Saturday, 17 April 2010


At KD Malaya, where Dad worked with Poon, the bar was run by a Chinese man called Lingha, along with his brother, Pow. Lingha hurtled around on an old scooter, with a carrier on the back, which was usually full of curry puffs which he sold up at the Officers Mess. Apparently, they were delicious. My parents would sit outside on a picture night, eating curry puffs and having a drink. Whenever Dad was on duty at night, Lingha would bring him curry prawns and rice, wrapped in a banana leaf. The prawns were huge, unlike the ones you got here. One day, Dad's friend, Tom Bagwell, got a call from Pow to say that Lingha had died and asked if he would go with him to collect the body. What Tom didn't realise was that they were just to be given the body as it was and had to drive back with Lingha sat up in the back seat! Tom kept checking in his rear view mirror to see if Lingha was sitting upright! Just as well they weren't stopped by the police on the way back although they would have probably just been use to it anyway!
There seemed to be a different approach to death over there. Life seemed to be cheap and if anyone was knocked over, the shop keepers would come out and just place cardboard over the body until someone came to collect it. There were probably quite a few road accidents at the time. Funerals involved the mourners burning paper money (Hell notes) and other items (such as paper houses, paper cars etc) so that the deceased would be well off in the afterlife.
I'm not sure what happened to Lingha after he was collected but it must have been quite an eerie experience driving him back!

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