Kampung Cowboy by Haryati

Rain, rain go away
Come back another again,

Little bebe wants to play

Rewind twenty years ago, when the air was less polluted & all the cars were labut by today’s standards, you might catch me singing this tune when I was stuck indoors. I was an active child running around outside my house without a care in the world except takut nampak spended! My siblings, cousins and me would play outside everyday before watching our favourite TV programs like Sesame Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man & She-Ra, My Little Pony and so on.

Fast forward to the present, I had difficulty buying a birthday gift for my sis. She’s not an outdoor type child thanks to cable TV. Technology has also advanced so much since the 80s. If she isn’t watching TV, she’d pop a vcd or dvd and watch some Korean or Japanese soap. And there’s also PS2. So what kind of gift do you buy for a kid like my sis? Scrap the Barbies and cooking sets, I wanted something more constructive. I do not want my sis to be part of the non-thinking, non-creative, inactive generation.

See, when I was young, play was totally different. There was main kikik (not popular amongst girls now), main carah, main tinting, main tapuk, main gatah and main pondok just to name a few. I spent my puasa school holidays at kampong which sadly, isn’t just the same anymore.

Mornings started with a quick shower using a gayung to scoop water out of a tajau! Of course the water was cold as ice because outside it was still berambun! The bathroom made from pieces of wood and zinc was outside. If that wasn’t bad enough, there were little holes in the wall where you could see who did what! And my family ampit pakai jamban tong. That’s when the saying don’t look down really applies. No fast food or maggi for breakfast but plain, boiled eggs. Sometimes it was talur separuh masak eaten with ruti & kicap! Our kampong house was small with one kitchen and living room cum bedroom. So every morning after waking up to ayam berkokok, we had to gulung our tilam kapok. Most of the time we had to jamur our tilams because it got so cold at nights that we wet the tilams, creating a world map!

We did errands for our grandparents which included jaga kambing, menjuluk mangga & jambu, bagi makan itik, putik talur and our least favourite, sapu tai kambing pakai penyapu lidi! Sometimes our grandparents would let us to naiki kambing to make them tame! So we became kampong cowboys. Other stuff we had to do was putik or tanam sayur. My siblings & I would put on wide brimmed straw hats, wear pemarang around our waists and carry takidings on our backs. After farm work, we’d spend our day swimming in the sungai. We held on to a length of rope and the biggest person around would hop on the bank and pulled us. We called it water skiing. After a tiring day, we had fresh aing piasau. My grandparents estate was covered with coconut trees that one would have to play carefully so that inda keguguran piasau. But actually we were also scared of belingkarung!

By six o’clock, we had to run back to the house. During those times, we were so scared of kelindahau, a supposedly red haired monster with ample chest, so spacious that she could hide little kids. My grandparents also scared us silly with tales of pengaits who supposedly walked around with sickles so sharp that they could behead you with a single swipe!

Kids today are totally different. So my sis doesn’t drag the rest of us around the kampong on coconut leaves nor does she try to make rafts and throw it in the water. She’s stuck indoors doing homework or projects. She’s off to tuition & mengaji. Can’t blame her for not spending time outdoors. So I bought her a DIY toy. One day she will thank me.

[Today's entry is written by guest blogger, Haryati Abd Ghafur]


Anonymous said…
This post reminds me of how children activities really changed from then and now. I'm one of the late 1980s babies, and what was described in this post were also part of my childhood. I remembered playing all those outdoor games and staying out of the house in the sun most of the time when homework and school activities finishes. When I compare that with my little cousins now, all they do during their free time from homework and school activities is just watching cartoons or various vcds on the idiot's box, and a frown when somebody mentions 'let's go outside'. How times really has changed.
p o t a t o said…
Awesome post, Miss Haryati. =)
Anonymous said…
being born in 1980 this post puts a smile on my face... how times were happier and much simpler then.
Anonymous said…
Awwww... a walk down memory lane. Just the other day I was wondering if kids today still play 'getah', 'carah' or they even love to play bicycles?

I loved riding on the bike, leaving me scratch and bruises because of my ever terrorising driving skill. *LoL*

Those were the good old days :)
Anonymous said…
Main simban, belon....main gatah but i was crap in these...i dont know why...
In the 1980's i also remember being engrossed trained and influenced as young as 2 years old with the 'Ladybird Peter and Jane books'.
Oh and jalan kaki from ugama school was also something which i look forward as it was an opportunity for me to singgah kedai runcit beli minuman ren dalam plastik, ice cream panjang...hehehe
Anonymous said…
I was nodding all the way whilst reading this post. I can very much relate to it. =)

My grandparents use to have a shop in the kampong and my parents would send my brother and I to the kampong during school holidays.

I reckoned those were the best childhood memories I have. Running errands for the grandparents and getting sweets or those jaruk fruits as rewards.

I try to encourage my younger sibs to play outside and roll around in the dirt. The only catch is, that I have to play along with them.

That way, they say,if they get scolded for the dirt they brought into the house, they can blame me! :D

Sunlight, fresh air, vitamin D, dirt and quality time with the sibs: Priceless.

Excellent post Miss :)
Zul-Fadly said…
Very enlightening... I agree that what we did when we were young lads and lasses was 'care free'... Perhaps this is the sacrifice we have to done for the good of modern technology.
Anonymous said…
i missed 'main kikik', 'lastik burung', 'main gatah', 'main carah', n many more.it was so much fun then the activities that kids are doing now..guess kids nowadays prefer to stay at home n surf the net n blog! Kids lifestyle really changed nowadays..
Anonymous said…
Hahaha... Main gatah.. Main simban... Main carah. Wah... Bringing back fond memories. What I love most was climbing the jambu tree in front of my grandparent's house. Of course I was scolded after that. I think that kids today (looking at my little cousins and my younger siblings) are mostly "allergic" to playing outside. Most are content with their computer games n PS2 and DVDs. Back in the late 80s when i was still a kid, I wasn't as spoiled as my younger siblings so we (me, my elder sis n my cousin) had to use our imagination and creativity to use whatever we could find to play with. Kids today lack in imaginationlah. Without internet, computers, PS... maybe they don't even know how to survive the day without being bored to death. hehe Anon- "Ladybird Peter and Jane books" from stella or PGGMB kah?
Anonymous said…
Eh... I meant to say Jagus tree lah not jambu tree... hehehe My bad
Anonymous said…
eh? isn't it,

"rain rain go away,
come again another day,
rain rain go away,
little bebe/maggie wants to play"?
Anonymous said…
LOL i simply love this topic... reminds me of my childhood, well, i was born in 1980... splendid, keep on writing more hjh haryati... i smile A LOT when reading this one... memories!!
Anonymous said…
LOL i simply love this topic, reminds me of my childhood, coz it's very the true,well, i was born in 1980, but ampit all the activities mentioned there, and watched all the cartoons, keep up writing hjh haryati, honestly, i smiled A LOT when reading this one... memories!!!!
Anonymous said…
:) so carefree dulu atu..
Anonymous said…
aww the good all days!!

And this is also why there are more overweight children nowadays...its worrying really. So parents out there, do let your kids go out and play. They are more to life than just studying. Let your kids explore the world. :)
Anonymous said…
main gatah pun karang ani inda sama.. they still play but they'll ask their maids to hold each gatah ends for them. hahaha.
Anonymous said…
actually it's not really the children's fault, if they are properly guided by the adult then they'll do the same thing. Obviously it has to be balanced with the modern games such as PS2 etc.
Anonymous said…
i just love this post!!!! n its true... the new generation seriously doesnt noe the true meaning of quality fun... my 4 year old nephew plays cyber games rather than going out in the hot sun and getting sweaty! *sighs*
Anonymous said…
How amusing it is to be reminded of my childhood. I used to play marbles, rubber seeds, hop scotch, "balloon" and all.

Who played those card slapping games where you win the stack of cards you can turn over by slapping on the sides of the cards. It creates air that pushes the cards over. Those were the days!

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