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…….The World Without Boundaries

My Mom’s Birthday

Written By: jipp - Jun• 04•15

One of the best things that I did when I went back to my home town for the recent Harvest Festival holiday was celebrating my mom’s birthday. Instead of taking her to some fancy restaurant to probably have some fancy spread of food, I took her to a little hike across the village – the village that bears so much memory and significance to my life. It was there that I spent much of my childhood and it was there that my mom taught me so much about life way before I knew how to learn on my own.

I mean, whatever I did and went thru there played a big part in shaping me into the man that I had then become. Being in a struggling farming family, it was there that I learned about the hardship of life. But I would not exaggerate. The thing is, when you are a kid and you know nothing about whatever the world could offer to you out there, you really don’t really look at whatever you are going through as hardship. When I think of it now, I was actually happy with all that I had and all that my family had at that time.


AND believe me, they were true when they said – when you are content with all the things that you’ve got, happiness will be yours. When you make yourself aware of things that you don’t have in life, then that’s when you are beginning to have all kinds of regrets, discontent, dissatisfaction and eventually unhappiness. I really believe that now because that’s exactly what I went through as a kid. I didn’t have to think far ahead but instead I put my focus wholly on the current, on-going moments – something that I’ve been trying to do as a grown-up but always to no avail. Uhuks.

So, back to that little hike with my mom, we were actually both excited. My mom had not been to that part of the village for quite a long time, probably even longer than me. Of course, she was still aware of things, especially those that held so much memory to her. Every now and then she’s stop to take a look at a plant or a tree or simply a piece of the landscape and she’d tell stories out of each of them, mostly on how they are related to her personal experiences in the past.


I never get tired of listening to her stories especially when she was still a kid. Both of her parents passed away – first her father and then her mother 1 month later -when she was merely 5 years old so you know how hard it was for her move on from there, being parentless and passed from one family to another. I’ve read and heard a lot of real-life stories but the stories that my mom told me about her personal experiences in the past never failed to give me a goose-bump.  And they still do.

The farming areas of the village have changed a lot from the last time I went there – which was long long time ago. They are totally different from how I had expected they would (still) be. I remember how the whole stretch of the land used to be occupied by expansive paddy fields for as far as my eyes could see and the beauty of the scenery when the paddy fields turned into an array of gold stayed in me up until now. The turning of the paddy into gold would also mark the beginning of harvesting season which was very much anticipated because it wouldn’t be long before the festive season of Harvest Festival begins.

Blowing1Looking at those largely abandoned pieces of land which are now covered by thick and overgrown grass, I couldn’t help but choking with a lil bit of emotion. I mean, most villagers especially the young generations would no longer want to do the heavy labor of farming under the scorching sun. They prefer to work somewhere else, mostly in the township areas where they can earn more money to meet the demands of the modern life. I wouldn’t blame them though.

I mean, one of the things that motivated me into striving hard while pursuing for betterment in life (aisheh. LOL) back then was that – I didn’t want to go back to the farm and do all the hard labor and literally burn myself in the process. I decided to leave it there in the past although there are times when I really miss farming. I guess it’s the memories that I had carried with me from all the times that I spent farming with my family. Those memories that I could never experience ever again. Uhuks.

The irrigation was still there. I remember the excitement that ensued when it was first built. We’d go there right from school and spend hours playing submerging and catching fish which was quite aplenty at that time. That very irrigation holds so much memory to me that I could probably build a monument right across it. Mom5

The routes had profoundly altered and we had to ask people for directions. There were times when the trail that we were walking on suddenly led us to a dead end and we had to march on through the bushes knowing that it was still leading to where we wanted to go next.

Pegalan River was the name and I remember how beautiful it was back then. The river had shifted from time to time, leaving behind it a trace of beautiful grassland with clusters of bamboo scattered here and there. There were birds – those that dig their way deep into the soil and build their nest in there to avoid predators. I remember how the entire youth community of the village would march down to the river to do a weekly picnic every Sunday afternoon. It was during one of these picnics that I learned to swim, but not before I got (almost) drown and was actually floating upside down within a circle before somebody pulled me up by the hair and brought me back to the shore. My life could have been cut short right there – at the tender age of 5. Phew.


The whole landscape has now changed. The grassland has now been turned into a wide spread of farm, with foreigners from neighboring countries seem to live comfortably and away from the radar of the authorities. The beauty of the place that I had been carrying around with me all this while had to be crushed to pieces that day. It would never be the same again.

So, yeah, despite all the disappointment that I had to swallow knowing that those places that held so much of my childhood memory no longer look the way they used to, I still had fun with my mom. Lots of fun actually. We had a very simple lunch under the tin roof of the wooden hut that my late uncle had built to store the paddy crop in. Even the hut seems to have been left abandoned for so long, probably since he passed many years ago.

So, that was how I celebrated my mom’s birthday this year – by taking her to a little hike across the village, because in the end the time that we spend together is the best gift that I could ever give to her.

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  1. thomas says:

    sad to see everyone moving to town leaving the farm and paddy fields abandoned,looks like your place is not far from my aunt’s place at Kg Tuntumulud.

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