Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Muzium Arkeologi Lembah Bujang

It's been a busy 2 weeks (onto the 3rd week) of the year end hols.... one that has been filled with activities for the kids. And believe it or not, it's even more tiring than working! But one that is more gratifying as well as fun.

We've done badminton, gone out for many makan outings and so far made one outing to the Muzium Arkeologi Lembah Bujang in Merbok.

I first went there many years ago and thus was pleasantly surprised by what greeted me this time around.
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There is a nice recreational area in the museum grounds, perfect for family picnics and the kids to get wet playing in the water. There was a small group of people there when we got there. The weather was perfect for an outing too, cloudy.
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The place was generally well kept. Monuments and artefacts were mainly outdoor and they were well maintained and taken care. The grounds was nice and the kids had a great time running all over the place while looking at the remnants of the ancient ruins of candi(s) or stupas and artefacts, mainly from granite and laterite stones, from the ancient kingdom of Kataha. Among them were Candi Batu Pahat, Candi Pendiat, Candi Bendang Dalam....
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My girl remarked that it was the first time she had visited an 'outdoor' museum. (Most kids only think of museums as buildings which house old things). So an outdoor museum was a new experience for them. The above artefacts were used to squeeze sugar cane for its juice. And they're huge contraptions compared to our little modern extractors. Took us a while to figure out how they used those huge stones! There is also a building which houses other artefacts like the beads, porcelain, Shivaite lingga. soma-sutera (a drain like structure) and arca.
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Lembah Bujang was a very happening place back then. Back then was around 1500 years ago when getting together meant the need to meet up physically. And Lembah Bujang became the meeting place where international interactions and the exchange of goods took place. Of course these days, all these can happen from the comforts of our homes, regardless of location. All we need is an internet connection and the courier service. And our own homes become the happening place where all these social interactions and needs are met, though I think it lacks the fun of the physical interaction. The pic below shows remnant of stupas (candi) which were mainly temples dating back over a thousand years.
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And when people meet, it's only natural that not only an exchange of goods take place but that of culture as well. And so the candi(s) or stupa(s) were built so that these wanders or travellers could feel a little of home away from home. Eventually many of them stayed back permanently. This too contributed to our racial composition today too. If we were to trace our ancestry many of us would find that we would have ancestors from different parts of the world too... my kids are no different as we can trace their ancestry back to the Middle East!
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Lembah Bujang basically had all it takes to be a good meeting place. Well located and sheltered within an estuary with plenty of food supplies and good weather, the port thrived for centuries. Small rivers flowed into the hinterlands. It was purported that the Chinese traders would use these rivers to get to the old kingdoms of Srivijaya and Langkasuka. The traders from China and India would wait out the monsoon seasons here too. This went on right up to the 11th century. And because of its long history of trade, it is one of the richest archeological sites in Malaysia. Hopefully it will continue to be preserved. Our authorities seems to have a penchant for 'erasing' certain parts of history....
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This is a good place to bring kids to visit. Beats the sterile mall environment anytime.

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