Monday, August 22, 2011


No one can cheat death several times and not pay for it!
At 18 months, the car she was travelling in with three other adults went down a ravine,
she was the baby who did not get hurt.
At 6, she was hit by a motorcyclist when alighting a public bus, she ended up
with a five-day coma in the hospital.
She was down with malaria and dengue when she was nine, they wrote about her in the newspaper.
"First dengue carrier in Pahang". No names mentioned of course. To protect the identity of a juvenile.
At 14, the car in which her father was driving met with an oncoming lorry – the family was thrown off to the side of the road, the car badly damaged;
At 21, the sampan she was riding on capsized in a crocodile infested sea. She was on a trip to Tasik Bera, to live with a couple of indigenous folks.
When she was 30, the four tyres of the car she was driving suddenly exploded, lucky there was a tyre repair shop nearby; the workman who saw her car remarked:
"The driver of this car must have died quite badly!".
When studying at the university, she fell into a drain, her left knee hurt by the sharp, rugged edge; the injury left a "V" sign on her leg.
Is that "V" for victory, the doctor who gave her 20 stiches asked with a laugh.
She was an accident prone child who lived as if there was no tomorrow.
With every fall, crash, and collision, she woke up and walked again, she ran and dived
she sommersaulted, while parachuting, and one day jumped off the Penang bridge.
She did not drown. She proved to herself at last, she was a cat who had nine lives.
But yesterday, while trying to cross the road in front of her home, a car came speeding and crashed into her. She died on the spot. She didn't know, that death, her jilted lover, had finally come to visit her.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Story of my love.

There is someone who loves me, but he lives in a far away land.
I, too, have pledged to love him, until death do us part.
Due to the circumtances surrounding his life at the moment, he says he is unable to prove just how much he loves me.
But I tell him that I don't need proof. Love's either there or not at all.
He has proven, time after time, of his commitment, during these six wonderful and passionate years of our relationship.
Don't get me wrong. He is a single man, not in any other liason or married to another woman.
He's such a simple and kind soul that no one has been able to take his place.
Not in reality, not even in dreams or fantasy.
He is beautiful and kind.
The most gentle soul I have ever met !
And unique.
I remember asking him one day, why does he not keep a photograph of me in his wallet.
"Why should I keep a photograph in my wallet of someone I have already kept in my heart"
That response swept me off my feet, like a whirlwind!
We are great companions when we are in each other's presence.
The intensity of our togetherness, though far and few in between, has kept the flame alive and burning.
That is why I let myself suffer the pain of our long distance love affair.
In this suffering, love does not fade but grows.
A long time ago, a fortune teller told me that I would be 'painfully separated' by distance from the one I love.
It did not seem plausible then but now I know our relationship is written in the stars.
That it is quite impossible for us to have chosen any other route.
Although I miss him terribly and most of the time, painfully, I sometimes appreciate his physical absence.
I have been able to get so many things done without being 'distracted' by a needy lover. Thank God, he is not one of those.
And I have been able to enjoy my independence, the way no other woman with a lover, could.
Friends ask me how do I endure such a distressing situation.
How do I trust him? Is he not fucking someone else?
I could only say that trust is the most important element in any relationship.
Trust is greater than love.
Without trust, love means nothing!
I tend to think that people perceive other relationships based on their own personal experiences.
They have blinkered views and jaded thoughts on the concept of love based on how it has hurt them or made them happy.
So I will forgive those who have no faith in long distant love affairs.
Most, if not all people need bodily warmth and sex daily to reaffirm their love or their participation in love.
They say that by only being daily together one can be assured of love.
Others are sillier in that they say that one needs to be married or have children to see love grow.
Then why do married couple break up or are unfaithful to one another?
To us, marriage is but a certificate, and kids, we do not plan to have.
My love has transcended what is physical and mundane.
My love is spiritual, magical, ethereal, and all that is godly.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


When I first met her in an international ngo conference in dhaka she told me 'you are a karmic replica of jesus christ'.

She lured me into her hotel room by saying she wanted to 'network' with the organisation I was working with.

'Take off your clothes' she said as the door closed behind me.

She was already lying half naked on the bed, one leg rubbing the other, enticing me further.

I run to join her between the sheets.

In that moment of sweat moans and groans i felt I have crisscrossed the entire world.

I have a meeting to go to, she said when it was over, though I was still buried between her legs.

'We have to discuss funding and the next consultation meeting ' she said disappearing behind the door.

The next day I saw her in a rally shouting slogans of "No to child abuse".

She asked me as I approached her "how old are you?".

Twenty, I said, and she told me to get in line. I couldn't believe she was 45.

I wanted another date with her as I gathered the courage to knock on her door.

I found her packing, preparing to leave.

"I have a plane to catch in three hours," she said.

"You took away my virginity but I love you," I said, almost sobbing.

She gave me her business card and told me to check the organisation's website.

"You might want to apply for an internship".

Friday, July 23, 2010

My 1Malaysia Story

The beginning.
There was a time and space, when I was little, when everything I said or did was controversial.
The mystery surrounding my birth itself was bizarre. I gave my parents a few false alarms but every time, it was ‘no show’.
Every alarm sent them into a state of frenzy; only to discover that I was not ready to leave my cocoon.
I finally arrived on Sept 23, not via the ‘normal’ channel, but through a C-section.
A complicated procedure but one that spared my mother many hours of crying, moaning, groaning, heaving and screaming.
Or rather it spared my dad the agony of sitting through the most dreaded drama.
But mine was a 21st century dad. He beat those Swedish dads taking paternity leave these days. In 1963, my dad was already on a month’s leave to ‘take care of the baby’.

Why I decided not to have kids.
My legs become jelly when I hear the word childbirth.
Because I knew it all – how it happened during my mum’s pregnancy up to the histrionics in a typical Malayan labour room – though I never had a baby.
Mum often took me on one of those guilt trips, where I become the ‘baby in distress’ and she ‘the laboring mum’.
By then, the labor room bathed in glittering blood and tears, would have materialised before my eyes.
Do I need to be there again? No siree.
And so I decided never to have kids.
It didn’t help that I was ‘forced’ to sit through a documentary in science class, of a woman giving birth, when I was barely 17.
It surely wasn’t a comfort to see the woman’s thighs covered with fresh blood and the baby’s head oozing out of her vagina, with mommy’s her legs wide apart.
I remember her screaming, writhing while the nurses held her arms down.
I made the most important decision then.
Come what may, no kids.
So, shall I ask: sex education, anyone?

Rebel with a cause.
I arrived two weeks later than the doctor’s date.
That’s the first sign of the rebel in me.
But mum didn’t think so.
“You were a ‘baby in distress’,” she said, trying to explain the many false alarms and my late arrival.
She did not think that late deliveries were a sign of protest though I insisted it was.
“I was late because I was fighting my eviction from planet Placebo,” I said.
Mum just went…planet what?

My first expose to archaic and draconian laws
Another sign of rejecting life was a time when I haboured suicidal tendencies.
“I never asked to be born!” I would often declare.
It was just me trying the escape route whenever I had a run in with the ‘law’.
Laws set by Lord and Lady Justice, called mum and dad.
If these laws were broken, punishment includes either, any or all of the following: solitary confinement, detention without trial, and worse of all, no freedom of speech or association.
As you can see, I was already exposed to these draconian laws before I even went to school.
But parents have a way of ‘dangling the carrot’ before their children’s eyes and in no time, draconian laws become ‘parental guidance’.

May 13
Skin color was a big thing to me then. More like a political statement than a statement of beauty.
I remember storming out of my neighbour’s house one evening, banging the front door shut, cursing at the Indian family, just because they said I looked like my dad.
Now my dad is of mixed parentage – the result of a Chinese penis and a Sri Lankan vagina at work.
When I told that to my neighbor – she went hysterical.
I wondered why she was being so dramatic - she married her uncle anyway – Isn’t that incest?
But she said I was outrageous.
It was the way I explained my ancestry.
After that incident, I no longer stepped into their homes. No matter how they tried to lure me with apom, bananas or jellies.
My dad was a ‘kopi-susu’, popularly mistaken, mostly (no, all the time!) for a Malay.
To have people think you were a Malay in those days was a curse.
Because that was the era of the bloody riot, the May 13.
I was not yet six. But I was a rather ‘informed’ kid. My internet was my mom, who travelled nine miles away from home to work 3 shifts in the General Hospital.
One day she came home to tell us how the bodies of five Chinese boys had been slaughtered by parangs.
They were brought to the emergency ward. None survived.
It was indeed a horrifying and sad tale, and a wake up call, that the nation was as fragile as us kids, prone to quarrels, but unlike adults, their spat ended in murder.
One could be guilty by association just by having THAT skin color.

The sultana’s choice.
Being a government servant meant one thing to me: we were like shifting sands.
‘Transfer’ was a common word among the ‘legs & hands” (kakitangan) of the government.
But we lived in Kuantan, to be more precise, 2km away from the army camp, for 12 lovely years.
Dad was a weather man.
This meant he looked at clouds and predicted rainfall.
He also checks on the day’s temperature and monitors the various ‘weather’ instruments out in the open field behind his office.
His mission: to gauge whether it would be a rainy or sunny day.
As to the validity of his predictions, I turn to mom. She often remarked: How come it rained when you said it would be a hot day?

Mother was a state registered nurse, who sometimes served the Sultan of Pahang.
Word has it that the Sultana preferred Chinese nurses.
Why? Because Malay nurses would most certainly put a spell on her husband.
Those were the gossips from the royal home.
There were also stories of the Sultan being very selective about his visitors when he was warded at the hospital.
He would never say ‘No’ though to a certain Chinese towkay.
Whenever this towkay came to visit, he would most certainly be allowed a royal visit.
Word has it that visits from this towkay always ended with a big angpow in the Sultan’s pocket.
Later I found out that this certain towkay was the rich businessman father of a former human resourses minister.
We cannot mention names here of course, lest they sue me off my panties!

Chinese do get promoted, too…but.
I often heard stories of brilliant workers being rejected at work, and students not getting scholarships despite their excellent exam results.
Being a Chinese staff in a government sector meant one is often passed over for a promotion.
But contrary to popular belief, it was mum who rejected a promotion once. It came with a very high price, she said.
It meant that she had to leave dad and me and my little brother to move to Alor Setar.
In those days, that city was a lifetime away. It probably took 3 traveling days just to reach its boundaries.
Alor Setar, the homestead of Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, borders Perlis in the North and Perak in the central.
Today, it’s only 9 hours or so from Kuantan by car.
“It’s either me, the kids or your sister’s post,” my dad threatened.
So like the proverbial good wife, she chose us.
I do not know if she regretted her decision.
Promotion only came with a RM40 increase in salary, she told me recently, after all these years.
“Do you think it is worth all the sacrifices?” she quipped. “Of course not!”
So it was an economic decision after all, in the guise of family solidarity and undying love.
My mother!

(to be continued)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One night in Nana

Creamy, foamy, and steamy, with a flirtatious sprinkle of cinnamon and vanilla, the mug of latte, with a signature that says ‘coffee break’, in front of me is begging to be sipped.

The latte looks back with an appealing round face, spilling over the rims of the white mug, asking to be swallowed down the dark and lonely tunnel of my thirsty throat.

As much as I felt sultry and sensual that night, with the strings of my slinky blouse threatening to slip, showing off a sexy dragonfly tattooed shoulder, my latte is just about the only warm and liquid thing I will kiss and lick and suck tonight. The only object of desire I would swallow, under this starless, moonless, cloudless and winter sky.

Tonight, I am looking for angels in this City of Angels they call Bangkok or Krungthep, land of a thousand smiles. And yet, it doesn’t feel like winter, nor are there any angels on this street.

Read more at the Writers Connect, story of the week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Perhaps it was time to try her first cigarette. Gulp down a large pitcher of hard alcohol.Would it be better to swallow an abusive substance?

Stevie Gane was the 6th editor who turned down her expose.He may after all be the last one. Being chief editor of an independent alternative paper, Gane's rejection of her explosive expose spelled the end of her faith in the fourth estate.

What the hell are they afraid of when this expose is backed by solid evidence?

What she imagined long ago had came to pass now: that both sides of the media - mainstream or otherwise - have been co-opted. The former, by unscrupless and power greedy politicians, the other, by their own self interests and fear of being sanctioned by the state.

True, the Internal Security Act is the kind of sword media practitioners do not want to mess around with. But what is more unsettling for them is the Printing Presses and Publication Act which can guarantee a newspaper out of business for good.

At the end of the day, newspapers are nothing more than a business entity.

Those who harbored thoughts about its nobel cause,of it playing the role of a watchdog of the government, or an independent voice of the masses, can kiss their hopes goodbye.

They are all merely cowards, cowards, she chided herself as she left the building. She walked in haste, her footstep matching her racing heartbeats.

She left Ganes office feeling suicidal. In her handbag was the most controversial photo of the century.

She needed a so-called 'credible' media to have it published. As a freelance journalist, she needed a medium for her work. Yes, she has a personal blog, with a steady following.But this expose needs the widest, possible coverage.

So she turned to Malaysia Daily, an online outfit who had always adopted an unbias, unfliching, critical and agressive stance. But today her faith in the free media came crashing down. She felt it crashed on the windowpanes of the light transit rail she was riding in, with a loud bang.

Bloody hell! This controversial piece of evidence may well change the landscape of the judiciary, even governance of this country, she thought aloud. But it seems no one, not even an award winning and supposedly fearless editor in chief like Ganes was interested.

She was on her way to the bus terminal in Pudu Raya. She needed to go home to see her mother in Penang. The usual fillial daughter visits to her mother.
In her handbag were her travel tickets alongside the daming photo of the Chief Justice with the murdered victim.

Yes, the beautiful and glamourous African student was smiling langrously beside the CJ Shane. The time stamp on the photo showed the photo was taken a week before she was mysteriously blown up into bits by a bomb blast strong enough to destroy a four storey building.

When a group of Indigenous people found bits and pieces of human flesh strewn all over a jungle clearing near their ancestor's land, they called the police immediately. Horrified. Forensic experts later confirmed it was the remains were flesh and bones of Arista Dominique, a foreign exchange student at the Suntech College in Kuala Lumpur.

She went missing a few days before her death. The only thing she left behind was a note:"I am finally going to be in his arms. S told me he loved me today".

It exasperated her that the whole nation was willing to let this case die a natural death. The CJ, mired in countless scandals and allegations of corruption continues to deny his involvement in the death which rocked the country two years ago.
He was a prime suspect as witnesses saw him with the young woman just hours before her horrible death.

The legal circle was well aware of the torrid affair between the two.
Even Mrs Shane, the CJ's wife had made an appearance in the Palace of Justice.
The ugly scene left an indelible mark on many.

Despite endless calls for him to step down and allow himself to be interrogated by the police and the court of law, the CJ persists in deluding the people that he was, indeed, above the law.

That he rules the law, and therefore can enjoy special status laden with impunity.
The concept of rule of law it seems was alien to this country.

As she entered the terminal, she realised that she needed to get a drink. It was the migrane, it would attack her when her spirits were low, as it was now.
She decided against it. She had exactly 5 minutes to rush to platform 8 where her bus leaves. She did not want to miss her trip.

As she approached the platform, she thought she heard some call out her name. In that instance, she heard a loud explosion. The last thing she remembered, was her handbag sliding from her arms.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who needs freedom of choice?


With some people the boundaries are clear and yet you lose a sense of individuality, like you are not so conscious whether you're man or woman, you forget about your race, your skin color, you know the language you speak is a language the other person understands.

With these people you feel you are on equal plain.

After all he or she is merely human.

In spite of all this, you can hide the truth about yourself.

The boundaries are so clear that you impose no threat or demands on the other.

With some people you can experience total freedom of choice.

With this person, the boundaries are blurred and yet I am totally conscious of myself.

I am so aware that I am woman and he is man.

I know my body and all its parts are capable of responding to him in the most outrageous manner.

That if he were to look into my eyes, they become glaziers, melting into pools of clear, blue waters, so clear he could see a reflection of his nakedness in them.

That if he were to touch me, my skin turns into silk, soft as cotton that you could strand all the pieces and I would cover him like a garment or a frock fit for a prince.

That if we made love, the color of my skin would glare so obviously against his color and yet we would blend into different shades, shades as wondrous as the rainbow, as our bodies merge like the hands of time when it is twelve o'clock.

That if he were to speak to me, I would lose myself in his voice, that his language would sound mysterious to me and I would experience fear.

Fear. Can you imagine?

I do not even fear God. And yet I fear him. Fear what he might think of me, fear that I would lose him, fear that every moment only brings him further from me.

Fear that one day when I wake up I no longer remember his face or his name.

Fear that some day he would need me and I may no longer be there. Fear of the known and the unknown.

Fear as if he were God himself. As if he were a spirit or an angel of death that would deny me my life and take me away from earth.

With this person, there is no chance to hide the truth or the untruth. For both would plead for release from the bottomless pit like doves trapped in a cage.

Like if you held back the waves for a hundred years and finally explode the dam, how the waves would avalanche.

It would be like the sun exploding.

Yes, my truth and untruth will leave me naked, to the microscopic detail of my skin, bones and blood.

That I could hide nothing from him is the ultimate truth, save the actual moment of my death. For only the Gods know when or where.

Friends, if I were mad, please tell me so. For my sanity has taken leave. Perhaps my sanity, my consciousness, my education and my awareness have all staged a revolution and rebelled against their leader.

Like I would stand by my religion even if you violate me, even if you dragged me by the hair or threaten to burn me at the stakes.

I would still venture into uncharted seas with hope, faith and love in my heart. With him there is no freedom of choice.

But who needs this phantom called freedom when you have made your ultimate choice?

The river of fire

She watched the leaves fall around the garden. She felt she was a candle burning in the wind. She thought of a river flowing like a tongue of fire. Then she thought of what it was like to be God.

It is better to think that God does not exist than to think he is a cruel God. Yes, God is a "he". In fact, God must surely be a man, devoid of compassion and mercy when he is needed most.

No matter how much you cry, there are no answers, merely silent echoes from an empty wall. Like a deep hole in the dark of the night, dense with nothingness.

If God were a woman, she would empathize with the pain and heartaches of lovelorn lovers, of refugees, fleeing from their countries, crossing borders. She would open up lands, reunite families, bring together friends and bridge the gap between lovers, fusing them as one, as if they had never been apart.

But God is a man. Men love structures, pillars and construction work. Men love concrete, heights and width of things, barriers, depths and distance. It does not matter that these things were dead. Men do not need lives.

Women are just the opposite. They love potted plants and beautiful gardens as if they could sleep with them. They wish to create life, even though it was only planting an herb plant.

Is that too much to ask for, she wondered? Perhaps, it was only her being too demanding on herself. It was only her who often wanted the impossible. Or, was it because she did not deserve the impossible? Perhaps, she was seeking to be different. Or was she asking more than she deserved?

“Why are you so complicated?” Her mother asked. “Be normal,” her father said, as if she had borderline personality issues.

She finally understood what it meant to be a refugee when his visa to visit her in Bangkok was rejected due to technical reasons. He did not have a local bank account with six months transaction. His Bank of America account was useless here although he did not close it when he left Monterey last month, after completing a Fulbright scholarship.

He thought it would make a difference to the immigration officer that he was now a Masters of Public Affairs and International Management. That he was now clean shaven and did not wear his Salwar Kameez. He now wore t-shirts and blue jeans.

She sink into her bed every night after work and cried her heart out. She had waited long enough, she sobbed. She did everything right, she wailed. What else must she do? She was prepared to meet him despite the odds. She prayed that God would use his magic wand to push the obstacles aside.

But she forgot that God is a man. Men do not fight against the odds, they just leave.
She thought she felt worse that God had left her, than the fact, that her lover of four years could not be with her. She did not want to see him six months down the road. For life was unpredictable.

But since the news arrive, every day she walked in the streets like a zombie. On the dusty streets of Bangkok, she stared enviously at young Thai women flirting or dating elderly white men old enough to be their father and thought miserably: Happy are the non-committed and unfaithful, for yours is the kingdom of love.

What kind of message is this – a message that floats in the universe, as if it were a message from God?

Tears started to fill her eyes, blurring her vision. She wiped them with her bare palms, her head reeled. Her heels got stuck in a big crack in the cement path. She fell to her knees. Scratch marks appeared instantly, and she felt pain.

She realized she had been a fool to have had so much faith, to be so pregnant with expectation, to believe that if one did the right thing, the right things would happen.

She remembered the words of the Dark Knight, where Batman said: Sometimes, the truth is not enough. Sometimes people needed to be rewarded for their faith.
Or else, it is easy to think that it's better to scorn the truth.

It doesn't pay, she finally said to herself, to be faithful and abiding in love. It was as if she has just swallowed the bitterest concoction in her life. God does not reward the faithful but the flirtatious. Because God is a man. Men do not believe in monogamy.

"God has left me," she told him over their routine internet chats, the refuge for star crossed lovers across the borders. She was still aching from the fact that God could have wielded his supernatural powers over the Thai embassy in Karachi, fill the officer’s heart with sympathy and have her lover’s visa to Bangkok approved.

No such thing happened. God was busy with the Marriot Hotel bombings in Islamabad where hundreds of people died, where organs were found scattered around the tragic area. Every living soul in Pakistan felt as if he or she was standing on the edge, waiting to be pushed off into oblivion.

Still the people believed in God, so does her lover. Here she was weeping because his visa was rejected.

"I did not leave you," he replied, trying desperately to convince her that this long distant love affair could stand the test of time. That with all the challenges they faced, it could transcend the barrier of distance. "Be patient, I will find a way to be with you soon".

How soon, neither he nor she could tell. To her, it already felt like an eternity. The river of fire was real. Augustine the tarot card reader from Indonesia had said: You'll have to cross the river of fire to be with him. It is entirely up to you. It is your decision. But he is your soul mate in life and death.

"You'll forget me," she said sadly. "It's only a matter of time".

"After all we've been through? I am not about to leave your hand," he countered. "Please don't have such negative thoughts".

"There are countless young women out there - South Asians, Arabs, white women. How could you resist? You are after all, just a man".

She could hear him sigh in exasperation. They've been through this conversation a thousand times before, with no change in her perception, or prejudice, despite his incessant pleadings that "I am different".

"You make me out to be a porn star, just waiting to hump a woman at sight," he finally breathed the words. "What makes you think that every woman wants to fuck me? Or that I want to fuck every woman?"

"You are a man. Men want to fuck women".

"The only woman I want to fuck is you and you know it".

She did not believe his words. Not that he had ever cheated her. But she rationalized her fear to be this: That she was fat and forty and he was 14 years her junior. That there was no guarantee that he would always find her sexy.

That he was someone from a different country, culture, race and religion. That his religion permitted him to have four wives. And that his culture promoted arranged marriages.

"It makes no difference to me," he told her when they met in a conference, four years ago. "Age is but a number. We are soul mates in heart and soul. Besides, I do not believe in arrange marriages".

Her friends were worried.

"What? 14 years younger? Are you a cradle snatcher?" screamed a friend who believed that men should be older than their partners as they matured so very slowly - either emotionally or mentally.

"Younger men are bound to find younger women," said an activist friend, who worked with women's groups all her lives, counseled hundreds of cases, some of them included younger men who deserted their wives for younger women.

"I do not like relationships with weaker men," added a former colleague, as if strength had anything to do with age.

But there were cheerleaders, too.

"Wowee! You kinky slut," said a good friend who often marveled at her habitual 'impulsiveness' to gratify herself. "Good for ya, girl".

Another came up with scientific evidence to convince her that older women should be humping younger men due to their different levels of bodily hormones. To which her lover whole heartedly agreed to when she told him about it.

"By the time I get to be 40, I don't think I'd be so sexy anymore. It'll take lots of effort to get it up. So don't worry about those younger women".

She knew he was trying to comfort her. She knew her friends were all being cautious or careless, depending on their own personal experiences.

People often offered you advice they wished they had given themselves years ago, she realized.

Some were totally misinformed as well, and many perpetuate prejudices handed down by their grandmothers, aunties and mommies, as if they were the family heirloom.

She cast her doubts to the winds. She made a silent vow to challenge the hands of fate. The only thing that mattered to her now was how to cross that river of fire.