September 2, 2005
To all the people who have been responding to my mails and urging me not to stop writing, thanks. I appreciate it. But I must point out that my horoscope today has warned me not to speak too much of myself! So today's focus will be on the things that Ma did :-)
I stayed in yesterday morning, all the crazy touring finally taking its toll on my frail self. Ma, Akka and Kishore went to visit old man Mustapha once more, where an electric kettle was bought as a gift for our hosts (who are still refusing to accept it, I think, now that they've discovered who it was meant for.) Ma also saw lots of gold jewellery she liked, and wanted to buy me things, but I hope I've put her off all that. It's a pity in a way. She keeps being thwarted as far as buying me jewellery and perfumes go. Sometimes I even feel sorry for her!
(I stayed in all morning and caught up on three months' correspondence and secretly did some housework. They have an innovative way of drying clothes here. One pins the wet clothes to a long pole which is then stuck out from a window; the pole is set into a groove in the wall. All the flats thus have several long poles sticking out from their walls. I pinned the clothes to the first pole without any trouble, but I hadn't bargained for the weight of the wet garments. When I stuck the whole thing outside the window, I nearly dropped the lot. A blouse and a clothespin did fall off, to my consternation.)
Ma accompanied me to Chinatown afterwards, in the evening. We walked around Pagoda Street, visited the Masjid Jamae and Sri Mariamman temple (whose gopuram, being mistaken for a kind of pagoda, gave the street its name, I'm told.) We went into a shop in The Great Southern Hotel which sold lovely handstitched knicknacks. Beautiful embroidery and thread-work and cut-work.
Dinner was Cantonese chicken noodles and chicken rice off Smith Street a.k.a. Chinatown Food Street. We were actually seated at Trengganu St. which used to have the Japanese brothels in the fun old days. The entire area was lighted up and looking very exciting, thanks to the Mid-Autumn Festival going on now. Ma refused to go into an overcrowded antique shop because she was scared of toppling things off shelves. She missed some lovely laquer furniture and rice paintings. But then, it was the kind of place where roughly-made silk clogs for children were priced at about S$80 or so! A stall sold glassware handpainted from inside (beautiful) while another sold all sorts of robots fashioned out of metal wires. Looked like really cool manga figures. Yet another sold cloth ninja figures which could be paired with weapons and joined into a mobile. What a lovely wall-hanging for a house. It's a pity I don't know how I'm likely to live... sigh...
It's a rainy morning here and I've finally caught a cold, sleeping in the aircon (as they call the a.c.) each night.
love with a sneeze, from
Somehow, the focus doesn't seem to have been on Ma's adventures after all! I notice that now...
N.B. The blouse was eventually retrieved. I ran downstairs, and then couldn't locate our poles among all the others. Luckily, the pink clothespin marked the place. As I went to pick that up, the blouse, which had got caught on some other flat's poles, floated gently down to me. Talk about luck! The only thing I'm embarrassed about is the old Chinese housewife who stays in a flat in the block opposite ours, who saw the whole thing. She gave me a very disapproving look, or perhaps it was only guilty conscience.