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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Making my way to Machang.

It was the eve of EID 2004, I had decided to move away from Kota Bharu. I left the house at close to breaking fast. I had to rush for I knew from experience that in Kok Lanas, Ketereh and Labok, there gonna be a jam. People flock there to buy things for breaking fast and some would break fast there at the road side stalls.

As I rushed out glimpses of Socrates words entered my mind. Socrates used to say, “Marry by all means, if you get a good wife you will be a happy man and if you get a lousy one, you will be a philosopher” or something like, make me smiled. The last part of the sentence was not applicable to me. That word “wife” should be changed and replaced with “someone else” and the whole sentence rephrased to make it applicable to me.

As I drove out a Toyota Prado drove into the porch. I knew who were in that four wheel drive but I just could not stop, I wanted to break fast in my kampong in Machang. Inside my head were figures, My thoughts were, I had to make a shed for turning rubber into sheets, that have to be 20 feet by 30 feet say at RM5.00 per foot square, that’s some RM3k.I will have to buy 3 sheets making machines, 2 plains and 1 that would imprint stripes. I did not have a clue how much it will cost, some RM1k each for those solid iron gadgets, that will be another RM3k. Facilities for making the sheets, aluminum boxes allow another RM0.5k and the water supply infra, another RM0.5k. That in all come to RM7k. Hmmmm.

I reached my uncle’s house, quiet as I am, my mind obsessed with figuring out how to cash will be involved. There are other cost like jungle clearing, how much will that be for an acre? Collection bowl and related accessories – have to be bought too.

Subsequently, I talk to my cousin who is a rubber taper. I spent my nights at his houses with all three of my boys. The kids likes him and his family, especially his Mum, recently passed away. Wow! God Gracious, they do not do that any more, I do not have to fork out the RM7k, not a dime. The do not process rubber into sheets no more. It is now collected from the bowl and left to dry, then sold – just like that. The only thing needed to process the latex is a specially designed knife to strip out the bark of the rubber tree.

The Only thing needed.

Cousins were very welcoming and were positive about potential income. Tapers, they said were easy to get. The price of rubber was on the up, then. Some extravagant estimates put it up at RM100.00 for every acre, that would make it RM50.00 each for the land lord and the rubber taper for each acre, taping day.

My uncle and cousin took me to see an old friend of my father. His foster parents was my uncle and his wife’s foster parent were my grand ma and grand pa. He knew the exact location of my father’s land.

A rubber taper at work

Those estimates were much too high. Looking back, it was over rated, for the three reasons below were overlook

  1. The Origin of the rubber trees – my dad’s trees were that of the original seedlings, not the new breed designed to produce latex.

  1. The rubber trees are old – they are as old as I am .

  1. The trees are not as close together as recommended by RISDA (Rubber Authority), they are far apart for historical reasons that these areas were wild boar and rhino infested areas during those planting days and these animals, just bulldozed down those younger trees, then.
My tress are not the small mutants that is designed to produce latex they are just colossal .
My dad's rubber tress

Next, going about looking for a house for the family and a reasonable school in Machang.

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