Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chapter 4: The Pulutan Connection - 2

As a young boy, the greatest attraction in going to my grandmother's farm house in the 50's and 60's was the stream next to the house.

Those days, making a trip from my old house at Harrington Road (now renamed Jalan Istana) to Pulutan  was just as time consuming as flying from KK to KL these days. A couple of days before the trip, my mother needed to do some purchases in the town looking for goodies for the cousins, some dry food stuff and may be pieces of fabric for my grandmother and or aunt for making garments.

On the day just before leaving the house, my mother had to make sure all items to be brought along were accounted for: gift items, clothing for change daily, toiletries like tooth brushes and combs. Another very important item my mother needed to bring along was the sling or baby wrap carrier to carry my one year plus younger brother along the trip. Unlike what the countless varieties of baby wrap carrier for modern day mothers to choose from, the carrier then was just a simple sarong  A stroller was out of question as the cost was just beyond our means.

Sarong as baby wrap carrier.

The trip normally started at 10 in the morning. We first had to walk about 2Km from our house to reach the bus station in the town with each carrying the designated items. Then at the bus station, we would board a bus bound for Menggatal or Tuaran. As usual, the bus stopped at a road junction a short distance before reaching Menggatal. We then walked the 2.7Km graveled road to arrive at our final destination. More often than not, we had to walk. At very rare time, we might take the pirate taxi that plied the route. During dry weather, we had to endure the tons of dust generated by moving traffic. Somehow, in those days, such challenges never diminished our desire to go and enjoy ourselves at my grandmother's house.

By the time we finally reached at my grandmother's house, it would have passed lunch time around 2pm. But as soon as we arrived, we wasted no time to start doing what we had been dreaming most, i.e. to be in the stream. We would normally spend long hours in water and would reluctantly go back to the house after being yelled at repeatedly or after much threatening with caning with rotan.

As depicted by cartoonist Lat,  most kids living in the kampong by a stream or river did more or less similar things!

The stream that had given us so much good memory has changed significantly over the years. The flow now is so much reduced. This is probably the price of progress and development!

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