Village Life (Herbie Hancock)

The past two weeks at work have been quite hectic given my week long medical leave. A lot of revisions to customers’ kitchens and M & E drawings left undone. I was finally able to clear them yesterday so am just spending this Sunday at work blogging.

The only form of escape I get have been visits to beach resorts and islands. Being surrounded by water and snorkelling among the fishes really clears out the mind. The last time I got to do that was about one and a half year ago at Ko Samui. Being pampered and relaxing at a beach resort is fine but being underwater is where the fun’s at. Seeing all forms of sea creatures, feeding and touching them. And that’s just snorkelling, not even scuba diving.

Another form of escape I have not gotten in a long time is staying in a kampung. Back when my grandparents were still alive and relationships with my relatives were closer, my family would often visit them whenever we got the chance. Of course, kampung life took various forms depending on where my grandparents lived at different stages of their lives. They were true blue Malaccans so it was only natural that most of my kampung experiences revolved around that state, specifically Paya Rumput. There was also a stage when most of my relatives were staying in those kampung setinggan areas near Ampang in Kuala Lumpur. My grandfather always built a stall in front of every street leading to his house, where he sells Nasi Campur, Roti Canai and Ice Kachang. The one in Ampang was actually near P. Ramlee’s grave, which was gated and decked in white marble. I remember filling myself with that Rose Syrup drink at his stall and running with my cousins past the graveyard at night, as we had heard stories of headless ghosts and Pontianaks dwelling there.

Morning baths usually took place around the perigi where the first drench of cold water from the pail was enough to set your teeth chattering for hours. And let’s not forget the occasional ‘chocolate cake’ step lest one walked too fast without looking. Cleaning out cow poo from your feet is one hell of an experience.

When they were at Paya Rumput, I remember lighting up the kerosene lamps on the fence at dusk during Hari Raya and playing with firecrackers with my cousins throughout the night. Playtime would also happen in the dilapidated Morris Minor my grandfather left at the foot of the hill leading to the house, where my cousins and I would take turns steering while some smart aleck gave instructions on our next destination. And when it’s the durian season, everybody can be soundly sleeping but run out of the house suddenly when we hear a loud thump on the roof; that of a fresh one dropped from the tree. I don’t care what anybody says about D24 or XO durians, nothing beats eating a fresh kampung durian even if it’s at 3 am.

When the day’s activities started slowing down, I would lie on the ambin my grandfather built below the rambutan tree. The soft breeze from the paddy fields in front of the house was enough to set me snoring.

The tell-tale signs of a coming feast were also apparent when we were instructed by my grandmother to catch chickens in the yard. That coupled with picking fruits and vegetables off the so-called garden. But the one that takes the cake is watching a bull being slaugtered right in front of our eyes. I never realised there were so many parts to a bull and basically all were edible in more ways than one.

 Sigh … all these I remember so fondly.

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~ by blackcadillac73 on March 25, 2007.

7 Responses to “Village Life (Herbie Hancock)”

  1. hmmm those were the days, yah? This is a nice piece of writing. so your grandparents were from malacca. Do u still have relatives there? Still can balik kampung or not? Balik lah, itu mode rindu kampung tu 🙂

  2. Unfortunately, most of my relatives are now in Kuala Lumpur. What’s left is an abandoned house. Would be nice if the place can be restored and enjoyed like the good old days.

  3. Alamak why is the sleazy jazz STILL on your blog ni? Buat ngantuk ahhh…..

  4. U saddap u! I owner ok! I can put anything I want here ok! At least I don’t have some irritating Minah and Mat Kental music here ok!

  5. Woit! Laki bini …. chill! Nanti I letak lagu Twinkle2 Little Star baru tau! Haha!! 😛

  6. it is a lil sleazy i think 🙂 makes me think of “turn of the lights and let’s get on with it” kinda song! LOL

  7. Hmm … maybe I should replace the sleazy jazz with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing or Let’s Get It On, since everybody thinks it’s sexual.

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