Monday, September 10, 2007

Yusof's Family.

We have to lay off school for a couple of days and stay in a safe place. The man who runs the store on the third floor of Pasar Chowrasta told Siva that the police is looking for three school boys in uniform who knock on beggars and drunkards to steal their money. Siva says, we'd better stay off the street for a couple of days, or maybe a week because it is too dangerous to be running around as if nothing happens. I say it's a good idea if only we can find a place so we can all stay together. I say you people can't stay at the house I'm staying because Kedah Road opens up to Transfer Road at a junction, and unless you are blind as a goat with high fever, Transfer Road faces the back end of Penang Road Police Headquarters. Yusof says we can stay with his family in Dato Keramat and from there it is safe for us to go to school as it is on the route of Bus Sri Negara. And so I packed my clothes in a bag and left the house to meet up with Siva at Penang Yellow Bus Station on Prangin Road.

Yusof lives in a house with his mom which they share with four or five other women. It's a nice house that can be crowded in the day but pretty much empty at night since the women leave the house around six in the evening to work as dance hostess but Yusof says they are actually prostitutes, including his mom. The women are nice people who ask you every five minutes whether you have eaten while they put on the make-up, painting the cheeks rosy red and lips that look like fire. Sometimes they wake you up way past midnight to eat mee goreng mamak with them and laugh at the jokes they tell about a middle-aged men who want to marry them and make them a real wife to live in a house with real kitchen and bathroom, and a bed-room with closet and dressing table. And they laugh some more looking up the ceiling to smoke on another cigarette and tell another joke to let out another burst of laughter. This will go on and on until I can't keep my eyes open anymore and the women will tell me to go to sleep and be a good boy and get good grades at school so I can be somebody and don't be like Yusof and Siva. Yusof laughs and asks, what's wrong with me? And they say, oh you will end up no where.


Anonymous elviza said...


You are doing it again. This avalanche of postings is making me glued to my laptop.

My reading gets nowhere as I keep checking your blog. This Penang story is just getting more interesting by the minutes.

Typing this with my son's finger all over the keyboard! Ah, motherhood and passion rarely go hand in hand.

Write more please.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

Keep them coming, very interesting read. Love it.

10:04 PM  
Blogger cakapaje said...

Salam Bergen,

As I promised you on my reply to your comment, please visit:

As I mentioned there too, you're a sheer delight to read.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous kamal said...

pasar chowrasta reminds me of the delicious original nasi kandar penang.


keep up the good work, mr bergen

4:30 AM  
Blogger Fauziah Ismail said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Bergen
I'm wondering if Yusof turns out to be like the "Dr Halim" character in the KFC commercial.
I'm enjoying this read. Thanks, bro!

7:16 AM  
Blogger tokasid said...


Ah....I can't wait for this Penang life just like I liked the Dugun life.

Reading about Yusof's mom and 'aunties', it reminded me of the novel Salina and the recent film by Yasmin Ahmad GUBRA.

I always thought, prostitutes will send their chidren back to kampung to stay with their grandmas.

With an environment like that, no wonder his 'aunties' and mom said Yusof had no where to go. I think Yusof believed that too.

1:21 PM  
Blogger muteaudio said...

Every morning on my way t school I'll get of bus no 10 at Transfer Road to have my roti canai.
There, I'll meet the rest of the gang. Before I got off, other commuters on the bus will give me the look... "I tot his school is further up, mesti nak ponteng!"
After our hearthy breakfast, we continue our walk to school. Maybe I met these ladies from Yusof's house while walking down Leith Street. hehehe..... Hearing "Adik belajar rajin2" from them was quite common.

7:48 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Elviza: One has to be passionate to be a mother. Is it not? I won't know because I've never been one. Unless I decide otherwise. LOL.

Kata Tak Nak: This has to hold for now, cikgu.

Cakapaje: I read it. You couldn't have done more, mate. You did good.

Kamal: I didn't know it. Really?

Fauziah Ismail: No, he didn't go that way.

Tokasid: It drove him to be a fearless guy.

Muteaudio: And Argyll Street. We used to hang out in that area too.

To everyone who dropped by, thank you. Selamat menyambut Ramadhan dan Selamat Hari Raya.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan Al Mubarak kepada semua

11:52 AM  
Blogger Hanafi Mohd Noor said...

Your story is intriguing and touching to me. Selamat Hari Raya.

3:32 AM  

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