Sunday, September 5, 2010

Growing Up in Kampung Bharu (Kg Baru)

* This entry .. and all under this tag is dedicated to my children... who were always curious about my stories in the old days. Of course, friends, you're welcome to read too:)*

I was born in HKL - Hospital Kuala Lumpur, formerly known as GHKL (General Hospital Kuala Lumpur). The first in the family born in KL. My elder brothers and sisters were all born in either Besut/Jertih or Kuala Terengganu. So, technically I can be called "orang KL" but I am also recognized by the State as "Anak Terengganu" since my parents are from there ...

My father (arwah in Jul 1992) was transfered to KL in 1969 and it was a hassle for my mom (Che') with 4 school going children to go back to Terengganu. Between my brother (Pok Awi) and me, there's a 5 years gap and 2 years for every other brothers & sister except for my eldest (Che' Long). So, I was born in KL and raised initially in Kg Baru - which is now, I think spelled as Kampung Bharu.

My father rented a single story house, which linked 3 houses together. Our house was on the far left if you're facing the house. It came with 2 bedrooms with a long living room. The dining room which was at the back of the 2nd bedroom was converted into a room - for the boys (Pok Awi & Pok Mil). There's only curtains used as divider. Since the living room was long, my father converted one third of it as another room for the big boys (Pok Din & Pok Mal). The other 2 thirds were used as dining and TV areas. You can see from the sketch below how it was... this is about as much as I can remember. I lived in this house from the time my parents took me back from Hospital until I was 9 going to 10 years old .. we moved during school holiday after I had finished my standard 3 -- so, that would be in 1979. About 10 years in that house.

As long as I can remember, we always have relatives living with us in that house. You see, I think, we're probably the only relatives who lived in KL. So, whenever any of our relatives from Terengganu had business in KL, our house would be the place for them to overnight. We also had young ladies relatives - close or distance, or their friends who were either studying or working sharing the room with my sister (and I). Well, maybe with my sister first. I moved our from my parents' room when I was going to be 7, I think. Must be about that age. I remember being in the room with my sister when I started school.
Life in Kg Baru was fun and hectic for young kids like me in those old days. I woke up early every day. First thing to do, always, after waking up is to take a bath. Rule of thumb at home was, no bath, no breakfast = no food (you see kids - how lenient I am with you!). Yes, no food, even if you'd brushed your teeth:) After breakfast is always play time when it isn't school day.
My "playgroup", depends on my mood on that day, may range from as close as across the drain neighbor, near "gomen paip" (government's water tap) neighbor or "madrasah" neighbor. There were few others - like those near the place where I went for my quran or near the shops.
Most of the time, I'll play with children within the 1km area of my house. I had big pool of friends to play with, so , I never ran out of friends. Can't recall much what I've on those days. It's normally from morning till late evening. Seldom I went back home for lunch, that's why I was skinny when I was a kid. There's no computer or console games yet in that mid 70's. I think we played congkak, "teng teng" (?Hop-scotch?), konda-kondi, galah panjang and of course, the legendary "masak-masak" (?house play?).
Galah panjang was one of my favourites, we don't have much space for this near our houses, so, normally my friends and I will go near our Sek Agama Rakyat at Jalan Raja Muda Musa, I think, and play galah panjang at the playground compound behind the school. It's about 10-15 minutes walk from our houses. We used the sepaktakraw/volleyball court as our base to play with. No need to draw the lines ourselves. Of course, most of the time, my team will win. In those good old days, there's not much games you can play with by yourself. Most of the games are team games, need a number of people to play with, otherwise it wouldn't be much fun. The same games were played during our P.E. session (you call it Pendidikan Jasmani @ school now).
When we played masak-masak, we don't have those fancy plastic utensils that children nowadays play with. We collected the piece of tin covers from cans. And for cups, maybe some cups that were thrown, or coconut shells or we made it ourselves from thick leaves. I cannot recall exactly which one used the most. One of my friends will have blades for us to cut the leaves - part of our cooking rituals. These leaves are everywhere - several colors, but mostly green and shape. We can take without making the owners mad - there's also many that grown wild. Sometimes we took the leaves from shrubs until it grew bald, and nobody cared!...
* to be continued*.....

1 comment:

  1. Wah, I didn't know your family is from Jerteh. That's where I grew up until 12 years old. I love your story and totally understand the joy of playing outdoor the whole day, main masak-masak. I hope your children had a good time reading about it!