------- waddafak: 12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Time Reflected (Parte Dois)

There was one weekend Dad got me to go along with him to visit Mr. Clark. I did not know then what was the visit about until the three of us walked to behind the barn and that morning was my first introduction to tropical fish despite it just being 3 old fish tanks that seen better days. Soon we were on our way back home in Mr. Clark’s borrowed ute with myself wondering what were the plans for those fish tanks that lay on the tray.

There was a bit of fuss when we got home. Mum was not very happy to see the fish tanks sitting in the porch. Her face looked contorted as she looked on disapprovingly. Dad muttered under his breath to me something about women getting crankier as they age. It was only when we were on the way back to send the ute back was when Dad just said to me that the fish tanks were my responsibility. I kept quiet.

Months later I thanked Dad silently for this. By then the tanks were thriving with aquatic plants and tropical fishes although it was only red platy’s and black molly’s then, all of which were ‘borrowed’ from the pet shop in the city. On one of my open mouthed gawking wishful thinking trips, the pet shop owner had offered on condition I bred them and sold the fry back to him. This showed me that when you want something bad enough, it shows in your face and there will always be a good samaritan out there.

Hence my youthful foray into breeding tropical fish. Almost a year later I was making fortnightly trips into the city by bus to sell my fry. Having that few dollars in my pocket made me feel very good and my mind went into a spiral of grandiose thoughts of what I was going to buy myself. Strangely enough eventually that money went into bigger tanks, air pumps, aeration stones, breeding stock and so on. Even Mum was finally grudgingly in approval. Dad gave a occasional pat on the back and said good job.

The only thing I bought for myself with the money from my enterprise was a pair of levis. You just cannot imagine the feeling of pulling on your first pair of brand new jeans bought with your own very hard earned money. I felt liberated a sense of being free for the first time at 16, no more hand me down jeans ever I thought to myself.

To Be Continued…

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Never Can Tell

Night before last some cash went missing. The CCTV surveillance tapes were reviewed. Looks like one of the most senior trusted staff is a thief.
Footage to come soon...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Green Frog

What Kind Of Frog Is This?

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Time Reflected (Parte Uma)

Growing up in a small rural town, I used to day dream of the day when I could just take off and run away to the city. I was just 12 years old then.

A Sunday trip to the cinema meant a long walk to the bus stand and a slow torturous diesel chocking journey that took an hour before I could settle my scrawny bum on the cheap wooden cinema seats. I was always had to take the midday show to make sure to be able to catch the last bus, if not then I was buggered. Dad would come on his motorcycle looking for me if I was not home by 4. No, we did not have a telephone.

Accepting an invitation to a friends party or going to the disco was too very few and far in between. There was always the consideration for the fact that Dad had to pick me up. The sight of him waiting patiently for me especially when the weather was foul still haunts me. And he never complained. But the thought of him making the long trip back through pitch dark rural countryside roads was scary for me even as I rode pillion pressed tight against his back to shield myself from the cold bone biting night air.

On the days when Mum needed some ingredients there was that walk to the village shop. It was not too bad even on bitterly miserable cold days even if it was for some small bottle of spice or sugar. But I hated it when she needed her Kotex. Those days it came in a huge assed pink box. I think the shopkeeper found delight in my torture as he always said he did not have a bag big enough for that damn box. Who were you to argue when you were a kid?

Not every meal was one I looked forward to. It was a matter of eat what was laid before you or go hungry. It depended on 2 things. The mood my mother was in and the time of the month. We had porridge on a daily basis. Most times plain with soy sauce or salted fish. I hated it. Till this day I have never eaten another bowl of porridge and will not even if my life depended on it. We did have the occasional decent meal when Dad’s paycheck had a bit leftover. Or it was one of the chooks from the shed. But you had to be careful, lesser chickens meant lesser eggs so it was far and few in between those meals of roasted chicken. I remember sucking on each and every bone.

You had to be inventive and resourceful for playtime. Flying kites was a favourite pastime during the summer. I still remember having to ask Mum for 50 cents to go buy a ball of thread She gave me the dirtiest look complete with lecture of how hard money was to come by. Boy, Mum's know how to make you feel guily. The construction of the kite was always Mum’s baking paper and starch for glue. Bamboo was cut, split, then fashioned into a frame. What joy and a sense of accomplishment when your kite took to the air. I never got angry when it broke its thread and fluttered away into the distance. It was more like a mad dash to get it where it landed just to save the hard work.

Fishing was also another pastime which I remember well. Chinese snakeheads were the usual catch. It never lasted long, a quick fire and the fish was grilled, nothing fancy, just plain. I guess when you have a hungry belly you tend to not mind a lot of things like grit and soot. Reminiscing back now the whole adventure of hoe in hand digging for earthworms for bait was the most fun. The ‘reel’ was a stick and string fashioned with a fish hook. No.6 back then went 3 for 10 cents.
To Be Continued...

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