When I was in Kuala Terengganu way back from 1969 to 1974, I used to traversed this road. Kampung Cina. In those days this about one kilometer road stood as the same Kampung Cina. In other big cities around the world it usually known as China Town. Kuala Terengganu is a small town by normal standard. Kampung Cina befits its status. A kampung in a relatively small town. As long as I could remember there was two palces that I used to frequent. One was a kopitiam specialising in keropok lekor. Not fried but cooked fresh. Steaming hot from the stove. Eaten with a special sauce. A kind of chilly sauce. Special blend. I was still new to Kuala Terengganu then. Nevertheless I fell in love with keropok lekor. Translated as coiled fish paste. It is soft. A bit salty. Abundent with the taste of fish. The main ingredient of course sagu flour. I guessed the sagu came from Sarawak. So abundant over there.
Another place that I used to hang around was this special shop selling Arrow Shirts. In those days it was only RM27. My! Almost 10% of my salary. I could only admire. The only Arrow product that I could afford to buy was a pair of socks. It was about RM6. In fact I fell in love with Arrow but can never bought it. Window shopping was on a regular basis. Venturing inside the shop was quite often. But not buying it. Simply could not afford it. Then in 1985 I was in the States. I was simply crazy about shirts. All branded. Yet the price was USD9.90 only. About RM25. But the difference was that in 1985 I could afford them. The reasons being that I earned higher salary. Secondly I was on scholarship. You name it you got it. Pierre Cardin, Arrow, Van Heausen and a host of others. They were of great qualities. Of course I bought them during sales periods. It was fantastic.
Friday 20 January 2012 I set my feet again at Kampung Cina. It was January 4, 1969 when I first posted to Kuala Terengganu. It means 43 years ago. Almost half a century. For about six years I used to walk up and down Kampung Cina. Yet I never caught a real festive season that I witnessed on that Friday. Six years was quite a time. The galore of colours that I captured struck me as awsome. I never saw such phenomenom anywhere before. Not in Batu Pahat. Not in Ipoh where I lived for 12 years. Maybe I was not to see them. Or maybe I simply missed them. But in Kuala Terengganu I witnessed something that made me wonder. Yes they are real. I just wonder is it the sign of good living. Or just pure tradition that die hard. I felt it was a privilage to be there. From end to end the colours was a spectrum of red and yellow. Lively. Feasting the eyes and the heart.
I walked the length of Kampung Cina from Pasar Payang. I captured those images of festive moment with my camera. Of course the images did not represent the real colours that I witnessed. They were just samples of what I saw. Vibrant. Dancing. Captivating. The mood was tremendous. The people were busy preparing for the big day. The big fiest. Chinese New Year Eve. The whole family will converge. A new prosperous year. Healthy and wellbeing. I feel nostalgic because there is a stark difference between how the Chinese celebrate their big day and how the Malays celebrate their Hari Raya. The Chinese still adhere to traditions. Upholding their customs. The old customs and rites. As if time stood still. Affluent living does not erode their sense of belogimg. It will be repeated every year. The same vigour and intensity.
The Malays do try to sustain their tradition. But I noticed that other things are on their mind. The younger generetion are more apt to entertainment and enjoyment. Music and songs. Concerts. Films. And other programs on TV. Hari Raya is becoming less significant as years gone by. The joy of visiting each other seemed has vanished. I can still remember back in my kampung. After the Eid solat I and a few friends would hop from house to house. Eating and drinking. Drinking and eating. All the hosts I knew. They knew my family especially my grandfather. A well respected elder in my kampung. He never visited others but yet all the people in the kampung visited him. From day one visitors came and went. Family members from other kampungs made their rounds. My house was a focal point during each Hari Raya. I still enjoy that moments in my mind. My memory lane.
Visiting Kampung Cina in Kuala Terengganu gave me a little jolt. The Chinese are still very dear with their traditions. It is a manifestation of their lives. It has exhuberence. Very colourful. Vibrant mood. Captivating the eyes. Capturing those colours was something natural. Kampung Cina colours.
The new waterfront besides Pasar Payang
At the rear of Pasar Payang
Another part of the waterfront
Aclose-up of an observation deck
A new building complex near Paya Keladi. A stone throw away from Pasar Payang.
A bird's eye view of the complex
The first gateway shophouse into Kampung Cina from Pasar Payang
The parade of colours begins
Colours along the pathway
Hanging and inviting
Now the flower and colour
The bridge and its colours. Quite an art.
Two dragons guarding this shop
Prosperous New Year
Spectrum of colours
Another lavish decorations
Buildings for you to feast your eyes
At the end of Kampung Cina
A shop displaying all wares for the occation
This plant is part of the celebration
Flowers and colours.
An inviting gesture I guess. Bidding good luck to visitors
Line of colocrs. Enliving the moment.
Waiting for the big moment
Last buying spree
Along Kampung Cina
Another part of the kampung
Not all are Chinese. Some Malays are around.
From another angle
Another Malay owner
Red and blue
A shade of green
The dragon is waiting
Mandarine bearing plant
This species of lime is part and parcel of the celebration
A typical swinging door in red