Wednesday 6 February 2013
A Dream of Kuan
I am walking along and near the end of a corridor when I see a an local cafe selling stuff wrapped in ketupat leaves. The food packages are of various sizes including one that is quite large - not unlike a packet of nasi lemak. I ask for the price and find it expensive. I tell the macik no, I don't think so and walk on. Some items on display continue to interest me.
I walk on past some clothing stores. Eventually I come to a sofa bench and sit down. After a while I find a desktop scanner cover next to me. Where's the rest of the machine, I wonder. Then I notice a small black laptop, only that it is not. It holds a smaller game machine in its casing, like a Nintendo DSi XL. A blue and white school bag lies nearby, unattended.
Suddenly I realise that two boys are playing handheld games in front of me. They are sitting in some sort of boxed-in sofa seat, why I have not noticed them before and they, me.
I contemplate hiding their stuff to 'punish' them, but think better of it. I move away quietly. The boys do not notice, still too engrossed and noisy in their game play.
I leave the shopping centre and wait at the bus stop opposite. There I bump into my Engineering schoolmate, Kuan. He seems distracted, if not a little polar... smiling but troubling inside. I knew he went to China to work. Did it not work out?
We are about to board a bus and I ask Kuan if he likes to go for coffee instead. He agrees and we cross the road back to the shopping centre. We seem to have gotten to the blind side of the complex and there is no entrance. We help each other climb up and down a few parapets and flower beds to get onto a corridor. Eventually we walk round to the entrance.
Inside, we try to find a place to sit down for a drink. A lady calls out to me. She appears to run a cafe shop. I look round to inform Kuan. He has wandered off to another place.
I search for him but at each turn of the corner, can only catch glimpses of him. Eventually, I catch up to him and finds that we are now in his home, a large complex. An older man greets Kuan and he goes off with him.
The entrance to his home is high and reminds me of the large atrium of a corporation. I can also see that it is situated on a hill.
I can still hear Kuan but he stays out of sight; I wonder why he is being so elusive. The lady of the house, an Eurasian, invites me in for a drink.
We move upstairs to a verandah area to sit and talk and drink tea.
Beyond this, another hall, one that is made to look rustic, standing by itself like some ethnic community hall. The rest of the house has been concrete and painted in white. This new hall is made of timber and grass and stands out vividly like a prayer hall atop a hill. In the distance, the weather has changed and clouds can be seen growing and rolling. It is an amazing sight and the lady of the house comments so. By now, a gaggle of ladies have also joined us - some in their teens - for tea and they say the same. Some are sipping tropical cocktail drinks served up by the bar from inside that timber hall.
Soon, the storm is upon us and all of us run in for cover.
Still, no sight of Kuan, although I continue to hear him speak with someone nearby.
The wind from the storm blows hard, flapping the bamboo blind around us. Rain begins to pelt. It is an awesome sight being so high and exposed.
I retreat into the big house again and stand behind a glass. I marvel at the storm now raging outside. It feels me with awe. I don't hear from Kuan and it seem not to matter anymore.