Over the weekend, I went back to my Kampung Kuang Hilir in Chemor for my nephew’s wedding. In a kampung, a wedding normally is a time where relatives and neighbours come together lending all sort of help to ensure all aspects of the wedding celebration run smoothly. But due to changing times, I noticed the camaraderie has somewhat eroded due to sociol-economical factors. Families and relatives work away from the kampung in the nearby towns and far away towns, unlike in the old days where practically everybody in the kampung work on their plots or nearby factories. They have time to come and help to prepare for the wedding. The new genrations had little time and patience for the intricacies of the old wedding celebrations. Add that with the availability of modern technology, most works no longer need huge manpower, and most wedding materials are available from the shops. Unfortunately the cost is reduction in camaraderie, comradeship, kinship as well as increase in monetary costs of organising a wedding.
The recent wedding of my nephew in my kampung saw a phenomenon that that I have not seen before. There is this group of people who collectively called PEKIDA who provided assistance in the forms of materials and finance to ease the burden of the bride or groom’s family. I am really ignorant of this group. Apparently they existed all over the country and its members run into thousands. I was told they would go out of their way to help their members, even to the extent of using force. Interestingly this bunch (those that came that day) consists of the youngsters that normally form the bulk of the Mat rempits, glue sniffers, drug addicts, factory hands, mechanics, drifters, clubbers, you name it. And all are muslims. Strikingly all are very disciplined. They would turn up in either their black or white shirts or tees and jeans, lined up, shake hands and hug their group elders, before taking their seats and before they leave the khenduri. There is no air of rowdiness about them despite their age and numbers. What amazes me, these are the group of youth that schools, police and lawmakers had so much trouble to discipline but here they are religiously following their group rituals. There is something in the charisma or charm or disciplinary methods of their leaders that managed to woo and disciplined them. I heard they contributed quite a hefty sum for the khenduri plus providing the raw materials for the food. That really took the burden off my sister’s head. I was also told they came from all over the state as far as Selama, Teluk Intan, and Lawin and most of them hardly knew the host. The only link is the groom had a family member who is a PEKIDA member. The total crowd who turned up that day could easily run into a thousand people, which is a rare occurence in a kampung like Kuang Hilir.
In view of this observation, I believe that authorities had a ready made vehicle to channel our muslim youth into something useful. I am neutral about this group due to the absence of hard facts about them. The only drawback, I also noticed that, despite proclaiming to be a muslim based association, they conveniently forget the passing of prayer times. Maybe that is something that they have to improve upon. As for me, in Kuang Hilir, this is really something different that I have never seen before.