A typical fisherman village A fishing boat
Papa and mama : My inspiration and strength
Leaving Kuantan for the vast open sea An exhausted fisherman getting a short afternoon nap
Have you ever wonder, during dinner or lunch, how the fish ends up in your plate? Have you ever imagine how much sweat and energy poured into providing you the very fish you eat for lunch or dinner? This is my experience with my family on a fishing trip in the middle of the South China Sea, and to tell you the truth, it is one that could never be forgotten. We start off at 8 am in the morning from the Tanjung Api Jetty and the sight of the fishermen village greeted us in a very solemn way. Its quite saddening to see an old shack which houses a family of average of 7. We chanted that we are on the verge of becoming a developed country, but yet, there are still of our fellow friends which live in this kind of condition.
On the boat, my mom’s friend and another fisherman was expecting us. Then we set course into the middle of the South China Sea, with high hopes of getting a bucket of deep sea fish. The method that we use to catch fish there is using an Appolo fishing rod; a fishing rod which has a 5 to seven hooks on the line and every one of them is attached with shiny, metallic fibers to bait the fishes. We once tried this in Langkawi, so the Appolo is no stranger to us. No doubt, fishing is a test of patience. Imagine; in the middle of the sea, and the sun is burning your skin and you can felt the sweat flowing on your back. It was just nerve-racking, And to make it more miserable, we only got so little fish except for my mother; she’s an iron woman of the sea. But when we sensed something pulling on the line, and you quickly pull it up, and you see a Selar at the end of the line, you feel a surge of excitement all over the body. Yeah, it’s a small accomplishment, but looking at the atmosphere and the condition, you can imagine how a fish at the end of the line could make you so happy? I ask the man, how much fish on average will he catch daily? Sadly, he told me that with this method, they even could not get the white polystyrene container half full. With that much of a catch, they can only get around RM 10 to 15 a day and with that amount of money, they will use it to feed their 7 children.
And one more experience that I must share is praying on the boat. The boat is never stable; the boat will be constantly rocking like a cradle every time the wave slams the boat. So, they will sit during their prayers. It’s a cool thing to pray in a new way =) Hey, is not like we always get the chance praying in the middle of the sea, right?
At 5 pm, we head back to dry land, and everyone was very exhausted. But, our fatigue faded away by the sight of 3 dolphins swimming beside our boat. Their upper part of their bodies appear and reappear on the surface of the water, and we were like a bunch of monkeys on a boat, being so excited watching these very gentle creatures.
We reached the jetty at precisely 6.10 pm and everyone was damn tired. But we learned a lot of valuable lessons. I still remember vividly, the faces of the children there, with their worn out power ranger and pokemen t-shirts, looking at us we a very sweet smile. As you read this, just remember that we are so lucky of being who we are now; being able to surf the internet, wear descent clothes, and having a warm and comfortable home to live on. Don’ t forget to remember our brother’s and sister’s who aren’t fortunate enough to have a life like ours. So, when you are about to have a bite of the delicious deep fried sweet sour fish, just take a minute to thank the very men and women who went through all the hardships, in the middle of the ocean, to get that fish we about to eat..