“Back then, girls were not allowed to mix with boys. During movie dates, us girls would enter one at a time. Then the boys would wait a few minutes before coming in as a group. When the theatre turned dark, everyone swapped seats. The whole community knew my father was a police officer, so we couldn’t raise suspicion!”
Mawlamyine (or Moulmein) is one of those Southeast Asian cities like Sandakan, Bacolod and Songkhla; where the past looms large but the present seems faded and unpromising. The kinds of places that young people yearn to leave in search of jobs and money.
“I would sit all alone in a cold, miserable 6,000 square foot room. The only company I had was a sea of giant computers, and my job was to ‘talk’ to them!”
58-year old retiree Jude used to programme mainframe computers. Much of his adult life however has revolved around church.
In the mid-1990s, 67-year old Anwar lost his wife to illness. His son, who at the time was about to finish secondary school, never got over her death. Today, father and son are well and truly estranged.