Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ancestors

Although most Malays in the District of Bachok boasted they have pure Malay blood, the truth is not really verified as foreigners also came to the Bachok shores from China, Cambodia (Kemboja) and Thailand. There are small villages of naturalized Chinese in Bachok such as Kg. Pengkalan China (Chinese Wharf village), Kg. Bekelam and Kg. Balai. These villagers are indistinguishable from other Malay villagers as they speak the Kelantanese dialect and even the elder males wearing the sarong and the "semutar" (headdress). Some might noticed that their house has a higher roof than the Malay house roof. They practice the Taoist religion mixed with animism.

The name Bachok came from a Thai word "Ban" or "Barn" which means village and "Chok" which means the dried shoots of the nipah palm (Nypa fruticans)used to roll local cigarettes. Sg. Kemasin was rich with nipah palm and the Thai even came far south to get their supply of "chok".

Thai or Siamese cultural influence is inevitable. Traditional houses built using the termite resistant "cengal" wood has Siamese influence with its reddish roof tiles. The dance drama "Mak Yong" is influenced by the Thai version called "Menora" (Manohra). The ancestors of the present Sultan even brought in Manohra troupes from Bangkok. They were given properties and land near present day Tumpat.

Within this cultural polyglot, my great, great,grandfather on my father's side came to Bachok shores from probably the Fujian Province, China. He converted to Islam and married my great, great, grandmother. He used his Malay name of Awang Nik and we never knew of his surname. Until today, the slanted eyes of the Chinese would cropped up among our relatives from one generation or the other.

The Malay tradition of using only the first name without a surname or family name made it hard to trace our lineage. Education was also a luxury, so not many children have the privilege. Children were taught how to survive, to work in field. During those days, parents concluded that children only needed how to read the Quran by rote and how to pray and other knowledge for a person to be good Muslim.

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Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010

Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010
On the Peak of Gunung Ledang after the MNSJ Strategic Planning

Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch

Hi!

I am the present Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch (MNSJ) (2010-11) and was duly elected as the President of the Malaysian Nature Society at the 63rd AGM at Taman Rimba Lagenda Ledang, Tangkak on 25th Sept. 2010. It is MNSJ's standing policy to engage directly with the relevant Federal and State agencies/departments on issues related to Nature and the Environment. This non-hostile approach is more effective than the hostile "in your face" attitude but we would have our say if necessary.

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About Me

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Skudai, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
I am an academician in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia situated in the southern state of Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. My fields of expertise are watershed management, water quality and water quality modeling. I did my B. Sc. and M. Sc. at the University of Iowa (1978 - 83) and worked for the Department of Environment (DOE) until 1990, when I joined UTM and later did my PhD in Watershed Science at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. I was the Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor from 2006 - 2011. I was the President of the MNS from 2010 to 2014.