Little Luke "Skywalker"

Friday, April 07, 2006

Kampung Tale

I basically spent the first 4-5 years growing up in my home town at Parit with my, great-grand parents, grandma and granduncle. Parit is a small little town, with one main road and span less than 1km square. It has all the basic facilities like a police station, fire station, playground, primary and secondary schools, clinics etc. It basically remained the same throughout the last 20+ years with some road upgrades, a new bridge and minor changes in the landscape. All in all, the kampung feel is being retained up to this day.

Our house is located at the side of the main road. It has the most strategic location as we are opposite the police station and primary school. The market place is just less than 50 meters away. My grandmother and granduncle used to operate a school canteen back then in one of the secondary schools. They use to carry me in a wooden cart with wheels to the school canteen because I just can't stop crying at home. I helped to collect cups and plates at the school canteen after the students finished their break. It was fun back then!

Apart from the canteen business, our house was also used as a mahjong centre (with 2-3 tables). Familiar faces would come and go everyday to enjoy a game or so. By watching them play, I was able to pick up the game since a very young age. In fact, everyone of my family members know mahjong, we often play a few rounds during family gatherings. Is amazing the business was allowed to be carried on till this day (now is 1-2 tables only) since the house is just opposite the police station. I guess that is just the way things work back there! (It's not like KL where some old folks are being shaved bald over a harmless game of mahjong during CNY!)

Today, the house is occupied by my grandma and my granduncle only. Regular mahjong kaki(s) still come and go everyday. One thing that is very obvious and special about the house is that the wall of the living room area is filled with photos of each and everyone of us in the family. I could hardly count the number of pictures that are hanging. Each picture reminded us how we were back then, how we looked like, what we use to do, how happy and care free life was. The wall also showcased some of the achievements of our family members with some framed certificates that were awarded, black-and-white photos of my father receiving some sort of award from St. John's ambulance. There is also some big headshots of my late great-grandparents.

We have this tradition of taking a nude photo for all newborns when they are about four months old. The tradition was still carried on till this day at the same old photo shop. All the photos were then framed and put up on the wall like trophies. Little Skywalker had his nude shot taken when he went back there for the first time (about seven months old). He was crying all the way and it took us almost an hour to calm him down and took a few shots. Like the rest of us, his photos are framed up nicely and proudly added to the "wall of fame". Our trip back last week reminded me that our wedding photos are among the collection yet, I guess we better put it up soon. Or else, those kampung folks might start to ask questions :P

FYI, our kampung house was under rental since the beginning and it still is. The rent was a mere RM20 per month for many years before it was raised to almost Rm200 2-3 years back when some idiot in the government ammended some laws. To add more salt to the wound, the land would be sold to a new owner within this year and the news is that they would tear down the houses. I am sure my grandma and granduncle will be sad about this, but they had no choice. I have asked them countless time to move to KL and even offered my place (given I have three empty rooms to spare). However, they are still not keen on the idea given that they would loose contact with their friends as well as their "entertainment activities".

Our families used to go back to kampung every Chinese New Year without fail back then. It was not until two years ago when some of us came up with the idea of doing it in KL since my uncle moved into his new banglow at Bukit Jalil. I must say that I am not fully positive of the idea because the feeling and atmosphere is just so different compared to celebrating CNY in Parit. On the other hand, it does save us a lot of hassle of driving 3-5 cars back there since the petrol price is increasing every few months. As the family is growing in terms of size, it will not be long before we run out of place to sleep.

Hopefully we will have the time to bring Little Skywalker back to Parit more often, so that he would have the chance of enjoying what is it like to live in a care free small town.

Jotted down by Egghead :: at around 4/07/2006 09:10:00 AM :: and invited 16 Blah(s):

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