Colin F. Jones

MALACCAN MEMORY!

Colin F. Jones: Malaysia 1965
Colin F. Jones: Malaysia 1965
I got raving drunk once in Malacca, and missed the NZ drunk truck; back to Terendak, the British garrison camp.

Wandering down the road in early morning I was spotted by a gang of Malaysian youths who thought that perhaps a monsoon ditch might be a nice place for me to rest up a while. I hotfooted it down a few ally-ways and managed to elude them, but got lost in the process. I finally found my way back to skid row, from where my assailants had since departed.

Suddenly out of the darkness appeared two Malaysian kids – a girl and a boy who latched on to each of my hands calling out “Colt! Colt 45!”

I knew them. They lived in an ally somewhere and begged on the street. The girl was maybe nine or ten, tallish and skinny, while the boy was quite small and about seven or eight. I had met them a year before and always stopped to chat with them; I had bought the girl a doll and the boy a toy six gun and holster; for Christmas, which they no doubt sold for the money. They called me “Colt 45” because when asked my name I said Col, and they thought I said “Colt.”

Hanging onto my hands they asked, “Where you go Colt! We get you a taxi?” I was still pretty drunk, but managed to tell them that I had no money for a taxi, but I had to get back to camp before daylight or I would be slammed on an A4 (charged).

While the girl hung on to my arm with all of her might, the little bloke ran off shouting, “You wait, Colt. You wait!” He disappeared into the shadows. Soon he returned brandishing a ten-dollar note; they then escorted me down the road and hailed a taxi for me. I was moved beyond description by this act of charity from two little street kids struggling to survive.

It was quite some months before I was able to return to Malacca due to exercises along the Thai border, and I feared that I would not see them again, for I was determined to return the money they had lent me. When I did return I could not find them but after a few days, there they were, running down the street yelling “Colt! Colt!”

I was so overwhelmed I was hardly able to speak. After lots of talk and little hugs I asked “I have the money you lent me for the taxi.”

“No, no!” said they, “No money Colt”

“Yes you must take it!” said I.

As always they took me by the hands, one each side of me, and led me down the street and into an ally. It was very narrow and ran to a dead end, where there was a makeshift tent of sorts, a blanket propped up by sticks, and old empty boxes. Beneath it sat and old woman with gold teeth grinning up at me from a heap of blankets spread on the ground.

The boy pointed to her and said, “You give money to her; she lend you.”

Willingly I handed her double the amount she had lent me, took her hand, and kissed it, and she stood up and bowed and smiled with gilded radiance up at me.

We left, and the kids said, “You want girl, Colt?”

“No,” I said “No girl. Just a taxi”

The boy ran ahead of me, hailing a taxi.

I went back to camp and never saw them again.