26 June 2014

Balik Kampung

Balik kampung means "return to village" or "going home" in Malay.

Thanks to my mum, I have a taste of rural lifestyle since young, something not many people of my generation get to experience. She was born in Tapah, a small town in Perak, Malaysia. Her brother now resides in the house which my grandfather stays, it was an annual affair of visiting during December holiday as a kid. The trips were always joyful for my brother and me because my parents will pack lots of sweets prior the bus journey. Being able to cycle like a wild kid, running around playing ball, patronising the only provision shop with all sorts of candies we don't see in Singapore. Tell me, how can a kid not enjoy in an environment like this? Of course, unless you are scared of dirt, lizards, dogs, ants, and you can't survive with air-conditioner.

My grandfather's house, which is pass on down to my uncle. This is where we reside during our stay.

This trip has been much delayed one for me. I haven't got the chance to join my aunts, mum and brother in their X times of visits, so you can imagine how special this round was to me. After a long coach ride, I was really excited and glad to be walking at where I used to run around, where I learn to ride two-wheeled bicycle (the hard way). After setting our luggage aside, cousin CX and I took her daughter YX for a quick walk around the compound. We would've venture to walk around the whole kampung but we have been told since young not to go out after sunset due to the number of dogs around.

Can you spot the chickens and the chicks?

Along the way we taught YX on the plants we spotted, and we were on a mission to spot chickens. Rooster, hen (or mother chicken, as YX would say), chicks. A house away from my uncle's, there was this barren tree in the neighbour's backyard. You would never believe what we saw. Chickens up the tree, hens were flapping their wings and carrying their fat body to the higher branch. There were even chicks too! How the hell do they get up there?!

Almost ALL of my cousins in Singapore are crazy over this noodle we tend to have for breakfast. I don't get it.

Whenever anyone of us go back to Tapah, hunger will definitely be the last concern we have. Not because my uncle's family is very wealthy or anything like that, but my aunt is super hospitality. She makes sure we eat three meals a day, with at least soup and two side dishes for lunch and dinner. Cousin CX is composed-crazy over the red bean soup my aunt makes, something none of us can really replica. For me? I can the stir-fry green bean every night! When I declared this statement, my mum said "Of course it's nice, it's fresh from the market even though it's rejects for sales." Talking about it makes me wanna have some right now. Mmmm~

Cousin CX guide-teaching YX on a two-wheeler.
It was my first time travelling with YX (the previous one don't count because she was still in cousin CX's tummy) and she is such an angel! She don't kick up fuss like any kids out there and just practically fun to be with. Just so you know, this little girl insisted on bringing her own luggage so she can stuff her toys and whatsnot, tiara, snacks, sweets. Talk about travelling with a fashionista.

Teaching her to be brave on the two wheeler almost broke the back of cousin CX and me, it didn't help when this little girl is afraid of dog. The sight of those four legged would require immediately action of her being in our arms. I took over halfway so cousin CX won't fall over and murder her daughter by accident, but I won't deny there was a point of time when my back hurts so much I just wanted to push the bicycle and her forward. Pretty much like drown or swim, that kind of scenario. Of course I didn't do it, I'm a good aunt afterall.

On the last day, my aunts and mum made dumplings. When it was done, my mum came to the room (I was watching Monster University with YX in the air-conditioned room. Blame the scorching weather.) and told me I should probably take a photo of the dumplings before they are gone. Oh. Em. Gee. Look at how clear the skin is! I don't know how my aunt did it, but it was goooood. We made many of my cousins very, very, very jealous. *smirk*

Overall the trip was better than I do. Bumming around doing nothing, complaining about the humid weather, reading, entertaining the kids, watching lizards make sounds with their tails. Though my uncle's state did (and still is) make our hearts ache a lot, even more so for my aunts and mum, we were glad to have spend the 4.5 days there. It was good to unwind, to be there and witness before more things start to change.

Prior to going live upon scheduled timing, I received the worst possible news from mum. One can never be too prepared for news like that. This post will stay up top for a week as a form of tribute.


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