Sunday, March 01, 2009

Moving in

On the Friday afternoon I took Sue to see what was to be Min’s new house and hopefully hand over the money for its purchase.

"Nice neighbourhood," said Sue, as we walked down the lane leading to Wisma Utara. "The houses look clean. Look at all the flowers."

"My driver was telling me," I pointed out, "that even in a peaceful area like this, you get occasional drunkenness and student brawls. Touch wood, I’ve never seen any trouble around here."

"Student brawls?" queried Sue.

"From time to time gangs of school kids fight each other. Kids get killed."

"The children all look friendly."

"I saw a bunch of them once, in the middle of town, jumping onto a crowded bus. They were all armed with sharp weapons. Be careful with buses, by the way."

We reached Min’s house and were greeted by Wardi, Min, Min’s mum and dad, and all Min’s siblings. They seemed in a good humour and they were intrigued by the sight of Sue.

"Goodness! Your furniture’s here already," I said to Min’s mum. "How did you get it to the house?"

"A neighbour’s truck," explained Wardi.

The smart looking young lady who was selling the house arrived and we all sat down in the house’s low-ceilinged lounge. Gone was the bright blue settee, replaced by Min’s family’s simpler furniture.

"I’ve got the cheque," I told the lady-owner. "Have you got the documents?"

She handed over a piece of paper which didn’t seem to be related to ownership of the house.

"This is not what we need," I said, pretending to be an expert. "I can’t give you the cheque without the proper document. Can you get it for us?"

Off she went, presumably to find the missing bit of paper.

"What does her family do for a living?" I asked Wardi.

"They own the tiny shop at the corner."

"It’s good to find a non-Chinese person owning a shop and property," I commented.

"Her husband’s Chinese," said Wati.

"Are there lots of Chinese Indonesians?" asked Sue, wearing her earnest look.

"About four percent of the population," I explained. "But there have been mixed marriages over the years, so it’s difficult to be exact. They’re not all rich and they’re not all Buddhist or Christian. You get Moslem Chinese."

The lady returned with the necessary certificate, took my cheque and departed with a smile and a handshake.

"I must have some photos of you all in your new home," I said to Wardi.

Min put his arms around his dad and both smiled ecstatically. Click. Things seemed to be going well.

"What did you think of Min?" I asked Sue as we headed back to my Mitsubishi.
"He’s lovely. And I liked his family."


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