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Sunday Tamu in Tuaran

The early cock crows welcome a colourful and busy day, Sunday, when this dormant town, Tuaran, suddenly bursts into life . People from as far as Kota Kinabalu on one end and the Ulu on the other end, swarm into this hawker's heaven and Scatter
themselves about the shops and the Tamu .....

When daylight is still dim, the Malay and Kadazan fishermen, bags and baskets on each hand , trod along bare-footed on the way to the Tamu. Amidst their laughter and chatters, their rhythmic paces can be heard in the quiet morning . Their
womenfolk retain the Kadazan habit of balancing bags of rice or baskets of fruits on their heads. This makes them look like a bevy of proud duchess sailing down the street. On reaching the Tamu ground , they select a shady nook to spread their
mats. Then they arrange the fruits , fishes,crabs, vegetables and other seafood for sale.

The Malays and Kadazans hawkers, however, are not the only early birds on Sundays, Chinese hawkers too, are just as anxious to catch the worms. At crack of dawn, the adults get up to bake various kinds of flour cakes and bean curds . Vegetables and fruits were plucked and tied into bundles the previous day and only have to be collected from the outdoor platform to the baskets. Piling on top are nuts, chillies, gingers, sweet potatoes and other farm products. Thus loaded , they make their way to the Tamu ground.

At seven, the Tamu ground is already quite a spectacular sight . Rows and rows of small huts with raised platforms are gaily adorned with colourful clothes, dresses , sarongs, hats, and other articles. Their owners sit on a chair beside the huts
.Hawkers who sell foodstuff squat on the grassy ground or along the paths with their display of goods in front of them. Sounds of different tongues bargaining , laughing, greetings, fill the place . Most of the hawkers put on their smiling faces ready to talk
you into buying their wares.

At about nine , come the church-goers, housewives, holiday makers and tourists. Hawkers now lose their cool businessmen look and become busy and calculative. This is also the height of business making in the Tamu.

Two hours later, the Tamu ground becomes hot and dusty. Gradually , the crowd drift to the shops and market. The hawkers now yawn into each others faces and decide to make a move ( into the shop area ). They gather their remaining goods and
carry the light burden to the shop area . There, they spread out their goods on the pavement of the shops, just in front of the market. Those who come later, retire to the ground behind the market to start their business again .

This is the time when the shops - especially the coffee shops - steal the scene of the day. Shopkeepers and their family are practically on their feet the whole day . Sometimes some coffee shops are are so crowded that the shop owners offer the
use of their kitchen tables. The one shop that sells satay is especially packed . The people consider it a luxury to sip a cup of coffee, nibble their sticks of satay while listening to gossips.

In front of the market , some Indian peddlers advertise their medicines for curing snakes bites.They play their flute, dance round an evil looking bag and finally produce from it a hideous looking snake. Then they perform their snake play . When
it is over , they recite in an exciting voice, "Ladies and gentlemen . I have travelled all the way from India .....This medicine is peerless....Give it a try. regret at all . "
The crowd would look at each other and see who among them would buy the

At noon all folks have gone back home. The deserted town now looks like a tired  and unshaved man. Pieces of papers, leaves and clouds of dust float about the streets when there is a breeze . Here and there stray dogs wander about..

Sunday is indeed a busy and gay day in Tuaran . It is a day of pleasure seeking and relaxation for all. It is however , a day that no shopkeepers or hawkers relax.

Lai, Agatha


Just wish to tell you that you are the best!