Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Se Petanque De Ddunggung.

I'M NO UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR to arrive at the final analysis why Dungun folks have embraced wholeheartedly the game of Petanque as the favorite pastime. I believe this has something to do with the word Petanque itself. Petanque may sound high-class and French and all that stuff but the truth is, it has a strong linguistic connection to the Trengganuspeak 'petong' or a higher version - 'plekong'. These words involve throwing of an object to hit something with, and Petanque as you will have guessed, is very much a throwing game. I'm no professor so I had better leave this mystery to Sir Awang Goneng. He's the authority on Trengganuspeak. And French.

There were three shops like this at one time in this men's town. The one in front of Masjid Kampong Tengah has long gone. The one on top is Ah Fok - located behind the old post office facing Padang Astaka. It's famous for the santan ice-cream, washed in evaporated milk. The one at the bottom is at the end of Jalan Penaga towards the river. I'm not a big fan of kopitiam because for toast and half-boiled eggs I'd rather prepare these myself. You don't need to be chef to do this. But people go here for the ambiance, I guess. As for the ice-cream, I believe it's about my childhood. It's about eating that ice-cream while listening to the men in nice shirts and pants talking about women in baju kebaya and kain susun. I was ten.
Four boats. Four wives. 
Fresh out of the sea. Fry it with tumeric and salt, dried chili and onion. Squeeze a bit of lime. Have it with rice, budu - sitting on the veranda on a cloudy December day looking out to the South China Sea. You don't want to leave for KL too soon. You wanna stay here for a couple more days. You can't leave your hometown in a hurry just because you've got some work to do in KL. That can wait.
No more penambang to Seberang Pitasang now that we've got the bridge. 
The roads from London, Paris, New York, Dubai and Gairloch end here. (The starting point of Dungun - facing towards Sura Gate, London, Paris, New York, Dubai and Gairloch.

Petanque - pronounced: pata-NG-K
Petong - throwing an object with 60% of your energy.
Plekong - throwing an object with 80%  of your energy.
Tagor - throwing an object with 100% of the energy left after you've performed the petong and plekong.

For those looking for a non-commercial holiday destination, Dungun is one of the best places I highly recommend because -  it's my hometown. They've got nice sea-front chalets along the coastal drive. The prices they advertised on the billboard are reasonable. There's nothing much to do here except look out to the sea as if you're waiting for a long lost lover to come drifting home in a boat. Nothing to do means good because the place will remain popular only to those who wish for a quiet holiday, instead of going about town in a tour bus, flocking in a group of folks with a camera, straw hats, white pants, floral shirt, boat shoes and over-sized pouch. Dungun isn't that kinda of holiday destination. It's a civilized, academic and very clean place for those looking for a well-managed sea front town.
The downtown is pretty run-down now that all the commercial zones have been re-located to Sura Gate. There's Pizza Hut, KFC and 7-11 if you can't live without these. And wi-fi service. But if you are into rustic and quaint stuff, the downtown area is a good place to photograph wooden shop houses and lanes. You have the choice of wandering around Dungun, or cross over the spanking new bridge to Seberang Pitasan where you can have the 10 km stretch of the bay all to yourself. And come back to the chalet late in the evening for a seafood dinner.
For the bicycle enthusiasts, it's a bit unfortunate that the shop that operated bikes-for-rent has closed for business long time ago. Maybe I should start one, or you may want to start one now that I've given you the idea. But be sure to acquire bicycle repair skill because it's very difficult to hire a guy who can do this. A bicycle shop is a hands-on kinda business so you gotta have the skill to operate one. If your car is equipped with the carrier to transport the bicycle, I'd recommend it highly that you bring your ten-speed or the mountain bike here so you can cycle about town at your own pace. You can't do a town like Dungun in a car.
Do make Dungun your next non-commercial holiday destination. If you need a guide just mention my  name, they'd probably know who you are talking about. But of course, my name isn't Bergen when I'm in Dungun. It's Bergengg (with double 'g' for effect).


Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

When I first played that game about 10 years ago for the teachers's team, I was told the Terengganu team was the best in the country, now I see the connection with petong.

As for Dungun, I don't think I have had the privilage visiting it, maybe one day.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Fi-sha said...

Dear En Bergen, you make me long for Dungun - just my kind of place...Please sir, could you 'resurrect' the bicycle shop? It would be a lovely thing to cycle around Dungun - read : must do... Cheerio!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can't help noticing how clean and serene the place is, definately a gem to get away from the rest of the world and a taste of rural msia still, which is becoming hard to find.

9:23 AM  
Blogger nadya said...

berg dear,
i love your blog even more now. got photos and good ones i must say :)

more please. photos and stories.

10:05 AM  
Blogger A w a n g said...

"The roads from London, Paris, New York, Dubai and Gairloch end here. (The starting point of Dungun - facing towards Sura Gate, London, Paris, New York, Dubai and Gairloch."

Tuh bukan ke Jalan Tambun, terus sambung ke Jalan Yahya Ahmad, btw main petanque dungun ni ramai cikgu2, sapa wakil malaysia group dari Dungun ni kalau dok silap lah.

10:07 AM  
Blogger mamasita said...

Love your tourist promotion of Dungun.Will definitely ajak my 'long-lost lover who recently came back on a boat lost on Adun Island' to stop by at Dungun on the way to Pasar Payang in Trengganu.

Macam mana nak hunt for you?Ada signboard?You have to blanja us that fresh sea crab dalam gambar tu!
Thanks!Huh..comelah to my place jugak.Ni tak aci betul!hehe

10:09 AM  
Blogger mamasita said...

Ooops!!Its a huge tiger prawn!I thought it was a sea crab all spread out like that!

10:12 AM  
Blogger abdullahjones said...


10:57 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Kata Tak Nak: It's a well-mannered game. I never played it. As a matter of fact maybe I should Google it to find more about it.

Fi-sha: You've encouraged me quite a bit, ma'am.

Anonymous 9:23AM; Yes, I believe there is a market for a place like Dungun.

11:17 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Nadya: Thank you, ma'am. You should teach a thing or two about how to take good pictures.

Awang: Yes, it's Jalan Tambun, right at the end at the three-way junction. This to me, is the starting point (or the end) of Dungun.

11:19 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Mamasita: Will you be in Terengganu throughout the campaign period right up to the voting day? It's an hour's drive from Dungun to KT - I understand the hotels are full. Just email me at bergen1605@yahoo.com.

I do visit your place, ma'am (it's on my blog hop) but I haven't left any comment.

Abdullah Jones: Thank you for the visit, sir. It's been a long time since I last saw you.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Hon said...

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11:24 AM  
Anonymous coolooc said...

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11:27 AM  
Anonymous romsam said...

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11:33 AM  
Blogger TATA said...

Jalan Tambun (lebih dikenali dengan jalan no 1). Kat situ banyak kedai yang jual barang2 kegunaan seharian kan. Bergeng, kedai loh kee lim tu ada lagi tak.
satu lagi kedai yang saya selalu gi hok tepi jalan nak ke sek china tu, apa nama kedai dia, lupa dah.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bergen,
What strike me the most about Dungun in your pic is that it look so CLEANNNNN!!!!
Where are the goats and cows?
I suspect the meticulous person the like of you must have springcleaned the town before you snapped the pic right?

It somehow potray the serenity of eiskoh hahah

Mr Kalahari(I am hot!)

4:46 PM  
Blogger ina said...

Dear Sir,

Lovely pictures of Dungun, you've captured the 'pace of life' in Dungun... it's like in slow motion pictures... After a hectic month in KL, I'm now back in Khartoum... now i don't have to worry about traffic jams in KL, I only have to worry about the possible JEM attack of Khartoum...sigh... now I have to go and pack our essentials for possible 'evacuation'... Hopefully nothing happens... au revoir!

3:02 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

TATA: Ke dai Loh Kee Lim masih ada tapi tak macam dulu - at one time dia ada 3 pintu, each shop jual different item. Kedai kat sekolah China, do you mean Kedai Kwan Ming? Yang jual eletronic goods? Or did you mean kedai Ah Peng (sebelah hotel Penaga) Kedai Peng, Kedai Chia and of course Leong Thye were the shops that had European groceries then. Tapi most Australian miners preferred to shop at Leong Thye, maybe because he speaks good English. His daughter taught me in English masa Remove class (I had a crush on her which motivated me to pay attention in her class he he. It's the only subject I paid attention to.)

Mr Kalahari: LOL, no I didn't 'clean' up the scene before snapping it. You are right about the goats and the cows, they don't roam around town these days. I believe the town's cleanliness is almost up to the European standard. I hope we can keep it this way.

Ina: How's Khartoum? Windy and cold? I hope you and the family are doing all right.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Kama At-Tarawis said...

Bergen!! Sampainya hati 'acah-acah' I with stories and pictures of Dungun, well knowing my 'lelah Haji' tak hilang lagi to make the trip back to my absolutely beautiful & serene hometown. Alaah, rindunya kat Dungun....

12:23 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Kama At Tawaris: Best time to be in Dungun masa buka kuala - early March, end February. Sometimes it's as early as middle January. Masa tu Dungun is bountiful with shrimps and fish. Best season I can remember was 2002. Masa tu udang besar2, cheap. And fish, kembong, tenggiri, merah and selayang tasted so good I stayed 3 in Dungun 3 days extra.

12:57 PM  
Blogger An-Nimr said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:01 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

An-Nimr: On this side of Dungun i.e along the coast drive towards UiTM - tak banyak yang tinggal. Kalau ada pun lot pusaka. Tapi on the other side of Dungun i.e Sebarang Pitasan, dari Kampung Seberang Pitsan towards Tanjung Jara, masih banyak. A friend just bought a secluded place, at the foot of the hill facing towards the estuary - he has built a 100% Terengganu style house. I can imagine sitting on the veranda during the monsoon, watching the waves from the sea, merging with the down flow of the Dungun river. He even has a stretch of beach right in front. I'd show you the picture but I reckon I should respect his privacy.

Prices are going up since KL folks started coming down to buy land and build kampong houses. If you're buying, talk to the owners themselves, not brokers. Now banyak orang nak cuba buat duit atas angin.

12:33 PM  
Blogger An-Nimr said...

Wow, wish I could see that pic! Looks like he got a gem. Childhood dream to have a beach house. And those monsoon waves are really something. Scary as hell but beautiful.

Kene carik orang sehati sejiwa baru leh pindah...ni yang tak sehati ni weighing me down in KL, smog city.

Wanna elope? Kah kah...

1:00 PM  
Blogger Zabs said...

Salam Bergen,
Pernah lalu pekan Dungun beberapa kali semasa hendak ke KT. Tetapi dengan penulisan anda ini, saya rasa Dungun menjadi pekan yang menarik untuk dikunjungi semula.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Zawi said...

I want to relive those days in the seventies when I used to drive the coastal road from Kota Bharu to Johor where I used work with Felda at their land schemes. How I missed Dungun of those days.
Probably will drive leisurely up to Dungun and return during the coming Chinese New Year holidays.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have left Dungun for many years but I proudly tell people that it's my hometown whenever they ask. I just wanted to thank you for these wonderful pics and others you posted elsewhere on your blog. I thought they told the truth and were simply beautiful. And I especially like the candour in yr stories. It brings out the charm of the town that I know and love, but is so often missing in other accounts.
- dungung boy (well, all grown up now, but in keeping with the nostalgic theme, why not...)

5:48 PM  

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