The Evening Merchant or Saudagar Senja - a name coined from En. Zukni our travel guide on our Kampung Dew Fireflies Trip (or Kampung Liu/Lew as known by the locals [kampung=village]) located in Perak, Malaysia.
Honestly I wasn't ecstatic when I saw the itinerary "Just great! Another firefly trip!".
How much difference can this be from those of Kampung Kuantan in Selangor, Rompin and Cherating in Pahang or the one in Sg. Kerian, Penang. It is basically a few minutes boat ride upstream, wadding the mangrove waterways and you will find our brightly lighted fireflies on Mangrove Apple trees (pokok Berembang) every now and then. Nothing against our charming firefly friend, it certainly bright us up like a kid seeing a Christmas tree for the first time; this, I won't deny.
I foresee with great "anxiety" that it will be a "bright" trip, and guess what, by Murphy Law it took a 180 degrees turn (eyes rolling).
This is how the story goes…
We bumped into a few boats as we were cruising back to the jetty, but one in particular was extra friendly and asked us to come closer to peep at his catch. As our boat move closer to his, I begin to wiggle my way between my new friends while trying my best to peep and balance without capsizing us all.
He then told us that he catches prawn for a living, thus immediately making him MY ‘PrawnerMan’.
At first I wasn’t impress, after all it’s only a prawn but the moment Pak Riduan Samad starts his storytelling, everything changes. I begin to have the highest respect to this 45 years old ‘prawnerman’ (MY prawnerman). At the tender age of 15 he learnt to live within his means in this river and later with his skill he supported his family of four.
What amazes me more was that he still seeks for day job to make ends meet and one of it is eel catching at paddy fields. Put us blessed city child and complainers to shame.
Tales of his 30 years awe-aspiring experience makes us gawk and laugh - alternately (if this is even possible), breaking the mangrove silent night. Here, I learnt who is 'Mr. Red-Eye', why you can’t sleep during your job, mystical world does exist, catching too many prawns might not be a good idea after all among others that he shared. A true storyteller indeed.
Having the energy of a 30 years old, the wit of 20, the charm of a 40; makes him a darling to us all. No doubt the fireflies trip was set on a black and white scene, but Pak Riduan Samad certainly makes the dark night colourful for us all. Leaving a trail of sweet memories.
The trees bow to them.
The river make ways for them.
The fireflies lighted them.
The nature is one with them.