Thursday, January 07, 2010

When the Voice is Loud .....


One of the dark lanes of Jelutong Village

Home of Aunty Ah Tee, who was mama's good friend

When I became a toastmaster, I learnt that a good speaker has a loud, clear and expressive voice. Certainly, loudness is an asset, for it helps your audience to listen more easily.

Since I was a child, I also realised that having a loud voice was an asset.... to ward off intruders and would-be robbers.

I remember mama had asked me to run to the grocery store to buy some incense sticks and papers. It was about eight at night, and I had just finished listening to my favourite program on the radio. Mama gave me a $50 note....big money in those days.
I wished she could have given me a smaller $5 note instead, but mama was not someone you would argue with.

As I was walking briskly along the dark alley, I thought I saw three Malay boys standing at the alley, lighting some cigarettes. I told myself that I would use an alternative lane to return home, so as to avoid bumping into the boys again, who looked as if they were taking some drugs. Drug taking was rampant in those days.

However, I bumped into a friend, and chit-chatted happily with her. I forgot about my earlier intention to use a different lane. Just as I was walking, I sensed someone following me and just as I turned around, the guy tried to snatch my purse. Just then, mama's stern face loomed in my imgaination, and by golly my fear of losing the money gave me courage to scream at my loudest, "Pencuri! Pencuri!
(Thief! Thief!) My piercing scream caused the dogs to start barking, and suddenly my neighbour, Aunty Ah Tee turned on the external lights of her house. The thief fled for his life while I held on to my purse with tenacity!

"What happened?" asked Aunty Ah Tee.

"No...nothing!" I stammered.

"I was sure I heard someone screaming", reiterated the elderly lady.

When I reached home, I looked into the mirror and gosh I looked so pale. The ordeal had left me quite shaken. Keeping mama's money intact was all that mattered to me, and knowing how nosey and talkative the villagers were, I did not want to appear like a little heroine, warding off a potential robber.

I was the youngest and perhaps the most shy and timid in the family. However, this unforgettable incident has somehow allowed me to think that if I had to stand up for something in the future, I would somehow have the courage to do it. Being courageous does not mean having no fear; it means that despite the fear, we still carry out the task. Perhaps this is why I had the courage to tick off four burly secondary school boys when I caught them trying to drown a kitten.

It is certainly useful when a lady has a little courage, and it helps when the voice is loud ......

Gan Cao

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