THE MESSAGE NO. 120 NOVEMBER 2011
THE LIEW FOOK CHOY 5TH EDITION
WE FEEL THE URGE TO VISIT KARAK
October 2nd 2011: - We had the urge to go visiting to Sungai Dua and Karak. As early as possible, we left the house. However, when I started the car, the battery gave a continuous ticking sound. It was not strong enough to crank-up the engine. So the missus drove me out in her little Kancil. We headed to the battery shop. OMG! A notice was stuck on the shop front saying, "WE ARE CLOSED TODAY". The missus knew of Mr. Choo's shop and drove me there. I bought a NO-BATTERY-WATER-NEEDED battery for RM150. The boss of the shop was very nice pumping up all the four tires of the little Kancil car. Hooray! With me at the wheel we were on our way - straight to Sungai Dua.
Soon we arrived at our destination. On approaching Madam Kai Chew's house that we wanted to visit, we saw her daughter alighting from a car. The missus recognised her as Siew Ying. We went into the house and met the old lady Madam Kai Chew who is in her late nineties. Madam Khai Chew is very strong and active. She looks slim but robust with a good suntan all over. But her daughter in her seventies was walking with a rattan walker. She looked pale and frail.
We chitchatted for a while. The senior lady was waiting for her younger sister to arrive. She wanted to hand over some gifts to her as the younger one was leaving for China that night. The China bound lady later arrived and almost instantaneously picked up the gifts from her sister.
Now we were free to move. Our itinerary: Karak about 6 km away from Sungai Dua. I drove them straight to my youngest grandaunt's house. Cars were parked outside. Inside the house seemed to bustle with life. As I entered I saw a lady on her iPad, a younger man who looked fair and his voice was loud and clear. He is the younger son of the lady of the house my grandaunt. That man later I learnt is named Paek Guan. He is my uncle according to our family genealogy! And he is younger than me. And who is the iPadded lady? My aunty, of course. These two personalities in my family, I have only met during their big day – their wedding party, years ago. Now their children are either working or at the universities. My uncle Paek Guan is working in the pioneer car-manufacturing factory in our country: Proton. According to him, he travels a lot to China nowadays, as that emerging economic powerhouse in Asia has a huge market for cars. In fact for anything and everything!
They took us for lunch at a local restaurant. Food was aplenty. The place was already noisy with customers babbling away plus the cackling from our table of eight. The oldsters were particularly noisy! Why? They thought that everybody had to be shouted to - to be heard. They are deaf or semi-deaf people like me. Fortunately, there were none of us who spoke too softly.
My other uncle who is a farmer bragged on continuously with his daily life stories in the farm. He told us how fishes in his pond were angled off by the aborigines. How his planted banana trees were bulldozed by the hordes of wild boars. He complained that monkeys raided his orchard and stripped bare his fruit trees. His other crops were nibbled away by insects, caterpillars, beetles and rats. Then there were also the foraging squirrels. And what were left after all the thefts was slim and meagre! These are the trepidations and frustrations of our local Malaysian farmer! That uncle of mine touched no food at the table as we tucked in the most delicious and mouth-watering dishes. He is a vegetarian see. But he is full of energy and a chatterbox is he, definitely!
Earlier, outside hostess’s house, I saw a strange shrub. It has human palm shaped and sized leaves. It is a dicotyledon. It bears a bunch of round fruit each the size of a human thumb.
At the table my farmer uncle praised the tree so much that aroused my curiosity. He said something like every part of that tree is poisonous. Plus every part of the shrub is in great demand and saleable. The leaves, the fruit, the seed, the twigs, the branches, the trunk, the roots and even the bark could be sold. What is the tree call? I did not know. So I inquired of my younger uncle. Aunty touched her iPad and showed me the name of the plant. What a strange name it is: Jatropha.
The biggest use of the jatropha plant is the oil from its seeds. It is the bio diesel plant. Who said it? My uncle. He might not be the authority on the uses of the plant but I know he knows much about vehicular fuel as he is in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry.
That led me to learn further from the Internet about the japtropha curcas tree.
Jatropha curcas (Kattamanakku) is an oil plant. The botanic name Jatropha is derived from Greek, "Jatras" meaning Doctor and "trophe," Nutrition.
It is significant to point out that, the non-edible vegetable oil of Jatropha curcas has the requisite potential of providing a promising and commercially viable alternative to diesel oil since it has desirable physicochemical and performance characteristics comparable to diesel. Cars could be run with Jatropha curcas without requiring much change in design.
(The information in this section is largely inspired from the Purdue University - Center for New Crops and Plants Products website.)
The young leaves may be safely eaten, steamed or stewed. Cooked with goat meat, they are said to advantageously counteract its smell. Pounded leaves are applied near horses' eyes to repel flies in India. HCN is present in the leaves.The extracts of the plants are dangerous to use but water can easily release it over if not too much extract is applied.
The species is listed as a honey plant. HCN is present.
Sometimes roasted and eaten, although they are "Laxative" purgative. They can be burned like candlenuts when strung on grass. HCN is present. Used as a contraceptive in South Sudan.
Also used as a contraceptive in South Sudan. The oil has been used for illumination, soap, candles, the adulteration of olive oil, and making Turkey red oil. Turkey red oil, also called sulphonated (or sulfated) castor oil, is the only oil that completely disperses in water. It is made by adding sulfuric acid to pure Jatropha oil. It was the first synthetic detergent after ordinary Soap, as this allows easy use for making bath oil products. It is used in formulating lubricants, softeners, and dyeing assistants.
The seeds in the zone around Misantla, Veracruz are very appreciated by the population as food once they have been boiled and roasted. It is unclear if this is due to the existence of a non-toxic variety of Jatropha in Mexico and Central America, or if the seeds become edible once processed by cooking. It is also similarly reported that Jatropha seeds are edible once the embryo has been removed. Again it may be so because of these seeds coming from a local non-toxic variety. HCN is present.
Their ashes are used as a salt substitute. HCN and Rotenone are present.
Used as a fish poison. HCN is present. Strongly inhibits the watermelon mosaic virus.
It stains linen. Sometimes used for marking. Mexicans grow the shrub as a host for the lac insect, which is used in medicine as hepatoprotective and antiobesity drug.
Used for erosion control.
What a fruitful visit we had made. I learnt of that wonderful jatropha tree. New knowledge to me. With fossil oil depleting fast in the world, jatropha might emerge as the source of fuel in the new era. It will be an era when you grow your own fuel for your cars.
CRUMBS OF WISDOMS PICKED UP AS I ROAM
- When making a chicken rice order ask for the low part of the chicken a little below the legs.
- The best stuff to brush our teeth is charcoal.
- Pepper and rock sugar can relieve stomach trouble.
- Do not allow the bougainvillaea branches or twigs to lie on top of one another. Else they won't flower.
- Arm curl and arm stretch exercise will exercise our sides.
- To stop bad breath, rinse and gurgle your mouth with cooking oil in the morning.
- Papaya seeds pounded to a powder can be used as meat tenderiser.
- Best cough antidote: Coalgate Plax. Mixed with water and gurgle will kill bacteria causing irritation in the throat.
- Zam Bak cream heals minor wounds.
- Rosken cream repairs dry skin.
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH 50 YEARS AGO?
It was nearing the end of the year. There and festivities. There were examinations were studies and fun. There were parties and celebrations. The festival of lights for the Hindus was celebated and a lot of feastings were mentioned. Then the master prepared early for the Christmas party.
Names mentioned in his diary were: Rajagopal, Kenneth, Sunny, Nadzry, Alamshah, and Ponniah. There were Hay Yin, Lingam, Yoke Chin, Kukanesan, Vicknasan and Ganesan.
The two school gardeners' names appeared in print: Sathiah and Ramasamy. There were Zamri and Samium who squabbled on a minor misdeamnour bore witness by Husin.
Vernon, Razak, Ampusadchy, Yong Ah Keh and Siak Tee. Razlan, the champion penman, Muthu, Chan Chong, Bakri, Chen Yen, Siew Hock, Nor Safian, Raja Nor, Janan, Tengku Aziz, and the late Tan Chong Keep were all mentioned.
LIM PAK HENG REMINISCING
23 OCTOBER, 2011, morning: I received a phone call from Lim Pak Heng. He was in town. He invited me out for breakfast, but I declined for I was busy tidying up the garden. I suggested that he comes and visits me. He drove in at about 9.30. His missus came in tow and his brother Pak Loon tagged along also. Pak Heng was excited to meet me. He showed me the 1964 school magazine. Inside were many photos and past school life scenes. The photographs tell a lot of people. Some have retired, and a few others have expired.
Pak Heng remembers how he was punished by the then Principal Mr. Ted Miles. In reminiscence, Pak Heng said he remembers Tong Ah Tai. One day, Ah Tai came in with a mango. He cut the fruit and offered mouthful slices to all around him. The audience was rather reluctant to accept the juicy mouth-watering slices of mango! They suspected that something was fishy coming from Ah Tai. Anyway, Ah Tai urged them to take the slices of mango.
A few took the slices and started munching the so delicious fruit. At that instant, the principal arrived. Mr. Ted Miles suspected that the mango had been stolen from someone’s garden. Ah Tai's quarries were all roped in and trooped into the office. There, they were given three strokes of the tropical vine that wielded the power of school authorities those days. Pak Heng remembers the three strokes from the cane till this day!
Then Lim Pak Heng also remembers his teacher, the late Shamsuddin Pandak.
"That teacher ruled the class with a thick powerful ruler. He hit pupils' knuckles hard with that piece of wood of schoolteacher power. The pain was so excruciating." Said Lim Pak Heng.
Pak Heng also remembers the late Peter Cheong Sang Fah. "Peter was a good preacher, but he flopped his Religious Knowledge paper in the exam." Lim Pak Heng commented.
We rang Dato' Ted Miles saying we intended to visit him. However, he said he was on his way out. Whereabout? To the hospital for of late he was indisposed. Even Wong Yeng Kee was ill, when I stopped at ESSO to have my car refuelled.
FROM SIR WITH LOVE
When I was teaching a t M.B.S., K.L., in 1952, one of my Senior C students was a Bentong boy, Dharma Rajah, so when I came to live in Bentong, it was only natural that I should look him up. While he was waiting for his Cambridge results, he was staying at home with his parents and a rather large collection of brothers and sisters. The house was at the First Mile out on Tars Road, and just opposite was another house that Mr. Arumugam owned – a house that was for rent. Would I be interested? The more I thought about it the more attractive a "quiet life in the country" seemed after the noise of Ah Peng Street. So in August I paid one month's rent ($40) and moved out to Tars Road, taking with me two M.E.S. students, Jamaluddin and Abdul Aziz, kampong boys who had also been renting a small room in a shop house in town and had had just about enough of it.
There was no pipe water, just a well, which was fine except for the fact that we had to strain the tadpoles out before we could even have a bath. Drinking it was out of the question, so we carried buckets of water for drinking from our neighbours, the Kanapathipillais.
The toilet was a bucket latrine a short distance from the house. Unfortunately, when the perimeter fence was put up around Bentong (to prevent people from passing food to the CTs), it was constructed directly between the house and the outhouse. We set up two ladders (like a stile) so that we could get over the fence, which sort of invalidated the purpose of the fence but that gave visitors plenty of talk (and laugh) about. When Richard Sidney, who was the Editor of the popular youth magazine, "Young Malayans", paid an overnight visit, he insisted on having his picture taken with him sitting on top of the ladder, then printed it in the next issue of the magazine along with one of his famously sarcastic articles, this one about his night in a house near Bentong with "unique toilet facilities."
- Dato' Ted Miles -
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN NOVEMBER
||JOO SHEK PHIN (WILLIAM)
||MOHD KHALID M. YUSOFF
||YIP FOOK KHIM
||LEE YEW KWONG
||ISMAIL B. MOHAMED
||NG KAM THYE
||JOHN D CLEMENT
||CHAN SEE PHONG
||TAN GEE SIN
||TONG AH TAI
||WONG FOONG CHAW
||LAI HAY YIN
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