19.7.05

Detainees and Boys in Blue

PICT0038
What am I doing here?- Photo by J

I've always wondered about the Police Academy at Thomson Road. I remember sitting in my parents' car (back in those days when I still sat in my parents' car), driving by the Police Academy, and seeing these tanned boys with their shaven heads and dark blue shorts running two by two. OK, so I was wondering more about the Policeboys (ooh, policeboys sound like something naughty) than the Academy itself.

But you must admit that the Police Academy does seem like a mysterious sort of place, situated beside that windy, ghostly Mount Pleasant road and the uppety Polo club. Someone once told me that ISD had previously occupied some buildings in the Police Academy where detainees were also "questioned" (my only picture of such "questioning" is from Edward Yang's excellent A Brighter Summer Day, of a man made to sit naked on a block of ice - yicks).

Just over this weekend, I finally got my chance to enter the Police Academy grounds at Thomson Road.

It was the Boys Brigade's annual funfair, and J and I had volunteered to help some boys bring a group of old folks from the Villa Francis around. I was paired with tall, dark Dinesh (14 years old only lah!) to bring Auntie H around. I was the designated driver and the Hokkien-speaker for chatty Auntie H, who is diabetic and wheelchair-bound but game enough to try every single ping-pong game there was at the fair until she got a satisfactory bag of prizes and her ice-cream (gu gu jiak jih bai, bui heiao ghin la Trans=oi girl, it really wouldn't kill me to have an ice cream once in a while la). There was also Auntie R, who would bring back to the hospice her prize of 2 mollies and 1 guppy. Uncle D (his wife had died in the same car accident that left him mute and with a permanent limp) only had the standard goodie bag containing 2 miniature tins of tiger balm and...a post-it pad.He was not too keen on walking around.

At the end of the day, though J and I did not get to tour the buildings and verify the ISD-related rumours, there were definitely many boys in blue running around...as well as detainees. Kind of detainees.

Because for all the fun that day, a good quarter of the crowd at the fair probably were there whether they liked it or not -- bus-ed and wheeled to the funfair, they had to eat the packet beehoon provided, they had to entertain us volunteers by sportingly trying out all the games, before they were bus-ed back to their homes and hospices at the appointed time. Another quarter of the crowd were there for a fun fair but did not know why they had to stand around the "creepy" old folks who either spoke funny (if they even speak at all) or didn't seem to care if ice cream was dripping all over their prosthetic leg.

If a society is best judged by how it treats its children and its aged, I wonder how we would all fare.

J and I certainly won't get very far with our irritating teasing of the former and our sporadic, guilty concern for the latter.

2 comments:

wahj said...

you're right ... "policeboys" just sounds pervy. =)

ampulets said...

yah, also very YMCA. ;>

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