Category: Tourism News

Muar than meets the eye

GOOD IMPRESSIONS: The picturesque royal town gets its own coffee-table book.

AFTER George Town and Malacca, the next most photogenic spot in the peninsula is probably Muar.

The royal town in northwestern Johor, fronting the estuary of Sungai Muar, the main artery which meanders all around the district before joining the Straits of Malacca, boasts of a wide kaleidoscope of cultural and heritage scenes.

Despite its reputation as a pensioners’ town, Muar has always been a lively spot.

Today, tourists visit Muar not only for its rich history, but also for its delicious food, famous coffee and picture-perfect scenes of its waterfront, sunsets and heritage buildings.

Muar-born Kuan Tan, 53, a professional photographer of 33 years, spent 16 of those years in Kuala Lumpur before deciding to return to work in his hometown.

He had developed a steady clientele in Muar during the years he had worked in the capital. Moreover, Muar’s good food, fresh air and close-knit community were sounding a siren call that was increasingly hard for him to resist.

When he was voted the president of the Muar Photographic Chamber of Commerce in 2009, he thought of doing something useful for Muar while he still had the energy. However, he had no idea what to do.

After talking with his twin brother, Tan Son, he decided to use his skills to capture the best of Muar, for posterity, too.

Thus the idea to publish a book showcasing the charming and colourful aspects of the royal town was conceived.

“Frankly speaking, the undertaking of such a mammoth project was beyond my efforts.

“So I started by publishing the 40-page Impressions of Muar, as part of the chamber’s annual magazine in 2009. It took me three weeks to complete the section which featured plenty of pictures and some articles about the chamber.

“The success served as an impetus for me to go bigger, which was to publish a book called Impressions of Muar,” he said.

To get good quality pictures for the book, Tan said, the chamber organised a photography contest in 2010.

The best of the contest entries, together with photos contributed by Muar photographers, led to the publication of the book, which has some 1,000 photographs in five sections — The Legends, The Uniqueness, True Lifestyle, Multiculturalism, and Attractions.

The published photographs were chosen from over 5,000 photographs submitted by the contestants and local photographers.

Tan’s photographs account for about 8 per cent of the pictures in the book.

“We cover many aspects of the town in the book, which will make a fine souvenir to be presented to friends from other states and overseas.

“If you have yet to visit Muar, the book will prompt you to do so.

“And after you have visited the town, the book will serve to remind you of the visit, and perhaps even persuade you to make a second date with us,” he added.

The English text in the trilingual book is provided by journalist Anthony Joseph.


Read more: Muar than meets the eye – Johor – New Straits Times

Category: Tourism News