Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Full Circle

The second day of school and at 7pm, Dot still had not reached the nursery. Shidah smsed Yamtuan, worried. And he called me even when he knew I was delivering a presentation. Now three were worried.

Call Pak Hamid the van driver, I said. But he just lost his handphone. Call his house then. Pak Hamid’s wife answered. The worriers were now four.

A few minutes later, Shidah smsed again. Dot just arrived, soaked through top to toe, but safe in a wet kind of way. Heavy rain, slow traffic, thus the delay.

Oh my oh my, I was SO worried. I could name thousands of incidents and accidents that could happen, and that would only be in the first chapter of Volume I.

When I was her age though, Standard 2, on one fine day, after school, while waiting for the truck, I was distracted away by friends playing the tikam game. Now this was before the introduction of game tikam where you pay 10 cents I think, to tear a tikam piece. Grand prize, was, well, everything. To a kid who only got toys during birthdays, everything on the tikam board was grand. But no, this was a different tikam. The tikam I meant here was another type of judi, yep. Similar to playing the marbles, you threw a coin on the ground. Your friend would throw their coins aimed at yours. If they hit your coin, your coin became theirs. I knew it was gambling and it was wrong, I didn’t have that many coins to spare anyway, so I never played. Watching the game was just as fun. Because adults would scold us if we were caught playing it, we played away from the usual spot where the trucks awaited.

Many rounds later, after many kids were declared bankrupt and a few were made rich, I left them (they stayed in the school compound anyway) and discovered that the school was already deserted. No kids, no trucks.

I don’t remember a lot of things now, I couldn’t remember my sister’s role in the drama or where she was while I was at the casino. But she was with me, waiting for the truck that actually had left us. We didn’t have a watch, or maybe we did, I don’t remember but it was quite a long wait before a neighbor came to our rescue. Mak asked them to go look for us.

You see, I didn’t get the rotan very often. My parents were never physical in that sense. Thus why, the few times I got it good, I remember well. That day was one of the days. I kena big time. My sis kena worse because she was supposed to be the responsible one, being a year and a week older than little impressionable me.

I couldn’t understand then, why Mak made such a big fuss over it. The school was only a mile away and we reached home just fine, didn’t we?

Oh my oh my, how I totally understand now.

Mak must have been beside herself with worry. Those days, only the rich, probably only the commandant’s house in the whole entire camp had a telephone in the house. It was a luxury to own one (I was in standard 2 the year after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, yes, I am THAT ancient, thank you very much). We had not reached home when we were supposed to, Mak couldn’t notify Abah, she didn’t drive, even if she did, we had only one car. She couldn’t just jolly well ask the driver because handphones were not invented yet! She could only wait at home wringing her hands. Even to get help from our neighbor, she had to wait for him to be home too.

Technology allows you to locate your kids faster these days. You can go to the extreme and tag them with RFID or what have you, press a button from home and your kid will be taser-ed if they miss the curfew, yes, zap them. Get them phones and track their exact coordinates, all sorts of gadgets are available just for the purpose. Your kids may end up acquiring a restraining order against you, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. One day, they will understand (you wish).

While there are now many gadgets to make you feel as if you are in control of things and your worries well managed,there are also many many more reasons to be worried about! What with the ever increasing crime rates, compassion diminishing, and with a community that has lost its cohesiveness and became less caring, the horrible things you read in the newspaper, the kind of things advocated directly or otherwise in the movies, the explosion of information and with that bad influences too. Not to mention the faster cars, the sheer number of them on the roads and the younger reckless drivers. Horror of the highest order.

Oh my oh my, life was so much simpler when the only known vice around was the tikam game!


Blogger Jeritan Rakyat Marhaen said...

If thats in Std 2, I'm innocent coz we did not wait for the trucks together not until std 4. Then I am guilty as charge. So there could be others

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at a friend's house,ehem, for a short while.Then i went looking for u but u were too busy observing the act of sin that u ignored me!
Huh! U owe me big time for the xtra serving i got!

Ah Long

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, after that we got a mickey mouse watch...remember? mickey's hands actually moved! Never mind the fact that we couldnt really tell the time was a M. I. C. K. E. Y (why?) because we love u... M. O. U. S.!

Ah Long

10:13 AM  

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