Sunday, February 28, 2016


Mungkin hanya hujan yang tahu
kisah-kisah duka
kisah-kisah luka
sang angin yang berlalu

Pendeta langit, sang angin yang berani
mengapa aku kau teguri
kemudian tiada sepatah, berlalu pergi?

Yang memanggil-manggil namaku
yang terpanggil-panggil dibibirmu
luahan siapa yang kudengari?


Kusangka tangisan, walhal siulan 
permainan sang angin, si pendekar sepi.

Friday, February 26, 2016


It has been a long week, so I indulged mysef a little today. Having successfully (this required a carefully planned strategy) gotten myself a half day 'off' from work today, I stopped at a Burger King on the way home. With french fries on my lap, The Strokes's Take It Or Leave It blasting away, and the car AC turned to the lowest temperature (a necessity in this heat), I drove spiritedly home.

The North-South highway is very familiar to me by now. I know exactly where the roadworks begin and end, where the winds blow diagonal to the road (one must slow down when the winds are too strong), the stretch of road where the Sun will shine directly, blindingly ahead, the various billboards, when the streetlights turn off (they are set by clock rather than light intensity so they always turn off at 7am despite the dark) and at night, where the two broken streetlights flicker like lightning. 

Most of all, I am well acquainted with the mountain range in the horizon. How it's countenance changes with light. The skies are never the same. Daybreak could be a golden glow in the horizon, a hue of yellow to purple, a clear blue, a salmon pink with magenta clouds. Even the night skies seem to have colours, sometimes indigo, sometimes purple, but mostly the skies look maroon at night.

And then the Moon. The moon is full nowadays. I was mesmerized by a yellow, crisp view of the moon just three days ago. Another day the moon wore a halo of light, the next, nestled in stormy clouds. I find myself looking to the skies in the mornings to see what state of beauty the moon appeared as on that day. It feels like a private conversation, that first glimpse. Sometimes the morning sky is so clear I could see the moon all pale and ghostly against a backdrop of blue. I determine it an absolute heaven-sent blessing during such occasions; when both the moon and the sun share the skies and my mortal eyes are fortunate enough to witness it.

One find ways to soothe the soul. 

In contemplating his environments, the changing beauty of nature, Man finds respite from this ratrace we call making a 'living'. 

In my own way, in those moments I quietly drive through the day and night to a place most hated (I am weak in my ungratefulness),whispering dzikirs and duas in my heart, I seek peace, shelter and strength in Remembrance.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Dalam sunyi malam
lunak nyanyian sepi sendirian kuhayati 

belum mentari tiba membawa hari
perang esok hari bergetar disanubari

medan jiwa, medan minda bertakhta cinta
medan kehidupan tanpa nyawa

sambil mencoret puisi 
        aku tewas.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A. & L.L.

9 days was finally up. We were all happy to have A. home for awhile and then it was suddenly time for him to fly back to Toronto. It was at the airport that I finally had time to sit and talk properly with A.    

It was not because I purposely avoided him, it was simply because even though it was the Chinese New Year holidays, I as per usual, had to mostly work.

"When are you coming home again?" I asked while we sat. "July," he replied. "For how long?" I continued, "For good," he answered. I wondered if he was serious this time and it became clear that if A. had it his way he would stay in Toronto forever. 

I was not surprised anymore. In fact I rather encouraged it. Mainly because I do not think he could be happy at home after spending so much of his life in Toronto. What I did not say perhaps was that I had mixed feelings about it but those feelings I should not air on this public space...

We all bid our goodbyes and A. slipped money into our hands when we shook his. I ended up giving half of it to my grandmother later. 

We watched L.L. and A. say their goodbyes and when L.L. chastely kissed A. on his forehead, I very nearly cried.  The parting of lovers, what a sad and sweet thing it was.

A. waved at us as he went down the escalators. "Salam alaykum sayang!" L.L. called and abruptly went quiet as she held herself back. She had been calling A. by his name all this while and seemed quite appalled at herself that she slipped a term of endearment where people could hear.

"He's your husband." I said to L.L. in a tone suggesting that she does not need to feel embarassed about it. She smiled shyly and said that she was embarassed anyway. L.L. did not cry, she wanted to but she did not. 

I thought of the tahlil we had had the day before. When A. lead us all in prayer and gave us a small tazkirah after. I noted the idiosyncrasies he has developed from his learning at Zaytuna. A. turned to face us during the dzikirs, dua and tazkirah. I found that worth noting. Generally, imams do not do that do they? Not in Malaysia or at least not any that I have encountered. A. made it a point to recite the dua in both Arabic and Malay. Because he believes that meaning is the point of it all. What is the point of duas when nobody understood it? 

I felt myself longing for Ramadhan. The peace and simplicity of dedicating one's life to remembrance. How calm it always was when the soul ponders its origins. 

I watched A. disappear into the crowd. His worn olive green and red Zaytuna scarf made it easy to spot him. He wore it when he lead the prayer during the tahlil too. I wonder what he attributes to the wearing of the scarf. A mark of his estrangement? A mark of his learning? A silent tribute to Zaytuna? Or perhaps just a personal vanity he indulged himself in. I personally thought it rather looked like the Gryffindor scarf at a glance. I did not mention that to A.

And so it was goodbye again. With L.L.'s parting words A. ventures 9000 miles across land and sea to the other side of this world.

Salam alaykum, sayang.

Peace be upon you, love.

Monday, February 1, 2016


D. insisted that I should go to The Cartel (a local cafe) with her so she could scope the place out for her birthday party in May, and despite it being a weekday and I was half-sick and tired of all human contact (I have an incurable misanthropic streak that rears it ugly head from time to time) I agreed. It was my own suggestion after all that she should consider the particular cafe. Besides, D. is my cousin. Family is family.

The visit to the cafe itself was uneventful, but before we went home D. insisted that we did a lap round the running track (the cafe is located behind a stadium, so it had a 400m running track). I begrudgingly humoured her and so we walked the red spongy track in the dark. 

"Hey look! It's Orion's belt!" D. exclaimed and I looked up to where she was pointing. Indeed there it was, the three aligned stars and its four points, neatly distinguished from the surrounding stellar bodies.

"I never knew we could see Orion here," I said quietly. I mentioned briefly to D. how I used to like pointing out Orion to my friends whenever we went out at night back in Melbourne.

"It is the same sky after all," D. replied matter of factly and continued her circuit around the running track. I stood stock still for a while, digesting the information.

I felt like I've rediscovered a long lost friend. Something glowed bright inside of me. If I had to described the sensation, it felt like I knew just exactly where the intangible soul inside my corporeal body resided. 


I gifted M. some of my guppies last weekend (A. was kind enough to accompany me to get a fish tank & fish food for this purpose). I don't know why I wish to record this insignificant detail but I suppose whatever concerns M is reason enough for me.

M's little brother was playing out on the porch when I pulled into the dead-ended street where M lives and the boy went inside to fetch her. I got out of my car, not bothering to park it properly and waited for M to come out. 

I explained to M that I had forgotten to bring some of the dechlorinator liquid with me so she probably shouldn't change the water in the tank (which was greenish in colour because it came from my koi pond where I breed my guppies). We were then interrupted by the neighbours milling out and staring at my car parked in the middle of the street so I had to rush off. It was too brief and in a desperate attempt to not leave so quickly I rolled my window down and yelled (despite the neighbours) a question, "When are you leaving for Singapore?" She replied and I said something or the other and then I was home feeling dissatisfied and dead-tired.

Not two hours after, M texted me saying how four of the six guppies I gave her were kind of dying (she changed the water) so I said I would hurry over with some pond water. I didn't mind really. If fish had to die so I could see M then so be it (not that I intended it). 

F (M's husband) greeted me this time, and when he disappeared back inside the house I hovered by the gates, uncertain if I was welcomed inside or not. I waited til F popped out again and beckoned at me. 

It was nice. Being there for awhile, at M's, just talking and tending to the fish tank & its dead occupants (I couldn't save the four but two survived and I brought replacement guppies). I know M feel profound guilt whenever animals unexpectedly die and so I myself felt a little guilty for being the impetus. 

The long short of it, I got my time with M and despite not being a particularly tactile person, we shook hands properly by way of goodbye and I was once again assured of my place in M's life.

This is pathetic but this is what it is. I can't do without M is all.


"Do you ever get flashbacks of your days in Aussie?" I glanced at A. in the passenger seat as I drove, "because I do," I continued not waiting for her answer. "All the time," A. replied tiredly, in a tone suggesting complete understanding. We then exchanged anecdotes of scenes from our uni days that visit us at random moments; (all of which I won't go into detail right now because it puts a knot in my chest just thinking about it).

"We should go back," A. said lightly, referring to the land down under. "We should," I agree, equally unserious. 

After a while, A. being the economist that she is (she works in a bank), naturally fall into talk of the local political and economic climate (two subjects I have very little knowledge & interest in but know just enough to be a good listener). I generally repeat whatever bit of news I picked up from my parents' banter and A. will expand on the issue with real opinions and I would find myself out of my depth. Names of politicians, ministers, political parties, the latest scandals etc. all very foreign to me (sadly). 

I do love listening to A. though. She is intelligent and she does not speak in a derisive manner as most political aficionados (bitter people this lot) do, rather in a simple, honest and informative way good teachers do. 

I ended up sleeping at A's place after the movie (a strange plot less thing that had Keanu Reeves in it; Mr. Reeves being a subject of mutual interest between us) and as I let my breaths even out, staring in the semi-darkness of A's room, I found myself feeling transported to those uni days when I would crash at Sofy's place in the city. It tasted like youth, singlehood and independence. Perhaps not quite the exact experience, but it was enough. It soothed me.