Tuesday, December 9, 2008


The closest thing we have to a factory at my village is a saw-mill.

The locals call it So-Meh.

There are five stations at the So-Meh.

The big one in the middle is called a 'tasak'.

It cuts the big logs into smaller, more manageable pieces.

The four smaller stations then cut the pieces into whatever measurements the client asked for.

Each station is led by a leader called a 'teochew'. Below him would be at least two other fellows.

Each person gets almost RM200 per week. But the teochew gets a cut from the profits.

So five stations with three to four at each, the so-meh used to give jobs to around 16 villagers or outsiders. Plus one guy to sharpen the blades.

Nowadays, though, not many people work there anymore.

The towkay's son inherited the so-meh and is now renting it to people.

There are less logs now. They used to throw out unwanted cuts.

They don't anymore, as that can be sold as fuel. Usually to make bricks.

In order to make bricks, they burn the cubed clays in ovens. And they burn the unwanted pieces to get it to the right temperature.

And today, most workers ran away to more lucrative endeavours such as lorry-driving and rubber-tapping.

Since the price of rubber has plummeted, they are doing other jobs such as joining construction crews and a myriad of other stuff.

And yet the so-meh remains standing. And sometimes, smoking.