Teringat, kampung laman, kampung laman.......
Those were the last two lines from a song from the film Panggilan Pulau sung by the late Tan Sri P Ramlee. Though I can't recall the full lyrics of the song or even the title of the song, the melody and feeling of longing for one's village and the loved ones haunts me till now from the first time I saw the movie which was more than 40 years ago. Tuan Haji Ariffin Mamat must have felt the same longing when he requested me to do the report on the school which I did visit yesterday with Akmal. I did even more than that by going to his elder sister's place to see the village where Tuan Haji Ariffin Mamat grew up in.
After breakfast of roti canai telor with Akmal in Pasir Mas we proceeded to Kemubu via the Jambatan Lemal way. Pakpayne jokingly advised me to use a sampan to get to his village to save fuel after the steep hike in it's price. Unfortunately the stiff current and the many obstacles in the form of floating steel pipelines used by sand miners across the Kelantan river prevented me from doing so. Further more I don't even have a sampan and I doubt that Akmal is able to swim. The risk of losing his precious life and damaging my brand new camera prevented me from doing that route. We went by car instead. After crossing the river and seeing the pump house belonging to KADA with the word Kemubu on the building, we know we were almost there.
Some people are so fond of the keris. So they put the monument in the form of the Keris in front of the pump house.
The older pump house with a view of Bukit Panau in the background. Bukit Panau is on the other side of the river and the reference point for all survey map in North Kelantan hence it's importance.
It took sometimes for us to reach the school as the photographer has a keen eyes of interesting things such as this.
and the one below.
Being in unfamiliar territory we had to ask for directions lest we missed the place.
This was the signboard to the secondary school and the signboard to SK Pangkal Kalong is on the other side of the road.
A beautiful scene outside the school fence. Akmal caught it on camera.
With the help of a retired school staff who seemed to miss the school so much that he came to the school, we proceeded to the school office to meet the headmaster Tuan Haji Hasbullah Ismail who had been the school head since 2002. After explaining our intention we had his permission to look around, meet some teachers and take photographs.
Noting some info at the school office
We then proceeded to the school's computer lab which seemed to be well equipped with computers and audio visual equipments. Cikgu Nik Yusoff bin Tuan Kadir is in charge and he was very cooperative and interested in what we were doing.
Cikgu Nik Kadir
The lab seems to be well equipped. Unfortunately we can't open blogsites from their computers.
Every school is supposed to have a website. This school have yet to have one but they seemed to have a blogsite which is still under construction. Try to see it here.
A brief history of the school is available on the blogsite. The school was started in 1943 by Tuan Haji Umar Ismail and Tuan Haji Salleh bin Awang. Quite a long history.
One teacher a Miss Tan So Hiang was given a crash course on how to create a blogsite for the school using Blogger. I can't comprehend the suitability of using blogs for schools. A website would be more approppriate. The ministry must have their reasons. Initially I managed to open up Pakpayne's A Clear Blue Skies to show them of this successful old boy of SK Pangkal Kalong. It was later blocked too.
An attempt to open Akmal's site WiseUp and my Life As I See It on the computer at the computer at the lab failed as most blogsites are banned.
We observed that the old wooden block was the old school and most likely to be the classes where people like Pakpayne had studied during their stint at the school. A section of the block had a gaping hole on the roof where either the wooden structure had rotted away or a gust of wind must have blown off some of the asbestos roofing sheet. Why are they not repaired? I forgot to ask the headmaster.
Remedial work must be done soon otherwise the whole building will soon collapse. This block is being used as the school hall. Imagine what the catastrophe would be if the structure were to collapse during a school assembly while all the 624 pupils and 38 teachers are assembled there. Do we wait until it collapses before something is done?
The old block with the gaping hole in the roof.
The gap as seen from above.
Another old block which is detached from the first block.
The mind tree.
We adjourned to the school canteen for a drink and from there Cikgu Nik called two other colleagues of his, Cikgu Saufi bin Mohamad and Cikgu Mariana Che Ahmad who were earlier purported to be Pakpayne's relatives but actualy they were his neighbours in Kampong Tembesu and know something about Pakpayne.
Having a drink with Cikgu Saufi and Cikgu Nik.
Cikgu Mariana Che Ahmad is from Kampung Tembesu too.
The canteen could be a new building.
The school field where Pakpayne used to kick balls around. The secondary School is in the background. It wasn't there yet during Pakpayne's time that was why he was sent to STAR to study.
Now there is a pre school just infront of the school to prepare new intake for standar one. Such things were unheard of in Pakpayne's tme.
Cikgu Saufi suggested that we meet Pakpayne's nephew by the name of Zul at the place where he sells dressed chicken on the way to Kampung Kemubu Surau where we were supposed to see Pak Teh Wil, an uncle of Pakpayne. Zul was not there and we met his brother Fendi instead. Fendi was kind enough to invite us to to his home to meet his mother and father. His mother is Pakpayne's elder sister. I was eager to see Pakpayne's kampung to see why he longs to be there so much.
We met Fendi instead of his brother Zul. Fendi is interested to see the blogsites especially bakpo. Even though without a computer at home, he seems to be computer literate and will see it at cyber cafes in town.
Fendy led the way on his motorbike . At the entrance to the road leading to his village we saw the remnant of the recent election in the form of this arch.
The entrance to Kampong Tembesu. No reward for guessing to which party this 'pintu' gerbang belongs to.
Fendi on motorbike led us to his house with the red roof.
What followed next was an open expanse of space in the form of a paddy field. Paddy field is the other element of a Malay rural village beside swaying coconut trees around a cluster of houses. Oh gosh this place is so beautiful and serene. Imagine how the scenery would be when the fields are planted up with rice and see them swaying in the breeze. The whole field will be green and later turn golden yellow when the rice ripened. How can you find such a thing in the concrete jungle of Dubai or in the desert expanse where only sandunes are found?
The paddy fields played a great part in anyone's early life as one grows up near it. Life evolves around it. Beside getting food from the rice planted, we could get fish to go with it. Catching them using 'taut' was definitely the easiest. A 'taut' is made of a short length of bamboo or sticks about a metre long with a short length of nylon string attached at one end. At the end of the string is attached the fish hook and baited with a piece of earthworm, made the best bait for the haruan or keli. In the evening several tauts are place around a padi filed with one end stcuk in the bund and the other end holding the hook and bait jutting into the water. The 'taut' are inspected the first thing tomorrow morning and any fish hooked are collected to be cooked into delicious meals to go along with the rice.
In those days paddy was planted in the monsoon only where rain brought sufficient water for the paddy to grow and harvesting always coincided with the dry season. Fertilizer was not used much so the fish survive. Afer the harvest, the fields were left fallow allowing children to play footballs or fly the kites. Adults will help the children to make the kites and fly them at the same time enjoying themselves with their children.
Now with the coming of irrigation and double cropping, the use of fertilzers, more paddy crops are planted without any chance for the land to become fallow. The use of chemicals to kill the insect and grasses also killed the fish. The paddy field is no more looked as a place to find those extra fish protein. No chance to fly the kites and play footballs. I guess the paddy fields were where Pakpayne honed his football skill before displaying them like a pro at the school field.
The road leading to Pakpayne's house is now tarred. Gone were the days when going to school during the rainy days mean soiling your shoes in the mud that were created along the enlarged bunds of the rectangular padi fields to form the pathway to and fro the house. In those days it was easier to go barefooted and later wear the shoes when firmer grounds were encountered and a place with clean water to wash the feet were found. It was along this enlarged bunds that Pakpayne was carried on his dad's 'basikal tua' to go to and return from school. Later he learned to ride the bike by straddling the bike in between the bars, though akward, it was possible. Datuk Lat rode the 'basikal unta' the same way too in his younger days. Today's children are more fortunate because the have bicycles built for their size complete with trainer wheels so they didn't have to bear the cuts, scars and bruises of trying to learn how to ride a bike.
The door to the house.
After the padi field there loomed ahead a double storey house and Fendy stopped his bike and beckoned us into the house. Fendy called his mother, Kak Hasmah telling her that some friends of 'ayah Su', as pakpayne is known at home, wanted to meet his ayah. Tuan Haji Ismail was taking his bath to prepare for his Zohor prayer. He is the bilal for the village surau and thus may have to go early. Meantime we could smell something nice being fried in the kitchen. Kak Hasmah came out to inquire about our visit and being the talkative man that I am, Kak Hasmah felt at ease with us. Abang Haji Ismail joined us awhile later.
Tuan haji Ismail is Pakpayne's brother in law, but has assumed the role of his 'father' after the later's death when Pakpayne was 10.
We had small talks and he related about what happened when he was in Jeddah to perform the Haj that Pakpayne who was then residing in Jeddah came to fetch the two of them to his home to which they had to decline because they were in a group of 19 and did not want to split from the group. Pakpayne invited all of them to his house after arranging a bus to come and fetch all the 19 of them. Hey that's Pakpayne for you. He did the same thing to my cousin Kamal and his boss Zul by fetching them at the Dubai airport to treat them to lunch at his villa.
Coming out from Abang Haji Ismail's house.
Pakpayne's own house where he was born and brought up is no more there. After the passing of his dad, his mother came to live with Kak Hasmah where later she too passed away. I wanted to take a shot of the old house but Abang Haji Ismail said there is noting left of it.
Though we were offered lunch we had to decline as we came without prior notice. I know the kampong way is such that you will always be welcomed to join them for a meal if you happened to be there at meal time.
The padi field is always beautiful to look at. Pakpayne's dad used to toil in this field and Pakpayne rode the 'sikat' which was being pulled by their buffalo. In those days a buffalo was a farmer's most precious possession.
We took leave and on the way out took some photos of the house and more of the padi fields. Akmal must have regretted it that being the photographer of the day he had no chance to be photographed. Being the creative and innovative person that he is, he took two shots of himself in the side mirror. The first attempt was with the camera blocking his face and later he managed to get half of his face. Do you think if you were to meet Akmal in person you can recognize him now?
How do you spell SONY?
Is that Akmal?
On the way back we saw this lady drying her 'tembakau kampung' or 'tembakau darat' as some calls it on the 'acok'.
This 'makcik' wore a 'kain batik lepas' around her. She reminds me of my late mum.
This village seems to be the place that has this local tobacco as a cottage industry.This reminds me that I have yet to blog about the making of 'tembakau kampong' which I used to do with my mother when I was small.'Tembakau kampung' now costs RM2.00 per 'tepek'.
So my friend Pakpayne, I am sorry to inform you that your request to make a report about your former old school has turned out to be more than just that. I for one believe that the person by the name of Tuan Haji Ariffin Mamat aka Pakpayne who was produced by this school deserved to be highlighted as much as the school that produced him.