Saturday, January 15, 2011

The flood

Queensland is suffering from a flood crisis. There are people who lose their loved ones, either missing or dead. Thousands more have lost their properties, business, crops and resources. Our deepest sympathy to all of them. We pray that they are all strong to face the crisis, for many might be the biggest in their life.

The flood brings memory of my late father. After he retired from army he chose to do odd village jobs. The works range from tapping rubber to planting a variety of crops, fruits and vegetables. It was the time when the price of rubber was very low. It was as low as 40-50 cent per kg. At that time rubber tapper would do other jobs as well to supplement the income.

So when I was in school about 20 years ago, we had our own paddy field. It was a small area, but the harvest was roughly enough for the family for a season if the yield was good. The paddy field was actually a pioneering joint venture project of the village people with assistance of certain government department.

For several years the people started the project traditionally – I mean without assistance of any machine. It was a good feeling that I had the experience of doing it by my hand; from planting the small paddy trees in the field to harvesting. In the beginning for harvesting, we cut the paddy trees  by a special knife and beating out the grain from the stalks.  During the weekend or school holiday, we all in the family would bring food to the field early in the morning and spend all days until the works done.

But it was not an easy work. We worked all day under the heat of the sun. I always felt that looking at the field with so many things to do the works seemed so slow progressing. I wonder how my parents could finish the work alone when we couldn’t help when we went to school. I hate leech too. They were annoyingly big and long, always landed on my leg to suck blood.

But looking back, there were things which were fun indeed. I would never forget the scenery of paddies started to grow and flowering.  It gave a strong feeling of hope and optimistic future. And then the yellowish grains gave a deep satisfaction for all the hard works. Also, I still remember my father caught fishes from the stream in the field and grilled it for lunch. Taken with anchovy or soy sauce, I still feel that it was the best lunch that we had ever.

The alternate crops in between of the paddy were corns, watermelon, honey dew and peanut. My father also planted banana and other long term fruits surrounding the field. He was very hard-working. He had several jobs done in a day.

However, it was not infrequent that the crops were destroyed by flood. I remember that I shed tears when once the whole field awaiting to be harvested was ruined. There were also occasions that corns started to flowering damaged in the water. The sweat and resources went down to the drain in minutes. Yet I was amazed by the patience of these farmers. They rebuilt again and they believe that with Allah’s willing their effort would yield result.

Still, remembering my late father, deep in the heart sometimes up until now I still feel that I am still in the denial stage that he has gone past 10 years ago. There are times that I dream he comes back from a long journey and in the dream I truly believe that it is real. Sometimes I do have the feeling of regret that I have not been given opportunity to repay him in this world. I hope my prayer for him every day will be with him forever.

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