The bookie, who had a good day at the races, said I better get a move on. “Quick, quick.” The procession was just winding down.
I finished up my teh tarek and hit the main street. The floats made their way down the street next to the new channel being built. I walked down the street that was cordoned off. The Indian Malay policeman said I wasn’t allowed. Sure, I’m only taking photos, which was my cue to do what I fucking wanted to do.
The Chinese invited me in another cordoned off section where large candles were burning at a shrine. The Chinese gods performed crazy dancers in front of the shrine and everyone went crazy for a moment. The embers flicked and hissed and I nearly caught on fire.
The floats passed by one after the other. Lanterns and colourful costumes and floats with monkey themes jazzed up the road that is usually congested with traffic. The drunk Indians hung out with the lady boys at Transvestite Lane, as the dragon that changed colors spiralled up the street.You could tell they couldn’t’ wait when the street was dark, and sleazy again.
Now the Chinese are doing their chants, sounding like ducks.
I worked up a good sweat. Covering cultural events is never easy. I could easily have given it a big miss and ordered another milky tea and annoyed the Indonesian waitresses.
Today was the first day I had actually seen the Malay police do any work. Tonight’s procession reached record crowd who turned up to see the Sultan of Johor, said the Indian at my local. I have to buy something, I tell him. He just didn’t want to shut up about it.