Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Working in the Field...

How many of us town folks have really worked on the field, clearing the wild shrubs and undergrowth, the elephant grass and the thorns, using simple and traditional agricultural tools? No, no giant mowers or tractors. Use them and you'll only be watching, not working and sweating it out.
I bet many will just say: why torture yourself when there are so many modern mechanical equipment to do the works for you. All you've to do is drive them or get someone to do it. Just pay.....

Well that's the modern men and women, the softies, the flabbies, the obese for whom work is only in the posh and luxurious offices.The place to sweat it out is the gym, the golf course, the tennis and badminton courts etc. Sweat it out a little then spend hours in the spa....

Well, the pleasure of really working in the field with your bare hands is just something else which, I'm sure, many of us have forgotten. No, I'm not talking about a small patch of garden which has just been left fallow and is now overgrown with some wild grass and shrubs. I'm talking about an acre or so of thick elephant grass with wild shrubs and thorns that can rip your pants or skin. After a heavy downpour the land is soft in places and a tractor which tried to clean up the land got bogged down silly. (see pic).

You just have to set up a makeshift camp and work on the land with simple equipment like the hand-carry or flymowers, the rakes, the hoes and the 'parangs' (hacker long knives!). I never thought I could do it with the help of the wife and two other friends.It was a real challenge and we are not young and brawny people. And the weather kept changing like an old spinster's mood, very hot and dry in the morning, warm and wet in the afternoon. (No, a spinster's mood doesn't necessarily change like that and can take many other forms.)

My body and joints ached and grumbled every night after a hard day's work. But we pressed on clearing a small patch each day. And when it was all done, oh my, what a wonderful feelingI had. It was like the greatest conquest of my life, and my body took it with a hesitant relish. We're now ready to take up the job of planting whatever we want in the field.
What is more, since the place is close to a village town where my wife hailed from, many villagers saw us sweating it out and many dropped by for a friendly chat. Some teased us, calling me a miser and a cheapskate, making my wit work on the field. But she just laughed and said that she enjoyed cutting the elephant grass with a sharp hand carry mower - the flymow. The owner of the nearby eatery where we had our food and refreshment was most happy as much as the repair-shop owner who took care of the problems that our light equipment had.

Most importantly the friends who helped us were jubilant. They were happy that the money we spent did not go to just a single tractor owner and could be shared between them.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

We worked for 7 days and the land is cleared and now ready for open buring.....then plant whatever....

kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
That's the way to go. It's not a chore anymore but an activity that involves some of the community members. It invokes a little of the gotong royong spirit but not quite. But it'll help create new relationships and that's important!

Hank

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