KL, I’m back (and I hate it)


KL, I’m back

into your embrace of chaos,

And lights too bright,

And streets too packed,

Even the flight to you

is way too cramped,

And the scent of you

a reminder of smog and deceit,

The sight of you under

like a land shrouded in mystery,

When the only mystery you hold

is if tomorrow’ll be chaotic or obnoxious.

 

KL, I’m back

into your embrace of whatevers,

And lingering hope of a better,

And lingering will to push forward

into whatever day better.

 

8.10pm

16th June 2018

Rusuhan Adrenalin


“Tu, di bawah tu, mat lajak.”

“Mat lajak-kah boi?”

“Ya. Satu, dua, tiga, emp- (suara menghilang di bawah dengusan nafas mesin penapis udara)… lapan kesemuanya.”

“Dia orangkah yang kena hon tu boi?”

“Iya.”

“Ha, mat lajak-lah lagi! Sekali kena lajak, baru tahu!”

Suasana bilik kembali senyap untuk seketika. Yang kedengaran hanya deting-deting kinciran bilah kipas dan klik-klik tetikus komputer riba.

“Kau pernah naik basikal tengah malamkah?”

“Pernah la boi. Tapi yang pakai otak punya. Ini tidak pakai otak.”

“Kalau gitu, mesti kau faham perasaan melayari malam di belakang stereng basikal.”

“Iyalah boi, tapi tidak gila macam ini mat lajak.”

Suasana kembali sepi seketika. Kedengaran bunyi kenderaan melaju, mungkin mengejar lampu hijau yang sudah beralih kuning di simpang empat di bawah.

“Tapi kau tidak faham, perasaan apabila kau terkena rusuhan.”

“Rusuhan apa boi?”

“Rusuhan adrenalin. Apabila kau menentang logik dan pecah keluar dari kekangan undang-undang, rusuhan itu mengencang, dan kau akan rasa makin teruja.”

Sepi menyapa kembali. Tidak lama kemudian, satu dengusan, kurang pasti mengherdik atau tertawa.

“Rusuhan adrenalin-kah boi?”

 

12.32 am

3 Febuari 2018

Cowards


We the cowards,

Whom play catch and miss,

Over and over and forevermore,

And frown upon the inept us,

Tears streaming from broken hearts,

Hearts made out of fragile glass,

Mend together, we thought we got tough,

Only to be beaten again and shatter.

 

Oh, how I envy the young and bold,

The clumsy yet honest,

That youthful gold,

Oh, how I envy the young and bold,

Though stupid, they’re honest,

In the moment, they act,

In the moment, they hold.

 

12.54 pm

25th November 2017

Kelakar


Semboyan berbunyi meratahi indera

Empati tersisip dalam kata-kata

Duhai orang, duhai manusia

Inikah yang telah kita besarkan?

Hamparan jelama tak punya rawan?

 

Hilanglah peri-peri segalanya

Anak muda didera, dituduh, diseterika

Tinggallah kita perwira kata-kata

Ingin memberontak di sebalik tirai maya

Keluar cacian tanpa faedah

Unggulnya kita yang tak berada di sana..

 

Mati itu pasti

Entah bila sahaja

Lambat laun mati

Inilah hakikatnya

Hati itu pasti

Ada dalam kita semua

Tetapi, aku bertanya, masih benarkah ada?

 

Tertusuk hati kita

Empunya skrin sesentuh

Lalu kita bertanya

Apalah jahanam mereka?

Tibai segala anak muda?

Angkuhnya kita berlagak

Hatta narsisis sebenar

 

Duhai manusia yang berhati perut

Ungguli perikemanusiaan kembali

Niat kau ceburkan jadikan usaha

Impian kau utarakan jadi kenyataan

Aman kau realisasi jadi kehidupan..

 

4.56 pm

18 Jun 2017

Murni (Darah Daging, final part)


In the end, I was reminded once again that each life is precious.

Over the past week, I have come to hate my family and love them back forever more. The ordeal which was grandpa’s illness was not one only for him, but for me as well. I came to question the humanity that resides in me and doubt any was there. I came to hate the very being of circumstances, of life and death and prejudice and speculation, and in the end, came to terms with it. I came to accept the weakness that is being me, being human, being part of a family, being part of this vicious cycle of life and death, and came to embrace all that is good and bad about it. I have settled down with fact and end all bickering with it. For now. But for now is good enough. I couldn’t wish for anything more.

Abah didn’t hate grandpa, and I suspect grandpa didn’t too. I came to this realization only yesterday. The false impression I had on them was shattered by honest tears and a smiling face. Perhaps grandpa was abah’s idea of a father to rebel against. He was obedient towards his own father, so obedient it somehow twisted the image of his own father into that of a perfect man. In reality, as I came to know from his siblings, my aunts and uncles with a more objective view, their father wasn’t as nearly as perfect as abah depicted, and this somehow baffles a few of his sisters. Abah had always sucked it up, to bear the burden of order and expectations that his father had on him, and had always prevailed, turning him into perhaps a better man than he was before. “From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen..” was a line from Father and Son by Cat Stevens, and that is what abah did with his father, only without the negative connotation.

But with that attitude, with that obedience came the price of not having the chance to experience his own rebellious stage typical of youth. And so, he dragged his rebelliousness to his new father, his father by law, and clashed heads with him in the most subtle of ways. Perhaps grandpa can’t stand that man to be his in-law either, for he was a stern young fella who had always prevailed. Grandpa was not like that in his younger days. He was a tall good-looking guy back in his prime, and was a flirt to boot. He enjoyed young life even though he’s already married. So meeting a man unlike his younger self had made them clash ideas on topics so mundane, you could gloss over it. But the two of them had one similarity that was obvious from the start. They both are headstrong men.

But with time, they came to tolerate and accept each other as is. Sure, they have some complains about the other every now and then, but they learn to get over it. I need to learn from the both of them on this matter. I tend to get it all bundled together until it became a huge hill, it collapse on myself. Oh, the possibilities of grudges. It could fuel you and burn you too.

Perhaps this stage in life was too plain for me, so God decided to throw in a test or two to spice things up. Spicy things are always delicious. I am glad to have been given this chance, this opportunity to struggle and remember what I’ve forgotten, and am even gladder to know that with this breakdown of mind and soul, with the questioning of my own morals and humanity and sanity, I find myself still human and not some robot without feelings. It is perhaps struggles, tests like these that made Bartholomew spawn out those words:

For I have dipped my hands in muddied water, and found ‘tis better to be a commander than a common man.

Only after some sort of peril did he upgraded himself to be of greater status and power. And my own could also be a transformation too.

I was supposed to take over caretaking grandpa yesterday afternoon, but my shift never arrived. By 7.50 in the morning, his pressure started to drop, so was his heartbeat. He had multiple stops before finally reached the terminal at 10 sharp. He didn’t go out suffering. He didn’t look as if in pain. He disappeared faintly, slowly, calmly. My afternoon shift was then turned into grave-digging duty, and by 4 in the afternoon, he was laid to rest, at last.

May you rest in peace, atok. And may your soul be embraced by Allah as one of the faithful.

9.45 am

28th December 2016

Darah Daging pt 4


What was that patient’s name again? I sit here in the cafeteria, and a memory of him came by. I was still working in KL back then. We had a patient who was in critical condition. I never met him face to face, but I gradually felt close to him as time passed by. In fact, everyone in the pharmacy department felt the same way. We felt close to him, like he was someone dear to us. But we never saw his face. All we know about him came through his med sheets, sent to us at irregular times. He needed stats quite often, up to one point the nurses just give us a ring and the meds will be delivered. The papers and formalities can come later, we all agreed instinctively without discussion.

That uncle spent three months in our hospital. His file was the bulkiest. We even had special orders just for him, meds that are normally not in stock. Some are even meds never in our inventory. Kak Nor, the store clerk had special tabs on this particular patient, opened up numerous new entries in the system for the never-before-seen meds, and was always eager to assist in procuring anything needed, even in the middle of the night when she’s already gone to bed. The department as a whole had a special relationship with him through the med charts, it almost seem magical how one man could touch the hearts of people used to working without lingering attachments toward patients.

I remember the first time a tray full of untouched meds came in with a TTA slip and a note on it written ‘pt exp’. I remember how I was saddened by it. I also remember how I gradually became so used to it, I was desensitized. I remember how I forgot the fact that the flame of one’s life has just been snuffed out with every ‘pt exp’ note we get. And I was once again reminded that each life is so precious when this uncle came.

About a month or so after admission, billing called in and ordered us to halt all dispensing to this uncle as his insurance had just topped its limit. We were enraged by that, but can’t do anything about it. His bill was a staggering amount even we could only dream to attain in one life. He must’ve been a burden to that company. That must’ve been the reason they cut him off. Fucking capitalists! But then came news that his son came and claim all bills his responsibility. Just do whatever it takes to make father better, or so we heard from the nurses attending him and the billing kids who billed him. We were relieved to hear such news.

This uncle had numerous incidents of emergencies, but he always came back into the light of the living. Then one day he got sepsis, and everything turned to gray. But he came back from it. Perhaps his coming backs made us all think that he will get better. He was getting better by his final days.

It’s still vivid how I came in for work that morning. I noticed that his file was not there. Was he discharged, I asked the night shift girl who’s still around. She looked straight into my eyes, all teary eyed herself, and delivered the news. I was reminded by him, or rather, his death, that every death is sorrowful.

And now I question myself. What did his family thought of his passing? Were they relieved? Were they sad? Were they angry or frustrated? I may never know the answers to those questions, but I may have my own answers soon. Did they ever thought of euthanasia like I did? Or did they cling unto hope so desperately, they drown themselves and then learn to breathe underwater?

I don’t know.

1.33 pm

26th December 2016

Darah Daging pt 3


A lot of things come barging into my mind lately. Ideas, ideologies, thoughts, school of thoughts, perspectives, memories, they come uninvited, cramped up in the crevices of my head. Keywords come popping out in instances, and discussions, or garble of it, starts out like a movie. Aleppo, euthanasia, Tawakkal, marriages, gratitude, life, death, the hereafter. They mix and mingle with one another until all that’s left is a mess without substance. Until all that’s left is me.

Cousins, parents, siblings, grandaunts, they could all go into the yellow bin and be cast out as clinical waste. Or better, into purple bins and be labelled radioactive or carcinogenic, I can’t remember what it was called. And then save a space for me, the trashiest of all, grand spectacle of human scum, so that I could be thrown away with the rest. I hope everything ends.

“Biarkan ku, biarkan ku lelap,

Biarkan jasadku tidur selamanya..”

Sayoko (adaptasi Bahasa Melayu), Datu Kisaragi

11.50 am

26th December 2016

Darah Daging pt 2


As I sit here once again, I came to the realization that I too am petty. Abah had put his anger towards grandpa aside for the care he is obliged by marriage. Losing his own mother a month prior may have made him realize that a loved one lost is painful, even more so to ummi in this case. He’d been through it, and he doesn’t want ummi to feel the same way as him. At least, not with the regret of knowing you didn’t give your all, your time and energy towards parents who gave theirs in your early stage of life.

Perhaps I am enraged by all of this. All of this seem like a play, a charade bleached with pity and sorrow and regret. That is perhaps why I want out. I can’t stand what I perceive as hypocrisy, theirs and mine. That is why I sought an existence unchained to my miserable heart, my miserable self. Looking at him on the bed from the caretaker’s chair, I still strongly think that he ought to be dead by now. I am a horrible person for wishing the unbecoming of him, and I can’t fathom what retribution lies upon me. Will I remain miserable my whole life, or will I die a more horrid death than his? The future holds the answer and may never reveal itself to me until its own unbecoming into the present and subsequently, the past.

Grandpa’s faltered state may not only be a test upon him, but also a test on me as well. A test to see the value of humanity that resides in me, if any were there at all. Stay asleep, grandpa. May your sufferings subside, and mine answered.

10.20 am

26th December 2016

Darah Daging


At this point in life, I wish there’s a reset button for it. Or rather, a random button that kicks me off into the unknown, the perils and pleasures of a different me, I want it all. At this point, I’d very like to abandon everything that encompasses me. My identity, my family, the bonds and memories of childhood, the bitter throes of favouritism, the harsh words slapped out of my mouth, and the harsh blows slapped by my own hands. I want to forget and drown in a nothingness that is neither me nor another person. I want to evolve beyond mere existence, beyond being confined by a physical body that keeps taking on weight and a heart that is fragile as glass. I thought I was strong. I thought wrong.

With his shit in my hands, the very thought of disappearing and reappearing as another entity unbounded by the norms of what we call as a human being resonates stronger and stronger inside me. I want out. That idea had been buzzing in my head since last Sunday. Or perhaps the Monday after it, when I came to visit him in the hospital. Grandpa was left with a pretty much defunct left when stroke took him by surprise. Or was it really a surprise? I had seen this coming miles away, a year or two before it happened. Now, I just lament at not believing in my own prediction. It wasn’t sudden. It was a series of negligence, both ours and his. But pointing fingers won’t undo it. A root cause analysis may as well be a topic for coffee talk and an ignition point for heated debates, family quarrels, and a good distraction from the task at hand; the care and need of grandpa in his current sad state. But one thing such analysis can’t do is the fixing up of a broken man.

I was not close with my maternal grandfather. Well, not emotionally. My feelings toward him were borderline indifferent. Borderline because there’s still a grace of warmth, the one you get out of familial love, and because there’s also a tinge of hate splashed on me from the rift between him and abah. They both hate each other, was what I told myself a few years back, about ten or so, when they were squabbling about a piece of land. They can’t fit in together, like pieces from two different puzzle sets. And perhaps they will never be able to achieve complete harmony between them. The most they can squeeze out of what little tolerance they have towards each other is a stalemate peaceful scenario which had transpired throughout almost all of abah’s and ummi’s married life. But the core feeling they have remain unchanged all this time.

They hate each other to the bone.

And I hate it when any one of them talks bad about the other. They look petty. They look pathetic, but I can’t mutter my thoughts on their thoughts unless wanting to be labelled emotional and an ungrateful ingrate. They bring with them an image of strength, abah in the brains department, grandpa in the brawns section. But when they have to say anything about the other, they shatter that image into a million tiny pieces, and tiny too they become. Small men with small stinking hearts, and I’m no better than any of them.

Grandpa always look at me and my brother with a somewhat disgusted look. That was what I thought 20 years back. With time, the disgusted look gradually disappear into nothingness, into indifference. Perhaps, in his mind, I am the product of an ingrate who came in and took his daughter’s hand while throwing tradition to the curb. And thus, his sin is my sin. Maybe that’s what goes on in his mind. He acted courteous to me and my brother when we were kids, but never did I remember him acting lovingly. It was different from how he treated my cousins. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of smiles, a lot of love brimming between them. Then when another uncle of mine got married to some divorcee, he showered his and her daughters with more love than my cousins before them. But not me and my brother. Not us.

I never cared about it, but grandma did, I think. She always worry about that stuff, when I had no room to care about it. And when she opened her mouth on that matter, it became apparent that she was aware of grandpa playing favourites. I told her that I was somehow aware of it too, but I do not give a damn about it, more so it being in the past. But she kept on saying that it was not right, and for the wrongness in her husband’s actions, she apologized when none is needed.

But perhaps her worries are justified. Perhaps her worries hold reason. And it became clear for when grandpa got stroke’d, I was not particularly worried about his life. I do feel sympathy, I am worried about his condition, but it feels hollow. That somehow disappointed me. It is as if I have no heart. But there’s logic behind the course of hypocrisy that had taken hold of my heart, and that logic is what grandma had feared all this time. It’s payback for favouritism. Try as I might, I am still convinced that grandpa is best dead than suffering any more and bringing those around him to suffer too. Those are my genuine thoughts since the day I visited him in the hospital, and for those thoughts, I feel disgusted at myself. I am a product of his product, his flesh and blood, but those are the genuine thoughts that course through me even at this very moment, and I can’t change it.

I do not like to care for him in the hospital, I do not like the discussions my parents and aunts and uncles, my grandpa’s children and grandchildren have about him, and as of now, I do not like him at all. But seeing him unable to even clean himself after shitting made my heart break. On the first visit, I had phlegm in the back of my throat and was thinking of disposing it after exiting the premise. He was choking on his own phlegm, unable to even accomplish the simple task of spitting. And then a cousin uttered in a low voice:

And what was lent to us will be taken back one by one.

And shattered it went, my non-existent heart.

Perhaps, even after all that I think about and after all that I write, perhaps, and truly perhaps, after all that had transpired all these years, I still care and love him. I am still his flesh and blood after all.

May Allah grant what’s best for you with utmost ease, atok.

12.34 am

26th December 2016