remember mandi safar
By: Choo Sing Chye
(4 12 08)
The recent yoga
issue has brought back fond memories from my
childhood days. In those days when our parents
were dirt poor, the ultimate fun was to spend a
day frolicking in the Kinta River with friends.
And all these cost us nothing but a very
sored-throat from all the yelling and shouting.
It was all worth it.
to us (non-Malays) meant a license from our
parents to play in the river because we were
taken care off by the Malay families with whom we
had tacked along it was undulterated fun.
was a family event then, and at the end of the
day, heavy our hearts were, as the fun ended, we
would all collect sayur paku for our
favourite dish sayur paku sambal
as a last leg of our day at the Kinta
The meaning of mandi
safar meant little to us, 8 10 year
old boys and in any case we were too young to
have acculmulated enough sins to have an end to
end cleansing in the river. Apart from mandi
safar, my Malay and Indian friends would go
the river to swim during the school holidays.
One year it all
ended. There were no more calls from my two Malay
neighbours "Jom mandi safar."
In the subsequent
years our "jom, mandi sungei"
were greeted with "mak, marah."
Later we found out
the real reason and we removed mandi safar
and mandi sungei from our intinerary of
My Malay friends
still response to our other calls
"jom main layang-layang or jom
coun-da-coun-di (Indian game)
As we recall,
mandi safar (Hindu ritual of sin cleansing)
was just a poor man picnic and we had no idea of
the religious reason attached to mandi safar.
safar, sungei, coun-da-coun-di are spelled
according to sound spoken)