July 21, 2011

Last night I was the Ketua Kampung

Wow! Last night was so surreal to me! I'm kinda having that "maybe it was not necessary for me to get involved" moment right now. Haiz....

Around 9 to 10pm last night, our dogs and my neighbour's dogs were barking incessantly. At first I paid no attention to it as I was writing my latest post for this blog which is now saved as draft, by the way but then I got curious when the barking wouldn't stop. So I went to the window and looked out, my eyes scanning through the darkness to see whether I could pick up anything. I saw my neighbour's wife standing at their verandah, also looking at the darkness. I looked for my neighbour's Storm (Mitsubishi 4x4 wheel drive) and it was not there, suggesting that his wife and his kids were on their own. The wife was talking on her handphone and from her tone, she sounded concerned. Hmmm.. I got curious even more. This was apparently no normal barking, not some animal like skunks or pangolins that the dogs saw. 

Then my relative came out from her room and told me that someone called her and told her that there was a fight nearby and someone was injured and that the people involved in the fight were armed! Dog still barking. By now, my neighbour's young son had come down from their home. "It's probably nothing", I thought. "but what if something bad happen". Ours is a small neighbourhood, there are only eight houses. One is vacant as the owner now live in KK and only comes back during the weekend occasionally, one doesn't have a man in the house, one which has a man but it seemed that the family was not in, my brother and his family seemed to have turned in for the night and one, my neighbour next door, the man of the house was not in. If anyone could fight, it was him but he was not in. "What if something bad happen and it's because I did nothing?!", my conscience nagged me. 

"To hell with it!", I thought to myself. I grabbed my car key and the key to our storeroom downstairs. I took an iron bar from the storeroom for weapon and drove my car and stopped at my neighbour's house. I shone my headlights to the road and came out from the car. So there I was, standing at the road, shirtless and holding an iron bar. Dogs still barking at the darkness. By now, my neighbour's wife also came down from their home and joined me. "What's going on?", I asked her. "There was a kancil just now. Maybe they got lost, I don't know but they seemed to be running from someone. I heard one of the occupants asking the driver to drive him to his dad's house in Membakut", she said. "Ok, get into the house and lock the door and don't come out again", I told her and the boy. 

Dog still barking. "Are these people hiding around this area?", I wondered. I'm back in my house now and still scanning the darkness. Then one of my neighbours, the house infront of mine, came home. I called out to him, "Siao di (little brother in Mandarin), go into your house quickly and lock the door. There was a fight nearby!" I shouted at him. He looked confused with my statement and responded with an "Oh?!". What else could I do? Better alert my brother across the road. So I called his handphone. He was not answering. Damn! Some people really miss the point of having a mobile phone. 

Dog still barking. What else could I do? Should I call the police? Maybe it's not necessary to inconvenient our police. Wait! What if something bad happen because of my inaction again but why should I be the one doing it? "Because the other men are either not in or sleeping already!", I told myself. So I dialed 999. Not bad, in less than 10 seconds, someone spoke at the other end. "Good evening. What is your report?", she said. "erh.. I'm calling from Kg Jimpangah. The dogs have been barking non stop for a very long time. I think there might be trouble", I said. "Is this the home of Winnie Sunam?", she asked. Wow! Not bad, they have at least that information on hand. "Yes, I'm her son", I replied. 

"Which part of Sabah is this", she asked. "Beaufort", I told her. "Ok, I'll direct you to the police station now", she told me. 

Ok, this one less impressive. It took maybe about a minute before someone picked up the phone. Also a woman and from the sound of her voice, she had just awoken from her sleep. 

"Good evening. What can I do for you?", she said.

"I'm calling from Kg Jimpangah. I think something is going on in our neighbourhood. The dogs have been barking for a very long time. My neighbour said she saw some people", I told her.

"There was a fight and one person "sudah mengampai". The police is already on their way", she told me.

"Oh?! Okay, thank you", I told her.

About ten or fifteen minutes later, I heard police siren but it drove past our neighbourhood. So I called 999 again and the woman patch me to our town police station again. Again, the phone rang and rang and rang. I hang up in the end. A few seconds later, my phone rang.

"Hello? Is this Justin? Were you the one who made a report just now?", the man said on the other end. Wow, I thought, not bad.

"Yes, it was me. The dogs are still barking. I heard the police siren but it drove past our neighbourhood", I told him.

"We are on pursuit. Where's your place?", he said.

"Do you know where John Mui used to live?", I asked him.

"No I don't", he replied.

"ah..Okay..Give me about 5 minutes, I will drive out to the main road and flag you", I told him.

I grabbed my car key again, didn't even bother to put on my shirt and drove to the main road. For the second time, I was standing in the darkness again. "This is stupid. What happened if these people jump on me", I chided myself for being a busybody. To my relief, seconds later, I saw a group of policemen on about five motorcyles, two policemen on each of them. The first four did not stop, so I flagged the last one. They stopped.

"I was the one who called just now", I told the policeman riding pillion. 

"You should speak to the officer behind", he told me and pointing to an oncoming Proton Waja. 

The familiar silver colored Police Proton Waja, stopped at the road side. We talked and they asked how did I came about the information, I told him my relative told me and maybe they should talk to her. So I brought them to my home. My relative in turn told them that she was informed by the neighbour in front of our little neighbourhood. So I brought them to the neighbour.

The neighbour was apparently on alert also and was standing at her verandah. When she saw us, she came down.

She told the two policemen that she saw a Kancil and a Land Cruiser. The later came after the Kancil. He heard a man asking to be driven to his father's place in Membakut. She said something else but I wasn't listening by now. It seemed to be a big manhunt and maybe there was another search party because one of the policemen who was in plain clothe kept getting phone calls from his officer whom he referred to as Tuan, for updates. 

They thanked me and we shook hands. I told them maybe they should have roadblocks to Membakut. As I got into my car, I overheard one of them said to the other one, "Which part of Membakut? Kg Pimping?". 

So that was what I was up to last night, my little action! The night I appoint myself as the Ketua Kampung of our little neighbourhood. When I woke up this morning, I still feel like I was just making a mountain out of a molehill! Next time, I'll just keep to my own business. Kaypoh!    
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