Have you ever wondered how much do you remember about your early childhood? And how early or what is the first memory? At 4 years old? At 3 or 2 or even 1? I can only remember vividly of events in kindergarten 1, i.e. 5 years old onwards. I can also recall quite a number of events that happened when I was 4. Anything before that? I can only think of 3 "snapshots". I had no idea what they meant until my family and relatives filled me in when I'm older.
What are these 3 snapshots? The first is me looking over my shoulder at the corridor of my grandma's flat. My older brother was standing there, waving, pointing and shouting at me.
The second snapshot is one where I see the door of the private clinic below my grandma's flat opened and it seemed that someone was carrying me into the clinic.
The third is more like a 2 part short video clip. Part 1 - Grandma told me to stay and wait while she entered a bank. I turned around immediately to examine the fishes swimming in the water-landscape pond. Part 2 - I observed that the water line is right in front of me...and one of my slippers is floating right in front of me at eye level. A man was reaching out to grab my hand.
So what really happened? It's not difficult to guess the third scenario. Grandma and I went to the bank. Bank was crowded with a long queue (so are banks now) so I was told to wait outside. Right outside this bank was a small, simple, artificial landscape with a small little waterfall and a small little pond with small little fishes. And this small little ape was very excited about the small little fishes, inched out to took a closer look and fell into the pond :p
I remembered the bank was UOB because I visited that place many times after that as I grow older. And everytime I passed that place since that incident, I kept wondering why they have filled up the pond with cement? I missed those small little fishes.
What about the 2nd snapshot - clinic door? One of my uncles carried me into the clinic. Why? I fainted. Why? He caned me. Why? I wasn't paying attention when he was trying to coach me on some simple word recognition. I was to learn later that the doctor and my mum wanted to report him to the police but didn't do so eventually. FYI, that uncle of mine is not a child abuser. He was young then. I must have pissed him off terribly. I do not harbour any bad feelings about him, even after I came to be aware of what happened. I know he is truly sorry for what he did because all these years since then, I can sense that he is particularly nice to me amongst all his nieces and nephews. Maybe it was that particular incident that made me smarter (academically only) among my siblings and cousins :p
The first snapshot. Even without anyone telling me as I reflected on the first snapshot when I was older, I could tell that I was either in the carpark infront of my grandma's flat, at the bus stop or on the road. How old was I? What was I doing there? What was my brother shouting about?
Here's what my brother told me. He came out of my grandma's flat on the 3rd storey and stood at the corridor, looking across the road and into the school and the market opposite the flat. He saw a toddler, barely able to walk, making his way across the road! Hmmm...this child looks familiar, in fact, he looks like :O ?!?!?!?! So you know why he was shouting, pointing and waving. No one knew how I managed to sneak out of the house, walk down the stairs from the 3rd storey, past the coffeeshop directly below grandma's flat, cross the single lane carpark, crossed the bus stop (I must cross the bus stop because there was a drain between the carpark and the road and the bus stop was the only access to the road) and arrived in the middle of the road...undetected by anyone! Singaporeans really bochap?
Here goes the exciting part. At that moment, a public bus was coming my way (service 240 or 246?) The driver saw me, jammed on his brakes and brought the bus to a nasty stop. At about the same time, my brother managed to alert some of the adults (my uncles and grandma?) and they dashed towards the road only to find me...of course not dead la! Died how to write story here? They found me under the bus, safe and sound.
Many years after that, my father told me the road used to be served by Service 246. Because of that incident, SBS pantang (superstitious) and shifted 246 to run on another road. Service 240 replaced the route taken by 246. In anycase, if the uncle who drove that bus is reading this, please accept my sincere apologies...I was young and rash and have never intended to cause you any distress.