Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Durian, Bear And Me (我和榴梿及熊)

Whenever I talk about bear, some old time stories will resurface in my mind. To tell you the truth, the bear influenced my younger days a lot and later when I studied Thai magic at a later time. My Lanna master gave me a bear tooth said to be from Cambodia for protection and I supposed I am somewhat link to this creature. You may say that the bear is my totem animal too. My leklai stones like honey, so do the bears.


Talking about bears, let me tell you about an old story of mine when I was still staying in the old Kuala Kangsar rubber plantation some dog gone years ago:


You know, the best time in rubber plantation then was during durian seasons.


My pa, my bro and I like to venture to the edge of jungle to collect durians which fell during the night. Once when we approached a tall durian tree, we heard a loud noise indicating some heavy object has fallen from the tree. Everyone call out almost spontaneously: “durian jatuh!” (durian has fallen!) And without too much hesitation, we ran to the location of the sound but after searching in the vicinity; we just couldn’t find any durians.


“It’s the bear! Not durian!” Pa suddenly shouted.


Apparently bears can climb trees but when they want to descend the tree; they will take a ‘free fall’ approach and hence the big ‘thumb’ sound that we heard. It is strange but true.


Well, that wasn’t anything too excited to tell. But the following story has certainly scared the living daylight out of me:


It was during season again, pa decided to build a small hut to watch over the durian trees overnight. So I helped him to do his project and the work completed at dusk. As I didn't have the gust to spend a night in the jungle, I decided to venture back alone on pa's old bicycle.


There were two routes that I could take: the first which is shorter but I would need to go pass a two miles swampy area and a narrow wooden bridge. The scariest part was that the locals said there was a white tiger watching over the area. Someone even said that he has seen the manifestation of a headless ghost!


The second route is that I must pass through an old spooky cemetery. The cemetery wasn’t very well tended and some part of it was eroded exposing human remains.


Which route would you choose?


Well, I didn’t want to be on the menu of the white tiger or the headless one; so I have chosen the second route. But I wasn’t very fond of meeting the good brothers in the cemetery either; so I peddled the bicycle with all my might and crossed my fingers. (You see, I didn’t have any magic or spirits to protect myself then.)


In the mist of passing the cemetery, the day darkened and the temperature dropped quickly. So, I decided singing out loud to drive away my fear and I did. Just as I was singing the first lyric; I immediately regretted my stupidity and thought best just to keep my big mouth shut.


A bear suddenly rushed out from nowhere perhaps startled by my cacophony and rammed into myself. I subsequently tumbled into a bush at the roadside together with my bike. As I was so afraid that the bear would harm me or something, I immediately stand up and ran forward with all my strengths until I fell onto the path due to exhaustion.


As I was sitting helplessly pondering if I should return to get my pa’s bike; an acquainted old Malay Haji slowly pushing the bike walking towards me with some durians.


When the Haji saw me, he smiled and said: “I knew your pa’s bike and am on my way of returning it to your house!”


I immediately thanked the kind Haji and told him my ordeals. The Haji gave me the bike and I hastily return home without the courage of looking back… or sing.


Perhaps the bear spirit has tortured me enough, it finally gave me a tooth for protection through my guru. At least, I still live to tell you my side of the stories.

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