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Tanjung Tuan Mysteries

by Mr.Toh Hon Leong / November 07, 2020

Pulau Masjid

I have been searching the internet regarding the fresh water well at Tanjung Tuan. The water is not only fresh, but clean and clear. Campers and picnickers use it for washing and bathing, though they are careful not to drink it. My friends called it the "Portuguese well," but the internet search proved futile.

The Fresh Water Well

One of my friends referred to TJ Newbold, and proclaimed the well is called "Perigi Rubiah". According to Newbold, locals said Rubiah was a pious lady who regularly prayed at a rocky islet, known as Pulau Masjid. Locals believed she could invoke the spirits to wreck boats approaching the shore of Tanjung Tuan. It appears she was determined to maintain her privacy. She is said to be buried near the beach now known as Pantai Keramat.

Perigi Rubiah

Right next to the well, is a massive boulder, where one will notice leftover candles and joss sticks. Those who pray here believe the jungle spirits may bring them some luck and perhaps some unexpected fortune. Believe or not, there are tales of people striking lottery. These days, praying is prohibited by religious and jungle authorities, as fire had occurred in the past.

Dato Kong

At the top of the boulder is a dent that appears like the shape of a footprint. Local mythology claims this to be the footprint of Hang Tuah, an ancient Malacca warrior, during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah. It is said he visited Tanjung Tuan, but an exaggeration claims he jumped from Malacca to Tanjung Tuan.

Hang Tuah Footprint

About 100 m away from "Perigi Rubiah" is another well known as "Perigi Belanda". It seems this well was dug by the Dutch. One wonders if these wells were dug for use by the lighthouse keepers. Were foreigners or locals were manning the lighthouse?

Perigi Belanda/ Dutch Well

Locals believe that pork is prohibited in this location. There are many stories of boats capsizing in the sea near the cape, because the passengers venturing to Tanjung tuan were believed to be carrying pork. In the past, Tanjung Tuan was more accessible by boats than by land. My friend told me that 13 persons lost their lives in 1961, while travelling by boat to Tanjung Tuan. It was speculated they were carrying the prohibited item.

Mythology abounds in Tanjung Tuan. Just two weeks ago, the gatekeeper told us of a young man returning from a hike, with his trousers in tatters and both his legs covered with cuts and bruises. It seems, he was led in a trance by a spirit through the virgin jungle, while in his mind, the young man said he followed a path through the jungle. According to the gatekeeper, it was a delusion or hallucination, caused by the jungle spirit. The "spell" was broken when he heard sounds of other hikers. Be beware hikers. Don't be lured away. It's best to hike in a group.

Old folk tales passed down the generations told of pirates inhabiting Tanjung Tuan. They used Tanjung Tuan as a base to launch their raids on unsuspecting passing ships. Stories of pirate treasures, hidden or buried around Tanjung Tuan were rampant in the past. For most of us, the real treasure of Tanjung Tuan is its incredible natural beauty, super fresh air, pristine beaches, unique flora and fauna and most of all, the adrenaline and endorphin rush as we scale up Batu Putih.

Keramat Beach

There are stories that the first sultan of Malacca, Parameswara or Sultan Iskandar Shah, was buried in Tanjung Tuan, rumoured to be right at the foundation of the lighthouse. Some claimed he was cremated since he was a Hindu, while others claimed he was buried in Singapore. We could only speculate as there isn't much recorded history.