Vengeance

The fifty-acre fabrication yard lied opposite the Pulau Ubin. Ali and the other 600 workers were busy with their jobs. Engines roared and shrilled. Okai  Kong, a foreman was brought up in JB but a Singapore citizen. He had small and narrow eyes, which were located too close to the nose. The side burns, beard and mustaches gave others the impression he was Japanese. His favorite means of pleasing young ladies was to buy them expensive perfumes, the most up to date dresses and shoes.

” If you are smart you don’t have to come from Indonesia to work here,” Okai Kong yelled at Tan.

The humiliated worker perspired under the fierce hot sun. He came from Batam and the $1300 he makes every month is for his family. Tan liked to bring his girl friend to watch the setting sun at the Punggol beach. One Sunday the couple went back late. Before Tan could step into the car, a man approached from behind with a coke bottle grasped in the right hand. That bottle landed on the top of Tan’s head, leaving him sprawling on the sand. The assailant vanished into the forest. Tan’s girl fried cried but managed to stop the bleeding. When Tan woke up the next morning, it was 11 o’clock in the hospital. The matter could not be investigated further. For his personal safety Tan was advised to leave Singapore. Not many people in the yard knew the coke bottle incident. Many months passed and as could be expected, one incident after another cropped up at this construction site, where there were many empires within the company, and unless you belonged to one of them, your service cannot last more than three months there, regardless of whether you are a bachelor degree or a PhD holder.

” You trainees are villains,” Okai  Kong shouted at the boys. ” You don’t work hard and you keep on complaining about the foremen.”

” You rapacious villain. When I kick, you’ll never stand on your feet again,” Ali assured him.

The matter reached the Personnel Manager who actually sided Okai  Kong. The reputation of the trainees went from bad to worst. The finger was pointing at the engineers who interviewed these trainees and found them to be worth employing.

One Saturday night, Okai  Kong invited his girl friend to dance at Bar 69. Ali happened to be there.

” That’s my helper,” Okai  Kong told his girl. ” There are twenty of them in the company. I don’t know why they want to work there. Prospects are not good in that company. You have to curry favours to progress. No one takes the better of you.”

” Hey Ali, I saw you last night at the dance. Why didn’t you bring a girl along?” Okai  Kong asked sarcastically and went on, ” If you leave the company and work in an office, there will be plenty of girls for you to tackle. If you become a bus driver, you can also meet lots of girls.”

Ali blushed and did not know what to say next. He waited until evening and stopped Okai  Kong at the gate for an explanation of the topic of girls in the morning.

” Please don’t denigrate me again. I’m better educated than you and may one day hold a higher position than you.”

” That’s still to be seen,” Okai  Kong sneered scornfully.

” You are jealous of us because you don’t have half our qualification. You don’t even have a Primary 6 certificate. Every one knows how you got a job in this company. My annual reports are full of accusations and lies. If you can just prove one item mentioned in the report, the management would have terminated my service long ago.”

” Yes. That’s what the company is considering now. Do you want to be the first to go? Do you want to be the hero?”

” If I go, you will be the next to go, don’t you know bastard? You and your cronies have been using the material issue vouchers to draw a lot of materials and sell them to the hardware shops. Shall I write to the managing director about his? What about the service requisition you raised? Only half the labourers turned up to work. The labour suppliers must have given you a lot of money? No wonder you have so much money to put up girls in the hotel rooms waiting to entertain those engineers, department heads, and the engineering  managers? Aren’t you afraid of bad karma? You’re only good to fan the flames and beat the drums in this company. Racism exists in every country, but not as bad as in this company. Your barbaric lust for sex, money and power will never be satisfied. You blamed the wrong persons, things, spirits, and celestial beings, as the cause of your pains and sufferings. You want more and more every day. ”

Suddenly Okai  Kong kicked Ali on the head. Ali fell but struggled on his feet again. Ali charged at Okai  Kong like a mad bull and both of them dropped into the monsoon drain. Ali’s hands were on Okai  Kong’s throat. Okai  Kong went unconscious.

A week later, Okai  Kong found Abdul, a fitter trainee, sleeping in the warehouse and terminated his services straight away even though Abdul had earlier requested for leave because of fever. As Okai  Kong was handing over the termination letter, Abdul punched him on the nose. Blood spurted all over the wretched and maladjusted victim’s body.

This seemingly tough foreman wanted to avenge. He bought a samurai sword and left it in his car. Losing the job did not matter really much for Abdul. In order to eat honestly Abdul had to work hard. He bought a hoe and a long knife to clear his kumpong land.

Four years passed and Abdul’s fruit trees began to blossom. His produce from the land was then many times more than what he could ever receive from the former construction company. Abdul’s daughter, who worked in an emporium, was pretty enough to be the queen of any king. Okai  Kong spent a lot of money to seduce her and fathered the child that was in her. Abdul did not know who the father was until one day when Okai  Kong came to his orchard to declare that Salmah was very juicy on bed, and that Salmah should now tell the whole world that the sky-god had fathered the child that is in her.

” You must be working terribly hard these days,” Okai  Kong put on a smiling face.

” Bloody dog. What do you want?” Abdul spat at him.

Okai  Kong snatched the hoe and charged at Abdul who rolled in time to pick up a bean stake. Within seconds the hoe landed on Abdul’s face but Abdul managed to pierce the enemy’s stomach with the wood.

The cries and howls attracted the attention of the neighbours. Salmah was shocked to find out her prince charming was the bitterest enemy of her father. When the child was born Salmah took him to Canada where she was to begin her career as a domestic servant. We later heard that Salmah found an Ang Mo who was formerly a Singapore PR. This gentleman married her and also took care of Salmah’s first child. Why did the Singaporeans at home think of her as a loose woman?

After five years behind the iron bars, this thug was again ready for troubles. One December night when Abdul was catching the insects and worms on the vegetable plots, Okai  Kong rushed out from the lalang and thrust a gun at him.

” Cool down, Okai  Kong. Do you want to create a lot more bad karma? Are you going to suffer perpetually ?”

” A rustic like you know better than me. Tell me before you die: why are the good men poor and the evil ones rich?”

” A man might be living a clean life formerly and is therefore now prosperous. The evil ones too might be living a clean life formerly and is now prosperous. Unfortunately they may not be able to continue to lead a clean life this time because forces like greed and hatred are very strong. Not many people are able to resist them. I once saw you pushing a welder into the sea and you killed him with the current from the welding machine. I did not report this to the police because I was the only witness. The investigation reports said that welder created a short circuit in the water to kill a big fish and that he jumped into the water to collect that fish and was therefore was killed. You bastards are very good in making up stories.”

” That son of the bitch was a thorn on my neck. He wrote to the Prime Minister’s department complaining that the foremen and the engineers were running their own company to bring in Filipino engineers to work as skilled technicians here and they deprived the locals of many jobs. Why should I care if Singaporeans are jobless? A postmortem confirmed the bastard was drowned. Are you smarter than the doctor? That bastard also made up story that I was assisting Baskaran to cheat our company on those technicians whom Baskaran took to work on the  rigs. He said Baskaran took away more that 20 technicians from our company every day, and Baskaran was only paying back the salary of one technician per day. Why do you think I should help Baskaran to cheat our own company? Why do you think I should help Baskaran  to smuggle materials out from our warehouse? I don’t even trust that bastard. He can smile at you and at the next moment, when you turn your back, he can stab you from the back.”

” Say what you want. The welder is dead and can’t argue now. Baskaran  can give you thousands of dollars every week. What are you going to do with all those money?  To buy a coffin made of solid gold for yourself? I can see all the evils written on your ugly face. Sooner or later your retribution will come. Don’t you remember your own crony George Sadas? The senior foreman who was so greedy that every day he must receive something from the subcontractors? So the cheapest way was to give him a bottle of Black Label every day. This greedy ghost took the liquor without diluting it with water. He could not sleep every night, so again he had to drown himself by the concentrated liquor. He died of liver cancer within one year. Today our best joke in the yard is that the bastard drowned himself in the cunt which was full of liquor, because all the ladies who worked under him must also satisfy him sexually or their contract would be terminated.”

Abdul’s anxious wife Chiku came to look for him when he did not return at the time he normally did. This thug, horrified by the appearance of someone, pulled the trigger. Abdul fell silently. Chiku dashed over only to find him dead. Okai  Kong pointed the gun at the petrified woman, who was too shocked to shed tears.

” If you move, you die too,” he made it clear.

Okai  Kong pushed her on the grass, tore her blouse and pulled down her sarong and jabbed his evil root into her. When the animal tension was released, he took the gun and knocked her on the head. The woman too lost her life.

Investigation cleared up the rape and murder mystery. Okai  Kong’s lawyer begged the High Court for leniency saying that Okai  Kong’s parents were slashed to death in front of Okai  Kong when he was only five years old, and that it was a neighbour who brought Okai  Kong up. According to psychiatrists this childhood incident affected his life unfavourably.

On the gallows, Okai  Kong told the executioner that the untimely death was to be blamed on the society that failed him. He was only partly right. The truth was, Okai  Kong was killed by his own greed.

End 

Copyright © 2005 Poh Tiong Ho

In many countries, many foreign talents have to face the jealous locals because these locals are actually suffering from inferiority-complex. Just like the blue colar worker who refused to put on the blue coverall because he thought white would attract more girls.

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The Pimp

 

“ Come Judy, we’ll dance again”. Nick Tua Pau Chia invited her.

 

Judy smiled at him. Stood up and walked into the floor. The hot music went on. There were at least fifty couples on the floor of that Recreation Club.  Most of the men held their partners so tightly in their arms it could hardly be considered as moderate. Nick like Ali and the rest each paid S$300.00 for his dance ticket, which included nothing, more than a free partner. Joe Ching was the organizer. Joe was baldheaded, with bulging cheeks and exceptionally big belly. He loved the big belly as he told his friends that it signified prosperity according to the Chinese belief.

 

Joe stepped on to the platform near the Bend to offer his warm welcome.

“ Ladies and gentlemen,” he went on with that speech which he had practiced in front of his dressing table mirror for the past many days. “ I hope you regard this dance floor as your own. Enjoy yourselves until you are fully satisfied. I’m here to serve you all. Please tell me if there is anything that I can help.”

 

Around that Club House, couples were strolling along the cool and beautiful beach, which was enriched by the yellowish moonlight. Gradually the couples disappeared to where no one was able to know. But after one or two hours they would surely be back at the clubhouse again. All those free partners were actually prostitutes, which had been recruited from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. They came under the social visit passes arranged by Joe Ching.

 

Judy was a GCE “O” Level student who was still waiting for her results. Being fresh from school she was naïve and unaware of all those unseen traps. She accepted Joe’s invitation with thanks. A big, dark, tall and ugly ex-infantry man was introduced to her that night. After half an hour dancing on the floor, Joe brought up a cup of drink for her and a beer for Nick.

 

“ Good luck, Nick. Joe whispered into Nick’s ear and patted him on the shoulder showing his set of golden teeth.

 

“ Let’s go for a walk on the shore,” Nick persuaded.

 

“ That would be lovely.” Judy commented thinking she was being social.

They came down stairs, strolled through the bush and were down on the sandy shore.

 

“ We’re getting near doomsday, “ Judy whispered.

 

“ What made you say so?”

 

“ Look at the couples there!”

 

“ Why? Isn’t that what we want instead of the dull routine of going to office and back every day?”

 

Nick deliberately encouraged Judy to watch the contorting couples in the field, under the venerable aru (casurina) trees, which were singing windy songs. On the seashore, grotesque rocks, hundreds of them, some as high as two metres, were resting on the superb sands washed clean by the waves. These rocks provided hiding grounds for the courting couples. The gentle breaking sound of the waves, as they arrived at the surfy shore could be heard. The breezes made them shivered. So he suggested that they should walk inland. They strolled along a path with branches pressing down on both sides. The creepers dangling over their heads with dead branches spreading on the ground.

 

Nick grasped Judy’s hand and plodded on. They came to a patch of turf with trees surrounding it, and the branches above his head formed a roof. He was wondering how to handle this charming lady who was at his mercy. The drug was absorbed into her system slowly and steadily. No woman would be able to resist its power.

 

“Judy darling. I know what you are thinking now. There is no need to fight it. You are torturing yourself.” Nick looked into her eyes and pushed her on to the ground. Judy did not resist nor shout for help. He pressed his mouth on her lips and pushed his tongue into her mouth.

 

“ Love is what you need and I am going to give it to you now. Nick pulled down her zip on the back and pulled her blouse over her head. He then slipped down her under wear, which was already wet. The single unit remained wriggling and rolling for many minutes on the ground. Joe surely planned his project extremely well.

 

The moon was high on the sky. Judy lay on the grass watching the full moon. Nick glanced at his watch. It was one o’clock in the morning. He dressed himself. How many innocent girls have been deceived in this manner?

 

That was a Sunday morning. Joe ranked up to enquire how Judy was.

 

“ Hello Nick. I hope Judy entertained you last night?”

 

“It was great, old man. She was perfect. A new one you know. Thanks a lot. I am going to pass her on to my boss, my department head, whom I report directly to. tonight  at the Queen’s Hotel.”  Joe showed some sign of satisfaction on his distorted face.

 

Since Nick had nothing he could use rightfully to advance his career, he had to use women to please his boss who was an orang puteh ( Westerner) from Baskaran Engineering Services. He could not bring the girl to the house of the boss because the boss had a wife staying in. So he solved the problem by taking her to check in at a local hotel. The next thing we heard was that Nick was promoted to be the chief engineer.

 

This cunning Joe started his part-time business only recently but it brought in more money than his full-time occupation. His technique was to deceive the girls telling them vacancies that never existed. Greed blinds one to dangers.

 

“ Right, Kelly, you come to see me next Friday. I may be able to help,” Joe said consolingly.

 

All other girls had been told the same story. Most of them had been offered temporary jobs in hotels and restaurants all over Singapore. All these girls were forced to offer their bodies and majority of them stayed on this oldest profession until they were no longer needed.  They were too ashamed to return to their own countries or their boyfriends.

 

Kelly took an air ticket from Joe and flew to Kuala Lumpur. She checked into a hotel there and was given the presumption she was going to work in her new job within the next two or three days. In this hotel Joe offered her the best wine and food and of course the drugged drink as usual. She was forced to receive customers the same night.

 

“ Oh, you dog. I can’t do that.”  Kelly slapped him on the face. Joe remained calm. Was he immune to this sort of assault?

 

“ You take it or leave it. If I were you, I wouldn’t refuse. What is the difference? You have lost your virginity anyway. Think of the economic return. You will be able to drive a BMW and own a landed property in Singapore within two years. You can then look for a husband and settle down for good. If you return to Singapore now, David would not want you again. I told David and his parents about you yesterday. They are old fashion you know. They cannot accept a daughter- in- law who is not a virgin on her welding night.  It is still a taboo.”

 

Tears rolled down from Kelly’s eyes. She flunked a glass on Joe’s face, leaving a four-inch cut on the forehead. The casualty went for treatment at a private clinic and seemed to have no intention to take revenge.

 

That night there was a queue of customers waiting for her at the hotel corridor. One customer after another came in, each given ten minutes privacy and was told to leave by Joe.

 

News spread that a Singapore beauty was entertaining in KL. David came to KL and found no such company as “Star Enterprise”. Being curious what the Singapore beauty was doing in KL, he made an enquiry, and found the story of Joe was true. Kelly was in the hotel receiving customers. Rumours can split up the most loving couples.

 

That pimp’s business began to deteriorate only when he launched his campaign for big fish. Senior schoolgirls from Singapore and Malaysia were recruited. This illiterate shocker, with no qualification to brag about scorned at people with tertiary education. He told a group of girls that he received no education and yet he had a huge house and four sports cars and was able to donate S$1 million to a religious organization. He added that he was sad when he saw old people having no homes to turn to and had to depend on foods provided by the local religious groups.

 

“ When  these old people are sick, do they have money to pay for their hospital bills? What’s the use of education? We are here to enjoy life and all one needs is to have money. Money does wonders.” The girls gazed at each other, wondering if they should believe him.

 

No words can describe the pain suffered by David. He only talked to Joe over the phone. It was difficult finding this secretive thug.

 

One elegant house was located at Woodland near the seafront. Its owner was on leave so Joe rented it at a very high price to turn it into his money churning headquarters. Another grand party was held there. This time I must confess the gathering was most horrible. A small bedroom was used by not less than ten couples, all having sex at the same time. It was a matter of what I do, you do and what I have, you may also have. Surely a person would go mad unless he pays the S$500.00.

 

That night Joe had to tackle a most difficult client.

 

“ S$500 is a big sum. Where is my bird?” James Sadang lost his patient and was on the verge of becoming violent.

 

“ No fear, James. A young one from JB. May be the traffic jam at the stupid causeway delayed her arrival. Please give me some more time.”  Joe did his best to be diplomatic.

 

“ If she doesn’t turn up within half an hour, I’ll string you up on that penaga tree out there, or to the police you will go. You showed me this photo now where is the bird?”

 

“ Tick, Tick, Tick”, the grandfather clock on the concrete wall went on mercilessly and pointed at the 9 pm position. James who suffered the physical desire could wait no longer. There are three things that most people will ever have enough: wine, sex and sleep. James dragged Joe’s wife into her bedroom and locked the room from the inside.

 

The house had already been filed with smell of human flesh. Joe who was squad like a toad sat in the armchair with the expression of success on his face. The armchair was actually too big for him.  Don’t we love big things like large cars and huge houses? What about the padded shoulders on our overcoats?

 

The proud roosters flapped their wings and crowed: kerkeker. Morning came and all customers were gone except James.

 

He unlocked the door, with a bottle of Black Label in his left hand and murmured:

 

“ Sorry to keep you waiting the whole night. You see, Joe, I’m the strongest of all. I can take concentrated liquor direct from the bottle. I haven’t visited our company doctor for the past ten years.”

 

He walked out of the house, into the street, and got wedged in the crowds and was never seen in this town again because he actually dropped dead few hours later and the doctor confirmed James Sadang had liver cancer. His colleagues confirmed he needed the liquor to go to sleep every night because of indignation, rage, frustration, fear, tension, uncertainty and blame.

 

That morning David met the long awaited man at Bukit Batok. Joe was visiting a new client living on the hilltop. As David came out of a friend’s house he saw Joe’s BMW behind a flower bush and waited for him there. As the chauffer driven car came to a halt, Joe adjusted his tie to make sure it was at the right place so that he could look more dignified. He slammed the car door closed and walked with the most business like manner toward the door.  Sara came out to meet him.

 

“Well, are you coming to-night?”  Joe enquired. “I have some VIPs from Japan and I would like you to meet them. You are chosen from over twenty other girls because you are beautiful and social. You will make a perfect secretary.”

 

“ I can’t go because David said he would come to see me tonight.”

 

“ Who is this David? Is he a VIP?” Joe pretended to ask thinking he could denigrate David so that Sara would think poorly of him.

 

“ He is our local Singaporean.”

 

Joe’s face lost its natural colour. He felt a coldness running through his spinal cord. Joe was able to bully all the foreigners who were here on employment passes. These EP holders had to earn a living and could not afford  to lose their EP passes. So they normally tolerate those local bullies. For the locals, many of them have friends at high places. Joe will definitely stand on an unfavourable ground. Joe could never face David. He was brave when he used the hand phone to talk. When he thought of David he associated it with brutal force.

 

David who was hiding under a window and a bush of tropical plants hoped to hear more of the conversation. The shocker pulled himself together and murmured.

 

“ That jobless David.  What is he doing now? Please invite him to come along. His company would be appreciated.”

 

“ What do you mean?”

 

“ He can help to send the girls home after the party and I can assure you he is no better than that.”

 

That night David could not find Joe. The Japanese did not turn up. There was no party. David took Sara to the seashore for a stroll. As they approached an aru tree, he stopped facing the sea. At that instant, a dark figure pointed a shinning knife on his back and ordered David to move or David would be sent to hell.

 

“ What do you………..” David did not finish the sentence but swung round his right heel to land it on the right ear of this potential killer sending the killer rolling on the sand.

 

The drizzle began. It was possible a lashing down pour would follow. Only a few meters away, Joe appeared, pointing a pistol at David.

 

“ Dog, you move or I’ll pump few pieces of lead into you”, a fiendish malice showed on Joe’s face.

 

“ Sorry to hurt your man, Joe. That gun will attract attention.  If I die, you will be sentenced to death. Why risk your life? You’re rich now. Call it quit and I will make sure this matter is never mentioned again.”

 

“ Dirty swine, you think you are smart?”

 

“ I am not smart. But at least I don’t need stupefying drugs and intoxicants to keep me going,” David retorted.

 

Joe dashed forward to strike the enemy on the head with the pistol. David blocked the pistol; his left hand went for Joe’s throat. The pistol dropped during the struggle. The dying man plodded his way along the sandy shore only to fall few seconds later.

 

Later on the next days it was reported that two men were murdered on the beach and the motive was unknown.

 

However, a group of ten labourers came in to give statement that they saw David hitting Joe from the back with a timber on the right ear of Joe. David, and Sara were arrested at Jurong East and were locked up by he police to face the death sentence. When the x-ray came out, the fatal cracks on Joe’s head were found on the left side. There was no sign that Joe’s right ear was hit by a piece of timber.

 

 

END 

 

Copyright © 2005 Poh Tiong Ho

The Shanghai Graduate

At the age of 16, David obtained a scholarship from the University of Shanghai to read for a 1st degree in Mechanical Engineering. He left his poor hut at Kumpong Bugis and was very happy to leave Singapore and have a chance to have a better look at the other parts of the world. He studied hard and was able to graduate with flying colours. While he was doing his practical training in Shanghai, the emergence of the Red Guards forced him to flee for his life. His target was Hong Kong. A bribe of one thousand Hong Kong dollars allowed him to sneak pass the sentry and swam his way to Hong Kong which was then more crowded than Singapore. At Hong Kong, the British Secret Service recruited him to spy on the Chinese affairs. After four years of intensive training at Scotland Yard he went to Nanking where he set up his office, and his profession was Foreign correspondent. This terrific young man, 1.75 meters in height, weighing 70 kg could be the next movie star to act for James Bond. He was quiet and serious and seemed to have only one interest, to have as much as he could out of life.

” I’m David, a British correspondent from Fleet Street, London,” he introduced himself to the editor of the New China daily.

” Glad to know you, David. What can I do for you?” Mr. Tan stared at David.

” I’m working for the betterment of the Chinese,” David studied Tan from head to the feet, wondering if he should tell the truth, which means risking immediate arrest.

” We’re always looking for bright ideas from young people like you,” Tan’s words assured David that this editor might be interested to corporate.

” Please tell me Tan. What do you think of Mao Tse Tung?”

” Chairman Mao was a soldier. If the Chinese had assisted him to go to the University and study for a degree in Economics, the fate of China would have been very much better. No doubt he was the greatest soldier. But after a war, what else can the soldier do? Can you name me two countries which are led by soldiers and are yet successful ?”

David knew his chance had come. He found the person who might be willing to corporate with him. He therefore frankly went on:

” If communism can prevail in Asia, it has to be successful in China. And men are by nature selfish. I don’t see how communism can benefit majority of the Chinese. You’re Chinese and I’m Chinese, let’s work together so that the Chinese can one day walk with their heads high and therefore respected all over the world. My father had to flee China after Sun Yat Sen took over from the Manchus. The Manchus were people from the mountains. What did they know about governance? The British were unhappy with Sun and the Americans who helped him were not sincere. There was string attached. There were chaos all over China.”

” What are my rewards?”

” USD50,000 now and a monthly salary of USD3000 plus an English Cottage with a garden in the English country side all under your name.”

” How do we begin?”

“Employ me as a reporter with your Daily. Assigned me to visit the Chairman of the Nuclear Power Board and give me a column to write about all the glories about the NPB. I’ll need two months to have my works published. By then the new government will think of me as a young loyal Chinese and will allow me to travel freely within the country. I shall be doing a lot of welfare work to raise my social status.”

The chairman of the NPB was Dr.Tee, a bold headed scientist who worked his way up the ladder by whatever means he could think of. He did not believe in retribution. He said when a person dies, that will be the end. There could not be anything else. Those after lives were all nonsense as far as he was concerned. Dr.Tee disclosed that by the 1980’s, the existing nuclear plants would be able to produce all the power needed by all the major towns in China, bringing shame of the so-called advanced countries like the USA, Britain, Germany and France.

” Could you please show me round the plant? ” David enquired.

” Yes. You will leave the camera with the guard house,” Dr. Tee assured him.

It was impossible to destroy all the seven nuclear plants scattered all over China in one mission. David had two small size time bombs hidden in his shoes. The guests led by Dr.Tee visited the plant at Nanking on Monday morning. In August 1976. The sentry guard collected the passes and showed the guests to the main entrance. Dr. Tee took them round and answered all the questions raised. David sneaked to the reactor core telling the technicians he was going to pee but did not manage to find the toilet. He had enough time to stick the time bombs on the wall of the reactor and hurried off. Ten minutes later, as Dr. Tee and the group was on the way to another part of the plant, the reactor core exploded frantically. People living within 10 kilometers thought the whole world was going to an end. Debris were blown sky high. There were roadblocks everywhere. Dr.Tee and all the visitors were detained. The evening paper reported that nine capitalists were arrested for blowing up the main artery of the nation.

David thought of other plan even though he was in the jailhouse. The other eight companions slept so soundly that they could be mistaken to be dead. With the hand grenade, David threatened to blow up unless the guard open the gate. This guard had heard of suicide bombers in the Middle East and therefore did not want to take the chances. As David was dashing out of the room, he punched the guard so hard on the solar plexus that the guard dropped dead. He dashed off without looking back and after about one hour of running, he noticed there was a house on a hilltop. He slowed down, staggered over to the house and knocked on the door.

” Please hide me in your house. The police are after me,” David told Ah Yun, who was still keeping the door only slightly opened.

” Why do they want you?”

” For blowing up the nuclear plant!”

” Oh, you traitor. I’ll report to them now,” she ran out of the house towards the police station.

David fired two warning shot into the air. The girl jerked forward. David grasped at her hair and gazed into her eyes and promised to shoot everyone at home unless she offers him a hiding place for a few days.

A group of soldiers and policemen were approaching the house.

” Anybody came here about an hour ago?” the inspector asked, at the same time staring round and round the house as if someone was going to hurl a hand grenade at him.

” No, Sir, no one was here,” the farmer felt the chill ran down from the neck to the feet.

The party searched everywhere but found nothing. They marched off, obviously exhausted by now. David came down from the ceiling to assure the farmer that none of the family would be harmed and that he had to wait for a day or two to catch a train to Shanghai.

” Mr. Chin. I’ll need the corporation of your daughter. She’ll have to travel with me to Shanghai to avoid the attention of the police.”

” That can’t be done,” Chin declared, very much annoyed.

” I’ll pay you USD10,000.00,” David persuaded.

” I can’t allow my daughter to endanger her life,” Chin pretended to hesitate.

“I’ll take care of her. When we reach London, I’ll bank another USD10,000.00 into her account. That’s a lot of money. She can then come back to you and no one will ever know anything about it. That is the reason I do not intend to return to Singapore. It will attract a lot of attention. I have not the slightest intention of hurting China. Only the political principle stands on the way. You see, when majority of the foreign countries wanted to see the Chinese government going bankrupt by refusing to buy Chinese goods, we the Singaporeans kept on buying. Isn’t this a sincere gesture? ”

Chin pretended to persuade his daughter but was actually forcing her as could be understood from his tone.

The night train arrived from Wuxi heading to Shanghai. Police surrounded the station. All passengers were scrutinized thoroughly one by one. David pasted a false mole on his forehead above the right eye, exactly as it appeared on his passport. He disguised as an oversea Chinese coming to China to fetch his bride. A senior immigration cast a hard look at David. David nodded at him and quickly moved forward. The train shrilled and the driver pushed the button. The fast speed and the darkness gave David a sense of security. Ah Yun was worried in the cabin. She could lose her life for collaborating with a foreign devil.

” Come, sit up and have a chat,” David studied her body carefully.

She sat up, still very afraid. David began to be ravished by her beauty. Are women more beautiful at night? She had a well-shaped figure and a voluptuous bust.

” The train won’t reach Shanghai until tomorrow night, ” David assured her.

” That doesn’t matter.”

” Ever been traveling before?”

” Never.”

” The first time on board a train?”

“Yes.”

” What’s your age?”

“22.”

” Educated where?”

” Nanking Girls’ High School.”

They chatted for more than an hour. Ah Yun lied down to sleep. David woke her up few minutes later. She lied there, watching the ceiling. She was healthier and better developed than an average city girl.

” Ever been in love before?”

” Never.”

” Why?”

“No suitable one.”

“What about me?”

” You are a foreign dog.”

” Yes, and a better dog.”

” Chukok gave you scholarship to study here. Why do you want to hurt the lands of your grandfathers? Before your country got independence, it was agreed that all people of Chinese origin would not be granted an International Passport. Without passports, you cannot travel overseas. Chou En Lai pitied you people and clearly announced during a meeting with overseas reporters that all overseas Chinese who could not obtain an International Passport may go to the nearest Chinese High Commission, wherever that  office may be, to obtain a Chinese Passports. It was for this reason that those foreign countries offered the passports to those Chinese who happened to be born in those places. “

” I don’t like the communists because they could only bring chaos to the world. They have no sense of running a business. They are only good at polishing guns and boots.”

David pulled her up and embraced her. She did not resist. He unbuttoned her blouse and kissed her on the lip. She put her arms round him, surely a sign of approval. David gently pulled off her skirt and began to massage her calf and thigh and then her abdomen, chest, big and beautifully shaped boobs, nipples, and her neck. She was there ready for him. She would cry if David did not get on top of her. Blood flew out between her thighs. The bed was smeared with it. They went to sleep. It was dawning.

Two security men from the Railway Company were checking the passengers on board the train in the morning as instructed by the police. They questioned David as to what he was doing in China. David said he came to fetch the girl who he married yesterday. The guards wanted some concrete proof. Tears could be seen coming out from Ah Yun’s eyes. David pointed to the blood stained towel on the bed. The guards laughed and walked to the next cabin to continue their job.

For their first morning as husband and wife, David ordered four eggs, two cups of Chinese tea, two plates of onions fried with pork, and some bananas. Ah Yun ate quietly, as if some serious thing had struck her.

” What about staying at London with me?”

” Why do we stay at London? You told me you came from Singapore?”

” Yes, I’m from Singapore. But we have to hide in London for a few months. Later on I’ll take you back to Singapore. You can find a job and will be offered a Singapore PR.”

From Shanghai they flew to Hong Kong, obviously free from the dangers now. Unfortunately David received a second order to go for another mission to destroy the nuclear plant at Canton.

” Hong Kong calling London. Mr. Heath, small size shoes are very popular in China. Please airfreight two thousand pairs.”

” Wait at Kaitak airport tomorrow at 1200 noon. Our representatives will hand over the bills for you to sign,” Heath confirmed at the other end.

As arranged two men fetched David at the airport. They arrived by Air Vietnam via Singapore. The three men went to the Mandarin Hotel after a ride on the Star Ferry to Room 502 on the fifth floor. David began to sense he was trapped. The two men Chong and Wong were Chinese spies stationed in South East Asia. The robust Chong pointed a pistol on David’s neck, and moved five steps backward and shot at the bulb at the ceiling to show off his skill. The bulb shattered and pieces of glass were scattered all over the carpet of this sound proof room.

” Speak or we’ll make you do,” Chong told David.

” My shoe is hurting me, may I take it off?”

” OK, but don’t raise your hands above your waist or I’ll fire,” Chong agreed.

David bent down to pull the pin on the hand grenade and flung the shoe at the enemies and dived to the farest end of the room. The heads of the enemies were partially blown off. David cleared the dust on his body and hurried off through the emergency exit to catch the boat to Kowloon within ten minutes. The nuclear power plant was fifteen kilometers from the town. David killed one of the guards, as that guard was alone outside the gate. The corpse was dumped into the nearby drain. The other guard happened to march out from the main building. David fired the .2 pistol at the guard and pulled the body away to avoid attention. He moved very carefully wondering if this was to be his last few minutes to live. The two nuclear scientists were in their air-conditioned room. They noticed David was there and told him to get out since not even the guards can be there. David apologized and went off, but not before planting the time bomb on the wall near the reactor core. That was late evening. At 10.00 pm the second nuclear plant explosion shocked the whole world. Foreign critics intimated that he Chinese nuclear scientists did not know what they were doing.

All foreigners in China were detained and questioned. No radio communication with the outside worlds was allowed. David was on board a bus when the armed forces investigators arrested him.

“You look like that wanted guy, ” the tough private told him.

” I’m a sales man from London,” David argued.

David was brought to the 30th Battalion in Canton.

Col. Chua studied him thoroughly, from the boot to the head.

“You are the man. What have you got to say now? We the communists won’t kill. We’ll have some fun out of you. Look at this British spy of yours. We caught him in 1964 and cut off both his hands.” The colonel stared at David.

Two executioners were called in. The chain saw was still running. David pretended to faint. They propped him up and revived him.

” I must take off the shoes. I prefer to die without the shoes on,” David begged.

” Do anything you live. My guards are around with guns. If you move away from that spot, they will open fire, but only to bring you down,” the colonel laughed scornfully.

David pulled the pin and flung the shoe at the guards and the colonel. Col. Chua was thrown out of his armchair. For the first time in his life, Col. Chua realized that he was not invincible.

David dived towards the guard and snatched the gun from him to pump some leads into the colonel to make sure he would die. To avoid the approaching guards, David had to run upstairs to the tenth floor and then slid down to the street by using the sewage pipes. He was lucky because the military jeep was there with only one guard. He opened fire and instantly killed the guard. He went to the driving wheel and sped off, pieces of leads could be heard still dropping at the back of the jeep.

David dumped the jeep into a valley and hurried back to Victoria hotel where Ah Yun was waiting. The couple boarded a Royal Thai Airline and spent the honeymoon at Pattaya before leaving for London.

At Pattaya, two Chinese Nationals wanted the Thai authorities to deport the couple to China. They were under arrest by the Thai police. It seemed death was the only sure thing to happen to the loving couple. However, just as the couple was to board a plane heading to Shanghai, a couple of representatives arrived from London with a British passport for David and one for Ah Yun, proving beyond any doubt the young couple was innocent.

As David and Ah Yun arrived in London, they were very surprised to see Ah Yun’s father and mother waiting for them at the airport. They were British citizens.

The truth was two tourists assisted the old couple to leave China, knowing that death within the next few days was surely to occur to them.

END

Copyright © 2003 Poh Tiong Ho

A Way of Life

Buntal, a District Officer from Punggol, was walking from his house to the office early in the morning. His car was used by his wife who would be playing golf. Buntal thought of his past- how he managed to climb from the position of an office clerk to his present situation. Many years ago, he had a fight with one of his classmates, Chua, in the school, and was sacked by the principal. His greatest enemy was Chua, then a welfare officer in the Singapore Civil Service.

“Good morning Buntal, I have been transferred back to Singapore. Please allocate me a quarter,” Chua requested.

“Sure, ” Buntal answered with an icy stare.

The following day Chua came to sweep his quarter, which white ants and rots had taken off the front and the back doors. The windows and the ceilings were in shabby condition. Chua returned to request for a better quarter.

“Get out of my office or I’ll throw you out,” Buntal whose lips, hands, and legs were trembling, after a heated row yelled.

“Throw now,” Chua gazed at Buntal.

Buntal jumped up, pulling Chua by the collar and swung Chua out off the office. Because of this incident, Chua lost his job.

The public had begun to notice how Buntal courted the favours of the Governor. Rumours leaked out that one cold rainy afternoon the guard who looked after the golf course happened to have a peep when the clumsy governor was making love to this longhaired young lady in the clubhouse when she squealed and groaned with ecstasy. No wonder the governor was often playing golf during the office hours.

” I must climb higher, ” Buntal told himself. ” That bastard was saying that I became a convert to please the governor. Isn’t it an open secret that all the converts were the ones holding the higher positions?”

One night after a party the governor requested to sleep in Buntal’s house because of dizziness. The guest room was beautifully decorated, but one thing was missing, a woman. All the women had gone off with the other men. Buntal called a lady who was on a part time callout basis. Unfortunately, this lady’s husband just came back from the timber camp and would not be gone until one month later. The ship, Kimanis berthed at 11 pm, and the woman’s husband reached home before 12 a.m. He came home for one month holiday with pay, after completing 12 months work in a jungle in Sabah. Sometimes, nature is against us. How does Buntal solve this problem? All the one-night stands on his list are occupied.

The poor bachelor could not go to sleep. He rolled left and right on the bed, his eyes were wide open. At last he walked into Buntal’s bedroom and tapped gently on the young lady’s face. She woke up. Not a word was spoken. She followed him to his room.

Both of them groaned and mourned with delight. Helen could not care if Buntal would wake up and find her in the room with the governor. Why should she? Had Buntal not spent most of his time with the other girls, even with his own office girls?

The squeaking sound woke Buntal up. He thought Helen was in the toilet. The way the servant girl peeped at the copulating couple behind the flower bush this evening assured him she would not refuse him this time. He hurried into her room and kissed her on the lips.

“I thought it was a devil,” the girl woke up and whispered.

“Devil or man, I can give  you what you want.”

Buntal climbed on the girl and began kissing her all over the body after he took off all her clothes.

“I know you really need it now. I saw you peeping at the Bangladeshi  making love to Ah Yun, who lived at the Block 166, Starry Road.”

“Yes I want it badly. But please tell me. The guy from Bangladesh is only 20 years old. Why was he making love to the old hag,  Ah Yun, who is 65 years old, with sagging and wrinkled skin full of warts, and has hundreds of wrinkles on her head and neck ?”

“You have to ask the guy if you happen to see him tomorrow. My guess is this guy was only a sweeper. He cannot afford to find more attractive girls. Have your ever offered your body to these laborers from Bangladesh? Are they better at sex? ”

“One month ago, Ah Yun wanted to sell to me one piece of stone wrapped in black cloth, for1000 U.S. dollars. She said that lust spell was from India and a woman who possesses it just has to rub on the body of the man she want to have sex with and the man would be in love with her forever. She bought the stone  from Lin Hu Huat, who was a labourer  from the construction site at Tuas. Hu Huat always changed into a white shirt whenever  he knocked off from work at Tuas. He told the girls he was a qualified engineer.”

“Who was this Lin Hu Huat?” Buntal was curious.

“ Oh, this Hu Huat  is a local. One day I heard him boasting to a group of old women, about ten of them. He said his name was Hu Huat because his black magic was very powerful. And in Chinese “Hu Huat” means black magic. That was why all the locals called him Hu Huat. He claimed that by casting a spell on an air hostess, that hostess fell in love with a labourer.”

“Can you tell me which airline that hostess was from?”

“ It’s British Airways. On another incident, this Lin Hu Huat, who was also known as Lin Thiam Huat at the construction yard, sold a piece of black stone, shaped like an egg, weighing exactly one kilo, to a Thai labourer. Lin told this labourer that the USD 5000.00 he paid for the stone would not be wasted. He said it was an investment. Lin told the labourer to buy a black shoulder bag, and carry that stone wherever he would go, together with 13 incense sticks imported from India. If he is interested to marry any beautiful woman, he just have to follow her to the toilet, and as the lady is urinating the labourer would chant the magic verse outside the toilet, standing not more that nine feet away for 99 times continuously, and complete the chant before the lady comes out of the toilet or else the charm cannot work. His secret chant was: Nono nono, chinta I nono, dia kanchang sekarang, chinta I suka I sehlalu.”

“We’re Christians. Do you believe all these rubbish? This cocky hag is trying to suck some money out of you. If black magic and occultism can effectuate the desired results, John Kennedy would have died long ago! John is holding the most coveted position on this planet. Millions of politicians are dying for that position. Every day, these politicians pointed their finger at the United States and swore and cursed it. They blamed the US for all the problems on this earth. Even if their son dropped down from top of the coconut tree and died on the spot, they would still blamed US for it. They said if there was no US, the world would be without problems, even the recession during the 1930s was caused by the US.”

“Ah Yun entertains about ten men per day. She can’t take the men to her flat because the owner of the flat doesn’t allow her to do so. Yesterday she took me to see a black magician who ran an office in Chinatown. The office was air-conditioned but was dark and very smelly. You cannot recognize a person from ten feet away. All the visitors were old women.”

“Do you believe all these swindlers?”

“You were assistant district officer before. Why didn’t you tell the police to arrest them? They must have given you a lot of money?”

“Why do you want to arrest uneducated people who cheat few hundred dollars every week?  Those old women deserved to be cheated. They are very evil and greedy.

The most notorious cheat is Lin Hu Huat, who is most sleazy, callous, cunning, crafty and evil.  He claimed his black magic can make a young man falls in love with an old woman, aged 60 or more. Many women believe him. But the charm never worked. These hags do not know that the more they go to ask Hu Huat, the more their problems increase. Lin Hu Huat loved to put on a white shirt. He puts on one every day. Hu Huat claimed that one airhostess was charmed by him to fall in love with a drain sweeper. Hu Huat means Black magic in Chinese and this made the stupid old Chinese women believe him even more. The managers, engineers and directors in some companies cheat million of dollars per week. Nobody cares. The auditors and the HR personnel are all the same. They help each other to cheat and share the money.  If a commodity is worth $1000.00 in the open market, the companies buy it for over $10000.00 each, and for others like metal containers used for transporting goods on board the ship, these swindlers charge over $300000.00 each. The actual price should not be more than $3000.00. Every employee was asking or telling another employee in the same company that if you want to depend solely on your monthly salary, just how long do you still have to work.”

“ There was something else I forgot to tell you. One fat woman paid Hu Huat  S$5000.00 to cast a spell on the engineer from China.  This engineer was earning about S$6000.00 per month. Hu Huat said that engineer would surely marry her and that she would become rich. That spell did not work but this ugly hag continued to hold a piece of dirty cloth in her hand and pretended to wipe the shelves, coffee makers or other dispensers whenever that engineer came in to have his coffee. Once she grabbed that piece of cloth at one end and whipped it on the head of that engineer, as adviced by Lin Hu Huat, saying that the perfumed cloth must land on the engineer’s head for the spell to be effective. She told the engineer she was only trying to whip at the coffee maker. In fact that is her way of harassing this engineer. Is is a crime for that engineer to refuse her advances? If an eighteen-year- old sweet thing makes advances to him, the result could be expected. But an ugly hag, 65 years  old, what does she have to offer? She must be very repulsive? She asked for the money to be returned but Hu Huat said if she wanted the money, she must report the matter to the police. ”

Buntal slept soundly with the girl that night. In the other room his wife was still on the governor. Was this her favourite position? Who are the other lucky guys in her life?

Years passed quickly. Buntal was then the managing director of a manufacturing company at Tuas. He secretly stirred up the people of Singapore trying to instill some patriotism into them so that they would want to fight for independence, hopping that he could be the first president. A secret society was organized with Ahmad Yong, a man of no political principles, as the leader. Since Chua was aware of Buntal and Yong’s plot, these two cunning guys tried to put Chua on their side so that Chua would be willing to keep the secret at whatever cost. Chua decided not to collaborate with them because he heard another group of people was also starting to come out with something for the independence of the country. The later group consisted of more qualified people. But the decisive factor was that Buntal and Yong did not have any leadership at all.

Buntal and Yong believed if Chua was not killed, Chua would definitely leak the secret to the British government which would definitely result in great troubles. Yong organized a dinner party on board Sri Gaya one night. Being a friend it was not difficult for Yong to persuade Chua to drink until he was drunk. Chua was getting drowsy by 11 o’clock that night. He went out to sit at the rear of the boat, his back facing the sea. Yong staggered out of the room.

“Aye, brother, another glass, “he filled Chua’s glass with more wine.

As the wine was rising to the brim, Yong cut Chua with open hand on the throat where the Adam’s apple was and thrust him into the sea with the right foot.

Many years passed, not many people even knew Chua was on board the ship that night, except Sara. But what could a widow do? The murderers were the friends of the governor. This Angmo (white man) was also treated like a Deva by almost all the Singaporeans. She would only endanger her own life. She was then three-month pregnant.

The political party Buntal wanted to organize could not materialize, not because fate was against him, but it was his own inferiority complex that caused him to back out. Cowards always imagined a lot of obstacles when they wanted to plan for anything. He was not willing to compete with another group of young graduates whom he knew commanded better respect and trust from the public. How could Buntal win support if his strategy was not compelling and believable? Instead of joining the few young graduates, he went around running down the credibility of those graduates saying that these graduates eat with knife, fork and spoon and that the chop sticks were unknown to them and for that reason the Chinese culture would be finished off if these graduates were elected. Buntal and Yong therefore moved from one location to another in Singapore telling people that it was better for the country to remain a British colony because the potential political leaders could not even speak Mandarin. According to Buntal and Yong’s standard, a person cannot be classified as Chinese if that person cannot read and write in Chinese.

Sara’s son, David was only seven years old when she narrated the painful story to him.

“Your father was a most smart guy. Buntal was jealous of him. In the department where Buntal worked, only the inefficient and the bootlickers were promoted. ”

“Why didn’t you report to the police that Dad was missing?” the innocent son wanted to know.

“At that time Singapore was a very unsafe place. A gangster could simply pull out a gun from his pocket and shoot at anybody. No one would dare to report the matter to the police. If the police requested for help to nail down the killer, no one would come forward to assist. Even if the police knew the thugs were hiding in Kumpong Bugis, they wouldn’t dare go in to search for the thugs.”

When David grew up, Karate was his favourite sport. Every weekend, after collecting dead wood in the forest, he would chop a few pieces of wood bare handed.

Buntal was about to retire from the private sector when David found him at Sembawang. First of all David got himself a job in that company called Global Construction. It was also in that company he met Selini, the beautiful daughter of Buntal, if she was his biological daughter at all, and fell in love with her. Eventually, David was shocked to find out that he was in love with a murderer’s daughter.

One night, David, Selini and Buntal went camping at Pulau Ubin. Helen did not go because she wanted the chance to be with the governor. Many of the marriageable young ladies on this island were wondering what was it that glued the governor to Helen. The real reason was the governor did not have any special liking for her except the fact that she was a married woman and should she become pregnant, the pregnancy would not be a problem. In this part of the world, when a child is born, only the father  can go and have his or her name registered and a birth certificate issued. Buntal and David went out fishing in a speedboat leaving Selini to amuse herself in the tent.

” Mr. Buntal, do you know the murder of Chua had been found out?”

” Who found out?”

” I did.”

” Who are you?”

” His son.”

” You father left a poor seed behind?”

Buntal turned pale, got very nervous and was unable to speak properly. His immediate reaction was to get rid of the son of the bitch who was then sitting in front of him.

” Don’t panic,” David comforted him.

” What do you want?”

” To marry Selini.”

Buntal swung an oar over David’s head. David caught the oar and kicked him on the left armpit. Buntal dropped noisily into the water.

“ You stupid bastard. If you just begged for mercy, I would have considered forgiving you. But you wanted to get rid of me too. If I die,  Selini would be hurt the most.”

David came down on his knees and uttered.

” Father. I have taken the revenge. Please forgive me; I want to marry his daughter,”

At midnight David returned to Pulau Ubin to tell Selini that her father was taken by sharks, that though he fought hard to try to beat off the sharks it was impossible for him as there were more than ten of them in the water. If David were to jump in and drag him on to the boat, David would also be bitten to pieces.

“Oh, father!“  the lady yelled pitifully and was on her knees. David dragged her up and put his arms round her back, pressing her hard toward him, and promised that he would take care of her forever.

Indeed, David did as promised. Both of them remained married until they passed away naturally during their 80s.

End

Copyright © 2010 by Poh Tiong Ho

Footnote: Singapore received independence from Britain peacefully in 1963.