Sunday, August 06, 2006

Roller Boys

One day, William’s dad brought home a pair of roller skates. William shared it with us and soon we got obsessed and started yearning for a pair. They don’t come cheap and we soon found out that William Senior got it from Sungei Road – the infamous thief’s market where second hand and stolen goods were put up for sale. Depending on the conditions, it cost about two to three dollars a pair. A bowl of noodle was ten cents back then, so the skates were beyond our reach. We cut back on food to save for a pair and thought of ways to raise the money. Scrap metal sold well in those days and we collected cables and burned away the rubber sleeve to salvage the copper wires. We searched for thrown away pots and pans for the metal and sold them to the ‘garung guni’ or ‘rag and bone’ man and raised the money.

The gang was rather good at skating and started a craze in the neighbourhood. We were the stars in the community centre. To impress girls, we tried stunts like jumping over boxes, graduating to having some of us lying down on the ground and the better ones would hurl down the basketball court and leapt across the bodies. Not for the faint hearted but we were there to impress. William and my brother, Francis were really good.

They ended up coaching folks who are interested but somehow, the males got ignored and every one of us concentrating on the girls. As for me, I’m pretty bad with wheels under my feet and ended up with jersey number thirteen, the water lad for the roller boys.

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