Monday, 23 April 2007

constitutional monarchy

warning. long entry. commitment required.

once upon a time, there was a (ehem!) handsome prince. he hailed from a sleepy hollow and travelled to faraway land in his quest for knowledge and found himself falling madly in love with a princess from the capital city of the purple kingdom. while they strived to see each other day in and out during the scholarly period, the luxury was not afforded when they returned temporarily to their respective lands to retain acquaintences with the ladyships and lordships in their homeland.

like any other lovebirds in their mad illusions of being in love, they were grateful to the remote communication equipment that enabled them to be within speaking distance throughout. it was however, simply a meagre substitute of a four-eyed meeting and the burgeoning cost associated with it was simply not an alluring pleasure to the kings and queens.

thankfully, there was a frequent carriage service in between the distant lands and the golds required for utilising the horses was considerably less than the remote communication means. and the prince was forever grateful to his forefathers that even though his homeland was in a sleepy hollow, it was ideally located in the main trading lines between the capital city of the purple kingdom and the capital city of the administrative district which is around 17 miles as the horses ride from his little palace. the journey back and forth could be performed simply by hailing the long distance carriages that passed through his palace without the need to be switching into the infrequent domestic carriages somewhere else.

ok, this is taking too long. i don't have all day so it's time to switch style.

as natural as a young couple falling madly in love, their moment together would be maximised by delaying the journey home after spending a few days in the city as late as possible and the prince would normally reach his hometown well after midnight. the constant travelling then took its toll on the prince that he overslept on one of the journeys and found himself thinking of the best course of action of not to become too troublesome for the parents to go the distance of 17 miles and picked him up at the end of the carriage's journey.

then, he remembered there would be two public phones sitting pretty in front of a mosque in the grassy swamp (paya rumput) area in front of the mosque halfway through to the town (this was the time when mobile phone was not a norm). so the prince made a decision-of-no-return to alight the carriage and headed towards the public phones. while public phones were never famous to be reliable and free from being vandalised by restive youths looking for a quick fix in this purple kingdom, there were two of them so should one fail, there should be another one, right? wrong. to his dismay, both the phones were not in working condition and he found himself in the dark, literally and allegorically.

pondering his next move, he noticed the handsome, well-built bungalow in front of him across the road of a yaibee (elected rep). hey, it's the government of the people, by the people and for the people! it was the best candidate to offer open arms to a stranded traveller. plus it is simply not pleasurable to wake any other village folk in the middle of the night to find out that they did not have phone lines installed in their house.

with the usual assalamualaikum, he knocked on the door, softly. no response. again. still no response. wondering that the people inside were sleeping as soundly as he would, he ramped up the intensity of the knocking and the salam after trying for 15 minutes with no desirable results. finally, judging from the silhouettes flashing by the stained glass door, his knocking was fruitful in waking people up but not with the desired result of a groggy face opening up the door. and somehow the flurry of activities inside the house died down as quickly as it had started.

another persistent knocking for another 15 minutes yielded an unexpected result. in the middle of the night, he saw a group of village folks converging towards the bungalow with lots of things in their which he could vaguely made out to be cangkul, parang, pitch fork and makeshift clubs.

then, the leader of the village folks approached the prince and asked politely on the going-ons. while he was explaining the awkward situation that he was unwillingly put into to the leader, in came two groggy uniformed policemen on a kapcai wearing the expression of not amused being awakened from the middle-of-the-night-sleeping-shift routine due to this crook banging on the door of the yaibee.

"ini apasal ketuk pintu rumah orang malam-malam buta ni?! aku tangkap, gari masuk lokap karang baru padan muka engkau"

"eh! apasal pulak? senang-senang nak tangkap anak orang sebab ketuk pintu orang tengah malam? kalau anak ayam orang tangkap masuk reban dia pun tuan dia marah tau. ini pulak anak orang."

"abih? apasal ketuk pintu orang ni?"

"saya nak pinjam talipon"

"apasal tak pakai public phone depan masjid tu?"


"betul rosak?"

"tak caya pegi check sendiri"

"apasal tak ketuk pintu rumah orang sebelah sana tu?"

"hey, ni kan rumah yaibee. yaibee kata nak tolong rakyat. saya rakyat yang nak mintak tolong pinjam talipon je. daripada saya ketuk rumah orang sebelah tu, baikla saya ketuk rumah yaibee ni, betul tak?"

silence, dumbstrucked by the eloquence of the prince.

after a long pause, he queried, finally in a more civilised tone, he asked:

"buat apa sekarang?" "sekolah"

"sekolah mana?" "university"

"uni mana?" "obersi"

"patutla kurang ajau semacam je"

"dah, kamu datang nak marah-marah tak tentu pasal, kena la balik"

after that, not interested to have any more conversation with the uncivilised men-of-the-law, the prince continued having rational discussion with the leader of the village folks. he was made to understand that the yaibee was not around and the his bungalow has been robbed a few times, hence the additional precautions taken by the household. directing his comment towards the kapcai men, the prince remarked that if he were to rob the house, he wouldn't be knocking on the door just to attract attention but more likely to bring it down instead.

then, the prince was offered to use the phone inside the leader's house instead. 15 minutes passed by and the groggy faces of the king and queen showed up with their own carriage to retrieve the stricken. finally, they all lived happily ever after. err well, not really but that's a different story altogether.

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