Other than home or work place, I usually spend my free time at Elias Mall coffee shop. I prefer to drink my beer there whilst I relax with frens from the neighborhood, read a book or write a blog there. I could just simply walk back home. I follow faithfully to the maxim of “Drink don’t drive or Drive don’t drink!” As such, I rarely venture out of the neighborhood. If I have to go elsewhere for my drinking session, I usually take the bus or taxi home. Sometimes I would get Alan Taxi or Caveman to drive me home cuz they never touch a drop of alcohol. They are allergic to alcohol.
There are all kinds of people gathered at EM coffee shop. Most of them are regulars there. Different timings of the day or night attract different types of people there. For example, if you go there between 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm, most them are taxi drivers waiting for their taxi. It’s changing shift time. They would usually take their meals there and chat amongst ourselves whilst waiting for their taxi to report there. From there, they would go make their living as cab drivers. Some of them even drop by once in a while when they happen to send passengers back to Pasir Ris. Alan Taxi last week bought so much “special” prawn crackers from the vicinity of old Jackson Food Centre (now demolised) and started to sms us to partake at 9.30pm when he took a driving break. It’s a lively close knit community where we know each other intimately or by looking at “faces”. There are rarely outsiders amongst us. We shall know if there are unfamiliar faces amongst those gathered at EM.
I would like to introduce our grand old veteran Ronnie Wong who is a permanent feature in the evening at EM. He is about 68 years and a retiree. Before his retirement, he was working in the construction industry. He typically sits at EM coffee shop alone with both his legs raised on another chair holding his favorite pipe sipping a big glass of tea. He rarely in the mood for small talk when all around are busy discussing the latest horses or soccer stars. Sometimes, a conference on the latest happenings i.e. the latest murder cases or itchy monkeys getting hauled up in court etc. Ronnie is oblivious to all these chatters or rants around him. He is always wishing for his illusive nirvana “pipe dream” whenever he is indulging in his solitary sordid affair with his beloved Lady Nicotiana Tabacum on his hand crafted self-made pipe. Never in our minds that our great Ronnie would have video taped himself on his timeless hobby of pipe crafting with a limerick of himself thrown in! He says that he is leaving a legacy for posterity.
Permission was sought from him to re-produce the self made video on youtube but on one condition that I shall not attempt to translate or paraphrase his soliloquy in Cantonese. But it is for the benefit of non Cantonese audience. Yet he refuses to adhere to my request maintaining that the entire meaning and nuances would be lost if it’s translated into English. Just too bad for the non Cantonese audience. He would rather lose a much larger audience than commit atrocity against his beloved Cantonese classic! Sigh!
Let’s hear what our legendary Ronnie Wong has to say …
I like to do things with my hands. In the midst of my hobbies and handiwork my mind drifts. You see, I am a dreamer. Random frivolous thoughts run wild. One of several favorite spots where they converge is an era of my childhood. Back in the 50’s Cantonese raps were popular. Folks in my village constantly mouthed a line or two. Some composed their own verses. They were funny. Some were sordid. Frequently both. That was to be expected at the time when Queen Rose ruled the erotic waves.
To make an amateur video of my pipe carving it would be nice to have a ditty go along with it. Better still, if it were my own original sound byte. The old village (gone forever) provided inspiration. Hands busied, fantasies in high gear the lines slowly piled up. And so, after a year carving and thirty pipes later this crazy Canto rap surfaced, took shape and I did the honors. In your pipe smoke may you find satisfaction and peace.
Pipe enthusiasts may contact me over common interest.
Answers to my pipe carving FAQ.
1. Ebauchons are premium Grecian plateau briars expertly drilled by the renowned Tim West of USA.
2. All tools are hand tools. None electrical or mechanical.
3. Professional sandpapers for wood, grades 150, 280, 400, 600, 800, 1000 (6 courses).
4. Final polishing is by burnishing with a bamboo strip. This is a unique method known to very few.
5. There is no buffing, gouging, fills, stains, varnish, oils, wax, etc. to the finishing. Nothing at all.
6. The surface is bare wood in its most naked state. Gorgeously smooth.