#CBF16: Of Basketry and Babai

Rattan hand-woven baskets made by Babai

It was Christmas 2014 when my mother finally decided to go through the attic in Babai’s house. She’d enlisted me to help and before I knew it, I was holding the ladder steady while she climbed up to the attic.

Among the many treasures she discovered were these rattan hand-woven baskets Babai made. We were pleasantly surprised to find them in fairly good condition despite the fact that they must’ve been left up in the attic since he passed away 7 years ago.

Most of my grandparents passed when I was very young and Babai, my mother’s father, was my sole grandparent for many years and because of that, he was the closest grandparent to me.

I didn’t know that much about him and it was only several years before he died that my late uncle revealed that Babai was a champion poet among the villages in the area. I remember thinking then Oh, that’s where our creative streak comes from. 

I have memories of Babai membalas pantun (sing song reply in poetry form) with other village folk but didn’t realise that he was considered as one of the best. That night when we found out his status as a champion poet, he was singing in poetry form with a friend and I assumed then that it was merely a hobby.

“He was very sharp and quick with his rhymes in his younger days”, said my uncle.

Oh, I thought and looked over at Babai as he sat in his chair with a plate of sticky rice balanced on his lap, exchanging rhymes with his friend while waving his hand in the air to emphasise his point.

Though he suffered a stroke when he was younger which left the right side of his body semi-paralysed, Babai still managed to keep busy by weaving rattan baskets. Most of the baskets were used daily while some were given away. As far as I knew, none were sold. In fact, he was also one of the last in the village that possessed the skills and knowledge to do this. I remember asking my mother several months ago if there was anyone in the village who could teach me to basket weave and she told me that Babai was likely the last to know how. That knowledge made me regret not asking him to teach me while he was still alive.

So, when several of his baskets were unearthed from the attic, some of them not quite finished, I asked my mother if I could keep one. I chose a small basket or reked, and it hangs on the wall of the corridor that leads from my bedroom to the main living area of the house. Every time I walk along that corridor, I look at it and remember Babai as he sat on a small wooden stool, on the patio of his house in the village, weaving the rattan strips, creating cherished objects.


cherished-badge16This post is written for the Cherished Blogfest 2016



Cherished Blogfest 2016

cherished-badge16Damyanti‘s re-tweet of the Cherished Blogfest 2016 popped up on my twitter feed and so I just had to check it out! I clicked on the link, read the brief and signed up via the ever-handy linky link provided.

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a blogfest. The last two I did were in 2012 – The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest & The First Loves Blogfest. Both were really fun to participate in and without a doubt this next one will be a blast as well.

I guess this means I’ve got 3 weeks to figure out what that cherished object is!

It’s my A to Z Theme Reveal Day!

Well, here in Malaysia it’s been A to Z Reveal Day for a couple of hours already and here it is. TA DAAAA!!!

A to Z theme 2014I’ll be writing letters of advice/ warning/ updates to my younger self which I think is a wonderful opportunity for me to also realise how much has changed and despite everything that has happened that I have learnt from my experiences (good/ bad).

And yes, I had a burst of inspiration and decided to make a sort of banner/ card/ thingamajig with my theme on it 🙂 Now, to read what other bloggers will be blogging about!

Blogfest: The Year I Turned 18

I came across this blogfest on Rachel Morgan’s site and thought that although I’ve still got 1000+ words to write before I reach my daily word count target for nanowrimo, I’m gonna take some time to reminisce about the year I turned 18.

And at first, I came up with nothing.



For approximately 0.001 seconds, I panicked.

What happened when I turned 18??? Surely, there was something!

Then, the memory fog lifted and I remembered. And immediately regretted the recollection.

The year I turned 18 was when I entered Lower 6th Form and detested it. It was only bearable because one of my good friends was in the same class. He sat in the row in front of me and everyday, I admired the back of his nicely shaped head.

That was also the year that I decided to take fate into my own hands. Who would’ve known that as I was deciding this bold move, so was he.

An annual dinner for those entering Lower 6 was planned and of course, a group of us decided to go together, we’d be eachother’s dates. Said good friend was in the group along with some of our other friends from my previous school who weren’t in Lower 6 with us.

I remember that night – the dinner was held in the supremely posh ballroom in the country club. Everyone smelled of expensive perfume and hairspray. The boys uncomfortably clad in suits. The girls in slinky, swishy dresses. I’d taken great pains to look sophisticated.

Midway through the night, I saw him leave the ballroom and decided then that it was now or never. I searched for him outside on the patio but didn’t see him. It had started to drizzle. I started to head inside when I heard familiar voices ahead of me and tentatively moved towards them. For it sounded like a them not a single person. As I got closer, I identified them as my good friend and another girl from our previous school. Their heads were close together. And they were no longer speaking.

I turned away and quickly went in before I got drenched in the rain.

The year I turned 18 was when I decided to tell my good friend I’d had a crush on him for the longest time and perhaps ask him out on a date.

The year I turned 18 was when I found out that he loved someone else.