My son’s friends had to do some research about the generation gap and decided they’d interview the closest old-timer they could find – me! It was flattering, though – in a dubious kind of way. It was also quite hilarious and telling. Here’s the interview for your reading pleasure:
Q: Bangsar or Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman?
A: I’ll take Bas Mini 14 and go to Jalan TAR any time!. What’s that? They stopped having mini-buses in KL since the ’80s?
Q: Mercedes or a BMW?
A: Can I have a Batman Mercedes 190D, please? The kind where there’s a bench-seat and the stick-shift is on the steering column. This has a lot of advantages – especially if you have a willing female in the front passenger seat. You’ll understand when your time comes.
Q: Keyboard or pen-and-paper?
A: Definitely pen-and-paper; using fountain pen, of course. Anyway, a keyboard is what they call an electric (electronic?) piano nowadays, isn’t it?
Q: Do you like the sitcom ‘Friends’?
A: I prefer “Cheers!”, actually. What? Its too early for a drink? Young man, “Cheers!” IS a sitcom.
Q: Adidas or Nike?
A: The old Adidas Stan Smith – before technology crept in and made it look like something Astro Boy would wear. I’ll try a pair of Nikes, though – as soon as I know how to pronounce it properly.
Q: Selangor Club or KLGCC?
A: You said “Selangor Club”? Isn’t it called the Spotted Dog anymore? By the way, what does KLGCC stand for?
Q: Voice call or SMS?
A: Do I look like a clueless teenager?
Q: E-mail or Snail-mail
A: Nothing beats snail-mail. I tried writing an email once: the monitor’s screen didn’t take kindly to fountain pen ink.
Q: Do the names Bosco D’Cruz and Yahaya Longchik ring a bell?
A: Are you kidding? I had tea once with Encik Yahaya Longchik – in his garden; on a table with red-and-white chequered table-cloth; beautifully delicate scones and Darjeeling tea; while his dog named Bosco sat quietly in his kennel. Bosco D’Cruz, however, was the other English newsreader at the time.
Q: Do you have any fond memories of Tasik Titiwangsa?
A: Yes. It was a tin-mining pool. It even had a fully functional ‘palong’. You still remember what a ‘palong’ looks like, don’t you? What do you mean, “What’s a ‘palong’?”
Q: What do you think of the KLCC?
A: I actually found it by accident: I went to the turf club for a spot of racing and found that they had built that monstrosity where the furlong would have been.
Q: Do you prefer the many ‘kopitiams’ that are sprouting all over KL or the ubiquitous ‘Starbucks’?
A: I prefer a real kopitiam, you know, where the waiters are rude and the servce is even worse. But they serve a mean cup of coffee. Look up Sin Seng Nam at Medan Pasar – its between HSBC and the Mercantile Bank. Huh? There’s no longer such a thing as Mercantile Bank?
Q: You have some nice shirts. Do you have them made at Spark’s Manshop or do you get the from one of the boutiques at Starhill?
A: Neither. They are made by this Chinese geezer called Ah Meng who has got this quiet little shop at Petaling street. He really knows how to make those holes for a collar-pin and gets the French cuff just right.
Q: We hear you humming “Uptown Girl”. Do you like any other songs that the Backstreet Boys wrote?
A: Son, Billy Joel wrote that song! By the way,who are the Backstreet Boys?
At this point, certain that the boys and I were talking different languages, I ended the interview. I took them to Sin Seng Nam for Hainanese coffee that would put hair on their chest and “Mee Rebus” that would make them lose their squaky boyish voices.