Friday, February 17, 2006

World Without Men


Chapter III
(A summary)

(A burly sergeant who wanted to touch Aunt when she signed the papers for the release of Tapong, our goats that had went missing with her two kids.)

I walked towards the end of Jalan Tanah Lot nombor dua up to the Resthouse, and turned to enter Jalan Tanah Lot nombor tiga at the Customs quarters, all the time calling out the names of the stupid goats that should have been home in the pen by now but instead those stupid goats had decided to stray and could get themselves into trouble like getting their ears folded and tied with rubberband by the boys in the village who liked to do that to our goats just for the fun of it because they knew I was too little to put up a fight. Aunt went the other way, towards Jalan Lembah heading down Jalan Sungai Udang to see if they had strayed over to that side, but Aunt and I knew they seldom did because people in that section of the village were not too fond of pokok nangka the leaves of which was the staple food for our missing goats. Aunt and I met at the junction of Jalan Tanah Lot nombor empat and Jalan Lembah to look at each other and not say a word because obviously our goats had gone missing and we didn't know where to look for them this late in the evening now that En.Rahim the bilal had just turned on the microphone to call the Azan for Maghrib.

Let's go home, maybe they'll come home later tonight.
Do you think so?
Maybe.
What if they didn't?
Let's give it another try, maybe they went down the other side towards Stor JKR to look for food.
But it's past Maghrib.
Just follow me, and shut up!

We walked towards Sekolah Kebangsaan Laki-Laki Dungun where Aunt used to run the canteen. I held on to Aunt's selandang panjang to walk alongside her to hide from the sight of an old graveyard between the school and the officers quarters of Balai Polis Dungun. The sky was dark with rain and I don't remember Aunt walking around the village in her kain ssahang this far from our house this late in the evening that I thought the world was coming to an end now that Aunt didn't care about her appearance. Just then we heard what sounded like a group of goats coming from inside the balai polis.

Did you heard that?
Sounds like Tapong and her kids.

There was no doubt about it that it was Tapong and her two kids, calling out for help because she's being held in the pound by the police for straying. The pound was about a few yards from the fence but it was dark to see anything so I called out the name and got an answer in a choir, goats singing a sad song as if they were going to be shot first light tomorrow by a firing squad.

Come with me.
Where?
Shut up, will you?
We are not going into the balai polis, are we?

Malam-malam mana boleh buat keluar kambing, datang pagi esok jumpa sarjen.
(What about food, they might go hungry tonight and the two kids might kembung perut and cry all night.)
Jangan risau kita ada bagi dia makan (ha ha ha)

Just then a guy burly as leatherback turtle walked in from behind us to ask what business was it that brought us to the station past dinner time.

Tak ada encik, cik puan ni nak ambik kambing dia yang kita tangkap petang tadi.
Ooh, kambing tu awak punya. Tulah lain kali jaga kambing baik-baik, jangan tahu bela, sekarang dah kena tangkap.

We need to get our goats now.
Mana boleh, ni dah malam.
But we have to.
Panggil ayah dia datang esok.
(Aunt)
Balik dulu, cik puan, pagi esok suruh ayah dia datang bayar kompoun.
(Aunt)
Can we pay tonight, I can go home get the money.
Mana boleh malam-malam ni, puan, besoklah.
But we need to get the goats out from that pound, the two kids are too younng to be left in there.
(Long silence)
Nanti ambik buku tulis nama.

The sergeant came with a big book to sit at a counter where I was standing with Aunt. He looked up at Aunt as if he had never seen a woman in his entire life except his mother which made Aunt uneasy that she raised her selandang to cover her face just below the nose. It took a long time for the sergeant to write down simple things like name and address but in the end he told us to come back the next day because Aunt didn't have the Kad Pengenalan, or the money to pay the fine. Aunt said can we take the goats out first and come back tomorrow to pay for everything. The sergeant said it's impossible.

Tandatangan sini, puan.

Just then, when Aunt was looking for the dotted lines to sign her name, the sergeant tried to grab her hand and I will never know for sure if he did that because Aunt took a bit of time to find the space to put down her signature, or because he, like the rest of the men I discovered later, was merely looking for an excuse to touch Aunt whereas he could have pointed to her the space for the signature. That way he didn't have to touch Aunt's hand and I didn't have to come back again and again to the balai polis to pay the compounds until Aunt decided enough was enough with this goat business but until that time, I had to face the burly sergeant and answered his question after question about Aunt every time I had to be at the balai polis to release our goats from the pound.

8 Comments:

Blogger anne said...

the expression on the goat in the picture.....priceless

5:25 PM  
Blogger ailin...in aalborg said...

I feel for the goats, telinga kena ikat dengan rubber band! kejam betul! Sampai hati!

5:36 PM  
Blogger A Babe Of Very Little Brain said...

i don't like to mandi, just like the kambing in the picture.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Noni said...

Kambing punya susu, Aunt kena sain nama...

6:37 PM  
Blogger Sayuti said...

saya suka makan kambing.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Nurelhuda said...

And I thought only Saudi shop keepers try to touch a woman's hand at the slightest oppurtunity...sheeesh....!!!

8:21 PM  
Blogger Nazrah said...

waaah aunt must be a real looker!

bet the officers just wanted to make her come again the next day

8:40 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Anne: Don't look at it too long or you may want to give up lamb chop.

Ailin: It's a cruel thing to do to an animal, not to mention how difficult it is to undo the rubberband because them boys would get it so tight that it'd stick close to the skin, and the goat won't co-orporate with you eventhough you are trying to help.

Xaviera: Actually goats are not THAT afraid of water.

Noni: A new peribahasa. Gotta figure what it means.

Sayuti: It's a better meat than beef, sir. You've got it right.

Dr Nurul: So you notice.

Nazrah: Yes, ma'am, she was.

12:51 PM  

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