Wednesday February 22, 2006

Nostalgia of padi harvests

KUANTAN: The traditional way of harvesting padi may not be in practice any more but a demonstration at the recent Pesta Menuai-Mengemping Padi in Kampong Paya Sepat here certainly brought back those nostalgic days. 

Village women getting ready to go to the padi field for the harvest.
Inderapura assemblyman Shafik Fauzan Shariff took the effort to bring back the “feel” of the traditional ways of harvesting padi to expose the younger generation to the hardships faced by farmers in those days. 

To make the event more memorable, Tengku Muda of Pahang Tengku Abdul Rahman Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife Cik Puan Julita Aisyah Abdul Latiff were invited as guests of honour. 

The ceremony started with breakfast in traditional Malay style with delicacies like ubi kayu, jering rebus and kueh bingkai.  

In a hut made of wood and atap nipah, Tengku Abdul Rahman, Cik Puan Julita Aisyah, Shafik and other VIPs including Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Tan Aminuddin Ishak, tucked into their food before taking a walk in the wet padi field for work. 

Cik Puan Julita Aisyah getting assistance from village women in the tuai.
Villagers including elderly women and men took part in the programme to show their skills and experience in traditional ways of harvesting padi. 

In his speech, Shafik said that despite the use of modern technology for harvesting, the traditional ways should not be forgotten. 

“Those are fond memories even though we no longer use the old-fashioned methods. 

Tengku Abdul Rahman and Cik Puan Julita Aishah having a meal before going to the field for the harvest.
“However, we must not forget the hard work put in by past generations to enjoy today’s comforts,” he said. 

The traditional way of padi planting starts with the scattering of seeds on a nursery and this is called menabur.  

The plants are later replanted in the field, an activity called mencedung

Cik Puan Julita Aishah trying her hand at frying padi.
While waiting for the padi to grow, farmers fertilise and clear the field of weeds and spray chemicals to kill pests. 

They use two methods of harvesting, with a ketam (knife made of wood) and sabit (scythe). 

This is followed by using an ambung (a rattan basket) to collect the padi. 

The harvest is then placed on a mat made of mengkuang to separate the padi from the stalk. 

Another separation process is carried in a kepuk (small covered hut). 

The padi is then dried before undergoing the proces0s of mengisar to separate the rice from the husk.  


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