Wednesday, April 29, 2009

sucking the nectar from the ixora

children today do not seem to have the same adventurous spirit that we had when we were young. we tasted all types of fruit, including some found growing in the wild. (incidentally, i have seen the ixora plant growing in a forest.) we climbed trees to get at the fruit. when i was young, i climbed coconut, rambutan, guava and mango (kway nee) trees as well as some other trees which do not yield fruit.

we ate fruits which today's generation of children do not and would not touch. we ate the fruit of the passion flower, the 'buah cherry' and the jambu mawar. the 'buah cherry' fruit was not only eaten, it was also used as ammunition for our home-made gun. we would use the hard green unripe 'buah cherry' as bullets to attack our 'enemies' in a friendly war.

although we did not have the benefit of any jungle survival course, we could very well have survived on the things found around us like some of the fruits i have mentioned. as kampong kids, we knew that tapioca has underground roots which can be eaten. i remember how we would steathily unearth the sweet potatoes from a plot outside one of those houses at chancery lane. we took the sweet potatoes home and threw them into the lower chamber of the charcoal/firewood stove. just like in a barbeque, the heat would eventually cook it.

the other day, as i drove past two mata kuching trees along rifle range road, my friend told me how they used to get the fruit down from the mata kuching tree near his house. they would tie two lengths of rope to the end of a short plank or stick. they would then hurl the plank or stick at the tree, aiming at some bunches of the fruit. when it got caught on the tree, they would pull the two ends of the rope and the mata kuching fruits would drop to the ground. if they did not have ropes, they would just hurl ('punggol') the stick at the fruits.

so, what about the ixora? well, we used to suck the nectar from the base of the individual flowers. it was one way to quench our thirst and at the same time provided us energy because it was sweet. the small flower has a tube. inside this tube is a filament. we would remove the filament and suck at the base of this tube to get the sweet juice (nectar?).

many of my contemporaries have also tasted the nectar of the ixora. some would remove the whole bunch and suck at them. some tell me that hibiscus flowers - which i have never tried - also provide sweet nectar.

it seems children in other countries have also discovered the nectar in this flower. when i read the comments in one blog posting, i realise that it is almost like an universal practice. however, nowadays with insecticide or pesticide being sprayed on the plants and flowers, it may be hazardous to one's health to suck at the base of the flower.


Lam Chun See said...

Don't be too harsh on the young ones. It's a different world.

And yes, I remember this one; although I didn't know the name then.

PChew said...

Thanks yg for helping me to recall bygone days as a kid. I did quite a number of things that you said including sucking the ixora.

yg said...

chun see, i wanted to emphasise that circumstances are different. we had more time of our own and we looked to the environment to meet some of our needs. today's young ones are also adventurous, in their own ways.

nah said...

Those days, the hard green unripe 'buah cherry' were used as bullets for our home-made wooden gun. A rubber band was used to strap to the buah cherry round and rigid head, and upon releasing the trigger which held the stalk of the buah cherry, a shot is fired. The mata kuching seeds were also used as ammunition for the catapult. We used these weapons to shoot at birds, lizards, and unwelcome cats.

Lam Chun See said...

Talking about home-made toy guns and catapults, have you guys read Chuck articles about the lastic and toy gun?

yg said...

chun see, i just read the posting on the lastik. very well documented. we made lastik the way chuck described it. we used the small branch of the tembusu tree.