Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Early Childhood, Furnished by THEY

When I was a small kid, I was extremely angry.

I walk back home from kindergarten, through a trail amidst some tall grass, and I was filled with righteous indignation.

I was taller and bigger than most kids. Probably because my parents could afford more meat. Better quality food. Part of a Malay family, food is very important.

I love chicken.

My father worked as a teacher. He was never rich. Though I must say, God has blessed him with a green thumb. Anything he grew on his land turned out big and healthy.

We had kangkong he planted, the leaves of which were as big as yams'. Kangkong besar daun keladi. Cucumbers as big as a cow's penis.

Recently, when I started a spice garden for them, the basil grew as high as my waist and the leaves all were as big as daun sireh.

When he started experimenting with rearing chicken, the chicken all grew as big as small dogs.

He had a car, a motorcycle, and a brick house. Back then, a brick house is a luxury few could afford. We had cool marble floors, and complete flush toilets, while most of the other villagers still have outhouses.

It wasn't that my family made a lot of money. It's just that things have a way of working out for us. We were lucky, most of the time. My father is a frugal saver. The effort he put into saving money scared me.

So, I grew up with good food, and I had books. Lots and lots of books. Not mine. All of them from my parents' collection, or stuff Kuantan libraries threw out.

I read Ragtime. Little House on the Prairie. Ian Flemming's The Man with the Golden Gun. Little Women.

I never had any children's books. There were some, actually, but not much. When the Moving Library came to my village, I finally discovered Enid Blyton and the rest. Narnia, translated into Bahasa Malaysia.

There were illustrated books published by DBP.

And late at night, I would take out my father's Gospel of St Luke - a memento from his school days - and read the 'forbidden' bible.

This made me a very strange kid.

While most kids would be out and kill birds and snakes near the swamp, I would be safe at home, pretending to be asleep as my mother and sister tried to teach me how to read the Koran.

I hated kelas mengaji, because there are no stories in the Koran. There is only grammar and proper pronouciation and enuciation and whatever.

The villagers saw me as some sort of a freak, which I guess was justified, somewhat.

I didn't go and learn religious stuff from the PUS motherfucker, due to some dispute he had with my father. My father's a Chinese, genetically, and also a firm BN supporter. So the holiest of holy men in my village condemned him to hell decades ago.

Boo fucking hoo.

So every time I walk back home after kindergarden, some of the people would call me names and such.

They said that since I was fat, I was stupid. That I was a rhinoceros. That since I didn't study how to recite the Koran, I would go to hell. That I was fat because I ate the corrupt money of the BN party.

When I went to primary school, and got top place in my age group every year, they all said that I only got number one because my father was a teacher. That he pulled some BN strings and got me first place. It wasn't because of my hard work.

That last one, is true. I got number one not because of my hard work. The other kids were just so fucking stupid. How can you NOT get first place, when the competition was that bad?

I got 4As in UPSR - the best result you could possibly get - and I got into a boarding school. You know what they said? I got in because my father is a teacher, and he supports UMNO.

I got 8As in my PMR. I got eight aggregates in SPM, aceing six of 10 subjects.

When my father was asked, about how I did, he said, "Amir dapat lapan (Amir got eight)."

The reaction was, "Mujur bukan sembilan (Thank God it wasn't nine!)" Nine, as in F9.

Or, "Anak saya dapat Tiga! (As in, Grade Three, five levels above eight, I guess)"

I got into UM. (UMNO! UMNO!)

After I graduated (a decent 3.21 CGPA. No fireworks there) I got a job, but I was not a doctor, lawyer or engineer.

What a failure.

And then, in 2006, I was out of a job. I started my own company and did freelance.

When they come to the house, they asked, "What are you doing Amir? Still at the newspaper?"

My mother would make up excuses for me, but I would just stare them straight in the eye and say, "Saya menganggur. (I'm jobless)"

Some were perplexed that I didn't try to hide my shame. That perhaps, I was shameless? That I did not care what they think?

I mean, I worked for every single thing I got, dedicated myself at every opportunity, and all these years, all they ever did was try to discredit me and take me down so that they could feel better about themselves?

A background chorus, singing hate and despair and failure. A bunch of people underneath my trapeze act, with fucking spears to impale me.

The fuck should I care?

What have you ever done for me? Except waste my air.

And yet, if some of the projects I have in line happens, some of these spiteful idiots would be the beneficiaries.

I don't mind. Even maggots have a function. If we focus too much on the naysayers, the jealousy of insecure people who NEED you to acknowledge how great they are as compared to little pathetic you, the slaves of the ego, then I wouldn't get any work done.

Which reminds me. I have work to do. Cheers!