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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Settle (PART 4)


After going to the booth to explain to Azrai roughly what he had in mind, both of them got on the motorcycle quickly towards the red Swift, feeling confident that it would still be there, and true enough, it was. The couple inside were still going at it. They sure were going for it. It must’ve been half an hour since they started their session. Razak smiled to Azrai who was behind him on the motorcycle to signal that their operation was a go.

Razak parked the motorcycle right in front of the car, close enough so that the car had no way of going anywhere. They could see that the couple suddenly parted and they sensed what seemed to be panic going on inside the car. Razak was feeling pumped. He got off the motorcycle and immediately banged on the hood of the car. “Keluar! Dua-dua, keluar!” He was sure that his voice could be heard throughout the floor, the parking lot having that echo effect parking lots had.

He made his way to the guy’s side of the car and knocked on the window a little harder than was necessary, but at the same time entirely necessary to bring out the desired effect from the guy. The guy in the blue shirt opened the door and asked “Ya, ada apa tuan?” all innocent and defiant. Razak immediately felt like punching the guy in the face, this pompous prick. 

“Keluar kereta sekarang! Bagi IC! Keluar kereta! Bagi IC!” Razak was improvising his lines at this point. “Dah kawen belum kamu dua ni? Belum kan? Ha, keluar kereta, bagi IC!” He glanced over at Azrai who was at the girl’s door saying more or less the same things as he was. Good, he’s following my lead, thought Razak.

The guy in the blue shirt slowly stepped out of the car. “Nak buat apa dengan IC saya ni Tuan?” the gall of this dude.

“Okay, kalau taknak takpe, jom ikut saya pergi balai,” Razak grabbed the guy’s wrist with his left hand and with his other took out his handcuffs and placed them on the guy’s wrist.

“Okay, okay, saya bawa keluar saya punya IC! Okay?” Ha, tahu pun takut, thought Razak while suppressing a smile. He wanted to pat his own back for how ingenious that spur of the moment action must have been.

“Betul ni? Ke nak ikut saye pergi balai je senang? Bagi IC kat sane je?” Razak couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun with the guy now.

“Betul, saya bagi IC sekarang! Tak perlu pergi balai,” Razak felt sufficiently satisfied by the panic that leaked out of his voice, and let go of the guy’s hand. The guy took his time taking out his wallet from his back pocket and handing over his identity card to Razak. Faiz Hilmi bin Walid was the guy’s name. The address on the card showed that he was from Perlis.

“Ni katanya kau daripada Perlis? Kenapa datang jauh sangat ke sini nak buat maksiat ni?” Razak really wanted this guy to feel guilty, and it seemed to be working.

“Saya kerja kat sini,” Faiz said without even looking at Razak. He stole a glance to the girl.

“Ha, tu yang perempuan tu pun, bak IC.” Razak signalled to Azrai to take hers as well. Azrai brought it over along with the girl, and now both of them were having an audience with Razak. Sharifah Shazana was the girl’s name, and she was from Shah Alam. “Ni yang perempuan ni pun kerja jugak ke?”

The girl hesitated to answer. She looked at Faiz, hoping to get some help from her boyfriend. “Ni, nawab ajelah soalan! Bawak pergi balai kang!” This threat seemed to work well on these two people.

“Cakap ja,” Faiz said to Sharifah.

“Tak, student,” the girl replied meekly. 

“Mana student card?” the question came right from the top of Razak’s head. It seemed like the legit thing to ask, something that a policeman would ask for, right? He looked towards Azrai, and got a nod from him, encouraging him to go on.

The girl handed over her student card from her purse to Razak. She was a student at the private university alright. Razak took a moment to look at the three cards in his hands and thought about how he was about to say what he needed to say next. This was the most important part.

“Ni nak buat camane sekarang?” Razak started. “Saye boleh panggil JAKIM sekarang, diorang bawak pergi pejabat diorang, kene denda dalam tiga ribu ringgit, tahu tak?”

“Tuan, tak perlu lah panggil JAKIM tuan,” Faiz was almost begging, fear shining brightly from his eyes. Razak sighed an internal sigh of relief and proceeded.

“Habis tu?! Korang nak buat sangat benda-benda tak senonoh kan kat tempat macam ni? Ingat orang tak nampak? Eh, berani buat berani tanggung lah!” Razak had to suppress the desire to wink at Azrai. He could feel Azrai nodding for him to go on.

“Ya, kami buat silap tuan, kami mengaku. Kami minta maaf sangat-sangat, kami bersalah, kami mengaku, tapi tak perlu lah panggil JAKIM tuan.” Faiz was even putting his hands together and doing that thing that Thai people do when greeting people.

“Ya lah, tapi minta maaf je tak selesai masalah ni sekarang!” Razak dropped the bait.

“Ya tuan, kami sedar tuan. Tapi tak perlu lah sampai panggil JAKIM tuan. Kita settle cara lain tak boleh ka tuan?” The magic words that Razak was waiting for all along finally came out. Razak had to turn around to hide the grin that had formed on his face.


END PART 4

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Settle (PART 3)


He knew he didn’t mistake what he saw. It was definitely a tallish Malay guy wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt making out with a considerably shorter Malay girl with long hair wearing a black cardigan. He was so shocked by this revelation of events that it took a minute for him to digest it all. He had never seen a Malay couple kissing on the mouth before. Well, at least not in the flesh. Those clips from xvideo didn’t count. The best he had been able to witness up until now were two separate events involving Chinese couples, and they took their action inside their cars, so they didn’t make for very good viewing. 

He was now way on the other side of the parking lot to have another good look at the couple, so he circled round and to his luck, the couple were still hanging out at the same spot, talking awfully close to each other. Razak decided to park his motorcycle not too far away from where the couple were, up against the side of a wall.

From where he sat, he could see the couple still going at it, although all he could really see were the back of the guy’s head. They didn’t seem to notice anything that was going on around them, let alone Razak who felt like he was sufficiently hidden from sight. From time to time they guy would bend his head down and put his face onto the girl’s face. They would stay there for about twenty seconds and then the guy’s head would go back up again and they would seem to talk for a bit before continuing their actions.

Aren’t these people ashamed of themselves? thought Razak. It would be different if they were a Chinese couple, or maybe even an Indian couple, but these people were so obviously Malay that it made him feel ashamed for his own race. If only JAKIM or JAIS came right there and then and took them away, baru padan muka. Maybe then they’d know some shame. Maybe then they’d think about their religions and their races and be more careful about tainting what they represent.

Razak imagined how scared they would be if that were to happen. The guy would probably try to run away, leave the girl behind, because he could tell that the guy was a coward. If he was a real man, he would have asked for the girl’s hand in marriage la kan? Then they wouldn’t have to mess around with making out in a parking lot when they could just easily go to the privacy of their own home and get it on as much as they wanted over there.

His train of thought was interrupted by the guy in the blue shirt taking a few steps back. The girl went inside the car into the driver’s seat, and before closing the door, said a few words to the guy before closing it. Razak thought it might be over, but then the guy walked around the car, opened the passenger door and went inside the car as well. The car engine was started and it seemed like they were going to drive away. Please don’t go, thought Razak. For some reason he hadn’t had enough yet. 

Luckily for Razak, they didn’t seem like they were in a hurry to go anywhere. From where Razak was sitting on his motorcycle, they seemed to be talking. After about a minute of that, He could see the guy leaning over to be very close to the girl. It looked like they had decided to continue their make out session. Without really noticing it, Razak exhaled a sigh of relief.

Just then, Razak had an idea. He texted Azrai: Jai, ko bgn lom? Ad cple tgh wat projek ni. Aq igt nk ajr diorang skit.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Settle (PART 2)


After buying himself a box of cigarettes, Razak decided to take a ride around the parking lots. It was nearing 8.00pm, so it was as good a time as any. All that sitting around playing CoC started to make him feel a little guilty, but his phone was in need of charging, so it couldn’t have been avoided. Azrai was the one who should be feeling guilty, since all he did was sleep for the past half-hour.

Riding around on the motorcycle during those times didn’t leave too much to behold. Heck, any time at all was just about the same thing: people going to or from their cars to wherever they needed to go or had just been. 

The people who parked there was a mixture of private university students, office workers and employees of the shops along the block. There were quite a number of foreign workers as well who worked at the various nasi kandar restaurants as cooks or waiters. Razak always thought that if any trouble was to happen, they would be the primary suspects. They always made Razak feel uncomfortable, speaking in their native languages, speaking funnily even when they spoke in Malay. Razak always had a laugh whenever Azrai makes fun of their accents from time to time. He does it so well that it was hard not to laugh. Bodoh punya Azrai.

The parking lots were well-lit. The management invested in fluorescent lighting throughout to floors and floors of parking spaces that made it that much safer for people to park in. Because of this, there were rarely any surprises for him to chance upon. He’s even noticed that some couples, upon seeing him riding towards their direction on his motorbike, let go of each others’ hands, mostly Malay couples, those girls that wear headscarves especially. 

Maybe they saw him as an authority in Islam too. That made him feel good about himself. He did get a B in his Pendidikan Islam SPM papers, so he did know quite a bit about his own religion. Plus, he had been watching (and sharing) Ustaz Azhar Idrus videos on Facebook, so one could say that his knowledge in Islam was pretty extensive. He’d usually just stare down the couple while riding slowly past them. They would usually avoid eye contact.

It makes him shake his head, that these people can be afraid of him, but aren’t afraid of The Almighty, that is always watching. Don’t they know that even when he’s not watching, God is? These people, don’t even have the basics of religion. What good is your high paying job, your fancy cars and your private university education if you don’t even know the basics? Razak sighs for what his generation has become.


Razak snapped out of his deep thoughts when he noticed a couple by a red Suzuki Swift. They couple were making by the side of the car. The girl wasn’t wearing a tudung, so they must be a Chinese couple, thought Razak. Even so, this wasn’t something that happened everyday, so he kept his eyes on them when passing them. As soon as he did zoom past them, they became wary of the motorcycle, so they parted. Razak could now see that they were a Malay couple.

Settle (PART 1)

This is a work of fiction.

“Lenguh sial punggung,” complained Razak in his mind as he stood up from his chair and half stretched the lower half of his body. He had been sitting behind that desk in the small police booth in Kota Yarra for a good hour or so, playing Clash of Clans on his phone. Now that it was fully charged, he unplugged his S4 from the charger and stepped around his desk and made his way outside, just barely avoiding being tripped by his asleep colleague’s feet.

Once outside, Razak took out the last cigarette from his box of Dunhills, crumpled the empty box and chucked it to the side, not really caring about where it landed. His left hand placed the cigarette in between his lips while the other hand patted his pockets for his lighter. It wasn’t there. 

Upon remembering where, or rather, to whom he left it with, he went back inside and kicked Azrai’s feet to wake him up. “Hoi, lighter,” his voice strained more than he would have liked, cigarette still safely secured between his teeth.

Azrai took his time waking up, which ticked Razak off so much so that after the third time he asked, Razak took it upon himself to take the lighter from Azrai’s left breast pocket. Once he got the yellow Cricket in his hands, he flashed it a little too close to Azrai’s face for him to be able to see it before walking out the booth while lighting up the cig.

It was just another boring day for him at the Kota Yarra shophouse complex. It may have been called that, but 80% of the complex was dedicated to parking spaces, so what Razak and Azrai do during their 10 hour-shifts is basically ride around the floors of parking lots on their motorcycles. They’ve been on this location for three weeks now, and they were decidedly bored out of their brains since day one.

People seem to paint parking lots as a really dangerous place, where people get robbed and cars get smashed up regularly. But whatever action that people seem to be so scared about doesn’t seem to apply to this particular parking area. And Razak has all but lost all hope in him ever being able to nab a burglar here in this uppity place where parking costs six ringgit per hour. Azrai reasoned that the crooks couldn’t even afford to stake out the place, what with the exorbitant rate and not to mention the presence of a police booth smack dab in the middle of it all.

Whatever the reason, Razak still wished for somebody, anybody to be stupid enough to pull something dumb around here. A little bit of action wasn’t so much to ask, was it?

After finishing his cigarette, he crushed it under the sole of his shoe and decided to ride the motorcycle to the nearby 7-Eleven to restock on his Dunhills. Good thing he was still single. Most of his friends that have married could only afford those Indonesian contrabands that taste even cheaper than they cost. Some even quit smoking altogether, those chumps.

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Malaysia's Resumé

This is the month of Raya. Celebrations are going on and I took some time off to reflect over my life. It’s during this season we ask our parent for forgiveness and thank them for everything they have done for us.

Through my self-reflection time I realised that in a year how many times we actually take the time to express our appreciation towards our parents. We are often too busy with work or our own activities to remember that our folks are the people who love you no matter what happens. They may not ask for much but we forget to thank them anyway. Or at least I do.

As I was browsing through the internet looking at how different people expressed their thank yous to their parents, I stumbled upon a website called Malaysia’s Resume. The website seems like a great platform for people who are shy like me to communicate my gratitude and love for my parents. 

I decided to try my hand at submitting a story at the site. So I wrote a thank you post for my parents, because when I had a think about the people who have been the most influential to me, they were the most obvious choices. The story might be a bit cheesy but if you happen to have the time, do check it out at http://www.malaysiaresume.com/contribute/thank-you-to-my-parents-(1) I kept it pretty short and sweet.

Of course, we all know that thanking our parents should be a constant thing, but special gestures like these once in a while doesn’t hurt, no? I would say if you find it tough to express your gratitude to your parents face to face (like me), then this is a great way to show them and tell them how you feel. You could even show your post to them as a present (now, that’s actually a pretty nice idea). 

Besides that, your submission could be in the form of writing, or pictures, or even a video, get creative guys!  So why don’t you guys try it out on Malaysia’s Resumé and share it with your friends and family too.


May you have a blissful Raya.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Post-Hiatus

Quite the hiatus, huh? More than a month of not posting anything on here. Dahla the project I said I would be working on throughout the month didn't even get halfway done. I continue to amaze myself with how disappointing I can be.

Ramadhan went alright, I guess. Like I said, I was supposed to put in more time working on the project of mine, but what's done is done. 40% completion isn't so bad, I guess. If it was an exam paper in my school, it'd be a borderline pass. 

Raya was alright too. I got to meet up with friends and catch up and stuff and things. Settled some problems I've been going through, learned a couple of new things about myself. I'm just glad I didn't have to go through the raya traffic on the way back to KL that is still crawling right now. The perks of living outside of Klang Valley, I guess.

So Ramadhan's rama-done, and aidilfitri has already gone "selamat hari raya, nice to see ya". It is now back to business as usual here on le blog of mine.

For this second half of the year, my goal is to focus my energy a lot more on writing fiction. There's still going to be non-fictional pieces whenever I feel like it, but as far as the ongoing "write everyday" struggle goes here on this blog, it's going to be a battle to come up with works of fiction. The frequency of posts should be the same as in the first half of the year. As unrealistic as it sounds, I'm going to go ahead and shoot for 20 pieces a month.

But as it is with yours truly, I'll be playing it by ear and see how it goes. I won't rush any pieces through. If I feel like the piece requires more time and developing, I'll hold off on posting it. Or maybe I'll post the longer stories in parts. That sounds more manageable.

I look forward to getting back on the horse and put myself through the struggles of a disappointing writer. I still believe it'll make me a better writer, for some reason.

We have to have faith in something, I guess.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dealing With Haterz

So the other day (probably yesterday), I tweeted something to the effect of "I wish teaching were as easy as non-teachers think it is." Because it was a tweet, it had to be succinct, and I was in no mood to explain the tweet any further, since it was at the end of a particularly bad teaching and learning session. Plus, it would have taken definitely taken up more than 140 characters. The blog here allows for more space, so I'll explain here.

By the tweet, I meant that it was my desire for teaching to be an easy, "clock-in, sit in a few classes for a few hours a day, clock-out, go back early and nap the rest of day away" kind of job. It was my desire that I didn't feel guilty and useless every time I go out of a class gone wrong (it happens more often than anyone would like), that I didn't give a toss about allowing my students to grow to become their own person while still equipping them with the tools to navigate their way through the oft-unforgiving and tough world outside of the school gates, that I didn't allow my temperament to take over me, that I didn't find myself practicing things that were against my ideals, that I didn't feel like an incompetent buffoon who has no idea what he's doing in class. I was taking the side of the non-teachers there. I liked their view of what teaching meant. It was clean, clear-cut, free from frustration, doubt and depression. It wasn't grimy, tough and tiring (oh, so tiring) as it was looking at it from the inside.

So that's what I basically meant. 

A person on twitter called me out on it, though. The person (may God bless the soul) said something along the lines of "yeah teaching isn't easy, but you get a lot of perks. No job is easy, all jobs require the worker to work hard. Quit your whining. Bitch." And sure enough, I agree with the person. I was definitely whining. Not the best of qualities to have in a person, especially when displayed on social media.

Now, a person who calls someone else (especially if that someone else is a stranger) a "bitch" on social media is usually referred to as a "hater". And because I've had my fair share of questions that sound like "how do you deal with the haterz?" I'm going to answer the question by revealing how I dealt with this person right here.

I replied "Sorry for being bitch :(". The person didn't reply after that.

Maybe that person was too busy beribadat pada bulan puasa to reply my tweet. That is a definite possibility. But I also want to talk about the other possibility, which is: they had nothing to say after that.

Imagine, if you will, you're on a badminton court. You're on your side of the court, then there's a net, then on the other side of the net is your opponent. This opponent of yours is the one that invited you over to the court, because they really want to beat you in this game called badminton. So they smash the shuttlecock in your direction. Here, you have the option of returning the shot. If you do, the game continues, the opponent gets a kick out of it because they are the ones that instigated the game, and if they win, they'll feel good about themselves. And let's remember, they are the ones that invited you over, so they are pretty confident they can beat you. But if you end up winning, they'll leave the game bitter and will resent you for beating them. Jatuh air muka, you know?

Then, you have another option, which is the one I prefer. When that opponent delivers a smash towards your court, you walk on over to their side of the court, join their side and congratulate them on scoring a point against an empty side of the court. Pat them on the back (not literally) and tell them what a good job they've done, scoring against an empty court. The response may vary, but I would like to think that the smasher just now would feel underwhelmed by this turn of events, and would walk away from the game altogether because they have no intention of scoring against an empty court. It's too easy, there's no challenge, and they can't take any pride away from winning against no one. Nobody set any rules to the game, so you're free to do whatever you want, really.

That's the analogy, anyway. So in a real situation, a person spews hate in your direction. Instead of spewing hate back at them, agree with them. Even if you don't actually agree with them, say that you agree with them anyway. Say, "you know what? You're right! MashaAllah you're an amazing human being for being right about that!" Provide them with no opposition whatsoever, and even go on their side and root for them. They, more often than not, walk away from their attempt to instigate conflict feeling baffled and empty. Or at least, that's the results I've seen so far from handling haterz in this way.

This is in no way intended to put yourself down. It's to diffuse conflict, to baffle and confuse the instigator and neutralise the situation so that it isn't so charged with negativity and animosity anymore. It's been working for me, so far. It might work for you too. Who knows?