Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Rubber Seeds

I got the inspiration of writing this from my friend Philip. He is a full time photographer from Sibu whereas I am a full time coolie and photography is my hobby.
Rubber seed instantly brought back bitter sweet memories for me. My parents had a rubber garden, 6 acres. We depended on rubber tapping and vegetable planting for a living.

All my brothers and sisters above me had to tap rubber before going to school (if they were schooling). So they had to start work at about 3:00AM on a fine day! Too many rainy days =reduced income. So, what did it mean for me... I had to send food for them in the morning at about 6:00AM! My sisters would eat in the garden and continued on working!
Sending food also meant walking past my neighbourhood "infested" with dogs!
Anyway, perhaps I will blog about my childhood one of these days.
When rubber seed is ripe, the hard shell will crack open with a very sharp and loud sound... like a dry stick being broken. We used to pick the shinny + glossy seeds and the shell to make into toys! We could play for days without being bored! The shinny seed could be used for a "seed fight", ie, we knocked the seeds against each other and see which one broke first.
We could make three small holes and painstakingly prick out all the "inside". Then we would put a small bamboo stick across with a short length of string coming out from the third hole. Next put on a "propeller" and played with it. (The propeller could be made from bamboo or town kids use ice cream stick). I hope to reproduce one in future!
The seeds could also be used for "balancing game", ie, layout 5 seeds on your small palm. Flip it over to see how many you could catch on the back of your palm.... by the way, we prefered pebbles for this game.
Any one have more memories about rubber seeds? Please leave it in the comment.


Anonymous said...

i used to play that 'balancing game' with rubber seeds during my boarding years in a convent. the malay called the game as 'main batu seremban' where instead of using pebbles from the river, we used the rubber seeds instead.

what a memory! i miss it so much.

flower said...

this game is very much interesting to kids. the shape of the rubber shell is just like ear.

Philip said...

Wonderful childhood stories on how we played with rubber seeds.Most people our age were once upon a time a rubber tapper, latex collector and you were more fortunate to only send food to your brothers and sisters.I just read a report that rubber seeds could now be used to produce biodiesel.The research was successfully carried out by Chemical Engineering Lecturer from Univertiti Teknologi Petronas, Mr. Mohammad Tazli Azizan. Mr. Azizan also grew up playing with rubber seeds at his family home in Perlis.His research revealed that 1kg of rubber seeds could produce between 300ml and 400ml of biodiesel fuel and in 1 ha of rubber trees, there are between 800kg and 1200kg of rubber seeds.Commercial production of biodiesel from rubber seeds could be realized very soon.

William said...

I know that rubber seeds will bring back many fond memories. When I first saw this seed in Sibu 2 years ago, I brought back two and left it in my office. This time, I collected many more. So, they become something to remind us of our childhood days.

Philip, you are right. My late parents and older siblings reminded me that I am from a lucky rubber tapping, got bicycle and later bus, no need to get hand dirty, can go to uni...

Surprised to know that one ha can produce so much seeds!