Headline January 15, 2017/ ''' *FICTION* & FATHERS '''


BORN IN THE WONG TIME,  under the wrong star, in love with the moon.

In Singapore, we have no time for Bildungsroman. Our men come of age when they enter the army. They either stick with the programme or they don't.
Do the right thing. Says the Stick.
Have a bite. Says the Carrot
If you hear another voice. It's probably your Sergeant Major.

I met a lady who could roll a 20-second popiah. In 20 seconds, she tells me how her son is doing. He's in the army now, and he just got accepted into med school.
Congratulations, I say. You must be proud.
When my colleagues return with their food, I ask them.
How many popiahs must one sell to put a kid through college? .

The Central Business District has a few fight clubs. I take a trial at each one but I never sign up. Boxing, Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, I've tried them all.

Boss is unhappy with the bruises on my face. He says it is bad for our image and asks me why I have to do this. I was curious how it felt, being punched in the face, that is. But I tell him it is good exercise.

I am  working from home when the phone rings. It's Big Sis.
''Eh? you not at work, ah? Where's Ma?''
 Dunno. Probably at NTUC.
''When she's back, let her know I called, okay?''
''What are you doing?''
Talking to you.

I return to my work. Moments later the phone rings again.
This time, it's Dad. We don't live with him anymore.
''Nick, your Mum there?''
What do you want?
''Can you lend me two hundred dollars?''

I'm at Dad's place with a packet of sotong mee. He gobbles and chokes on the noodles, then washes it down with a warm drink.
There's some noise outside the door. I hear spraying and the clicking balls inside aerosol cans.
You've been borrowing from them again? 
Dad stays silent. I open the door.
The young punks look surprised.
How much does he owe you?
Come with me to the ATM.

The earliest memory I have is my Dad changing my diaper before bed.

I'm barely two, and my parents say I would never sleep on time at that age. Instead, they would find me asleep in all the corners of the house in the morning. How I ever opened the doors remains a mystery till today.

In my memory, I'm crawling into the study of our old maisonette. Out the window, there's a white ball floating in the sky. I fall asleep on cold white tiles, without fan or air-con.

The next day, the fortuneteller  tells Mum that I'll forever be alone.
*Born in the wrong time, he says. Under the wrong star, in love with the moon*.
We never saw a fortune teller again, but once was enough. 
It's my last day of work from home.
I wake up at five and have myself two-soft boiled eggs and kaya toast. I take a train to Dover and then a taxi.I never take taxis when I can't claim the fare, but I've felt this compelled to be somewhere.

''Where are you going boy?''
Bukit Timah Hill.
''Wah,going biking ah?''
Nuh, just visiting the monkeys.
He laughs.

I alight at the illegal car park and make my way up the trail. Dad used to take me here when I was younger. Back when he owned a car.
I reach the summit at 9AM sharp.
The morning sun is up and the mosquitoes are having a picnic. I switch on my laptop  plug the potable Wi-Fi and answer my emails.
My laptop dies around four. I make my way down and give Mum a call   
''Where have you been?''
bukit Timah.
''Meeting client?''
Nope, visiting some friends.
''Are you having dinner at home?''
I'm going to move in with Pa. For a month or two.
I need to change his diapers.

I'm at the Marina Bay Sands of Geylan.
A guy pats me down and okays me to go in. His biceps are bigger than my thighs and they have dragons.
Enjoyment upstairs and games downstairs. He tells me.
The place smells of smoke, drinks and everything else.. A pimp offers me VIP service.

I find Dad at the table, drunk and making a haul. I hit him clean in the temple and he crashes onto the table.
My loopei, I say, raising my arms.
I'll pay for the trouble. But I'm kicked around pretty good anyway. they break my nose and some ribs, and throw us both out in the alley.

When I wake up, Dad is still out cold. I lift on my shoulder and walk out to the main road. Passers by call for an ambulance.

While waiting I snap boss a selfie, telling him I need another week at home.

*I fall asleep on the side of the road,watching the bright round moon*. 

This sterling work, more fact than fiction  -won the author many, many prizes. It will win him many more.

With very respectful dedication to all the  *Fathers of the World*,   and Students, Professors and Teachers. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and Twitter-E-!WOW!   -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Curry Sports '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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