My friend and neighbor, Azman Imran both went to the same kindergarten. After school, around 11 in the morning, the kindergarten bus would drop us off at the junction of the main street (Jalan Khalidi) and we would walk about 1 kilometer to our respective houses from there. It was 1970.
Each day, without fail, we would stop by at the sundry shop on our way home, just to window shop, because we do not have any money. We called the shop "Kedai Tengah" because (we imagined) that it is half way between the main road to our houses.
One day, on a beautiful morning, as usual, Azman and I stopped at the shop. As we browsed and ogled at the many jars of sweets and biscuits and other confections, there was one box in which there were packets of chewing gum shaped like cigarettes
Smoking was really cool in those days and I told Azman that we must have those gums.
I took one packet, held it up in the air, and asked the shopkeeper, a big burly Chinese man, how much is it. He said it was 20 sen. In all my innocence, without having the slightest inkling what his possible reactions might be.I asked him, "Hutang boleh?" .... I was 6 years old.
The shopkeeper grabbed the packet from my hand and shouted at me to get the hell out of his shop...
Azman and I ran home crying....
When I reached home, my ever loving sister, Kak Besah was shocked to see me crying. She asked me why? I just shook my head, and pointed towards the shop. Kak Besah looked in the direction and saw a couple of cows grazing on a patch of green not far from my house.
"Did the cows scared you?" Kak Besah asked.