Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Today is Monday. Monday comes after Sunday. On Sunday I don't need to go to tadika. I like Sunday better.

Ayah combed my hair today. He puts some cream between his hands and rub rub rub rubs them and then puts it on my hair. He combed it to one side. The cream makes my hair shiny. I like shiny.

Today is Monday. Monday means Donat Day. Ibu and me go to her school cantine and go get donats. Donats are my favourite food. I got two donats today. That's one more than last week. Ibu doesn't have to pay Makcik Kantin. Makcik Kantin smiles as I wave bye bye.

Today is Monday. So Ibu drives me to tadika. I am late for class but Ibu talks to Teacher. Teacher doesn't get angry. But Teacher always looks angry. He always makes other kids cry.

After learning Alif Ba Ta I get to go outside. I like going outside. I get to talk with my friends Apis and his brother. Apis and Alif have the same face but are different people. I wish I had an Alif.

Alif wants to show us something today. Apis says he had seen it already. I hope it's a worm. I like worms. Alif says we have to wait for Apis to finish peeing first. Apis like to pee behind the tadika. I don't think Teacher lets us do that.

Apis is finished so get to see the big surprise. Alif opens his zip and holds out his pee pee. Alif has a different pee pee than mine. So I take mine out and show Alif mine too. Apis takes put his pee pee too. Apis and Alif have the same face but different pee pee. I like Alif's pee pee better because it looks like mine. Apis' pee pee is weird.

The bell is ringing. That means we have to go inside. I don't like going inside.
I can't wait to go back and tell Ibu about what I saw today.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


He sat in the corner of the classroom. On the table before him were files and papers with new words he had learned in the previous class. Out of boredom he took his friend's snowcap and wore it.

The break had almost come to an end, and his classmates entered the classroom. One of his classmates noticed how dumb he looked with wearing a snowcap in the warm classroom and said

"Hey, why are you wearing that thing? You look like a cancer patient or something!"

His classmates laughed at him as he smiled politely. Like a cancer patient. It was just a joke. He knew is was just a joke, but he couldn't help it.

He remembered the time he visited the hospital after class a year ago or maybe two. The hallways smelled of disinfectant and were brightly lit. He took the elevator to the third floor and looked for room 305. He sanitized his hands and entered the room.

The room had a good view of the city
and was lit with dim yellow lights. In the corner of the room was a television and a small table.

"Adik makan dah?"

Asked his sister. That's how they say hello in his family. He replied and sat himself beside the bed on which lied a woman in her fourties, bald, and  without eyebrows. She smiled and took his hand, and asked

"Anak belajar okay?"

He answered and smiled politely, gently squeezing his mother's hand.

"Kalau anak sibuk, tak payah lawat Ibu. Ibu faham."

He said that it was okay and that he enjoyed being with his mother. He couldn't imagine his life without her. The idea of losing her made him want to cry, but he held the tears back, knowing that if he cried, his mother and sister would too.

He tried to act natural, as though everything was normal. But looking at his mother in her condition made him sad and helpless. All he could do was be there.

He and his sister sat there, talking to their mum on what could be her deathbed. Not talking about the future nor the past, but all the little things in life.

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Cupboards

Sixteen beds could fit in his dorm. Some dorms were larger than others, and this was one if them. At the moment it accomodated fifteen Juniors and one Senior.

His dorm was on the third of four floors. When he looked outside the window, he could see the oil palm plantation nearby. The area was still undeveloped or poorly planned. He stared at the swaying trees until someone called his name from the other end of the dorm: it was the Senior.

Today was his turn to make his senior feel at ease. On the concrete floor there was lubricant
– for massaging. His name got around the Seniors that he was a good masseuse. Usually it was the boys from the kampungs who were good at massaging, due to traditional upbringing.

He dripped on the Senior's hairy leg before untying the knots in his stressed muscles. The Senior remained quiet, which was good. Like during a good meal, silence during a massage usually means pleasure.

The Senior shifted his body slightly before beginning to talk, feeling uneasy with the silence

"Kau tahu kisah Bilik sebelah?"

The Junior cum masseuse shook his head.

The Senior began to tell an age old story that was perhaps known in every boarding school in the country:

According to him, last year there was an incident in the neighbouring dorm. A Junior came back late from Band Practice to his room. Although the Junior was tired, he couldn't seem to fall asleep.

At first he took a book, but realizing it was too dark to read, he stashed it away. He decided to just lie on his bed, underneath his blanket hoping to doze off.

That was when he saw something perching on the cupboards at the other end of his dorm. At first he thought of it as a mere illusion. But after several minutes - which to him felt like hours, he knew it was real. And the reason he believed it was real was because it was slowly climbing down the cupboard towards one of the beds.

The Creature, or Thing seemed to have a hunched figure and the voice of an old lady.


She croaked.

"Cucu di Katil nombor satu... Tidur.."

She moved from the first bed to the second, and second to third, and so on and so forth. The Junior awake was at Katil 15.

"Cucu di Katil nombor Empat Belas..."

There she or it was, at bed number 14. Its big eyes staring at his sleeping dormmate. She pinched the blanket and raised it, peering underneath, saying:


"Cucu di katil Terakhir..."

The Thing was at its victim's feet. As it slowly lifted the blanket, the boy passed out pin his own puddle of piss.

That was how the story ended.

Before the massaging Junior could tell how stupid the story was, the Senior had already fallen asleep. Hands not oily anymore after all the oil had been absorbed by the leghairs, the Junior walked to his bed at the end of the dorm.

He was never one to believe ghost stories. That was until  he saw the dark figure crouching on the cupboard beside him, staring at him from above.


His face glowed a pale white as he stared at the monitor. Every once in a while he would blink and scribble on the papers in front of him. Overhead the dusty fan buzzed, rustling the papers as it ventilated the room.

The room was spacy and had two sticky sofas positioned facing each other. Two of the four tables were occupied with students wearing nothing besides their boxer shorts, sitting with one leg on the chair as though they were having tea at a coffee shop.

Occasionally one of the two boys would turn to another asking for help, but besides the occasional question, they were deeply immersed in revising.

At the edge of one of the tables with piles of exercises and books a phone vibrated until it fell off. Only then did the skinnier of the two students notice that someone had called him.

"1 Missed Call"

Unlocking the phone, he wondered who could be calling him so late at night. Just as he punched in the security code, the phone rang again:
It was his father.

"Anak sibukkah?"

The young man looked at the pile of exercises of which he still had'nt done. He was slightly annoyed; he had to sit for the exams the following week.

"Tidak, Anak free saja"

He walked into his room, in which were two beds and two cabinets. On one of the beds was a pile of clothes, spilling onto the dusty floor. That bed was his.

"Mari minum kopi."

He agreed and hung up. He put on his  shirt and track suit pants and left the room hastily. When asked by his study partner where he was going, he had simply replied

"Minum kopi"

When the truth was, it was much more complicated than that.

He reached the coffee shop which was just in front where he stayed. He had always waited for this day. Could she really be dead? Or was it something else.

He sat down in front of his father. His old man took out a cigarette, lighting it up. While igniting the cigarette, he looked to his son,

"Anak merokok?"

The young man shook his head. An awkward silence surrounded the two, as always. His father tried to make small talk, knowing that it would help him build the courage to get the burden off his chest.

"Belajar okay?"

He was always asked this question. Though it seemed worn out, he knew that his father truly cared. He said he exams were next week, and everything was okay. His father nodded in approval, oblivious that he might be disturbing his son studying.

His father's shoulders seem to lower slighty. The old man sighed and put out his cigarette.

"Anak... Bapa sudah lama mahu beritahu.."

Instead of continuing his sentence, he looked around as though waiting for someone to come and say it for him instead of having to do so himself. Still not making eye contact, he continued

"Bapa ada isteri baharu"

The son looked at his father. The news didn't seem to bother him as much as his father had expected. Then again, what was he meant to do? crying in public didn't solve anything.

They paid for their drinks and were ready to head their own ways. While saying goodbye, he kissed his father's hand and declined money that his father offered. Before driving off, the window of the car rolled down.

"Belajar elok-elok Nak"

Saturday, 6 April 2013


He dragged the bag full of luggage behind him. It has been 2 years since the last time he travelled with the heavy bag. It was still dusty and smelled funky since it was placed next to his shoe rack for the last year or so.

At the terminal he was greeted by his family. His parents didn't seem to age one day, whereas his younger siblings looked completely different, almost unrecognisable. To his surprise, he was almost shorter than his younger brother. How things have changed, he thought to himself.

On the way back he looked out of the window and remained silent. For someone who has not been home for so long he seemed to not be curious to all the changes surrounding him. The new housing projects, new malls, new schools, new highways.

To break the silence his mother asked

"belajar okay?"

He continued to look out of the window, hand under chin while his eyes studied the supermarket where there was once a car workshop.

"biasa-biasa saja"

His mother was unimpressed at her son's answer. His father wondered what could have changed his talkative son. He felt like someone took his son away and replaced him with this silent person, cold and unaffectionate.

"Abang kahwin bila?"

Joked the elder of his 2 younger brothers. He faked a laugh and said he didn't know. Three or four years ago he would punch his brother on the arm or retaliated in some form of friendly violence. But the question seemed to take a deeper effect than he expected.

When was  he getting married? 24 years old, single his whole life. His schoolmates were marrying left and right. Even some of his college buddies were also tying the knot. It seemed to him as though the whole world was against him, piling pressure on him to find the right person to love, to marry.

There was only one problem which he too didn't want to admit. After years and years of being single and unable to find the right person, he had considered the possibility that he was different. Different.

Still staring into space, he opened his mouth but no words came out.

He tried again,


He said, as though she were the only other person in the van. Her mother turned around, looking at her eldest son.

"Anak gay"

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