The Shortest But Longest Love Story of My Life


How many posts on heartbreaks should I write?

How many times would I endure the hurt of losing in order to find happiness?

How many times should I begged to the man that I love  by saying  “look, please wait for a bit, the rainbow will appear, you will see”.

When indeed, no rainbow had ever appeared so far and no man would want to wait that long.


So, here she is again, watching another love of his life (and she only had one so far), walking away from her as she  waited at this very spot, waiting just, waiting for that man to turn back, perhaps to have a change of mind and remembered the strong bond that grew between them.

It was a simple love story actually. About a lonely woman in a foreign land, seeking a trusted company and found solace in the comforting words and reassuring arms of the kindest man she ever knew.

“Would you like to see a kind dwarf face this afternoon over coffee?” He said as he detected the pain of missing home and her child from her teary face. And they shared a cheap afternoon coffee by the lake, keeping one another away from the dreary world for a few minutes. And the friendship plot thickened-it blossomed into a romance that was never conventional from the start. It was the most unlikely pair of people to bump into each other but they did manage to make one another laugh and enjoy life again after a long haunting past of  heartbreaks.

The stolen peck on his cheek after the excitement of discovering wild red poppies, the quiet walk by the Brighton sea, the shared laugh over a private joke in the park, the barbeque at the backyard, the borrowed jumper for the long trip to Cairo, the promise to be together as long as they can.

All that have no meaning when suddenly his lips uttered the deadly words, “We have to move on. You will get through”.

And no amount of tears that escape these tired eyes could make him turn back and said, “Perhaps you are right, perhaps the rainbow will appear after all”.

As she fight on to convince him to stay and wait for the rainbow, she could hear his foot steps fading away. He is not going to wait after all. She broke down hurt, worse then ever, knowing that she must stop fighting for an empty hope. She was even sadder to learn that he will never fight, after all. What’s left from two years of withstanding the cruelty of long distance and unbearable loneliness is a shred of cold bandage made from pieces of shattered spirit, to cleanse her wounded heart.

And yes, it is over.



EPILOGUE  : One year ago.

We walked slowly by the Brighton sea, still mesmerized by the thought that we were finally together. I hold his hand and he responded with a shy but firm grip of his own. Earlier, I saw his pages of handwritten sentences, which I guessed was perhaps a compilation of  his random ideas or even a story in the making from his worn out notebook.

“Are you writing a story? I didn’t know you can write stories,” I asked, full of curiosity.

He gave me that smile that always  lit my day. “Uhuh, maybe”.

“Can I read it?” I asked, returning his smile with great anticipation.

“You will, one day,” He said without looking at my face.

I looked at him and hold him closer to me, pretending to evade the fast moving crowd heading towards us.

“And I will wait for that day”.

Of tortured souls and grey mornings

It was a grey morning and I only had one hour of sleep last night. The black dog, as I affectionately termed my depression attack got the best of me after my melancholic conversation with Him. I had learned the art of suppressing my tears since I was six, so I was able to went through the painful details of my troubled relationship without weeping at all. The moment we stopped and I was finally on my own in the middle of my lonely bed, did I realise of my buried grief and I started to cry. Until 8.00 am in the morning. How surreal it was. I cried while showering. I cried while putting on my clothes and then I stopped when I heard that Safra has wakened up. I wear the brightest smile I always spare for her and prepared her for school. The moment I left her at the school gate, I started crying again. Did I want to cry? Of course, not. I had been crying for 7 hours. I needed to stop immediately. A nice Chinese cab driver saw me walking slowly by the roadside and offered a ride. He saw my teary eyes and my shivering body that he knew something was not right. He took me in and zoomed to hospital. I looked out at the grey sky and whispered my gratitude to God. As always, He sent good souls to help during my difficult times.

Of V-Day

I am not into Valentine’s Day not because I subscribe to the argument that it is part of the missionary movement to entrap silly-drunk-with love Muslims. I am just not keen on the way love is represented by the celebration. It could be a catalyst for some pleasantly surprising romantic gestures, but then again, it waters down the significance of such gesture to a mere one day affair. And then, there are the hungry capitalists and PR companies that hound over your money-Bunch of roses are inadequate, here, buy your other half a piece of land on the moon! The weight that is given to the celebration by our religious institutions makes matters worse. The mass nabbing of naughty lovers, the overzealous sermons, the Panties Theory or the Christian Conspiracy are all recycled bigotry and selective fundamentalism. We pick and choose our battle against “evil” based on class and social hierarchy. I don’t think we should worry that much, we have the media (read: Harian Metro) as well as our patriarchal appreciation of sexual prowess in our society to tantalize the population. Valentine’s Day, for that matter, robbed us from the enigmatic experience and aestheticism of sex. It is now quantifiable and formulaic. I for one, love to be unpredictable and mysterious!

Of multiculturalism, ghosts and hot apam.

It was a simple colourful procession of people walking slowly carrying Lord Muruga avatars. A couple of traffic police were on guard to ensure that everything is under control. The Mother fidgeted nervously behind the wheel, waiting impatiently for the procession to move forward. It was at that particular moment-blistering hot sun, desperate urge to return home and inability to comprehend why would the procession move THAT slow ,She remarked ” Why must these Hindus move these slow and hog the road, I have an urge to throw a grenade at them so that they will move a bit faster!”

Racist? Racial? Or give her a break, she is blinded by her anger and the hot sun!

Back home, The Mother and the rest of the family members[1] gathered around the dining table and feasted on the hot apam[2] we bought in town. But rest assured, even the delicious hot apam could not stop The Mother from sharing her anger about the Thaipusam procession we encountered in town today.

“Why can’t they have that procession at night?”

“Yeah, look what happened at Batu Caves…”

“Leave Batu Caves out of this, that is officially their “holy land”, to begin with”,

“At least the Chinese don’t have those processions for their New Year!”

“Aha…don’t forget! They made us suffer from sleepless nights with their loud firecrackers,”

The racial festive bashing went on. I can’t capture all the verbal outbursts here because some are well, harsh…to say the least. I continue to gobble up the hot apam one after another. Then, The Mother looked towards me, expecting some sort of answer from yours truly. Everyone around the table had demonstrated fierce Malay comradeship towards the issue at hand; I unfortunately, have been awfully silent from the start.

“Well…?” The Mother pressed on.

I felt half of the apam threatened to block my oesophagus while the rest  did some Jagger moves  in my tummy.  Tolerance, respect others, Muslims as minority in other countries faced similar situation, bridging divide, 1Malaysia is a farce… All those supposedly intellectual arguments I learned about and formulated from my experience and readings on racism or multiculturalism felt out of place in comparison to what The Family Members are saying about the Thaipusam Procession.

“It’s annoying and we can’t stand it”

“But, you know…” The Tall and Wise Cousin began with a serious face.

“No matter what is your race or religion, we all believe in superstition and ghosts- Malay ghosts ke, Indian ghost ke, Chinese ghost ke, they all scare anyone and everyone on their path.”

That opinion spun the whole discussion. Everyone began to talk  about which burial ground gave the biggest scare or the most haunted around.

“I think the Indian burial ground is the scariest. The one by the river, aiyoh…very creepy”,

“Eh!… no…no…the Malay ones even creepier. Before the ghost appear, you  get breeze and nice fragrant smell from the cemetery first,”

“Chinese burial grounds also scary. Have you heard about the one in Ipoh where apparitions in Chinese Opera costumes waited by the bus stop at 3 a.m?”

The initial annoyance with the Thaipusam procession was no longer in the picture. Half of the Family Members left the table, with the plan of trying to get hold of Paranormal Activity 3 which is a Hollywood horror movie.

My Grandma who can speak both Hokkein and Tamil fluently, looked at me from across the table, smiling at my bewildered look.

“Don’t take this seriously”.

Am I taking this too seriously?

I finished the last apam and just shook my head. And oh! Happy Thaipusam everyone!

P/S: On a much bigger scale 1Malaysia blunder, check out this screen shot.



[1] Grandma, 2 cousins, 2 aunties and one intrusive neighbour

[2]  A very nice fluffy Malay cake made of flour eaten with grated coconut.

of Falling in Love with Life again

After one caesarean scar and a few tonnes overweight later, I get to experience the giddiness of love again. Not in the middle of a social protest, full of cute rebels. Not in the midst of an Oasis gig, where longing looks locked halfway through Wonderwall. Not during a midnight rendezvous on the train that lasted till morning. Not during a guitar lesson in the park that ended with a heavy evening downpour. These romantic fragments I experienced when I was still not too fat and still busy finding the right foundation for my skin will always be a great reminder of how far I have gone to seek for love. I have blundered and plundered into depression in the journey, but not without, bouncing back, healing the wound from the great fall, struggling with my personal insecurities while reserving a small hope that true love is possible. It is a vicious cycle of pain and optimism which I must say, feed on my anxiety and grandiose hope for that ideal man. Until I learned recently that it is not an inevitable cycle, it is a choice. It is not a mere destiny; it is a path of opportunity.

And by the way, there is no such thing as an ideal man.

There is only a scruffy guy from the small town in Lincolnshire that can’t play a single musical instrument and thinks Arcade Fire is alright. There is only a guy who looks beyond my klutz, neurotic self and find me “super”. There is only a guy who can make me laugh so hard and make me forget the problems of the day for a while. There is only a guy who loves you for who you are- caesarean scar and all.

There is only a man that made you fell in love not just with him but with life as well .And he can make you giddy with love again.

Trust me.


Of Seksualiti Merdeka

The road towards a genuine change in the country will not be merely bumpy, rocky or teemed with potholes. It will be, metaphorically speaking, one of the worst road you ever travelled on. It will also, to borrow Robert Frost’s poetic expression, a road less travelled. But trudging the muddy path, we must, because there is literally no elevated highways to create a democratic and just Malaysian society.
In a heterogeneous society like Malaysia, the socio-political challenge towards preserving harmony and peaceful co-existence is not only limited to understanding and managing the structural or substantive religious or racial gaps and differences; in Malaysia, we also live and share the wonderful space we have in the society with communities that reflected other form of diversities; indigenous people, persons with disabilities, street or homeless citizens, refugees and asylum seekers. But we are, most of the time, willing to cope and tolerate these communities because to some of us, they are victims of economic marginalization or politics disposition. We are still, however, unable to accept, let alone tolerate or understand the plight of the LGBTIQ community.
When I was studying in the United Kingdom, David Kato, a fellow that was placed under the human rights defenders scheme at the Centre of Applied Human Rights, York, was brutally murdered and his slashed body was founded at his doorstep in Uganda. I never get to know him in person but among his fellow comrades, he is remembered as one of the gentlest and most passionate human rights activists that they ever knew. If moral conduct and conscience were the factors leading to Kato’s murder, then I hereby declared that the murder of David Kato is undeniably inhuman and immoral. What hope is there, if our zealousness and prejudice cause blood to spill?
Human rights framework has always encourage openness and culture of dialogue in reconciling societal conflicts. Shamrahayu, in her article on the issue of Seksualiti Merdeka argued that the so-called civil rights activism such as the LGBTIQ movement, selectively championed for rights that work in their favour and ignore the limitations provided in the international human rights treaties. But here is the situation; the LGBTIQ community in Malaysia is struggling even from the beginning in getting their voice heard. They had to endure social stereotypes and media misrepresentation, which more often than not, defeat any efforts for a constructive dialogue. To make things worse, their vocal call for the society and government to understand LGBTIQ issues in Malaysia is more often than not, misconstrued as an effort to promote or impose their sexual orientation or choice of lifestyle on others.
Media distortion of “Seksualiti Merdeka” as a “Free Sex Festival” is the last nail on the coffin. Such misrepresentation is a sad reaffirmation of the society’s misconception not only pertaining to the complex discourse of sexual orientation in the contemporary society but also on how we frame our views and actions in response to the question of sexuality. The LGBTIQ community’ effort in organizing “Seksualiti Merdeka” annually was not because they found a way to manipulate human rights principles for their own interest. “Seksualiti Merdeka” was driven by the community’s on-going resistance against discrimination. I argue that if those limitations stipulated in the international human rights documents are enforced pre-emptively without having any preliminary regard for the protection of the community’s rights, then the rights enshrined in these documents will remain a meaningless dead letter.
The strong division of opinion on “Seksualiti Merdeka” is an indication on how profoundly complex and grey this issue is. Yes, we have our religious and moral compass to guide our action and I am not asking us to disregard our religious or cultural beliefs, but apparently, we have not utilized our compass enough when we navigate our ways, thoughts and actions in the society. And now, the need to use the compass is more urgent than ever; not to punish or judge the LGBTIQ community. But rather, to search into our iman and conscience and seek for the strength to be compassionate, understanding and patient in engaging one another.
The plight of the LGBTIQ community is not a “buffer issue” for the upcoming General Election, where political parties may opt for various stances on this issue as part of their populist strategy. It is also not a battle of good against evil as some of us like to brand it.
This is a quest to overcome our prejudice and understand the LGBTIQ community better.

Of Safra and negotiating skills

Safra and me innovate an old kid’s game when we were back in Kuala Kangsar. Do you remember Galah Panjang or Aci Kejar? The main elements to these games are there are a pursuer, (in the Malay culture, it can be anything from an old tiger that knows how to tell time to persistent policeman or crocodiles) and of course the pursued would or could be three to four annoying squealing kids who more often than not, are fast enough to ran away from the pursuer all the time. In our version, I get to be the ferocious hungry crocodile and Safra with her auntie were the pitiful chickens.

“No, ibu. Not chickens, I am a cat,” Alright, I told her, she could be a cat for now. So, it is basically a game where me, the huge over weight crocodile, would be stretching myself between the sofa and the arm chair in the living room and Safra the so called “cat” with her auntie would attempt to escape from me and run across to the television cabinet which in this game is their “safe house”. The game went on for a while with me, pretending to be too sloppy and slow to catch any of them. Until at one point, where I almost pull her left foot, Safra the cat, sensed herself in danger. As I was just about to catch her again, she stopped me with her toughest 4-year old voice. She actually called for a negotiation. “Okay ibu, macam ni lah kita main ( let’s play it this way). Afa pun jadi buaya dengan ibu, pastu kita tangkap Ida.( I also become a crocodile  and we pursue Aunt Ida together).

I just laughed in disbelief. Smart kid! If you can’t beat them, just join them, right, Safra?