SINGAPORE - Have a read of Don Bosco's latest story of a Pontianak (ghost) - enjoy this delightful spiel.
But first — A QUICK GLOSSARY
karang guni (Malay) = scrap dealer
longkang (Malay) = drain
Pontianak (Malay) = scary female ghost in white dress
Sungei Road = local street market, with both legit and dodgy vendors
Okay, glossary over, let's begin.
HELLO, I AM LONGKANG LADY, AUTHENTIC SG SUPER HERO
Yes, they call me Longkang Lady. Maybe you've heard of me. In the old days, I was well known around the Telok Blangah area. I was the neighbourhood hero.
It started when I was a young girl. My father was the karang guni man, together with his brother. They collected newspaper, cardboard, old clothes, metal pieces, all kinds of stuff, even toys, which they would clean, fix, and sell at Sungei Road.
Back then, our neighbourhood heroes were The A-Boys. Their names all started with "A" — Ah Chye, Ahmad and Anand. But they were not actually boys, they were already in their 30s and 40s.
They met when they were playing football, and they were invited to take over from the previous hero when that guy retired. My mother's brother used to play football with them too, that's how I got to know them.
The A-Boys always looked very impressive. They wore matching blue sarongs with green t-shirts, each one had a big yellow "A" stitched on the back. Ahmad's mother did the sewing.
Ah Chye had a great singing voice, Ahmad was fantastic at killing mosquitoes, and Anand had outstanding chest hair, even as a teenager. That's what all his neighbours said.
Every evening, after work, and dinner, they would go around helping out in the neighbourhood. They took care of a lot of bullies, and also small-time crooks.
But their biggest challenge was handling the Pontianak woman.
She was a real Pontianak, as everyone knew, and she was the reason why other people stayed away from Telok Blangah at night. She was extremely rude and quarrelsome. Sometimes, if you looked in her direction, she would lose her temper and go crazy and torment you with her crazy Pontianak stuff. And sometimes, if you didn't look in her direction, that would be enough to make her mad.
Seriously, we were all terrified of her.
One night, my mother sent me out to buy bread for breakfast the next morning. I was walking back when I saw the A-Boys having a shouting match with the Pontianak next to the big field.
They were making a lot of noise. The A-Boys yelled until their faces turned purple. But they were no match for the Pontianak. She screeched and screamed so loudly, all the flowers on the nearby frangipani tree fell off.
The neighbours came out to watch. They were careful to stay a safe distance away. Many were excitedly betting on the outcome.
I felt like I had to help somehow.
There was a drain running along the side of the field, my brother and I used to play in it all the time. I went into the drain, and crawled all the way behind the Pontianak. Nobody noticed me, they were all enjoying the shouting match. And then, when I was right behind the Pontianak, I suddenly popped up and shouted, "Boo!"
The Pontianak had such a shock, she jumped up into the air. And then she ran off, waving her hands frantically.
Everyone laughed. And clapped. The A-Boys were relieved. They thought they were going to lose to the Pontianak. Good thing I helped them.
We never had any problem with the Pontianak after that. Each time she dared to show her face, we would just yell "Boo!" and laugh at her. Shortly after, she left the Telok Blangah area.
That was how I got my nickname. Everyone called me Longkang Girl for a few years, and then when I got older, they changed it to Longkang Lady.
After the A-Boys retired, I took over as the neighbourhood hero. Ahmad's mother made me an orange t-shirt with "LL" on the front, in gold glitter. I would crawl through the drains, to get around secretly, and protect the place.
There were so many newspaper reports about me. How I defeated that super villain, Big Biceps Boy, who was an awful bully.
How I caught the four Takeaway Sisters, notorious for taking away lots of stuff that did not belong to them.
How I managed to capture the Milo Monster, which was actually a rat that broke into a coffee shop and ate so many tins of Milo powder that he transformed into a scary beast.
How I dealt with other villains, like The Night Ninja, Sensational Ah Seow, and so many more.
Those were good days.
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