06 November 2009

Chapter 1, Part IV

"Where is that woman?" fumed Mika as she moved about the dark and decidedly empty house.

Just then, the front door bursts open, bringing refreshing light into the dungeon-like atmosphere.

"Mika!" Beatrice enthused. "I just met the most amazing man!"


"He was talking about God and God's love for us. And that its really okay to be ourselves!" Beatrice enthused.

"Hah(9)? Sounds like an orang gila(10) to me. Where did you meet him? Did he try to do anything to you?

"Mana(11) .... he was just sooo nice and warm, Mika. You should meet him! Jom lah(12)...join me tomorrow evening at the park.."

"Bea... he could a a perv(13) for all we know! How can you simply trust people you just met?"

"... he'll be there and his wife and their golden retriever and..." Bea gushed happily, oblivious to Mika's reasonings.

"Wait Bea, STOP!" Mika shrieked. "He has whom and a what?"

"Huh? Oh... I said his wife and their cutey pie doggie. They're nice!" Bea beamed at Mika, flushed with happiness over her new found friends.

Mika let out a thorough groan and slapped her forehead.

"Bea," she cautioned. "Just because a person has an ideal set of people or things around them, doesn't mean that they are nice, you know what I mean? C'mon, Bea... I've told you so many times already...air yang tenang jangan disangka tiada buaya(14) ! What must I do to make you wake up?"

Bea stopped her enthusiastic narration of her evening's adventure, and looked seriously at Mika.

"Just because..."

"NO, Bea! Don't start again!!"

"Just BECAUSE..."

"Argh! Okay, you are going to say it anyway."

"Just because..." Bea said sadly and softly, "Just because you choose not to trust people, it doesn't give you the right to tell others not to trust people."

Bea quickly ran to her bedroom and slammed the door shut before Mika could see the tears flowing down her cheeks. 'Its not fair.... why must she keep telling me how stupid I am, compared to her smart and successful self?'

Back in the living room, another set of eyes also teared from frustration. Mika stared at the photo of a middle-aged couple sitting atop a tandem bicycle, their heads thrown back as they laughed in a care-free manner.

"This is what I get for bringing her up?" she wailed to the photo. "I can't carry on like this! I'm not strong enough for the both of us!"

More tears flowed in the darkened house that night, both souls void of comfort.

(c) Maggie Chong, 2009
(9) 'What?' in Manglish
(10) Crazy (i.e. insane) person
(11) Short form of the colloquial term "Where got?" (Meaning: 'Is there such a thing?' or the milder version of 'What nonsense')
(12) 'Come on' in Malay, usually used in an invitation to family or friends (i.e. people you are close with) to go some place
(13) Short form of the word 'pervert'
(14) Malay proverb, roughly translated as 'do not assume there are no crocodiles in calm waters'

06 March 2008

Chapter 1, Part III

The cool evening breeze caressed her fair cheeks and fluffed her already fluffy hair as she left the house. Beatrice felt pretty happy that she remembered to put on a warmer T-shirt this time.

Her keys jingled in her pocket as Dot the Intrepid Explorer tugged at his leash, zig-zagging his way along the road to sniff at every possible thing around. Overexcited at the prospect of actually reaching the park, Dot began to dance in circles while barking and wagging his tail non-stop.

She laughed at his silliness and bent down to pat him on his head. "Siao Kao!(3)"

"Handsome-looking dog you have there" a gentle and decidedly manly voice said.

Beatrice looked up and saw the elderly figure standing before her, wispy white hair neatly combed in a right parting on his balding egg-shaped pate, and showing no signs of intending to start a comb-over. Wearing nothing but a white Cap Pagoda cotton singlet over a pair of navy blue trousers, the man’s thin form towered over Beatrice’s round five-footer frame. His wrinkly, fair and liver-spotted face smoothed itself into a grin as he motioned with his antiquated black umbrella to Dot, who by now had made acquaintance with his right trouser leg and was about to start a fine tug-of-war game with it.

Aiya(4)… Dot! Very sorry about that, Ah Pek(5)” Beatrice apologised sheepishly while tugging Dot’s leash for him to return to her side.

“Don’t worry about it, girl” he replied, smiling broadly at her while exposing two straight rows of yellowing dentures.

“He is just like my dog, Ah Kao(6). My wife will be walking him over shortly…would you like to meet them? Ah...here they come now.”

A lady not much older than Beatrice bounced happily over with an equally enthusiastic Golden Retriever. The lady giggled as her curly fringe tumbled past her eyebrows and made little shakes with her head, causing her waist-length mane to shimmer in the light of dusk. She was a picture of youth in her figure-hugging yellow T-shirt and sea blue shorts. Ah Kao and Dot immediately sniffed each other before yelping and running in circles together. Beatrice felt slightly shocked over the age of the man's wife, but quickly chided herself mentally to not kaypoh(7) about other people's business.

"Dear, meet..." he paused before glancing back at Beatrice. "I must have forgotten my manners, young lady. My name is Kong(8). How am I to address you?"

"Umm... my name is Beatrice, but you can call me Bea. Nice to meet you both!" she said while shaking both Mr and Mrs Kong's hands, trying her best not to look like a goggle-eyed nitwit.

"Nice to meet you too, Bea!" chirped Mrs Kong, before turning her full attention to her husband. "Darlinggg....you make friends so fast, I don't think I can catch up with your sea of friends!"

"Don't catch up then - just wait for the tide to turn" came the quick reply.

The couple grinned appreciatively at each other over their private joke, momentarily forgetting their surroundings.

Beatrice coughed.

"Umm...I'll just be going to the park right now" she motioned.

"Do wait for us Bea" Mr Kong said.

"Yes... do wait for us, Bea" chorused Mrs Kong, before cheerfully announcing "We can walk there together!"

"Okay lah.. let's go then" Beatrice said.

Dot and Ah Kao barked in unison before happily dashing off to the park by themselves, stopping occasionally to turn back and ensure that their owners were in plain view.

The five of them were quite a sight in the neighbourhood that evening. Those not in the know would have easily mistaken the group for a grandfather having a wonderful evening stroll with his two grand-daughters and dogs.

(c) Maggie Chong, 2008
(3) Crazy dog!
(4) Oh no!
(5) Usually used for any (i.e. not related to the family) elderly man as a form of respect. Variation of this being Ah Kung or Kung Kung.
(6) Lazy form of name for dog.
(7) Poke her nose into.
(8) As in surname i.e. family name, not King-Kong. ;)

04 March 2008


Not feeling well since Monday, but much better today.

Think I can do another part of the chapter after all. :)

03 March 2008

Chapter 1, Part II

"Its the strangest thing, Mika" Beatrice mulled over the phone. "He just sat in one corner and didn't say anything the entire morning. Mai chap wa pun(1)."

"Don't be silly, Bea! Dogs don't say anything because they can't. Kao em hai yan lah(2)...stop treating pets like humans!"

"Tapi... there is one cause for concern" Beatrice insisted, ignoring Mika's admonition.

"Bea... I've got a meeting coming up at 5 pm. We'll discuss this the moment I get home, okay?"

She sensed Mika rolling her eyes at the other end of the line.

"Okay...balik makan or not? I'll call you eight-ish if you're not home by then."

"Today's meeting is going to be a short one, I promise. No need to cook dinner tonight, I'll ta pau something back for us. And Bea?"


"Get some fresh air - go jalan-jalan in the park or something.. its not good to stay in the house alone for too many hours. Rosak your brain only. Love you, 'kay"

"Love you too. Bye."

Beatrice carefully replaced the pale blue receiver on its cradle, before pacing the living room frantically.

"I am NOT going to worry over nothing! Yes, I will go out!"

As if to affirm her thoughts, Dot shuffled up to her - wagging his tail, walking leash in mouth. She had to smile.

"Come Dot, lets jalan in the park" she sang as she grabbed her house keys.

(c) Maggie Chong, 2008
(1) Didn't want to acknowledge me.
(2) Dogs aren't human.

29 February 2008


Not writing anything this weekend. Verrry sleepy today.


28 February 2008

Chapter 1, Part I

He crouched silently in the corner, hidden from view.

Training his keen eyes on the white-washed suburban home, he watched her henna-dyed red hair bobbing about as she frantically moved from room to room. Searching. Calling out the name of her loved one in vain. Should he help ease her worries?


He is determined to give her no such relief. Not after the horrendous crime he witnessed this morning. His eyes narrowed at the thought.

Pressing his slim frame as close as he could possibly manage against the wall, he held his breath a few seconds a time before exhaling slowly, careful to minimise the whoosh of air coming escaping from his mouth.

The sun is rising, its light filtering through obsessively symmetrical shrubbery. The morning dew evaporates at the gentle touch of the warm rays, giving off curiously musty hints of damp leaves, insects, bird feathers, earthworms and dirt, all fused into one intangible aroma.

He is beginning to sweat - the cement floor greedily drinks in the liquid as small drops quickly spread into large, deep grey polka dots. And the poor workmanship of his cheap cotton t-shirt (with the words "Who let the dawg out?" emblazoned in red across the back) was starting an itch just below his shoulders. He badly needed to scratch it.
A tiny spider industriously spins its web on the wall, near his face. He could feel the cold and sticky threads just barely touching his nose. How he loathes araneae in all their disgusting eight-legged existence. Yet he remained in that corner, motionless and unnoticed by the world.

The woman has stopped her search momentarily. He knew from the rumble of the house's main water pump that she was in the shower, getting ready for work. In his mind's eye, he could see her stepping daintily out of the steam-filled shower, dressing up in clothes carefully matched the night before, styling her hair and giving her eyes and lips a "quick swipe" of make up before balancing her brown plastic 80's-style spectacles on the bridge of her nose. The same routine, just as he has observed her doing every weekday, year in and year out.

Exactly 5 seconds more before the main door opens.


The heavily-polished rubber wood door swings open, and the woman spots him almost immediately. Damn.

His cover is blown. The operation is over. He would need to think of a valid reason...no, three valid reasons...for this unforgivable failure, by way of explanation to the Chief.

"There you are...where have you been all morning? You had me worried sick!"

He shared none of those sentiments with her as he casually strolled into her waiting arms, the morning's crime erased from his memory through sheer generosity and forgiveness.

And what sort of name is Dot Kueh for a regal and intelligent Pekingese like him, anyway?

Stupid human.

(c) Maggie Chong, 2008


"Do you know what your problem is?"

Beatrice reluctantly moved her attention from the delicious novel that she was just diving into to the owner of the voice with the accusing tone. It was Mika, arms akimbo over her fashionable dress, her expertly made-up-to-look-like-there's-no-makeup face stern, her long silky blue-black hair whipping in the cool morning breeze.

"Huh? Apa dia?"

"Do you know what your problem is?" Mika repeated.

"No, what is my problem?"

"Your nose is either stuck in a book or glued to the PC. When are you going to get a life? And a date?"

"I do have a life, okay!" Beatrice protested weakly. "I have you, and my Dot, and my 'net friends, and um... erm..."

At that, Mika smiled broadly at her. Rather too quickly in fact, Beatrice realised a little too late.

"Beatrice Kueh! Its high time you came out of your shell, woman. You are wasting your life that way. What are you... 35 this year? How are you going to meet someone like that? Come on lah... you can't be hiding your fabulous self from people all the time. And pets die sooner or later. Lets go shopping and give you a nice makeover!"

"Tapi ha..."

"Uh huh...No 'but's! You are coming with me!"

Beatrice heaved a sigh of resignation. Growing up with Mika since their kindy days, she knew when she was beaten, fairly or not. Once Mika made up her mind to shop, nothing short of an unnatural disaster occuring in Malaysia could stop her. And foundation on her sensitive, easily-inflamed skin? Aih...

'Hmm... if I can divert her attention with the 50% discount bins, I may still have some daylight to stroll in the park with' she schemed as Mika happily strategised the day's shopping agenda.

"Ahah! If we do this right, we may be able to stay in the shopping complex the entire day. Oooh... this is so exciting!" Mika bubbled.

Beatrice groaned inwardly and outwardly at the same time. And prayed really really hard that there would be a cute guy or two to catch Mika's eye.

'And then maybe, just maybe, I will be able to escape the madness!'

(c) Maggie Chong, 2008