October 4, 2010

Measuring Cups and Bungki

Travelling around the riverine villages of the Rajang River would actually enable one to come face to face with some almost forgotten images like these:

Many years ago diesel and petrol were sold to the local using these simple measuring tins even in towns like Sibu. Today while town petrol stations use automatic or self service pumps many small village shops continue to use these measuring tins. I wonder how many of my contemporaries can remember these tins - a gallon and half a gallon measuring tin. We Foochow call them "ngalang" or gallon tin.

This is a rattan bungki or basket farmers used. The first bungki must have come from Fujian Province when the first Foochow pioneers arrived in Sibu in 1901. One of the first things a Foochow farmer would make is the bungki for his family.

In my youth I had used the bungki to carry soils and cut grass both at home and in the school. Today looking at the plastic version of the bungki only makes me feel very sad - for the long gone past and for the endangered earth.


Ah Ngao said...

younno,i heard stories about this "bungki".they say if you want to see ghosts,put the bungki over or capping your head at midnight during the ghost month...hehehe.donno true or not,i never try. nowadays they have this plastic bungki which are not lasting.

Ann said...

My Ah Kung had those rattan Bungki, and never in my wildest dream would I think of spelling it this way. Great job.

In cantonese, we say it the same way.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao...I heard of that too...but the bungki had to have been used by people who had already "gone"...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
Bungki is spelt this way by Bahasa Malaysia dictionary and I believe it is now in English dictionaries.

My 4H club teachers used to call them soil baskets. This is a great Chinese innovation.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

蓬蔂 = Peng basket for carrying soil??