Abah in Debt after Long’s wedding

Long was my eldest sister.

When she finished her standard six, she was called for the interview to become a teacher. Yes dear, to join teachers training you only need to finish standard six. She was one of the smarter ones having benefited from the mentor ship of Che Salim my uncle. He was already a teacher and Long was his favorite niece.

But then she was already engaged.  The fiancee was a bloke  who lived further up the kampong. When the news of her pursuing  a career in teaching reached the family of the fiance, it must have caused an embarassment. Here was a prospective wife in government service and this guy was  a brawny kampong bloke. It must have created a deep dent to the man’s pride.

A party was sent to end the engagement. To be told that the engagement was henceforth broken was a great humiliation to my family.

That was the value system then. Just last month my neice broke her engagement, and surprise surprise it was taken in good stride by my emak.

When there was a pinang party from the next kampong for Long,  emak must have felt there was a score to settle.

I heard it was a grand wedding. I could not remember a thing. I was told there were kuda kepang, barongan and nasyid, berzanzi and Qasidah.

Abah was bergolok bergadai, which literally mean having to pawn his ‘kris’ or “golok”  and be be in debt to finance the wedding. You snubbed my daughter? She got a better man , an ustaz instead of you  a lousy kampong rubber tapper.

The good Eng Choon was the savior. Perhaps that explain why Long’s children we called Cucu eng choon, the grand children of eng choon.

I do not know whether he went to the chettiar, but I remember accompanying abah to one of the chettiars shop. It was behind Jalan Rahmat. The Chettiars were seated in a row behind these small tables.  I saw this old low table  in one antique shop in Kelana Jaya. He managed to clear the debt and get the land title back. The debt was for a few hundred dollars.

If Kedah could be “sold” for a couple of millions to the King of Siam what was a couple of hundreds for a commoner. Abah managed to claim his land back, but for Kedah it was lost of soverignity and it took the British to exchange Songkhla fo Kedah. That was and still is the hazard of Malay weddings.


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