Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Malay Male Family Values: 2008

Eckhart Tolle wrote, "If you think you're enlightened, spend a week with your family."

This past Raya was crazy.

I had saved up enough to buy my mother either a fridge or a dryer. The original intention was a new dryer. A better one, because we live near a swamp. I'm Remy LaBeau, yo!

The swamp gases keep getting into clothes we hang out to dry.

The smell would permeat into the fabric, causing lots and lots of drama. LOTS of drama.

The fridge was also causing trouble. Actually, ONE of the fridges. My mother had three at one point. Then one broke down. Then this other one also were causing some problems.

That was ALSO a cause of drama.

I had enough funds only for one item. Seeing the fact that my mother's life revolves around the kitchen, I decided on the fridge.

I sought help from my brother who used his street smarts to haggle for a much better price for an almost-500 litre fridge.

So we got the fridge delivered to the house. My mother's first reaction?

"Why didn't you TELL ME?"

She was pissed off cause we didn't give her ample warning to clear the old fridge.

This was the night before Raya.

I was like, "Kembaaaaang cipap aku mendengarnya."

Then, it started to rain. When you're on the East Coast, rain doesn't come down in drizzles. It poured like hell. Though there's no rain in hell. I think. Been a long time. 'Sup, Lou?

My family, being my family, tried to force my brother and I to carry the old fridge, in the blistering rain, to the old house.

They were like, "It's not raining THAT hard. It's just the roof that's making all that noise."

"Maybe," I said.

I hung around and watched TV for as long as I could and then decided to get the fridge out of the way.

We came back, soaking wet, and the question asked us was, "Why did you get wet?"

"This, too, shall pass," was my response.

This Raya was crazy.

I'm feeling older. My nephews are getting bigger. The kids who used to come to my house now come with their kids. Some are getting married. Some old folks died the past year. The remaining ones are eaten up alive by old age, Alzheimer's, probably Huntington's Cholera and other shit.

They never get proper diagnosis.

My father has trouble walking. After his third stroke, he used a walker for a while. Than, stubborn as hell, he refused the use of the damned thing and walks on his own. Even if it kills him, he'd walk on his own two feet.

He still smokes four packs a day.

One of my uncles from my father's side of the family - the Chinese side - passed away recently. My Chinese relatives came during Raya and asked if I still got pictures of him and the family I took last year.

After some frantic searching, I still have it. Phew.

Looking at the pic, he resembled my father a lot.

He used to tell me how he was a police officer during the emergency. The original emergency. The War of the Running Dogs.

"You can shoot a communist and no one would know if he was or wasn't," he'd say.

My family fought the communists. My uncle from the Malay side of the family, my father's adopted side, was killed by the Kuomintang.

"They came to the house, looking for him," said my father. "They took him to the woods and they shot him. The wound was caused by a rifle. The bullet is small, but the twist made the wounds larger than a small calibre bullet from a small machine gun. I identified the body."

He was seven or eight years old.

He did not hate the Communists, though.

"Communism is good to manage people in large numbers, over a large land mass, like in Russia or China," he would tell me, when I was younger.

"I wrote that story - where my brother got shot - for my LCE, MCE and STPM," he would add later. Over a few cigarettes.

After moving the fridge, we discovered that it worked just fine. Apparently the fan was blocked by my mother's collection of tempoyak. She still has the war mentality and would hoard stuff.

I think that she thinks that if the Japanese ever land in Kota Bharu again and start riding bicycles, scaring the bejeezus out of the white people, we'd have enough tempoyak for two weeks.

"Oh no! It's the Japanese on bikes again! We're doomed!" the Brit would say. And drive off to Singapore. And then surrender.

Anyway, yeah, Raya. Fucking hell, man. I hate Raya.

A friend from KL gave 500 bucks to my siblings, to buy groceries for a poor family. So we went to a supermarket and discovered that the baby formula were all kept in glass cases, like jewelry. I asked the salesgirl and she said it's because that's one of the most popular items for people to steal.

Yes, they steal baby formula.

If people are stealing baby formula, that's pretty fucked up, man.

It IS expensive. But come on. What the fuck? Steal something more valuable and easier to turn to cash so you'd have even more money to buy baby formula.

Well, what do you expect from poor people who come to the house and tell us that even though he fishes expensive fresh-water prawns, he has never charged for it. And he's bloody fucking poor. Needing handouts from the people and the Government.

Either he's a boasting ass or an altruistic pauper or just plain stupid.

These are the people who need help, and the various projects only entail throwing money at them and expect them to make it. Fuck you.

These people actually bought CARS which now gather rust on their lawns because they do not have enough money for petrol.

That's why I want to become a superhero. Things are so bad that when I asked about certain projects that could make their lives better, they have trouble even grasping the concept.

A fish-farming project that actually works? What the fuck is that? A charity grocery store? Huh?

Oh well. That's the way it goes.

And we're all concerned about whether or not Pak Lah will stay. Why? cause we always need someone to blame and since he is less gifted or more retarded than most, we want to pick on him? Sure, Pak lah is not perfect. He screwed up a lot of things and a lot of people, in my opinion. The worst Prime Minister in history? Maybe.

Well, he's out. Maybe retire in Australia, eating Nasi Kandar and ogling Anglican school girls. What now, assholes? Who are you going to blame next?

Prices will continue to rise, with or without Government control. The poor continue to suffer from the economy even though Pak Lah was advised to say that the folks in the villages are not affected. We don't eat monkeys anymore in villages.

We are less prepared than ever before, cause we're caught up with political dramas instead of turning to technology, science and the market to find solutions.

I say, abolish politics! I say, do away with politicians! Instead of feeding them dog food (boiled eggs), get them to work instead of holding Press Conferences that promise themselves the world with nothing at the end. Where're your jumpers now, Anwar? In your pants?

Oh, got political again.

Anyway, yeah. Family. Raya.

I do not think it is advisable to have a family in Malaysia, and I don't think this Raya was worth celebrating. I still have a lot of work to do, from before Raya, and I guess so do you.

With that, I'm signing off. Got to get some shut-eye. I still want that new dryer for my mother.