The Fisherfolk of Bagan Sekinchan

28 February 2017

Located in Selangor’s Sabak Bernam district, Sekinchan is one of the major rice producing areas of Malaysia. However, what many don’t know is its fishing community that’s existed for decades, making the town the largest fish supplier of Selangor. We take a look at Bagan Sekinchan, the sleepy fishing village known to locals as the “Land of Plenty”.

Established around the 1920s, Bagan is the primary fishing village of Sekinchan that is located along a river and a small seaport. The early inhabitants are Teochew fishermen that were occupied by the British during the colonial era who once dubbed the town, “Land of the Plenty”.

At dawn, the village comes to a standstill as fishermen head out to sea for their catch. In one swift motion, each fisherman hooks his bait and casts his large net over the side of the boat and waits. These are manoeuvres they know by heart, just as how their forefathers did.

By midday when the tide is high, the fishermen will be back to unload the catch – a bustling sight of sweat-laced men on jetties, placing fish into various barrels according to size and type. Once the sorting is done, the fishermen would transport their catch to suppliers and markets for sale, while their helpers stay back to clean.

Tourists crowd the village on weekends. They walk around town, peering into shops selling keropok – you’ll even see most tourist buying bags of dried keropok for future cravings.

The best seafood restaurants in Sekinchan can be found in Bagan. Most of the restaurants open from 8am to 3pm, and are often closed at night, a time when the fisherfolk spend with their family; eating, chatting and laughing the night away before they prepare themselves for the morning’s catch again.

Photos by Teoh Eng Hooi

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