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|Sparking Off Hari Raya with Bunga Api!|
Farah 'Fairy' Mahdzan
(20-Nov-2003) | Readers Say
While strolling down a pasar malam on a wet Sunday evening recently, I came across a group of three little boys huddling over something at a stall selling Hindi VCD movies. Intrigued, I moved in for a closer look at what the tykes were awing at; suffice to say I instantly fell into a nostalgic trance by what I saw:
Bunga api!! I have not played with bunga api (sparklers) ever since I left primary school, so this was as good a time as any to check these things out. I didn't question why a VCD stall would be offering sparklers of various sizes and colors; after all if you could purchase illegal VCDs from roti men, I didn't see why you couldn't get fireworks from a VCD vendor. So who's complaining, the fireworks were there for all to see and buy.
I approached the boys and peered amusingly into the box of fireworks. I picked up one of the long yellow sparklers and loudly asked the stall owner if it was a mercun (firecracker). One cheeky boy in blue jumped on the chance to answer my inquiry:
My, my, only 8 years old and already eager to show off his knowledge to strangers! I smiled and said, "Oh ye ke Dik, sorry lah Akak lama tak main bunga api ni." ("Is that so? I haven't played with fireworks for a long time.")
The boys giggled at what may have appeared to be my ignorance, but really, I was just trying to strike a conversation. They continued to debate seriously amongst themselves about which sparklers they would get for Hari Raya in the same fashion that a group of makciks (elderly women) would to discuss what dishes they'd cook for the upcoming festivity of the end of Ramadan. The Indian lady who ran the stall gave the kids an approving glance in anticipation of good business, and then looked at me as we both chuckled at the kids' cute antics.
Before I left the gerai VCD, I asked the kids if they'd pose for a photo.
Me: Dik, Akak nak ambik gambar boleh tak? (May I take a picture of you?)
The boy who corrected my sparkler blunder appeared to be the leader of trio, so he pompously answered "Boleh, boleh kak! Jom!" ("Sure! Let's!"). He then quickly grabbed his two buddies by the necks to pull them closer for a group picture.
"Ok, satu dua tiga, senyum!" ("One, two, three, smile!") I cooed; toothy grins and a peace sign appeared, and my shutters and flash went off to capture the moment.
The Pop Pops are a no-brainer really; all you do is throw the little bits of Pop Pop swiftly onto the ground and they'll emit a sharp "Pop!" sound and a little bit of spark. When used properly, you can use the Pop Pops to your advantage and scare the crap out of the cat or your annoying brother.
Fireworks have been quite scarce to find in the last decade or so in Malaysia. In the past, one too many unmonitored kids have made heartbreaking headlines by losing their eyesight or limbs from carelessly shooting off firecrackers; the adults freaked out, hence the ban on fireworks. I am not sure if the ban only included mercun and not bunga api. Bunga api are quite harmless to play with since they only literally shoot off sparks and are not explosives. So I'm going to assume that buying sparklers is perfectly and legally ok.
Some folks will go to the extent of making firecrackers out of bamboo trunks and explosive powder. A few days ago there was a boy whose picture made the front of a local English newspaper. He was playing with homemade cannon and burned himself; he was bandaged all over and his face as black as a buntut kuali (wok). No doubt, the kid's photo was published in the papers to scare other children into leaving the forbidden fruits alone!
Firecrackers are a bit harder to find than sparklers. Some sundry shops carry them but you have to be somewhat discreet about asking for them. I walked into a mamak shop last week and as soon as I asked to look at their firework collection (I knew they had some from word of mouth) the talkative cashier suddenly hushed and quietly brought out the goods from under the counter for me to see, like as though we were in some sort of illegal drug transaction!
There wasn't anything spectacular in the choice of fireworks that was presented to me; just your basic firecrackers, but I'm sure carrying them in the store posed some risk for the store owners. I gleefully sifted through the selection and just bought more sparklers; I'm not going to buy firecrackers, no way.
I was looking for sparklers that I grew up playing with:
Me: Boss, bunga api yang tangkai dawai tu tak ada ke? Dia brand kucing hitam punya. (Do you sell the sparklers with the metal handles? The "black cat" brand?)
Shop owner: Tak ada lah, sudah lama tarak. (They don't make those type of sparklers anymore.)
So I was left with no other option than to purchase these sissy sparklers made of paper and cardboard handles. Sigh. They don't make bunga api like they used to.
Although limited on availability, bunga api cum sparklers are there; they'll forever be a part of my childhood Hari Raya memories.
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|WHAT READERS SAY ABOUT Sparking Off Hari Raya with Bunga Api!:|
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on 18-Apr-2012, 14:01 MYT
#33. Seronoknyer.. tempat2 yang dilawati pun nampak familiar.. tapi dekat mana yer?.. If possible, boley tak include kan location sekali.. Terasa nak join skali pulak next time.. So, no happiness end to u all.. Sampai nanti..
#32. Kaezrin, Salam Aidilfitri to you too.
#31. dekat terengganu we all panggil that "pop pop" thingy tuh mercun bawang..my brother very naughty.always throw it from upstairs time2 kiter tgh jemur baju..meloncat2 terkejut..ampeh tuls..
#30. ni yang suka baca website fairy ni... mengimbau nostalgia silam la... bunga api tangkai dawai cap kucing hitam... yang bestnya bunga api tangkai dawai ni, kita boleh bengkokkan tangkai dia dan main pusing-pusing macam kipas helikopter... kalau yang bunga api balut kertas tu mana boleh bengkok-bengok, kalau dibengkokkan patah la... selamat hari raya fairy, hidup kucing hitam!
#27. waah, this article sure brings those memories..eh, kita dulu kecik kecikk pun suka the bunga api brand kucing hitam..khrehehehe..h avent seen them around for ages! well, but i think u guys have more fun there, never did fireworks or seen those dynamite types ones here.
#25. i prefer bunga api kaler merah to daripada tangkai dawai..penah bijaksana time kecik2 dulu pi pegang bara merah kat dawai tu..pastu menjerit...hehe! bunga api kaler merah tu bleh di variasikan kegunaannya..i used to patah2kan batang kaler merah tu pendek2..then gune utk main perang2 dengan my cousin..bakar then immediately baling..hehe!
#24. haha kalau balik kg cousin˛ suka main mercun sambil mendera serangga˛ yg tak berdosa... dasat btul depa tuh.. ader lagi satu version mercun pop˛ tu di panggil mercun tarik suka kenakan org ikatkan kat pintu pastu bila tarik pintu meletup... sure terkejut punya org tu.. tak suka mercun cap kucing tu sbb dulu kecik˛ selalu terpegang besi yg lepas terbakar tu.. isk melepuh jari...
#23. Waktu kecil, biasanya kembang (bunga) api ujungnya dibiking bengkok making it look like a bait, terus setelah menyala rame2 dilempar ke pohon terdekat. Our own glowing lebaran tree! Another kind of kembang api is "Air Mancur" yang lebih heboh warna-warni tapi not as 'user friendly'- and a bit more intimidating karena physically seperti mercon.
#22. heheheh teringat waktu di Yogya dulu.. sempat kita liat Mercun and Bunga Api kat sana.. Seronok.. tapi takut
#21. a'ahhhhhhhhhh i prefer bunga api dawai tuhhh..the sissy ones almost got me suffocated..asap teballl.. hehehhe tak cukup pro main kot
#19. Hey Fairy... Reading your story membuatkan i teringat balik to those schooldays time. My bro used to throw the pop pop at me whenever i walk out of the door. konon2 mcm suprise la gitu. I also miss the bunga api cap kucing hitam. hehehe.... but that one will be painful kalau terpercik kat tangan. rasa mcm kene gigit semut.
#18. Kembang api kayaknya gak dilarang di indonesia. Firecracker IS illegal. Terakhir main petasan waktu tahun baru kemaren (I'm an outlaw). That was awesome. We lit several boxes of firecrackers of various types.
#17. Di kampung aku juga masih ada dijual bunga api 'cap kucing itam', malah aku pernah liat versi yang lebih besar dijual..
#15. I remember my cat lari ketakutan when my house di'serang' oleh bunga api oleh budak-budak lelaki yang nak mengurat my elder sister. I hingusan lagi masa tu.. he he.
#14. BAGAS: Iya lah while you boys bakar2 mercun, tentu saja anak2 perempuan lagi sibuk bantuin mama bikin kuih and ketupat! Hehe, dasar senang ya goda2in ce gitu? Dasar!
#13. ugh fai always boleh reminds me of my childhood heh. Tentu saja mErcon lebih disukai anak laki2x, more challenging! apalagi kalo bisa bikin anak cewek menjerit-jerit, one additional point..hihi...
#12. hee hee hee...
#11. Fairy...hati2 nanti kena tangan!...
#9. huuu.. lama gaban dah tak main bunga api ni.
#8. Far, what an article!
#7. Ah, the good ole days. If I am not mistaken, the brand of that sparkler u mentioned is 'King Cat'. This entry kinda reminds me of Saloma's song especially that part that goes 'dam dam dum bunyi mercun..."
#6. Fai, bunga api tangkai dawai tu kan (black cat) ade jualkat kg i ler... kat slim river perak.. tawon lepas ada beli...
#5. Anen, buruknya perangai, dasar. Orang dah habis main bunga api kena la buang sisa2 dia. Yang you pegi jalan2 tak pakai kasut tu apa pasai haha. Kan dah kena.
#4. Bunga api tangkai dawai tu mmg tak baik utk kesihatan la Fai. Lepas bakar bara dia still ada lagi. Time kecik2 dulu I selalu main lepas tu campaq atas jalan. Then jalan tak pakai kasut (tau la kan budak2) terpijak.. sssssss.... sakitnya, tuhan saja yg tau.
#3. XEN: kan! Man those things scare the daylights out of me...!
#2. Jadi teringat pada waktu kecil dulu.. Malam bulan puasa main kembang api yang terbang ke angkasa dan nikin bunga api dan juga marcon (dduuuuaaaarrrr tapi sekarang gak bisa lagi karena sudah dilarang di Indonesia) ..... hehehehe
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