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Sydney asks me about my National Service, and says, her sister got sent to Selangor, and is now groaning, No, I don’t want to go to Selangor, it’s so far away.

(Say hello to Sydney’s debut. Of course, that’s not really her name … nobody’s name on this blog is really their real name. I’ll call her Sydney, as in Sydney Bristow.)

There was a radio show too, and the DJs were talking about parents complaining about their Semenanjung kids getting sent to Sarawak. Yeah, well, that’s the parents complaining, say the DJs, but has anyone listened to the kids themselves yet? If I were a teenager I’d say, Sarawak, yeah!

Some teenagers get exempted because they’ve already become monks and nuns. The moment they take off their robes and put on the fatigues, says the Buddhist association, they’re no longer monks, never allowed back into the monastery.

Yeah, that’s right, says Sydney. And the nuns can’t get out of their convents.

They can’t?

Not those who are training, I think. They only get out after becoming sisters, or maybe mothers ha ha. You know, to show they’re devoted.

But but, what about Maria? The Sound of Music?

Sound of Music? That’s why they sang about the problem that is Maria, how do you catch a cloud and pin it down, running away when the hills are alive, gave up on her and finally sent her to babysit the von Trapps. Sydney laughs. Oh yeah, there’s a girl from my kampung, got the letter and can’t possibly go, married and pregnant. She got the letter and said, Eiii, macam mana ni?

She is? I mean, she’s pregnant?

Yeah.

I’m shocked. But she’s my age, right? 17?

Of course she is.

Oh~ ack. I’m getting old.

Sydney laughs again, and says, No, you’re not. You want to know how to tell when you’re old?

How?

You’re old when your mother stops telling you Don’t date boys, and starts asking you, When are you getting married? I want to be alive when my grandchildren are born, you know.

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