My Photo
Stories for my three heroes.

Monday, May 16, 2016

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY

Aku sampai ke rumah Jumaat lepas seperti biasa sewaktu Faim sudah mula proses untuk tidor. Memandangkan dah agak lama aku tidak berkesempatan berbual dengan anak aku yang dah hampir menjangkau 12 tahun ini, aku pon cepat-cepat masuk ke bilik Faim.

' Are you going to sleep already, Faim?', tanya aku.
' Nope. I am going to tanam padi', jawab Faim meniru gaya Ibu menjawab bila aku selalu sangat tanya Ibu sedang buat apa selalu.

' Óh.. You are copying Ibu now ya', aku mengusik.
' Hehehe.. I'm just teasing you, Ayah. Yea I am tired but cannot sleep yet', jawab Faim.
' Let me tell you a story, so you will fall asleep easier', aku kata kepada Faim. Aku terus berbaring sebelah Faim.

Dulu masa Faim masih kecil memang aku rajin bercerita kepada dia sebelum dia tidor. Kadang aku cerita untuk kedua-dua Acik dan Faim sekali masa mereka masih lagi berkongsi bilik. Sekarang Acik dah tido di bilik sendiri. Bilik Abang yang lama.

'No, Ayah. Let me tell you a story', Faim menawarkan kepada aku pula.
' OK', jawab aku sambil berfikir. This could be fun.

Faim pon berpaling mengadap aku dan mula membuka cerita,'Once upon a time, a boy is trying to sleep but his dad came and ask to tell the boy a bedtime story. But, the boy is so tired so he asked to tell his dad a story instead...''

'Hey, what kind of story is this', aku memotong cerita Faim. Anak 12 tahun aku ni memang sangat nakal dengan idea.

Faim tidak menjawab cuma tergelak kecil,' hihihihi'.
Aku pon tergelak sama,'hehehehe'.
'Hehehehe'sana, 'hihihi sini'... sedar sedar bilik dah gelap dan jam Garmin aku menunjuk pukul 2.30 pagi. Aku terlelap rupanya masa tergelak-gelak dengan Faim. Aku pon bangun dan pergi ke bilik air. Aku belum solat isya lagi.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

MEI LING

Aku memandang muka Mei Ling. Dia tunduk seketika. Dia mengambil sapu tangankecil dan mengesat matanya yang sedikit berair.

‘Kau sungguh nak balik ke Muar?’, aku ulang pertanyaan aku tadi bila melihat dia masih ragu untuk menjawab.

‘ Ya, pakcik aku nak pindah ke Singapura. Sudah tiada siapa nak menjaga Ibu-bapa aku selepas Abang aku lari masuk ke hutan’, jawab Mei Ling akhirnya. Aku masih ternampak sedikit keraguan pada raut mukanya.

Aku faham keputusan Mei Ling. Semenjak Abangnya lari ke hutan mengikut rakan-rakan pejuangnya, tiada siapa yang menjaga kedua ibu bapa dia di Ulu Muar. Sebagai anak yang bertanggung jawab, Mei Ling rasa perlu untuk pulang. Walaupun aku yakin keadaan tidak akan selamat bagi dia dan keluarga dalam masa seminggu dua. Jepun sudah mendekati Kuala Lumpur dan penyuluh-penyuluh British menjangka mereka akan menunjukan diri di Mersing line dalam kurang dari seminggu. Semua bala tentera British sudah berundur dan mula membuat benteng pertahanan si Sungai Muar.

‘Mei Ling, kau janji pada aku. Kau balik dan bawa ibu bapa kau ke sini. Ke Johor Baru. Kemudian kita usahakan untuk kau sertai Pakcik kau di Singapura. Kau tak selamat di sini. Lihat apa yang mereka dah buat di Nanking.’, aku tegas kepada Mei Ling. Aku nak dia setuju terus. Aku tenung wajahnya lagi. Masih ada keraguan.

‘Jangan risau. Aku akan minta sahabat-sahabat aku untuk mencari Abang kau dan beritahu tentang keluarga kau. Malah aku rasa mungkin dia lebih selamat dengan rakan-rakan itu’, aku cuba tambah keyakinan kepada Mei Ling.

Lama dia berdiam menunduk muka memikirkan semua yang aku sampaikan. Tak lama kemudian dia perlahan menganguk sambil mengangkat muka menantang mata aku.

‘ Bagaimana tentang Alexi? Kau tau dia di mana? Baik kah dia?’, Mei Ling tiba-tiba bertanya. 

‘Terakhir maklumat aku dapat dari rakan wartawan aku di Kuala Lumpur, Alexandra dan pasukan Palang Merahnya sudah mula berundur dengan tentera-tentera India ke selatan. Insha Allah, dalam sehari dua, aku yakin dia akan sampai ke sempadan Johor’, aku beritahu Mei Ling dan pada masa yang sama juga meyakinkan diri aku sendiri.

Mei Ling akhirnya bangun dan melepas tangan dari gengaman aku. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

DANCING IN THE DARK


Despite my really tired, totally exhausted condition, I forced Ibu to drive me to the Stadium to watch JDT game last Saturday. Ibu who has just arrived from picking up Faim from a friend's birthday party only had enough time to pray and a gulp of water.

'Don't worry I'll get you the usual burger from the Stadium', I said with full confidence.
Ibu just nodded and focussed on her driving while I directed her to our destination using Waze.

After not more than 30 minutes, the Waze informed us that 'you have reached your destination'.

I was confused. Something must be wrong.

Ibu quickly asked, 'why is the stadium dark, Ayah?'. Are you sure they are playing here?'.

I had to think fast. Quickly I checked FAM website. Several cars were slowing down and zipped by without stopping. Obviously as confused as we were.

Éh.. Ibu, they moved the venue to Selayang la. 'They are not playing here', I said quickly without raising my head.

Ibu laughed out very loud.

'Why are you laughing, Ibu', I asked slightly hurt.

'Well, I heard of Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark. But Playing Soccer in the Dark is totally brand new', Ibu answered.

I look out the window sheepishly and said, 'Let's just go'.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

11 YEARS AND RUNNING

Forrest Gump: That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town .... For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.



It has been 11 long years.

Alfaim the baby in Ibu's tummy when this blog was first conceived is now getting to be 11. He is still a baby to us though. Adik soon will be 16. Slogging through his study.In a year and a half he will complete his high school and then another phase of his life will open up. He will remain a delightful challenge to us. Abang is doing as well as he could in his study at Carlton. He is coming back for the Summer holidays this May. I need to ensure that this time I'll have more time for him.

Ibu is still the same. A little older and much wiser. I can always avail myself of her wise counsel. I thank her for her able running of the household. While I could focus on my things to do.

Last year remain a tough one for me. I am still in recovery phase. Physically, I don't feel much different than a year before although every kind soul keeps reminding me to take things easy, lower paced. Occasionally, things that are unseen would disturb me. That's when I start to worry others. I think I can manage that now, difficultly.

After I left the hospital, and after two months of taking things slow, I began on a quest to do Broga. I climbed whenever I had the opportunity, weekends, public holidays or even when I was on sick leave.  My target; 52 Sundays since two September ago. Last September I achieved just that. And then ventured on  a another  forward looking self motivating journey. I started entering running events. My target is to collect 12 silverware to probably signify 12 months or another one year of survival. I have collected 9 so far and have 3 more running to complete before I probably go on another similarly natured quest.

Early this year, I lost a friend and a mentor. Same illness.

Here's looking at another year of a fulfilling life...

















Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Faim the Defense Lawyer.

Aku menuruni cerun mengekori Faim yang mendahului di hadapan. Sambil merentas halangan kami juga menyelit sedikit sebanyak bercerita. Satu ketika kami berhenti rehat kerana Faim mahu meneguk Gatorade.

'You got another speeding ticket, Ayah?', tanya Faim.
'Yea', jawab aku pendek. Mesti Ibu yang kepohkan kepada dia ni.
'You better pay Ayah, or I will have to defend you in court later ', sahut Faim pula.
'You need a lot of training and experience before you can be a lawyer. But yes, I would want you to defend me. Err.. How you are you going to defend me? You plead guilty, and I ll go to jail?', tanya aku sambil sedikit tersengeh kepada Faim.

'Well, I think I have a good defense for all your speeding', jawab Faim sambil menyerah kembali Gatorade ungu kepada aku.
'What is it?', tanya aku sambil menyambut dan menyimpan botol pada bag yang aku galas.

'Muscle spasm', jawab Faim selamba sambil berpaling meneruskan perjalanan.

Aku bangkit dan mengekori Faim sambil ketawa dalam hati.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Alexandra

Aku bergegas menuruni bukit menuju ke arah belakang. Lutut kanan aku yang merah berdarah melambatkan gerakan aku. Aku tidak peduli. Bukan sebab ia tidak menyakitkan, Tetapi luka dan cedera di lain-lain bahagian badan membuat aku tidak memperdulikan.

Jauh di sebelah kanan, berkepul-kepul asap dari loji  Normanton yang terbakar meluru dan menutup pemandangan dan menyesakkan paru-paru. Tapi, aku tidak punya masa untuk meneliti itu semua. Aku harus segera sampai ke Alexandra.

Akhirnya aku sampai juga. Tapi aku sudah terlambat. Mereka sudah lebih awal tiba dari aku. Kedengaran suara-suara halus menjerit dalam kesakitan dan ketakutan, meminta tolong. Aku tak tau samada itu suara pesakit atau suara jururawat. Mungkin antaranya suara Alexandra.

'Alexi, di mana kau', aku bertanya dalam hati sambil mengagahkan langkah aku masuk dari ruangan tepi rumah sakit. Tangan aku memegang erat belati Kepten Rix. Darah masih mengalir deras dari kaki kanan ku meninggal jejak garisan merah.

Perlahan aku menolak daun pintu dan melangkah dengan sangat berhati-hati. Melihat ke dalam, aku tidak terkejut. Badan-badan yang kaku bergelimpangan dan berselerakan. Darah merah seolah tersimbah di serata penjuru. Hasil tangan anak buah Mutaguchi. Aku yakin.

Aku sentuh salah satu sosok yang tergelimpang. Suam-suam. Baru saja 45 mungkin. Aku putarkan kepalanya supaya matanya yang terjegil tidak lagi merenung aku. Aku harus segera bergerak mencari Alexandra sebelum terlambat.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

SHE


I am standing here at this same spot.

The same spot I first met her two years ago. Tired, worried face and constantly checking her watch. I asked and offered help but was kindly rebuffed. Still I saw that she was in trouble. So, I stayed with her until help arrived. I was late for office that morning. Something out of character for me. But, I would be late for many other mornings as well, from then on.

During such mornings, for about half an hour, I get to speak to her. And as the days went by, I learned more about her. She worked the whole night. And sleep mostly in the day. She was someone's favorite. 'Someone important'. She told me she was tired of the whole thing but could not do anything. She was trapped in a situation she can't figure a way out. Truthfully, I think she was afraid to find a way out. I knew it was most likely because of her daughter. Her cute 3 year old girl who meant the whole world to her.

As we became more familiar, we talked more about ourselves. Things we were ready to share. I was always excited to hear about her little girl. She would show photos of her antics captured in her handphone. I enjoyed everyone of those photos.

We would talk until someone working for 'someone important' would arrive to fetch her. Back to her place she called her hideout. Away from the prying eyes. But, I corrected her, calling it her sanctuary. Where she can be herself; a lady and a mom. Those mornings continued for about a year until my health temporarily kept me away from those moments.

Not long after, troubles started to show their ugly faces. It wasn't surprising to me though, as she had forewarned me that this 'someone important' would not take kindly my knowing of her. The threats are nothing. It did nothing to me but made me more determined to resolve the issue at hand. But, soon the threat became physical.

Despite her strong protest, I turned to the authorities. Not for my safety, but for hers and her daughter. Soon after, they took them away, of course.  The police did. But, not before promising they will put away the source of the threat on her, her daughter and indirectly on me. It also meant that I won't be able to continue my morning chat with her. It was a small price to pay for her happiness and new lease of life. I promised her I wouldn't regret my decision.

It has been two years. And, although I know I won't see that face here, I will just find myself driving to this spot. Not wishing very hard, maybe, to see her sitting calmly sipping coffee, eager to show photos from her handphone. Smiling at me when I open the glass door. But, no. That won't happen.

Still, I am here anyway. Just to remember those times. Those moments. Moments when I was standing here with purpose.  At this spot. In the early morning like this.


PS : 

Last New Visitor
 Oregon, United States 
Visited 32 minutes ago