Thursday, September 15, 2011

# 85. imissyou, ah kong.

in memories of
Hwa Chin Foong
1937- 2011

a scrawny little boy you were, clinging on tightly to the familiar warm hands of the only person whom you trust with your life in the midst of the taunting, unfriendly faces of strangers which filled every corner of your eyes. you knew you wouldn't go back home anymore, you knew you will never see that familiar smile of the beautiful 9 year old girl whom you call sister anymore, you knew you had to be strong and brave. and there you were, only about 80cm tall, tiptoeing from time to time, trying your best to see what holds before you as the creaky ship docks the pier. breathing in deeply the salty air as the soft breeze caressed your skin ever so lightly, you know that this will be your new home.

you hid and avoided men in uniform whenever possible. you looked ahead in pain, knowing that you couldn't do anything when the japs tortured young kids and women during the japanese settlement. your prayers were your last words every dawn as your tired eyes quietly gave in to slumber for your father's safety as he goes out for work. you were afraid yet so angry deep inside, taking each day as it pass.

holding your baby boy on your right hand, looking ahead reprimanding both your daughters to wash their tiny dirty hands to get ready for dinner. you called out for your eldest to help set the table and walked ahead to give your wife a tight embrace. your children jumped in joy when they saw what was for dinner; your best dish, chicken chop from the western restaurant that you worked in. a chef by day, a father by night.

you woke up before sunrise feeling giddy knowing that this is the one day that your children and their children return home to your side from worlds apart. you held in pride, the youngest member of your family, your baby granddaughter while you played with your eldest grandson helping him arrange the stacking blocks. you mindlessly looked ahead in the midst of your children's business without realising, the edges of your lips spread out wide from ear to ear. you were happy that your family is once again, together.

ah kong, you are a friend to me; a big kid who loves to play with us, who entertain us, who gave us abundance of laughter. you are a father to us; who worries, who teaches, who cares. you are a simple man; who lived simply, happy and loved. i missed the stories of the Japanese you've told me, i missed listening to your problems, i missed talking to you like we did whenever we can, i missed having you around the table for dinners, i missed hugging you just to see you blush, i missed teasing you, i missed your goofiness and most of all, i miss you, ah kong.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

# 84. always.

"How beautiful..." Those were the only two words that I can muster with all the energy that I have left as the last of the colorful balloons left my fingers.

It was dark and the constant undying symphony of the cricket hiss were the only company I had in the middle of the meadows that I have grew up with. I shivered as my fingers absent-mindedly traced every curve that was carved across the cold gold pendant I held dearly in my hand. Circling the cove of the heart-shaped pendant, I felt a pang of sadness. A wall of tears started forming at the corner of my eyes. I sat quietly in the middle of nothingness, drowned in my own sea of thoughts as the early morning zephyr caressed me ever so softly against my skin.

It was a fine evening when I was trailing the fallen leaves in the middle of Worchestershire, feeling as though the whole world didn't matter. I remembered vividly the cool breeze that I felt against my skin and the brown leaves which were performing its dance recital. I was 25 then, feeling lost and restless, I fled my country looking for a home that I have never had back in the States. I was lost in my own thoughts, amused with everything around me and that was when I saw you. You were gazing into the neverending auburn forest, with such depth in your ocean blue eyes; a look that was so foreign to me. I stopped in my steps, and fidgeted for my camera but it was then when I felt your touch for the very first time. I was startled by your touch but your hand, covered with fresh scars and bruises was ever so gentle. And with that single touch, it was the beginning of our story, a stranger from half way around the world became the only person that has ever captured my heart.

it has been three months since the emotionless man in uniform stood on our doorstep holding a letter stamped by the government. ever since that very day, my puffy eyes stubbornly give in to slumber only at dawn hoping to once again feel your presence keeping me warm in a winter's night. your soft scent lingering in this four walls lets me know that you are still around. i slowly but surely found a home that i have been longing for in your familiar embrace that i dearly miss. it was you who held my hands and steered my tired aimless soul back to path. but you have left me.

you are a hero. you fought against the lump growing behind your brain and triumphed. never once did i see that charming grin of yours leave your beautiful face. you ran into the collapsing building only wanting to give life to the many children who are now in their universities. you've traveled the distance only to tear down the walls which guarded my heart so fiercely so that i could live again. you are everyone's hero, you are my hero.

i remembered when you last held me in your strong arms. your voice softly told me that you will have to do this. deep down, i know that you have to go. i pulled your arms closer to myself and i looked up at your chiseled face through my swollen eyes. you smiled sadly at me but your sincere deep ocean blue eyes never fail to remind me of the very reason why i fell in love with you. i know you will always be with me.

every morning was a battlefield for me. knowing that you will never be downstairs making my favorite waffles, or wishing me a great day before i leave the house for work or kissing me to sleep every night made it all the more difficult for me to leave my bed, my only solitary getaway. it was then, the doorbell rang. a total mess, i reluctantly left the bed to answer the door only to find a simple white envelope lying infront of the porch. it was the last letter you sent from Iraq. i was thrilled, i ripped the edges opened. a piece of paper and the locket you gave me for our wedding fall off. i held the paper in hand. it was the first picture i took of you in the forest. as i flipped it to the back, your familiar handwriting said "be there on your birthday" and the three words i have missed so much, i love you.

it was already the 26th. i rummaged through my belongings and hurriedly flew on the first flight back to Worchesthershire. the familiar roads and buildings greeted me with warmth. it was a different time from when we met. the flowers were blossoming and everyone was welcoming. i woke up early even before the sunrise on the 28th and made my way to the familiar trees. the temperature was rising as i hurriedly brisked to where we first met. i stopped in my steps. it was so beautiful. countless of balloons were planted amongst the blossoming flowers and the proud trees. i once again, felt you.

i will always remember the beautiful line of the unchanging auburn trees against the tall and muscular silhouette which soon be one that I would miss for the remaining years of my life.

an original piano piece by Au Jo Yi.


Friday, August 12, 2011

# 83. the world, my playground, my job, my teacher, my home, my family.

picture by

grasping tightly the soft canvas of my oversized bag, i took the last sight of both my parents, holding each other tightly. both of their hands clasped closely together, white, while their remaining free hands, waved goodbye towards me. with all my might, i held my tears in captive. i turned towards the led lights that says departure. i know that will be the last time that i am going to see both my very first best friends in a very long time. and with that, i know that i am headed to what i have been longing to do my whole life. i know that the world is my playground, my job, my teacher, my home, my family. i know i am destined to take this path.

being in the limelight, being on top of the pyramid, being liked or hated by many, seem to be the destination that many of my peers have been chasing reluctantly. i have been there; not on top, not the best but though i've just a had little taste of it, i realised it did not interest me a single bit. being in the midst of dramas and the unkindness of humans, life seemed to have lost its meaning, lost its touch. again, there i was, in my nest, i wondered.

studies, degree certification, five-figure salaries, branded handbags, five-inch stilettos, shiny automobiles, 1000sq mansion. is that all there is to define life? does looking like models in high fashion magazines gonna define who i am deep down inside? does owning the best in the world going to make me the happiest person? does gaining approval from the rotten society going to make me any better as a person? i highly doubt so. so what is there to life? when we were all born with only our very first best friend; our imagination, we dared dream, we dared live, we were simple, we were happy. why now should the meaning of life be any different? why now should we learn to be sly to survive the cruel ways of life? why now should we succumb to the complication of human nature? i don't know, but all i know is that i don't belong.

i wish that i am not chained to the ways of life. i wish that i am not binded to commitments. i wish that i am not judge by the ways of society. i wish that i can just go. no plans, no possessions, no stops. afterall, we were all born with no possession, no plans, no stops to start with. so why do we all get tied down to the need to conform to the ways of society? why do we desire for more possessions? why do we plan when life is just as it is? life is simple, it is only us humans which complicates it.

good or bad, right or wrong, i just want to live again. i just want to go.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

# 82. a lil thing called growing up.

Solitary by Asia 2009.

i used to think, falling down was painful and unbearable,
until i knew how to stand up on both my feet.
i used to think, jumping off a cliff was scary,
until i learnt that life is all about taking leaps of faith.
i used to think that the world was of rainbows and unicorns,
until i learnt that rainbows only happen after every storm.
i used to think, that dark and small rooms were suffocating,
until i realized that life itself is suffocating.
i used to think that everyone were family and friends,
until i accepted that there was no room for you and us with "i" around.
i used to think that there is more to life than evil and unkindness,
i guess, that's just me, never understanding unkindness,
or perhaps its my stubbornness acting out, not wanting to give up.
so here i stand, alone and scared,
until that day comes, i wonder, who will i be.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

# 81. Sens de La Vie. Chapter 1.

picture by inmagine

Chapter 1.
Everything became slow motion. Against the agonizing pain that I was feeling at the back of my neck, I turned my head frantically to look for little Jamie and I saw Joe. I could see Joe shouting out for me, but I couldn't hear a single word he said. With the buzz inside of my head ringing so loud and the blood flowing from my head, I can only only squint my eyes to see that his mouth was moving in a constant rhythm. I was trying to my best to focus. I couldn't make up what he was saying. The buzzing became louder and louder. And my world gradually became pitch black.

As I opened my eyes, the scorching sun rays was too much for my pupil to bare, my palms worked its way to act as a shield to my eyes. Images begin to register in my mind as I turned around, absorbing the new environment that somehow felt familiar. A red mud-stained toddler's tricycle sprawled aimlessly across a well maintained, beautifully kept green lawn while a blue toy car, now rather half flattened was only a few meters away from the tricycle. The lawn sprinklers decided to come alive as the front door of the house spat wide opened. A woman, so beautiful I thought, stormed through the hallway. Her eyes dilated, mouth working furiously, hands and arms up in the air wildly. She was the one woman in my life, who have taught me how to ride a bicycle, how to behave like a woman, and how to love unconditionally. She was my role model, my mama.

While she was in the midst of her rants, making her way down the patio, she stopped abruptly only to continue her steps by running frantically towards my direction. Her eyebrows crinkled her forehead as she squatted down right next to me. With tears forming around the corners of her eyes, she still looked as beautiful as ever. Her touch so gentle and soft, she was holding my bruised knees with such care, she slowly blew away the grass and dirt around my wounds. I tried to call her, but all I can hear was her comforting voice saying, "Shhh, don't cry baby, everything is going to be alright," I looked down at my palm, it was very much smaller that I last remembered and a scorching pain hit me as I looked at my equally tiny knee which was bleeding severely. Confused, I looked around and I caught a reflection of myself. I was the three-year old me wearing a pony tail on my head with a huge ribbon to match with. My mama worked like a superhero, so fast that I did not even realise the pain anymore. I have never figured out what was her secret; how she can make everything so scary be as beautiful as marshmallows and rainbows in the skies, or how can she always keep me warm and safe, away from the big bad old monsters that creeps around at the end of the streets waiting to get us. Nope, I have never figured out what her secret was, never my entire life.

And as the last step to patching me up, she made sure that she used my favorite Pooh bear plaster. I watched her as she moved gracefully packing the first aid kit and gathering the blood stained cotton. She stopped and smiled at me and rewarded me with a sloppy watery kiss. I was disgusted as she pulled away. My hands irritatedly wiped away her remaining saliva on my cheek. She looked at me, giggling hysterically. I know she loves doing that just to annoy me. I used to continue letting her do this up till when I was in my middle school just to see that gorgeous smile of hers resting upon her beautiful face.

"Jessica! Where is my baby?" A tall, tanned, handsome, muscular young man crept up behind her and gave her the tightest embrace that I have ever seen my whole life. He planted a soft kiss on her forehead as she turned to face her love as a contented smile gently appeared on her face. Both of them looked at each other longingly for a second or two as though nothing else had mattered in the world. A thin layer of glass made of tears formed in my eyes as I witnessed such picture perfect view. I have forgotten about how much the happiness of these first two person that I know in the world had mattered to me and a strong pang hit me. I realised how much I have missed these two beautiful souls. Both of them, were my first best friends, my play mates and my guardians. As they stood together, looking at me smiling, the buzz in my head gradually became louder and I once again, am in total darkness.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

# 80. ps. thank you.

i've always believed that a simple thank you is able to go a long way,
not to making someone's day,
but to making my very own day a better one.
words are never and never will be enough to express gratitude,
but here's some post-it notes for the people who matters,
but i know,
this is nothing compared to what i feel grateful for deep down inside.
so, thank you.

my gratitude goes out to the many people who i couldn't name one by one.
colleagues, i thank you for the opportunities to learn, to explore and to play with you guys.
labi-labi, i thank you for letting me know that there is always still hope out there.
friends, i thank you for those who have stucked by me and also for those who didn't.
and everyone who i did not mention, sorry and also i thank you.
i thank everyone who have crossed my path of life because i believe that you have made a difference in my life somehow, someway, even when you and i don't even realise it.
so this is a personal thank you note to everyone in my life,
and also to you who is reading this right now.
thank you.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

#79. What is love?

picture by julkusiowa

I remembered that my little toes wiggled in excitement as I happily stood still when my mother dressed me up in my new pink princess-like dress. I feel as though I was the prettiest girl in the world at that moment. I was getting ready for my third birthday party and that day, I secretly wished that my prince charming would appear on his beautiful white horse and carry me away in his strong arms and live happily ever after. That I was told to believe in when I was three, young and naive.

I remembered that I couldn't help but to touch the crown of purple and white roses which felt so soft and subtle on my head as I walked down the white aisle behind my dear aunt, who I thought, had never looked anymore beautiful than she did that day. She was dressed in a graceful, long white dress with detailed designs made of shiny pearl white sequins, hair dressed up in a clean bun, eyes sparkling, edges of her lips reaching the sides of her ears as she walked towards the man of her dreams. That was when I was nine and I witnessed recruited true love.

I remembered when I looked straight into his puppy doe eyes, I felt as though nothing else mattered in the whole wide world. Every single time when his fingers link mine, my heart skips a beat. Every time our lips touches, nothing in the world could explain that feeling, not even fireworks. Every moment we shared, was simple and sincere. That was what I experienced when I was sixteen, an innocent first love.

I remembered that my heart was pounding and tears were rolling down my cheeks every time I see my parents quarreling and arguing. I remembered my mother's horrid-stricken face, tired and sad, trying her best to hold me and my sisters close to her, preventing my father from hurting us. I dreamt every day and night, the horrendous angry looking face that my father had every day when he drunkly steps into the front door of our house, reprimanding my mother and demanding for more beer. I was still in my college years, only twenty, when I stopped believing in marriage.

I remembered I was alone in my room, trying to keep my voice down, sobbing against my pillows as the picture of my fiancee cheating on me in a hotel room with another girl painfully popped up in my head. Those sweet memories that we shared, years of growing and learning together, smiles and laughters, and dreams of building a future together, all doesn't seem to mean a thing any more. I was twenty six when I stopped believing in love.

So love, was supposed to be the only thing that matters in the whole world, the key to making the world seem much more bearable regardless the evil in the world. Love, so fragile and pure, is also something that many had lost faith upon. So, what is love then?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

# 78. Beautiful Disaster, Jon Mclaughlin.

She loves her mama's lemonade,
Hates the sound that goodbyes make.
She prays one day she'll find someone to need her.
She swears that there's no difference,
Between the lies and compliments.
It's all the same if everybody leaves her.

And every magazine tells her she's not good enough,
The pictures that she's seen make her cry.

And she would change everything, everything just ask her.
Caught in the in-between, a beautiful disaster,
And she just needs someone to take her home.

She's giving boys what they want, tries to act so nonchalant,
Afraid they'll see that she's lost her direction.
She never stays the same for long,
Assuming that she'll get it wrong.
Perfect only in her imperfections.

She's not a drama queen,
She doesn't want to feel this way, only seventeen, but tired

She would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in between, a beautiful disaster,
But she just needs someone to take her home.

'Cause she's just the way she is, but no ones told her that's OK.

And she would change everything, everything just ask her.
Caught in the in-between, a beautiful disaster,

And she would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in-between, a beautiful disaster,

But she just needs someone to take her home
And she just needs someone to take her home.

-Beautiful Disaster, Jon McLaughlin.
This describes me perfectly.