Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Visiting Grandma

I went to my grandmother's grave on my way to the gym today, braving the torrential evening downpour and after-work traffic. It's been quite some time since anyone had visited,judging from the weeds and tiny shrubs that have carpeted grandma's grave. Visiting grandma has always been on my list of things to do, but I guess sometimes we allow ourselves to get caught up with work and issues in life that something as simple as paying someone dear to us a visit is put off until we are consumed by guilt and start to scramble to our knees to get the job done for a clear conscience. The reason I went to grandma's grave had little to do with getting my conscience clear but I was also in search of solitude and solace which, in my books, are synonymous with cemeteries (Whoever said I am normal?!). Plus, grandma was a great listener. I reckon she still is..Besides, I didn't want to let myself repeat the same mistake as I did when she was still alive by not visiting her often enough.
It's also been quite some time that I'd written or blogged. I've not lost my penchant for writing, it's just that I think I wasn't in touch much with my emotions and thoughts in between work, minding after people (by people I really mean my students, friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, gym friends, etcetera), getting back on my feet (I live for my gym now! **Note to self: blog about how choosing to go to the gym has been the best decision I've made in my whole life!), getting in and out of relationships and the hospital and so on and so forth that blogging or writing just had to take a backseat, much to my chagrin though. Well, at least I have a real life to live, not just writing out how I'd love to live my life or merely writing about mundane things that don't even count as a so-called life. Blogging or writing is no fun when you make it into a routine or when you make it into a spectacle to garner awe and admiration from people.
Garbed in my normal office wear of pants and conservative looking top plus a scarf to boot with an additional accessory of my green umbrella, I must have looked very out of place (yet with an air of mystery if I may add), considering I was at a Muslim cemetery where I should have been more 'decently' dressed or more 'covered-up'. At least I had the decency to have a scarf on out of respect with it being touted as a sacred place of eternal rest.
Walking down the pathway between graves, I greeted the 'dwellers' of the cemetery with a quiet yet resounding 'assalamualaikum' ('peace be upon you' in Arabic). Upon entering, I was instantly reminded of Usman Awang's 'Ke Makam Bonda', a poem which I have always been drawn to, for some inexplicable reason since I was first made to read it way back in the third grade in primary school. I remember seeing my then close friend, Sonja tearing up quietly while the poem was being recited. Her mother had passed away the year before and I guess she was reminded of the painful loss. I felt for her and I still do, it still being in my memory and all. Usman Awang had a knack for evoking or shall I say bring out the imageries through his thought-provoking and at times melancholic pieces of poetry.
I stood there in the silence of the cemetery except for the sound of raindrops pelting on my umbrella and the occasional falling of a leaf or flower from the frangipani trees. Bending down, I started to pluck away at the weeds that obstructed the sight of my grandmother's grave. Having done that, I rested on a line of arranged bricks and recited the Yassin and Al-Fatihah. Suddenly I felt so much better and the tonne of bricks I was carrying with me on my back had been lifted away and dissipated into thin air. As the poem 'Ke Makam Bonda' reverberated in my head, I felt tears trickling down my cheeks as images of grandma and me playing seven stones and spending lazy afternoons together in the living room of our old kampong house, me with my legs out-stretched and grandma with a cigarette held steadily in one hand and the remote control on the other, flashed by before me in black and white, just like in the movies. I really miss you, grandma! I was a kid back then when you expressed all your worries and fears and I'd brush them off by saying how trivial they were and that they'd go away soon. I didn't understand then. I really do understand now that I've 'grown up' and gotten a taste of what the real world is all about. I wish you were here to tell me "I told you so!". I wish...
Come this September 3, it will be exactly three years since my beloved grandma had left us, just three days short of her sixty-fourth birthday. How I wish I were only a kid when she passed away. It's not as if I'd miss her any less but I guess if I were a kid then, I wouldn't have been able to articulate my emotions and even if I could, they wouldn't have been so complex.I wouldn't have to deal with so much then. I guess as adults and the fact that we are capable of more complex emotions and thoughts makes it more difficult for us to be positive about things in life. I wish I could be a kid and tell myself when I go through rough patches in life that everything will be okay again tomorrow when I wake up from sleep. I wish I could drive my grandma in my car to get her fix of Black Forest Mocha...

Ke Makam Bonda ~ Usman Awang

Kami mengunjungi pusara bonda
Sunyi pagi disinari suria
Wangi berseri puspa kemboja
Menyambut kami mewakili bonda

Tegak kami di makam sepi
Lalang-lalang tinggi berdiri
Dua nisan terkapar mati
Hanya papan dimakan bumi

Dalam kenangan kami melihat
Mesra kasih bonda menatap
Sedang lena dalam rahap
Dua tangan kaku berdakap

Bibir bonda bersih lesu
Pernah dulu mengucupi dahiku
Kini kurasakan kasihnya lagi
Meski jauh dibatasi bumi

Nisan batu kami tegakkan
Tiada lagi lalang memanjang
Ada doa kami pohonkan
Air mawar kami siramkan

Senyum kemboja mengantar kami
Meninggalkan makam sepi sendiri
Damailah bonda dalam pengabadian
Insan kerdil mengadap Tuhan

Begitu bakti kami berikan
Tiada sama bonda melahirkan
Kasih bonda tiada sempadan
Kemuncak murni kemuliaan insan

~Usman Awang

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Hospital Episode

I'm doing this rather hurried entry from a rather dingy internet cafe opposite the hospital I've been admitted to (yeh, snuck out under the very watchful eyes of the otherwise nice nurses and it's not like I'm vegetative or anything)

This hospital that I'm currently calling home is such a happening place as it is strategically located opposite a shopping complex which, although pathetic, boasts of all the deaths of me such as Starbucks, Thai stalls selling my favourite thai salad (som tam), my favourite taiwanese teas and there are even bookshops to boot! Really helps keep my hormone levels in check.

Right, about being hospitalised, I came here after having been referred to Dr. Elizabeth Ann (who is a very pretty and tremendously kind and efficient endocrinologist who hails from the states) by a very no-nonsense doctor near my uni who was not so pleased with my thyroxine levels and severe my water retention.

Staying here has been some sort of a deja vu for me as I was born right here in this hospital came in a couple of times before. A very good place to be sick in as the food here suits me very well as they're vegetarian and also I dig the bakery here as everything sold is very healthful and is made of whosesome ingredients such as wholewheats and natural sugars. I'm quite skeptical about some hospitals which serve whites and deep-frieds and not only that, they sell junk food in their commissary too. So much for promoting healthy eating habits and lifestyles! I have this nagging suspicion that those hospitals are purposely selling and serving all those incriminating junks so that they churn in more profit from more and more sick people.

I'm also sitting here trying to make out which key is which as it's nearly impossible to see which key I'm hitting given the lack of light here. Good thing I hung out a lot with my visually impaired buddy back in secondary school, Asiah and thanks to her I'm quite adept at braille.

Just now my doctor came in to tell me of the result of my blood tests. I was told rather matter-of-factly (which is a doctor's common demeanor when breaking some health or rather unhealthy findings to a patient) I had polycyctic ovarian syndrome , hyperthyroidism and liver problems which explains my sudden resemblance to a blowfish! So now I'm on yet another pill-popping regimen until I shrivel up to my normal size as I've been told that the meds I'm on have got shrinking properties. Hurrahh!!

Right, I better bounce back to my boudoir before my absence is noticed. To my friends, students and everyone who knows me, a heartfelt thanks for the Teacher's Day wishes and get-well-soon wishes. Thanks for making a mark in my life. A very memorable one.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Di Suatu Senja D Musim Yang Lalu...

Last Friday after work, I drove around aimlessly, refusing to go home for some mysterious reason and suddenly I found myself at The Esplanade after tucking into a meal of chapati at my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Little India, taking in the late evening breeze. I got into my car not long after that and made my way to Batu Feringghi.It was the best evening I've had in a long, long time. And I was alone. It was a journey of self-discovery for I discovered so many things about myself yesterday.

Among others, I discovered that I was a good and courteous driver, I loved driving (unbelievable but true!), I was much happier alone than being with someone, I did not have to go clubbing to have fun any more, My idea of fun had changed, I was an eighties kid, I was a very disciplined person, I had two strands of grey hair, I was commitment-phobic and I was much happier alone. :P

Broery Marantika was playing in my car's cd player and I found myself crooning along to his famous tunes such as Widuri, Sepanjang Jalan Kenangan and Angin Malam which are some of my favourites. A wave of nostalgia washed over me as I was transported back in the good ol' days of the eighties when Abah would take me to watch live bands and they often did Broery and Alleycats which explains my inexplicable lifelong infatuation with them. I got curious stares whenever I stopped at traffic lights but I couldn't have cared less! I had wanted to go to Batu Ferringhi in a long time but yesterday, despite the sleepless night the night before which resulted in my head weighing like a tonne of bricks, I braved myself and drove steadily all the way to my destination. It was a totally enjoyable drive as I've always been attracted to the winding roads with the beach peeking from below that lead to this fascinating part of Penang Island. It seems to remind me of the opening part of the crime series I was so into when I was in school, One West Waikiki starring Cheryl Ladd. Well, it's a far cry from Hawaii, but with a little bit of imagination, one's almost there. Almost. Besides, since when is fantasizing a crime?

I don't know if it's just the Cancerian part of me but I have always liked being near water. It has this calming effect on me or rather my frazzled nerves.I especially like being around the sea at sunset and dusk but I have never been bold enough to tell that to anyone for fear of it being a cliche. But then again, how can something so simple yet mistifyingly beautiful be a cliche? Is beauty a cliche?

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in Pangkor Island where a very close family friend ran a chalet business. I remember spending countless hours at the beach with Ranger the German Shepherd as my bodyguard. I never had real showers back then for the sea was where I'd bathe the first thing when I woke up. The sea in Pangkor back then was still quite untainted and I could see my feet in the crystal clear seawater and sometimes when I was lucky, I could see tiny fishes swimming around in the shallow sea in lines. They were swimming in lines! I had this gigantic float made out of an unwanted truck tyre tube and I would pretend I was a victim of a shipwreck, floating away in the open sea or that I was a fisherman, catching fish in a 'sampan' when I was really collecting seaweed on a tyre tube!

Ok, back to yesterday. Having bade monsieur soleil goodbye, I parked my car at Park Royal,treaded my way along the sidewalk make-shift stalls selling all sorts of knick-knacks from imitation goods to sex toys and embarked on another therapy: retail therapy! Anyone who knows me knows that if there's anything I hate, it's shopping but yesterday the word 'shopping' was given a whole new meaning in my books. Let's just say that it's made its way into my good books. Satisfied with my loot, I made my way to Park Royal to pee and to get my car. On the way out of the loo, I heard the live band playing and I just had to muster every ounce of resistance in me not to go near them lest i got glued- again! After all, I had intended to go to the Jelutong market to get my mom her favourite 'economy bee hoon' and 'thorng sui'. And so I did.

Ahhh.. I should have more of these kinds of rendezvous, ne c'est pas?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

No Mom can be like my Mom!

I had meant to write this post much earlier on but since it's going to be Mother's Day and all, what's a better time than now to do it? I'll try to steer clear of all those stereotype junks and mushy stuff though as in reality, our (mine and bro's) relationship with Mom is a real one after all.

I'm glad I have a 'normal' Mom who does what other moms do- taking care of her children and not just producing them and then whines incessantly about how difficult raising them is to the whole world!
My mom is no tech-savvy mom but that's her one flaw I'm grateful for. At least it doesn't eat up all our quality time together as my mom and we do real things together and not just some rhetorics on the internet. We shop together, dine together, cook together and gossip too at times! 'm glad i don't have to use the computer to get her attention (if you know what I mean).
For the past 30 years, my mom has been waking up in the wee hours in the morning to take care of many things- breakfast for the family, cleaning the house (she's a clean freak)and also sending my brother and me to school when we were still schooling. She sent and fetched me to and from school right up to form 6!
My mom also cooks everything from scratch and not getting those 'just add water' stuff!
She works hard for everything she wants in life without having to resort to asking for them from other people. Well she does get her bonuses but those are not asked for. She has many things stashed away in the bank but she's not one to show off, I'm happy to say. Her philosophy is this: Those who show off actually have none but those who lie low are those to look out for! How true as I've found out lately that people who like to show off are really insecure people who need all the boost they can get from creating the impression that they can buy the whole world but in truth, they hardly have enough for themselves.
Above all, I'm very glad to have a wise mother who has stood by her children all these while, caring for me and my brother in times of sickness and anguish, sharing our happiness through success after success that she's helped us achieve. I really appreciate what you's done for us, Mom!
I'm glad God sent you to be our Mother!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Oooo.. So 'he' does come in here after all. *Sprays pest repellent all over*.. I don't usually resort to using foul languages like some parties do, but sometimes in order to be understood, one has to speak another's lingo! Kappish?

p.s. go get help before it's too late and keep to your word of not coming anywhere near us any more, will you?

Ode to the poor, battered soul whose name I don't intend to soil my blog with :)

Oh Wowww!! Never have I expected to have a whole blog entry dedicated to me even though it reeks of defamation, false accusations and foul words which are and never have been taught by any religion but perhaps the person in question is one to deviate? What can I say? I'm deeply touched all the same and the writer of the explicit blog has my heartfelt thanks for having helped me get a few more merit points from God (pahala). I never thought the person in question had such strong feelings towards me to the extent of coming up with a whole entry for me. You know what people say about love-hate relationships. Maybe he's delusional enough to harbour feelings of affection for me. Who wouldn't? (ahem!). I am, after all waaaayyyy better than his companion. (Oh gosh, his delusional ways have gotten to me!)

My initial reaction was to retaliate but after having thought it over, I reckoned I shouldn't stoop as low as the person in question did. After all, my parents have worked so hard to ensure that I go so far in my academics and career by shaping me into the educated person I am today. Boy, am I glad to have parents who love me unconditionally, ones who instilled in me values immeasurable with what money can buy, unlike some parents who have overlooked that part. I'm glad that I'm loved the way I am by so many people including my dearest students and friends without having to seek attention in all the wrong ways especially by using religion and self-righteousness as a front!

But then again, who could blame him for having become this bitter person he is? He comes across as a love and attention deprived person who uses one too many wrong ways to be noticed (which strongly suggests his inner turmoil and difficulty accepting the truth about himself which probably all boils down to his familial background and genetic make-up). Also he has this cynicism and deep hatred for so many things in life that I would strongly suggest the help of a psychiatrist nearest to Bandar Tun Hussein Onn as he seems to be in a very critical state.

Martin Luther King had once said "hate cannot drive out hate, only love can; darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can", and I think it aptly illustrates this situation. I certainly don't hate this person, far from it. My only hope is that he will one day see the light of day for his life has, all this while, been shrouded by total darkness in the caves!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ini haram itu haram, anak haram, haram jaddah!

I reckon many pairs of eyes might pop out of their sockets by just reading the title of my this post. To gain some sense and volume on what I'm about to say, go read my brother's blog but I'm quoting him anyway:

"21st century, and guess what? There are still women who need “permission” from their significant others to do even the simplest task on earth. What rights? There’s virtually no rights in society such as the one advocated by some people in this society. When the women breaches the “permission”, first thing that comes to mind in those kind of people is that they will disown their partner. Are women equatable to objects? Are they some kind of baby making machines that they can be “disowned” so easily? It’s not like we are talking about big issues such as cheating or some big financial decision, but a small task of plucking eyebrows."


What a petty issue, some may think. Isn't eyebrow-plucking just that- plucking a few strands of hairs from one's eyebrows, just like shaving one's beard, moustache and all other hairy what nots ? (think really hairy, bushy and thick!) So why is there so much hoo-haa over the whole thing?

Doesn't Islam promote cleanliness, hygiene and tidiness? Doesn't Islam promote gender equality? If so, why are the men allowed to shave their facial hairs and not the women? Why must muslim women suffer the same fate as Frida Kahlo? Oh, I forgot.. Muslim women have after all been denied of their rights of existence by way of covering them up from head to toe in ugly rag-like cloths so there's no question as to whether the need of shaving arises. So much for gender equality! And oh, again, I forgot muslim men are, after all allowed to take on four wives should the first, second and third wives' eyebrows beat those of Frida's!

I see a plethora of opinions pertaining to the hairy issue. Some muslims are of the opinion that once it's haram, it will always be haram no matter what. I'd like to categorize this sort as those who are incapable of cognitive thinking and are encapsulated in the jahiliyah era when humans were clueless about many things in life namely religion thus resorting to many silly doings (namely killing their baby daughters) and questions on the simplest of matters. Funny that it should happen again in this modern age of technology!

I have friends who can't even recite a word of The Holy Qor'an let alone understand it, yet more often than not they are they same people who would jump to the defense of their 'supposedly' holy religion when the reasonings are slightly questioned. I used to have a friend (we are no longer friends for obvious reasons) who was rarely seen parted with his bottle of whisky but would bite one's head off should the person went anywhere near his Islam. bah!! There was another one who was a porn junkie but at the same time tried to exercise his so-called executive rights on me by asking me to wear the veil! Talk about jahiliyah!! I'm saying this because this aptly illustrates many overly keen muslims who feel that's it's their right to impose things on others and to pry their nose into the privacy of others (such as whether one prays, plucks one's eyebrows or not) so that they're ensured a place in heaven (my foot! for all we know they'd be the ones waving to us from hell!) .

All's not lost for there are still those who use their brains and logic in their daily life and I thank God daily for that! I have noticed that I have a penchant for non-conformists. The world needs more of them for they are the people who, in my opinion, are truly capable in bringing back the glory of Islam. I take my hats off to them (I can't possibly take off my veil as firstly, I don't wear one and don't intend to wear one and taking off my veil might probably be a sin as it invites men to feast their roving eyes on me thus helping them to accumulate their sins by looking at certain parts of my anatomy which will in turn be regurgitated as a captured image in their heads when the need to masturbate arises! :P).

Before I deviate any further from the eyebrow issue, let me just quote this:

“It is known that plucking eyebrows is forbidden. However, some jurists permit light shaping of eyebrows if they are thick and hairy in a way that they harm the eye or appear so wide and thus displease the husband. If it pleases the husband that they are shaped lightly, there is nothing wrong in doing this just to please the husband. As for extreme shaping or plucking, it is not permitted.”

-Dr. Muhammad Bakr Isma`il, Professor of the Exegesis of the Qur'an at Al-Azhar University

See? Who says women have to endure the misery of looking ugly just because men say so? I know of a few staunch muslims whose similarly staunch husbands have not disowned their wives even though they have their eyebrows plucked. A few names like Wardina Safiyah, Nor Diana Naim (of the Mawi fiasco) and Bienda come to mind. Funny I seem to dislike Diana less now that her overall look seems to have taken the turn for the better, thanks to her trimmed eyebrows. I'm sure many are with me on this one as looks, after all, does matter in many people's books.

So to the estranged girlfriend, go have your eyebrows trimmed NOW, girl! Another word of advice would be to drop the Osama wannabe!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I'm a dreamer!