01 February 2010

Mersing - a brief overview

Mersing is the name of a district in the state of Johor as well as the ditsrict's main town which is located on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

The town of Mersing is a pleasant small town on the river mouth of Sungai Mersing (Mersing River) fronting the South China Sea. Although relatively a small town, Mersing; which originates from a small fishermen settlement in its early days; is well serviced by numerous public amenities and well linked to the other parts of the country.

As a coastal town, Mersing is also known for its large bustling fishing fleet as well as the hoping-off point for the 40 odds offshore islands in the Seribuat Archipelago on South China Sea, including the well-known Pulau Tioman in the state of Pahang. Hence, it is not suprising then that Mersing is visited mostly by holiday markers as transit point to the offshore islands, particularly Pulau Tioman.

Mersing can also lays claim as the only place in Malaysia whose name is being used in both classical film and song titled "Seri Mersing" (Glory of Mersing). The classical film is about tragic love story taking place in Mersing's fishermen village. Believe it or not, Singapore's coastline was used as the location double for Mersing when the film was shot in 1950s! The song Seri Mersing is still popular until today, thanks to the various cover versions by the local singers.

Eventhough Mersing has expanded in recent years into a busy coastal town - thanks to its location as the hoping off point to the offshore islands - it is still a fishing village at heart just like during its early days.

The town's main lifeline, Sungai Mersing; flows gently into the estuary where local fishermen and their families live in villages along the riverbank. The riverbank is a hive of activities particularly early in the morning and in the afternoon, where fishermen and travellers alike flocking the harbour at the estuary.

Eventhough Mersing is a coastal town, the beach around the town is not really suitable for swimming as most of them are shallow and muddy mangrove forest area. The nearest beach good enough for swimming in Mersin is located in Air papan, about 15km from the town centre. On a clear day, it is said that the outline of the neighbouring islands can be seen from here..

Of history and heritage

Historically, Mersing witnessed a fierce battle in World War 2 when the Japanese forces headed south to Singapore via Mersing were ambushed by an Australian battalion. The "Battle of Mersing" took place about 15km south of the town where 300 troops were killed.

The town of Mersing is small enough for a leisurely walk around the town. At the centre of the town is a hill known as Bukit Cantik where the Masjid Jamik Mersing (Mersing mosque) sit on top of it. As the mosque can be seen from a far due to its location, it is undoubtedly the most recogniseable landmark for Mersing.

Eventhough Mersing's township started to take shape from the early 1900s, the town seems lack of characther when it comes to old buildings particularly shophouses. Most of the shophouses here are products of the 1970s or 80s, with an exception to one particular shophouse at the centre of the town. However, Mersing can still be proud of it well maintained heritage in term of old goverment quarters - its inheritance from the colonial era. All over the town, you can easily spot old fashion goverment quarters that are still being occupied and well maintained by its occupants.

No comments:

Post a Comment