Remember the good old days and how strong the kampong spirit was then? I witnessed it sometime last week.
The pond in my garden had not been working well for quite a while. So we got the man in to repair the pond. Must say, they did a fairly good job, and 3 weeks ago we went to the neighbourhood aquarium to purchase some fish. The children decided that they did not want kois anymore, and chose some black moor, wakin, and gold fishes. The man told us to buy 9 fishes in total, as that was supposedly an auspicious number to have in the pond.
The children, still raging with soccer fever decided to name the fishes after their favourite soccer players, so we have a Peter Cech, a Ronaldo, a Lampard, a Rooney amongst others in the pond. Last week, grandpa, went to his usual fish supplier and ordered 15 kois, much to the chagrin of the children. What upset them most was when they noticed their pets being bullied by the bigger kois.
The children had really enjoyed feeding their fishes, and watching them swim around the pond. But when the kois were introduced into the pond, they noticed that their fishes were no longer swimming as freely around but were frequently hiding under the pipes, where the kois could not get to, and disturb them.
The final straw came when Little D and I were just sitting by the pond watching the fishes. Suddenly, Little D shouted: "Mummy, the kois are eating our fish!" When I looked, I was shocked - they were indeed attacking one of the gold fishes!!
Unfortunately that gold fish died. Little D was really heart broken and quickly reported the incident to her older brother, and sister and her cousins as well. As soon as the were given a break from their studies (as it was exam week) all 5 of them (3 of my kids and their 2 cousins) got into action. They took a net, a plastic partition, a stick, a pail and got to work. One of them held the partition, another the net to block off part of the pond. The third chased the kois to the net whilst the 4th filled a pail with water. Whenever they succeeded in chasing a koi into the net, that koi would then be transferred to the pail and then carried over to Grandpa's pond. Little D helped by cheering them on! They took turns doing the various tasks. When one got tired or was deemed by the others to not do the job properly, they changed duties. There was a lot of excitement and co-operation amongst them. There was also a lot of screaming and shouting - just like putting out a kampong fire!! Truly what they call in Malay "gotong royong".
"gotong royong" is the concept of doing things together and helping each other in the spirit of "muhibbah" or goodwill.
Never seen them all co-operate so much to get something done, and what fun it was for them. To me, the children really got to experience what I call "kampong spirit" first hand. I was so happy to see them all working together for a common cause. It really made my day that they enjoyed the task so much. Whilst, it was sad that a fish was lost for this experience they got, but all I can say was, it was worth it!!