25 September 2008

Over there or over here?

The end of Ramadhan is near… Very very near in fact. Lots of things I wished I had done. Lots of stuff I wished I had executed. It is a blessing to be able to be here and enjoy here and the time here. I do not know when I will be able to do this again…

As much as I enjoy here, I also wish to be there… A place where I have my own space and the only rules apply are mine… Nearly 8 years away from here make me comfortable with there. Or maybe I had always wanted to be there except that I was not given the key to be there yet.

Still, that inspires me to get a place called my own… Anywhere, over there or over here for my own comfort and my own retreat. Wish me luck and may I get what I wanted with the blessing from Him in the month of Ramadhan…

21 September 2008

Odi et amo...

Perhaps you'll ask why?
I don't know.
But I feel IT happening, and IT's crucifying me...

CATULLUS poem 85

wouldst thou the reason know?
I know not, but I burn and feel IT so...

RICHARD LOVELACE (1618 - 1657)
English poet (translation of the same poem, from 1659)

I LOVE and I HATE. Ah! Never ask why so!
I HATE and I LOVE - And that is all I know.
I see 'tis folly, but I feel 'tis woe.

English writer (translation also of the poem above, from 1842)

16 September 2008

Touching story for you...

This story I grabbed from one of my good friend’s blog, Ong Sue Hui…
When I first read it, I was so deeply touched that I asked her permission to put it in my blog so I can share it with my blog readers…
~ Brother's Love ~

I was born in a small and remote village in the mountain range. Day by day, my parents plough in the dried yellow field. I have 1 brother, who is 3 years younger than me. One day, I decided to buy a handkerchief which I see all the other girls around me buy and using it. Hence, I stole 50 cents from my father's cupboard. Soon after, my father came to know about it. He made my brother and I kneel in front of the wall with a bamboo stick in his hands. "Who stole the money?" My father asked. He looked at me but I was too afraid to speak. My father didnt hear someone say " I do " so he said, " ok then, both of you deserve to take this strike!" He pick up the bamboo stick and was about ready to hit both of us.

Suddenly my brother held his hands up and said " Father, I did it ! " That long stick hit and beat my brother's back so many times. My father got so angry and hit so many times until he was breathing heavily. After that, He sat on our brick bed and said angrily, " You learn to steal from home right now, what an embarrassing thing that you would do in future? ...... You deserve to be hit until you die! You are a very embarrassing thief !" That night, My mom and I held my brother in our hug. His body was full of wounds but he did not cry. In the middle of that night, I suddenly cried loudly. My brother covered my mouth using his small hands and said, " Sister, do not cry anymore. What has happen has already happen." I am still hating myself cause I did not have the courage to admit I did it. Many years passed by but that incident still seems as if it only happened yesterday. I will never forget my brother's face when he protected me. At that time, my brother was 8 years old and I was 11 years old.

My brother was in his last year at Junior high school, he graduated to Senior high school in the city. At the same time, I was also being enrolled into the university at the downtown. One night my father sit in front of our yard, and took out his tobacco cigarette one by one. I heard him said in a grumpy voice, " Our children give us a very good result....a very good result..." My mother's tears flowed but she took a breather and said, " What is the use? How we can finance both of them at the same time?" Shortly my brother walk towards my father and said, " Father I don't want to go to school again, I have had enough education. " My father hit my brother in his face. "Why are you so weak? You fool! Even if it means I have to become a beggar on the street, I will find whatever ways there is possible to finance both of you until you graduate!"

After that he knock every door in that mountain range village to get a loan. I try to caress my brother puffy face gently and said, " A boy must have an education if not he will never leave being poor." And I had already decided I will not enter into the university. However, who knows in the early morning my brother left the house with some of his worn-out clothes and dried nuts. He walked beside my bed and left a paper on my pillow : " Sister, Getting into the university is not so easy. I will find a job and send you the money" I held that paper on my bed and cried loudly until my voice sounds hoarse. In that year, my brother was 17 years old and I 20 years old.

With the money that my father got from the whole village and what my brother earned from carrying the cement on his back at the construction location, I was able to study the whole 3 years at university. One day, while I was studying in my room, my room mate came in and inform me " there is a village man waiting for you outside!" I wondered who it could be from the village looking for me? I walk out and found my brother standing far away, most of his body dirty and saddled by the dust of cement and sand.

I asked him ' why didn't you tell my room mate that you are my brother?" He smile and said " Look at me, What will they think if they know I am your brother? Will they not be laughing you?" I felt so sad and tears filled my eyes. I clean the dust from my brother and while crying said, " I dont care what they say ! You are my brother the way you are! You are my brother whatever you look...." From his pocket, he took out a hair accessories with a butterfly model. He wore it on me and explain " I saw all the girls in down town use it. so i think you should have one too." I could not control my tears anymore. I hug my brother closely and cried and cried. That year he was 20 years old and I 23 years old.

The first time when I brought my boyfriend home, the broken window glass was already changed and it was so clean every where. After my boyfriend went home, I was dancing like a little girl in front of my mom. "Mom, you dont have to take so many times to clean our home!" But she said with smile " your brother got home early and clean this home. Dont you know the injury on his hand? He injured it while repairing that new window glass.."

I went into my brother's small room, and touch his thick face, I felt a thousand needle touched me. I gave him the medicine and took care of my brother's injuries softly. "Does that hurt you very much? " I asked him " No, it does not hurt me. You know, when I am working at the construction place, the stone would drop on my foot each time but that did not stop me from working and...." In the middle of his sentences he suddenly stop. I knelt down beside him and my tears flowed and I cant stop it. That year my brother was 23 years old and I 26 years old .

After I got married, I lived down town. There were so many times my husband and I invited my parents to come and live with us but they refused. They said if they leave the village, they would not know what to do. My brother also dont agree and said " sister you just need to take care your mother and father in law. I will take care of our mother and father down here" My husband is a director in my brother's factory. We wanted him to accept the managerial position in the maintenance department. But my brother refuse it and still want to continue to work as the reparation employee One day, My brother was at the stairs repairing the cable, He got into a electricity accident and was being hospitalized.

My husband and I hurry down to see him. When I saw the white gips on his leg, I grumbled, "Why did you refuse to become the manager? The manager would not need to do something as dangerous like this. Look at you now, you are so seriously injured. Why didnt you heed us before?" With his determined and serious face, he tried to argue his decision. " Think of Brother in law, he just got promoted to become the director and yet I do not have much education. If I become the manager that way, what kind of gossip would there be?" Then my husband's eyes filled with tears, and the words came out of my mouth one by one: " You had less education because of me!" " Why are you talking about the past?" My brother just held my hand. That year, He was 26 years old and I 29 years old.

When my brother was 30 years old he married one of the farmer girl in that village. During the wedding ceremony, the host ask him, " Who is the one that you care and get your honor?" Without thinking he answer, " My sister Then he told of 1 story which I have no recollection of. " When I went to primary school, which is in a different village. Every day my sister and I have to walk 2 hours to school and to home. One day I lost one of my gloves and my sister gave one of hers to me. She just used one of the gloves and walked so far. When we reach home, her hands trembled because of the cold weather until she was unable to use her chopsticks properly. Since that day, I made a promise to myself. As long as I am alive, I will take care of my sister and will be good to her."
A round of applause filled the entire room. All the guests looked at me. The words have difficulty in coming out of my mouth, " In my life, The one that I really want to say thank you so much is my brother." At that very happy occasion and facing the whole lotof everyone, my tears flew down my face like a river.
~~ Story End ~~
Very very touching that this story brought tears to my eyes… Such a sensitive guy I am… Thanks Sue!

15 September 2008

Happy 45th Malaysia Day!

31st August 1957 was the day Peninsular Malaysia gains its freedom from the British. The Malaysia that we know today was formed only few years after that, on the 16th September 1963. Although this has been mentioned many times in the books, in the school and in fact it is a well known fact, it is a sad thing that many people do not seem to know that. It is even weirder that we keep celebrating the Independence Day on the 31st August.

On 31st August should only be the Independence Day for the Peninsular Malaysia and on 16th September is the Malaysia Day. Can you spot the different there? If we, the Malaysian wish to be united, at least get the fact right. Correct fact will create better understanding and when we can understand each other better, we will be united…

It is also a sad fact that the Peninsular Malaysian does not know the East Malaysian side well too…

The fear they have for the East Malaysian, the misinformation they heard and hold to can be very sickening for a country who boasts its technology and information system…. Get the fact right! Know your backyard better! Shame on you people who have high education but still does not know thing in your own country!

It is strange to be told that going to the East Malaysia is very far, very tedious, very hard and very scary but going to other places such as Australia, United Kingdom or United States does not bring up those problems… For us Malaysians who are now well educated, I am very sure you can measure the distance well… You do not even have to be a civil engineer to do that.

Be fair to the East Malaysian too. For we live in the same country. There are some rights which are ours and should be given to us…

Aku by Saleh ben Joned “Sajak sajak Salleh” taken from Mat Som by Lat (1989)

Aku warganegara merdeka:
Kemerdekaan Negara Kemerdekaanku…
Kebebasan kepadaku hanya satu beban:
Apa pemimpin kata
Aku ikut saja;
Akal yang diberi Tuhan
Tak payah digunakan-
Kecuali untuk cari makan…

Keraguan dan kerinduan jiwa(jika ada)
Kubawa berlari,
Berlari dari rumah ke pejabat
dari pejabat ke rumah
hingga hilang segala sangsi
dalam bunyi lantang peti TV
tiap tiap malam hari.

Sambil ternganga tengok TV
Aku menjilat jari
Begitu sedapnya ayam Kentucky
Dan aku akan lebih tidak peduli.
Aku mahu hidup begini seribu tahun lagi…

The translations:

I’m a citizen of an independent land
My land’s independence is my independence…
Freedom for me is a burden:
Whatever the leaders say
I just follow;
The brain God has given
Need not be used-
Except to earn a living…

Doubts and yearnings of the spirit (if any)
I cure by running,
Running from my house to the office
From the office to my house
Till all questioning is drowned
by the noise of the TV
each night.

As I gape at the TV
I’m licking my fingers
That good Kentucky chicken.
And I shall care less and less.
I want to live this way another thousand years…

With all that is happening in our country, wake up Malaysians… With all the turmoil in our country, wake up Malaysians… Wake up and know each other. Know your country and its people. Know the language and its history. Only then you will love your country and only then peace will be among the Malaysians.

14 September 2008

Mee Kolok on my first day...

I have been in my home for two weeks now… It may be longer for somebody I know, but officially it is two weeks. It also took me two weeks to realise that I did not say anything about the day before we are not allow to eat for a month during daytime… In short, my first day in my home city was one day before Ramadhan, the fasting month…

Knowing that I will be back and how I always talk about missing mee kolok, my petit sister was kind enough to persuade my uncle for welcoming breakfast at one of the so called best mee kolok café in my home city…

And so, an army of children with few commanding officers marched off to the so called best mee kolok café in my home city… And to my disappointment, the mee kolok was not really the best mee kolok in my home city… And to add to my disappointment, the couple sitting next to our table were eating away mee kolok with chunky meat! And all I was given was stingy, meagre, ungenerous, mean, miserable, small, paltry, derisory, measly portion of blackened meat with my mee kolok… Was that sad or was that sad?

Anyway… I was happy that I could eat mee kolok, washed it down with a cup of the tarik halia kurang manis… Happiness… In the chaos of my cousins at the table… Still a happiness…

10 September 2008

Memikul cinta...

For my heart that had felt the pain of love and for my heart that live in love and for my heart that is going to be loved… May the love be true and long…

'Kalau engkau dicintai orang dan mencintai, senangkanlah hatimu. Tandanya hidupmu telah berharga, tandanya engkau telah didaftar anak bumi yang terpilih. Tuhan telah memperlihatkan belas KasihNya kepadamu lantaran pergaduhan hati sesama makhluk. Dan jiwa di seberang masyrik dan maghrib telah terkungkung di bawah satu perasaan di dalam lindungan Tuhan. Di sanalah waktunya engkau mengetahui rahsia perjalanan matahari di dalam falak, ketika fajarnya dan terbenamnya, tandanya Tuhan telah membisikkan ke telingamu nyanyian alam ini. Lantaran yang demikian, dua jiwa berenang di langit khayal, di waktu orang lain terbenam, keduanya berdiam di dalam kesukaan dan ketenteraman, bersenda gurau di waktu bersungguh sungguh.

Dan jika engkau mencintai tetapi cintamu tak terbalas, senangkan jugalah hatimu. Kerana sesungguhnya orang yang mengusir akan jatuh kasihan dan ingin kembali kepada orang diusirnya itu setelah dia jatuh dari matanya: dia akan cinta, cinta yang lebih tinggi darjatnya daripada cinta lantaran hawa. Terpencil jauh membawa keuntungan insaf, kebencian meruncingkan cita cita dan membersihkan perbuatan. Dengan sebab itu, engkau akan beroleh juga kelak tempat merupakan cinta itu, kalau tak ada pada insane, ada pada yang lebih kekal daripada insan. Bersedialah menerima dan menyuburkan cinta, walau bagaimana besarnya tanggunganmu, kerana cinta memberi dan menerima, cinta itu gelisah tetapi membawa tenteram. Cinta mesti lalu di hadapanmu, sayang engkau tak tahu bila lalunya.

Hendaklah engkau jadi orang besar, yang sanggup memikul cinta yang besar. Kalau tak begitu, engkau akan beroleh cinta yang rendah dan murah, engkau menjadi pencium bumi, engkau akan jatuh ke bawah, tak jadi naik ke dalam benteng yang kuat dan teguh, benteng yang gagah perkasa yang sukar tertempuh oleh manusia biasa. Kerana tugu cita cita hidup itu berdiri di seberang kekuasaan dan kemelaratan yang diletakkan oleh kerinduan itu sendiri.’

Excerpt from Memeluk Gerhana, 2007 by Isa Kamari

07 September 2008

Frog's eggs are yummy...

The earliest memory I have on fasting brought me back to the time where my grandmother and grandfather were still alive in Kuching. It was the most memorable break of fast or you could just say ‘sungkei’ like how we said it here in Sarawak. Not in Semenanjung though or people over there will give you the weird look…

It was the most memorable because that was my first encounter with the frog’s eggs. At that time, my grandparents’ house was at this village right next to Kuching River. There were lots of open drains around the wooden house.

I used to spend time catching frogs and tadpoles in the drain… There were lots of them back when I was still a child. Few times, I catch a few tadpoles and put them in a jar. It was fun, watching the transformation of the tadpoles into frogs… everyday watching the tail of the tadpoles getting shorter until one day, the tails are gone and there you have frogs!

frog's eggs

Thus, on that one particular sungkei, my usual favourite drink, ai’ sirap had an extra ingredient! I still remember the clear jug full of red water and in the water were clear jellies with black spots in them… Just like small eyes or better still frog’s eggs!

I was horrified! My first thought, a frog somehow jumped into that jug and laid its eggs there! My first reaction was to tell my mum… And to that she said,

“Don’t worry, no frogs jumped into that jug… I put the frog’s eggs there myself…”

I was even more horrified! We were actually going to drink up frog’s eggs!

Probably because I put a face of full horror, my mum decided to tell the truth. The frog’s eggs were actually Biji Selasih… That word never really stays in my mind for I still call it frog’s eggs…

Biji Selasih

Biji Selasih is also known as Basil Seeds in English or another name for it is Tookmaria. To make it looks like frog’s eggs, soak the seeds in the water for a while before dumping it into your favourite drinks… And tell some kids that a frog had laid its eggs there…

04 September 2008

HELL... ooooo

Sometimes… You wonder what is the truth…

If you said that living here is hell, yet the hell you said contains big houses to keep you safe and comfortable…

If you said that living here is hell, yet you are given the rights to own properties, make money, use your own name, go to school with your own custom, speak your own language… and actually allowed to act as if you own this place…
So, it really make me wonder, the truth is… where is exactly hell is?