This ancient well is an example of what Pangkorians would use as their water source during the olden days when there wasn’t tap water supply. This well in particular, was said to have existed since the early days of British colonisation. People in the area would use the water primarily for cleaning purposes.
Until today, the well remains a fond memory for older folks that are still living in the area. Residents here recalled that, people would crowd the well in the early mornings to carry out their laundry duties. Similarly, children would spend their evenings bathing themselves with the refreshing well water. At that time, one could touch the water merely by reaching out to the surface of the well. As time went by, the well water gradually diminished.
Another interesting fact about this well is that, possibly due to its proximation to the sea, the well water is noted for its hints of saltiness. For this reason, well water from this particular well is not drinkable. However, until this day, residents would still use water from it to clean their dishes and do their washing when there is water shortage in the area.
Fu Qing Gong Temple
The Fu Qing Gong Temple, situated within the commercial area of Sungai Pinang Kecil, is known to have existed for over a hundred years. As myth goes, the two Gods that are being worshipped at the temple are known as Qing Shui Shi Ye, whose statue is said to have emerge from the sea and Guang Ze Zun Wang, whose statue is imported from China.
Unique to Pangkor, Thaipusam is celebrated during the 15th/16th day of Chinese New Year. Worshippers of the Hindu Gods would parade to give their offerings to the Gods at the Fu Qing Gong Temple before returning to the Indian Temple. This tradition dates back to the early days before the Indian Temple was established. During that time, Indians Gods were temporarily stationed at Fu Qing Gong Temple, where the Indians would pray before working at sea.
Like many places of worship, the temple has its own tales and myths. For instance, it was once said that, during the outbreak of the Plague, holy water as blessed by Qing Shui Shi Ye was sprinkled at the front doors of every house in order to stop the spreading of the disease.
The Old Cinema situated at the edge of Sungai Pinang Kecil, or sometimes referred to as ‘Happy Cinema’, was an important venue of entertainment amongst Pangkorians before closing down in late 1980s. It was a place where couples used to hangout and where families used to spend their evenings together. Today, the building is no longer there. What remain is the projection room and the concrete floors of the cinema.
The kind of movies that were shown during the good old times varies. From what was gathered by current residents of the surrounding area, most of them remembered seeing films by Shaw Brothers. It was the era before mass-produced movie posters thus each movie poster for the screening were hand-drawn by locals.
Movie tickets were divided into two categories, 1st and 2nd Class, sold at RM1 and RM0.60 respectively. 1st-class ticket holders would sit further back from the screen whilst 2nd class ticket holders would sit closer to the screen. ‘Happy Cinema’ had a unique way to announce the start of the screening: lights were fully turned on and Zhou Xuan’s music (most popular singer at that period of time) was played in the background. Snacks stalls and noodles stalls were also set up outside the cinema. Full house was a common scene. With the large crowd, it would often get so warm that the doors had to be opened for ventilation.
1970s and 1980s was the peak period for boatbuilding industry in Pangkor. There were at least 10 factories in the vicinity and business was thriving. During that period, boat builders sourced their raw materials locally. They purchased Cengal wood from Pahang but have switched to using imported materials since the late 70s.
On average, a standard-sized fishing boat takes about 4-5 months to complete. The process normally involves around 7-8 workers. During the building process, some would tie a red cloth on the boat as a symbol of prosperity, a belief that traces its roots back to the Cantonese traditions. In the olden times, what set Pangkor’s boatbuilding apart from the rest was the usage of long, uncut logs, which could easily go up to 60 feet. Cabins were also painted yellow, acting like a colour code to symbolise its place of manufacture.
Having been in the industry for a long period of time, boatbuilder Mr. Goh Boon Kong have clientele as far as Singapore. His humbleness had earned him trusting clients who would trade with him based solely on verbal agreements and their long-term working relationships. With his long years of experience as a boatbuilder, he is literally a ‘blueprint’ for the design of the boats he makes.
Tan Kim Aik’s Noodle House
Located at the commercial district near the Pangkor Jetty is the family-run noodle house owned by Mr. Tan Kim Aik. It is hard to miss them as you would normally be able to spot their mee suas being sun-dried under the hot island sunshine, outside this corner shop lot.
Their noodles are known to be handmade with all-natural ingredients, and are manufactured on a daily basis. In their small factory, they were able to produce many different types of noodles. The freshly made ‘yellow noodle’ is most popular amongst the locals and widely-used at the noodle stalls in Pangkor. These fresh noodles should ideally be consumed within 48 hours as artificial preservation was not added to conserve the noodles. Tourists however, prefer to purchase the sun-dried mee suas. Mr. Tan said that his factory could produce a total of 150kg of noodles on an average day.
Fu Lin Gong Temple (Foo Ling Kong)
Fu Lin Gong Temple, situated in Sungai Pinang Besar, is the largest Chinese temple in Pangkor. In the back garden, there is a mini ‘Great Wall of China’, an eccentric architectural feature of the temple. Another interesting aspect can be found on the roof: all 12 Chinese zodiac signs were integrated into the design. Visitors who do not mind a hike could also climb up the hill behind the main temple area to take in the picturesque view of multi-coloured Kampung rooftops, the vast ocean, the fishing boats and the ever-so-blue sky of Pangkor.
Apart from the lavishly-designed exterior, there is also a very unique exhibit inside the temple – a medium-sized drum that grows hair! Words spread like wild fire. Pangkorians were eager to witness for themselves this hair-growing drum, an unusual phenomenon that was rumoured to be the manifestation of the Gods. People started collected bits of hair to place in their wallets as they believe that it would bring prosperity to them.
There is an interesting tale of Fu Ling Gong Temple. Iron-Crutch Li (one of The Eight Immortals of the Taoist pantheon), who was also the Head of Gods of the temple, invited Lord Guan to oversee the running of temple. The righteous Lord Guan accepted the offer. When he completed his duty at the temple, Li pleaded Lord Guan to serve for another term. What Lord Guan didn’t know, was that this would take him another 12 years!
Historical Rock (Batu Bersurat)
Opposite the The Dutch Fort lies an inscribed stone known as Batu Bersurat or Historical Rock. The rock is 10.7m long and 4.6m wide, standing at 4.3m in height. On the surface of the stone, the side facing the vast sea, one could see carving that reads ‘I F CRALO 1743′ and ‘VOC’. VOC is an acronym for the Dutch East India Company.
Beside it, there is another engraving of a tiger and a child. The story goes that a child of a certain Dutch dignitary was taken away by a tiger when he was playing near the rock. However, most believe that this was a lie. Some claimed that the boy was actually kidnapped and killed by the Malays and Bugis, who were angry at the Dutch for ill-treating their people.
The Dutch Fort
The Dutch Fort located in Teluk Gedung, is approximately 2 km from Pangkor Jetty. The fort was built by the Dutch in the 1670s for the purpose of storage and protection of tin supplies. The fort was also an important hub for trading.
The fort went through several phases of destruction and reconstruction. It was destroyed in 1960s by Malays who were unhappy with the way the Dutch were monopolizing the mining industry. In 1743, Dutch rebuilt the site and appointed soldiers to protect it against future threat. When the Dutch colony retreated in 1748, the fort was abandoned altogether. In 1973, Malaysia’s museum department reconstructed the fort and included it as a historical site.