There we were at the Inniras Banana Leaf Restaurant, Brown Garden for a spot of lunch last Saturday. But what was supposed to be an uneventful meal quickly turned out to be quite an interesting diversion for a Saturday afternoon.
When we were approaching the playground in front of the restaurant, I commented to my wife that there must be something going on as there were quite a number of people hurrying about on the field as well as on the pavements.
Well, well....a kolam drawing competition was in full swing. And when I glanced at the playground, I realised that the people here were readying themselves for their Ponggal thanksgiving harvest festival. There was going to be a claypot breaking competition and a climb up a greased up 30-foot tall pole.
However, I was taken by surprise when this chap turned up out of the blue.
No other than the unassuming Lim Guan Eng, Penang's chief minister.
No protocol of any kind, someone just announced his presence, he was garlanded and then taken around to view the kolams before going into the field where he lit the oil lamp and later poured a packet of milk into one of the earthen pots. However, there was no fresh milk from a cow, just a packet of milk from the refrigerator or perhaps straight from a sundry shop.
Turned out that these were the remnants of the Kampung Buah Pala folks who were celebrating Ponggal in Brown Garden. Of course, Kampung Buah Pala is no more as it has been cordoned off and probably already flattened by Nusmetri for their development project. Nevertheless, it did not prevent the former KBP villagers from coming together once again to celebrate this annual festival at a new spot: the nearby Taman Brown Village Development and Security Committee Centre in Bukit Glugor.
Guan Eng wasted no time to tell the reporters hanging around the field that he was hoping that the former KBP residents would be reunited again when their promised houses were built by the developers. Again, he stressed that the woes of the KBP folks were caused by the previous Barisan Nasional administration in Penang, that they were the ones who sold off the rights of the residents. And, he hoped that the recent Federal Court decision would put an end to the fraudulent land title transfer scams that had caused so much pain among unsuspecting land owners.
I should also mention that there was a traditional pulli attam (tiger dance) by two men in supposedly tiger outfits but unfortunately the two young men looked so uncomfortable in their ill-fitting leopard costumes. Ha ha, but their gear even came with make-shift tails!