Thursday, January 26, 2012

ground zero

i've not been to JB, where i was born & bred, for over 3 years since the old man passed on. so, it was a homecoming of sorts when i met up with my remaining relatives & friends this lunar new year.

catching up gave me a glimpse of my past again - rediscovering my roots &  experiencing a sense of deja vu. it was all too familiar, this JB town - the dirty streets, the crowded food courts, the recognisable faces. & yet JB the city felt strangely foreign - flyovers appeared where there once was only roads congested with traffic, residential areas that were previously considered "ulu" are now townships in their own right.

this trip also provided the opportunity to speak my native teochew again - words, sentences & their intonation that were kept in the back-burner all these years jumped to the fore. but alas, they sounded foreign to my kids & for that, i take responsibility for not passing down the clan's legacy. i consoled myself that millions now speak mandarin instead of dialects.

i foresee that these trips to JB would be less frequent in the future. once the old guard fades away, there's no reason for their kids who now have their own families & who do not reside in JB, like me, to return to their place of birth.

JB would be like ground zero. a happy place once alive with people i know & loved, but soon to exist only in distant memories. i felt a sense of belonging & yet the detachment from the images that i know & remember so well is obvious.

i smiled knowingly, chuckled to myself at people & events past, & then move on.

**my profile picture was taken at my great-grandma's attap home in jalan ngee heng, right where danga city mall now stands**


Small Kucing said...

Kung Hei Fatt Choy...

That is life lo....

SY said...

That's how life is. GXFC doc!

doc said...

Small Kucing,

blessed new year!

....and the wheels on the bus go round & round.....

Cara said...

Kong Hee Fatt Chai.

It's so true that when the old folks pass on, there is really not much of an incentive to join the mad rush to "balik kampung" coz even if one still has siblings in the hometown, they would have families and in-laws of their own to attend to. Perhaps that is why certain filial festivals like Qing Ming is starting to resemble family reunions in alot of places.

Yan said...

Blessed new year, doc.

Having been moving around for the past three years, CNY for me is like homecoming too.

On Saturday when I reached home I suddenly found that I am very out of the "home".

Chris busy cleaning the fence. Hubby cleaning the carpet (I hate the carpet at home) while I felt so useless.

Finally, I fitted it on new year eve, when I was the master of the kitchen with my mum-in-law saying. "Today, the master chef at work."

I cooked for 11 persons for new year reunion dinner - 10 perfect dishes.

The next day with all the in-laws coming home, I cooked another lunch for 22 persons!

That made me feel "useful" and "at home".

But I believe it will be more than home when we feast at His feet one day.

doc said...


blessed new year!

yeah, & life indeed goes on...

doc said...


blessed new year!

again you've emphasised the pivotal role played by the patriarchs & matriarchs in gathering the families together, & in this instance, after they've passed on. yes, i can foresee Qing Ming becoming important in the coming together of families.

doc said...


blessed new year!

yes, it's natural to feel wanted, & i guess the kitchen is the place where you play to your full potential.

at our final Home, i'd sit at His feet but i'd rather feast at His table!!

Tempus said...

teeheeheee.. i have always thought i am the tradition forgo-er seeing how i sucked so badly in my dialect hokkien but converse relatively better in eng, bm and even japanese.

but somehow, i keep my tradition much stringent than anyone else in the house, some la. especially when food is involved XD

Medie007 said...

same here too...

lots of new township.

but also lots of new cars.

and jams. =.="

doc said...


we will lose sight of tradition when we stop practising it. sometimes we blame it on modern progress but tradition is upheld in the heart & not dependent on circumstances.

i too am guilty of not upholding it.

doc said...


ah, the woes of modern living!

Yan said...

Ha ha, sure feast at His table! what a horrible thing to feast at His feet! What got into my mind?

doc said...


i'm glad you agree with me.