Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dogs Are Men’s Best Friends (人类的好朋友)

There are basically two types of large scale tin mining methods in Perak. The first is the gravel pump method (金山沟) and the next is the dredging (铁船). Many of those old times high voltage electricians in the local industries are originated from once flourished tin mine industry.

Ong is my previous factory colleague originally working on a dredger between Ipoh and Kampar. He was the supervisor of a dredger in charge of mining operations. And a dredger normally is used to dig up large quantity of tin ores on the surface of a piece of land. As the mining progresses, the place gradually turned into a piece of large manmade lake; and this dredger would appear to be floating on the surface of water.

Since a dredger is a piece of gigantic mechanical equipment, it is subject to wear and tear especially on the shovels and underwater mechanical parts. Normally divers are employed to perform the underwater repairs. As we all know that underwater works are dangerous especially under murky freshwater ponds. Drowning incidents amongst workers are frequent in those days because of breathing apparatus malfunctions.

This was one of those unfortunate drowning incidents happened in Ong’s dredger. Two experienced repair divers were found drowned and to the rescuers’ surprised, they found finger markings on the drown divers’ legs. Looks like someone or rather ‘something’ were pulling their legs thus preventing the unfortunate divers from resurface. The management later dismissed the case as an unfortunate incident of waterweed entanglement. And the case was closed.

Some years later, the tin mine industry was in a declining state and the mining company that Ong worked with has decided to close business. Since Ong was supervisor of the dredger he was the last to be dismissed. However, Ong was given the key to the dredger as he was required to return to the place occasionally to look after the equipment. You see, the whole dredger cost a lot of money at that time.

In order to prevent burglars and to keep himself company, Ong raised a few dogs. At least he would not feel so lonely at night. It was one of last few nights that Ong had to spend on the dredger. It was just passed midnight, and Ong was sleeping in the dredger control room and suddenly he noticed some black shadows moving towards him. The sighting of shadows was accompanied by surprisingly chilled breeze that blew towards Ong.

Almost instantly, Ong felt his feet were somehow frozen and he fell facedown onto the deck. While he was facing motionlessly there, he felt something was pressing his back and his face towards the deck as if the ‘thing’ wanted to suffocate him. At that point, Ong suddenly thought of his beloved doggies, so with all his might; Ong yelled out: “Lucky, Lucy, Ricky, Jacky and Nancy come!”

Perhaps what is said about “dogs are men’s best friends” is true. Those doggies immediately rushed to the control room. They halted at a distance from Ong for a few seconds as if being blocked by some invisible force, but after a short pause; they charged forward and then barked fiercely. At the same time, Ong felt the pressures on his back vanished and he was able to get up.

After the frightful incident, Ong dared not sleep for the night and luckily all his dogs were around to accompany him.

Now that Ong is in Penang, he said that the only thing he has regretted is not able to bring his doggies along. Well, it is impossible to house 5 dogs in a high rise apartment. 

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