Xiwang Village Seafood Restaurant, Port Dickson

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The last time I was in Port Dickson (a couple of years ago, with C and El), we had an awesome seafood dinner at Xiwang Village Seafood Restaurant. This time around, I brought my fam here with high hopes… but they fell a little short. The food was still decent, but it lacked the awesomeness it used to have. Also, prices have gone through the roof since then.

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Stir-fried lala mihun (clam vermicelli). The flavour was okay but it lacked wok hei, and the clams were small and overcooked into sorry, shrivelled bits.

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The water spinach fared better, although it was a tad too starchy.

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Mud crabs cooked kam heong (spicy) style. The crabs were meaty but they didn’t taste fresh. Also, they cost a whopping RM78 (!!!???) for 1kg (two pieces) – almost double the price of most seafood restaurants elsewhere. I don’t remember it being this exp before, but even so, it is too drastic an increase.

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The only redeeming dish of the evening – fried squid. Seasoned just right, springy and bouncy, and perfect with the sweet chilli dip. Not too oily either.

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XIWANG VILLAGE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Jalan Pantai, Teluk Kemang Sirusa, 71050 Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM (closed Wednesdays)

 

What To See and Do at The Army Museum (Muzium Tentera Darat), Port Dickson

Here’s something that many might not know (I certainly didn’t before)  – Malaysia has its very own version of Fort Knox !

Part of the coastal town of Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan is also known as ‘Bandar Tentera’ or Army Town, being home to numerous army camps and military training facilities. Through the main archway, a vast parade field stands to the right, while insignia, flags and murals line a long wall on the left. Barracks, housing and other facilities are scattered throughout the town, but visitors are allowed access to common areas such as the Muzium Tentera Darat or Army Museum. 

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I was surprised to find that the Army Museum defied stereotypes of how museums should be (ie boring) – there was loads to see and do, and a lot of interesting information to be gleaned from its interactive exhibits. Best part of it all? Entrance is free.

Upon entering, visitors are greeted by two large military aircrafts – a plane and a fighter jet. My bro ventured to ask if they were real, which made my mom laugh and ask if he thought they were plastic models.

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Walking up the hill, where cannons and artillery line the sides

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Looks like something out of a Star Wars film !

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The main square, featuring a fountain and several monoliths inscribed with names of soldiers who have served in the army.

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Train coaches.

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It started raining cats and dogs, so we retreated to the indoor exhibit area.

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Decompression chamber used by divers, to prevent necrosis after surfacing from a deep dive.

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There are nine indoor galleries housed in two old buildings that have been converted into a museum. Each section depicts a different timeline in the history of Malaysia’s armed forces; from pre-independence right up til the present day. Some of the exhibits featured : pistols, guns and weaponry used by the British during Malaya’s colonial era, by the Japanese during World War II, and by the communists.

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British officer’s cap. These were also worn by wealthy Chinese miners – mom remembers them from when she was a child in Perak, as her neighbour used to wear them while going about town.

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The Japanese invaded Malaya via Thailand, riding down the coast on bicycles. They took the Peninsula in less than three months while the British retreated to their stronghold in Singapore (which eventually fell anyway).

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Radio and communications equipment, bicycles and other items used during the Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation. While we were walking around there were also some volunteers (?) walking around in army regalia. You are welcome to take pictures with them.

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A section dedicated to Liutenant Adnan Saidi.

When mentioning Malaya’s greatest soldiers, his name will undoubtedly top the list. Considered a national hero by both Malaysians and Singaporeans, Adnan led a 42-strong platoon from the 1st Malay Regiment in defence of Singapore against the invading Japanese. Hopelessly outnumbered while defending Bukit Chandu in what is now known as the Battle of Pasir Panjang, Adnan urged his men to fight to the end, despite enemy shelling from guns and tanks, as well as critical shortages of food, medical supplies and ammunition. On the last day, Adnan and his men were down to only a few hand grenades and fought with bayonets in hand-to-hand combat (figures on Wiki estimate that the Japanese losses were 800 (!) although not sure if this was inflated)

All members of the Malay regiment were killed, save one, who fell underneath a pile of dead bodies and pretended to be dead. Adnan himself was shot, tied to a tree upside down and stabbed with bayonets; his mutilated body never recovered. He was only 27.

I get goosebumps thinking of the immense love for the country that these brave men had that has shaped our history. If they had not fought so valiantly, perhaps more lives here would have been lost. And for that, I salute them.

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Old posters from colonial times calling for people to join the armed forces.

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Map of the Malay Regiment quarters in Port Dickson, pre-world war II.

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Outdoor exhibits of military tanks and trucks.

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Perhaps the most impressive section of the Army Museum is the underground ‘tunnel’, made to replicate communist hideouts. Communists were mostly ethnic Chinese, and during WWII, they were the largest anti-Japanese resistance force in Malaya (many Chinese hated the Japs for the cruelties inflicted on the people of China).

Working together with the Brits, they formed MPAJA or the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese army.  After the Japanese were defeated, the MPAJA became a problem as they saw it as a chance to take over the ruling of Malaya. The Malayan Emergency, a dark chapter in the country’s history, lasted from 1948 – 1960, with communists waging war against the British. Lacking proper resources, they often fought guerilla-style in jungles and made ‘camps’ underground.

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The dimly lit tunnel became increasingly claustrophobic after awhile. Thankfully the walk wasn’t too long, 15minutes tops if you’re also looking at the exhibits.

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Guns and weaponry used by the communists.

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AS mentioned earlier, a large part of the communists in Malaya were ethnic Chinese, so promotional materials were mostly in Chinese, some probably brought in from China.

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A ‘sick bay’ where injured communists were operated on. Given the conditions (dark, dank and a lack of fresh air), I doubt many of these soldiers recovered properly. It was a dangerous life of hiding, fraught with dangers.

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Glad to emerge back into daylight ! More exhibits of helicopters and aircraft.

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Giant engine.

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Military jeep. Visitors are allowed to climb into them to take pictures.

It was a very informative/educational trip, and I was impressed with how well maintained everything was. Those visiting PD shouldn’t miss on paying the Army Museum a visit. And it’s free. 🙂

PORT DICKSON ARMY MUSEUM (MUZIUM TENTERA DARAT PORT DICKSON) 

Kem Sirusa,, Persiaran Pahlawan, Kampung Baru Sirusa, 71050 Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Open: Weds – Sun (10AM-5PM, closed Mon & Tues)

PD Waterfront, Port Dickson

It was a long weekend over New Year’s (good thing about living in Malaysia – if a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the next day is a replacement holiday. woohoo!), so the fam and I went on a day trip to Port Dickson, about an hour and a half’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.

PD is a coastal town in the state of Negeri Sembilan, famed as a weekend getaway for locals. The height of its popularity was in the 90s, where dozens of serviced condominiums, hotels and homestays sprouted along its beaches. They all took a hit during the Asian financial crisis. When we drove by, we saw many old buildings lying abandoned, some with ivy and plants creeping over the walls.

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In recent years, tourism in PD has been reviving, with new developments to attract more visitors. One of these places is the PD Waterfront area – a stretch of cafes and inns with a nice view of the ocean. There’s no ‘beach’ to speak of, only rocks, but there are proper walkways and pavements so it should be good for a nice evening stroll.

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Some of the public beaches in PD have been polluted over the years, so I was surprised to find that this was relatively well kept and pristine. The water was clear and a beautiful light shade of blue.

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Commercialised outlets – McD’s, Starbucks, and a Domino’s further down the road.

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A small observation deck area, where some folks were fishing. Could do with more shade because the sun was very hot in the afternoon – but then mom reasoned that if they had shady trees, the leaves would fall into the sea and pollute the ocean. Good point.

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The problem with some Malaysians – first class facilities provided but a third world way of enjoying them.

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High time for lunch. There are quite a number of options; from mamak to Korean BBQ, fast food (McD’s, Domino’s), Thai and Western. We opted for a place called Pak Hailam, which serves local, Asian and Western favourites. Mom had the Hailam Chicken Rice – but instead of smooth, poached chicken, these were deep fried and clearly not fresh. The sprouts were fat and juicy though.

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Bro’s sausage fried rice was okay, although a little lacking in ‘wok hei‘. Enjoyed the sweetish spicy sambal on the side.

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I had the stir-fried beef kuey teow (flat rice noodles) which came swimming in an eggy broth. The peppery flavour was a little overpowering, but otherwise it was decent.

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Keen to visit PD Waterfront? There are also a few hotels located within the vicinity; although retail outlets have yet to open so the only place to grab groceries/essentials is from a hypermarket nearby. There isn’t much to do yet around here, but it’s a good place for an evening walk if you’re planning a daytrip to Port Dickson.

Happy trippin’! 😉

More info: pdwaterfront.com.my