The air was heavy with the smell of perspiration and stale odour of cigarette smoke. Clusters of people were congregated in the little Kopitiam. A Malay song, from a beaten radio, blared above the volume of the customers’ idle chatter.
In a little corner of the Kopitiam, a middle-aged man was recounting his son’s exploits with relish.
“When my son was in kindergarten arh, he asked me to give him money to buy sweets. So I told him, “Daddy is very poor, no money lar.” Then you know what he did?”
Prompted by his question, I replied (with a typical and standard answer), wearing a look of intense interest on my face, “No, what did he do?”
“Wa…. He went to the school the next day and asked his classmate to give him money!”
*Gasp* “Isn’t that extortion!?”
“Yalor! He told his classmate to give him money, or else he will beat him up!!!”
“Did his classmate hand his money over?”
“Yeah! He did! And he came home and gave me the money and said, “Papa, papa! You said you have no money. I give you money!”
“Then what did you do? Did you scold him?”
“Aiya. How can I have the heart to scold him? He didn’t extort money for himself leh. He did it for me! So smart! He’s thinking for me.” He chuckled happily, reliving the scene all over again.
“Oh…. Erm… “ Laughed uneasily. “Your son is…. So con..si..de…rate.”
Just to keep accounts straight. This middle-aged man is a manager with high earning power and he owns a 2l car and a private apartment. I can’t help but wonder, how many of these little monsters will be churned out in this century, by the senseless indulgence of parents.