Friday, May 22, 2009


I wonder if any of our children could survive if left alone in our lush tropical jungle?

I don't think they have what it takes to survive under such situation. They have been raised (our faults too) in a very easy way. There is no necessity for them to do much to see that food is available on the dining table. All they know is that food is already served when they come home from school.

Once I even asked my son: "Can you survive alone on an uninhabited island? "

He was unsure of himself, even if there were coconut trees around. Why? They do not know how to get at the coconut water and flesh inside with a parang, let alone without any gadget around!

It is different during our times. We did provide a significant share to the family to make sure that there was food on the table.

We also knew where to look for food alternatives, what were edible from the wild and how to get it.

I still remember going fishing after coming back from school. With a simple line and hook and with bait of dried scad I could easily catch two or three garupas from the river over the bridge at Kg Bukit Kuang.

In the evenings, I was an expert in finding lokan from the mangrove swamp nearby. Using a simple tool (old rubber tapping knife) I could easilr find and scoop up lokan from their hiding place in the mud. I could easily collect a basket-full of them in no time.

At nights I used to go around the edges of the river hunting for crabs, shrimps and even rays that like to be there at the time. Using a self-made mini-harpoon and an obor made from dried-up coconut frond, I could catch a dozen or more crabs, shrimps and one or two rays in one session.

From the jungle include wild fruits like gucil, kelat, senduduk, kemunting, etc etc. I don't know whether our children know anything about these.

Wild mushrooms were also my favourites. I knew by memory where they normally grew after rain.

Cashew nuts were aplenty during its season. I went around the village collecting the seeds, dried them and later roasted them myself. They were for sure much delicious when you eat as you pound on the charred seed to get at the nuts inside!

Sweet young coconuts, fallen sentul were the other free food from the village.

Now you know why I said that we could survive in the jungle. My worry is whether our youngs could do so. It is up to us to teach them. Get them closer to nature. Don't just make them interested only with computers.

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