Saturday, April 28, 2012

Scenic Sunday: A blog of Bs.

Facebook brought me a lot of cyber reunions with friends I knew from different stages of my life. Recently, a group of students from Kai Chung Seconday where I taught found me, and brought back times I spent at Binatang, or Bintang or Bintangnor on the tropical Borneo island.

To get to Binatang, teachers from other towns and I had to take a bus, or an aeroplane looking like boat known as the express. These boats were very very fast. Most of the towns were located on the river banks. Little boy vendors jump from one boat to another with big baskets, selling their Foochow bread, the Kompia which looks like a bagel.

 Francis' photo

Wen Kwong Ung's photo of Binatang taken from across the Rejang River.

Bagels I bought in New Zealand which looks Kompia. I brought my old friend JL to have a picnic at Western Springs. The food kept cool in my blue chilly bag.
I also bought a loaf of white bread for her to feed the birds.

This poem I wrote dedicated to my flat mate from Binatang. In his facebook, he shared a photo of a Bakery. I rehashed this post I did in 2008. I told him, I didn't think one day, I would tell him I wrote it. Hopefully he won't get upset, but just have a laugh.

The Sunday Bread

I love nostalgic stories.
Here is my bread story.
It is thirty years old.
I had just arrived in New Zealand.

I was flatting in an apartment with four others.
By virtue of his age, the leader of the pack assumed his role.
He laid down quite a few rules.
Without rules, he said, there would be chaos.

Every Sunday morning, Leader wakes us to go to church.
Two older ones ignore him.
Two of us younger ones follow him blindly.
I was one of them.

We walked, miles and miles.
Yes, we did a lot of walking.
Buses were not frequent on Sundays.
And where we walked to, were not on the bus route.

After church, we made a big detour.
Just to buy Leader's Sunday bread.
I protested walking all that distance.
To get that loaf of Sunday bread.

What's the big deal I asked?
You will know when you bite into it!
There were long queues at the bakery.
Your nose follows the waft of freshly baked beard.

Everyone pays and gets his loaf of bread.
Hang on, wait a minute! Where's the wrapper?
There is no need for a wrapper, paper or plastic.
The Kiwis hold their Sunday bread with their bare hands.

We walk all the way back.
I grumble again, all the dirt and the dust.
I am not going to eat that bread.
What's wrong with the commercially baked, sliced and bagged bread.

Leader cuts uneven thick slices of bread.
We spread the bread with a knob of butter.
Isn't it delicious asked the leader?
I devour my slice of bread in silence.

Either we are hungry with all that walking,
Or the Sunday bread was really yummy.
The loaf of bread is quickly eaten.
There is no crumbs for the sparrows.

The weekly ritual goes on for a year.
Leader leaves the flat.
Nobody is willing to walk so far,
Just for that loaf of Sunday bread.

It's good bye to the Sunday Bread.
Except, whenever I drive passed that bakery.
I tell my husband and my kids.
I reminisced of that uncut, unwrapped loaf of Sunday bread.


Jim said...

Interesting post.

Ginny Hartzler said...

I LOVE your poem, and the way you end it with your memory of the uncut Sunday bread!

Joyful said...

This was a cute post. It's nice to have memories. I bet you can still taste that Sunday bread.

Joe Todd said...

I think we all have some "Sunday Bread" somewhere.. Thanks Ann

ast said...

Ann, I indeed had a good laugh. Can't recall where that bakery was. Try authentic Jewish bagel if you carve for kompia. You won't be disappointed