My Secret Tree House

State of Mind? Void – As Typhoon Sue puts it “Random Ramblings, Not Worth Reading

Life baffles me sometimes. Its logic and reasoning, often, seem too far-fetched for me. The father to my son, recently said that I live in my own imaginary world. Does it mean that I am crazy? I think not. A tad eccentric? Perhaps. I certainly can tell apart between my real world and my LaLa land, so to speak.

Before we proceed, someone (a genuine writer nonetheless) said to me “anyone who can write has his/her own imaginary world.” Since I fancy myself as a budding writer – at this point the reality in my head is screaming “you need serious help woman, you write without sense of structure at all, AT ALL!” – I embrace his belief to the core.

I built my secret tree house as soon as I can understand how harsh life can be. I fear ridiculing eyes and I loath judgments. So, when my going gets though, I hide in my secret tree house. In it, I reign as King. I am the script writer, the director and the actor. I write and write and write to my heart’s content. Oh, how intoxicating my secret tree house can be. It is a heaven of solitude. It makes me a stronger person. It certainly was and still is my escapism.

People die, love fades, health deteriorates, relationship fails but life moves on. For as long as I can understand this, I will always have my secret tree house. Good weekend folks.


My Fair Lady, the Musical

It has been a long time since I dressed up and put on my high heels – I actually despise high heels, they are designed to torture women and its usage is really overrated! Last Friday, I did put on my high heels and with my two closest friends in tow, we headed for Plenary Hall, KL Convention Centre. My Fair Lady the Musical is in town!

A general overview about the play is explained here. Personally, I am of the view that this play summarised the grandeur of English language in its entirety. The play is also undoubtedly intelligent and witty in so far as the language is concerned.

The show kicked off at ten minutes past 8 p.m. and it was a full house. When Colonel Pickering and Professor Higgins conversed deeply in Act One and subsequently “Why Can’t the English” song came along, I felt like I was back in Sheffield. In Northern England, cockney accent can be heard from all corners. I found myself ironically missing the sound of the accent. Of course, the play injected its romantic elements in form of a besotted young man named Freddy Eynsford Hill, singing “On the Street Where You Live“.

The audience laughed when Eliza Doolittle first tried to say “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plane” and “in Hertford, Hereford, Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happens.” I must say, it was so hilarious at this point, my stomach was in stitches!

I repeatedly told Yanti that I wish I haven’t watched the movie so that I could enjoy the play without comparing the two versions. I am delighted to note that Poppy Tierney played Eliza Doolittle brilliantly, much better than Audrey Hepburn in the movie. Be that as it may, I am still a big fan of Ms. Hepburn.

All in all, Ms Doolittle in her tutelage with Professor Higgins showed deep compassion and unconditional love notwithstanding her poor rank. If you ask me, I conclude that Professor Higgins did not realise that he indeed has fallen in love with Eliza.

If I have to choose my favourite lines it would be from Professor Higgins –

“Oh, why can’t the English learn to set
A good example to people whose
English is painful to your ears?
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.
There even are places where English completely
In America, they haven’t used it for years!
Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?
Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks have taught their
Greek. In France every Frenchman knows
his language fro “A” to “Zed”
The French never care what they do, actually,
as long as they pronounce in properly.”

What a night! what a play! what a pleasant company I had for the night. Good day folks.

What’s in the name?


Another court’s anecdote. But this one is not mundane, I promise. At the risk of making a complete mockery out of myself, I narrate below what transpired in court recently. 

Judge: “Counsels?”

Me: “My lord, I am Elviza Michele for the Plaintiff and my learned friend –

Judge: “El whattt?”

Me: “Errr…Elviza Michele.” (at this point already sensing his faulty mood today!)

Judge: “Spell it for me.”

Me: “E.L.V.I.Z.A  M.I.C.H.E.L.E”

Judge: “Dad’s?”

Me: (in my head saying, what the hell he wants???) “I beg your pardon my lord?”

Judge: “Your dad’s name!” (his voice went few octaves higher, not a good start I must say).

Me: “Oh, Kamal My lord, my dad’s name is Kamal – K.A.M.A.L”

Judge: “So what’s your full name?”

Me: (silently heaving a long sigh) “Elviza Michele Kamal”

*proceeding continued, details are confidential*

At the end of the hearing, the Judge reprimanded me and me alone:-

Judge: “Counsel, next time you come to my court early so that the interpreter can put down your fancy name correctly.”

Sigh. I had enough of this crap. I have been explaining to people in my entire life about my name. Yes, I know its weird but it’s not my doing. Parents named their children remember? However, I once asked my late father this –

Me: “Ayah, why is my name so weird?”

Ayah: (smiling pleasantly) “Child, you read Romeo & Juliet, haven’t you?”

Me: “Yes I did, many times.”

Ayah: “Then, you should know the answer.”

I was perplexed by the reply. As I grew older, I know what he meant. Torn between two feuding families and her deep love for Romeo, Juliet lamented –

“Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”

Apparently it matters not to Ayah that he named me differently, to his eyes I am always his rose. I seriously hope the decision of the hearing will be in my favour. Good day folks .

What would you do with RM50?

Last Saturday by sheer mistake and a lot of reluctance on my part, I found myself in the scenery of Pasar Chow Kit. Well, doing marketing in a wet market isn’t the itinerary of my precious weekend. But I got myself a mother in law, you see. A stickler to value for money and fresh produce, Mama must go to Pasar Chow Kit. Off I went with her.

I heaved my feet lazily and trailed Mama’s back. As I was absorbing the hustle bustle of the market, I spotted one lonely figure on a wheel chair begging for a small change from passers by. My heart sank looking at a dire state this man was in. He was paralysed from waist down. His clothes were old and shabby. His kopiah moldy. Traces of white unkempt stubbles were all over his lower face. He must have been at least in his late sixties. If Ayah were to be alive, they would be about the same age.

Mama asked me to give him some money and I obeyed. I emptied the contents of my small change pouch and gave it to him. He said “terima kasih nak.” His expression was a mixture of sadness and gratitude. My heart sank once again.

Mama marched ahead to complete her morning mission and I can’t get the image of that old man out of my mind. I felt guilty for giving him just my small change. I often berate myself for not being grateful enough with what I have. I dig my sling back deeper in search of my wallet – found it. After a trip to Ikano last night, I have only RM50 left. No Maybank sign visible in the vicinity.

I got into thinking, on normal day, how would I spend this RM50? Easy, I thought. My first cup of morning coffee at Strabucks costs me RM10. Lunch with friends deducts another RM30 or so, could be more. The balance of RM10 would go to parking or another cup of latte in the evening. Ingrate! May be today, I will spend it differently.

I told Mama I got something to do and she frowned in suspicion. I left in a hurry to where that old man was. Found him and I bent down by the side of his rickety wheel chair. I asked his name and he told me his name is Ibrahim.

Me: “Pakcik dah makan pagi?”

Him: “Dah, gerai sebelah ni tiap-tiap pagi kasi Pakcik makan. Anak ni sapa?”

Me: “Saya Elviza, tadi tuh ibu mertua dan suami saya. Pakcik tinggal mana?”

Him: “Kat Chow Kit ni jugak. Pakcik tido kat tepi-tepi kedai ni bila mereka tutup. Nak pergi jauh-jauh pun tak boleh.”

At this juncture he looked down at his legs sheepishly. I touched his legs; they were lifeless. I gulped the lump in my throat.

Me: “Pakcik, ni ada duit sikit, Pakcik ambik buat makan ya?”

I slipped the money into his pocket.

Him: “Eh! tak payah nak, duit tadi tuh dah cukup untuk Pakcik makan. Banyak nih! apa kata suami anak nanti?”

Me: “Tak pe, ini duit kami berdua, Pakcik ambik. “ I insisted.

I touched his face and said goodbye. Tears flowed down his wrinkled cheeks and he grabbed my left arm. This is what he said that I am going to remember for as long as I live –

Him: “Berkatlah hidup anak dan ibu bapa  kamu yang membesarkan kamu.”

In my life I have lost many things dear to me. I have made plenty of friends and surely made a number of enemies as well. But one thing, I am sure I haven’t lost is – my compassion. Ayah’s legacy lives in me.

So, tell me friends what would you do with your RM50 today?

*this posting is dedicated to Pi Bani, who works tirelessly for the HIV infected persons*

Conversation at Tamarind Spring

I knew the man many years before the marriage. He is a lot of things except a romantic. I relented. Given up a long time ago on that score. However, the day I turned 32, this man surprised me. Not so much words written, everything was a tad quiet on my birthday. He came back from work early while his mates were still golfing. Read his papers, played with his son and ignored me (what’s new, really?).

As dinner time approached, he told me quietly: “Let’s have dinner, just the two of us.” Okay, lets! (excitedly screaming inside my head). He drove up the windy hill of Taman TAR and pulled over at the curb of  Tamarind Spring. He hold my hands along the pathway leading to the restaurant. Everything was quiet and mild, like the man himself.

But during the dinner, we talked… that was when I noticed the sparkle in his eyes – just like those nights when we were counting stars  at Pulau Perhentian. At this point I knew: He is, and will always be the rock that supports me through the test of time. Ah, what the hell – I love you, you know so.

Today, a year ago

Juliet woke up, her heart heavy: Romeo is gone. But she got to pick up the pieces and be whole again. She reliased that life is a journey, not a guided tour. [Short Story,
Para 1 to be continued…]

I found the wisdom to accept things that I cannot change. I found the courage to laugh upon issues I don’t agree and to sail through life with a smile until the sea claim me whole.

Today 32 years ago, after a difficult labor, Mama gave birth to me. Today, a year ago, after a difficult labor, I gave birth to my son – Luqman Zain. Ah, the miracle of life is indeed overwhelming. I remember the operation teathre at DSH vividly.

Scene: Damansara Specialist Hospital, Labour Room 4

Date: May 3rd, 2006 (about 3 p.m.)

Dr Guna: [turning to Nurse Khairul Bariyah], “baby in distress, emergency c-section.Call Dr.Hilmi.”

Nurse KB swiftly left the labor room. 5 minutes later a serious looking anesthetic appeared with all his paraphernalia and two other nurses in tow. I have never been so scared in my entire life. My teeth were chattering like mad. Jefree signed some mysterious looking form. Truth be told, at that time, he could have signed anything in front of him! This is what I said to Dr. Hilmi in all seriousness I could gather:

Me: “Doctor, I am an extremely fearful person, I am really really scared, so please!” This what the audacious doctor said (actually padan lah muka I, trying to tell him what to do!)

Dr. Hilmi: “No matter how GOOD I am (oh really, how do I know that? I have never met you in my entire life my fried!), I can’t administer this, unless you cooperate. If you are scared, the baby could feel it, he’ll be distressed too (why must I hear this “distress” thing repeatedly?)”

Needless to say, Dr Hilmi couldn’t administer the epidural with me curled like a ball as I was shivering violently. He asked me to sit up, curve my back with Jefree holding on to my hands for dear life. The epidural went in finally. I was numbed from waist down in no time. My legs felt as heavy as the log. Nurse Khairul Bariyah and 2 other attendants wheeled me to the operation teather. Among the conversation that I could hear in the operation teather:-

Dr Hilmi: “something something at maximum level (must have been the drugs).”

Dr.Guna: “making the incision. Bla bla bla (incoherent speech, I swear I could hear him reprimanding a nurse, boy that was a scary).”

Me: “Sayang, what’s going on?” (looking at Jefree intensely)

Jefree: “Everything will be fine, nothing is going on” (yeah right! It wasn’t you that they are slicing up!).

Half an hour came and went. Then I heard Dr. Guna proclaimed “It’s a boy!” Jefree left me there and then (the nerve of this guy!) and rushed to Dr.Guna’s side. According to Jefree, Dr. Guna then cut the umbilical cord, handed Luqman to Dr. Musa the pediatrician. Dr. Musa came to my side, and said this “Elviza, this is your baby”.

There he was, crying on top of his lung, we was covered in a mud looking blood. Luqman Zain was born to me and Jefree at 4.16 p.m. on 3rd May 2006. Apgar test conducted by Dr. Musa and Azan was whispered to Luqman’s ears. I am now a mother. The sweet Dr.Guna came to my side, hold my hand and said “congratulation dear, he was a big boy, he felt heavy…” Dr. Guna, Dr. Guna, Dr. Guna…. I shall treasure your soft voice, your calm advice, your endearing touch. Words are scarce; I could not thank you enough. God bless you and thank you for bringing Luqman to our lives.

Dr. Hilmi;Okay, sorry for trying to tell you what to do. I am sure you are a good doctor after all.

Dr. Musa; you are in my eyes, the best pediatrician there is.

Nurse Khairul Bariyah: Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

To the father of my son; from this day on, no matter what the future holds, I will always love you because you gave me Luqman.

Luqman; You and I have a long way to go. We will chart this journey together. We will have our moments of difference, we will have a lot disagreements, we will laugh, we will cry together but you must always remember that I love you, more than life itself. Happy 1st Birthday Son.

Above all, I thank God for giving me this gift. No let me rephrase that, for giving me this treasure.