Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Sabine Chronicles 1: Lonely, broken heart...

"It's happening again...!"...the young man muttered.
He was referring to that pain in his chest. Somewhere over the heart region, to be precise.
"Guess it's true what they say about heartbreak, eh? Heartbreaks do exist"... he mused again.
What was the trigger to that pain now worming through his chest?.....
He just saw a loving couple holding hands. & this is not, by all means, the only possible trigger, no, heavens no!
Whenever he sees a family, especially parents with young kids; or any couple who looks happy with each other, or watch (or read) any love stories, heck..any signs of affection...
he will feel that's like someone stabbing a knife, lightly, to his chest...just above the stomach...& that dull, aching pain runs it course to his heart...ending with a thud..

Don't judge him wrong. He's not anti-social. Far from it. He likes humans. Has many friends.
He's happy for all the loving couples, loving families of this world.
He cheered when Sally Albright finally made it up with Harry Burns, cried tears of joy when Joe Fox kisses Kathleen Kelly at the Riverside Park, and clapped when Lucy Moderatz married Jack Callaghan on the Chicago train.
He's happy seeing his friends, with their wives or husbands, or their couple, & also his friends' childrens, happy in just seeing them happy, sharing the happiness & making them his own happiness.

It's just that, seeing all these things reminded him, time & again, "Where is my own happiness?"

Because for him, there's no one to go home to.
Every time he gets back from the hospital, drives back home, opens the door, ...he repeated Michelle Pfeiffer's line from Batman Returns.."Honey, I'm home....owh, I forgot, I'm not married"...over & over, every single day...
Thank God for Sabine, who shares his apartment.
Now before you get all worked up ("there, you said he has nobody? Who's Sabine?") , bear in mind that Sabine's scientific name is Felis domesticus. "Well, it's you & me again for tonite, Sabine."....he will say, absent-mindedly patting Sabine on the head, or scratching her chin...watching re-runs of The Simpsons on cable tv.
He knows, of course, that Sabine can never truly replace human companionship. But, Sabine's all that he got on a daily basis.
He does have his family, his parents, & his sisters. But he doesnt want to trouble them too much.
His parents live within 30 minutes' drive from his place. He's a filial son. He loves his parents so much, & tried to visit them every weekend, or at least once a fortnight.
His parents also love him dearly, but whenever his back is turned, his mother would gaze sadly at his back, sensing that her only son is really lonely & unhappy, deep down, but she choose not to say anything, so as not to hurt his pride.
& his sisters already have their own families. He adores his brother-in-laws too.Approved of them. Angah now have 3 doting angels now, Adik is expecting her 2nd child.
His nephew & nieces always greet him happily, on his occasional visit once or twice a month, asking "Uncle, Uncle! What do you bring us this time?"...and for a moment he forgot all his worries, & treat them like his own children..but then the time comes for the visit to end, & with a peck to his sisters' cheeks & "see u later Sis" & bidding goodbye to their husbands..the pain resides again in his chest, like it was meant to be there all along. & his sisters' gazes are similar to his mother's.

Time is running out for him. Did I mention that he's not the youngest of his siblings? No, in fact he's the eldest of the three.
Yes, in a Malay society, he's the Pak Long (eldest uncle), albeit a weird Pak Long, because you would expect that as a Pak Long, he would have the most kids. Not in this story, no.

His gaze is distant, as a man who is resigned to his fate.
If you see into his dark eyes, they will feel bottomless.
As if his eyes has the power to suck you into a vortex. A black hole.
The eyes of a man who is weary, who has weathered a lot of heartbreaks.
The eyes of a man with a lonely, broken heart...
How does he become like this?...a story for another time...perhaps...

continued in Not taking his own medicine

Suharto's Death: Let Bygones Be Bygones?

Assalamualaikum & good day,
Last Sunday, 27 January 2008, Indonesian time, Suharto died due to multiple organ failure. He was 86.
I grew up practically knowing him as the leader of Indonesia. Then, he was forced to step down during the political & economic upheaval in 1998. He was president of Indonesia since 1967, so at 31 years of reign, many quarters said that his reign as a country head was the 2nd longest in the world, next only to Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader. He was the 2nd one after Sukarno.
He has been hospitalized for nearly a month..and during that period, many Indonesians are not happy that he's dying...not happy here can have 2 meanings actually.
His supporters mourn the passing of a great man, while his detractors are wondering why Suharto can escape scot-free from his crimes in this the peace of death.

Suharto's reign was controversial, to say the least.
True, his reign marked a period of stability and economic growth for Indonesia, the likes of which his succesors have struggled to emulate.
But, it was also marred with myriad of problems.
The stability is achieved by using military might, & since Suharto is anti-communist & anti-Chinese, it is alleged that there are many pro-Communists & people of Chinese descent who lost their lives during his rule.
& the economic growth? It was not enjoyed by all Indonesians. A lot of them is embezzled by Suharto & his family. It is alleged that Suharto inducted a number of economic policies that enriches his family, e.g. by forcing the people to do economic transactions only through corporate entities that are manned by his family members. It is alleged that the embezzlement is worth around 35 billion USD.

So, when Suharto stepped down, he was put on trial for embezzlement charges, & human rights violation charges. But the trial never take flight. His lawyers managed to prove that by that time, Suharto was too ill, & was not fit to stand trial.
So even when he's nearing death, the victims of his rule still want justice to be served. They thought that it's not fair that he can get away with his heinous crimes.
This situation is...sensitive. As a foreigner studying in Indonesia, I have no right to be supportive of him in the public, nor to be critical of him, since I never experienced Indonesia under his rule, nor I was the victim of his policies.
So, I just voice out my opinions here. I think that in death, a person should be forgiven. Because, if all the allegations are true, then even if he can escape the judgment of humanity, he has still God to answer to for his deeds. (unless you are an atheist or an agnostic, dear reader).
I hope that Suharto will be given due punishment by God, & may his wrongdoings be absolved as a result...

Friday, January 25, 2008


Assalamualaikum & good day...

It's been nearly a month since 2008 arrives...& about 2 weeks since the new Islamic year of 1429...

I scribbled a list of resolutions a few weeks back...
Not all I can list down here...due to personal reasons...but some of them would be...

*Trying harder in my studies...not being a lazy-bum anymore...loving the learning process
*Be more mature & dependable
*Be more responsible with regards to my duties
*Be more confident & assertive
*Be more street-wise & have more common sense
*Cherish my family more & be a really good son & brother
*Be more cheerful to families, friend & strangers alike, & less of a wet blanket
*Be a lot kinder, & treat EVERY people with love & respect
*Not being envious of other people, & happy being me
*Be more pious & closer to Allah
*Be more upbeat & optimistic
*Be more humorous
*Be a good planner & a good executer of plans

Some of the things in the list has been there year in year out for the last decade of my life....will this year be the year that I finally can achieve them?

I hope so. It's tiring to have to carry the same old baggage year after year...ameen...

Happy (belated) New Year & Selamat (belated) Maal Hijrah evry one...