Saturday, January 31, 2009

Untapped Opportunities In Lipat Kajang

If you don't hear the knock of opportunity - build a door. - Anon.

With a bit of pre-judgment, I would say that Lipat Kajang is a kampong of opportunity. For whatever its worth, the kampong has a large acreage of unutilized land (or only semi-utilised), and large areas of 'sawah' (swamp land mostly) unworked. Forget the unforeseeable challenges, for as start lets concentrate what can be gotten out of Lipat Kajang.

It is a common knowledge that there are markets for the following,
‘Lintah’ (big leeches, for medical purposes)
‘Cacing’ (Earth worms, as non-chemical fertilizers)
‘Burung puyuh’ & their eggs (Patridge? For bird meat and small bird’s eggs)
‘Ayam kampong’ (kampong chicken, the local hardy chicken, a good demand in the towns and cities of Malaysia)
‘Kambing’ & ‘Biri-biri’ ( Goats and lamb for mutton)
‘Kerbau’ & ‘lembu’ (buffaloes & cattle, for meat of all kinds)

Locals are also encouraged to rear fresh water fish such as ‘ikan patin’ (a species of catfish) and ‘ikan talapia’. There is a good demand for them right now. Lipat Kajang folks have tried such fish rearing but that they failed because they did not have the sustaining power. I have seen in other places (in the State of Pahang) where they have successfully reared such fish, found the market and sustaining their activities. Why Lipat Kajang folks failed. Only they may know the correct answer. That was a lesson learnt.

In some places in Malaysia today, they rear other fresh water fish such as ‘ikan haruan’ (snake head fish) and ‘ikan keli’ (another species of cat fish). Both are profitable ventures as there is high demand for them, especially for ‘ikan keli’ which is one of the favourites in local Malay restaurants.

Lipat Kajang folks will need to think of how to ‘sell’ their kampongs to outside visitors and tourists. I don’t like to say much about this business because I know very little about selling and tourism. But I can see certain aspects in the kampong which may attract other people to visit it. People from certain sections of the Malaysian population, from other parts of the world may find the place different, if not interesting. Not really for tourists I suppose but more of hobbyist. Some people like to watch birds in their natural environment as a hobby. Some may like to watch dragon flies flying about, probably photographing them. Some may like to watch butterflies. Some may like to study trees, plants and wild flowers. Some may like to watch non-dangerous wild animals, not in a zoo. These are all available in Lipat Kajang. Its just a matter of introducing these hobbyist to such products which they may want to be involved in. Quiet and peace of the kampong attract all the birds, insects and non-dangerous animals. All the kampong can be the showplace, and to add immediate familiarity a local recognized trained guide may need to be employed.

The kampong may also like to ‘show off’ what they have. These however will need proper organisation to make the ‘show off’ successful. These are actually activities which both local and visitors can take part in. Activities such as boating in the ‘sawah’ (swampy area), rafting in the ‘sawah’, fishing in the ‘sawah’., or just merely cycling in the kampong roads during the day time, doing nothing but just watching the natural environment settings.

And I would say that the night activities would more thrilling. These are such as guided walking at night in the kampong, quietly watching and hearing the night noises. (Here the safety of the visitors much be assured by the guide and the kampong folks. We do not want any untowards incident to happen). Or even going on a Night Safari on a 4WD, trying to watch the wild animals coming out of their lairs at night or even in their lairs sleeping. These activities can be quite dangerous but to the adventurist kind, it will be real fun.

But for those local and visitors who are less adventurous, they may like to stay back over cold drinks (no alcohol) and relaxing while watching the kampong youths performing their ’bersilat’ (the Malay form of self defence) or even ‘main gasing’ (top playing and spinning, of lipat kajang tops) and may even take part in the top spinning activities.

All these come with expected challenges of course. Such activities need capital outlay. Such activities also need dedicated personals to make them successful. Such activities also need trained people in their respective fields so that they proceed smoothly. And further such activities need labour so that the guests (and even locals) need not get inconvenienced while taking part in those activities. Sanctions may be required from the Authorities and their cooperation is most essential. Is Lipat Kajang ready? Can Lipat Kajang folks organize these activities? Or do they need outsiders to lead.

Do Lipat Kajang folks also need outsiders (non-Lipat Kajang-ites) even to start economic activities in their own kampong?

Are the Lipat Kajang folks ready to tap the opportunities presented to them because of their natural settings? Are they ready to change from being 'dirty' to being 'clean'? From being complacent to being industrious? From being too satisfied with their lives to being more restless? From being subsidy minded to be more of having self pride and to work hard to achieve set objectives? Only Lipat Kajanag folks can give the right answers.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We are ....

I found this on the internet.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Ini orang Lipat Kajang?

Ini orang Lipat Kajang ke?

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There is hope.

A few months ago they cleared our irrigation canal (in Lipat Kajang for 'sawah @ baruh'), flood prevention probably but at least there is hope for future development.

Just heard that someone (not from Lipat Kajang directly but someone with Lipat Kajang connections) has plan to develop Lipat Kajang. Pray hard that he will succeed. (Saya juga berdoa bersama).

I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel…………. hopefully big bright light that can illuminate the whole of Lipat Kajang.

He has plan to start a reindeer (“rusa”) farm (so I understand), probably a Homestay scheme, and pleasure cruise on a ‘rakit’ in the ‘sawah’. Lipat Kajang has got one of the biggest area of ‘sawah’ in Temerloh (Pahang) not fully or usefully utilized now. Great idea.

I also heard that some else has the idea of starting a Homestay scheme in the kampong.

And I have always felt that when the Paya Lanjut and Paya Cerok Panjang are full of water, we can always start a scheme of row boating (either English style or Malay style with ‘prahu’ and ‘pengayuh’) in those ‘paya’. Added to that someone may like to start a scheme of commercial fishing, (I am pretty sure such scheme can attract local tourists ……… except that they may be adverse to ‘lintah’ in those ‘paya’). I know sometime back the ‘paya’ were full of ‘lampang jawa’. The kampong may benefit indirectly and maybe directly from such tourist coming into Lipat Kajang.

Anyone wanting to start Night Safari, touring the kampong at night, in a 4WD, looking for wild animals?

But before we can even think of tourists (foreign or local) coming to Lipat Kajang, we have to clean our acts. Houses has got to be beautified (if necessary repaired and painted over. The question is “who is going to pay?”), grass cut, compound cleaned, under the house to be tidied up and flowers planted in the garden. And most of all the cow dungs (tahi lembu) must be cleaned up. And finally bushes along our kampong road edges must be cut and trimmed. Otherwise ‘malu besar’.

And Lipat Kajang folks to be properly (and extensively) briefed on what to expect in the future of and for the kampong and their support sought.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Water creatures of Lipat Kajang.

Ikan haruan (snake head fish)

Lipat Kajang was rich in water creatures until ………… the people got greedy and the environment was damaged.

These water creatures such as the abundant of river, pond and ‘sawah’ fishes, water nymphs of some insects, prawns (big and small), fresh water clamps, tortoises and even crocodiles.

When I was a young lad in the kampong, every time we wanted fish my grandmother just used to go to our big pond a few hundred meters from our house and just drop a fishing line. After a few hours she would come back with bagful of pond fish such as ‘ikan potak’ (a small version of ‘belida’) and ‘ikan kepar’ (a small version of black tilapia) or sometime bigger fish like ‘terboi’ or ‘temperas’. When we wanted more fish my uncle used to cast net in that pond and we got more fish, sometime he got big fishes like ‘ikan haruan’ (snake head fish) sometime called ‘ikan bercat’ by the kampong folks and the fries (and bigger) called ‘anak boteng’ or ‘ikan keli’ (cat fish) or even ‘ikan kelabau’. ‘Haruan’ was easier to catch, by setting night hooked line trap or if we wanted immediate ‘haruan’ my uncles used cast and drag fishing methods. In some shallow clear and slow flowing waters one may even see beautiful fighting fish called ‘ikan mengkarin’ by the local. ‘Ikan sepat ronggeng’ may also be found by the plenty in the shallow ponds or the ‘sawah’.

And the big and fast flowing Pahang River had more fish, bigger fish. ‘Ikan lampang’ for the wanting, cast you net and you get a basketful of them. ‘ikan tilan’ (a family of the eels), and other smaller fish. My uncle used to use hooked and baited line traps to hook bigger fish like ‘ikan kerai’ ‘ikan pating’ or ‘ikan juara’, ‘ikan belida’, ‘ikan tenggalan’, ‘ikan lais’ or even bigger fish such as ‘ikan tamalian’ (rarely though) and ‘ikan kaloi’. These were big fishes, maybe a few kg in weight.

Crocodiles and alligators, they say that there a few of them in this part of the Pahang River but they never (cross your fingers or touch wood) bothered us..

One of the creatures which we like to catch in our big fresh water pond was the nymphs of dragon flies. They were easy to catch, in the shallow waters of the ponds and they are good for bait. We could catch small fresh water shrimps at the same location as bait too.

We used to get a lot of river prawns, big size they were, with long claws. These were easy to catch, mostly from the holes in floating logs (which were normally tied together to form a secured jetty from where we did everything, from bathing on to using the downriver end as a toilet. And sometimes we caught these prawns in the holes of big bamboo left stationery on the river bed. And sometimes by using casting net especially in the shallower part of the river. But be warned, they say that if there were a lot of these big prawns, a crocodile is always lurking nearby.

One kind of fresh water clamp was always available (when the river water is low) in the Pahang River. The local called them ‘kijin’, the bigger ones were about 4 in. in diameter but mostly only about 2 to 3 in in diameter, on average. At least those that we could catch. These clamps normally bury themselves in the mud or sandy soil by the river’s edge; and to get at them they used to inch their way on these river edges. On a half days work they might catch a basketful. These clamps were found especially under rotten fallen logs on these river edges. Cases have been known where crocodiles disguised as a log and a person may hug that ‘log’ to search for clamps. The ‘log’ just moved away but no case have been known in the kampong where crocodile harmed anyone.

Alas now such easy fishing is no more as people (the public) get greedy. Firstly the river water is all polluted due to logging and development upriver. And there are cases of overfishing for commercial purposes. Fish do not grow to big sizes anymore, they get caught before they are even big enough. Prawns may still be available but they also do not grow big enough due to overcatch.

Many fresh water ponds have now dried up (maybe due to hotter weather) so there is no longer fish available in these. Where ponds do not dry up, kampong people tend to overfish. This results in such ponds failing to sustain fish (and other creatures). The ‘sawah’ or padi fields are no longer worked so that the source of food for many species of fishes are not there now, source of food such as young padi stem or padi root. And when they use insecticide or over fertilized with chemical fertilizers if they plant padi they kill the fish fries and thus no big fish is made available.

Probably the only water creatures that survive are the frogs. There are plenty of them in the kampong. And in smaller rivers in the kampong frogs can grow quite large and are caught (for their legs) by some youth to be sold to the Chinese for good price.

Water creatures in the kampong may just be a history one of these days, and the younger generations in the kampong may not even see any of them in the future. Or if they see them they may not even be able to identify them or to name them.

Of tortoises? I don’t know if they are still around. They used to be quite plentiful.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A different name

Daun sireh (betel leave)

There was a time when a Lipat Kajang-ite may be known by another name outside the kampong and by a different name inside the kampong. The name he/she was called outside the kampong must be those officially registered in the Birth Certificate (and the IC) but that in the kampong may be the name or a name that has been changed due to one reason or another. The most common reason why the kampong folks changed the name of the child was because they say the name was not ‘suitable’ for the child because the child became very sickly and they could not find a cure for the sickness. Or that the name had bad meaning as almost all Malay Muslim names are Arabic but when translated into Malay they mean something shameful to the family. Or that the spelling was wrongly written (due to the ignorance or carelessness of the Registrar or confusion over local slang). But such cases were rare.

When a name was unsuitable, the family would decide to change the child’s name. Unfortunately most of these new names were not registered with the Registration Dept. so in all official dealings the registered names were and are used. That was and still is the reason why outside the kampong they always use the registered names, suitable or not.

When the family decided that the name must be changed, they would all suggest names that they might want the child to be called. They then, with the assistance of the elders, would write each name on a ‘sireh’ (betel) leave. Then all the ‘sireh’ leave were put on the floor infront of the (sick) child. The child would be goaded to pick one of the ‘sireh’ leave with the name on it. Whatever ‘sireh’ leaf the child picked up then the child would be known by that new name on the ‘sireh’ leaf that the child just picked up by the family. He/she would be called that name in the kampong by the family, by the nearest relatives and by the kampong folks. Untill the child goes to school then he/she would be registered by the registered name in the Birth Cert., but he/she would still be known in the kampong by the ‘sireh’ leaf name. When he/she goes outside the kampong, no one would know if the ‘sireh’ leaf name as he/she would go about under his/her registered Birth Cert. name.

When he/she gets married, he/she would register his/her marriage under the registered name. And all his/her children will be named after his/her registered name.

Now what happens when he/she dies. The death cert will probably have his/her registered name, but his/her other name … well I don’t really know whether they in the kampong will still use his/her ‘sireh’ name when they read his/her after death speech.

A strange culture. Not really, unless an outsider is looking for him/her in the kampong then he/she will never be found as he/she may not be known by that registered name in the kampong.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Prosopagnosia - Forgetting Faces

Forgetting Your Own Face - Prosopagnosia
A Case Study

By Huw Jones (BBC News, 25 July 2006)

What is it like to look at your children or husband and not recognise them? One woman is fighting to overcome the disturbing effects of a virus that struck entirely without warning.
When Claire looks into the eyes of her children, it is a moment of profound confusion.
The 45-year-old mother of four suffers from prosopagnosia, sometimes known as face blindness. She cannot recognise the faces of her children, her husband or even herself, after a virus struck little more than two years ago, causing inflammation in her brain and permanently harming the temporal lobe.
The loss of key parts of Claire's memory has proved traumatic and has profoundly disrupted the sort of relationships most of us take for granted. Every day is a battle.
"I find it very difficult just living my everyday life. I go up to the village or out to the school and they say hello to me, how are you. I haven't got a clue who they are or how I know them," Claire says.
But given the correct trigger, she can sometimes put a name to a face, says clinical neuropsychologist Bonnie-Kate Dewar, who is helping Claire with the condition.
"Claire may see someone in her village and not be able to recognise them from their face," explains Ms Dewar. "But when they say 'oh yes but I'm so-and-so and I live here', sometimes that may actually put the connection back together and she's able to recognise and know that person."
Yet prompting doesn't always work - suggesting that, for some faces, the knowledge of that person has been wholly lost, or sits in a deeper recess of the brain.
"What I really need is their whole identity not just their name," says Claire. "They might say to me what their name is and it still means nothing to me."
Although scientists can describe Claire's condition, they are powerless to cure her.
One problem that looms large is that researchers are still arguing about how memory works on even the most basic level - such as what happens when we create or recall a memory.
Some believe memories are stored inside our brain cells, others that they are encoded in the connections between them. But how our memories stay put, and why things are forgotten, are burning issues.
A lot of what we think of as lost memories are still in the brain somewhere. We might struggle to recall the name of the person we met at the office party last week but find it much easier to select the right answer from a multiple choice quiz down the pub. In effect we forget, until something jogs our memory.
But Claire's virus means whole areas of memory have been wiped or are inaccessible. And her condition underlines how crucial memory is to our everyday lives, says Ms Dewar.
"So much of our relationships are dependent on our memories and our history with people," says Ms Dewar, "and with Claire it has had a particularly difficult impact because this is where her difficulty lies."
Identity, says Claire, means more than just a name.
"It means a whole person, how we know each other, how we shared times, knowledge, understanding, caring. It's very meaningful. We just take it for granted if we're given a name that we think 'oh yes you're the person' and you don't even have to think it through but that's just gone from me."
With Ms Dewar's help, Claire is working on compensatory memory strategies; working around the damaged parts of her brain using techniques such as learning and problem solving.
How does it work?
"Pat, one of [Claire's] friends delivers eggs and Pat has a bright red beard so she is able to use his beard in a problem-solving way to say well this is who he might be," says Ms Dewar. "She also uses context to identify her family members. When one of her sons is playing football, she looks at the number on his back and is able to follow him that way."
Home videos of Claire's family have allowed her to access some of her past life which she has lost. But that can only partially fill small gaps in the entire history of her family life, bringing up four children.
Claire's husband, Ed, says he's now well used to raking over past family memories in a bid to help his wife.
"You do it to make decisions, to go back and do things you enjoyed before. It marks out how your relationship grows," he says.
Another aid is what Claire calls her friendship book.
"I've made this special book and Bonnie-Kate has helped me to write down the name of somebody, their family, where they live, special things, where we met, the things in life that we shared, that mean we know each other. So their identity out of nothing is there and once I've got it written down I can re-use it."
Claire describes it as "like finding myself".
"We went camping," says Claire reading from the friendship book, "and had a gale in the night and flooding and they lost their tent and ended up crammed in the car. Lovely memories like that I've put in the book."
"Caroline isn't just a name. She is here in my friendship book and we belong to each other as friends and that whole feeling, meaningfulness of identity, not just of my friend but of myself and how we fit together has been so drastically lost that I can't tell you how important it has been to write these things down about people and share special memories while we've been doing it.
>>> our kampong folks may not be hardcore alcoholics like the mat salleh but majority are heavy smokers of rokok daun pucuk dengan tembakau mentah goreng sendiri with relatively high toxicity, and makan sireh gobek, also very intoxicating, and both these snacks may certainly affect the brain cells <<<
(just for academic reading?)
posting “The “old” older generation”
……some years ago during 'tahlil kubur' (annual saying prayers at the kampong grave sites, where most of our older generations including our parents probably are buried) on the second day of Eidil Fitri,
an 'old' old friend and I asked a young boy "Whose son are you?" And he replied "Pak Cik ni siapa?" (Uncle, who are you?). We were taken aback but we just laughed it off ……..
the problem of some of us (young and old alike, age is not the determining factor) not being able to recognize faces, although we have seen these faces before, may possibly be due to a medical condition, but we are too “primitive” in our thinking/perception to be able to fathom that “problem” deeper, to most of us, well we are old already, naturally we are not able any more to recognize (or remember) faces, and connect it to some identity (a person)…any basis?
this is just my pondering…
may Allah bless us with longevity until we become centenarians like Hj Sabudin (of Ulu Lanjut), any other known centenarians in Kg Lipat Kajang, Pahang?
…so that we will live long enough to be able to do something for Kg Lipat Kajang Pahang, and leave this piece of land we all love as a better place of abode for our future generations (our descendents)…

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Single Cell "Can Store Memories"

Single Cell “Can Store Memories”
BBC News, Monday, 26 January 2009

Just one brain cell is capable of holding fleeting memories vital for our everyday life, according to US scientists.
A study of mouse brain cells revealed how they could keep information stored for as long as a minute.

A UK specialist said that understanding these short-term memories might help unlock the secrets of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The finding was reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

If we can identify and manipulate the molecular components of memory, we can develop drugs… to hopefully allow a person to complete tasks without being distracted

The difference between the brain’s long-term and short-term memory has been likened to the RAM of a computer and the hard-drive.

To perform normal functions, we need the ability to store, quickly and reliably, large amounts of data, but only a small amount of this needs to be retained in the longer term.

Scientists have spent decades working out which parts of the brain are responsible for these functions, and how cells manage this feat.
Original theories suggested the memories were retained by multiple cells forming “circuits” around which electrical impulses were fired for the necessary period.
More recent ideas have centred around the concept that even an individual cell could somehow hold on to information.
Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern looked at brain cells taken from mice using tiny electrodes to measure their function.
They found that a particular component of the cells in question, a chemical receptor, which, when switched on, tells the cell to start an internal signal system that holds the “memory” in place.
Drug Boost
The next step, they say, is to find out more about this internal system so that it could be targeted by drugs with the aim of improving memory.
Dr Don Cooper, the lead researcher, said: “If we can identify and manipulate the molecular components of memory, we can develop drugs that boost the ability to maintain this memory trace to hopefully allow a person to complete tasks without being distracted.”
He said that this could potentially help people addicted to drugs, by improving the ability of their brain to ignore impulses.
Professor Ian Forsythe, from the University of Leicester, said that the information shed on the brain’s ability to retain short-term information was important in understanding the laying down of longer-term memories - and perhaps to understand how to help people for whom that was a problem.
He said: “Probably the most interesting thing will be to get to grips with the memory problems involved in Alzheimer’s Disease.
“If you’ve got no short term memory, you’ve got no chance of longer-term memories.”

(just for academic sake)

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Sweets / kueh

Buah melaka

I would assume that many people from Lipat Kajang, at least the older generations, had gone through the phase of eating sweets made by the folks (especially women, mothers, grandmothers or men?) in Lipat Kajang. What do you remember?.

In this write up I will not delve with the ingredients and how these sweets are made, I am just going to name them (in Malay as spoke by Lipat Kajang folks. I find it difficult to name them in English, and I do not find any similar sweets in English). Hopefully with all the names I am going to mention, someone may add more and on the ingredients and how these are made, maybe by their mothers or sisters or grandmothers of even wives or even the menfolks themselves. Or they may add more of the names in addition to what I have already mentioned below. I am only listing the names from memory.

In Lipat Kajang many of these sweets are called ‘kueh’ and some may name them by the older term of ‘penganan’.

Nasi manis, Dodol, Peganan Talam, Buah melaka, Putri mandi, Dodol kukus, Buah ulu, Tapai, Apam, Hasidah. Lepat pisang, Lepat ubi. Kueh bungkus. Anymore?

Hope other Lipat Kajang-ites will add to the list.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cyber cafe'

saya baru terbaca ni tadi. cyber cafe di Pahang semua kena tutup. Berlari kebelakang bagi Lipat Kajang.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Days gone by ........

(Click on the photoes to see readable photoes)

For all the younger generations of Lipat Kajang-ites who have not gone through the era of the hey days of Lipat Kajang, I am showing how the village was like, all these drawings are by memory and not to scale. All these happened in the 1950s when transport was still by river boats.

And in the 1948 - 1950s we had the Emergency being declared, and the Communist (?) used to come shooting in Lipat Kajang often, and the Penghulu (head man) lived in fear. Every night the man of the kampong used to guard the stockades, to ensure that the penghulu (and his family) was safe. Again the plan is by memory and not to scale.

I welcome anyone else (from Lipat Kajang or from anywhere else) who can draw a better plan than what I have drawn here. I also welcome any other information which I have not included here.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Sekolah Melayu Lipat Kajang

Just found another photo of Sekolah Melayu Lipat Kajang in year 1955.

See the 'pokok terap' to right hand corner, big and strong. If in Sabah and Sarawak, it would have been a prized tree ........ the fruits were big and sweet.

The school started off in about the year 1947, a very rural setting with the building structure of jungle rounded wood. 'leban' and of all sorts of mixture of hard jungle and bush woods to be found in the kampong. The roof was of 'atap' (made of 'pokok cucur' tied together with split rattan, and there was no wall but a cris-crossed of smaller wood. There was no desk, and we started off with sitting on the hard dry earth floor. A few months later the parents decided to erect some table and benches made from wood sharpened ended and driven into the ground, and for desk tops and bench tops they use planks. We did not have books but we had to write on slate boards with hard specially made chalk. For blackboard, the parents made them by nailing together planks, paint them black and hung them up. We managed and survived. After about a year or two the demolished that building, built a better building and we had real zinc roofed, proper classrooms with cheap desks and cheap chairs but still no walls, we had to buy books and ink and various sizes replaceable nib pens (for script writing) and pencils etc etc. And we had proper blackboards on proper blackboard stands. Only years later they built for above building, just before I left the school.

Now the Lipat Kajang school has been expanded with other blocks built and used.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Orang Asli

An Orang Asli house in Pahang.

‘Orang Asli’ (aboroginese of Malaya) played lots of parts in the kampong life.

There are two groups of ‘orang asli’ which were/are related directly to the kampong. One was from Paya Senayan, across the Pahang River, a few km inland in the jungle, and the other was from Lakong, a few km upland from the kampong, on the same side of the Pahang River quite far inland into the jungle. I do not know what tribes these ‘orang asli’ were but we just called then ‘ra’yat’, that lingo in our village means ‘orang asli’. They are to us all ‘sakai’ but they do not like to be called that, and they could be from any tribe names that we do not know of..

The ones from Paya Senayan, we do not usually mix with them that much in the kampong, only mostly those kampong folks from across the Pahang River have dealings with them. But my late grandfather had a lot of dealings with them because he used to employ them as guides to help with his hunting for deer and other wild animals in the jungle across that big Pahang River. In fact with the Chief of that tribe (Batin) my late grandfather was almost like the best of friends. He was Batin Ahmad. A fine friendly guy who chained smoke from his home made rolled cigarettes, and he chewed betel leaves with the concoctions, making his mouth red bloody looking all the time. We lost touch with that tribe when my grandfather died.

The tribe on our side of the Pahang River used to live in Lakong but used to come to our village, walking all that distance through the jungle and footpaths, to climb coconuts for us. And later to pound rice padi (‘tumbuk padi’). Due to the Emergency period (declared in about 1948) they were asked to move to Cerok Ara, a precint in our kampong more or less as a safety measure but also to prevent them from asiding and aiding the Communist (terrorists the British called them then). At that time there was a big Communist camp quite close to where the ‘orang asli’ used to live in Lakong. The group was headed by Chin Peng who later became the head of the outlawed Communist Party of Malaya.

When the ‘orang asli’ came to live closer to us they became more useful as cheap labour in the kampong. They were employed as coconut trees climbers (to pluck ripe coconuts), cut our weed, cleared our land, in fact they became almost indispensable. And they were exploited.

These ‘orang asli’ were actually ‘foreign’ to us Malays. They have different habits, different standard of hygiene, different beliefs and dressed differently, and different body odour. Their hygiene then was ‘dirty’, they believed in ghosts and spirits a lot (and their lives depended a lot on their ‘ghosts’ and ‘spirits’) and they have no religion (those as we knew then). When they first walked into the kampong their dress wa ‘primitive’. They wore loin cloth made from barks of trees (‘cawat kulit kayu’ said the Malays) and their women folks some of them in ‘cawat’ and some wore short clothing, some with uncovered breasts (they soon covered them when their realise they got \ stared by the Malays). They had no ‘shoes’. But they soon learn to wear shorts (many kampong folks in those days wore big flared shorts going about) and shirts (some still went around bare top then) and the women soon learn to wear batek cloth, still short but in a ‘kemban’ style. ‘Kemban ‘ is when you wear the batek cloth up to your calf and covering the breasts but leaving the shoulders bare. But their hygiene still did not improve and many were still with sore and ringworms on their skin. Did they bathe? Yes they did. I know, many of us children then watched them bathing in the Pahang River in their all birthday suit. Mixed men and women. And they still believed strongly in ghosts and strange spirits of trees and rivers and land formation (in fact the Malays also believed in ghosts and spirits, maybe different ghosts and different spirits) They looked for jobs with us Malays of the kampong, but by that time more skilled like tapping rubber. In fact their children even tried to come to school with us but at hat time they soon all left, they could not adapt.

They used to carry ‘parangs” (big slash knives) around, a basket back pack each, and at times blow pipes. They are not dangerous people, they only used these tools and pack in search for a living.

We were not to kind to them. We paid them pittance for their hard work, and we always gave them meals when they worked but we were not too fair, we made the vege (or the ‘sambal’) or things to go along with the rice pretty hot (chilli wise). They ate them but they would be drinking a lot of water after that. With whatever money they got they shopped for whatever their money was worth. They normally buy salt and sugar or maybe biscuits. No credit was allowed in case they ran do not pay. They could not read or write, and on one occasion I witnessed one of them drinking formic acid (‘cuka getah’) from a bottle, he thinking that the liquid in the bottle was carbonated juice water. I saw how tortured he was, He was I think Kurus the brother of Hijau (who used to work a lot for us then), and I heard later that he died after drinking that formic acid.

Some Malays used their women to gratify their sexual needs. They were cool people, and for some reason they did not react vengefully. And every so often they had ‘siwai” (their night merry making gathering) and some Malays joined them to take advantage of the party atmosphere in those dark barely lighted nights.

They had their own ways of naming themselves. The men, Hitam, Puteh, Hijau (of all colours), and the women all things nice like Bunga (all the flowers names), but later on they tried to adopt the Malay common names.

These ‘orang asli’ now still live separately from the Malays. And they are in a way well treated by the Government (to the best of my knowledge), given land (no title though) and housing and all amenities. Many practice their old ways, but those in towns and cities are now educated and a few may have education up to PhD level. They do not look for jobs in the kampong anymore, as some may even have their own communal palm oil plantation. They are now a part of the Malaysian community, with only certain special rights.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Exciting moments ………….


Living in a remote kampong is always dull, nothing much to see, nothing much to hear, nothing much to do … if you are ‘blind’ and ‘deaf’ to nature and if you are the lazy type. But to those who are proactive, like nature and want to improve life without the hustle and bustle of towns/cities, remote country living is best. However Malaysians I believe like the town/city life better, probably because their early ancestors were mostly the rural folks. The Malays want change.

In all my years in the kampong there were very few exciting moments that I have experienced, or seen or heard. Life just went on day to day, weeks to weeks, months to months and year to year, …….. sounds very boring really. Its no wonder that many of the kampong folks seems very lethargic, moving about slowly, and do not seem to look forward to challenges and excitement. Are they happy as they are? I have no ready answers to that.

There were exciting time though in the old days when the Sultan used to come to the kampong annually (with dancing girls), when the District Office staff came to collect land revenue (“kutip hasil” they used to say) once a year, when the Information Department came to show their almost monthly propaganda films (in an open field), when the ‘badits ‘ used to come to the kampong to shoot at the penghulu’s house at night (and no one from the kampong got hurt or killed), when the Gurkha soldiers used to visit the kampong on their routine anti Communist drives (they always seemed to be at a ready to fight) and when the white British Army conscript boys came once in a while visit to the kampong and they gave us their rations biscuits (could have been dog’s biscuits for all we knew then but we were very happy and pleased to receive those ration biscuits).

Maybe there were other occasions when we could have called them exciting moments. Such as the visits of Tun Abd Razak (a Dato' then) when he was a Politician, a Minister, a Deputy Prime Minister and an Acting Prime Minster of Malaysia. He used to visit the kampong quite often when he was alive.........he had friends in the kampong. Now the kampong is only visited by the small fishes of the local politic (only at near Election time, but the kampong folks fell so honoured anyway, a misplaced feeling).

For me these two incidents were the exciting moments in the kampong life. One was when an alligator decided to float itself, swimming happily for a few days at the mouth of Sungei Chalang (a small river in the kampong). That was about in 1950. Everybody from the kampong went there, all wanting to see the alligator (Malay = buaya). In those days almost every other man had a shotgun, so many wanted to shoot the alligator but was prevented from doing so by the elders in the kampong. If they did that the elders said they could bring bad luck to the kampong (which nobody wanted then or even now), though a few of the ‘naughty’ men threw sticks and stone at the alligator. After a few days the alligator just dived and left.

The other exciting incident was when the kampong folks had to dig out a Y-shaped gate to the Malay School then. Again about the year 1950. The District Officer, who was a well liked man wanted to visit the Malay School, which was then (and still is) one of the rural school in the District. It so happened that this District Officer was a very fat man with a pear-shaped body. On arriving at the gate, which was then very near to the Malay School, he could not manoeuvre himself through the gate. The gate was too small for his pear-shaped fat body though to the thinner and slimmer kampong rural folks, they pass that way everyday with no problem. The gate was made that way to prevent buffaloes (Malay = kerbaus) from entering the area, (the path went through a bund in the kampong padi fields), kerbaus body has rounded solid horizontal shape. In the end the kampong folks had to dig out the gate to let the District Officer through. (They put back the gate after his visit).

Exciting moments for a dull kampong........... a long time ago.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

There was a time …….

Kabong (or enau) palm tree.

There was a time when Lipat Kajang was famous for its ‘sugar’, in the old days sugar from sugar cane and later on by early 1940s (or even before that maybe) to early 1950 ‘gula kabong’ was the in-thing.

About the sugar from sugar cane, I was only told about this by one of my late uncles. He mentioned that on the riverside they used to grow sugar canes plants, acres and acres of them. And from these sugar canes plants they used to squeezed the sap (sugar cane juice) and boil them over to make them into thick sugary sweet brownish liquid. And the sugar was in demand as at that time as there was no such a thing as white sugar yet (even if there was the villagers could not get hold of them, the price probably was beyond their reach. (just guessing). How did they squeezed the sugar cane juice from the sugar cane plant stalk? It seemed that they used the brute strength of the buffaloes (kerbaus), by some sort of a wheeled mechanical mean. It was before my time and I did not witness how they did it so I cannot really describe the process. But I can guess how they turn the fresh sugar cane juice into syrup. The must have boiled it in a big wok (“kawah” in Malay, the ones with no ears and ‘kancah’ the ones with ears), the size of the wok in those days may be 1 meter diameter or more. The resultant sugar may be in thick liquid form or in treacle form.

On this ‘gula kabong’ thing, I have witnessed how they produced it. My grandfather was one of those whose livelihood, other than a few other sources, depended on producing this ‘gula kabong’. There were many other people in those days who did this ‘gula kabong’ business in the kampong. There was really not much competition though as in those days there was always a high demand for this ‘gula kabong’. In the kampong in those days there were many ‘anau’ tree (or ‘kabong’ they called it in the kampong). These ‘anau’ trees were/are actually a species of the palm tree which grows wild. They grew almost anywhere in our fertile soil in the kampong, depending on where animals bring the palm seeds to. The fruit are about apple sized (not apple shaped though) edible to animals when ripe, animals such as squirrels and monkeys or some big bird and wild pigs (boar). Pigs eat the fruits when they fall down (when ripe), the kampong folks call such fruit that has fallen as ‘beluluk’. The fruit turns orangey when ripe (with edible not so soft flesh outside) from green when unripe. The green unripe fruits some time though is collected by men and boiled to get the softer inner seeds to make into very tasty sweet eaten with this ‘nisan kabong’ (then) but now they may be even eaten with ice cream. “Nisan kabong” is similar to maple syrup in texture and taste.

Why the trees are not cultivated? Maybe it takes too long to grow and be productive, or maybe its when producing it’s a labour intensive and return on investments is low. Just guessing, but no one has ever cultivated ‘anau’ trees yet. Actually the tree looks very green and tidy when young but when it grows to a certain age it becomes a bit untidy and furry. From the young ‘anau’ tree, the tree can be cut down and the ‘umbut’ taken. ‘Umbut’ the softer part of the plant just below the young palm leaves. It’s a tasty part of the plant which can either be eaten raw or make delicious vegetable dish when cooked in coconut milk. The old tree when cut down can be split open, reveals a soft core which can be cut into pieces and used as chicken feed.

When the tree matures, say at a height of about 20 feet, it produces young stalk where the flowers should come out, and later the stalk bears fruits which I have briefly described above. The young stalk may be just a few feet long but when left to fruits they curve down due to the weight of the fruits and may hang down to as long as about 5 feet. During flowering the stalk with many small flowers attract a lot of insects due to the flowers having very sweet nectar, My grandfather then had a piece of land where many such ‘anau’ trees grew. He inspected each tree and the ones he found suitable, he would climb to the stalk by using long node, thick set, strong bamboo which was plentiful then growing by the banks of the Pahang River. This ‘step ladder’ (‘sigai’ they called it) was leaned on every tree he found suitable. He did not cut the stalk straight away, but he used special thick stick to knock on the stalk for a couple of days. Why? I still do not know. Probably to soften the outer layer of the stalk or to make the stalk produce more juice (sap). Probably massaging the stalk concerned. Then when he decided that it was ready he will use a very sharp knife to cut just about the middle of the stalk, knocking it again a couple of time to induce the sweet sap (juice) and when the juice flowed out enough he would use a big bamboo node segment which he specially cut and formed for the purpose of collecting the sap overnight (Much like they collect toddy from coconut tree today). The next morning he would collect all the specially made contained for the juice from all his trees. We children used to be allowed to drink the sap (juice). I remember that it was very sweet. Then all the sap will be put in a big wok (described above), and boil using special wood called ‘cenderai’ which were found quite plentiful in the kmpong. ‘Cenderai’ wood is not a hard wood but burn very well once ignited. And the wood leaves a very nice woody smoky aroma.. When the juice thickens into syrup after being boiled for some hours, these are poured into cleaned dried bottle ready for marketing. At this stage the thick cooked juice is called ‘nisan kabong’. However they also made ‘gula kabong’, by boiling the free flowing syrup a bit longer until it became almost treacally, then the treacle is poured into specially made containers of normally rounded shape of diameter say 6 inches or about, height about 2 - 3 inches, let set overnight. When set and hardened, these can either be take out of the container or left inside the container and marketed.

To make ‘nisan kabong’ or ‘gula kabong’ would need special skills of climbing, getting the sap (palm stalk juice), boiling it over the right period and when making hardened sugar (‘gula kabong’) to know when the treacle would set and to ensure that the set sugar is kept properly without getting wet..

Nowadays not many people go into that business anymore, the ‘anau’ trees are difficult to find, so they usually now make ‘gula melaka’ from coconut tree stalk juice which are treated in the same way to get to the ‘gula melaka’ stage. But ‘gula melaka’ is not as tasty as ‘gula kabong’ (its an acquired taste), and if one makes sweet using ‘gula melaka’ its not a crunchy as ‘gula kabong’. One can still get ‘gula kabong’ in some rural places but the price can be quite expensive.

But Lipat Kajang has in its history been famous for sugar making. People from far and near used to come to Lipat Kajang just to buy the Lipat Kajang 'gula kabong'.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Entrepreneurship success.

Operated by a Lipat Kajang-ite successful entrepreneur in Kuala Kangsar (Perak).

I did not get to meet him when I took this photo, he was away in Ipoh.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Passing Time.

The Pahang Malay top (Gasing Melayu Pahang). Gasing lipat kajang?

Passing time in Lipat Kajang then was very much different from passing time in Lipat Kajang now. Given that in those days Lipat Kajang folks only used to have radios (say in the 1950s and not before that, and some had mechanically wound spring operated gramophones) and bicycles with no road access, only dirt track and natural foot paths network all over. The only way to a big town was by boat via the Sungei Pahang, and that was a difficult mean because the boats only plied once a day, you needed to catch it bin the early morning and returning the same day in the early afternoon. The other commercial gathering place was at Pekan Sari Kerdau where you have to walk for about 5 km in hot sun to reach it. It was easy for us small children then, we used to piggy back.

Nowadays the kampong has access road, piped water, electricity, telephone, and all the conveniences and all the modern facilities and amenities ……… TV (internet?). And probably drugs (?) supply.

There is a big gap between then and now, thus resulting in different ways the folks of Lipat Kajang pass away their time over time.

What did they used to do then to pass away their time? What I can remember anyway. The men used to play ‘gasing’ (top) during the harvesting season mostly (I don’t know why), 'bersilat' (mostly at night and at weddings), ……… I cannot remember what else they did, probably playing badminton in some earth base home made badminton courts or maybe a bit of football. The ladies ……… well I don’t know what they really did but I saw them weaving ‘mengkuang’ to make into mats and baskets and they did their own stitching of dresses and sarong ………. some used sewing machines, those who could afford them. The children ... I was one of them , we used to pay’ house’, ‘family’ ‘tayang’ or ‘galah panjang’, ‘congkeh’ (by using a short and long stick ….. there was certain rules to that game which we enjoyed and the equipment was self made, but the game was a bit dangerous as it involved catching the short stick when struck by the long stick), and we spent a lot of time swimming in the Pahang River, many times we used to go swimming in mid river on the shallow part of the river where there was shallow sandbank, We knew then where the safer part of the sandbank and we never went there. . And during padi harvesting time we used to make ‘serunai’ out of the padi stem. And we also used to rear or catch birds and on many occasions we used to go catapaulting birds in the bushed. And we collected/gathered wild fruits such ‘kuran’ (‘keranji’ they call it in some places in Malaysia) and ‘buah sengkuang’ (not the same as ‘ubi sengkuang’) . May be at time went stealing mangoes or rambutan or lime from some peoples orchard.

And the youth, they like to go ‘mengemping’ (making rolled young rice) just prior to the serious padi harvesting season. That was the only time when they could meet the young maidens in the kampong in a social gatherings at night.

For productive efforts, the men used to go fishing in the Pahang River or casting net or even casting net in the ‘paya’ and ‘sawah’ swampy areas. Once a year small fishes called ‘mungkus’ go upriver in thousands (don’t know why) and the men (and women) went netting for the fish. The lucky ones may even get a dugout canoe full and needed to spend time a day or two to get rid or the fish inside. I also observed that the ladies all used used to cut ‘mengkuang’ leaves together and to process the leaves for their weaving efforts.

Everything then was almost self made, even the big tops for playing tops and the lanyard used to spin those tops. The people then occupied their time usefully to play and to make a living.

Additionally many go to watch ‘berjin’ (calling the genie to cure sick people) by powerful medicine men. And the women folks looked after children. In those days many families had many children.

During the Emergency things changed quite a bit. The men used to take turn to guard the ‘fort’ at the penghulu’s house every night, and in the day time more or less going around the kampong, when they are not working to ensure that no strangers penetrated the kampong , and sometime those who had shot gun serviced their shot guns themselves. The women folks? They need not guard the penghulu’s house at night but they made sure that the children were safe especially at night, when they used to gather at certain central locations at night, mostly in safer relatives houses to avoid being harmed by the Communists. My grandfather’s house was one of the favourite location for such night gatherings. By about 9 o’clock every one was quiet and asleep, and no unnecessary noise in case the noise attracted the Communists. And the children? We did not really care but we spend a bit of time looking for spent bullets after the nights shootings, which happened quite often I remember.

To keep the kampong folks happy, the Government then used to show propaganda films (and cartoons or even Charlie Chaplin films) to the kampong folks, the films brought to the kampong then by the Information Department. People all over the kampong came, not really care about the threat by the Communists. Its was like a festival night it was.

Once a year, (well almost) the Sultan of Pahang used to make a visit to the kampong. He brought along dancing girls (for ‘joget’) by his house boat and the people were allowed to ‘joget’ (and he dancing) to live drum and viola music. And sometime in the day he organised ‘menuba’ (stunning the river fish by a juice of a certain jungle plant/creeper) and the people collected the stunned fish for free. It was always a festival mood then.

There are people in Lipat Kajang who were different, hobbywise. They liked to shoot squirrel (to protect their fruit trees normally) or going to mini 'lubuk' (not too deep water) to whistle at 'ikan kaloi' (a sort of a darkish large tropical fish) and when the 'kaloi' surfaced, shooting at it with a shotgun. Not really productive but its passing away of time.

And there are individuals who can recite the 'dikir' (a sort of verses formatted in stanzas, maybe over 50 pages) loudly in Arabic (?) and they used to 'shout' at each other (the way I saw it) when they had time on their hand, and each would reply also loudly. There is a certain sing song about the whole 'shouting' and only they understood what it was all about. An ignorant person like me would just not appreciate what the 'shouting' in in that sing song way in some strange language was all about. And these people are some of the most respectable persons in the kampong. And it was the in-thing in the kampong in those days.

Nowadays the process of passing time is easy. Everything is provided for.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Waste not, want not.

That is my description of unworked land in Lipat Kajang. The kampong has a vast reserve of unworked land, or shall I rephrase it as unproductive land or shall I say land with ‘absentee’ land lords.

Once upon a time, Lipat Kajang was not too heavily populated and so land was owned by a few people who originally opened and pioneered the land. In those days under the British it was quite easy to get named title of land. You clear the virgin jungle or the secondary jungle, you work the land, you plant fruit trees on the land or for that matter you make the land productive, you can claim title to the land. And therefore there were people who owned vast acres of land in the kampong. My great grandfather was one of them. It was easy for him, he had a large family, he must have got so many wives and they all work the land and he must have laid claims to all of them (I have no proof but I am just assuming). But when he passed away, the land was inherited by his children and wives and so these were divided accordingly, either by the law of the land or by mutual agreement. By the time it reaches my generation we inherited only small pieces of land here and there. Thus, much of the land are unproductive to work on. The market value of the pieces of land is minimal as the land are very much in the rural settings. Only town lands have any measure of value. As a result many have left the land they inherited to be unproductive, and have moved somewhere else.

I shall qualify the statement and the meaning of unproductive. It basically means (in my mind) that the land does not give substantial periodic returns. You pay the Government an annual rental, which is dirt cheap, and even with so cheap you cannot generate income from the land. Unless the land is full of rubber trees (and later palm oil trees). Many of these land have fruit trees, may even be called as orchards but Malaysian fruits are not very marketable because they are seasonal and all fruit trees fruit during a season thus depressing the market values of the fruit because of high supply with constant or minimal demand. And much of the fruit not marketed are left to rot because there is no systematic marketing available presently.

So unworked land are not really unworked but unproductive land.

How can we make the land productive?. I saw an instance where a Chinese guy contracted a 7 acres of land from various owners where he planted papayas, chilli and water melon, at various time on the land. He managed to market them all because the Chinese has got good marketing technique and contacts. The kampong folks have no such technique or contact, they are not brought up to technically market products. Imagine if one can get more than 7 acres of land ‘contracted’ and one can almost create a proper plantation. With good return I am in the opinion that land owners will go the way of combined effort of land development. But the method have been said (and many times mentioned) but never tried. In Lipat Kajang its too far from it being brought to reality because no one has to date really try to go along that way (except for the Chinaman I mentioned above).

The soil in Lipat Kajang is very fertile, and with a bit of fertilizing anything can be planted. Currently many of these pieces of land are either planted with coconut trees or traditional fruit trees or even unplanted at all (just wasted land). With enough persuasion from the kampong leaders there is a high probability that all these pieces of land can be combined and a big productive piece, some sort of plantation groupings can be formed.

Many pieces of land in Lipat Kajang are not really dry productive land but swampy areas which are really padi fields or “sawah” or “paya”. In the olden days these were properly irrigated and people used to plant padi. It was more or less an annual affair and they used to plant perennial padi plants. But many people in other parts of Malaysia are now planting padi every 6 months. Thus these people who plant padi every 6 month have higher productivity. I suppose if the kampong folks can organise to plant padi every 6 moths then maybe they can get a good return from their “sawah” or “paya”. But the challenge is that the kampong is now dwindling in population and the younger folks have no training in padi planting. They just do not know how to plant padi, and they do not even try. So the idea of the present kampong folks planting padi is out of the question. Howeve there are people who are willing to work the padi fields but from what I hear they are offering very cheap rental. Thus the kampong folks are not interested to respond to the idea. But of course these rental of padi fields from the outsiders will need a good irrigation scheme. Will the kampong be able to provide for that?

The vast land unworked, dry or wet have good potential for rearing animals. Duck rearing are suitable for the wet areas, and chicken for the dry areas. If combined, the dry areas can also be used as breeding grounds for buffaloes, cattle, and goats/sheep. Some people have tried that on a small scale and seems successful enough, though the return is small, which may not be really worth the effort. If these are done on a bigger scale there is a high probability that the return is adequate for a comfortable living in the kampong.

The Govt. on their part has tried to get the people to do the ‘combined’ efforts that I have mentioned. But to date the Government are just saying it with no concrete plan on how this will work in real life.

Must all these making of unworked land productive be left to the Government of the day.? Why can’t the kampong folks have a start and work out the pros and cons after weighing all the risks involved and how to overcome such risks. Its just that there is no initiative in any direction or from anyone.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

A Lipat Kajang Man 2

This is another undeniably prominent LIpat Kajang Man who deserve to be specially mentioned, and worth profiling
However I am not going to be able to say much about him, aprt from saying that he was THE MAN in the middle and at the side (ke tengah ke tepi) in Kg Lipat Kajang I can say for sure
I really cannot remember much other than to just say that
- he was/is my father's cousin, and good friend
- he was well respected across generations and covering the whole Kg Lipat Kajang
- he was known to everybody and he knows practically everybody, by name and by the
real person (self)
- he was very humble, very jovial, very soft spoken, very unassuming and always concern and compassionate towards everyone
- he was undisputedly a brave man, a warrior too, and he had served as a soldier
- he was the key man in the community - a reference in organising or
managing/handling any matter of common interest or individual family concern, be it religious, social, or even political matter
- he held various community positions including a Branch Leader of a political organisation (party) in the kampong
- he lived to the age of 70 years or maybe more, I am not sure

But I suppose it would be more appropriate to have one of his children (who have all become successful in life) to post a complete profile of this honourable Lipat Kajang Man c/w with images of him as a person of high integrity and also it would be very fitting for a man of his stature to have his photo in army uniform be shown here in this blog for us all to see and honour another Lipat Kajang Man

He is non other than the late (arwah) Hj Abdul Manaf Bin Talib (to us in my generation - Pak Uda Manaf) (my favourite uncle) --- Al Fatihah

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Insects and creatures of Lipat Kajang.

A dragon fly (not of Lipat Kajang but can be found in Lipat Kajang if one looks diligently among the grass of the padi fields)

The first thing you will notice as you walk (walking or getting out of your vehicle) into Lipat Kajang are the mosquitoes. There is plenty of them. And if you were to walk in the rubber land you will find that there are hundreds of them following you and trying to such your blood.

And the next thing you will notice are the flies, of all shapes and sizes. Where do they come from? I don’t really know. Dirty environment? Probably. Or that these flies are just there. Some just follow you around just to bother you and others come when you are opening your food and trying to eat. Blue bottles . well there are a few but they hardly disturb you. But the worse are the ‘rengit (a sort of sand flies). They bite you and the bites are very itchy. And in the hot humid climate, you are really bothered.

But other insects are beautiful creatures, such as dragon flies. These dragon flies are found where there is water. Their breeding grounds I am told. They are of various varieties and they fly about in the morning and early afternoon but as soon as the sun inclines towards the west they will mostly rest on twigs, and very much aware of their surroundings …..when you get too near to them they just fly away. The other are butterflies. There are also a variety of them flying around especially when there are flowers and fruits around or when there are trees bearing young leaves. They are beautiful creatures. But there are also many of them on cow dungs and in places where dirty water collects.

When I was younger we used to see a lot of praying mantis especially during the padi harvesting season. Now that the kampong folks do not plant padi anymore you hardly see them.

Ants, there are plenty of them. Normally harmless ants, ants in troops and in bulky line moving from one spot to another. Ants of all sizes. But he worst ants are the ‘kerengga’ whose nest is a colony, especially on fruit trees, and when you try to get to the fruits they will attack you ……. quite painful bites, as they bite and spray a sort of acid on your wound. And they do not attack in ones but in as many as they can gather themselves, and they are very aggressive.

Other insects are not so prominent but if you care to watch you may see strange insects flying around or even resting.

Creatures in the kampong are not that frightening except when for the first time you see them There is the harmless millipede of all sizes, and I have seen millipede of a child's arm size but most of them are pretty small , probably about 2 or 3 cm in diameter and about 3 inches in length. You touch this millipede and it will roll into a tyre shaped being, protecting themselves I suppose.

The dangerous creatures are scorpions and centipede. Scorpions are mostly black in colour and may be 4 inches long with 2 pincers infront and a stingy raised up tails. They bite when disturbed and the sting can be fatal. The other dangerous creatures are the centipede. The redder they are in colour the more dangerous they are. Flat shaped and they come in different sizes, depending on their length or vice-versa. I have seen centipede as long as about 9 inches but small one may be just 3 inches long. They attack when they get in squeezy situations. And they have poisionous teeth which bite and they inject a sort of poision (most likely) and the poison may paralyse the victim and may even lead to death (which I have not heard of to date).

The other creatures are leeches, they are a nusiance really, especially the samaller ones. They are mostly found on damp ground, rearing their heads expecting to stick to victims to suck blood from. But the worse leeches are the big ones found in swampy areas such as in the padi fields. They move about, swimming in the water looking for victims. They can be as long as 6 inches in length (I am not lyng). When they get to you they quickly make puncture in your skin and suck you blood. When full they will still cling to you but easily removed (and killed). Buffaloes are their normal victims. In areas where there are plentiful of them you may find buffaloes bathing in such waters will have 2 or 3 of such leeches all blood full hanging to the underbelly of these buffaloes.

The creatures of Lipat Kajang are strange but not very dangerous, unless you carelessly handle them.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Friday, January 16, 2009

The diversity of animals and birds in Lipat Kajang.

Burung Murai (Robin) (not of Lipat Kajang but similar can be found)

Lipat Kajang is set rural, tropical and under developed. As a result its flora and fauna, its birds and animals are still very original, not really wild and very diverse. If one cares to sit quietly in the fringes of bushes in Lipat Kajang one can see the variety of these animals and birds, one can hardly count them and one can picture them by their noise and their swoosh when they fly about. And one may take pictures of them if one has got powerful telescopic camera lenses.

Flying about high will be eagles, and among the tall trees hornbills, they are the larger birds. Then you can hear ‘sebarau’ (sebarau is also a name of a type of fish, but in our kampong sebarau is also a bird) in the distance, ‘cericak’ going about their business collecting nectar, ‘murai’ chirping away and skipping about, bull bull flying about making that ‘knocking’ noise …….. I can spend a whole day describing the birds that one will find in Lipat Kajang. Luxurious birds such as kingfisher sitting quietly on tree branches by the water and ‘serindik’ flying high from coconut trees to coconut trees. ‘Serindik’ are beautiful small parrot like birds and they make very high pitch short note noise. And by the waters edge, especially by the river bank, one may detect sand pipers going about their business search for food, probably small worms.

One is not disturbed by the sounds of vehicles (probably on rare occasion of motorcycle or a rare car passing by) and ones ears may be ringing because of the quietness. Its so quiet in Lipat Kajang, at the fringes of the bushes, sometime you imagine people watching you which is just an imagination. You might even hear people talking in not so loud voices in not too far distant, or even maybe the sound of ‘parang’ striking wood when people cut some small trees at a distance.

Of animals, squirrel is plentiful, all types and all colours, with some having beautiful coloured furs. And of course monkeys, there are varieties of them, not as many as in the zoo but if you care to sit quietly and watch the trees above you may see some shy looking uncommon monkeys coming out of their hiding places.

Some time you might get a few surprises. A 'mengkarong' (smooth and patterned skinned, whitish lizard probably about 9 inch from nose to tail) might suddenly come out of the dead leaves and just crawl out fast passing just your feet, or even a small 'biawak' (small sized dark coloured and rough skinned, the family of monitor lizard) might just run ahead of you or may climb a tree close to you, or you may see a woodpecker (look alike Woody Woodpecker) knocking on a tree trunk, making surprisingly loud noise. Or even a wild boar with a whole family of piglet crossing the road in front of you. The only danger in all these adventure are snakes, but they are quite rare and seen far in between.

Some of these animals are present seasonally. By season I mean not the 4 seasons (as in temperate climate) but the seasons when trees fruit. When there is plentiful of fruits on the trees one can see many varieties of birds and animals. During seasons when trees do not fruit one can still see animals, going about their business in search of food, a bit quiet most of them but they are not hungry. Somehow on the jungle and bush fringes they will manage to find food, birds may still get worms and some nectar and other animals some kind of jungle fruits which may fruit out of season.. As I said earlier, with the kampong having so many variety of plants, thus so many varieties of fruits, the results are varieties of animals and birds present and living on the fringes of these bushes..

Having lived in Lipat Kajang since small, I have lost interest in all these birds and animals, they are just natural to me, everyday stuff, and I just get used to them. They are there and we are what we are and we lived happily among them and with them. Its only when we move into towns (as we get older and going about our profession or business) that we realize the rich assets of our animals friends in the kampong.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Diversity of trees/plants/shrubs

The flowers from 'bongor' tree (not of Lipat Kajang but can be found similar).

Has anyone in Lipat Kajang thought about the diversity of trees and plants in the kampong. The kampong is unique in that sense. The kampong has the tallest tree in 'kuran' (I shall search for technical names later of all these trees/plants/shrubs), to the common plants/shrubs in 'kertau'. Forget about the fruit trees which are known all over Malaya, and all these trees are mostly available in the kampong.

I wish that someone in the kampong would list down all the trees and plants and shrubs seen in the kampong. This will be a basis for a record of the kampong trees/plants/shrubs and maybe later someone may do reserach on these trees/plants/shrubs on where they are useful to the kampong folks in particular and to human/animals in general. From my younger days I knew that there are trees in the kampong where a diversity of birds would gather to eat the fruits during the tree/plant fruit season. I may not recollect now all the names of these trees nor do I now recollect all the names of the birds, but birds like bull bull and its family (merbah) I can recollect . In fact bull bull (merbah butir nagka the local calls them) are plentiful, not only do they get their food from these trees/plants/shrubs but the also eat the red ripe fruits of the caladium (keladi hutan) plant, which is normaly one of their favourite hunting ground for food.

There are also trees/plants/shrubs in the kampong which are for human consumption and for medicinal values. 'Peraga' for 'ulam' for example are easily found on wet ground, in fact many leaves for 'ulam' are found everywhere, 'cemperai' for example. 'Kangkong' are found in most padi fields especially by the bank of these fields, 'terung asam' are found where the soil had been burnt or worked recently and these are normally plentiful, and 'terung pipit' are just for the wanting. Medicinal plants like 'senduduk' are everywhere ('senduduk' young leaves when chewed are good for closing an open wound), 'daun sembong' are also seen on open fields ('daun sembong' is good when immersed in hot water for taking bath in where the aromatic value of the leaves relieve muscle pains), and 'sungkai' are abundent (the leaves of 'sungkai' tree/plant when boiled and water drunk give relief to diabetic patients, it lowers the glucose level). If only some persons in the kampong again can list down all these medicinal trees/plants/shrubs, it would help others in research or even just as an alternative to taking chemically based medicines.

We are rich in useful trees/plants/shrubs but no one in the kampong has todate taken the trouble to list/record them down. Maybe we should start now.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lipat Kajang in History.

None recorded as far as I know. Why? Because we were/are insignificant, or was/is it because we did/do not make waves? Were/are we satisfied people, that we did/do not make waves? Or were/are we people with no guts? Or were/are we suppressed people?

The above are questions we should ask ourselves to understand why we are not in history. We have existed long enough, perhaps since the 18th Century, perhaps even before that, in one form or another. Even during as late as Tok Bahaman’s time, when he fought the British, did we exist? Did we sent braves to fight the British? Or were we on the Britrish side? And then during the Japanese Occupation time, did we fight the Japanese? OR we were still with the British? Followed that by the Emergency time, fighting the Communist, did we fight anyone? Or were we still for the British? If we were to ask some old Lipat Kajang folks they will tell you some very interesting stories on what had happened during those periods. Ask them and write down what you found out.

My friend Hj The Seman has collected some weapons, those from his father and his grandfather. Were there weapons before that? What did we use for fighting, (did we fight? For whom? When?) for hunting? Can we tell the difference from’jut’ and ‘jerat”? “Lembing” and ‘serampang”? Well I can, but does the younger generation of Lipat Kajang folks understand what I am talking about? I have seen ‘jerat’ and ‘jut’ at my late grandfather’s house. They are all gone now after he died years ago. Taken way? I don’t know. They just went lost. Can we tell between ‘dulang’ and ‘talam'?

There are so many questions that I can ask, in our history, to know who we are. Get photographs if you cannot get the real things or if the owners refuse to part with them. Probably you may even record down who the owners are, in case we need to verify the items.

Do you know what our parents and grandparents wore when they got married? How was the ceremony like? Do you know what ‘bunga telor’ is? What is pokok ‘sepam’ and how this tree gets involved in the marriage ceremony? What 'sesuap' means? What is 'tetawak'? What is 'berdikir'? Who used to 'berdikir', how, when, and what musical (?) instrument they used?

Our jobs now are to recollect, to get stories of our history, and to trace artifacts. Perhaps one day we will even built a Lipat Kajang Museum. Why? Because we are Lipat Kajang-ites, that is why.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Profile of a Lipat Kajang man

Here is a man who I have known for almost all my life. A relative , a friend and someone that I can trust. We grew up together in the kampong, playing almost the same games (but later in life he was more sportsman than I) , have almost the same buddies in the kampong. We ate, we slept, we swam and we now grow old together but in different towns (well almost). He is my friend Hj Teh Seman.

Our age is only about a few years different. His father was my father’s cousion, on my grandmother’s side and he on his grandfather’s side (my grandmother and his grandfather were brother and sister). Our house was only about 200 meters apart, and he was my grandmother favourite grand nephew. His father was a respected headman (Tok Mukim) of a combination of precints by the Pahang River (collectively locally called ‘baruh’).

We went to the same Malay School in Lipat Kajang, him a few years junior, and when I left the school to go to another school he also left the school a few years later to go to a nearby English School, Abu Bakar School in Temerloh ( about 20 km downriver). He left the Abu Bakar School school after getting his Certificate and he became a Cadet Reporter, but because of certain reasons only known to ourselves he left and entered the Language Institute in Kuala Lumpur training to become a Teacher. And he made himself a good Teacher and on top of that he became a part time Army Officer up to the rank of Major with Provost at his retirement age. And he has settled in Kuantan.

What is interesting about this guy is that he has interesting hobbies. In the kampong when we were small we had the hobby of trapping birds (bull bull and birds in that family mostly), and at time we went into the bushes near our houses to ‘catapult’ small birds. And when he was a working man took interest in hand weapons, guns and knives. He has a fantastic collection of knives and hand weapons.

Some he procured himself and some he inherited from his grandfather and his father.
A "kerambit" from his grandfather,

A big "kris" also from his grandfather,

A long "parang" from his father,

Spears and other weapons, from the old house.

He is Licenced to own a shotgun which her uses usefully to be an accomplished Licenced hunter (for venison). Once he had a private mini zoo behind his house.

And he collects the old earthern wears vessels which were used in his parents house when he was a small boy.

A narrow mouthed earthen water container which was used to collect rainwater to be used for washing feet before going up a house (kampong Malay houses have wooden climbing steps),

smaller earthen ware pots where his mother used to keep her salted preserved fresh water fish (Malay = pekasam),

an open earthenware container where his mother used to keep her cookies (a sort of cookies ‘jar’ really but in this case of earthernware),

a nicely varnished earthen ware pot where his mother used to keep her fresh water fish after the inside had been cleaned out prior to putting salt and ‘sour fruit’ for preservation (in those days we did not have fridges, there was no electricity supply in the kampong).

And surprisingly he has other collections of earthen ware jars of various sizes, the black one shown on the right (in the photo) I recognised as An earthenware vase where rock salt was normally kept, at least my late grandmother’s house.

The above is written from memory and I haven not asked him of the other events in his life. I am in the opinion that if ever he reads this blog he may want o add more interesting things in his life. Perhaps his other friends and his siblings may like to add more in the Comments.

A typical Lipat Kajang man, interesting and just unassuming. Other Lipat Kajang man may have a more interesting life history, but Hj Teh Seman is typical Lipat Kajang man in my opinion. He does not forget his roots, his friends and relatives and he visits the kampong often when he is able to.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kerbaus (Water Buffaloes)

The above (decoration) video is just to show what a 'kerbau' looks like, not (by any mean) representing the 'kerbau' of Lipat Kajang.

In the kampong life, one of my favourite topic is ‘kerbaus’ (water buffaloes). When I was a small boy in Lipat Kajang I virtually lived with them. Firstly I remember my grandfather owning many ‘kerbaus’. He traded in them, I saw him doing selling of ‘kerbaus’ to many people. I saw the money being exchanged for ‘kerbaus’ and I saw them taking away the ‘kerbaus’ after they have paid the cash (in those days every transaction was done only in cash). Not much then, say Ringgit 150.00 or Ringgit 200.00 but in those days it was a lot of money. Maybe by todays standard it is RM 1500.00 or RM 2000.00 or maybe more (USD 1.00 = RM 3.3 now).

I have heard a lot stories about ‘kerbaus’ and the trading by Lipat Kajang folks of ‘kerbaus’. It seemed that in the days of my great-grandfather (and maybe before that) they traded ‘kerbaus’ with the people of Selangor (the neighbouring State). They used to go up the Semantan River (in those days the Semantan River was still navigable somehow then), while dragging (?) their ‘kerbaus’ behind, I suppose, or maybe walking along the river bank, I have no correct information on that, the upper reaches of the Semantan River or one of its tributaries reaching the upper reaches of the Kelang River (in Selangor) somewhere after Janda Baik where they traded their buffaloes with the Selangor folks who came up the Kelang River to what today is probably Ulu Kelang. That was distance of about 80 km by my estimate, through small navigable rivers and jungle tracks. Those relating the stories to me always say Kelang but to my mind it must have been Ulu Kelang. Such trading was even mentioned by my father and my uncles. So it must have been quite recent really that such tradings were done by the folks of Lipat Kajang with the folks of Kelang (Ulu Kelang, Selangor?). What nobody told me was how many of them went at a time, how many 'kerbaus' they brought with them and how they got from Lipat Kajang to Sungei Semantan. (Lipat Kajang is about 20 km from Sungei Semanatan). In those days Lipat Kajang folks were strong physically, mentally and spiritually.

Of ‘kerbaus’, I even had a couple of ‘kerbaus’ given to me by my grandfather but I did not know what happened to them when I went to school out of Lipat Kajang. And when I was in Lipat Kajang as a small boy I could even identify my ‘kerbaus’ .

My father and my uncles then still have enough ‘kerbaus’ (after my grandfather passed away) to keep them busy in the evening, they had to go looking for them in the secondary jungle nearby or in the water holes to get them to ‘come home’ and be pened up at night (in their ‘kandang’ ). ‘Menurut kerbau’ (going searching after your buffalo) was the common lingo in my family then. I followed them once or twice but I found such job too straineuos, not my kind of job if I can help it. But my father who was a sickly man did the job well enough, well he had to show that he was a man man.

I like ‘kerbaus meat, its different from cows (lembu) meat. There is a certain sweet aroma about them unlike cow’s meat where it’s a bit pungent. And ‘kerbaus’ are clean internally, they only eat greens, where as cows will eat anything. But of course ‘kerbaus’ are dirty outside, they like to cool themselves in mud especially in hot afternoons. Then Lipat Kajang have many ‘kerbaus’, most of them belonging to my family or close relatives, the decendents of Derahim.

Then ‘kerbaus’ roamed free, there was a lot of ground for them to roam to get their greens. Occasionally they get into other peoples fenced up areas, like a padi field where the padi folks fencings have weak spots. Otherwise they are quite harmless, unless in their mating season when they can be quite aggressive.

Today ‘kerbaus’ are few in Lipat Kajang, and those that are still around do not roam as free anymore. Once upon a time they had grazing grounds (padang ragut), a gazetted area for ‘kerbaus’, by the Govt. but today there is no more padang ragut. All lands have been given to the people. For example in Lipat Kajang there was a 50 acre of land at Cerok Ara (which I was informed rightly or wrongly) being the ‘padang ragut.’. Would not it be proper if that lad is given or gazetted at ‘kerbaus’ grazing out instead of subdividing it into housing lots to the given to the people of Lipat Kajang?. After all Lipat Kajang folks already have enough land for their houses, and their existing land are observably not attended to. Why should they be given more land. Maybe the Power That Be have their own reasons, for which I may not comprehend.

Back to that 50 acre land at Cerok Ara, if it is not used as ‘padang ragut’ (as there are not many people owning ‘kerbaus’ in the kampong nowadays), the next scenario would be to propose to Institutions like a University or a College where the buildings of such Institutions will create values to the community not only will it make Lipat Kajang more well known, but increases the economic values of the society and of the local properties.

Am I out of focus now, first talking about ‘kerbaus’ and ending with talking about a University (or College) branch in Lipata Kajang?. It’s a strong possibility if the folks of Lipat Kajang voice their intentions to the Power that Be ………. if ever.

I shall take a rest now.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)