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Wong Lim Fun

Previous short story:
Dark Places
Next short story:
The Judgement Day
Wong Lim Fun is a perfectly ordinary sixteen years old boy, or so it seems. There are two uncanny traits about him that set him apart from most people his age. First of the two is his sickening and troubling, overly hygienic ways that have efficiently secured him a place at the most bottom of the popularity chart (or most top of the freak chart - either way). Ever since he appeared with overly white shirt and dirt-free shoes, with a gleaming white teeth and gleaming white bag to match, at the door of his first grade class, he had been given up as a bad job by his fellow classmates. Well I must say, when you extracted yourself from the crowd, treating everyone else like germs, people will certainly be intimidated and retaliate. Gradually, from first grade, he became more and more of an island where social standings are concerned. No one can stand his frequent remarks of \'Don\'t touch that!\', \'Get your hands of my stuff!\' and \'Don\'t stand too close, you\'ll kill me!\'. In addition to that, no one can even stand his choice of fashion. Everything he owns, from his toothbrush to his handkerchief, from his study desk to his bed linen, all of them are white in colour. He believes in white and keeping his things white so that he could detect any filth or dirt. He makes it his sole mission in life to ensure that his things are whiter than white. This sense of fashion paired with his already pale complexion (due to his paranoia of outdoor hygiene condition) results in a rather translucent effect, a ghostly glow. No wonder all the kids ran from him. He must have look like Casper.

We cannot point to his parents at all, Mr. and Mrs. Wong, for his most bizarre way. They both are as normal as can be. Their living room and in that sense every other part in their house, except for little Wong Lim Fun bedroom of course, are scattered with normal bit of furniture, normal bit of junk and normal bit of dust. Mr. and Mrs. Wong clothing are also every bit as different as abnormal is, Mr. Wong with his accountant-worthy clothing and Mrs. Wong with hers as a regular housewife. This essence of ordinariness also stretch out to the other Wongs, Wong Lim Fun\'s two elder brother, one younger brother and one younger sister. They all seem immune to him and can be soundly ensured that they are safely hidden in the popularity chart. Nowhere near the top but nowhere near the bottom either. Immune and normal as they were, they are not keen to jump in the same wagon as the \'white-washed\' Wong Lim Fun. Grateful to their non-problematic social standings, the other Wongs often cast him aside in seclusion, sometimes to the point of joining together in the jeer and taunts of other schoolmates towards their poor brother.

The last of his two unusual features is accidentally, greatly affected by the first. Notice by now that there is the word \'fun\' in the full name of our little ghost. Yes, definitely. He is one of the few that can spell \'fun\' in their name. Alas, thanks to his eccentric lifestyle, fun had never entered his life. White is the colour of this little man\'s friendship banner as no one declared friend had ever tainted it. Kids all over the neighbourhood, losers and freaks included, always get out of their way to avoid him. As if his hygienic behaviour was contagious. Therefore, it only fit that if there was a fun event or activity, he was never invited. Of course, who would want him shouting \'Don\'t get that over the carpet\' every other minute while they are bashing the piñata. Half of the people suggest that cleaning up was his actual fun time while the other half came to a severe conclusion that the name itself is a taboo. Nobody dares to jeopardize the future of their youngsters by associating with the name, or the person for that matter. And so, the name remains like a taboo for young Wong Lim Fun.

By then however, Wong Lim Fun was pretty contented with this way of life. He was in peace with those that had isolated him, friends as well as family. The further he was from other people, the safer he felt. And that is the way it has always been. It was not until recently that he felt something has been dropped into his private sanctuary like a bomb. Something he had not foreseen all his sixteen years of life. A subject he has not thought of. Yet still, the unanticipated bomb surrounded and engulfed him in smokes of thoughts that more often than not, left a trail of emotions behind. The bomb looks as if it was none other than a longing for a female companion. No surprise there. Nonetheless, as common as it seems, this longing has been magnified a couple size bigger in capacity as Wong Lim Fun had never enjoy any kind of companion before. And during these miserable times he started to develop a sense of regret but not over his \'clean\' act but the way people around him did not understand. After some time, noting that being sympathetic towards himself would not help him lands a girl, Wong Lim Fun set out on a seemingly impossible quest to sooth his longing.

Alas, nothing he did seems to take him a step further in his quest. And when I said nothing, I really meant nothing did work for him and this includes smiling at Jenna \'Boil-face\' Lovegood, the person on top of him (second-bottom place) in the popularity chart. Jenna, in spite of her reputation, just stared at him like he was an unbelievably large fly and stormed off towards the other direction. This particular incident brought Wong Lim Fun\'s spirit, if possible, lower to the ground. It was at this point he simply gave up his quest, thinking that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for him.

Then again, all was not lost as one fine day, a very pale girl by the name of Samantha Wilson stood in front of his class, getting introduced by the teacher as a newly transferred student. The first thought that cross Wong Lim Fun\'s mind was \'Such filth!\' Samantha, with a messily braided waist-length hair, was a direct opposite of everything Wong Lim Fun believes. As she walked to the very back of the class and sat herself beside him (apparently there is a rule that losers always sit at the back), Wong Lim Fun could swear he detected a whiff of fish-like smell from her. Not until the girl was properly seated that Wong Lim Fun could fully appreciated their differences. He watched from afar Samantha’s long, dirt-like black nail, her disarray braids and all the stains from her jeans. Feeling captivated and slightly revolted at the same time, Wong Lim Fun barely had time to brace himself as Samantha held out a hand to shake his. He stared at the outstretched hand without realising that the whole class was staring at them. Wong Lim Fun only broke from his trance-like state when unanimously, the whole class begin to laugh noisily. Someone from the front shouted, ‘Give it up new girl. He would never touch you.’ Somehow, hearing all this taunting remarks sent a new light towards our little ghost, a kind of new revelation. Neglecting his thoughts of germs and filth and focusing his mind on this new girl\'s smile instead, Wong Lim Fun made everyone gaped in disbelief that day by shaking Samantha\'s hand firmly. And that simple rebellious act towards the norm made he felt bubbly all day.

If the first encounter of this two different species had been very shocking for the whole class, imagine the surprise the whole school had to bear the very next day when they walked into the school compound together. No one knew how this could happen but it seems that the new girl was eager to get a new friend and the old boy was just happy to get at least a friend. For the first week since the day they have been seen together, this out of place couple had been the talk of the school. The filth and the sparkle, they say. Even the gardener and the bus driver discussed them. Nevertheless, a while later this talk died out and all that left was occasional mockery. This too died out after some more time. And so they were left alone, the two of them. Never minding every one else as they too were being ignored by others.

Months passed. Wong Lim Fun and Samantha were best friends by then. They were inseparable, though that only applied in the school compound. Before and after school, they led their own way. Maybe this was due to the fact that Wong Lim Fun\'s paranoia of the outdoor was still as strong as ever, no one knew. Yet for that matter, no one also knew of the home, life and whereabouts of Samantha after school. As she befriended the loser of the year, naturally no one else seek for her hands as a friend. One Friday though, their memorandum of understandings on the silence that felt upon them whenever they were out of school were tested as their class teacher announced a class trip, on the very next day.

Wong Lim Fun as predicted had never participated in any of the class trip. Still, when the teacher requested a show of hands for whoever wanted to join the fun, the only ‘Fun’ in the class glanced around, nervously but very eager. You see, even for months he still had not forgotten about his quest. He had successfully acquired a companion but as far as he knows, that companion is nowhere near a proper female partner. With the coming trip though, he smelt a little hope to quench his quest. So holding off as long as he could bear, Wong Lim Fun finally turned his gaze slowly towards his only friend who at that time was waving vigorously while mouthing ‘Come on!’ at him. That was the only sign he needs. He shot his right hand so fast it was lucky the tip of the pencil he was holding did not struck his eye. Even though this was yet another new act coming from Mr. Fun, no one paid extra attention anymore. They all put it down to raging hormone. Oh how true that was and how disturbing it was for Wong Lim Fun to know that most people had guessed accurately.

It was slightly damp on the day of the trip as rain was pouring heavily the night before. But that did not dampen or put a stopper to the good spirit of the class, Wong Lim Fun included. Their journey towards the new theme park was uneventful for most but it was unnerving for our little albino. Fortunately, he was soon coaxed into relaxation by Samantha who was apparently overwhelmed by the whole experience as well and chose not to stop talking. Conveniently, the on-going talking hushed Wong Lim Fun’s paranoia and he can barely think about the hygiene of the seats and such during their short tour of the theme park. All he could see is the girl talking beside him, whom he would blatantly admit that he was secretly falling in love with. It was all he could do not to blurt out his feelings. The best strategy for him was to go on rides continuously so they will not have much time talking and discussing. But as the queues were getting thicker, Wong Lim Fun found that talking was much harder to avoid.

Things were heated up not long after as the rides were jam-packed and the queues are getting longer. The games were getting tight by the second as the prizes were dying out like dinosaurs. In the chaotic atmosphere, no one noticed them at first. Nobody had paid much attention to them to begin with but the odd couple was in an even peculiar situation than ever. Maybe it was the blood-curling scream that captured everyone\'s attention. By the time the whole class had comprehend the gravity of the situation and reacted accordingly, it was too late. Wong Lim Fun\'s bleached little body was already sprawled on the ground, in a pool of blood. His eyes were open, staring blankly at the sky and his cracked skull was protruding slightly from the massive impact wound. His limbs were in weird angle showing proof that every other bone in his body was broken. As the crowd around the remains of Wong Lim Fun getting bigger, along came Samantha running from the gate of the roller coaster ride with tears streaking down her face. She was shouting ‘Oh my god!’ again and again as she parted her way into the circle of crowd. Mr. Nelson, the teacher, managed to seize Samantha’s arm and hold her straight right before she was about to collapse in the pool of blood.

After offering consoling words to Samantha, Mr. Nelson went and closed Wong Lim Fun’s lifeless eyes before turning back towards the sobbing girl and asked her what had really happen. Samantha had barely said “We were on the roller coaster when...” as she broke down again sending fresh tears flooding her face. Mr. Nelson tapped his right foot impatiently at the sight of the tears. Persuaded maybe by the lack of emotions showed by the elderly, Samantha blurted out her story, rather a little bit faster than required. “We were riding the roller coaster and he refused to touch the protective bar because he said he can see germs all over it. So I put the bar on for him. But when we arrive at the big circle track and the thing went upside down, the bar just flew off him and he felt. Oh it is all my fault!” Samantha’s voice trailed off. She buried her face in her hands sobbing harder apparently overwhelmed with shock, grief and guilt.

That evening ended abruptly, almost as abrupt as the life of Wong Lim Fun ends. Although it would always be a wonder on how his family and friends are taking the lost. It is a shame however, for our community to know so little of this young boy. He would always be a good example to our children on how important cleanliness is to our life, but not so much to the extend where it can kills you. It is true however that we cannot find a cleaner boy in the world and for that the name Wong Lim Fun and the person itself would not be forgotten. May his soul rest in peace and may he find a cleaner place after life. And for the benefit of the family, may you find solace in these words and also in the loving memory of him.

***

I put down my pen and glance at the clock before looking back at the piece of writing in front of me. I must admit, in all my working years, I have never written such an unusual obituary. So little were known about him. Most friends and family refused to even talk to me let alone giving me information about him. Even his best friend was nowhere to be found. It is almost like fetching a forgotten memory. Poor boy. Tragic ends.

***

Samantha could not believe her eyes. She was still staring at the newspaper in her hands. The column title \'Obituary\' stared back at her in silence.\'They really believe it!\' she thought quietly. She rushed to read the article once again, still not believing. A few minute later, after she had read the last line for the second time, she let out a huge sigh. This time she could not contains her joy anymore.

"They really believe me!" she shouted out loud. Mrs. Wilson, who was cleaning the dishes at that time came out from the kitchen and slap her from the back, hard.

"You are lucky nobody care about that little boy, you ungrateful child. Don\'t you ever dare push anyone out of anything again!"

Samantha stared at her mother nonchalantly as if daring her to argue that that news is not a good one, "I hate that white, clean bastard, mother. You know it," she said exasperatedly, almost like explaining a very simple fact to infants. Mrs. Wilson shooked her head, evidently out of words.

"Well it would be a lot better if you would learn from him a little. You\'re always dirty!" replied Mrs. Wilson finally after some minute.

Samantha turned her back from her mother and smiled to herself when she hears that, \'I don\'t wanna die falling from a roller coaster like him!\' she muttered under her breath.
Previous short story:
Dark Places
Next short story:
The Judgement Day
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Ungku Laila Hanna Binti Ungku Mohsin

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