Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Purple Berry & The Sweet Orange Coloured Fruit

We folded our big shirt’s front flap upward and tied both ends into a tight knot at our lower back. That was how we made a kangaroo pouch in which we throw wild kemunting berries harvested from its shrubs that sprawled nearby our wooden house. We were surrounded by ocean of tall grass blades – the metropolis of dreadful snakes and trolls and goblins. The Savannah turned golden in the sweltering heat of Sura Tengoh summer. The creaks of coconut palm leaf that criquer far above our heads correlated with the fervour of South China Sea wind that blew landward from nearby beach. We picked kemunting berries and more kemunting berries a twig to another until our small palms turned purple, our pouch got bigger, and we looked like pregnant ladies craving for wild sweets.

Kemunting steals some of blackberry’s features – the shape, colour. In between my thumb and index finger where the freshly picked kemunting was pinched softly, my sweaty fingers left dark purple mark over its dry and dusty skin. Its slightly coarse surface reminded me of velvet that made up our school theatre’s stage drape.

We feel we have enough berries for today, ma'am and sir. Let’s go home! Be careful not to step on snakes, alright?

At home, by the main staircase that led us to the living room, we would kneel down on the floor and untie the knot. With that kemunting avalanche was triggered. They rolled downhill into a netted bucket stolen from Mother’s kitchen. After that, the berries were washed thoroughly with tap water to remove impurities. Underneath the purple velvet skin of the kemunting were tiny seeds the size of sesames coated with sweet purple jellies. This was the part of the berries that we sucked in the overcast Dungun evening. 

Buoh ulat bulu was another type of wild fruit that added a lurid Dungun sunset image onto my memory canvas. Shaped like an almost perfect pumpkin, its resplendent orange skin stood out among its younger green siblings who came out to the world from a network of hairy liana plants that climbed up everything in reaching for the sun. It occupied our neighbour’s fence like a vineyard. The fruit’s skin surface was waxy like a betel leaf and soft like turtle eggs shell. To eat buoh ulat bulu, well, you can take this orange one. Now, carefully you tear open the skin. You see these jelly coated seeds? You see it? Remember how you ate kemunting together with me? Suck them all. Sluurrppp. M’schuh. Aaah. It is sweet, isn’t it? You want some more? Here. Don't worry, we still have more at Pok Cik Rohing’s fence.


  1. Very graphic la this entry.

    I love buah kemunting. Till this day.

  2. It's not easy to find kemunting shrubs today at Sura Tengoh due to local urbanization. I too, miss my childhood moments of picking the berries.

    Buoh ulat bulu? Never tasted it before. I thought it was a poisonous fruit!

    1. That's why I hate newcomers. LOL.

      You never tasted it before? Don't worry, mate. You still can come across buoh ulat bulu easily nowadays.

  3. Dear dear Sir Pok Deng,
    This brings back memories of a city girl who was sent back to her kampung to stay with her grandma to learn the Quran. Oh how I enjoyed the novelty of bush kemunting and bush letup.

    Your prose astounds me.

    1. Some people call it "buah letup". But that's so gay like Justin Bieber. "Buoh ulat bulu" sounds more brutal.

  4. We didn't have any kemunting at my kampung. But we did have belimbing buluh, some sour miniature apple-like fruits which I think is called cermai, and some gooey sweet-sour seeds incased in a furry skin which I don't know what it's proper name is but we always referred to as "bitbit".

    Kampung life is the best.

    1. Belimbing buluh is belimbing buluh to me. It will never be a cermai. Cermai is another type of fruit altogether. Cermai is like ball-bearings. You can preserve them in vinegar mixed with red pepper powder to make a heavenly jeruk cermai loved by pregnant women, or you can simply use it as a catapult bullet to shoot at stray goats "mbekkk!!" ha yeah take that goats!! Where were we just now?

    2. I know that belimbing buluh and cermai are different things. Try reread sentence with that perspective. If its still confusing, I announce my failure as a writer.

  5. Always made trip to Sura Tengah (Kubur Area) to pick big size Kemunting before proceed to mandi laut nearby during schooldays. Alur Tembesu kemunting is sweeter compare to the Sura Tengah,only the size is smaller.

  6. I was about to comment on fruits mentioned in this entry when I hit that post comment link, then I read all SPD's response towards his readers and I loled so loud that I forgot what I wanted to comment on the first place.

    I guess I'll reread and post a comment next time. haha

  7. Dear Pok Deng.. oops! sorry, Sir Pok Deng, I must say that you have such a lovely way of describing things. I have never chance upon any of these fruits but I would imagine that the buoh kemunting and buoh ulat bulu are like wildberries, growing profusely along old wooden fences..I should really look around harder the next time I go on jogging up the trek.

    1. Pok Deng drinks teh tarik, Sir Pok Deng drinks tea like a Sir. That's the difference.

      Kemunting shrubs grow on sandy land; often found as wild shrubs near the beach or in the fishermen village. You can see clearly its purple flowers for identification.

      Buoh ulat bulu can be found anywhere in Malaysia as long as the places have fences. Buoh ulat bulu plants love fences. Sometimes it lies on the ground. Pick the yellow or orange one, that's the ripe buoh ulat bulu.

  8. After calling me 'so gay', I think I ought to prove it to you that could be a possibility. Why don't you come over and grab some poetry here:

    And if you are still looking for that French girl, try some french phrases from here:

    She might stare at you and walk away though.

    1. Popularity ruins everything. Like Justin Bieber. Girls like Justin Bieber, his looks, not his so unpoetic songs. Haters say he's 'gay'. By saying that, one should not take this remark as offensive. We know Bieber is not gay. This is a part of thousands of internet jokes roaming online.

      In our case, saying "buah letup" is so gay. You have to be a Terengganunese to the core to feel this unique feeling. Imagine Sir Pok Deng making fun of Kay-EL Bahasa Melayu in front of my Terengganu chaps. "Awak, jom pergi makan!"

      One of them would reply, "mende mung bodo cakak KL! Luga perut aku ddengor. Ha! Ha!"

      "Alaaa... awak janganlah macam tu... tak baik tau..." I say.

      "Tok mung! Mung nok gocoh natang?!" he says.

      "Kah! Kah! Kah!" I laugh.

      Now ma'am, try to say, "buoh ulak bulu". Yeah, you rock!

      Hmmmm... I wish I could write a haiku.

      One night
      I felt sleepy
      I sleep


      Regarding the french poem. Thank you google translator. Miahaha!

      Hey you really believe that I'm really looking for a French girl right now? LOL. Pelizz lah.