Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

April 17, 2018

coincidence

If you’ve been following this blog, you’d know that my mom took her own life after battling a bout of depression a few years ago. She did a lot of planning to take her own life, right to the details on how she wanted her funeral to be handled and the location of the receipt for the niche to put her ash. I had to go through her suicide notes, and the most difficult thing that I had to contend, was to learn that she’d been planning for her death all the while being normal to us and I was unknowingly appointed to handle the aftermath of her death. (she did say sorry to me in her notes for that).

One of the things that I had to do (that wasn’t part of the note), was to dispose of the car she died in. It was parked at that very location for many days, way after her funeral. I was the one who bought the car for her, and drove it back from Perak from the used car dealer. Wasn’t a great car but, was practical. The morning that my mom disappeared, we were toiling in worry to search for this car, and none of us found it until the gardener noticed it hidden in a basement with the engine running and inside it, my mom’s body. The car was in a mess when we got back to it after the funeral. Its interior was filled with the odor of gas fumes and it had broken glass in its interior (rescuers had to break the window to get to my mom). Out of obligation, one of my mom’s brothers offered to sell off the car for us, so he drove it off to a used car dealer somewhere and was disposed of for an insignificant sum of money. Out of grief, I did not feel like taking the money so, I donated all of it to a charity organization. I never saw that car again after signing the documents at the used car dealer that day.

Fast forward 7 years later, about a few weeks ago… this car made an appearance right in front of our apartment’s guard house. My wife Emily was the first to notice it, and she alerted me. “Dear, I saw your mom’s car outside our apartment! How did it end up back here?”
“That’s just a sheer coincidence”

It made a few more appearances outside our apartment compound, and was no longer seen again… until a week ago, it was parked at a parking lot right across my car. Apparently, the person who had bought the car that my mom died in 7 years ago, moved to the apartment unit at our ground floor, which has a parking lot right across my parking space. What are the odds of that happening? So many people in Penang and so many apartments to move to, and it ended up right across where I can see it all the time. And now, I get a grim reminder of how my mom looked like when she was in her rigor mortis state whenever I get home from work every day… I just hope my mom won’t appear in it and flag me over to have a chat… Because that’s just wrong, that car is no longer hers, goddamn it.

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December 3, 2017

life changing defining moment

I caught someone asking a question the other day – “Have you ever experienced a life changing defining moment before?”

It got me thinking… hard, as I’ve experienced a lot of life changing defining moments before in my life. But if I were to cite none but one, it has to be that morning in July 2011 when I first saw my mom’s face when we found her in her car, after searching all morning for her. A couple of medics were onsite, there were measuring devices around her, and I could see that they were doing some assessments of sorts. But that didn’t matter. I knew my mom was gone. Dead. I knew a face of death when I see one, and that was when it hit me hard – that my life will be different from then on. Everything was changed, just like that, and it felt surreal. I was sad but, I could not eke any emotion out of myself. I think I was in shock, and it was so intense that, I felt dizzy.

I locked gaze at my mom’s face through the windscreen of her car, and walked towards the medics. One of the medics, then turned to me and said – “I’m sorry, your mom’s not with us anymore. There’s no pulse in her, and we reckon that she’s been like this for some time”. I, of course, already knew, and that confirmation sent my wife and sister crying. But I just walked away and sat at a nearby ledge, random thoughts started to flood my mind – what am I going to tell my daughter? why did my mom kill herself? what the fuck just happened? Is this real? Who the fuck are these people? What the hell am I suppose to do now?

It went on like that through the day, while I managed to keep my shit together to deal with my mom’s body and subsequently, her funeral arrangements. I was on autopilot mode. I did things physically, but my mind was not in it. I couldn’t remember most of the day, but kept thinking of how she looked when I saw her that morning. I went through the day by dealing with the police, claiming her body from the morgue (there was an autopsy involved), getting the paperwork done, talking to the undertaker, and ended up sleeping on the stone bench outside the funeral parlor that night, after the guests were gone from the first night of wake. And I had a dream that everything that happened that day, was a nightmare. It was such a relief that I told myself in the dream – “I KNEW IT! IT HAD TO BE A NIGHTMARE! I WONDERED LONG ENOUGH WHEN AM I GOING TO WAKE THE FUCK UP!”

And I woke up to find myself lying on the bench back in reality, looking at the edge of the roof of the dilapidated funeral parlor, sat up to see my mom’s portrait in front of her casket at the funeral parlor, and then the life changing defining moment hit me the second time, this time, permanently burnt into my consciousness.

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June 27, 2016

dinner on father’s day

I was at a Korean restaurant with my wife and daughter on Father’s Day eve, and in came a family of 5, which was seated right next to us. The family of 5, consists of a couple and a kid, with another older couple whom I reckoned must be the wife’s parents. I could tell that they were there for a Father’s Day dinner, because they did not look naturally together. Their dinner was awkward, as I’ve noticed. [it was just a regular nice weekend dinner for us, which we always do – something we look forward every weekend].

One could instantly tell that the son-in-law was the one who’s gonna pay for the dinner because he was cocky and obnoxious. Irritating for us, actually, for we had to contend this lout who couldn’t help to tell the world (loudly) that he’s the most uneducated fuckstain in town and has a personality comparable to a hobo’s dick cheese. The rest of the family members, were all very quiet listening to this loser yapping like a bullhorn, sending half chewed projectiles all over the place. At times, he’d even castigate the old lady for not knowing how to properly eat a Samgyeopsal dish. The old man (wife’s father) was especially pissed off, though with an almost straight face – probably wondering what had he done wrong in his past life to deserve a son-in-law like that.

The wife, abashed by her husband’s behavior, kept looking towards our table to check if we noticed. Of course I fucking noticed! How couldn’t I? Her fucking oaf of a husband was like a beacon of a potential dark possibility for everyone in the restaurant there. I was like, gazing into the future through a portal, that one day, I might be in that fucking old man’s pair of uncomfortable shoes. But instead of sitting around gazing at food projectiles from my son-in-law’s mouth landing all over the table like paratroopers in WWII, I’d probably jam that pair of flat metal Korean chopsticks into his skull, pry it open, hawk a loogy and spit it into his tiny brain. Then I’m going to spend the rest of my life in jail. So what’s the fucking point of having this torturous dinner yang penuh keseksaan ini? Might as well don’t do it.

That was why I told my daughter this on that night – “Look at that table. Look at that loud fat guy. He’s the son-in-law of that old couple. Now, I don’t want to be like that sad old man, eating this joker’s dinner on Father’s Day. I don’t need him to bring us out for dinner, because I can afford my own dinner. If you want to have dinner with me on Father’s Day, you can come alone or with my grandchildren. We’d eat like a happy family like we always do. But don’t let your husband bring us out to dinner. I’m not going to enjoy it. That’s because I’m not your husband’s father. I am your father. If he wants to celebrate Father’s Day, he should do it with his own father or whoever he fancies, just not me. Ok?”

“Ok”

“Good. If you’re broke but still want a Father’s Day dinner, you can just buy some cheap packed food and we can still enjoy them at home, but without your husband. If you don’t want to have dinner with me for some other reasons, I’m fine with it too. Just don’t put me into that situation right there, ok?”

I couldn’t have made it any clearer. My daughter got everything I said, although I was receiving some death stares from my wife. For me, it’s very simple. I don’t do things for the sake of doing it. Things have to be done with a purpose. If the purpose is wanting me to be happy, then everyone should just fucking leave me alone when I’m old. I hope my daughter reads this when she’s married.

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June 21, 2015

Father’s Day

My daughter made me a cup of coffee today for Father’s Day. It tasted not as good as I would have liked it, but it was one of the best damn coffee I’ve had. Such is the power of a parent’s love.

I didn’t even know my own father when I was a kid, let alone to appreciate a day for him. Father’s Day was non existent for me until I turned adolescent. My father and my mom got separated when I was 6, and I never knew about how having a father at home felt like. My mom back then, in order not to overburden herself explaining stuff to a kid, made things simple by telling me that my dad was a bad guy and that I should stay the fuck away from him. Whenever he missed me and came visiting, my mom would ask me to hide in the room and we’d pretend nobody was home until he went away. Sure enough, I’d still get to meet him on and off, like during Chinese New Year et al, but it was never long and memories of those short meetings are somewhat blurry.

But one day when I was 11, I made an effort to meet up with my father without my mom’s knowledge – that was when she went for a week long vacation (yep, my mom would leave me tending to myself for weeks, since I was little. Had gotten used to it). I took a bus to the town, and met him up at my grandma’s house (which he was staying at). That short few days, my father and I caught up with each other, and he brought me around to eat street food (I still remember what we ate), to the cinema (it was a big deal going to cinemas back then – we watched “A Fish Called Wanda”) and we went around to meet his old friends (he didn’t have a transport because he was pissed-fuck poor, we either walked or took a trishaw). By today’s standard, it might not amount to anything significant, but for me who was brought up in a single parent environment – it was the first time I felt having another someone whom I can bond with and really talk to. (my dad was the reasonable one between my parents. He was much more cool headed and intelligent. My mom was the disciplinarian and talking to her was impossible).

We parted after that few days, and said goodbye at a filthy bus station next to Penang’s famous transvestite street (Kuantan Road, ask around). I boarded the famous green city bus the night before my mom came home, and I got teary eyed in the bus throughout the journey home. That week, was my Father’s Week, and I still remember them today. Every day in that week, was the accumulated Father’s Days I missed with my father through the years (and we didn’t know it). We kept in touch for a couple more years after that week and one night, I brought my father home to my mom. They rekindled their relationship in 1989 (that’s roughly a year after that Father’s Week), and in 1990 – they saved enough to buy a new home and we moved in there together for the first time as a complete family (with my sister, who miraculously appeared after running from home for quite a while).

That was the only period we were completely together. They got separated again in 1999. House got sold, and all of us were separated from each other. Didn’t get together until 2 years later, when I brought Emily to meet my mom and moved in to live at her rented house. Emily and I bought a house in 2002, and the 3 of us moved in together (that’s the closest semblance of a complete family ever got after 1999). I still kept in contact with my father after the 1999 break, but we never lived together again until his death (from liver cancer) in 2003. My mom lived to meet my daughter Regine, and decided to leave us in 2011 by ending her own life after a serious falling-out with her siblings.

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April 20, 2014

karpal singh

Not many people know this but, the late and great Karpal Singh once got my dad out of jail in an almost Hollywood-ish scapegoating game by an acquaintance of my dad’s. It was my mom who told me about this many years ago, after I’d noticed her giving a stinky eye to a family at a restaurant. “That was the family of the man who made your dad a scapegoat for his crimes”. I’m going to spare the details of the crime/story because it’s kinda personal and it’s so action packed that none of you would probably believe anyway. Let’s just say, it involves CIDs, car chases and guns… and it revolves around the guy vamoosing from the face of Earth and made my dad (who didn’t know a thing, except the guy) a scapegoat. (yeah, my dad mixed with the wrong company when he was young)

And that was how I first got to know Karpal’s name. Karpal was my father’s lawyer in court and he won the case. And that was way before we heard so much about him being active in DAP. I don’t know how much Karpal was paid for the lawyering job but, he did a great one, and it made a great impact to my family. He gave sound advice and he knew the in’s/out’s of the court and he kept my dad out of prison. Had my dad gone into prison for this, I know my life would have been a totally different one. Probably won’t be sitting here with my own family, with the missing childhood and all (my mom was involved too). Life would have been a much rotten one, that’s for sure.

Anyway, Karpal outlived my parents for many years (despite being older), and he touched many more lives in his journey. I always had the impression that he was a vocal man, and nothing could hold him back from saying something he wanted to say. For that, and for helping to retain my father’s freedom, this man deserves my utmost respect.

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