I was driving along the highway, on the left most lane (that would be the right most in the US and other countries that drive on the right side of the road).
I was driving casually, minding my own business, when from the rear view mirror I could see an old Nissan sedan closing in on me. I could also see that the occupants of the car - four or five of them - were excitedly jostling on their seats, waving their hands about, and pointing towards my 4 x 4.
This could be trouble. I told myself: "Stay cool Grandpa, we may have a situation here...". My right hand instinctively went down to the floor of the car by the driver's seat next to the door. For a moment I thought it wasn't there, and my heart missed a beat. Then I felt it. The walking stick inherited from my late father. I held it tight and felt a relief and a sudden gush of adrenalin.
Apart from a zamrud ring, a few pagoda t-shirts and sarongs, this was the only other item the old man left behind. No money, no properties. Lots of sweet loving memories though. But that's a story for another day.
The lower third had broken off leaving about enough wood to hide the blade. It is short enough to fit the side of the car. It's not exactly a samurai sword but a good stab with it could still be fatal. I have been carrying the thing around without any real need to use it. Until that day.
I was hoping there would not be any need to. I said a little prayer.
The car with the noisy, agitated passengers closed in on mine, its nose almost touching my bumper. My heart beat faster and harder, and beads of sweat began forming on my forehead. Then with a sudden swerve outwards it came alongside me. Down came the wind screens and out came the hands, all showing the thumbs up!
"First prize! First prize!" they pointed to my car and cheered excitedly. With all of them laughing away the car zoomed ahead, zig-zagging and finally disappearing in the traffic.
I heaved an audible sigh of relief. I knew then that my number was up. They were punters who may have just won the first prize of the four-digit lottery draw by buying the number of my car, hence the acknowledgement - a 'thank you' of sort. If only they knew that they almost gave me a heart attack!
Four digit punters need a 'source' for their numbers, and a car registration number is a common one. Other 'sources' include the big tree by the cemetery or what the fortune tellers tell them. You can also use any four digit from your ID card, your marriage or birth cert, anything you fancy really. And the sequence of the numbers are normally switched around (pau) to complete all the permutations possible to increase your chances of striking.
Some would get their numbers while they are asleep - in their dreams.
If there's an accident on a road or highway, a crowd will quickly form and moving cars will slow down to take down the numbers of the cars and other vehicles involved in the accident. It is believed that there's a great chance of those numbers being drawn. (Oddly enough, calling 911 doesn't seem to be topmost in the spectators' mind).
|Phew! Home free - safely parked under|
the durian tree
Their lucky number. Mine too.
Upon retirement I bought this four wheeler for use on the farm and for transporting fertilizers, building materials and other stuff to the farm. It came with a much sought after registration number.
The number 5648 (Mm Loau Sey Fatt) roughly translated means: "You can afford to relax (i.e no need to work), or dabble a little bit but money still come". Cool.
Of course I still work on The Farm, thriving on the fresh air and sunshine. As my needs are pretty basic, and I enjoy the simple pleasures of life, I don't need much to survive, stay happy and share my blessings.