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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
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
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
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.