Robert Rizal Abdullah, my Facebook friend posted this photo. I borrowed it to use it for this story.
In 1960, we moved to a Government Quarter at Padang Road.
Padang in Malay means a field. This could be the race course where they had horse racing in the Brooke days. In the early days, they used to play soccer, later it was converted to a rugby field during the confrontation. The prisoners did not cut the grass very often, or they did not do a good job. At the edge of the Padang, the grass was very tall, and we could crawl in the tall grass and play hide and seek.
At “our Padang”, I remember the first time a helicopter landed near our house. We saw many army trucks and soldiers in the Padang when we were coming home from school, so we suspected something important was happening. It was one afternoon when Mother was tutoring us Chinese with her cane in her hand as usual; Charles and I were not paying attention.
An army helicopter decorated in camouflage colours was hovering just above our house very low in the sky. We all ran to see to the Padang as fast as we could, totally ignoring Mother. As it landed, the draft was so strong that it messed up our hair and fluttered our skirts. We did not care and our patience and determination paid off. Out came handsome soldiers, it was so big, out of its belly came so many soldiers; we were amazed because, it looked so small in the sky. We were the few kids in Sibu, who saw a helicopter close up. I looked at the corner of the Padang, there was Mother, she was just as curious as us.