Saturday, 23 June 2012

Getah is rubber


Getah is rubber or rubberband. Pokok getah is rubber tree. Susu getah is latex. Bergetah is cheeky or sexy (a description for girls, ladies and young mothers). Getahkan is to stick together or to apply a rubber compound to an object, usually fine sticks, skewers or lidi which ware used to catch flies and birds. Tayar getah is rubber tyre, not necessarily pneumatic tyres. Ladang getah is a rubber farm or eatate or smallholding. Golek getah is rolling rubber sheets in a roller, to squeeze out water. Tikar getah is a plastic mat but not necessarily made of rubber.

Two early Malay doctors who mentioned 'getah' in their biographies are Dr Ariffin bin Ngah Marzuki and Dr Pandak Ahmad bin Alang Sidin. Both doctors are from Perak. Dr Pandak Ahmad bought a 16-acre rubber land upon his retirement from govt service. This land is to house his descendants today. His house (built in 1933) still stands, strong and sturdy, despite the annual floods. What is special about these 2 doctors? They are related by marriage of their grandchildren. Dr Pandak Ahmad gave his stethoscope to Dr Ariffin, which was Dr Ariffin's first.

How many of you have touched a rubber tree? How many know the dimensions and characteristics of the rubber tree? How many of you know how to tap a rubber tree? What else do you know about the rubber tree.

Below are photos of a small rubber holding near Machang in Kelantan. This small holding is off the main road as you turn from the Machang-Tanah Merah-Kuala Krai-KB junction. This rubber small holding is on a hillock and facing Kota Bharu. The trees are tapped on one side, which side, north/south/east/west? The trees are tapped on the sunny side, not the side with the lichens or mosses. Look at the shadows and the flora on the tree trunks. The pics were taken at about 1 pm when I went to makan gulai at Machang.

rubber tree and coconut shell receptacle
half a coconut shell, as big as my palm
why is the coconut shell receptacle tilted? Is it heavy? No, it is light
the coconut shell is not horizontal to the ground, it is tilted. The camera was adjusted to capture as much tapped surface and the receptacle. Don't know how else to capture both. The orange flora can be seen on the tree bark.
Coconut shell as a receptacle for collecting latex. Why is it black? What is that green liquid inside the black coconut shell? Why is the fluid green - from the moss or reflection?
just rainwater - breeding ground for mosquitoes, anyone? I didn't see anything wiggle in there
Close-up of a porcelain cup (which is expensive, and naughty boys steal these cups)
latex almost dripping from a metal piece into a porcelain cup filled with rainwater from previous night, but the ground was paper dry. Rain fills all the cups?
porcelain cup and all the other rubber trees in full view, all well-spaced from each other. Which tree to tap first, and how to proceed?
a loose porcelain cup that came off the hook and fell down to earth below. I don't know how to fit the cup back, no idea how to re-install it. Maybe place it on the lower metal piece first and then push it as far in against the tree trunk?
rubber latex (white strand in middle of pic) flowing down a tapped groove. The tree is tapped on the sunny side which has less growth on the bark. Right side show the rubber tree wood.
looking up at a rubber tree. I really had to lie almost flat on the ground to get this shot. Here the receptacle is on the sunny side of the tree trunk which has less orange moss.
fresh rubber pod with 3 compartments
fresh rubber pod with 4 compartments
fresh green rubber pods
dried and fresh rubber pods
empty rubber pods on the ground
empty rubber pods
Mature rubber trees with fresh and dried pods at left. It takes at least 5 days to go from green to the dried pods. The green colour disappears within 2 days and the dried skin splits open as you can see in the pic. It looks dark as you go towards the rear of the trees but it is actually clear and quite bright, not dark as in the pic. It did feel like a dangerous place because thin crooks can play hide-and-seek and suddenly jump in front of you. Tigers are also known to roam rubber plantations.
Undergrowth (vegetation) of a rubber smallholding. It looks like a difficult place to walk but it is not. It is quite easy to walk from tree to tree. 
Fresh rubber leaves. These are useful for additional income. They are collected and soaked for 1-2 months with regular changes of water and the flesh green bits are rubbed off and just the veins left intact. They are washed and left to dry. Then they are soaked in different colours and left to dry. The dried colourful rubber leaves are used for art & craft, mostly for flower display, for weddings, etc. The do fetch a high price. I also make my own vein-leaves in my backyard. Then I laminate the small ones. Anymore ideas?

Rubber wood is white, just like pinewood. How do you tell rubberwood from pinewood? Go to the furniture store and ask them. Rubberwood is used for making doors for clothes cupboards, for making side tables, chests, cabinets, etc. They are lightweight and can be painted or varnished.