Translated by WINNIE CHOOI
Sin Chew Daily
BUKIT KANGKAR, Johor -- Bukit Kangkar in the Ledang district has been known as a "beauty village" and "watermelon village." During the olden days, 60% of the town's population constituted of young girls, most of whom are not only pleasant looking with nice figures but also well behaved and friendly.
Because of that, young men from far and near used to flock to the town to look for "Kangkar ladies" and plenty of romance stories have developed here.
On the other hand, the nickname "watermelon village" has been derived from the fact that many Bukit Kangkar residents used to be involved in watermelon growing.
Records show that Bukit Kangkar residents would try to grow some watermelon whenever they find a suitable plot of land for farming, and have made good money from it owing to their skills and rich experiences in growing watermelon.
Relocated to Muar after her marriage, local resident Xu Yu Yin told Sin Chew Daily she was not aware of the two titles given to Bukit Kangkar. However, she admitted that there were indeed many households with young pretty daughters and watermelon plantations in the town.
Xu said she was impressed by a family with seven daughters who were nicknamed the "Seven Fairies." She recalled that the Seven Fairies were born with big brown eyes and sweet faces.
Declining watermelon production
Xu said her elder brother used to be an apprentice at a watermelon farm some 20 years ago, but has since switched to other lines now.
Xu pointed out that there were indeed many households growing watermelon back then, but the industry has since declined while many local young ladies seek job opportunities in Singapore.
According to records from three decades ago, Bukit Kangkar was totally different from what it is today. There was no water or electricity supply to the entire town, and large "Dutch Trees" flanked the two sides of the main street.
Flowers were in full bloom around the Chinese New Year festive season, and both sides of the road would be covered in a carpet of yellow flowers.
Unfortunately, these century-old trees were felled in 1966 in the name of development under the recommendation of MCA
Following that, electricity and water supply was made available to the town.
Today, driving into the town, you will not fail to spot two giant water towers that are almost a century old in Bukit Kangkar.
Also known as Mazu Temple, the historic Thean Hou Temple located in the eastern village was reconstructed in 1959 and has since become a hit among the devotees.