THE MESSAGE NO. 55, JUNE 2006
THE SAR KIM LEN SERIES.
THE YIP FOOK KHIM 2nd EDITION
MORE JOGGING ENCOUNTER
Among the most popular jogging ground is the track in Bukit Kiara situated in the borderline
of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. Hundreds and probably thousands of KL and Petaling Jaya
residents exercise there. You can find walkers and joggers there every morning and evening.
Some are there as early as 4.00 a.m.
Like many city dwellers, they are usually silent. They walk and jog at their own pace.
Among them are small groups. They are more loquacious. They talk and talk. Couples on
the walk do not talk. They jog side by side but seldom they express what they have inside.
By Crystal YW Chan via e-mail from Newark, USA
YES, I arrived safe and sound at 11:00pm (local time here). I was totally beat.
I slept for almost 20 hours everyday, for the next few days. I woke up in the middle of
the night and couldn't sleep till 6 am in the morning. Guess t'was the time difference that
people called jet lag that caused me so. Nevertheless I am fine and picking up now.
This time it was quite a trip.
I went to KLIA on Sunday 26th February. The lady behind the check in counter was nervous
and not smiling when she handled me. Then she told me that she couldn't find my name in the
list. WHAT..??!! She checked again and examined my itinerary carefully. Then she said my
flight is on 27th Feb and that was the next day, Monday and it was only 26th Feb that day.
When I heard that I burst out laughing... Hahahahaha.... She must be worried that I might
make a fuss and give her a hard time that was why she was nervous and not happy at all.
When she saw me laughing, She was all smiles - probably for the whole day. I guess I made
her day, eh??!! Anyway, she checked me in and gave me a boarding pass, so I did not have to
queue again the next day. But I still needed to check my luggage in. Lucky that I could get
hold of Yew Min who sent me to KLIA, before she reached the toll gate, on her return trip.
We laughed at my own silliness and mistake.
The next day, Yew Min sent me to KLIA again. I checked my luggage in and went straight to
the boarding gate. This time, the long haul flight was not really pleasant at all. An
elderly Caucasian man who sat at the last row (behind me) was feeling sick and threw up
during the last 6 hours of flight. Probably from air-sickness, I thought. All hostesses
were attending to him and he was ok for awhile and came to again. Then he was crying and
sobbing complaining of pain. At last the flight captain announced through the PA system
asking whether there was any doctor or medical specialist on board that could help.
An Asian lady (a pharmacist) walked to the back of the plane and started attending to the
sick man. Asking him questions and making sure that he was not allergic to any medicine.
Well, that man was feeling sick from stones in his kidney. Wow.... I thought, that must be
killing him and he had to wait till we have reached our destination. A stewardess was on
the phone calling for the 'local' medical attendant and ambulance.
As I have thought, the flight has all kinds of medicines stored in the cabin. The hostesses
took out several bottles of medicines and syringes for the lady pharmacist. She studied
those bottles before deciding to take one and gave that man a shot. Well, that calmed him
down. Poor guy, at last he slept soundly till the end of the flight. That was 4 hours
before we landed. The medicine lasted for only 4 hours.... Gee.... what will happen next???
When the plane touched down at Newark airport and was still taxiing on the runway, I saw
an ambulance coming close. When the plane stopped, an announcement came through the PA
system commanding everybody to sit still until the 'guy who needed medical attention had
disembarked first'. Phew.... he was safe at last !
NOW THEY COME IN DROVE
NOW THERE ARE NONE
One Saturday I visited our mentor. He said for the whole week, nobody had come up at all.
That was the week after he had too many visitors. I wonder if nature has its own
arrangement. Sometimes there is a surge of merriment. There also comes a period of
abatement. At one time there is low tide; then high tide will strike.
Now up goes the pendulum, then down it swings to the bottom.
Anyway, that Saturday I had a frank chitchat with our patriarch. As we bragged suddenly I
said I had tasted his cempedak. It tastes so sweet and good.
"Do you want some more?" Enquired our mentor.
"Yes, of course," I replied for I was not shy at all. Unlike my teenage true self in the
days of yore.
"Today. My children and grandchildren are holding a party for me."
So we climbed the hill slope behind. We passed the fishpond and then the mangosteen tree.
IT'S I LIVE YOU DIE SITUATION OUT THERE
We came to the cempedak tree. But that is a pitiful plant indeed. An ara tree had hugged
it since infancy. Now the guest tree has grabbed and almost strangled the host. It makes
the cempedak tree grows weak and lowly. The ara tree wrapped itself round the base. Then it
shoots up high into the sky dwarfing the cempedak tree. How long can they co-exist? No,
it's how long the cempedak tree could resist from being squeezed out of existence.
So the fruits of the cempedak tree are small and sparse. How could it survive and thrive
further, I wonder! But that is the law of the jungle, living things including trees
fighting for survival.
However, I managed to pluck some cempedak. The fruit is full of seeds. Flesh?
Very little and thin indeed! Though it tasted very sweet!!
Oh! only weeks ago, I phoned up our mentor. He hurriedly grabbed the phone and said hastily
to me. He told me he was just sending some visitors off. They hailed from Temerloh,
very familiar visitors and very caring ones too. They must have informed, told and
narrated of life's foibles and follies a lot.
And, on that day there were more visitors trooping in to visit him. Santa and Anthea were
expected to bring in some Mat Sallehs. They hailed from the U.K. So, I postponed my almost
ritualistic visit and said I would see him some other day instead, as he had had a
very busy day ahead!
BLINK, AND A BELL RINGS!
It has been some weeks that my visit to our mentor had deviated from what seemed to be
ritualistic. I have skipped the visits for some weeks. Reason: some personal exigencies.
Then I appeared at his living quarters again. We had a long and cordial chichat over a
glass of cordial juice. He was expecting his regular Scrabble partners. He lighted a
mosquito coil to protect his guests from the squadrons of the murderous pest.
The little coil awakened in my grey matter about how that coil is being used now. You know,
even rubber tappers carry the insect repellant coils now on their daily rounds. They carry
it about in a specially designed container tied to their waists. With the coil burning,
mosquitoes are kept at a distance. Oh, that struck a chord in my grey matter again!
SO THIS WAS SO 50 YEARS AGO
Fifty years ago, rubber tappers were exposed. They were at the mercy of the mosquitoes.
This was a fact that many of us including yours truly know. Those days, the mosquito coil
was not invented yet. People at home were attacked but then many people used mosquito nets
when they retired at night for rest.
What was it like in the open field in the jungle and rubber estates? The people were all
exposed. Leeches and mosquitoes had a gala time feeding our precious blood. And the result
many people were often down with fever and shivers that seemed to recur again and again.
It was malaria - the fiend.
Many lives must have been lost due to the disease. No cure? There was cure but not so
easily available. Rather there was a cure, but that cure to the people in Bentong was not
THE MUMBO JUMBOS OF THE SINSEHS AND BOMOH
The locals did not trust western medicines nor did many want to get treated at the
hospital. They went to bomohs and sinsehs where they got a lot of mumbo jumbos to effect a
cure. But alas! to no avail. Many gave up the ghost and exited over to the other world.
The robust ones survived and live to leave strong and hardy new generations possibly with
genes more resistant to diseases spread by mosquitoes.
THE CHORES OF YORE
FOR TAPPING RUBBER
Recently, I discovered also that many changes have taken place in rubber tapping. Those
days tapping rubber was an extremely long labourious and tedious process. Rubber tappers
tapped the trees from about 7.00 a.m. Then they collected the latex. The latex was carried
to the mangle shed. It was coagulated in trays or in a wooden trough to form sheets. The
rubber sheets were rolled thin with two mangles. The first being a smooth-faced mangle
making the rubber sheets thin. The second mangle was groove-faced impressing the rubber
sheets with grooves so that they would dry easily.
The whole process of extracting the latex and then making it into rubber sheets took up
almost the whole day. Rubber tappers had a hard life. Many vowed that their children would
not take up rubber tapping when they grew up.
So it come to past, that led to the big exodus. Youths and maidens left for the cities
as far as Singapore and as emigrants to Taiwan, Japan, Australia etc.
THE DYING BREED
Nowadays, rubber tappers in Bentong are a dying breed. No young men or women now take up
rubber tapping. But the price of rubber had skyrocketed to an astronomical level.
RM3.00 plus for a kilo. Higher even than the infamous Korean War level.
EARNING BOOM FOR TAPPERS
Rubber tappers can easily take home RM100 to RM300 a day, nowadays! And their lives are
much easier. They do not make rubber sheets now. Instead, they collect just the coagulated
latex as cup lumps and sell the lot raw and dripping with water! Mind you the stuff fetches
RM3.00 per kilo!!
So do not be stricken with awe if one day you see yours truly draped in the rubber tapper's
gear to return to his profession like in his younger days.
Hey, you former rubber tappers out there! rubber tapping is now a most lucrative vocation!!
There is some easy money to be earned there. But, in Bentong you could hardly get a plot of
trees to join in the fray to reap the profit from the elastic gold, nowadays.
LEARNING BY EXAMPLE
By Chan See Phong
In ancient China there was a small poor family. They lived in a shack far away from the
city. There was a man, the head of the family, his old and withering father, his wife and
a 5-year old son.
The man toiled with the soil to grow just enough food to provide the family meals. Often,
he had to borrow from people to buy medicine for his elderly father. The old man was a big
burden to him.
So one day, he took a wicker basket and put his weather-beaten and disease ridden father
into it. He carried the old man up a mountain and into the forest. His son also followed
im. Up the mountain and deep in the forest, he just abandoned the old man in the basket
under a big tree.
Then the man and his son walked away. As they started to walk back home, his son asked why
he had left his grandfather there. "Oh, the fairies in the jungle will look after and cure
him of his illnesses!" The man told his son.
"Is that so!" said the son. "Then let's go back to get back the basket. I need to use it to
carry you here when you are old"! continued the boy.
That was the story that See Phong told.
Do not unto elders if you do not want the youngsters to do it unto you.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN JUNE
||LAU FEE CHI
||ZAINAL BIN LISUT
||MOHD NOOR MOHAMMED
||CHEONG AH MOI (MRS. HOH)
||TG. ABD. WAHAB B. TG. ABD. AZIZ
||CHEONG YET LAN
||LU AH NGAN (MRS. LAU)Z
||THAM CHEE LOONG
||MOHD ZABIL HJ ABD.KADIR
||HAJI ABDUL RAHIM
||TAN BENG CHIN
||LENG KAM YEE
||LOO TEE SEE
||MOHD NOOR TA'AYUN
||ONG SEK KEE
||SAM PAK LAM
||CHRISTINE CHAN FOOK THYE
||SAR KIM LEN
||YAP MING FATT
CALLING FOR EDITION SPONSORS
Would a few people come in to sponsor the newsletter to pull it through this year?
I am just short of edition sponsors, that is, the one month one type of sponsors.
Written and edited by Chan Suy Sang.
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