Category Archives: memories

One of those sentences you remember

“if you’re in your late twenties or thirties, and all your friends are a decade younger, like in their late teens or just pushing twenty, don’t you think that’s odd? And you claim you’re so mature, well i don’t think so.”

-conversations in Changkat, or somewhere, over lots of vino.

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The weather today is hazy with a permanent presence of sadness.

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This goodbye is more heartbreaking than ever.

Tomorrow my mum heads back to Germany to papa and my sister, and I fly back to KL to the arms of a concrete jungle. We leave behind my mum’s siblings, my aunts, uncles, godmother, childhood familiarity. Sometimes I ask myself if I did the right thing when I packed my bags, left Deutschland for KL just because of this silly little notion called ‘following your heart’.

I will miss. I miss. I miss. This love is too far apart and at times there’s no blood to run to.

Then past, present and future all collide.

It’s been a year and I can still remember everything. Aunt Nora asking me to fly back, the landing, the news, the crying at the conveyor belt, the drive to mama’s house, the prayers, the wake, her body, her skin, the sadness, the church service, my mum rushing in the middle of the service, my mum¬†caressing¬†grandma, the nailing of the coffin, the burial, the tears, the deep longing to hold her hand again, to talk to her, to say goodbye, to say thank you for everything for spoiling me when I was small, for indulging me, for the small gifts, the meaningful jewelry, for the stories, for staying with me in the hospital where I spent most of my younger years at, for the values you had instilled in me, to say that you were my hero and always will be, to tell you how much I love you, to tell you how much you have influenced me, to tell you how much I admire your strength, to hear your stories all over again, to ask you to tell me other stories, other secrets, your sorrows and your happiness.

To surpress your emotions is sometimes a key to survival, and I can be pretty good at that. Until it’s time to face the music, like now, when everything comes crashing in, a tsunami of sorrow shattering the defense mechanism you’ve been building. The first year memorial brings me back to that place of sadness. Realizing (again) that the woman who was the pillar of the family, who has overseen generations, will not be there when you ‘balik kampung’ anymore. The woman who has held you as a baby and raised you until your 13th birthday will not be able to hold your hand anymore.

This blog has been, I guess, some sort of emotional jar since mama’s passing last year, in which I keep the deep sadness that I’m not able to express to anyone. I feel lost. I feel scared to lose anyone else in my family.

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How can it be a sweet sorrow? It’s sorrow, it’s sad. Salty from tears.



I flew to KK on Wednesday evening after an exhausting and sweaty start of the day doing site reccy for an upcoming event, and dropping by the office after that to do some work before heading to the airport.

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20.06.2013, Thursday, 7am. The family cemetery is on a hill, and the view is quite precious. Aunt Rose said traditions don’t allow the grave to be cemented over until a year has passed, upon my surprise of it still being bare. Aunt Nora, Uncle Norbert and I started to light candles and arrange the flowers before the other relatives trooped in for the morning prayers. I held my hand against the soil. I protected the candles from the light breeze that threatened to dim them. The prayers went on.


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The memorial service proper started around 7:30pm at mama’s house, that’s still being taken care of by my uncles. It’s used for family dinners sometimes, and I am glad. Mama always loved to have everyone around, like the Sunday rituals we had when we were small. An estimated 80 people (or more, judging by the frequency the maids had to wash the plates and bring them back out) came for the memorial, and being Catholics it was a long prayer circle for mama’s soul. Weirdly enough, last month my aunt had a dream in which mama called her from church. She can’t recall the details but she said she heard people praying in the background.

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Today I was up and about at 6am, spending most of the time for family matters, and squeezing whatever I could to check up on work. In the late evening, my mum’s siblings came over for a farewell dinner. Homecooked dishes. The little things I miss the most. Seeing us together made me wish for mama again. I miss having family around me.



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Who Were You For Halloween?

I decided to be a feline this year. It’s actually the first time I’ve bothered to dress up.

The guy in the picture above is Naem from Vertigo Club KL – rad costume, right?

Last year I just bought a pair of bunny ears to go along with a white tube dress. Like I said, I never bothered with costumes before.

Time passes by too quickly (this is something I say way too often…), and it’s scary how I can still remember what happened at Halloween a year back, as if there weren’t three-hundred-plus days in between.

Gosh. Before you know it….I’ll be turning thirty…

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Different manifestations of grief

‘What good did it do, after all, to remember, she said, to hold on to the past, if the most crucial events in life could not be changed? What good did memory do if one could never make amends?’ -Certainty, Madeleine Thien.

We were sitting down for breakfast when my mum told us she had dreamed of my grandma, her mother. In this dream, grandma was as old and frail as before she passed away, except her eyesight was functioning very well. My mum was walking towards her and grandma was so happy to see her, held her arms open and hugged her daughter.

Five months ago, my mother nearly missed the nailing of my ¬†grandmother’s coffin. She touched down at the airport during the funeral mass, and according to a cultural ritual, the coffin has to be nailed shut before noon. We left the church halfway to pick my mum up, and when we came back, everyone witnessed how my mum came out of the car and practically ran into the church to the coffin. There are a few heartbreaking memories that embed themselves in your head, and the picture of my mum running to touch my grandmother for the last time, of her caressing my grandmother in the coffin, is something that will always render me to tears.

My mum is an extremely strong woman. Practical and objective, she has hardly let her guard down throughout my whole life. She had, for a few years, come to terms with my grandma’s illness and old age, she had always told me that she’s prepared for death. But, no matter what you say and what you do, you can never really let go of someone you love. Our lives will always be connected by an invisible thread, even if one has passed on. Some sadness and regret will still linger on.

Maybe dreams are there to also help you to come to terms with grief.

A bit more than a year ago

I was floating between infinite sadness and temporary highs.

Still learning to embrace whatever life’s throwing at my face.


In October 2005, I wrote:

Seven Things I Plan To Do Before I Die:
1. Work for charity, either opening an orphanage or creating a center for disadvantaged kids
2. Have my own youth hostel
3. go to New York, spend a term there
4. Write a book
5. open up a small Secondhand Bookstore
6. marry the man of my dreams, adopt kids.. sth like that
7. Learn Tagalog

I still want to do all, except number 6 maybe; I’m not good with children.