Thursday, August 22, 2013

Notes on the Run

There was a time when my father was the headman in his village as well as the Ketua Cawangan UMNO. He's extremely right-wing and I don't have the heart to tell him how things might swing in the next 5-15 years.

Anyway, being in such a traditional Malay position, he was often accused of taking bribes and also, one General Election, of registering dead people on the electoral roll.

I remember this because these monkeys called my home phone - an amazing feat for monkeys, I assure you - and flat out accused my father of tampering with the voters' list.

We figured out who were behind the call and invited the squealing monkeys to our home. I remember being extremely angry, because my father is such an annoyingly strict person when it comes to following rules.

These monkeys judged him as themselves - given the same opportunity and power, they would certainly have indulged in corruption. They cannot comprehend that a person might not be a monkey like them.

I was with my mother on this issue - I wanted a fight. I was young and foolish.

My father simply asked them about it, and of course they denied it, laughing all the way. And then they left. I wanted so much to punch them in the face and cut their dicks off.

I asked my father afterwards, why he just took it.

His answer would be repeated for all instances when people borrowed money from him or said bad things about him behind his back - "Aku pedulittaik" (I don't give a flying fuck).

It was much later I realised the wisdom behind this. No matter what other people said about him, my father understood that the truth - the only truth - lies between him and God. A pious man - much more Islamic than I am - my father found his solace not in the thoughts of others, but in his own meditations with God, in his prayers.

Decades later, I was sitting down with prostitutes, a Malinese/Malian guy, several Irish lads and other random strangers in a back alley in Bangkok. I was bitching about people back home in Malaysia trying to impose their brand of Islam on me, trying to figure out whether I was a Shiite or a believer in a deviant branch/sect of Islam (deviant according to our Islamic councils), and also trying to verify whether rumours of me being a homosexual were true.

Some of these, WERE my friends. See the all caps on WERE? Fuck you, you fucking judgmental monkeys. I judge you as monkeys, so suck my dick.

One prostitute said to me, "If heaven and hell exists, who decides where we go after we die?"

"IF it exists? Well, God, I guess."

"Then it's none of our bloody fucking business, is it? Our business is to live the best life we could."

I will never forget that, and I will keep on repeating this story, because it has had such a profound impact on my life.

These days, my father is living the last legs of his life in a home he built with his own money. Nothing from corruption or misappropriated funds. It is a modest house, on a modest piece of land on a hill, surrounded by a swamp.

Those idiots who accused him of corruption are also alive, which I believe to be their punishment. For what kind of life would it be, as a stupid monkey?

I go to bed now with the realisation that for all his life, my father never lost sleep on those idiots.

"Aku pedulittaik."

Good on him. I wish him comfort and peace.