Friday, February 24, 2006

Koboi Dungun.

Thank you Lifebloom for the initial idea to start on a series of entries about Dungun in its roaring 60s, and the early 70s before it became Dawson City after the Klondike gold-rush. Like Dawson, when the iron mine at Bukit Besi closed down, miners left Dungun in search of a new life, travelling as far south as Mersing, Johor Bahru and Singapore to work as stevedores or roustabouts. Some went to Kuantan to find work to earn a living as fishmogers or gangsters. A great many of them went to Kemaman to join the palm oil programme. They never returned. Some, however, never left town to become fishermen, or trishaw men. Some never left at all, body and soul. They became madmen, roaming around the empty streets of Dungun thinking of the days gone by when they could afford to book all night long pretty girls in kebaya and kain susun waiting for customers to flock to a row of wooden drinking shops behind Panggung Happy. This was where everything happened from seven onwards, right after En. Rahim the Bilal at Mesjid Sungai Udang called out the Azan for Maghrib. I was part of it all. Movies. Street brawls, mostly over women. Medicine men peddling Spanish Fly pills. Boozing. Juke Box. Prostitutes in clothes so bright they stood out in the dark like a street lamp. Satay. Laksang. Mee goreng. Guinness Stout. Anchor Beer.

I was here almost every night buying dinner when Aunt was too tired to cook. This was my town. Let me tell you about...


Blogger AuntyN said...

Since the was a cowboy in Dungun, surely there is a cowgirl there as well. Hope it is not one of those in kebaya and kain susun :-)

1:02 PM  
Blogger Sayuti said...

short but vivid description of Dungun in the 70s.

an introduction?

looking forward to read the elaboration.

1:53 PM  
Blogger LifeBloom said...

Glad to see you have taken up my humble suggestion...Just so you know, you have two books to churn out now! Looking forward to the adventures of Bergen in Dungung...!

2:45 PM  
Blogger Kak Teh said...

bergen, that'll make a wonderful book too. Let me know when and I will crawl out of my duvet.

2:48 PM  
Blogger anedra said...

Gosh, the old Dungun is really beginning to sound like something out of a Wild Wild West movie. The way u describe it, I'd almost expect lone cowboys riding thru town chewing on tobacco and horses lined up along the streets drinking water from troughs!

2:58 PM  
Blogger dr in the house said...

And all these narations are told with the background sound of High CHapparal!

3:48 PM  
Blogger thinktankgal said...


5:12 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

AuntyN: There was no cowboy girls, ma'am. But there were saloon girls all over the place.

Sayuti: The Dungun I will be writing about centred around Panggung Happy and the action that started at 7pm.

Lifebloom: I got nowhere to go, nothing to do so to write these up is good for me.

Kak Teh: You're gonna be ok, ma'am. You're gonna come out of the duvet feeling like a million buck ready for anything. You're gonna, ma'am.

Anedra: Maybe the place, in spirit, was exactly like a frontier town usually potrayed in cowboy movies. Of course a true and true cowboy town won't have laksang and nasi dagang on the side. Or Hindi movies like Evening in Paris, or Sangam.

Thinktankgal: Giddyup!

5:22 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Dr Roza: High Chapparal, or The Good The Bad and The Ugly.

7:23 PM  
Blogger cloudchaser said...

a rollercoster ride back into time?

somehow 'wanted dead or alive'is playing in my head

12:55 PM  

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