Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, March 27, 2006
Last weekend, mechanical things drove me nuts. Electronic stuffs, like my computer misbehaved too. On Sunday, my less-than-6 month-old desktop refused to power on. I have to wait for Farris, the bidan to come back from Alor Setar and see what is wrong with his baby.

In the meantime, I have to look for a nut. The nut is part of the propeller of Adam's radio-controlled boat. Adam is my oldest grandson. I got the boat for his birthday last week and he was anxious to try it out. So last Saturday we all had breakfast at a kopitiam in Taman Tun before proceeding to the lake in Taman Tun's taman.

The boat attracted a lot of curious onlookers but we could not get it to move. The remote control unit did not light up in spite of being fed with new batteries. Since I had to rush for a meeting at 10 am, I persuaded Adam to go home first and try starting the boat with his plane's remote control. I knew that the frequency is different but grandfathers can be desperate sometimes.

When I saw Adam before lunch, he got the remote control working. He took the battery holder from his plane's remote control and slotted it in the boat's r/c unit. I asked him to demonstrate. I pushed the boat's propellers in the water of Adam's mother's pasu (earthen jar) and he proudly twiddled with the remote control to make the motors roar. It also made one of the plastic propellers break.

Adam consoled me by telling me that there are spare propellers and he promptly produced them. We could not get the broken propeller off and everyone was hungry so we decided to bring the boat along to where we were going to have lunch. We decided to have lunch at the Curve. Adam was anxious to look for a hobby shop to fix his boat. He did not finish his Little Penang fried rice. There was not even a single hobby shop in the Curve. Neither could we find any in Ikano Power Center. When the mothers went shopping, Adam, Aisya, Aliya and I went to the car. I managed to figure out how to remove the nut, remove the broken propeller and replace the spare.

When we got to the lake, the boat drew curious looks. Adam put the boat in the water and the grandfather started the motor. It worked but the boat would not move forward. Even though Adam did not understand the word gostan ( he had to ask him mom), he could see that his boat reversed (go astern - thats where gostan came from) very well. I thought that the family curse struck again. Years ago, when my father bought me an electric boat, it kept going backward too. My father wanted to bring the boat to Haji Nafis, his goldsmith friend to reweld the props. Before he did that I fiddled with the batteries and somehow managed to make the boat go forward. This time, the polarity of the battery could not be faulted. The plug connecting the rechargeable battery to the motor was built in such a way that it is impossible to switch polarity. I thought about Haji Nafis and told Adam to get the pliers from the car.

The boat has 2 propellers. We replaced the wrong one. We got the right propeller fixed and the boat went like a dream. Ok, a noisy dream. After a while I told Adam to bring the boat up because I noticed something was wrong. True enough, the nut holding the propeller fell off into the murky water of TTDI Lake. I was sure that the nut holding the bicycle spoke would be a very good replacement. A quick visit to the cycle shop in Taman Tun proved me worng. Nuts nowadays are way too small. The nice cycle shop owner told me to try the hardware shops. No luck in the hardware shop in TTDI. I have to try looking for the nuts on Monday.

I just hope that I won't go nuts.