The legend of three Awang
I was already in a state of half awake and half asleep when it came to the story of 3 ‘Awang’s. The soft and sweet tune of my late Toki’s (grandfather) voice had never failed to sedate me and put me into an instant hallucination. Normally that was the last story after so many other stories that I can vaguely remember now being narrated to me. In between those stories my late Toki would also sang the sweet Malay ‘gurindam’ dan ‘syair’. He was very good at telling those stories and sang me those classical repertoire. The stories and the ‘syair’ became my bedtime lullaby during my childhood time.
In short, the three Awangs in the above mention story were none other than ‘Awang telinga besor’ , ‘Awang tahi mata banyok’ and ‘Awang jubo tajam’. The last Awang will send my kids to an unstoppable giggling (gelekek) when I told them the story, and they realized the true meaning of that traditional Trengganuspeak. The bizarre but funny names were probably a nom de plume but they were there for a very specific purpose I will tell later. Fasten your seat belt please, the story goes like this (as far as I can remember, probably there are other untold versions somewhere in somebody’s brainbox outside there).
The three Awangs lived in the period of gnomes, ‘bughong ghede’ and probably shared the same era as the more famous Pak Pandir and Mak Andeh. They were a happy bunch of happy-go-lucky wanderers and roamed this ancient land without any particular purpose. One fine day, during one of their long journey, they came to a big river. Across the river they saw a lively marketplace with lot people and most importantly plenty of food. Tempted by all those view plus the empty stomach, they wanted to quickly cross the river. But there was no bridge or sort of to be seen. Luckily, they saw a sampan left unattended nearby. Being the clumsiest and a no brainer, Awang jubo tajam straight away jumped into the sampan and sat on its floor. This is where the fun begin.
The moment Awang jubo tajam sat on the floor, praakkkkkk….his sharp ass (this is what actually means by ‘jubo tajam’ if you haven’t know yet 🙂 straight away punched a big hole into it, allowing the water to gush in and almost sank the sampan. But help was never far away. With quick thinking, his buddy Awang tahi mata banyok took some of his ‘tahi mata’ and managed to cover the hole thus stopping the sampan from sinking. I was told that his ‘tahi mata’ was more powerful that our current superglue. Then they faced another problem. There was no peddle to maneuver the sampan. To cut the long story short, Awang telinga besor, didn’t want to be left out of action then happily just stretch away his big ears (imagine elephant’s ears) and the boat sail smoothly across the river. the end.
That is the story I still remember until this day. The story that was told in a dim light of ‘lampu peliga gas’ or ‘pelita ayam’, with crickets and other nocturnal being serenading in the background. The last time I saw my beloved Toki was when I took a month break from my ‘jihad’ in 1997, and he waved solemnly from his balcony when we were going back abroad. I’ve never had any chance to meet him again after that.
During this Ramadhan, there won’t be any ‘meriam buluh’ from my Toki. There won’t be any ‘pelita buluh’ either from him and there won’t be any early morning visit to his house in the first light of Syawal. But I will always remember his story and all the love he showered to me. I penned down this story so that it won’t lost and my kid can still hear and giggle upon listening to this ‘pusaka’. I pray that my Toki will be placed among the Al-solehin.
Note: the above photo was the last photo of my Toki with one of my younger brother.