Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood alternative

Little Red Riding Hood strolled out of her remote house in the dense tropical rainforest. She wore her scarlet red hood as usual, mainly to hide her messy brown hair and visible dandruff. She carried a heavy, woven basket filled with what looked like delicious goodies to her distant grandmother who was addicted to sweet foods. The goodies concealed bitter herbs that were thought to be able to cure her of severe Type 1 diabetes. Little Red Riding Hood hoped that the candy-like form would convince her to take the so-called medicine.

She set off in the distinct dirt paths on the floor. It was one-point-six kilometres to her grandmother’s old dilapidated kampung, but it was no mean feat for her, as she had good stamina and all the time in the world for such a task. She walked past tall, durian trees that were felled by the woodcutter.

The woodcutter, not a woodcutter. He the only resident of these forests to take up such a profession. Actually, he did not sell the wood he cut, but used them to block the flow of the Mekong. He planned to create a beautiful lake, where he would construct a nice house in the middle, on a huge protruding rock. He was the most boring person Little Red Riding Hood knew. Little did she know, he would play an important role later.

She continued to walk for ten minutes. Then she stopped dead in her tracks. Had she heard something? She listened for further sounds, but silence followed. She was about to continue when she heard a deafening growl. How irritating. She took another step when a large, gray wolf burst in front of her. The wolf towered over her and swiped at the air with his huge paw. Little Red Riding Hood did not know about the existence of wild wolves in South-east Asia. She thought he was just a big dog trying to scare little children. She yawned loudly at him in boredom, completely unimpressed. The wolf stepped back, horrified at her bad breath. He always tried to keep his teeth clean. Finally, he spoke. “Who are you?” he inquired sternly. “ You are trespassing my territory!”

“Sorry, but there was no sign that marked your territory”, Little Red Riding Hood replied.

“Don’t you know? We always mark our territory by urinating. The smell alerts you well.”

“ Seriously, I didn’t smell anything here.”

“ Bother, it must be my over-healthy diet. Say, what’s that in your basket?”

“ Nothing, just a bit of goodies for my grandmother. Actually, they are….”

“ What?!? Goodies? I want, please…”





No, no and no!”

“I was forced to eat nothing but rats and centipedes throughout my whole puphood. Only for special treats I could eat D24 durians. So may I please have a tiny morsel?”

“No. Besides, these conceal….”

Before Little Red Riding Hood could reveal the existence of the herbs, a loud thwack sounded right next to them. “ Run!” the wolf cried, and they ran away at full speed. A few seconds, a durian tree crashed on the path. Once they saw the danger was clear, they slowed back to a walk. “Those treats have bitter herbs inside them,” Little Red Riding Hood explained. “Oh,” the wolf responded in disappointment. “Never mind, but I would like to meet your grandmother too. But why the herbs? SARS? Hand-foot-mouth-disease?H1N1?” “ Type 1 diabetes,” she said, scratching her messy hair.

Another ten minutes later, they reached the crumbling kampung. At the sight of the big canid, the chickens living under the kampung base clucked in alarm. It was very loud and strong and many echoes followed in the kampung. A few moments later, the kampung collapsed on its base, squishing all the poor poultry. They stood stunned for a split-second. Then the wolf apologised. “Sorry, birds are always afraid of me.”

They cautiously entered into the kampung, filled with Aedes mosquitoes. The wolf surprisingly swatted them all dead. “Perhaps it’s dengue fever?”

They finally met Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, lying weakly on her bed. “Er, hi amah. I’ve to come to visit you with my friend-”

“Look out! There is a dog behind you!”

“Yeah, that’s my friend.”

“WHAT? He’s not your friend! You feed him with bones now, but will he take care of you? NO!!!”

“Anyway, here’s some-”

“Ooh, goodies! My favourite. Did you season it with soya sauce or chicken essence?”

“Sorry, I didn’t.”

“Never mind.”

Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother slurped down all the medicine like a Slurpee. For some reason, her taste buds had failed to taste the bitter herbs, which was rather good.

“Thank you, granddaughter,” the plucky woman said after several droning burps from her stomach. It had better not be stomach cancer.

Suddenly, liquid rushed through the cracks of the floor.

“Oh no….”

“What, granddaughter?”

“Erm, you see., my friend here; he accidentally-”

“Yes, I accidentally scared the chickens and they made the kampung collapse. Didn’t you feel it just now?”

“Yes, I was sleeping and that woke me up, but I forgot about it already.”

“What, dementia, amah?”

“No, I believe short-term memory loss.”


The collapse of the kampung had cause an underground aquatic tunnel to be exposed. Soon, the kampung got carried away on the water, into the Mekong river.

At first, being driven by the water seemed kind of fun, like riding on a sampan boat. However, a thick fence of branches and logs blocked the way. Everyone screamed (except the wolf, who had a lower pitch and howled)at the dam. They would get smashed into smithereens!

The woodcutter was cutting and saw the plight of the trapped figures. He tossed a bag of durians to Little Red Riding Hood, who was standing at the doorstep. She barely caught it with her greasy hands and returned into the kampung. She could not untie the tight knot which well secured the contents, so she clenched her fists and ripped the bag apart by brute force. Out fell several durians that looked rather ordinary. However, almost immediately, the durians floated up and stayed at the ceiling. The kampung was quickly pulled up into sky. “Wow, just like UP,” the wolf commented in amazement. “What’s UP?” Little Red Riding Hood inquired. “Never mind.” The woodcutter’s shouts came in. “They’re D24***durians!” (That is, a genetically modified durian that stores helium inside instead of flesh.)

The kampung safely flew above the woodcutter’s fence of wood. Unfortunately, though the ceiling of the old kampung was not that strong. The D24*** durians broke through the roof and continued their flight without the kampung. The house fell heavily and threatened to be pulverised. But ofq all places, the kampung landed right on the protruding rock. Saved!

The woodcutter and the wolf moved in with Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. Little Red Riding Hood found a new sport to participate in: swimming. She turned out to be pretty good at it, although she could not beat Merly.


Tim Yap

*Hope you like this South-east Asian version

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