Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Plight of the Lonesome Monkey

Something is bothering me. It's something that was said (texted actually) by somebody to someone else, but I cannot get myself over the prejudice and how much bile and hatred that laced the simple few words.

have the utmost respect for the person to whom the words were directed, as she had chosen to totally ignore it, a sign of maturity and sensibility. Had it been uttered to me, I would have probably went on a rant that I know I will later regret. What more, if the person saying those words is one that I am supposed to have respect for.

Also, what was uttered made me rethink of filial piety, something that is expected in our society. We demand respect from our children, sometimes forgetting that our children will grow up to be another member of the human race just as we are. I dislike those who "remind" us that a mother can care for many children but the many children can't care for that one mother. I believe that if the mother had brought up the children right, all of them will care for her. Those parents that are sent to old folks home, or those who are abandoned, shunned by their adult children who have their own lives, must ask themselves, have I really showed them love and really showed that I cared for them.

Then, there are those introverted people who are often vilified as "sombong"; people who are not comfortable to be in a crowd. Some people, just have a bigger personal space than others. I enjoy being alone, away from the maddening crowd... sometimes. But, people say I am being a "kera sumbang", a lonesome monkey. I say, not all monkeys are created equal, and the other more social monkeys , should just respect the lonesome monkey's right to not join them.

Well, that a load off my chest. Maybe, this lonesome monkey can have a good night's sleep tonight.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Pak Mat Beca

I started school in 1971. I went to Sekolah Ismail (Dua), as far as I am concerned the only primary school in the whole universe and every kid must go there or the government will put their parents away forever.

The "Dua" or Two (2), does not mean there were two Sekolah Ismails. There was only one, except that there were two sessions, morning and afternoon. When I started in standard one, I was in the morning session. Apparently, somehow, the two Ismails alternate, and I really can't recall ever having to go to school in the afternoon.

Every morning, my cousin, the late Hashimah Hashim (Allah bless her soul), and I would wait for Pak Mat to pick us up in his beca, his trishaw. And, until I changed school in 1976 (that's another story to tell), Pak Mat and his beca would take me to school every school day. I know of no other way to go to school and I did not really appreciate the distance that Pak Mat had to cycle to pick us up and send us to our respective schools, which was practically on the opposite sides of Muar town (Shimah went to Sultan Abu Bakar or popularly know to Muarians as SAB, an all girls school; while Ismail school was an all boys school).

Nor did I ever knew how much he earned ferrying us, and (I assumed) other children to and from school. I never knew of his life besides toiling morning, noon and until late afternoon, bent over his trusty trishaw, fighting headwinds caught by the green canvass collapsible roofs over our heads, braving torrential rain and searing afternoon heat, to ensure we arrive safely at school and back home again. 

I never ever found out whether he was married, how many children he had, how old are they, which school did they go to.... And, how do they go to school?

Even well after I graduated from college, I am sure I saw Pak Mat and his beca along the route between Ismail School and SAB.

And the saddest thing of all, I don't even know his real name.

It is one of life's ironies I guess, that a person whom has such a contribution in shaping our futures, remains in total anonymity. 

I am sure he probably has left this earth by now.... I think will dedicate a prayer for him today.