Looking Back: Beras Terbakar

| March 8, 2010 | 0 Comments
berasterbakar Looking Back: Beras Terbakar

Beras Terbakar: There is nothing much that one can see here, apart from the signage, but the story attached to this place is magical.

Beras Terbakar (The Field of Burnt Rice) is located on the grounds of a house belonging to Ku Halim bin Ku Hassan in Kampung Raja at Padang Matsirat—the ancient capital of Langkawi and the site of the island’s rice granary. During the Siamese invasion of Langkawi in 1821 the Chieftain of Langkawi, Dato’ Karma Jaya, ordered the granary to be burnt in order to starve the enemy. Legend has it that remnants of the burnt rice can still be seen today at the very spot of the burnt granary (known as Beras Terbakar).  

Langkawi, Malaysia (September 23, 2004) — Here is a paddy. Rice aslant in the thin acrid air of memory. Rather than let our enemies eat, we burnt it all down. It is said that the monsoon still sometimes bring burnt grains to the surface—such is the quality of water that the distinction between remembering and forgetting is lost. From the green painted balcony I can hear the tide bending its tremulous knee in the lyric of the Andaman—the dead coral surfacing with its rough nouns churned by the swell of verbs and the murmuring pools giving up their sins. I have ground the beach to glass search for what it was I wanted to forget.


This post is part of a series on our blog called ‘Looking Back’ . This series is comprised of an occasional entry from our journals that date back to 2001, when we first began writing about living and travelling abroad. We’ll present these paired with a photo in the form of a verbal postcard. Together, these postcards provide an (in)formal and often (in)coherent narrative of the trips we’ve taken!


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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Check him out on Google+.

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