Kampung girl at heart

Location: Alor Star, Kedah, Malaysia

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I've heard about HIV and Aids so much, read about it, watch about it on tv and films but i've never met an HIV patient until a few months ago. He is a transexual whom i met through the course of my work. we got along fine and exchange number with promises to call each other but as usual, it remained a promise.

recently, her friend call up out of the blue to tell me she was hospitalised. I visited her at alor star hospital and she was unconscious. she was in a big ward but she was given a small corner room which offer a bit of privacy. her brother in law was there to keep her company. he was kind and tried to make her be more comfortable for she was running a high temperature.

And i nearly made a blunder when the brother in law pulled me to one side to ask whether i knew if she was a drug addict. The whole family didnt know that she was a HIV patient. they thought she had high fever. i think they were in denial for her skin was full of old rash marks and she was very very thin. i find it hard to believe as they knew of her lifestyle and yet they wanted to believe that she only had high fever.

he kept persuading me to tell him what i know or try to get the full story from her friends. it is so hard to lie when it involves a person and her family.

i dont blame her for wanting to keep it a secret but I wish i could do more than just look. when i first got to know her, i was very forthright by telling her that i didn't know how to act or behave around an HIV patient. i was scared of making or saying the wrong thing. She didn't tell me that she had it. instead her friend told me the truth.

looking at her made me realised the danger of the killer disease. it made me worry about my own health and the health of my friends. i plan to grow old with them around me. i never want to die a lonely old woman whose siblings and friends have all left her. that would be so so sad.


It happened to me recently. After a week of agonising over the proposed transfer, my boss suddenly called out of the blue on saturday morning at 10am to tell me that I could stay in kedah after all.

What boggled me was that I didn't even fought hard against the transfer. I just asked nicely and when i was told on thursday that my choice was either JB or KT, I decided to choose the latter. Only thing was that I was asked to think it over and I did.

And boy, was I glad that i took my time because I would not be given the reprieve if i had called on Friday or even on early saturday morning. I wanted to but my heart felt so heavy i decided to do it saturday noon.

would i have gone to KT? yes i would and i would be happy there but it is nice to know that i have a choice and i choose to stay in kedah.

What can i say, my time in kedah has been a blessing from God and if God decides to give me more time here, i will fill it up with all the joy and laughter, sadness and happiness, every little bit of experience and memories i can experience here.

Initially though, i was in a dilemma when i found out i can stay after all. I've set my mind on going and looking forward to experiencing all the new things there, and changing my mindset proved to be hard. even thought of calling my boss and tell him that i do want to go to KT. Luckily i took my time and after a few hours of weighing the pros and cons, Kedah won hands down.

i am now looking at my surrounding with a new perspective. Being so close to losing it made me appreciate the little things that made it so appealing and charming to me. like the fact that people here are so friendly, total strangers would stop and offer me a ride back when i didn't have a car. They just stop and ask where i was going and ask if i would like a ride. at one time, a policeman on a bike did that and i was so bowled over by their friendliness.

or that the chinese and the indians conversed fluently in kedahan malays. One time i was behind two men, an indian and a chinese in a queue and they were conversing in kedahan malay...i find that so so charming. and they are friendly too unlike the ones i met back in KL. here they are nice , humble, down to earth even though they are rich. oh i know there are the arrogants ones around but so far, i've been spared of their "charm".

and the staff at this particular mamak shop considered my their favourite customer they even gave me discounts without my knowledge. i only found out recently when the guy told the gal who was manning the counter to discount my bill. WOW!

i would be happy in KT for I know i will adapt well to the local surrounding and making friends is not a problem for me. However, I will miss these nice people here. i am just glad to be given a chance to stay and explore kedah all over again, and a second chance at falling in love with her, rediscovering the things that made me fall in the first place. I do sound daft, huh!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pack up your troubles in yr old kit bag and smile, smile, smile!

I am moving, again. Got the news three days ago that i am was being offered to go to Johor Baru. I leapt at the thought of going to a new place but the mention of JB deflated my spirit. The high cost of living will seriously put a dent in my wallet and the congestion and superficial lifestyle there will affect my health.

luckily, my boss today gave me the option of going to Kuala Terengganu. I didnt jump at the idea at first cos I really wanted to stay in Kedah but after about half an hour in deep thought, I decided to go for it.

Its funny how my life just seem to fall into place nowadays. I've been praying for a change since early this year for I am kinda bored being here. I still love Kedah but the challenge in work is not there anymore. I've become jaded and stale, even complaisant. I've lost my edge and hunger for news.

I've been praying and praying for God to give me a new opportunity,. telling myself and others that I would go anywhere but Kota Baru and Johor Baru. Yet when JB was offered, I felt like banging my head on the wall. Why oh why JB of all places?

KT on the other hand, is still undeveloped and that means beautiful scenery, the forest, the islands, the beaches, the friendly folk, the cheap food, low cost of living, no congestion, all the things that I love and cherish.

No doubt the dialect will be a problem - all the 'jang' and 'kang' that the locals like to add at the end of practically every words, will no doubt drive me mad. I will have to start all over again, making new contacts but I am optimistic. Being moved here and there has taught me a lot of tricks to adapting myself to new surrounding.

Yet, while i am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life, i'll be leaving part of my heart here. saying goodbye to my friends and my life here will be hard. my life are made richer with their presence.

I wanted to stay but I know I have to leave in order to grow. still, saying goodbyes to the people i love and the various nooks and cranny of kedah that I adore will be hard.

Monday, October 10, 2005

hellos and goodbyes, friends and lovers

Absence makes the heart grow fonder or wander?

Eversince a little girl, I've always love making new friends and saying goodbyes to them never used to be a problem for I kept the relationship light and casual.

I never knew how hard it was to say goodbye until my best friend moved away back in the mid 90's. God, it felt as if there was a big hole in my heart and in my life where she used to occupy.

While she prepared for the move, I pretended everything was okay and helped her whenever I could but my heart was hurting for I thought our friendship would end or at least, we would drift apart. When she left, I moped about but still pretended that everything was alright.

It was not alright but it helped that she was the type who talked about her feelings. she brought up the subject of her leaving and the impact it would have on our friendship for discussion. Her frankness touched my heart and in turn, i revealed to her, my fears and worries. It helped and we remain the best of friends until today.

The same goes with my few other best friends. we were separated by geography but in our hearts, we are still close.

How I wish it could be the same with lovers. My move to Alor Star in Nov 2001 forced me to be away from the love of my life at the time. we've been together almost a year and I thought our relationship was strong to endure the distance.

I was wrong. by early 2002, he was already seeing other women behind my back while outrightly lying to me about it. It took a best friend to tell me the home truth sometime in Oct that year and it must have been harder for her than it was for me. nobody liked the bearer of good news but i loved her more for it. the news hit me hard. i've had inklings and suspicions but to have it confirmed was terrible. for a moment, the world stopped turning for me and i thought i was dying. how funny to look back at that moment now and not feel a thing. yet, back then, i thought my world had fallen apart.

I try to be rational about the whole thing as I know the breakup was not due to the distance but him. I was the only one committed to the relationship while he was just there for the fun of it while waiting for something better to come along.

But deep down inside, i still fear saying goodbyes to lovers. I fear a repeat of that sad experience. They will move away, find someone new, keep me holding on until I found out the truth and suffer a broken heart.

Yet, i am forced to face another goodbye from a 'beloved one'. I like him a lot for he is intelligent, funny and kind in his way. He is moving away soon and though it is not that far, i still feel the panic building up inside me. oh no, not again, please.

My rational side feels that departure is for my best as the relationship will not lead to anything or anywhere. Best we part now while we are still friends. and we can still meet up though not as often as we are now.

yet the foolish silly romantic part of me, the part that hates changes of any kind, wants the impossible, the unattainable, the unacceptable. Stupid, stupid, stupid to wish for the moon, i tell myself. too many odds against us.

yes, we'll meet but it wont be the same. I'll be different, he'll be different. it's like history repeating itself. we are moving on two separate paths and i tell myself that it is better this way while my heart is still my own.

how will it turn out? i don't know but i am praying that i will come out alright from this. One thing for sure, I never want to be hurt like i was with my former lover. I am optimistic about the future and it will only hold happiness, laughter and enjoyment for me.
i don't want to cry and when i do, it will only be tears of happiness.

so, whatever happens after this, it is for the best for me. I've been tested and i know i can take whatever life throws at me.

Still, I hate goodbyes!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

health is wealth!

I've been well and i've been sick, and the former is better than the latter. However, i should consider myself lucky that i've not been struck with any terminal diseases and i hope i never will as it will seriously dampen my fervent hope of being healthy and well until my old age where i will die peacefully and quietly in my bed, surrounded by loved ones.

Yet, every cloud has a silver lining and being sick has taught me a lot about appreciating my health and not taking it for granted. This is the only body I will have and I have to take care of it if I want to live healthy and hale into my old age.

unfortunately, i wasn't that careful in my youth. I was not fond of sports and i started drinking carbonated drinks from the age of 13 and ate a lot, which resulted in me turning plump and in turn, made me shy and apprehensive about my appearance. see the vicous circle? I made my teenage years hell..of course there were other factors but i don't want to go into that now.

I was given a second chance when i entered ITM in shah alam back in dec 1986. during the two weeks of the induction course, we were made to walk up and down the many hills in the campus, climb up the itm tower to get to our school at the 13th floor and i lost a lot of weight. from a plump 60kg to 48kg, i think. i didn't even realise it until i went home to my sister's place in cheras. She was so shocked when she saw this thin spindly girl in my baju kurung, she cried out "oh god, what have they done to you?" and cried.

come to think of it, i think it was the sight of me wearing baju kurung that shocked her and me being thin was just an afterthought! still i cant complain for she was forever trying to fed me up with good food for years later..

I think I should consider myself lucky that i was rarely sick but the downside of it is that when i get sick, i really get sick. Like the time I got not just one but two mumps when i just started my upper sixth form. i couldnt eat anything and at that time, i didn't know about painkillers so i had to endure the pain. the nights were the worst and my sister had to pick that time to make all my favourite food like stir-fried kampung mushroom (ah..it was heavenly) and fried chicken.

Then there was the dengue in mid 1990's and that was the worst two weeks of my life. my body ached horribly that i felt like taking a knife, cut open my back, take out my skeleton and gave it a hard good shake. I was at home for the first night and the next, i was at a private hospital. I was as weak as a kitten.

The first week, I could not keep think of drinking anything without feeling nauseaus and yet i was severely dehydrated that i was on drip for days. my family was worried as it became a challenge to find me a drink that i could take. Imagine drinking coffee in the morning and disliking it at lunch that even the mere thought of it gave me the shudder. took me another two weeks to recover my strength.

and then, there was my back and continuous back aches which started in mid 90's. i think i've spent thousands of ringgit trying to get well but it comes and goes. at least, i am luck that the price of a good traditional massage in alor star is still cheap. in KL, it would cost me between RM50 and RM100 and that's not including the cost of taxi fare but here, i pay between RM15 and RM20 and i can decide whether to have it at home or go to a friend's home where her Indonesian maid can give me a massage lasting between one to two hours.

now i try to go for regular massage so it used to cost several hundreds of ringgit a month. of course, there are expensive places here which charges KL rates but i don't go to them anymore.

And when it comes to massage, I think i am a semi expert. the best is the traditional malay or Indonesian massage. go for it if you want to get really well for the masseurs will knead your flesh to get to the veins. all the knots and aches will be ironed out.

reiki massage is next on my list as it uses inner energy and you'll feel well rested and at peace at the end of the session. alas, i can only get it in KL. another good method is food reflexology but be prepared to endure a lot of pain unless you are really damm well healthy.

as for the thai massage at the border town of dannok near bukit kayu hitam, much has been talked about it and my take is ..all hype but not value for money unless you are a guy and wanna have fun in between the sheets. try to get the really traditional thai massage but they are hard to find as majority of the masseurs there are really looking to make extra money off the men. so if you are a woman, they wont really bother unless you promised big tips.

now i've tried shiatsu and indian traditional massage. my verdict..too soft, too gentle that it did nothing to soothe my aching body. it touched only the surface while my body is too tough..

now all my rambling is actually leading to something and that is, take care of our health.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


i am in the mood for love these days. after years of keeping myself in cold storage, my feeling slowly stirred and came alive that it even took me by surprise. after being badly beaten in the game a few years back, i retreated into my shell, vowing that i will never ever let myself be hurt again.

my heart has healed and here am i, ready to try again. 1 am trying to be cautious and wise, hoping and wishing that i will spot the genuine article from the sea of fakes. wish i had a fairy godmother or father who can help guide me through the maze.

listening to songs made me feel as if it is made especially for me. i find myself singing all the time. if not aloud, then i am dancing or singing in my heart. I am happy and i love it.

yet amid all these happiness, i am scared of letting down my guard. my heart is open but the barrier is half way down. i am scared of losing myself. i am so so wary of men..i love them for their strength, humour, tenderness but they can be so cruel, cold and heartless at the same time.

I was never much of a player before and i hardly know the rules of the game then, so how can i re-enter the arena now without being knocked out on the first round?

love and sex... how do i handle the first without engaging in the second? i am a bit conservative in that (always been that way since young, actually. blame it on my extensive religious background) i would prefer to wait until i am married..but the temptation to indulge is there especially when i am with someone whom i loved.

i am tempted to say yes but i am scared of regretting it later on.

decisions, decision..... it is easier to love a place for i don't have to worry if the feeling is reciprocated.. With the special soneone, the doubt is always there...

Monday, October 03, 2005

let's hear it for Kedah!


I can't believe it that I did it. It was my first time and I was so nervous during the practise session, both my voice and my hands shook.

RTM Kedah invited Kedah Media Club of which I am a member, to send two representatives for their Hari Raya special, and i was nominated.
problem was I wasn't told of this until this morning and there was no time to choose a good song or practice.

Now if you think singing live is easy since you've been nailing it during your karaoke session, think again. With a band loudly playing behind you and the audience in front (yes, there was an audience and I wondered where they come from until i was told they were members of sahabat radio kedah), i was so flustered, i became so demure, shy and feminine which in short, meant i was not acting myself. wearing baju kurung didn't help for i always felt extra extra womanly in it so no overtly or outrageous behaviour for this crazy wacko woman.

I chose Zaiton Sameon's evergreen "menaruh harapan" as it was the only song that i can recognise from the limited song menu. It was a long wait as there were other singers, all amateurs thank god! before me.

I am thankful I was the second last before the accompanying band performed their act, as i lost my stage fright..

of course, having my favourite artist Man Kidal the guitarist from Lefthanded, THE famous local band in the 80's, performing together with a group of musicians including norman and zul from metalasia with hot throbbing numbers helped. their performance was electric and i enjoyed myself so immensely, i forgot to be nervous.

I look at it this way, they were so so good, there is no way i want to compete with them so i just enjoyed myself singing my heart out.

actually, the song meant a lot to me. not only because zaiton was my favourite singer then, she was such a talented woman whose career was cut short by her tragic accident, but also the lyric.


We all harbour hopes, be it in finding the perfect life, perfect career, perfect mate. as a child i hope to get out from my small village and work in KL. I wanted to be independent and earn my way because at that time, i thought financial independence will allow me to lead my life, my way. I would have total control over my life and no one will have the right to dictate anything to me. not my father, not my siblings, not my relatives, not my neighbours, not society.

I did it and for a decade, i lived out my dream in KL. i was in a big city where i am accepted for who i am and what i can do. I work hard and i play hard but it took me a long time to admit that i was totally happy in KL. It is too congested and i found myself yearning to be closer to nature. I escaped to islands but it is not enough.

I also felt lonely without a special someone to share my life but i thought i am too proud, tough, selfish and individualistic to ever attract anyone until this person came along and in him, i discovered all the sweet and tender emotion within me.

Being sent to Kedah helped push my self-realisation further, and i also discovered that my hopes and dreams are slowly coming into reality.

I once dreamt of cycling in Kuala Lumpur as I didn't know how to drive and I felt so hampered that I thought of buying a mountain bike and cycle to work. Living and working in Bangsar put a stop to that dream for it is such a hilly area, I'd be puffing and dying from the smoke and traffic.

Yet, when I was first transferred to Kangar and then Alor Star, I cycled until I finally took a driving test and bought a car in late May last year (2004).

I've been wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle by controlling my diet and quitting smoking but never had the strength to do the necessary until I came here. cycling and walking helped me lose weight and in turn, i gained self confidence. two friends here helped my find the courage to give up smoking and I pray that i will be free from it.

I've always wanted to be closer to nature, and you can't get any closer here..even my house is near to a river which allowed me to take walks along the river sidewalks. I never failed to be awed by the lovely scenery here plus the colourful birds, iguana and even the milipedes i met along the way.

the peace and quiet that I enjoyed here is unbelievable. It is a dream come true but life is not complete without friends and here, I found a new set of friends that helped make me grow and understand myself better.

Back during my early days here, I missed the companionship of my best friends back in KL and what do ya know, I found their clones..
They came slowly but they stayed in my hearts even though they have moved on. Razak my former boss who taught me a lot about life and people. He helped me understand myself and even challenged me to become a better person.

My colleagues are the best..Ridzal my former colleague, was such a wacko character he made it so easy to share things. Sheridan who replaced him, was so kind, patient and understanding, he humbled me many many times with his perceptiveness. He taught me to appreciate Kedah too for it is his home state. Shah, on the other hand, tested my patience for he is kind but temperamental. what can i say, he is an artist who is so good in photography. I love his work and i take pride when our company played them big. Joe is one cool dude whose calm and clear thinking in times of crisis, earned my admiration.

Then came the bestest friend, Gibson, a great guy who seem to embody the best characteristics of my old best friends. He is grade A and I dearly love him. Fairuz of course is a lovable person, it is so easy to love him. I think he is such a lucky fellow for he is blessed with all the good qualities that people find adorable.

If i hadn't been sent here, i would never have known them. they have enriched my life and I like to think that i am a better person because of them.

of course, my hope of finding a loving and fun partner to share this journey in life is still unrealised yet but I am very optimistic that he exists. I don't know whether I have met him or if he is still out there somewhere but i know I will find a companion, a friend, a partner, a husband in this person.

back to singing live... if you are given the chance, do it! pretend the audience is tone deaf and stupid like a kind a person advised me earlier. the whole point is to have fun. I took the advice and i let go of my inhibition and just be myself. I did have fun plus there were a few gorgeous guys there..alas the one that caught my attention was too quiet and i didnt have the chance to approach him. missed opportunity but i know there will be others.

what can i say, i love living in kedah..