My memories of Kuala Lipis was full of joy. It was tinted by the sudden news. The news that one of my classmate had passed away. It came as a shock, for 2 basic reasons. First, is the way she dies and secondly, she was fine and well only a week ago.
She made a living by selling the villages' products. You can see her at the Sunday market in Padang Tungku and Bukit Betong. It so happen that, that particular Sunday, she was doing what she normally do on Sundays, that was, at Padang Tunku Pasar minggu. When the market was over, took the bus to Berchang and her son was there to pick her up. So they were happily riding on their old honda cup on the way to Lubuk kulit. The route were through secondary forest, there is nothing to worries as they had gone throught this small road thousands of times.But fate was against them. while they were happily riding along, for unknown reason a wild monkey, was waiting on a tree handing overhead the road. As they passed, this creature, for unknown reason, decided to jump on them. Her son was taken a surprise and lost control of the motorcycle. The put a seal to her fate, leaving 9 siblings without a mum.
I went to visit her house in lubuk kulit, a village which I am quite familiar. It was near sungai telang. The house looked gloomy, I could imagine the situation with such a sudden departure. Their full grown buffalo was grazing next to the kitchen, pokok ubi kayu, was behind the house. I could knew she must had used it to make sambal for her lunch. I met Mat Nor G, the husband of my late friend, he seem uncomprehended. I knew Nahina was in the drivers’ seat, when come to generating income for the family. This seem to be the norm for the families especially in the east coast states like kelantan. I felt sad for him and the family. I knew if it were to happen to me, I would have been totally broken.We talked about the things that happen on the fated days. About the family, about his daughter, who we for further study in Egypt.
Then, it was time for me to return to Kuala Lumpur. We had been informed by our eldest, if you go to visit relatives, who has immediate family passed away, make you visit short. You don’t want to inconvenient them with your presence, they never ask you to leave, for it is the expected norm for you to entertain the guest. I reached home in Kuala Lumpur 3 hours later, bringing back the memories of Kuala Lipis..
THE DARK SIDE OF POISONED FISH
Years before her departure, I was still schooling in Kuantan. I did not hear the news of the departure of Pak Mail, the late father of Nahina. Those days was unlike today. Communication facilities was limited to the postal and telegraph services. So my father in the village decided that this wa not too important. Not that we were unrelated, for in the kampong, everyone is related. He was my mum's cousin.
I only knew of his departure, when I came back for the term holiday.People were saying, he died for taking his own poison, not directly though. Those days, it was not uncommon to find people catching fish in the most untraditional ways. They use poison to catch it. I am not sure where exactly he went fishing, Very likely in Sungai Ara, the smaller tributary of sungai tepuai.
It had been in our tradition to use poison to stun the fish. The original poison comes from pokok tuba, one kind of crippers that was in abundance at that time. The other kind comes from a fruit, only when it is in season. These type of poisons are natural and environmental friendly, for it does not killed any fishes, but stunned it, and force them to come out to the open. This make it easier to be caught. The one that was used by Pak Mail was not the traditional poison. Rather, he used the poison by from the shop, chemically formulated to kill. Normally no harm, appeared directly on the human that consume the fish. But this time, it was different. Probably the portion of the poison was too much. He sufferred for weeks before passed away.Hope he is blissed.
Lubuk Kulit is about 20 minutes drive from Kuala Lipis, situated on the bank of sungai Telang.