Sunday, November 10, 2013


Something old. Memories and blog post and me. Sorry, no poem (maybe a haiku).

photo by imelenchon
image from



The word just popped into my mind while I was having my tea at the coffeeshop today. Maybe it was the cat padding around under the tables. Maybe I have turned soft and nostalgic. Whatever the trigger, the word brought back a flood of memories.

I was young then, just out of the army and looking for a way to survive. I took on this job at a nightclub in Geylang, waiting on tables and serving drinks. It was a real sleazy place; triads, loan sharks, con-men. And a floor show that even the hardened mamasans blushed at. The management had advised, keep your eyes open, and your mouth shut and you should be fine. So the first day at work, someone ordered "pussyfoot", and I sort of went "huh?", what the heck was that?

I went to the counter, repeated the word as I remembered (which wasn't too difficult), and the bartender nonchalantly poured out something as if that was the most ordinary thing in the world. In my vocabulary at that time, drinks meant beer, brandy, whisky and rum, you know, the hard stuff.

Turned out a pussyfoot is a non-alcoholic concoction of a few fruit juices served chilled. I also found out that it was indeed the most ordinary thing in the club, a favourite with the ladies. Nice to sip with, and nowhere near potent enough to be knocked out, so the men couldn't take advantage of them. Of course the men wouldn't be seen dead with that drink, heavens! They want stuff that is a bit stiff.

The tips were good, those people there threw money around like water. I came to work with a few coins in my pockets, and went home with a fistful of notes. The management had warned, do not pocket tips yourself, but I was young and brash then, and everybody else was doing it, to hell with the rules. It was good money. The tobacco smoke was another matter.

It's amazing, what a word, buried in the deep recesses of the memory, can somehow surfaced and brings back a train of images...



splashing on my face

with the rain


I promise to be back with a poem next time, not this, uh, stuff.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #175 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2013

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Blogger Mary said...

Oh, how I enjoyed your story here. Nice reminiscence of an earlier time. Funny how some words can trigger old memories, isn't it? And nice that the writing then follows.

Enjoyed your haiku too. Can picture that flashing neon.

Great to see you in 'the Pantry' today!

10 November, 2013 22:47  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Mary!

memories of a younger, and wilder time. :)

glad that you enjoyed the story and haiku. and i am glad to be back in the "pantry" too. was bogged down by work for the last couple of weeks.

10 November, 2013 23:09  
Blogger R. Burnett Baker said...

Thanks for your visit! Yes, was back visiting old friends.... Trying to recount the not so distant past of S'por in the 70's/80's. will visit you again...!

10 November, 2013 23:41  
Blogger ZQ said...

Screw communications wait on tables and write. Oops, and find a nice cardboard box to live in :-)

10 November, 2013 23:47  
Blogger Sumana Roy said...

it's truly amazing how some words open up and work wonders.......beautiful reflection...

11 November, 2013 02:24  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

ha. def intriguing how one word can take us back to those places....i grew up working the loading docks so no tips there...just a whole lotta lifting and stacking...been in a bar or two...and kinda smart on the ladies part....just saying...

11 November, 2013 02:53  
Blogger Natašek said...

i enjoyed reading your memories.. had no idea of this drink... i'd prefer something stronger though.
it's very interesting to see, how you went from army to nightclub.. what a twist.

11 November, 2013 04:28  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thanks! there are lots of changes from the 70's till now, mostly for the better. will visit you again definitely. :)


umm, cardboard boxes are hot property. :)


yeah, i am trying to find some other words. no luck so far. :)


no tips at the docks? :)
always appreciate your visit, man.


ha, you like your drink strong too? my fave is vodka, though i have to watch it now. yeah, choice of job is rather, upsetting. :)

11 November, 2013 07:08  
Anonymous tinman said...

What is your favorite poison?

17 November, 2013 20:05  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

it goes by a couple of names, rasputin or kamikaze. mix one part vodka, one part blue curacao, over ice in a straight glass.
potent stuff.

18 November, 2013 23:01  

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