Drama in real life

Tourists enjoying a day out by the paddy fields in Site A New Village, Sekinchan. — Photos: FOONG PEK YEE/The Star

Many tourists are visiting Site A New Village in Sekinchan to relive their favourite scenes from a Hong Kong drama.

It shot to international fame after the village was featured in a romantic Hong Kong drama Outbound Love.

Site A New Village, predominantly an agriculture village in Sekinchan, Selangor, has been the talk of the town since then.

Famous and good looking artistes – Ruco Chan, Aimee Chan and Matt Yeung – are synonymous with the place.

Never mind that the village – famed for its vast tracks of paddy fields – is just one of the many sites for the drama.

“Many people just want to come and relive the scenes (of the drama) of their heart-throb stars who were actually here.

“But this place is really, very beautiful,” said its village chief Lim Siew Hock.

Lim, 53, who was born and bred in the village is visibly proud of his birthplace where he continues to live with his wife Yu Yoke Hua, 48, and three schoolgoing children.

While Sekinchan, home to three new villages – Site A New Village being one of them – is known for its rice production, its picturesque surrounding has been a well-kept secret until recent years.

“Dramas are the best advertisements.

“This is like Korea where the locations for Korean dramas, like Winter Sonata, become tourist attrractions,” said a fruit seller who is enjoying brisk sales, thanks to the surge in tourist arrivals on weekends and public holidays.

She is also confident that tourism in Sekinchan can only get better because of Facebook.

Her observation and enthusiasm is shared by Lim.

He reckons that posting holiday experiences on Facebook has made a world of difference.

“People far and wide know Sekinchan, nowadays,” he added.

And he was quick to add that his village was really beautiful to begin with, and that villagers were very proud and happy to have tourists visiting them and also to see postings on Facebook.

“There are some 2,023ha of paddy fields here,” he said, adding that paddy planting in the village dated back 50 to 60 years, ago.

Gazing at the green paddy fields with hues of yellow, Lim continued to sing praises of his village.

“The paddy fields are captivating any time of the year. 0You can see farmers hard at work during the planting season,” said Lim.

Well, “seeing is believing” as tourists can be seen enjoying themselves – pedalling rented trishaws and navigating the bunds in the paddy fields.

Some were seen clicking away with their smartphones, as well.

Besides paddy fields, the village also has orchards and vegetable farms.

Lim said they were famous for mangoes, guava, jambu merah, lime, maize and ladies’ fingers.

He said half-day morning tours in the village were popular.

Besides the paddy fields, tourists also made a beeline for the village’s Nan Tian Temple where Lim is chairman of its board.

He said the temple was also in the process of upgrading and beautifying its surroundings.

“We are building a concrete wall and (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong is supporting us by providing an allocation for the concrete works.

“Our temple will do the beautification works. It will be very beautiful when completed,” said Lim, beaming with pride.

The older part of Sekinchan town, which is just adjacent to the village, has also benefited from the boom in tourism.

Seafood and Chinese delicacies, especially Teochew-style cooking, are popular, and visitors are spoilt for choice with many eateries to choose from.

Apart from the sumptuous array of food, a meal at some places takes you back in time.

One particular eatery Hui Xiang (return to the hometown/village in Mandarin) plays Mandarin evergreens, some dating back to the 1930s for diners’ listening pleasure.

One particular warm morning, locals and tourists could be seen sipping Chinese tea and chatting while taking time to relax.

There is no air-conditioning but the high ceiling of old shops and fans in full blast keep them comfortable.

The more than 1,000 Site A villagers and the operators of little shops certainly have every reason to smile, these days.

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