Month: June 2003

I have a business idea

I have a business idea. I think it will work because there are a lot of people who would want to buy this. Nine out of every ten conversations with A begin like that. Nothing much out of the ordinary coming from people of this ilk, as there are always men with business ideas who need to tell other men who would listen. Except with A, the business idea is likely to be so far fetched, and so original it either deserves to be listened to for being original or it deserves to be dismissed immediately for being far fetched. You buy a boat. You buy guns. You hire mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, ex-Special Forces troops. You sell berths on your boat to rich, perverted tourists. You take the boat to remote islands, inhabited by backward tribes. You land on the islands. You get the mercenaries to be kwai lan and antagonize the natives to the point where they will retaliate violently. Then they get back on the boat. Then you take the boat to …

A Malay wedding

Shareena’s wedding dinner took a little longer than what Boo Seng predicted. He and I had arrived unfashionably early. The earliest among all the guests by the looks of it. So early we had to excuse ourselves to go to the car park to pretend to get something. It was an experience, as I have never attended a Malay wedding in Malaysia. Singapore Malay weddings are usually like what you have in the villages here. Long afternoon lunches that stretch into the night. No set timing for the arrival or departure of guests. A bit like a wake. Shareena’s wedding, in contrast, was a mixture of pomp and homeliness. The ceremony was solemn and religious, with long prayers that reminded me of charismatic Christian preachers who liked the sound of their own voices. We were starving by the time the Muslim version of Amen was said, with guests in the know making a face washing-like gesture signifying the close of communication lines with Allah. We had finished two bowls of tapioca chips before prayers even …

Talking Cars

I tried fixing the wipers on my car right after lunch, smack in the noon heat, hoping to renew the Tioman tan, but failed in both departments. I popped the bonnet and peered into the engine compartment, thinking, so, this is what my car engine looks like. You could say I know nothing of cars other than how to drive them, turn up the air-con and put CDs in the stereo. It was somewhat of a consolation when my brother saw me mucking around with the bonnet open (its about the only time we interact – the other being when I open my computer cover), and came over to see how he could help, and he couldn’t. My brother, the expert in all things technical and automotive, couldn’t fix my wipers. I have to bring it in to the mechanic’s tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain. So in all, five minutes were spent standing shirtless, spanner in hand, looking for a nut or bolt to undo. No tan. It is a chore talking cars to other …