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Archive for June 16th, 2012

One night after dinner, I ran out to look for Dad. He was sitting at the front counter, counting the day’s take.

“Dad, are we going to Park again?” I asked him eagerly. Jubilee Park at Cowan Street was quite a mouthful for a six years old girl, so I simply called it “Park”.

It was a place I loved to go to – for its carousel and Ferris wheel. It used to be the happening place in Ipoh, for both children and adults.

“No, tonight we’re going to a different place, to Durian Street. I need to buy something there!” Dad replied as he puts the old abacus away. “I’m going to bring you there to see some snakes and monkeys!” he laughed enticingly and I can’t contained my excitement.

So off we went to Osborne Street that night. It was also known as Durian Street. Yes, you can get all the durians, rambutans and mangosteens you wanted from this street. But we went there for something else.

You see, Dad used to have piles and he heard that some herbs and creams from the roadside peddlers might help. They usually operate at night and their products can help cure some ailments from migraine to arthritis. Such treatments usually came in the forms of herbs, lotions or creams. Most of the customers are from the lower-income group who could not afford expensive medications from western pharmacies; thus they seek out cheap alternative treatments from the roadside.

When we reached there, the show had already started. Some people were squatting while many others were standing. I saw an old van parked beside the pavement near the entrance of the old Foh San Restaurant. At the side of the van stood a small wooden table and on top of this table, you can see packets of herbs, bottles of lotions and jars of creams all being neatly arranged in rows.

As the medicine man described his products using a loud-hailer, his two young sons helped out. One was busy selling the wares to some customers while another boy clashed the two cymbals in his hands each time his father sang out the effects of his products. His humourous way got many in laughter.

The highlight of the show came when the medicine man took out a square rattan case and out glide a big albino python! The sight of this rare creature took the spectators’ breathe away. He swiftly took it and hung it over his neck. I was completely awed that I stood rooted there for a moment. This is the first time I saw a live snake!

And much to my delight, next, two little monkeys dressed in red jerseys cycled out in circles, chewing on bananas and waving to the crowd. Many burst out in laughter and gees. I had such a wonderful time watching these adorable animals with their mischievous antics and before I realized it, the show was over and it was time for the medicine man to clear his things up.

“Do you like it?” Dad asked as we walked home. He had bought a few packets of herbs and a jar of cream.

“Yes, I loved it and I wanted to see it again!” I told him happily. He nodded smilingly.

“Let’s pack some fried noodles for your mom!” he said, “at least we have something for her too!” What a night!

 Sadly, such shows can no longer be found again at Osborne Street.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and this memory suddenly came to my mind as I was thinking of Dad. It brought a smile to my lips.

Thank you Dad, for everything! I loved you and still missed you a lot, as usual.

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