Looking around me I see the bigger pictures. And I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

A local legend of 'lubuk'.

This article very localized. Its basically for Malaysian, and for those living in the State of Pahang (and bringing it down one level further, i.e those living in the District of Temerloh). The place names are also very localised, and very micro. The legends are also very localized and very micro. If anyone were to read this article, I wish to appologise if its irrelevant to be included in a blog with worldwide readers.

I doubt if anyone have heard of a place called Lubuk Mendi. You may have heard of Lubuk Pelang, Lubuk Kerdau or Lubuk Kawah. Lubuk I recall means a place in the river where there rocky bottom, deep water (still or twirling) and associated with crocodiles. These Lubuk I mentioned above are all in Sungei Pahang. Lubuk Pelang is in the Mukim of Pulau Tawar, Lubuk Kerdau in the Mukim of Kerdau and Lubuk Kawah in the Mukim of Bangau (I stand corrected in all these), all in the Temerloh District. There may be other Lubuk in the Sungei Pahang for which I suppose many of you are familiar with.

Lubuk Mendi is in the Mukim of Lipat Kajang, between Kampong Nuar and Kampong Kerai, the Lubuk about 2 km down river to Pulau Pasir Mandi, a big sand bank island in the Middle of Sungei Pahang, near the border of Kampong Lipat Kajang and Kampong Tekal. This Lubuk is an outcrop of hard (volcanic) rock jutting out of the bank of Sungei Pahang, its too hard for the fast flowing water of Sungei Pahang at that point to erode and because the softer soil on the upper part of that hard rock has been eroded, when water hit that rock directly there form a twirl of water which can be very dangerous at high water level, and people in boats avoid that area even those boats with outboard engine. In the middle of that out jutting rock is a rounded hole of about 20 feet in diameter where water seems to be very calm. Its deep. When I was growing up in the kampong, I once with my brother went trying to fish in that still water, and when we casted our fishing line the fishing line weight pulled the line right to the end of my line at the spool and the line was straight right vertical down at the end of my fishing rod. I could not imagine how deep that pool is. We straight away pulled our line, got into our boat and rowed back to our house about 1 km downriver, on the other bank of the river. But the water was so calm, but some people say sometimes the water in that pool twirls slowly and then faster and then slowly again, like what you see in your sink when you wash dishes. People say that Lubuk has a lot of fish. We also knew (and we still think so now) that the Lubuk has a lot of crocodiles in its deep water.

Legend has it that in that Lubuk there is an old crocodile living there. It seems that the crocodile is a twin brother of a human, that is a common human mother, born long ago in that kampong, first the woman mother put it in a basin, then in a pool when it grew bigger and when it was too big let it into the Sungei Pahang where in a dream the mother was told by the crocodile that then it found a residing place in Lubuk Mendi. The mother was told that the crocodile has to be symbolically fed every year first by his brother and when the brother dies by the brother's descendents. Until today one of the brothers descendent is appointed to feet the crocodile in that Lubuk. Now it seems that the old crocodile is too old and to big (and too heavy) to surface so one of the old crocodiles appointed descendent will rise to the surface to meet the human descendent where the human descendent will ceremoniously feed the crocodile by putting his hand deep into the crocodiles mouth holding a sort of charmed ‘kemian’, at appointed time.

True or not, but the legend sticks in the mind of the people in that kampong. Just for the record, no one in that kampong has ever been attacked by any crocodile (to date). Buffaloes can cross at any point of the Sungei Pahang in that kampong without being attacked by a crocodile. Cases has been known where somebody’s boat overturn in the fast current of Sungei Pahang in that kampong, and in panic that person will feel a log under his/her feet and that log will move towards the bank to save the person from drowning. Cases has been known where people from the kampong in search of ‘kijing’( a sort of brownish brackish big smooth shell ‘kerang’ shaped shellfish), normally under old rotting logs by the river bank, hugs a ‘log’ and the log moved slowly and nothing more, with the person hugging just in shock running to the bank, harmless. And I have seen crocodiles in the water in a slow flowing tributary in my kampong. Those are all the excitement that we have ever had with crocodiles in that kampong. Legend has also said that that part of the river belongs to that crocodile family and any other crocodile coming from outside to that part of the river will be attacked and chased off. I have witnessed such crocodile fights in the middle of Sungei Pahang, but I still do not know what the fight was all about.

I have my own views of the situation. When I was small we all used to use the Sungei Pahang for everything. And probably then the crocodiles recognized us human, as the humans in did not harm them. So they were friendly to human as the humans were to them. But again remember that in those days the Sungei Pahang has a lot of fish, and the crocodiles were never hungry. But now with the murky water of the Sungei Pahang and the lack of fish, crocodiles may not even be able to recognise between human and fish and they may also be hungry. I cannot conclude anything but I am just aware of the current situation.

Of the legend about the twin, scientifically I cannot explain it but who knows………….

I have heard a lot of legend about other Lubuk in Pahang (Malaysia), only God knows about the truth of any such legends.



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