A Story of Myself ( Part 3)
Child Labour or Part and Parcel of Learning
During my childhood, it is a time when I really learned about life by a hard way. Since I was 9 years old, I have been given a tasked by my parents as a routine in my daily life to help my poor peasant parents. What I meant by poor is that my family doesn't have much money to spend for splashing life, but in terms of food, my family always have the excess of it.
During school days, exactly around 4.30am in the morning my father would produce a huming sound to wake me up. My first thing to do in the early morning hours is to make a fire with woods at the kitchen, then boiled water to make a simple breakfast, that is black coffee, lighted by the dim light of kerosine lamp. When I have done, I go to the river to bath. After I have sip a cup of warm coffee, I'ill go to school. If it rain, my father would cut a piece of banana leaves for my umbrella to school. If I'm lucky enough, I'll have the luxury of using a plastic sheet that has been clean by my mother from a bags of fertilizer.
After school, when I reached home around two or three in the afternoon, I will have my lunch with a cold rice, and the must have " sambal belacan " ( prawn paste pounced together with salt and hot chilli ). My parents won't be at home when I came back from school, and they will return home from the farm at around six in the evening. While I waited for my parents to return home from the farm, there always a routine task for me to do. The first thing is to get water from the river to fill the big jar made of clay that we call " tempayan " as a container to stock water for cooking. Then I have to cut a yam and sweet potatoes leaves into small pieces, then cooked it in a big tin container for food to feed a few pigs that my parents reared. I also have to feed the free roaming chicken that my parent reared too, and a must to count it and have the exact figure as it should be. Beside that, I have to make sure that coffee is ready to serve and rice is already cooked for dinner when my parent return home from the farm. If one of this task I missed to do it, then I must ready to be bombarded by my parent.
Weekends, I'll have to help my parents tapping rubber in the morning, or when the pepper is ripen, then I'll help my parents at the papper garden. During harvesting paddy season, usually at the month of May, I'll help my parents at the paddy field, and at night I'll help my father to remove the paddy seed from the stalks by stamping it, sometimes until late at night.
Of all the task and jobs that I have to do, the most cherished memories that I have was during the durians seasons, by the month of November, and it is a school holiday too. During the durian seasons, I'll follow my father to the durian ochard to collect durians, and beside durians, the langsat fruits, and all other fruits trees are all ripen. It's so much fruits that it always a wastage and we just let it falls and rotten. Durians, as we call kings of all fruits, when there is a lot of axcess, then my parent will make it into a durian paste, that we call " tempoyak ", which can last the whole year. We can fried the durian paste, or cooked it with chicken and fish, it's nice.
All the hardness of everday life during my childhood days, I'll cherish it for ever, because from this experience that made me who I'm now. I'm thankful to God the Almighty, and to me, this is a luxuries that not everbody in this world can have. Beside this experience, as I see in todays modern world, there is still out there where children experience a harder life than what I have experience. THANKS GOD....