What come May?

I seldom talk about politics and what more about politicians. Even when I was in Malaysia, I only voted once for the general election because most of the time I was living abroad and have not much interest in Malaysian politics. Moreover, the restriction to freedom of speech in Malaysia have caused majority of Malaysians including me to be careful with what we speak about the politics situation in my country.

Since I migrated in the UK, I am amazed that the people are allowed to throw their opinions and thoughts freely.

Today, Theresa May, the lady UK Prime Minister officially entered the Downing Street office replacing David Cameron. I have been reading articles on the news about how strict she is and a mirror to the former iron lady, Margaret Thatcher.

As an outsider living in the UK, I find it interesting to live in a country that would be lead by lady leader. Historically, Malaysia has never experience having lady prime minister. Despite the rumors that she hates and would chased out the migrants, I am looking forward to see how this new lady leader lead UK especially now in Brexit situation.

P/S: Since yesterday, pounds has increased slightly. Correct me if I’m wrong.

 

Repost: Rubber in My Nostril? 

  
Actually I was about to go to bed but suddenly remembered something happened long long time ago during my kindergarten days. I had always wanted to have a mechanical pencil, which I used to call it “tik tik” pencil because it always make the “tik” sound when you push it. 

My elder sister used to have lots of “tik-tik” pencil in her pencil case and I had always borrowed from her. So, one day she lent me her blue “tik-tik” pencil to school. I was very happy and at school, I kept show off to my friends about how wonderful a 6 year old kid can have a “tik-tik” pencil. You know when you were young and a little “stupid”, “tik-tik” pencil can make you look so “cool”. You know what I mean. 

Then, I discovered that the “tik-tik” pencil has an eraser, which something I never knew before. The eraser looked white and small. In fact, I thought it was cute. But, I really had no idea why I got this stupid idea of inserting it into one of my nostrils. So thats what I did and indeed it was stuck in my nostril. I was a little panicked. My friends who saw what I did just said “Oh’Oh”. Well, I didn’t tried to take it out even until I was back home. Also, mummy and abah hardly knew about it. My secret remained until the next day I sneezed. The eraser came out! Finally…I said.

I was excited and showed to my mom and dad, and they gave me a weird look. I guess they must have been thinking how on earth that eraser can be in my nostril for one day. My dad told me that if the eraser had stayed longer in my nostril it could have grown a rubber tree. At the moment, I thanked God for making me sneeze.

Source:

From my former blog, ‘A piece of Cake’

http://mcnie.livejournal.com/2008/01/15/



Picture source:

Amazon

Short Story: Chinese Ghost

jiangshi-master.jpg

“I don’t believe in ghost”, I said to my father after hearing his childhood stories. “Does it really exist?” I asked. Father looked at me with a calm face and said “Well, it’s hard to believe but I have seen one myself long time ago. I’ll tell you next time. I have to go now. I’ll see you next weekend, Sara” he hugged me and left.

My father lived in another state of Malaysia, which took about five hours driving from his place to where my mother and I lived. Due to work reasons, my parents had to live separately but father travelled every weekend to see us. He loved to tell me stories of his past and because he grew up in a rural village, he had many interesting stories to tell about his childhood experiences. I had always loved to listen to his stories but I was not sure whether he had exaggerated his stories because sometimes I felt that it sounded too fictional and out of this world.

It has been more than five years ever since my parents were living apart due to work commitments and I chose to live with my mother in a small town called Taiping. A town which was famously known as the ‘rain city’ because it often rained and was acknowledged as the wettest town in Malaysia. My mother and I lived in a semi-detached house on a hilly residential area where we were surrounded by a little forest. Although at night the residential area was a bit spooky, I loved my home.

Everyday after school, I would jog for an hour on my own and sometimes, I was joined by friends who lived nearby. The neighbourhood in Taiping were mostly veterans or pensioners. Most Malaysians who had retired chose to live in Taiping to spend the rest of the retirement live and this was particularly true among the Chinese. I guess older people found it peaceful to live here for the reason of being surrounded by lush and peaceful nature, away from the busy city lives. Therefore, it was common to see the older generations walk or jog in the morning and late afternoon in Taiping.

One day, while I was doing my routine exercise, I saw an old man with a white t-shirt, white shorts, white socks and white shoes jogged passed me. I smiled at him and he greeted me, “Hello, how are you?”. “I’m good, Uncle. Thank you”, I answered politely and continued my jogging route. In Malaysia, we greeted older men or women by addressing them as either ‘uncle’ or ‘aunty’. The following day, I saw him again and this time, we stopped and chatted. This uncle whose name unknown was a retired businessman probably aged 70s. He was new to Taiping and he bought one of the houses near my home. I did not ask further where exactly he lived but I was drawn by his courage to keep exercising everyday consistently.

When my father visited me that weekend, I told my father about this uncle who jogged everyday, “I have never seen such an old man with courage to exercise. I think you should start exercising like him to live longer,” I teased my father. He smiled.

Tong! Tong! Tong!

That morning, the neighbourhood was noisier than usual. However, the place felt gloomy, I thought. “Someone just passed away”, my mother interrupted my mind. “Oh, how did you know, mom?” I asked. “That Tong! Tong! Tong! sound is the Chinese drum. It means there is a Chinese funeral going on now”, my mother explained.

Tong! Tong! Tong!

I ran outside to the gate and chased the sound. It came from one of the houses near my home. I saw many cars parked near the house where the sound came from. There was a big black banner hung at the house entrance with some Chinese characters written on it. People came in and out of the house. Some were wearing white and black clothing. Suddenly, there were many crows that flew around the little forest as if they were visiting the dead. This is the beauty of Malaysia, we lived with different races and are blessed with diversity of cultures. That day I had a chance to witness a Chinese funeral even from afar.

“Ouch!” I screamed as my mum pinched my arm. “What are you doing out here? You are not supposed to look at other people’s funeral. Come back into the house now!” I followed her. Mother had always had her own superstitious beliefs like she would not allow me to see other people’s coffins as she was afraid that bad things would happen later on. Every time when we passed by someone else’s funeral, she would quickly cover my eyes with her hands. Seriously, I thought that was ridiculous. My thought was back to the funeral I saw that morning and wondered whose funeral would that be.

As usual, I jogged that late afternoon. It has been two weeks and I had not seen that Uncle. “Dad, I was just wondering what happened to that Uncle. I think I haven’t seen him jog for quite a while. I wonder if he now decided to jog in the morning”. Dad who was reading the newspaper looked up at me but did not comment anything. Mother later joined us and said “Sara, could you please accompany me to fetch your sister at the train station tomorrow? It would be very early in the morning like 3 o’clock”. I sighed and nodded.

I have an older sister who was in the university studying law and now she was coming home for her university break. I was excited to meet her but hated the idea of having to wake up in the wee hours. It was half two in the morning. The place was still dark and quiet except for the sound of crickets. While mother was starting the car engine to warm it up, I was standing at our house gate. We did not have an automatic gate and it had to be handled manually. I had no choice but to wait alone near the gate until mother drive the car out from the porch. It was not entirely dark at the place I was standing as there was a lamp post opposite our house which was bright enough.

Still waiting and suddenly I saw that Uncle came out from the dark route, jogged passed by me. Under the lamp post light, I knew it was him and he looked up at me but was not smiling nor even greeted me. Surprisingly, I did not greet him too. Maybe because I was shocked to see him. He jogged into the dark and I had no idea where he went. “Quick girl. Get into the car!” mother said. I got into the car and looked at the car’s digital clock showed 3:00AM. Then I said to mother, “Isn’t it too early for someone to jog at this hour?” “Why?” Mother asked, sounded curious. “Because I just saw the Uncle jogged passed by our house at this hour”. Mother just ignored me and concentrated on her driving.

Time flew by and it was another weekend which meant father was around the house. During breakfast with him, I told him about what I saw on the day of fetching my sister at the train station. “So maybe he has changed his jogging schedule. Maybe now he likes to jog in the morning. But isn’t it too early to jog at that hour?” Then father said, “Sara, I’ve got something to show you”. With firm face, father showed me an outdated newspaper that he read weeks before and pointed at the obituary page. “It’s that Uncle’s picture!” I was very excited then I read what was written beneath his picture, ‘Our condolences to Mr Wang and family on the lost of beloved father, the late Wang Fa Chun…Taiping resident…’ I could not read more and felt the goosebumps. “Dad, I think I’ve seen a Chinese ghost”.

Picture source:

http://www.theworldofchinese.com

Age and Maturity

It is commonly accepted that the older we are the more mature we would be. But this common norm does not really reflect the truth in reality. There are some people I have seen, whose age over 40 still not behaving at the level of maturity that I thought they should be.

It is very hard to define what exact level maturity one should have at certain age. In other words, it is very subjective and might depending on other factors such as culture, background, education etc.

The reason why I came out with this post was because I am quite impressed to see younger persons than me who I felt are a lot mature for their age. Looking at them remind me of myself when I was at their age. Although I could not remember at what level of maturity I was at that time, I was as energetic as them. Thought about the future, what career I wanted to have, where do I wanted to work, when should I be getting married… These were thoughts I had in the past. Listening to them talking about their future plans made me miss my youth age. How I wish I could reverse time to go through those moment again.

The fact that they started to figuring about what they are going to do in their lives showed that they are being responsible of themselves. I thought that was an act of mature and age does not count.

Ernie, MR or MS?

In Malaysia, the name Ernie is widely accepted as a female’s name while in the UK, Ernie is a short name for a male’s name, Ernest.

My first name is Ernie Melini and it was given by mother who creatively combined a female Indonesian artist, Ernie D’johan and a female Bollywood actor, Hema Malini. Hence, the combination made up Ernie Malini. However, my mother replaced the letter ‘a’ with ‘e’ so that Malini became Melini as she felt that Ernie Melini sounded better.

Among my family members, I am popularly known as Melini or shorter version Melin while among friends, I am called Ernie. Since the word Ernie started at the front, every time I introduced my full name, people will end up calling me Ernie as it is the easiest name to remember and some says that it is quite a catchy name (grinned).

Since I studied and later migrated in the UK, I have quite number of times encountered different experience with the English people and this experience I had are related to my name, Ernie.

There is one time I booked a taxi from home using my name ‘Ernie’. When the taxi arrived, as I was about to enter the car, the driver lowered down his window and said “Hold on a sec, what is your name, love?” I was like huh? “Oh, I’m Ernie” and I grinned at him. He apologised to me and explained that he was expecting a male passenger instead of a female passenger. I told him not to worry as I used to get this kind of response many times.

When I was studying in the UK Universities, I always received formal letters with the title ‘Mr’. And I had to contact the administration several times for the repetition mistake they made on my letters.

I also remember when I came in to register my attendance for postgraduate study in Norwich, the lady who attended to me laugh when she saw me. Again, the same comment was made by her-expecting a male student. I just rolled my eyes.

Sometimes, people would ask me “Do you mean Ernie as in E.R.N.I.E?” and I will get the about to laugh face from them.

Oh, well.

I am not upset of being named Ernie. In fact, I feel lucky and thanked my mother of her creativity. Because of this name, I am blessed with interesting experience that makes me smile.