Saturday, August 12, 2006

Wrapped In a Flag

True to the form as a patriotic person, I would feel almost sinful if I do not write a line or two to honor the coming national day. I allege myself to be a nationalist, patriotic and loyal to the country as much as it has to be as her citizen. The country has done a lot to me. I am in some way a product of its system. Without it, I won’t be who I am as I am today.

The patriotism in me did not come easy. I have gone through layers of process to understand the essentials of being opportune to belong to the soil. In my first year in overseas, I was told by my seniors that in the year before our batch arrived they sang the national anthem, Negaraku on the National Day. I laughed like hell thought it was only a fool to be such a drip. Only to value their patriotism after my rebellious years were over. When those years were over so then only I realized no more chance for me to sing it in the foreign land. What do you expect? I was in my heyday as a teenager at that time.

As the numbers and more numbers are added to my age, I could see more clearly the importance of appreciating the livelihood that we are enjoying today. Admire better the hardship and struggle of our forefathers in achieving the independence for the country. Without their efforts, in simple arithmetic it shall equate; we won’t have what we have now.

I am fortunate to have the opportunities to travel far and wide and to have lived in a few different countries. Seeing what I saw in the foreign lands, feeling what I felt anticipating being their citizen and running lives in their homeland as they are fated to be, I could never have felt luckier than being a Malaysian and live in it. In any standard you want to measure with, when you sum up all the points; our lives in Malaysia wins it hands down. Thus, it builds up more to my conscience to allow patriotism to be running in my blood.

It is imperative to note that, nothing soother than being under the flag of our beloved country. The flag itself signifies the pride of the nation and we are blessed to be under its shadow. Speaking of being under the flag, I would love to thrust further… make it wrapped in it. With this metamorphosis of slogan, it sounds a lot more of a grip as a citizen and it won’t be wandering off easily. And speaking of being wrapped in the flag, there is a story to literally define meaning of being wrapped in a flag. Perhaps this what actually is!

It is 2nd month of schooling for the pupils in Standard 1, majority of them are yet to celebrate their 7th birthdays. On that day, only one or two parents are still in the background for having the children still scared and insecured to be left alone in the classroom. In due time, they will be all on their own just like any other pupils.

Puan Rohani, the English teacher is introducing them strange sounds of language. Having had not attended preschools, all the pupils do not know what to expect, what more learning foreign language. Pupils comprehend based on what they heard and have no idea what they actually are. Don’t worry, in any time they’ll get hold of it.

Teacher Rohani: Ini kereta. This is a car
Pupils: Ini keghetaaa…. Dis is a ka

Puan Rohani realized the pupils just repeat after on whatever came out from her mouth and cuts off the initial words and goes…

Teacher Rohani: This is a car
Pupils: Dis is a ka
Teacher Rohani: Car… Kereta! Kereta… Car!
Pupils: Ka… Kegheta! Kegheta… Kaaa!
Teacher Rohani: This is a car
Pupils: Disss isss a kaaa…

Puan Rohani points her finger at the picture of a car… and said… Lagi!

Pupils: Disss isss a kaaa

It repeats and repeats. Even louder when the pupils are in rhythm with some of them say it out on top of their lungs even though some are just mumbling and some are just staring at point blank while some also are just busy twisting and turning around looking all over the places.

Teacher Rohani: This is a bird…
Pupils: Dis is a bw…der…erd

Puan Rohani introduces a picture of a bird and the pupils are trying to grasp the way it sounds and collectively comes out with strange sound as the pupils are not fully get it just yet. Strange as it sounds, even stranger when a pungent smell fills up the classroom now. Puan Rohani has been teaching for years, proven by the scars of experience in her face she refused to call it wrinkles. The experienced teacher like her can instantly recognize it.

She inspects all corners of the classroom to identify where the smell comes from and the pupils are reacting over it with mixed and varieties of responses. Bahar in the far right row screams followed with his kiddy kind of giggle. A few follow Bahar’s way of reacting. Ramli that sits next to Maimunah just simply put his two index fingers deep in the nostrills and makes a blow with the mouth closed until it distorts the look of his face and Suriani laughs at his distorted look. Nisah joins the laugh also. Amran is just looking on. He looks puzzled. May be he is being perplexed by the funny look of Ramli's face until it scares him a little. Ismail is self-inspecting himself and put up a worry look in the face but nothing happens. It is a relief to him after bending forward checking his own crotch for a few seconds. Hasni tries to lift up his collar to cover his nose with a few others imitate. Anuar points his finger at Azizah accusing her for something she did not do until she is about to burst into tears. He tries to do the same on Noraini and he retreats after she fashions a hostile look in a face for not being pleased with the accusation. Some even attempt to make an exit through the back door. One or two are pretending to be gasping for air and laugh. Some put up no reactions in their faces as if nothing happens, just like Hamidah, Syukri and Nordin at the back of the classroom. Anyway, all in all it is a noisy affair.

Finally, Puan Rohani asks the class to be quiet and all are ordered to stand up. All stands up except Yusof at the extreme right row three seats behind Bahar. He is about to cry knowing what he did but quickly Puan Rohani pampers him up with some nice words. Little time is wasted before the school gardener, Pak Mail is summoned to clean up the mess. Sure it is less than pleasant sight to see.

Obviously the pants also need cleaning and Pak Mail is at it, not his choice but he has to do it anyway. After all it is not his first. And there is another problem arises. No spare pants for Yusof. Pak Mail has to find solution quick. He has not much of a choice. So, while waiting for the pants hang on the fence to dry up in the sun, he has to make do with a Malaysian flag to wrap Yusof in from the waist below. That is the only clothe available in his store room apart from worn-out towel used for other cleaning purposes and his “Good Morning” towel wrapped around his neck almost all the time.

Everything is subdued. Back to order. Yusof is back in the classroom just in the nick of time before the class resumes.

Puan Rohani continues teaching…

Teacher Rohani: This is a bird
Pupils: Dis is a beedd
Teacher Rohani: Bird… Burung! Burung… Bird
Pupils: Beedd…. Bughong! Bughong… Beedd!
Teacher Rohani: Once again… Lagi sekali… Louder… kuat-kuattt!
Pupils: Beedd…. Bughonggg! Bughong… Beedddd!
Teacher Rohani: Very good… Bagus… OK… Hamidah…Hamidahhhh… burung…. apa?
Hamidah: Bughong Merpati
Pupils: Hahahaha

Puan Rohani smiles because the picture of the bird can fairly be recognized as a pigeon.

Teacher Rohani: No… No… No… Tak… Burung… What is in English? Apa sebut dalam Bahasa Inggeris? Ikut cikgu…. Biiiird!
Hamidah: Bd!

Short. She swallows her word and looks very uneasy. Puan Rohani decides not to press more on her knowing that at any time now, she would be crying.

Teacher Rohani: OK Class… Say it louder… Sebut kuat-kuat! This is a biiird!
Pupils: Disss isss a beeeddd

It echoes cross the lush greenery of rice field and it is nice to hear from a distance.

Being a small kid Yusof just cannot sit still. While sitting, he moves all the time. Toss to the left, hurl to the right, turn to the back… twisting… spinning…until the flag that wraps him in becomes loose and left him naked when he stands up.

It is very much to the amusement of his classmates seeing that. They laugh out loud when it happens.

Puan Rohani helps wrap him back.

Surely, Yusof’s own "bird" also enjoys the English lesson that day while he is being wrapped in a flag.

GAB: It happened in my classroom but I can assure you, Yusof wasn’t me hehehe


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You Watch and You Are Watched

People are around you. They are all strangers to you. They carry similar expressions in their faces. You will be lucky if you can have eye contacts for more than a second before either you or they look somewhere else. All seems to know where they are going, very distinct in their steps taken. Not much of conversations take place except when one is accompanied by another person or when they move in a group. People are walking at their own speed of choice. Some walk quite slow. Some are very fast as if their grandmothers are about to give birth at the hospital or something. Sometimes you have to make way for them when you are about to bump into each other. At one time or another; others have to make way for you as well. It is not uncommon if you have to brush shoulders with one another. Sometimes you may mistakenly touch people without their consents but you can get away with it with a simple excuse. If unlucky you may be stared at like a criminal when the other party thought it was too much. Or else you are being touched.

After a rule of a thumb is being observed, the oncoming and ongoing traffic of people just know which side of the way they are supposed to be at. Still, you have to judge the speed of a person walking in front of you as not to step on his or her heel. In turn, if you are too slow, other person at the back may step on your heel, or crash in the rear. It happens naturally as if it is being choreographed in such a manner until it works almost perfect.

The scenario above is a set of a sample depicts an experience when we are at a busy station getting off from a bus, commuter train or LRT.

In that kind of situation, I sometimes would get away from the exodus of people and choose to be standing in the less hectic corner watch people go by. While watching, I will be observing.

There was once at the Masjid Jamek LRT station when my eyes were stapled on a lady in the executive attire. She was busy on her cellphone and what caught my attention was; she looked well-composed. Good disposition and walking style. She looked so confident. She was quite good looking with shoulder length dyed copper-blonde hair and the height above the average of Asian ladies. I could tell she had a high taste judging from the YSL handbag she was carrying and the watch she was wearing looked classy and the shoes too. I am not too sure what brand the watch and shoes were because I was a few meters away when she passed by but I know they were expensive. Of course I cannot tell the difference between the original branded goods and close-to-ori counterfeit products of Petaling Street either. The ones who know how to dress up will minimize the make-ups and accessories used and even much elegant to go with simple pearl earrings on, and she was. Oh, did I tell you she sports green-colored contact lense as well, and... and the eye-lashes were so neat?

After finished her conversation over the phone, she put her cute little pink-colored cellphone back into the handbag. Her right hand was shoving the cellphone in while another hand taking care of the magnetic-lock fold of the handbag of which hanging on the left shoulder. While both hands were occupied, she sneezed. Achummm…! So cuuute!

I can swear I saw a bubbly slimy gooey thing came out from her nose when she sneezed. The slimy bubble ballooned up to a size bigger than a ping pong ball before it popped. As quick as the sneezing occurred, at a lightning speed her right hand came out from the handbag, split-second after releasing the cell phone in and wiped up the slimy bursting bubble just to mess it up further until to her cheek and it oozed out of her palm. Could you imagine how gross it looked?!

With a quick body twist to the left, she resigned herself to the wall of the tunnel that leading to Masjid Jamek side of the station. She tried to shield off from people’s view as much as possible by slouching the body position square to the wall and face pointing downward at 45-degree-angle for the hair to fall free around the cheeks. I guess the hair was also dirtied with the mucus. She then used tissue paper to clean up after a few long seconds scavenging through the handbag.

I felt so sorry for her but one thing I admired, she was able to maintain her composure.

GAB: Hehehe Accident happens and you think it’s funny but it is not!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Moments Before I Sat Down

This morning I had my breakfast at a restaurant on the ground floor of my office building. That is the closest place for me to eat. It is just some 20 meters away after coming out from the elevator. The walkway of the section for the restaurant is elevated by one foot high. It is nicely decorated with beautiful floral motive tiles for the floor that distinguished from other part of the walkway. Sometimes you feel guilty to pass through when people are eating at the place because it looks as if the area is exclusively belongs to the restaurant though it is meant for public access. There are some 5 tables placed on that walkway. Right... the food there is not that bad either.

When I reached the place, four tables out of five at the walkway have already been occupied by the customers. I was a bit baffled for a while seeing tables No. 1 referring from the far end until table no.4 were occupied by one customer each. All customers were seated at the same side and chair position of the tables facing the same direction from where I was coming. To add to my curiosity, table No 1 and 3 were men and tables No 2 and 4 were ladies, sweep-swap from one another. That left table No. 5, the most immediate table when I reached the place, yet to be occupied.

I was standing next to the table, and at the very instant, the usual me started calculating, analyzing and hypothesizing on what I saw. For no apparent reason, I started formulating a theory in my head to explain why it happened that way?!

This is what was running in my head moments before I sat down:

First to arrive – Customer Table No. 1:
The gentleman at the table No. 1 at the far end came in first. Considering that’s the best seat with commanding view, no doubt he chose to be seated there facing the open view and close to the railing for comfort. Table No. 5 facing the opposite direction is just as good also but the eyes cannot go as far as it is viewed from table No. 1. I would do the same thing also if I were to arrive earlier.

2nd to arrive – Customer Table No. 4:
She was a lady in a tight and short skirt, seated at table no 4. It was only right for her not to sit too close to the first guy since he was a stranger to her and not facing him. She could also was trying to avoid naughty eyes from the guy when she sits in. She chose table No. 4 instead of table No. 5 which was farther because the comfort level on the distance was already sufficient and not to be that obvious showing her insecurity. To be seated close to the railing comes naturally then. The railing is a catalyst for security just like a rostrum for a speaker to hold upon while giving speech. There she was seated, 3 tables away from the first gentleman.

3rd to arrive – Customer Table No. 3:
The next one who came in must be the guy that seated at table No. 3. It is obvious; this guy was a cheeky type. He chose to be right behind the lady taking advantage on seeing the beautiful curve of the lady at a close range from rear view. Seating position at table No. 5 facing opposite direction from the lady is better but I think he didn’t want to make the lady feel intimidated.

4th to arrive – Customer Table No. 2:
This lady perhaps cared less on where to be seated. The most immediate table available when coming from the other side of the building was table No. 2, so she sat there. It would've been better if she had chosen table No.5 instead of being flanked by the two guys. Anyway, may be she likes to be noticed by the guys. Quite naturally as well, she tried not to face the guy at table No. 1. Tried not to brush her back with the guy seated at table No. 3 might be a point also. And again, the railing provides such comfort and security. So then, there she was.

I then took my seat.

I sat diagonally to the sitting positions of them, away from the railing facing all four of them. Thought of facing the same direction as them but it was no fun, that damn pillar blocked my view. I tried to be as innocent as possible by acting just like not knowing what was around me making sure the sexy lady does not feel intimidated by my eyes stealing a look at her thighs. “Oh... Come on you guys, do not try to be that good by telling me that you’ve never steal a look at sexy ladies, especially during the time crosslegged lady in a short skirt is switching leg from one to another”. Urrp… ladies, just take it as a compliment, OK!... We do admire good and beautiful things!

To prove my point right, the sequence of them leaving the place was; the guy at table No.1, the lady at table no. 4, the guy at table no. 3 and lastly the lady at table No. 2.

I left after the lady paid her check only feeling stupid analyzing things for no apparent purpose.

GAB: The analytical mind cannot be stopped and it is NOT stupid, but to document it up in a blog, makes it closer to that. HAH... HAH... HAH...!

Attention Bloggers!

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Prime Minister has issued a warning – those who spread untruths and slander on the Internet will face the law.
If information in blogs, websites and online portals were incorrect, bordered on slander, caused disturbance or compelled the public to lose faith in the nation’s economic policies, their authors would be detained for investigation, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“We cannot allow such matters to flow through uncontrolled,” he told newsmen after attending a briefing on the proposed Islamic Civilisation Park in Pulau Wan Man here.


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