Speaking with a little guilt


Me and Abah my siblings always say; have a lot of things in common. We both can talk on so many perspectives in regard to certain issues - politically, socially, legally and others that seem less intriguing to the rest of our family members. We fancy Tan Sri P.Ramlee and not just that, he introduced to me my favourite songs of Rokiah Wandah, Oslan Hussein and Normadiah. As much as I love him and am proud to have similarities with this old man, however, I cannot agree with him with a lot of other things too especially those related to his choice of colors, arts, images, words, holiday plans and hobbies. I would easily get annoyed whenever he opened his mouth for the ‘wrong’ choice he made and I would ridicule, especially when those decisions took a hold of other people.

Take this for instance - my father loves fishing. I do not. I am actually not sure if ever anyone besides Abah in this family loves fishing. But each time this old man proposed for a fishing trip, everyone nodded immediately but later disagreed behind his back. The itinerary of the fishing trip will give Abah and fishing rods the brightest spotlight as no other things will be part of it. The trip, which bulldozed on everyone, was nonetheless enjoyed by Mama as everyone will have the best time spent with each other along with gossiping of course. Mama’s best approach is to agreeing with everything her husband puts her into and when the right time comes, she will calmly confront and express her thoughts. I am bad at it and I don’t like to wait for the right time to come. Being the most outspoken in the family, I blatantly will tell Abah why I don’t want to go fishing. I will fight for my rights. But, Abah is not only the proposer but also the decision-maker so the end-result is a no-surprise. I at least have expressed what I feel and that’s what matters to me.

Yesterday, when we were in car, Mama put her lipstick and babbled on the wrong color she bought. Abah later showed Adik’s red chili Myvi and said, “This color is nice. Next time buy this color.” I was beyond annoyed (I get annoyed over him easily) and said, “Abah definitely has the worst taste ever.” What my sister said after that left me in silence, “But Abah married Mama. Abah chose Mama. How could you say he has the worst taste?”

I was wrong. It’s not easy to admit this but this time, yeah, I lost to Abah. 

Last night he knocked on my door just to ask, “What is Pribumi in English? Is it ‘Native’?” It was 12:20AM and I was at that time half-awake. I frowned and replied, “Is that really urgent?” He just left and said nothing. Kecik hati. Immediately after that, I stood up, reached my phone that was charged a little distant. I sent to him one short and sweet message: 

Pribumi = Indigenous

Our relationship is unique. But really, what is a relationship without love, a little hatred and a lot of irritations?


Promises



“These days, lies and silence are two greatest sins in human society, you might say. In reality, we tell lots of lies, and we often break into silence.

However, if we were constantly talking year-round, and telling only the truth, truth would probably lose some of its value.” Hear The Wind Sing, Haruki Murakami

With the election’s hype coming back to stream, all manifestos presented to rakyat surely caught the brightest spotlight. Looking at my timeline, people my age have been discussing the contemporary interests in parallel with the equivocal promises shouted by all parties. Some talk about free education, some hope for better health subsidy, of financial security and properties too. Whatever that has been discussed on the social media, it emphasizes the significant values of election.

As everyone notices as well, there are same manifestos presented again just like during the previous election campaign. No doubts that the implementation has not initiated given the five years to rule, whether they needed some more time or they never intended to initiate, the high-yielding hopes broke people’s hearts. While having a chat with Abah on all these, Abah came up with his best horse sense – “Manifesto ni macam KPI. Kalau tak boleh buat, jangan letak.” I totally can relate.

Setting up my KPI for this term, I had to attend at least four discussions - first and second with Department Manager, third and forth with the Head of Department. There were reasons why four discussions before we could finalize it, but the most prominent justification was the subject of capability and persistence.

Seeing my first draft, they questioned dints of restricted resources that might challenge my ability to execute all the plans before I could come to fruition. When I first thought I could manage the impeccable agendas, I only realized later that I do not have the reputed capability; even though the MacGyver-style had already been installed in my mind. I cannot make the magic happen. This KPI finalization process solidifies the essence of plan execution; that is capability. I do not have succinct capability definition as it is true to different situations and objectives. However, I do notice some manifestos presented sound peculiar to my ears they should be sanctioned the same as MLM modus operandi – selling the ‘too good to be true’ as their law of attraction.

Some time last month, I attended a fire safety short course at workplace. The speaker, Mr. Kannan from Bukit Jalil Fire Station some parts along the way mentioned about the humongous expectation from public. That is understandable and nothing-strange in my mind which I could relate with my father’s profession as a police officer. However, he further convinced, from year 2012 to 2017, firemen were urged to come within 10 minutes after the emergency call with or without being affected by traffic jam in Kuala Lumpur. That was ridiculous but Mr. Kannan said they succeeded. But this year, due to whopping newspaper headers featuring fire tragedies, public tension caused these public servants to putting maximum of 8 minutes to reach accident location. Mr. Kannan brutally said, “It is insane but we do not have any other options.”

It occurs to me badly how ironic the situations are - one party drafts KPI based on what he thinks can be executed but fails, eventually. Another party has been given KPI without options, but succeeds. Capability varies; hence there is persistence to push you forward.

Persistence on the other hand is firm and obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Just like how Muslims believe in istiqamah, persistence takes hold to the pursuit of istiqamah. But persistence is not trying things twice or three times or even four times. Persistence is continuing until you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is time to move on and collect the lessons from the failure. Persistence is ninety thousand ninety nineteen nine steps to the counter until a school is built.

But sure thing is, without such capability and persistence those promises are just equivalent to lie. After such non-execution of promises, people will either look at other people’s weakness to cover their ugly face or they will keep their mouths shut. And truth, where does the truth stand?

I spent approximately 10-minutes watching the election campaign video featuring YB Khairy Jamaluddin and Vanidah Imran as husband and wife on Youtube. In the video, both happened to blab on the consequences of changing the government thanks to the nonsensical ideas BN has always playing to attract rakyat Malaysia. They do what they are best at – establishing fear, doubts and hesitation in rakyat’s minds without having cerebration to do better. However, one part of the video triggered my emotion when KJ mentioned indirectly that the ‘existing’ party has flaws and did terrible mistakes too. I spoke to Abah on the gist of the video which Abah later told me that after all, the UMNO members knew but they did nothing. They are responsible for contributing for the mistakes to happen and their silence is the greatest sin.

We are approaching to the mid of the year which my KPI review will be done in a month from now. Wish me luck.

The Wall Tapping



“They were as obdurate as rocks. I have always observed that the female, who seems to have been made for tenderness, and piety, and moral courage, when really depraved and fallen, is not only the wickedest, but the hardest and unmanageable of beings.” – James Bradley Finley

Object A.

Object A who has always been admired by people around her for her kindness, pretty face and independence burst out one day that she was ready to get married. She was known single-handedly for more than 7 years after a miserable breakup with someone cleped Babun. 15 years ago, when I was in school, Object A came to visit me at school with Babun. I hated Babun immediately after saw him for the first time. Babun proved to me and Object A’s family that he is a Babun indeed when he defrauded Object A’s father of money worth 10,000 Ringgit. Babun after that left Object A without any explanation. Just like Baboon, his razor-sharp canines left deep scar and it is not something easily forgiven by everyone. Object A suffered crestfallenly and dramatically later, left her family and moved to Seremban.

Fast forward to 7 years later, Object A revealed the happy news to everyone. We were more than contended, thinking that our beloved Object A has finally moved on from her past. The engagement was held in brisk and lively with attendance from hundreds of people – relatives from near and afar, neighbors and good friends. People came to greet her, took pictures with her and prayed for her because besides Object A, everybody who knew her, not just knowing herself but also her life and stories. Some months after, came the serious meeting between parents of future groom and bride to decide on the wedding date. Object A’s father was surprised to know that at that moment, the fiancé was not working, told blatantly by his parents. All these while, Object A and family were deceived. This time around, the father thought of applying mercy and compassion consideration. Object A’s father told the fiancé to find a decent job before the wedding and to show to him that the fiancé is capable of taking care his precious daughter. The father granted him a great value of chance, priced his own child.

From time to time, the fiancé received extremely absolute support from Object A’s family, considering that he will be part of the family soon and just like everybody else, he should not be forsaken. Coming to the biggest day of her life, Object A shook more like a maple leaf but she could not differentiate whether it was a good sign or a bad one. She begged to God, “Make this person a person I am worth to him and he is worth to me. Make this person to discover the best in me and I too to discover the best in him. Make this person a person I deserve to respect and I always respect him. But God, if this person is not someone worth to me, never has interest to explore the best me nor he respects me, show me the light.”

To this date, Object A and husband have been married for a year with one son. During more than twelve months, husband changed job twice. It is also obvious that Object A sighs around us often. Due to husband’s bad working attitude, husband frequently throws tantrum at home with deep vexation and annoyance. Such work problem contributes to poor household management, especially fulfilling to wife and son’s needs. Understanding husband’s difficulty, Object A’s family has been tolerating and letting them stay with the family until the husband can afford a better home. Object A has been keeping all the tensions to herself, worse blamed herself of such incapability to comfort husband's emotions and struggle. She told me that she is the biggest disappointment to her husband. Sadly, husband has no sense of appreciation nor he tries to fix this situation. With one child now, he simply neglects his responsibility as a father cum a husband, as he knows whatever happens Object A's family is here to provide the necessity. Object A starves for husband's affection, attention and approval yet receives nothing. Object A is deeply exhausted, depleted and worn.

Throughout my life to this date, I knew a lot of women who were mistreated badly in marriage, either by the husband, in-laws, environment, economic and politics. This rising rate of women’s incarceration in their marriage and the abuse make it imperative of this story to be told. Rarely, the understatement of this typical case has not been exceptionally focused, unless you are a celebrity and being featured in Melodi every Sunday. Object A is a living testimony to counteract what husbands in Malaysia have been thinking - of their supremacy and alpha male power. There are worse cases, sadly unheard, unusually clear interplayed between perception among society members and the doctrine of submission to husbands.

Reflecting people’s views on such mistreatments on social media, I feel strange to admit that these women are put under the concrete ground to be stepped and disrespected. With the constant perception and negative doctrine, these women now are recognized as objects of interest.

I hold no grudges to anyone’s husbands neither I wish bad things to happen to them, but the conscience in me prays for all women’s happiness and this suffer shall now stop.

And to Object A, remember your prayer to God? It is now the time to make justice, especially to your child.

Penghinaan


If you are following me on LinkedIn and other social platforms, you would have known that I changed job, again.

Since 2012 until now, my current job at International Medical University is the forth within five years. The dire determination of changing job extends each time, depending on the situation within that organization but if I could insist you with my chain of swift-logic, I would say there were, a lot of times, droughts of satisfaction – and if anyone dares to ask, “What will give you the ultimate satisfaction?” I would say, “Writing.”

I want to write stories and at least two novels in a year. However, truth is, I cannot now and maybe never earn a living by my writing even though that is the one profession I want. Just like how Sylvia Plath wrote in The Unabridged Journals – What if our work (writing) isn’t good enough? We get rejections. Isn’t this the world’s telling us we shouldn’t bother to be writers? How can we know if we work now hard and develop ourselves we will be more than mediocre? Isn’t this world’s revenge on us for sticking our neck out? We can never know until we’ve worked, written. We have no guarantee we’ll get a Writer’s Degree. Weren’t the mothers and businessmen right after all? Shouldn’t we have avoided these disquieting questions and taken steady jobs and secured a good future for the kiddies?

Writers I know, cannot enjoy quite the same luxury as professionals. I wrote before the doubts I had in my mind whether I wanted to write for money. However living in this century, where money gives you a pinch of happiness, it would be an injudicious move to set that one enormous hesitation aside. Having written all these, I wonder why cannot writers earn just as enough as professionals. Enough is subjective which the term and its application vary according to ideal prosperity one thinks. In my case, I am honestly, greedy. 

No one seems to be willing to question the obvious discrimination our country at large has been practicing since secondary school – science students’ excellence matters compared to art students. This is highly unusual if we ever turn to how our neighbor, Indonesia utilizes their talents in every corner of all islands. Meanwhile in Malaysia, science and technology have an admirable reputation for what we call national development. In such rapidly poisonous force, attempts to foster Malay language as linguistic culture and enforcement seem ludicrous. We had become habituated to neglect what art students can achieve and contribute to this country, hence the result, art people are paid lower for their talents, skills and knowledge. 

There is an underlying theme – that of discrimination. Now it wouldn’t matter if I were alone in this respect. However, I know I am not.

I leave you with one puisi by Usman Awang, Penghinaan;

Bagi kami besi tiadalah erti
kerana besi hancurnya pasti
darah dan hati permainan suci
padanya cinta-kasih termetrai.

Siapa datang memberi kuasa pada cinta
hei penyair, puisimu tiada guna
tutup lembaranmu yang berkhayalan saja
duniamu asing dari keriuhan maya.

Betapa kosongnya dada mereka
hatinya buta matanya terbuka
Sedang dunia kami yang mengisinya
segala warna kami yang mempunyainya
Kami bukan dewa terbang mengembara
kami pengisi dunia dan dunia memberi kami
segala kasih semua derita yang dipunyainya

Luasnya dunia kami sejauh sinat matari
padanya nafas kami menerima dan memberi
cinta-kasih dan kemanusiaan sejati
bukan sekadar gembong menonjolkan diri

New York cheese cake sad story



I cannot sleep.

Five years ago, a week before my ex-boyfriend finally exclaimed the hallucinated sparks between us, I celebrated his birthday. In my purse, I only had RM120.00 before I could go back home after completing a course in Kemaman. With that small amount of money to survive another week there, I bought him a whole Secret Recipe cake priced RM89.90. He loved New York cheese cake and that was what I always be reminded with. I had never bought any cake before, not even for myself, and it was much too expensive for me, as that time I just started working but I bought it still - with the advance pay my office gave to me. I only realised after the birthday celebration that I didn't have enough money to go back home. I felt dry and a wee bit sick a little at first but later I cursed myself when I had a fight with him. A week after that, he left me after five years of long distance relationship. He left me the moment we discovered means of seeing each other better than the university years.

I wasted my money, he enjoyed the cake. I never liked a cheese cake from that night only until now. Tonight, I feel like having a bite of New York cheese cake.

This story of New York cheese cake isn't a selling point of a miserable stupid me but a fear of not succeeding in the relationship I always wish which is the worst blow to security. I told myself several times while writing this, "Out of it, Sheriel. This is the monumental obstacle you created." I even asked me, "You want to live by past reputation?"

Would it sound wrong of me to say: I want? But I do want: a happy love story consisting of two human beings appreciating each other or having someone with wisest sense to not leave the girlfriend (immediately) after she bought a RM89.90 cake. I want more than a happy love story. I want to be alive, seen and heard.

I forgave him long time ago, for deserting me. Last year I heard, he married a doctor and perhaps now expecting a baby. I don’t know. I never had any intentions to be updated with his life. I moved on. But tonight, let’s put the blame on New York cheese cake.

“Would you have the guts to admit you’d made a wrong choice?”, asked by so many people. I didn’t simply answer. How could I know that the choices I made were all wrong until he proved himself so. I liked his warmth, bigness and being-there. I liked his jokes, stories and what he read. I baked cookies and cake, delivered to his campus every raya without failed. All my likings were effort too. I compromised to bear with his weakness, afterall he is just a human being. Was I not good enough? So how could such efforts turn suddenly into a wrong choice just because it was not a successful relationship?

I got rejected by him saying that, “I don’t feel the sparks anymore.” I had no guarantee from the very beginning that how hard I tried and developed myself, it was all just more than mediocre.

Of efforts and relationship, of forgiveness and moving on, of writing and craving – I should have just started my engine, perhaps by now I’d found New York cheese cake at any store available at 2:00am, or, it is just as impossible as having love in return.



A little adrift in Japan (Part 1)


Now, how do I begin?

Before everything else, ‘adrift’ defines our journey in Japan the best. We experienced weird cluelessness, de trop disorientation, and several occasions of losing Google map’s bearing (on serious note, couldn’t even identify south, north, east, and west) and very poor estimation of the distance – despite those wonderstruck moments we ever had. We looked, listened, and observed our surroundings carefully, enthusiastically. Gladly, we made till the end even with a serious incident happened in Osaka. Afterall, our Japan trip was full of stories and surprises.

After several discussions and fixing of flight, accommodation, internal transports, itinerary, petty and critical stuffs, Kuncup, Leen and myself were ready to go. I had the humongous nervous so dubiously, I packed and repacked my clothes at least more than five times. My friend, Izzati who went to Japan umpteenth, besides lent some gears also gave me an advice, “You don’t need the whole wardrobe to be taken with you. It is winter.” Well of course I didn’t listen to her. So now, you can imagine the headache and pain to carry 20kg bag on my shoulder every time we transported from one place to another.

Everything was set so on the 25th December, we assembled at KLIA and were too excited to depart.

Before the running, sweats and curses.

It was an eight hours flight and we couldn't sleep along the way. There was a wailing kid who was annoyed with everything; her mom included. The entire flight, I sat by the window and looked down at the scenery. Approaching twilight, the sky was very beautiful. The red sky stretched far and endless wide it made my thoughts wandered to too many directions. It was really a good distraction.


The night on the same day, we reached Haneda International Airport. It was almost midnight and the airport, like others, full with people around the world sitting and sleeping on the benches. Like us, dozens were coming, going and looking for a place to spend the night. The pilots and stewardesses, strutting back and forth in the lobby with heads held high, all familiar. I couldn't help to see and get outside of the airport to have a different view. But at that time, what mattered the most was a private space. We climbed up to the highest level and slept on floor before the shops. It felt strange and hesitating at first, but after a few minutes, people started to chock. I considered that as something normal. I didn't tell my parents this part of course until today. To my siblings/cousins who read, this is just between us, ok?

And good morning! It was time, to finally explore Tokyo. It was breezing cold. The morning air turned steadily cooler upon approaching the train station. We could hear the winds clearly. We got out the map from Airport Information Counter and it helped us a lot, even though the overlapping subway, train and bus lines was all complicated like a misshapen spiderweb. As we went out early in the morning, we were smack in the middle of a train with hundreds people roaming to work, classes and personal business. What people say about Japaneses walking culture, it is all true. They walk fast. What you will see in the video as well, how effortless they formed line and queued up for escalator at Shinjuku Station (if I'm not mistaken) and another video of people crossing road at the most busiest crosswalk in the world at Shibuya.





And let me tell you one more time, it was very cold. There was no sun and the wind grew brisker and meaner as we stepped further. We covered pretty much of tourist attractions in Day 1. Let pictures present the words, shall them?













Since we already arranged and planned to check-in at 8pm, we only made move to our stay around that time. At Ikebukuro Station, we were bewildered of not knowing which direction to go to our Airbnb when the Google Maps suddenly stopped responding - made us even more clueless. There was a lady walking with her bicycle behind Leen to go back home which at that time we decided to ask her for direction. Instead of just showing us the direction, she warmly had a conversation with us and kindly walked with us to our place. It was almost 3km walk but she made it possible - with her laugh and very kind hospitality.

At one junction where we parted, we asked for a photograph and in return, she gave us a small box of cookies. Dumbfounded we were, we are until now. This will be a story that we will not forget until forever. Yuyi taught us a lesson that the practice of random kindness brings out one's beauty at its best. Yuyi has it.


 See you at Part 2.

Talking siblings


With five posts this month and now writing the sixth, my youngest sister questioned the state of my mind and feelings. To her, I only write here when I am at wits' end, in a cul de sac and never when I am happy. I am not sure whether it is true because indeed, some anecdotes were written intensely with a little teary. But I also believe that everything in life is writable when your imaginations have the guts to improvise, so do experiences attached to you and even without these, your daily routines can be as interesting as hedonic journals. It is your writing. You have all the choices. This favourite youngest sister is talented at ensuring myself to be at my best condition, although sometimes she's worried more than my mother. Now that she is graduating, I cannot believe she is approaching adulthood soon. She has expectations of what this working world will offer and I want her to learn every steps she's going to take. I can guarantee, she will be doing just fine.

17th August today - marks the 25th birthday of my brother. He deserves one part of my perfect loves and I shall always love him. He has good hearts. He is handsome and strong too. Though I expressed a lot of times how I hated him but in my deepest emotions, I think of him as the second best male in the world. We barely have proper conversations in this house. He has his own world. I guess that is what most of the boys love to do - being in their own world. But he sometimes took risks and stepped outside from his comfortable tenement and these were the times my joy and happiness overwhelmed. "Angah buat chocolate chip cookies?" He couldn't deny the smell and good taste. My brother convinced me even not directly - I am not the nervous insecure miserable idiot I was when the jerks left me. He told my mother that I have all the qualities a woman should have and the right man is finding his way to me. I was touched. A moment later when he texted me to remove his car as he blocked our neighbors', I cursed him and told him again - I hate you. With strong hate and love combo, I pray for him to always stay strong.

August so far is a kind month. It could be a reason too why I'm on a blog roll. Three weeks before, my eldest sister complained a lot about her great cramps, stirrings and waves of nausea. I asked whether she was pregnant but she said my excitement shouldn't have excused me to become ridiculous. Alright. She got married in January this year and all those questions of "Dah ada isi ke belum?" definitely disturbed her fattening calm and deliberately put herself into a self-pitying helpless state. I don't like that. She regressed terribly and ofttimes I could listen to her sobs in the toilet; pouring together with the shower but she lost it, I knew. We prayed a lot. We asked from God if that was a sign, make it very clear to us and if it was not, please make her feel better. A zenith of sorts happened few days later, she used the pregnancy test for the eleventh time when all the ten failed. Alhamdulillah. She and her baby both are goodly healthy.

People say that it is the strangers that are easiest to love because they do not demand. I rather wish my love to be difficult. When my people demand, I know because they care.