Thursday 25 October 2012

An Egg-Shaped Car

Someone has invited me to shop at the village. I go there and see a popular eating place. It's crowded and I make my way in to see what the fuss was all about. It is some cold noodles the proprietor is selling. The eatery is made of bamboo and with mats as walls like some waystation tea-stand in some Ancient China.

I see movement of people and follow them along a corridor. I make a few turns and end up in a room. A group of boys are trying to clean themselves up with water. I notice they are without shoes. I ask why they are muddy and they tell me they have been playing in a river further up.

They point out of a window and I follow their directions. I find the river and understands the fun the boys had. It reminds me of a trip I've made to Malaysia once.

Other folk walk by carrying prayer incense things. There are trees all round as if in a kampong and that a temple is somewhere ahead.

I get the feeling that my female friend is coming and return to the roadside by the eatery. I see her walking down towards me from a distance. When we up we go inside and have a meal.

After our makan, we say our goodbyes and I meet my army buddy Richard. I am soon at his house. I stay over and the next thing I know, I am awake in the morning and am. getting ready to leave.

For some reason Richard is busy in his room. His dad feels it is rude and calls him to come join me.

The phone rings and Richard's father picks it up. "It's your army camp," he says.

Richard talks into the phone and gets angry. It seems the camp is not willing to let him skip a training in-camp. Profanities are exchanged. He switches off the phone and throws it on the sofa.

I get dressed to leave. I notice I am dressed in a funny way. A loose sheer blouse, a very short pair of skin-tight shorts that is made of red and yellow shiny polyester and printed with images of people from ancient China. I think the scene is a snippet from that famous Song painting of a market on a river bridge that was recently turned into a kind of animated installation artwork. This pair of shorts is so short it's like a band. Stranger still is that lacy underwear is sneaking out from behind and after some comments made by Richard's mom, I try to tuck them back in.

I look as if I am wearing transvestite fashion but I don't feel it. Even the high heels I'm wearing don't engender that feeling.

Next, I am back at the eatery and bump into Allen, a secondary schoolmate and fellow badminton team member. We sit down somewhere for coffee and to chat. Once done, we head back to his 'car' that was parked in an alley. It has an unusual shape, almost like a luge machine with cover. Allen seems proud of it and suggests we go for a drive.

We remove the top cover, which is made of unvarnished fibreglass. It has the color and texture of polished shell like those commonly used by Filipinos to make lampshades, coasters and other stuff. The rest of the car seems to be made of canvas, wood and aluminium struts. Together they give the impression that the vehicle is egg-shaped and aerodynamic.

Allen gets in, followed by me. I ease myself carefully down on the seat (it's a tight fit) and proceed to lift my leg one at a time into a small place holder. As mentioned, this vehicle is more luge machine than car. Or some leftover contraption from an energy-efficient driving contest.

I need to sneak my leg between two pieces of wood planks and I succeed. Sitting with my legs clamped around the structure, we replace the cover and set off.

To move the machine, we have to shove-chuck two thin rods that run along the top edges of the vehicle. The faster we work, the faster the vehicle went. Allen and I have to be coordinated. So we time ourselves to left-right left-right rhythm. it works. Our action is no different from holding on to two overhead bars in a bus and shoving them along. Pretty soon, we speed along at a very good pace.

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