Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ding Dang...Datang Lagi!

Last night I bought a box of Ding Dang at 7-11.

Quietly it lay there, a memory of a bygone era, surrounded by the bigger, better and yummier snacks of today alongside its big brother Tora. As I spent a fair part of my childhood growing up in a kedai runcit, these were extremely familiar friends who kept me company after school every day. And the ads. Who could ever forget the ads.

I picked up this quaint little snack and examined Tora too. They both looked exactly the same as I remembered them. They could have been transported here directly from 1994 and nothing would be different. I almost shed a tear.

Suddenly, after over 20 years, I realised both came from the same manufacturer.

It was like realising that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are the same person.

Never mind. I'm too old to mope over such things.

Another thing that caught my eye was how crazily expensive it had become. Almost double the price. Ding Dang, once 50 sen, was now 90 sen. Tora - from RM1 to RM1.70.

Poor kids these days, I thought. 90 sen was about my daily pocket money back then.

But it's okay, there's always a price to pay for indulging in nostalgia. Happily I set down the Tora and paid for my first Ding Dang in a decade.

With all the eagerness of a nine-year-old waiting for Kesatria Baja Hitam to start, I ripped open the plastic covering and opened the box.






Five measly chocolate biscuit balls.

Each the size of a 5 sen coin.

Ah wait, my mind told me. You're missing the point. Ding Dang is never about the chocolates. It's all about the toy.

Oh goody, there it lay under the chocolates in a separate pack. I opened it up, hoping for the best.

A balloon, so seriously flimsy I was afraid to blow it up. Plus a cheap yellow plastic noisemaker that produced a shrill fiewwwwww which sounded like a cross between a chicken laughing at me and a Mat Rempit whistling at passing girls.

All for a good 90 sen.

Disgusted, I threw the box away. After finishing the chocolates in 10 seconds and chucking the noisemaker into my car.

Childhood memories aside, I hereby declare that Ding Dang SUCKS!

Choki Choki is way much better.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Was reading this delicious lil' book last week - Rojak by Amir Muhammad. If he sounds familiar, he's the guy who directed Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, a local film that was banned here and created some controversy.

I came across this book by accident actually, hearing it during an afternoon interview on BFM. Always having a soft spot for short stories, I thought it sounded interesting. Summor Malaysian write one hor!

So I ended up at MPH, and there it was. Now, the struggle with short story books is always between kiamsiap-ly reading them in the bookstore and actually buying them because you enjoyed them. Bless my indecisiveness, I actually walked to the cashier and back with the book twice before parting with RM35.

So one week later, any regrets? None at all! It's the sort of book you can't stop reading. Some stories literally made me laugh out loud, while most were really creative in a made-in-Malaysia context.

For example: You know those sign language broadcasts that appear during the RTM news? There's a story about a girl who used it to start a 'rebellion' against the government. Loved the ending line: "It took 14 years, but I'm glad I lived to see it. Change comes slowly... and it often starts in silence." Some very recent happenings are touched on as well, such as the January church arson. Best of all, the stories are only about 350 words long. That's less than 2 pages.

Intrigued? Go get it lah. Or better yet, borrow it from me. =p

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Well of Shadows

Too many story ideas at the moment, too little motivation to write them. So you'll have to settle for this average-at-best tale, which I half-stole from a Youtube short film and seems more at home in a Form 5 school magazine.

Last night I met a man who wasn't there

He spoke not words but the death of his stare


"This is the place." Jonathan whispered to Drew.

"Wow. Scary."

It was Halloween night, and the streets were lined with streams of trick-or-treaters. The two boys had only just met by accident, and here they were standing in front of this supposedly haunted Well of Shadows. It was a long-abandoned well tucked behind an unassuming spot in the woods, where the moon cast its haunting fingers from behind the fringes.

Drew peered over into the endless blackness. "Hellooooo."

Looo looo looo looo
, replied his echo.

"So this is where everyone died?"


"What happened? And take off that silly mask. Nobody's watching."

"No way! A true trick-or-treater never takes off his costume." Jonathan laughed, adjusting his Power Rangers suit.

A sudden rustle in the bushes silenced him. It was only then that Drew realised how quiet the woods really were. Unnaturally quiet. The only sound he could clearly hear was that of his increasingly thumping heart.

"This place gives me the creeps."

"That's because it's...haunted." Jonathan set down his bag of candy. "So, you wanna hear the story or not?

"Uh, sure."

"Good. I figured you would chicken out."


A soft, soundless gust blew as Jonathan began his tale.

"Twenty years ago," he gestured dramatically. "Two boys just like you and I came to this well."

"Being curious, they wanted to know how deep the well was. So one of them had an idea to light a match and throw it all the way down. But something went wrong."

"Once they threw the match in, it never went out. It fell down and down, down and down, then... WHOOSH! A great fire lit up from inside the well, and burst out straight to the top."

"They became frightened and tried to run, but they couldn't. The flames jumped out from the well and danced around them, growing taller and taller. And that's when it happened."

"As one of the boys fell, he saw in horror that his shadow was still standing. It came alive, stepped out of the ground and grabbed his leg. He called for his friend to help, but he couldn't move. Something was pinning him to the ground. They watched, screaming for their lives, as the boy's foot fizzled into a stump, and then appeared - poof! - on the shadow's foot."

"Next, the shadow grabbed the other boy's arm. He struggled and shouted at the top of his lungs, but the raging fire drowned everything out. Before he knew it, his arm was gone too and attached to the shadow."

"No one is sure what happened next. The town people found these two boys dead beside the well next morning - one missing a foot, the other an arm. Later, some kids found tracks of a single foot leading deep into the woods, and tried following them to catch the shadow. They never returned."

Drew gulped, wincing in fear.

"They say that shadow is still out there somewhere - stealing body parts from kids unlucky enough to meet it, hoping to someday become a complete human."

"W...what happens when it does?"

"No one knows, because it hasn't. There's still one part it's missing."

"What's that?"

Jonathan motioned for him to come closer.

"A face."

Suddenly a deathly chill ran down Drew's spine, paralysing him.

Jonathan tore off his mask, revealing a gaping hollow where his face was supposed to be. No eyes, no nose, no mouth. Only an eerie black space.

It was the last thing Drew saw before everything went dark.


Last night I met a man who wasn't there
He spoke not words but the death of his stare
I searched with my eyes but he was nowhere
Only in the darkness of my nightmares