Friday, 1 March 2013


“Nice”, Nadia smelled the fragrance given off by the Ylang ylang blossoms. She looked up the tree; huge. She could not believe her eyes. How could the huge tree spring those tiny blossoms? She sat down under the tree, feeling the paltry breeze hit her soft cheeks. Tranquillity. She had been longing for this since she left home. Five years had passed since the last time she had a chance to immerse herself in those beauty that she would never get anywhere else. Nadia closed her eyes. She was still amazed with the Ylang ylang blossoms. The fragrance was so strong despite their tiny yellow structure. One would never imagine that the scent was indeed emitted by the flower. She guessed the English proverb ‘never judge a book by its cover’ could apply in anything. She felt a bit of jealousy. Those tropical blossoms were truly blessed. They did no hard work. But still they were blessed with the nice smell, beautiful yellow petals, and huge tree that would definitely supply them with adequate nutrition. In contrast, as a human being, Nadia needed to work hard for her living. She needed to be away from home. She needed to sacrifice most of the things she loved. Since five years ago, she had to follow her family decision to go study in England. She was against the decision. There were many excellent local universities that offered medical courses if her parents wanted her to become the doctor. She knew that was not the main reason for their decision. They wanted me to be away from home. There was internal conflict within her extended family due to inheritance issues. Nadia was almost kidnapped. They never knew who the kidnaper was. The case was not reported to the police as her father didn’t want her mother to suffer anymore. She knew her mother always acted strong in front of them. However, deep inside, her heart was broken into pieces when her own siblings and her own mother disowned her. All of them were aware of her mother suffering. If the kidnapping was been revealed to be carried by one of her brothers, her heart would break further. Therefore, her father and brother took the decision to send her away so that the incidence would not be possible to happen again. Nadia was not allowed to be home since five years ago. Nadia was truly upset with the decision. Why couldn’t they trust her? She knew and confident that she could protect herself. Besides that, if they were worried that much, why didn’t just allow me to do the course at National Science University (USM) which was located 20 minutes from her house? That would be a better choice. She really wanted to know the real reason why she was sent away. Why they were so scared? Nonetheless the reasons, everything was revealed now. It happened two weeks ago. After calling her mother, accidently she did not ended the call. She must be in a rush. Nadia could hear the conversation in the background. Although it was not clear, she could grasp the issue immediately. The conversation was between her brother, father and one of paternal uncles. xxx “Have you decided when to tell Nadia about her blood family?” her uncle asked. “Not yet, I am scared. We are scared that she would get very upset and leave us”, her father replied. xxx Nadia was in shocked. Her mobile just slipped through her hand. She fell on her knees. She just could not believe what she just heard. After trying to regain control of herself, she tried to think clearly about the next action. She knew that she needed to confirm it with her family. She called home again. “Assalamualaikum, two calls in a day?” her mother tried to make a joke. “Wassalam, mum…is it true what I just heard? That I am not your daughter”, she could not wait to hear the answer. She could hear nothing from the other side. The moment fell into silence. “Hello, Nadia”, her father took over the phone. “Yes, I am here waiting for the truth” Nadia answered. “You just finished your final exam, right? I will book a flight ticket for you in two weeks time. Settle everything there and come back home. We will talk further when you are home” he calmly gave the order as he normally did. “How should I wait for two weeks with this feeling in my heart?” Nadia tried to force his father. “No, bear with it until you are home. It is better this way” her father replied and ended the call. Nadia felt devastated. But she had no choice. She needed to wait for two weeks to get the answer. Two weeks felt like forever. She could not stop her mind from thinking any possibility about herself. Nonetheless, after two weeks everything was revealed. She was a daughter of her father’s close friend. She was taken under her father custody after her blood family was killed in a hit-and-run accident 20 years ago. Her parents suspected that the accident was planned by someone who they knew well. They refused to reveal the person. Her parents did not want she filled her heart with darkness of revenge. “And if you happen to find out who the person is, we hope you won’t misunderstand our intention for keeping it as a secret”. Their pure request caused Nadia to burst into tears. She hugged them. “I would never leave you. I am grateful that I am blessed with a family who's willing to sacrifice anything for me. Now it is my turn to repay for everything. From now, whoever try to breakdown this family would get what they deserve” she expressed her feeling and walked out to immerse herself in the late afternoon serenity under the Ylang ylang tree. She opened her eyes. “Oh Ylang ylang, I know I am jealous because you do not need to do anything to live in this harsh world. But I am more jealous because your present can bring happiness and tranquillity to people’s heart and mind. O Allah, please give me the same strength so that I can bring the brightest smile to this family again”, Nadia stood up. After staring at the blossoms for a while, she walked home to where her family was waiting for her.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

An Afternoon

I looked at the sky. It was blue and clear. There were a group of white birds flying together, to find a comfortable place to spend their night perhaps. I did not know the truth why they liked to travel back and forth. But it was really fascinating to see their togetherness and harmony. Could human be the same? I wondered. I looked to the right. There were plenty of people walking back and forth from the shopping arcades nearby. My eyes caught up on the incidence that just happened. A young lady just bumped onto a middle age man. He was angry and tried to force the girl to pay for the damage she had caused to his broken spectacles. The girl was still in a school uniform. It was still school time; I wondered what she was doing there especially at this time of the day. Nonetheless, with that in mind I could predict what would happen next. Yes, it was just as predicted; the man threatened the girl to report her to the school if she refused to pay the compensation. She looked scared and tried to apologise but the man was stubborn. It was an eyesore yet signified human civilisation. Could not the man just forgive the girl? Could not they end it in harmony? I did not want to look at it anymore, and tried to focus on the meal in front of me. But I did not have any appetite after seeing that uncivilised action. I was thinking to wait for my colleague to come and finish the lunch together. While waiting for Fara to come, I took out my camera from my green leather sling bag to snap some pictures of the human behaviours and attitudes. After taking a few shots, I put the camera aside and looked at the time. It was 1.30 pm. “30 minutes late”, I mumbled to myself. Huh! I sighed. I missed the old time spent in England. The people there extremely concern about time. I remembered one day when I had a group meeting. There were 5 people in my group, 3 of us including me came on time and started discussing the assignment given. After 10 minutes, the discussion was finished. Then the other 2 guys came. One of my group-mates then said, “We have finished”. One of the guys who just came in replied, “We are late for just 10 minutes”. “Well, we had been discussing for 10 minutes”, he answered. Judging from that situation, I learnt the importance of punctuality. 40 minutes passed, and there she was, rushing into the restaurant and gasping for the air. “Wow, your punctuality is very incredible! I am impressed”, I commented cynically. “I am so sorry Atie, I know you are very particular about time, but my car just gone wild”, Fara was apologising. “What do you mean?” “You know that I m not used to the right hand side driving, I took the opposite side of the road, and all the drivers out there were beyond mad at me!” she explained. Fara studied in France for almost 10 years, so I could understand perfectly why she was not used to the right handed driving as France used left hand side. “Haha, it is you who has gone wild not your car! Hilarious! Anyway, are you alright?”. “Yeah, I am alright. Thank you”. “Yes, apology is accepted. Let’s get started”, I smiled and we started discussing our work.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

If Only....

"Huh" I sighed after putting my anaesthesia textbook aside. I rested my head on the piles of books. I rested there for quite a while. My mind was in a mess, full of thoughts to the point that even me myself did not know which was which. It was just like a long thread that kept spiraling and circling endlessly. It was full yet empty.

"Arrgghhh", I shouted. I could not continue like this. I walked to the wardrobe that proudly standing at the corner of the room and grabbed my bath towel. I hanged the towel to the rail and headed to the sink to wash my face. But the mirrow gave me a pause. I was standing there looking at the reflection of myself in the mirrow. "who I am?". "what kind of a student I am?". "what kind of a doctor I am going to be?". " Am I a success?". "Am I a failure?". "Why people put hopes on me when I am this weak?". "Who I am????".

I looked down, and let the water pouring down. I washed my face..then looked into the mirrow again, seeing my wet face..."If only I am stronger". "If only I have more knowledge". "If only I am a genius".......If only.....

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


It was already end-of-year school break. Time passed by really quick. The malay proverbs saying 'Time is gold' or 'Time is as sharp as sword's blade' might be true. The rainy season was on its way. Everyone was starting to prepare themselves for the season. Umbrellas and wellington boots were a must.

But me, that was not my priority. As a daughter of a cow shepherd, preparing the cows for the season was my top priority, second to none. Huh! The hardest time of the year was just around the corner. Every year I got this kind of worrisome feelings. I knew that was because things worked in a circle. They kept recycling the same events. Can or not I break the circle? What will happen if things worked in a chain rather than in circle? Those thoughts popped up in my mind.

"Arrgh..what happen to me. What is this circle and chain? That's not what I should worry about right now. The cows are waiting for me. I should clear away all the thoughts and rush there", I monologued. I hurried to the meadow where the cows were.

Most of the cows were not grassing and just kept standing. I knew why. They were thirsty. Just like human being, they won't be grassing until their thirst were quenched. Without hesitation, I took the buckets and filled them with water from the canal ran next to the meadow. I brought each bucket to each cow. I waited and stood in front of them to see if they need a second, but not too close. If I was too close, they might think that I wanted to do harm. Then maybe their instincts asked them to run away from me ignoring their thirst. Just like human, wasn't it? Our safety was always given the top priority. As a human, I wanted to give them both; the water and the feeling of secure.

After finishing the job, I went to the canal bank. The bank was grassless, and there was a line of about ten cahsew nut trees. I sat under one of the trees. The evening breeze was so calming and soothing. I was hoping those tranquility would last forever.

While observing the cows, the thoughts about the circle and chain came back. The moon moved in a circle, the earth moved in a circle, the sun moved in a circle. Those three were the essences of the life. They all moved in a circle. What about the life itsef? For a human to complete a life cycle, she needed to be born and death was the end. But, a life cycle? Cycle itself was a circle. Why didn't we call it a life chain? If I saw it in just a small point of view, life actually looked like a chain; birth and then death. However, if I expanded the scope of the view, it was a circle. For example; in a family, a son was born, he grew up, became a youth, got married, then again a son was born, then at the end he died. But that new son will again repeat the life of the previous son.

The same thing went for me, even in my simple daily life, it was a circle. I woke up, went to school, came back home, time for the cows, night came, I went to sleep and tomorrow morning, I woke up again. Other people might not care much about either this life was a circle or a chain. But for me who needed to work hard for living, it was a bother. Couldn't I stop the circle? Could I break the circle by not doing the same thing tomorrow? What if I didn't come to take care of the cows? The cows will die. With no income, no money, then I could die from starvation, breaking the circle, will it bring calamity to life? What if we broke the circle the earth was moving on? Undoubtly, it will create a catastrophe.

I was deep in the thoughts, but suddenly..."Ohhh, No!!! One of the cow is delivering a baby!!". I was in a disaster. Noone was there who I could ask for help. The sky filled with dark clouds. I knew it was going to rain. I needed to take all the cows back home for the shelters. That newborn would not be able to walk properly to go back home. What should I do? My daily cycle was broken and it really gave me hard time. I regretted for thinking about those circles and chains. I should just follow the order of the world. If the world said life was a circle, then just admitted it.

Monday, 22 February 2010


I ran as fast as I could. The sky was turning into orange-reddish colour. The sunset was coming on its way. Could I make it? Were they still there? A lot of things were on my mind. I tried my best to finish my farm’s work as quick as possible. Yesterday, I already missed the chance to play with my friends. I didn’t want to miss it again today.

Even if it just for a very short moment, I would always love to spend some times with my friends. I spent my day with school and working, so I barely had time to play. Sometimes, I never had a chance to go and play like other children did at all. I was still a child. I wanted to live as one too, but my life won’t allow me to have that privilege. I envied other children. They should be grateful to have such life.

Finally, I was there, at the playground where my friends always spent their evenings. Thank god, they were still there. My effort to run as fast as I could was not wasted. I smiled happily to myself.

In my hometown, children loved to play this one game. It was similar to high-jump, but instead of using the rod, we used rubber-band attached to one another producing a long chain of rubber band. Then, there will be two people holding the rubber chain. The height of the rubber chain depended on the height of the children holding it. The children will be divided into two groups. Group on their turn will try to jump over that rubber chain while two people from the other group will hold it. Unlike high-jumping, in this game, we could touch the chain. We could use any ways to pass over the rubber chain but we couldn’t use external help. Even though, it was not an actual high-jump, we still called this game as high-jump. I was good that this game as I was good at somersault-like technique when the height passes my own height.

They were playing high-jump happily and cheerfully. Again, I envied them. I wished my life would be that cheerful. I went close to them. “Can I join you guys?” I asked their permission. I really hoped that they will accept my request even though they already at the end of the game. They were already aware how my life was. Therefore, there was no way for them to reject me just because I came late.

“No, you can’t.” I was very shocked to hear the answer. I asked them the reason for not allowing me to join them. “You are too good to play with us. You always play too hard and never hold back. You make us look stupid”. Hehh?? I was isolated because I was too good? I would never expect that will be the reason, not even in my dream.

I was speechless. I didn’t fight back to defend myself. Maybe that was my own fault. I was used to work hard. My farming work demanded me to work hard. My upbringing taught me to never hold back. So, I didn’t know how to hold back. That was totally my own fault. Why? Why my own life always turned me down?

“We are playing here and you are hindering our game. Can you go to the other spot?” I heard one of them asking me to leave. I was too shock with their confession just now, so I just turned around to leave when I heard they asked me to. But suddenly, I heard a voice from my back.

“It is not her fault to be too good, but it is really because you all are too stupid. You all are 100 years too early to catch up with Eri. If she is good, then you should try your best to surpass her!” he yelled at them. I could see his angry face. “Nazmi, what are you doing? It is my fault not their fault.” He ignored my words. “Eri, ignore them. Let’s go play somewhere else. They are the stupidest creature I ever met. How can they throw away a friend just because you are good? That’s silly”.

I was touched by his action. He sacrificed his wonderful time and friendship with those friends just because to defend me. “Nazmi, can you become my best friend? No, I am wrong. You are actually already the best friend I ever met”

Sunday, 14 February 2010


“Bye, have safe trips”, I wished my mother. Now, there were just me, my little brother and my father at home. My sister university’s entrance and registration will take place tomorrow. My mother and my older brother were accompanying my sister to her university in a place somewhere in west coast. I didn’t really know where the place was as I had never been out from my hometown. I wished I could go on the trip too but my mother didn’t allow me to as I still got school.

My mother gave some pocket money for the expenses during her absence. I smiled evilly. “She already filled the fridge to the fullest. I can ask my father to cook. Therefore, instead of using it to buy ready-made dinner, I can buy my new sketch book”, that were what I thought. For the whole day I was dreaming about what I should draw next and how much I will be in joy. I loved drawing so much as it could release my tension.

Without realizing it, it was already 8 o’clock in the night. I was hungry. I got out from my room to look for my father. He was in the living room, watching night news on the tv. I went close to him to ask about dinner. “Rika, go cook some dinner, I’m hungry’, he ordered me. Huh! That should be my line. “Dad, shouldn’t you are the one who supposedly going to cook for us?”

“I don’t know how to. You are the girl here, so go find some ways to make something edible to eat. Don’t worry, I don’t expect much from you”, he uttered the words leisurely. Ahhh!!! I was in stress. Why things turned the other way round? I didn’t know how to cook either.

I went to the fridge to see what was in it. There were a lot of eggplants. What should I do with eggplants? I took out two mackerels and three eggplants. It should be enough for tonight’s dinner. “Dad, are you okay with fish stew and fried eggplants?” He didn’t answer me. He just nodded lazily. I guessed he really didn’t expect much from me. I started cooking.

About an hour after that, the stew cooked, the eggplants fried. Everything was ready. I took a spoonful of both the stew and the fried eggplants to taste how good it was before serving. Hurmmm, surprisingly, it was good! “Wait a minute. If Dad knows that I am a good cook, then he will ask me to cook for eternity!” He shouldn’t know that I was a good cook. And if my mother also knew that I could cook, then my whole life definitely will be ruined. She will order me to cook every day too. And the most important thing was that I will never been able to taste my mother’s cooked food anymore. I didn’t want that to happen.

Without a second thought, I took a spoonful of salt and poured it into the stew, and then I took a spoonful of chilli powder and poured it into the fried eggplants. I served the dinner.

“Sis, did the fish fall into salt’s pond? Is this a fish stew or salt stew? I feel like drinking sea water. And are you mistaken peppers for eggplants? I feel like eating a fresh red pepper”, my little brother already started complaining. Hehehe. I guessed this will be the end of it. I smiled wickedly but quietly. I didn’t hear any comments from my father yet.

“I am touched. I didn’t expect you to understand me this much. Your salty stew will raise my low blood pressure and your spicy eggplants will make me sweat. I don’t need an exercise anymore”, he praised me cynically. I frowned to him. What was he? Some manga character? A normal person would already spout some harsh complaints. “You are my daughter after all. Of course I know you well. You just repeating what I did a long time ago when somebody asked me to do something that I didn’t want to do. Well, like father, like daughter. I know you did this intentionally”. Huh???


Sunday, 7 February 2010


"Are your parents coming?", again a teacher asked me. I didn't recall when I had became a very important person here. I supposed getting a good grade here was a sin to me. That was my punishment for being too good. Almost all the teachers had been asking me the question again and again. "No, teacher", I answered emotionlessly.

It was still early in the morning. If my parents happened to have free time, they still got time to arrive here before my graduation ceremony started. Most of my friends's parents already here. I was alone, wandering around the Continental Hotel's ballroom hoping for an impossible wish.

As long as remembered, my parents never came to my school activities, not even to parents-teachers meeting, not even once. At first I did ask them to go, but when they didn't turn up, it just broke my heart. Back then, I wasn't as strong as today. I was fragile. Therefore, since then I decided to not even showed them the invitation letters. I thought that it was better to be punished by teacher rather then having my heart broke apart.

For today's event, I did ask my parents to come for the sake of one of my beloved teachers. She really wished to see my parents and pleaded me to ask them to come. I could not refuse her wish. But as usual, the answer never been positive. It just as expected even though deep in my heart, I too was hoping them to say 'yes'. Today was a special day for me, I was hoping to share my success and triumph with them.

The ceremony started. I was already on the stage. I could hear one of my teachers was narrating my personal and academic backgrounds behind me. I was awarded as "The Best Student Of The Year". Then suddenly, on the principal's request, she announced for my parents to come onto the stage. I was shocked. I thought I already told her that they was not coming. "Maybe she forgot", I told myself. I turned to her and shook my head, signposted that my parents were not here. But the principal insisted my teacher on calling my parents. I clenched my fists to get hold of myself when my parents were called. There was no need to burst into tears here. I didn't want my friends saw me as a weakling. The problem was solved by asking my homeroom teacher to come instead of my parents.

After the ceremony, I rushed back to my room. I didn't think that I could hold myself any longer if I continued on observing how happy were my friends to be together with their parents at a celebration like this. On the way back, I bumped into one of my friends. He asked me to accompany him to go for a walk around the hotel's compound. We found a nice garden to sit down.

"Eri, if you want to cry, then just cry. No need to hide it. My parents didn't come either, but at least their names not been called. Therefore, somehow I know how you feel". I was a little surprised. I thought I had completely masked my heart but he could see through it. Maybe that was what people called a true friendship.

We stayed there for the whole evening, consoling our broken hearts. Again, for me, being too good was a sin. Getting good grades was as equal as breaking my own heart.