I wrote this 11 years ago. In an old blog. In a defunct "Multiply" account. I thought it is worth revisiting.
At that time I was a happier person, so I wrote sombre yet happy stories. I really don't know if this story is appropriate now. Maybe now it would be considered racist or insensitive or something... I really don't know because everything seems to be wrong now.
But back then in 2009, this story was well liked that people asked me to write a sequel about it.
In 2009, the Chinese 7th Month (Hungry Ghost Month) and Ramadhan started on the same night. The believers believe that during these months, souls are released from wherever they are believed to be.
This year, the 7th month coincides with the new month of Muharram which also means the new Islamic year. The month is ending already. I hope you will enjoy this short story.
Time to Say Goodbye
Peng Yu waits at the void deck. Munching. Some last cakes before he goes. Waiting for Mat.
Mat comes down finally to the void deck all clad in new look clothes. All white and fresh and smiling.
"All good things come to an end ah Mat?" Peng Yu started their conversation topic.
"Yeah man..." Mat replied, rather heavily.
They got into Peng Yu's blue Mazda. Peng Yu drives off. Traffic is heavy. Smooth but heavy. Most heading to the same direction. By the side of the road, they see droves of men and women, in white, walking. Peng Yu broke the silence, "They're walking... you could have been walking too."
Mat replied with his eyes still glued on the droves of men and women. "I can never repay you back man."
"How's this year? I'm still puzzled why you never get cars or money."
"I brought enough light bulbs." Mat smirked. Peng Yu smiles.
Mat continues. "You know, I'm lucky. My children remembers me during the past month. Some of them... look at them... their children were busy fasting and caring for their own self and their own chase of worship, they forget their parents. When the month was almost coming to the end, they got themselves busy shopping for Hari Raya. Only during Hari Raya itself, will they walk in droves to visit their parents but it's too late. We're back to our own business..."
Peng Yu smiles understandingly. "Most importantly you're happy friend."
"You certainly look happy."
"Of course. We have strip tease this year!" (Somehow there were striptease in some getai shows in 2009)
The journey reaches Mat's destination. Mat alighted, took his luggage and one last thanks to his old friend.
"Thank you Peng. I believe you have to go too."
"Yes.. it has been a nice month. I'll see you next year?"
"Sure man. Why not. I'll be out a week earlier than you. I'll wait for you."
"Hahah. thank you. Ok this is it. Good bye"
And they parted ways. Peng Yu on his way... whistling... a casino waiting for him. "Happy Hari Raya old friend." he muttered to himself. "I'll see you next year, hungry as ever. May the striptease live on."
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