I don’t remember which month of 1978 it was, or why had we all gone back to my dad’s hometown in Teluk Intan. All I remember about that trip was that night, I anxiously waited for my grand-uncle, Tok Ali, who really is a lot younger than my father is, to take me on his motorbike to tour the town and the banks of the Perak River. I remember asking him about the lights on the other side of the wide river.
Little did I know some 8 years later I would be riding a motorbike myself through the oil palm trees of that area to discover that Sitiawan would be some 40 kilometers to the north, and I was smack bang in a place called Ulu Dedap. It was really ulu then.
The next day, we left for home, but not before telling the driver of the craving for Tanjung Malim’s famous pau; therefore, a pit stop at Tanjung Malim became mandatory for that trip.
However, just after we passed Behrang, the front and rear tyres on the right exploded and the car careened. I remember the driver, the late Pakcik Ramli, push me down to the backrest (I was seated in front), and my elder sister and the maids were screaming in the backseat. Pakcik Ramli swerved the car towards an embankment in an attempt to stop the car from going into a ravine ahead of us. The car hit the embankment at around 110km/h, rolled up the embankment on its side twice, before rolling back down, landing on its tyres.
Then, everything was quiet for a while.
I came to a while later and realised I was in the rear section of the car. Everyone else were still. There was blood trickling down my face. I wiped it off and realised it wasn’t mine. I also heard the engine was hissing (or could that have been my hearing due to the loud bang). The first thing I did was to escape but I couldn’t open any of the doors. I didn’t even realise I was barefooted when I kicked the already cracked windscreen and escaped through it. I stood outside the front of the car and looked at it.
Plantation workers rushed to the scene, and some cars that were passing-by did too. Moments later, the police escorts that were escorting at the rear of my father’s car also turned back to help. One plantation worker stopped to ask me,
“Adik nampak tak accident tu? Apa jadi?”
WTF? I had blood on my head and he could ask me if I had witnessed the accident.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, all those inside the car were taken to the Tanjung Malim District Hospital before they were transferred to the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.
As for me, the police escorts took me to have my Yik Mun pau before rushing me to the KLGH on my father’s orders. I escaped only with a few bruises, although I remember how my body ached the next day.
Four days ago, I took Wifey to Yik Mun for some pau and Hailam noodles. Oh, the car I was in when the accident happened? It was a Volvo. That’s probably why we all survived the crash.