Translated by WINNIE CHOOI
Sin Chew Daily
TELUK INTAN, Perak -- Following the discovery of "Tarzan brothers" on the fringe of the forests in Teluk Intan last year, an Indian "sea man" was found leading a self-sufficient life for more than 30 years on the seawall between the Chinese villages in Bagan Datoh.
The Indian "sea man" arrived in Malaysia in 1952 and was working with the Water and Irrigation Authority for the following decade. For the past 30 years, he has been living alone in seclusion on the seawall between the villages in Hilir Perak.
Due to the fact that he shuns unnecessary distractions, he built himself a hardly recognisable house. Passers-by would never imagine that there is actually someone living inside a bunch of canvas-like things.
Thanks to the kind arrangement of a villager Ji Mao Gui, Sin Chew Daily managed to explore the unique characters of this "sea man," Raja Marikam.
Ji said although Raja is an Indian, he likes to mingle with Chinese villagers all these years. Raja has kept more than 20 dogs for companionship. The dogs will also protect him from wild animal attacks.
"Raja has a unique temperament and would not accept donations easily. He makes a living mainly on selling seafood harvests such as fish, prawns and crabs to local Chinese residents.
Nevertheless, due to his old age of 82 and poorer harvests of late, Raja has to reluctantly accept the goodwill from from local residents who send him food and daily necessities.
Living in Malaysia since 1952
Living in Malaysia since 1952, Raja said he managed to get permanent residence from the government in the following year and had been working with the Water and Irrigation Authority for ten years since then.
"After I resigned, I lived in a hut near the seawall. I set up my current house when the old one was damaged. Life was not so hectic in the past compared to today and I am lucky there are Chinese villagers whom I could count on," said Raja.
Due to lack of fresh water supply and electricity, Raja drinks from the rain water and remains inside his "house" after sundown and wakes up at 6am every morning.
Even at his age now, Raja still maintains a healthy state of body and mind, and would wander freely along the seaside.
Raja hopes to get support from the public or sponsorship for an air ticket to return to his homeland, India, so that he could stay there for the rest of his life.
Ji said the "sea man" experienced a snake bite two years ago and had to lie down inside his house for more than four days immobilised. Luckily Ji managed to rush him to a nearby clinic and saved his life after injection.
Raja said that was the worst among the four snake bites he had experienced. The incident left his body weakened.
Raja seldom mingles witrh people, spending most of his time instead listening to the birds chirping. Maybe because of that, he claims he could understand the birds.
"Birds are like humans too; they would speak whenever they're free," he explained.
To him, money is meaningless since he has detached himself from the material world and has hardly come into contact with anyone.