September 30, 2008


For most people especially those not in Malaysia or a Muslim country, hearing takbir brings back memories of your kampung where everywhere people are preparing for the next day, Eid itself. Takbir starts the ball rolling for the ketupat to be boiled, the lemang to be lined up over the fire, the chickens to be slaughtered and made into rendang and the markets all around needed to be raided to received the sons and daughters and their broods in those places they know as kampung.

I, on the other hand, have a different version of what takbir means. I had been doing it for years before I know it actually refer to words that were said over and over again to show how we Muslims have won in so many ways including over the one month of fasting, over our enemies and over our needs. Deep stuff. Someone else can better explain it than me.

Me? Takbir is going from house to house, saying the words, a bit of tahlil and doa, before stuffing myself with food on the night before raya. This has been my modus operandi since 1979 (this is when I start remember things). Most of 1980s, it is done in my dad's kampung in Salak Tinggi where it ends at the cemetery at 4 in the morning, 3 hours before Eidilfitri prayer. In late 80s and 90s, my parents decided that their house in Taman Dato' Shahbandar have a qariah which does the same ritual. There, the takbir finished a bit earlier at 3 am and there is no cemetery visits. Nowadays, the divisions has made the time shorter for the rounds to be finished and 1am is the latest we ever finish everything. Shahbandar, being another Taman Pencen in Seremban, ensure that there is enough houses filled for the takbir. Ours are known as the house which will serve satay as the food. Still is...

My job the day before raya is to ensure the house is clean and all the carpets stashed in the closets are brought out. For nearly 10 years, I am expected to ensure those who came for takbir don't have to sit on bare floor. I usually do this alone as my parents will be in my kampung preparing the rendang et. al. Serving plates, caseroles, glasses, cups and saucers need to be taken out of cupboard and wiped clean, enough for at least 30 people. Ever try to do all this and then some, alone? The best part is I can start anytime I want, meaning I can sleep until 12pm, as long as I finish it by 6pm. That's the time the others come back.

Where are my siblings you say? I'm the youngest of 3 brothers. I'm the one trained by my mom to be the female in the house. We are 4 years apart from one to the other. Meaning my eldest is 8 years older than me and the middle is 4 years in age. I am expected to serve them during the best of times and they have the first right of refusal to not do work. As I was never not at home during raya, I'm it.

Nowadays, since the last 5,6 years, my mom has a helper and I am already married. Works are lightened. A lot. Now, the hard work is making sure the people who is doing the rounds comes to our house. This is accomplish by having a representative following the rounds to. This is where, I'm it. So, the hard work has changed from real work to eating until the seams of my baju Melayu burst. Oh, and putting back the carpets back into the closets after...

Have a good eidilfitri....

Sold soul (a fiction of epic proportion)...

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

Prisons in Malaysia must be a lot different from what I am currently experiencing. Nearing Hari Raya, I always saw announcements through newspapers and televisions about allowance for family and relatives to visit inmates at certain time of the Hari Raya. These announcements were read by me while I was having my mom's ketupat and rendang, and having fun with my nieces and nephews. Taking things for granted then, made it more hurtful for me now.

Here, in a prison in Thailand, I have no such luck. My wife did visit me the first 5 years but since our divorce and her getting married again, I am truly alone. As she was my one and only love since I married her, and without any parents, I am truly left alone. Both of my brothers are just too busy with their own lives to think about me on days such as this. How I wish I have had more friends than just all those supposedly VIP friends that I was obsessed with trying to please. They were the one who had made be where I am now.

All those stories that I have written up until now was about my life in my schools and college. The real story was in during my working life, little known to most of my old friends. These stories were preludes to how I managed to throw my life away, little by little, by helping those politicians and businessmen (friends to the politicians) squandered millions of RM of ordinary people's money by laundering them in my firm's clients accounts before handing them back to them in various ways and means.

People saw me then as a successful lawyer but little did they know I was a pawn on a chess board the size of a rich state in Malaysia. I am getting ahead of myself in my writing but being alone made me melancholic and uncaring. Let the editor who will publish this story that I have written edit it to make it coherent.

What more can I loose when my mind is already gone. Like what was said in Hackers, when a character was quoting Ozzy Osbourne - "Of all the things I lost, I miss my mind the most"

September 29, 2008

The legacy of 2 Merah...

I am known as APAK to most. It is used by my school friends, by my uni mates, by some of my clients and even by my wife. It is used at work by my partner who is my uni-mate and she has been explaining the wrong version of how I got the nickname. She said it was due to me looking old since the day she knows me in my university. I let the story stands as it is a more un-embarassing version than the real story.
I do look older than my age (I'm just going to turn 24 next month, yeah right) because I am balding. That's why I keep my hair really bald like Lex Luther and the ritual at the barber is a simple "Ane, '0' pakai machine" then in 3 minutes, I am done.
The name actually came from a friend who was in my class 2 Merah in SMAP. He was the class comedian although he did not look the part (I just found him on FB but he still hasn't added me as his friends yet). He actually nicknamed everyone within the class with a name for an animal. There was the 'Enggang', the 'Pipit', the 'Badak' and a few other. And guess what? He named me as The Rooster and translated into Malay as 'Bapak Ayam' and then shorten to 'Apak'. That was how it started. It may even be a prophecy of things to come.
In my batch in SMAP there was another Apak but for the life of me I don't know how he got the name.
The other legacy is the origin of my signature. I am proud to say that it was with the help of another friend, who is a millionaire now, if I am not wrong, in the same class I had been using the same signature since 1988. It is in the acronym of my full name and it has signed millions of ringgit worth of money for my client (and some for me too).
So, maybe not all legacy are bad...

Sold Soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues...

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

It may be sad to some. It may be funny to some. But the bumbling ways that I have been trying to gain love through the various ways and means were a life experience for me. How can it not, without it I may not be as hard-hearted as I am now....

The phrase"It is better to love and lost than to not love at all" is the best description that can be tagged to how these experiences felt. I know a few of my friend who fell in love once with a girl of their choice, stick to their choice, got married and are still married now. I know those who fell in love once, loved during their whole college life and then got dumped just when they were supposed to settled down. I know those who didn't even care about love during college but waited until they graduated before they even thought about it. To each his or her own.

Me? Different love for different season. How many was it? .....

There was the one I consider my first thunderbolt which was quickly extinguished by my senior. There was the junior who I love to send take-away to before she fell for someone in her own batch. There was the two girls from another faculty, who were best friends, who then fell for my friends. There were those from my own batch or my juniors, along the 6 years I was in that university. There were those friends of friends who were introduced along the years to either help me out to pour my heart out or to deflect my affection from the friends. The party girls who I went out only for weekends. The holiday love? Wow, that's quite a few come to think of it. There are those I may have even forgotten how do they looked like or their contribution to my 'love experience'.

I did seems to sabotage my own love story. It was either I fall into the 'friend zone' too fast or I was distracted by so many other girls. I think a few of these so called girlfriends did mentioned that I can't just seems to make up my mind whether I really wanted to go steady with them.

That may have been why before I got married, I was juggling 8 girls at once before I made up my mind on my one true love.

But, that's another story for another day...

September 27, 2008

How I lost my kampung...

If kampung is where your parents are then for me it has always been Seremban. My parent is there now and the house they are living was bought in 1979. They were not always living there as being Felda officers, they had to move around a lot, which I had to also and the most memorable was the time they were in Pahang.
However, kampung in Malaysian definition is supposed to be where the earlier generation before your parents originated meaning it should be where your grandparents or relative resides. So, mine must be in Nilai, N.9 for my mom and Salak Tinggi, Selangor, which is geographically adjacent to each other but in different states.
The one that I lost is in Nilai. Kg. Bukit Kadir is supposedly opened up by my great-great-great-grandfather. His name is Haji Kadir. It is still there but half of it including the house where my mom wais born is no more. It was the last to go but the other 5 houses adjacent to it was gone way before that. It was on top of the hill just across my mom's flower nursery and it was so traditional that TNB did a short-lived commercial using it once.
The kampung started to be abandoned when Bandar Baru Nilai was born in the Nineties. Then KLIA and F1 happened. All these is just at the back of this small kampung. People started to leave to better houses and being the victim of robbery, as the houses were far from each other by at least 200 metres, the old occupants of the houses just couldn't cope. Migration of better educated children (my parents among them) made them leave behind their houses with acres around them to play with for houses in housing estate where walls and yards are shared.
The kampung house may be gone but my parents maintained a fruit orchad which has a small pondok beside this defunct kampung and I do try to entertain friends and clients each time durian, manggis and other local fruits are in season. This is the only kampung that I know although I never had the oppurtunity to really feel missing it as I am always schooling (SMAP, KGV, UKM) or working (Seremban, Sunway) just 50 km away from it.
So, like some of my friend who did experience kampung life the Malaysian way with river flowing through and sawah padi with mountains, appreciate what you have, because it may not be long before your kampung is just another terrace houses in a housing estate. Or maybe a bungalow in a golf course. Or a super-condominium across KLCC...

Sold Soul (a fiction of epic proportion)...

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

Of course as a full blooded man, I love girls more than I love my fellow brothers...I heard somewhere the phrase "No one can resist love" and it was so true then as it is now. It was proven time and again how I managed to forget an appointment or a promise with fellow friends just to ensure that I would be at my level best with my date. The things that I was willing to do and the limbs that I was willing to loose made me wonder nowadays why was I so enamored with unattainable perfections.

The batch of girls that checked in with me in matriculation was considered one of the most beautiful for a long time. Even during orientation week, those of us who had the look already set their eyes on their future girlfriend and even future wife. Our seniors who already had chosen their partner among their batch did try to stray but was quickly brought down to earth by rejections.

And again, the senior who tried to vie the heart of one of my classmates had to have me as an extra in their love story. I had to have my eye fall for one of the most beautiful girl in my batch. She was one of two grils who had nearly the same look. They were both a tall drink of water, fair-skinned, beautiful eyes, symmetrical face with bodies to die for. Everybody was so captivated by them that even the seniors from the batch who was going to graduate came just to see how beautiful they were. They were the type who knows that they were beautiful but they couldn't care less. They were also the type who were flirtatious as hell.

Little ole me who couldn't pass for an extra in a Malay movie, couldn't care less about whether I had the look or good enough to be their boyfriend before I decide to vie for their heart. That was when one of the senior had to take me in a room and explained to me why I should not get any silly idea that I could win her heart. He was threatening me even with having to bring his old gang from his former school (maybe the Godfathers notoriety preceeded themselves). As there were only the three of us in that room that night (I was so frightening that he need a back-up from another person from his batch) the reason why I never pursue the girl anymore was just between us.

Oh, they are now a happy married couple with 2 kids. It seems when you account 'jodoh' in the equation, they must be made for each other.

That was just one of my first foray in trying my hand in love...

September 26, 2008

Sold Soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

The Godfathers were a bunch of guys appointed to various post by me due to the book of the same name (at that time without actually having seen the 1970s version of the films). They were the Godfather of Gambling, Godfather of Parties and Godfather of Racing, to name a few of the 12. I choose the name of 'The Last Godfather'. A signed document with 'omerta' being the law governing it is kept by me and supposedly it would last forever.

Our activities were laughably childish like going out to KL to party. Having parties at our frat house (we were living outside of any supervision in a flat outside of the univeristy). Smoking weeds. Racing cars. Gambling. Picking up girls. Not everyone enjoyed all activities, so usually any activity will involve how many can one car carry. Unless it was an activity good enough for all to take part, then a car will be hired.

And best of all, we have a rival group consisting of the girls within our own batch who we called 'Mama Chapless' loosely translated as 'Ugly Mamas'. With a few of us from Kedah and Penang, this term is supposed to insult our rival group. They did not even know that they were in a war with us. Believe it or not, I was the one who actually quite friendly with them and became the peacemaker on certain occasions when a few of the Godfathers were rowdy toward them.

The Godfathers was disbanded after one year after everyone thought the idea of loose camaderies was more appealing and we had to move into a gated compound with a supposedly tough warden within our midst. However, the undoing of our group was more sinister in nature.

It was our own raging hormons...

September 25, 2008

Sold soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues..

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)
The chapter during my university days started with more culture shock. I thought one year of schooling in a public school in a small town will prepare me for it.

As one of the Malaysian National Economic Policy generation, I am blessed to be allowed into a scheme called the two-year matriculation experience, tailor-made for bumiputra school leavers. It is a substitute for Form 6 which had to be experienced by those less unfortunate non-bumiputra students. Here, everyone was considered to be more or less equal and they already have one foot in the university door. Some of us were so inept at being force feed education that we still managed to fail to get through these matriculation stage even with lecturers who tried to pass us no matter what.

These 2 years were the years we tried to learn as much as possible from our fellow seasoned KLites party-goer on how to party until the wee hour of the mornings. Although we were nearly 40km off KL, that does not stop us from renting cars from unlicensed car hirer. Being new at knowing how to drive did not stop us from racing down highways as if the roads were race tracks. Those who have powerful bikes even joined the other 'mat rempit' already having gangs in the small university township, which are surrounded by various Japanese factories. There were 'minah kilang' on every corner for us to learn about a lot of things. Free shows were in abundance as we were served up sex on stairs at the block across ours on various nights.

So bad was our ignorance of safety, one life was even lost then and I was smack in the middle of the incident. Riding a RXZ (the bike of choice for all racer then), my friend overestimated a round-about which made him fell on top of the tarmac within it. As I was in a friend's car just after them, we managed to send him to the nearest general hospital and saved his life (with an altered face). When he was back on the same bike after 4 months and just 200 metres from the same round-about, his fate was sealed. We put him down to rest in his hometown in Malacca. That was one of the few friends I ever witnessed dying in front of my eyes.

Did it stop our partying ways? Thanks to 2 institutions called JPA and MARA, every last one of us were givwn scholarships during our 2 years there, whether we need it or not. The amount of RM1,900 every 6 months were enough to make us splurged on untold unnecessary gadgets such as mini compo (how I wish there was iPod then), clothes (how I wish there were real branded item then) and even motorbikes. Some did save their money but they were the minority. The parties keep on coming with DV8 and Picaddily became one of our favourite spots.

This was also the years called the Godfather years...

(to be continued)

September 24, 2008

Sold soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues...

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

Before further chapters unfold in my former life, some facts needed to be clarify. These juvenile delinquencies of my secondary school life with amateurish criminal behaviour does not becomes the reason of me writing the story of my life. I am now serving a fate worst than hell in a country known only as a paradise to most. Death is more welcome than what awaits me here.

If you have known me in my secondary school days or my university days or when I started my own business as a lawyer, you will be surprised at how I look nowadays. Gone are the portliness of my being, replaced with a protruding belly below an apparent ribcage. Gone are the smile that is always on my lips, replaced with a grimace of experiencing the pain of my body. Gnarl hands have replaced the hands that were always soft by a man's standard.

Living conditions in a prison in Thailand are the worse that one can experience. Especially if you are serving time for a crime punishable by death which was demoted to lifetime imprisonment. There is only one position you are allowed to choose from a few option. If you choose to stand, your prison cell will be just enough for you to stand. If you wish to lie down, it will be enough for that. You are allowed to have an exercise session of 1 hour by going out to the yard which is also overcrowded with other prisoners.

How I came to be here is the story that I wish to unfolds.

September 22, 2008

Sold soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues...

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

After 4 years of boarding school where your schedules were already determined, either when to study or when to take a bath or when to sleep or even when to feel hungry, being schooled in a public school where the gates to freedom was just a metre away from the class was liberating. I was immediately taken into the arms of a bunch of friends who used boyscout as the cover for all of our unhealthy activities. It seems that they have a host of activities for every day of the week.

Never mind that that year I have to take one of the most important exam in my life, I had the time of my life then. I joined a band as their lead singer (seems I have a good enough voice for rock music) which comprised of the same boyscouts group. I was taught the importance of Cliff Burton to the music of Metallica and his significance contribution to their "Ride the Lightning" album. I actually did not understand the fad of rock culture when I was in the so-called boarding school as I was brainwashed to accept them as "bad". I think I bought nearly 300 cassettes that year alone to catch up on these lost music.

I went camping with the boyscouts and was taught various ways to do various things, either legal or illegal. We then formed a study group (seems we are not so stupid after all) to tackle the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia at the end of the year. We hide ourselves in the attic of our school (the school is so old that the roll of honour in our Grand Hall goes back to 1940s) to ensure that we know how all the add-maths, biology and physic lessons will help us to understand the world better.

With all these new lessons, it was a miracle I made it through to university. I remembered that I was supposed to be interviewed for a Petronas scholarship 3 weeks before the real exam, based on the trial exam's result, but I was skipping school practising with my band for the Annual Battle of the Band at my school. When my mom asked (upon being informed by my so caring teacher of my absence) where I was, I lied to her saying I was up in the attic studying.

After the SPM result was out, as always, my batch all over Malaysia was made the lab rat for a new system called UPU where all choices of universities are managed by one central management. I put down 3 universities of my choice and entered Form 6 in the same school. I even had the idea of staying put in Form 6 even when I was offered law in a university just 40 km away from my hometown. Sensible thinking and my mom's insistence persuaded me otherwise.

Another chapter begins...

September 21, 2008

Sold soul (a fiction of epic proportion)

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)
It was gone before I knew it. Poof! It was gone.

It was not all there to begin with. It started when I was assessed by a psychiatrist after I was thrown out of school because I was dumb enough to follow a friend entering the girl's dormitory.

Maybe, that was not the dumb part. Getting caught by my seniors after we successfully got out may have been the dumb part. Or was it getting beaten within an inch of our life is the dumb part. Wait, I know the dumbest part. It was when we confessed, separately, the next night, to our school warden about our crime. Divided, we fall...

The session with the psychiatrist was set up my mother who didn't think a world of me when the school called to relay her the news. The verdict? I don't have a conscience. I just don't care whether my action is right or wrong. Doesn't that tell you something? It was an apparent preamble to it being lost.

(to be continued)

September 18, 2008

My idea of globalisation

In olden days, meaning when I was still in school and after that university, catching a TV show is watching a TV show which was already shown in the US of A after 2 years. Being ignorant of how they start a new season in fall then rerun it the whole summer, I don't really care about whether its already season 3 while I am still watching the pilot for the show.

Nowadays, with the advent of the internet, I can say that I have seen shows as fast as any TV buff in the USA or even better, if the show is on cable, I can see it before them. I have just watched the first 2 episodes of Entourage, Season 5, while they are still discussing it on E! I have also seen all the never-gonna-reach-our-shore TV shows, such as Dexter - currently on Season 3 (about a blood spatter expert in a Miami crime lab who is also a serial killer); Weeds - currently on final episode of Season 4 (about a mom who sell weeds with his dysfunctional family); Secret Diary of a Call Girl - Season 2 ( a British TV show which its title explain it all) and True Blood - pilot episode (about vampires in southern part of the State).

These shows are made known to me in various way. Some I know through friends. Some I recommended to friends after internet surfing and now fed every day by E! which has become a staple diet for Malaysian. Some even got me so addicted to it that I need my fix every night.

This is what I call globalisation. Never having to wait...

September 8, 2008

Books for Thoughts

During this lacunae in my life for active activities of any sort, I try to read. Books piled high by my bedside is being read at the rate of 3 per weeks. This is on top of the reading of the Quran which is force on me by my guilty conscience as it should be the more read book than the others. Here a few ideas from some of the books I've read the past 1 month. "Grotesque" by Natsuo Kirino (translated by Rebecca Copeland) When two prostitutes were killed within 1 year of each other, the connection between the two of them is revealed through the eye of the sister to one of them. Being born beautiful, Yuriko descent from being the popular and promiscuous girl to a prostitute that was willing to sleep even with any client however low the price. Kazue Sato, her classmate, was only moonlighting as a call girl but her night profession made her loses her day job. All three of them, including the sister, was a product of an elite school called Q School System where one enrols from kindergarten until university. The division between the haves and haves not is apparent and becomes a constant issue to the sister. This novel teach us the pro and cons of mix marriages (which the sisters are in) and the cost of an exam oriented society. Wealth as a yardstick to one's success also becomes a bane in a society which does not tolerate failure. The book also explore the issue of superficial beauty in contrast with being brainy and successful. It is also a commentary on women having to look beautiful however smart they have become. It teaches me of how lucky I am to be a man and the evil that men do to get ahead. "The Appeal" by John Grisham - The story is about a the success of civil litigation against one of America largest chemical company is not the end of the rainbow for the plaintiff. After amassing $41 Million in award, the plaintiff has to go through the heartache of waiting for the money to arrive. The justice system of the US of A is further explained on how an appeal to a higher court can be manipulated by unseen hands for the benefit of certain quaters. By reading it, as a lawyer, I can connect with the frustration of the litigants when a decision by the court affect their everyday life and how people will go to great length in fighting for their own survival. The justice system may not be perfect and even in a country where transparency is supposed to flourish, it can still be manipulated. It is a stark reminder that any human-made system can easily be abused without the proper check and balance. "Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs" by Irvine Welsh - As pornographic as it sounds, this book has nothing to do with sexual prowess of a chef but a journey of two persons, Danny Skinner and Brian Kibby, who seems to have a supernatural connection to each other. Irvine Welsh, the writer of cult favourite, Trainspotting, used his native Scotland as the backdrop with the words such as 'ken' and 'nae' peppered throughout has shown again why drugs and alcholisms are the way of life for people living on one of the coldest territory in Great Britain. The search of Danny Skinner for a father he never known and with little help from his mother who wants to forget her punk history shows that even without any faith, a person would always want to know his or her hereditary even in the face of adverse resistance. Having a rival in his work colleague, Brian Kibby, who seems to supernaturally absorb all the abuse that Danny piled on his body, made this tale of searching for one's father an intriguing modern tale of the macabre.
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