Thursday, 9 December 2010

death of the mamak roti (and other short stories)

two days ago, i was driving down the road, trying to load, i've got seven women on my mind. wait, no. two days ago, i was driving down the road and i saw a sight that i had not seen since i was 15 - the mamak roti. now, i don't want to hear anything about being derogatory and all that, i imply nothing with this phrase, just that that was what we used to call the guy. for those uninitiated, the mamak roti is a guy on a motorcycle, and on the back of the bike is mounted a pretty big metal container. and in and around the container (or pretty much anywhere the mamak can spare) are loaves of bread. the mamak used to ride around every evening and blew his air horn and you could hear it 3km away. my brother and i would normally be playing football (not soccer, mkay) on the street with some friends, and we'd stop him when he arrived so mom or grandma could come out with some cash and get bread for tomorrow. sometimes we'd get the chocolate-filled buns or kaya-filled buns to take to school the next day.

i found out that it's not legal for the mamak roti to come a-callin' around these parts nowadays. how are you faring now, mamak roti?

when we were young, brother and i used to go to morning school. public school timetables were such that you either attended morning (8am - 1pm) or evening (2 - 7pm) sessions. this was the preferable option, as we then had the chance to spend the afternoons and evenings however we liked. this usually meant getting a group of peers and playing football on the road in front of someone's house. needless to say, it was very make-shift: we didn't use shoes, most of us wore the basic selipar jepun. some wore school shoes (you can tell they're the noobs, because this destroys your shoes and mom would get all pissed when you need new ones every 3 weeks), and some played bare-foot. this wouldn't be an issue on a field, except that playing in front of the house equates that hardcore bitumen road. not even the smooth tarmac stuff, it was the pebbly, rough tar road. you'd be thankful to have fallen on sand and scraping your knee, because if you were in a full run and fell on the naked road... man i remember needing stitches above my right eye for that. crazy kids. the goalposts were usually someone's gate (which over time would start gettin all loose, especially when the bigger boys played and went all out kicking the ball) or two bricks propped up courtesy of someone's house being built nearby. and there would always be arguments about if the ball had indeed gone into the imaginary goal or had flown above the (non-existent) horizontal bar. even more so for the short kids (who were forced to play goalie, hah!). we played on a slope, which makes for some pretty fun running uphill, and there was no side-lines bar the ball falling into the drains (or god forbid, the huge storm drain across the main road). man, if the ball fell into that, and you had to pick it out (because you kicked it in there anyways), you'd smell like crap for a couple of days. not even exaggerating.

to be continued...

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