|Photo credit: Sabah State Archives|
The mile-long trip from the station at Karamunsing took them past the mangrove swamp; past the houses on stilts connected to each other with a maze of rickety catwalks; past the police station and the jails and clumps of coconut palms on
|Photo credit:: Sabah State Archives|
The coaches disgorged the passengers; tired mothers with sleeping babies strapped around their chests; traders with boxes and sacks; kampong folks with their bananas and bundles of vegetables; hawkers loaded with rattan baskets filled with snacks: boiled eggs, steamed corn, rice dumplings bound in bamboo leaves and sticky, angpow-red rice cakes sitting on bits of green banana leaves.
Neither Katie nor Esther wanted any of the snacks. They were going to have long, cold drinks—a glass of orange squash perhaps, or some lemonade with chunks of ice floating to the top of their glasses and sipped slowly through a straw. Off they went along
The girls knew him well and Katie had visited him at his house (with a couple of other friends) where Mr. Sakai had made them take off their shoes on the stoop and insisted they put on slippers in the house. Mr. Sakai had a two-storey shop at
|Photo credit: R.Chin|
“See what has just arrived from
“Five dollars… special price for a special girl,” Mr. Sakai said. Katie smiled and shook her head as she fisted what remained of the two dollars her mother had given her. Five dollars was a lot of money. But she couldn’t stop thinking about the tea set. All through the day and on the bus home her thoughts kept going back to that red and white tea set!
As soon as she reached home Katie told her parents about Mr. Sakai’s beautiful tea set. Maybe her father understood how much she wanted it. Perhaps he wanted to show that nothing was too much for his little girl when he gave her five dollars so she could go back and buy that lovely tea set.
|Photo credit: R. Chin|
It was to be one of the last things Katie bought from Mr. Sakai’s shop and she has kept it all these years because it is a reminder of a time when Jesselton was a peaceful little town; the time before the war broke out and before Mr. Sakai changed completely from being a nice shopkeeper at Market Street to a fierce kempetai everybody feared and hated. Katie treasures the tea set especially because it reminds her of her father and his unique way of making her feel loved and special.