Sunday, January 2, 2011

Celebrating 1.1.11 in the Village.

Yes. I joined the crowd to usher in 2011 at MATIC ( Malaysian Tourism Information Center) on the last night of 2010. There was a big crowd for the Center was holding a final rehearsal for the 1.1.11 celebration to be launched in the morning. The Homestay Association was presenting a showcase of all traditional dances and songs from different States, including the Zapin, the Makyong, the Hadhrah, the Rodat, the Sewang, Semasau etc. AT 12 midnight a firework display lit up the sky over the Centre, echoed by the booms and flashses of other displays held at various other places like the KLCC and Merdeka Square. (see pic)

After the display the crowd at MATIC joined the young dancers on and around the stage to dance through a couple of popular tunes like 'Cuti-cuti Malaysia'. 'Malaysia Truly Asia', 'Poco-Poco', Sewang, the Samasau. Banghla, etc. Even at 1.30am the weekend fair at MATIC was still crowded with the singing still going on, on a special stage set up for the occasion. Flashes of fireworks can still be seen in the sky. The cheers and humming at the Center was suddenly broken by the shrill wailing of a police patrol car entering the area. Heads turned. What happened? Oh, just somebody who got drunk and became too rowdy, came an answer.
The sun rose with full glory on the morning of 1.1.11. I had earlier decided not to attend the launching of the Homestay Show nor the full show that night for I have seen so many of such occasions. I wanted to go back to my village and see how the new year was celebrated, if at all, for I don't remember seeing any such celebration.
Sure enough, there was none at all, not even a flag, a bunting or any sign of celebration. The countryside and the rural areas in Malaysia don't celebrate the New Year. The merry-making is only confined to the urban centers. There was no sign that such celebration had been held in the night either. I had gone back to the village armed with my arsenals to do some weeding and grass-cutting, raking dead leaves and burning rubish - to clear up the compound of my old wodden home which had remained unoccupied for several years and also the village home of my wife.

It'is just a usual pastime engagement for me on weekends, to give my body a proper physical shakeup by doing some tough menial job. Staying in the village home also brings back old memories and the fun of listening to the music of the mosquitoes, the crickets and the other denizens of the rural night.
But on this new year day of i.1.11, on my way back to my wife's village house in the evening, I passed by the children's playground close by the road. The uncared for sight took me by a real surprise.

Being unprepared for what I saw, I could only take a few pictures to show what i mean. Is this the playground that the village children are supposed to enjoy themselves in. The boys in the picture don't seem to care but I felt very sorry for them. Doesn't the Headman in the village care to do anything at all about such a situation? This playground is very close to the Community Hall, UMNO village headquarters. Doesn't anyone really care for the children of the village?
I have seen other uncared for children's playground in other villages. But not as bad and dangerous as this, with plastics bottles and all forms of rubish being strewn about. No wonder Aedis can easily find a nice place to breed and launch their attack on the vlllagers.

I hope the year 2011 will put an end to such sorry sights.


rambomadonna said...

Dear Norzah, not all rural or countryside areas in Malaysia don't celebrate New Year. It is not the case in rural areas in First, Second maybe up to Fifth Division of Sarawak. Usually villages that embrace Christianity will hold New Year Mass in the churches or chapels. There may not be fireworks but there will definitely be merry-making and kampung/rumah panjang style of partying.

To be honest, sometimes I am amaze by what I see in some kampungs in Peninsular Malaysia. Modern facilities, utilities and amnenties for the benefit and convenience of the villagers. Unfortunately not well maintained, and kalau tgk TV3 selalu complain Kerajaan do nothing for them :(

My village though about 24 miles from Kuching City pun enjoy electricity few years back. However, for more that 30 years I never boring balik kampung as it usually offers different kind of excitement. Too bad the last of what remains of a Bidayuh rumah panjang (which belongs to grandpa's brother) was demolished more than 20 years ago.

Sayang ...

norzah said...

Thank you very much for the correction and the brief description of how new year (and Chirstmas I am sure) is celebrated in the villages of Sarawak. The Christian communities will I am sure celebrate Christmas and New Year in a grand way, like the Muslims celebrate hariraya, but do the Muslims in the vuillages also join in the merry-making as they do in the urban areas

With regard to the modern amenities and facilities provided by government but abused, misused or not properly maintained by the villagers and village authority, I think it indicates the poor quality of leadership ( at village-heads level probably) which prevails at the village level. I've seen drains and pipes, roads and bridges, deep in the rural areas undergoing serious deterioration, The children's playground is on;y one example. Unless the central and state government ensure that the village level administration is also undergoing a transformation and improvement, we might yet see a change of mind in the 13GE.

I've a lot to say on the disappearance of the extended family and long-house style of living and culture. But let's reserve that for another day.
Thanks again for your contribution, Jaime.

Al-Manar said...

I share your observations and sentiments. The uncaring attitude is here where I am. I see no sign of a YB during the 17 years I have been tryin to do something. The beautiful beaches are littered with plasic bags and even pampers.You reminisce and I do too and smile to ourselves. The scenes in Sarawak and Sabah can certainly be different, the X'mas for one. I was in that part of the world for nearly four years and I have fond memories of places and people. Such id life, akhi

rambomadonna said...

FYI, there is a Javanese-Muslim community in our Penrissen area. Population - around 30-40 families. So far they don't have that kind merry-making for New year. But I believe their own way of celebrating it.

But nonetheless, most families even in my own family sudah mix banyak. My Muslim side of the family join jugak New year celebration, even Xmas and CNY sebab kena jadi chefs hahaha. Sometimes I kesian jugak (especially my nephew KJ) who really want to tryout certain Chinese food. He went to Taiwan recently with friends ... luckily Taiwanese vegetarian food rocks!

But in my humble opinion lah ... muslims in Sabah/sarawak might be more liberal when it comes to religion kan?

norzah said...

Akhi Pakcik Al-Manar, the littered and uncared-for beaches of Malaysia are certainly a vociferous testimony to the apathy and disinterested attitude of the Barisan leaders at the grassroots level. Same as the green lungs and children's playground in the villages. You don't even see a rubbish can anywhere around or other one that is overflowing with rubbish and smelly goo. Don't the YBs and the Ketua- Kampungs see these eyesores? Don't they care? I think the monitoring at central levels is not reaching the grassroots. Let's see how the villagers love their village leaders in the next GE.

norzah said...

I have noted the liberalism myself, J, for I went to Sabah and Sarawak quite often while in the service.
( Pity you were not around yet, hehehe). The Muslims and non-Muslims do mix quite freely and partake in each other's festivities, especially Christmas and New Year.
It's only in Peninsula Malaysia that the rural areas don't celebrate or partake in the celebration of the two occasions. Even in the rural towns, unlike during hariraya and CNY. No one seems to celebrate the New Year, even now when that can bring a lot of changes in government programs.