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The East would always present that calm face of faint astonishment, unmoved at the anger, not understanding the bitterness.

It had, perhaps, not been a very edifying life. On the booze in England, in India, in Malaya… And then a couple of gins for breakfast and then the first beers of the day in a kedai … He had been driven out of that Eden…because of his sinful desire to taste what was forbidden.

“…reality’s always dull, you know…”

‘The country will absorb you and you will cease to be Victor Crabbe. You will less and less find it possible to do the work for which you were sent here. You will lose function and identity. You will be swallowed up and become another kind of eccentric. You may become a Muslim. You may forget your English, or at least lose your English accent. You may end in a kampong, no longer a foreigner, an old brownish man with many wives and children, one of the elders whom the young will be encouraged to consult on matters of the heart. You will be ruined.’

-Burgess, 1956 (banned)-

If I were a swan, I’d be gone.
If I were a train, I’d be late.
And if I were a good man,
I’d talk with you more often than I do.

-Waters from Atom Heart Mother-

Sometimes when I began to think of what to say, I’m already at the end of my sentence. For that I apologize.

Development is a good thing, one of many great things a human being can ever wish for. In the other hand, excessive urbanization, without proper planning and governing may hurt the ecosystem. Overdevelopment is motivated by greed. In this case, greed is kept on leash by the authorities. Unless the authorities share this greediness, overdevelopment can still occur with damaging effects.

Next time, if a man of authority blames overdevelopment to the environmental woes of Kuala Lumpur, specifically the flash floods, think about the greediness of him or maybe of his peers.

I remember the old man’s cynic quote, “We are brown people. We know nothing about the law, not like you white people”. If that’s true, then it’s sad, so sad.

a flower for you

She lies awake when she sleeps.
Was she conscious of her own miseries?
Will the agony of her pain,
win her to enlightenment and set her conscience free?

One lonely night, I said to myself, “If this kind of boredom goes on for another night, I’ll kill myself”. Thank god, about five seconds later, there was a knock on the door. It was Joe. He was bored and wanted to hang out at my place. The pleasure was totally mine. We were laughing when suddenly Joe’s hand phone began to ring. Frown was carved on his face while he mumbled softly on his hand phone. His phone conversation ended with an apparent “ok”.

“Would you like to take a drive with me?” Joe asked. “My girlfriend wants to eat burger”. I looked at my watch. It was 9.30 pm. I said, “Sure, anything as long as not being at home all alone”.

We got into his yellow Satria and began the supposedly short journey. We were 1 kilometer from my house, then 5, then 10. At 15 kilometers I asked Joe, “When are we stopping for burger and where the hell is your girlfriend’s house?” There was a short pause. “Here”, he replied.

It was a decent burger stall in front of a 7-eleven. It was operated by two school leavers. The way they cook the burgers looked like a typical, ordinary stall burger method of cooking. Nothing special. Joe bought two beef burgers. “My girlfriend’s house is at the row behind that row of houses”, Joe said while pointing at a row of houses situated about 40 feet from the burger stall.

“Is she sick?”
No.
“Does she live alone?”
No.
“Is she alone right now?”
No.
“Is she currently having shortage of cash?”
No.

I spend the journey back wondering. Why? Why do I have to experience this kind of situation? Why?

It was a short journey after all. At 10.15 pm, I was back at my home.

He looked like a nice guy. Maybe he is. He has a good family and close friends that cares so much for him. Maybe I’m not a friend, but I’ve known him for quite a long time. From what I see, he spends most of his time cherishing life, his own perfect world.

Then I sensed wickedness. A solemn realization. At first I thought it was all just accidental feelings, so I discarded them. As time goes by I felt that my mind had betrayed my feelings before. I started to feel pain (maybe it’s not as painful as an heartache, but duh, it’s still painful). So were the people who have less importance to this man. The eye never lies.

When he talks to you, asking you a question, he will not look at you in the eye. As a result, the same question will be asked in other social or even coincidental meetings. The feeling of less importance develops.

*Somewhere in the middle of this story, the man suddenly became the bearer of my bad news*

I started to pull myself away, talk less and stop thinking about him. But his words play around inside my over-populated mind. “You are not as bad as I thought you would be”. The thought of his words makes me hate him more.

Ok, I’ll keep it simple. Maybe he never experienced life with only one shoe.

In an old, fictitious kedai kopi in a village in northern Malaysia, Tharmizy was sipping his cup of tea one evening when a man with higher stature in the social hierarchy marched in along with his four bodyguards. Smiles were in this man’s face and so were of his protectors. Pigeons suddenly flew toward the clear blue sky as if they were precisely on John Woo’s queue.

Well I’ll be damned…”, Tharmizy thought. “It’s the Internal Security Minister!

It turns out that there was a political visitation in that particular village. By the way, this minister holds another greater portfolio apart from the one above.

The picture suddenly became unclear, blurry and crooked. The sounds of tape rewind and forward were heard, sound snippets of a poor film editing.

The picture was back to normal. Tharmizy was unexpectedly in a conversation with the minister.

Tharmizy: Is our country at peace?

Minister: Of course!
(Cynical grin on his face)

Tharmizy: Then why is the state of emergency declared on 16th May 1969 haven’t been revoked?

Minister: You have no idea what it’s like to be in power. If you were in my position, would you throw it all away?
(Without any particular reason, the minister’s voice sounded like it’s fading)

*THUD!!*

The picture once again became unclear, blurry and crooked. The sounds were heard once again, synchronized with the visual.

When the picture was back to normal again, an image of a man wearing a white pagoda t-shirt and shorts was visible. From the walls and the single barred window, you can tell that the place is remote.

Another man was taken away from his family without trial and prosecution. For how long I do not know.

“By all means marry, if you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”