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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

An observation

Title: Oh, Shuddup, U!

by Susan Abraham


Two little Indian boys

Two Indian brothers in a Malaysian low-cost flat
ebony-skinned with wriggly twiggy twisty shapes

Just picture eels and worms in a cha-cha squirm.
and so tiny they could make a muscled guppy jealous
and so skinny they could challenge a suspicious lizard's diet
These little boys Aneh 1 & Aneh 2, received a bicycle from a charitable neighbour.

Alas! alas!

These were poor little boys in a family that just made do.
Rasam, dhall & salted fish for a staple diet
and a couple of torn kapuk mattresses but not too bad.
With 20 Hindu deities and a stolen Beckham tee-shirt, how could one be sad.

Apah (father)

Apah worked in a recycling bin...
his hair was matted and white and he hardly ever shaved.

And whenever a housewife went to fling the garbage,
a head would pop out from somewhere in the rubbish/recycling bin
like it was a guillotine come to life,
shouting urgently in Malay

Jangan buang itu sampah atas saya punya kepalalah...
("Don't throw the rubbish on my head, you fool")
Just before the rubbish fell on his head like a smelly loony balloon

And then like a Jack-in-theBox, it would pop right back in again.
Before a hand from nowhere suddenly shot up in the air.
To reflect a hidden ghost in the dumping lair


Amah worked as a clinic janitor and was so lumpy, it was a sin,
Often, she looked like a bowl of frozen potato curry...
she waddled up the stairs like a retired bowling ball mourning its pins,
and was always scrubbing, cleaning, washing and stirring up a rinse
Of course, she had her suspicions of what went on with her beloved husband and that sexy recycling bin....

Married Life

When making love, Apah often complained that Amah sat on him like a recycling bin and he was beginning to crush and crumble like a rusty margarine tin.

Scene 1 of family life

Once I heard 4 smacks.
Smack 1, smack 2, smack 3, smack 4
Two for aneh 1 and 2 for aneh 2
Not a peep from Aneh 1 and not a peep from Aneh 2
When mothers lose their ire, the world goes on fire.
And Amah had a voice like lightning had married thunder.
It sounded like fingers with thimbles playing the fiddle.

Apah was hiding somewhere in the recycling bin.
Wishing his wife could be properly recycled to kill the din.
Amah was screaming and shouting at the top of her voice.
Suddenly, you could hear a pin drop in the silence.

Two minutes later, the door bang opens.

And Amah throws the bicycle out as far as it can go.
Her nice clean living room has ugly hideous mud
And it makes for a month's supply of slippery soapy suds.
Thank God, only outpatient treatment was necessary for the concussed vehicle.

Scene 2 of family life

Aneh 1 and Aneh 2 are fighting outside the flat.
One punch here and another pinch there.
One hair-pulling here and another tear there.
One lizard wriggle here and another guppy wrestle there
In the middle of it all, is the irate bicycle.

Apah comes out to sort the whole affair.
They're in league together, Apa, Aneh 1 & Aneh 2
There is much discussion & whispering, finger-pointing & sobbing
And finally shaking of hands and patting of backs.
Apah worms back happily into the flat.
Aneh 1 worms back happily into the flat.
Aneh 2 worms back happily into the flat.
The bicycle re-enters the flat with dignity and a celebrated coronation.


there is drama from a big fat mama,
Sounds like Amah has gone mad and lost her head.

If I translate her anger into Malaysian English,
it would go something like this,

"You two idiots, come here and I will teach you about a nice clean house.
Where you going with that filthy thing. Come here you two. Come here, both look like pigs rolling in the mud..."
Aren't pigs chubby? Amah needed to get her eyes checked.
Apah intervenes and asks her to stop screaming.
She turns her wrath on him.
"Oh shuddup you, useless brain-dead good-for-nothing of a husband. Don't think I don't know what goes on inside that dustbin."

Suddenly the flat door opens.
Apah runs out.
Aneh 1 runs out.
Aneh 2 runs out carrying the bicycle.
It was of urgent necessity the bicycle's life be saved.

2 hours later, Amah has recovered.
She comes to the balcony for fresh air, her face covered in white talc.
To think she almost murdered a bicycle.
But now she has had a bath and is at peace with the world.
Amah smiles her angel smile.
She settles down to watch a classic Tamil film.

Much later, when the sun sets.
Aneh1 and Aneh2 return from the football field and creep in as good boys as good boys as they can be.
The bicycle is smuggled blissfully in.
But they forget the mud on its wheels that's mucky enough to fill an entire Dead Sea.

Tonight, Amah will turn into a vampire or werewolf; I can't decide which...

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