Thursday, August 13, 2015

MEMOIR: Grandma’s gangsta chicken curry

by azly rahman




To take us all away momentarily from the madness of 1MDB, and the impending economic doom the country is plunging into, and this one hell of a  massive crisis of leadership we have been subjected to, I’d like to share some memories of childhood many of us might be familiar with; growing up in the sixties. This one’s on preparing chicken curry.

In a class of almost 100 percent American kids of the suburbia of Jersey Shore, and the Sopranos, and Bon Jovi-type and tattoo-displaying masculania... I shared this story of globalisation of the American ‘chicken-run’ global industry.


Told them that their life is cool and easy when it comes to eating Colonel Sanders’ KFC... all chickens are powered by batteries and of the same size and made to taste delicious with that perfect recipe of uniformity with the elements of calculability, profitability, and the aura of glorified global economy framing the lives of chickens globally...

I told them how I grew up jumping chickens like a hunter and gatherer in a kampong that still had snakes like anacondas and tigers roaming like the ‘open zoo’ down south in Singapore city...

I told them this in rhymes that is:

- Grandpa told us boys to go after those chickens; we’re going to have gangsta curry
so me and my bro and cousin and all; would get our gears ready;  this means changing from our sarong to a standard hot pants for males only...

And so we roam around the house that has no electricity; for Thomas Alva Edison was still had 999 invention to go before he found out he had misplaced his batteries; and skinny-Gandhi-looking grandpa, like a godfather of chicken industry, commanded us to hunt down that one chicken ripe for the that gangsta curry; and we run around the house and saw one that looked one from the movie ‘Chicken Run’ fearful-looking of a bipolar pedigree.

We strategised the arrest for a good many hours, till the sun and the moon from each other they broke free; the next day the mighty chicken was found finally; we all... brothers and cousins  jumped on it happily; and held it by the neck and the body as it struggled pleading amnesty...
no mercy... no mercy... said we...

Blessed grandpa, bless his soul... ‘I am sure he is smiling reading these gleefully...
and grandpa had his butcher’s knife; me and my bros and my cousins aplenty held the chicken by the neck and prayed together in harmony...

As grandpa uttered the golden words before the feast of this gangsta chicken curry...

“O’ God... Merciful and Most Compassionate One... bless thouest this chicken that will be today’s gift for my family... and unto Thee shall this chicken too return... as all of us shall return... from then till eternity... “ and the drama of the chicken dance was laid out already...

And with that little mantra of Islamic religiosity... the sharpest part of the knife went straight across the jugular vein... downwards once... upwards once.... and maybe one more time if resistance is  not yet futile as grandpa agreed; and we’re done our job as decreed... as blood spurted and spouted and sprinkled out of the neck onto the ground that will too receive the body...

Ahha... we then threw the chicken onto the ground... it did do a bit of dance... as me and my bros and my cuz’ did all at once, and that poor chicken did like a funky chicken dance that might be...

And grandma was ready with big earthenware-pot of boiling water so that the chicken can then be ready to be stripped naked, feathers and all gone forever...

And we would all... brothers and cousins sit around, or rather squatting around in our short hot pants, stripping those feathers... while grandma would prepare the grounded spies for that gangsta curry better than anywhere served in a Malay restaurant... and we have not talked...

And when the chicken’s ready... and the gangsta curry’s all served over white rice and we sat and ate quietly on the floor as if listening attentively to an interesting folklore... as we prepare for the hours next, of playing football barefoot in the fields of grass and dandelions aplenty... kicking the rubber ball barefoot imagining ourselves that famous Brazilian soccer player ‘Pele’...

Makers of our own history

In writing about childhood memories, I thought about what we are as makers of our own history:

GROOVY POETRY
this child in me
by azly rahman

there is this child in me
that is alive and well
roaming around the village
the neighbourhood
the city
the principalities
the world
alternate worlds
of other-than real-worlds
of the world of possibilities
in which each child of the other
has no colour
no race
no religion
no hate
just a smile
or maybe a look of curiosity
of what our play would be
in our togetherness
beyond the screams and yells of those adults
given the voice to speak to many yet speak of building tallest towers, promising the most emptiness, scheming the best so that each race will fight the bloodiest, and triumph with the most money acquired out of the best way to steal for the poorest rest-
there is this child in me
whose dear friend
is the language he is most at ease
like an alice in wonderland
a world of being
and becoming
of perfection
and contradictions
and wild imaginations
as thoughts race up and down the heavens
as the mind refuses
to bow down to neon gods
or man-made gods who called themselves
kings who rob others poor every time the world blinks
a child is the father of man as a sage once say
close to Nature as
close as to oneself as the vein they called ‘jugular’
there is this child in me
that will live till the end of eternity
unless the adult running the country
slaughter him for trying to roam free
like abraham’s sacrifice
in that moment of confusion in history

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