Layby In The Snow by Glenn Marshall

One night it starts to snow in Taiping.

The botanical gardens become a winter wonderland the next day, which makes no sense because Malaysia is a tropical country. People leave the heat of the Klang Valley, stock up on winter jackets amongst the competing merchants outside the train station, and throw snowballs at each other amidst peculiar trees. For dinner they go ice-fishing and barbeque freshly-caught confused tilapia in a pond that doubles as a skating rink and finish with ais kacang made from freshly-fallen snow. People forget politics and inflation so they can enjoy the chill, while TV crews get a break from crime-ridden stories to tell ones about little cats playfully jumping into snowbanks. After late night
football matches there’s hot chocolate, kurang manis.

The snow melted away and never came back but that doesn’t stop the merchants from selling the city in a snow globe.

William Tham. Image credit: Danny Lim

William Tham is currently the creative nonfiction editor of the Vancouver-based Ricepaper magazine, whose first novel, Kings of Petaling Street, was published by Fixi London in 2017. Several of his stories have appeared in various places including Fixi Novo’s anthologies, Anak Sastera, Calibre, New Asian Writing, and Looseleaf magazine.

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