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