Friday, September 18, 2015

6 New Blocks On the Street

98B, Block N, Jalan 17/1A, PJ

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

5 Nyonya Wak Enah Speaks In Tongues

Mui Yee
The Prince's Romantic Affairs (1958)
Members of the Pentecostal Church of God, a faith healing sect, surround a woman who has "Got the Spirit" as a man holds a snake above her head in Evarts, Ky. on Aug. 22, 1944.

Everyone - husband, sons and neighbours - are astonished by Nyonya Wak Enah's sudden fascination with Spiritual Healing. It turns out that she is influenced by her Hong Kong film star idol, Kong Duen-yee, who fervently believes in the power of prayer to heal.

4 The 'Seksu' Shows Up at the Door

Mak and Bee have not heard from Bapak since their abrupt move from Bukit Keramat about a year ago.
However, one lazy afternoon after a heavy lunch, when Mak is reading her broadsheet newspaper on the rattan settee and Bee her Enid Blyton adventure series on the vinyl flooring, they hear a gentle tap on the front door.
They both look up from their reading materials and at each other. They cock up their ears to the second set of gentle tap on the wooden door. Mak gestures at Bee and turns her head towards the door. Bee scrambles up and turns the door handle to stare at Bapak's secretary leaning against the balcony railings.
"Who is at the door, Bee? Why are you frozen like Patung Chendana?"
"Oh, it's Kak Kamisah, Mak. Bapak's secretary at his Batu Road office."
"Well, are you going to stand there like a jaga or are you going to invite her in?"
"Oh, do come in, Kak Kamisah ... "
Desperate times call for desperate measures. When Kamisah does not hear from Bapak, she summons her courage to look for him at his estranged wife's unit.
There really is nothing to lose, she tells herself. As it is, she is already relegated an Old Maid at 22. All her female office mates - Hana, Zee and An - have moved on to secure jobs and the security of marriages, leaving her to hang on to a shell of a post in a shrinking work space.
Her parents' and siblings' mockery at home, day in, day out, is getting unbearable. And she has to hang her head low to her chest every morning and evening, as she shuffles her way to and from work, pretending that she does not hear the wicked whispers of spiteful neighbours behind drawn curtains at the police barracks next to the Merdeka Stadium.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

3 Kak Hana's Passport to Travel

Old Subang Airport:
The waving gallery at Subang Airport is a witness to countless teary goodbyes

Although Kak Hana works as a Ticketing Clerk with the British Airways, she always make sure that she looks just as good, if not better than the air hostesses in their sky blue uniforms.
Unlike them, she dresses herself up ala Saloma in modern see-through kasa rubiah kurungs that trace the silhouette of her long-line black corset and tight batik sarongs. Her stiletto shoes and leather handbags always match. She has them handmade at a shop in Petaling Street. And she buys her sunglasses, make-up and perfume at Robinson's. She has her hair washed and styled at the salon at the airport. Mak says, she could easily spend her whole month's salary on her outfits alone.
The idiom - My Face is My Fortune - is a popular refrain from a nineteenth century rhyme,

Where Are You Going, My Pretty Maid?

Where are you going, my pretty maid?
I'm going a milking, sir, she said.
May I go with you, my pretty maid?
You're kindly welcome, sir, she said.
What is your father, my pretty maid?
My father's a farmer, sir, she said.
What is your fortune, my pretty maid?
My face is my fortune, sir, she said.
Then I won't marry you, my pretty maid.
Nobody asked you, sir, she said.

There is another variation known as Dabbling in the Dew:

'O where are you going, my pretty maid,
With your red rosy cheeks and your coal black hair?'
'I'm going a-milking, sir,' she said;
'And it's dabbling in the dew makes the milkmaids fair.'
'May I go with you, my pretty maid,
With your red rosy cheeks?' etc.
'O you may go with me, sir,' she said;
'And it's dabbling,' etc.
'I, may I marry you, my pretty maid,
With your red rosy cheeks?' etc.
'Wait till you're wanted, sir,' she said;
'And it's dabbling,' etc.

2 Farewell to Flash House, Hello to Flats

36C, Block D, Jalan 17/1A, Petaling Jaya

Thursday, September 3, 2015

1 Bee of Bukit Keramat

Sultan Abdul Samad (Centre), Datuk Tunku / Tengku Raja Rahman (Left) Datuk Raja Ali (Right) 

Location: The Shrine of Datuk Gong in Klang, Selangor 
Source: Hangpcdua Malaya

The Taxi ride to Kampong Datok Keramat

Kak Hana and Abang Shid exchange addresses and home telephone numbers
before they board separate cabs heading for opposite directions
- one towards Kampong Datuk Keramat, the other towards Guillemard Road.

Arrival at yet another rented back room ... this time at Lorong 
Keramat 2. A month's wait for placement at Gurney Road Primary 


A New Girl in Class

Kekok betul jadi budak baru dalam darjah. 

Tambah kekok lagi bila jalan kaki ke sekolah pakai baju gaun 
kilat-kilat sementara tunggu Mak beli pakaian seragam sekolah. 
Paling kekok bila Mak mula isi kuaci Jepun dalam pek plastik 
kecil untuk dijual masa rehat.

It's awkward enough to be the new girl in class. 

Worse if you've to walk to school wearing shiny hand-me-down 
party dresses while waiting for your mum to buy your school 
Worst still when she starts packing those tiny white and black 
striped Japanese kuacis into small plastic bags for you to sell 
during recess.


A Flash House on Saint's Hill

Mak kata ada tanah TOL atas bukit sebelah lombong bijih
Pak Rahman dah dapatkan tukang rumah
Tak payah lagi nak menyewa 
Kita orang akan jadi peneroka bandar

Mak told Bee that there is a TOL (Temporarily Occupied Land)
up on Saint's Hill by the tin mine
Pak Rahman has gotten hold of a home builder 
There's no more need to rent
We're going to be Urban Pioneers!

Into the Valley: A Troubled PJ Teenhood

(A Sequel to Across the Causeway: A Singapore Childhood)
Bet arrives in KL and decides to give herself a new name and identity. With Mak away most of the time, Bee learns to navigate the Swinging Seventies with both fear and trepidation. When her adopted sister Cherie leaves for Paris to be with Pierre, Bee is left behind to prop up Cherie's brother, Mat Flat who has devolved into Mat 'Fit'. To get away from Mat's drug dependency and Mak's relentless nagging, Bee flings herself into a tumultuous relationship with Zek, a local literary hack.

Content Teasers

* Bee of Bukit Keramat

* Farewell to Flash House, Hello to Flats
* Kak Hana's Passport to Travel
* The Seksu Shows Up at the Door
* Nyonya Wak Enah Speaks in Tongues
* New Flats on the Block
* Ponchos, Parties and Pot
* Abang Mokhtar's Watery Grave
* Hak's Detention
* Cherie's Great Escape
* Mat Flat and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (LSD)
* Bee's Flight into Malay Literary Hackland