My husband and I have this passion of going into kampungs. As he is an avid photographer and I am basically trying to learn the skills from him, for almost 2 years now we make it a point to explore one negeri a month of the Semenanjung. More often than not, we go off the beaten tracks, into the core of the villages, meet the locals, try their food, learn their dialects and take photos of their houses. Now I can more or less tell the difference in the architecture of the kampung houses in Melaka in comparison to the ones say in Kelantan or Terengganu or Kedah.
Once our Kelantanese friend hosted us in his kampung where I spent my mornings watching grandmothers with delicate shrivelled hands weaving songkets. Another time we explored the kampung near Pantai Merdeka in Kedah and we got really fabulous shots of kampung houses with green padi fields in the background. I call this our postcard moments. The experience is priceless, the knowledge gained is enriching and the kampung folks are endearing.
The kampung folks are a class of their own. As as outsider, literally a rusa masuk kampung, I love and welcome their hospitality. I’ve spent a huge chunk of my life in the city and to be honest, I have had enough of it sometimes. The folks that we meet are always amused at the hubby– initally shyly asking where he comes from and upon realising he can slurp gulai tempoyak, chew petai and speak and understand different Malay dialects be it Utara or Kecek Kelate or a bit of Ghoyak Terengganu, suddenly they become like our long lost relations. As for me, the moment I open my mouth, they would usually guess which country down south I hailed from, and more often than not, the usual questions asked are -what is that ‘lam ka ya’ fellow up to now. heh 😛
We are in Kuantan now.
We gladly accepted the invitation to attend a wedding in FELDA Kampung in Kuantan, which fits nicely into the public holiday schedule. We’ve bypassed Kuantan a few times we take the coastal road to go to Terengganu/Kelantan, but have not really explored Kuantan per say. In Pahang, we are very familiar with Camang and Lanchang but not Kuantan , the capital town of Pahang-which the world associate with Club Med Cherating.
I’ve learnt my lesson from atttending a wedding in a kampung in Pasir Mas in Kelantan that in the kampungs, things are simple. So dress simply. None of the frills and hours of getting ready to attend those glittery wedding events in the city where they cut wedding cakes with swords and the dulang hantaran exchanges are a procession on its own. Here right smack in the middle of the FELDA oil palm plantations, people come for weddings in slippers and the nicest baju melayu they could find. And so did we.
They ‘rewang’ in the truest sense of the word. We were served Pahang laksa, Pulut Kuning with Rendang Ayam Kampung, Tapai Beras and an array of Malay cakes I have yet to learn their names. All made by the kampung folks themselves. The chicken for the rendang were those that roamed around the kampung, slaughtered early this morning. The fish whose flesh flavoured the laksa gravy were from the wholesalers down the coastal road from this morning’s catch. The solemnisation was at 5 pm at the surau and I was very surprised that only the kadi and the bride’s and groom’s immediate family members were there, us and the photographer. The rest of the extended family and the other kampung folks waited at the bride’s house.
After the nikah, we adjourned to the bride’s house. As each kampung is different, I am very ‘jakun’ still. I was like a paparazzi gone off control, especially after our feast. I was alerted to the group of pakciks slaughtering a bull for the persandingan kenduri tomorrow. Caught it all on camera, the bull beheaded in a merciful way and the body hanged for smoking. A bemused pak cik called out to me…
‘ Hang pi tangkop gambo kerbau ni apo hal ? Hang tak pernah tengok kerbau kena sembelih ko? ‘
and when I replied…’ tak pernah cik.. la ni baru pertama kali tengok‘ he laughed a hearty laugh nudging his friend mouthing ‘orang bando nih..’
Now back at the hotel after a long tiring day, there are more things I would like to do tomorrow before we make a quick dash back to the city. Annoyingly, my teacher has decided that tomorrow evening, of all days to give us the mock test for the German exams. It takes 4 hours to drive back and I just hope I have enough time to do some of the things I have on our list, amongst which is to take snap some shots with the freshly caught lobsters and buy cheap mangoes from the road stalls and definitely not forgetting the gulai lomak tempoyak ikan patin.
Was I born in the wrong era?
Yaaaawn. Guten Nach.