Mee '' Family. There's a total of five of them spread around Batu Pahat.  All of them handed down from the '' Chu Song & Chu Teck '' Brothers ...!!! 

Here's a Late edition as of Dec 15th, How could I leave out my friend, Ah Loh ( One of Batu Pahat's Best Egg Crabs ) Restaurant ?? Yes folks, This has to be one of the best Sea Food restaurant ( Ship Village Restaurant ) in Sergenting, here in Batu Pahat. The owner ( AH LOH ) as is often called here, has his own Secret recipe in cooking crabs. Better known here as his '' Chow Phai '' dish of eggs coated fried and delicious crabs. No Pics here as it will only have you swallowing your own Saliva. Remember its in Sergenting, a Tourist Hound for Singaporeans and Locals alike. You won't miss it, as its next to the village main temple and the restaurant is shape like a Ship.

Here's the man himself cooking away !! Mr. Ah Loh !!

Enough of noodles and food ... Finally, a pic to depict the ingenuity of the folks of Batu Pahat. A true '' Jack of all Trades '' and an ordinary man who tries his best to make ends meet. The Apam cum '' Chai Tau Kueh '' seller of Batu Pahat. A good example of what 2 in 1 means.

Here an update that I almost forgot. The old Banner & Chinese Calligrapher. They are the one that writes those Beautiful and Artistic chinese characters on our ancestral tablets and banners for all occasions. This here is Mr. Chew , the only man left here in Batu Pahat who is still in this line. This really is a '' Vanishing Trade '' ... !!

Here's another taken through the glass  window.

Now For the  rest of The Old Trades of Batu Pahat. Some sad to say, are a dying breed, and may not last till the next Generation. First off ....The Ricksaw Man or in Malay '' Wak Becha ''.

An Old Friend of Mine.....Din The '' Becha Man ''

Ah Kaw .... The '' Tinker Man '' or Better Known as The Tukang Ayan in Malay. This is another one those '' Gifted Man '' of many Talents. Besides being a Tinker Man, he also does '' Chrome Paneling, Mud guard Repairing, Antique Cars & Motorcycle Restoration '' and anything related to Metals ...!!!

        The Frangrance Rice Seller from The Pasar Pagi Barter Street.

    Kamal ...The Cobbler who plies his trade along Jalan Zabedah.

                  The Roving  '' Coffee Powder '' Seller from Tongkang Pechah.

Here's a late addition on an Old friend and relative of mine. Mr.Tan Yin Yu ( Photographer Extraordinaire ) , now retired, who happens to be my early mentor and the inspiration behind my interest in '' Bird Photography ''. He is of course the owner of this unique coffee Shop ( Kedai Kopi Tong Ah ). The classic Old trade of making aromatic Hainanese Coffee , from which the  Phrase '' Kopi '' O '' Kau '' originates from .

Along the same pasar pagi street, there are of course some other old trades. They are mostly done by our fellow Malay brother & sisters. Firstly, the perfume & traditional make ups.

Then those Gemstone and old coins & paper notes dealers. This one is a surprise , as I name it '' Chasing The Dragon '' , and true enough, one can see the Dragon like figure in the smoke ( Circled in Red ) ... Ha,Ha.

Not forgetting our local fresh farm produces and the '' Kak '' with their daily '' Tani '' product .

 And on the occasion , a trophy '' Bird Seller '' , mostly with their '' Merbok ''.

Batu Pahat is of course Named after the early Salt Makers, Dried Salted Goods and Spice Traders. Many still doesn't know that the spice or dried foodstuff trades here are also known locally as the '' 98 Hang ''. Here's a Pic of a '' 98 Hang '' proprietor at work in front of his shop.

Now for the refreshing side of things, the famous Batu Pahat '' Cendol ''. Did you know that this cendol shop in Jalan Engan was one of the earliest cendol wholesaler in Malaysia ? It's customers includes those from Malacca, Muar, Johor Bahru and even Taiping in Perak . Below is a pic of the Old Trade of Ice Cold '' Cendol '' ... Batu Pahat Style that is.

              Here's another one of those dying crafts ...The Rattan Makers !!


 Not forgetting my other friend Mr.Tay ....'' The Rattan Maker '', Whose shop is at Jalan Engan.

One cannot be more Fascinated by the Sights & Sounds of The Chinese Operas. Even though only a Handful of Troops are left, but they still exist here. It's a Rich Cultural Tradition that certainly needs to be preserved for the future Generation.

Here's an update as of ( 22/8/2014 ) ... The '' TAILORS '' !! Those Skilled Craftsman  who made our School uniforms, Pants and Shirts during our childhood days. I can still remember those '' Elvis Styled '' long collared shirts we made for our Chinese new Year celebrations ... Yee Haa !! This Two pics are dedicated to our Fabulous Old School Tailors which sadly, is another Vanishing Trade.

Here's another update as of 5/9/2014. The Healing sides of things and that's the ''TCM'' or better known in the old days as Chinese Medical Halls. A trade that has been handled down through the generations since the time of '' Hua Tuo '' in the First century AD. Its a tradition we as Chinese should be Proud of. Here's a pic of an old friend of mine, simply called '' Ah Siah '' of '' Chang Ann Medical Hall '' in Jalan Mohd Akil.

Batu Pahat is also famous for it's  Watch Dealers & Goldsmith. But Repairing those Old Vintage watches takes a skilled and experience Hand. To that B.P. do have some of the Finest Watch repairers and craftsman.  Here are some of those magnificent man with their Tick-Tock skills...Yee Haa !!

Now for the '' Wet '' side of things ...Those who are directly or indirectly involved in the '' fishing industry ''. Batu Pahat is basically a Fishing cum trading town in the early days, hence it's not surprising to see some Old Trades that still exist along the fishing line.

Another Good Friend of mine ... '' Ah Seng '' ... The Fisherman, Net Repairman, Basketballer and Believe it or not A '' Medium '' on Mondays & Fridays.

Now for some Assorted Pics of The Fishing Trades.

        Home Coming With The Days Catch ... !!!

This Pic above depicts what truly is a diminishing trade .... The '' V '' pole prawn Catchers. It is a rare site here in Malaysia and can only be found at '' Pantai Punggur '' here in Batu Pahat.

As there are too many Old Trades that I haven't yet record, for which ( If Time permits ) , I will try to cover the majority of them in time to come. Before ending the Article/Photo journey, I will like to add some pics of a Trade that's, I am happy to say alive & well and that's ... The Barber . Even though some of them are Old Fashion, but they all serve the same purpose, and that's' to get your Hair Cut. Although the trend has change somewhat with the advent of Ladies Hairdressers, some of us ( Me included ), still prefers the '' Old Fashion '' way of having our Hair Crop....Ha,Ha.

Here are the Pics....Snip, Snip, Snip !!!

Here's an update as of the 15/10/2014 . Another one Old Timer in the Barber Trade who's about to call it a day soon . This Barber is situated along Jalan Idrus next to the Morning's Pasar Karat.

Our Barber friend above is also an '' Utensils '' Sharpener, here seen sharpening a piar of scissor. But of course not your Jpegs or Raw images ...Ha,Ha !!

 Here's another update as of 23/1/2013 . This is one food I personally loved since my school days. Its not only healthy, it keeps one warm in the cold of the night and friendly to your digestive systems ...Ha,Ha. Its of course the ... '' Chapati '' & Chinchiang mutton gravy. This shop just behind '' Cathay '' cinema, by the name of '' SHUIB '' Tandoori Corner, has the best chapati, roti nan and tandoori chicken in Batu Pahat ( IMHO ). Go and give it a try and for something a little different, try the '' Cheese- Nan !! Here are the pics ...!!

Update as of  6/2/2014 : During the chinese new year, as I was travelling along the sungai ayam road, I came across what I thought was a former Rattan basket maker. It turns out that they are still makng it for the vegetables market. Wow ..!! That's a surprise, as I thought they now import it from Cha'ah !! This is another one of those really classic old trades that's been going on here for decades. Here are three pics selected out of around 15 shots. Taken with the E-300, and boy, the retro colours looks simply gorgeous ... !!

Batu Pahat is also well known for its used and second hand goods which includes Antiques and all things unwanted by everyday folks Rich & Poor. To this dealers , what to you is Junk , to them is Money !!

Hi Folks ... This is a '' Hot '' just out of the oven shot !! Took this just this afternoon ( 25/4/2015 ) , after more than 20 years of waiting ...Yee Haa !! This is my latest in the series of '' Old Trades of Batu Pahat ''.. The Legend himself ... '' Pak Niam '' of Warisan '' Kuda Kepang '' . If you're a BPrean and don't know what '' Kuda Kepang '' is, then you're history ...Ha,Ha. This Art of Horse Dance is a Tradition that goes back to hundred of years and its origin is from JAVA. Pak Niam's father was amongst the first to bring this Culture to the then Malaya. It is here in Batu Pahat that the Dance spread across the country. Its of course the logo of the Johor Tourism board. I tried it when I was a kid as this was popular among my Javanese neighbours and also during a wedding ceremony. Pak Niam's only appentice pass away recently and now is teaching the art of making kuda kepang to his Grand daughter picture below. He is at present staying at Sg.Nibong over at Semerah ....Salam and Hormat to a Great Man !!

Here's a Mixed of more than 10 pics that I took over the past few months. They are mix of Trades and occupations that are still being carried out in a commercial manner. Updated this  ( 4/6/2015 ) .

 This is another update as of ( 7/6/2015 ).

One of The Oldest Bicycle shop in B.P.

 A Traditional Malay Frame Shop.

 Workers from the '' 98 '' Trades.

 '' Sheik '' The Cendol shop Boss ... !!

 Here's a really Old and Traditional '' SONGKOK '' maker at The Pasar Melayu.

Not forgetting The '' Curry Powder '' and '' Nuts '' Grinders.

Still going strond and surviving trade of '' Joss Stick '' making.

Here's an update as of January 2016 .  A truly Vanishing Trade that has long gone from the scenes in Batu Pahat. This two pics were shot after a year and Half of waiting. It is of course the Traditional Chinese '' Coffin Makers ''. This has to be one of the last remaining shops in Johor, if not Southern Malaysia. They are the '' GOH '' brothers of Muar.

Well, there you go, this is just another one of those Topic/ Articles that I felt I need to Post. It's not only important to me personally, but in the long run, serves to inform others ( especially the younger generation ) about the Life & Times of their Fore Fathers.

There are so many of the Old Trades that I have left out here, but for that I will add on in the near future. Trades like The Tailors, Goldsmiths, Joss Stick Makers, Dried Salted Goods Makers and of course Those Old School Photo Salon . I will add in here as time goes by. I will also be waiting for my copy of the new OMD E-M1 to arrive, so that I could use it for another article on B.P

As always, please take grace in any mistakes that I may have made and just relax and enjoy the Photos. If you feel the need to come down here for a real world experience of Batu Pahat, do feel free to ring me up at : 019-7119019. Just remember to inform me a few days ahead of your arrival.

Your Comments & Questions are always welcome . Have a Nice Day ahead and remember to just snap away and worry less about your gears ... '' Hakuna Matata '' cheers !!!


Regards .... Uncle James.