Monday, June 16, 2008

The House in Batu Buruk

Having finished reading Growing Up In Trengganu by Awang Goneng, I am inspired to write down my own memories of my home state. I will be posting these writing under the category/labels "Trengganu Jam".
I only really lived in Trengganu till I was 8 years old, because we moved away then, but we always went back to Trengganu during the school holidays. So I guess you could say that I did grow up in Trengganu, coz a lot can happen (and did happen) to a child during the holidays. Even though I actually spent more time out of Trengganu than in it, in my heart, I had always been, and always be a Trengganu girl.
My memory is a little bit like swiss cheese when it comes to my life as a child in Trengganu, so bear with me. Perhaps some of you can correct me or help me clarify the blurr bits.

I will start with my earliest memory, living in a house in Batu Buruk.

From what I can recall, the wooden house we lived in in Batu Buruk was either painted white, or a very pale green. I remember it had a long corridor that led from the living room to the other rooms and the kitchen at the back of the house. I remember this because I once roller skated down that corridor and could recall the sound the wooden wheels on metal shoes made on the uncarpeted wooden floors. Along the corridor there were long doors that open out, with railings to prevent naughty little kids from falling out. I remember sitting by the doors, with my legs dangling outside through the railing, watching birds on the pokok terajang and the next door neighbours' brick house with the lovely dahlias.

I must've been about 4 or 5 years old, because I know I haven't gone to school yet then. I spent most of my days sitting at home waiting for my KakLong (eldest sister) to come back from school and show me the latest thing she learnt. When she comes home, I'd follow her around, sometimes to watch her play, sometimes to her Qur'an lesson, where she'd also bring the day's leftover rice and dried out coconut scrapings in a plastic bag to a neighbour's house that has a lot of chickens. The neighbour would give us some coins, and we would by tit bits from a small store, also on the way to the Qur'an lesson. Our favourite were these plastic packets that sometimes had fish crackers, sometimes candy canes but always a golden bangle (which was of course, not really made of gold). We'd break the bangle and straighten it out and use it as a glamorous pointer for our Qur'an lessons.

Weekend mornings I'd follow my KakLong to buy roti canai at the shop on the main road. We'd walk across the huge field in front of our house, through some bushes, then up a slight incline where we would emerge at a small lane at the side of the roti canai shop. We'd go to the front of the shop to make our order. Sometimes we'd bring with us some eggs, to be added to our roti canai. While we wait for our order to be fulfilled, I'd watch cars pass by and look beyond the other side of the road listening to the sounds of the South China Sea waves crashing onto the beach of Pantai Batu Buruk. When we got our order, we'd walk back the same way, sometimes bumping into other people who use the same path to get their roti canai.

The field in front of our house was a curious little thing. Once it rained really hard for many many days, and filled our whole compound with water, including the field. When the rain stopped and the rain receded, the field did not dry up. It became a pond instead, and there were even fish in it. It really amazed us then how fish could've gotten in there. My sister and I made up theories that maybe there were fish eggs that had been lying dormant in the ground and all that water had coaxed them out. Somehow it never occurred to us that fish might have been swept into the field during the rain, and was trapped there when the rain stopped.

I don't remember watching any TV when I was living there. Most of the time we were playing outside in some rok (bushes). We picked mmuting (kemunting - something like berries), played tag or just walked around and theorizing on how ponds got filled with fish. Children are left to their own devices most of the time and we were allowed to roam free, with or without shoes. We knew to come home when it starts getting dark and we hear the azang ggarek (the call for prayers at dusk). Once, I missed my cue to go home and I reached my front door only to find that it had been locked. I had to duduk ccokkoh (sit doing nothing) in the dark by the door, listening to the noises of the crickets and ungodly creatures outside and the noises of preparations for dinner inside. I was finally let in, with a lesson learnt for life.

When I started going to kindergarten, we moved out of that house to another house in Bukit Kecil.
Every time we drive on that road leading to Kuala Trengganu via Batu Buruk, I would peer behind the buildings by the side of the road and try to identify that house. Unfortunately I could never tell which was the house I had fond memories of.


  1. what a lovely story.. I could myself being you, Lisa... seronoknya with no worry hehee..

    kemunting.. rasanya banyak di terengganu kan sebab tak pernah lagi nampak kat tempat lain.. I enjoyed plucking them too when we went to Pantai Chendor in Kemaman (when I was small)

  2. anita3:52 PM

    wonderful childhood bliss! you remind me of my own wonderful memories. since i'm staying in kt nearby batu burok now, it makes me wonder which part of batu burok that was. seronok baca cerita you elisa, tulislah lagi.

  3. Salam,
    Saya hok besor d'Dungun sapa darjah nang pong tak dok pengalamang gitu, Joe. Sokmo gi cycling dari se jalang ke se jalang je. Tapi buah mmunting tu memang best dicari especially kalu gi dekat2 pantai. Makang dok bbrapa.. Kat rumah saya di Putrajaya sekarang, cik Abang siap tanam pokok munting lagi, ambik dari Trg le, takuk anok2 dok kenal...hehehe..

  4. Neeza - ye lah, I miss the old times when we were not worried about being kidnapped..

    Anita - I can't really describe where it is exactly because (1) My memory is a little hazy, (2) Trengganu is so different now. I think across the main room ada tembok that hides the houses 'orang2 kaya'?

    Nad - dok kang lah kot.. cuba pikir balik.. mesti ada good memories punya lah. My kakLong pun tanam pokok mmuting in her front yard in Damansara. I think it's still there.
    Lama dok makang mmtuing nih.. yum yum

  5. The house is in front of the Arabic school. The RISDA office was in front of our house on the same side of the road.
    When we moved from KL, we could not find a house in time so Bah rented that house from a relative. Someone broke into the house when we were away and stole my Minolta SLR.
    Hugs and kisses.

  6. I remember buoh mmuting very well as I also used to kutip and makang. Other than that, ada bouh serai - warna meroh mmerang kalu masok; lepas tu pucuk apa tah, masam-masam, bantai jugak lah..lagi buoh kkhiak, warna meroh gok ni..hmmmmm...memang beh memori maser kecik. My kampong got "taliar", lepas tu berakit cross the taliair..rakit buloh. A memory of my Ayoh jahit atap nipoh..belajar naik basikal gendong "khotong" nyior, ikat dengan getah itam tu..letak kulit buluh hok kering tu kat tayar basikal so that bila kayuh ada bunyiii..kelepek-kelepeeeeek..

    masok dalam rok getoh, ish..banyoknyer kenangang..

  7. jagung10:08 AM


    "belajar naik basikal gendong "khotong" nyior, ikat dengan getah itam tu..letak kulit buluh hok kering tu kat tayar basikal so that bila kayuh ada bunyiii..kelepek-kelepeeeeek.."

    ...wah....itu dah kira merempit tu...AHAHHAHAHAH

    main dale rok paling beh...igak belalae, bidah bughong, kutip daun buat pitih main juua.....

    tubik rok, habih calar balar betih kadae-kadae...

    woo...beh sunggoh nah...mujur tok kudih

  8. sis,
    i like the way you spelt 'ccokkoh'... hehehe... terbayang my gani friend saying that word... yup i agree... it should be spelt with a double c and k... otherwise, tajwid lari... hehehe

  9. soty, 'ganu' friend... not 'gani'... typo error

  10. Abang Ichai and I went searching for the house on one of our trips, and it is no longer there, replaced by three or four other houses. The field is not there either. The neighbor's house is still standing though.

    I loved living in Batu Buruk, we had so many friends! We'd play underneath the house for hours, looking for 'cikgu-cikgu' (or whatever it was we called that insect that burrows itself in the sand). We looked for orang kenit, too remember? (Orang kenit is probably the Malay equivalent of fairies, or leprechauns).

  11. Papa - Someone broke into our house??? Wah I didnt know that!
    There's so many memories in that house, itu tak termasuk cerita jumpa A.R. Badul lagi.. hee hee

    Onee - Tee hee.. looks like i triggered quite a flashback there..!

    Jagung - "mujor tok kkuddih"? speak for yourself! My legs are like tiang jamban from all the scars.

    najlah - syiok kan, when you hear the way the words are spoken? hee

    kakLong - I wonder if our friends remember us. I wanted to write a post dedicated to the games we play, but maybe later. I am really intrigued by the "cikgu-cikgu" though. Like Why is it called "cikgu-cikgu"? What species of bug was it really? and how in the world did we ever tie a string on it? Like you, I cant go under a house on stilts without looking for those conical holes.. ;)

  12. the strongest memories I had was maing kat bawoh pokok ramba (rambai), atah bala kat tepi jalang tepat tunggu bah! It was at Gong Kepas, Besut...ok, next story --tell us about your Alor Lintang pulak (ke Alor Lintah) My arwah grandfather built a house there (literally built on his own using the bricks that were also self-made at my grandma's little brick factory behind her house)