Thursday, December 31, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
1) the skid marks indicated that my right side was on the other side of the road,
2) the other driver was an apek tua (well not so tua... maybe 40 plus)
3) I was young (I wasn't 20 yet then).
Sergeant Abu Bakar, I remember him well, was the policeman who took my statement. He was wearing a hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned down to his bulging stomach, and I, being scared and intimidated, dare not look straight at him and was instead looking at the few strands of grey hair on his leathery chest. He wasn't really interested in hearing my side of the story.... He just asked for me to accept his "special offer", a reduction in the compound.
So I was wrong, and Abang Haris paid for it. Abang Haris, I seek your forgiveness....
But, I tell you the real story now.
Mother (God bless her soul) wanted to go to Kak Sarah's house and I was in no mood to drive. I don't remember why. So, when mother insisted, I reluctantly agreed but I (being me) had to show a little anger. I drove fast to Kampung Tunku, dropped mother off and drove back to Bangsar, still angry. I was going down hill, and as a thing I like to do from that point was to just let the car coast down the hill, without pressing down on the accelerator.
At the bottom of the hill,, next to the Mobil station, I saw a pick up truck in the opposite lane signalling to turn in to a lane to my left. The driver seemed to hesitate, perhaps not sure if he should wait, or should he dash across. Just as I was approaching, he decided to go and I had to adjust slightly and eased into the right lane to avoid him.... that's when I notice there was a car behind the truck and the apek was following the truck in to the lane. Apparently, he didn't see me because his vision was obscured by the truck. A Nissan (or was it still Datsun then) Stanza... He moved forward and I drove right into him, standing on the brakes. Since I was already turning the steering to the left to avoid him, the impact deflected my trajectory, and I ended on the curb on the left side of the road.
Then, it started to rain.... and it rained so heavily, there were flash flood all over KL.
It is my fault? Maybe it's mother's fault, she shouldn't have been so insistent. Maybe, it's Kak Sarah's fault, because she was the one who insisted that mother come over. Or, maybe it is even Abang Haris's fault... he shouldn't have let drive the red Proton Saga. And, what about the pick-up truck driver, he (or she) must surely be at answerable, too. I had the right of way.... he should have stopped to let me pass....
But, he got clean away.
On top of everything else, the apek and Abang Haris probably had to pay off the good sergeant to "smoothen" the proceedings....
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I did not bother to set the alarm clock to wake me up at 3:30 am this morning. Last season, I'd make the point to watch Liverpool's every game. "Early days" still, they all say and opposing managers all "refuse to write them off" after beating Liverpool with late goals, I say they are being very polite.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Hindsight is 20/20 vision. Some (many) people will say... "I saw that coming", after the thing happened. But, the greatest of human minds cannot possibly see the future.
I read a motivational article sent to me via e-mail, which I was supposed to send to twenty other people or something bad will happen to me. It was interesting enough. Actually, I've read it before a long time ago, late 2001 or early 2002, after the fall of the twin towers in New York.... also known as 9/11 attacks. (By the way it's 9/11 only in the USA, everywhere else it would've been 11/9).
The e-mail entitled "A Purpose Behind Every Incident" tells the accounts of (supposedly real) people who were inevitably detained under various circumstancees on the morning of 11 September 2001, and were subsequently, spared the fate of those who weren't. As far as I am concerned, the stories tell of people who were in the wrong place at the right time. The purpose behind these incidences (if they were true) is that they are not supposed to die...yet.
But, what if there was a woman who was already out of the building when she discovered she had left something in the office and turned around to get it. Maybe, there was a man who decided to help somebody with something, when he has already done his work and should have left the building an hour ago. Maybe there was somebody who woke up early that morning and decided that he or she will not be late for work again from that day forth.....
The only purpose behind these incidences, should they actually happen, (we'll never know), is that it's time for them to die....
And, I did not forward the e-mail, I deleted it. I hope God will protect me...
Monday, October 26, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Today, I went to the market, by myself.... alone... without my dear wife. As she is incapacitated, and the food supplies were running low, it was up to me to ensure the survival of our family. I've done it before, I think, a long time ago, just after the birth of my youngest child, while my wife was in confinement... but, that was almost 10 years ago.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I was born in 1964, which means that I started school in 1971, at which time my youngest older brother is well into his teenage years, my eldest sister is 30 years old.
I was almost like an only child, spoiled silly by my mother and sisters, frowned upon by my father and brothers as an annoyance. I have no fond memories of brotherly love, like wrestling each other or playing a game together, which makes me rather apprehensive of how my two sons relate to each other. They are 5 years apart, but I was often afraid that Afiq will treat Aiman as a nuisance and leave him out of whatever he was doing. That, happened for a while, but I found out that Afiq blamed Aiman for not being able to play his PS2...(long story).
I straightened that out, and ever since, he and Aiman are so close, it warms my heart... and saddens me that I never had such close relationship with my own brothers, largely due to our age difference, and that by the time I was approching my teenage years, all my three brothers have flown away from our nest. So, I end up spending most of my time next door, at Pak Uteh Hashim's house, whose children are nearer my age group.
Not that I blame my brothers. I was such an annoyance..... A whiny kid, a cry baby who ran to mother when he couldn't get his way or if my brother/s played a little rough on me. I know that today, if I ever come across a child like that I'll really like to give him a good spanking.
Even later in my life, as I imposed onto the lives of my sisters, Kak Esah, then Kak Sarah, then Kak Esah again during my college years, while there is a closeness between me and my sisters, there was a marked distance between me and my brothers. And more often than not, I have the impression that my brothers are closer to their repective wives' families than they are with us. (And I am just as guilty of this myself, having lived my entire married life in my in-law's house).
It seems like, there is a bubble of space between me and my brothers. Was this created by my childhood behaviour? So much so that, in the subconscious of my brothers, I am still, and will always be, that annoying little brat? Or is this just the way we (the men folk of our clan) were brought up? To be manly is to shake hands and that's it. Any display of emotions beyond that is just not...macho.
I like to think it's the latter. Our father is one macho guy, as far as my memory serves. The emotion that he would willingly show is anger. There is no doubt of his love for his children, but he's the old school type of dad... if you know what I mean.
But, this does not mean that there is a lack of love between the men folk of the Hj jaafar clan. Far from it. Perhaps, just a lack of expression. That is all... And, honestly, I don't think I am ready to start hugging and kissing my brothers from now on.
But, I would like to say to Abang Mail, Abang Enal and Abang Fuad... I love all of you!! (Said in a deep manly voice with a clenched fist beating my chest).
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thereafter, somewhere in the beginning of my life, I made the unconscious decision to adopt the sun’s virtue in making people to do things. And, today I can’t do it otherwise.
Throughout my life, people around me tell me to be more aggressive. They say I am too soft. Some adults say that I’ll never survive in the real world, if I continue to let certain things go... not get back at those who have put me down or bullied me.
Maybe it is the result of people constantly telling me that I am soft and indecisive that has made me soft and indecisive... Maybe this sun attitude as opposed to the wind attitude is just my way of consoling myself.
I don’t know. Perhaps, I am too much like my mother. My father is very assertive and will tell people exactly what’s on his mind. My mother tended to accept things. Most women in those times had to, I suppose.
But I get things done. I just do not like to dwell on what has happened and concentrate what we can do to correct the situation. Punishment? I will try to avoid that, too. Simply because, when something goes wrong, the further you dig into it, the more you will see that it cannot be attributed to just one person....
It the nature of human beings, I supposed, that one is very rarely complimented for a good deed, but, make one error, you will receive advice you never asked for, from so many “experts”. I’ve had a fair share of these advices, and from my experience none of them is useable.
So I don’t give advice, unless asked to.
Call it whatever you want, a low self esteem, lack of self confidence, not assertive, reserved, conservative..... I am what I am....
"The devil called my name once," Haji Jaafar said to me. "It was when we, your mother and I, were travelling to Alor Star... or somewhere, I can't recall, but I know it was a long journey."
There were no expressways then. The roads were narrow and dangerous, and the journey up north will take maybe ten hours from Muar.
Hj Jaafar told me he heard it clearly, above the drone of the car engine and howling wind as he sped to his destination.
"Maybe it was the wind rustling the leaves in the trees," I suggested.
"No," Haji Jaafar said, "it can't be." I waited for his point of argument, but it never came. Instead, he fell silent and looked out the window.
"He even tried to cause an accident..." Haji Jaafar said to no one outside the window. "He pulled on the steering wheel... but I managed to fight him... I read out the ayat Kursi... and he went away.
"That's what happen that day, too. It was raining heavily, Bad was asleep in the back seat, your mother was awake.. she couldn't sleep, maybe she was a little scared. I wasn't going very fast, but the car just appeared out of nowhere... and hit on your mother's side. If it was a japanese car... maybe we'd be dead. The Opel Kadett is really tough.
"The devil... he blinded me. And he blinded the other driver. He caused this accident and it's my fault... I couldn't fight him then.
"The devil, he lives in your blood... he sits in wait... in your blood and make you lose your concentration, makes you careless, makes you reckless. He makes you feel lazy, he makes you want to do something else when you know you want should be doing another thing. He tells you there's no hope... that it's not worth it, whatever you are trying to achieve, he tells you, it's not worth it...
"How I wish the devil looks like those monsters on TV. You know, red coloured humanoids with tails and horns... and a goatee... if they really look like that, it's easy to fight them. But, no... if you want to see the devil, just look in the mirror...."
Mother had to undergo a hip replacement. Apparently, when the people of Tanjung Gading realised that Haji Jaafar and Hajah Mahani was involved in the accident, they all came to help. But, moving mother out of the car had caused her hip bone to shatter. And, for a while nobody noticed the little boy on the floor of the car behind the driver... but he was fine. Yes, the Opel Kadett was a tough car. The other driver (I heard) lost an eye.
I thought, maybe the anesthetics or the pain killers were talking. After all, he just had the stitched on his head removed. But, then, almost three decades later today, before I start on a long journey, although most people will recite the travelling prayers (doa menaiki kenderaan), I will always say the Ayat Kursi.... to keep the devil away.
Praise be to Allah... It has worked thus far.
(Note also how easy for us to perform ibadah during Ramadhan, when he who live in our blood is shackled...)
(Haji Jaafar, Hajah Mahani & the Opel Kadett)
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Someone told me a joke about a man who had just bought a car. It was his first car and, not wanting to have even a scratch on it, he took it to a hindu temple, a buddhist temple, a church and a mosque.
At the hindu temple, the hindu priest chanted mantras over the car and tied a red string around the car's right wing mirror.
The buddhist monk sprinkled the car with water after chanting traditional mantras and then a white string was tied to the left wing mirror.
The christian priest blessed the car with holy water and gave the driver a cross to hang from the rear view mirror.
At the mosque, the imam was astounded since nobody ever asked to bless a car before. So after a recitation of selected verses from the Qur'an, he took a hacksaw and promptly cut the tip off the car's exhaust pipe..... to circumcise it.
When I first heard this story, I thought the new car owner was an atheist, albeit a superstitious one. This man, I had deduced, did not really believe in the existence of God, but he just didn't want to take any chances.
Furthermore, it is inconceivable in my mind that anyone should have more than one religion.
Then there's Piscine Molitor Patel. A hindu at (after) birth, he met a christian priest when he was sixteen and became a christian and soon after that he met an imam and became a muslim.
You will find him on Thursdays at a hindu temple for Pooja, on Friday afternoons at the mosque for Friday prayers and on Sundays, he's at church. Had he been a Jew, he'd be at a cynagogue on Saturdays.... and as his brother chided him, he needs to finds only three more religions and he'll be on holiday for the rest of his life.
He requested from his parents for a baptism and then for a prayer mat for his daily solah (five times a day). It was strange at first, but soon his family got used to it, although the pandit, the imam and the priest of his local temple, mosque and church respectively was utterly incensed when they found out about this multi-faithed teenager. Thereafter, he only goes to temple at crowded times, had to attend mass at another church and no longer lingered after Friday prayers at the mosque.
When asked why... his answer is always the same..."Bappu Gandhi said that all religions are true... I just want to love God."
"I just want to love God"
Is it really possible then for a person to have multiple religion? Why not? Is there so much difference between the beliefs and practices? All religions preach goodness and all religions are against evil...so what's the problem?
Being a born muslim, I was taught that there is only one God. And, it is wrong to say that the non muslims, when they are performing their prayers, are praying to their god/s. There is no other God, the ustaz told me. And, Islam is the completion of the human faith in God. And ,despite what Mahatma Gandhi said, I am told there is only one true religion, and that is Islam....
It is the only religion I know.
So, in my mind, Piscine, just like our new car owner, is an atheist, too. Praying is just a hobby for him, a past time. Like learning different kinds of martial arts or various types of dances. Because, had he really studied Islam, than he would have inevitably come to the surah called the Disbeliever (surah 109). It is the revelation that clearly defines that there can be only one faith in a muslim, for in the last verse God tells Muhammad to say to the disbelievers who had asked him to compromise his beliefs: "For you your religion, for me mine." (La kum deenukum wa liadin).
Piscine Molitor Patel was born in Pondicherri, India and later moved to Toronto Canada. On his way to Toronto, the ship he was on, capsized and he suddenly found himself in a life boat, along with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450lb Bengal tiger...
It's a good book... check it out: The life of Pi by Yann Martel.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The trip was bad, and the food was lousy and then they had to travel all the way back again. Then, the mother said, 'Maybe we should’ve stayed home.' And the wife said, 'Yes, I thought, everybody else wanted to go, so I went along.' The husband said, 'I thought you wanted to go, Dad…I didn’t want to disappoint you.' The father said, 'Not really, I just made the suggestion because everybody looked bored.'
It is a weakness. On everyone’s part for wanting to please others. That’s why a little impertinence is necessary. In the story above, impertinence would have saved them money and precious time.
Imagine, then, if the husband was a jerk, and instead of saying 'why not', he’d look up from whatever he was doing or while sprawled on the couch, and say something like, “WTF for?”…..
It is the right response… it was what the wife and the mother in law would like to say but is inhibited somehow by a hormone in their body. (Yes, there is such a hormone… it was in an episode of House MD). And, it is probably the answer the father-in-law was really expecting, minus the expletive, perhaps, but he would’ve been happy if his suggestion was shot down.
So, why am I writing this? Because, I can't get this one memory out of my mind.
The next day, Din and I were asked if we want to go back home to Muar with my parents or hang around a few more days then go home with Din's sister. I really wanted to go home, but I thought Din wanted to spend another day in JB. So, I said lets stay.
But, the day was spent hanging aroung the hospital because nobody was available to take us around, and Aboy could not spend time with us beauce he had a tennis tournament or something. We complained to an adult (I can't recall who it was) who got angry and scolded us, and Din said to me, 'You are the one who wanted to stay...'
I walked away from Din and I didn't speak to him for a while.
Perhaps, I owe Din an apology, for walking away and not talking to him... but, neither of us wanted to make a decision and when things didn't go as we planned, I had to bear the blame for saying what I thought the other party wanted to hear.....