It was the Hari Raya holidays and I was half asleep on my recliner – busily digesting about a ton of lemang – when my five year old son come up to me and asked, “Ayah, cuba ayah jawab teka-teki ni!” Frankly, I was in no mood for riddles. But the enthusiasm in his eyes was simply too much to throw a wet blanket over. So I turned to him and said, “OK, sayang. Mari Ayah jawab.”
Not being a very cerebral kind of guy, riddles just stump me even on the best of days. But I was not about to disappoint a very excited 5-year old – especially when he was my son. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t (normally) eat babies for breakfast. So I cranked-up my brain, heard the sputtering as it struggled to come to life and put my feeble mental faculties into gear. I was ready. Or so I thought!
Cool as a cucumber, he asked “Ayah, apa benda mula-mula kita jilat, lepas tu kita jolok?”
What?! Where did that come from?
I must have jumped three feet into the air upon hearing such words come out of a 5-year old’s mouth. This was too much for a 5-year old – even if he is MY son! I know apples don’t fall too far from the tree but it was ridiculous. Where did he learn these things?!
I took a deep breath and asked him to repeat the riddle. He did. I heard it right the first time. I was about ready to give his brother a hiding of his life for teaching such a young child these things. Then it occurred to me that I had better find out what my 5-year old thought the answer was.
“OK, Mubin. Ayah tak tau. Apa bendanya yang kita mula-mula jilat lepas tu kita jolok?” I asked, as calmly as I could.
He giggled and blurted out, “BENANG!” as he mimicked his mother licking a thread and passing it through the eye of a needle.