Some youths journey hundreds of kilometres to experience and bring back reports on life in the kampung, writes Ahmad Fairuz Othman
|The young and enthusiastic participants of Jelajah Johor 2009|
|Kampung Sri Bukit Batu village head Mohd Yatim Samadi (in songkok) introducing the visitors to the almost-completed RM200 bridge project in the village.|
|Myvi Extreme Club (South) chairman Nordziakon Husnan watering the ‘pokok beringin’ the visitors planted at the Serenti Drug Rehabilitation Centre to mark the occasion. To the left is tour participant Norhafizul Ismail.|
A GROUP of 60 youths in Perodua Myvi cars spent a weekend reporting on the lives of people in the rural areas of northern Johor.
The group were part of Jelajah Johor 2009 (Johor Tour), a convoy organised by the Media and Communications Unit of the Johor Menteri Besar's Office and Myvi Extreme Club (South).
The two-day tour involved 26 vehicles, including 23 Perodua Myvi. In just two days, the "young reporters" covered 18 villages in the Muar and Ledang districts.
The stories will be published in the online portal Khabar Orang Johor at www.medkom.my/v5.
The event was the second of a series of tours following the Jelajah Johor Series A, which covered Mersing and Kota Tinggi in May.
Fadzli said the Khabar Orang Johor portal was set up to establish a cyber community for the people to contribute their photos and stories.
Jelajah Johor began at Bukit Timbalan, Johor Baru, on the eve of the event. Participants were briefed on the tour objectives and tour schedules. The 60 participants were divided into five groups.
The next day, they gathered at Danga Festive Street Mall at 7am to register.
The convoy's first stop was at Nasuha Herb and Spices in Pagoh. Here, they split up, with each group going to the area assigned to it.
The groups were accompanied by the village heads of the respective areas, who served as guides and facilitators.
Among the villages on the tour's itinerary were Kampung Jayor, Kampung Raja, Kampung Melayu and Kampung Sebasu. Villages in in Olak Sepam, Sri Bukit Batu, Parit Zin, Simpang Jeram, Kampung Batu 3, Batu 5, Batu 6 and Jeram Tepi were also included.
Along the way, some participants got a taste of history and culture, while others literally tasted food and beverages.
One of the stopovers was an old tomb known as Makam Mat Berani in Kampung Olak Sepam, which was built in 1511.
At another stop, a wide array of frozen kuih, snacks and other goodies were found at the factory of Aini Frozen Food. A well-known brand, its presence in Kampung Melayu, Panchor, had helped to put the village on the map.
An eye-opener for the participants was the discovery of the River Ranger programme near Kampung Raja, which is an overall conservation plan as well as a flood warning system for rivers.
Many reported on development projects in several villages, including a RM200,000 bridge project in Kampung Sri Bukit Batu, and the RM2.3 million Datuk Abdullah Jaafar Mosque in Kampung Batu 6.
On the second day, the groups continued their adventure in the three sub-districts of Kundang, Sagil and Kesang in Muar.
One group interviewed developers and villagers about a RM1.6 million project to build a concrete irrigation canal for padi fields in Teluk Rimba, Kundang.
Another immersed themselves in Javanese culture at Kampung Melayu Raya, in Sagil.
There, they experienced a day in the life of a village farmer, and were entertained by a group which played the "kemplingan" -- a traditional Javanese single-headed drum.
The final stop of the tour was the Serenti drug rehabilitation centre in Muar, which proved to be an altogether different encounter for the participants.
It was a rare opportunity for many of them to speak to former drug addicts, who shared their experiences with the young people.
To commemorate the visit, Myvi Extreme Southern Zone Group chief Nordziakon Husnan and group member Norhafizul Ismail planted a pokok beringin in the centre's compound.
SOURCE: JOHOR STREETS, NEW STRAITS TIMES, 28 JULY 2009