Sunday, 20 January 2013

Crime Index Not Important? Really?

"OK, son, we are going for a brisk walk. You have put on too much weight." My good mother walked into the sitting room and announced.
"Darn. Must I?" I mumbled under my breath. The evening was still smotheringly hot even at 7.00pm, and frankly that fantastic plate of nasi campur I had for lunch was still working its way through my system, resulting in much lethargy.

"Yes, you must. I don't want you to expire of a heart attack. A son is supposed to bury his parents not the other way round!" My mother shot back. Right. Can't argue with you there.
Subtlety was certainly NOT my mom's middle name, I can tell you that, as I hurriedly removed my rear from that much too comfortable settee. 

I grudgingly trudged upstairs to change to the appropriate gear. On the way down I caught a glimpse of the sinking evening sun out the window as the sound of Mahgrib prayer broke out in the distance and drifted in.
"How soothing." I remembered thinking as my heartbeat slowed to the call of the evening prayer.

"Now that wasn't too hard was it, once you get going?" She remarked as we latched the front gate. She must have the last word. My teeth grated.

We were about to embark on our evening walk when she suddenly froze and waved at me " You go ahead I forgot something, I will catch up with you". That was cause for concern, as she was past 73. "Move along!" She persisted. Move along I did, a slow walk to the end of the street. 

The neighbourhood has changed, it has gotten a lot busier since I left seven years ago, I remembered thinking. My train of thought was broken when I heard someone approaching behind me. Sure enough, good ol' mum has caught up with me. But hold on, what was that in her hand? I peered closely as she moved closer and it suddenly dawned on me and my eyes widened.

It was a stick. A rattan stick. A very large rattan stick. Three feet long and 2.5 inch in diameter to be precise. Ooookkkk. This is awkward. The hilarious sight of an old lady marching ahead holding a 3 foot long rattan stick and leading a 200lb man aside, we walked in respectable silence. For a while at least. We reached the the end of the street and doubled back. Perspiration started to break out on my forehead and my breathing rate increased, as the street started to incline gradually upwards.

I could not contain my curiosity any longer and called out. "Whoa, Ma, slow down, I want to ask you something." Where is all that boundless energy coming from?, I thought with just a hint of resentment.

"Ya?" She looked back questioningly. Her breathing was normal and she was not even sweating. Righto, it just occurred to me my ma could very well be a liquid metal terminator cyborg. The T1500 model. Man. The woman sure is fit.

"Ma, what is with the stick?" I panted.
"Oh, this?" She raised the stick to eye level. " Why, it is my weapon of choice." She casually announced. OK. She must have a veritable arsenal at home then. I could live with that. But my brother and I are going to have words, you catching my drift. The last time I saw him he had not mentioned anything about mom having a catchment of weaponry at home.

"It is no longer safe here son." She added, as we walked past the two houses belonging to a bigwig of a local telecommunications company.
"Why is that? What has happened?" I pressed further. "The reason we bought into this neighbourhood was we were sold on its tranquility, quiet, wide streets, foliage and convenience."
"That may be true seven or eight years ago, but not now." Mom shook her head. " There have been many break-ins, even a shooting. " Her face darkened and her lips thinned.
"Just the other day when I walked with my neighbour friend, we believed we were followed by three strangers. She stayed with me until much later before returning to her house." She continued.

" And that rail system passing through this neighbourhood, that is bad news." She further sniffed.

" I see." I didn't know what else to say to good ol' mom. These are desperate times, as a minister just said today the crime index was not important. Total denial syndrome, me thinks.

We walked a further three more rounds before I called it quits. Mom broke out laughing as I was drenched in sweat.

"Let's rest a bit. After that shall we go over to 1Utama? I hear the durian sultan gets slashed 50% after 7.30pm, we could snag ourselves a reasonable deal!" Mom proposed.
"Now you are talking my lingo!" I brightened up considerably.

"Darn, life is good." I thought as I gave mom a gentle kiss on her cheek.
"It will be my treat, OK mom."

"Pffft! That's the least you can do, I put you through university didn't I?" Mom responded, speed of light.
"Yes, Ma."

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