Just got back from Kuantan last night, coughing like crazy.
My mother suspects that I am a victim of black magic.
I thought it was just bronchitis, but she suggested (not accused, as she knows my stance in the whole supernatural thingy) that someone has sent me 'something' and that 'something' is santau - a supernatural poison.
I told her, "They can't send ghosts to me. I am the devil. I'll just eat them up."
To which she pooh-poohed and chastised me for being so arrogant.
I was more than a bit lethargic at Kuantan. As soon as I was in a horizintal position, I was out like a light. And then, even with just a couple of stocks of cigarettes throughout the entire week, I was still coughing like crazy.
My diagnosis was simple:
1. I fell asleep easily because I was sleep-deprived. Pulling 16-hour days, with side projects is no joke, and has never been a joke with me. Wait till you see my 20-hour work days.
2. The cough came from battle damage to my lungs, and possibly bronchitis.
3. My headahces, came from stress. My father's health is stable. He has not gotten worse, but he has not gotten better either. And he remains a stubborn old man as always. Tried to talk to him, but he is beyond reproach, so there is little else I could do.
Surprisingly, I did not lose my temper this time. Going home to Kuantan almost always resulted in at least one argument or verbal fight. My family members, including myself, are extremely righteous and individualistic. We see things in such different ways.
And though it is impossible to determine who is right and who is wrong, that is exactly what we strive to do.
Some things, though, drew us together.
And it was heartening to see my nephews, the next generation, growing as healthy as weeds.
The eldest has so much potential, but has learned only to give excuses for his failings. I confronted him almost every time I was back.
I see that my brother and my siblings have also done their work on the boy. He now has taken up chess. I play with him, to see how his mind works. Torture him through my ponderous, slow thinking process to decide on a move, to teach him patience.
It did not work, but I hope that in time, he will appreciate the art of waiting your turn. That there is a time to attack, feint and defend. To lay and spring a trap.
The middle child needs little work, being born with an almost natural empathy and a love for peace. With the right influence, he might do well as a happy person.
The youngest, is object-oriented. He is not a people-person. His PR sucks. That has to change. In time, with training.
My role in the family has also changed, somewhat. I am the youngest, the last son of whatever. So all these years, I was grateful as to my role in the background.
Circumstances have demanded a more active participation. I'm so fucking lazy. Why can't the cup pass to someone else?
Oh woe is me.
I play my function. My aspect. Not the image of it, not the stupid hollow ego form, but the actual substance.
Reluctantly, of course. But when things are set in course, there is little time to look back, or even to look ahead. I am busy executing.
I am glad that my brother and sisters are smart people. We are not stupid, and for that, I am thankful.
We are not smart in that annoying Malaysian way of valuing 'outsmarting people', which is so fucking egotistical. We are intelligent in the sense that I do not have to go and kill any of them because they annoy me.
People say that ignorance is bliss. Well, they can keep their ignorance. We will be as aware as we are.
Which brings me back to black magic.
Well, if santaus or sembahyang hajats did work, then George W Bush would have died many years ago. So would all the Jews in Israel.
To me, black magic is a cop out. A crutch. An excuse. I will not run away. I am here. Still saying, fuck the free world.
And I am the devil.