Tuesday 31 August 2010

..who's minding the environment?..

..53 years on........

..we are too busy calling others heretics..
..busy slinging mud at each other..
..to score our political points..

..finger lake, Pantai Irama..stifled to death..
..where  once the water was green..
..finger lake Pantai Irama..to hide the scene a fence
was erected around it..what you cannot see cannot hurt..
..on the left is the beach..
..Sungei Kemasin, Bachok..yes, this is a river..
a river slowly dying.. once it was
free flowing blue water...
..Sungei Kemasin, Bachok..a river strangled..
..Sungei Kelantan..the colour has been yellow for the
past two decades..right from the source of Nenggiri
to the estuary of Kuala Besar..should be renamed
the Yellow River of Kelantan..no prize for guessing
why it was so...

..when we should be throwing mud into the river..
..instead of at each other..

Monday 30 August 2010

..have you ever..

..I wrote this more then a year ago, when Ayam, our pet tabby delivered her litter of seven...

..have you ever wake up at five in the morning to pee, drowsy with interrupted sleep, you hear through the reigning silence noises at the back..only to discover that your pet tabby is in labour..? and for the next hour and a half you sat with her, through her labour and deliveries, stroking her head and womb, giving words of encouragement...and hearing the wheesh sound as a kitten emerged..?..seven in all..? and she looks up to you plaintively, licking her litter as she does..?

..Lord, with just one favour, You filled an ocean, held up the stars..and filled this cat's womb with 7 lives..

..sometimes cats showed more human traits than us..

Saturday 28 August 2010

..desert moon..

.. we all have our Desert Moon..a place and a time we wished we can go back to..

..wishing for those times when we were younger..yearning for those places that gave us joy and exhilaration...or that someone who was special..when love was just an ember..and life itself was tender..always magical..

...if there is one moment in time that I can go back to, it has to be 1957, when I was barely 13 and in Batu Gajah, Perak..school was just a walk down-hill from where home was..a huge, double-storey bungalow on Owen Road..and the object of puppy love was a girl named Hariah, a perpetually grinning kid from the next class..

..on the day Tunku shouted 'Merdeka!' in Kuala Lumpur, a place I had never been, I was one happy kid..Hariah signed my autograph book..

..Happy 53rd Merdeka Day, every one..

..May it be as joyous and as happy as it has always been for me..throughout the years...


Thursday 26 August 2010

..cats and such..

..there is always something about cats..
..that endears..

..Ayam, not too happy at Pakmat's reading of June Malik's blog..

..Pakteh doing the rounds with wife..a body-guard of sorts..

..Mekbu, our blind tabby..
..no, Cat-in-Sydney, I did not have her spayed..
..for I do not have the heart..
..her joy romping with her kittens is too much for me..
..let her be..for she cannot see..
..but can feel..
..Ayam, when Mekbu was but a kitten..

Tuesday 24 August 2010

..life as a polygamist..

..it is not easy..when you have two wives and try to live out your life between them, it is more like a high wire balancing act without the poles..it is easy to fall..

..they say the first year into polygamy you have to act deaf, sometimes dumb..blind, too, to the harangues and tirades from your first..most time you have to be thick-skinned..to the undertones and soft whispers whenever you are in company..for the minute it becomes known that you have two wives, your moral values, your integrity, even your sanity comes into question..

..I remember when I had two..

..I tried as best as I could to be fair..spending alternate nights between the two..and trying to be punctual..yet trying to spend more time with the first and less time with the second, for they are children this side and none yet on the other..it gets tricky, too.. there may be functions that you have to attend with the first on the days you should be with the second..it was one big juggling act..only with fire-sticks..

..you have to take care of your job, too..and give a little space for yourself..so, in truth, your are juggling between four needs..

..a sense of humour helps..enough to keep your wits about you and see the funnier side of things as you rushed to the other side as she called at two in the morning to tell you that your child had a fever or a fall and need immediate medical attention, and you were then still within the warm embrace of your second..

..P.Ramlee more or less nailed it when he said: 'Hidup susah...mati pun susah.."

Monday 23 August 2010

..there was a time..

.after some time,  life becomes humdrum and almost routine..after all those adjustments in the early years, you reached a plateau where most things are serene and calm..there are no blips in the radar and no storms in teacups..you just got used to each other..whilst most things are done in a tandem, labelled and categorised, there are no sudden rush of blood to the head or a fluttering of heart-beats..there are no excitement, either..even sex becomes routine..

..but once in a while..a touch becomes as fresh as a newborn's cheek..a whiff of familiar perfume suddenly intoxicates..and a smile becomes salacious..

..for there will always be a time when something in the way a wife looks...that will take a husband's breath away..yeah..

Sunday 22 August 2010

..your ex..

..sometimes, in my conversation with my children, their handphone would ring, I would query with my eye,  they would cup the phone and simply say, 'Your ex,' meaning their mother....and I would be a little bit nonplus at their nonchalance..I never  thought of her that way..definitely I did not go around referring to her as my ex...somehow it does not sound right..

'..what do you tell mama when I called..?'
'..your ex,' was the reply, straight-faced..

..sometimes I wished my children would called a spade, a spoon..

Saturday 21 August 2010

..nst and me..

..reading the NST has become a habit to this old coot..an addictive habit..no matter what other dailies that I have read, (almost all, 'cept for the Chinese and Tamil dailies), I must finished if off with the NST..a day is incomplete without it..seeing that I first begun to read it when I first learned how to read..and that was a lil bit more than 50 years ago..

..pakmat going through Chuan's copy, relaxing in front of his gold shop..
he and his wife were busy preparing paper nuggets of silver and gold..
for the Hungry Ghost Day on the 7th of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar..

..no matter who is helming it, no matter the slant, ( I simply ignored it)..I just continue reading it..for the news that I already knew from Malay dailies which I read earlier in the day, to its features and articles by its regular columnists like Kak Teh and Awang Goneng..they are excellent..and kept me abreast with most things happening around me..I think I became a bit knowledgeable because of it..

I depend on it for general information, on health, lifestyles and trivia..most times I agree with it..sometimes I don't..once I even wrote to it..and saw my letters published..but now I am just content with reading it...

..I loved reading the trivia part..like today..where it claimed that husbands who earn less than their wives are more likely to stray or be unfaithful..apparently there is less tendency for men to stray or be unfaithful if they are earning more than their wives..hmm..they should carry out such studies in Bachok...where generally the women are bringing in the rice packets..with the husbands content to loll about with some cows and goats..

..my wife is earning more than me from her little hair shop..but than, I have done enough straying..

Friday 20 August 2010

..Friday's news..

..news these days are more gory than tv or the movies..it is easy to gets depressed when reading them..instead of enlightenment, for news should be enlightening, we get into bouts of depression... we are told of father hacking wife to the death, daughter slashed off her two fingers..daughters, nieces, granddaughters being raped by their closest kins..not once, but over the years..and it is normal to read now about infants thrown everywhere like disposable napkins..children splashed with acid..children battered and hammered..

..maybe we should also ban newspapers for having too much violent content..or have it PG-rated..

..I think we failed..maybe we are paying for the glory of development and modernisation with a society that has lost its moral values..in our hurry to be top-gun, we forgot human development..we readily embraced new technology with not a thought towards social technology..we have our submarine, and our values as a society took a dive..we have become a hedonistic society..seeking all that is pleasurable..there is dollar in our eyes, and cold in our hearts..

..this old coot pined for the good old days..when there is warmth in a friendship and a general bonding among fellow humans..when creed, colour or race does not really matter..and children respect their elders...

Tuesday 17 August 2010

..meanwhile, on the way back from work..

..a stop at Bazaar Ramadan, Beris Kubur Besar, Bachok..

..for ordinary folks and old coots like me, they are a Godsend....to Chuan, the goldsmith and his family, too...they loved Ramadan, not because they fast, but because they had a gala time choosing and buying all those lauk pauk and kuih muih..

..it is feasting time, but in a limited way..we can change our menu every day and we do no have to spend RM100 per head..generally for a family of 5, it is RM15 to RM20 per day..cheap and delicious... 

..but you must be able to resist the smells, the aroma, the fumes..and the tantalising smiles that came along with .."colik, be, se ria jah...ko nok sup perut..?.."

..even old geezers are called 'abang' during Ramadan...

Monday 16 August 2010

..a burial..

..she was not a celebrity..hardly a diva or a star..outside her family circles and a few close friends she was unknown..but to her five children she was a mother they had loved dearly, their pillar of strength..to her husband, she was a wife who was ever ready to lend her support and money into his business ventures..
..on the 3rd of Ramadan she was warded..an ailing diabetic, she went into a coma and died a few minutes before midnight..it was her last Ramadah..

..for it was from clumps of black earth that we were created..onto it we shall return..and unto Him we submit..
..for He is the Most Benevolant, the Most Gracious, the Most Loving..


Thursday 12 August 2010

..Mamat & Mimi..

..sometimes, in my travels around the blogging world, I came across blogs put up by singles living in the cities..most are successful in their career, highly educated, but without a mate..they had their share of being matched-make, whether knowingly or unknowingly, which more often than not, left a bitter taste in their mouths.. and had numerous relationships that ended before it could even started..most are cynical towards men or women, whatever the case may be..they may cry their little tears..but through it all, they managed to emerge stronger, keeping their wits around them with a roguish sense of humour..they focussed their energy on their job, keep tag with their families, maintain their sanity within a circle of close friends, and travel whenever there is an apportunity..

..for jodoh is not something you can fished out of a hat...and neither can it be forced...

..as in this tale..........Mamat & Mimi...

..they went to school together...with homes in adjacent kampongs....it was puppy love for Mimi..but for him, it remained and it grew..on completion of their SPM, Mimi went on to college and got a decent job in the city...Mamat dropped out and settled himself to a life in the village..with a few goats and some cows..and part-timed at a motorcycle repair shop..

..in the city, Mimi fell in love with a slick young man with a sleek, new car..he proposed and she accepted..on the day of the wedding, a cow bought by her father from Mamat with a generous discount, was slaughtered..guests thronged her house and feasted on it..gulai kawah mixed with young coconut-shells..the local imam arrived for the akad nikah ceremony..the witnesses were ready..but the groom did not arrived..frantic calls were made..but still the slick young man with the sleek new car did not show up..it later transpired that the man was already married..his wife had discovered his little scheme and had thrown a brick at him as he was driving off..it hit him on the forehead..he was rushed to the hospital..

Mimi, resplendent in her wedding dress, was gutted..but her father was a resolute man..livid with anger and pale with shame, he told the imam to wait awhile..he kick-started his Honda K70 and rode to Mamat's house..whilst nursing a broken heart, Mamat had taken a nap on his rickety verandah..he woke him up..

'Would you like to marry my daughter, Mimi?'

.. together they rode back to the awaiting imam..Mimi assented to her father's query..and they got married and lived as happy as any other couples in the village could be..

Wednesday 11 August 2010

..Ramadan's reflection..

..once again that night he was at the mosque...he clasped his hands in a doa..a doa he repeated from the last Ramadan..

..his cup no longer runneth over, he knew not when it will runs dry..but until then..
''O Allah...

..I thanked Thee for the time You have given me..the last Ramadan was Your Blessings to me..and here I am at the door of another...let me in in, Lord, into this month..that I may savour it in peace and in harmony...with my family and Muslim brethren...and forgive me my sins..

..grant me the will to be charitable that I might seek from You Your bounty.... the grace to overlook and forgive others' faults..that You may overlook and forgive mine..

...let me be magninamous that I may seek from You Your blessings..

..and as I rested my body from food during the fast, rest also my mind from dwelling too much on worldly pursuits..fill my nights with Your Light and my days with Your Guidance...

.. accept all the little deeds that I have done..that I may strived to do more..

..above all, O Allah, accept my repentance.. I have commited great sins..and You are The Great Forgiver..."

..and again that night, he raised his hands in prayer..that Allah may grant him the space and the time for him to savour yet another Ramadhan...InsyaAllah...God Willing...

Tuesday 10 August 2010

..Tuesday's anecdote..

..they say a rolling stone does not gather moss..but if you travelled long and lived long enough, you gather stories..sometimes, a story like this:..

..there was this lady who had a cad for a husband..even though he had a decent job, he was on the verge of losing it through drinking, gambling and womanising..always short of money, and never getting any from him, except, sometimes, a slap and a kick, she took to doing odd jobs within the neighbourhood, washing clothes and  minding babies..enough to keep her two children in school..through it all, it never occurred to her to ask for a divorce..to suggestions from sympathetic friends and relatives, she just smiled..even the local imam quoted her as an example of a lady with iman..a lady of piety who never missed her solat, with an unwavering trust in the Lord..

..time passed..

..until one day she went in a huff to see the imam..she wanted a divorce..and wanted it immediately..

..why, asked the perplexed imam, thinking, perhaps, she had reached the end of her tethers...
..does he still gamble?..no, not anymore..
..does he still drink?..no, not anymore..
..solat?..never misses..even does the night solat..
..money?..he gave half of his salary..
..oh..he still kicks you around..no..never raise a finger now..
..then, why?...he has taken on another wife..and that, I cannot stand..

Monday 9 August 2010

..loco parents..

..re: New Sunday Times' editorial, Ogos, 8th 2010..

..now they want us to be loco parentis..in the place of parents..standing in for the parents..imploring that bringing up children is everybody's responsibility...to stem in the tide of indiscipline and other misbehaviour in schools and everywhere else..

..after 20 over years of sparing the rod and spoiling the child, we now realised the child is, indeed, spoilt..after 20 years of abandonment in mimicking the west, and abandoning our very own values and culture, they want us to be loco parents, Spanish, this time, not Latin..

..after banishing corporal punishment and banning the rotan, you tell us that it is a team effort...sheesh..since when has it not been a team effort?..my time, the father will bring his child to a guru..'this is my child..teach him..and cane him if errs..or whatever punishment you deemed fit..as long as it does not disfigure him...

..then, everyone plays a part..from parents, teachers to elders in the village..we kept our eyes on the young ones..the children got whipped, yes, they got caned, and they became better because and in spite of it..

..and you want the bus driver to chide a child for not sitting properly?..nah..he would not do it..he would not risked being hit, slapped and kicked by a loco parent...similarly the teachers, reduced to being impotent entities..

..the big picture is our education system is in shambles..come to think about it, we don't even have a proper education system or policy..it has been politicised to an extent that what is good for the children is not good for them..we do not have the backbone to withstand a little bit of pressure..we gave in easily..here today, gone tomorrow..gone yesterday, back again today..even an old man like me is confused..and grumbled..what more the children..

..and we want to bring back the cane?..bring back the whole system of the 50's I'd say..

Saturday 7 August 2010

..little children..

..when a house is bereft of little children and infants,  life tends to flow along languidly, with the dust settling silently on shades and tables..and food cooked impulsively remained untouched..although nothing is immaculate, the furniture is seldom trampled upon, and there is no fear of glassware falling and breaking..the monotony is only broken by the cackle of a rooster or the bleating of a wandering lamb unable to find its way out..

until,sometimes,  the daughters came a-visiting, along with their children..and a house settled within its own repose and quiet, was once again alive with the shrieks of children and the wails of infants..

..they commandeered the whole house..from the bathrooms to my bedroom..and pakmat sat back and relaxed..enjoying the cacophony and relishing the shrieks of paptok!..papatok! ..ah..the scampering of small feet..little mercies are made of these..

Friday 6 August 2010

..its Friday..

..sometimes you come across a song from your past..a melody that  have you transported into another time, another place...and you remember a face..some words, gestures and a smile that was almost whimsical..and you wondered of  the things that could have been..

Sepanjang jalan ke Pulau Pinang
Laut mengimbau sayu
Ombak ombak ini hatiku
Berhasrat tiada sepi

Sepanjang jalan ke Pulau Pinang
Hujan memberi lagu
Angin menampar
Setiap ruang angkasa
Berhiba awan pilu

Aku antara insan beribu
Airmataku antara laut lepas
Laguku hilang di angin menderu
Pecah di pantai terhempas

Sepanjang jalan ke Pulau Pinang
Hatiku terjun ke air
Mencari tempat tempat bagiku
Aku seorang pelarian

Tuesday 3 August 2010

..life's musing..

and impromptu response from me to comments by that veritable magi of cybersphere, Tommy Yewfigure and that exquisite cyber belle, MekYam,  that I thought deserved to be expanded and posted here, as a note, a billet-doux, from an old man called pakmat..

..salam Tommy and MekYam..:)

I always ponder on life's regenerative process..the old making way for the new..the brevity of my time..death served as a constant reminder of journey's end..and the birth of my grandchildren as a start of a new future..toddlers and children move me..for I see in them a future that I will not be a part of..as that coconut left ignored at some corner of my garden sprouting roots and leaves, fighting to grow into some distant time, oblivious to the turmoil on that little patch of earth it is part of..but there is no stopping time..

..and decades from now, my grandchildren's children will try to look back into their not too distant past..and perhaps locate through the mist a flame called pakmat, who once shone a light into their present..and perhaps catch the fading laughter and tears of my time that echoes into their time.. they may ponder on their past as I have on their future..for in the grand schemes of things, we are all connected..through time and through the cosmos..

..but this playful strife between the sexes will continue..and Tommy, you indeed have this ability to bring out the best in the fair sex..and MekYam , you quoting Coleridge gives me goosepimples..for I am, indeed, an old man, easily moved by words..the power of words..and the imagery it evokes never failed to astound me..

..ahh..to have both of you, and likeable friends,  over coffee with snacks and bites in some verdant corner of this earth..and ramble and muse over experiences of joy and sadness..for our time will pass...like candles in a final flicker...