Martin Theseira

Voice of the Portuguese

MiF Oral History Interview

Kampung Portugis

13 APR 19

“I had to give up fishing. The fishes we catch are getting less…”

I had a very enjoyable life in the kampung back then, in Praya Lane. Kids swimming. Catching tiny fishes by the shore. Even going fishing with a small sampan. You need (just) a few dollars then to see some chick or go to the cinema or buy some tropical fish. If the tide was low, we used to find seashells. The kupang , the lala, all these to get some money.

The langgiang is very important for fishing. You could earn enough to support the whole family. This gentleman by the name of Vincent De Melo, his main equipment for fishing is langgiang. He had ten kids. And he could bring up all his family to make sure they have enough food to eat. Somehow he managed to educate his children. Even those who are working in the Government Department as a low ranking officer. Even labourers working in the hospital used to use langgiang after work. Or they go early in the morning. And that’s enough to give them extra income, to help their families.

That equipment played a very important role even during my grandfather’s time. My father’s time. And then sadly because of the reclamation, the langgiang Is not viable anymore. It’s not possible to use that equipment in our seafront because of the reclamation. They dumped everything in the sea and you got the mud coming up. And we don’t get grago like we used to.

So I was fishing for over more than 20 years. And then finally during or after the reclamation reached Praya Lane , Banda Hilir, I have to give up fishing . And then I went to pickle making, and that is acar. The fishes we catch is getting less. And smaller in size too. So we buy our fish in the market, just like the fruits too.

Thank you Mr. Martin Theseira