Monday, January 5, 2009

MY RATTAN CHAIR


This is a rattan chair and it has been in the family for some years. It is one of the first set of chairs I purchased at a time when rattan made chairs were popular. It has stood the ravages of time and after more than forty years it is still in its pristine beauty. The strong, solid Manila cane is as good as it was originally. With new bindings at its strategic corners and a coat of shellac finish it appears brand new.


On many occasions I have seen several of such chairs though with different design casted aside at rubbish disposal dumps just because the owners felt that they were out of date or unbearable to see their sights anymore in their homes. Seriously they have thrown antiques and valuable pieces away without realizing that the pieces could be repaired and made good again.


I remember paying Ringgit sixty only back in 1959 for a rattan settee out of my first take-home salary as a beginning teacher. The rattan furniture craftsman, a Chinese had his workshop under a neighbor's stilt house and later he expanded his business. He moved to Butterworth in Penang and opened a rattan furniture shop near the Australian Air force base. Way back in the early sixty's rattan made furniture was sought after and the shop was able to supply all sorts of models and items from rattan. No wonder that large containers of rattan furniture found their way overseas and especially to Australia. I am certain they will remained as family heirlooms for generations to come.


Alas sadly we do not seem to recognise the masterpieces that we have in our homes. Let them be furniture or even the very homes that we lived in. There is a tendency to go for the new and supposed sophisticated branded items and caste aside the pain staking craftsmanship of yesteryear. It is a tragedy that we invented ourselves because in later years we will come crawling paying handsomely for such items which will be offered in the best of the antiques shops.


I am including a picture of the very derelict house that I posted earlier and now it is taking its stand again just a stone's throw from where we are. This is another example of the old being discarded simply because we do not appreciate or value its contributions. Perhaps we do not care to refurnish or rebuild thinking that it would be costly or there are no craftsmen to undertake the task. In short we do not care would be the simplest answer to all the excuses.


I would be too happy if friends would help to advise me of old Malay wooden homes left unkempt and abandoned. Perhaps we can help to reawaken its golden years.

12 comments:

NGINAP SRENGENGE said...

Pak Non,

Kerana rotanlah budak2 dulu mudah di ajar.Di sekolah dulu2 rotan banyak mengajar dari guru.Sekali guru ajar,berkali2 rotan menegur....alhamdulilah,pantas dapat ilmu.Dan kami tak pernah adu guru2 di mahkamah.Kat mak-pak jauh sekali nak bagi tau.Silap hari bulan tambahan rotan yang kami dapat.Teknik 'rotanology' juga ada dalam Islam.Ngapa kita tak belajar ?

Di samping kena rotan kami juga gemar makan buah rotan.Mungkin buahnya menyebabkan kami 'cinta' pada rotan.Biar dirotan tak sekali kami ponteng sekolah.

Rotan merupakan tali pengikat yang cukup istimewa.Diraut dan dipintal dengan bunga2 knotnya.Boleh tahan lama,disimpan selepas diguna.Tali jerat lembu dan tali hidong lembu/kerbau dipintal elok dan boleh digunakan bertahun lamanya.Tiada ada pembaziran.Untuk ketahanannya di rendam dalam selut(lumpur)berminggu2 kemudian dijemor dan di salai atas api dapor.This technical know-how dah hilang bersama dengan mullah2 dan cinta kasih kita terhadapnya hilang dengan kemasukan teknologi baru.

Istimewanya rotan ialah tiada perkataannya dalam bahasa inggeris.No english word for it.

Regards.

KotaStar said...

Sdr Pak Cha,
Seperi disangka dan diharapkan. Ada hujah dan ilmu dari pendalaman, dari seorang anak kampong, dari sahabat yang berada di Banggol Derdap. Ya itulah kisahnya. Tentu sekali saya tidak akan dapat reaksi seperti ini dari kawan yang tak pernah bergolemiang dengan lumpur dan serba serbi pacat dan lintah. Terima kasih membawa kita bersama ke alam buluh dan rotan.

aofuad said...

Pak Non,
Now that you have highlighted the kerusi rotan, i think i will have a look at my mum's house in Taman Golf.
That chair was very comfortable.
Likewise, i used to have rattan furniture when i was staying in the Army Quarters.
Now, the rattan are of a poorer quality.

Na and i have discovered that anak Auntie Mahani married anak Pa Chop Ahmad,who was in Jabatan Penerangan.
One of her visitor to the blog is checking it out.
Din

Queen Of The House said...

Kalau tak fikir panjang, memang kita kan buang kerusi rotan yang nampak lama, and replace it with more modern ones.

Daddy, you have to join the Geni tree ... which email shall I use to send the invitation to you?

Abang Din ... Yus found out that she is related somehow to my husband's side of the family. Pulak dah!!

muteaudio said...

Uncle,
The most vivid recollection of my childhood is not the rattan chair but my mom's 'rotan'.

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Al-Manar said...

I had a set of similar design about the time you purchased yours. It lasted many years until I had it exposed to weathering - open-sided verendah with occasional rain beating in. The leg began to show rot from the bottom. Fortunately I had a rocking one kept indoors and is still in good shape.

Al-Manar said...

I had a set of similar design about the time you purchased yours. It lasted many years until I had it exposed to weathering - open-sided verendah with occasional rain beating in. The leg began to show rot from the bottom. Fortunately I had a rocking one kept indoors and is still in good shape.