Wednesday, February 22, 2006

World Without Men

Chapter II
(A summary)

(The bicycle politics.)

Every father in the village had a bicycle. As a son you could claim that the bicycle was yours when he wasn't home. You could ride it all day since your dad would only be home from work at a mine in Bukit Besi close to seven in the evening. Your mother wont bother with what you did with the bicycle, as long as you didn't bring it home with a flat tyre or the rim twisted into an '8'. It was nice to have a father who owned a bicycle. Unfortunately Grandma, Aunt and Cousin didn't own a bicycle, or knew how to ride one. That made me the only boy in the village without a bicycle. It was important that I had one too if I wanted to be included in their plan like going for a ride all the way north to Rantau Abang, or down the Nibong Bawah way to steal durian, or made a long stop at the jetty there to play on a tugboat, diving from the starboard into the water so deep no one had ever touched the bottom of. Not even Awang (not his real name), the bravest boy in the village on account he was the eldest among us, and a little too clever in the head he never got past primary school that he quit school to become a fishing boat skipper one day, and a religious person the next day. Last time I heard he tried to join an oil company to work on a rig but changed his mind when there were so many rules to follow that in the end, decided to start prospecting for oil in his backyard and start his own company so he could work the rules for his own pleasure. He's like that.

Coming home from school, walking in the hot sun dragging my bag to destroy it to bits by the time I got home just to prove my point to Aunt that I needed a bicycle, or else I was going to keep dragging the bag until the underside gone completely torn that the books would shred to pieces. And to prove another point, I didn't want to eat lunch because who needed lunch when a bicycle could change the world into a better place to enable me to ride it as far as I wanted.

By the time it was 'Asar, I was almost famished. But I needed to hold out on this one because I needed to prove a point. Through all this Aunt went about her ways as if she couldn't give a fish if I died of hunger. Grandma kept saying, please eat a little or your stomach will go bad on you later tonight. And I kept saying, bicycle! bicycle! bicycle!

Way past 'Asar and I knew Pok Mang, the guy who assembled the bicycle at the only bicycle shop in Dungun would leave for home. By this time, there was very little chance that Aunt would give in. Even if she did, it wouldn't mean anything because the shop would be closed and the Chinaman would surely ask you to come back tomorrow even if you wanted to buy ten bicycles cash, money on the table all bundled up into a neat roll held together by a rubberband.

Close to Maghrib hunger started to set in. People can do strange things when they are hungry that they won't stop to think what is going to happen if they do something stupid like gather enough stones to throw at the house, taking aim not to hit the glass windows. I started to pelt the house with the stones, making such a racket that Aunt kept saying in her sarcastic way, police come take this boy running amok over a bicycle. Grandma came out to say, will you please stop already, it's close to Maghrib. Cousin couldn't be bothered because she had Barbara Cartland books to read in her bed.

When this didn't work, I gathered bigger stones and started pelting the house turning that evening into a war between me against the house over a bicycle. Aunt was at the telaga, laughing as if this was all a comedy. I wanted to cry over the whole thing because apparently it wasn't working. It was a hopeless situation because I felt I wasn't man enough to make Aunt to come to a decision in my favor. In the end I gave up and let Aunt bathe me up like a wounded warrior who didn't manage to kill even a rat on the battlefield. She scrubbed me good from head to toe. I got my eyes shut tight because if you had been me, you'd know how embarassing it was to lose again and again to Aunt that you had to stand there like a small banana tree to be washed by her. She was behind you, scrubbing your back, all the time trying hard not to laugh because she didn't want to hurt you any more than what you had to endure.

That night I slept in the living room because I couldn't sleep with Aunt on the same bed feeling so guilty for doing something stupid and not get anything good out of it. But hungry people get angry and they do stupid things. Late into the night Aunt came over to wake me up and led me to her bed.

In the morning I got my bicycle.


Blogger AuntyN said...

Stubborn little boy!!!

12:38 PM  
Blogger anedra said...

You sound like my son. Just last week he threw stones at our wall throwing a tantrum over something he cdn't get. I came out to do the "police, come here and get him" trick. (Oh yes, we still do that today!) when a stone came my way and hit my forehead. He claimed that "it went the wrong way mommy! I didn;t mean it!

Anyhow, the rotan came out and it wasn't pleasant thereafter! He will never forget that day. haha! Funny now but not funny then.

BTW, what happened to cousin?

12:41 PM  
Blogger A Babe Of Very Little Brain said...

i still read barbara cartland, every now and then.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Noni said...

haiya... anedra beat me to it...

Adam did something similar a few weeks ago insisting that I had promised him a Power Rangers zap zap thingamajig that cost rm100+ that I never had any plans to part with for. But instead of pelting stones, he emptied the contents of his school bag and threw it at the wall... I tried rationalizing, cajoling, bribing, threatening... but the only that worked was a tight smack on his bum-bum... of course 5 minutes later he went "how was your day, Mak? What did you do at work today Mak?".

I guess Aunt just had so much more patience than me... and Adam probably needs to learn to be extra persistent... coz I'm not buying the toy for him.

1:06 PM  
Blogger thinktankgal said...

You have your ways to get what you want ay ;)

2:12 PM  
Blogger torts said...

she loves you lots..!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Queen Of The House said...

You threw a tantrum, Bergen? Mogok lapar? I guess Aunt had planned on buying it for you all along, she just wanted to see how far you'd go. They sure loved you lots, Aunt & Grandma.

3:35 PM  
Blogger LifeBloom said...

Its very exhausting trying to convince an adult how much an object means to us and the logic of owning it THERE and THEN. I used to "tunjuk perasaan" a lot to my parents in my hey days...And they in turn will "tunjuk kegarangan" to me...But somehow - like your bicycle - I will at the end get the desired item. I guess all that lashings of "perasaan" managed to dent my parents hearts and conscience.....

3:58 PM  
Blogger NBB said...

eloknya kena rotan je...he he he

4:22 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

AuntyN: A bicycle was a big thing to a boy growing up in a kampong in Dungun. I needed one real bad.

Anedra: Good thing it didn't hit your eyes or he would feel sorry for it for life. A flying stone is like a projectile that can do serious damage to the eyes. Good to know you are okay, ma'am. And everything turned out good.

Cousin died.

Xaviera: I like the illustrations on the cover. I learn how to draw figures, and nice clothes, hairstyle from 'em books, ma'am.

Noni: You did the right thing, I'm sure.

Thinktankgal: I needed that bike, ma'am.

Torts: Yes, ma'am. She never once beat me for anything. All the beatings, very mild like a soft rap on the bum bum with a stick of lidi by Grandma. That too in a playful manner.

QOTH: You are right, ma'am.

Lifebloom: After that incident, Grandma used to say I'd behave the same way when I had found the right girl to marry. Aunt said, mintak jauh malaikat 44.

Dr Nurul Bahiyah Baharudin: I was the only man in the house. They can't rotan the only man. What would the world think? LOL

4:51 PM  
Blogger Nurelhuda said...

Aunt is a good psychologist. She had to show you that you got your bicycle because she wanted to get you one , not because you threw stones at the house. Wonderful woman!

5:15 PM  
Blogger mommy@lif said...

kid is like that

diorg la madu, diorg la racun kan?

**dok senyum baca entry nih..teringat balik kesah² masa i kecik &nakal dulu

5:44 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Dr Nurul: You made me miss Aunt even more.

5:45 PM  
Blogger nadya said...

hehehee.. berjaya akhirnya.trick yg berkesan walaupun terpaksa jadik 'extreame'

3:03 PM  
Blogger Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong said...

Dear Bergen,
You remind me of Denang Lebong@ Mr Adnan a Liar.His missile attack normaly start after the evening game and time for bath.Unlike you though,his demand is unspecific and unreal.He hated his food,unspecific,he wanted a red cowboy hat for Hari Raya,unreal as hari Raya is months away.For whatever reason the misile attack is his means to justify his ends.

10:12 PM  

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