This is a snapshot from the past
, as if you haven't already noticed. It hasn't been retouched to show the effects of time on memory. But the smiles are still there, and the pervading happiness and is the young lad walking in the middle of the photo wearing a songkok? Could this have been Hari Raya day?
This was afternoon, judging from the shadows, in Chendering, near the house of Cikgu Zainon Mahmud. And I am grateful to someone who will only identify himself as Chorekdaggarik, for having sent me this fascinating photo of two carefree cycling ladies and happy children at play in a village on the Trengganu shore.
Chorekdaggarik tells me that the lady cycling ahead, the one with the fetching scarf tied around her neck, is his auntie. "My father was at this time a teacher at the Kuala Ibai school," he says, "and my auntie loved to cycle in the open space around my father's house."
There is some uncertainty about the year this photo was taken. Chorekdaggarik brackets it between 1943 and 1948, but could it have been taken much later, say in the late 1950s?
When GUiT was published and the location of the house in the cover photo was discussed, I had to admit that I hadn't a clue as it was taken from a photo library. And then someone I met in London came with valuable information. The house, in Marang, is no longer there as the sea has reclaimed the area. "I know this for sure as my wife's family lived in a neighbouring house," he said.
Perhaps someone will now come and tell me about Cikgu Zainon Mahmud, and where she taught, for 'cikgu' is a teacher as we all know. Perhaps the lad with the songkok will write us an email, and the little girl seen running into the picture in the rear will do that too. And what are the children doing around the coconut tree? It looks to me like they are playing the game of to.
Labels: Chendering, Cikgu Zainon Mahmud, Cycling, Kuala Ibai