... once upon a time ... a long long time ago ...

Small satchets of happenings from pockets of my life, as lapses of memories rewind to the particular place, moment and time ... realities of life
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Ngoca (Catching Fish @ Padi Fields)

I have no idea where the word 'ngoca' comes from, neither have I any idea from what base word it is derived from. I have always known that 'ngoca' is a happening where we all get together, get into the padi fields or the stream that meander along or within the padi fields and to catch as many fish as you can - using your bare hands, without any equipments. It is an adventure, where there will be food and drinks served. Not much, but enough for all those that came.

Every year, before we start preparing the padi fields for planting, there is always this 'ngoca' function. A few families from the area will get together. We start by cordoning an area where fish may be an abandunce. Then the water in cordoned area is slowly released, but controlled so as to ensure that no fish escape during the release of the water. Once the water have been drained out, either by releasing naturally or by shoving buckets and pails, everyone would then congregate into the designated area to look and catch as many fish. These fishes caught are put into a common pail. Sometimes, the stream is blocked and the water detoured. The dry stream would normally produce an abundance of fish of all kinds (fresh water ones).

Types of fishes caught are normally Ikan Semilang (cat fish - order Siluriformes), Puyu (anabas testudineus), Patin, Putih, Haruan (channa striata) and Lampam. At the end of the 'ngoca' the fish are cleaned and cooked at a nearby house. Accompanied with rice and vegetable greenies, the fish (normally cooked 'lemak cili api') are then served under the tree shades at the edge of the padi fields. I believe the 'ngoca' idea was to 'break the ice' for the start of the preparation of the padi fields for planting! During 'ngoca' the shrubs and growths in the fields are being turned over, stepped on, cut, turned, pulled out and sinked in. In the next few weeks to come, the whole community will be in the padi fields; preparing and planting of padi. And I will be enjoying my next few weeks getting free food and being paid for assisting.

Preparing, Planting, Moving and Replanting, Weeding, Harvesting, Storage & Extracting Rice from Padi (by machine) - thats another story to tell.

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