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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Escape

I have heard about someone who was squashed to death due to the fall. Still, that would not deter me from trying. I must make that jump, it is about life and death.

He rang me up a few nights before to apologise for the failed mission. He was consumed with fear, thus skeptical that this plan would work. He has never committed such 'crime' before, he claimed that never in his 33 years of life ever he attempted to do this. Yes, he loves me he said, but never ever he imagined to dare himself to take such daring move.

I, on the other hand, cared little about him being inexperienced. I also do not mind if he was Don Juan de Marco or any male species similar to that. If one were to ask me if I really love him, promptly I would reply 'yes, I love him with all my heart'. He sweeps me off my feet, he brings out the best in me, he is the reason for me to go on with this pathetic life of mine. He is my everything, even my husband does not come this close.

It took me 3 weeks to scheme for yesterday's mission, I had to make sure that everything would go on as planned. I knew the keys to the emergency exit were in one of the drawers in the master room. I had to wait for the child to sleep for his afternoon nap before I could conduct my search. I did not want to allow anyone to be suspicious of me, I knew the kid had been spying on me lately, or else how did my master learn about the occasional visits by my love. Oh, the thought of his afternoon visits sends chills to my spine. I long for him to be with me, to keep me warm, inside out.

Everything was set now, I have packed my things, I had to leave some things behind for I did not want anybody to smell the rat. I must keep a straight face, even though my heart was jumping with joy, I must not display any changes of emotions. I must keep cool even though I knew freedom was just minutes away.

The day had finally arrived, I called him, and he said he was already on his way. Good. I put the child to sleep, luckily I have acquired a secret potion from a friend staying on the 11th floor. She said with a few drops of this maroon coloured liquid, nicely blended with formula milk, the child would definitely doze off for a few extra hours, till the master comes home from work.

I heard some kids cheerfully swimming and playing by the pool downstairs. For me now, downstairs or the safeground was just a leap away. Freedom here I come, I shouted silently, within my heart.

I turned the key to unlock the emergency exit. Yes, this was an emergency too, I had to liberate myself urgently. I had no heart to endure with this unbearable pain anymore, I had to break free from this man-made chains around me at whatever cost. Goodbye sorrow, goodbye my master and goodbye dear child. Thank you for your patience for having me around. Never attempt to look for me, for I shall not come back, not in a million years.

The bags must go first. I did not have much things with me, for knew I would lead a nomadic life to completely erase my tracks.

Here I was, dangling for my freedom at the emergency exit, I can say that for a mother of three, I am still fit. Thanks to the jamu that I have been religiously taking for years. I smiled proudly as I thought of my lover who is almost 10 years my junior. I smiled even broadly when I visualized he and I being flesh to flesh tonight. I will keep him warm.

Yes, I have succeeded the jump. I was smart enough to harness myself to the neighbour's window grille on the second floor. I told you that I have planned this carefully. The kids at the pool saw me, but I did not care, I just wanted my share of freedom, that was all. I ranged my lover, he was there waiting for me at the gate. Hah..the sweet smell of freedom.

I strutted in my journey to the liberation of the body and soul like a peacock. I wanted to quicken my pace, but I had to stop myself from being a blundering fool. I must not let this excitement of a promised freedom to stir unnecessary suspicion by the people around here, especially the security guards.

Ah...just a few steps away. But now I wondered why these guards were out of their post, perhaps it was time for the change of guards since it was already 4.00pm now.

I heard someone shouting behind me.."stop her, stop her..". I did not pause to look back, I knew I was in trouble. I gathered my strength to pass through the guards, but I stumbbled as one of them had grabbed one of my bags. I let go of my bag, for it had no value now that my dream for freedom was at stake.

Then, they grabbed me, I put up a struggle but now it seemed my practise of consuming the jamu for years could not even help me to break free from these men. I was taken like a criminal. Defeated. I wondered what crime have I committed for all I wanted was a taste of freedom?

I held back my tears for I did not want to be seen shedding tears for such tragedy. I knew they would say that these tears were nothing but crocodile's tears. So be it. No one could understand the pain I had to endure when my dreams were shattered. I have calculated the risks if ever this daring mission of mine failed. I have thought of the punishment that I would have to endure from my master. But I know, no physical abuse is greater than to lose the trust from your superior.

They interrogated me like a villian. They have asked me about my accomplice, I shall not, even if my head was at the chopper, have my lover's name danced out of my lips. Oh..I have always loved to say out his name, but definitely not in this dreaded situation. From the corner of my eyes, I saw he was watching me now, while hopelessly sitting in his car. I had to try my best to keep my eyes off my love, even though at this moment I yearned for him to rescue me from these iron clutches. Nevertheless, this was impossible. We had promised not to reveal ourselves even in dire straits. I regretted for convincing him to do that.

They dragged me up, to where I came from. On my way up, again I saw the kids playing cheerfully at the pool. I also saw a lady sitting down by the pool, watching over them, I suppose. I saw this lady twice before, she was tall, hair nicely permed and tainted. I know her Sabahan maid, I was told that they are staying on the 5th floor. These kids are all hers, four of them altogether.

Something inside of me made me think she had something to do with my 'arrest'. I saw her pretending to look away from us. I also saw one of the security guards nodded at her. I knew it, she was the one who cautioned them about this. How did she know, anyway? Oh yes, definitely from her Sabahan maid, the girl saw me attempting to escape 2 days before. The first attempt failed when my lover decided to change his mind at the very last minute.

How could you, lady. How could you help to shatter my dreams. Have not you loved someone so deeply that the whole of you is longing to be with him? Lady, have you ever been hopelessly in love with someone even though by law you are bound to someone else? Do you know how painful it is to struggle to be in slumber with someone that your heart has ceased to worship? Why could not you let me be, lady. I have never interfered in your life before. So why could not you let me be?

As I am lying down in this little chamber of torture, I am also pondering how the future is going to be for me. I have been denied of any means of communication. How am I to tell my love that I shall be forcefully shipped back home tomorrow. I am also comtemplating on drowing myself in the ocean.

Nay, I shall not do that. I shall face this like a woman.

My love shall wait for me. I have him in heart and mind. But as for now, I have to put up a show before this man whom I call a husband.


Note from the writer: Yesterday, I cautioned the Management Office when I saw this Indonesian maid, attempting to escape from her employers. I knew I have done the right thing as I have experienced having a maid who ran away while on duty.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I am Tying the Knot..again!

Many couples want to celebrate and reaffirm their love and commitment for one another by renewing their marriage vows, either privately or publicly. A renewal of your wedding vows is NOT a legal ceremony. It is only a symbolic, sentimental ceremony.

I did suggest to hubby to have our marriage vows renewed, but he dismissed the idea. He thinks that is like making a mockery out of the sanctity of the nuptial agreement. Well, I could not help but to take it personally, so I snorted back, "Eleh..of course la you rasa macam tu sebab kena kahwin balik dengan I, cuba dengan orang lain!". Then, I hid myself in a corner to lick my wounds. I knew this was a self-inflicted injury, but I did not care. He should have just played along with the idea. Layan je..

Anyway, here are some reasons why people opted to renew their marriage vows:

1. You were married in a different country and want to celebrate your marriage locally with family and friends.

2. It is a special anniversary, such as your 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, etc.

3. You and your spouse have had a difficult time and want to start fresh.

4. The two of you want to make a public statement of your love and commitment to each other.

I do not think we have such practises here, especially among the Malays. But, I personally see no harm in doing this. I know it would incur cost and all, but if it is to strengthen the love between the husband and wife, I see why not.

But I also wonder if this practise would help to heal heartbreaks caused by partners who went astray. Can this assist the couple to start afresh? What if the problem reoccurs, will the couple opt to renew their vows again?

My idea of an ideal solemnation of the wedding vow (i.e renewal of the vow) would be for the couple to reaffirm the magnitude and strength of their enduring love in the presence of their children, families and close friends. This is the time when the couple would pause and reflect on issues like the 'where have we been and where are we going to'. I believe it would be nice to have your children to witness this too.

Sometimes a marriage withers as it ages. The fire that once sets the two hearts aglow with passion now is reduced to ambers hidden under the cold hard coal. The question is, can the renewal of the marriage vow help to rekinder this passion?

To sum up, perhaps it is fair for me to share how hubby reacted to this idea, he said, "Buat apa lagi, sayang, ni anak dah empat orang dah ni, nak prove the love apa lagi?". Malaslah orang lelaki ni, layan je la, bukan nak buat betul-betul pun. I just want to make believe.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What is on My Hubby's Mind?

My hubby is not being his usual self of late. He does not talk that much, eats lesser and tosses and turns in his sleep. Last night, I heard him talking in his sleep even though what he was mumbbling about was incomprehensible. No, I listened very closely, luckily he did not mention any names (a woman's name, of course).

I notice, lately he prefers to keep silence. He wears a frown that sometimes makes me suspicious. I know he is in deep thought, but of what or who, I do not have a clue.

This morning, he gave me a deep stare, but hey..he was not looking at me, he was looking through me! This prompted me to dig out the truth.

"Sayang, is there anything on your mind?", I asked.

"Uh? No..".

OK..he gave me a typical masculine answer. I had to rephrase my question, I mean my question must not sound like a question (what?) or a statement that would shake his male ego.

"Well, I do not blame you for frowing and all. I know you are bogged down with your work. So, how is the progress of your paper for the seminar in Iran? Poor you. You have been working so hard, iye la..4 times in a week your will train Aikido after work. I cannot blame you for the mood swings you are experiencing now. If you want to share anything with me, I am all ears..".

There is a Malay saying that reads, "tarik rambut di dalam tepung kena berhati-hati, jangan sampai rambut putus atau tepung bertaburan". I am a firm believer in that especially in dealing with my significant other.

"I am not thinking of my work, as that one is under control".

"Then, do not frown la..you'll have wrinkles on the forehead", said I jokingly. Instantly, he touched his temple, I know my hubby is vain too, in his own harmless kind of way.

"Ye ke..you know, there is this dilemma that keeps on bugging me lately", he said as he started to spill the beans. "You know that it has been my dream to own a petrol pump station."

"Yes, I know and why not, I can help you".

"Yes, I need your help, but I am not sure if this is a risk worth taking. You heard what Farouk said during our little meeting that night, right. Even he would not venture into such business if was given a chance to the dealership. Imagine him saying that when he is himself the Regional Retail Director".

Phew..luckily the dilemma is business in nature. This is so typical of him. Unlike me, hubby does not like to take risk.

Now I had to play my cards right. "Farouk was just being honest, he did not want to lie to you about the risk that we are going to take". (I intentionally used we instead of you so that automatically, hubby would feel that this is MY problem too, thus worth sharing it with me (the risk and of course, the profits that the business is going to generate..hehehe..do I smell cold hard cash?)

"Besides", I added, " I believe you are not venturing to fail in this business. Anyway, life is always full of risks, for example, the aikido that you have been practising for years. I can say that it is a very risky affair. You might break your bones and become immobile, but you refuse to let this to hinder your love for the martial arts. You see now, you are generating a good part time income from it. Even I, who is not a big fan of aikido, has a training centre for it..what does that mean to you?", I said it in one breath. I hoped I have made my point.

Then, he added, "But the petroleum company will not lease my land. The requirement is to sell it to them, then I will get nominated for the dealership, but still I have to go through the usual very strict and tedious filtering process. How if I flunk the interview?", I knew he was not looking for an answer to that, rather he wanted some words of reassurence.

"Tell me, sayang, how many interviews have you failed? (None). How many times have you presented your papers in seminars and symposiums? (Numerous). Since this has been a dream of yours since young, now that you have the resources and all that is required for the business, I believe we should not wait no more. You know we will not allow ourselves to fail. Furthermore, if this business is too risky, why are there people waiting patiently for years in the very long waiting list? By luck, we crossed path with someone who could help us out, I believe this is a good omen", was my reply.

"But I have to sell some parts of my land to the company, you know that I inherited it from my dear nenek", he almost choke on his word as he said this. I know how this inherited gift means a lot to him. He loves his nenek so much. In fact, we all do.

Again, I had to play my cards right, "I understand how you feel. But the company does not require you to sell all of it, they only need 1.5 acres to build a station with 4 islands. Look, I have told you that day about the designs for the rumah kongsi I have sketched for you. I feel that we still have ample space to build them there".

On hearing this, he smiled generously. I know I have somehow, lifted the burden off his shoulders. My hubby wants the best for us, I know that, but he is sometimes reluctant to step away from his comfort zone.

I know he has no heart to go on with his work at the Think Tank Institution anymore. I know sometimes his heart and mind wonder to his home in Sandakan, Sabah. Perhaps he is homesick. What is sicker than to long for your own motherland, in his case, that will include the cattles, the fishes in the ponds and the growing palm oil plantation. All these keep him alive.

I know I have married a Kadazan cowboy. He is not the clean shaven, stiff upper lip white collor gentleman to whom I have always wanted to marry. I do not mind that. As he is the love who came to me so pleasantly unplanned.
As for what is in store for us for the future, I would say que sera sera. I know we have to cope with the drastic changes in our life in the near future. Dear husband, I do not mind, for I have faith in us. We will make it happen!

In this photo: Adam possing with some of his 'moo' friends

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Laila Ali: The Fighter who Glides like a Swan

If you think you are too stiff to move on the dance floor, that your two left feet just won't let you dance to the beat. Think again.

Laila Ali (daughter of the great Mohamed Ali) is the Boxing World Champion. Since young, she has been trained to box and box only. There is nothing so femine or graceful about boxing.

Check out these clips below, I wonder how a tough Laila could glide so gracefully to the music.

Now I don't feel so bad about myself.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Climb

Sometimes it is easier to just sit back and criticise others. It is easier to call a dreamer a fool for daring himself to do the things that we do not even have the guts to accomplish. It is easier to laugh at others who have failed in their attempts to achieve their goals.

I do not know what is ahead of me, but I am not afraid to face it. I know God is smiling upon me for attempting this path. Only He knows what is within me. Life is like a battlefield, you will perish if you lose your focus, courage and faith in yourself.

Bitter words will not break me, no forms of threat shall change my mind.

If one finds it easier to just sit back and criticise the way I shall achieve my dreams, so be it. If one finds great pleasure in calling me a fool, go ahead. If you prefer to laugh at me whenever failure greets me at any juncture of my life, laugh all your heart out.

I do not blame you for taking the easiest path in your life, for you have chosen not to trust God's greatest gift to you. Talents.

This song, The Climb by Miley Cyrus, never fails to uplift my spirit. The lyrics in the first clip will assist you to appreciate the words as you sing along to the song. The second clip is the official video clip for this song. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Are You Hungry?

The Manila Bay

This short movie reminds me of a one fine day in Manila, circa 2007. I was in my late second trimester, carrying Benjamin. Hubby was away in Egypt.

Nothing seemed right during those days, the nights were too warm, the clothes too baggy, the food tasted funny, toothpaste tasted awful and the water was not cool enough. The air around me..do not let me elaborate on this. I was constantly sneezing and complaining on how bad it was, how foul it smelt so on and so forth. In short, nothing was right except for my daily cup of warm Milo.

This ATTITUDE problem prolonged until one day I decided to take the kids to visit my parents in the Philippines. At that time, mama was serving at our mision in Makati City.

I realised that I was being an ungreatful overgrown brat when I first saw the living conditions of the Filipinos, especially in Manila.

Many kids were roaming around the city barefooted. I saw families taking shelter under the cardboard 'roofs' of their makeshift 'homes'. There were stray dogs cohabitating with these people. The children had rags on them, I wondered how did they keep themselves warm during chilly nights.

It was difficult to find halal food around here, but there was a Pakistani Restaurant in Manila which served delectable Briyani and Garlic Rice. So we headed there. It was situated in a ghetto like area rather close to the Manila Bay.

My lungs were almost choked by the dusty air as I got off the car. I have seen kids roaming around barefooted, but to my dismay I saw something that no human pride could tolerate.

Right before my eyes, I witnessed a toddler picking up 'things' from the ground, on the pavement. I deduced she was picking up 'food' as I saw her munching on the things scavenged from the ground. I tried to block my kids from seeing this scene. But then, to think of it back, what was I doing? Was I protecting my kids to witness the truth about humanity?

The Briyani was awesome, but too bad I could not finish my food. We were about to leave the place when Sarah nudged me and said, "Mummy, don't leave the food here, let's give it to the baby outside".

My daughter was only 7 then, but she could see the truth about life better than I could.

This is a short movie forwarded to me by an old schoolmate, the ever so sweet Dianti. I hope to share this with you so that we would ponder on the blessings that God has showered upon us.

Click here to view the movie..

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mama: Life is a Gamble

I have sinned to my mother. She has told me so. But I wish I knew how have I caused this wrath in her. Have I been an unworthy child to her? Have I been ungreatful?

Dear mama,

Tell me please, what have I done you wrong, now?

Yes, I have taken this path of life, but not before I have weighed up the consequences. Mama, I know I have been reckless with my life before, I have committed careless mistakes that have caused so much pain in you. Please forgive me for not being able to pour out my heart to you.

I love you, mama, I really do, but I was unable to gather enough strength to face you, for I do not believe that I could swallow the bitterness of your words, in response to my foolishness.

I aim to fly high, mama. I know you want me to. But mama, I do not long to travel in the path you have taken, even though it ensures smooth sailing, recognition and victory. Those are your goals, not mine.

You once said, "life, especially marriage, is a gamble", yes, I would love to believe in that, but I just cannot. You have reminded me too, that one should always prepare for the worst. Yes, I am preparing now, but not for the worst. If it is true, "life is a gamble", then why must we strive for the best? Why must we have faith in God and pray that He would bless us with His Guidance? The way I see it, life is not a matter of rolling the dice, that we are made unable to control our destiny. We are losing the game if we ever let the dice to decide on our next move.

Mama, I have a reason to live on now. I am no longer that lonely, aimless and reckless daugther of yours. Give me a chance to prove to myself that I am worthy too, just like the other girls who you think I should examplify. The truth is that I have tried to be like them, but I just could not go on, for I shall not allow myself clowning around in other people's clothes anymore.

No, I have never discounted you from my life. You have permitted me to decide, so I have decided. Yes, you may share your fears with me, but I shall not allow that to cloud my visions for my life.

We have only ONE chance to live this life. I have decided to live it to the fullest. I will stumble and fall, and scrape my knees and all, but I shall rise and charge towards the light at the end of the tunnel. I am not afraid. Why should I? When I have enough love and courage to fuel my journey. This is the love and courage that you have sown within me, since I was young. I thank you for that.

As for now, mama, have trust in me, your only daugther.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I was a Teacher

Dear all,

I was a teacher.

I was the most fortunate of all who labor. I was allowed to see that life is reborn each day through new questions, ideas and friendship.

I was privileged to build something out of love and truth, and that this would stand tall within the children forever.

I was constantly in a battle against negativity, fear, ignorance and prejudice. But I have an alliance of intelligence, parental support, creativity, faith, love and laughter to support me.

Now that my time is up, I am obliged to express my deepest gratitude to you, dear parents. You have done me great honour by entrusting me your greatest contribution to eternity, your children.

I have to go, for I believe now I have to do justice to those who God has directly entrusted upon me. That is a promise worth fulfilling.

There will be days when I will reminisce this sweet memory, of the tears and laughter that have made me who I am now.

And I hereby proudly testify that I too, have done my part in moulding the future. I too, have lent a hand in building this nation of virtues.

Thank you for the trust given to me.

I was a teacher, but deep in me, I believe I will always be a teacher, ad infinitum.

This is where my life begins...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sexy Spanish Guitar

Warming up for my Latin dance class. Let the music lift you up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Loneliness

Hmmm..what else can I say?

I seriously think that a man, strumming his guitar while lying down on the bed is simply sexy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The EYE of the beholder

I believe Dr. A.B Kopanski would be very proud of me. I know he would be smiling from ear to ear.

"Well done, Pani Ida", he would say. "I pray to Allah for him to bless you with higher diopters".

"I also pray that your daughters would be myopic like you".

Yes, everybody. I am not perfect. I am myopic with -8.50 diopters. I have been hiding away my imperfection since I was 15 years old! Behold, the gel like lenses that have been fulfilling my vanity.
I am vain. I have made a vow not to expose myself donning a pair of spectacles to the heartless criticising public. I do not know who is that bespectacled woman looking at me from the other side of the mirror.

Mirror..mirror..on the wall, who is the fairest of us all?


Cammon la mirror tell me, I won't shatter you if you tell me the truth.

Then, at the age of 33, my eyes protested against me. They are at war with my contact lenses. Perhaps me preps are simply fed up of being suffocated due to the lack of oxygen. You know of the cons when on lenses for very long hours. The eyes just cannot take these nonsense anymore.
The ophthalmalogist has banned me from wearing lenses. "No way", she warned, "No matter how vain you are, you are definitely off these eyeballs nibbling gels", she was refering to my contact lenses.

"But how shall I go to work, people are going to laugh at me. I will look like Datuk Lat's Kampung Boy school teacher (forgot her name)".

The doctor rolled her eyes.

This was my third visit to her clinic. Ida and her same old problem. Eyes infection due to long hour usage of lenses. My eyes are tired. Perhaps tired of me being so vain. Why could not I abide to the doctor's instruction?

Then she gave me an ultimatum. I had to be off contacts for 2 weeks then she will conduct a thorough check up of my eyes, to prepare for LASIK. What is that? Well, Dr. A. B Kopanski would simply define it as slicing of the retina with laser beams..haha, how he hates any forms of corrective measures for the eye sight.

So last Monday, I told myself, "What the heck, Ida, you have such a great personality (DUH!), why should you even care of how others would react to your new-not-so-pleasant look? You should share your sweetest smile with others, be your true self."

I stepped into the school looking different. I had my glasses on. Mine are not the trendy ones. This is because the lenses are thick due to the high diopters of my myopia. But, hey..they do not look like a pair of goggles, so please don't even try to visualize me looking like a fish!

I received mixed reactions from my friends and students. Some automatically laughed. I don't know why. Others just smiled and assumed that something was wrong with my eyes. Oh yes, I even had a colleague (En. Shahbuddin to be exact) who claimed that there was no difference at all.

Damn, suddenly fishing for compliments is becoming rather tough for me. God, why am I so vain?

I have to be careful with the choice of colours for my clothes now, I have to make sure that the hues are 'agreeable' with the frames and all. I have to enhance the eyes a bit as they have become smaller blocked of their brightness by the thick glasses.

I don't care if I look bad or not. I am not going to torture my precious eyes in the name of vanity. Hey, beauty comes from within, you know.

Ok, I cannot lie, please, how bad do I look?

Then came Wan Ahmad Afiq..a good boy he is, said to his friends, "Cun apa, Pn Ida pakai glasses". I was elated, could not stop smilling, perhaps I was blushing too. Silly of me, but what to do, just doing my bit as a woman, who is not afraid to admit that she is very vain.

Dear Dr. Kopanski, trully Allah has answered your prayers. I am a firm believer of spectacles now and Sarah is of -4.25 diopters at the age of 9 years old. Oh yes, thanks for the scrapbooks on women with glasses. It is funny to see the photos of my bespectacled self struggling my sweetest smile before the camera..sigh.

I cannot wait for LASIK.