Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Once upon a time (story of a kampong girl)

I was lucky enough to be born during the 80's :-) Looking back, those yesteryears were my best treasured moments, and hey...I never stop collecting memories!

Despite growing up in a "struggling to make ends meet" kind of environment, me and my siblings were pretty much happy on our own. I was the youngest in my family and was such a pester, a royal pain in the ass, that according to my brothers and male cousins. Needless to say, I was a tomboy. I was very small, thin, sporting dark skin, smudged and dirty face and my hair was...gosh, I think my head was a breeding ground for lice!!!

My aunt was like "Child, you come over here. Let me have a look at that lice farm of yours (referring to my head), I won't be surprised if I get to see lices as big as your dad's kerbau hitam jumping off from your head" and she would comb my hair painstakingly, searching for lices and would only gave up after my constant fidgeting. I hated people messing up with my hair, to me, it's a biggest annoyance while the rest of the terror gangs were out in the backyard or lake, playing!

My mum, aunties and uncles dubbed us as the 'Terror Gang" Why? They said, "Children, your wild and crazy antics would make us die of heart attacks!" Being such a hell-riser kids, it always fell deaf on several pairs of red ears (due to the constant ear-boxing sprees by our mums)

Our favoured afterschool games were:

1. Tarzan & Jane

There was a lake not far away from our house. It's not so deep and you could see many wild pineapple plants growing densely along the its banks. We always have this kind of competition like who would get the most juicy and rippen pineapple fruit. Of course, being the smallest in the group, I would normally lost, beaten by the bigger kids!

ok, back to the Tarzan antics, there's a big tree growing at the right side of the lake and some thick and sinewy vines were clinging onto it. Voila! Those thick and sturdy vines were just the perfect instruments for swinging games! To our young minds alike, "yeah...bring on the Tarzan!!!" So, there would be several 'naked as a jaybird' kids, yelling on top of their lungs "Oooooooooooooo!" with brownish thin arms and legs flailing dropping/splashing right into the lake. Splaaaaash, that was fun!

2. Forest and bushes exploration

we liked forest and bushes too! Often times after school, we would ventured into the forest and bushes behind our houses compounds. It's such a thrill when we encountered some edible wild fruits (wild rambutans, durians, berries, tarap, etc), and the most thrilling part was making animal traps - which of course would normally got away! However, some of them were not so lucky and ended up being roasted on makeshift camp fires (we didn't torture 'em okay, we were just a bunch of hungry kids :-D) Yup, we were a bunch of little bushmen!

3. Truth of Dare(devil) stunts

i'm sure by now, most of us are kinda familiar with this game (well, at least for kampong kids). I remember we're always up doing crazy things. The year was 1989, and I just turned 8. It was a monsoon season and it's raining constantly from morning to evening. Sometimes, it rained 24hrs non-stop. Most afternoons, after school, we would be trapped inside the house. Sometimes, school would be cancelled for several days (or a week at most). For us, it was a torture. We couldn't play Tarzan & Jane, we couldn't go for forest and bushes exploration and our parents forbade us to play in the rain or else...! Such was the verdict. But of course, being naughty, typical hard-headed kampong kids, 'the curfew' normally lasted about one or two days.

the craziest stunt we ever did was daring each other to swim accross a flooding river! When I think about it now, there's no amount of money can persuade me to do such death defying stunts. I've been neutralized from it. The story goes like this:

it was about 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon. It was raining and we were bored to death. 4 of us sneaked out of the house and ambled towards the river. Sure enough, due to the heavy rain, the river had swollen twice to its original size. It was murky, with its strong current carrying pieces of broken woods, uprooted small trees and occasionally some floating logs downstream. Stupidly enough, we never think of the danger (or in this case the dire straits of consequences should our parents caught a wift of what we're about to do!)

Our method was, firstly we walked farther upstream (along the riverbank of course, about 5oo meters).Then, we would start cross-swimming the river from farther upstream and reach the other side of the river by just following its current flow . Of course, you won’t be swimming in a straight line. True enough, we landed about 50 meters from the already marked designated landing spot. Boy, we felt like we struck a pot of gold big time! I mean, no one in my kampong (adults or young alike) attempted to cross-swimming a flooding river before and did it successfully! It was a really really big deal for us. The feeling was kinda like “a chest-thumping Mr. Ripley with his findings of strange / unbelievable artifacts”

Unfortunately, the elation was short-lived! Our parents were waiting on the other side of the river, thunderous expressions and deadly scowls with mean looking rotans in hands. Boy, the sound of ‘paaaaaps…piaakkks…adoiiiiiiiiiis’ was like a bad choir! Pokok senduduk pun hinggap di bontot. We were being walloped left, right and centre, merauuuuuuuuuuung sakan! Suffice to say, the next day, we had enough red welts in our skin to compare with. Who had the deepest cut, who had the longest or the shortest red welt marks, who cried the most and who won ‘the most budak jajal (nakal) / tough kid’ award.

We're lucky that none of our parents died of heart attack! Ok…eventually, we had our two weeks of fame. We became the talk of the kampong for about two weeks or so. Other kids at school looked at us with some kind of admiration and boy…did we bask on it? oh yes, tremendously!

Too bad, all these ‘kenakalan’ ended when my family relocated in the city and I was sent to a boarding school. I was 12 years old. They're distant memories now but once in a while, during family gatherings, stories of the ‘terror gang’ especially the river incident will resurface and those young nieces and nephews would go, like, “wahhhhh….uncle / auntie, inda sangka kamurang semua ni betul2 terrer!”

Yes, I was indeed, lucky to be born in the kampong. And, deep down in my heart: Yes, I am a kampong girl :-)


  1. "terror" lah you. Well I dont mind playing Tarzan and Jane with you now. I would like to explore a "bush" also. hehe

  2. Hmm, had similar experiences growing up,simple times,simple pleasures ;D.

  3. Yeah. Kids today grow up and learning (adult facts)kinda fast. In my time, some kids as old as 8-year-old still were sucking their bottles (milk)

  4. haha...i still use bottles until 9yrs old...hahaha

    huhu..but who cares...i live strong with it..:P

  5. lai, it's ok. I thought you're still breast feedings! *ROTFL*


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