Thursday, July 19, 2012

What have you?! What say you?! What defines you?!

 a ramble by Hlovate


I guess sometimes we human tend to have this warped sense of uh… ‘berlagak-ness?’

Like when we feel that our new pair of Converse chucks give us the mandat to inwardly smirk smugly at those wearing theTat Seng.Or when we don the pair of Ray Bans for the sake of getting into style [even under skies laden with thunderclouds].Or when we carry ourselves with the air of ‘aku budak urban maka aku lagi best dari anda-anda sekalian’ whenever we balik kampung,perhaps?

Please be noted that I’m not saying that wearing anything ‘branded’ is directly associated with the berlagak-ness.Not at all.A good brand brings good quality.If the means of using the goods is for practicality,then hey,knock yourself out.One of my abang sedara for example got Ray Bans bersusun.Reason?Because he uses those when he goes menebas dusun/mesin rumput.Well,wild boars,kera and monyet at the dusun definitely have no appreciation on the Ray Bans I can assure you,but those definitely provides the top-notch protection for his eyes from the glaring sun and the wayward debris that can come flying from being knocked by the blades.And he uses those when he goes terjun laut/gunung/gaung and the whateverelse crazy things he does as well.You go see his Ray Bans you know la.Some even got chipped from the whatever stunt he pulled.Point is,the good quality serves the practicality.Alah membeli menang memakai as we say.But if you don Gucci,D&G,and LV just for the sake of beli ikan at Pasar Besar Sungai Petani…uh,I guess it’s still practical[?].And attracting attention from peragut/penyamun bersiri as well;that’s a maybe.

Anyway,gone wayward already.Haih.Well,whatever it is la that you wear,what really matters is ‘your air’.Akhlaq,kalau nak ikut bahasa piawai,yes?

I’m writing this down as I was musing about one of the raya when I was home some time ago.

It was a few days before raya,or was it a day before raya[?].Whenever it was,it was pre-raya la,where people totally went merciless and downright primal when fighting for barang-barang runcit nak masak for raya.Seriously,you could really see some of the sweet little old ladies turned into the likes of Xena the Warrior Princess,to ensure they have the last packet of kerisik.Downright scary,I tell you.

I was at the santan stall, in the wet-market. Well,raya,right?People buy santan by bucketloads kot!The wait was long, and it was a Friday if I’m not much mistaken, nearing noon.Hence,cue the desperation where people want to get their shopping done before the waktu for Solat Jumaat masuk.
I dutifully queued behind the last person, for the santan mission.Mak was already someplace else in the pasar,hunting for God-knows-what. We’ve decided to split-up to save more time. For the record, never get in between a woman on a raya mission and her goals; you’re at your own risk of spending raya with some body parts missing.I’ve learnt my lessons.

A…nyway.Back to the cerita.I was no stranger to the pasar since the past weeks prior.Most of the stalls I frequented already knew me by face.The makcik ikan laut at the corner knew to wave me over when the new batch of ikan temenung lemak arrived.The abang ikan sungai knew my standing order’d be the two tilapia merah,every single time.The chicken brothers knew mine’d be half a chicken every time I stopped by.The mee mamu never failed to greet me every time he saw me.As for the uncle apek sayur, I never failed to drop by because I want to see the kittens who made home under his stall.Haha.I’ve pretty much became part of the little clique of the small wet-market, and it rocked.
Anyway,back to the santan stall. The ambience of the pasar was like no other that day.The number of people amassing the walkways was waaaay through the roof.And the crowd was a tad different as well.Raya.Orang balik kampung katakan.There were a lot more people wearing shorter attire it seemed.Ramadhan or not.Stray sunlight glinting off designer sunglasses and custom jewelleries and other bling-blings.Expensive perfume fumes (or cheap imitations[?]) mingling with the odours of fresh seafood,pekasam,and tempoyak.More shades of auburns and brunettes could be seen from the heads up if you were doing headcounts.Ah well,we do celebrate diversities,no?

(I believe that I could still distinctly remember there were times not too long ago where people were actually ‘act’ on the Ramadhan-ness. People tried to dress modestly, those with uncovered hair at least had selendang, and the likes. Wearing shorts was almost unheard of and was just blatantly wrong. Aparently it is no longer an issue nowadays, Ramadhan or not.)


There were actually not that many people at the santan stall.But the wait was long.As in LONG with a capital L-O-N-G.Because apparently the stall was running out of kelapa,and was waiting for the lori kelapa for a new batch.People made their orders and went off finishing their errands and then come back hoping that by then the order’d be ready.Very practical and efficient.As my errand for the day was just the santan, I was pretty much okay to wait at the stall,waiting for the new bacth of kelapa,and killing the time people-watching with my playlist playing on low.

As the people waiting came dwindling down,at last it was only yours truly loyally waiting for the lori kelapa.The pakcik santan,his wife and daughter took the time for a breather from the small pocket of calm.It was a hot Ramadhan,and these people had been up since the wee hours.My respect went beyond tabik spring to them.

As the pakcik handed the last customer before me his santan and bid him good-day,a smile and a thank you,he took a deep breath as he fiddled with his glasses on his nose.

The pakcik looked at me and smile tiredly, “Bila orang KL balik,letih juga nak melayan depa ni.”

I merely smiled back,because I wasn’t quite so sure what he was talking about.

“Gaya depa lain.Lambat sikit habis dimarahnya kita.” He continued as a way of explanation.

My smile faltered.He was talking about the ‘orang KL’ cutomers.Well,not specifically just from KL,but those urbanized big cities’ yahoos who thought that the rest of us who were locals i.e the orang kampung were beneath them. As if being urbanites gives them the extra boost in the social hierarchy pyramid apparently, and that the not-so-urban locals are not quite up to their strata to be treated equally.

I might sound harsh,but their action towards us ‘the lowly non-urbanites’ were actually much harsher.

Being highty-mighty bordering disrespectful towards a pakcik jual santan just because of that ‘orang KL’ card….That’s twisted,man.Not nice.Totally uncool,hands down.

Considering that it was raya and pretty much small towns like mine were flooded with the big city people who balik kampung for raya,yes,indeed there were some pretty,uh,interesting things to be observed.

The kind of interesting that made me wonder just what on earth was happening that changed the people so much while I was not in this country of tanah tumpah darahku.

Does being a big-city hotshot gives us the right to kasi lekeh things that we considered kampung? Does living overseas with dual citizenship gives us the rights to act all highty-mighty tak kena gaya when jejak-ing tanah Melayu.Does being overseas graduate gives us the rights to treat others like they are beneath us?

A capital NO,man.

It does not make anybody better than anybody else.
What makes one better than the other is on how do they use the things that life has taught them into making things better for others. If you’re a big-city hotshot of an electrical engineer, go put your professional talent to good use by fixing the fan at the surau taman that had been non-functioning since the last Raya. If you’re one who had been overseas and experienced the cultures, bring back the good practices; smile at people,greet time as if you know them,open doors for people,be courteous and polite (actually,those are basic Islamic teaching that somehow got forsaken here at times).

It is what in you that makes you small or tall,not the ones that are merely superficial.I’ve met quite a number of people who despite their social ranking,wealth,title and ‘urban-level’ [dunno whether such term exist,but you get what I mean], and they’re way cooler than these self-professed ‘cool’,hype yahoos. A Malaysian Consulate officer that I knew (who,for the record,had be stationed all over the world) is a classic example. He was so uber-cool that he brought his lunch bekal to his Consulate Office in a ‘sia’ or ‘mangkuk tingkat’ everyday, consisted of nasi and complete course of lauk prepared by his wife – that ranged from asam pedas to gulai tempoyak; where there are some of us that scorned gulai tempoyak by saying that is it too kampung. I wonder what are these people afraid of? Insecurities of cultural origin?Entah.

Well,I’m orang kampung.And proud of the fact too.

So,whenever you’re at the airport and see this random kid eating nasik wrapped in daun pisang,come and say ‘hi’.

If you’re not segan being seen with a budak kampung that is =)
(because for the record,I’ve received enough looks,scoffs, and scorning smiles that screamed ‘Oh,budak kampung first time sampai airport agaknya’ when they see me with my bekal.Ah well,like I care. My mak rocks like no other, and her nasi and rendang are uber-awesome. And I’ve nothing to prove kot. Or do these people want me to brandish my passports to show the years that I’ve spent overseas to define ‘class’? Twisted.

You’re not defined of what you were and what you are.

You are not defined by of where you were or where you are.

You’re defined on how you act on it, wherever you are.

May Allah bless :)

No comments: