>Stamp Inspiration of Cikgu Tan Pulau Babi
The subject of pulau in Trengganu is very interesting and until today this subject has never ceased to intrigue me. When one talks or refers to a place named after a pulau in Trengganu we have to be real careful. Unlike the real or true pulau such as the petite Pulau Sekati, or other popular Trengganu archipelago (Redang, Perhentian, Bidong, Tenggol, kapas, Gemia etc.), some of the pulau namely Pulau Kambing, Pulau Rusa, Pulau Kerengga and another pulau that denotes some of the sweetest people in the world i.e Pulau Manis, they don’t resemble any floating island that surrounded by water at all. They are all part of Trengganu mainland. Probably these pseudo-pulau share similar fate as Pulau Duyong, which I believed many many Geography years ago was a delta, later connected with the mainland by years of sedimentation.
But lets us not indulge too much about the pseudo-pulau as this entry is meant to bring back my personal account as stamp aficionado.
Actually it was more to do with vengeance. Cikgu Tan was a no hanky-panky type of person. Whenever he came to our classroom, a thick arm-length rattan became his best companion he never left behind. The rattan was just like his twin brother. He was very serious with his job and he didn’t tolerate much with people who didn’t take him seriously in his classroom. That was what I did that one particular fateful day. In between one of his lessons, while my other colleagues struggling to figure out what was the answer to some of the given mathematical questions, I on the other hand was so busy showing off my first ever stamp collection to my other kaki. It didn’t take that long before my first ever stamp album was confiscated by Cikgu Tan and I got one stingy reminder on my face. Weird this may sound, but that particular event was the one that triggered my passion. I think I deserved that fiery-palm reminder on my face too.
Since that day and with full of retribution, I started to gather more stamps and stamp albums. My main source of stamp supply was from Kedai Pok Loh Yunang and Pasaraya Hock Kee Seng (both places are now a history) which became my regular pit-stop before I continued my journey back home after the school hours. But that didn’t satisfy my curiosity as most of the stamps were normally imported stamps and didn’t feel quite real, not like the one I could peel off from the envelopes. Somehow, those stamps on the envelopes seemed to have their own feeling and very personal.
I then started to join pen-pal club. Those days pen-pal club meant you really have to write on paper (or tissue paper) and sent them in stamped envelope as a mean of communication – no e-mail or face-bug whatsoever. Then there was another joy. Mr Postman came only once in a blue moon to our kampung and whenever I saw this ever smiling Mr Postman came by and delivered bundle of envelopes to my doorsteps I became so excited. This meant more new stamps. I could spend hours, not reading the letter but peeling off the stamps from the envelopes, soaked them in water, dried them off in between pages of a book and waiting patiently for them to dry before passionately arranged them in the albums.
This passion with stamps dragged on and at one time I almost became angau with stamps. It was not the same angau feeling whenever you met your awek of sweetheart but those feeling was really fulfilling. The history of those stamps or the story behind each stamps or who was the last person handled those stamps or to whom and what purposes those stamps were for become more and more fascinating than ever. Perhaps those stamps kept the secret for one of the most beautiful love story ever.
Until today, I don’t know what happen to Cikgu Tan Pulau Babi or my first ever confiscated first ever stamp album. That has now become another sweet history of my life and by writing this entry I dedicate my everlasting enthusiasm to Cikgu Tan Pulau Babi…wherever you are.