Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Menjejak Bako

So the Haj had come and gone.

And I am still in Kuala Lumpur.

It was not too bad a Raya this time around, even if it were celebrated way from Taiping. Visited the inlaws in Rawang before heading to Shah Alam to celebrate with Mak at my sis.

To be honest, my mind this Raya is far away in our ancestral home land near Bukit Tinggi in Sumatra Barat. Kampung Sepisang to be precise.

I first visited them on my way to Padang in what I now considered as Menjejak Sitti Nurbaya.

But Sitti Nurbaya is not the purpose of this piece, so I will not touch on her. It then became a Menjejak Bako travel.

When I first step my foot in the wee hours of March 1998 in the kampung my grandmother (Nenek Bulan) lived before coming to then Malaya - perhaps in the early 20s, I was touched. It was a peaceful and serene village.

Perhaps too peaceful and too serene.

But sentimental aside, I was touched by the hospitality of them to embrace strangers like my bro and I and took us into their humble abodes. It turned out that practically the whole village was related to us!

But it saddened me even then to see the hardship of their lives.

No electricity, no piped water. Obviously no TV whatsoever. Only radio - powered by the batteries. At night the house was lighted by the kerosene lamps.

We are not talking about 1950s; we are talking about 1998 - it is practically the millennium for heaven's sake. And yet the basic amenities have not reached them.

And we are not talking about about a remote village in Indonesia. We are talking about a village right next to the Trans-Sumatran highway, and about 1 hour from the resort town of Bukit Tinggi, may be two hours to Pagar Ruyung, the craddle of the Minang civilisation.

But I simply could not forget the cool mountain water piped down using bamboo - air palong. Aah, so cool and refreshing. We were bathing in mineral water.

The luxury of kampung life!

The under-privilege children of Kampung Sepisang in Sumatra, but they lead a carefree life.

Mak Juli, Mak Sawi and the various old ladies manning the kampung in the truest Minang style while the menfolks migrate to various parts of Indonesia - or perhaps Malaysia, looking for opportunities to better their lives.

They are the embodiment of strength, mentally and physically even if they are half the size of this blogger.

I am anxiously waiting for my brother to come back from Kampung with the latest pictures of them and the kampung nenek left behind more than 80 years ago. Ten years have passed since I last went there, I am told that things are not getting better in Kampung. Obviously all the Maks are getting older (I was told Mak Juli dah bongkok), but they are big hearted people.

The blogger with the Kampung relatives. This was perhaps the best house, still under construction, with money from Malaysia (not mine). Mak Sawi is third from left, Mak Juli is fifth from right.

I do wish we had sacrificed two or more cows instead of one. I do wish that we would do this every year. They are probably in need of it more than we do here in Malaysia. This kampung with 80 houses had two (one courtesy of the Hariris). Some mosques here in Malaysia would sacrifice 30 cows or more, and I guess the meat was distributed even to the rich!

Aah well....

1 comment:

  1. Good Intention indeed, why not pre-planned the "korban" for next year then - collecting the fees on monthly basis as some of us may not "rich" then proceed accordingly - at least I could join as well