Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Lorong Gajah Mati

The sultan's office in Kota Bharu is at Istana Balai Besar, and was once surrounded by big bamboo poles. Once is a while these bamboo poles would make a bursting sound in the dry season. Thus, the area is called Pintu Pong and the road named Jalan Pintu Pong.

Istana Balai Besar is not far from a Malay village which is sited at Jalan Gajah Mati. We asked the villagers (2 boys and an elderly lady in her late 70s) why the place was named Jalan Gajah Mati. One boy said a white elephant that had 6 legs died in the village long ago. The lady informed us nobody remembers the story of the white elephant that had died here and the village named after it.

From my reading, a white baby elephant had escaped from the palace and the villagers gave chase to recapture it. It ran in the direction of a Malay village by Sg Kelantan. However, the villagers' huts huddled close together and there was only a narrow path in that village. This baby elephant ran and entered this narrow path. Because it could not pass through the narrow path it got stuck and then died at this village. The lane was thus name Lorong Gajah Mati after the white royal elephant that died while trying to escape. Whatever the true story of how this village derived its name, nobody remembers anymore.

We went to look at the house where Affandi grew up and where we met his mother, 17 years after mother and son were separated. It took us a month to search for his mother's location. We knocked on every door and asked everyone we met on the way to the old house. We found her! It was a tearful meeting after that long.

Map of Jalan Gajah Mati and nearby areas

Path to Affandi's old rented house by Sg Kelantan
Affandi's feels happy to be back in his village
Yellow steps leading up to the old rented house where Affandi lived for the first 6 years of his life. He was born at home here. His bathroom was Sg Kelantan behind the house (where children are playing in the river).