Friday, January 27, 2006

Distant Relatives.

Aunt Su is related to me by way of her marriage with Pakcik Syed who was Grandma's distant relative by way of complicated connections that I used to say to Grandma, nevermind, when she tried to explain the art and science of it all. As the only living relative Aunt Su to me is as good an aunt as the real thing so I had better listen carefully when she wandered unconsciously into the subject of distant relatives in the middle of a conversationt about something totally unrelated like whether the elfresco steamboat restaurant downstairs is making money. They must be making money.

According to Aunt Su she believes there is a living relative of hers residing somewhere in Southern Thailand.

You have not been watching the news channel all that much, haven't you? Southern Thailand?
What's wrong with Southern Thailand, that's my kampong.
Okay, nevermind about Southern Thailand for now but tell me about this relative of yours.

Good for me because she can't remember much except for, masa kecik-kecik dulu orang panggil dia Wa. I consider this information the best news I have received the last couple of days since this simply means I have nothing much to go on as a way of getting into the case, going on a trip like Indiana Jones looking for something from the ancient world, a girl named Wa. It was late so I said, okay I'll se what I can do to find out more.

Promise?
(oh oh)
When was the last time you saw her?
Tak tau, maksu tak ingat.
Masa tu sapa perdana menteri?
Yang mati.
We've got two dead prime ministers, which one?
Good, she can't remember. (Or maybe she chose not to remember because she could see right through I was not that all fired up to help her on this one.)

It has something to do with my attitude towards relatives in general. When I was young, we seldom had relatives coming to our house for a visit. Not even on Hari Raya. Quite frankly I didn't like it all that much when relatives from upriver came down for a visit to talk to Grandma about people I had never met, or who had been long dead. And Aunt, being a widow tried hard not to meet up with relatives who'd tease her about her marital status, or alluding that a man was interested to take her as a missus. One time a relative was so bold to came to our house, under the pretext of a casual visit, bringing along with them a suitor for Aunt. It got Aunt all fuming mad that I thought the world was coming to an end that I had to delay asking money from her for a toy until much later in the evening when she was back to being herself, always giving me money whenever I wanted it no matter how much.

All this business about relatives is making me all uneasy because I don't have someone I know I can call paklang, or maklang, or maklong or paklong or whatever. This concept is alien to me, and I am very comfortable with it that I don't plan on digging up people who may be connected to Grandma or Aunt just so I can figure out the ties. I don't need relatives. For crying out loud, I don't even know who my dad or mom, other than dad was in the navy and mom ran away from home and never came back. Give me a good reason why in the world I should be bothered with distant relatives. Of course I can never tell Aunt Su about this. It will only hurt her. I know what it feels like to have the only person in the world you can call maksu and mean it. You see, she's the only distant relative I got and this is one too many as it is.

11 Comments:

Blogger Noni said...

As one gets older I imagine the need to retrace one's roots might emerge. To what point I don't really know.

Distant relatives are good for sentimentalities and reminiscence of days gone by, I suppose.

My family was shunned because my father married a non-Malay. But its no big deal as we thrived; my parents, my siblings and I.

I never could stand the smell of bachang anyway.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Count Byron said...

Thanks for sharing Berg.
I feel like being there with you.

Enjoy your trip to Dungun.
and, No, my mom is not a Tengku. She was a primadona in her own ways..and still is to us.

3:54 PM  
Blogger My Little Shopping Heaven said...

I know someone before that is also born under Aries.
Aries man is a good man, based on my experience. ;)
Best of luck. Hope to hear the good news soon (moga cepat dapat kerja).

4:48 PM  
Blogger anggerik merah said...

Bergen, enjoy your day!

8:21 PM  
Blogger ailin...in aalborg said...

Hi Bergen. Distant relatives should stay that way. Distant.

5:15 PM  
Blogger dr in the house said...

So will this mean that Southern Thailand will be your next place of destination?

p.s pardon me for asking, have you found yourself a job yet? And how are you getting on with Lyn?

12:12 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Well Im in a similar situation like you..I dun realli bother wif most relatives and only care for a handful..

But I knw that you care for your Aunt Su..y not try for her...at least u can be like Indiana Jones.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Noni said...

I was watching Armageddon a few days ago and it got me to thinking if all else fails, u could always try for becoming an astronaut... afterall... Bruce Willis did it... hehe

12:32 PM  
Blogger RedKebaya said...

Bergen - my dad sorta cut himself off from his family while i was growing up but decided to resume familial ties when he was older. it worked out fine for him but it sure put me in such a bind... i never did know who was who and until now feel very very uncomfortable around my relatives. i hate the feeling.

3:56 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Noni: This goes two ways. There are among us who prefer a large family with even large network of relatives.

Count Byron: You are now a father-in-law to someone. This makes you a likely candidate to line-extend, branch-out, the list of relatives. Good luck, sir.

Boneka: One good Aries man doesn't make Aries men good. Don't you think? Thank you kindly.

Anggerik Merah: You too, ma'am. Enjoy your day.

Ailin: I believe yours is the view of today's generation.

Dr Roza: Still looking for a job, ma'am. In between I'm writing ghost stories for one of those Malay publications that you find flooding the market. The editor also wants me to write ghost-scandal-sex theme stories which, according to him, commands a large ready audience. It pays the bills.

Lyn and I are friends, as long as we can find something to agree on for five minutes.

Em: I've made plans for the trip to Southern Thailand. It all depends on how fast I can get Mycard, and the passport for Aunt Su.

Noni: I like that idea very much! I like the idea of sacrificing my life, or doing something dangerous so others can be safe. If you know of the recruiting agent for that kind of job please do give me a call, night or day. No matter what time it is. You promise, yes?

RedKebaya: Blood is thicker than water.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Noni said...

Don't get me wrong Berg, I luuuurve big families. I intend to have many, many kids myself even if I have to adopt... i am the youngest of 9 kids... (yes my parents were busy people)... with countless anak-anak sedara... and I love each one of them to bits...(maybe just on my good days)... I just don't like my aunts and cousins and those removed... they were never nice to us and therefore not important... all my father's siblings have passed on anyway. Time to move on...

2:39 PM  

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