In a previous posting I wrote about a Pak Itam, a Canadian Mat Salleh aka Hj. Kadir who lives by the BOH Plantations of Cameron Highlands.
This time I want to tell about another Pak Itam that I came to know some 23 years ago by virtue of a common interest, horses. He lives at Kg. Badak at the outskirt of Kuantan and used to keep horses to herd his cows on free range.
Pak Itam (L) and his younger son (R) riding on Taba.
During one of my official trips to the East Coast I passed by his house by the roadside and saw this fine horse and stopped to enquire about it. The owner, whom I came to be introduced as Talib Awang aka Pak Itam said its name is Taba, a stallion, a buro (a breed bigger than kuda padi but smaller than the normal horse) bought from Takbai at the Kelantan-Thai border. Buro's temeperament is much better than kuda padi which tend to kick and bite.
On my next trip, I bought Taba for RM800 and personally transported it in a horse trailer pulled by Pajero to Teluk Intan where I was staying then.
Rene (L), foal (C) and Taba (Front) grazing in a fishery hatching compund in Tapah.
Some months later a female horse by the name of Rene, also a buro was bought from Kuala Terengganu and brought back to mate with Taba. They gave a number of offsprings. I also bought a kuda padi at Teluk Intan and named it Horas. Keeping the horses within the house compound was another story! Luckily the neighbours were understanding.
Every time I passed Kg. Badak I would stop by Pak Itam's house to listen to his silat exploits and pry his ilmu. He was a guru silat before and his dada mesti berisi.
Once I persuaded him to bring me to the nearby belukar to show me some useful plants. Apparently, he is not a bomoh because I learned only a few things about plants but he drew a diagram (L) to determine when is the best time to do important things, to war for example. I could not remember what he said about the diagram nor could I decipher it now.
Pak Itam during his heydays is known as Talib Harimau. As a pendekar he plays a peripheral role at the palace on standby to serve the orders of the sultan. He is or was rather I could call as a model budak raja.