Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Water Potato" stirs Bad Memories

Frightful memories of the tsunami returned to the minds of villagers in Kampung Jalan Bahru when cocoon-shaped organisms mysteriously appeared on the riverbanks at the village two weeks ago.

The fishing community, who named the strange organism as ubi air (water potato), feared the worst as they thought it was an omen of impending danger.

“Bad memories came flashing back into our minds when we found the organism during low tide two weeks ago,” said fishermen Thor Peng Hock.

Thor, 45, said before the giant waves wreaked havoc two years ago on Dec 26, they observed strange signs such as receding seawater and abundant marine life washed ashore.

“I have lived here all my life and I have never seen anything like it. We feared the worst because God knows what else the earth would purge before and after a catastrophe,” he said when met at the fishing village yesterday.

Thor said the strange organism reminded him and the villagers of the tsunami.

Another fisherman, Tang Kooi Hock, 54, also concurred that the appearance of the water potato had sparked fear in all the villagers.

Villager Ng Teik Chye, 50, said the tsunami had taught them to be more sensitive to their natural surroundings.

“We learnt through experience that strange things do happen, and we must take note of them,” he said.

“When we saw first the water potato we took note and were expecting the worst. Luckily nothing has happened so far.”

Malay villagers, however, said the organisms were actually a sea creature known as bronong.

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