Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good fences make good neighbours

You remember what Gandhi said before he disappeared in a puff of logic? If not I'll refresh your memory, Simon.

Brotherhood and sisterhood can be preached to everyone but brothers and sisters...

OK anyway, as you know, the Moms wants to put up a wall at the back. No unfriendly reason. Just so the dogs can run wild and free and attack Mommy's plants with impunity. Also poop where we need to hang clothes. You see, all love and light.

But somehow, taking down the ugly old rickety fence to put up swanky wall has ignited enough familial animosity to make two Iraqs.

The two witches from next door, with Igor, their resident thug decided that it was their business what we do with OUR fence. After threatening our pavem (poor thing) Indonesian worker, they erected chair barriers today so as not to let the lorry come through to where the bricks, etc, need to be unloaded.

Anyway, picture the peace and tranquility of Jalan Gertak Merah at 0800 hours. Birds singing tunefully. Elliot recovered from his little operation yesterday, but a little depressed that Julie has returned to KL. The good folks of Jalan Gertak Merah enjoying their morning roti canai at the gerai across the road. And Jackie reading Baby Blues.

Suddenly the peace is shattered by raised voices, punctuated with the occassional swear word. We (the three Jacoby children) stick our heads out to see the Old Woman and Mom going at it hammer and tongs.

We watch with intense fascination (to say the least) when I suggest we go support our Big M. Jackie demurs. And then we hear a loud bellow.

"You leave my mother alone!"

I turn to Jackie in wonder: "Who's that?"

Jackie shrugs in resignation: "I think Ivan has joined the fray."

He kicks the offending chair away and hollers about their bullying tactics. He also queries the sincerity of Old Lady (Aunty Chachi)'s aspirations to sainthood: ("Disingenuous Aunty Chachi, really disingenuous!")

Old Lady retorts: "You think you accountant you so great ah?"

Bleached Monkey (formerly known as Black Monkey before the application of oodles of Fair & Lovely) starts screaming for Igor, her card-carrying criminal son who also acts as resident thug.

He charges out and shouted at Moms: "You don't speak to my auntie like that."

At which, Jackie charges forward: "You don't speak to my mother like that."

When Jackie and I appear, Auntie Chachi who has been shrieking for all she is worth, quietly steps back and commences her cleaning activities. The garden path gets so dirty when you're busy hurling offal.

Ivan, who is already late, then takes himself off to work. He sees that he can leave things in Jackie's quietly capable contemptuous hands.

She turns to Moms: "Don't get upset. They're not worth it. They're beneath our contempt."

Threats of police interference are made by ironically enough, the only one in the group with a criminal record. At which Jackie sneers: "Go ahead, if you know how to dial."

At this point, Ivan makes a reappearance and asks why we are still talking to these nonentities. To which Mom replies:

"Eh Ivan, what you still doing here?"

Ivan, holding up the offending article: "I forgot my tie!"

(Just a bit of comic surrealism that lightens the charged atmosphere of a typical Malayalee family fight - you see why it's more civilized for us not to speak for 20/30 years?)

Jackie, who has been busy calming Moms down (Look Moms, they're so far beneath us, don't upset yourself, these people never went to school, they're not educated, it doesn't matter what they think) agrees with Ivan: "Right Mom, let's go. These ARE nonentities." She turned: "Yeah, nonentities, look it up if you don't know what that is."

As we turned to leave, Bleached Monkey throws out a parting shot: "You live in England now you think you white?" (As you can see neither Bleached Monkey nor the Old Lady can argue grammatically. Just thought I'd point that out)

At which Jackie chuckles: "At least I don't bleach my face!"

To which, after a few moments of stunned silence, the Bleached Monkey replies in an unconvincing tone that would not fool a child: "I don't bleach my face!"

The air is now thick with threatened lawsuits. I think Fair & Lovely should get into the fray and sue Bleached Monkey for pretending not to be bleached.

(Jackie, who is sitting beside me said, yeah, but I don't know if they would because I don't know if they would want her to be an advertisement for their product. On consideration, I quite agree. Hideous harpies, bleached or otherwise, don't make good advertisements for anything but the "before" for Extreme Makeover)


quilldancer said...

Oh. My.

Oh my.

My. oh, my!

Jenn said...

Oh my is right.

Nerves still jangling. Silent curses still being hurled. Hope Igor gets run over by a truck.

Daphne said...

sorry if i sound insensitive, i know how upset you are about this, but i was laughing the whole time i was reading your post!

it's like watching a sitcom of some sort :-)

goldennib said...

Families have the best fights. They have such a knack for upsetting each other. I hope things calm down soon.

Jenn said...

Daphne: Haha. No it's not insensitive. Jackie and I wrote it with the juiciest insults carefully edited out (sorry Simon, it's too ugly) and on re-reading now that we have both calmed down and our stomachs have stopped churning, it is quite funny. You should hear the one about the Moms and the parang and the mop.

Nessa: Thanks Nessa, but I don't think it is going to calm down anytime soon. Merry Christmas and all that jazz. I hope Bleached Monkey has a stroke. (Oh won't that be fun) Us Malayalees, we hate for life and our curses are always the fruitiest!

Jenn said...

Oh yeah Daphe, Jackie said...not sitcom, melodrama. Or soap opera.

part-time buddha said...

Just when I thought your life couldn't get any crazier...

john calica said...

This post reminded me of my grand old uncle who had to build a towering fence just to shield himself from such annoying neighbors - his kids and their families.

I've always thought our cultures were quite different, until I read this entry. We Asians are such a melodramatic pack aren't we? Must be all those soap operas.;p

Jenn said...

PTB: It always does. Can't run away from the blood. It always finds you.

John: You people have the same rip-roaring fights? How do you ever get used to it?

john calica said...

Filipinos have short term memory coupled with resiliency. Add a dash of melodrama and what have you got? Pinoys fight, fight a lot but at the end of the day, most of us know that when bad becomes worse, we have our blood relatives to help us through.

Oh yeah, we have messianic complex and we love to tell stories so even if we hate each other's guts, nothing beats the satisfaction of telling everyone that we are able to help an arch enemy of a relative...and everyone's happy again until the next (petty) reason to fight comes along.

Jenn said...

...and everyone's happy again until the next (petty) reason to fight comes along.

Well, we have long term memory. We remember and bear grudges for things that happened 60/70 years ago. My mother has an annoying habit of forgiving enemies when really, she should be inquiring about rates (from gangsters).