Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bubuk - Part Three - An Old Man and The Sea

The brilliant blue sky signals a good day for fishing. And time for me to check out the Luak Bay before I start working. I feel like I am the Queen of Luak Bay - ready to think- point- and - shoot. Within seconds I have my story of the day. I have that Queen's smile on my face and my heart beating a good tattoo.

This old salt eaten and rusty bicyle belongs to my Luak neighbour - Pak Cik. This is the tell tale sign that my Pak Cik a regular brother-in-bubuk is at large in the shallow waters.

And I really know that I am going to get great photos today. Brilliant sun and a brilliant subject. And of course a brilliant topic - bubuk. Sheer delight! I hope my bubble of joy will not burst. Undaunted by the strong U-V rays and without my sunshades (the vain me wear sunshades only on the weekend????)I made my way to the lower part of the beach to meet up with Pak Cik.

These two photos show the "foot" of the paka. Hand-made and self- designed a pair of these at the end of the two paka poles help the fisherman to push his net easily on the sand as he moves forward to net the bubuk which swim in swarms in the shallow water. The net is usually put into the sea at waist high level water. But sometimes when the bubuk is just "too much" the fisherman can even net them in a foot of water! But that would result in rather sandy bubuk. The best water is at still waist high level. In some years the bubuk get "beached" like the big whales. Then the beach would be pink for miles and miles. However this is uncommon these days!!

This is a candid shot of Pak Cik. You can't tell how old he is can you? But he does have many many grand children. The brilliant Luak Bay is the backdrop of his joy .

Pak Cik is willing to pose for me here while his nephews give encouraging remarks.

Pak Cik here shows me how a triangular net is formed by hoisting up his paka. Note the triangular base at the bottom. This is where the marvellous bubuk is trapped and scooped up using a small plastic colander.

Pak Cik is folding up his paka. It has been drying the in the sun for a while. Now it is clean and dry and time to go home. A few short hours of "work" or "fishing" is done by 8 today. Happiness is going home with a half filled basket of bubuk.

Pak Cik's basket sitting on a long already filled with bubuk.Note the plastic colander which also acts a fly deterent or lid to his basket. Flies love bubuk but the fisherman must think of the best ways to prevent them from landing on their catch. A basket is better than a pail because the bubuk needs to breathe. A pail with a lid might slightly cook the bubuk which will deteriorate in freshness as soon as they are caught.

After having been in the sea for more than three hours and the sun is already scorchingly hot he feels it is enough for the day.

This is his catch of the day in his plastic- packing- tape basket made according to traditional specification of Kedayan backpack of a basket- not too much but just enough for his family to make a fair amount of belacan and a few bottles of cincaluk for the day. He is going to share some with his neighbours. And of course some cucur bubuk (small shrimp fritters) will be in the offing for his grandchildren for lunch!!

He is looking forward to a few more catches in the next few days provided the motorised boats would not net all the bubuk. As he puts his basket onto his back he philosophically said that God is giving us what He thinks is enough. " Insha Allah ada sikit sikit."

Greed is not in the vocabulary of the traditional fisherman.

2 memories:

siran said...

I think you have written very well about the usage of baskets to hold the bubuk . Not many people have this kind of perception.

We do take a lot of things for granted.

I do appreciate people who can understand another culture well.

sarawakiana said...

Thank you. It has been a real pleasure studying people's work and their lifestyle.

I just happen to live nearby and it has been God's gift indeed to have these neighbours.


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