Tuesday, October 16, 2007
"Everyone" turned up at my mother's. My uncle brought all his kids and grandchildren. I actually gave out one month's salary that day. A very expensive day.
On the 3rd day of Hari Raya I took my wife to "balik kampong". If I do have a "kampong", it is Kota Baru, PERAK.
Kota Baru , Perak is about 12km from Gopeng, which in turn is just south of Ipoh. I used to go there during each major school holiday until maybe I reached 15 yrs.
During those days it was actually "thriving". The population was about 1,000. My aunty was a genuine "rubber tapper". That house was surrounded by rubber seeds. We kids were constantly sweeping the leaves and seeds away. The "town" had maybe ten wooden shophouses all ran by chinese. The chinese shopkeepers spoke malay exactly like a local with a thick accent. Every morning they would bring fishes, vegetables in his motorbike to all the Kampong houses. I would cycle with my cousins from the kampong house to the town. We would be tearing away avoiding each rock on the muddy road. It seemed so far away, but now with the new road, in the car, the distance would be covered in five seconds. Blink and u would miss the house altogether.
The kampong house had no electricity or tap water. We would go to town to get our daily fix of sweetened ice "kepai". It tasted so good.
Unfortunately the "town" now almost no longer exists. One row of shophouses got decimated by fire. There is now only a very run down coffee shop.
The kampong's claim to glory is that it was the subject of Lat's Kampong Boy. But now, noone lives there anymore. Even the train station is gone. The football team then used to score its goals as the train went by, because quite often the opposition had not seen a train before. At night we would sleep in huge mosquitoe nets.
There is a plan to hold a get together in front of the kampong house. But now everyone is only familiar with city amenities. So it will be difficult to pull it off I think.