Childhood Pastime: Catching Dragonflies
Back in my childhood days, Rice fields in Bali produced not just rice but also important sources of animal protein such as eels, fish and dragonflies, sometimes frog also added into this category. From all these source of animal protein, dragonflies left quite a memory of my childhood days. The dragonflies that gathered over the rice plants to hunt insects were themselves hunted by little boys, who roast and eat them or simply hunted them for a pastime.
Catching dragonflies, actually, is quite an art. Dragonflies are elusive insects; they are hard to be found when they fly among the rice plants even when they alight on the paddy plants, they are quite vigilant and ready to fly away and disappear among the rice plants’ leaves at the moment you make a move to catch them.
To deal with these elusive insects, Balinese invented an ingenious device called onang to catch them. Onang is eco-friendly device, made of 100% disposable material that can be recycled naturally by mother nature. Onang consist of the spine of coconut leaf and small amount sticky jackfruit sap. Making an onang is easy, first the sticky jackfruit sap is placed on the tip of coconut leave spine, then if you want to increase the length of the onang, you can attached the sapped coconut to the spine of banana leaf.
Operating an onang is simple, all you have to do is to touch the dragonflies with the sticky and of the onang, and let the sticky jackfruit sap do the rest of the show. The jackfruit sap is so sticky; the dragonflies can never detach themselves from it once they are touched by it. The dragonfly that are stuck on the sticky end of the onang then detached from it and placed inside a plastic bag.
Catching dragonflies, nowadays, is no longer done for consumption purpose, it is done just for fun and in urban areas, this pastime is begun to disappear. The decreasing number of rice fields, competition from modern pastime such as playing videogame or watching TV, and the scarcity of jackfruit tree in urban areas are the main factors of the disappearance of this pastime in urban areas.