I’ll start by telling you I don’t believe in psychics, fortune tellers, soothsayers and the rest of the mumbo jumbo crowd. But this is one strange tale that has befuddled me to this very day.
Years ago, I attended a dinner party at a restaurant. Sitting beside me was a man reputed to be a psychic with a loyal following. We didn’t speak to each other. But in the course of dinner, he suddenly told me to expect a call in two weeks from a UK publishing house with regards to a job interview.
There would have been no way this person would have known. I did not tell anyone that I had been sending out my CV.
Exactly 14 days later, I received a call from Hong Kong inviting me to a job interview – a writer’s position in the Singapore bureau office. I was told the editor of the publishing house, with its headquarters in the UK, planned to visit Singapore for the session.
On the scheduled day, I misplaced my belt. That’s right, that strip of leather typically worn around the waist. I searched high and low for it, but I just couldn’t find it. I would feel incomplete without my belt. You can’t go to an interview wearing a shirt, a tie and no belt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one of those belt-less pants.
Odd as this may sound, I called up Hong Kong to reschedule. I was told it was not possible as the editor was only in town for a day and he planned to interview two others. Under the circumstances, I gave up the opportunity to meet with my interviewer.
So the day didn’t happen, as fate would have it. But the question is, how did this mysterious person whom I met over dinner know? One thing for sure: He may have seen the future, but he could not predict the outcome.
I was standing outside a bank inside a shopping mall waiting for it to open when an old man came up to me and pointed at my tummy.
“You fat fat ah! Fat! Fat!” he said. “You never exercise? Why don’t you exercise?”
I stared at the individual in disbelief, but I didn’t say a word. I expected him to get the drift. But he just went on and on.
“Where do you stay?” he finally asked.
“Singapore,” I replied.
“Where in Singapore?”
“Singapore,” I repeated.
He grinned. “No, I mean which part of Singapore?”
“Singapore,” I said, slowly distancing myself.
Later in the queue, I saw him and two other women having a normal conversation.
What was that all about?
Back in the 80s I had a form teacher in secondary school who was dubbed “Mr. Cool.” He never bothered us much unlike the rest of the teaching staff.
In fact, I think one of the teachers, who taught us history, quit her profession because she lost her patience with the boys. Think Gremlins after being in contact with water.
Our boisterous class was situated near the Principal’s office. It also didn’t help we were near the staff room. This meant regular visits from the Vice Principal, an evil personality from Hell’s depth that even made the Vampire in Salem’s Lot looked saintly. We shall call him, “Mr. Evil.”
Mr. Evil enjoyed punishing the class. He even got physical with some of the boys simply for being noisy and restless. Mr. Evil also had a habit of making us stay behind after school till late evening. This happened often.
On one occasion, Mr. Evil ordered us all to come back to school on Saturday. The punishment? We had to march around the school compound a hundred times. And after that, climb up and down the four-stories high school a hundred times as well. This infuriated many of the boys. So they decided to teach Mr. Evil a lesson. Let’s just say Mr. Evil needed a new paint work for his shiny brown car afterwards.
On Monday, my form teacher came into class. He sat at the edge of his table, one leg up, the other resting on the floor, and lit a cigarette. He looked at each and everyone one of us, and then said: “You people are stupid. You should’ve waited until the end of the year when the school term ended to take your revenge.” We certainly didn’t expect that.
Only 3 boys were caught. Their parents had to pay for the damages, and they were expelled.
The rest of us did not rat on each other. When we were being interrogated individually, I came up with an excuse I saw nothing. I was busy tending to a kitten in my school bag that I had picked up at the school’s car park. It was the honest truth. I had a witness – the janitor – as I gave the kitten to him later. He saw me picked it up and tend to it while we were marching.
You are probably wondering: Did I participate in damaging the car? Well, as you know a rat’s bite can be fatal. Good thing I had a feline friend to protect me.