Moh, balik kampung!

It was like going back to a place I used to call home in the rural kampung area during Hari Raya, where my grandparents still reside in, waiting for my family and my cousins’ family. Well, if ever I was a Malay to begin with, that is. But I suppose I might as well be, what with the places I have been to. I wouldn’t be surprised if I rock up my parents’ door one day announcing my marriage to a Malay. Hah. Actually, I was kidding there.

What with the traditional Malay houses serving as chalets of sorts, I thought Warisan Pahlawan Resort was quite a quaint place to be in. It was a small compound, seeing that they had just started business not too long ago, and we were the first bunch of people to stay there then. There were only about five houses there, each with four rooms or so to their own. You won’t expect air-conditioned rooms, or romantic orange light at this part of town. It was practically like someone’s house, with typical bedsheets and blankets you usually find cheap at the night market. I had to ask for a mosquito repellent because they were already starting to get to me.

But I guess I liked it because you get to experience what it is like cooped up in a typical Malay kampung. The environment. The atmosphere. The culture. It was drizzling the day we checked into the resort, and we had  nothing to do – literally, and everyone was just sitting around, waiting for something to happen. Guys had chit chats at the patio while munching on bananas, while girls did their own girl talks outside their rooms. Time just stood still for us city folks for one day, and we were stripped down to our basics. And I thought that was kind of nice.

It was not exactly the best buffet spread out there when meal times came around. There was a nice little sheltered area just underside of the guys’ house, where we had our meals. (Sometimes, we could even hear the guys moving about upstairs). The makcik who owns the resort would cook up something nice for us, one of those typical Malay dishes fit for any Malay kind of dinners, lunches and breakfasts, which were all kind of the same, if you ask the Chinese part of me. But hey, I am not one to complain. I have had so much Malay food that I am kind of used to it already. Besides, I am not one to “live to eat”, as long as it fills the tummy, I look forward to another day.

But one thing you don’t have to worry about is getting hungry, because the hosts were so good to us that they seem to be feeding us every hour of the hour! That night, we had just had our dinner, but probably an hour or two later, they were pulling out their barbecue pits and roasting buttered corns and salted peanuts.

Alia, one of us bunch, was holding her piece of corn, waiting for it to cool when she turned to us and said, “Cam balik kampung Alia bile Hari Raya, kan?” (“Feels like I’m back in my own hometown during Hari Raya.”) I looked around me: there were kids running around, while fathers stood by the pit watching the corns and peanuts cook, with mothers and sisters sitting on swings hung from the underside of the house chattering away. It was pitch black beyond the perimeter of the resort. If there were fireworks going off nearby, it could have fooled me that it was the festive season indeed.

The next day, before we were treated with some household “performances”.  There came a house of old ladies out of nowhere (they just suddenly appeared off the road along the resort), dressed in uniformed red and blue baju kurungs. After breakfast, they set up station at the empty compound outside of the resort for their tumbuk lesong performance.

Tumbuk Lesong is actually a kind of job the villagers used to do back in the older days. Not many people know how to do that now, and the only ones left were these old ladies. And as modernisation took over, all they were left making money out of this, is making a performance of it.

The procedure is like this. The rice grains are picked from the field and they will be soaked in a bucket of water for a day. Then, the grains will be cooked in a frying pan oiled with a thin layer of cooking oil. When the grains started dancing and popping on the wok, it is time to move them over to a bowl (of sorts), where the grains will be hammered down flat. These flattened grains are like oatmeals, and they are usually consumed with shredded coconut. Now, it may seem easy when the three elderly did the hammering, but when it was our turn to try it out, we were so out of rhythm I think the makciks would have died of heart attack sooner then waiting for her turn to hit the grain.

While waiting for the next performance to set up, we even managed to squeeze in a durian eating session, what with the durian season around the corner and all. Heh. Besides, the resort has an orchard of their own, so why not? Like I said, you will never go hungry in a Malay kampung.

Next, was the silat kura-kura performance, which is only available in Kampung Menerung of Hulu Terengganu. As suggested by the name itself, the silat takes in the form of movements of a tortoise – shrugging shoulders, craned necks, hesitant sliding steps, half-balled fists, half-closed eyes and hissing sounds. Amusing, but entertaining all the same.

Although we have only stayed there for one night, but it felt like we have stayed there for much longer. I thought it was quite an original tactic to have cultural performances during your stay at the resort. I mean, sure there will always be plenty Malay cultural dances to go around, but it was interesting to see something different like tumbuk lesong and silat kura-kura. Something that is only available in Terengganu and nowhere else.

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Warisan Pahlawan Resort
22 Kampung Pauh
21700 Kuala Berang
Hulu Terengganu
Terengganu
Malaysia
T: +6 09 612 0751
E: ej_tourism@yahoo.com

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One Response to “Moh, balik kampung!”

  1. tun_teja Says:

    thank you for advertise this resort. i represent the owner of this resort would like to get feed-back from all of you, those who have stayed here. we’re very new in this bussiness. we need your advise or suggestion on how we can serve the best to our customer. Thank you!we appreciate it so much.

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