Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rock The House Down.

YOU CAN GET AUNT TO GIVE YOU ANYTHING IN THE WORLD. She says she has no money. And then she says she hasn't got any change in the house because she has used all the cash to pay the suppliers. Of course she's lying to you. She's giving you a hard time to see how far you are willing to go, rolling yourself like a nyiur kering on the floor; all the time screaming your lungs out, arms and legs flailing like a drunken crab, cursing and swearing how come this whole world is so unfair to you. All you want in this whole wide world is three ringgit and the only person you can ask it from isn't gonna give it to you.
And so you cut a deal with God. Make Aunt give me the money and I'll be good for the rest of my life. Of course you're lying. Again. You know you're gonna run away when Grandma calls out to you to go to her with the rest of her budok nngaji to read your Qur'an. You know you are not going to follow Grandma to the masjid anymore because Cousin has just bought a TV set. You know you won't help Aunt round up her kambing because you have learnt to be shy to do that now that a pretty looking girl has just moved in next door and you don't want her to see you herding the kambing because that would be such a low down thing to do. You have made a lot of deals with God. So far you haven't kept your end of the bargain. And this is the reason why you hide yourself under Grandma each time there's a lightning. You know God is gonna get you, striking you with a lightning until you're as good as charcoal. God does that to people who don't keep their end of the bargain. But today is a bright day with sunshine and blue skies. You're safe for now to do all your yelling and cursing, rolling and crying, kicking and throwing things around the house.
But Aunt isn't giving in. Not this afternoon. She's in the room reading something, laughing and smiling as if you are a circus monkey that has eaten too much bananas that you have gone crazy in the head. But you can't stop now. You've gone this far trying to get her to give you the money. You've made a complete fool of yourself, in full view of Grandma's budok nngaji, reciting their Qur'ran on the verandah.
All the time Aunt is saying; polis! polis! tengok budok ni nggamok macam awang dicu. Mari tangkap dia masuk jel. You cry even more. And yell even louder. You're losing this game to Aunt in the most humiliating way and you know you've gotta do something different.
And so you run out of the house to collect a handful of stones and begin pelting the house as if possessed by some demon that has gotten into you to do this to Aunt and Grandma. You keep pelting, raining down the house with stones and sand. You see Grandma recites something to the sky as if asking God to do something fast. That got you kinda worried but you can't turn back now. You gotta win this game. Aunt stops reading to look at you from the window. She gives you a stern look but you know that look so well. So you stop. And go up the house to her room.
With three ringgit in hand, I race down on my bicycle to Kedai Cek Gaduh to buy the wallet that has the picture of a Hong Kong actress in bikini.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


AND THE BAD GUYS ALWAYS WIN. When a child is born someone with enough sense should tell the poor infant when he's old enough to understand a thing or two about guns and roses; that he or she should decide from the start whether he or she wanna be a good guy, or a bad guy. He or she may decide from the start to be a good guy but as you know a thing or two about life, things have a way of rocking and rolling and twisting to turn a good guy, into a bad guy in a blink of an eye.
And life as you know it, has a mind of its own to turn a bad guy into a good guy. So life works both ways. It can either turn you into an angel. Or a politician.
As you will have already know by now, having lived long enough to have acquired a bit of wisdom, good guys always win. In the movies, that is. Out here where life really matters, it's the bad guys who triumph over good guys because let's be frank about it; real-life good guys are usually rather timid and in most cases, kinda nerdy and are not always willing to punch first and talk later. They are more prone to be civil and educated and all of that jazz that don't really matter when a bad guy is breathing down your neck. That's why in most cases real-life good guys end up saying; aku malas jer nak panjang cerita, nanti kalau panjang cerita kang ada yang pergi hospital. But you know they don't mean it. What they really mean is, I'd rather not get involved in a brawl because I might get beaten.
Now, THAT's the difference between a good guy and a bad guy. A bad guy doesn't really think about whether he's gonna get beaten, or arrested, or having to spend a night in jail for beating up a guy over a simple question like is this seat taken? It's a simple question that needs a simple answer like; yes, it's taken. Or; no it's not, you can have it. A simple thing like this can turn into a complicated issue if you don't answer the question but instead, choose to look at the guy in eye and remain silent. A good guy may think this way;
1. This guy is deaf.
2. This guy is not here.
3. This guy is gonna commit suicide.
4. This guy has lost all his money in the stock market.
5. This guy has lost his missus to a younger stud.
and so on and so on.
In the end, the good guy will walk away to look for another seat.
But that's not how a bad guy will deal with the situation. He will wait for something like 5 seconds for an answer. If the answer isn't coming, he'll look the guy in the eye and kaboom!! one powerful punch to the nose, and the poor guy bleeds like a fountain. People around them will ask; why did you beat the poor guy for? He's deaf!
And the bad guy says; Oh, I'm sorry, mate.
And walks away from the scene as if nothing happened.
You decide whether you wanna be a good guy or a bad guy from the start. Sometimes I'm confused myself, now that I've made friends with those from the academic fraternity who have a theory on everything including why men like to beat people up.

End of Part 1
(Next installation: Being a bad guy can save you more money.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beware Of The Guy With A Candle.

THERE WAS A SEA OF PEOPLE AT THE PADANG NEAR AMCORP MALL I thought there was a nationwide blackout but it turned out to be a candlelight vigil held by the people connected to the organized cartel of candle makers anonymous. It's a brilliant way to increase the sale of candles in this day and age when you can have light at the flick of a switch to keep a room bright as daylight that you may need a pair of heavy-duty welding goggles to keep your eyes from popping out like ping pong balls.
It being a Sunday, I reckon it wouldn't kill anyone if I go join in the fun and surreptitiously ask around who's in charge of supplying the candles so that I can show him my latest invention. A torchlight that looks exactly like a candle. Buy it once and you won't have to buy no candle ever again in your entire life. To keep it flickering, all you've gotta do is turn it on, and the bulb will flicker just like the flame of a candle. It's wind-proof, and rain proof. It's a brilliant product who wouldn't want one in times like this when there's a sea of people coming together in a crowd as if there's a circus going on.
In order to be one of the crowd, I notice real fast that I've gotta have the T-shirt everyone is wearing. It has the big letters I.S.A on it and something about RPK which I believe must represent something very important. And I'm thinking, the guy who runs the candle network must also be the same guy who runs the network supplying the T-shirts to all these gentle folks who appear to be highly educated, metropolitan, and a lot of class. 
I walk aimlessly looking for the big guy behind the candle and T-shirt network but I must have walked something like thirty five kilometers for a hopeless cause because he, or she, is no where to be found. 
In the end, I decide to go have a bit of something to eat and I figure a corny dog and a tall glass of root-beer float would be a nice thing to have. I figure a Belgian waffle wouldn't hurt too. Besides they serve it with Lurpark butter which I believe is the best butter in the world. As for the battery-operated-candle-stick-that-flickers-in-the-rain-and-wind, I believe that can wait. I'm sure there will  be more candle light vigils to come since these folks have made a career out of coming together like this to burn a candle or two.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing.

THE LEADER OF THE FIVE PIECE BAND TOLD ME SOMETHING LIKE THIS; you can't carry a tune, so please do the world a favour, give us back our microphone and leave the stage to go pick up a hobby like carpentry. I said I know carpentry very well, as a matter of fact I can build you a house if you gave me enough timber. In the end he said; just give us back our microphone and get out of here, will you? I am a pretty smart guy with enough brain to know better that he doesn't like my singing all that much and so I'm thinking, before fists start flying since I am pretty fond of making my point this way, I'd better leave him with his music.
I KNOW I'M MAKING A LOT OF PATRONS SUFFER from a sudden burst of severe headache with my version of Hotel California in a karaoke lounge where me and my friends are having a good time laughing and singing and flirting with women in skirts shorter than a piece of handkerchief. We are laughing and singing but when it is my turn to sing I don't hear no laughter no more. As a matter of fact I thought the world has come to an end and I'm hoping it isn't because of my singing but one of the patrons says that it is and so I go down to him and fists start flying.
ONE TIME IN A PUB LISTENING TO A LIVE BAND playing a happy tune, me and my buddies sing along with the band happy as a parakeet but it's making a lot of patrons uncomfortable that one of them look me in the eye different. I go over and fists start flying and before you know it I pay the desk sergeant RM50 for throwing the first punch. Good thing me and my buddies don't have to spend a night in jail. It would be such a pity since we have just got in to town and have checked in a nice hotel with a nice swimming pool.
ROBERTO FROM THE PHILIPPINES can play the guitar and sing real good. One evening he's in the singing mood and start to do a song I know very well and so I reckon it wouldn't kill anyone if I sing along with him. Half way through the song he says he gotta go. I ask him where are you going? He says I gotta to the toilet. He died three years later in a fire explosion in the middle of Saudi Arabian desert.
WE ARE DRIVING ON A HIGHWAY IN A NEW VOLVO CROSSCOUNTRY and the song comes on the radio. I figure this is as good a time as any to show my romantic side by singing along with the song from the radio. You may think this is a corny thing to do in this day and age but I'm in the singing mood and I know very well I can sound exactly like the guy in the radio. And so I sing as I would sing a national anthem. After I'm done singing she says something like this; can we make a stop at the next Rest Area? I say sure thing, luv. At the Rest Area she goes in to the ladies and I wait and wait for her to come out but she never does. And then my Nokia N95 goes off. It's her. She said something like this; we're through. I reckon it must have been the smell of the new Volvo Crosscountry and so I say to her don't you worry about it, luv, I'll get you a S60. She hung up and never call back. I drive all the way to the end of North to go check in to a hotel and stare at the ceiling thinking one of us is lonely but it doesn't really matter.
I'M IN THE MUSIC STORE looking through one CDs after another and I suddenly have the urge to sing like I would sing a national anthem. There are a few people in the store including a young couple obviously too much in love to notice that I'm about to teach the world to sing...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Orang Pencen Pergi Masjid.

Pensioners in their late 50s have no where else to go for a good time when the evening comes down on a day and so they put on a baju jawi, kain pelikat empat ribu benang and a ppioh to head to the neighborhood masjid for solat jema'ah. After the Maghrib prayer, they perform solat sunat ba'diyatan and hang around the masjid to listen to a ceramah by a young ustaz fresh out of a university in Jordan or Mesir. If the ustaz doesn't turn up, they get together in a group to talk about everything that's wrong with the world - especially 'anak-anak muda kita yang semakin hari semakin runtuh moral akibat terlalu rakus merangkul budaya kuning yang dipopularkan di kaca-kaca TV.'
They have a complaint for everything that moved, and for everything that comes in color, or black and white. Everything is wrong. The government for not implementing the Hudud. Police for not taking enough effort to curb the rise of the crime rate in the neighborhood and the country. George Soros (again), the source of our sorrows. I can't list all their complaints here as this will give you the impression that I am one of them. How could I be one of them when I'm only 12 - baru akil baligh.
A young man walks in to perform his Maghrib prayer, and the pensioners have something to say about him. His T-shirt is too colorful. His hair is too long. His jeans are not suitable for a masjid. His takbir is too long. His sujud is not straight.
I can't listen to all this and so I move to a quiet corner of the masjid to memorize a surah which I have been trying to do since the beginning of this year. Being a benok because my heart has been blackened by the things I've done in my life, I can't seem to memorize a single ayat without making serious tajwid mistakes.
I can't hear them from this corner so I reckon it is in my best interest not to pay attention to them. But I do feel like going over there to give them a good lecture. This is how my lecture would begin;
Pakcik-pakcik tahu tak orang muda dapat syufa'at di akhirat nanti. Diorang dapat perlindungan arasy Allah. Orang tua macam pakcik semua ni mana ada dapat syufa'at macam tu. Pakcik datang masjid sebab dah tak boleh pergi mana-mana. Nak pergi disko, dah tua. Nak pergi dangdut pun kena pakai duit. Duit dah tak ada banyak sebab makan gaji pencen. Nak duduk rumah tengok TV pun cerita tak sedap. Oleh kerana tak ada pilihan, pakcik datang masjid. Kalau ada pilihan - kalau umur pakcik masih muda mungkin tak sampai kat sini. Mungkin ada kat disko. Orang muda yang gagah dan hensem, dan kaya boleh pergi disko atau bungee jumping. Tapi diorang datang masjid. Diaorang boleh dapat girlfrens tapi diorang pilih datang masjid. Itu sebab Allah bagi diorang syufa'at yang istimewa. Untuk orang tua mana ada provision macam tu sebab masa muda-muda dulu masjid was the last thing in your mind. Now that you dah pencen, baru nak belajar Fiqh. Tu pun komplen tak habis2 pasal tak paham yang Fiqh ada macam2 qaul dan pendapat. Baru belajar Tasawuf satu muka surat dah rasa diri bersih macam malaikat. Baru belajar Usuluddin dah terasa macam wali. Tolonglah pakcik pencen, bacaan pakcik pun banyak yang tak betul - kalau nak ikut hukum tajwid, semua yang pakcik baca tu salah. 
Unfortunately, I'm not the kind who pick up a fight with old men like the pensioners. And so I let them be. Instead of confronting them, I reckon I write about them in a blog like this. Insya'Allah, I hope they will continue coming to the masjid until the 6th year. By then they'll change into a better person. A pensioner usually comes to the masjid the first 3 years. After that they go missing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Suruh Kerja Dia Main. Suruh Main, Dia Main-Main.

A lot of people don't read NST these days for reasons I'm not authorized to think about it. You will find NST in my house any time of day. I also read Utusan Malaysia even though a lot of people consider this not a good idea anymore now that the political landscape has changed. I'm not authorized to make a decision regarding this so I'm left to do what I want and to read whatever newspaper I want. Which is why I love this country very much and I don't appreciate those who seem to have their heart and mind set to destroy the country any way they can. A lot of people nowadays read alternative newspapers because these stuff are more in tuned with their political preference.
I read newspapers for real news. Like the news of the trainee pilot who died and the other seriously injured during their routine training flight which the investigators have found out that they had been involved in a cat and mouse chasing game, and in the process breaking all the aviation rules that got them into trouble when one of them flew the aircraft too low and crashed into the jungle.
I know a lot of pilots. Those who fly commercial jetliners. Those who fly oil riggers to the offshore rigs. Those who fly people from the mapping department. Those who fly the chopper to check on traffic situation during Hari Raya rush. I like the idea of being a pilot. As a matter of fact I'm seriously considering imitating what Leonardo does in the move 'Catch Me If You Can' just so I get to put on a pilot uniform, preferably Pan Am just like in the movie. So you can quite understand if I am rather angry with the way those trainee pilots took to the sky in their trainer aircraft and fly it as they would race a kapcai down Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman beginning from Maju Junction to Globe Silk Store.
They must have been mat rempit before they decided to become pilots. You know what they say, old habits die hard. Come to think of it, it's better that their career is cut short before they become real pilots, flying real passenger jetliners and racing among themselves in the sky as if the whole flying game is a big time rempit game in the sky.
Yes, I'm hoping that they would be disqualified from ever being a pilot because I don't think I like the idea of having that kinda pilot flying the airplane with me, women and children playing passengers in the cabin.
Once I had to brief a group of fresh recruits about the safety aspects on the offshore platform. Midway thru my explanation, three clowns were making fun of what I was saying even though I had been very patient with their stupid jokes from the start. I tried to impress upon them that the safety of each and every individual on the rig depends on their right attitude towards safety and paying attention to the hazards that could lead to serious trouble like fire. But they weren't listening. And so I grabbed the collar of the guy who talked too much for his own good and shouted down his throat that I'd throw him out into the sea right now if he is not interested to listen to what I'm saying. A big burly Norwegian friend who had been watching the show from the start volunteered to say - Bergen (not my real name), lemme throw him off for you. That got the rest of them to listen.
Once, someone said this to me which I hate to reproduce here but I have to;
Melayu - disuruh kerja dia main. Suruh main, dia main-main.
p.s Those trainee pilots could be Top Gun materials which got me into thinking, maybe they enrolled in the wrong pilot school.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Fat Bonus.

Time to write me a fat check, put it in the self-addressed envelope, drop it in the post-box and wait for a couple of days for the postman to come around on his bike to slot the self-addressed envelope in my mail-box. I open the envelope to say to myself wow! a year-end bonus, what a nice way to bring the year to an end even though year-end is a good two months away to go. Who's to stop me from writing me a fat check so I can go to a nice mall to buy me a present to feel good about what a year it has been even though it's any body's guess what's in store for us next year now that stock markets all around us are going down like flies intoxicated by insect spray like Bygone or Ridsect. So while my money is still good as gold, I reckon it's best that I spend it to help lubricate the economy because accountants around me keep telling me you gotta spend money in order to keep the economy going. I don't usually listen to accountants because had it not for their expertise and clever advice, we wouldn't' be in this fine financial mess people say is worse than 1930s depression.
I understand economy just fine. And I don't need no high profile, overseas graduated accountants to tell me how to make money, and how to save money and how to spend it. I learnt from Aunt a simple rule: you make a dollar, keep 70 sen, spend 3o sen. And never buy things on credit. So far this rule works for me just fine but Aunt isn't here no more to tell me not to go into a store selling all kinds of TVs that I'm dizzy with temptations to buy everything in the store including the store clerk who talks non-stop that I'm inclined to wrap him up like a mummy with duct tape. But he's a good store clerks who knows his trade which got me to remind myself to go see his manager to give him a raise because it's very seldom you meet a store clerk who knows his stuff, not to mention very polite.
And I'm thinking of giving away my TVs to a charity home so the old folks there can have a good time watching their favorite programs. As a bonus to my good-hearted angel that I am, I reckon I deserve a 72" LCD TVs with a first class monster cable, and a spanking new DVD player with superb features and a new set of HDMI cable so I can watch the shows crispy clear as melamine free biscuits.
But I'm thinking, do I need a new TVs? Why should I be the guy burden with the responsibility to help lubricate the economy? Why can't the politicians do it instead of me? Now that I'm thinking like this, I see the store clerk talking away like a Greek orator-senator but I can't hear a word he's saying. And so I say to him, lemme go check if my check is fat enough. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to write me another check - a fatter one because a 72" LCD TVs don't come cheap as a kilo of lamb, or a box of muesli cereal.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Monsoon Tale.

Come October Dungun is all set to welcome the first monsoon headwind out of the farthest end of the South China Sea. If you know your monsoon like you know your way around Sungai Buaya, you'd have no trouble sleeping through the night while the coconut trees around the house dance violently as if in a trance; creating such a racket you'd think the world is coming to an end but you know better that it is not because you pray hard for a long life to see another day to play in the waves of the first day of monsoon.

Aunt gets up from sleep to check things around the house, making sure every piece of batik sarung still damp from the day's washing is pegged tight to the clotheslines that crisscross between one end of the veranda, to the other end, and crisscross many times over from this end to the other. I know my monsoon like I know the stories of men lost at sea. First the headwind comes on hard from the East to brush the roof off in a giant sweep. Coconut trees cracking at the base, the fronds blowing upwards like hair undone from sleep. And then the rain. It comes in a violent, angry spray, slamming itself against the windows to wake you up from sleep waiting for Aunt to come over to check on you. You try hard not to be afraid because you know better real men are not afraid of monsoon.

You hear Grandma asking Aunt if the windows are latched good. Aunt says you go back to sleep now, everything is all right. I get up to go look for Aunt, walking about in the dark towards the door that leads to the veranda all the time calling out to her that it gets to her quite a bit to say what are you doing walking about like a lost ghost in the dark? I wish she didn't say that because now that she did, I'm thinking about a lost ghost walking about the house with a torchlight searching for me so it can yank me from the house into the monsoon where I'll never find my way home ever again.

I follow Aunt to her room because no way I'm going back to mine now that I know there's a lost ghost about the house. Aunt says you go to sleep now and be quiet. I sleep in her bed, my back against the wall, leaving no space even for an infant ghost to get in between. I curl up into a ball to bury my face on Aunt's bosom feeling so safe nothing in the world can ever get to me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For One Last Time...

If you are gonna explain to me for one last time about how all this economic meltdown came about, you'd better have yourself a stronger drink than coffee because who knows,  your blood might shoot up so high now that you've explained it to me for the sixth or seventh time but I still don't get it. 
I'm not trying to discourage you from explaining further but lemme you this; I know one of two teachers who came down with high fever because they made a mistake of thinking that given the right motivation or inspiration, a hopeless student like me could be nurtured to become a decent guy with a decent brain. And so they encouraged me to take a bit of interest in my studies because they believed in me. Frankly, I don't know why they have such a firm belief in me that I could be someone when I know who I wanted to be - and that is to be a truck driver and to marry 4 women at any given time - just like Uncle who had 16 wives in his lifetime total. He drove the one-way Bukit Besi train and he got 16 wives. I figured if I drive a truck, I'll have me all the roads in my Malaysia to ply from one place to another. With a bit of charm and smile, I could double that to having 36 wives total in my lifetime. Now THAT is an achievement. But those teachers don't get it and so they came down with high fever when I kept failing in class. They didn't get it that I didn't want to keep up. I was too busy thinking about trucks. And wives. And all they wanted was for me to stay focused in my Maths, Science, Geography, History and stuff I didn't really care about because I know better that I don't have the brain for stuff like that.
Just as I don't have the brain to understand the real meaning behind the concept people have conveniently termed as 'economic meltdown'.
You'd better have a full bottle of what you're drinking if you plan on explaining things to me because I'm beginning to see trucks, trains, ships and women.