Nov 12, 2013

Stories from Jeram

I spent a good half of the morning here, talking to the people and being generally amazed at their kindness. 

note to self: don't be a cynic! don't be so paranoid! have some faith in humanity!  

This row of shops turned up so many funny and memorable characters, their comments still linger in my mind. Here are some of them: 

1. The Kopitiam One Man Show

You want to interview me? No problem, no problem. I'm Lee Kee. I work alone here. 

I grew up here, I live with my father. 

Why do you want pictures of me? Don’t want lah. I am very ugly, no, no, no. I don’t look nice. Cannot take, cannot.  


2. Onion-Peeling Mak Cik at the Kedai Runcit

Nama? Panggil Mak... Acik. Kerja sini sudah tujuh tahun. Sebelum ini? Saya tak kerja. Ade apa cerita? Takde lah, mane ade. Tanya boss sana.


3. The Helpful Kedai Runcit Boss
When I was a boy, Jeram is the biggest town you know! It’s also the oldest town! We used to have more than ten kedai runcit, now only got two left. It's so quiet now. All youngsters have left for the city. 

That row of buildings is just a fire hazard. We complained for ten years, but nothing has been done. We need some development around here. 

That's the thing. We can't tell you too much. The oldies around will screw us if they think we got the facts wrong. You know these old people one lah. 

You're not writing for the newspaper right? 

You want stories? Let me find you some old people.

She is old, but she can't hear at all lah! 

Maybe he can help you. He used to have a petrol station there! At the junction! But now he's selling newspapers. I also don't know why the petrol station closed down. 

They say Jeram is cursed, like that Langkawi. There’s a story about it in the Malay newspaper a few days ago! Wait, I go look for it.

It used to belong to the MCA, yes, but they didn't take down the signboard when they moved away a long time ago. No one goes up there anymore, the floorboards not stable one. We just use the ground floor as the store. 

Go upstairs? Cannot lah, it's very dangerous!

Okay I open the door for you. Be careful! Don't step on the middle. 


4. Imposing Old Man Behind The Counter Uses Magnifying Glass To Check Price Tags
No I'm not the boss here. My son is. 


5. The Morning Coffee Uncles With Interesting Opinions
Cerita Sedap? Itu sumpah lah! Jeram sudah disumpah! Semua akan mati. Si Kiau Kiau! 


6. The Kindly Kedai Runcit Mom

Where are you from? Wah Shah Alam is so far away! 

You came alone? Be careful ah. It's a good thing you stopped here. If you go inside there, it is very dangerous. There are bad people. 

This business has been open for more than a hundred years. It's my husband's family's business. I'm from Jenjarom. I don't know any stories about here one. Only the MCA part is the original building. The rest of the row has been rebuilt before. You must take a picture of the year at the top! Er.. Nineteen...twenty five. 1925 already! Very old liao lo.  

Here's a 100 Plus for you while you wait. 

-This post is an entry for the Canon Photo Storytelling Challenge-


  1. never been to jeram. nice write up. i like it. but ppl there very negative hor? hmmm

    1. yea! they're very helpful, but depressed about the way things has been (also some janji tidak ditunaikan issues). very big difference from the happy Sasaran!