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Memorable Moments of Embarrassment (English) pdf.pdf

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Memorable Moments of Embarrassment (English) pdf.pdf

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. 2 In February 2013, a group of us made a short tour of 5 days and 4 nights to central Vietnam. There were 28 of us, mostly from my hometown Teluk Intan and a few from Ipoh. The tour was quite interesting and educational. We learnt a lot about Vietnamese culture, history and the people’s way of life. The places we visited were Danang, Hue and Hoi An. Sightseeing tours were made to some beaches, museums, hills, gardens, parks, pagodas, Buddhist shrines, and markets. We also had a relaxing boat ride. And there were the shopping sprees to the shopping areas, and the opportunity to try the many types of delicious Vietnamese food. In our tour group there was this lady who looked so familiar to me. She resembled a Miss Tan, a family friend who once worked with my sister at a local company in the late 1970s or early 80s. Later on she switched to a job at one of the local banks, a job she held for quite a number of years. In this tour, her roommate was a lady, a Miss Lee who had traveled with us in a number of tours locally and overseas. Miss Lee had been working in a local legal firm for quite some time. The resemblance of Miss Lee’s roommate to my family friend Miss Tan was unbelievable. “It cannot be Miss Tan,” I thought to myself, “Miss Tan works at a bank while Miss Lee is at a legal firm. How can they be roommates in this tour when they do not know each other?” In her many other tours with us, Miss Lee used to travel with a colleague of hers as roommate. It was on the second day of the tour that I approached this ‘mysterious’ lady and struck a conversation with her. “You know, you resemble so very closely one of our family friends, a Miss Tan. She used to be a working colleague with my sister more than 30 years ago. I haven’t seen this Miss Tan for quite some time.” “Mr. Oh, I am that Miss Tan lah!” Miss Tan said.
  3. 3. 3 “Sure lah you cannot recognize me now that I have grown so old already!” Imagine my embarrassment! My face must have turned red. “So sorry Miss Tan,” I apologized. “Alzheimer's disease must have struck me! I thought it could not be you with Miss Lee as a roommate.” “I left the bank some years ago on a VSO (Voluntary Separation Option). I am now working in the same legal firm as Miss Lee.” *************** People going on trips can sometimes encounter very funny or at times most embarrassing situations. I remember a family trip we made to Penang more than 30 years ago. Two of my brothers and I brought along our parents for a short holiday in Penang. One of my brothers drove the car and we visited a number of tourist places in Penang. It was at the Penang Botanical Garden that the unexpected incident took place. It was evening around 4.30 pm when we arrived at the garden. We went around admiring the plants, flowers, trees and greenery of the place. There were many monkeys on the ground some of them up in the trees and some coming down to the ground to try to get the groundnuts and bananas from the tourists. We had to be very careful because there were some monkeys that were very bold in their attempts to snatch the things in our hands. There were a few monkeys performing their antics and tricks, scratching their bodies all over, somersaulting and fighting with other monkeys. My father in particular enjoyed the ‘performances’ of these monkeys. After an hour or so walking all over the garden, my father said that he wanted to rest on a bench in the garden. We found a suitable seat for him and left some snacks for him to munch while we continued to explore a few more spots nearby. We told him we would come back to fetch him about half an hour later. It was a little past 6 pm when we came back to the bench where we left my father.
  4. 4. 4 I noticed that his face was contorted like one in suffering and he was scratching his buttocks and private parts. “Hey, father!” one of my brothers said in jest, “Are you trying to imitate the monkeys’ scratching habits?” I knew something had happened to my father and things were not right. I asked him, “What happened? Are you not well?” “Aiyoh!” my father exclaimed. “I think something got into my underwear and bit my parts. I am feeling itchy all over. Cannot tahan (stand) it anymore!” Naturally we could not ask him to strip in the garden to let us examine his bitten parts. The sight of my father scratching like a monkey was really funny and embarrassing. My two brothers could not help but laughed. “We have to immediately drive him to a clinic in town,” I said. So we all left immediately to look for a clinic in Penang town. The doctor diagnosed his problem as an allergic reaction probably due to some plant material, crawlies or some insect bites. An injection was given and a lotion was prescribed. Fortunately the following morning my father recovered from his allergy affliction and was back to his normal cheery self. ****************** In one of the tours to a foreign country sometime in the turn of the century, my room mate experienced a most awkward and embarrassing situation. In the morning and afternoon we visited a number of interesting tourist places. Among them was a visit to a farm in the rural area. After this visit in the evening we went back to the hotel. It was then that my roommate confided in me and a couple of close friends what had happened to him on his journey back to the hotel. Something went into his underwear and bit his vital organs. Upon reaching the hotel he went to the washroom to examine the injury he had sustained. “It’s pretty bad,” he told us. “There is redness and my organ has become swollen.” “Is there any pain or itch?” I asked.
  5. 5. 5 “Yes,” he replied. “Please keep this a secret. Once the rest of the tour members come to know of it, I’ll be the butt of the greatest joke.” We accompanied him to the reception to request for a medical doctor to come to his room to treat his medical condition. All this was done in a hush-hush manner to prevent the secret from leaking out. Before long the doctor arrived and he was led to the room where my roommate was waiting. The doctor said that it was probably due to the sting of a small insect like a wasp. An injection was given and some medication prescribed. He said my roommate would recover quickly. My roommate had to hide his awkward walk when he went for dinner later. He had to put on a front as if nothing happened. I suppose he felt most embarrassed about the whole incident. The following day he made a very speedy recovery. *************** In the many travel trips both locally and abroad we have made, we have encountered many interesting situations during the moments of answering nature’s calls. In many places in Malaysia the conditions of toilets leave much to be desired. I remember there were times when the ladies in our tour groups had to wait in a long queue because of insufficient toilets. Some went into the Gents’ when they saw that there wasn’t any man at the urinals. In most of our tours, ladies outnumber the men. Talking about toilet experiences, the most unforgettable ones we ever had were in Nepal and India when a group of us went for a 15-Day pilgrimage in Nepal and northern India at the end of 1996. There were a number of internal trips by road where distances between places were long and took many hours of travel on the bus. Most of the journeys were through the rural areas of north India and there were no public toilets along the way. Answering nature’s calls had to be done the natural way … behind trees, shrubs, bushes, tall grasses or whatever spot you liked in the greenery of the countryside!
  6. 6. 6 We had all been briefed earlier before the tour and so nearly all the ladies came well-prepared with their ‘shielding’ items like umbrellas, sarongs, and some improvised screens. By virtue of our anatomy, we men were more lucky…it was easier to do our ‘small business’! It would involve just standing against a tree and that was it! There was a journey by bus (I think it was from Bodhgaya to Varanasi) covering a distance of almost 250 km over very poor road conditions. We were told that the journey would take perhaps more than 9 hours because of the trying road conditions and the traffic congestion at various points along the roads were real bad and narrow. I think it was about 2 hours before reaching our destination when many of us had to answer the call of nature. I could hear some ladies shouting to the bus driver, “Stop! Stop!” One or two uttered loudly, “Cannot ‘tahan’ (meaning ‘stand it’) anymore! Bladder bursting already!” Unfortunately the bus could not stop. The tourist guide pointed out the traffic congestion. Moreover there was no suitable greenery with trees and bushes around. One lady shouted in reply, “Never mind lah! Let people see lah!” She had so many laughing. “You’d better stop laughing,” I warned them. “Otherwise the floor may get wet and we have to mop!” More laughed. Imagine the relief when we reached our destination. I had never seen such a mad rush to the toilets! There was another occasion when I personally had a most embarrassing experience. We were on the bus traveling from Kathmandu and heading towards Lumbini at the border between Nepal and India. At one stage when it was past 7 pm and the area was already quite dark, many of us requested the driver to stop for ‘Nature’s Call’. The bus stopped by the road side and the tour members went searching around for their ‘favorite spots’ to do ‘their business’. I walked a little distance way up the hilly road to a spot near a bend of the road. There was nobody or any vehicle around. So I stood at the roadside and unzipped my trousers ready to relieve myself. Horror of horrors!
  7. 7. 7 Just as I was half-way through my ‘business’, a lorry came round the band. Its headlights shone right at me directed at my ‘unmentionable’ parts. How embarrassing! I closed my eyes and let the lorry pass to end the ordeal! Upon finishing my ‘business’ I went back to our bus. When I narrated my embarrassing moments, the whole bus shook with laughter! One of the most unforgettable incidents with regard to answering nature’s calls in India, involved one of my good friends, a lady in her fifties whom I shall just refer to as Jenny. Jenny, a very pleasant and jovial lady would entertain us with her many spontaneous jokes in Hokkien and English. She was of good health still active in a lot of voluntary welfare and other outreach work. On one of the long journeys between 2 places in our pilgrimage trail, Jenny had a stomachache after about 3 hours of travel. The bus was going along the countryside of northern India. Suddenly Jenny shouted to the driver, “Please stop. I have a terrible stomach upset. I need to go to the toilet now.” Everybody in the bus was a bit concerned for Jenny and her impending diarrhea. Fortunately the bus could stop quick enough by the roadside flanked on both sides by trees, bushes and undergrowth. Jenny made a quick dash down the bus to get to one of the bushes to do her ‘business’. “Hey Jenny!” someone shouted at her. “Did you bring with you an umbrella or a sarong?” “No need lah!” Jenny shouted back. (It was only for the first few days that the bashful ladies ‘armed’ themselves with umbrellas or sarongs every time they wanted to ease themselves behind the trees and bushes. By the 4th day of our pilgrimage the ladies had become ‘bold’ and had got rid of their shyness. They did not use a sarong or an umbrella to shield themselves anymore!)
  8. 8. 8 About 10 minutes or so after Jenny had finished clearing her bowels, she started to walk back to the bus. Someone upon seeing her shouted excitedly, “Jenny, your feet are covered with shit!” In her rush to pass motion, Jenny had unmindfully stepped on some fresh human feces and the stool covered parts of her feet. “Don’t get into the bus,” one lady said loudly. “We will all suffer!” So many broke into a big laugh. Poor Jenny! She was so embarrassed. A group of us helped her clean her slippers and feet with lots of tissue paper and bottles of water. Only when her slippers and feet were ‘certified’ to be clean was she allowed back into the bus to continue the journey. ************* REFLECTIONS * The environment around us and the circumstances prevailing are such we will at times encounter trying or tough times. * How much we suffer in facing adverse conditions depends on our mind states, our attitude and the way we see things. If we react negatively out of habit or conditioning, our physical and mental suffering will be greater. * If we can accept or embrace negative things and trying situations more positively, we can be more peaceful and calm in our minds. Then the challenges or problems can be better resolved. * May we train our minds so that they become more calm, patient and understanding. With this stronger and more firm mind, then we can definitely handle problematic situations more wisely and effectively.

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