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Dark history of an island village

VISITORS to Pulau Tioman will not miss the monitor lizards, which were recently in the limelight after one bit and clawed at an 8-month-old baby girl in September.
  Not as vicious as their cousin, the Komodo lizards found on the Indonesian islands, the gentle giant reptiles are commonly found in Kampung Salang, a popular tourist destination on the north of Pulau Tioman, which is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
  “Thanks to the unexpected negative publicity, the monitor lizards have now become the attraction here.
  But, it’s not easy to find the big ones these days as they may have been caught by the Wildlife and National Parks Department for relocation,” Kampung Salang village head Abdul Kadir Harun said.
  But the monitor lizard is not the only thing that will fascinate visitors. Kampung Salang has hidden secrets and a dark history.
  “There are several versions as to how the village got its name.
  Nobody knows which one is true but I believe the one that holds water is related to its own history,” Kadir said.
  The name Kampung Salang was believed to have existed before the British came.
  Kampung Salang was originally known as Kampung Jantan, which means the village of “real men”.
  “Only the brave ones would have the guts to challenge the strong waves and land in the village those days.
  They only had small sampans to cross the sea from the mainland, either from Kuala Rompin or Mersing,” Kadir said on our journey to several interesting scuba diving spots near the village.
  According to him, most of the people who managed to land in Kampung Salang were gutsy fishermen, who braved the choppy sea by paddling their small boats.
  “Some of them chose to settle down in the village and brought their families.
  News about the beautiful village started to spread.
  More people were attracted to the new settlement, with pristine beaches lined with coconut trees and lush greenery.
  “Not all of the hopefuls arrived safely, as some perished during the dangerous journey.
  “Only the brave, strong ones reached the island and made it their new home,” he said as we reached one of the popular diving sites near the legendary island.
  Unfortunately, not all who arrived were of good character. Some were pirates and criminals.
  To maintain law and order, the villagers took a drastic measure and introduced a severe penalty for criminals as a deterrent to others.
  This was the salang, a capital punishment for those who committed serious crimes, such as robbery and murder.
  Kadir explained that to salang, or menyalang, meant that a keris was used to stab a criminal’s heart through his collarbone.
  “The convict would be tied to a X-shaped wooden beam before a long keris was used to stab him through his collarbone.
  It was a slow, painful and public death,” he said while demonstrating how the execution was done.
  It is said the screams of the dying could be heard all over the island.
  “Some people told me that this form of punishment was also reserved for lighter crimes in the village as a message to others not to mess with the villagers,” Kadir said.
  Following the introduction of Salang, he said, the village began to be known as Kampung Salang.
  “It may sound cruel to others but it made the village a safer place.”
  Kadir said the old folks believed that Kampung Salang was located at the tail of the dragon that had turned into Pulau Tioman.
  Legend has it that a beautiful dragon princess was enraptured by the charm of the island while on her way to visit a prince in Singapore.
  She decided to turn into an island so that travellers could seek shelter on it.
  Today, the village has been relatively untouched by development.
  Visitors can cover the village in less than 30 minutes.
  Kadir said while the villagers did not care much about development, they were in need of reliable supply of clean water.
  “We use untreated groundwater, which may contain pollutants and germs.”
  He hoped that the government would solve the problem and give other incentives to encourage the villagers to improve their services to visitors.

Source from http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/09/dark-history-island-village?

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