Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Since I was twelve years old or so,
I prayed for you
but I think that I already decided on you before,
I thistled on you with different tools.
How there was magic in Bollywood,
and the way I repulsed myself against skinny,
or felt akin to Indians,
and yet felt like I was raised a little like a Malay.
I could not explain everything that happened,
but I defended when others looked,
prodded, discouraged, dismissed or belittled,
To me, everything looked good.
So without realising it, I searched for you because
I had been working on you for my entire life,
I believed without a cause in my cause,
I kept chipping and chipping away with hammer and knife.
I never knew what you looked like,
But inside of me must have already known,
You look a lot like my wife,
Somebody who feels like from my own bone.
I now listen to the words of love songs
because I finally understand what they sing about
All comics, legends, stories and songs-
It was you they were talking about.
It was you that I loved before I met you,
It was you who was inside of me for my entire life,
I was led through so much and back to find you,
And as it turns out, you were only just my life.
Friday, 8 April 2011
Thank you for reading my letter.
You always said that I communicate best in writing. You also once pointed out that I was not good at expressing myself with spoken words. It is not a great thing especially when we fight but then again, life’s like that la, ah?
This letter is about love.
I would therefore like to take this opportunity to show you the kind of person you are and what you are to me.
When you spoke of your dreams and career plans in my car on 20.07.2010, I saw a shinning light from your eyes. I knew right then that it shinned from your heart.
I fell so deeply in love.
When I shook in my pants during our first engagement announcement, you held my hand quietly. When I spoke to you about my financial struggles to make our ends meet, you said, “I need to find a job now”.
When I told you that I had started fantasizing about suicide and death recently, you told me, “Don’t change who you are. I love you.”
When you never had an answer for all the times I cried to you, you always said, “I love you.”
Then, after searching and searching on a journey for a cause, I have come to realize one thing:
You are that which I have been looking for, Dahlia Rani.
You are love.
From the moment you were a baby, you showed the world what a miracle your existence could offer. When you nearly died from fever, you held on for dear life to live for a single mother who hardly had any money to feed you, let alone, medicate you. As you lived, you gave her life in no measures to take for your own. She made it because you simply loved. When you gave, you simply loved. You never asked from her or your aunty, even when your mother became occupied with her new family. All you did was give. And you took the life of your new family wherever you went, without asking or demanding your terms.
You gave your all and your childhood to the adults who cared for you.
When you never heard from your father, you forgave. You kept the hurt you felt inside but you always forgave. You then loved his family as yours, and to date, your blood is as thick as theirs. As much as you are mixed, you are always Punjabi. You never left your father even when you left for KL to work.
I understand now, you simply left to pursue your own life.
I understand now.
Like the many others in your life, I never paid attention to you when you needed me to be there. When you told me that you missed me, I did not hear you. When you told me that you needed my support, I turned a deaf eye. When you cried to me on the phone, I heard you and then said, “Where is my support?”
When you stopped talking, I realized that I lost my own heart.
The first love thought I had of you was: you are a burst of light. Since I allowed you into my life, you light up my life. When you went away, I lost myself in my own past and darkness. Without your light, I could not see. I did not want to see that you were still there.
When I sank into depression, I only asked. I never gave. I couldn’t give you support because I only thought that I had lost you.
Dahlia, I only saw my own selfishness while you stood nearby. You gave while I took.
And I have been selfish to you for a very long time. Since you left for Doha, I assumed that you had left me. I assumed that you will love me less. I assumed that you will grow bored of me. I assumed that you would break our promises and vows.
I assumed the worst of you. And after a while, that was all I started to think.
I broke my vows to you and did not love you the way I should have.
Having said so, I am not writing this letter to redeem myself here. I am not writing this to make myself sound like a hero. But like I said earlier, I want you to know the kind of person you are, and what you are to me. You deserve the truth, and you deserve respect from the people you love.
I understand now, that to love you, Dahlia Rani, is to truly understand the way that you are. You are not like others and you do not conform to people’s common standards. Naye, you are simpler than that, and so simple that we complex human beings, forget how to love you. To love you, Leah, is to open my slit eyes and let you be who you are with me. To love you is not to judge you with what I am comfortable with.
To love you is completely and unconditionally love you for who you are.
Which is not that hard since you are so damn attractive.
For the first time in my life, I have never wanted understand more about a person. I keep studying your photos, speaking to your love ones and lately, listening to your words to only get to know who you are. You are not like me; you do not lay down your ways in words and ways like I do. And I must keep myself from wanting you to speak, act in the way that I want to. I must not be selfish with you. I must also not want you to be like me or the people that I am comfortable with.
I become happier the closer I become with you.
So, I have stopped being selfish with you.
Dahlia, I was selfish when I did not listen. You told me how lonely it was for you in Doha, and you held back as you spoke. I did not appreciate how usual it was for you to hold back when you had allowed me to be so selfish with you for so long. Now I understand why you hold back from me or people. It was never your fault; but hurting was never something you wanted. You had to stop yourself from hurting when I didn’t support you.
You only know how to give.
People have misjudged, abused, misunderstood, put you down, condemn, rejected, called you names, started trouble against you for all your life. When my own family turned against you and called me stupid for bringing you to my grandmother’s house last Christmas, I did not stand by you. And you did not let me see your broken heart. You also hid your broken heart from me when I was too afraid to love you in front of my own family.
Before you wonder further about what I am trying to do, I will tell you: I am trying to tell you that I am sorry. I also want to tell you that I know what I am sorry for.
I know that I should have done this sooner, or act sooner, but I did not understand us. I did not understand this thing called love, myself and anything about you.
I have been very selfish for my entire life. And the funny thing is, I have been very selfish to the point of being hardest on the things that matter. When I committed myself to you, I brought along my selfish ways and let them occupy to drain you. I did not give you enough space to be the person you are inside.
I did not support you.
I am grateful that I can now write to you, in this space, to tell you that I will.
I am grateful, beyond measures, to you for loving me.
You love me like no other. And you have shown me love like no other.
You are a beautiful and perfect woman. When God created you, He created a perfect soul. He created you in the way that you are because He knew how special he wanted you to be for this world. Luckily for all of us, He created you with your eyes so that we can always see your soul.
When God made you, He made you in love. No future, fact, information or denial can ever change that. He wanted you to come into this world to love and be loved. Maybe He has allowed you to suffer the way you do, but He knew the kind of person you are. He knew that He placed a miracle in you for Him to enjoy.
You will definitely think that I have put you on some heavenly pedestal, but I tell you, I have not. Look at your life: you are a walking blessing. Your presence in the lives of those you love, only blesses them from the time you love them. Look at your mother, Papa, Aunty, Parvan, Zudin, Jezz, Shotu………..me.
Look at me.
I am blessed by you. We are all blessed by you. What I realized is that not all of us know how to love you well.
I am a selfish bastard, self-involved, arrogant, dominant, fickled person. But I have now found happiness in you and I want to change my ways to enjoy the happiness you give me. You have changed me, inspiring to be better. Because of you, I can move on, and let go of my past. Because of you, I can love, and love the way that I have always wanted to.
Please allow me to stand by you once again and support you when times get tough. I will never leave you, like it or not. I am here for you, repentant and humbled. I know what my life is worth, and what matters. I can always live without you, Leah Rani but I know how much I want you in it. Life will always be complete with you.
I am working to give you all that you deserve and more. I know that I am happy to do more than that, and will want to give that to you.
If anyone asks why I do this, please tell them this: you have made me gone back to the person I am.
And I am in love, Leah. You are love.
For as long as we live, I will give you nothing other than that.
Thank you, Leah, and please keep talking. As long as you talk, I will always hear my heart.
I love you with more than words could express.
God bless you.
Thursday, 7 April 2011
………has become my favourite subject.
If I can write forever, I think that I will write forever about Leah.
In reality, we are physically apart from each other. She is in Qatar and I am in Malaysia. We do not talk every day, and lately have been fighting a lot. I sense that we no longer trust each other. Our past came to haunt us, and tested our veins away. But deep within that, I have never seen a love like ours in my life time.
When she or I go, I know that I will always love her.
I cannot speak too much about tomorrow, but I can tell you a bit of what I know of a her past.
She is of Punjabi-Malay parentage. Born to a Punjabi father and Malay mother, they separated when she was a baby. That must have been at sometime before she turned two years old. In her identification papers, she possesses another man’s surname; this was done to keep the authorities from coming after her family, and her mum. All that said and done, she was raised by her mother, and her mother’s older sister. Her mother worked most days and nights to ensure that her little one had milk to drink. Their lives were very unstable, and at two years old, she was admitted to the hospital with a very high fever. Her father, who was married to another, never came to the hospital, nor asked after her. It was felt that my wife would not survive the night but like the fighter she is, she survived.
She lived with her mother, and saw her mother go through relationships with various people before her mother eventually settled down with her step-father. This was a secret affair because they were married for a year before her step-father introduced her mother and my wife to his family. It is said that her mother and my wife were disapproved of before the meet, and so her step-father did not want to incur the wrath of his mother and father.
My wife tells me before she was married to her step-father, her mother was a freer person. She also tells me that her mother taught her differently, encouraged her uniqueness, and loved her unconditionally. After marriage, and especially the birth of her other children, Leah’s mum changed. Her step-father changed too.
My wife tells me that he used to beat her when she was a child whilst he never laid a hand on his own daughter. I also understand that there were times when she was not given pocket money by her step-father. What is vivid is that her mother changed to suit her new marriage and their own lifestyle. I recalled that Leah once told me that she saw her mother being beaten up by her step-father. I also recalled that Leah once called on her father, who threatened her mother that he would take her away from the mother if she did not treat Leah right.
Already, I have not said much about her childhood.
Yet, to my mind, each time my wife tells me of her past, there is a piece of heart shattering somewhere. When she speaks of it with ease, she masks the pain. I listen as neutrally as I can, without judgment on either party. Deep inside, I ache for my wife, anger against the perpetrators, and twist my soul for my unborn children.
Recently, her mother allowed me to view her childhood photos. I saw so many things. I saw a beautiful, beautiful baby who filled my eyes with such joy. And I never saw such a free smile in a toddler until I saw my Leah. When she was three years of age and running around in her mother’s family’s home in a baju kurung, she had the smile of a thousand sunshines. And it wasn’t her mouth that smiled. It was her eyes. When she was wrapped in the arms of her mother, I saw love, untainted love between a mother and her child. When I saw Leah, I think at the age of seven years old, with her father, sitting on his lap, I saw the same smile.
Leah, as a child, had a way of filling pictures with light when she smiled.
Then I saw pictures of her with a tudung. There are pictures of her after the other siblings came. My Leah looked so serious, it sadden me. Her eyes tell me everything. They also told me that she bore the weight of something or somebody. When she was growing up with her mother’s family, I never saw a picture of a girl with smiling eyes.
One of my first thoughts about my wife is: “She is a burst of colour”.
I believe that my wife, Leah is a burst of colour.
That colour is the light in her eyes. My wife's eyes are her soul.
When there were pictures of her in school, the light did not show in her eyes. When she sat at benches with her friends from college, I did not see the light. When she graduated at university, I did not see the light in her eyes. Sometimes, I saw the light in her eyes, but I have seen them recently after we met.
Before that, I did not see the light in my wife’s eyes until…
She met Adam.
Her first husband.
What I offer in this piece is a piece of my voice about something I know about the soul.
I am not offering something that is the absolute truth for you, or something that you must follow.
I only want to share something with you, and I hope that it will be a gift for the soul. Yours and mine.
The soul is a rare and wonderful thing. It is a light that cannot be changed, but can change when it wants to. It cannot die but accepts death. It is everlasting, and can walk through different forms, messages and ways.
The soul guides and lives beyond the heart. When the body dies, the soul goes on living. Whether it is defined and can be rationalized, the soul has its own reasons for its ways. Sometimes, it’s best to listen and embrace it rather than to fight against it.
The soul is stronger than any force of nature. What it lives on, is more than any man or woman can see. It lives on love. Love is true when there is faith. Faith is faith when you believe in what you cannot see.
I am not here to play words with you.
Open your heart; keep your mind quiet for a while.
Disagree with me, if you must, but like I said earlier, this is a piece of my voice.
Faith is believing in what you cannot see. When that exists, you practice love.
Love can only start going out to others when it comes from you. Love can be received when we give.
Love is unconditional. It is also a commitment, and such is a hard word. Commitment is a hard word because not everyone acts on commitments that were made. A promise to buy a child an ice cream is a commitment. Once, when I was small and my father made me a promise to take me to visit my sick friend, he broke my heart when he told me that he couldn’t.
I was so sad at that time because my sick friend meant a lot to me.
She passed away a little later.
A commitment is not to belittle. Especially when you don’t affirm the other’s importance to them after you break your commitment to them. It is worse when it means a lot to them. However, sometimes, it is ok to break promises, but a lot of us forget that when another person is involved, a commitment involves your connection to the other.
The more promises you break to another only shows the other how they mean to you. That is one of the reasons why so many relationships break down. But here is the thing, not everyone sees when a relationship breaks down.
So when you are going to break a commitment, think hard before you do so. But it must be noted that we are all human. We make mistakes. Just don’t keep repeating the mistakes you make. Sometimes, they become too big for us repair.
Does everyone ask themselves why we make commitments and connections with other people?
I think it’s because we want to love and be loved in return. We are not alone in this world.
We can be very lonely people. We can even make ourselves far more lonelier than we are.
We can stand in a crowd of a million people, and go: “I feel so alone now.”
Have you ever felt that before?
Over the years, I have learned to enjoy my own company. However, as much as that is wonderful, I can’t stand to be with myself for too long. I like people way too much! Plus, I can drive myself crazy at times.
I love new things. New things allow me to reinvent myself, and in the past, run away from the things that did not accept me.
Then, I have slowly realized something over the years: I used to make a lot of connections and commitment that I did not want to keep enough. In fact, I used to tell this to my mom about relationships,
“It’s so mafan (troublesome in Cantonese).”
What I didn’t realize until lately is that I applied it to everyone.
Wait, I correct myself: I love people. I love people so much that I always want to give myself to people, to create good in life. However, I never realized until lately about how I conducted myself with the people in my life, and what our relationships was to us.
I realized that most of my life is about running away.
When I started feeling that some of my mates were getting too boring for me, I ran away from them. I ignored some of their calls, and started other connections to make better mates. When I started feeling exhausted with family members for having to deal with my life choices, I used to run away from them so that I can find a new family.
When I felt that I could not get what I wanted from staying in Malaysia, I ran away. I may have used my education as an excuse, but in my heart, I did not leave Malaysia to better my studies.
I left Malaysia so that I could run away from my broken heart. The girl I loved at that time left me for overseas without saying goodbye. I thought that by finally leaving, I could find myself. But the truth in me running away for so long was that I thought that I could not find myself in the things around me. And to at an angle, I was right. It takes two hands to clap. Sometimes, when things involved more than one person do not work out between you and the others, it’s no point trying to make claps happen. However, I also was an offender too.
I have no regrets leaving Malaysia and living in the UK. Being in the UK helped me find myself in ways that I had not imagine. I slowly inched out to learn about myself beyond my comfort zone. I started learning that I could not always have my mother’s food to feed me, or my dad’s money to make sure that I could pay for things. Then, I started doing a lot of uncomfortable things like managing money to make sure that I didn’t waste what I had, or learning to find a new place to live on my own. I also started becoming comfortable with the person I was inside. And slowly, I met people who showed that there was another side of love. They also showed me that the person that I was holding back from myself was a person worthy of being liked. I slowly allowed people to see me. Then, new people started showing me another world from the one I knew in Malaysia.
The world that I know especially in Malaysia and for twenty years beforehand was comfortable. It was a world where I didn’t need to worry about getting an education, work, car, money, a place to live, where to go, things to like or things to where. When I asked my love ones questions about these things, I was always told that I should be quiet and listen more. But here is the thing. Because I never put much thought into all these things, I never knew how to live with the person inside of me.
That world also made me believe that one should be pretty, know how to act right, dress right, look right, like money, big career, pretty clothes, cars, brands, houses and nice holidays. And I believed for a while that having all of that would get me lots of friends, or that people would look up to me. I also believed that in attaining these things, I will always be loved for who I am. So, I came to believe for a very long time that I did not need to question my life, and that I should accept what was in front of me.
But for more than twenty years I believed that I did not matter to the world and myself.
So I did the worst thing to my soul: I did not take care of it.
Instead, I took care of those who gave me some form of comfort, no matter how bad, abusive, or sad things turned out. I went into relationships that were bad or with people who also did not pay much attention to the relationship. I was as casual about the relationship and the partner as they were with me.
Always, the relationship ended. Always, it ended badly. Always, from the start, I forgot what mattered. And then, I would forget that I mattered in the relationship. If the relationship lasted, it would not be a close one. That being said, this applied and applies to everyone in my life.
I never knew how to handle or have good relationships.
But I now know that when you love someone else, the love becomes bigger than yourself. A love between a couple, and anyone that is in a relationship, is more than just ‘you’ and ‘I’. It is about us. Love does not die, but love can become evil and abusive, if left neglected. Fathers can rape their daughters. Wives can abuse their husbands. Brothers and sisters can kill each other. Friends can cheat each other.
To be in a relationship with someone else does not mean that everything is complete. Feeling the love is free and effortless. To keep having it is another thing. When you commit to love and allow it to connect you with another, you make a promise to work at making the love work. When you are true to each to other, no amount of time, effort or mountain is difficult enough.
Love doesn’t just move mountains. It moves you.
We are more capable of what we set ourselves up to be. We say that something is too hard but yet we see people fasting without food daily, and paralyzed people walking. The truth is that we get too distracted. When money, clothes, or a better life seems more delicious than the one that you already have, it is tempting to try it. Boyfriends, husbands, wives, girlfriends do this all the time with each other. Cheating is never just about one physical act. There are reasons why people come to cheat.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Once you start seeing that that grass on your side is dull, well, what do you think will happen?
I do not promote for anyone to stay with their families, friends or spouses if the other is abusive towards them. I will not stay in a relationship where healthy boundaries are abused by my parents, siblings, wife, or friends.
I commit this to my soul because I love my soul. I have seen what I have enjoyed from the magic in my soul. I am living a beautiful life, and it grows healthier as I take more care of my soul and what matters to us.
I used to like football, Lamborghinis and getting high, especially at the best parties. I would walk around in football jerseys and go racing just to fit with my school mates. Then, recently, I met somebody who changed me in more ways than I imagined. She didn’t have to do anything. And she even didn’t have to be pretty or sexy all the time.
What she did is that she allowed me into her life. Without her realizing it, I have been getting closer and closer to her to appreciate the bad and ugly bits in both of us. But in doing so, I started understanding myself in a way that I never done before.
Here is one funny incident.
On one Sunday, I spent nearly the entire day cleaning and clearing up our apartment. I cleaned and cleared so much junk from our store room and bedroom. I also spent a really long time reorganizing my wife’s clothes, which she had chucked aside earlier to pack for her leave to Doha. Then as I was doing so, I realized that I was cleaning up junk, but in my own self. I had learned to identify the way she organized herself in the way that I do with myself, except our practice is different.
I have also been getting to know those who are close to her. As she has been away, it has not been easy for us to communicate often, and as such, I have not had many opportunities to get to know her. But here is one wonderful thing. The more I learn about my darling, the more she endears me. The more I understand about her life, her past, her present, her attitudes and her mannerisms, the more I accept her. As a result of learning about her, I feel so much closer to her than I ever have. I also feel so much closer to myself. And I want to know more about her.
Like most people, my beloved and I are two people who can forget about one another, especially when we are apart. In a world that is so cynical and filled with greed, our commitment will last so long as we both make it work. Love alone does not make a relationship work. Saying so and feeling so does not either. What I have learned with my wife is that what makes my commitment to her so is that I keep making it work. And I want to make it work all the time.
That goes for my relationship with my mates, my parents, siblings and in laws. They are not perfect people like me but with after everything said and gone, they are still around. That makes it worth for me to keep making our relationships work.
I used to want to be a high flying millionaire with houses all around the world, flashy cars, branded and beautiful clothes, a hot and sexy model with a beautiful looking wife and children. (laughs)
Now, I don’t want that.
Three years ago, I was 25 years old, working in Hong Kong, living on my own as an international consultant and earning more than 30 thousand dollars a month. I used to have more than thousand of dollars in my bank account every month. But it took me less than a month to realize one small thing:
Objects, money and fame will never make me happy. What I want is love.
Pretty things are nice to have from time to time though!
Today, what I have is different.
I live in a very modest apartment in Selangor (outside KL). I share this place with my wife, with whom we are raising a kitten. I make enough every month to scrape through the month, and at times, I struggle to even pay my bills. I drive a common car which helps me get from Point A to B, and I am a junior lawyer at a small firm. I do not fly overseas the way I used to, and think many times over before indulging in expensive things.
In the next or year, I hope that I will have enough savings to register myself and my darling before a wedding registry.
Today, I am happy.
My darling, who, at the very core of her, loves me as completely as she knows. Our little boy, the kitten is fiercely dominant, and well, likes to listen to his own head (just like me and his mother). He also tries to treat me like someone he can dominate but in the end, he makes me laugh too much, reminding me that he really is our child. My father, mother, sister and in-laws are not perfect people but they care for me. My mates will always be there for me, and we make sure that we get together for a good session often.
I have something good here.
It is love and what my soul needs.
I hope that this piece will help you in some form or way in your life. In any case, I always think that life is also about sharing. To this end, I will conclude here by writing that I am not a happy ending here, but, I am happily working at a progress.
This is my gift to my soul.
Friday, 1 April 2011
The Rukun Negara.
What a wonderful set of principles.
The Rukun Negara means the Country's Principle.
They consist of very simple words. Have a look at them:
“1. Belief in God
2. Loyalty to the King and Country
3. The Supremacy of the Constitution
4. The Rule of Law
5. Courtesy and Morality.”
How outstanding, righteous, commanding and great they sound. Well, they have gusto too!
But here is my question for you: do we all practice them?
The first principle states, "Believe in God". It does not state, "Believe in the majority's God." So, it means that “God” is inclusive to everyone who believes in God and encouraged for all. A lot of us believe in God, whether in one religion or the other. But there is an underlying message in the first principle to the entire message of the Rukun Negara.
Let me show you how this message is delivered through its principles.
The second principle states "Loyalty to the King and Country". We pay our taxes, sing the Negaraku, and acknowledge the King when He walks. And even in a time of war in the Middle East, Malaysia, a Muslim brotherhood country, has not, had its people, screaming to kick its Rulers out. I do not see revolutions like the ones in Bahrain on the streets. I am told that the last public and civil war in Malaysia was in 1969. We also declare ourselves as Malaysians each time we sign booking documents, official forms and speak with our overseas counterparts. We whine about our lives sometimes, but we are so loyal that the outstationed Malaysians are fighting to vote in the elections!
That being said, in religion, one is taught to pay what is owed to the king, and be loyal.
The third principle states "The Supremacy of the Constitution". Late last year, I wrote an article in the local newspapers entitled, "Love does not hate or fear". If you had read the article, you may have noted that my article wrote about love and the ultimate message of love in Malaysia as found in the Constitution. Since then, I have been told that there are people who felt insulted by my article. The reason? I was told that I had implied that secondary laws are subservient to the Constitution. Well, here is the thing. See the Rukun Negara and Article 4 of the Federal Constitution. My case rests.
The fourth statement is "the Rule of Law". As a lawyer, my job is to interpret and give effect to the meaning of the law. But how apt the fourth principle is to its other principles.
As a rule of thumb, the Rule of Law means:
“No one is above the law”.
Minister-ships are not excluded.
The laws of Malaysia bind every Malaysian. You nor I are entitled to decide when to kill someone just because we think that we are above the law. The Constitution echoes:
"All persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection" (Article 8).
To be more interesting, the Constitution states, "all persons" and not "all Malaysian persons".
So, if you think about it, this means, Kadazans, women, immigrants, Indians, expatriates, transgendereds, children, Buddhists, the elderly are all equal before the law, right?
Well, don't fight me! Go change the Constitution and the Rukun Negara if you disagree!
I just see it as it is.
We are not above the law.
Then comes the best thing.
The fifth principle states "Courtesy and Morality".
The principle is short and simple. The message is powerful. Look at all the principles now and see this message: as a Malaysian, you are equal with everyone, and so, treat everyone with courtesy and morality.
Treat everyone, and not by background, race, religion, gender, strata, age or sexual orientation, with courtesy and morality. If there was an exclusion clause to the fifth principle, where is it? I do not see it!
The fifth principle is perhaps the most benevolent principle of all. It sings goodness, value, kindness, love and honour. And it is straightforward.
There is no courtesy and morality when you mark your authority on another person's religion. There is no courtesy and morality when you curse an entire race only because they are darker coloured than your own. There is no courtesy and morality when you deny your children their future because of their choices.
It is reported that the Prime Minister recently said something to this effect about the affair involving the 30,000 Bibles in Port Klang and Kuching Port:
"Why are we doing this to the Christians?"
Whether he was the Prime Minister, muslim or a man, I thought, "If this is true, what a wonderful and thoughtful man."
The issues I write here are not ones I take for a particular God or community. I write about issues that concern everyone, including non-Malaysians, who are affected by them. I can’t help but think:
“Why do we divide when we can be kind?”
I hope that we can practice the message of the Rukun Negara in our everyday lives. It is very easy for us to mutter and speak words and when we act differently towards others. If we are as good as we portray or tell to others, then I hope that we can continue to practice the simple principles of our Country’s principle. I believe that it does not hurt or harm us. In fact, I love seeing us greet each other with smiles, in love and humility like a family.
I agree with Mr. Fernandez of the Sun newspaper: "Humility is not a weakness".
Humility is strength. For those of us, humility is a principle that we should all live by, where we believe in God or not.
Let’s not be hypocrites. We already have enough of those in the world.
In fact, let’s have a look at the Rukun Negara and reflect on it today.
Then let’s take a look at ourselves in the mirror.
Friday, 25 March 2011
Love is life.
You are one life. I am one life. Love is also a life by itself.
Love is life. When and where there is love, there is something living, breathing, moving and feeling.
The funny thing about it is, we are have really funny interpretations about it. We tell our parents, lovers, friends, children that we love them but we act a little bit differently than we speak. I have had a friend or two who told me that they were my good friends, but never called me to say hi. I have had lovers who said that they love me, but didn't spare me their time when they got busy with their own lives.
I have realised that someone tells me that they love me, I tend to have a funny interpretation about it too. My father and I have had this banter from time to time, that I pay too much attention to what people say. My response is usually silence. There is no such thing as too much attention to what people say, there is only just listening. Logically speaking, I would tell someone that they are paying too much attention to me when I have done something that did not give me an advantage. But if that is true, how's that for love?
Love is life. It never demands. Wait, let me rephrase that.
Love demands when it is telling you that it needs something. Otherwise, like my grandma once taught me, once one becomes quiet, you know that you have something to be afraid. It is a life, like a human or even animal. To survive, it has needs that need to be fulfilled. It needs attention, affirmation, admiration, understanding and respect. It is the most obsessive topic in the world, and yet, we are becoming more and more obsessed with love. Strangely, if you think that there is so much material, guidance, support out there for love, why are we becoming more and more obsessed with it?
Like it or not, and you shouldn't have to agree with me: more and more of us are forgetting how to love.
We kinda lost the plot, mate.
To have love is free. But love is a life of its own. The aftermath ain't always a happy ending into the sunset. You know what I have found out?
A lot of us have problems maintaining love.
"Can't be with you...my mother will kill me."
"Can't love you...it's against my religion."
"Can't show you affection in public...what if they all stare?"
"Can't be me....it's too dangerous."
"Don't do love, darling. Did it before. It's way too tiring."
"Loving you is complicated."
"They told me not to love you."
"This is too much effort."
And the most common one that I have heard:
"It's not you. It's me."
Well, I have used that one genuinely before.
Love is life. You gotta make time for it. Everything that lives dies, whether we like it or not. Don't wait till it's dead before you cry for it.
Love is life. While it's still alive, treasure it.
Believe me, it does more than money or someone else 's honour ever will. At least, in the end, you will never be alone.
Monday, 21 March 2011
The biggest experience of my life so far, has been marriage.
Long distance, interracial, same sex, gender stereotypical, inter religious marriage.
I can't settle for a normal marriage, can I? (laughs)
But who said that I was normal?
I have had people, including my own mother, condemning me for being abnormal after coming out. Truth be told, it hurt a lot. At the butt of the discrimination, the loneliness started filling me with suicidal thoughts. Marriage or not. Having a wife sometimes made things worse, especially when my wife was not around during these depressive moods. I would have these moods for days, and snap out just in time for the beginning of the week, to only resume on my knees that I make it sane just for the rest of the week.
For a month or so, that was how I had lived. For months before that, I denied myself the truth that I was hurting. I am still learning to come out of it.
The worst kind of discrimination or hurt that you can give or receive from someone is that of a family member. For most of us, a family member (especially the close ones) matters. Whether we like it or not, they matter. No amount of blindness or sight can deny you that truth. Even banging your head on the wall can't erase that truth.
Since marriage, the one who matters most to me is my wife. She is the woman that I have married, and the woman I am in love with. It is huge alone just write these two sentences; a commitment this deep is the dream that I finally have. Everyone, including myself has always told me that loving someone unconditionally and being loved unconditionally could never come true for someone like me. In fact, I used to only know rejection or conditional love as love.
But the only thing that could thunder on this parade is probably fatherhood, or parenthood. I have traits of transsexualism, and although I may have maternal traits that pop by, I have always yearned to be a father. Perhaps, in a way, I always thought that my own gave me a very good impression of fatherhood. He seems to thoroughly enjoy it, in spite of the difficult times, and made big things for me easy when they were supposed to be hard.
Yet before I get there, marriage to Leah is the best thing that I have done for myself. Today, I am more vulnerable than I have ever been. And yet, I am stronger than I think I ever was in the past. For me, dealing with my emotional health so much harder than training for mountain running.
I am letting go to love. I am learning to brave making mistakes and even risking my heart to build something with somebody else. Heavens know that it took me eight (8) days to realize that I wanted to marry Leah, and another six (6) months later to come clean about our marriage. Even married, I cannot say that I totally trust her or another person. But, I can say that marriage inspires me to trust another person.
Leah is a burst of colour. Loud as hell, and angry when she wants to be, she's a scene to behold. People either can't get enough of her or can't stand the presence of her. She holds you or either puts you off. She makes you love her or hate her. Sometimes, she soothes you beyond words, or makes you run up the wall when things get heated.
Boy, do we know how to drive each other insane.
But I think one thing about Leah is that she is often misunderstood. I think that for her entire life, she was misunderstood by somebody or someone who wanted to change her to become somebody they wanted her to be. They just could not let her be. So, when she roams free, well, sometimes, she crashes into walls but forgets about the broken hearts and pieces along the way. I still marvel at her amazingly good luck that have helped her scrap out of sticky situations in the past and at current.
She laughs at me and shrugs it off. Sometimes, she forgets to lie well to me.
My Leah is one living superwoman. She tries, and she tries so hard. As part of her Sagittarius trait, she can pursue her goal without looking at any or either way. And as mentioned, sometimes, there are broken hearts and pieces that Leah can oblivious to. Because of this, she can be seen as a bulldozer or aggressive. And with me and some of her love ones, she can be seen as isolating us all to pursue her goal. But like I said, my Leah is often misunderstood. And sometimes, my Leah misunderstands herself. I often find myself observing and analyzing my wife for a long time before the same smile creeps in.
My long suffering wife. How I love you so.
Love has a funny way of showing itself.
When you love someone so much, you can worship that love so much that it can turn toxic. My own mother admitted once that she worshiped me, but that was before she hit me. My father loves my mother so much that he can't event talk to her about his feelings. He is afraid that she will not support him like the way he has felt for the last twenty nine (29) years. My wife loves me so much that she tried to walk out on me one day when we fought. I love my little boy so much that I have to leave him on his own for more twelve hours a day to go to work.
Love is so funny. It makes us do a lot of dumb things to the ones we love the most.
We misunderstand the people we love and ourselves so much.
Her entire life, my wife has been put down for being a mixed child, a child of unexplained roots, not part of a family, different, aggressive, gay, sexual, fat, ugly and stupid. Funnily, my long suffering wife has just been misunderstood her entire life. Even by me.
Because my wife is not ugly and stupid. She may have many traits that are not agreeable and/or different from everyone else, but she is not for any other purpose than to love. When she is with a baby, she holds it like she will never let anything harm it. When she talks to a naughty child, she reasons with it like it is the most important person to her. She speaks languages to many people in her and their tongues. And she does this effortlessly. She reaches out without thinking of whether she has hands to spare.
Oh-here is a tip: look deep into the heart of her eyes. They are filled with love, but you gotta pay attention, ok?
Leah does not judge you quickly for being different. She simply looks and stares at you with love. Even if she is screaming her head off at you. Sometimes, to love my wife is to stand back, watch her, and smile. There is no trick or rule to this but you need to always let her know from time to time that you love her. And be PATIENT and WISE for that moment. Yet, we are all human, aren't we?
Repeating myself, being married to Leah is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The one setback is how much I miss my wife, and that I am not able to stop the feelings that have been flowing like water. I too, am human. But I can't ever say that I didn't love my long suffering wife.
I will love my Leah though, for as long as I can. Here is to hoping for the best:
"To my long suffering but beautiful wife, Leah-I pray that I will grow to understand you more and more, and misunderstand you less and less in our days yet to come."
Friday, 18 March 2011
I am Gen.
Gen means a lot of things. Gen also doesn't mean a thing. It's just a name.
But there is more to Gen than just a name.
Gen, in this context, is a five (5) foot, six (6) inches person. Female by official gender, a hundred and fifty (150) over pounds by weight. I have a few facial moles around my left cheek and lip. Chinese or oriental by descent, although I am told that I possess mixed blood in me. My grandfather (of my father's side) came from a mixed blood background, and was born in the Portuguese settlement of Malacca in Malaysia.
I possess black, straight, longish hair that tips slight below my shoulders; my shoulders, I am told are broad and manly, which has made me feel flattered, and I am fairly built although I try to keep myself as athletically framed as possible. This I do, though a fair amount of exercise, and against Western medical advice, I train on the treadmill at my local gym, with a bit of weight-training for the frame. I have quite a button nose, much typical of a Chinese trait, but my fairly wide eyes, hairy brows and bodily hair give me the disposition that I am not purely oriental. In fact, I have received various comments that I am hairy like an Indian, another comment which I welcome thoroughly. My skin is light brown, but turn my arms upwards and it becomes a dark yellow-caramel colour.
I dress androgynously. In fact, I practise androgyny. Being one and the other or neither confuses people, and I like not being labelled. It restricts things and me from being free with myself. I already find myself growing more restrictive with myself and life as I grow older. So the art of balancing my restrictiveness with the freedom of viewpoints is something I do in life.
Life is about balance after all.
In that sense, I wear my trousers, shirts, jackets, vests and suits. I love colour, and tend to dress myself a little more by adding as much colour as I can to my wardrobe. I have hairy legs, more hairy than my father and grandfather put together. They had absolutely no hair on their forearms and legs; I used to think that God saved all that hair for me and took it from them. I do not however, keep butchy appearances or short crew cut hairstyles or wear over-sized shirts. Shoulders are meant to be shown off. Besides, I am not uncultured that way. Even my godson, Danny boy, a thirty one (31) year old Nigerian, who makes little money from his day work as a carer, dresses very well for himself. At least, he keeps himself neat. Lately, my hair is dyed brownish copper. Yes, I am vain.
I have come to realise that I tend to carry myself off like a gay or bisexual man. I do have transexual tendencies, and have come to embrace myself as one. My yearnings to be a husband and father to my wife and my children are examples of my tendencies.
However, in postmodern terms, I called a pomosexual. One who does not like to be named.
Gen, also is one person who does not like spending time, talking or writing unimportant details such as hair colour or weight to people.
I like people getting to know me for who I am. Not how tall or big I am.
I am a twenty seven (27) year old person, currently working as a lawyer, living on her own in a state outside the main city of Kuala Lumpur. I decided to become a lawyer, having pursued an international career outside of my homeland right after my studies, and being forced out of the big boys world for not "belonging". People tell you all sort of things when your time is up. When I was told by the international world that my time there was up, I retreated to machoism to prove that I was going to hold my head up high, even when my girly instincts provoked tears of hurt and disappointment inside. It was amazing how alone I was, packing my things and going. And their slightly sympathetic but detached faces made me feel more aware of my solitude as I left.
I had already known for a while that being a lawyer might suit me for a while. I felt inept, as an international legal professional, with clean hands in court room battle as I was bulldozed into the world of the rich and famous. A young twenty five (25) year old lady meets CEOs and presidents of worldwide investment companies. I felt so small and little before them. Yet I knew that I would be just like one of them one day, and that meant going back to practice to get myself dirty in Kuala Lumpur. So as despondent as I felt initially about leaving the international world and Hong Kong, I happily set myself off for a new-old horizon ahead: home.
Not many people told me how home sick I would be when I arrived home. It took me almost a year to get over my home sickness. I got depressed, locked myself in my own world, spend many times talking and fantasizing nothing but the international world and the life I built during my time there. For that time period, everything ugly, boring, cold, clammy, stupid about my life internationally felt like something a whole lot better than being back in KL. I complained and whined about my life in KL a lot too. And I whined and complained about the people more to the people around me.
It did not help that most of my friends and myself had outgrown each other. I, at many times, felt that I had no one to talk to. Even my best friend, felt like a stranger to me at times. I had no partner, boyfriend or girlfriend to keep me company too. Had I known then that that was a good thing, would have helped the displacement period a lot.
When I left KL for the UK five (5) years prior, I left as a person very much afraid and who did not know her own self. After five (5) years, a few skeletons and closets, I was a very different person. I knew that my own sister did not have the courage to do what I was about to do: live back with the parents. Live back in Malaysia.
It is not like my parents are monsters and Malaysia is this huge grim of a reality. But in truth,