Share Your World Week 35

I stumbled upon this ‘challenge’ over at That’s What Anxious Mom Said and thought it looked like a fun one to try. So, here goes!

041514-sywbannerList 2 things you have to be happy about? I’m beyond happy that it rained cats and dogs this morning. Yesterday was a hazy day; the air quality had reached unhealthy levels and you could smell smoke in the air. I was almost certain that the rest of the week would pass in a haze so when I heard heavy rainfall and howling winds early this morning (and also because I’m a pluviophile), I smiled all the way to work. I’m also happy because tomorrow is a public holiday to mark Malaysia’s 59th year of independence. Who doesn’t love a mid-week holiday!

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be? I’d love to go to Hawaii and photograph everything and everyone I can there 🙂

Should children be seen and not heard? In between.

List at least five of your favorite first names. Asher, Margaret, the French version of my name – Amelie, Samantha, Christopher.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? From last week, I’m grateful that I finally decided that I’m not happy in this job and cannot continue to be unhappy every single day. It was tough to get to that stage because it feels like I’ve given up but friends have assured me that getting out of a toxic workplace is not giving up 🙂 For the week ahead, I’m looking forward to starting an online creative writing class and (virtually) being among like-minded folks and sharing our little writing creations!

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Shout out to Cee for coming up with the Share Your World questions!

How to Get Noticed by (nosy) Relatives at a Wake

We entered my Uncle’s house. The Uncle who’d just passed away the previous evening. My father’s sister-in-law saw us and immediately went to my father, clutched his shoulders and wailed. My mother and I excused ourselves as we walked pass the relatives who were already there, sitting cross-legged, on the kasah that was scattered on the floor of the living room.  We sat in a corner of the room furthest away from my Uncle’s body.

I’d gone back to Kuching that weekend to spend time with Auntie Jenny and Uncle Steve, who’d come all the way from England. The possibility that I’d be on the way to Simunjan, a 2.5 hour drive away, that hot and sultry Saturday morning with my parents, was unplanned for. Truthfully, I was reluctant to go. I didn’t know my father’s relatives and the customs. I was afraid that I’d accidentally say or do something inappropriate. After mulling it a bit, I decided not to worry about it though because surely everyone would be busy planning for the funeral and I’d just be another face in the crowd.

Unfortunately, despite trying my hardest to be unobtrusive, relatives descended upon me mainly because

…of my tattoos. You would think that coming from an ethnic group that prides itself on its tattoos that having them would be commonplace. Apparently not among this group of Ibans. Except for me, no one else had visible tattoos. I kept catching the older relatives glance not too discreetly at my tattoo-adorned wrists and ankles. The younger relatives were just outright staring as they sat on the wooden benches chain-smoking.

…I barely speak the language. Growing up, I learnt the native language my mother spoke, not my father’s. The only thing I knew how to say in my father’s native language is makai (eat), ngirup (drink), jalai (walk) and aku enda mereti (I don’t understand).  Thankfully, Iban and Bahasa Malaysia have similar words so when one of the relatives spoke to me in Iban, I tried to catch any Bahasa Malaysia-sounding words and extrapolate the conversation from there. Even then, the relatives tended to speak to me three or four at a time and this made following any conversation difficult. In the end, I smiled and replied au (yes). I had some weird looks when I kept repeating au, but I was overwhelmed.

…I am still unmarried. My relatives (and even strangers, unfortunately) love asking about my marital status. I didn’t think this question would even come up though since it was a wake and the last thing anyone should be talking about is who is married and who isn’t. I was wrong. Again. A grandaunt asked my father how many children he has and was I the oldest, youngest or middle child. She then asked him if I was married and when he replied that I was bujang (single), that’s when my ears perked up. She followed up with asking if my younger siblings were married and when he responded in the affirmative, her eyes widened with surprise (I suppose). This discussion between the grandaunt and my father attracted the attention of the other relatives and the word bujang kept coming up. I inched away from them as stealthily as possible and went outside where no one was talking about my state of singlehood (I hope).

Maybe next time, at another gathering of relatives, I’ll cover up my tattoos and get a quickie marriage so that the relatives will notice someone else instead.

Daily Prompt: Ghost

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Ghost

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Source: Getty Images

You find yourself outside, in the rain but you can’t remember how you got there. Did you walk along the broken sidewalk which had weeds erupting from the cracks? Or did you come out of the warmly lit building behind you? You feel cold seep through your wet garments. You glance down and see you’re wearing a pale yellow dress. You think it’s pretty.

Oh yes, you’re standing in the rain.

Somehow, you know that you should look for shelter before you catch a cold. Did your mother tell you that? You try to remember but all you encounter is wool and pain irradiates from deep within your skull. You stop trying to remember and the pain recedes.

You hear a noise to your left and turn. A large man is coming your way. He’s looking down at the phone he has in his right hand, his left hand is carrying a briefcase. If he doesn’t look up soon, he’ll barrel into you. You try to move out of his path but your movement is sluggish. Your feet feels like lead when you try to lift them off the pavement. You shout out but no sound emerges from your lips so you hold out your right arm to ward him off. He still doesn’t look up. You close your eyes and brace yourself.

Nothing.

He didn’t bump into you. Maybe he stopped. You open your eyes to look. Just in time to see his left foot leave the outline of your body.

Daily Prompt: Maybe

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Maybe

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Maybe this time, he’ll be the one who arrives early and has to wait patiently, making uncomfortable small talk with the wait staff before she arrives. Hopefully this time, he’ll remember her name when he asks her for her number.

Maybe this time, during dinner, he’ll be able to stifle his yawns and not confess that the reason he’s tired was because he played Dance Revolution the entire day before their date. Maybe this time, she won’t forget his name when they say their goodbyes.

Maybe this time, he won’t spend the entire dinner talking about his obsession with protein shakes and the number of hours he spends at the gym. Perhaps he’ll also allow her to share a little about what she likes to do for fun. After all, she’s been told that she’s interesting and would like the opportunity to have her date think so too.

Maybe this time, her date won’t snigger at nothing in particular and mumble under his breath as he peruses the menu and suddenly exclaiming “This menu is different from the one I found online!” snigger snigger “Now, I don’t know what to order!” snigger snigger

Maybe this time, there’ll be sparks and a potentially happy ever after.

“Oh my God, this restaurant looks SO Japanese! I love it!” Her date says, waving his hands around.

“That’s because we’re in a Japanese restaurant,” she replies, counting the minutes till the end.

Or, maybe not.