Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Family Joke

They used to joke that my real father is an Iban (a native tribe of Borneo, erstwhile head-hunters) who worked for my father. They found that funny. Was it some mental picture of me wearing loincloth? Or, that this Iban used to bust his pay on booze on payday and then survived on loans from my father (which he always repaid with cash, chicken or work around the house)?  I smelled like him, they said. Was it the smell of the longhouses, the cockfights, spilled blood or the earthy scent of their women or tuak (rice liquor)?
They stopped joking the day he killed a Chinese for insulting him. He hacked the Chinese to pieces with his sword, the ‘parang’.
I have a parang which I keep polished and sharp. Whenever I handle it, my family has this funny, doubting look.

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