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A Helpful Protagonist

My Friend’s Indonesian Neighbour

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Last Saturday afternoon when I was getting myself ready to write a piece of blog, I received a telephone call from my swim buddy, Zul. I thought he wanted to fix a time for us to meet up at the pool, but very quickly he broke my words, “Quah, I need you to come over to my house. I need your help. You need to come right away”. I asked, “Going to your house now? What’s up?” He continued to talk quite anxiously with some emotional stress, “I’m locked up. I’m in the house, but I can’t open the door.” I suppose he can’t open the main wooden door and he is locked from within. Zul further added, “Come now. You’ll get the key from me through the door crack at the below. You try to unlock the door from outside.” Then he hung up.

Half an hour later, I arrived at his doorstep. It appears to be clumsy and badly coordinated to tell people that you are being locked from inside. Keys are in your hands, and you are staying indoor. Why on earth that you are not able to open the door? Often, Zul gets unrest very easily. When he is unrest, you can tell it through his clumsy nonverbal body gestures and the babble of his speech.

He flung the door key through the crack from the below of the wooden door. I tried several times to unlock the door with the key he gave me. The latch bolt of the lock was stuck. It stuck very tightly. I wasn’t able to unlock it. I only had a thought to dash the door with my leg and pry it open. I am a lousy home-improvement guy. I am a poor repairman in all aspects. There are other genius ways to back down the stuck latch bolt instead of breaking it open.

I can’t hear Zul clearly as he bawled from within his home. So, he called my mobile phone. He asked me to get a locksmith.

Zul lives in a low-rise 5-storey apartment in Subang Perdana. At the door on the right to where he stays, lives an Indian Muslim family. Adjacent to the stairways which is only several steps away from his door, lives a middle-aged couple. This middle-aged couple are Indonesia nationals.

Where to find a locksmith in this area of Subang Perdana? I knocked on the door of this Indian Muslim family asking his children to call their daddy from his room. Their daddy came to their doorstep. He took the door key from me and tried out to open the stuck door, but he did not succeed to open the door too. Then he had a blink of an idea, “Why not get our neighbour living next door to help out?”

This neighbour of Zul, the Indonesian man appeared to have the ability and competence in doing whatever one repairman has to do.

No words said by the Indonesian man. I looked at what he has got to do. He whipped out a card from his wallet. He was as slick as a skilled protagonist, who devoted to righting the wrongs of the world. He is a local version of the MacGyver.

He slid the card into the vertical crack between the wooden door and its frame where the lock was stuck. Then he inserted the card with a strong force as far as it will go at a perpendicular angle with the door. After he got hold of the card, he wiggled it in the crack of the door down to the doorknob where he found the latch bolt. He tilted the card several times and leaned against the door with a push. As the card tilted the latch bolt and with his push, the latch bolt popped open and backed down. The door was now opened. Zul looked at us as he stood by the door which was just popped open.

Millions of foreign workers come in droves to Malaysia to earn a living and seek a greener economic pasture here. Most of them are uneducated and unskilled. They come from the less developed and poorer countries, from south Asia and particularly from the neighbouring country of Indonesia. The only reason they come to Malaysia is to work and earn money by working in the tough labour fields and save enough money to send home to their families. Malaysians often distinguish to discriminate between the white-collar executives over the rough physical laborious foreign workers. We turn our nose up at them - for the reason that they are rough physical labourious foreign workers.

Zul was hesitated to thank the Indonesian man. He was a bit too full of himself to accept the help of this Indonesian man.

Being an accountant as a profession, I don’t do the physical work that requires a lot of energy in the labour field. I have no labour skill. I wish that instead of being a pen pusher, I had been a labour. I have this wild notion running at the head.

Imagine now that you live in a state of disorder in the anarchy. Famine strikes in the insurrection of the absence of government. With an extreme uprising of social violence and the widespread of famine , we are dying of starvation. Again, imagine that the world is facing a crop disaster and everyone lives under the extreme shortage of food. Everyone is dying of starvation. It is only the labour work that if one sows and tending to the earth with crop seeds, he may reap the crops for feeding. No matter how well you are a corporate figure being a pen pusher, you will starve to death in the widespread of famine. You can’t eat the currency notes.

It is the same in literal words, working as an accountant, literally I can’t eat the amount of the enormous dollars and cents of the accounts I get to print by the computers.

Take the banana banknotes as an example. These banknotes were printed by the Japanese imperial during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in the WWII. To supply the Japanese authorities with money whenever they required it, the occupation simply printed more notes. This resulted in hyperinflation and a severe depreciation in value of the banana notes. My aunt Lian once saying, “During the WWII of Japanese occupation, there were scenes where we watched people transacted a trade with a full gunny sack of banana banknotes.”

I hold some respect and admiration for the Indonesian labour workers. They are capable of building a house for shelter. I can’t. They are capable of planting crops for grains. I can’t. Working as a hard labour is a fundamental living skill. It is the skill that I do not have.

Never get to cause to have too centred in ourselves. I had several times got help from them. Who knows one day we may need their help at the time of unrest.


Posted by Quah Khian Hu 05:43 Archived in Malaysia

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Thinking of buying a small piece of land (affordable price) and plant some vegetables..which might be very expensive in future.. retirement plan..haha

by khoon

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