Monday, September 15, 2014

Twenty Seven

Heard a voice murmuring my name from the distance. Pitch black space which had been pressing me eventually turned gangrene red. Grainy lines of different colours found themselves sketching tables, chairs, a chalkboard, windows, a door. The painting rippled for a moment before I saw teeth grinning. As the images turned crispy and clear, I lifted my heavy chest pressed against the table, blurted "what?" One of the girls said "come over," smiling. I barked "what?!" And another one said "c'mon!" I straightened by spine, stood up from my afternoon nap, trailed them. They led me to a room used for storing sports equipment. "No, you stay here," ordered a girl. I stayed by the door. The girls swarmed the dark room until glitters of light seen suddenly. They sprained my cheek smiling then. So I had to blow the candles. In unison, they sang the same song everybody sang and listened to when they age exactly a year older.
It is very nice to know you are a favourite of the opposite gender. Someone confessed she was attracted to my shoulders, which was kinda spooky to hear that. They said they loved the way I combed my hair backwards. They admired my confidence when I gave out speech. One of them betrayed their friendship by revealing one's dirty secret. She ate a slice of bread with my name written with chocolate paste on it one night -- probably a ritual so that I would be with her soul forever. I lost a photo of me smiling with a medal until someone found it in another girl's purse.

It is good to know that you were everbody's favourite. I turn twenty-seven today. I was hoping anyone would wish me on Facebook the same way they did in high-school but I had Mother as the only one wishing me Happy Birthday today which is nice.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

He Is Alive

Mat Jeng with a baby stroller. Photo source.
He is still alive and kickin'. I wrote about this man some time ago. Somehow a reader had probably mistaken my Mat Jeng and the version of his memories. He is surely not dead as a Facebook page dedicated to bringing news associated with Dungun published a photo of Mat Jeng seen pushing a baby stroller yesterday. The caption under the photo says, in a thick Terengganuspeak:

"legend dungun...dari admin skoloh lg mmg takut ke mat jeng kdang2 sakit ati tgk budok2 brahi sangat khianat ke dia..padahal dia dok cara ke orang pun..mat jeng mat jeng..aku eluk mu kang aku iyum mungg..hehe ayat femes dia"

"This is Dungun's legendary figure. Ever since my (the page admin) school days I was very afraid of Mat Jeng but sometimes my heartstrings were torn by children who loved making fool out of him whenever he never brings problem to anybody. 

O Mat Jeng.

'Aku eluk mu kang aku iyum mung (I'll hug you, I'll kiss you)'.

Hehe that is his words known by everybody."

The comment section was bombarded with various remarks and childhood memories about Mat Jeng from Dungun netizens. Someone says the bicuk (swollen flesh) on this forehead has gone. Another observant Mat Jeng's researcher said Mat Jeng should have been given Innovation Award for his creativity in adding accessories to his stroller. Everybody loves him.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Mother's Hunch

Mother was very fond of her that she couldn't wait any longer to tell me about it the very same day she coincidentally met her at a nearby car service centre they visited to recently. I said I didn't want to befriend this young woman I barely know but she said there is no wrong to get to know each other as long as the sun shines bright and who knows someday I might found the light in her. I magisterially hold my ground, setting assurance in mind to not ever dream about mustering up courage to get to know this some random girl Mother found somewhere down the street.
Mother described her as a petite, fair, polite, demure damsel of a state up north of Terengganu who happened to see herself shuffling daily between rental house and her white-collar profession at nearby general hospital in Dungun. Her genuine smile has stolen Mother's soul by the time Mother walked over to the entrance. And from then on she seeped through Mother's heart with her impeccable manners as she spoke.
Their encounter had sparked quite a friendly conversation leading to some awkward interrogation. She blushingly said "no man has ever shown interest to me" when her henna painted hand beckoned Mother's curiosity. She got that from her unquestionable role as clamp bride at her cousin's wedding recently.
"You can befriend my son!" Mother spouted the unthinkable.
"Jange lah gitu, malu lah sayo..." she said, demurely in her thick Kelantanese accent. I feel embarrased of myself.
"He too has no special friend," Mother told her about my life. Nearly true. "Just like you, he's just got himself a job." Never close to be true. I have been sitting behind desk for two years now. She's just six months. Mother told me that she told her later that I just got a job after graduating from a local university and she responded, "malu lah sayo..." and "sayo blaja setakak STP jah..." A university graduate and a village damsel who had just finished high-school to be qualified enough to do clerical job. Mother said it's alright with that. Neither of us in the family sees oneself from such worldly perspectives.
Mother told me that the girl's mother is a widow. Mother too is but Father died whereas hers found separation a better way to true happiness when she was still small. Mother also didn't forget to mention that the girl's car registration number was very similar to mine. Interesting coincidence. She admitted no young woman has ever attracted her but this one named Intan is probably one of a kind. Mother thought she might be the one. It was a mother's hunch.
Intan said "mitok maaf lah mok cik (I'm sorry, aunty)." 
It was a body roll effect of Intan's Perodua Viva as she was taking a sharp corner. Mother was slightly pushed left against the door panel. Mother said it's okay. A few minutes later, Intan dropped Mother by the entrance gate of our house. Mother's car was left at the service centre.
Mother told me about this hours later. She gave me Intan's phone number. I said I didn't want to do anything with it. She told me to let the heart do the decision. I cannot give my word because I was already drawn to someone else before Mother met Intan.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Just drop by to say hi.

Sir Pok Deng

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Rain

Winter is approaching in northern hemisphere. Cold winds parade southwestward from the land of Great Wall. So we have downpour over here almost every day. After winter, it is spring. Angsana would bloom resplendent yellow flowers and fall to the ground whenever new ones come out. There would be a layer of floral carpet – bright yellow and gold with brown patches here and there. It is a beautiful sight. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Growing Up Is A Must

There is a man with hint of bags under his eyes. His bushy eye brows under the broad greasy forehead of his oblong skull are charcoal black. It must be hard for an artist to sketch every detail of his eyes only by looking at a photograph of his. His slightly sunken eyes always keep lights away. When facing the sun, one man could see the irides are heterochromias. One is like a copper nickel coin bleached in vinegar and the other one is darker than his skin. Stubble below and above his dry lips. He examines his face, brushes some thin strands which stand higher than other sparse remaining hair like damaged springs coming out of an old bed. He turns his neck a little to left and right to let light paint a clearer image of the slightly coarse skin of his cheeks. Two tiny moles at the right side. He pinches a small pimple at his temple, presses the blood and pus smeared fingertip against the dusty mirror, touching his image - touching me. Time moves on oh so swift. It has been twenty five years since this very day. Growing old is a must.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Father Felt Like Eating It

Rays of street lamp rested on Father’s greasy face. He didn’t comb his hair like he used to. Mother was there too, stood a little shorter than Father at the parking lot. I noticed he was very tired from the way he loosened his spine. He didn’t stand ramrod. It took him a little while until I saw him cocked his eyebrows and sent me his tired grin as he saw me standing by the lobby’s entrance door with a backpack and a big navy coloured baggage fixed on a trolley. He had a habit of occasionally fixing his thick eyeglasses when smiling. I inherited his way of showing relief – he exhaled heavily a mouthful of air, fluttering lips under his thick mustache. I had to push the baggage trolley, carefully watched out for cars passing by slowly to drop and fetch people, balancing it as the wheels rolled over the coarse tarmac, avoiding wild shingles sprawling over the dropping bay at the entrance door of Sultan Mahmud Airport’s main building. The renovation works for adding more infrastructures at the airport have been going for so long.
I finally placed the last item I brought along from Sarawak in the car’s boot – a paper bag filled with a stack of glossy papers printed with fancily presented information about the October 2010 convocation ceremony. I received my Bachelor’s Degree scroll without my parents witnessing it when everybody else’s parents did. Thump, the boot was shut, and so was my bittersweet journey at the faraway land across the ocean. Mother asked me whether I wanted to take car’s key. I passed.
We were passing by the airport’s security guard post when Father panned his head towards me sitting at the backseat and said, “do you bring anything home from Sarawak?”
“What thing?” I said, bewildered.
“I asked you to buy me ikang terubok, remember?”
“I didn’t buy anything. No terubok fish. No nothing.”
“Why you didn’t buy it?” Father asked me.
“I ain’t got enough money,” I answered. “Didn’t spend on anything but food to eat.”
“Why you didn’t buy it? It’s been a long time I haven’t eaten ikang terubok,” he said. I remember I heard him making a heavily disappointed sigh afterward.
“I said I don’t have enough money,” I said, a little harsher, feeling aggravated.
“But I feel like eating it,” Father said.

There was a moment of silence inside the car. I gazed outside the car’s window, seeing neon light and cars’ lamps disappeared behind us like fading watercolors. I had never seen Father acted that way.
“You know, Along? Ayoh (Father) is not feeling well today,” Mother said.
I didn’t respond.
Mother added, “he got nocturnal fever ever since you flew to UNIMAS. So it’s been a week. For the rest of the whole day – he’s good. Already told him to meet a doctor. You know him. He relies on panadols.”
“I feel like eating satay,” I said.
“Satay? Where to find satay right now? It’s almost eleven,” Mother said.
Father spoke, “there are a lot of greasy-spoons by the roadside. Just slow down the car, let’s see which one we shall go.”
“Ah that one’s full,” Mother said. “It’s now school holidays. Already expected that.”
I watched for any alfresco restaurants that we can go in. That night, all of them were jam packed with customers. I hated all those cars parked along the grassy roadside with the registration numbers that didn’t start with a letter T (registered in Terengganu) for being uninvited cockroaches swarming this land. I cannot eat satay because of them. Fuck them all.
“How about that one?” Mother slowed down the car and pulled over. “Along? How about this one?” She signaled at a restaurant that wasn't appealing for me to end my craving because there I saw no customers even though the lighting was vibrant. Everything was not right then. Too many customers, fully occupied tables, cannot eat. No customers, the chance of getting a crappy food was high.
“I don’t feel like eating satay anymore,” I said sullenly, sinking my lower back.
“You sure?” Mother asked, “You can eat something else. I didn’t cook at home. There’s no food.”
“Not feeling like eating satay anymore,” I repeated what I said.
“Are you sure? Have you eaten along the trip?” Mother said.
“Already had my lunch at McDonalds in Kuala Lumpur. Still feeling full,” I lied.
“Alright. So where are we going now? You sure about that?” Mother asked.
“Home,” Father said magisterially.
“Home,” I said.

Father died a month later.

Happy Father’s Day.