Coming home to your old kampong triggers old memories for the fact that you have been away for quite a while now and how far apart your life has been with the folks once to be your everyday pakciks and makciks. Life at the kampong is not only simple, we accept this as-the-matter-of-factly, but it represents the nature of humans as they live through the time. My kampong nowadays is a small town called Wakaf Bharu (although I come from Pasir Mas) about 15 mins from Kota Bahru. A close-knit community where everybody really knows everybody else—in fact they might even be related to each other. The folks started their day as early as 5 am when all sort of animal sounds would wake you up to the cold and breezy dawn. I could not even know the name of all those animals, well except for the cocks (I mean that male chicken), the crickets maybe or the birds. Some were strange sounds and even eerie like in the Dracula movies. But I was glad to wake up and wanted even to make my own wake up sound. The morning sky was still dark but folks were all up getting ready for the morning prayers, old and young walking or zooming with the motorbike to the mosque. It was dark because streetlights were scarce and you literally walk with your eyes closed; and everyone would find their own way through the darkness to the mosque. It’s the experience of my childhood that I recaptured and it seemed to be there all this time while I was away. Kampong folks especially in Kelantan are very religious; Islam is our day and night, we live and we die with it. It is as simple as that. I feel like to come back to this simple life one day. I guess that’s why most Kelantanese would come back after they retire, because if I were to call any place — a heaven on earth, this would be the perfect one.
And you wonder why the city politicians could not conquer the hearts and the minds of Kelantan voters. The reason is obvious—they have no idea of what these people do at 5 o’clock in the morning. If they were, they would see an old woman clinging helplessly to a blind young girl walking through the darkness to the mosque. And that’s no fairy tale; it’s as real as the sky and the earth. I just could not believe my eyes when they walked by my side. As if the nation’s transformation program is only for the clever folks in KL where they talk about the sweet and the Brent’s, the hedge and the mergers, but never about us. We only have us to look after each other. As the matter of facts, Kelantan folks have survived with such mentalities for the last 20 over years when we vowed not to trust those clever politicians from KL anymore. We might not have streetlights but we do find hopes and sunshine in each other. Isn’t that what life is all about?
The sound of animals continues to embrace the morning sunshine. Everyone seems to retreat after the morning prayers and to let the able folks to put on the brave faces to fulfill the daunting modern life. I came home to visit my old mom; she seemed tired but healthy. The years of hard living can be clearly seen on her. She stumbled and fell every now and then but that’s normal for an old person she said. My heart crunched and crumbled when I heard that as if this one child has no ability to take care of his mom despite having degrees and all. You know we have tried that once, mom, and it did not work. You want to be at home where you feel free and comfortable. Do whatever you want and visit your friends whenever you feel lonely. I just want you to be happy and as of now you seem very happy.
I have an annex at my in-law’s where we stay during our visit and store our old stuff. The dusty shelves and furniture show that we have been away for quite a while. Although this is only home for the week I feel so blessed for this opportunity. I can’t wait for the next visit home which seems to be forever. Work ! Work! Work! Even during this break the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. About this and about that. Well, I should not complain, they pay me for that.
OK it’s time to go shopping. I need a new baju. Enjoy your break folks.