08 January 2010

Looking back at life - A prologue

I was born 42 years ago in a village surrounded by paddy fields. The only detailed my mother told me about my birth was how glorious it was that early morning, with virgin dew dripping from the grass and the sweet smell of the newly ripen paddies waiting to be harvested that season. My mother did not wait very long and started to feed me with 'nasi bubur penyek' in an empty and well polished coconut shell as early as I was few days old. That explained why I was so instrumental with that particular diet until today. And that explained why I was so chubby as well.

My tokki planted paddy. Vast acres of paddy and I had always trying to find excuses and time to spend the whole wonderful day with him in the paddy field, lending my hand whenever I could, even as a toddler. I could spend almost the entire day running here and there, basking and rolling on pile of paddy hays, catching dragonflies and quail while keeping both my tokki and tok busy running after me trying to keep me from tumbling into buffalo dungs. So even as a very young child, I learned to take notice and look admiringly at the world around me.

At that toddler age, I had to move and followed my father migrating all around Terengganu, as my father worked as a 'Renjer Mergastua". Dungun and Kemaman was two of my favorite places and kept many fond memories. This nomadic life brought me even closer to nature. On many rare occasions my father would 'disappear' from home, most of the time without me noticing his disappearance, and he went into the jungles for one of his official duties. This could last for few days or even weeks. When he came back, he would bring back many beautiful animals, some were orphans (siamang, ungka, porcupine, sun bear, mouse deer or even tigers - of course they were babies). He would keep the exotic animals for a while at our house and let me play with those beautiful creatures before he handed them over to the authority. Ironically, these days I am not that fond to keep animals as pets in my house.

We moved back to Kuala Terengganu when I was 11 years old. Once again I enjoyed the serene kampung life. I always welcome the monsoon season as the paddy fields would by this time, again filled with water and brought life to the surrounding area. It was a splendid time to 'berkubang' like a water buffalo, again in the clogged paddy fields fishing for 'haruan' and 'puyu'. My siblings and other cousins would join me, getting wet under the torrential rain, sitting patiently and motionlessly along the paddy field with fishing rod at hand, trembling full of excitement with every bite we had from the underwater creatures. Mamee was our staple food those days. When evening came, we would go out again to the fields putting the 'tauk' in selective spots and left them overnight hoping that they won't catch anything that slithered the next morning.

At the age of 12, solely influenced by my father's early education, I made one of the best decision of my life. Out of the 25 classmates in the Sultan Sulaiman Primary School, I was the only one opted to pursue my secondary education in one of the renown 'Sekolah Arab' in Kuala Terengganu - SMU Sultan Zainal Abidin, Ladang. In fact, I was the only one from the school to pilgrimage from a 'secular' to the so-called Arabic school. I spent three wonderful years there, deciphering the complexity of the Arabic language before I moved on to the newly established college at Gong Badak - KUSZA. Gong Badak was then like a plain Serengeti, void of any development. KUSZA was still in its embryonic phase. My batch became the pioneer. That was actually the first boarding school experience for me, away from the comfort of my tokki's home. It was another phase of my life, worth further elaboration on its own.

Looking back at those wonderful primordial years, the phases that shaped me as what I am today, I feel the sense of self consciousness. It was deeply personal but full of contradiction. Thus feeling leading me to come to term with the fact that I am old.


tauk = A short bamboo with bait (normally a puyu fish)


JohnJenin said...

Happy Birthday. Entry Dr buat saya teringat kisah kecil kecil dulu di mana saya jugak suka menahan tauk. Yang menjadi mangsa selalunya ikan sepat hidup sebagai umpan tak pon isi belut yang dipotong dadu.

Memang seronok dapat ikan haruan dan keli sebesar peha. Dan lebih seronok bila mendapat ular dan memerang.hehehe

I really miss my late grand dad and nanny. Huhuhuhu

mus said...

happy birthday dr sam,
semoga pnjg umur, murah rezeki, n diberi kesihatan yg baik

Yang Benar, Kakak Perkara Rawak said...

Selamat hari lahir DrSam!
Semoga yang baik-baik je untuk semua-semua mendatang :)

Abd Razak said...


Saya doakan semoga usia yang berbaki itu Allah anugerahkan Dr kesihatan yang berpanjangan agar digunakan utk melakukan amalan sebagai bekalan utk ke sana, iman yang mantap, hati yg khusyuk, rezeki yang halal, keluarga yang bahagia dan ikhlas dalam semua urusan...:)

Pn Kartini said...

Salam Dr Sam:)
Mensyukuri atas nikmat usia..
Semoga sentiasa diberkati & dihiasinya keimanan yg bersulamkan Taqwa...:)
Semoga dianugerahkan kebahagian,rezeki dan kesihatan yang baik..& depermudahkan segala apa jua olehNya....:):)

Granny Hani said...

Wow! something precious to be passed on to ur kids..Hope today is as nice as those days..and tomorrow will be much better.
Salam dari Kak Hani.

Kak Teh said...

Dr sam, Selamat menyambut hari lahir dan semoga dipanjangkan umur dan dimurahkan rezki. Insyaallah, ada rezki, kita jumpa lagi. Am off soon. salam to your wife.

catz said...

selamat menyambut hari kelahiran.
moga panjang usia, murah rezeki dan terus dikurniakan kesihatan yang baik oleh Allah.

yohteh said...

dah 42 tahun... hepi besdey DrSam...!! looking foward, rahmah and barokah... amin.

Adliff said...



A very warm happy birthday for you. Heh, sudah 42 tahun aaaa... still younglah.

Semoga Allah SWT berikan rahmat yang melimpah ruah, kesihatan yang baik, kehidupan yang baik.

Oooo your pet name is Awang Mesu?

@xiM said...

it was so nice to read this entry..

remind me back to my Childhood..

dulu axim duk kat dungun,sekolah kebangsaan sura..hehe,familiar tak..

Terengganu is a good place to live,i suppose..:)

@xiM said...

lupa plak,

Happy Birthday Doc!

have a great and prospoerous year ahead k!

denaihati said...

Meso akhirnya aku jumpa juga blog mu. Happy Birthday. Salam untuk Zed.

arsaili said...

salam and happy birthday..May ALLAH bless u and family.

Tauk in bahasa melayu sarawak adalah tahu..ehehe

Sally said...

Happy bday Doc!! moga hidup lebih d berkatiNya..

[danial][ma] said...

hej! Dr.Sam...happy birthday and may you be blessed years ahead with lots of love and great things, great wealth, great health...and what a great memories you had and aarrgghhh you were so cute too (the pic), a blessed life given by your beloved mom and dad, and grands...and i guess those memories of paddy fields will remain but the paddy fields along the manir stretch long gone, replaced by houses and buildings, and i don't know if there's still paddy fields can be found elsewhere in terengganu...;-)

Diana AR said...

Selamat Hari Lahir...moga sentiasa dikasihi dan diberkati Allah..

Sir Pök Déng said...

What a memory you have here, Dokter Seng. I didn't remember so much about my pre-birth days.

My Father always told me about his experience carrying me around the "batah sawoh" of Kampung Telok Pasu when I was a baby . And I tend to point anything I see with my index finger and say "tu! tu!" and Father would say, "mende? mende?". That gives me a good laugh.

My childhood days in Kampung Telok Pasu were all nothing but forgotten memories. I hardly remember when did I running about the "batah sawoh" as mentioned in another story told by Father.

I just remember the scene when I was having "sekkuk jagung" dunked into "teh O" with Mok Tokki while watching the heavy downpour from the verandah (and that's the main reason why raining always brings sentimental value in me). The crackers went soft and sank in the hot tea. I refused to dip my small hand into the glass so I gave it to Mok Tokki. Incredibly she drank the whole tea and the soft cracker went down into her mouth.

In the evening, I watched cousins fishing puyu at the paddy field. Instead of using worms as bait, they caught dragonflies before torturing them by removing the wings and the rest of the violent procedures, God helped them dragonflies.

Nowadays, the eye-stretched paddy field along Manir and Telok Pasu is no longer available, now being replaced by bungalows of cucu-cicit-piut-heaven-knows-who-are-they.

Thanks for the post, Dokter Seng. I might use this post as inspiration for my next story. And thanks for drawing me a paddy field in my mind.

Naddy said...

this is why your blog is aptly named archive of time, so nostalgic dr.

Mia's Mom said...

Salam DrSam :-D

Happy Birthday. My prayers for your happiness, good health and everything good and more. :-D

Though deprived of sawah I always imagine eating nasi panas with ikan sepat goreng berlada with both feet in the tali air and a nice breezy wind. It's heavenly.

pal7 said...

happy birthday..
mg dipanjangkan umur n dimurahkan rezeki..amin..

Liyana Safra Zaabar said...

wut a wonderful writing :) as usual..

happy bday doc!

"otanjoubi omedetou gozaimas"

DrSam said...

John Jenin,
Kenangan semasa kecil memang menggamit rindu. Pengalaman pahit-manis terpahat dihati dan sanubari untuk dikongsi. Menahan tauk, kalau umpan puyu/sepat dapatle ikan haruan, kalau umpan telur kerengga dapat le keli sebesar lengan. Kalau dapat ular sawa tu, melompat dan lari lintang pukang :) Makan tengahari atuk masakkan dengan hasil tangkapan. Manis sungguh kenangan.

Thank you mus.

penjenayah merah jambu,
terimakasih cik secret.

p/s: PJM punya entri dah tak boleh komen?

Abd Razak,
Salam sdr. terimakasih di atas ucapan dan doa sdr. Insyaallah setiap yang baik itu dibalas dengan kebaikan jua olehNYA.

DrSam said...

Pn. Kartini,
Terimakasih diatas doa buat saya. Semoga kebaikan yang sama dilimpahkan kepada pn jua.

Salam kak hani. Terimakasih kak. I hope my kids and others especially the younger generation could learn something from the experience.

Kak Teh,
Salam Kak Teh. Terimakasih diatas ucapan dan pertemuan singkat namun bersejarah tempoh hari. Insyaalah jika diizinkan dan ada rezeki saya susuli ziarah Kak Teh disana (June). Have a safe and pleasant journey back home (hope the thick snow in Heathrow subside by the time you arrive there) . Send my warmest regards to AG.

DrSam said...

terimakasih catz. Saya doakan yang sama buat catz.

tenkiu yohteh. Insyaallah doa untuk kebaikan, dibalas kebaikan.

aliff muhammad,
Salam sdr aliff. Insyaallah diizinkan, masih jauh kaki melangkah.

Awang Mesu nama glamer kat Kg. Sg. Derhaka :)

While I was in Dungun, padang Astaka was my playground. Sura gate was the only 'happening' place in the vicinity. I went to Sek. (R) Sultan Omar just for one year before moving down to Kemaman. Thank you for the wishes @xim.

DrSam said...

masih tertanya-tanya nih? Siapakah gerangan si denaihati. Masih menjadi misteri. Email deh...(yang panggil Zed ni geng UKM dan SMSJ je. jeng...jeng...jeng) Menjejak kasih kita :)

Thank you bro for the wishes dan juga ilmu baru (tauk)

Thanks che goo. Semoga bahagia sokmo bersama keluarga tercinta.

danial Ma,
Thanks danial for the wishes. I was cute then (that pic was 18 years ago) and am still cute now...hi...hi...

Yep, your memory served you right. The long strip of paddy fields along Manir main road was once a pleasant sight. Now everybody seems to hit jackpot in Ganu and build bungalows on those fields. What an eyesore. Even in my own kampung, there is hardly anybody nowadays plants paddy anymore and the fields are now filled with patches of ugly stone and brick everywhere. I used to sit at the edge of paddy field and stared at the open field up to Bkt. Besar, unobstructed. Now, no more. Pity me.

DrSam said...

Diana Abd Rahman,
Terimakasi Diana.

Sir Pok Deng,
Thank you sir for a very nice story to share. You have one great experience yourself. I used to traveled a lot using that short-cut road (bypassing the busy Manir/KB road) to and from my kampung to KUSZA with my kapcai. Yes, your story worth another elaboration. How about a story on "maing ikang skila" sir.

Exactly! That was my original intention.

Mia's mom,
Thank you sis. You can probably still enjoy those heavenly experience is some of the remote kampungs in Ganu. But I am not sure where. Or probably there is none left! Your mention about nasi panas and sepat goreng berlada, eating in a hut at the middle of nowhere in some remote sawah ...ahh...those sweet memories.

terimakasih. semoga dipanjangkan umur dan dimurahkan rezeki jua.

Liyana Safra Zaabar,
Arigato gozaimas!

C-I-K-I-N-T-O said...

Happy Birthday Dr. Moga terus sihat dan dilimpahi rezeki yang mencurah2..amin :)

DrSam said...

Noraishikin Mohd Salleh,
Terimakasih Shikin. Saya pun mendoakan semoga Shikin sentiasa dilimpahi kebahagian dan dimurahkan rezeki jua.

laki cikgu kimia said...

hepi besday doc! teruskan menjaga kesihatan untuk beribadat n berjasa!

BEiB said...

Happy Birthday DrSam...
Best of health.
Your apologue reminds me of my childhood days in Kedah. Almost similar with all those - could not be seen anymore - activities.
Really miss those good old days half a century ago...

DrSam said...

laki cikgu kimia,
trimakasih. Insyaallah kita sama-sama menjaga kesihatan kita.

Thank you BEiB. Yes, those unique experience had long gone, but memories will keep burning in our mind. We are here to share the journey with thus who missed the boat.

Faisal Admar said...

i love paddy field a lot! but not paddy bird!!!

adiwarnatasya said...

HepY BufdaY:)
Semoga panjang umur...
Dimurahkan rezeki berpanjangan...
Beroleh keberkatan hidup dunia & akhirat...

Zendra-Maria said...

Slaam Dinda, si montel tu dah jauh langkahnya dan berbagai juga pengalaman, di kota dan desa. Moga sentiasa dikurniakan kesihatan dan dimurahkan rezeki.

Zareda Norman said...

Dr Sam

Happy 42th Birthday to you.. hopefully many more will comes..

and yeah, u are so montel masa baby.. cute and chubby

DrSam said...

faizal admar,
we caught some of the migrating avians, many of them are very-very delicious and got different taste from our normal duck and chicken. Luckily those days, there was no emergence of bird flu yet :)

Terimakasih. Dipanjangkan doa itu untuk adiwarnatasya jua.

Salam kanda. Si montel belum penat melangkah lagi dan rasanya perjalanan pun masih jauh. Harap-harap dalam dalam masa terdekat ni, si montel masih kekal montel :) Terimakasih diatas ingatan kanda.

Zareda Norman,
Thank you. I am looking forward to enjoy this beautiful life and many wonderful thing its has to offer. Thank you.

Teja Suraya said...

alamak..trlepas birthday dr sam lak....

apapun, hepi belated birthday...smoga dr sam n family dirahmati Allah, dimurahkan rezeki n berbahagia selalu..Amin..

DrNotts said...

am sure you missed the good old days where no worries nor bad thoughts about everything!

wish our kids would have the same experience in life and enjoy every moment as we did!

enjoy your life as well dr sam! after a long reflection (42 years of been there, done that), am sure you are going to smile every now and then!


en_me said...

montelnyerrr.. ehehe, hepi besday drsam itteww

Zue said...

Happy Belated Birthday DrSam. Semuga panjang umor dan sihat sejahtera bersama keluarga.

Ada makan2 ke Sam...:)

Zue said...


Lupa nak tulis...Comellah gambar chubby tu...

DrSam said...

Miss Teja,
No worry. The thought that count. Terimakasih.

Roads traveled now and then had many bumps. Sometimes the journey was tough, sometimes a pleasant one. But many had left me with a big smile. Thanks for the wishes.

terimakasi dari si montel :)

Selamat kembali Zue dari tanah suci. Glad to hear everything was o.k. Makan-makan kena tunggu rombongan you datang ke tempat I le.

PerantauSepi1306 said...

Hope not too late to wish another happy additional year to your current age :D Semoga berbahagia selalu bersama yang tersayang.. you have a beautiful childhood indeed.

ASH said...

Happy belated...punya sibuk sampai terlepas baca.
....semoga setipa detik dalam hidup selama 42 tahun ini penuh bermakna dan diberkati.


ASH said...

..nak komeng sket pasa gambar las tuh.
awat awang Mesu tu temban waktu kecek..besa..kuruiiiiihhh?
gelang itu??
tetap ada!!!
TRADEMARK maaaaa!!
ha ha ha ha

DrSam said...

Thank you sis. Yes, life is so beautiful.

Terimakasih. Bulan pertama setiap tahun memang bulan yang amat sibuk, terutama bagi guru-guru.

Ha...ha...awang mesu tembam sebab umut dua hari aje dah kena suap air nasi oleh ibunya.

Memang...memang betul. Gelang tu sampai sekarang masih ada :) klasik betul.

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