Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Old Boy, Playboy & Ah Boy

I posted an article entitled Time & Its Healing Properties a few years ago. In it, I told the story of my step-grandfather, whose existence I've always considered as one of God's biggest blunders. It's been a few years since that day at Girlie's wedding reception when we met, and although I've met the Old Boy several more times after that, those were merely brief encounters. Well, he's 97 years old now and yesterday he collapsed during a heart attack at home. He was then sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital 2 near my house. 

By this morning, we were notifying each other of his condition. Apart from the heart attack, he had breathing difficulty and numerous other complications. He has hypertension, muscular and joint pains, diabetes, regular stomach upset and trouble eating, as well as perpetual constipation, just to name a few. Things were looking grim indeed. Some of us visited him today. I did too, and spent about an hour's worth of chit-chatting with the Old Boy.

Incidentally, over the last few weeks, the Playboy has been having breathing difficulty too. I was told that my sister Audrey brought him to the hospital to seek medical help in the wee hours of the morning recently. I'm not sure if these two people were conspiring with the breathing difficulty thing. I must admit that I'm tempted to investigate further into this case. Anyway, as some of you would know from this blog, the Playboy is a survivor of 2 heart attacks approximately 10 years apart. After the second heart attack, he had a quadruple bypass surgery. If you haven't realised it by now, this fellow enjoys cheating death, you see. He had just celebrated his 71st birthday just a few weeks ago, or roughly about 10 years since his bypass surgery.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes, the Old Boy. When I saw him this afternoon, he couldn't recognize me. I had to jog his memory a bit, and it took him a few minutes to figure out where exactly this visitor belonged on the family tree. But once he figured it out, he was inclined to indulge in an animated conversation. It seemed like suddenly all his heart attack issues were a thing of the past. 

Those of you who've had conversations with old folks before—and in this case, a very old folk—would of course know that they all sound very much like a broken record player. Stories of yesteryear can be repeated again and again for only-God-knows how many millionth time. That when he first landed in Sabah many years ago, he had nobody. That one could hardly see a motor vehicle on the road. The Japanese troops invaded Sabah, and gunshots and bombs could be heard in the middle of the night; too many times he had to just drop his meal and run into the jungle to take cover when gunfights broke out. That when he first started working, he was earning just RM12.50 per month; and the house rent back then was just 50 Sen per month.

This story, that story, and then eventually the inevitable story about Ah Boy. Bear in mind that I've heard about all this many times before, but what was I supposed to do, I didn't have the heart to interrupt the Old Boy's story-telling session.

Well, anyway, Ah Boy is the nickname of my cousin brother. According to the Old Boy, Ah Boy is not quite right in his head, as he once beat up his siblings and even attacked the Old Boy. The latter said that he's already old and weak, so was unable to defend himself. Otherwise, he would have fought back! Too bad he's not forever young like the Playboy. I bet if it's the Playboy in his shoes, he would have been able to show some of those "wax-on, wax-off" maneuvers like Miyagi. If you haven't realised it yet, all this happened like over 20 years ago. Or was it 30? Ah Boy, continued the Old Boy, cheated him of his money, and I'm sensing the Old Boy is still hoping to get back at least some of his money soon.

Thankfully, my uncle and his daughter came visiting, and I seized the chance to bid adieu. An hour's worth of grandfather stories, but sometimes it's amazing that at such an age, he can still remember all the fine details. In fact, I reckon that's the only part of his existence that hasn't been affected at all by the process of aging! Still, what d'you expect—he's 97, for heaven's sake, I'd be very happy if I could last that long with my mind still intact!

In the mean time, there is still the issue of the Playboy with the breathing difficulty thing. But that's a small matter. After all, he's forever young like Connor McLeod of the Highlander fame.

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