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My hometown

 
My hometown is Sitiawan in the state of Perak. The name is actually made up of two words 'setia' and `kawan' joined together. In Malay `Setia Kawan' means loyal friend. My great-grandfather came to Sitiawan a century ago and settled down here. Our family still live in the house he built in Kampung Koh.

Sitiawan is situated near the coast of Perak. It is near the port of Lumut from where holidaymakers catch a ferry to Pangkor Island. In the early 1900s, Sitiawan was a quiet village surrounded by rubber trees. Later, the rubber plantations were replaced by oil palm plantations. Today, the town has changed into a more modern place with supermarkets and fast food restaurants. The old wooden colonial style buildings are gradually being replaced by glass and concrete buildings.

There are not many interesting places to visit in Sitiawan. The Sitiawan Settlement Museum was built to preserve the history of the early Chinese Fuzhou settlers. What my hometown is famous for in fact is food. Many people visit Sitiawan to eat the famous Fuzhou dishes such as rice vermicelli in red wine, sweet and sour fish maw soup and fresh seafood. One other thing that this place is famous for is the Kampung Koh chili sauce.

The population of Sitiawan has grown over the past century but it is still not as crowded as the bigger towns like Ipoh. The people are a mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians who live together in harmony. They are mainly involved in farming, fishing or run traditional business like sundry stores and hardware stores. In the past decade, many locals have gone into swiftlet breeding. Swiftlet farms produce birds' nests which is a valuable delicacy among the Chinese. If you come across a concrete building that has only a door and holes in the wall instead of glass windows and tiny birds flying in and out of the holes, it is a swiftlet farm.

I was born and bred in Sitiawan. Although it is not an exciting place, I love my hometown. It is not overly crowded, the people are friendly and I feel a sense of belonging here.

     
fish maw   the stomach of the fish
     
swiftlet   a small bird with long wings that flies very fast
     
born and bred   born in a place and grew up in the same place
     
 
 
 

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