THE MESSAGE NO. 60 NOVEMBER 2006
THE WONG YENG KEE SERIES.
THE SELINA EDITION
THE AFTERMATH OF 901
After the catasTRophe, Mr. Miles picked himself up to pick up the pieces.
He called his old faithful carpenter whom he had acquainted half a century ago.
Mr. Fong came up to see the house. He had done some patching up on the roof
before. Now the zinc sheet had gone with the wind. Again, he patched the
gaping area on the roof. But this time the gap was too large. What he did; did
not help much.
ABORIGINES RUSH IN AND CASH IN
Anyway, he told our mentor he would again call. The next day, our mentor got
hold of a group of aborigines. They came rushing in to try clearing up the mess
and threw away some trash. They had a sort of cashing in. Our mentor paid just
a quarter short of a thousand ringgit. By then only our patriarch's bungalow
When the indigenous workers were hacking some fallen branches away, a strong
stench attacked their nostrils. They looked; they searched. Lo! and behold.
One of his canines had been pinned by a later fallen branch. The pet had left
the world. Luckily, that was the only casualty of the tragedy.
MORE MANPOWER CALLED
Then on another day Ramasamy brought in a gang of six burly hardy men. The
canines were not pleased with their ebony bodies. They barked and barked
unceasingly. What racial k-9s are his! The men toiled the whole day, hacking,
axing, sawing, moving, throwing, and pushing away all the debris.
ONE DANGER GONE
They have shorn off the precariously standing half-damaged jacaranda tree. Now
the danger of it falling on the house had been removed. Even the huge ara tree
had been reduced to an uprooted stump only. The backyard had been cleared and
away went the debris all pushed down the back valley.
YEW KWONG AND YENG KEE COME FOR A LOOK SEE
A day before the 911 fifth anniversary, I called up Wong Yeng Kee. He brought
me to my childhood village. He treated me to breakfast in a little eatery.
There they serve an array of the most savoury local noodles and rice
vermicelli including meesua the fine and smooth variety.
After the meal I called up Lee Yew Kwong. Soon I picked Yew Kwong up and we
all headed towards our mentor's bungalow. The driveway up was cleared then. The
trees lying across the road had been sawn off and removed. What a brighter
place Mr. Miles's house seemed to be in now - without the gloomy shadows cast
by the trees and thick foliage!
WE SAW THE RAVAGES IN THE RAW
Soon we toured the land. Up the slope we made our ascent. There, lying on the
ground was the ara tree still choking on the cempedak tree. The cempedak tree
had snapped just above the ground. With the exposure, I realized the cempedak
tree trunk was but dead wood. The ara tree had long squeezed the life out from
Farther up, we saw the former tennis court being dumped with fallen trees,
with their jutting branches and withering leaves. At the border of his land,
a huge tree used to stand. But it had been uprooted. The carcass of that giant
sure could make good timber. But, who would do a job on a lone fallen tree. It
would rot and return to nature as dust.
Back down to the house, we looked at the damages in the compound. We saw a
coconut tree stripped off its crown. "The topless tree could be used as a flag
pole now." That was how Mr. Miles made fun of the tree stump jutting about a
hundred feet above the ground.
TWO WEEKS LATER
Two weeks after the storm, I again visited our mentor. Then and there, there
was a heavy downpour. You know what I saw? In an upper room behind his sleeping
quarters, pots and pans, tubs and basins big and small were all lying on the
floor. What for? They acted as receptacles. Sky juice was dripping and
trickling in from the roof. The cold rain-drops from the damaged ceiling hit
the makeshift receptacles producing a cacophony of near orchestral ting-tongs,
and tick-tocks, with the splattering and scatterings of the chilly and
COULDN'T DO A THING
You might quip in and ask, "hey, Suy Sang, why didn't you do something?" To
which I would reply, "Nothing. I could only stand there watching Nature's
thrashing and beating on our mentor's dwelling." What doth Mr. Miles, then?
He just prays for no rain.
Read this as you would read it in SMS:
DOES THIS MAKE SENSE ?
This is hilarious...even an Englishman could not construct sentences using
Exclusively only to great Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese....
Ah Lek was asked to make a sentence using 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10. Not only
did he do it 1 to 10, he did it backwards from 10 back to 1 again!
This was what he came up with...
1 day I go 2 climb up a 3 outside a house to peep. But the couple saw me, so I
panic and 4 down. The man rush out and wanted to 5 with me.
I run so fast until I 4 6 and throw up.
So I go into 7 eleven and grab some 8 to throw at him. Then I took a 9 and try
to stab him.
10 God he runs away
So, I put the 9 back and pay for the 8 and left 7 eleven.
Next day, I call my boss and say I am 6.
He said 5, tomorrow also no need to come back 4 work. He also asks me to climb
a 3 and jump down. I don't understand, I so nice 2 him but I don't know what
N.B.: Thanks to the latest communication technique or language of the SMS that
popularizes the use of numeric in place of words. What a spin-off! Over here
now we have a crossbreed of words-and-numeric mix!! Hahaha a new language!!!
Aye, and it is real phonetic because it was born out of the use of the
cellular phone!!!! So it is phonic and it is ticklish. Shall we call it
phonetiklish. What a language!
FROM SABAH TO BENTONG TO FETE OUR MENTOR
The sun was burning like a fireball. The weather was sultry. Yours truly was
walking briskly in the ever busy capital city. Suddenly, my cellular phone
"Hello, I'm Loh Kok Keong." Immediately this guy came into my mind.
"Oh! You're calling from Sabah. You're in the wild, aren't you!"
Yes, I'm from Lahad Datu, but I'm in Bentong at the moment."
Loh Kok Keong had returned to civilization from the wild in Sabah. He said he
was taking our mentor, Mr. Miles, out for lunch. So he quipped, "Wanna join us
"Hey, buddy you call at just the right moment. It's lunch time and my tummy is
empty. It's growling now. But I'm miles and miles away from town. It's in the
city that I'm now sweating it out!" So politely, I declined.
Back to Bentong days later, I visited our mentor. We talked about all and
sundry over a cup of home-brewed tea. From the conversation, I came to know
that Kok Keong had sprung a surprise on our mentor. He only called him when he
had set foot in Bentong.
Kok Keong and his spouse entertained our former principal to lunch. But they
partook of separate dishes. Our Sabahan estate manager is a vegan. The guest
and Mrs. Loh are gourmets, just short of being gourmands! So even though they
sat at the same table, they shared no dishes.
They had a most sumptuous tiffin. What a treat for our mentor. A vegan and two
gourmets tucking in at the same table.
Kok Keong is a very caring and concern Mesian. Often he calls from Sabah to
talk to our mentor. He had called me a few times to thank me for sending him
the MESSAGE. He likes reading it even when in the wild - deep in the oil palm
estate that he managed.
Kok Keong has a brother Loh Fook Cheng now retired and resides in Singapore.
Fook Cheng is the MESSAGE's ardent reader and supporter. He had been the
I remember reading in our mentor's Past Notes books; Fook Cheng's ambition was
to become a rubber tapper. In the book Mr. Miles regretted that so young a man
should waste his time tapping rubber. But Fook Cheng did not fulfill his
ambition. Instead, he went down to Singapore and dabbled in a more lucrative
job at the Changi Airport. Had he been a rubber tapper, he would have proven
our mentor wrong in thinking rubber tapping is not a lucrative vocation!
Yes, our mentor had found out that his regular taxi driver now often abandons
driving his cab. Instead he dons his rubber tapping garb and raked in a few
hundred ringgit a day tapping rubber trees! Just figure out how lucrative
tapping rubber now is. Raw white pungent smelling rubber lumps something the
size of a lump of cow dung, gives a RM3.50 return! Wow!!
This favourable swing of the pendulum for rubber price is most favourable for
reversing the rural exodus. Nowadays, you read of stories of city folks
returning to their kampungs. They earn several times more than in those long
hours and stressful jobs in the city! It is not fresh air and peaceful scenery
that attract folks back to the countryside. It is the money!
Reverse the country-to-city exodus by jacking up the prices of rubber,
oil palm, fruit and vegetables! When rural folks can fill their pockets with
cash there is nothing that could attract them to the city!! This is simple
good logic in economics, isn't it so?
Ouch! But, by press time the price has bowed out!! The loss was a drop of
more than a ringgit!! What regrets!!!
HEY, THIS IS HARBANS SINGH SPEAKING
One day a Mesian called me. He began with the greeting "sat-sri-akaal-ji".
Immediately I knew he was a bhai-ji. This guy is familiar with me. That was
why he greeted me in his mother tongue: Punjabi. Who was he? He was my great
friend, retired and now settled down in Klang.
Well, what was Harbans Singh telling me? He said of the more than 200 names on
our Mesian list, only a handful of us seem to bother. They are around during
gatherings, the birthday of our mentor and on Christmas Day. Those who showed
up are a pitiful circa 50. Where are the other three quarters of us? They
never bother. There was no sign of them. I have not even heard them giving our
mentor a tinkle. Nor they write in to say hello. Harbans Singh wonders!
I have sent out the MESSAGE for the past five years. There was neither a
murmur nor a groan from so many of them. Sometimes I wonder if the MESSAGEs
have reached them! Or the newsletter that I sent out all these years had
fallen on deaf ears!! Whither are so many of you now?
"A very disappointing and heart-ranting situation." Said Harbans Singh.
But Harbans has not done his turn as far as visiting is concern. He is always
indisposed. To far away places he could not go. With failing eyesight and
depleting health conditions, he stays home. But he uses the phone. Oft times
he calls our mentor. Once in a while he gives me a tinkle. He is always so
concern and caring for other people.
Hey, Mesians may I remind you that many of your names appear in his three
volumes of Past Notes - the Ted Miles diary. Where could you find your names
mentioned in books. What more, the diary was serialized and published by a
local daily - The Sunday Times. You were but nonentities those days tucked
away in a communist-infested small town upcountry. Yet your names appear in
those Past Notes books! You could get copies of them to show to your children
and your grandchildren. They would be proud of their parents and grandparents
for what and who you were.
Remember a Singh is behind you to urge you on your quest to stroll down memory
lane. Run, else you know the consequence!
THE DRAGON AND THE PHOENIX AT THE DRAGON & PHOENIX RESTAURANT
On Friday, October 6th, we attended a dinner party hosted by Lee Yew Kwong. It
was the marriage of his youngest daughter Michelle Lee to Mr. Low Kiew Men.
Theirs was the matching of a dragon with a phoenix for the reception was held
at the Dragon and Phonix restaurant in Bentong. Five Mesians: our mentor,
Chan Siew Mun, Yap Kim Hee, Wong Yeng Kee and me were seated at the reserved
table for Mr. Ted Miles.
What a gang to have as nice as that to have a good chit-chat down memory lane!
But no, we never have any chance to talk at all. For the occasion was rated as
an affair of high decibel. The whole lot of guests was chattering on top of
their voices. What more with the music on too. We had to shout in order to get
something through. We talked. We screamed and cracked our voice box.
Four other guests came and joined our table. They were familiar people. One
introduced himself as Michael. Well, he used an English name but he apologized
that he spoke no English at all. All he could manage was "hello, hello, hello".
The chattering and babbling went on. We were lucky that we did not have to
wait long. Surprisingly, the food came so soon. The first dish arrived. It was
a big platter of assorted meat dumplings with all the sauces and all the
shredded cabbage and lettuce trimmings. Somebody named the platter as the
platter of seven stars surrounding the moon. What an appropriate name for that
day was the Chinese Moon cake festival. We dug into the assorted delicacies.
The din subsided for a while as chopsticks clicked and dishes went empty.
People ate and people drank as they like.
Soon the chattering rose again. It was punctuated by here a long drawn out
"yam sing", and there a high pitch chorus of "yam sing". verybody was in high
spirit; all because they had downed some spirit. The effect of the drinks soon
got on a few people. From our table emerged our spokesman - Michael. He had
gulped down a few glasses of liquor. I think he felt that he was on top of the
world. He babbled, babbled and babbled. Kim Hee teased him saying, "hey,
Michael, you've downed a few glasses too much. Are you ok? I think you're
going to ko."
"No, no, no," retorted Michael. For no drunkard would admit that he was drunk!
Michael started to challenge all of us to bottom-up our glasses. He wanted to
see who would be knocked out first. Well, some of us were gulping down fizzy
drinks and brown Chinese tea that looked like liquor! As Michael downed more
liquor he cackled more: sometimes in unconnected sentences following no proper
sequences of events. He was almost off his mind. What the guy lashed out
sounded funny giving entertainment to everybody! Fortunately, he did not blurt
out any word of obscenity.
Talking of drunkenness, I have heard someone said: "when a Japanese gets drunk
he becomes melancholic and aggressive. Everywhere he would piss. When a Korean
gets drunk, he is violent. He would readily use his fist.
Then, when a Chinese gets drunk he turns into a clown. He would say things
that he shouldn't say sometimes to his own detriment." I turned to our mentor
to ask what happens when an American gets drunk. "He would go to sleep like a
child," replied Ted Miles.
The feast went on. Emptied glasses were refilled; empty stomachs were filled.
Someone proposed a toast. It was a once only thunderous drone of "yam sing"
that almost brought down the house. Yet it was curt and simple.
The dessert came. Mr. Miles like particularly the bun fried in oil filled with
Michael came over to our mentor. He started to babble. It was like a chicken
trying to communicate with a duck as the saying goes. Both but only could
exchange, "Soly kawan, Apa macam." We all said, "Bye-bye, selamat jalan".
HE JOLTS ME TO SEE THIS IS NECESSARY
One day a Mohammad drove up to Wong Yeng Kee. He demanded an explanation why
his name did not appear on the September birthday list!
My apologies, but I do not have with me the particulars of everybody. What I
could get hold of were the names that appeared in the old almost crumbling
M.E.S.SAGE, the predecessor of the MESSAGE. Then there were also the names and
birthdays supplied by Mr. Miles. Neither of these two sources was complete.
When I started the birthday list, I asked everybody to update their
particulars. Sadly to say, those who contacted me were a pitifully few.
This is another call for you to send me again your particulars. Oh no, Again?
Yes, please, in order to verify and rectify your personal particulars and
improve my list. Then we will wish you "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" in the MESSAGE on the
appropriate auspicious day! Boleh? Then don't delay!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN OCTOBER
||JOO SHEK PHIN (WILLIAM)
||MOHD KHALID M. YUSOFF
||YIP FOOK KHIM
||LEE YEW KWONG
||ISMAIL B. MOHAMED
||NG KAM THYE
||JOHN D CLEMENT
||CHAN SEE PHONG
||TAN GEE SIN
||TONG AH TAI
||WONG FOONG CHAW
||LAM HAY YIN
OUR EDITION SPONSOR - SELINA
After the previous no edition sponsor issue, someone had come in to the
rescue. She is Selina Lee Cheng Yeng, the third daughter of the Lee family.
Lee Yew Kwong's daughter has come in to see that the MESSAGE would continue
appearing. Thanks Selina.
Written and edited by Chan Suy Sang
Remember to come back SOON for more NEW and INTERESTING MESSAGES every month !!
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