Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Saturday, January 08, 2005
I discovered that Amran can drive so he got to drive my car now and then. During the "Bolathon" he was my co-driver all over Pahang because I didn't want to join the gang in the Football Association's bus. It was a "No Smoking " bus. I preferred my Ford Spectron because the trip involved a whole night and the seats flattened down into a big double bed. My friend Dato' Salleh P.A. dubbed it a "moving bordello".

Amran didn't get to drive my car anymore after I discovered that he didn't have a driving license. He had been driving for years without getting caught. Now Amran is driving the RTM Pajero. With a valid license, I hope.

Our clerk was Ramunah. She was efficient and helpful. She left to further her education and wasn't heard from since.

Our Telephone Operator was Sallehuddin. Din is a nice wonderful man who got blinded in a football match. He caught the ball hard in the face and gradually lost his sight. Din married Zaharah who is also blind and they had 2 kids. The eldest is a boy, Iskandar. I used to see Iskandar playing tricks on his parents. When Din or Zaharah called out his name, Iskandar would freeze for a few minutes and the parents couldn't locate him. I told Din to fix a bell to the son.

Din has a good memory for numbers as well as voices and hardly uses his Braille typewriter. He reserved that for long messages and to record the daily calls. Din never let his handicap ruin his life. He joined everything we do with much gusto. When we played volleyball, he was the referee. He can "hear" when the ball is out. Of course like all players, there were people who complained. They forgot themselves and shouted out "Oii! Referee buta ke?" before they realized who the referee was. Much laughter followed. The loudest would be from Din. Zaharah passed away after I left Kuantan and Din has since remarried to someone who could see him. Iskandar could not play his old tricks anymore.

The security guards and jagas (jagas were under a different salary scheme) were a mixed lot. Some were good people. A few were hopeless cases. They were the ones who managed to whack the time recorder every few months so that they don't have to register their rounds. Kuala Terengganu gave up giving the money to send the recorder to KL for repairs. I had to move from a nice bungalow in Medan Tok Sira to the small house in RTM compound to jaga the jagas. I do remember the nice ones. Rozani was the one with the green fingers. Our transmitter field is over 4 acres. Rozani and other friends used the nearest corner to plant jagung and vegetables. Pak Cik Razali, a religious man, lived in what Derumo called Snake River. When a vicious looking snake came into our house one day, Pak Cik Razali was the one to corral it. Pak Cik Razali was blessed with many small kids then and he had to augment his jaga salary by tapping rubber before his shift. When our surau was set up, Pak Cik Razali was one of the imams. I always can tell when Pak Cik Razali was on duty. I can hear the recital of Quranic verses from the Guard House in the night.

When I first called the guards for a meeting to know about their problems, the following conversation took place and got forever stuck in my memory:

ME: Ok, kita akan beritau tukang jahit supaya menjahit uniform betul-betul. Ada apa apa lagi? (We will tell the tailors to sew the uniforms better. Anything else?)
GUARD X: Ku, boleh pejabat bagi ubat nyamok kat Guard House?
(Ku, can the office supply some mosquito coils to the Guard House?)
ME: Kenapa? Banyak sangat nyamok ke?
(Why? Are there a lot of mosquitos?)
GUARD X: Banyak Ku. Susah nak tidor.
(A lot Ku. It is difficult to sleep.)