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Have You Heard Of The Naga Seri Gumum of ‘Tasik Chini’, The Malaysian Loch Ness Monster?

today4 June 2021


Malaysians have been going up in arms when news of the Pahang government approving mining operations in the vicinity of Tasik Chini hit the media. Public outcries demand justice for conservation of the lake, as well the livelihoods of Orang Asli from the Jakun tribe who are dependent on the body of water. Pollution caused by land clearing for iron ore mining in the vicinity of Tasik Chini has destroyed the lake’s beauty, turning the clear waters black and killing the fishes. Where the lake once had beautiful lotus floating on the surface, now it has dead fish floating instead. 




Legend has it that during the lake’s time of glory, there lived a dragon called Seri Gumum who inhabited the lake. Some myths say that the dragon is still there, guarding the sunken city.


Myths Of The Lake’s Origin…

The most famous legends tell of a Jakun tribe who came to occupy the area and was told off by an old lady for not seeking permission from the spirits. After the tribe apologised, she relented and planted her walking stick to mark her territory and warned them not to remove it. 

Time went by until a dog began barking endlessly at a rotting log on the edge of the clearing. Puzzled, men threw sticks at the log, which started to bleed and the blood flowed across the ground until the sky was split with lighting, followed by a heavy downpour. In all the chaos, the old lady’s stick was knocked out of the ground. 


Harith Iskandar

The hole left behind from the stick started gushing with water that flowed endlessly for many, many years…which ended up becoming ‘Tasik Chini’. And the log? The tribe realised that it was actually the Seri Gumum dragon.


In a romantic version of the legend, the Seri Gumum was a cursed princess who was sealed away in a Forbidden Garden built on the lake. When the Kemboja Prince fell in love with her, the princess broke the seal and agreed to leave with him. 



However, as soon as they left the borders of the Forbidden Garden, there was a huge flood and the lovers were transformed into dragons. The Forbidden Garden, on the other hand, was forever trapped at the bottom of ‘Tasik Chini’.


Human Sacrifice To Appease The Dragon

Once, there was a great flood coming from the lake, making the villagers wonder if the dragon was demanding a sacrifice. As fate would have it, a girl went out to wash her clothes at the lake and fell from her raft. She drowned. Soon after, the villagers noticed that the waters immediately receded, implying that the dragon is appeased by its victim.


*Cover image via  Harith Iskandar

Written by: Farah Qistina

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