By: RaY KinZoKu

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Friday, 26-Aug-2005 00:00 Email | Share | Bookmark

The boat leaves the jetty next to Tambatan D'Raja, Kota Bharu
heading non-stop to Kampung Laut
Pelangi Mall under construction (Kota Bharu)
as seen from the murky, mighty Kelantan River
engine room.. full speed ahead ! ahoy !
one goes as the other comes
On Kampung Laut floating jetty
the boat waits for the next trip to Kota Bharu
as stated on the jetty "board"
the jetty at Kampung Laut with Kota Bharu in the distance
Kg Laut cottage-industry ~ the "Serunding"-making hut
with markings left by the past big flood still visible
Kg Laut is famous for its "serunding" industry in Kelantan
As for the old mosque, this is its original site
long devoured by the river, along with the old graveyard nearby
only a cement tablet lay silently
as a marker to every passerby
that onced, a famous historical mosque stood here..
Back in time 1
Back in time 2
Back in time 3

This entry is all about recalling the old, majestic days of the historical 500++ years old mosque.
The best place to start, is of course, at the very place it onced stood ~ Kampung Laut
( or literally " Village by the Sea " ).

My journey started at a small floating jetty on a Kelantan river, easily reached from "Padang Bank", Kota Bharu, Kelantan. A token of RM 0.70 is all you need to "ask for the kindness" of the "Pakcik Motor" ( "Motor" as they sometimes call the passenger boat in Kelantan ) to take you on a single trip from the jetty, across, down-river to an old, heavily inhabited settlement of Kampung Laut.

Geographically, Kampung Laut is located in Jajahan Tumpat, some 4 km or 15 minutes by boat to the northeast of Kota Bharu. The journey by land to Kota Bharu takes much longer thus the inhabitants prefer to travel by boats to Kota Bharu instead and this practice has been going since the olden days.
Kampung Laut is one of the oldest inhabitants in Kelantan
As the name suggests, it onced located very close to the sea but due to hundred of years of heavy alluvial sedimentation by the river, it "moved" 5 km inland where it is now.

Personally, I have no connection of some sort to Kampung Laut.
No relatives or even friends there.
I started knowing Kampung Laut while I was in the Form 3 in Sultan Ismail College (SIC), Kota Bharu.
Back then, there was this school project which every student who will sit for the PMR ( Secondary School Evaluation Test ) exam must take part, in order to earn supporting credits for the PMR History paper.
The task was quite simple though.
Find a historical building or site, do some research and compile it as a report before handing it in.
My late father used to be a member of The Malaysian Historical Society and one of the society journals he owned mentioned the rescue operation of Masjid Kampung Laut in its December 1970 edition.
So, feeling impressed by the story, I then chosed Masjid Lama Kampung Laut as my subject and I still could recall going by boat to Kampung Laut with my project group for the research.
The boat fare was RM 0.50 at that time.

And, eight years had passed since I left SIC, getting through the PMR with flying colours, since then never thought of going to Kampung Laut again.
But now, " tipped off " by Timmy's comment in my previous entry, I finally decided to return again to Kampung Laut.
Kampung Laut was way different from what I saw eight years back.
Old, rustic Malay traditional wooden houses had been replaced by concrete bungalows here and there. There are even large rocks along the river bank. perhaps were placed there to avoid further erosion by the river.
The old graveyard with tombstones carved out of granite blocks by artisans of the past had long gone into the river. The main cottage-industry here, the making of "serunding", a sort of spicy meat floss that can be eaten as a side dish with rice or as filler with bread.
The "serunding" industry, well known in Kelantan, is still there though, where several families continue to involve in the age-old industry.

What about the historical 500++ years old mosque?
Kampung Laut "moved" geologically, and so did the mosque.
It was "pulled" from the safety of Kampung Laut interior, to the dangerous edge of the Kelantan River bank.
And to add to that, it had not been at its original site since 1968 !
Everyone here knows that.
Besides its granite ablution tank and its "geduk" (both now placed at the new mosque nearby),
only the original site remains, at least, lying beneath the murky water, if only you could accept that as the "original site".

So, what happened to it then ? Got washed away by time?

More story in " MENCARI PAK TUA " next episode : - DI SINI AKU KETEMU DIKAU, PAK TUA -

A concrete marker, marked the "pengkalan" (Kelantanese for "jetty") where the mosque onced stood, is the only thing left which could be used as a reliable evidence to show the exact original site of the structure. Ironically, the "pengkalan" itself is no more but a marker stone.

Masjid Kampung Laut as photographed around 1905 by W.A Graham, appointed by Siam, as a British advisor for the Kelantan government (under Sultan Muhammad IV).

The photo along with other old photos of Kelantan can be found in his book, " Kelantan : A State of The Malay Peninsula " ( Published by James Maclehose and Sons, Glasgow (1908) ), he even referred the mosque as " The Old Musjid, Kampong Laut ". A hundred years ago, when someone already referred it as "old", it must be indeed really old and historical.


* The "Back in Time" old photos of Masjid Kampung Laut were taken from Malaysian Historical Society's Magazine : December 1970 edition.

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