To Dead Friends!

He said nowadays he drinks alone on a quiet Sunday. He used to do it with friends and it was a joyous moment but unfortunate events unveiled themselves when you’re having so much fun.

He is such a nice person. Pity he would wallow on this forever.

We came to the factory the day before and he was the first person we met at the entrance. We introduced ourselves and off we went inside, expecting lines of colors as far as the eyes can see.

Not yet anyway. We were brought to their workplace.

“As you can see…we use vegetable based dyes…this red dye comes from dried chilies,” he said as he stamped the small white piece of cloth on a flat surface and dipped it in some sort of cloudy liquid.

“Are you buying?” my friend repeatedly asked, ignoring the presentation.

“I’m not sure. I don’t really fancy….”

“How come you don’t like sarees?” asked the gentleman.

“Well I’m here because she wants to buy something and had been asked specifically to do so. I have no intention of buying, I’m more of a company than an accomplice.”

“Don’t be stupid. You’re in India. You can always wear it at someone’s wedding. You can wear it at mine..” the friend was trying her bit of persuading.

“Oh stop it. Can you show us the sarees?”

“Not just the sarees. I can show you how to wear them!”

His eyes were glistening. This is not just customer service. It’s getting personal. And he actually likes his job! This man is one of it’s kind.

After a tedious job of choosing a saree for me, (he chose beige and was approved by all the bystanders) looked for the trouble of wrapping it around me, gave me a saree-body-wrapping-manual and buried me and my friend with all the sarees he could find in the room which looked like a saree library, we said we were undecided and we will come tomorrow.

He was devastated. We can’t tell him we were in a financial crisis so we gave him more and more outrageous excuses.

“Don’t worry. Take the sarees first. You can pay later. You can even pay me when you’re back in Malaysia. It won’t be a problem.”

I don’t know if he realized that this is not a very good strategy for marketing. He pressed on but we girls won.

“We promise you. Tomorrow we will be here.”

So the next day when we were back, he was pleasantly surprised. He had dark circles under his eyes.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. I was thinking about you.”

He was referring to my friend. She is his cup of tea, or I might say the majority of the population of Uttar Pradesh.

“To celebrate this, I’m buying lunch. You don’t mind vegetarian, right?”

I don’t mind at all, sir. Do buy us lunch. We had about 12 sarees and 20 shawls and were running out of cash.

“How long have you been a vegetarian?”

“3 years.”


“I made a terrible mistake…”

“What happened?”

I could sense the drama. I heard the music in the air. I am guessing a tragedy.

“We were out having fun that night. I don’t really know what happened, maybe too much alcohol. I was driving and at one point I lost complete control of the steering wheel. We crashed into a tree and my best friend died.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that…”

“The thing is his parents can’t live with that fact. They are still blaming me for his death. I feel so..helpless…It was all my fault.”

“You should stop blaming yourself. Things like that, happened. Though I still don’t understand. Why you’re vegetarian, again?”

“It’s for him, the friend.”

I wonder if deep in his conscience there was a voice compelling him to do something to such extend to alleviate the pain. Honestly I can’t be a vegetarian even if I screw up big time. Heck, nobody I know would even thought of doing just that.

Mister Kamal Malhotra ultimately has my respect.

I lost my friend too, the same one he knew. Pity, I know.

So every Sunday, if we could just join our little circle of death of friends across the oceans, we might be able to drink to them.

To dead friends!

The Slow Cousin

I have 2 male cousins roughly about my age. With that said, we can conclude that all our lives are destined to be revolved with comparisons at a certain age (can she walk, talk, ride a motorcycle, etc already?) or certain result of an important exam (how many A’s does he has last time?)

Me and another cousin always took turns coming up on top which leaves another cousin last.

He’s a bit slow.

I do not mean this in a disrespectful way. He is an extremely slow person – in his talk, his walk, his everything.

I did not know that he existed until I was about 10. He moved back home to Perlis after spending most of his time in Kuala Lumpur. His family was in some sort of trouble I assumed, as they arrived late at night with nothing much but clothes and important documents packed in a white wagon on hinges with everything on the verge of collapsing down.

I did not understand the situation at that time. All I can remember was that it was very late and my parents are helping them to find a house to rent and unpacking several boxes.

Mother gave them pots, pans, plates, glasses, pails, utensils and Father gave them some money. The house was a small hut situated near a Chinese school, very close to the main road. It has two bedrooms and a small kitchen. The family has 3 children too small for their age.

They’re your cousins. Be nice. I remember Father told us.

We always visited them. We would go to the house several times every week. I knew that the uncle started a small business making ‘roti canai’. Father always insisted that we paid for our portion (For God’s sake you just started!) and the uncle would refuse it with all his might (No.It’s the least that I could do.) It would go back and forth and Father would gave up. This prolonged for several years.

They had a very hard beginning and the slow cousin had it worse.

He didn’t know how to read until he was 12. He was really thin, small, short, dark, stuttered every time asked by the teacher and never once raised his hand in class. He was picked by the boys so he had the girls laughing during his spare time. Shy and hunched, he will go back home with his clothes hanging by the thread or bleeding nose or missing his books, bag or shoes.

The thing about him is that he is so easy to like. He respects people, kind and honest. He will listen to you as if you are the last person he will ever talk to on Earth and he will genuinely help anyone although he doesn’t have much. Also, he would rather starve himself than steal although the bullies threw his food to the birds and stole his money.

But that was 12 years ago. Now he’s married and has 2 beautiful daughters. He did not stutter anymore, grew 10 more inches and has his own business.

Now he visits my parents along with his small family with his new car chatting merrily about his daughter’s new accomplishments (he has very smart children) and how proud that he is to be married to his wife and how thankful he is to have this opportunity to thank my parents for all that they’re done to his family that night when every single relative closed their doors to them.

He remembered.

What about the other cousins? The ones who got beaten at their own game?

Pity. They’re too slow.

One Sick Girl

We were informed that she’s sick and on with her fourth chemotherapy cycle.

Nobody knew that but when we did it was chaos.

Our ex-schoolmate, the sweet girl that used to live with us for 5 years had cancer! We had to do something about it! There were countless mails asking and answering. The husband and family were being contacted. We want to do something about it and you should resort to tell us what we want.


Give us your bank account. We’ll send some money. You poor, poor girl. And the baby? Whatever will happen to the baby? She’s barely a year. In United Kingdom everything is expensive and they will need to move to another house soon. They need money, that’s what they need and we’re going to give some.

It took just one sick girl to revert us back to the go-getter girls we once were. There was enough love to send to outerspace and to the neighboring universes. But we need more. She doesn’t just need money, she needs support, prayers, anything that makes her smile.

So an event was proposed.

There were about 14 girls at the mosque. We sat and prayed and dedicate good things to her, hoping that He would lift a little bit of her burden, makes everything a little bit easier, so her smile would be a little bit wider, and the child would stay with her longer, that her spirit is a little bit stronger and more and more love surrounding her.

I noticed the nicest thing that day.

The Imam (the man in charge of the mosque – the one that leads the prayer) read something passed to him on the microphone and he appeared clueless in the middle of the sentence.

‘Today we have the honor to read the following Sura (Quran chapter/verses) and dedicate it to our friend’s (name of the man) wife’s friend (pause)..err..his wife’s friend was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer…’

It hit me that the man was there because of one reason. His love for his wife. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know the sick girl but as this is important for his wife so he arranged for the recital, the food, the audience. He’s not the only husband that came. Most of the girls came along with their husbands and children.

If this is not love then I don’t know what it is.

That’s not all. The audience supported the same cause. We read together and in the end there were some refreshments prepared. They thanked the girls and get on their way back home.

Meanwhile the girls tried to catch up but 2 hours was not enough. And we promised to keep in touch but things are not as well planned as it’s used to be. The reality is back on us, tugging our sleeves and we just had to go back to our lives. There are jobs, time limit, nappy changes, pregnancies, husbands, Mother-in-Laws, neighbors, family, shifts, nannies, etc. The unbelievable list of constraints.

But the sick girl got us to sit down and pray and hope and forget about the constraints for 2 short hours, just like we did every Thursday night after Maghrib (evening prayer) in 1996-2000.

We were those girls again.

13 years and the sick girl brought it back in 2 hours.

May God return her health and love in abundance.

This Little Clot of Blood

I tried persuasion. Something sensible, the normal positive affirmation.

‘Everything will turn out right. It will be fine. Don’t worry.’

But the little clot refused to believe that. Prone to something negative, it told me to f*ck it. It will be worse. Horrible. There’s nothing good could be derived of the situation. It’s doomed to fail.

‘No. We can’t give up just yet.’

‘Why? Can’t you put things in perspective in that thick head of yours that you are beyond help? You have no one to help you. Everybody in your life left you. Doesn’t it mean something? You have no money. Your life sucked. You don’t even had a bed to sleep on. You wake up everyday a zombie. Your mind’s confused between reality and fantasy. You are a wreck. A waste of space. If you die today, no one would even realize, you know how pathetic is that?’

‘No. It will be o.k. I am a good person. Things might not go my way today or these few months but I am trying to hold on. This is a mere test.’


The chuckle rang about 2 minutes.

‘So you think this is a test? I declare now I personally knew a gargantuan idiot. Look at everyone else. They have a life, a good one that is.’

The little clot of blood disagrees on many things in so many levels. It challenges me why should I help another person when I am the one who needed the help or why didn’t I cut the queue while paying my groceries or why didn’t I beat the crap of an old lady for pushing me off the train or why did I gave a beggar my last money and why oh why should I receive bad luck as some sort of ‘test’.


I know the clot is angry. I always ignore all the suggestions, particularly the ones aimed whenever other people is not around.

‘Why would you think nobody’s watching? What would I explain to Him? At that point, I would not know how to lie because He knew. How would you lie to Your Creator?’

It would scoffed at me and grew silent. But never gives up.

I have read that whatever good thing or bad thing happened to you is a test. It doesn’t matter if you are a good or a bad person. What matters most is how you manage your little clot of blood. If you are a good manager, then most definitely you are a good person but on the contrary…if you support the clot sometimes you might be in considerable amount of trouble. You might call it ‘fun’.

Everyone is not the same. Different people faces different test. We can never guess what test awaits a rich man. Wearing his shoes we probably realized that he has a lot on his plate.  Starting from maintaining his mansion, his cars, his wife, children, the colleges they study, the gadgets and allowance they ask, the reputation, the walk, the credit cards, the gardener, the driver, the nanny, the businessman circles, the so-called-friends, the list goes on and on.

A poor man’s test is different. He’s on constant war about wages, work, food, family, how to surpass this test and get to next level and probably befriend a rich man who probably wishes to wear his little rubber slippers sometimes.

It’s never enough.

Imagine a test to a beautiful person, or to a not-so-beautiful person. A thin person , or to a ‘thick’ person. An intelligent person or to a not-so-intelligent person. The former wants to be the latter and vice versa.

It is not for us to decide if we should have everything our way. The decision is not in our hands. He can give us one thing and take anything back, just like that. He owns everything and we have no say in this life. One sweet day everything will end and when we rise another particular day we better be ready with our best behavior.

I believe that He loves me. That is why He puts me in these tests to see how would I react to it. No matter how bad, there will be another day, another song, another smile. And I will keep on walking. You’ll see, little clot. He didn’t do it on purpose. There is no coincidence. He knew that this is nothing for me and the strength I have today will come in handy some other difficult days. I can do this. I am a strong girl and He will always have my back come what may.

He can take anything but please don’t take my faith away from me. It is with Your words I breathe the first time and indeed with Your words I die with. I know one day He will take the ones I love one by one, my so-called properties, the Love of my life, my memories, my strength, my ability, my sight, my hearing, my health, my senses, and all that’s left would be you, my little clot of blood beating in my veins.

And the day He took you is the day that we’d meet Him.

You better be good.

A Friend In Need

I was fuming. I had this great urge to start shouting.

“What do you mean we have to get a permission? Are you saying you’re not going to help her?”

“It’s the college procedure. We need to get the permission from the Student Council before starting any collection. We could be suspended from our studies if they found out about this.”

He was a shy guy, stooped a little but affirmed his point. He knew I could be verbally abusive sometimes and the last thing in his mind was trying to invoke more misunderstanding in these difficult times.

But I really did not want to give damn and I will make them do it anyway.

We were in college. I passed a message to the student in the front row and made the Biology lecturer repeat the message written in the scrap piece of paper.

“Praktikum Hayat 18 please stay back after the lecture.”

29 students waited after our last class at about 5 PM. They knew exactly what was going on. Somebody would dictate everything and that somebody is going to be me. Their job is to obey. No comments were allowed.

You can assume I’m a bit of a dictator during my past life.

The class used to be 30 students. We were missing one.

Her name is Shida Aina.

She was another 18 year old student like us in so many ways. Coming from Gua Musang, Kelantan, a journey to Londang, Melaka is a big sacrifice but people do it anyway. It doesn’t matter how long or how treacherous the journey, the students go there to learn and get good results as the college is one of the best there is, according to some listing produced by the government.

We were promised a place in the public university, that is why we bypassed a 2 year system of pre-university called STPM (Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia), a compulsory certificate that didn’t promise anything. But this new system, called Matriculation College is the same thing compressed in one year and that includes a better deal.

The downright thing about the ‘best’ college is that I knew about 10 students who lost their mind in the road to success. You have no idea how depressing and backstabbing sight you would see behind the scenes. The college year for me served as something insignificant because I don’t want to end up in an asylum. All I did there was making jokes in the class, made fun of the lecturers and the drill officers (we had marching in the evenings) and more laughing and jokes. I really didn’t take my life seriously.

Who wants to be a doctor anyway?

Shida Aina would join in the crowd, cheering and laughing timidly. She rarely spoke in class but she would inform me (if I missed a class) about the notes and the assignments. I remember her as a chubby girl in green baju kurung with her big glasses and had a suppressed giggle every time she laughed. She would cover her round face and blissfully looked at the source of the joke.


I didn’t think that I was that funny but I find the cemetery nearby was far more interesting than a class with the Biology lecturer so I would start inappropriate jokes every time she showed any diagram of fascinating feature of any part of human body (my favourite was the male genitalia), I casually created a small explosion in the chemical lab and the list of attention-seeking-me was endless. I was just looking for a bit of a trouble and everything was entertainment. I would only be serious in Physic class because the lecturer was damn good looking and everything seemed to be effortlessly easy.

Shida Aina would remember every single joke.

So when she was absent 2 weeks in a row, of course you would wonder what happened. She never skipped class. Me, being the complete opposite started to ask questions. They told me she had a severe food poisoning and was warded in a hospital nearby.

I see. But 2 weeks? She had some allergies with the first injection and turned worse than the first week, was the reply.

O.K. I could live with that.

Another week passed. She was missing awful lot of things.

The roommates was worried too. She was not getting well at all, in fact she was getting more frail and degenerating each and every day. Pale and wrapped in her own skin.

Then it hit us, quite briefly.

It was pancreatic cancer and it was terminal. There was nothing that the doctor could do as it was too late.

And this came from something diagnosed as food poisoning?I really should not be a doctor. I might saw a leg off from someone when he just had an ingrown toe-nail.

Meanwhile Shida Aina was sent back to her hometown. Her brother came and he didn’t look very well. It was a sad day. We recited some surahs for her and made an announcement that if anyone would help her anyway they can, in the form of prayers.

I was hoping to talk to the parents but Shida Aina had more problems that she could ever handled. The mother was diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer and the father was on bed rest since the past 6 months for liver cancer.

Imagine their surprise that their only daughter would leave them first.

So the only thing besides countless prayers that I could suggest was to have a fund raised for her but it seemed that it was a long procedure and I did not think that she would last that long.

Living up to my reputation as a dictator, I told them to just do it.

“I don’t care what is your excuse but we have a friend in need. She needs us. What else that we could have done to make her pain less? Nothing! She had been tested with an chain of events that even during your best day you can’t possibly win so quit complaining. I would take all the responsibilities if the Student Board caught you in the act. They could throw me out. I don’t care. What I do care is all about Shida Aina and we don’t have much time left. Girls, we have 2 days to complete 10 blocks and boys, you have 4 blocks. We’ll meet Monday and I’ll send the money the same day.”

They seemed to agree.

On Monday we had close to RM2000. Nobody complained, not even the Student Board.

We sent the money and that was the last thing I heard from her.

I knew she was gone in the following week.

That was my first experience dealing with a death of a person I knew well and it was absurdly real.

I was quite glad that I was a dictator.




The Peculiar Investment of Twenty Cents, The Six Times Table and A Little Girl

The little modified lorry was there, parked every day. Taking pleasure from walking back home, I always pass it by and normally it’s surrounded by snack lovers.

And that day I discovered that they have samosas.

“How much is this?”

“One for sixty cents. Five for three twenty.”

“No. You mean five for three ringgit.”

“No. Five for three twenty. I’m the seller, remember?”

“How come it’s three twenty? Recite your six times tables now! It should be three ringgit. You don’t cheat me with my six times tables.”

His other friends who’s frying the banana fritters was laughing at him. Took him a while to get it right and finally he said.

“Sorry. You’re right, Miss Six Times Tables.”

This was the first multiplication table that I commit to my subconscious mind. No, it’s not the two times table, three, four, not even the easiest of all, the five times tables but I mastered six times table the day that I helped a girl.

I was a new girl at a strange place where the children acted quite differently. Coming from Kedah, my first day at school in Perlis was quite memorable. I had everything new. My new shoes and new stocking were white, my new pinafore dark navy blue, perfectly pressed by Mother, my ponytails all tied up with red ribbons, I had my new bag with me. I was ever so ready to go to my new school and meet my new friends.

I was placed in a class called 1 Hijau. Hijau is green, in Malay. It was the last class after Merah (red), Kuning (yellow) and Biru (blue). Everybody knows it as 1 H. I stayed with the same classmates for 3 years. 1 H, 2 H and 3 H.

During the first day at the school I realized which class I socially belong. There were only 5 people in the class of 40 children that has new clothes. Others had clothes two sizes bigger or with holes in them with a pair of shoes that used to be white long time ago that has zap ons that didn’t really work anymore.

I can’t say that I came from a rich family but there were a lot of poor people around us. Children that came from fishermen villages or a farmer based family that can only come to school because the government made it compulsory, if not they’d be helping their family affairs.

Among them there was a girl called Nadia Irzwana. Beautiful name, ain’t it? She had long hair, a permanent sad face, an incomplete ensemble of pinafore (she didn’t own a belt), socks that can only pull itself up with a rubber band placed around it and shoes so worn you can see holes in it.

We were not best buddies. I had my circle of friends and she was quite content to be left alone.

Father would send me to school with his trusted motorcycle. He would stop at a stall and I would cross the road to buy my brunch.That was my meal for the next 6 years. Thirty cent worth of nasi lemak (this was in the 1990s) and Mother gave me additional fifty cents to buy drinks or anything that I like, be it stationary or snacks from the canteen.

Life was basically normal for me. Everything was going well. I loved school. I loved my friends. The only problem I had was with our Math teacher.

She would made us stand on our chairs and ask the multiplication tables one by one. When you got it right, then you can sit down with a face that can be translated as winning the Olympic games.

I never had that kinda face. I hated Maths. I didn’t even looked at the little pieces of paper printed with all the multiplication tables with the hope that one day it will help us in the future (it did, in my case) In the end I always came up last and punished with several gentle taps on my hands as a precaution and a warning that there will be more next time.

I just don’t see why we had to memorize it. Other students, hating to be punished again by the teacher would religiously put the figures in their heads so that they can sit down the soonest possible and pull hideous faces at the students that were still standing up with stressful head trying to calculate it manually.

It was always tense during Math period.

One day the same teacher (who was my class teacher) asked for 20 cents from each student so that we can buy some colored papers to decorate the class. The school was having a competition in the most cheerful class and the teacher thought that it would be nice that we could participate.

So as the class monitor (I had responsibilities!), I dutifully asked for the money.

All paid up without much hassle except one. Nadia Irzwana. When asked why, she just hid her face and said she doesn’t have any money.

“Don’t your mother give you money for recess time?”

“I don’t have a mother.”

“Your father?”

“You don’t understand. We don’t have any money. I don’t know how to pay you.”

To think of it, I never saw her at canteen during recess. I never saw her anywhere near during that half an hour when pupils lining up and pushing other people and cutting lines to get to the food.

Then I started crying. I don’t know how I can explain it, it just got to me. I just realized that this little person was so poor that she doesn’t have money nor food. She didn’t even ask for it. When all the children were playing, she was hiding somewhere, starving and trying to pull herself together until the school is over.

“It’s o.k. I’ll pay for you. I have some money.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much. I don’t know how to pay you back.”

“No. No need. It’s o.k.”

She hugged me and I would give all the money to the Math teacher and everything was fine.

Next, Math period.

I know that I’m going to get it this time. We were learning a new multiplication tables yesterday and it was the six times tables. Everyone was ready set on the chairs when the teacher came in.

“6 x 7?”

“42” said the girl in front of me.

Oh God. What should I do?

“6 x 8?”

“48” was my reply.

What? Where did that come from?It surprised me and the teacher. She tried another question, and another which was not in our syllabus.

“6 x 9?”


“6 x 12?”


Even I can’t believe what I was saying. It just blurted out from my mouth without even thoroughly processed in my head.

“Sit down.” Finally she said.

What was going on? I don’t get it. What happened just now? I hardly look at the notes nor the figures and I got everything right? That was unbelievable.

And at that particular time, I glanced at Nadia Irzwana and she smiled. Of course this was a friendly smile but I can’t help but wonder if she has anything to do with this.

We were 9. This can’t be possible!

But strangely (but true) I remembered everything. I remembered all the multiplication tables after that and had no problem in Maths anymore.

Was it the twenty cents?

Anyway I haven’t heard anything from the girl anymore. She seemed to disappear with time. But I will always remember that miraculous day when I invested my twenty cents to help a little girl and gained my six times table or I might say, a new perspective of life.

I should be the one thanking her.

Nice To Know

I parked my Carlos and walked towards the supermarket. I dreaded the fact that I have to pay bills. What will happen next month? Well, we’ll do this one step at a time. We will pause the worry. A lot of things will happen before the end of next month, right? We just have to keep our options open.

I am very Gollum/Smeagol. I talk to myself.

What if nothing happened?

We will get back to that when it really happens. As for now, everything is quite fine. Now there is no use for worrying, at least not yet. I’m a smart girl (keep your thoughts to yourselves if you don’t agree), I can do this.

Then I saw her. I could have rolled and hide under the table, or slide sideways and hide behind the walls, crawled towards the nearest restaurant and pretend that nobody saw that. I could have turned around and walked out of the supermarket.

But I was too hungry to do so, and I said hi. She was beaming from far.

I like her a lot but yesterday I don’t feel like meeting anyone. I prefer to be angry at myself. I wanted to be alone. I was angry because my stupidity caused a lot of distress to the people, especially to the ones I love.

Oh, I owe a lot of apologies.

Anyway the friend, she was happy. I found out that she came to the supermarket to buy some toys for her children and she was on her way back when she saw me.

‘Let’s eat!’

At first I thought she was joking.

She wasn’t.

Then she said, God listened to her prayer.

‘What prayer?’

‘I want to see you again for the last time, buy you something and we eat together.’

We had known each other for less than a year. We talked, laughed, told stories. We stayed in the same room but later she had to move to another floor. We rarely met after that. She found out that I was leaving the university from another friend (good news travel fast) and wished that she’d met me before I was leaving. Yesterday was my last day and her wish came true.

It seemed like a big deal for her.

To think about it, that is one of the most important gesture you could do to a friend, as insignificant as me. Not all people would include you in their prayers but she included me, spent her money and time to talk to me!

I was a big deal!

What have I done to receive such a friend?

I am glad that I met her yesterday. Made me smile. Made my day.

It is really nice to know that people loves you. I love her too.

7.30 PM Appointments

Fasting month is basically one calm month. It’s too calm that I can almost imitate a sloth, especially in the mornings.

I had my early breakfast at 5.15 and by 5.40 I try not to go anywhere near the kitchen or open the refrigerator (such determination I have!) and this is only available during this month. I don’t think I would have the same courage in other months.

I can usually persuade myself to go to work at about 10 or 11 AM. After 2 hours usually I would get terribly homesick and return home. There is a nice food-galore gathering nearby and I always go there to get my supplies to eat at 7.30 PM.

My day is complete. 50% of the time was spent thinking about food while the other 50% to consume it.

It’s actually quite boring doing this cycle alone. I often eat with my housemate. Sometimes she cooks but I almost never cook this month. I didn’t have the strength to do it. We talk about the things we used to talk; the movies, our friends, our problems, our latest discovery or our disappointments.

One story from one person is quite predictable. Maybe I should go out and talk to other people. Find out what they’re interested, their problems, their concern, their friends, their plans, their fears, etc. I bet they’re boring too, keep repeating the same old story to the same person that they see everyday. Might as well be me. At least we can catch up some old stories, clean up some backlog files, things like that.

So I started from Melaka, around Kuala Lumpur and today Penang, one 7.30 PM appointment per day, if possible. Maybe I can make a difference. I am not doing much. I am not offering money nor anything worth pawning. I am just offering my time and my ears to listen.

I’m all yours. Tell me your story.

I heard that we should try and be more proactive at the mosque (pray more) or help people in need which you can see obviously the NGOs are doing a great job organizing big bold feasts for orphanages, old folks home and single parents with children.

I don’t have that much of money but I do care about my friends.

Give me some of your time to relax, laugh, reminisce and elaborate the fight you have at the office, the old friends you’re keeping in touch, your current crush, your latest idol, your worries, your next plan to conquer the world, etc.

I am giving you my time from 7.30 PM onwards. Free.

Humor me.

Writing Love Stories

There is a lot of stories, particularly the ones concerning love. I have heard several good ones, true story, of course. I am in the mood of sharing some of it. These stories are not the common ‘girl meets boy, boy falls truly madly deeply, they get married and they lived happily ever after.’

Most of it start with bitter thoughts, misery and tears.

Story 1

The girl went swimming. The tide was high and she suddenly realized that she was drowning. She screamed for help while holding on to her dear life. She used to know how to swim but at that time all she can do was pray.

A boy nearby heard her screaming. He ran and jumped into the ocean. He looked for her, found her and tried his best to bring her to shore.

He never made it.

But the girl did. She is alive and grateful to a dead man.

The poor girl cried and cried. She felt guilty. She was supposed to be dead, she said. Now what have I done? If only I had stayed put, if only I’d just…but if only are pathetic words. All was done.

She visited the family for the funeral. She said her condolences. The mother was in tears. If looks could kill she might have bled from head to toe from the looks of all the relatives. Everybody knew this accident was her fault. She was scared but she came anyway though she didn’t dare to look at anyone in the eye. She had to do something, right? She’d help them, she figured. Something that the boy used to do for the family, maybe. Paying bills or visiting the parents, what else a boy does for his family?

She saw his brother and one look tells it all.

He hates her. Her every breath makes him sick.

So she decided that she should visit the poor mother with the brave son, talk to her and care about her. It’s not much but it’s the least that she could do. She’s a student so she doesn’t own that much money but almost every week she called her and if her schedule permits, she would visit her.

This goes on for 3 years.

Last time I heard is that she was married to the brother, the one that loathes her every breath, the very sight of her or the mention of her name.

I guess loath and love is interchangeable with time. She must have done something right during that 3 years until love wins in the end.

Story 2

I met this girl in my Spanish class. My first impression was, gosh, this girl is beautiful. She is gentle and kind, the type of every man’s wish for company all his life.

But she never thought that way.

She was convinced that she’s nothing of the beautiful sort, doesn’t deserve anything good in life and would prefer to drown in her own sorrow. I understand she has been through a lot and life was difficult.

We keep in touch. I am not the kind of person who keeps in touch with people who doesn’t deserve my time so she is important. That’s why I keep her in my life.

She told me she’s not happy with her job. She needs a vacation.

So she bought a ticket to Bandung, Indonesia.

Coming back from the trip, she asked for a meet-up. She sounded cheerful. This is good, right?

Indeed she has good news.

She told me over coffee and I still remember her face, her exact expression and how she laughed while recalling the whole vacation. The trip was a disaster, she said. She planned it with a colleague of hers and the lady refused to go out from the hotel room because the weather was too hot, she had stomachache and she kinda hate Bandung, quite regret making that trip and would rather wait for the flight back home.

This, all explained with a glow from both cheeks. She might even blush saying all these.

And then, what happened? I asked. Something good must have happened. Something incredibly good…like maybe a blessing in disguise?

Her blessing was a man, with whom she announced as husband and recently father to their child.

The man, is a local. He just came back from Japan, where he works since the last 4 years. That year he decided to help tourists and guide them all around Bandung since he was on vacation. His parents saw no problems with his new part-time job, since he would bring extra money. He saw this helpless girl at the hotel he volunteered and asked her why. She cried. This is all a mistake, she said. No, don’t worry, he’s there to help. They could rent a motorbike and he would show her his Bandung.

And things go from disaster to better. Way better than she expected.

It was no mistake after all, right? Things always happen for a reason.

When I received the invitation card, my heart just jumped and I immediately told her that I would come, though I have no idea where is her house, no one else would accompany me and I don’t know anyone else except her. I honestly thought it was a big deal that I should go.

It was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect. Sunny, partly cloudy with no chance of rain. She was dressed in batik, cream and lace and looked like an Indonesian princess. Her husband told me she always spoke of me, in fact he even knew how we met.

It was funny how I just jumped into a situation, even I don’t understand it completely. She was just another classmate of my Spanish class. We exchanged smiles most of the time since we were from different faculties. We were not even close but one day she was complaining that all her friends didn’t want to go to a particular dinner organized by her faculty but she already had a costume to go with the occasion.

I said I want to see it, so I follow her back to her dormitory. Indeed it was a beautiful dress. Well we can’t let that dress go to waste, can we? So I said, I’ll go with you. It took her several minutes to understand that. We were complete strangers and I just agreed to accompany her to a dinner I wasn’t invited to.

We had the nicest time at the hotel. I won the lucky draw (all the people was wondering who was I since I did not belong to their faculty and suddenly I got the grand prize) and I remember we posed for photos clad with other outfits we saw at the hotel (the first event was a fashion show) and giggled at our attempts at the wedding gowns.

I enjoyed it immensely.

How would you forget a friend like this?

Story 3

It was a short courtship since it took them less than a month to tie the knot.

She had on-and-off relationship with a man who abused her for almost 10 years. Last time she heard was that he was married to another. For her, he’s the One, the Perfect One.

She was utterly devastated for several years. She is one of the bravest girl I know. Who do you know who’s able to confess her feelings to a guy she like and able to take it when the guy said we’re better off as friends rather than something else altogether? It took courage of a lion. I planned to do that several times but I am glad that the occasion never arise. Men that I used to have butterflies in the stomach just by listening to their voice turned out not the way I always imagined them to be.


We used to complain together. All the good guys are taken, dead or gays. All the good things in life are either illegal, immoral, fattening or taxed beyond reality. You know, stuff like that. She was convinced that men like only girls several shades lighter than her skin or maybe several sizes smaller or maybe different kind of nose, etc – the endless things that you list down to understand men’s preferences but you never get it in the end.

Sometimes life gets to you and it helps to complain a bit. We say ‘venting out some steam’. Optimism can’t be detain on Mondays.

But one day as I was helping her to pack for her new house she told me about this one guy who approached her. She had knew the guy when she was little as they live nearby. She said she had a crush on him.

Wow! That’s nice.

And it turns out that the guy feels the same way too. This is easy. You meet the parents and you arrange the wedding, and that’s exactly what happened.

They’re waiting for their first child.

Maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s what you believe. I don’t know. I read a quote that says ‘there is a path made for you to me’ so maybe if the lucky guy/girl follows then (s)he would find what (s)he’s looking for.

I am just being romantic today 🙂 Feels good don’t it?



I like talking and listening. Conversation is something that I can handle for a period of time provided that I receive good feedback, good company and interesting topics.

Then it’s on! I can be your best friend for 3 hours.

In Malaysia the conversation would start with food.

Have you eaten? Where? What did you eat? With whom? Was it nice? Were there a lot of people? You know where a good place where I can eat nasi lemak?

The rest would come naturally. Easy. Food talk is the easiest especially if you live near places that provide good street food. You might even find new good ones with that conversation. It’s a win-win situation.

In Europe, most conversation starts with the weather since it varies 30 times per day. It would help if you know a little bit of it, say watching the last 2 minutes of breaking news and note what the weather-girl was saying. Thunderstorm in the morning, mild drizzle in the evening and clear sky in the evening. If you know the prediction for the whole week, the better.

You can boast and compare it to last week’s weather. In conclusion, you can blame the Green House Effect and human ignorance. I, coming from industrial background and specializing in environment technology can really do a good job at it since this topic is like my monthly pop quiz. I can still write an essay about frozen nitrogen in North and South Pole and its effect with the global warming.

I can truly boast.

We can sit comfortably sipping coffee and do a conference.

In short, I enjoy good conversation with good people. Most of the time, I like my time well-spent.

But that doesn’t mean I always have good outcomes.

Sometimes I do encounter people that I wished I don’t start a decent conversation with. This people are difficult and conversation with them (though it took about 10 minutes of your time) will add years to you.

Goodness gracious, I just want to know you! Don’t make it as if I was trying to steal information from your precious head and use it against you.

There are people who doesn’t talk about their private life. Fine, I understand. But I don’t know anything about you. No family related theme, no relationship theme, no food stuffs, work related would be boring, sensitive issues, travel plans, weekend plans, nothing about your life. What else? Usually I can make differences work (differences are more interesting than things in common) and more intriguing but in the end I usually look more stupid than the first 10 minutes. But that’s not a good excuse to not try because I don’t know what else to ask.

Maybe I don’t understand that I should leave, that I am not needed, that people have things to do, that I talk stupid things.


I am such a pain sometimes.

I should concentrate on people who wants to talk, who really enjoy a good company and good conversation. I should feel better after each session because it should bring the best side of both companies, even if you’re not funny. It’s the curiosity that matters. Interest generates a good conversation and listening is vital. A good common sense would help too (Madrid is in India, right? I would kill people who confuses Madrid and Madras.) Be kind, because it says volumes about you. Not everyone is raised with the same value, belief and culture. Help them to understand. Bare in mind that many people are ignorant (notice that I didn’t put stupid) and it’s part of your responsible to introduce them to a little bit of this and that. Knowledge is power and you are a powerful being.

I would appreciate a challenging conversation that pushes me, that made me doesn’t regret reading Wall Street Journal or a paper (I usually hate reading paper. Too many bad news) or a boring article about how everything can lead to cancer. I also honor people who knows what they speak, be it something spiritual or concrete, history or potential economic reconstructing, past or present, future or just plain curiosities about life.

People who make me smarter by listening.

I think it’s important to understand a person by the way he/she talks and improves this theory as you move along. Take note if he limits his conversation to an ambiguous conversation (if one is in love with another person, not if a man loves a woman) then you can see that this person doesn’t think like other people (he might be gay or seriously realistic) and you can steer the conversation away from more speculations that might offend him. Recognize the norm and you’ll do just fine.

If you caught the other party lying (and he doesn’t realize it yet), it’s best to let him do the honor to wrap the fib up. I personally will not have many conversation with the same person. Men tend to do this, I don’t know why. The thing is they don’t remember what they said and it’s funny when they will try to convince you that it doesn’t matter.

It does.

I strongly believe that it takes both parties to tango. Don’t waste time (like me) to encourage an uninterested party to prolong a conversation, it does make you feel frustrated to a certain degree, you’re better off alone than feeling that you are such a stupid person all day.

Happy talking!