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Old 11-20-2008, 01:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Pisang is our national language, Bahasa Malaysia for banana. It has become part of our culture here and no Malay family is seen without one in their garden. The Indians use it for their ceremonies. The Chinese on the other hand are very wary of it. This was one of the reasons I did not care much about 'naners till I became an adult. There are many folklore concerning it and I will relate 2 which were told to me by people who are very close to me.

Story 1 - Lottery and the Pisang
This story was told to me by my mom when I was a kid and it scared the bejeezes out of me.
My 6th aunt was an avid lottery player and she stayed in the outskirts where Pisang are abundant. This was in the 50's. One day she noticed a Pisang outside her room was about to bloom and having heard that it can bring luck, she tied a red string to a needle and poked it into its pstem. Then she led the string all the way to the window sill of her room.
That night she dreamt and a pregneant woman appeared in her dream. She asked the woman for a number. In reply the woman asked my aunty to release her after she wins. The next day, my aunty went and bought the number and did win! Not wanting her good luck to go away, she did not take the needle out of the pstem and wanted another set of numbers.
That night the woman appeared again in her dream and in pain, asked to be released. She pleaded that she is about to give birth and cannot do it unless she is released. My aunty was adamant as she was greedy. Suddenly the woman disappeared.
The next morning she woke up feeling very uneasy. When she looked out of her window, she did not see the Pisang. When she went out to the garden, she saw the tree on the floor! That scared the heck out of her and from that day she did not dare dabble with the Pisang.

Story 2 - Pisang Blooms Twice
A year ago, I was having tea with a very close Malay friend and somehow the subject of Pisang got into the picture. He asked me if am I aware that the Malays do not let a Pisang bloom twice? I asked why? He went on to tell me that the Pisang is always chopped down once it fruits as it is a superstition that the owner of the tree will die if it blooms again. I, being me, jested him and said how can there be such a thing!
He then told me a friend of his who is a bomoh (shaman) recently passed away because he let his Pisang bloom twice as he forgot to chop down the tree.
This is a common belief but coming from a very close friend, it did make me think twice.

Well, the two stories are for your reading pleasure, don't let it take the fun of growing your 'naners.
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Interesting. Any difference between a Pisang and a Pisang Ceylon? I purchased two from a local garden recently, look forward to growing them in the yard next week.
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Joy Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Hi John,
Pisang = banana, so Pisang Ceylon is just Ceylon Banana. This cultivar is hardly known here. My favorite 'naner is the Pisang Mas (Golden banana) which is like the Senoritas. Small, but very sweet and tasty.
Cheers
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Cool, didn't realize that was the word for banana. Learned something new today
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Cool stories Tog!
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Good stories Tog. I love this kind of thing. I haven't had a pisang fruit even once yet so I'm not worried there and, if I'm ever tempted to stick a P-stem with a pin (don't really think I ever would) I will remember this story.
Do you know what the word "Ambon" means? There is a banana liquor called Pisang Ambon and I've also heard it was a pseudonym for the Gros michel banana.
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Hey Bob,
Glad you like my story telling!

'Ambon' as in Ambon in Indonesia. This is an Indon cultivar. In Malay, Ambon = Clouds. Yep, it belongs to the Gros Michel group and the other similar variant is the Thai Kluay Dok Mai aka Kluay Hom Thong.
Kluay Dok Mai means Flower Banana and Kluay Hom Thong means Fragant Gold Banana ( Hom = Fragant and Thong = Gold ). I have the Thai cultivar but not Pisang Ambon. It is not grown here cos our local ones are more popular. Actually the local 'naners we have are very good tasting and sweet.
Somehow it is interesting that the M'sian cultivars are not known in the USA. I wonder why?
If you want to grow M'sian stuff I would recommend Pisang Mas which is small but very tasty for eating. I even have the Dwarf Pisang Mas at my nursery.
Pisang nangka ( = jackfruit) is very good for grilling/bbq.
Pisang Rastali, another great tasting 'naner for eating.
Cheers
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Quite interesting - there is a good joke in there too, but I will just leave it alone. I don't want to be pisang-off any pregnant spectres. (sorry, couldn't help myself)
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Joy Re: 2 Pisang Stories from Malaysia

Hey Scot,
Come on man, let it out! You ain't gonna pis-ang anything man. You know you have made me pretty curious and it will do good to let off the 'spectre' vibes of the stories. I mean, darn, I realised it only after I posted the thread.

It is because of the multi cultures here that we are so infused with such stories from young. Some people didn't grow out of it but we still hold alot of respect for 'whatever' in there when we go for collection trips in the deep forests. Most of the time, the aborigines will remind us of our behavior in there.

You will be surprised that even today people here are very wary when they go into the jungles. When I was in Sarawak, a land of animistic beliefs, my friend who is gung ho in most things just refused to enter the jungle with me. He waited by the car and smoked ciggies till I got out hours later.

Anyway, I have been collecting such stories out of curiosity and I have got a couple which can be very hard to believe unless you were there.
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