Thursday, July 30, 2015

Politics and politicians are not my cup of tea.

In 1998 when I first arrived back into the country my wife and i were employed in the East Coast State of Terengganu where she was a lecturer at a local college, KUSZA and i was employed as a health and safety officer at the Petronas construction site where the present refineries stands in Kerteh, Terengganu and later in Gebeng, Pahang. We were new to the life and the people and were either accepted with lots of tolerance and understanding or repelled with disdain and often cold shoulders by the society especially my immediate family. But we managed to survive even if our lifestyle did not met up with the expectations of the locals. I felt more oppressed living then in my own country than having lived for three years in Japan and 21 years in the USA. I often felt regret for having made to move to return and could never forgive myself for dragging my wife and children 'home'.
That was water under the bridge and today i only look back so as to be able to make some sense in what had happened and why, in order that I will find some answers to justify myself if not see how I had gone wrong. It was in 1998 that the former Deputy Prime Minister, Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim came to Kuala Terengganu to give a speech at a gathering which was held at a residence along the beach at Batu Buruk as they could not secure a better place for him. The DPM was then making his roadshow trying to garner support for his 'Reformasi' movement which the government had deemed illegal.and he was being sacked accused of sodomy among other things. (It is all in the Internet if one is interested.). I decided to attend the the gathering out of curiosity as i have never heard him speak nor had ever attended any kind of political rally in my adult life anywhere. 
So there I was sitting on top of someone's concrete pillar of a gate listening and getting caught up with his fiery oratory, I was way up front and exposed but did not think much of it then. After the rally i even got to shake the man's hand while he was being driven away in an open top vehicle. I have read his book while living in Japan and donated the book along with Dr, Mahathir's to the Sendai International Center's Library. The Asian Renaissance I think it was or something like that and i was very impressed by his mind, hence one of the reason why I was curious to see the guy up close. I had also written to him from Sendai volunteering my services to clean the Sungai Pinang River in Georgetown, Penang, I was asking for his blessings and support as he was also from Penang. He had his secretary replied me but insisted that the reply came from the Chief Minister of Penang at the time and had a carbon copy sent to him. I was impressed that he took the trouble at all. Looking him in the eyes up close while shaking his hand I felt like i knew him and could trust the man if push comes to shove. I was not shaking the hand of a tomb stone or zombie; he had fire in him.
Later in the evening upon my return home i got calls from my brother and sisters asking why i had exposed myself at the rally getting my twin brother into all kinds of trouble with his bosses!I did not realize that my face was on TV in the Evening News, and this added to the already strained relationship i had with my siblings. It was the closest i had come to being involved in a political rally and all for the wrong reasons. I felt bad for my twin getting the flack for my 'mistake' but what to do?

My non political life.

Throughout my entire life I have voted twice. The firtst time after my return to Malaysia and living in Kuala Terengganu where i registered myself through my neighbor and the second was in Penang where i re-registered myself to be able to vote here. Sadly enough for both I voted for the the Barisan Nasional and i did this not because I have faith in the party and on the later occasion knowing fully well that the party stood no chance of winning gainst the DAP in Penang, I voted for the UMNO led party because of my loyalty to my family and friends, I still had had no real interest in politics and as a matter of fact only has disdain. The first time i voted for UMNO was because of my experience after attending a gathering where the then DPM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was present along with Idrus Jusoh who late went on to become the Menteri besar for Terengganu and another Minister who was my childhood friend from Penang, Zainol Ariff. I was invited by the Primula Hotel manager to attend the event as he thought it would be a good experience for me. There reason i was at Primula was because i was having my first Solo Exhibition at the premise.

After borrowing a batik shirt from my neighbor, an English man married to a Malay Professor both were teaching at KUSZA, I attended the function and was the first few to enter the Hall and was ushered to sit up front.
After a while i was joined by a few tough looking gentlemen who were friendly and we started getting to know one another and I learned that i was in the company of the Millitary Intelligence officers as well as the Special Branch who were wondering what i was doing there in the first place. Being straight forward as i have always been I had shared everything about who I was and before long they were telling me who they were and why they were sitting at my table; I was a suspicious character. But after learning that i had just returned from being abroad for the last 24 years and that this was the first time i attended such a gathering and how i was invited to, they chilled. They were entertained by my exploits as i started telling tales of Alaska and Wisconsin and of Colombia and Quito.
Then the show began and the hall was filled to capacity and everyone who had an ax to grind against UMNO was there among the supporters as the State was then ran by PAS and was not doing any better. The DPM made his speech and after 30 minutes or so sat down and asked for questions. I thought it was going to be a short event until the first guy somewhere from the back of the Hall shouted something like, "Yo! Pa' Lah! You cannot manage the issues face by the Malays in Penang what makes you think you can do any better here in Terengganu?!" Being said in the local Malay dialect it was sharp and hit hard like a brick which sent the heads of all the three ministers sitting on the stage shaking from side to side like they were being hit by a stink bomb. There was only silly grins on their faces but not one could make a comeback to this challenge and it lasted for eternity or so it felt as the whole Hall full of young adults went dead still; it was scary.
Then I felt an elbow jabbed me in my side and one of the guys leaned over and asked me to break the ice. Go up there and save your friend from your home state of Penang, he whispered. Said in a Penang dialect it had a greater impact on me. So like a fool I got up to the microphone and laid out my spill and by the time I was finished it seemed like the Hall came back to life with more people raising all kinds of issues and the gathering last till 1 a.m. in the morning. I shook the hands of the Ministers with a thank you from Idris Jusoh and my childhood friend Zainol Ariff as they left the building and later went on to win the State back from the opposition party with a vast majority of almost ninety percent. PAS rule of Terengganu came to and abrupt end.
In short i told the crowd to leave the Penang Malays and their issues out of the discussion, i said we know how to handle ourselves. Then I told the DPM why they lost the State to the opposition in the first place and it was because of lack of care and genuine concern over the lives of the people. Elected officials failed to do their jobs and the people were sick and tired of their will and deal filling their own pockets while the rest of the society lived in abject poverty. I rambled on with whatever came to my mind like i knew what i was talking about and it got their attention.
That was when i decided that i should vote and perform my civic duty seeing that i was home and planned on settling down as a Malaysian.
To be contd.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The itch is still there.

I am wasting my time as for hours now i have really doen very little other than fall asleep and waking up to an ongoing battle between two Samurai armies fighting sometime in the 15 century in the plains of Tohoku Japan all on You Tube. My car is at the mechanic again getting fixed for oil leak this time and i am back to using the Knacil, thank God for little favors  But, be as it may i am not happy the least to say as I have not been productive and am back to square one where money is concern. The only consolation i find in times like these is the fact that I am more in touch with my inner being, myself, and not getting too sidetracked or concerned with trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe anymore and nor am I getting all tied up in a knot over the state of the Nation as more and more issues are emerging that is putting the country on a rough road to nowhere. I can easily turn my attention into my inner being and look at what is transpiring within my physically, emotionally as well as spiritually, and i an finding that more and more so there is really nothing to cry over that needs so much attention other than those episodes and dramas that i have chosen to entertain for no good reason.
What is relevant really is getting my car fixed once and for all and getting my mind set again to hit the road, to boldly go where i have not gone before as Captain Kirk of the Enterprise would have put it. Being stuck in this rut of not being able to stretch my legs and spread my wings is getting to me and I am making excuses more and more lately for not being able to carry this out. Si henceforth my mind will be set on a preparation mode towards setting a course of action that will see me leaving this island and navigating new ventures out there where there is still adventures to be found even if means just sleeping out in the wild or discovering a new village or two, Perhaps it would be a great thing to discover what the rural folks are thinking of the political and economic situation of this country where so far i have been listening and reading only the middle class and intellectuals discuss about the matter. It would make a good study to record what the Malays in the Interior rural areas feel about the state of the nation while sketching a face or two in a coffee shop along the way.
Yes I feel like i am waiting for death to happen.every morning i wake up to the sound of incessant traffic and the clattering of cooking and feasting at the restaurant, it gets on my nerves even if I can almost lock them out on my mind if I meditate on it. But I am not one for sitting around and waiting for shit to happen, i make them happen and when I am not able to I feel like i have wasted my day.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Adios to my Kancil.

The Kancil, my small mode of transpiration for the past ten odd years is now being replaced by a bigger car although about the same age, a used Ishwara that is a fully automatic as well as heavier car which my friend the Mechanic Ah Huat would be a better car for me to use now that i am getting older.It does have a positive effect on me driving the new 'Old' car and while there is still a few hiccups to be taken care off like the ignition key not being able to function without much wiggling and push and pull to get the car started and the vibration of the engine when it is not moving due to a loose bolt some where...otherwise it drives like a charm. So can safely say farewell to my years of companionship and ride the Kancil. I cannot say enough of how grateful I am to my young friend who has been such a selfless being caring and concerned over my well being since we first met almost six years ago, Ah Huat, as he is known to all his customers and friends is a kind and warm heated man who is full of energy and in the right environment would have made a great Zen master.
Most who see my life as a waste of time and a a disappointment will readily judge em for being in this needy or receiving end; i should have been a rich man like them by now given all the opportunities i have had in my life to make it financially and which i mostly did not take advantage of to better my status. I cannot say that I blame them who includes my two remaining elder brother and a few of my soc called close friends and relatives, however I am not affected by their judgement and criticism as i have always maintained my self to be living a standard of my own which is that i am an experimenter where my life is concern. I could have been independently wealthy had i wanted to in my choice earlier but conscious or unconsciously my life have take many less traveled paths often leading myself into state whereby I am often indebted to others. It might be an arrogant to say that this is how i chose to live my life out of compassion for others, but it is the truth and for so long as i have been observing and studying my life i have come to notice that this to be the route i have chosen for a purpose.
9 times we made it back and forth to Kuala Terengganu., no problem!

Perhaps had i been independently wealthy like my twin brother i might have been in a  better position to be of help to others in dire need, but I am highly doubtful and on looking at how my mirror image lives out his well to do life i can safely say I was never meant to be rich. In my state of having less i am more in touch with those who are in need and be able to receive from those who care and have the need to express their charitable hearts. I found throughout my lifelong experience that those who have less gives more towards those who need than those who have more then their share in wealth. The rich covets their wealth and thus remains rich but those who struggle day to day to make ends meet have a greater sense of connection with their fellow man who goes through the same if not more so distressing state in life. Most rich people will find ways and means to justify why they should not give even in dire situations; they will justify and convince themselves that they are right in being miserly. Most die leaving behind loads of wealth and properties for their children to fight and haggle over and those who do not have children looses their hard earned wealth to the government.
By the time one arrives at the age whereby there is not much that one can truly enjoy in excessive albeit drinking or womanizing, working the fields or visiting countries for the hell of it, it is time to wrap up and say fare thee well to the attachment and the possessions that one has accumulated and so much proud of and what is taken along is uncertainty; heaven or hell, transmigration or complete annihilation. What good have you been where humanity is concern? What great deeds have you left behind that others will talk about you with reverence? How many lives has one affected that has made great differences for the better?
To my friend the Chinese  Auto ir conditioner mechanic these questions are answered in his own ways of doing for others without any care for who they are Malay or Chinese, Indian or any of the others, to him for as long as he has been of help in some small way he was contented that he has done a good job. I have a cousin married to an Englishman with one child and they are doing very well financially, but he is still wrapped up in his Anger and mood swings not knowing what he has and and not appreciating what he is given. Almost daily he is in the Face Book sharing idealistic quotations about life and giving and so forth, but in reality he is buried in so much anger that one can almost feel it oozing out of him. It is by sheer miracle that he happens to marry a Muslim who tolerates and understands his predicament and that he is surrounded by relatives on her side whose ways has influenced him towards being more tolerant of others and less self centered.
Sometimes we forget and we keep on thinking that life is forever, that our time is far from coming to a close and we live as though the world owes us a favor or that we owe it to ourselves to grab as much as we can while we can and the hell with others; i am not my brother's keeper! This is Compassion or the lack of it and we ask why there is so much chaos in this world today.

We have been placxes.