A long time ago, the Kluang bus station is located on the other side of the Mengkibol river before it was moved to the current site.
It's just an open space unlike the huge building it is now.
The old bus station was located not far from where the Kluang wet market used to be in the heart of the old part of the town.
There was a kopitiam on the right, a cinema in front across the road and some old buildings on the right which had been replaced by new buildings among which is the Mara building. At its back was the Mengkibol river.
The old bus station was then the nerve centre of the town. The bus services connected the town with three main destinations, Ayer Hitam and Batu Pahat, Renggam and Simpang Renggam and Mersing. Those who wanted to go any further had to take connecting buses at the other towns. This was before the existence of the express busses. Long distance traveling such as going to KL was mostly via the town's more famous railway station.
There were huge rain trees along the fringes of the bus station.
Under one of these trees used to be a hawker stall selling fried kuey teow.
It was operated by a very sweet lady.
She smiles a lot and has a very friendly disposition.
The lady worked very hard, getting up early in the morning and only came home late at night.
Most of the times she brought along her little children who at that time were yet to go to school as there was no one to look after them at home.
The children slept on a large wooden bench under the tree next to their mother's stall as they waited for her to finish work.
The lady's husband worked at construction sites in Singapore most of the time and only came home once a month.
He usually bought toys for their children whenever he came home.
Both, the lady and her husband love their children very much.
The lady's fried kuey teow was very popular and was said to be the best in town.
However, I never tasted its original version as one of her main ingredients was pork lard. Whenever I asked her to cook her fried kuey teow for me she would used a special wok and replaced the pork lard with extra dosage of sesame oil. It tastes very good despite not of her original recipe. She even kept a special plate and chopsticks for me.
The lady is also a very charitable person, giving what she could to charities, including those collected by Muslim organizations.
Every year she would set up her stall at the local Chinese school's fare where proceeds from her sale of fried kuey teow went to the school's fund meant for its upkeeps.
She paid all the necessary taxes arising from her small kuey teow business.
All her children went to school and completed their education without any government scholarship. She and her husband were very careful with their spendings so that they could finance most of their education. Their children grow up to become good people and relatively successful.
The lady's life used to be very tough but it's a decent and honest life.
She doesn't sells fried kuey teow anymore as she is now too old to do so.
She is now happily spending most of her time caring for her grandchildren. She is still the same sweet friendly lady of those years hawking under that rain tree.
Whenever I feel very angry with the Chinese, I try to recall the image of the lady frying kuey teow under the rain tree to earn a living, and her children sleeping on the nearby wooden bench, waiting for their mother to finish work. And I'm not angry anymore.