mostly people live in Sandakan either work in tourism, fishing and oil palm and of course including other jobs.
Food in Sandakan are the BEST! at least for my personal opinion, if you're a big fan of chicken noodle with fried ground peanuts and thick gravy rice cube with meat then..yeah you're in the same band wagon as me.
i went away for three days for an exotic gateway to Sandakan...turns out to be a reminiscing moment that wear my husband away when each streets i stop over and brief him the history how i passed that alley every morning to work, how i grew up there, how my sandal broke at that bus station or the houses i used to rent...market i used to eat...pretty much exotically bore him away.
But what struck me most about this trip is about...Legacy.
it was really a striking coincidence when we went away to Sandakan, my in laws were going to held a gathering. In Malay we call it 'Kenduri' direct translation will be eating tomato chicken or chicken with dates, or some other chicken cooks with something, banana, watermelon, talking about the olden days, or about someone who just got married(or nowadays who just got divorced *o*) but most importantly is the group prayer.
Every time its near the Ramadhan the fasting season the elders will held the Kenduri to commemorates their parents or uncle,aunt or any family relatives who has passed away. Most of the time will be their own parents.
So while we're in Sandakan they called us and said they're coming to held the event at another family relative house.
and so my mom in law bought the whole market (so my father in law reported) and start cooking.
I don't cook...i don't have much to say about the other member of the family either so i'm not the best gossip partner :) and i went away finding excuses to escape and 'Kapow' the idea comes right in! i followed my husband to the cemetery of his grandmother.
My first thought is getting away from chopping shallots and ginger but when i have arrived at the cemetery my husband gave me advise before entering...we will be careful with our steps and try not to step over but at times there is not much ground to step on so we may need to walk over at some graves. At that moment my mindset change...this is not some playground.
illustration by internet
As i walking over i saw a lot of the graveyard being built inside a stack of cement or bricks and decorated by colorful tiles giving the impression of a monument. My husband told me that actually its not a very excellent idea as the cemetery were built on the hillside and adding heavy bricks and too much cement may only caused the soil to sink.
i read the tombstones along the way but those that i remember most is a boy who only live for 8 years and what touches me the most is a little crypt with pink tiles...the baby only live for three days.
soon we arrived to the family graveyard,they were built next to each other and my father in law start to scheme his plan to built a cement few inch higher all around the graves and clean all the dead leaves and sticks.
we offer our prayers while pulling out grasses on top of the grave and remove other dirts to the side and i was already with my plans of how we could clean the debris without putting it over other people graves and all the while i came to realize...
my mom in law spent few hundreds for the cost..the energy and my father in law was making plans to improvise the family graves and with all the hundreds graves with bricks, cement and some has become to look like a monument...it feels odd.
honestly, they're ...underground, dead. They wouldn't be impressed just how ever their graves looks like. Most importantly the prayers that is being offer...not the material stuff or the fine dine.
After awhile i noticed that this probably has something to do with our (human) own fear of deaths. Its like when i die..i would want people to gather and remember me, i would want my cemetery being look after. If i don't do this and that to my elders, my kids won't do it for me also...even after i'm dead i still want to be respected...its almost like a legacy.
but through the actions of my parents in law and just as much as their relatives or anyone that lives the same community as them. They are showing some fear of death...everything has got to be rush in.
i mean don't we all?
when i died; remember me, while i live; i gotta finish such and such duties.
My husband beginning to show a symptom of planing with the cost and we drive home where the Kenduri was held.
Everybody ate and soon trays of food start being distributed to neighbors while we pack our things and getting ready to take the bus home that night.
Isn't culture a wonderful thing, it simply brings people together...and how about legacy. Have you thought about any?...how about your cemetery?would you like blue or green tiles?
i thought about my own legacy...a bigger part of it is about inspiring and enriching others...but i haven't thought about the colors of my cemetery tiles :)
it doesn't matter how you would want your legacy to be...but its gotta be good. After all we do not inherited this earth from our elders we simply borrow this earth...from our children.
well, have fun planing and scheming your legacy!Have a great life and teach your children to pray for you as they will add their own good values while doing it. :)