Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Revisiting Kampung Buah Pala

I blogged the following over at Ktemoc Komposes on 09 October 2007. Perhaps it's time to re-look at the poem again in light of the land grab of Kampung Pala (allegedly initiated during the rule of the previous BN State)

... inspired by a malaysiakini article titled 150-year-old village loses out to development ... it's also the story of David Brown

Gratefully he gave land to build a temple
For Chor Soo Kong, He who had appeared
In his dreams, having cured him of an ill;
So was raised Penang's Temple of Snakes

Now the Temple survives, barely, as snakes
Gave way to highways and the diesel trucks,
Big motorcycles of shattering decibels; their
Noxious fumes replace jasmine scented joss

He was a generous man, was David Brown,
Bestowing upon the people of the Island too
Land for games, frolics and evening strolls;
That’s the Padang in Jalan Dato Keramat

Now, unfinished laksa soup & lok-lok sauce
Poison the Padang with pollutants of spices,
Turning green lawns into dry brown patches
And his name passes unrecognised by most

Then there is Kampung Buah Pala, where
Gorgeous 20-metre high Myrista frangrans
Shade a 150-year old village in tranquillity
Where fragrant nutmegs would easily grow

A land bestowed by Brown to the Tamils
A gift for their toil, tears, sweat & hopes
For them to raise tambis and tangachis
Sweet youth with smiling dark doe eyes

Thaipusam with annual firewalks of piety
Deevapali where light triumphed over evil
Technicolour saris, luscious curries, apom’s
Not forgetting murukku's of myriad spices

All these marvels of Hindu Tamil culture
Will soon be gone, vanquished, stolen by
Avarice, an insult to David Brown’s legacy
An affront to lovers of heritage & decency

1 comment:

  1. I used to walk pass his mausoleum in Padang Brown on the way to my school ( Francis Light Pr Sch ) every morning as I lived nearby in Perak Rd .
    I remember the place very well , there was a typical colonial type of steel shed which is circular in shape
    on which the food court now stands . I still have it in photos taken by my dad .
    Ya those were the days my friend .
    My old school Francis Light has not changed much except for the missing top piece shaped like a cone on top of the roof . I do not know what you call that .
    But it sure brings back memories of that place as I have since moved away from Perak Rd since the seventies .