A long and smelly day..

“Hey, wake up now. Later we cannot make it on time to the place,” she gentlely nudged his shoulder, trying to wake him up.

“Emmmmhhhhh **%%~@#!!” (lost in translation..) He slowly opened his eyes and lazily mumbled something. “What is the time now?”

“It it 5.45am. Just now woke up you at 5.30am and I went to prepare breakfast, didn’t know you went back to sleep”, shaking her head while she said that to him.

“5.45am? It is still early. Huarraarrrggghh…” (Yawning)

“Faster go take your bath. Then eat your breakfast and we go there. We need to be early, ” She then walked to the kitchen. He could hear sounds of plastic containers being opened and closed. She must be packing for their lunch. They are not coming back for lunch.  The place is quite far from their house and eating outside just not so convenient, given their nature of work. He could smell the stench, just by thinking of it. He passed by that area few times and he wondered if he could make himself comfortable there later.

“Hey, why you are still idling there? Go that your bath now,” her irritated voice jolted him from his wandering thoughts.

“Ugh… okay,” he grabbed his towel and slowly dragged himself to the tiny bathroom behind the kitchen.

After he took his shower and ate his breakfast, they took off. While walking to the place, he asked her, “Why we must go to that place?  The place stinks. We can choose other places.”

“We need the money,” she gave him a short answer.

After walking 30 minutes, they almost reached the place. It is located at the industrial area near the river. Loud noises of heavy machinery from the factories deafening his ears. He could smell the distinctive aroma from the place as the sight of the building appearing before them. A strong smell of fermented or rotting fish wafted through the air. “Well, everywhere here it smell like this,” he whispered under his breath.

They finally reached the place. It is a shrimp shelling factory. It was their first day at work. She went to the office to register and then asked for the direction to the working place. “Upstairs. Go up the staircase on the right,” a lady sitting behind the glassed counter motioned to her after giving her a tiny note book – to record the quantity of shrimps they would shell that day, a boot, one white cap, and an apron.

“Thanks,” she clutched the tiny note book – a 555 notebook you can buy at bookstore for 10 cent each and grabbed his hands.  He followed her upstairs. The smell of the place was intoxicating. She opened the door for him and he saw an area of six inch deep pools of dirty water at the entrance way in front of him. Some of the workers were walking through the water, holding their baskets of shrimps to their working table. He looked up at her.

“Come, I carry you over,” she lifted him by the arms and carried him to an empty table. He sat there and waited, while she went to the main counter and get their baskets of shrimps.

She came back with 2 baskets of shrimps and put them on the table. Then she picked up the shrimps and start peeling the shrimps. “It’s going to be a long day. Now you look at the way I do it and you follow, ” she smiled at him while saying that.

“Yeah. It is going to be a long and smelly day,” he thought to himself.

ps: He was 10.


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22 Responses to “A long and smelly day..”

  1. drumsticks wrote on Jul 25, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    hey, its your story. so sentimental. brings out the sweet sorrow. i knew you’re not a kl person and you never will be one. Is there a part 2 to this?


  2. angeles wrote on Jul 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    shi sang zhi yu (sp??) mama hao! 🙂


  3. suituapui wrote on Jul 25, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I had students in a former school who were always absent…and when they came back, their hands were rotting away. It seemed that the parents would drag them to work in the prawn shelling factory and all the long hours in the water did the irreparable damage!!! I think they were paid RM6.00 or something per day, so a family of 5 could get RM30.00.

    I suppose you had to go through that and I really really really feel for you…like those poor students of mine. They dropped out of school eventually, couldn’t pass their exams.

    At least, you did well and graduated!…One thing you should be proud of, and hope the experience would serve to make u a stronger and BETTER person!!! :up:


  4. teecey wrote on Jul 25, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    life not as easy as we thoght..
    when we are child..we cannot understand why a few parents strunggle so much in their life just to earn few ringgits that use to feed their childs.
    Good writing bong.. 😀


  5. anna wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 2:25 am

    im sure ur mum is proud of u today 😀


  6. anna wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 2:26 am

    i mean proud of where u r today, proud of who u hv become 🙂 .. hehe xD


  7. catwoman wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 11:33 am

    when will part 2 be up?


  8. Archie wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 11:45 am

    nice story ^_^ (is this your true story?)


  9. bongkersz wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    part 2? 🙂 are you looking forward to read part 2? 😀


  10. bongkersz wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Yeah, if I remember correctly, RM0.80-RM1.60 per kg depends on size of the prawns, not much really, slaving from morning to evening. Oh, the fingers, exposed to water/moisture for a long period, hence the ‘rotting hands’.

    Hmm, you are right, I am doing reasonably well, something to cherish about 👿


  11. bongkersz wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    haha! what (sp??) ??


  12. bongkersz wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    thanks sarah 🙂 when one becomes parent then he/she will understand.


  13. Sarawak Laksa wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Very touching and compelling (where’s my kleenex again) Your mom must be so proud of you today! You did good despite your tough upbringing. You are quite exceptional 🙂 Eagerly awaiting part 2!


  14. bongkersz wrote on Jul 26, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    let me think about it 😛


  15. melbie wrote on Jul 27, 2008 at 12:38 am

    *sobs* sungguh menyayat hati…. but it’s good to know that you’re doing quite well today! :up: It’s good to reminisce about our childhoods once in a while… to remind us of who we are – not to be one of those kacangs that have forgotten their skins 😛

    The mom must be really proud to see the son you’ve become today 🙂


  16. KNizam wrote on Jul 27, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    nak sequel ya 😆


  17. drumsticks wrote on Jul 27, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    hahah ya man.. 😆


  18. ellyda wrote on Jul 28, 2008 at 9:37 am

    very touching weh.. we are not that senang the last time either but my mum will never want me to work.. tp dah keja tok.. i know how boleh tahan juak duit.. you make me miss miri pulak


  19. bongkersz wrote on Jul 28, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    i hope you are right then anna 🙂


  20. bongkersz wrote on Jul 28, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    based on true story.. 😳


  21. Chibster wrote on Aug 1, 2008 at 12:17 am



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