Life in JPL was a sort of balancing between a kampung and a town.We the paklong’s tribe had a small wooden Malay kampung house on stilts.Bordering the predominantly Chinese population of Kilang Sago,the small village comprises of houses belonging to Tok Su,Mak Nab and many others.
The house was purchased when ba finished his service in the army.The thatched attap roof soon was replaced by galvanized zinc. Oh,how the once cool roof turned into a blazing furnace baking us come every kemarau season. And when it rains,the music drowned all conversations down.
Piped water was unheard of at that time. Thus a well was dug and a pail with a long rope was used to draw water. And it was no easy task for a girl . Once a while during prolonged draught,the well water would be dried. So marching off we went to the foots of the hill .Coming back,the hands would be balanced with a pail or two.Some of the water dissipating along the route.
I remembered well the kitchen of the house. Never ever imagine houses would be having wet and dry kitchen. With gleaming granite tops and all those technology. Ours was a table like stove with bricks for the putting on the pots. Gas? No Petronas or Shell gas at that time dear. So the kayu api was our source of fuel and you need that extra skill to get the fire going.
(image: nikiza blogspot)
And where did you get the kayu api for the fuel? Jungle, young man and we were like Tarzana ?,balancing the pile of wood on the head.Treading the slippery path with that pile of rubber tree branches on top of your head could be a daunting task. Now,those spots where we sought our kayu api had been turned into townships.So no more pokok getah and you see no more of young girls balancing that pile of branches gingerly on the heads.
Hm the pain in the neck had long since gone but the memories stayed.
The images above are googled images.Might make a trip to JPL to get the real image if they are still there.But I doubt.