Thursday, October 27, 2016

Life of My Own

Father left us some money in his life insurance policy. I remember one morning a man with thick peppered moustache and another one younger probably in his early thirties without the moustache and two quiet ladies a lot younger sat in our living room. Just tea, no cakes, and a cheque laid flat on the coffee table. I did not remember what the two insurance men were talking about but I remember I felt embarrassed to stand up and pinch the corner of the cheque with my one hand and the man with the peppered moustache who did most of the talking pinched the other end and Mother stood beside me smiling before the second man without the moustache showered the living room with flash of light for a second and two. It was not because I had to pose for the camera that made me feel embarrassed but it was all about the ladies presence and I forgot to wear my underwear underneath my track trousers.

Before that we had cattle cheeks and tongues and tendons and some real beef stuffed in the kitchen freezer from previous Eid-ul Adha celebration. Father gave me two decapitated cattle’s heads and forced me to extract the meat from that poor carcass as much as possible with a knife so dull it couldn’t even slice a cake days before he left us. That hit me at my spiritual sense, having a thought that God planned all this beautifully and amin to that. That was the first time I tasted the best beef cheek and tendons and tongues in my life and it would taste better if Father was there at the quiet dining table but that was alright because cattle’s cheek meat tasted like normal beef.

Long before that someone I knew from the blogosphere generously deposited RM500 in my bank account for us to live after Father’s demise before I got a decent job and I am today still thankful to her. Never met her in real life, yet it was so kind of her to do kindness to a stranger. She has stopped blogging because of reasons. I don’t know. She just disappeared, probably eating egg tarts at an apartment’s balcony overlooking Hong Kong skyscrapers with a pot of green tea by her side and stuff like that. I remember her deeds well and I know she wants me to do the same to other people and I am trying to do that as well, but I am so annoyed with those people knocking on my car’s window asking for a Ringgit or two during traffic jam.

All these memories come back after I saw the news reporting a man misappropriating public donations channelled into his bank account initially claimed to be spent for the well-being of his two orphaned nieces after their parents’ life ended on the road in a car collision. Blindfolded by greed, he siphoned large fraction of the fund elsewhere and that caused public uproar.

While the netizens are hitting their keyboard hard in anger, I had a bath under shower head long enough that life reflection was inevitable. As I said, Father left us some amount of money. We had a talk about this and I compromised – agreed that I leave it all to be taken care of by Mother, for I can find a job and build my own wealth, so I would never have to worry about Mother anymore with that eighty thousand Ringgit in her hand. Mother later insisted that I should buy a new car which made us not talking to each other for two weeks because I wanted to stick to the old 1991 Perodua Kanchil. Eventually, I compromised; bought a new car that put a smile to her face. Mother persuaded Sister to do the same, so she had one herself too. Mother gave us enough money for paying the down payment, all deducted from the inheritance.

Years passed by and things are not going to the way I always wanted it to be. I hated it whenever somebody else related or not interferes my financial planning. The son wants to save, but the mother says “spend”. The grandpa told to demolish the house down to build it again from concretes. The uncle taps the wooden wall and reminds me that this house will go down one day if I have not done something to it. The aunts ask have you found your soul mate yet? These aggravate me and it all boils down to my parsimonious nature which is the trait passed down from nobody in the family. I have been a little rebellious lately, showing more disagreeing than approving, avoiding meeting certain people and turning down a family vacation plan to Indonesia and Mother now understands that her son is finding life of his own.


  1. salam Pokdeng... apa khabo? ada duane lening..?

  2. Wassalam Yohteh. Haven't heard you in ages! Kabo baik. Sekarang menyewa apartment di Shahalang, eh sori, Shah Alam.

  3. Assalammualaikum sir, I can feel you :) .. Faz

  4. Assalamualaikum pok deng,
    So glad to hear/know you're doing great.

  5. That soulmate question really bugs, huh?

    Good to see that you are still writing :-)

  6. I always imagine myself running away from reality, you know, like buy a plane ticket to Zanzibar, disconnect from people that you used to connect with, start a new life, selling oranges and apples by the road side perhaps, and going home, read books and repeat the same shit all over again.

    But then I realize, my imagination is what I'm having right now. I used to live in countries unimaginable, all almost unplanned. When I decided to work here in the Middle East, it was abrupt decision as well. It was a decision so hasty, I kinda regret initially.

    And now, I go to work, I go back home, I cook, I read books, I walk by the beach, I dance naked in the shower, and none of this makes me happy. I question myself, isn't this all what I want?

    If I run away to Zanzibar, sell fruits by the road side, drink coffee with strangers, read books by the beach, will I be happy?

    1. Perhaps we have similar imagination -- running away from everybody we know to a place far away where people don't even know our name. It's the kind of place so warm and sunny like Zanzibar, Marrakech, Trinidad & Tobago so I wanna wear just a t-shirt and shorts and slippers and someone up there shouted for me to quickly unload his fruits and vegies from his muddy Mitsubishi Triton. No I don't wanna do the selling because I am not Paolo Coelho who can speak to a stranger without speaking their language. Then I'd walk around the busy streets by sundown searching for a cheap eatery to have a dinner alone. I would smile to strangers sometimes while hoping them to get the fuck out now lemme eat this grilled banana and fish alone you prick. Then I'd walk to my rental house where I would take a bath naked and fart and brush my teeth while looking at the mirror thinking what am I supposed to do now after this? I had wild imagination if I marry to a local woman how their skin feels like, how coarse their hair will be, how smelly their breath and armpits? Hmmm... I need to stop brushing my teeth now because I plan to go out again to get some night air because staying at this small shed makes me feel so lonely and I can't speak shit to the local. I'd walk again to the house and sleep on the sofa. Wait I have to take off my shirt damn this place is so warm. I wonder what tomorrow offers.

  7. Dear Pok Deng,
    Hmmm..where do I start? There are so many things I want to say after reading this post; but then again, I am not sure I should say it; lest I come across as an insensitive, judgmental old Aunty person.

    I feel your rage, Pok Deng; the frustration of being torn between doing what is right and doing what is expected (as a filial son). But I can trust you to do the necessary. You have a good head on your shoulders. You'll be OK.