Monday, November 3, 2008
the next time he opened his eyes was by his father's thud on the bed. waking him up for their slow and cold journey to the rubber estate.
"wake up, go get the things. i'll be waiting outside." Tuku replied with a slight displeasure. "em.."
slothfully he got up from his bed and reached for the tobacco and the rolling leaves from his cupboard. he grind a couple of cloves and wrapped it together with the tobacco. He enjoyed his rolled cigarette religiously and his mind wonders until it was interrupted by his father's cry from outside calling his name.
"What took you?" Tuku showed the rolled cigarette in between his fingers. His father gave a sigh"hurry up get on the bike"
“I think I’ll ride on the back today” said his father
“Why? I always ride at the back” still yawning
“That’s why. Hurry up”
The journey stretched into the thick hilly forest of the village. The chilled morning air really made Tuku wanted to start complaining to his father. But he realized that it would not change his life and started whistling instead.
The morning was still dark at the time the reached the estate and the moon still visible giving its dim glow, Tuku lit up the mosquito coil and in turn, his cigarette. This is their daily routine since Tuku could remember. They would split up from both ends and meet up in the center of the tapping site. Being doing this every single day of his life made Tuku's mind easily wonders off and stop at intervals to lit another cigarette.
Intentionally Tuku would do his job slowly so that he would tap the least number of trees than his father.
"Ayah would not mind, he always reach the middle of the site faster than me anyway" grunting while he lazily tap the trees.
He does not show that he despises the idea of being a son of a poor rubber tapper openly, but as the days goes by he became more skillful in complaining to himself. Asking himself why is he doing this whereby youngsters at his age enjoy the sheer laughter of youth and doesn't have to worry about getting food on the table.
"Why does he need me here anyway... he's strong enough to tap all these trees" yet another complain and yet he never say it to his father's face.
Usually his father would reach the middle first and continue to Tuku’s half of the job. That day he was oddly late, Tuku who was waiting to see a glimpse of his father's figure found nothing but rows and rows of rubber trees in front of him. For the first time in months he reached the middle of the estate before his father did, still there is no sign of the old man. He wondered on what could his father possibly do at the other side of the estate. That day was very different from his daily routine. As simple as it may sounds, that particular situation was very alien to him. His instincts made him restless and led him to leave the tapping blade
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
He woke up that afternoon with a strange feeling all over him. Not knowing what had happened last night. His eyes kept on looking still at the spinning fan above him like a predator preying on its delicious meal. He tried to count the blade of the fan but he knew at an instant that he was being silly but yet, it was the nicest thing to do at that particular strange of time. The room was quiet as always. Only the presence of his goldfish which he called Tiffany can be seen from the corner of his left eye. He remembers the day when he bought Tiffany at the pet shop near his apartment. It was love at the first side. She was majestic and incredibly beautiful with eyes like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He watched the movie dozens of times and yet it never failed to bore him mainly because Audrey herself. He loves her like a mad man. After forked out ten dollars from his old faded black wallet and left the pet shop, he was determined to name his new pet Tiffany.
Still feeling awkward, he forces himself to get up from the bed but only manage to go halfway. Eyes still looking at Tiffany as she swims aimlessly around the artificial corals he took from his mother’s aquarium. She must be feeling happy today, he thought to himself. He then looked around the room and can’ help himself from feeling impress to the effort he had taken in decorating his small room. The room was very tidy and organized with simple furniture he bought mainly from Ikea. The lava lamp that he placed over the drawer was his particular favorite. He had for a long time craved to buy a lava lamp but only managed to have one after his best friend, Adi gave it as a birthday present five months ago.
Slowly, he braves himself to gather all the energy needed to get up and grab the towel that hanged over his blue-oak-made cupboard and cover his well built naked body. It hits him like a million volts of lightning as how on god’s earth is he not wearing anything? He started to get confused but still trying hard to remember everything that had happen to him last night. He was sure that it must had something to do with last night but the more he tries the harder for him to remember as nothing, not even a single clue came out from his memory. After a couple of minutes standing like a soulless body he decided to go and take a bath instead.
As he stand in front of dozens of shirts and pants placed systematically inside the cupboard, he can’t stop wondering why he woke up naked today. It was yet even weirder that he can’t remember anything that had happen last night. Finally he resented himself and chose to wear his second favorite green t-shirt with the word Calvin embezzled at the chest with his Levi’s limited edition jeans he bought at
He counted the number of levels as the lift went down slowly. He was alone in there like always. It took him at about three minutes and twenty seconds to reach down and he knew it exactly because he had experienced the journey down to the ground level for almost seven years since he moved to his current apartment. He remembers that it was his fiancée that forced him to buy the unit. Sarah was a pretty girl with a set of beautiful hazel- coloured eyes but her smile was the only reason he ever fell in love with the girl. He met her at Adi’s New Year party ten years ago. It was Adi whom had introduced her to him. Yes, Adi was such a great friend to him. It started as a mere friend-to-friend relationship but eventually blossomed to even greater knot. She was the only person that he ever cared until last year when Sarah decided to end the relationship.
The lift stopped and as he walked out he could see a man looking at him with a smile on his face. He was the security officer in-charge of the building but he could not recall the name of the man. He thought to himself on why he could not remember the name but before he could go to the extend of forcing his memory to do its work, he simply assumed that he was never acknowledge the man’s name or perhaps he did not even bother to ask before. After all he was only a security guy and he had rarely seen his face around. Without smiling back he continues to walk out off the building.
He stopped at the front of the entrance. His eyes were fixed straight to the artificial waterfall that stood in front of the building. It was a large and specially built waterfall with a simple touched of a Tropicana or
It was so strange to him that the day was so quiet. No one was around or near him except for three kids playing at the playground four hundreds metre away from the place he was standing. He could not hear their voice or laughter because he thought maybe it was too far from him. He could hear the birds chirping harmoniously with each other above him. Yellow, green and blue were the color of the birds but he could not identify its name. In fact, if someone asks him to name three different names of local birds he was sure that he couldn’t answer the question even though he watches Animal Planet channel every night at exactly ten p.m. slowly he moves closer to the garden of roses five steps to his right away from the place he was currently still standing. There were red, yellow and white roses planted in a shape of heart and he thought those who handled the decoration of the flowers must be such a great and genius artiste. The roses were planted in such a professional way and the longer he stares the roses, he became more adoring to the piece of artistic craft. It was strange and yet it was so peaceful to him. It has been too long since he experienced this kind of situation. It was difficult for him to explain the feeling other than strange at that particular time. It seems that everything was so new or different to him.
He was not sure how to acknowledge the situation that occurs to him since he woke up today. How could it be possible that he can’t recall anything that had happened to him last night. Everything seems to be so vague like there was a big pile of junk stuck in between his memory and senses. He wanted to conclude that maybe he was sick or had gone mad or something but he thought that crazy was inappropriate term to use since he was a hundred percent sure that he was a normal man with a healthy mental kind of person. Furthermore the word ‘crazy’ itself scares him too much. But if he was normal, how could he be so confused right now? He can’t even remember his own doings and he knew that it was not normal? Quickly, he curses himself for toying with the thought of being crazy.
Slowly he walked across the road to the pedestrian pavement that leads him to the car park where he usually parked his black
Friday, February 22, 2008
I remember that Kuci came from a poor family background. In fact, he was so poor, often during our recess time, Kuci can only watched us eating our meals while he, himself did not even touch a slice of bread if given by the Makcik Kantin who I believe the only person that sympathized him. He always managed to escape ‘those donations’ by refusing it with a polite smile on his face. The thing about watching him is, I really don’t understand why Kuci always preferred to watch us from the top of his “canteen’s chair”. Yes, Kuci had his canteen’s chair for himself. It was black, tall but seemed to be made from a good quality kind of wood like mahogany or ‘Cengal’. My friends told me that Kuci made the chair himself and that was the reason why people were not allowed to sit with him on his chair. I don’t mind though since I like the chair that the school provided us with. Small, creaking like a mad banshee and always seem to be at the edge of self-collapsing. I guess the condition and the sound made by it were the reason why I like to sit on my school given chair.
The thing about Kuci and his chair is that while people usually sit on their chair, Kuci had a very unusual habit to stand on his majestic chair like someone who got punished for doing something stupid in classroom and watch us while we were eating. Most of the boys and the girls in our school think that the thing Kuci did was a little bit creepy. I used to think that he was mental or retarded for that but everybody knew that Kuci was the top student at our school since he started to come when we were in form two. Nobody knows where did he come from or where did he go to school before he turned up into ours. It seemed that nobody cared enough to find out.
Kuci was just probably as much as normal boy like us. I mean, put aside the creepy and weird habit of him with his beloved chair, I believed he could be a real candidate for the most popular hunk in our school (we don’t have too many good looking guys in our school). Once I found out that a couple of girls had sent him an invitation letter for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. One of them was of course Leela, to whom I was so madly in love with. Leela was the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen in my entire life. He had a set of eyes that could melt you down before you could blink your eyes and her smile can make your life crumbles and make you wish you were never born. Well, it was true because after I knew Leela had sent an invitation letter to Kuci, my life crumbled. I remember, for three days in a row I cried like a little girl who lost her most treasured possession. I was heart broken and at that time, for the first time in my life, I learned the reality of love.
But Leela never had a chance to go out with Kuci. Kuci rejected her and the few others by simply told them that he was not interested. I became his great admirer after that because I knew Leela had to accept the rejection in the hardest possible kind of way since Kuci made the official rejection on his majestic chair during the recess. Leela screamed so hard and ran to the toilet and I was not really sure about my reaction when I saw the incident but I do remember the smile that was carved on my lips. It was the most beautiful smile I could ever conjure in a million years.
Kuci had a very special way to make the teachers annoyed. Often Kuci will address the things that he thinks should be corrected like the arrangement of chairs, the availability of teachers during off hours and the making and amendment of laws that the school should seriously think of like the abolishment of sex segregation law during assembly and the introduction of smoking areas at school compound. Usually Kuci will pick his time to deliver these ideas during the recess time. Once he got up to his self-made chair, he will raise his hands to let us know that we should listen to him. I really don’t know how but we all listened to him. I must admit that Kuci made a very good speech each time he was on his chair. It was odd though because no matter how annoyed the teachers were, they never seemed to care to stop him. Perhaps maybe the level of democracy was very high back then or they simply think that Kuci was just to entertain his school mates and should never be bothered. Once Kuci even managed to organize a hunger strike campaign because he thought the school had deliberately oppressing the poor by raising the PIBG’s fee from Rm 400 to Rm 890 per year. It lasted for one week where Kuci and a dozen of his followers tied their hands together with each other until our headmaster and a representative from the PIBG dared to face them. Consequently, the hunger strike group managed to lower down the fee to RM 300 for the poor. Rumors had it that Kuci paid the amount that the rich paid because he thought that he was not poor enough to pay the new standard price for the poor even though everyone knew Kuci was the poorest student in our school. If you asked me how poor Kuci was, I would say that he was twice as poor as the second poorest guy in our school. Nonetheless, the hunger campaign was a success even though Kuci lost two of his great companions. They were both suffered a major gastric complication and had to be sent to the hospital. Kuci personally paid his tribute by lowering down the school’s flag for two straight weeks.
Since Kuci was the very top student in our school, he usually gets the chance to represent the school in many academic competitions across the state. He was the star of our school like Zainal Abidin Hassan to Selangor’s team once. I used to represent my school in the Kuiz Keselamatan Jalan Raya once and of course Kuci was there also. He was the first seed of the competition where I was the 34th seed out of 55 seeds. In that competition we were instructed to drive our 'car' for 65 kilometres. The least amount of law we break during the journey will be the champ. The cars were equally provided by the organizer but candidate can bring any kind of technology that they think can assist them during the journey. While most of us were fully equipped with gadgets and state of the art navigation systems, I saw Kuci only equipped himself with a map, a compass and a bunch of bananas. Most of our challengers laughed at him. I was of course angry at them and tried to share my GPS with Kuci so we can both defeat the rest of them but to my surprise, Kuci rejected my assistance by telling me that it was no use to share the gadget with me since he knows nothing about how to use it. He, however still thanked me for my kindness and wished me luck. The competition was held in one of the all girls’ school in our district and obviously, Kuci instantly became the crowd favorite of the tournament. Amazingly, Kuci led the competition from the first second of the game and even managed to take a break for the rest of us to catch up with him. Nobody knows how did he became so good with the route but I did not really care to investigate much since I knew at that instant, those who were laughing at him must be eating their own hats right now. I ended up the race twenty minutes after Kuci ended his but lucky me, I begged the bronze medal after all.
Though he was so popular outside, he was practically alienated by the students and teachers of his own school. Nobody befriended him and since he once used to humiliate the girls who wanted to go out with him, all the girls in our school seemed to joint in hands to not ever come close to him. As for the teachers, even though Kuci never failed to bring us medals from outside competitions and never handed us his top student award, the teachers seemed to deserted him either. If any official or unofficial matter that they wanted to talk to him, they usually sent letters. To be honest, I really liked Kuci as a person but when I saw the whole school united in alienating him, I joint them. I hated myself back then for being such an ass to him. There were thousand of times when we stumbled to each other during recess, down the filthy black corridor of our school building and inside the toilet and my heart so desperately wanted to say hi or anything but each time of that happened, I could just showed him my smudged face and acted like I was one of his haters.
I remember that it was the saddest dawn I have ever felt in my life. Yes, it was on the 13th September of the following year. I woke up with a feeling of uneasiness in my stomach. My body refused to function as well as I have anticipated each morning and my brain kept on forcing me to continue my sleep. I spent almost one hour on my comfortable Swiss-made bed before I heard my mother yelling out her voice 'persuading' me to get my preparation done.
When I arrived at my school compound, people were already gone to their own classes. I went straight ahead to my science class with a butterfly still lingering in my belly. My brain was too quick in processing a reason and when I told Miss Kamala that the right tire of my dad’s car punctured on our way to school, she nicely let me off. On my way to my sitting place, I saw Kuci was not in the class and it was truly a shock since as far as I can remember, Kuci never missed classes. But just when I was about to sit down, Kuci entered the class.
He was wearing a black army pants with a green singlet. He matches it with his long black and shining army boot and a back pack. I thought he was being silly again when he stopped in front of the class and started to sing a weird song in a weird language. I can hear Miss Kamala scolding him like a mad person but Kuci just kept on singing. I only realized that Kuci was singing a song of a German language after I saw him giving the infamous Nazi’s salute to the class. Everyone was laughing at him accept me for I knew something weird was going on at that particular time. Kuci watched his classmate around and stopped at me. Our eyes truly met for the first time but not a single word was uttered. It was like our mind was trying to tell each other some symbolic messages but the only thing was, I can’t understand any. Everything was so vague at that time. everyone was laughing and Miss Kamala was screaming, I couldn’t hear a single sound and every movement was like a slow motion to me. I tried so hard to understand the looked that Kuci gave me. It was like a gut instinct and though I was not sure, I followed it and looked at each one of my classmate. They were all laughing and for the first time I saw how ugly they were. There was no respect, consideration and love in them. Their face looked so monstrous and I realized how horrible they were all the time because I knew, those were the same faces and behavior that I saw every day and it hit me hard suddenly that perhaps, my face looked exactly like them. I quickly turned my head towards Kuci and there he was…
The universe stopped suddenly and the only thing I could hear was my own beating heart pounding my nerve systems like jet engine. He was holding a shot gun in his left hand and a revolver in his right hand and before I could muster a single idea about the situation that I got into, a loud bang of Kuci’s shot gun erupted towards us. The laughing sound that was faded just then was once again exploded but it was not the same brutish, bestial laugh anymore. The horrible sound gun explosions were waltzing around with the scream of agony. I saw blood splattered everywhere and lifeless bodies swimming in the pool of blood created by Kuci’s wrath.
I stood there in front of Kuci. I was not quite sure why I hadn’t moved to take cover or anything. All I knew was, in the midst of that confusion, I somehow knew that I will not die on that day. Not a single bullet came near me and I was not even touched by a single drop of blood. My eyes set upon Kuci’s eyes but I could still hear the sound of gun roaring here and there.
Kuci finally stopped. Eyes still locked with mine, Kuci, then, gave me the strangest smile I have ever seen in my life before he placed his pistol on his head and pull the trigger himself. One bullet rushed into his fragile head and at once his brain celebrated their freedom by walking out from his head. With smile still on his lips, Kuci was gone…
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
As he walked rapidly to his black, shinning and well cared Honda car around the corner of his two-storey house, he kept on thinking how his life has changed in the past three months. He had just been fired from his 2 years job at the prestigious Keller- Howard Publishing Company where he worked as their copy writer. It was a mistake he thought. His boss Mr. Keller had wanted to secure the biggest contract from the nation’s top organization and hand sent him to secure the deal. It was an easy job he thought at first but soon when he arrived at the meeting room of the organization’s building, he couldn’t believe his own eyes when he saw the very person who’s in charge with the contract was Daniel, his arch-enemy during their years in the university.
Daniel was with Eve for four years before they broke up. According to Eve, Daniel had had an affair with some girls at his economics class. Since Eve was so heart broken, he thought maybe it’s best for him to console her and since three of them were such good friends, he thought maybe he can help them to get together back. Unfortunately, it never happens since two months after that he and Eve became a couple. He remembered that it was all very confusing. He and Eve had spent the time almost every day since she broke up with Daniel. All the time he had asked Eve to try and forgive Daniel for he was sure that Daniel was fully regretted and heart broken by their break up. He even lied to Eve by saying that the affair was only a rumor and someone was ought to scam Daniel because Daniel was a very bright and handsome boy. It sounded like a very lame lie the minute he said it and at certain time it was almost sounded very gay to him but since he truly loved them to get together back, he thought perhaps he could forgive himself for saying that. Everyday, he tried to bring Eve to her right mind so she could realize how important Daniel was to him.
One day, one month after that, He and Eve was out picnic together at the famous waterfall near his grandad’s house. The waterfall was amazing since it had not been commercialized before. In fact not many people know its existence. It was surrounded by the most greenish elements they were both had seen in their life and they were surprised to see that no one except them was there. He remembered that Eve looked very lovely that day. She wore a blue Prada shirt and a long wavy cashmere blouse and she let her smooth and bouncy long hair free. Eve was always a very beautiful girl. She has the prettiest eyes in the whole wide world and a heaven’s smile that every woman wants. She was the tallest girl in their class and on top of that she possessed the body of a super model. They had so much fun that day and before the day was over, he had been on top of Eve, stroking and penetrating her.
Daniel couldn’t accept the news that his best friend had snatched his girlfriend right under his nose. He told Daniel that they had never planned it to happen and he and she deserve a chance. He even told that Eve was not his girlfriend anymore and the moment he said the word affair to Daniel after that, the only thing he remembered was Daniel’s big and muscular right hand had reached his face. Since then they had never spoken to each other anymore. Eve was furious when she saw his nose was bleeding and she couldn’t stop saying that Daniel was being so childish and mental. He watched Eve cleaning up his bloodied nose with her white handkerchief that he had bought her before with an overwhelming feeling that they will end up with marriage when the day has come. He never saw Daniel much after that and when once in a while they bumped to each other on their way to classes, Daniel usually gave him the looked of a predator waiting the right time to end his prey’s life. As for Eve and him, they became the most lovable, romantic and popular couple of the century.
He was sure that after all the years they had left the university, Daniel still had his grudge on him because the moment he saw him in the meeting room, Daniel couldn’t stopped grinding him with insults and unbelievable questions like “ If I don’t give you the contract, will you steal it?” He tried to keep his composure over the in coming non-stop insult that he received by his former best friend. He tried to be as much professional and kept on suggesting that they should proceed with the discussion but it was impossible to do it with Daniel. The insult became nastier after 30 minutes of their time together and when he decided he couldn’t take t anymore, it was a little too late because his hand had already landed on Daniel’s face. The surge of his blood that went to his brain was nothing like he had ever felt before and at that instant moment he knew that the feeling Daniel’s had when he punched him years ago.
Later that day, after been escorted by two bulky Indian guards off from Daniel’s building, he was at Mr. Keller’s room listening his boss throw his fury at him. He tried to explain the insult that he received over the meeting but instead of at least try to understand his position, Mr. Keller fired him.
One week after his sudden retirement at Howard and Keller’s he received a visit from four strangers at his house. He never saw them before but he knew that he was not lucky that day. He remembered they were bigger than him. All very muscular, clean looking and well dressed. At the first sight, they might look like secret agents or something. Before he could ask them a question, he had been beaten up by those guys. It was very painful to him. He felt like every piece of his bones was shattered to a million tiny pieces. He could felt blood running down bathing all over his face and the thumping sounds of something hard were like sweet music of jazz to him. At that time all he could think of was the government must either made a mistake in identifying a possible terrorist or must be crazy to send these guys to beat him. For almost 10 minutes he had to endure the pain and the unbearable shame for wetting himself down below, the four brutish guys finally stopped. Perhaps they were too tired to go on or thought that he was too weak to breathe. Before they got out and left him to death, he one of he men turned to him and said “Daniel sends his regards to you”.
As he laid on the floor of his house, face swollen and unable to keep pace from his own breathe, he kept on praying that someone will get to him and save him for he might have died that day but no one was there to help him. He spent a night with stinking blood covering his whole face, body too weak to move, mind too confused to reach God. Finally he managed to muster back his strength and crawled out from his house and gets some help from his neighbor.
He had to spent two weeks in the intensive care unit and another two weeks in the hospital wing before the doctor satisfied and let him go home. The moment he spent at the hospital was horrible. The nurses, most of them too old and too stressed out to handle a patient had nurtured him like a pesticide. They cleaned up his cuts roughly and he swears to God that they might even strangle him while bandaging his hand and head. At nights, he couldn’t fell asleep because it seemed to him that every 30 minutes, someone will scream their throat out and on top of that he could hear someone, probably a woman was crying near his bed but it was impossible since he stayed in a wing full of men. The day he got out from the hospital, he made a promise to himself that he will never get sick again…
He is about 10 minutes to reach Eve’s house and he could feel the feeling of sensational euphoria surging up to his brain. He knew that Eve will make the right choice and call him back. He decided that she deserves her second chance and they should forget everything that had happened between them before. He could see Eve smiling to him with the tears of joy streaming down from her eyes. He missed her so much and the thought of looking at her dazzling eyes and majestic smile make him want to sing his heart out…