Salam to all,
Last night , my husband kindly transfered my blog to the new version of blogger, and this morning I was informed by Alice that some commenters whose names appeared before in older entries, now appeared as anonymous. I really don't know what happened, but I do know my commenters and I do appreciate them. Now please read on:
Ramblings from Rembau
Had my son written me a letter after his stint in Rembau, it would have sounded like this:
My dearest mama,
My fingers are tired after replying to your numerous sms’es which came every other hour and so I have decided to sit down and type out this mail to you.
As you know my trip back to get to know my roots ended yesterday but it still baffles me to this day, why my roots strayed as far as Rembau when I know that Daddy hails from the seaside town of
Rembau is a wonderful place with friendly people. But they kept calling me Jang. In fact, it turned out that they called everyone of us Jang. One ‘Jang’ and all heads turned. Anyway, that’s the least of my problems. I was the youngest Jang amongst other Jangs from Saudi and
I remember you telling me that in
There were many new things that we learnt everyday and it was really thoughtful of them to brief us on nasi goreng and masak lomak. Perhaps they thought my diet had consisted only of fish and chips and shepherd’s pie.
It is impossible to pick one particular moment as a highlight of my stint there. Like I said in my sms to you, I had to learn to crawl on my knees, inching my way up to greet the Undang who was sitting on a big throne like chair. I practised this a few times until my knees hurt and once I did a real no no by turning to walk back. I had to walk backwards all the time. So, during the opening ceremony, representing the other Malay youths from around the world I did my crawl and walk backwards, without any problems. I was dressed like those Malay warriors in old Malay movies that you sometimes watch when it was too cold to go out. They must have been suitably impressed by the way I looked, ‘cos I was then invited to sit in the front row with the Undang and other officials during the group photograph, which I must add, and proudly too, appeared in a newspaper!! I am chuffed, mama, to say the least! and need I say too, that this was the first of many other photographs that appeared in the local media.
There was one particular mug shot of me that appeared in the newspaper, which prompted my cousins to sms me and called me the Mawi of Rembau. Who is Mawi, mama? Please tell.
A brush with the media is not something that I’d want to experience again in a hurry Mama, and this I say without intending to offend you and Daddy. When the TV crew turned up, the camera was everywhere, when we were sitting down chatting, even when we badly needed a rest and especially when we were making the lomang and ketupat. There was this big photograph of our group stirring the dodol with big oars. I reckon I’m an expert in making ketupat now although I looked quite ridiculous stirring the dodol while dressed in my baju melayu and songkok.
We had some silat sessions which I really enjoyed and I am making a mental note to take silat lessons in
Coming back to the media exposure and my fifteen minutes of fame, I admit I was quite upset when a story about me appeared with the headline,”Mahu Jadi Melayu”. What kind of a headline is that, Mama? I am already a Malay and even though I must have spoken Rembau Malay with a funny accent, that does not make me less of a Malay. I am a Malay. And I do resent being called, 'that budak Mat Salleh'. I understood everything that was said about me but I remember you telling me to be polite all the time and I bit my tongue. I wanted to say, I am a Malay, and a proud one too, especially when I wore the Malay costume with the tengkolok. Yes, I felt like a proper Malay though I’d look funny walking the streets of
The Hari Raya Haji in Rembau is one hari raya that I am not likely to forget. The night before, we did the takbir from house to house. Luckily I had enough practice doing the takbir with Daddy and also before the Raya prayers at Mawar. So, I was quite confident this time. The next morning after prayers, we witnessed the slaughter of the cows and believe me, I can still hear the sound that came from the creatures. After that, we helped to cut the meat and distributed them. I remember we used to do this at the old Malaysia Hall.
During one function, suddenly I heard my name being called. I was asked to go to the podium to give a speech. I was so not prepared for this, but I managed, just a short speech. It was not unlike the speeches that I had given at school during assemblies. I attach here a photograph and I am sure you’ll be proud of me.
The hike up Gunung Datuk was indeed tiring. It took us almost five hours to get to the top and several times I slipped. Although some went right up to the peak, I preferred to stay just a few feet below. I am no hero, mama. The walk down was much faster and easier.
The youth exchange programme ended all too soon and I made some very good friends and we promised to have a reunion soon. I enjoyed being with the Malays from
Needless to say, I am now quite tanned after being out in the sun. When I came back to Mak Ngah’s house, Tok greeted me and said, “Bila balik dari
Can I stay a bit longer?