Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saying Farewell to 2009

One of my new year's resolution is to loose a few kilos in the middle.

There were moments of highs and lows throughout the year with the lows outweighing the highs not that i am making any comparison or complaining but from reflecting back on the events that has transpired throughout the year, (the advantage of having a diary/blog) I would say that the loss of my wife was the most significant event for 2009. It was both a sad as well as relief kind of tragedy which the Baharis had it coming and we have learned to live with it and moved on. My wife's departure has become an inspiration for all of us to do better in our lives in her memory.
My visit to my son in Dubai and having met Timo my son for the first time was the highlight of the year for me. I am a proud father where my children are concern as from what I observe all have good heads on their shoulders and are capable of taking care of themselves when I am not around.
My two children living with me in Malaysia has now become Malaysian citizens officially and it is with mixed feelings that I come to accept this as loosing their American citizenship is not something that one takes lightly. However in the long run I feel it is for the best in their lives as it will hopefully make their lives a whole lot less complicated as far as schooling or working in the future is concern. I have come to learn a great deal personally through the whole process as it enriches my knowledge about myself in dealing with the Government agencies. Sometimes things got to a point when I was tempted to resort to my old habit of giving up and saying screw it, but i persevered and it paid off.
Financially I did not do too bad considering that I did not hold any regular job other than working part time for my cousin and his catering business. I still owe a thousand or so to different parties for those days when I was in dire need of cash and my cousin Zakaria and my friend Lee helped to ease my burden on occasion. I am a little disappointed of the fact that I am dependant on others however the flip side of the coin is that those that i depended on are closest to me and i give in return to them whatever i can even if it may not be in dollars and cents. I truly believe that it is out of all these humbling experiences that I am being put to the test in my effort to discover my original nature.. who am I? What is my original nature before my parents conceive me? What is my function in this short span of so called life? What is my relationship to my fellow man? How far or how near am I to the Truth that I seek?
On the 7Th. of January i will begin my career as a lecturer at The Equator College of Fine Arts here in town! I am proud of it and look foreword to a new adventure in the academic world. This came as great boon for me and my children as it helps to put me back up in my standing among the 'successful' as far as the relatives and community goes. It is indeed a great New Year's Gift. my daughter has also started working for an Australian Lady who runs a chain of Guest houses in Langkawi and here in Georgetown. She is happy and it is a great opportunity for her to meet people especially those from overseas.

Surely that is the most practical way of solving our difficulties in this present world of chaos? It is because we are not creative, in the sense in which I am using that word, that we are so antisocial at all the different levels of our consciousness. To be very practical and effective in our social relationships, in our relationship with everything, one must be happy; there cannot be happiness if there is no ending, there cannot be happiness if there is a constant process of becoming. In ending, there is renewal, rebirth, a newness, a freshness, a joy.
So 2009 for me was both OK and not so OK. I have turned sixty and am beginning to feel the age but my heart forever young wishing very much to hit the road again this time perhaps to Sri Lanka my ancestral home or to Cambodia to see the Angkor Wat. Just another dream of mine, part of my on going journeys of self discovery before I kick the bucket. I say Adios to 2009, and Adieu to 2010, a year that this Buddha is going to find his place among the enlightened!!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Was invited to Lee Khai's for Christmas Dinner and had a great time chatting with Daniel a young Chinese jazz musician who sounded great at Lee's piano. I also had the opportunity to sit and chat Koo Sue Hoe the Artist who owns the Alpha Utara Gallery and lives pretty much in the US. Also chatted with Anne, Lee's wife who spends most of her time getting the run around by her two kids. It was nice to be able to spend a little Christmas Cheer among friends and it brought back warm memories of my years in the US and Japan as Christmas was a great part of the Bahari family's life.
I truly enjoyed the Christmas spirit when living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The winter scene of piles of snow while cruising around the city and neighborhoods taking in the colored lights from the homes, with Santa's sleighs and rein deers set on the snow covered lawns, the smoke and steam rising lazily from the chimneys of some homes was the Christmas feeling one can never forget. Indoors, there is the Christmas tree! The ornaments, the glittering strands of tinsels and the crystal star glowing at the top of the tree. The colorful gift wrapped boxes and odd shaped items that children kept trying to guess what they were, what is Christmas without a tree? What is Christmas without a basket full of walnuts and cups of warm eggnog and the smell of turkey roasting in the oven, what is chrism as without Bing Cosby singing 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas' or a party at Faar's Grove, the tavern at Duck's Creek in Brown County, Green Bay, Wisconsin? What is Christmas....without your loved ones sitting around with warm feelings inside despite the cold outside. the Joy of Christmas has nothing to do with being a Christian but it has allot to do with the spirit of being blessed with Love, with the spirit of Giving and sharing, of forgiveness and reconciliations. The commercialization of Christmas is just the side effect which cannot be avoided as Christmas shopping is part and parcel of the Christmas festive spirit.

Made it to two Art openings this week end, one at the Alpha Utara Art gallery while the other was at the Gallery Sri Mutiara. A Japanese print maker's works were on show at the Alpha Utara while the works of my friend Ch'ng Kiah Kiean was launched at the Seni Mutiara. I enjoyed both exhibitions and got to meet the regulars who frequents most of the Art openings in Georgetown and caught up with the latest on who is who and what is what of the Penang Art Scene. Too bad, without a camera i cannot provide pictures for my blog to make it more interesting for those who enjoy reading it.
The Little Penang Street Market was also this weekend and i made to it in the afternoon after working at my cousin's catering business all morning. I did some sketching while listening live to two great musicians Sam Ponnudorai and Paul?? Both played the guitar and sang to the crowds delight. I did a few sketches and gave to both the artists who were appreciative getting them. Sam sang my requested song, 'House of the Rising Sun" in return for i have done sketches of him singing at the Street Market before. Hopefully Big Mac the photographer can provide my with a few shots of the events as he took a picture of Sam and I. Mac is always on the scene at the Little Penang Street market which is a pleasant feeling as he is ever cheerful and has become a very familiar face in the crowd. I sincerely hope that this affair will continue on into the future and turn into a bigger thing where more people will be involve and not just the regulars. Penang brags of so many festivals and attractive events going on everywhere in the city but often times the audience turnout at these events is disappointing. Most of it is due to poor publicity i am told and the ignorance of those who has no idea of what they do but assume that they do. Off course it all boils down politics! Anything that dint work or can go wrong blame it on politics and it may not be because of lack of funds but its just politics!
A few of my artist friends asked of whether i would have my show soon or not and what am i doing with my self these days. I could not come out with a straight answer so i told them i am most hibernating and meditating and doing nothing. I pretend to be resident artist at the Museum Tuanku fauziah at USM just so i can say I am up to something but in reality I am just using the space and facility to while my time away like I am doing right now. I wish I can do allot more but after physically abusing myself for the past three days stirring pots of spicy curries to feed some ten to fifteen thousand people my body is in no shape to even walk out of this building. My left hand aches like it had arthritis already and perhaps it has already cause it sure hurts even typing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God is the Tester, man is tested.

Not much to moan and groan about lately except my physical state is not in good shape. Something is not right with all these aches and pains especially at the joints like the elbows, and the knees and ankles. What gives? Wind (angin)? or just wear and tear as part of the aging process, whatever it is it is painful at times and makes it almost impossible to move around and especially work at stirring the pots for my cousin's ever increasing catering orders. Another millionaire in the making, my cousin, he has found his pot of gold in the catering business. Thanks to the Bangladeshi and Vietnamese workers moonlighting to make an extra income my cousin has got his project down pegged. In the next three days there is an order to cook for 18000 total and the house is beginning to look like a warehouse for his raw materials. God bless him as he has a good heart and is fair and ever helpful in times of dire need for most anyone and I hope he stays that way.
"Every twist of thought must be understood; for all thought is reaction and any action from this can only increase confusion and conflict. "
I tried to set up some sort of Art project with my son in Dubai, like having a small studio/ gallery where i can do my work and at the same time sell artworks to dealers there or to customers who happens to stop by or start an indoor art display rental where every end of the month I will have new works on the walls of hotels or offices at a minimum fee. These works don have to be originals and can be imported from all over the world, my son and his friend who might be talked into joining the venture can accomplish this as they fly all over the world. It seems this is too far fetched as there is an Emerati boogie man that has to be fed as a silent partner. It is part of the law that one has to have local partner to set up any business in the Emerates. Another Muslim country inviting corruption into their business system before they even got off the ground, it will be a matter of time before bribery and unfair practices will creep into the market when there is money to be made for nothing. Dubai should learn from Malaysia on the art of corruption in businesses and politics. The only country known that can loose two multi-million dollars Jet engines without having to go to war, hell, without even having to take off the ground. The drug addicts are well known for selling discarded recyclable metals and carton boxes to supplement their needs, sometimes they strip electrical wires and metal fixtures from utility cable layouts, but these are drug addicts. Who would steal jet engines?!! Here is another Malaysia Boleh!!

In Malaysia no one is free of being accused of corruption not the Prime Minister nor the the guy who stops the man on the road for speeding and everything and everyone has a price and this is a Muslim country. A blessed Muslim country most would agree as there is everything anything one would need here and very few natural disasters to worry about. There are more mosques and other forms of house of worship, many elegant ones all over this country than there are hospitals and clinics or even doctors. Sadly enough most of these mosques and temples are mostly empty except for special days and events when man has to make a show before his Creator of be among the unbelievers, like on Sundays and Fridays. Otherwise most of these places are locked up for fear of the other religions, that of the drug addicts, the destitute and the homeless.
Another sad phenomena that is ever of the increase in this country is illegal abortion and the wanton inhuman discarding of foetuses found in garbage cans and storm drains. Perhaps it is happening all over the world that we don't know of but nothing is more tragic than women being subjected to having to get rid of their unborn due to one reason or another. It is as though life has no more value and the sanctity of the human spirit is so brutally shattered whenever one read of the discovery of yet another foetus among the flotsam of the Klang River two or three days ago. I feel like it is an invitation to the curse of God to be brought upon this nation all these acts of defilement's, such as rampant drug trafficking and addictions, the never ending cases of high profile corruption which often insults the lay person's intelligence, the arrogance and blatant abuse of power among politicians that is dragging the country into a quagmire of decadence...and more, we are indeed testing the AlMighty's patience and inviting His wrath which this nation has yet to taste. Na'Uzubillah!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The journey to the Lord of Power revisited

For two days now I have been working my body to the ground and now i feel the aches and pains like never before, the worse is like have a tennis elbow or as a friend mentioned it could be the setting in of osteoarthritis or something like that. Man could i use a good massage and a sauna treatment right about now! The process of aging? Some things you just cannot hold back even if you meditate and contemplate, pray and exercise for what it is worth, when it is time, it is time. It is not a good feeling this sense of being defeated at such an early stage in the game, I have yet to bring to fruit many more actions in my life, actions that I had sewed in motion long ago consciously or unconsciously ever since i started to experiment with my life. I got this notion of 'life being an experiment' when I first read Mahatma Ghandi's life and works.

"Control in any form is harmful to total understanding. A disciplined existence is a life of conformity; in conformity there is no freedom from fear. Habit destroys freedom; habit of thought, habit of drinking and so on makes for a superficial and dull life. Organized religion with its beliefs, dogmas and rituals denies the open entry into the vastness of mind. It is this entry that cleanses the brain of space-time. Being cleansed, the brain can then deal with time-space. "

"When you look at this life of action—the growing tree, the bird on the wing, the flowing river, the movement of the clouds, of lightning, of machines, the action of the waves upon the shore—then you see, do you not, that life itself is action, endless action that has no beginning and no end. It is something that is everlastingly in movement, and it is the universe, God, bliss, reality. But we reduce the vast action of life to our own petty little action in life, and ask what we should do, or follow some book, some system. "— Krishnamurti, Bombay 1958

Whatever happened to the auto suggestion that i had been imprinting upon my mind since i was a teenager?...
"I am Whole, Perfect, Strong, Powerful,
Loving, Compassionate, Harmonious and happy!... and I can do What I will to Do!
In Sha'Allah!"
Has it taken any effect on my life now that i look back over the sixty odd years? Have i failed or have i succeed in achieving whatever it is that i had envisioned my life to? Who is making the observation and who is making the conclusion. One of my failures in life is to establish good rapport with my two remaining siblings each of whom has an axe of one form or another an unforgivable act i have committed against them or their family members, because even their children i noticed had treated me with disdain whenever we meet by chance, like they are qualified to do so. Whatever it is, I have tried, in the effort to be a good Muslim made a special trip to see them with my daughter on the third day of Aidil Adzhar to seek their forgiveness and reconciliation, a Muslim thing to do. I I felt impelled to do this for some odd reason even when a part of me, my ego, said fuck it. I had the feeling that either one of the three of us is about to meet his Maker soon. Consulted and took the advice of my good friend Latif or 'Mamu' the Union Man, at the Farouk Coffe shop and informed a few people significant in my life like my sisters and and my cousins here in Penang of my intention to end this discord with my brothers. I am not a great Muslim but I try my damnedest to follow the dictates of the Prophet whenever it is needed of me to do so. it is hell for those who cannot find reconciliation between kith and kin. I have done my part, as far as the religion is concern. I got to meet and express my regrets to my eldest brother to which his comments were i have disappointed him. I failed to meet my twin as he was out playing golf when i visited his home where i met his wife who among other things told me that I shoulder make my way to Mecca and perform the Haj for I am a sinner and have much to atone for. My failures in life?
My two children has finally got to become Malaysian citizens, whoop-dee-doo! Whatever it entails at least I do not have to visit the Immigration department except to make their Malaysian Passport or renew mine. Almost ten years and the death of my wife, the nasty accidents that i was involved in while driving to get these paper works resolved. One of these involve my cousin Mohd. Kalam's car while driving from one Education department to another to get some foreign student fees paid for my daughter and then the recent accident on our way back from Putra Jaya after recieving the citizenship certificates. My many trips from Georgetown to Bukit Kayu Hitam on the Thai Malaysian Border and the verbal abuses i and my son had to take from the officers at the border with regard to his passport. I am successful cause it is now over. Is it?
I find myself still in limbo when it comes to my faith, yes i am still lost as far as being a good Muslim goes I have yet to be able to bring myself to pray five times a day with complete faith and determination in my performance. Thus I have no right to force or coerce my children into practicing that which i have problem doing myself. All i feel i am a Muslim and that i have finally come to grips after allot of reading and talking to those with enough acknowledge on the matter that I Love and worship Allah and only Allah as my Creator Lord and Master, (let this be my profess witnessed by all who happen to read it). Not because my family and relatives and friends are Muslims, nor from fear of hell or the love of Heaven, but from my gut feeling after years of so called seeking for that which the Truth, (let this too be my statement witnessed by those who read it). My success? I found what i have been looking for my entire life, something I can absolutely unequivocally believe in and hold true to in faith and worship.
My wife passed away in the prime of her life and i miss her, I did not love her enough perhaps or showed her my affections as i should but I loved her as one who understands her and why she had me for her husband. I was married twice and and loved both my wives even if my marriage did not work out the first time. We went our separate ways but maintained mutual respects for each other till this day. My first born is today a pilot for Emerates Air and, he is our pride and joy out of our brief union. My success/failure? No one coached me on how to be a great husband when i was first married to an American there was no precedent to go by. I made mistakes for which I had to live by, but I stayed true to my path of exploring and experiment with what life had to offer and made the best of the worse of situations. As my teacher in the Zen tradition once told me, " You have to pick out what makes sense and discard that which is non-sense". Has my married or family life been a failure? Perhaps! Many are those who would be ready to testify to this if given half the chance.
I asked my cousin Jamie while having dinner in Bukit Beruntong after having the accident the previous evening and while waiting for my car repair job to be ready on whether I had failed in my life. She said yes and no. I have my successes and my failures. One of the my success is that i was able to raise two teenagers and put them through school without a proper job, a proper place of my own. But I have very little to show for in terms of what i can call my properties to leave behind like everyone else in my family and that is why they frown on me. I have become somewhat of an embarrassment to them.
Having spent 21 years of my life in the United States and travelling to various South American countries and a few in Europe, having lived for three years in Japan and raised my kids for the past twelve odd years here in this country, does this not count for a measure of success? Putting it in terms of fiscal cost alone would be extravagant. Ever since my return to Georgetown I have had three solo Art exhibitions at three of the most prestigious Galleries here. I should pat myself on my back for i, one of the few 'Malays' in the City to do so. I have been able to place my name in the book of records on who is who in the Art scene of Penang and the Northern Region, not bad i should say.
So what is lacking? What makes it for a man to be contented and pleased with himself in this life other than the ability to have four wives and three cars, two Banglos and whatever it is that is considered a success criterias in this country? The more I dwell on it the more i come to realized that my spiritual growth is still in its infant stage despite the years I devoted to it and all the practices i have put myself through, my mind if not my soul is still fragmented. I am a splintered soul seeking to become whole but am running up against psycho emotional walls, (ancient twisted karmas from beginning less, greed Hate and Delusions mostly the last in my case). How far or how near am i to my final stage of liberation or to my Maker? This is what will take precedence in my life as of now and nothing else matters anymore as I have most of my life towards the deliverance of other, making others feel right and good. Making sure that the world is cared for in whatever capacity I could, caring with every little help this way and that, but now I have to turn myself inwards and look deeper into my soul like I did while living at the Zen Monastery for that which have been eluding me in my seeking . I have to come to meet my Creator. InShaAllah!! Even if it means having to die of this life before my physical death. My hijrah from that which is to that which will deliver this soul from the death of a kafir.

"All our life is based on thought which is measurable. It measures God, it measures its relationship with another through the image. It tries to improve itself according to what it thinks it should be. So unnecessarily we live in a world of measurement, and with that world we want to enter into a world in which there is no measurement at all. Meditation is the seeing of what is and going beyond it - seeing the measure and going beyond the measure. What takes place when the brain, the mind and the body are really quiet and harmonious - when the mind, the body and the heart are completely one? Then one lives a totally different kind of life.
Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti Book "Awakening of Intelligence."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Road Downhill

Yesterday while at the registration department Office getting my Identity Card(Mycard) redone (it split into two a common flaw with the MyCard that happens to most people), I took advantage of being a "Warga Emas". A golden auger, one over the age of sixty, fit for the pastures and it got me a faster service to my surprise although the young lady attending to my needs asked me my age to make sure that i was over sixty. I took my two kids to ge their ICs done too and after getting their documents and pictures taken they were told that they had to wait for four months or so before they will get informed of their ic. status, four months?? Oh well they waited for almost ten years already so what is another four months? At least now they have the papers to say that they are no more illegal aliens in this country.
I must raise my hat to he Minister of Interior for walking the talk as he had promised to clear as much as possible all the back logged applications for PRs and Citizenship Applicants in this country. I feel Ike a load has been lifted from my back after all these years, the second after my wife's passing away but I still do not feel happy in my heart. Something is missing or not right, there is still a nagging that seemed to try to surface and demanding attention or needing to be resolved and i cannot put my finger on it. Whatever it is I hope for once it is something more positive and would benefit me and my children in the long run. I also hope that it happens soon as I am feeling the aches and pains of age setting in with the lack of enthusiasm to do stuff that is creative and energetic.
I need change, at least a short break from this routine of caring for my two teenage children who are just finished with high school. I need to revitalize myself and recharge my energy to take on whatever lies ahead in the near future as at present i am sitting in a limbo like bird without a song. I am focusing all my mental and spiritual energy on Ibni Arabi and his philosophy while physically stirring pots of chicken and beef curries for three to four thousand people in the catering business while also cleaning and various other jobs that goes with. If god works so hard what is the sense of being a God?
Am I a God? According to Arabi I am, in a nut shell. I am His manifestation, His mirror image, His eyes, ears and nose, His feelings and impulses and consciousness, I am that, I am. What else can I be if not That which created me in His image because he wishes to see, feel, smell taste touch Himself through His creation. I am no 'Al Insan kamil' or the perfect man, no sir, not me off course, but nor am I an ordinary being for i was created special above all creations only I took a wrong turn somewhere down the road and headed away from the right direction towards my final destination, that is my Maker. But hey, I am still salvageable, I am still able to regret and repent and return to the right path just like everyone else and i am still enlightening myself while letting go of all that i am not and shedding all the veils that i have brought upon myself along the road. I have many rivers to cross, but I cant seem to find my way over, there is still many hidden ancient twisted 'Karmas' still holding me down tied to the ground nailing my feet to the floor.
I intend to break free before the angel of death comes before me and this I swear as a man who has spent his years seeking that which he does not understand, looking for answers to questions from every nook and cranny of this planet and circumstances and situations, through experiences and indulgement , putting to the test right and wrong, experimenting with life in order to come to the ultimate Truth before I die. I am a believer but what I believe in is still beyond my ability to envision and when I do i hope to be erased from all these so called phenomenal world and its trappings. In the meantime i will keep on writing these nonsense for so long as I live or for so long as i am at the computer. I will keep on recording all the nitty gritty tediously boring as heck episodes of my life to purge myself of the demons of boredom amid tediousness. The mind needs to express itself so let it be.
Out of suffering is born the urge to seek truth; in suffering lies the cause of the insistent inquiry, the search for truth. Yet when you suffer - as every one does suffer - you seek an immediate remedy and comfort. When you feel momentary physical pain, you obtain a palliative at the nearest drug store to lessen your suffering. So also, when you experience momentary mental or emotional anguish, you seek consolation, and you imagine that trying to find relief from pain is the search for truth. In that way you are continually seeking a compensation for your pains, a compensation for the effort you are thus forced to make. You evade the main cause of suffering and thereby live an illusory life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Immigration Blues Continued 2

Returned to the immigration office in Butterworth the next day on the 4th. after being told to bring along the first passport my son had entered the country with, ( it was also his firtst Internationational American Passport). After making copies of the relevant pages the officer who we saw the day before took us upstairs to the Visas department where it all began the day before. We were told to take a number and wait and waited we did, i was fortunate to have fallen asleep on the floor with my back against the wall. When our time was up we were called to the window and the lady told us she had an apology to make. She had failed to take notice the first time we came to her that there was an overstay of seven days involved and hence the immigration officer on the Thai Border had insisted that we come to the Penang office to deal with our situation once and for all. However, the passport has also been black listed ( no reason provided) and thus nothing could be done at the Penang Office it has to be take care of at the Federal Building in Putra Jaya. Great!!! Now I am really up shit creek with the days running out and me flat broke I have to find my way to Putra jaya with my son and resolve this issue.
It was the weekend already and so i worked for my cousin and was payed for the two days with enough cash to find my way to Putra jaya and my cousin also ditched out a couple of hundred ringgits just to make sure it was enough for me to cover any fines or charges i might inccur in the process. We left after midnight on Sunday trusting the Kancil would give us no problem so long as there was enough oil and water in it. Arriving very early in the morning we decided to stop over at my cousin Jamie's house in Bukit Beruntong to take a rest and freshen up before we continued on to Putra Jaya. One of my nightmares driving in KL is getting lost on the highway at a peak hour. We found our way to the immigration department in PJ with little problem and spent the entire day chasing the paper work from one window to another. At the end of the day my son got a reprieve of 5 months stay on his visas and i had to pay one hundred RM for this extension. There is also a clause stamped on the visas that read, after this no more extension will be given. I have been made to feel like my son is a criminal in this country by this department once too often so it seems, the question haunted me again why did i chose to return here with my family in the first place? We returned to Penang that same night.
The next morning I decided to rise early and work for my cousin with hope of making some money to survive the next few days. My cousin handed me two official letters in which were letters from the Department of Interior informing me that both my children has been awarded the Malaysian citizenship status! Great! If I been patient for a day longer I would have avoided all the trouble i have had with the Immigration department in the past few days. The letter also informed me that i was to appear in Putra Jaya and the Ministry of Interior with my two children to receive the award at a ceremony failling which might incur some problem. We left for Putra Jaya on Sunday midnight again and made it to our appointment the next day. Along the way we stopped at my cousin Zakaria in Shah Alam where we took a short nap and had a good breakfast before heading to Putra Jaya.
The ceremony was officiated by a lady who enjoyed nagging and most of what she had to say was aimed at my son although not personally but he deserved it more than any that were there. My son Karim is a rebel wanna be especially when it comes to clothing. He had grungy pair of jeans on and a long sleeve shirt which he refuses to stick into his pants and rolled up sleeve like he was ready to rumble. This devil may care look coupled with his long hair made me cringe when the lady was giving her spill about how fortunate it was for the likes of him to be given the honor and privilege to become a member of this great country of ours, even if it takes some eleven odd years of waiting and dealing with the various bureaucracy till it was becoming a nightmare.
I walked out of the building with a mixed feeling, both relief and a foreboding regret of the fact that my children are loosing their US citizenship status by becoming Malaysian citizens. Was it worth it all? Only time can tell, after all the only experience they have had of the country of their birth was one month of visit to their grandma's in Illinois and that too did not fair out too good as she was not in any state to care for them and their sick mom. What would they do if they were to return to the US, where would they live, can they manage themselves without becoming sucked into the America nightmare. I have no answers to all these and the future is here right now is all i know, take care of it now and it will take care of itself in time for only time can tell if i made the right or wrong decision.
We left PJ and KL and headed for home that same evening stopping over at a rest area to have Burger King for a small celebration. As we came by Bukit Beruntong we decided to stop over and pay a visit to my cousin and her Mom and i need some rest before the long drive. They were not home ans so i decided to continue on heading for Penang. I poured rain heavily as we were leaving and at a junction as i was pulling out a Volvo appeared out of nowhere in the heavy rained smacked into my car! I almost cried even before the car came to a stop from spinning, it was like a nightmare happening before your eyes and there was hell that you can do. I shouted out what else do You want from Me! My daughter from the back seat reached over to calm me down. The driver of the Volvo had not licence and the car had no road tax. He was a kid who took his dad's car out for a drive and so I was fucked again from collecting any insurance unless i have no compassion for this kid who has to face his father's fury or perhaps even a criminal charge if i were to make a police report of the accident.
My cousin Zakaria drove all the way from his home in Shah Alam to help us solve the problem with some cash to fix the car so it was drivable and took my two kids to catch a bus home to Penang as my daughter had her final paper to sit for her SPM the next morning. I stayed the night in Bukit Beruntong with my cousin Jamie while the car was getting fixed. It cost me five hundred RM to have the car fixed and fortunately together with the money my cousin gave me and some sent by my son from Dubai via the Western Union I was able to leave for Penang driving the car apprhensively as the windshield wiper had decided to get stuck on me perhaps due to the accident. So I was praying that there was no rain all the way home.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Immigration Blues Continued

Spent the day at the Immigration office in Butterworth yesterday with my two children trying to get things done with regards to thier visas. According to his passport my son has less than a week in this country and unless something is done he will have to leave the country and go home to the United States. This was the result of our visit to thye Thai border the day before to get his Passport stamped and validated for three months. But it was not meant to be, the immigration officer at the border decided that he had had enought of it and decided that we take care of this matter once and for all at the Penang Office so that we do not have to keep crossing the border every three months to legalize my son's stay in Malaysia.
I agree with this decision and decided to take action immediately getting both my children to fill up the forms for application to become permanent residence in the country as they by now i am sure more than qualify for it if not the right to become a citizen of this country. Now the the window hopping and paper chase begins as we were sent from one department to another and had i given up without insisting on seeing the Director of Immigration to present my case i would have no knowledge of what is going on. Fortunately after seeing the secretary to the Director not even the Director yet i was again sent from window to window untill I got to the right department. Here the collecting of information begins all over again but I still did not have the very first passport for my son which indicated when he actually entered the country which was more than ten years ago in 1998. And so today i ahve to take a drive with my son again to get the process moving. The officer in charge was fortunately very calm and relaxed about the whole thing despite the fact that it makes little sense for the department not to have any back up data on my son after all these years of residing in the country and going back and forth across the Thai border in the past year, you'd think that by now the immigration department should have dossier on him and for his sister too for that matter. What is the computer for? Why keep feeding the information into it when you cannot acess for the information when you neeed it and keep adding more work than necessary? But hey, never quesion the authority especially when you are at their mercy. If you are told to come back with the old passport you just do it even if it will cost another half a tank of gas and 7RM for the bridge on the way back. Indeed Allah is Merciful if inspite of all these i could get my children's visas problems resolved.