meeting manaf

There’s this guy I always see during my thrice-weekly runs along the canal behind my house. I mean, there’re a lot of guys (and ladies) who jog there regularly but this particular guy, Manaf, stands out.

While the rest of us are in reasonably good enough shape to count as joggers, Manaf doesn’t run so much as shuffle, and he’s pretty much the skinniest guy I’ve ever met (think Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas). He’s there everyday, and one day, it just occurred to me that this guy’s probably has or had some illness but he’s still out there every single day pounding the pavement along with the rest of us.
So I started giving him a little wave and smile everytime we ran/shuffled past each other, and it became a bit of a little routine – we’d pretend not so see each other til we were about 2 metres apart, then we’ll both look up and do our little greeting. Before long, I realised that almost everyone running along the canal daily knows Manaf and has their own particular routine with him.

I always mean to strike up some sort of conversation with him but it’s not that easy when we only acknowledge each other for 2 seconds before we’re on our way again. Doesn’t help also that my iPod’s permanently grafted to my ears when I run.

So anyway… it rained today in the middle of my run and I got stuck under the highway with Manaf for about an hour and a half. Our conversation ranged from running (obviously), our jobs, living in CCK (30 odd years for Manaf), Singapore Idol (he’s not a fan, me neither), Premier League (I had very little to contribute) and my favourite, 70’s metal!

Manaf is the original Mat Rocker, having fronted a band covering the Scorpions and Rainbow in the 70s. Ramli Sarip (of Sweet Charity) and him were neighbours in the same kampung, the village head of which was Ramli Sarip’s father! Manaf told me about the old metal gigs that used to held near the now-demolished Van Cleef Aquarium at Fort Canning and how he used to have a mullet and skintight black jeans.

Of course, this all ended with the government crackdown on all things rock in the 70s. This is sort of a sore topic with me as well, so after awhile we kinda forgot the rain and just lamented our mutual loss… (not to mention Singapore’s)
Eventually the rain let up enough and it got too dark and cold, so we decided to head back. I may not have hit my target distance today, but today turned out to be one of my more interesting runs. Next time I see Manaf, instead of just waving, I’m going to flash him one of these..


2 Responses to “meeting manaf”

  1. 1 disko August 31, 2006 at 23:40


  2. 2 vinoek September 12, 2006 at 10:41

    hear hear babe!

    Rock tak akan punah.
    Rock tak akan pecah.
    Rock tak akan hilang.
    Rock ada dalam hati.


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