Paternal Thoughts

It’s Fathers’ Day today in Malaysia and in most other countries as well. We celebrated last night with Wifey making Chicken Rice, and friends like Komar, Aiz, Din, and Alysha dropped by. I must say this has been the best Fathers’ Day ever – simply because no one has ever done anything for me prior to this.

And after 456 days or 65 weeks and 1 day, I woke up this morning hearing the voices of my children again – Fazira, Farhan and Nisaa slept here last night. Only my eldest, Farhanah, is away in Singapore.

And it feels good.

Happy Fathers’ Day, people!

Nisaa and Fazira mucking about with the webcam downstairsFarhan with his stepbrothers Yunus and Ali playing PS2

1 For The Homeys

26 years ago, I stepped into a higher learning institution that had very little colour. For the first couple of months, I was subjected to verbal abuse, racism, and was called everything including Paki and Nigger. After a rock that was hidden inside a snowball hit the left side of my face, all that stopped because one white boy had several teeth removed, and I stayed one step ahead of them making sure that they know how we Malaysians had civilisation when their ancestors were still running around in loincloths eating raw meat. Disputes between the whites living on my street with those from other areas soon involved me as a biased nunchaku-wielding arbitrator.

When I was seconded to this company from the holding company to ensure the participation of locals, I was looked at with contempt. The idea to even have my presence here was initially objected violently by our white partners. But having friends within the client’s organisation helped, and I was placed here. As with other operations in this industry, locals are viewed upon merely as agents to help secure contracts, and joint-venture companies such as this are just shells for money from the client passes through before dropping into their coffer, leaving only a small percentage for their local partners to enjoy. The whole operation would be run by them, manned by them, and they see no reason whatsoever to help develop local talents, except to probably as assistants to their people who are holding key posts.

I sit here as the HSE Manager. If I did not impose myself upon them, I would never have learnt anything, or be able to perform as I should be. They see me sitting here just to fulfill the license’s requirement. They share very little of what they know with me. Heck, they don’t even have lunches with me. But sitting and doing nothing is not me. I made sure that I am indispensable, and that as a Malaysian, I should be the one to help reap the benefits for my countrymen.

Four-letter words ooze out easier than one breathes out air. Fortunately, I ooze more profanities than they could towards me, sometimes adding adjectives to enhance and underscore the terms I call them (for example: “You repulsive piece of shit”). That is how I gained some respect from them – as I did more than a quarter of a century ago: always be one step ahead.

When the breakup became imminent, I immediately went into covert-operations mode. Whatever document pertaining to the company and its assets that I could secure, I secured. And when I did, I trusted no one. But whatever disinformation or actual information that I could dish out to the local staff that were hired by them, I dished them out either to throw them off the tracks, or sow discontent towards their white masters. When I caught wind that their white masters were going to lay them off, I got my CEO to announce to them that in the event of a breakup, all local staff would continue to work for the company. That helped me further in getting many things that were out of my reach, just so we do not have to start most of the things from scratch. These information are not proprietary by any means; they do not belong to them, but to this JV company – but whatever they could do to make life difficult.

Apres moi, insania!

There have been some information that have gone through the shredding machines, files deleted from the server, but I would say that I have most that we need to carry on working with without having to develop new systems to work on.

Now that the company is 100% Malaysian, not just owned, but also operated by, we would be in the position to train more locals and provide more with jobs in this industry. I won’t say that we would be totally independent of the whites, but one day we will see a fully-Malaysian crew operating in our waters at least.

And when the last white man left the office today, signaling the end of the partnership with them, I gave them a smile, and my usual witty send-off:

“Thank you! Fuck you!”

It’s Never Easy

Marrying a single mother means marrying her children too. That was what I did when I married my wife. On top of that, there is that silent rule stating that I will have to assume the father figure, playing that role; what more that my wife’s ex is such a bastard who doesn’t lift a single finger to help out, let alone pay a single cent in alimony. That means, there are certain rules that I have to set for the kids, although the rules aren’t as tight and hard as I used to impose upon my children when they lived with me.

Two years ago, I was still living with my kids. And because my ex was hardly at home prior to the divorce, I was the one who tucked in my two younger ones, Farhan and Nisaa, and slept with them. I ate with them, entertained them as much as I could, watched Farhan do his homework or employ the elder sisters to help monitor him – I was always there for them.

But not anymore.

Both Farhan and Nisaa now live with my ex, Fazira with my other ex, while Hana goes to a university. Not only don’t we live beneath the same roof as we did up ’til two years ago, all of us hardly see each other. And when we do, it is always for not more than 4 hours – 3 being the maximum average.

During dinner tonight, I scolded my stepson Yunus. The blame isn’t entirely his – his food had arrived almost an hour late, and he fell asleep at the dinner table. When various attempts by my wife and her cousin to wake him up failed, I sounded the aggressive voice – that woke him up, and got him to eat some. The wife tucked him in after that.

The wife was silent when she got back to our room. After asking several times, she related what was asked by Yunus to her:

“Why doesn’t Daddy like me? Why did he scold me?”

And all I could muster was that I apply the same rules to my kids.

I had nothing more to say.

Both my younger children asked me this question when we no longer live beneath the same roof:

“Don’t you love me anymore? Is that why you don’t live with us anymore?”

I can only hope that my elder daughters can understand why these things happen. They know what I went through – and I hope they can help me explain to their younger siblings.

I miss my kids. I miss waking up with them. I miss going to bed with them. I miss kissing them and hugging them at night before they go to sleep. I miss eating with them. I miss the sound of their voice and laughter. I miss holding them tight assuring them that they’re always safe with me.

Do they feel safe now that I am no longer around?

Every time I eat something nice at home, I wonder what were they eating. Who’s feeding them? Am I eating something better than they?

I always miss seeing them when I come home; and I often wonder if they still miss and think of me?

And there I was, lying next to my wife, looking at her crying, thinking of what Yunus had asked her, while I shed a drop of tear from the eye that was covered by the pillowcase.

And it’s never easy.

My babies

An Old One Just To Amuse You Women

This is an old one:

Two strangers were seated next to each other on the plane when the guy turned to the beautiful blonde and made his move by saying, “Let’s talk. I’ve heard that flights will go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.

The blonde, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly, and said to the guy, “What would you like to discuss?

Oh, I don’t know,” said the player. “How about nuclear power?

OK,” said the blonde. “That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat grass. The same stuff. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?

Oh brother,” said the guy. “I have no idea.

Well, then,” said the blond, “How is it that you feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don’t know shit?

Courtesy of pinx dot dk