October 4, 2014

Nang Chong Tales : Sourcing for Food during the Japanese Occupation

During the Japanese Occupation my mother often had to row her own boat, and sometimes with a group of friends, towards Sg. Assan, above Pulau Kerto, to collect "buckets of paku".

Sg. Assan, the meander area of the Rajang near Pulau Kerto was the main Paku Ikan source for the Foochows from Nang Chong during the Japanese Occupation. It was away from Sibu Japanese Army, sheltered by a small island(Kerto) and within easy reach. Women would row their boats at high tide easily from Nang Chong, and after collecting pails of the paku, they would return by the ebbing tide. Total time taken 2-4 hours. How to look at the environment, know your geography, The Art of War.....(Ref: Unplublished Nang Chong Stories from 1926-present day ....... by Chang Yi)

The rowing of boats by Foochow women was a normal, daily chore. It was not surprising at all. It would be like driving a car or a motor cycle today.

The Foochow women would follow the timing of the tides. When the tide rose, they would pedal upriver to collect the paku or ferns. And after two or three hours, the tide would ebb and they quickly followed the flow of the river water back.

Going home was an easy task according to my mum. And it would often be just right for the evening meal. Sometimes it would be for the afternoon meal.

Mum said during that period of 3 years and 8 months, they had to be careful not to be seen by Japanese boats. But fortunately God protected them and very few Japanese soldiers would patrol along the rather remote part of that special area of the Rajang.


Anonymous said...

Becareful. Eating certain type of ferns can cause stomach cancer. They are very well documented in Wlaes and Japan.

Ensurai said...

Thanks. Noted.

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