Friday, August 9, 2019

National Day

National Day aka Lady Speed Stick
- by TC Lai 9th Aug 2019

A story has been going around for some years now especially on National Day of a man who fell from the sky for so long and so far that it took him three days to land. Where he went, what he did in those three days was what made the whispers so fervent.

"Jin eh boh?" ("Really?") was the most common refrain heard in kopitiams all over the island, as old men nursed their kopi-Os and leery thoughts of the local Tiger Beer girl. Of those who nursed their coffees in cafes and Starbucks, theirs was "Must be some government conspiracy, lah!" And of those who nursed their beverages in White Horse Princes Club in the former ITD compound in Sembawang, they'd just give a harrumpgf and go back to planning how to spend their enormous and dubiously entitled year-end bonuses.

A couple of years later a man did emerge to say he had met and spoken to this mysterious fella who fell from the sky. He claimed he was alive and well and this was his story:

"I was diagnosed with cancer and given six minutes to live. Yeah, that's what the doctor said. He then haw-haw-haw and laughed like a bloody hyena. I decided to humour him and asked why six minutes. 'So you get to make two phone calls, my friend. One to your wife and the other to your xiao san (mistress).' Then he added, 'You do have a Little Three, right?' Just then my Little Three shed a tear and ran out of the consultation room. She was his nurse, a cutie from Ipoh. We had been in a relationship for three years. She'd told me she hoped to become a TCM doctor and open a free clinic back home. I told her, well, she could then continue to doctor all over me, haha. But then my own doctor turned serious and said, "John, we've known each other for a long time and have always kidded over matters. But this time, please take it seriously. What you have is highly unusual and malignant. If anything can be done, I would tell you. But I think you should make final preparations and live out the rest of your life in the finest quality possible. Fulfil your bucket list, go fuck a cow, I don't care. Whatever makes you happy.... But live it up."

Then a tear fell from his eye. However, he soon stiffened up and patted my shoulder and turned away. I know the news must have hit him hard, much harder than me. Strange, right? But I think I had known what was coming, oh....for about two years now. The persistent tiredness, the recurring dreams.... that kind of stuff. And also the strong odours from the armpits. People will avoid you like the plaque. A damn sure sign Mr Death has your warrant.

I think this kind of premonition runs in my family. My mom had the same inkling and went prepared and importantly, quite happy. A week before before her passing she'd asked me over and made all the dishes that I loved. Okay, it was also my birthday, but man, I hadn't had her red bean kueh in such a long long time. Oh, what a treat! She also gave me a bundle of jade to pass to my daughter. That night we played a long game of mahjong and spoked gayly of old family times in Geylang. Gay World was a place we often visited and had a blast.

Before I left, I gave her the Lady Speed Stick deodorant from Colgate-Palmolive I had been buying for her. She pushed them back into my hands saying, "Your damn Aunty Sue is visiting this week. Let her suffer." And by the end of the week, she was gone. Foul smell and all.

And now, it is my time to Lady Speed Stick. The thing is, do I want to?

So I started to think more deeply about what my doctor friend said. But fulfiling my bucket list wasn't gonna to be enough. I would just go "Uh-huh, done that finally!" - like a bloody scripted tourist. It had to be something greater, like setting a Guinness World Record for all eternity kind-of-thing.

Looking at my bucket list, there was parachuting in the buff; wingsuit flying and setting off a bunch of fireworks; caress the **** of Annabelle Chong. I mean, HAND. Poor girl, so misunderstood one. What is she doing now? Still aspiring to be a web designer? I would love to see her do a job for the Vatican. That would be such a hoot, right? And people forget, she was the first one to put Singapore on the world map before that bloody noisy F1 night race!
Credit due where credit's due.

Anyways, back to my story. So National Day was coming up in a few weeks. There was sure to be another parachute demonstration from the army fellas. But at the time, they had planned something different. One of the jumpers would be a robot. An AI enabled robot from NTU to demonstrate their newly stated technology cap. An earlier idea was to do an Elon Musk thing and parachute in their new e-sports car. But it was deemed a safety risk at The Float@Marina Bay and abandoned. That it was an amphibious vehicle like the one in Moonraker movie also cut no dice. At the time the NDP Task Force was headed by a certain Colonel Ang Pek Kee. Damn patriotic but also a bit of a char-tau.

Nebermind, so they bought a sex doll with articulated limbs and dressed her up as Sailor Moon. She would parachute in manhandling the chute herself, no fan in her fanny sort of thing to guide her in. Strictly AI. She would brain the thing in herself. Cool, no?

So I thought: Why don't I "divebomb" the event, same as like photobomb. I could dive and land right after Sailor Moon and make some headlines together. Imagine "Avid fan follows Sailor Moon to the Float". Or "Lao Uncle Dare Devil Dives After 90s Icon" ...that sort of thing. It will revive a whole franchise! The least I can do after that Kyoto Animation Studio massacre. Eh, have you watched The Melancholy of Harumi Suzumiya? Pretty philosophical, sia.

Anyways, I hired a plane from Indonesia - I was sure no pilot in Sg will want to do that career-ending stunt with me. Got myself into a wing-suit (why not double bill the thing, eh?), strapped on an ultralight chute and took off in the late afternoon of August 9.

Because I wanted total surprise, I told the pilot to drop me off at a higher out of sight height. But as soon as I dropped from the plane, my chute pack was ripped off. Damn idiot flew too fast and I was too skinny. Terminal illness can do that to you. But some do get very fat, which is very misleading.

So there I was, left flying at 18,000 feet. A dilemma. Should I continue with my mission or land wherever I could. I could do a Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and try to dive-catch a ride with Ms Sailor Moon on the way down. Probably can cop a feel too without anybody noticing, haha. The ol' kill two birds with one stone, eh? Look, I am not cheekoh, lah. Just curious about that rubber doll, that's all

Anyways, by then I was too far off course. Besides, because I was too light, my wingsuit kept being lifted by thermals and I was not able to descend. KNS, I was just too bloody light!

But man, the sights I saw were incredible. The setting sun cutting across a bed of rolling clouds just over the Indonesian border, with Mount Agung in the picture.

And the night scenes up there were out of this world literally. The purest, cloudless ever! Stars so pinpoint bright it caused me to see stars afterwards.

And so in this way I drifted on for a long time. At times, flocks of frigate birds would fly with me. But they would never get too close. Hmm, maybe my Lady Speed Stick application by then was worn. And at one point I had to pee in my wingsuit too, which warmed me up a bit. Later I discovered that these birds could stay aloft for over 50 days at a time. Quite an incredible feat. But for me, that would be suicide.

So when I saw them heading for Christmas Island, I peeled off. I figured ditching in the vast Indian Ocean wouldn't make a great farewell. Look at what happened to MH370.

In the end, the thermals carried me back towards the east, towards Batam. And when they eased off, I quickly wingsuit-glided into a very wet padi field. I rolled like as if I was kicked by Bruce Lee down an alley. About a hundred yards later I came to a stop, wingsuit shredded but the rest of me was unscathed. Not even a scratch, which I thought was a bloody miracle. Maybe it was a sign that my Lady Speed Stick days were over! Trying to get over the fact that I fell from the sky from a great height and lived took a while to get over. It always felt like a dream, the soaring clouds, clear night skies and chatty birds....At times, I felt I could go on forever!

What? The padi field? The village?

Oh, the village near the padi field where I fell belonged to that group of women where, for USD200 dollars a month, they were willing to start a family with you. If you built the woman a house - even the local wood-zinc type, she would bring another sister along.

So here I am, now with a brood of ten kids. See them there, sitting on the edge of a kelong and enjoying the night sky? Why, just the other day, one of them told me he wanted to be an ISS astronaut and live amongst the stars. And the other day, the youngest came up and asked me to buy her that Sailor Moon doll. You know, the one with the parachute accessory. So I guess the NDP parade went well, yah?

What? You mean she not only managed to land but stood up feet akimbo and gave her signature salute?

Wow. Solid sia. NTU must be oversubscribed by now, heheh.

My illness? Gone. I guess the cold temp up there during all those hours (and days) must have frozen them out. Or the starin to survive. But since that fateful day, I've come to cherish the unexpected. Live and enjoy each and every day. Beside, if you do that, there's no need for any bucket list or hare brain schemes to dive bomb an event, right? And you don't always need to be happy too! And as Sailor Moon once said: "My skirt is short coz I like to air my bai-b**..."

No lah, just kidding. She once said: "I'd rather choose to fall in love and be hurt. Sometimes I can't even sleep because I love someone too much. And there's always sadness in our lives. It's that sad feeling that keeps us going..."

So, always live and feel.

Excuse me whilst I go join my wives and kids and look up the sky. They tell me they can see the glow of fireworks from Singapore. It's their National Day there, you know.

The end

Background: (Inspiration) Well, it WAS National Day!

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