Say It Isn’t So (Part 4)

Yun rushed after Aziema but found that he had lost her in the crowd. It was such since drinks were free tonight, he figured. He scouted around nonetheless, and he reached the restrooms, and breifly considered whether he ought to go barging in the ladies when a Malay looking woman in her late 20s came out and bumped into him.

“Oh, sorry,” the woman said and blushed. “I didn’t see you there,”

Yun smiled. “No worries, he said,” He looked at her and recognised her from the stage. “You were on the stage singing that old song just now, weren’t ya?”

Barely a second after he had made reference to the stage when loud swing music began to play and a familar voice began to sing from it. Yun looked in its direction and frowned.

“Manteca. Manteca! Yeah folks, lets get it on!” Ferman was singing and saying, bottle swaying in his left hand. He was dancing on stage, too.

That half white guy can be a bit too much sometimes, thought Yun, recalling that first time they finally met in real life after knowing each other for a while on FB. He turned to the woman and smiled. “You in a hurry somewhere? Let me buy you a drink, if you don’t mind,” The woman hesitated. “Oh, don’t worry, I’m married with two kids,” he showed his wedding ring on his left ring finger. The woman sighed and smiled.

“Sure, if its not too long. I’m feeling tired. I just arrived from Indonesia this morning and they made me do a gig tonight. Slave drivers,” she grumbled.

Yun laughed.”Tell me about it,”

A while later they were at the table, and Yun was chattering away about himself. “So, my family is from Indonesia too. From Padang, in fact. I’m Minangkabau and they migrated to Malaysia in the 1840s and settled in Gombak, where I grew up,” he said, proudly. “But my father made me stay in Padang for seven years of my childhood, that is, from when I was nine till I was 15, before I got an offer to go to MCKK,” The woman looked puzzled at the term. “Oh, MCKK is supposed to be an elite school in Malaysia. Sort of like our version of Eton, you see. But I didn’t like it there. I was away from my home in Padang, and it affected me bad,” Yun continued before remembering that he had not bothered to ask about the woman who was before him, listening to his story intently.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, embarrassed. “I’ve been going on and on. What about you? Which part of Indonesia are you from? Whats your name?” he asked, realising that he didn’t even know the woman’s name. Darn it, he thought.

The woman grinned. “Ngak apa. I like how you tell your history with such passion. Nice to know that there are those in Malaysia who still remember their Indonesian roots. As for me, I am Javanese, from Yogyakarta. My name is Cahya Wulan. But you can call me Cah,” she said.

“Oh. Cahaya Bulan. Wow, a beautiful name for a beautiful lady,” Yun marvelled. Cahya blushed.

“Ngak la. Bisa aja. Nama Indonesia. I work as a cabaret singer and my company has sent me to entertain your people in this bar for six months, starting today. It is my first time in Malaysia, and I had wondered how long it would take for me to adjust to life here, but if all Malaysians are nice like you, I won’t have a hard time,” she continued in earnest.

“Haha. Well, not all Malaysians are nice, so be careful. Indonesians are looked at differently by some of us here. It is unfortunate, for we are one people,” Yun said determinedly.

“Indeed we are. We are all of the Nusantara. I do not know why there are tensions sometimes between our governments, and thatt they sometimes involve our peoples. Especially when it is said that certain musical songs and other arts and crafts belong to us instead of being our joint heritage, among others,” she said and nodded. “Still, do not worry, we are not all like that. One thing though, you guys are a Monarchy, and we are a Republic, and in that sense, I guess we are indeed better, in some ways,” she finished in a confident tone.

Yun looked like he was going to start an argument. Before he could, however, Ferman appeared at their table. “Yun, whats this? Decided to get yourself another hottie, huh?” he grinned and winked.

The woman took advantage of the situation to make a move. “It was nice meeting you, Yun. Thank you for the drink,” she smiled as she got up.

“Wait, I want to say something about what you just said,” Yun began.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. I’ll be here doing my job — singing — on Fridays. Come here then, and perhaps, if you buy more drinks, they will consider letting me off long enough for us to chat again and we can catch up,” she said, as she turned to walk away. “Bye just now,” and with that she was gone.

“Bye… and it was nice to meet you too,” Yun said in a soft voice, looking at her go longingly, as Ferman sat down in her place to join him.


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