Never would I expect that I would one day be able to see live, in person, how the thunderous bedil (that signify the breaking of fast for the folks of Kuala Terengganu) was shot up in the sky. But that was what I did today at the beginning of maghrib (sunset).
Ever since I could recall, when living in the government quarters at Jalan Mok Pe (now known as Jalan Tekukur), that thunderous sound always had been shot from Bukit Pak Apil, the highest hill range in town. The range stretches from behind Sekolah Khairiah Gong Kapas, where the State Secretariat Office (SUK) used to be in the pre-1970s up north until it end at Jalan Syed Zain with a tiny hill of Bukit Kledang, where one of the many Royal Mausoleum for the early Sultans is located.
Among the most prominent structures (and probably the only two known structures by most town folk) on top of Bukit Pak Apil are the Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) station and a hilltop Motel Desa. Both are accessible from behind my former primary school – Sultan Sulaiman Primary School I (SSPSI), where the State Chemistry Department is located. This access road is by Jalan Cerong Lanjut, just slightly less than 1 km north of the one to the former SUK office.
Further up north from this access road of about 800 meter along Jalan Cerong Lanjut will lead one to another access road up the hill (just across the TNB office). From the bottom, with a slow drive (on second gear) up one will have to stop and park at the end of the road after about 700 meter. To go up further to a small hut where the bedil is fired, one will now has to test one’s stamina with a steep 113 steps.
In those days, the little white hut was hard to see (hidden by the trees around) except for a trail of light and smoke shooting out from it followed by the thundering explosion of the cannon fire (bedil). We will hear three bedils in a day throughout Ramadhan. The one for breaking of fast will be fired upon sunset, another two will be fired early in the morning to signify Imsak – the beginning of fasting (one is fired five minutes earlier as a warning and the second one will be for us to MUST STOP eating or drinking during sahur (pre-dawn supper)).
Now the little white hut is clearly seen from most part of the town on the east of Bukit Pak Apil. The large area of land on the slope and top of the hill all around the hut has been cleared for some development project (which I shall talk about in future).
As the time ticks 7.00pm, the police officer in charge instructed for the bedil operator to fire. With the press of a button, BOOOM ….. and another more deafening BOOOOMMM!!!. The first was when it was shot up followed by another in less than 3 seconds when it exploded about 100 meter up. It was an experience to be able to be there and be right at the bottom of the beautiful firework explosion. [The first BOOOM is hardly loud if one hear it from the bottom of the hill where I would describe it as "duup" in the 'Dari Mana Bedil “Buka Puasa” Ditembak?' but the sound is very loud when you are just about 12 meters away]
Unfortunately that the sky was still bright. The firework display was not clearly captured. Maybe I have to plan for another climb during the sahur bedil. That would be very bright display.
Read about: Dari Mana Bedil “Buka Puasa” Ditembak?