15 March 2015

The Gong

So here I am – at my normal coffee shop close to my new home drinking my normal double shot vanilla latte – with half a teaspoon of sugar.

I am sitting at my usual outdoor table.

Tapping away at my keyboard.

Clickety clack.

I am a creature of habit.

I am also now the proud owner of an ancient gong.

I acquired it this afternoon.

It is made of bronze and I suspect it is about a hundred years old.

The dude who sold it to me thought it was made at the turn of the century and likely came from Mainland China.

It has a beautiful blue-green patina and makes a deep ringing gongy noise when I strike it.

I have already struck it often.

My new home is about 300 meters from my old home.

I thought long and hard about leaving Singapore altogether when my lease expired a month ago.

I decided to stay though.

I am addicted to the negligible tax and the madness of the Island.

For the time being it suits me well.

My new house is twice as big as my old one so I have been filling it with furnishings. One of my Singaporean neighbours told me about the ‘Junkie Warehouse’ telling me it was a huge place full of antiques and second hand goods in Bukit Timah. She drew me a map to give to the taxi driver and advised that it was very hard to find and it was deep in the jungle.

Fortunately the taxi driver I flagged down knew of the place and we found it without difficulty.

It was indeed surrounded by jungle and was absolutely huge.

Several old uncles had been running the place for decades and it was chock a block full of dusty old furniture and homewares – mostly Chinese in origin but also from all around the world.

There was many a gong.

The Spinelli girl Sabrina just bought me my coffee with a croissant – heavily spread with vegemite.

Just the way I like it.

“Mr. Peter?” Sabrina asked hesitatingly.

“Yes Miss Sabrina” I replied.

Ayah laughed at me when I told her that soy milk comes from the man cow” she complained.

“It does doesn’t it?”

“Of course it does Sabrina” I unhesitatingly lied.

“Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”

I spontaneously lie quite often about such trite matters.

I have no idea why.

The gong is Chinese in origin and has been around for thousands of years.

It is written that they were first used to summon peasant workers in from the fields and they were later adapted for musical and other purposes.

The Japanese still use them to commence Sumo wrestling bouts.

I don’t know who wrote about the origin of the gong.

Nor do I really give a fuck.

I like the word though and I love my gong.

It is a cracker.

Here it is:

I have hung it and the striking thing on a column near my front door so I can belt it whenever I want.

I have already belted it often.

I will likely belt it much.

I also like the words bong, schlong, wrong, throng and Wong.

Wong is a Singaporean mate of mine who is a doctor and she lives in Cairns. She was oblivious to the Junkies Corner warehouse in the jungles of Bukit Timah and she owns no gong.

I particularly like the word throng.

I know not why.

In fact I don’t know anyone else who has their own gong - and few people I have mentioned the Junkies Warehouse to were aware of it's existence.

It is my birthday in a couple of weeks.

I consider the gong that I bought as well as all the other pieces of ancient furniture and bits and pieces birthday gifts to myself.

I spent most of the weekend in the Junkies Warehouse poking around and yacking to the uncles.

I bought a lot of stuff.

One of the uncles told me that the warehouse was originally built to store opium –which is somewhat ironic given the name of the place. The Singaporean uncles who named and run the warehouse don't realize that a Junkie is slant for a drug addict. They are just livening up the word 'junk'.

Like many things here on the island drug addiction is illegal.

Rehabilitation consists of hanging, shooting and then setting the addicts on fire.

They are then shot and hung again.

It is a place of zero tolerance.

The opium trade on Singapore was about a hundred and fifty years ago - when the Island was the centre of the opium trade under Colonial rule. The English occupiers of the Island traded it for tea and made both the Chinese and the Singaporeans opium addicts.

They controlled the global drug trade back then and they made massive fortunes and created millions of addicts.

Nice one English.

You fuckers.

I am becomingly incredibly old.

Years seem to fly by and I have now myself entered the uncle stage.

In Singapore the term ‘Uncle” is used for old dudes

It is a term of endearment that I quite like but I don’t feel like an uncle.

I still feel young.

However I am not.


March is a time for a few birthdays of people I know and it has made me ponder on the whole horoscope thing.

I am an Aries.

A goat.

I have a few friends and one unfriend whose birthdays are also in March and horoscope wise we should all be fairly similar in out traits.

We are not though.

My mates Gilla and Steve and Debbie and Dizzy are all fellow Arians but they are quite different to me. The unfriend – the alcoholic’s daughter – who is an alcoholic herself – is completely different.

I would say completely opposite in fact.

The unfriend is large of breast, has terrible skin, is as loose as a goose and is as shallow as a person can be. 

She is also bogan.

I am flat of chest, have very good skin and am celibate. Whilst I don’t think I am particularly deep – I am deeper than her.

I may have a little Bogan in me.

Most Australians do.

Or is it I am deeper than she?

Such things confuse me at times.

The large breasted alcoholic’s daughter turns or turned 30 this month. I am not sure what the date was or is as she has unfriended me completely – so I can’t check.

I wouldn’t be bothered anyway

The unfriending doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Like the alcoholic herself, our friendship was a fake thing that puzzled me from the word go.

I don’t normally associate with people like her.

I think that she would be most distressed at turning 30 – or at least she would feign distress – just to get some attention.

Aging concerns her.

She wouldn’t appreciate the gong nor the treasure of Junkie’s Corner. She would think it is dusty and dirty – which it is – and she likes sparkly, new and expensive things – preferably bought for her by other people. The alcoholic’s daughter loves to tell people how much things she owns costs and she only buys or wears certain brands.

Shallow huh?

I think so.

The big breasted and poor skinned alcoholic is the only unfriend I have.

She quite bizarrely unfriended me on Facebook and she pretends that I don’t exist.

I think it is her way of delivering some sort of weird message but it doesn’t bother me at all.

I quite like it.

She has apparently done similar things to lots of other people – including her now ex husband – who is quite a nice and very wealthy Asian guy who she cunningly married for his money.

I don’t think the marriage lasted very long but I don’t really know the details – nor do I care in the slightest.

I think she did OK in the divorce proceedings - however not as well as she boasted to people about - but the ex husband told me that that he is very relieved to be rid of her.

She was driving him mad.

Anyway – the unfriend the alcoholic is nothing at all like me so one of us – or perhaps both of us - are untrue in our Arian traits.

I don’t really put much faith in horoscope sorts of things anyway.

Why the fuck would I?

I have just waved Sabrina the waitress over and asked her whether she has a gong.

She told me she has not.

I have also requested another coffee and have very clearly specified that it not be made from the milk of a man cow.

She gravely nodded her affirmation.

I shall drink my coffee and then go and hang some paintings I bought and try and position the new-old furniture I procured at the Junkies Corner.

I have a lot of it and may have gone slightly overboard.

I often do.

Before I retire to sleep I will likely strike my gong.

It seems like the right thing to do.

1 comment :

  1. Hello Peter: Your Gong is lovely, and oh how I envy you for the fascinating opportunity your chose to go to the Junkie Warehouse. What a great opportunity to see objects with possible interesting histories, that are not recently created or 'knock-offs' for tourists. For myself, these objects would be so much more valuable (not
    monetarily), but to research the history of them...as much as possible of course. It find it interesting too why certain historical objects speak out to us personally, metaphorically speaking. For example, does the "Gong" verify our presence, our power, or even our existence. Then again, perhaps it is just a beautiful piece of art. Another example is how a small Tibetan Buddhist bell can create a sense of calm (at least for me). I THINK TOO MUCH! But, thank you for describing and showing your lovely discovery and experience :) ~Ursula on Vancouver Island