Sunday, August 5, 2007

States Of Malaysia - Johor

From Wikipedia & Malaysiana1.

Johor Darul Takzim (Dignified Land) is one of the most ancient and most developed states in Malaysia.

Its capital is Johor Baru, formerly called Tanjung Puteri.

It is surrounded by Pahang to the north, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan to the northwest, the Straits of Johor to the south, the Straits of Melaka to the west and the South China Sea to the east.

Johor Baru is linked to Singapore by the Johor-Singapore Causeway while the neighbouring town of Skudai is linked to Singapore by the Johor-Singapore Second Link.

Tanjung Piai (Cape Piai) in Pontian Kecil, south-western Johor, is the southernmost tip of mainland Asia.

Johor gets its name from the Tamil word Jor meaning Land’s End.

Johor was Southeast Asia’s greatest empire and was also called Sri Vijaya in Sanskrit (Hindi).

The empire which ruled the whole of the Malay Peninsula and the Malay Islands also called itself Nusantara meaning the Middle Kingdom.

Johor had good relations with China, and China protected Johor from Siamese aggression.

From 1400 to 1511, the Sultan of Johor ruled his kingdom from a newly formed territory called Melaka. After Melaka was taken by the Portuguese in 1511, the Sultan returned to Johor and set up court in Muar, Tanjung Puteri (Johor Baru) and Kota Tinggi.

In 1641, with Dutch help, the Johor Sultan expelled the Portuguese from Melaka. But he had to give his ex-kingdom to the Dutch.

In 1784, Johor was conquered by Holland. However, in 1824, with British help, Holland gave Johor independence, but held on to the islands of Sumatra, Riau, Java, Bali, Tenggara, Maluku, Western New Guinea and Sulawesi, and the Kedayan (Bruneian) Sultanate of Banjarmasin.

Britain took Singapore from Johor in the same year.

Sultan Abu Bakar, who ruled Johor from 1877 to 1895, thoroughly modernised his kingdom by befriending British businessmen in Singapore and encouraging them to invest in the state.

He also brought many Chinese migrant workers into Johor from Singapore.

Sultan Abu Bakar was also a close friend of Queen Victoria of Britain, and her Prime Ministers.

Johor became a British colony in 1914. It became an independent state of Malaysia on August 31, 1957.

The country’s ruling party the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) was founded in Johor in 1946, by Johor prince Datuk Onn Jaafar, the father of Malaysia’s third Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn and the grandfather of Malaysian Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Johor’s population comprises 54 per cent indigenous Malays (mostly Johoreans or Selangorians), 35 per cent Chinese and 11 per cent Indians.

The highest point in Johor is Gunung (Mount) Ledang (1,276 metres) in Muar.

Johor has 400 kilometres of beaches and many small, offshore islands in the district of Mersing. They include Tinggi, Rawa, Sibu, Tengah, Pemanggil, Aur, Lima and Besar Islands.

Average rainfall is 1,778 metres. Average temperature is 25 to 28 degrees Celsius.

Johor has two ports, Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Pelepas in Skudai.

The state has one international airport in Kulai (Senai), north of Johor Baru.

Johor is divided into 8 districts namely Muar, Segamat, Batu Pahat, Pontian Kecil, Johor Baru, Kluang, Kota Tinggi and Mersing.

Johor’s major tourist destinations are as follows.

Desaru - Beach and golf resort in Kota Tinggi.

Johor Baru - State capital with famous Danga Bay Waterfront.

Endau Rompin National Park - Tropical rainforest in Mersing.

Kota Tinggi - Waterfall and historical forts.

Kukup - Fishing village in Pontian Kecil.

Muar - Ancient capital.

Johor has five national parks covering 700 square km and a 167 square km mangrove reserve.

Johorean Malay culture is a blend of indigenous Johorean (Selangorian) and Javanese. There is also a strong Arab influence, particularly in traditional music.

The musical instruments such as the Gambus (Lute) are of Arab origin.

The Zapin dance is also of Arab origin, as is the Hamdolok opera.

The Kuda Kepang (Hobby Horse) dance is popular in Johor. It is of Kelantanese and Javanese origin and tells the story of the Nine Walis (Nine Teachers) who brought Islam to Java from Kelantan in the 14th century.

The indigenous Johoreans (Selangorians) have a famous legend which is Malaysia’s equivalent of Greece’s Hercules - Badang.

Badang was a fisherman who became a superhuman after rescuing a water genie. He became a brilliant military strategist of the Sultan of Johor and defended Johor from Siamese attacks.

A famous legend also occurred in Batu Pahat in 1776 - the legend of Awang, Dayang And The Spear.

A man named Awang returned to Parit Raja in Batu Pahat after travelling for three years. He was about to marry his fiancee Dayang, but soon learnt that she had been engaged to another man named Bachok.

Dayang’s family thought Awang had died and planned to have her marry Bachok, who had befriended the family.

At the wedding ceremony, Awang speared Bachok, who in turn speared the man standing next to him.

Every man who was speared, speared the man standing beside him. 99 people were speared to death, the last being Dayang’s father, who was standing in front of her.

Awang eventually fled to Mersing, and Dayang remained single for life.

One of the most famous folk songs from Johor is Tanjung Puteri, a tribute to Johor Baru.

Its lyrics in Bahasa Malaysia are as follows.

Tambak Johor Tanjung Puteri
Selat Tebrau airnya biru
Di Pantai Lido tepian mandi
Sepanjang masa di hari minggu
Atas bukit Tanjung Puteri
Taman hiburan indah berseri
Pemandangan menawan hati
Jalan tambak hubungan negeri
Tanjung Sekijang nun di kuala
Tempat nelayan mengail gelama
Istana Hinggap di Kuala Danga
Pantai berkelah keluarga Diraja
Dari Teberau orang berakit
Singgah Setulang membeli kopi
Pusara Si Bongkok di lereng bukit
Di tepi pantai Tanjung Puteri

Here is the English translation.

The Causeway is at Tanjung Puteri
The Johor Straits’ waters are blue
People swim at Lido Beach
Every weekend holiday
Atop the hill on Tanjung Puteri
Sits a beautiful flower garden
Its scenic view is captivating
The Causeway connects two countries
Sekijang Cape is at the estuary
A place where fishermen haul their catch
The Minor Palace is at Kuala Danga
The picnicking place for royals
From Teberau rafters paddle
To Setulang for a cup of coffee
Mighty Badang lies at the foothills
Beside the beach of Tanjung Puteri

Here are some of Johor’s most famous dishes.

Laksa Johor - A rich, noodle dish with lots of fish, vegetables and coconut milk.

Bandung Mee - A Javanese noodle dish from Muar which is sweet and spicy.

Kacau Keledek - A sweet potato pudding with coconut milk.

Mee Rebus - Boiled Mee. It is almost the same as Bandung Mee.

Harisa - Chicken or beef pate.

Satay - Malaysian Kebab.

Telur Pindang - Spiced Eggs.

Roti Jala - Net Bread. This is a savoury pancake, net-shaped, dipped in curry.

Gum Briyani Rice - Indian Briyani Rice which is stickier than the South Asian variety.

Ikan Asam Pedas - Spicy Tamarind Fish.

Lontong - Javanese spicy vegetable stew.