I was born 31st October 1947 in Segambut, Selangor. Absolutely no recollection of my early childhood until the age of about three while living in Tampin – in government quarters on a slight hill near the District Hospital. Father was in London on a course sent by PDRM and I was sleeping in a cot in the same room with my Mother. This memory is as clear to me as it had happened last night. I was awaken sometime in the middle of one night by a man dressed in dark clothes standing in the open doorway and beckoning for me to go with him. To where I know not. I started to climb out of my cot and in the process of doing so – awoke my Mother. She asked me where I was going and I remember saying “The man is calling to me” …or words to that effect. She stopped me.
Also in Tampin we moved to a bigger house down the hill when my Father came back from London. I remember I had a tricycle I would ride around the house until one day I boldly took it to the top of the hill. On the way downhill at the very moment that the tricycle had reached it’s Mach One speed, I had to take a sharp left turn into our house. The turn did not happen. I ran smack bang into the barbed wire makeup of the gate. I cannot remember any pain only blood, the concern of my mother and understanding the stupidity of what I had done with a clarity that remains to this day. Till today I bear the scars of that encounter and because of that encounter and I now have the ability to reason with myself BEFORE I do anything stupid to the point of being paranoid in working out the possibilities and probabilities of what can and cannot happen from any given action that I am about to take.
There were other memories. In Pendang, Kedah, our house was on the path to a Chinese cemetery and the wailing of those crying while they walk behind the coffins with head covered in what looks like gunny sacks then, served to be with me for a long long time – filling me with nightmares and dark fears of death and dead people but thankfully no sub conscious blaming of the Chinese for instilling that fear in me. Though I do have a bone to pick with the Chinese for being responsible in taking me out of my comfort zone as a Malay and having to immerse myself in the world of commerce…but that is another story for another day.
We lived in Langkawi too but I absolutely have no memories of these times at all.
In Pengkalan Chepa we lived beside the aerodrome – I think it could not be called an airport then. I remembered walking around the nearby kampongs with my Father and his .22 rifle shooting squirrels and Iguana on coconuts trees. I must have enjoyed these hunting trips – why it escapes me because the thought of taking the life of any living beings now fills me with sadness. And I remembered exactly when that first happened. We were on a hunting trip shooting Punai (wild pigeons) on their way back to their nesting place in the evenings somewhere near Pekan. Wave upon waves of these pigeons would wing their way home to rest for the night and we, the hunters, would lie in wait below the path they take, and shoot them down by the dozens as they fly above us. Before this day I have always looked forward to these outings and it had been fun until that day when one of these unfortunate pigeon fell right at my feet and I saw it die. I saw the last few moments of that bird life and it had stayed with me till now. No more taking of life of any creatures from then on in my life….no more guns.
Johor Baru were happy days. Memories are clearer and I had friends and was becoming more aware of the world around me. My last few years of life with my family before I left them and started life in MCKK and the world beyond my family – never to return back into the family fold as I knew it before my MCKK days. The world was changing for me.
You have such a way with your stories! I like them all.ReplyDelete
I must agree with Lita - I feel like I was there: perhaps one of your neighbourhood pals, or one of the little pigeons on their homeward flight.... What a wonderful word-painter you are!ReplyDelete