Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fiat S899 2

In 1962, Father got another promotion. He became a Group Supervisor of schools in the Education Department. He was now in charge of schools, teachers, principals and anything connected with Education. One of his job descriptions had a connection to our old Fiat. Father gave oral English tests to anyone wanting to be a policeman. They had to pass this examination to qualify. So every policeman in Sibu knew him as Tuan (big boss). Many of them had to be tested many times as it was not easy for a Primary Six holder, usually Malays or Ibans to hold a conversation in the Queen’s English. You can imagine us swelling with pride when a policeman greeted him Tuan while we were in the car. Father was even the boss of the policeman. One day, Mother was driving along the Kampong Nybor Road near the Mosque, she had a slight accident. The situation is a bit difficult to comprehend. She was passing a parked lorry. As she was passing, the lorry started moving. Our Old Fiat’s hind bumper hooked on to the lorry’s bumper and pulled it off. The lorry driver, a Heng Hua man got out and started to be fierce. He was trying to intimidate my less than five foot Mother. She was afraid he was going to hum dum (beat her up) because he was waving his hands to her face. The police came and saw it was Mrs. Tuan, and saluted. The lorry driver realized that this might be a VIP woman and became less aggressive. He admitted he started his truck only after Mother was passing him. The case was closed. Mother came home victorious. We added another Heng Hua in our list of hated people. We laughed how our tiny Fiat became a tank, and the lorry was no match for him. It was like David and Goliath twice over, the fiat and the lorry, my tiny mum and big Heng Hua man. The old Fiat started to get old. It was a very rare model; parts were difficult to come by. We had to wait for the garage to ship them from Singapore. Pushing it to start was getting a more and more frequent event. Mother knew more about cars than Dad. I started to hate the car.

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