Book brings memories of living in a kampung

Letter by S. Sundareson, Petaling Jaya

 

I REFER to the article “The kampong house revisited” (The Star, March 25).

The launch of the book “Rumah – An Ode to the Malay house” brings back fond memories during my childhood days.

The book, which has poems written by Tenas Effendy, with English translation by Raimy Che’ Ross, is probably the first of its kind.

A forward with an illustration by Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, ­popularly known as Lat, adds premium to the book.

Tenas’ contribution, besides reinforcing the clarion call not to forget our roots, will instil greater awareness among the present generation of our rich culture, traditions and customs that we cherish and hold onto steadfastly.

As one who has lived in a rubber estate surrounded by many Malay kampungs, the book brings nostalgic memories of early childhood.

I have a vivid memory of kampung houses, the Malay folks and all that nitty-gritty aspect of kampung lifestyle.

A typical Malay house is a raised wooden structure built on stilts with bakau poles tightly secured with rattan to serve as steps to gain access into the house.

The modern houses follow the same pattern but with brick pillars and concrete staircase.

An indispensible item conspi­cuously placed beside the staircase is a large jar of water with a small dipper beside it, which serves as a reminder to wash the legs before entering the house.

Needless to say, Malay customs have aspects that are common with that of the Hindus.

Closer association with the kampung folks has inculcated in us noble values such as reverence for elders, filial piety, tolerance and mutual respect.

 

Originally published on The Star OnlineThursday March 27, 2014