1960s’ Singapore: The continuing saga of a boy called Mechanic Leigh…
We rented two rooms in a sprawling wooden house, which was home to three other families, including the landlord’s, and bachelor Jack, my friend
One evening, gangsters armed with machetes burst into the house. They demanded to see Jack.
But not Mother. Jack was our friend and he was not in. With arms akimbo, Mother ordered the gangsters out.
The gangsters ignored her and went about the house, banging on doors and upturning barrels of rainwater, pots and pans. Then, they made a big mistake – they broke our stuff.
Mother grabbed a broomstick and beat one of the men. The bamboo handle snapped. The man snatched it and threatened Mother. She pushed her chin out and berated him. Mother was dimitative and the other gangsters teased the fellow.
(Ghost writer: You meant, dim witted?)
She was dimitative… you know, small built – five feet tall.
(Ghost writer: Got it, diminutive)
I focussed on the shortest man, gritted my teeth and saw myself hopping onto his back, pulling his hair and biting his ear off.
(Ghost writer: And what did you plan to do with the other men?)
Hey! I was only ten years old and wore spectacles. I couldn’t see that far!
Anyway, Mother screamed so loud and managed to snatch her broomstick. She scolded the man and demanded payment for the broken broomstick.
(Ghost writer: But it was your mother who broke the broomstick when she beat the man with it)
So, are you blaming Mother? They must pay! We are not rich people!
Anyway, the gangsters shook their heads and laughed. The leader pointed his finger at Mother and said they will return.
They never returned. They were afraid of Mother, I think.
(Ghost writer: Didn’t you say later that night there was a gang clash down the street and the police swept the village clean?)
Yah! But I still think they were afraid of Mother and besides, she had me.
(Ghost writer: Oh, they were also afraid of you?)
Yah! These were seasoned gangsters. They knew what I can do. Anyway, after that incident, everyone along the street left me alone…except the dogs
(Ghost writer: All Mechanic Leigh episodes are based on true events – even the dogs that relished harassing him)
I’ll get you for this…promise!
********** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2012 **********