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The Confessions of a Singaporean Gangster in London – Chapter 15

Posted by inspir3d on February 19, 2005

That same evening after my meeting with the third wife, I found myself kneeling before the image of Kwang Kong all alone in the only temple in China town – my thoughts turned to the image of before me –slowly but surely, I began to reason this was no ordinary wooden figurine – for one, it had been composed with an artistic eye for structure, so he looked less of a caricature since all his features, from the way his eyes narrowed, the slight furrow of the brows, the ever so slight flaring of his nostrils where all perfectly proportioned.

Even the slight tilt of his head forward focused the entire attention of the viewer on a single thought, beyond all power of human expression – here was the will of heaven, penetrating the sweat, the blood of men who paid tribute to him, leaving them with not the slightest doubt he was indeed their patron who could always be counted on to protect them and ward off the evil eye.

That night as I knelt before this image all alone seated in the hall, I poured out my heart – I told the God of war how I had betrayed the trust of the four houses by allowing my heart to rule me with the third wife – how I had crossed a line and now I was in mortal danger – I prayed he would look kindly on my affair with the third wife and protect her.

Just then Jeannie Yu walked in – I had asked her to met me here for dinner that evening and as she came to kneel beside me – I continued praying – from time to time I would look at Jeannie who was content to simply return my looks of affection by lowering her eyes shyly.

Some where along my prayers – I noticed from the corner of my eyes men who walked into the empty temple. I cannot explain to you how to realized these men where trouble – but trust me when I tell you – I simply knew.

Judging from their built and they way they carried themselves these were not ordinary men, the determination in their eyes could only belong to a breed of men who I referred too as professionals – had Jeannie Yu not being with me, I would have simply reached for my pistol and taken my chances with them – but that night – as I looked at Jeannie and these men and placed them on the scales of life, I knew only too well, I had very little choice – and it is like this in life sometimes, one really has no choice, other than to face the things that needs facing. So I turned to them and I said, give me a moment with my woman, I removed my pistol placed in on the altar to show them my good faith. The leader seeing my sincerity nodded and stepped back motioning his men to do the same. Then turning to a Jeannie who didn’t quite understand what was going on or for that matter what was about to happen, she began to tremble and cry.

“What’s happening my love?”

“Be calm, I need you to be strong for me – look at me! – you need to be strong for me no matter what happens – you need to be strong for me – promise me”

“ I promise” she whispered holding back her tears while looking nervously at these men.

I cannot expect you to imagine how a man can prepare himself for a beating – except to say, he cannot and the best, he can really do is to tighten his stomach, clench his teeth and hope for the very best. When the first wave of blows rained down on me, I felt that all too familiar gut wrenching sensation where the stomach seems to congeal into the size of tennis ball only to expand and contract again in between blows – though, I tried to block and shield myself – there was really no point and when the blows became fiercer, I simply turned inwards towards a suffused white light where everything slowed to a blur and soon, I hardly even felt the blows any longer – it was as though part of myself had separated so completely from my body, I might as well have been a by stander witnessing the life being kicked out of another person.

Though my legs seemed almost like jelly and I could hardly be trusted to stand. I did finally manage to stand before these men – judging from the way they were sweating, they must have given me a good beating, yet I still had enough life to taunt them

“Is that all you can do?”

From the corner of my eye I could see Jeannie cringing and curled up in one corner, her sobs resonating in the emptiness of the temple.

They neither reacted or responded to my taunts again confirming my suspicions these were professionals – one of them, presumably the leader grabbed my hand, opened up my fingers and placed – what appeared to two mother of pearl buttons with the words,

“the people who sent us told us to give you these – they said you will understand”

Then with a mixture of embarrassment and the feeling of having done something they would rather not do unless they have been paid a sum of money they could not possibly refuse– they apologized and even when to great lengths to emphasize, it was nothing personal and they meant no disrespect. In this comical exchange of words, where my legs could hardly be counted to stand – I replied, I was no ordinary man and they should seriously consider finishing what they started by putting a bullet in my head. Since after this I would be compelled to hunt them down and neither they or their families should expect any mercy from me when I find them – the leader appeared to nod his head solemnly and replied, that putting a bullet in my head was not part of the bargain – I was only to be roughed up and that was all – I asked who sent them – to which the leader leaned closed to me and whispered.

“The third wife is dead – she has received her justice for her adultery”

With these words they disappeared into the night.

Hearing these words suddenly made the world spin only to come to a sudden stop like a roulette wheel, I must have collapsed again – this time, from the very corner of my eyes I realized for the first time – I did not hold mother of pearl buttons in my hands – but rather the pearl earrings I had once given the third wife. They had finally returned to me.

Beside me and sobbing quite openly was Jeannie Yu, who gripped my hands so tightly she began almost to tremble– holding her hands had never been so important to me before – throughout that moment, I felt as if, I was sucked into some deep hole where death waited for me only to be pulled back again by those warm clammy trembling hands – hands of a woman who loved me and hands I regretted not being able to love – hands which I wished with all my heart was the third wife – hands which I knew after hearing what I had heard, I would never ever hold again.

Somewhere between the dream world of consciousness and blackness – I heard the intermittent sobs of Jeannie as she cradled my head,

“We don’t need to live like this – we really don’t my love – I can’t bear to see you like this – we can start anew, in a place faraway from here – a place where both you and I can live in peace away from this madness and violence – I don’t ever want to see you suffer my love –it tears me apart to see you like this – I don’t even mind leaving everything for you – if only you say yes”

That evening – as I lay with my head cradled in her arms – the world seemed almost to stop for a moment and I found myself standing before green fields somewhere in the country side – where the air was fresh – Yes, I was back into my fantasy world, the same world I had constructed so meticulously where I had planned to live with the third wife – a world so remove from this world – one could even say, it never really existed except in imagination of man who found himself so close to death that evening.

Darkness 2002


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