Author Archives: 30

Little big reminders

Time and time again, I am faced with evidence that I am surrounded by love, even in the darkest, saddest, most insecure moments.

Friends who have been there at a push of a phone call or text.

Friends who offer help without being asked.

Friends who got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam, braved through an hour of waiting for a cab or Uber ride to attend your event.

I am grateful and thankful for, after a horrible week:

  1. My best friends who were always encouraging, even though I know I was being so difficult.
  2. A great Kaamatan-Gawai party, a collaboration between The Borneo Blog and Pisco Bar, aided by Spirits of the Harvest.
  3. Meeting readers of The Borneo Blog at the Kaamatan-Gawai party.
  4. Amazing friends who sponsored welcome shots and door gifts (TAJON and Love,Lusie). They never hesitated when I asked.
  5. Amazing friends who came early to help and for support.
  6. Amazing friends who, despite excruciating traffic conditions, came to the party.
  7. Amazing friends who drank and danced the night away.
  8. A friend who insisted on sending me back home, so I didn’t have to Uber it alone from Changkat late at night.

Yes, all of these amazing people. You fill my heart with love, and remind me again and again, that my life is a little brighter because of you ❤

In darkness, with a glimpse of light

I wish, she said –

I wish people were like a roll of film.

A roll of film? I asked.

Yes. The negatives.

By the way –

Isn’t it weird how it’s called that?

Captured memories on film

Something you can’t erase

It’s called a negative.

Doesn’t it pull you down, sometimes?

The memories are like an anchor.

A brick, a scar.

It doesn’t allow you to forget.

It is, then, a negative. In a way.

Your mind works in wonders, I said.

It seems to be a never-ending, pulsating

twist from an ordinary tale.

Maybe, she replied.

Maybe.

Maybe it’s all a dream, a fantasy, a lullaby.

And maybe we’re all waiting for the fall of the curtains, the encore.

The conclusion.

Please tell me how the story goes.

Molecular

I am tired, that’s all.

and so she said.

I see her –

in the magnitude of her being

I see her –

encompassing a universe

we might never experience.

I see her –

speaking, passionately 

walking, with an energy –

An invicible force pushing her.

I also see her

Alone.

Silenced.

Raging.

Hurt.

I see her how everyone sees her.

I also see her

when her guards are down.

Daughters 1

Don’t say bah, she said
Maybe you keep quiet lah

Maybe what you felt was exaggerated?
Maybe what you thought was
a passing note?
Maybe, after all,
It was you, all these while?

And so the girl you raised –
The girl you so carefully brought up –
The girl who carried your wishes
on her shoulder

She kept quiet –
Because ‘macam tu la bah kan’
Because ‘kau bagus cuci pinggan’
Because ‘bagus kau duduk diam’

And she, who has the bones of your forefathers.
She, who has the strength of generations,
She, who could have been much more
than what you have restricted her to be –

And so she sits,
with broken nails,
rough palms,
silenced thoughts –

Our daughters are worth more than this.

Untitled 1.8.2

You’re the tiger, they said.
Louder than the lion, they assumed.

Your heart is made of steel –
Your skin full of tattoos –

Should that not be
an assumption of your feelings?
shouldn’t you always be strong,
shouldn’t you always be okay alone?

What if
I told you
that every heartbreak was written in verses?
that every sacrifice was in a needle in my skin?

What if
every scar
signified a silent disharmony?

What if
some of us just kept quiet?

Every. Damn. Single. Time.

-EJ, silent ramblings (yet again)

Sour delights

Yawn

Stretch

You have opened your jaws too much, haven’t you?

While I have kept silence, all this while, in hurt?

Your glistening teeth and sharp tongue

Your deceiving sweet words and ruthless eyes

One bite out of your fake delights, and one falls to the floor.

Untitled 132

I have never felt my soul broken into pieces

Like this before.

2 years ago.

25 Nov 2014, I wrote:

What’s love?

We were walking by the river, my mum and I, pushing the stroller with my 11-month -old nephew in it, because that’s one of the very few ways you can get him to sleep. “Did papa ever tell you he loved you?” I asked. 

Now, for most of us, I love yous are something you throw around every day, but somehow, I just couldn’t imagine my extremely practical, former dragon mother (former, because she has loosened up a lot the past few years) exchanging romantic words with her husband. 

“Of course!” mum exclaimed, “But you know, it is always easy to say ‘I love you’. It is easy to be in love and stay in love when two people are young and healthy. You will only know what true love is when you’re required to make great sacrifices.”
And it is true. What my mum said is true.
Two years ago, papa had to undergo an operation for a tumor. Fast forward to today, our family is again faced with some tough times, and we don’t know how much longer papa has in this world. 

I flew back a bit more than a week ago to be with my family; to spend time with papa, and to help mum take care of him. He has been in the hospital for the past two months, and when I got back, he wanted to go home – understandably, because it is much better to be in the comforts of your own walls than in a sterile environment. Mum, my sister, her baby, and I picked papa up from the hospital and brought him back, as he wished.

It hasn’t been a smooth path (then again, no journey is easy with sickness and a constant shadow of death looming at the edge of your thoughts) since we got papa home. The medicines we needed to get, daily, from the pharmacy. The doctor’s visits. The palliative care team’s visit. Getting the hospital bed in. Being attentive to papa’s needs, 24/7. 

You know, the whole ‘in sickness and in health / til death do us part’ thing? You will never even grasp a tiny bit of what that vow entails until you’ve experienced being with someone who’s incapable of taking care of himself (or herself). I see the commitment to that vow in my mum. From the moment papa wakes up, to the moment he sleeps, she’s by his side. Feeding him. Changing him. Wiping him clean. Changing his tubes, dressing. Cleaning up his vomit. Being constantly worried about his comfort. Helping him to sit up. Helping him to go to the toilet. Shaving him. Holding back her tears when he’s talking about the end of life. Every day. Every night.

How many of us would do that, really?
Because it is so easy to think, yeah, sure, of course I’d do that for my loved one. But you see, love is so general and so fleeting. Loving someone, including making physical and emotional sacrifices, is never a given. It’s so easy to send someone to the clinic, or visit someone in the hospital, but when shit really hits the fan, how much time and energy would you sacrifice cleaning it up?
How much true love and kindness do we really have for one another?

A different kind of fairytale

I want nothing more than a fairytale –

But not in the way he looks
how much he earns
nor in the size of his house –

But a fairytale
measured in passion
in intensity
in a never-ending infatuation

A fairytale
that’s made of needing each other

A fairytale
about only being able to sleep
when we’re holding hands.

There is a cocktail made of sadness, relief and revelation.