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Salam Kemaafan di Aidilfitri

Eid Mubarak 2011 Slideshow: Kamarul’s trip to Kampung Pulau Sebang (near Kampong Masjid Tanah), Melaka State, Malaysia was created by TripAdvisor. See another Kampong Masjid Tanah slideshow. Create a free slideshow with music from your travel photos.

Tasik Biru...Bau...Sarawak

Today however Bau is probably better known for its caves. But even more famous than the caves is its Blue Lake, Tasik Biru. At first glance it looks like just any other lake, but when you walk over to one side the blue colour is really noticeable and contrasts sharply against the green foliage. Tasik Biru has long been a prime attraction of this small town, as it lies just one kilometre from Bau centre. The lake is not natural, it was formed as a result of open cast mining. The gold mine, known as Tai Parit mine, was operated by the Borneo Company from 1898 until it was flooded in 1921. The newly formed lake was then known as Tai Parit Lake, and later became a popular place for picnics. Its name was only changed to Tasik Biru in the 1970s.

A bridge was built across a narrow part of the lake to enable visitors to reach the other side. People would swim and go fishing in the lake, and sail model boats. Paddle boats were also a popular activity but this was stopped after a bus tragedy in 1979. A bus carrying students and teachers plunged into the lake killing 28 students and a trainee teacher. The lake was actually drained in 1990 when a mining company wanted to extract the gold ore from the sides and bottom of the lake. The lake is about 300 feet deep. The lake and surroundings covered about 15 acres but this area was increased when the site was restored in 2000.

It was thought that the water appeared greenish bluish due to reflection of the green vegetation and the blue sky. However it was then found that the lake contains high levels of arsenic, which is a poisonous element. Signboards were put up at the lake side to warn people against swimming, fishing, and drinking the water. It's ironic that such a delightful blue colour is actually formed by a toxic substance.

When tested it was found that the arsenic level in the water is 40 times higher than the permissible level allowed by the World health Organisation (WHO) and yet the residents of a nearby kampung had been using the water since 1997, when their own water supply was cut off. The lake is constantly fed by a small stream which has even higher levels of arsenic. It's like beauty and the beast, a beautiful colour coming from a toxic source! There are a lot of legends relating to Tasik Biru. One concerns the creation of the lake. According to local tales, it is said that a group of miners saw a golden tortoise at the bottom of the mine. They tried to catch the tortoise but it buried itself in the earth. As the miners tried harder to dig it out, the tortoise bored deeper into the ground in its attempt to escape. Suddenly, a jet of water appeared and the mine started to flood. The frightened miners tried to scramble to higher ground but the water kept rising. Just when it looked as if the mining settlement would be wiped out, an old man, said to be a bomoh, appeared on the scene. He pushed a white man into the rising water, and strangely, the water stopped rising. The lake even has its own Loch Ness monster story. In 1988, three monsters appeared in Tasik Biru. Crowds gathered to watch these strange large figures about three metres long swimming below the water surface. The medium from the nearby Bong Low Sian Tze temple said they were evil beings. His helpers burnt some talismans around the four corners of the lake, and a day later, the strange figures disappeared. No such creatures were seen when the lake was drained in 1990! I had a good look but couldn't see any monsters disturbing the surface of the water.

There is a walkway leading down to a pontoon and it's nice to sit here and catch the breeze and watch the ripples moving across the water. The colours change slightly, depending on the angle you look. It's definitely a peaceful place despite the hidden dangers lurking in the water.


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