17.9.06

a birthday visit

geographyfate
this drawing is meant for the previous post, but I figured it works for this one too

After our usual Saturday brunch at a Killiney Road Kopitiam, J and I was early for our next appointment so we took a walk down Killiney Road and made a turn up Dublin Road.

Dublin Road is a dead-end street.
Y and J joke about how they should pose for pictures by the street sign with a Guiness in hand, then they take a couple of photographs of a derelict peranakan shophouse, ooh at its neighbours which have been spruced up and now house fancy businesses or ladies/lads... before they come to the end of the street. Yes, the end that is dead.

abandon the old#1
old noodle shop beside the Kopitiam

There, a nondescript single storey house. Through the simple black gate you can see 2 things: the glass of its large windows covered with a reflective material and a handsome gurkha guard.


J: Wah, whose house do you think it is? Some minister's?
Y: [in a whisper] Eh eh, you know what...I think it's the MM's house! (ed: MM = Lee Kuan Yew) I vaguely remember my mom telling me that he lives in this area. And once we drove around here, maybe it was Penang Road, there were guards by the road itself.
J: Oh, do you think that...there's someone coming out.

The gurkha opens the gate and a middle-aged man in a cream shirt rides a traffic police's BMW bike drives out, giving us a casual glance. The gate is locked again.

Y: That must be his SO - (ed: SO= security officer)

Y looks around for J, but he has already walked up to the gate, his camera still around his neck. The gurkha walks towards the gate. He is smiling, an awkward smile, but a smile nonetheless. Perhaps he thinks the 2 are IMF/WB delegates...hah

Gurkha: How can I help you?
J: Oh, nothing, we just taking a walk. Is this the house of a minister? Er, is it MM's house ah?
G: [Smilingly] ... [Smiles again] Why you ask? Are you all Singaporeans or tourists?
J: Singaporeans.
G: Is something the matter?

All this time Y watches from a distance. J waves her to the gate, where the gurkha guard is still standing and smiling. Y timidly approaches and J shows her a small square patch of trees beside the house. A SUV suddenly draws up from the street to the house. Y and J step aside - the driver, an old man bearing a resemblance to the MM. The MM-lookalike glances at the 2 young gawking things, he is probably thinking: "not more gawking worshipers!". He steps out of the car and asks the guard: "Where's the SO? Ask the SO to come out, I want to pass him something." From the car, he retrieves a small hamper.

too many flowers (花)
flowers by Dublin Road

Y and J walk away. J happy at having put to use some skills on "how to innocently approach authority for information" he had observed and learnt from a documentary filmmaker. And Y walks away in fear and excitement at venturing a mistaken visit to the FF - mortality, power and myth - the way one might stumble upon a hankerchief John Lennon has sneezed into or one of Mrs Marcos' abandoned shoes. Ah, who cares if it was just a backgate!


who's afraid?
sticker graffiti outside the Somerset MRT

Today, it occurred to me that Saturday was the 16 September. Once, when I had mistaken Wheyface's birthday to be the 16th September, she had replied curtly that that was the MM's birthday. If we knew about all this yesterday, maybe we would made a Birthday card or brought him a gift ;P

Now, if the latter, perhaps it would be a book. And if it would be a book, it would be this book by Mr Narayan. Because Narayan too, created a fiction of a city or rather a township, and since Saturday evening, I've felt compelled to read this novel again.

3 comments:

tscd said...

MM personally drove over to deliver a hamper to his SO? That's really nice.

ampulets said...

no,tscd. it's who we believed to be MM's brother. deliver a small birthday hamper to MM. -TOHA

l&g said...

MM live in his two storey bungalow, along Oxley Rise, you can take a walk along the pavement from killiney road, across to the Com. Centre (singtel), keep walking along the pavement and you will see a street sign that says Oxley Rise, should be somewhere near to the windsland house II, take a left turn up the sloping pavement and you will be able to see a pair of Gurkhas, usually rather good looking ones... and you can walk past the house the house while they will be constantly looking at you, i mean right into your face.
i tried to take a pic. of one of the guards, and he waved me down with a boyish smile. you amps might want to try walking up to them innocently to ask for directions? see if you can get a polite response from these guys? heh heh...

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