Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Song of the Marching Corp


Sometimes the best scenes are the unexpected ones you stumble upon without meaning to. Flickr had headed to Pekeliling Flats for the second time though at first I thought one visit was risk enough but due to the abrupt halt on our progress to to 17th floor in the first visit we decided to try one again. Upon our arrival there we heard music being played in the distance, piqued we headed over to the source to see what was happening only to find that the disused ground between the empty blocks of the Pekeliling Flats were playing host the a training exercise by the Police corp of the nearby police station. Rows upon rows of police cadets were marching under the hot sun in perfect formation, adhering strictly to the bellowing of the drill sergeant which trailed them, all the while holding tightly to his baton. All showed a stoic face as they went through the practiced drill which they must have done countless times already under the hot sun. Sweat streaming down their face didn't stop the lot and they looked ever more determined to get their act to perfection before calling it quits. All the while under the shade, another group of policemen were performing another different set of duty, the music band. Armed with saxophones, tambourines, drums, trumpets and cymbals they were playing the tune to keep the marchers in time. The melodic yet upbeat 'Medan Seri' saw the lot of them hasten their pace as they marched from one end of the lot to the other, changing direction and routine based on the incomprehensible shouts of the drill sergeants beside them. It made me recall my days of joining the Kadet Remaja and St Johns when such drills were a norm and under the same conditions.

The trainees carried themselves well and if there were any deviation, the drill sergeant was not going to let it pass, a whack of the baton to the offender would put the lot back to their place and so forth. It was a sight to see them file in line, lead by the major with their saber unsheathed. They went on and we watched. My thought went to the fact that even in its abandoned state, the Pekeliling Flats were not devoid of life yet, besides the vagrants, the salvagers, drug addicts, etc, even the police knows that the land can still be of use even as construction of the envisioned mega city that was to have paved the way was halted. As the people filed away singing a Malay version of Au Lang Syne, the quiet buildings surrounding them still await their fate. But for the moment, the empty halls were filled with live once again albeit for a while.














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