The chief forms of leisure in your community – an Open Speech

The chief forms of leisure in your community – an Open Speech

I live in a kampung near Mersing on the east coast of Johor. There are some very beautiful beaches. The people in the kampung are very friendly and closely knit.

I would like to tell you about our favorite pastime, kite flying. In fact, the whole community loves kite flying. My father used to take part in international kite flying contests. Kite flying is purely for fun nowadays.

We make everything from scratch. The whole family is involved and it is the work of the men in the family. Usually one of us together with our neighbors will get together to make the ‘wau’. We first start with the frame. It is made of a special bamboo. After the bamboo is cut into lengths carefully, the strips are tied into position. My job is usually to help my brothers cut out and paste the paper. When we have pasted the third layer of paper, we will usually compare our kites with the others in the neighborhood. We love Pak Abu’s decorations and ornaments of mythical birds.

Then it is time to fly the kites. Everyone would gather along the beach or the football field in front of the community hall. During weekends and school holidays, we will fly our kites. It is exciting to see gigantic kites soaring in the sky.

These days, we watch a lot of television for relaxation. The womenfolk particularly enjoy soap operas. They love Korean drama serials the most. They will talk about the stories and characters whenever they meet. The grannies will warn the young girls about the danger of going to such dangerous places as pubs, quoting the serials they are presently watching. ‘Don’t be like…’ is something we hear all the time. In fact, our dinners are timed in such a way that their view time is not interrupted and not a single part of any episode is missed.

The menfolk will not mumble too much for they have the football fever. The English Premier league, the FA Cup, the Champions league, just to mention a few. They will gather in a few houses to watch matches. They will cheer and shout encouragement and boo! The next few days they will discuss the performance of their favorite teams at mamak stalls.

The one time that the menfolk and womenfolk watched television together was the Beijing Olympics. Even until today, an unintentional mention of Usain Bolt will make most people including my mother beam and talk about the amazing athlete.

A lot of people in our community also like to do gardening. In fact, Kampung Suria is famous for its herbs. Selasih, mint, kunyit, misai kuching – you name it, we have it. Early morning and evening you will see us in our little plots of land. We will be weeding, trimming, putting fertiliser, watering the herbs and vegetables that we grow for our own consumption. We are the organic pioneers. We even have a contest annually. It could be the biggest pumpkin or the most bountiful bitter gourd harvest. It is all in good fun.

Times had once been difficult for the residents of Kampung Suria. Learning from the past experience, being self-sufficient, taking delight in living a simple lifestyle and enjoying one’s pastimes have long been most people’s philosophy of life. This is why the senior citizens of Kampung Suria are always in good mood and health.