Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are you a Mrs Koh?

We all know what  Lolita or a Shylock or a Scrooge is. Each of these character names has become a by-word for certain kind of individual.  But what about a Mrs Koh? Worse still, might you yourself be a Mrs Koh?

Robert Raymer tells me that he was pleasantly surprised to find an article by educator Denis Harry in The New Straits Times telling readers why they should be wary of the Mrs Koh type :
... who is lurking somewhere waiting to pounce on her next promising victim
The character is from Robert's short story Neighbours. (You can download the PDF here.) Writes Harry :
Neighbours, a fine work by Robert Raymer in Lovers and Strangers Revisited, highlights Mrs Koh as the central character. She fabricates stories to create rifts between neighbours. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Maybe this is because there are many Mrs Kohs in this world, people who really are venomous, vicious and potentially damaging, ready to trample on whoever stands in their way.
Raymer is spot on in creating Mrs Koh's character as she is portrayed as someone we both love and loath at the same time. When you hear her loud voice mentioning someone's name in high decibel, you know she wants your attention and she knows she gets yours.

On the other hand, deep inside your heart you keep praying that she does not talk about you. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all have a certain degree of nosiness. Sensational stories surely catch our alert-as-a-rabbit's ears. Unfortunately, they come with a hefty price tag.

Mrs Koh is someone we would call a nosy parker. ... In real life, you can never argue with whatever a Mrs Koh says; she is always right.

In addition to that, she knows everything and wants you to be aware of that too. Here is the sad irony: someone like Mrs Koh may appear warm, friendly and welcoming to those on first encounter with her. Her ability to crack jokes and make fun of other people's flaws and sufferings make her a "people magnet", drawing in audience the moment you anticipate she is going to say her first word. 


gnute said...

So much like Rachel Lynde from Anne of Green Gables: big trouble, but a heart of gold!

savante said...

Oh man I gotta watch Green Gables again!

Lotus Reads said...

Would love to get my hands on some of Robert Raymer's books. I will be transiting KL soon, I so hope the airport bookstore is carrying "Tropical Affairs" or "Lovers and Strangers".

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Thanks Sharon! Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, which recently republished "on Fridays", just posted their own link to "Are You Mrs. Koh?" on their blog yesterday. That lady, after 20 years, is certainly getting around!

But this lady has no heart of gold. She's pure bitterness, out to make trouble out of others miseries.

Lotus Reads. I saw copies of Tropical Affairs at the small bookstore at Air Asia's LCCT last month.

Sharon, I like your blog's new new!
Just added myself as a follower, too.

Tiffany said...

Thanks for this. I do love to buy books from Kinokiniya at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Christine said...

Thanks for this reminder: I wanted to review Robert's Lovers and Strangers and forgot about it!

Lotus Reads: I hope you can get a copy of this as I feel Robert has captured the essence of what Malaysians are like...

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Hi, if you do, let me know so I can link it to my website! Robert