Monday 29 September 2014

Street Market in Kuala Lumpur

In this dream, I am sitting in the lotus position and floating over a street market in KL. (Not for the first time, mind you; I've "lotus-floated" over quite a few places in my dreams before.) I seem to be in an old part of town, maybe "she cheong gai" street market (i.e. Petaling Street Market).

This time I  start slow and cannot get enough height. I bobble up and down trying to gain lift.

A shopkeeper stares at me. I try again to gain height but fail and knock over a leather luggage bag from a high shelf in the street. He goes to pick it up but doesn't seem annoyed; he was more amused than anything, almost as if he has seen me do this before. Still, I am embarrassed by my mistake and apologise profusely and try again to gain lift again. I fly pass another big stall that juts out into the street. It sells tee-shirts. I can read the ones hung at the top. I am that low, still trying to float above 'em stalls. 

Finally, with some added will, I am able to rise and fly at normal height which is about three storeys high. I reach the end of the street market and come to a road river bridge where I see Ah Keong. He is a neighbour from my teenage years.

We great each other. Ah Keong's looks and build reminds me of a 90s HK TV actor who always acted in eager and entrepreneurial young men roles. Like him, Ah Keong too has a bit of a squint eye.

We walk along a five-foot way and reach a turn; a short flight of stairs lead to another cluster of quaint-looking shops. Their merchandise  goods spilling out into the sidewalk.

Ah Keong seems to know the bosses there and acts like a Member of Parliament on his rounds greeting and handing out his name cards. I have this feeling that his actions may be a bit over-the-top.

He turns to tell me that he knows a friend who owns an eyewear shop nearby.

We look for a place to sit and chat. Eventually we arrive at a cafe with 50s-style modern interior, one I have seen in an old HK movie starring Cheong Ying, Wu Fong and pretty Lam Fung... all popular stars from the 60s.

I realise I do not have any ringgit (Malaysian currency) with me, only Sg dollars. The lady boss at the cashier station is kind and says "no problem".

Ah Keong and I settle down to chat.

I ask Ah Keong his occupation and he tells me that he is into application software. He says he is also into a few other things. I didn't ask him to elaborate suspecting that not all are legitimate activities.

He asks me what I think of the software industry and I share my opinion as I've covered that field as a journalist for many years attending conferences and interviewing industry players.

He is impressed. He decides to call more friends to listen to me. I am surprised but not displeased.

At the next table I meet an old friend, a lady who was  a director in a publishing company I had worked in before.

I introduce her to Ah Keong. They exchange name cards. Embarrassingly, it takes me a moment to remember her name. She was called Suan or something like that. We have had a very professional friendship in the past. She still likes me and I am glad to see her again. She is a wonderful combination of smarts and lady-like grace.

More people begin to stream into the cafe.

I step out to take a breather, feeling good but somewhat overwhelmed by the large number of people Ah Keong has called to listen to my talk. They fill about two long tables.

Outside, an Indian executive with greying hair squats down next to a chalkboard to try to explain something. He draws a curvy graph relating knowledge with age. Mine seems more to the right, signalling that my knowledge may not be as in-job as it should be. I tell him that my knowledge is that of a journalist's: more worldly than scholarly. I also mention that the graph does not indicate a person's analytic ability (where my value lies). I tell myself these graphs don't matter as my insights are uniquely my own.

I go back into the cafe to begin my talk.

In the very next dream sequence, I am back with Ah Keong in a somewhat deserted street lined with old shoprow houses. 

I learn more about him. Physically, he is a strapping chap and quite tough. He appears to be married with wife and young daughter.

We walk and talk some more. Eventually, I tell him I have to get going. Ah Keong then reminds me of the direction to take to get to the street market in case I come visit again. 

It starts to rain. I quickly increase my pace and reach a corner road junction that is recognised for its giant baobab tree. It reminds of a similar road junction in Malacca. I turn to make my way home feeling glad to have the rain beat down on me. It is both exhilarating and a release. My one regret has always been not keeping in touch with Ah Keong. We both played badminton for our constituency during our younger days and had some adventures motorbiking around in JB.

The end.

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