Letter from Tanjong Jara

(originally written in Tanjong Jara Resort, 25th June 2007)  

Dearest Phantom,

The journey ended as Jefree took one final turning to the right. We passed through shabby wooden houses, and miles of coconut trees along the way. If quietness has a different meaning, Tanjong Jara would be it. I stepped out of the car and place my feet at the resort’s entrance.

The polite attendant whisked our bags away; cold towels were neatly placed in front of us. Jefree and I sipped the signature drinks – Roselle cordial – in silence while waiting for our keys to the room. We were in awe by the beauty of this heaven on earth.

My heart was magically calmed by the sound of the water flowing endlessly from the fountain beside the concierge’s desk. The place was deserted saved and except for those invisible support staff. The sweet smell of roses permeates the air. I glanced around in search of the smell’s origin and found the rose bushes right at the end of the pavement. Ah, I could live here forever.

We walked to our room hand in hand and I thought to myself, it had been so long since Jefree and I were alone – since Luqman was born to be exact.

The room simply took our our breath away. It overlooks the sea amidst shady and old trees. The decoration is done tastefully; the concept is aptly named as “uniquely Malay.” I am aware, of course, if this writing gets anywhere, I would be doing YTL a gigantic favour they don’t really need.

The pathways in front of my room – in fact, pathways in this entire reclusive hideout – are neatly cobbled. I have always loved cobbled pathways or streets. It reminds me of ancient European cities. Strangely, I don’t see any other patrons in this resort; this sedentary life in Tanjong Jara is perfect for any aspiring writer. I am sure that the same sounds of the waves, clear blue sky reaching out to the end of the ocean and pristine white beach have inspired countless writers and poets.

If only I could afford to stay here longer than four days…

Sleep, which normally a constant battle for me, comes uninvited. After hours of total oblivion in blissful slumber, I woke up to the sounds of crashing waves and chirping birds from a distance. I walked up to the deserted pier at the fringe of South China Sea and chase the crab. I am, once again, a mischievous little girl who finds crab-chasing really therapeutic.

After an hour or so, fatigue took over, and I thought it was probably time to write something on my sacred moleskin. But what could I possibly write about at this moment. I gave up after a half-hearted attempt. I glanced at Albom’s latest book, hesitated for a second and abandoned the idea of reading too. I’ll read it later. In the meantime, I just wanted to lay here doing perfectly nothing. I just wanted to breathe in this stolen peacefulness for as long as I could. I closed my eyes. The only sound coherent to my ears was the waves.

I thought to myself, if I were to die and get to choose my heaven, this place would be it; where tranquility reigns supreme.

Good bye Phantom.

21 thoughts on “Letter from Tanjong Jara

  1. Sis Elviza,

    From your account, this place is a real refuge for tired souls.

    Am now reading The Flame Tree by a Malaysian lawyer practising in London. Beyond the politics of big corporates and environment, it was also abt a life journey of Jasmine.

    On the exterior she was a success and lived a life of glamour. Underneath was her private battle to run away from her past.

    Although only a novel, it opens up my eyes on social issues. The scenes were also very nostalgic. Very touching on mother-daughter relationship with a Malaysian touch.

  2. Elviza,
    I often wonder why tourists aren’t coming to our shore by the drove to enjoy the tranquility of the many resorts in our country. Although the published rate is cheap by world standard, the rooms are not filling up. What is wrong? What isn’t right with the millions of ringgit that The TDC has been spending for visit Malaysia year? Arent there any impact? Only the west coast states seems to be benefiting from the surge in tourist arrival but resorts like those in the East Coasts seems to be struggling to fill up their rooms.
    Have your tried The Aryani? Its another gem quite close to Tanjung Jara.

  3. Hi Elviza,

    Sigh (the blissful kind)…I felt like I am facing the South China Sea too…=)
    I remember how it was when I was in Mabul Island (about 40 mins by boat to Sipadan)…You wake up and you feel like time stood still just for you to revel in nature’s beauty…I had never in my life felt sand as soft as that…It was like standing in a heap of flour, coloured like the sand…Even the sunrise seemed more spectacular, with mountains and the infinite horizon as backdrop…So unlike the haze-coloured one we have in the city!
    Your account took me back to that time and place…Thank you for sharing…=)

  4. Sis..

    I’ve been waiting every day like a puppy-dog for your post –and I just love this one Sis. Although I’ve never been there myself (well, I only got as far as the entrance.. in all my decade of working in TG) now you make me want to go too!

    Albom’s latest book? Is that the one by my bunk here on this rusted ship? The one you gave me? I just finished it Sis and I can’t thank you enough. It’s hard to while the time away on a ‘floating prison’ so reading is the only solace. I’m on to Kua’s 13 May next. Say, cam pinjam Mighty Heart tak after I get to return 1MD when I see you next. I want to read it before the Jolie movie hit the screens..

    Lucky you. It’s sad, I know, but I never have been alone on holiday with my lovely spouse anywhere for the last 15 years or so. We got little A.Michelle to wait on for a bit…

  5. Sis Elviza,

    Well said sis, well said. Everyone need their moment of zen and peace, and you found the one that suits you well. Enjoy it!

    My moment of zen and peace would always being surrounded by the kampung atmosphere. Perhaps I should try others later.

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Dear Elviza,

    I spent 5 days at Damai Beach Resort, Sarawak recently and it was a bliss. Reading your posting makes me wonder when will my next holiday be.

  7. For the past 7 years, it was Pemanggil, away from the hustle & bustle, deprived of civilised trappings like handphones, 7-Elevens, etc (ahem..intermittent Astro available on demand provided you’re nice to the makcik/pakcik, in case, there’s a ManU game..wooo..busted..hehehe) and living with only basic amenities (no hot showers, no pubs). Try it. Some might not come back though!

    And then, my fishing kakis decided to relocate to Tioman, Kg Juara, the only eastward kampung, for our last trip in July ’07. Bummer!

    Apparently, a couple of the newbies can’t ‘relax’ without upgraded facilities. Wimps! May their sunblock bodies be shark-bait and their Gucci shades be Davy Jones’ ornaments the next time.

    P.S. MS..puppy dog? (H)o way, (N)ozey. More like a Rottie with a deceptively, congenial smile..until he bites. Hahahahaha! Sorry bro but that’s what you’ll get for not meeting up during Raya. See yer in Dec.

  8. El,

    woooww…this piece makes me feel like going cuti-cuti myself. Just the thought of breaking away from boring routine is heaven.

    oh, and darn, its only monday!

  9. I need a break.. but I’ve no idea when that will be possible.
    Mum’s still weak.. especially her legs. Hence, we’re keeping a close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t fall.
    In fact, she had another fall 2 weeks ago. Luckily, she sat on her butt & so she didn’t hit her head.
    I hope & pray that your boy is doing fine, my friend.

    *hugs*

  10. Salam sis Elv:

    what a joyful moment for you in TJ. Like MS, I had only been to its entrance but never dare venture inside. Maybe one of these days…but the call of Redang is more exotic. (But if you can’t swim, and you don’t like snorkelling…you’ll die in Redang).

  11. “a mischievous little girl who finds crab-chasing really therapeutic.

    After an hour or so, fatigue took over,”

    you chased crabs for an hour ?? interesting hobby .. hahaha.

  12. elviza, its cold, wet and gloomy where I am. and how i long to be where you were….If only we can find time to escape to Tanjung Jara whenever we are back. It can only remain a dream.

  13. Elviza, Kak Teh and Hi-Lo,
    If we were to be guests at TJR again, we expect to see a signed copy of GUIT (not on loan buat as a special gift) in our room. Reading GUIT in Kg. Suci Murni. What a concoction. It doesn’t take much to deliver orgasmic feeling, does it? Hi-impact, Low-cost, right Sir?

  14. Elviza, that is a great place to be, a gem of a holiday resort, a five star on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

    Recently our daughter/her husband and the grands had a holiday there. The managed to get to see the turtle somewhere nearby. Our grandchildren especially the tiny tots had great stories to tell about this amazing – holiday resort and of course their first encounter with the turtles.

    My cousin had a hand in the development of this resort.

    Have a nice day and take care.

  15. hello, my dear

    what an enchanting piece to describe an enchanting holiday hamlet.

    bila balik nanti, macam mana nak get out of te holiday mode?

  16. Malaysian in Riyadh,

    Marvelous idea! Soaking in the sun, sea and sand of Kg Suci Murni and GUIT becomes alive.

    I luv the Trengganu keropok withhome-made sos cili.

    Em, hi-impact Lo-cost. Don’t know abt impact but I was thinking of Hi-energy Lo-fat, hehehe.

  17. Hi Elviza

    I love this post. It made me feel so relaxed. You brought me into the peaceful world of Tanjong Jara. (actually, I am floating a little now).

    I’ve never been there. I should check out this place someday. Sounds like a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

  18. Pingback: Get the hell out of my blog, YOU MORON!! « Write Away

  19. Yes..whenever time and spare cash permits..do go for a nice holiday with the family…away from concrete jungles…into places that reminds you the oldern days…clean and polution free.
    One who appreciates nature and animals is one closer to God in all ways.

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