The two pictures of a small rice granary found just outside Alor Star city, remind us of those days when rice grains are stored for the household. The head of the family would store portions of the rice harvested during the padi season in the 'jelapang' a name given for the granary. Built on stilts and properly enclosed it was secure from encroachment either by pests or thieves. Moreover it is located yards away from the house. Such buildings are steady and solid and this particular one standing as it is for more than seventy plus years, vouched for the construction and skill of its carpenters or kampong folks. On closer look you will find the wood and planks used of top quality hard wood not easily ravaged by years of exposure to rain and shine. The walls are made from bamboo and weaved to last till now.
We happened to visit the owner last Friday for a 'khenduri kesyukuran' do, recognizing all the blessings he and his family have received through the year. The dishes served would of course be typical kampong menu with 'ulam and sambal belacan' a must. 'Gulai keladi' was included too.
You can notice a smaller 'jelapang' by its side. The 'jelapang' continues to be useful and advantages to the family. It serves other purposes now not for the family alone but for the community. On closer look you may see a large iron cooking vessel by its side. This 'periok besi' had been used just now by the family to cook the dishes for the 'khenduri'. When you invited hundreds or even thousand of guest to the home you certainly need large cooking containers. In fact the 'jelapang' now served as a store for the complete cooking utensils needed for the kampong community for any 'khenduri' sessions. Most village communities through a 'pakatan' or association have 'Pakatan Pinggan Mangkok' which helped in organizing functions and particularly in cooking and serving the necessary dishes for the invited guests plus of course the cleaning up at the end of the day. This spirit of 'gotong royong' in the community happily continues to prosper thankfully to close affinity and kinship. It is a sight to behold when the members of the 'pakatan' ( association ) turn up to organise the cooking session, plus the whole rigmarole of the festivity on behalf of its member.
It was no wonder that in those years gone by the village community had no recourse to complain about food shortage especially rice the staple food since they have their granaries within sight.
I am still looking for an old 'jelapang' not for its particular function but more specifically as a historical identity to be built on site less it disappears totally. It may turn to be a wonderful playhouse for children too.