Back To Kampong Life

We received sudden news of a family member’s passing one morning, and had to make an urgent trip back to Malaysia, where my in-laws and many of the hubby’s relatives live.

I have to admit that although I was completely committed to fulfilling our duties, paying our respects and being supportive to our family, the idea of travelling to Malaysia this time was daunting. We were going back to the kampong village. I have been a city girl for almost 30 years of my life now. Few people, even myself, can remember that I used to grow up in a kampong-ish environment in Singapore. I was NOT prepared for a few days of mosquitoes, no Wi-Fi and possibly a lot of rough edges. #spoilt

I didn’t bring any camera with me out of respect for the funeral. But I found myself looking at a ton of “old fashioned things” that brought back a huge wave of nostalgia of my childhood. Things I used to grow up with in Singapore that are no more. Some things I actually miss! So I ended up snapping lots of pictures with my iPhone.

Here’s a long post of photos because I’ve had a long tiring week, so I’m not going to ramble a huge deal. Enjoy the pictures! All shot with the iPhone 5 with the Instagram App.

The first sight of the beautiful Sungei Perak (river) at sunset. I was reminded immediately that Malaysia has its gorgeous bits!

At sunrise the next day, a glimpse of the neighbourhood from our hotel room in the town closest to the kampong we were going to.

And off we went Into the kampong!

The house where the wake was held in was an old, established house. It holds many of the hubby’s childhood memories..

There were the classic trademarks of every old house.. think concrete untiled floors, zinc roofs, old sheds, dilapidated furniture, rusty grilles, closed wells and old fashioned kitchens.

I loved seeing this old-fashioned calendar. The kind where the date is tracked by ripping off a page every day..

Look at the kitchen! Giant chopping board. Old seasoned wok. Classic.

And an old-fashioned larder to store leftover food with mesh to keep out the flies. I loved such larders when I was a child. There was always good food behind that mesh.

The kind of hot water flask my grandmother used to own. And a quirky coconut that I spotted next to it.

Old shed for tools and junk stuff that no one wants to throw away..

Here’s “Whoopie”, one of the 4 puppies from the neighbouring house that love to hang around with us. Well, we didn’t know their names. Someone started calling one of the pups “Whoopie” and the name kind of stuck.

The kampong wasn’t as backward as I had expected. The hubby’s family remembers its old ways but the truth is there’s been a lot of development in the village in the recent years and the village is pretty self sufficient and modern now. Well, at least there was decent power supply and hot water.

There were however still tons.. and I really do mean TONS of mosquitoes, flies and fire ants everywhere. I was a “mosquito magnet”.. or perhaps I was what some of our family members called “fresh blood” for the mozzies. I have red marks all over now to remember of my trip. Fortunately, I didn’t get attacked by the fire ants. These were HUGE and bright red. They honestly looked quite lethal. I’m sure a bite by them would have hurt like hell.

One of the bonuses from this trip was seeing a little of this tiny village that the hubby had spent several of his childhood years in. We drove and walked around to several familiar spots of his and I got to visit some of his favourite streets, restaurants coffee shops, and corners where he used to play hide and seek at.

Power lines that ran across the village and the town next to it..

Photo credit: The hubby

Old-fashioned provisions shop..

Switchboards that were probably older than I was.

Motorcycles were everywhere.. It was a convenient local way of traveling about. You didn’t exactly need a bike driver’s license to hop on one and go around the village. Haha..

Won ton noodles, the Malaysian kampong way..

The chendol dessert man seemed to know when the funeral was over and came over to the house on a bike just as we were craving for something sweet and comforting.

Yummiliciously rich chendol. Seriously not for the weak stomach –

Every Friday, there was a pasar malam (street market) behind the house on the streets. It was the weirdest and smallest pasar malam I had ever seen. There were stalls selling all kinds of stuff from house ware to clothes, to fresh seafood and dried salted fish to fried fritters and satay.

The salted fish smelled so foul!

An outdoor wet seafood market. Seriously the weirdest place to buy fish.

Satay seller –

Gorging on chicken satay after our walk at the pasar malam. Heh heh.

And a final shot of myself, taken by the hubby while I was stuffing durian (fresh from the trees in the neighbourhood) in my mouth and trying to fend off those disgusting huge flies. Some of them almost went into my mouth while I was devouring the durian.

That’s all!

It was all in all a good trip. We got to pay our respects to the deceased, eat some good food from childhood days and spend some quality time with our family. And now everyone has gone back to their lives and the hubby and I are all ready to have some Christmas fun freeze to death in Italy. It’s going to be a very cold Christmas for us, but I’m sure it’ll be fun!

Merry Christmas everyone!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *