Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 2

Bukit Setiawangsa is deep in sleep. Sahur will not be for the next few hours and I am still wide-eyed and could not go to sleep. What else could I do but to switch on my laptop…so, here I am writing away again.

Earlier, my uncle, Su Man in Kota Kinabalu, had called for confirmation whether I would be back in Kelantan for Raya Haji or Raya Puasa. I had made a promise to him that balik kampung this time around will be during Raya Haji not Raya Puasa. I told him the deal was on. After all I only see him once a year.

Su Man is a year older than I am. My early childhood was filled with happy memories spent with him – climbing rambutan trees, fishing at the nearby stream near grandma’s. We were very close…did everything together so much so I acted more like a boy than a girl. Back then, grandma’s house was haven for me. If they could talk, the trees at grandma’s old orchard would testify how I had sat on their branches almost daily. My comrade-in-arms was of course, Su Man. Apart from climbing trees; we would chase after butterflies and picked up pebbles along the stream. Oh those glorious childhood days in my kampong which I hope to tell my son, Luqman.

We used to climb almost all the trees at the orchard right behind grandma’s kepuk padi. Once, I fell down a few feet from a rambutan tree because the branch I was stepping on could not hold my weight. The fall was followed by a big thud which sent the birds and monitor lizards away. Boy that hurt! On seeing me on the ground grimacing with pain, Su Man, who was on a few branches above me, panicked and shouted, “Li ok dok? Saket dok?” I cried in pain, “saket ah ngok!” Su Man quickly climbed down and sat beside me saying “tak per…orang kuat tak nangis.” Hmmmm so typical of him offering comforting words whenever I was hurt even to this day.

Sometimes other kids  from the village would play hide and seek with us but not games like pangkah guli and catching fish down the river (catching fish will need a posting on its own!). These activities were confined to just the two of us, which means we play these games to the exclusions of other kids.

My favourite hiding spot was the Kepuk Padi because nobody dared venture into that spooky little hut except the mice. Su Man would hide his lithe body among piles of gunny sacks stacked behind the old kerek telaga and upon finding him, I would kick his butt, just for fun. Then we would fight like boys do – using our fists to hit at each other and ended up rolling on the grass in fits of laughter.

Sometimes, out of sheer boredom, Su Man and I would challenge each other to a bicycle race – starting from grandma’s house and all the way to Cabang Empat, passing by miles of rubber trees and padi fields. It did not matter what time…could even be in a hot afternoon. And we weren’t bothered about the heat from the scorching sun nor did we heed Mama’s warning not to go near the stream.

Oh, how I long for those carefree days again. Now, I don’t even own a bicycle! Lol!

When we were back at grandma’s recently, we caught sight of the abandoned kepuk padi while walking around the compound. The kepuk padi brought back old memories. Turning to Jefree and pointing the kepuk padi to him I asked “Papa, apa tuh?

Eiiii rumah hantu!” was the reply from my ignorant city-born other half.

At times I wonder if Luqman would be more interested in hearing tales of my childhood as compared to that of his father, who was born and brought up in the city and who surely missed out the “fun” of kampung life.

Good night folks.

*Kepuk Padi is a small hut built on stilts for purposes of storing sacks of padi during the harvesting season*

*Kerek telaga is a concentric ring made of cement used to build wells*


8 thoughts on “Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 2

  1. The senario of your life as a kid reminds me of the setting of Yasmin Ahmad’s movies. 😛

    I’m sleepless too.. 😦

    Selamat Berpuasa, my dear.

    Dearest Jemima,

    Yasmin Ahmad’s movie scenes are much more beautiful. Take care my dear…

  2. “Sleepless in the Mangrove Swamp”.

    Enjoyed this one, Sis. One side effect of fasting in Ramadhan is the lack of one’s sleep. But its other side effect is also we get to hear your beautiful reminiscings of the kampong life. Those days are forever gone and in the pursuit of fame and fortune (heh) we moved to the bright lights. In my case, pursuit of the Legal Tender to me is battling mosquitoes aboard a rust bucket in a mangrove swamp he…

    Tell me, can you reasonably open an Advo & Solic business in the boondocks of K.Krai? Perhaps, you can. But would your city-born lesser half agree to it? Besides, he can’t tell Kepuk Padi from a Sawah Padi. Err, just kidding. So Luqman (or my Alisha Michelle for that matter) will never savour the joy of hangin’ out on a rambutan or manggih tree… Or playing in a shallow stream. Well, there’s a shallow stream in the TTDI Park, but that doesn’t count, right?

    Salaam and Selamat Berpuasa.

    Dearest F,

    I like it – Sleepless in Mangrove Swamp. It’s kinda of cool don’t you think? Of course, this sleepless thing if you endure it too long would be detrimental to one’s health (what am I raving on?). Yeah, those days gone forever, in exchange of life in the city. Still don’t even have a clue what am I chasing here.

    J perhaps would agree to the idea of having an office in KK so long as he is not part of the plan. Please, shallow stream in TTDI park would not count AT ALL. That is a lonkang lah brother!

  3. Dear E,
    Childhood and carefree life without deadlines and urgent appointments that need your urgent attention.nothing beat that.

    My normal day in kg would consist of breakfast and hours in the field trip with midday reporting to my mum at lunch.The chores were endless too,like feeding ducks ,chicken and goats.

    This good ole’ days of course seldom reminded me of good smacking i received for being naughty ……thanks Dad for that as book was not a good substitute to playing kites in the midday sun…..i still believe in that but cant let my son get that silly idea .

    Come to think of it , I could have been an aeronautical engineer rather than this mundane job of computer hacker….hehehe

    Dear Alburque,

    Computer hacker my foot! You can’t even tell the difference between pentium 4 and intel core duo processor. I think it is best that you stick to your old job that is – jaga kambing! 😛

  4. salam Elviza.

    Ahh… those memories….your story took me back to the 70s in Kg Bujang Merbok and Kg Pinang, Taiping. How can I forget of climbing trees, catapulting birds and tupai, fishing in the tream, playing Combat with senapang and pistol kayu, playing gasings and wau that we kids made it with our hands, camping in the hutan belukar for the whole day, swimming in an abandoned tinmine( and getting Mak’s wrath later). Stealing rambutan and mempelam from neighbours( which after dah kenyang we’ll go and ask permission).

    And the frequent small fights one had with friends or cousins. Fights that seemed like another world war is gonna happen, then after 15 minutes,the feuding parties are playing together and laughing merrily.

    When I told Hafiz about my childhood, he was fascinated, and kept asking his Mama: Betoi ka Ma ayah macam tu dulu?
    Or if we are back in Taiping, he ask my Mak: Tok!, Ayah dulu macamni and macam tu ka?…

    Unfortunately, his childhood life is the computer( Chess).

    No, I don’t think Luqman or Alisha will understand what we tell them or will ever experience what we had. Theirs will be PC games, Playstations, and…apa lagi eh?

    But , tell them we must,about what we had. And if those kepok padi or kerek telaga( we called it Koq in Melaka they call it HUME) or if we can stop by a rubber tree or padi field or a dusun, we might be able to show them the bijik getah or biji padi to them.

    ( I remember when I first showed Hafiz the mesin getah, he was fascinated and wanted to try it).

    But, our time and theirs are far apart. Even if go back to our kampongs now, them kampong boys and girls don’t play what we used to play anymore.

    Ahh…I really miss those childhood days( minus the school exams!!)

    Alahai kesian Hafiz tak pernah nampak mesin getah! Kids nowadays mana lah tahu benda2 tu semua brother. Their world is virtual with the computer games and all. Kecik2 dulu saya terrer main laga biji getah. Lupa pulak nak citer pasal tuh. Next posting! I absolutely agree with you, of course, we must tell them.

  5. My upbringing was all over the place, hospital wards distinctively (due to my mother takdok babysitter) and my experience with the rural things is when we balik kampung. My English partner (unlike your city boy half) have deep interest in knowing more abt rural life and my malaysian childhood experience but sadly, I was more a traveller’s child rather than a settler. Nak cerita hapa hah? My excuse to my partner of not being able to story-mory hal kampung halaman ni is ‘do you I lived on the top of the tree?’ Of course, takde kena kena mengena, tapi saja nak drama…Selamat Berpuasa ye…(i Miss popia basah)

    He he he he …you ni Esah, when you leave a comment pun you kan make me laugh. Let alone when I am visiting your blog. Satu bakat yang sungguh hebat Esah! If your english partner asked again, just copy my story and tell it to him lah. He’ll never know the truth. (Jahat aku ajar orang berbohong!). Mama baru buat popia basah semalam. Kesian kat you. (Evil laugh)

  6. zaman budak2 dulu memang best kan? i didn really grow up in kampung (since i takde real kampung) but i grew up in army camps. so macam2lah perangai and games yg kitorang baur sendiri. heheh.

    farina, blog about it. I for one, would love to hear your story. Take care

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