... 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
%%%%%%% unedited %%%%%%%

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bas Loncat and Kereta Sapu

Besides the commuter bus (bas loncat) plying the roads taking passengers everywhere, there is the 'kereta sapu'. In London they call them 'mini cabs'. From Senaling, to go to Kuala Pilah town (the biggest place we ever know); there is the Eng Giap Bus Company, plying Senaling - Kuala Pilah route; and it costs 10 sen for a one way ride. We may also catch the bus from Tampin or from Dangi heading to Kuala Pilah. Besides the Eng Giap Bus, the Malay Transport Bus is also available, which ply the Kuala Pilah - Seri Menanti route (through Senaling); as there is another Seri Menanti route, through Tanjong Ipoh.

If you want to travel beyond Kuala Pilah, Southern Bus Company may take you to Seremban or Bahau. The route to Seremban is long, winding and treacherous - through Bukit Putus. Alas, it does not take more than one hour to reach and the fare was 35 sen one way. The famous Seremban - Kuala Lumpur route was then handled by Foh Hup bus company and the 65 sen one way takes a little more than 1 hour. As far as we are concern, we depended so much on the Eng Giap bus and the speciality school bus too. We purchase monthly school bus pass; for the right to ride on the bus (irrespective of it being a school bus or not).

There was once, Udin and me coming home from school, but there were no more buses. So we stopped a 'kereta sapu' that we know of. The cost from Kuala Pilah to Senaling was 20 sen a passenger; and school boys are normally charged 10 sen (the same as the bus). However, when we reached Senaling; Udin did not pay the driver; as he said that he had a 'bus pass'. I paid my 10 sen. Looking at the driver, who understood the 'not understanding', we smiled and walked away. That incident is still really clear in my mind. Today Udin (Awaludin Jadid) is a high ranking police officer, presently working in Sarawak!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ikan Rebus

I started cooking since I was 9 years old (Standard 3). Atuk and Nenek prefer to live on their own, since Kak Ngah has got young children to take care and handle at that time. They move to the house in the compound (about 30 metres away); the house that was rented by Pakcik Jamal; who owns a coffee shop at the Godong. His own house is in Ulu Pilah, which is far from Kampong Senaling. Atuk and Nenek taught me how to cook rice and other simple dishes, enough for us to eat lunch or dinner. This cooking is the conventional way of using firewood, blowing fire with bamboo and using pots and pans made of clay. I learned to measure enough water needed to cook rice, ensure that the fire is contained but still firing when it is nearing cooking. As told in other episodes, firewood need to be stocked up before we can start cooking.

Whenever there is an urgent need to eat and preparing other dishes to go along with the rice may take time to prepare; we would normally turn to 'ikan rebus'. These are boiled 'kembong' fish sold at the Godong (Kedai Asin, the fishmonger). They cost 10 sen each and 2 would be enough to feed 3 of us. Grab one 'ikan rebus' from the shop, run home and pour hot water over it - and it is ready to be served. Sometimes, we have them fried for better taste. You may also create other kinds of dishes by using the same 'ikan rebus'; which will involve onions, coconut milk, chilly and a host of other ingredients.

Nevertheless, 'ikan rebus' used to provide the easy way to have a good, urgent, immediate and hearty meal. I used to love them as it is salty, tasty, soft, cheap, easy to prepare and above all - delicious.