Wednesday, July 28, 2010


All tuned-up and serviced and ready for the weekend ride North...

You live. You die. You happy. You sad. You laugh. You cry. You don't have a choice. All you've gotta do is understand one thing; this here world isn't the hereafter. Unlike in the hereafter where things are permanent, things around here don't stay around long enough for you to be happy, or sad, before you are happy again, only to be sad once again one fine day when you least expect things to mess up. That's the way it is and you should get it and stop complaining, or become irritable when things don't go the way you plan. It's easy if you get it but I'm sorry to have to tell you that it is hard if you don't get it. If there's a good thing in not getting it, you are not alone. Million of decent men and women like you in this world don't get it and they are a good source of income for medical centers in the city to make money because those who don't get it are prone to stuff like high blood pressure, stress and depression and all of those things that can get you (if you don't get it).
It's easy to understand. It's a simple concept. You win. You lose. And then you win again, only to lose again. People will try to say nice things to you when you're down and out like; be strong. Or don't-worry-about-it-too-much-everything-is-going-to-be-okay. And people will say nicer things to you when you are up and about; you're-the-best. Or hey-you're-one-lucky-star. Or something like that. If you don't get it, you'd take all this with a heart big as a balloon thinking, I am cool. But if you get it, deep down inside you say; Alhamdulillah. Or Innalillahi wa 'inna ilaihiroji-oon (check your Tajwid - the Roman version of these phrases are meant for basic pronunciation only).
That's because you understand that good things that happen to you is short term. And bad things that happen to you is only temporary. Nothing is permanent in this here world, mate! Good things may last anywhere from 2 seconds to 20 years or more. Same thing with bad things. They may go on and on for years until one fine day when you least expect things to change, good things take over and all those bad things that you gotta face for 20 years are just memories.
It's easy if you get it. And hard if you don't. Wish I can help you but really, you gotta understand this thing yourself.
All I can say is, don't be too happy if good things happen to you. And don't be too sad if bad things happen to you. Good things, or bad things - they don't stay around long. Like you. You live. You die. You marry. You divorce. You marry again. And divorce again. And then who knows what's gonna happen.
Get it?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kuantan On The River

Westwards - upriver.
Eastwards - opens up to South China Sea. Tanjung Lumpur is on the other side - great seafood strip.
I love boats. I love sampan. I love them like I love ribeye steak.
Trawlers - I've never been on one of these. We don't have this type in Dungun. Maybe a few lately.
Tugboat going upriver hauling a barge. Used to love watching stevedores on a barge in Dungun in the 60s.

Sun coming up. My favorite time of the day. Actually I over slept and rammed up the shutter speed to darken the image. Photoshop will have to wait.

Kuantan used to be my kinda town but not anymore now that the girl I used to love with everything I got in the world is a distant memory that I can't, for the life of me, piece together something about her to even remember how she looked like. I used to have her photographs but who knows where I must have placed pictures of me and her in the kinda hair style back then when the hot bands were people like Bay City Rollers and Wynners or something like that that she liked very much but I didn't care very much about it because I wasn't into that kinda music but you know what love can do to you; it can make you like the music you don't like just because that's the kinda music she likes. And so you listened even though deep inside you wish you were somewhere else where you didn't have to listen to the music all that much because all you wanted to say to her was; will you marry me even though deep inside you knew better that it was impossible because you didn't have a job and you had no future going for you.

I used to like Kuantan very much but not anymore because it wasn't the clean town I used to know. But I like Kuantan On The River very much because the barge, the tugboat and the trawlers remind me that we are going some place even though we might not know for certain where that place is that we are going to but you can bet two of your eyes that we are going some place.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Falling In Love With The Wrong Woman Is Not Good For Ya.

When love comes knocking on your heart like a hungry woodpecker there's only two things you can do to save yourself from whatever it is that needs saving but as far as love goes, you'd best go along with the flow and let the love you've got for whoever it is you're falling in love with blossom into something completely senseless that you don't mind saying something like; I think I've fallen in love with you. You can go ahead use the Present Perfect Tense or whatever Tenses they've got in the English language, it doesn't really matter because you know better people in love have no time to think about Grammar or logic or accounting. Which explains why you don't keep tab on the way you spend your money on things you wouldn't normally do but you know better, people in love will buy anything including his own worn out shoes twice over for all he cares.
Of course love is a good thing to happen to me when I am feeling a little hungry in the belly because love can make me forget about being hungry for a couple of minutes when my mind is filled up to maximum load thinking about what I am going to say when I next see her in a new dress that I bought for her because I thought she would look a thousand times better in a dress every nice girl in the Avon catalogue is wearing. Of all the time in the world to think about all the nice things about her, I suddenly got mathematics thinking about whether the dress is of the right size or is it two sizes larger. This thing can make or break a relationship, especially if the woman in question has been going to Fitness First to get into shape and you come along with a dress two size larger. She might take it differently like thinking you're making fun of her trying to stay in shape even though staying in shape is probably the hardest thing to do right now than trying to cap the oil spill especially when just one floor below the gym there's a good deli selling nice looking danish and pastries that look too good to be left alone uneaten.
And so I am thinking to myself whether I should go get another dress that's two sizes smaller. But this also got me thinking she might take it differently and surmise that I am trying to make fun of her trying to stay in shape which is probably the second hardest thing to do than trying not to buy all the danish and pastries from the deli one floor below the gym.
That's what love can do to you. It can make you think about things you wouldn't normally think about and imagine about things that you would otherwise never have imagined in your adult life. But this is love and it does things to you that can be uncanny in many ways than a thousand, or a million.
And so I'm thinking to myself to take a ride to Pendangshire and go see someone but I am thinking this isn't such a good idea on account I have to call someone to say sorry about the dress.
And so I call and she said: What dress?
Now I gotta remember the courier company I paid to send the dress to but most importantly I gotta remember whether I had written the right address. Love can do this thing to you but I don't mind one bit because love makes me feel like a million Malaysian Ringgit which is as good a currency as any in the world.
Did I send the dress to Sungai Bakap address? Now I need to hire a private investigator but the last time I heard he is in London and no one can get to him because he doesn't have a forwarding address, or a phone number.
Love can make you do funny things but it can make you feel absolutely great that you don't mind being a little funny. Or completely stupid. Which is a good thing to feel every now and then.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Truth About Cancer

You don't hear nothing what the doctor is saying after you heard him say it is soft tissue sarcoma, the kinda cancer that kinda difficult to detect because it moves in the bloodstream. You've heard so much about cancer that you figure no way this thing can get to you but it does that your mind just goes blank and the whole world is blackened out that you stand there like a man; no not like a man, but like a broken furniture waiting to be thrown away into the garbage heap. You feel completely helpless because you know fighting this thing is a losing battle, but you being you, look at the doctor with a smile and keep thinking to yourself, maybe I'm the lucky guy. Maybe I can win this. Maybe if I don't think about it I might win. Maybe it might go away. Maybe nothing is gonna happen. Even if something does happen you promise yourself it won't stop you from doing the things you've always wanted to do and you are gonna start doing it right away.
And so you leave the doctor with the report from the pathologist sealed in a thick yellow file and say to yourself, so be it.
It is difficult to accept at first that you've got cancer. But after an hour or two, you learnt to let it go and not worry about it too much because really, there's nothing you can do about it.
And then the news spread and people come up to you with all kinds of stuff they say are good for you and that many have gotten over it and are doing exceedingly well that they are now enjoying life like never before. Some have even married two, or three and four. Good for them. When they go down maybe they can get the wives to bicker among themselves who get the biggest share of the wealth he leaves behind, if he has any left after having to pay for all the herbs that people say are the ultimate cure for cancer.
Different people react differently after having been told that you got cancer. You meet those who got so depressed that they gave up living. And you also meet those who got excited to fight it out with everything they've got that they become more knowledgeable about cancer than an oncologist will ever learn in his/her lifetime. And then you've got those like me, who can't be bothered with it because it is just another form of disease - which may or may not be as serious as meningitis or high blood pressure or heart disease or diabetes or what have you these days that can kill you.
I don't remind myself that I've got cancer. What I do remind myself is life can be taken away from you in a second with or without cancer.
Am I the type who fights it out? I don't think so. Does that mean I've given up on hope that I will be cured? I really don't know because cured or otherwise, what matters most is I live each day to the fullest and not worry about things like cancer.
The truth about cancer? Why would I be interested in the truth about cancer when it is just one of life's inconveniences, like something that got in your eyes, or a slight fever.

Monday, July 19, 2010

We Go Down Good.

I can't tell for sure if old folks are no longer dying of old age. I don't get to hear about them go down as often as I hear about folks as young as in their 20s dying of ordinary things like headache, chest pain, indigestion and pneumonia. I don't hear about old folks dying of serious illnesses like the head exploding into a fireball.
In less than sixty days, I got the SMS about three young folks in their 30s who went down in their sleep, leaving behind a life they had lived up to their age, and the missus with children still in their pre-school. One went down with pneumonia leaving behind his daddy and mommy in their 60s who had to get over losing the only son they had hoped he'd marry a nice girl, have children and live the life of a middle income married couple in an egalitarian society where everything we own is gotten by credit.
I also received an SMS from a dad who had lost his son in a car accident coming home from watching football game with friends at a mamak corner. A young kid barely into his 20s leaving behind a mommy who could no longer cry for losing a son she had hoped to grow up to be a man, a husband and a dad like his daddy but all that is gone in second.
Young folks, like you. Not me. Because I am as old as the old man can get and like all the old men my age, I got almost everything a man my age is supposed to have like blood pressure that's a little on the high side that I gotta pop Exforge to control it. Cresto to control the bad cholestrol. But these are not doing me any good because I keep eating what I like to eat and I run and swim and cycle whenever I can, but I know for sure all this is not enough to bring back all the vigor of my youth. All I can hope is to be able to do the things I do while I can and hope that I go down before my muscles do me in. But I know for sure I can only hope. What's in store for me, I really have no idea.

I visited kamabakar while writing this and learnt about Dalilah aka Raden Galoh. She texted me about how I gotta eat well to undergo chemo. About the Ayat Qur'an she recited to help her through. About cancer. About being strong. About fighting it out. About the things I needed to know about how to deal with cancer. Thank you, ma'am.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Me and Grandma Talk About The End Of The World.

Grandma says you've been a perfect boy the whole day today. All I can say is, I know. And I think as far as I am concerned, the world can end today, right at this very minute before Grandma and I turn in for the night. Aunt is still in the kitchen banging about the pots and pans she will be using first thing tomorrow morning to cook all the things she knows how to cook very well to sell to the hungry boys during recess as Sekolah Laki-Laki Dungun. I am not about to think about what is going to happen tomorrow morning because if the world doesn't come to an end tonight, come tomorrow Aunt will wake me up from my sleep, carry me to the trishaw for me to continue my sleep all the way to the school until she will have to carry me again so I can continue to sleep in the back room of the school canteen. Which is why I wish the world would come to an end tonight.

Grandma says you've done all the good things a boy your age can do. You followed me to the masjid during Subh, and you stayed with me when I read the qur'an. You followed me to the market without complaining. You were quiet and obedient. You didn't ask for toys. All the makcik traders at the market have nothing but nice things to say about you. They wish they had a boy like you. You followed me to the masjid for Zuhr. You slept. And then you woke up to follow me to the masjid for Asr. And you continued to follow me to the masjid for Maghrib and Isya'. All the time you prayed behind me in the women section, but that's okay because you are still a young boy. My friends at the masjid too said you are such good boy they wish they had a grandson like you. I am so proud of you. And Aunt too is so very proud of you.

When grandma says this to me, I wish time just stand still and never move a minute forward. And I wish the world just come to an end because I deserve heaven since I've been such a good boy all day, and night. Come tomorrow, I am not sure if I can do all the things I have done today all over again. Who knows, come tomorrow I will do completely the opposite and the world comes to an end and I will be thrown straight to hell. But tonight I will sleep hoping the world will come to an end so Aunt and Grandma and Cousin can all be in heaven with me.

Tonight as I write this, I am the one left. And I miss them very much....