Your Personal

You've Got So Much Control
Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sitting in my garden with friends, we talked about life as we knew it. A sound came from the kitchen and we fell silent. I checked the time, 2AM. The sounds got louder and I immediately knew who it was. So I got up and told my friends I'd be right back.

Walking into the kitchen, I couldn't see her at first but I heard her mixing her drink. "Tok?", I called out to her. She answered by walking in, mixing her drink, with a quiet smile on her face.

"Why you tak tidur lagi, Tok?"
"Tak boleh tidur. Lapar."

I smiled because I never really knew how to reply her definite answers. Tok will be 80 in September. She still does everything by herself. She never really needed anyone's help. Her knee hurts but she would never stop walking. Come to think of it, that's what I've noticed her ever do well - Walk. She could walk the entire shopping mall without getting bored. She used public transportation for most of her life, other times walking.

She continued to make herself a snack, taking out a brown paper bag, she took out two karipaps and offered me one and I gladly took it. After heating them up, she brought her drink and karipap to the dining table and sat the end of the table and from where I stood, my little grandmother seemed to look smaller and smaller to me. So I sat next to her, and the grandmother I knew as a child came back to me. So I became her young granddaughter as well.

My grandmother was born Tan Mui Gee, and when she converted, she adopted the name Rohani, as ironic as it is, seeing as she's a ball of nerves. She was born in Penang to her parents who hailed from Hainan Island of off China. The third child of four children, she worked as a nurse and was even said to have the softest hands out of all the nurses in Penang, or so my grandfather told me.

She told me how when she was still very young, she followed her mother and eldest sister back to Hainan. She doesn't remember the boat ride there but she remembers the journey back in the 'tongkang', a small sampan like boat. She told me how her mother would work in the paddy field all day so she would get ready two baskets on a kandar. The one in front would be for their lunches and the one at the back would be for her as her older sister walked by her mother. She remembers sitting in the tongkang with her mother and sister, feeling very bored from the journey until the captain told them that he saw land. Her sister and her started cheering, so excited to see their father again until their mother stopped them and told them they were only at Singapore and they had more weeks in the boat as they're journey continued towards Penang.

During the Japanese occupation in China, all she remembered was running. "The adults say run, we run lah!", she'd say with a little giggle. She was still a child and she remembered the moment when the sirens rang and her mother would pull them into the nearest monsoon drain to hide. She became quiet after a while, slowly picking at her karipap. "I remember...", she started. She remembered when once it was too late for the adults to run away with their children. The children had been playing at a playground when the sirens rang and the adults were caught off guard so they left them there. They were confused but they didn't fret and continued playing. In the distance they saw strange men in uniforms come their way but they weren't scared. "The Japanese officers liked children.", she explained. The officers gave the children hard candy and continued on. Once the coast was clear, the adults came back to their children and embraced them.

Before I could ask her anymore questions, Yana walked in asking, "Tok, why tak tidur lagi? Wait, the World Cup dah start ke?" and my grandmother coyly replied, "Next two weeks lah! If you wanna know anything about football, come to me."

She giggled and started to clean up. I tried helping but even with the weak knee the woman moved faster than I ever could. So I told her good night, watched her ascend the steps in my house and went back out to my friends.

I made a mistake with my other grandparents, never asking them about their experiences. One mistake I'll be sure to not repeat with her.

Anywhere I, Would Have Followed You

I turn 21 this year.

I used to think it wasn't all that much. I was more excited about turning 20 then anything else but being here, present in this year has made me realise why it's such a big deal. I've never asked myself so many questions before. Obviously I will ask more in the future but in this half a year, I have questioned who I am more often than anything else and this is what makes the difference.

After this year, I would need to know at least a little bit of what I would I say to others when they ask me about me. This isn't being selfish, on the contrary, this is the perfect time to know who I want to be to others. Whether I'd like to inspire them or hurt them.

At 21, I want to change so much in the state of this country. I want to change the world and from now on, every single step I take will be towards that.

This Be Just Like The Present, To Be Showing Up Like This
Monday, December 30, 2013

Quickly another year has gone by again but the difference this time is that I've never felt this kind of sadness before. I don't want to feel this sadness, I want to be hopeful about the future.

But the future scares me so.

This year has been filled with so many painful moments but also with so many highs. I've cried my eyes out this year and I've laughed way too much. I finished college this year, I got a job and was able to meet so many people and make so many connections. My hearts swells when I think of the people who have brightened up this year for me.

But I still wanna cry.

Because this year has been so beautiful for me. I got to make my first short film, I got to go to five raves and so many other events. I got to work with people I really looked up to and honestly, this year, I finally started growing up. I started to forgive myself. I started to look on the brighter side of things. I started to even be critical of my work. I even started fighting the battles I should have so long ago.

And now, I'm just so scared.

I'm scared of next year because next year brings forth a whole new kind of adventure. It'll have me leave my beloved country and family. It'll see me fending for myself. It will bring more pain for me and even more tears but I'm not quite sure there'll be as great a feeling as this at the end of next year.

I've never felt like this before at any New Years. I feel scared. Scared to lose my childhood. Scared to lose the things I held so dear for years. So scared of where it will bring me in the future. People always tell you about being 21 but they never tell you about being 20 when you're still learning. When you have to come to grips with the pains of living. When you have to finally be the adult in certain situations. When you start realising that as you grow older, so does everyone else.

Happy New Years. Thank you, 2013. You were very important. When I'm so much older, I will look back at you and be able to smile at all the memories, at all the thoughts. I'll compare the differences in myself and everybody else. I'll look back and thank you for giving me a good to be a twenty year old. I loved you, truly.

Lay Down Your Law Books Now, They're No Damn Good
Saturday, October 5, 2013

Quiet, I look for you in the tiny spaces of my mind,
My arms reaching out before me,
Hoping that it would be you I'd find,
This darkness is scaring me,
But I force myself to see,
The fear of not finding you is greater,
I don't want to miss you by inches,
I don't want to miss you at all.

It's very quiet here,
If you made a sound,
Maybe I could hear you,
I need to hear you,
Instead of this heavy pound,
That stems from my heart,
and flows through my veins,
straight to my head.

Call out to me,
Let me hear you,
I need to hear you,
So it'll be easier for me to see,
This fear makes me weaker,
It digs so very deep into me,

"What if this darkness is so much greater?"
"What if you aren't as close as I'd hope you'd be?"

All I Want Is, And All I Need Is To Find Somebody
Thursday, June 20, 2013

Can I scream,
your name?
And whisper,
your words?
Hold on to the things,
you keep so close,
And let go of,
the things that broke?
Take my body,
and my need to run away,
keep me here,
and forever I will stay,
grab me close,
so I won't sway,
share your scent,
at the end of the day.
I'm not scared,
not anymore,
because now,
I seem to breathe,
leaving the things,
that hurt me,
far behind me,
and finding my way,
to you.

And I'm Never Gonna Make It Like You Do
Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's funny. I knew that if it wasn't for college, we wouldn't be friends. I'm not stupid. If I didn't pretend, I would have never been able to survive the last two years with you. With your constant complaining and constant bragging, I always wished I had a handgun with me. Only so I could shoot myself in the face when I really couldn't understand why I was even listening to the things you said.

I'm angry but not really. Not anymore at least because now I have come to terms with everything but I am hurt. I'm hurt that I almost believed we were friends. I'm hurt that I wasted so much time for you to turn around and treat me like this. It was fine, when it was me getting shot, we would still be friends, is what you said but the minute you didn't get what you wanted, you excluded me. You probably bitched about me behind my back, tried to get everyone on your side. Made everyone pity you and move further from me. Exchanged stories about how bitchy I was or how annoying I was and how you handled me, being very proud of yourselves at that moment. It's fine because I admit, I did the very same thing.

You said it yourself, I always saw the silver linings in things. And now, I'm doing what I do best, and I see the silver lining with this because now, I won't have to pretend to be someone I'm not. I won't have to make you happy or help with your self-esteem issues. I have my own to handle.

I'm sad, of course I'm sad but I've had this happen to me before and I won't make the same mistakes. I won't let you back in, just so you can take advantage of that. I'll listen to your stories and such but there won't be emotional input anymore. I have better things to do with my emotions. I'd rather be on my own then with you because what you did to me was unfair and uncalled for. I was only trying to do my job.

I'm not going to explain myself to you because that would be too tiring. You already have an idea in your head and I won't be the one trying to change it. I'm not going to be the one who's going to constantly call you pretty so you feel better about yourself. I'm not going to be part of your pity party. I'm done with that and I am done with you.

You Can Be My Full Time Baby, Hot or Cold
Sunday, April 14, 2013

But I've got a war in my mind.

I feel like a character in one of Virginia Woolf's short stories. Where they know they're not happy but they can never understand why. Then, they realise that the answer was right there in front of them the whole time. They just ignored it because they couldn't accept it. And now, I am at the point in the story where I have just realised why but I'm not really sure on how. How to get rid of it, how to handle it, how to overcome it.

Maybe it's just me, you know? I am at constant war with myself in my head. Just because I can't really go to war with others. It would waste my time. There's no real fight anymore. No real interest in anything. Nothing I eat tastes good. Nothing I watch seems any good. Nothing anyone says seems to be of any importance. I'm a blank piece of paper people can just pour their emotions onto and I'll absorb it but nothing much really comes out of it.

I am a ranting buffoon inside my head but a complete idiot outside. Keeping my mouth shut about how I feel so when I can take it out on other things, I do. It's stupid, I know but so far, I seem to be only particularly good at doing stupid things.

There is no one I can really talk to. I need someone I can talk to. Because I just realised how much I hate you. How much I despise you're very existence in my life. I can't breathe. I've never been so filled up with rage and never been able to say it. I do this all the time. I hold it all in until I don't know how to let it out. All the bitter memories linger in my body, becoming a part of me until I can't get rid of them.

I am a mess of a woman, or a girl, or whatever. I'm losing myself too much at a time and I need to do something before I really lose myself. Already I pretend to not hear people and I pretend to not see things, just because I can't handle it. I'm turning into a coward. I am turning into one of them. I don't want to. My mother brought me up better than that. I have better worth. I need to.

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