Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wasiat to my brother

My youngest brother had his own idea of Merdeka- he had just battled through the scare of UPSR and live to tell the story. Yesterday he asked me to pick him up one hour late so that he could 'celebrate' with his fellow comrades. Next week will be his grand celebration though, when he goes on a class trip to Sarawak for three days (I've never been to Sarawak!). And this morning, at about 6.40am, he knocked on my door- already fully attired with schoolbag slung over his shoulder- and urged me to get ready (read: pull on jumper and tudung) to send him to school.

This afternoon I eyed him with envy as he plopped down on the chair, watching TV. Now this is difficult to explain, but he appeared to have accomplished some sort of 'total freedom' in his part and is unrestrained to prowl around doing whatever he wants that it had me in envy a little bit. Well, so am I (free for leisure), but it just isn't the same, I can't say why! It just is.

Later this evening, I decided to give him a bit of a wasiat (konon!). So I summoned him to the bathroom we both share with my toothbrush still dangling from my hand and mouth still filled with toothpaste (OK it's beginning to get gross). Here goes our conversation (actually I did all the talking. haha):

"Man (short for Luqman), kak fi nak pesan sikit. Nanti 2 minggu lagi bile kak fi dah takde, toilet ni- "

"Maman kene flush, kan?" he interjected.

"Er... ye (clearly that wasn't what i had in mind). Lagi satu, shampoo, sabun semua ni, bile dah habis, buang tau, jangan biar bersepah kat sini. Faham?"


"Hmm tu akan buat ke tak?"

"Tak akan... (saw me flash my evil sister look) hehehe akan laa."

"Then kalau rambut jatuh mase shampoo tu, kaut dengan plastik, buang. Jangan masukkan dalam lubang air tu."

He didn't quite get how so I had to do a demonstration there for a minute.

"Lagi, lantai toilet ni (I'm on a roll now ;p) bersihkan guna berus tu. Taruk sikit pencuci lantai dalam baldi, campur dengan air ("banyak mane?" serius je tanye) dalam suku baldi, lepas tu berus la."

"Toilet bowl pun same. Gune berus yang tu, bersihkan dalam die, tepi-tepi tu semua. OK? Bagus."

Of course I did not expect him to do all that, but his perplexed look upon all the instructions was worth it. Haha. After that I proceeded with my wudhu' and was getting ready for maghrib when he knocked on my bathroom door two minutes later.


"Kak Pi, Man nak cakap sikit."


"Nanti, minggu depan bile Man takde, toilet ni, tolong bersihkan. Toilet tu flush. Berus tu-" At this point, I shut the door and sang "tralalalala" to drown out his voice.

The cheek!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Merdeka, anyone?

Yesterday was our 48th anniversary since we triumphed the protracted struggle against trespassers upon this beautiful land we call home. 31st August: the emblem of our national pride, something we can hold on to for years and years to come. The day upon which the spattered blood of our fallen heroes are elicited in retrospect and given due respect with ample tributes via the mass media; where history is revisited, reevaluated, relearned; where the spirit of patriotism soar across the heavens and the slogan “raise the flag high!” can never be better demonstrated with so much gusto.

Patriotism. Such a clear, unpretentious word yet engenders so many definitions. You tack on a dozen of the national flag at the back of your car and cruise around town with your callused fingers out of the window, tossing off cigarette ashes carelessly- pride swelling in your chest, feeling foolishly patriotic (or the other way round). You join the frenzied crowd at a Merdeka event, brandishing a giant national flag to show that you’re a true-blue anak merdeka, and when asked by a TV journalist you said we gained independence in 1946 (and we viewers had had a good laugh at your stupid grin). You add fuel to the televised countdown mass (and concert) as an unerring gesture of your undying love for the nation, and party till the break of dawn, your religion and morals hurled over the window in the face of inspiring nationalism.

It goes to show that being patriotic is a matter of opinion. I, for once, have never attended a Merdeka parade, but I do remember the year of our independence, mind. Our family has never flaunted the national flag on our car, but we don’t go thrashing the environment with our bloody cigarettes either. To me, being patriotic is to show love for the country by serving the land its due worth along with great compassion and integrity. Propelling ourselves to become an asset for the nation by offering good deeds- contribute to the society and pitch in our heart and soul for its physical as well as spiritual development. It is amazing how people can claim to be so patriotic and ignore these simple moral codes, thus prompting me to rephrase my word- patriotism is in fact a word with a lost meaning.

Our holiday celebrations have lately reached a new level of absurdity. Any sane people would testify that these Merdeka events (which are usually in the form of musical concerts) are markedly superficial- that they give us no indication whatsoever of the level of patriotism amongst Malaysians rather than providing some hours of plain good fun, but you know the world has gone effectively bonkers when tens of thousands of people flock to such a concert solely to see their latest acquired singing idol (no need to name names, do we?? Heh) and a leader had the grit (or maybe he’s just clueless) to proclaim that he had never seen such a great demonstration of good old patriotism amongst the rakyat (meaning the overwhelming turnout of people). Or something like that (snagged the news secondhand. hah.). Go figure, mister.

I don’t want to be discreet- I AM annoyed at those (mostly teenagers like myself) who have fallen so horribly under the reality-show (namely AF) spell and treat Mawi with unimaginable reverence bordering on obsession. Like, get a life! People who waste their money and time going to Merdeka concerts where members of both sexes mingle freely without any restrictions- what are they thinking exactly, I wonder?

I don’t condemn those who attend Merdeka events (as long as they don’t contain elements of maksiat, which is becoming quite rare nowadays) or those with the flags- raise ‘em high! But I also see these people throwing away ice-cream wrappers on the road without the slightest moment reserved to ponder upon their actions. I see people round this town burn their rubbish openly and then can easily complaint about the haze whereas they are bruising the nature guiltlessly themselves. And I see people forgetting history- how could we expect them to retrace the footsteps of our brave heroes and possibly learn something from their toils and sweats when they (yes there were plenty of them) can’t even remember the most important date in national history?

I had given this a thought before- am I unpatriotic? For it so appears that I don't feel particularly excited to watch the national parade or wave flags and stuff... so shoot me. But after some contemplation, i concluded that I AM patriotic, in the sense that I do love my country and will serve it in ways that I can and will never allow myself to put the nation to shame with my attitude or behaviour. I wish people could see that in addition to the obvious public display of our patriotism, we need to delve deeper into ourselves, see whether we are actually assets or a hindrance to the country's progress, as we are the ones who made up the country in the first place.

My first and foremost allegiance is and will always be to my religion though, and since the state of affairs in our country today so often contradicts with our so-called status as a Muslim nation it repeatedly put me at odds with myself, thus the question of the level of patriotism in my part. Many activities and events are so heavily smouldered with political motives and devoid of religious elements that they put me off. if these are the things that render me unpatriotic, then perhaps I am. but then again, we do have quite a different outlook on the word's definition itself.

I'm ranting unneccessarily, yeah... as always. Not trying to sport a holier-than-thou attitude- I am no saint myself, but even by my wacky standards the world has become almost too weird a place to live in.

ps: some original words have been rephrased/erased to preserve sensitivity.