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Padang Beras Terbakar (Field of Burnt Rice), Langkawi

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Padang Beras TerbakarPadang Beras Terbakar in Padang Matsirat, Langkawi. (7 September, 2018)

Padang Beras Terbakar (GPS: 6.35387, 99.73089), or Field of Burnt Rice, is a site attached to the historical account of Langkawi. It is located in the compound of a traditional Malay house which belonged to Ku Halim bin Ku Hassan, in Kampung Raja, Padang Matsirat.

The history of Padang Beras Terbakar goes back to a turbulent period in Langkawi history. It played out against the backdrop of the Siamese invasion of Kedah, in which Langkawi was also not spared. The year was 1822, and it happnened just a few months after the maiden Mahsuri was put to death for adultery. At that time, Padang Matsirat was the administrative centre for Langkawi, and Kampung Raja was the village where the local chieftain resided. The Siamese invasion was still ongoing, and the Siamese fleet had launched an intensive campaign to conquer Langkawi with a sea battle at Selat Panchur, which is the straits at the approach to Kuah.

Ku Halim Ku Hassan's house at Padang Beras TerbakarKu Halim Ku Hassan's house at Padang Beras Terbakar (7 September, 2018)

In the case of Padang Beras Terbakar, the same local leader Datuk Kerma Jaya (who put Mahsuri to death) once again demonstrated poor judgement. At that time, he was at Selat Pancur fighting the Siamese. Seeing that the situation was not in his favour, and that Langkawi would surely fall, he sent a messenger to Padang Matsirat to order all the villagers to destroy their rice harvest, so that the Siamese would not get hold of it.

The villagers dug a big hole in the ground into which they poured in the rice they had harvested. Then they set the rice on fire. It was a foolish act that brought an unfortunate calamity on themselves, for it resulted in the mass starvation for the islanders. Datuk Kerma Jaya himself never lived to see the consequence of his decision. He was killed in the fighting at Selat Pancur.

The villagers of Kampung Raja in Padang Matsirat believe that to this day, during heavy rain, the charred rice grains will still emerged from the site at Padang Beras Terbakar. There is nothing much that the visitors can see today, apart from the signage. The site of that hole, where the rice was buried, is now a verdant patch of grass.

Fragments of Beras TerbakarFragments of Beras Terbakar (7 September, 2018)

Going to Padang Beras Terbakar

Padang Beras Terbakar is located very near to the Langkawi International Airport. Using the airport as our starting point, upon exiting the airport, turn right at Route 168. When you reach the Airport Roundabout, take the first turning to the left, which is Jalan Lapangan Terbang. Go along this road, keeping an eye for the Beras Terbakar signage. About 1.3km from the roundabout, you arrive at the site of the Padang Matsirat Night Market, which is on the right. The entrance to Padang Beras Terbakar is on the lane immediately beyond the night market site.

Bazaar at Padang Beras TerbakarThere is a bazaar on the route towardss Padang Beras Terbakar selling various local souvenirs. (7 September, 2018)

Padang Beras Terbakar on Google Street View

Beras Terbakar (Mar 2014)

Padang Berasw Terbakar, Langkawi is on the map of Langkawi

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