Phuoc Dat Butcher

Exactly one year ago, I bade farewell to close friends, church members and relatives whom I wouldn't see for a month while I travelled Australia. I found the days leading up to my good ridence utterly amusing. Friends threw me farewell dinners, I exchanged hugs with so many people (hugs you would only get when you're flying off for the long haul or when your favourite pet died) and some were stocking me with 'ang pows'. Though I appreciated all of it, I found it amusing as I was only going to be away for the month.

I remember bailing out from the local church council meeting that Sunday afternoon. Cheng Yee was my replacement in that meeting. The Local Church Council Meeting happens once a month where I'm supposed to report updates (and sometimes concoct updates when I'm emptyhanded) about our youth ministry.

Now Cheng Yee doesn't eat cake, and had already had his lunch. It just so happened that the council decides to celebrate my birthday (ok, i was born in March) and have lunch before the meeting commences. The council members are at least 2 decades older to the both of us. And frequently communicate on varying wavelengths. Wavelengths we are not so tuned in to.

And so I left the meeting room after introducing my replacement and taking a slice of cake.

In our sms exchange about an hour later:

Me: Dude, having fun?

Cheng Yee: I am going to kill you when you get back.

Me: I'll buy you a kangaroo when I get back.

Cheng Yee: I will be waiting for you and your kangaroo with a shotgun.

And so I left for Australia in peace.

My pilgrimage to Australia was a momentous one. I was introduced to the Da Vinci code by a wreslter-sized Melbournite who sat next to me on the plane. At first, I thought he was racist, because I thought I heard him ask the stewardess if he could swap seats, right after I sat next to him. I think I misheard him. Well, I iniated small talk and it eventually led to the complexities of the Da Vinci code and Christianity. So all you who are reading Dan Brown's stuff now, it's old news! ha ha.. But heck, I've not read it yet. He was a nice man (not Dan Brown, my flight mate), who gave me a geography lesson of Australia with his serviette and pen. I now can recite the five or six states of Australia by heart. Or seven...

Upon arrival, I was stopped by the immigration of Australia for possessing suspicious looks. I mean, with a person as good looking as me, anyone oughta be suspicious.. (Oh how vain *yawn*).

But serious, I was stopped. I thought I'd make it through, observing how other foreigners responded to the lady at the immigration counter (and mentally rehearsing what to say). But when it got to my turn, I was politely asked to step aside to meet another wrestler-sized Melbournite. This guy wore a earring and no hair. He was an immigration officer. Ooh scary...

Wrestler/officer: Gday.

Me: [gulp] Hi.

Wrestler/officer: You're from Malaysia? (thumbing through my red passport. I look like a terrorist in most of my identification photographs - I.C., Driver's license, college card...)

Me: Yes.

Wrestler/officer: You're staying in Melbourne for one month? What do you do in Malaysia?

Me:[gulp again] I work for a youth magazine as an art director in a non-profit organisation. (But what he didn't know was I had resigned the week before..)

Wrestler/officer: How much do you earn back home?

Me: About RM 1,2o0.. (which in Australia means, A$400)

Wrestler/officer: That's really not enough for you to earn a month long trip here. Who will you be staying with?

Me: My aunt is sponsoring this trip and I'll be staying with her. She's a PR here.

And so he requested for her contact info. Now my aunt had prepared me should anything like this happen. In her email, she drafted out what to say and what info to give the immigration. Before coming, I had copied the info onto another piece of paper so that I could conveniently give it to the guard for better reference.

I couldn't find that slip of paper. And ended passing the whole (unedited) email to the guard. Surprisingly, within minutes, I was let loose into their beautiful country after locating my luggage...

Beautiful Australia ... where the guards look like wrestlers, the students are mainly Malaysian and the food's really expensive... I came to conquer!

Veni, Vedi, Velcro
"I came, I saw, I stuck around"

* I will write daily reflections of my time down under. Quite a number of whacky incidents during that one month.. Stay tuned to find out the deal on "Phuoc Dat Butcher".



Sush said…
hahahhaha. I like this: "Veni, Vedi, Velcro". Hilarious. ;) Have a good week!
lemonademaker said…
thanks... have a good week too dear!
Sush said…
lols. where did dear come from? CY hates sweet stuff. must go stuff him with choc cake. haha.
lemonademaker said…
my colleagues influence. He calls everything and everyone 'dear'. ha ha.. just my arbitary address.. cheers.
Anonymous said…
Let's see...SA, WA, NSW, NT, Victoria, Queensland and Tassie!
lemonademaker said…
well... NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Planning to cover the rest of OZ next year..

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