08 February 2011

2nd Update – Back to sea


Angin Tahun Baru Cina sudah berlalu. Laut mula tenang. Terbukalah pintu rezeki.
It was three o’clock and Pakcik was getting ready for the afternoon class when the door bell rang. Standing in the hot sun and wearing a broad smile with sweat trickling down his face was a familiar face. The moment I stepped out of the door and was within his reach, his right hand stretched out holding a plastic bag containing some fish. The man was Pak Ngah, an old man of the sea.

“ Ni ikang sikit buat Pakcik rasa. Baru balik kelauk,” the gaunt old man said in a soft voice, grinning broadly and watching straight into my eyes. (“Here are some fish for Pakcik to taste. I’ve just returned from the sea.”)

1 kg of kembong and cencaru

It was pointless trying to make a move to pay for the fish, five kembong and five cencaru ( the latter fish is called ‘ikang kerah ekoo’ in Terengganu-speak- literally means ‘fish with stiff tail’) in the plastic bag which weighed about a kilogram. It would mean a few dollars, a meaningful sum to him, but his hurt pride would be greater.

The very fresh fish straight from the sea glistened in the hot sun, reflecting nothing less than a hard day’s sweat. It was a sense of pride to be able to offer Pakcik a part of his first day’s back-breaking work at sea.

Pak Ngah is a man of about sixty. By the local standard he is still young to go to sea. He is a hard-working man who tries to earn some money doing odd jobs when the sea is too rough and dangerous. He has learnt to do simple carpentry work. Knowing that he was out of job last month I asked him to repair a small wooden gate leading out to the beach from our back garden. The gate was hanging loose as its hinges had been rusted away by the salty air from the sea. Pak Ngah did a good job of it and earned himself a small sum which he most needed.

To a simple and honest soul like Pak Ghani a gesture of kindness shown during his time in need necessitates a good gesture in return.

Makcik and Pakcik will certainly enjoy the fish coming straight from the sea but I cannot help thinking how hard it was on him - out to sea before daybreak, burning his body under the merciless heat of the sun until three – just to smile at me with about one kilogram of fish to offer. I only hope he had a good catch today.

Dari titisan peluh
Tuhan luaskan lagi

Dalam hati aku berdoa

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


Ummie said...

Sharing his first catch shows he's a good man, when others need to see profit first.

yongzu @ 9W2YZU said...

Assalammualaikum Pakcik :) It was the satisfaction of being able to give and make someone else happy...

Segala jerih payah ke laut tak terasa olehnya kerana dapat "membahagiakan" Pakcik sekeluarga.

"All good deeds will come aroud"

sintaicharles said...

Beautiful post.

Al-Manar said...


The poor may be more generous and may do something with sincerity.

Al-Manar said...


Pakcik nampah sibuk saja kesana kemari.Entry pun pendek2 saja. Tak ada urusan kepantai timur?
Salaam dari Pakcik

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
What a noble gesture from him. MashaAllah. purrr....meow!

salivating over those fish,

Al-Manar said...


Thank you. You are welcome.

Unknown said...

may we always be reminded of the hard work involved, by the fishermen and rice planters, in bringing fish and rice to our dining tables.

Al-Manar said...


I am no expert on fish. But there is a kind of fish called 'ikang semilang' ( ikan sembilan - nine fish ?) in this part of the world. I think ( someone has to correct me ) that is the 'catfish' in English. It figures out well as I think this fish has nine whiskers, hence the nine lives you cat have. So my fish is not for you. Go purring somewhere else.

Al-Manar said...


We take things for granted because we can get everything from a supermarket. Last week I took one of my small grandchildren to see 'chicken egg factory', a farm where I get my telur ayam kampong supplies. Raised in KL he was sure to expect a sizeable building with machinary and workers.

When are you going to start posting your first entry in the 'A Dozen Plus' blog - after numnber 15?

yongzu @ 9W2YZU said...

There's a group of amateurs planning to have a convoy to the east coast in March. I'm interested in joining the activity but still can't commit yet...due to the workload... Otherwise.. I'll bring all of them to your place :)

"Ikan Sembilang" --> adik beradik "Ikan Keli" (rupa hampir sama tapi asal lain-lain...) Ini yang pernah diajar.. he he.. he... I'm one of those.. yang tak berapa kenal banyak jenis2 ikan... ;)

Aishah said...

You had made his day by accepting his gifts gracefully. May Allah murahkan rezekinya dan permudahkan usahanya. You had not just received the freshes of fish but the most gracious of gestures, that we "city people" don't get to taste or experience.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Ish ish ish...kedekutlah Pakcik ni. Mintak sekor pung tak mboh bui. In the fish kingdom, many types of fish according to their Malay names, are in the catfish category - keli, sembilang, patin, bedukang, duri, bagok. Hmmm....hok ada whiskers belaka. Kalau Pakcik ada whiskers pung mungkin buleh join the club. har har har *evil laughs*

Al-Manar said...


Welcome to Terengganu. These couple of months seem to be wedding time and we have three invitations to KL alone. Email me nearer the date.
C-i.S has explained what catfish is and I am wiser now.

Al-Manar said...


City people experience similar aspects of life in a somewhat different way, but no less. It is just that the faster life may not allow one enough time to stand, stare and reflect.Your blogs show how much you reflect on life. You seem able to allocate so much time on them - something I envy and admire.

Al-Manar said...


You sure know your fish. Thank you for making me wiser. And I refuse to have whiskers of any sort - all clean shaven, 'licin' right to the top, to hide my age! Am sorry to say I am not even your distant cousin, and still no fish for you. Kalu noh jugok ambik tulang dengang ppala saja.

Wan Sharif said...

sebagai orang pulau.. saya sangat berbangga sekiranya dapat berbakti kepada orang orang yang saya hormati.. guru guru ugama, guru guru.. malah kepada tok siak surau sekali pun.. walaupun bentuk kebaktian itu tak lah sebernilai mana..

Unknown said...

dear pakchik, that reminds me of when i had pointed out the rice plantation to my smaller children. they had been so awed.
number 15 pakchik? my husband and i shared a laugh over that. 15, indeed...

Al-Manar said...

Ayah Wan,

Betul kata kata saudara. Dikampong kita berterima kasih diatas budi orang yang dipandang tiada nilainya kepada orang dikota .

Al-Manar said...


So you belong to the elite group of city dwellers with children thinking of fsctories for everything. Fifteen years ago I suddenly I realised how different the mind of my 14 city-born grandchildren had developed. Among the very first thing which they enjoyed was a visit to a neighbour's well where they learned to draw water from the depth with pail and rope.

I notice you too have opened a blog without entries. Are you waiting to be old enough (like me), with more than half a century of working and retired life before starting to write something; or when you can be me in the number of grandchildren?

Drop in again, please, and feel free to drop comments that we all can share and enjoy.

Salaam to you and family.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pakcik

Reminds me of my childhood. I used to follow my late father fishing in his sampan when we caught ikan sembilang, belanak, pari, ikan U as well as udang galah, ketam etc., all fresh, alive and kicking.

Now in Littlereddot yang serba kekurangan ni we get our supplies frozen or chilled, kesian ...

Salam to you both

Aishah said...

Al-Manar, thank you for your reflection on my observation. You made me realise that we are basically the same no matter where we are, it is just our surrounding sometimes may not offer us the same opportunity.

p3chandan said...

Salam Pakcik ni mesti orang yg dihormati dan berjasa di tempat Pakcik, jadi biase la ramai yang nak bagi buah tangan sebagai balasan kan.Alhamdulillah..mudah2 doa Pakcik kpd dia dimakbulkan Insyaallah..Amin!

Al-Manar said...


Mancing pun boleh juga? Kalahlah Pakcik, duduk tepi pantain mata kail pin tak ada!

Salam dari kami berdua

Al-Manar said...


I am pleased if, in what I write, there is something of help. We all do that, including yorself. Would you mind emailing ( to maintain general disclosure) me the various blogs you operate?

Al-Manar said...


It intrigues me to see your choice of blog name - the number and chandan - probably of toyalty from Bukit Chandan. You write about gardening, an expert's way. My gardening is limited to watering when I am forced to by my other half! I visit a number of blogs run by my gardening visitors and admire the pictures of the beautiful plants and flowers; but sadly have little or nothing to comment meaningfully.

In response to your remarks, we all receive favours from time to time. In a kampong favours come and are given in small ways and we hardly notice the value behind the little gifts.

Rahmah said...

i will be in kuala terengganu in may insyaAllah pakcik. would love to visit you and Al-Manar :)

Al-Manar said...


Welcome to KT of course. Unless I happen to have an unavoidable commitment in KL we will be pleased to meet you at our home.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pakcik

Not only was I adept at swinging golf clubs in my adulthood, climbing trees, swimming in the sungei beside my kampong house, playing soccer with homemade balls, using worms to pancing fighting fish, etc were part of my growing up. Ah, those were lovely carefree days permenantly etched in my memories.

Mancing takes up a lot of time, with lovely fresh fish from your "supplier" you don't need to !!!


Al-Manar said...

Amimy 01,

Indeed we have lost many things to our memory bank. Let us be thankful we still have today.

Anonymous Googlianz said...

What a touching story,Pak cik...
I am thinking that he is so kind and generous. After all, why don't the well-educated people try to behave like Pak Ghani. I feel ashamed of myself either. Good to reflect back my manner..

Al-Manar said...


It is good that we from time to time reflect on ourselves, looking for any signs of vanity, arrogance etc.