In 1959 Uncle Lim was only a 20 yo, when he first set foot in Chinatown KL, the mobs thought he had a promising career as their bookkeeper with his experiences working for his family in Ipoh in their tin mining business. He was a hardworking and diligent when it comes to money. The most important things, he knows how to keep confidentiality when necessary.
In his early 20s, he was considered a well off with a good salary, a good room in a nice hotel and a good life. “A ba, you were handsome in your younger days”, I teased him while holding a picture in a frame next to a bottle of alcohol. The picture was him in his 20s. “No lah Napi, but I am sure my son is better looking, a mix blood you know”, he said to my surprised. That was 3 years ago.
In 1960 Uncle Lim was sent to Miri, Sarawak by his Boss to ensure the smooth operation of their business there. The Boss said it's temporary but at least 6 months. In Miri, apart of the work which occupied him most of the time, those days Miri was a quiet town, far from what he had enjoyed in KL. Fortunately, after a few weeks, Uncle Lim managed to have few friends to gamble and drinks his lonely nights away.
That Saturday night, Uncle Lim was wearing khakis and a white jacket, with lots of pomade to make his hair shining. He was walking with his friends to a club to drink and gamble as usual when he heard a woman screaming, “tolong, tolong”. A lady was about to be raped by 3 men. “Let’s help the lady”, said uncle Lim to his friends. Fists and kicks were flying (imagine a fight in a Hindi movie) but Uncle Lim and friends were fearless, like a hero. The 3 men finally fled away. “Thank you so much, by the way my name is Linda",
"I am an Orang Ulu, I work at my family restaurant over there”, a beauty with a soft spoken voice vibrate into Uncle Lim’s heart. “At least, let me cook dinner for all of you”, Linda was trying to repay their kindness. Since that day, Uncle Lim’s life in Miri has been no longer a lonely one. And friendship blossoms into love. Uncle Lim could not think of anyone else but Linda. After he met the Orang Ulu lady, he no longer interested in gambling and even drinking.
He always waited for Linda finishes her work and strolled with her in the small town while holding hands. Unfortunately, their love was not blessed by Linda’s family who wanted her to marry her own cousin. One day, when he was walking alone to meet his loved one, Uncle Lim was trapped by 10 men; one of them was Linda's cousin. He was beaten badly and hospitalized.
The first thing when he gained his consciousness, “I won’t give up on you Linda”, he said to her at the hospital. Linda Cried. He came out of the hospital but a letter was waiting for him, from the boss. “Darling, my time here is over, my boss wants me back in KL”, Uncle Lim told Linda, and tears were flowing. “That’s good, I will go with you wherever you are. If I don’t go with you, my family will make me marry the person I could never love, I love only you”, she was being stubborn.
Linda was actually pregnant with Uncle Lim’s but decided not to tell him until the day they can be together outside Miri. Uncle Lim was relieved knowing Linda’s willingness to go with her. “Let’s elope,you are the only one for me". "I will wait for you at the jetty on Thursday night, which is 3 days from now”.
They both were excited at the prospect of being united, even having a family together. Back home in Miri, “Are you crazy to bring Linda to KL, don’t you know what kind of lifestyle our kind of people is embracing? That is actually not good for Linda.
Boss will never agree to this”, his friend Marcus was actually jealous of Uncle Lim’s happiness and he thought they could never go drinking and gambling when Lim is with Linda. “I won’t meddle my personal life with Linda and with work, I love her so much”, Lim retorted.
“It’s all up to you, but Linda won’t be having a good life". "She might only get into trouble and hard life with us, the drinking, clubbing, gambling, fighting, and you are only 20 to raise a family you know", "Moreover, Linda could have a better life here without you”, Marcus reminded him.
The last words made Uncle Lim lost his sleep, thinking deeply to make his decision. Linda was wearing her best dress, purple shawl and accessories, her favorite lipstick and perfume too. It was a cold Thursday night. She was happy thinking about her new life, standing proudly on the jetty with a suitcase despite the cold weather.
She waited and waited, hours and hours. Nevertheless, she refused to give up waiting. But,..... Lim never came. The endless waiting was fruitless. 3 years later, Uncle Lim learnt that Linda gave birth to his son, but, she did not survive the childbirth.
During her pregnancy, she lived in recluse, abandoned by her family. She was heartbroken before she died. "Napi, we only regret the chances we didn't take, relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make", I hugged A ba....he was crying.