The mamak stall is famous for its nasi lemak and ice-blended cucumber drink.
But tonight there is another kind of hunger; of glory and pride. Tens pairs of eyes are glued onto the big screen perching by the roadside. Hearts are bouncing in anticipation and hope with every kick of the ball. Decisions are debated, protested or jeered.
Half of the crowd is sullen, the other brimming. The anticipated Battle of Titans has descended into a David-vs.-the-Goliath match. One team is leading with three goals to nil with only fifteen minutes left to play.
Suddenly the screen turns blank. The patrons groans. The volume of the groans increase by the seconds, yet the screen remains dead.
‘Bacha, what’s wrong with the projector?’ someone screams at the waiter.
‘Wait, I go inside ask boss,’ the waiter said.
A moment later, the waiter comes out shaking his head.
‘Sorry, no more football tonite. Big Boss says no ‘lectric!’
‘What no electricity?’
The restless crowd gesture wildly to the illuminated signboard of the stall, the fluoresce lights on the ceiling and the lighted houses opposite the street.
‘I say no electric means no electric lah!’
A loud voice thunders in the air, and sends the crowd into a cowed silence. It is the Big Boss. The rotund Indian man is standing in front of the blank screen now. His usual affable face has turned into a grim mask of fury.
‘Go watch at your own home!’ he yells.
Everyone averts their eyes and return to the food on their plates in silence. That is after they noticed the jersey the Big Boss is wearing; it's the losing team's.