Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Tribute to Embok

A few days ago, my sister sent me a message that my former neighbour in the village, Embok Patonah had passed away. She used to be my parents neighbour for some years. When I was a kid, I used to follow my older brother to play her place. My older brother and Jumak (Embok’s adopted son) were buddies; they went to school and played together. I was just tagging along that time. My earliest memories of Embok’s place were an ordinary kampung house built of wood with zinc roof, with two distinct sections, the large lounge (so that it will fit everybody during kenduri) and the large kitchen area. Attached to the kitchen was the goat house. They had these beautiful rattan lounge suite which I loved to sit on. We used to play badminton at her place and whatever games we can think of. The late Embok Patonah was married to the late Embah Somo. Embah Somo died back in 1985 or 86, I can’t really recall. Embok Patonah was born in the village and still has relations in my village, my neighbour Cikgu Tahiron included. While Embah Somo is a Sundanese from Java. When Embah Somo was a young man, he used to be a cook, with a merchant ship. His skills as a cook come handy in the village. During kenduri times, he used to single handedly manage the work in the penanggahan (kitchen), organizing everything. Being enterprising, Embok Patonah and Embah Somo used to buy bananas and vegetables from the villagers and sold them at Tanjong Karang market. She also made good tempeh that fungus coated soya bean delicacy which originated from Java. After Embah Somo died, with help from Jumak, she still continues on selling tempeh and lontong at the market, but after some years, she becomes incapacitated and couldn’t use her legs anymore. Thing started going downhill from then on, Jumak had to go to the city to find a job and she lived alone in her old house, her daughters married and lives somewhere else. When her old house becomes unliveable, Cikgu Tahiron built a house for her on his land, next to my father’s place.
In the last few years, she went to live with her daughter Siti Kapiah in Sepintas, Sabak Bernam. That’s where she died the other day.
Yesterday while searching for pictures on Tanjong Karang I came across the picture of Uncle Mat Isa, he is the older brother of Cikgu Tahiron. I haven’t seen him for years, but he was also my parents neighbour before he moved to Kg. Sungai Kajang.

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