Friday, March 28, 2014
CNY II: Babysitting in Bagan Sungai Burung
This year, mum decided not to visit relatives in Teluk Intan. Instead, we made our way to Bagan Sungai Burung to meet her nephews. Years and year ago, her eldest sister married into the small fishing village and spent a good part of her life there. Some years back, she was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer and passed away. Due to some drama in the family, several of her daughter-in-laws skipped town (they were Chinese diaspora from Indonesia), leaving the family without any women around the house. Kinda descended into 'chaos' in my opinion, but we all have different standards for that. Left home at about 10:00 am and used the new LATAR highway to get there. I expected less cars on the road, but PLUS was quite busy and the roads in and out of Kuala Selangor wasn't smooth. Impressed by the level of development in Kuala Selangor. It has GIANT, TESCO, a standalone McDonald's, Old Town Kopitiam and even bubble tea joints. Not bad at all. Bagan Sungai Burung has also changed a bit. The roads were tarred, better DiGi coverage and the authorities even erected a pintu gerbang for the village. When we arrived, it was a little before noon. Was quite surprised by what I saw. The house was a mess. The furniture was gone, with the exception of classroom wooden chairs, the walls and windows were full of graffiti and all the doors did not have door knobs. Most shocking was the toilet. Rubbish was strewn on the floor and the hole was decorated with fossilized shit. Alarm bells! The reason for the devastation: a pack of kids. The youngest of six was the worse. He was practically bouncing off the walls. He would kick the wooden walls, climb up the windows to touch the ceiling, throw around the wooden chairs as he would a rag doll and basically charge in and out. Basically he was high on soft drinks. He would guzzle 100 Plus straight from the bottle and the excess would spill onto the floor (when his dad asked him to mop up the mess, he purposely poured more on the floor so that it would be easier to mop). Identifying my brother and I as new 'toys', he would pester us to play with him. When we ignored him, he would turn violent. We tried to restrain him by swinging him by his hands and feet, but he seemed to enjoy it a lot. Even turned acrobatic.
The kids settled down a bit during lunch. My cousin prepared steamboat for us. Something that they typically eat. Had it out on the terrace where it was cooler. Believe it or not, the soup base was just water with a can of canned pork. Surprisingly the outcome was delicious. Since my cousins are fishermen, the steamboat was filled with the freshest of pomfrets, garoupas, oysters and prawns. Totally yummy and sweet. Everyone just stood around the pot and ate. Bones? No problem, just spit it over the side of the house into the swamp. The meal kinda recharged the kid. We made use of his boundless energy by getting him to wash all the dishes which he did! He squatted on the floor and started on all the dishes, meticulously soaping each bowl. From time to time, I would reject some items if they were too oily. And he did not complain. He'll go far in life with the right focus I guess. Respite came when the kid followed his dad out to buy ice cream. When he returned, he gave all three of us ice creams. His dad said that it was from his own pocket. Wow. Was so happy when we thanked him as tauke. At about five, another group of kids arrived... offspring of my other cousins. Both groups greeted each warmly... via flying kicks. After five hours, I finally realized how well-behaved Big Monster and Little Monster are. Hahaha. We left the village with a car boot full of fish that would last us a month. By the time we reached home, my eyes were screaming for a rest. Phew....