“Look at that man’s shopping bag.”
“Which one? ”
“That one. Look. ”
“Is that .. a living duck?”
“Yup, next to a living chicken.”
We were at the weekday night market at Ringlet.
Five minutes later we would realise that the market was almost exclusive to foreign workers.
Those who work at the tea farms, strawberry fields.
Bus drivers, lorry drivers.
Single mothers with their kids, buying stuff from other single mothers.
I was feeling crap before Ringlet.
Cameron Highlands in Malaysia was nothing like I remembered.
There’s a Starbucks, followed by Colonel Sanders up at Brinchang.
We saw ads targeting Japanese selling retirement villages.
And the lake in front of our hotel – The Lakehouse, is not really a lake anymore.
Not exactly a peaceful highland getaway like I promised Chika.
But Ringlet, looking back almost six months later, was perhaps the closest to how I remembered my younger years.
I guess what I”m trying to say is that, nostalgia hits you harder as you grow older.
And it could come from anywhere; not necessarily the place you form your memories.
It could be in the form of a matchbox, or bread packaging.
The orange plastic plate used to serve your Char Kuey Teow.
It could be the smell, the parking meters.
The way I had to reassure Chika that cars will stop if you stick your hand out with open palms.
I left Ringlet knowing it was perhaps the last time I’ll see Ringlet again.