Of wind and such

Anyone who is familiar with P.Ramlee’s classic comedy, specifically the Bujang Lapok series and Do Re Mi series would also be familiar with the           ‘ angin lah deni’ dialogue or ‘angin pus-pus’. For the sake of the clueless, these lines were often in the dialogues when any character displayed an incomprehensible bout of tantrums or anger or in the modern lingo, being overly ’emo’.

Well, in my family we use to say it in the context like ‘ jangan sampai bapak naik angin’ or ‘balik kerja jer dah nak angin tak tentu pasal’ or the classic one, ‘ dah lah jangan layan dia.. dah tau dia tu angin satu badan kau layan buat apa??’

For all my life I just take it as a figurative speech of the mysterious ( and still mysterious) Malay language. How the angin ( wind ) becomes associated with the manisfestation of one’s undesirable behaviour was beyond my comprehension and I never bothered pursuing the origin of it.

However during my weekly massage session with the old massage lady today, she said something which sparked my interest to relate P. Ramlee’s dialogue to our massage session. As she was massaging, I burped the air in my body out,. She muttered to herself ‘ Bagusss angin ni semua keluar. Kalau tak angin dalam badan ni urat saraf semua jadi tak betul. Bila darah tak mengalir dengan betul, mula lah buat pe’el, marah-marah, mengaruk tak tentu pasal’ 

Achso !!! 

Now I know how the ‘orang lama’ came up with the ‘angin’ dialogue. That when there is alot of angin disrupting the QI/KI/Energy flow in one’s body, one becomes disorientated hence leading him/her to display all sorts of behavioral patterns which are anti-social in nature.

Next time I see anyone with the ‘angin pus-pus’ syndrome I will now know better than to get angry at him/her back. Telling them to go for massage would be a more productive thing, no ?

swiny things

Am just thankful the husband is no longer based in Mexico since we learnt of the swine flu outbreak. But I know his friends there who are dear to him and who have beautiful young kids and wonderful families. And the husband is thinking of them now and we pray that they won’t be affected.

You are all in our prayers!

On a totally different note, the weather has been too humid we have been sweating like pigs swines.

The thing is…

I went to there train.

But then, when I sit and comtemplate like right now in the wee hours of the morning about what I have learnt during training, the techniques actually are the the last things which are on my mind. Instead, I learnt more than what I went there for. I learnt to let go of my inhibitions. I learnt to overcome my fears. I learnt to really, really crush my ego. I learnt to focus on fundamentals. I learnt not to be ‘ye ye orh’. I learnt to be flexible. I learnt that there is no shame in making mistakes while learning although the whole class is watching me in the most undesirable positions and jatuh macam nangka busuk. Most importantly, I learnt about myself, my strength and weaknesses. I learnt humility in ways I can never imagine I would.

The husband mentioned in passing today that aikido is so much aligned to sufism. Just that it is non-tauhidic. Maybe it is too early for me to make the same kind of observation. Too many things I do not know about. But what I know, and what I have gone through is like a new journey I never thought I would be making. And I love it  too.

It’s O-sensei’s founders day today. I don’t want to end up hero worshipping him. But as the founding father of Aikido, he had indeed did something right in that area.

Hot night man.. sweltering hot. I am perspiring as though I had just finished training. But that was hours ago and I showered right after that. And now I am perspiring again.

Wear and tear

I don’t expect to say this as early as now. But I am noticing white hair sprouting here and there. So reality bites. I am no longer a spring chicken as I would like to think myself as. And today I notice I have a kind of pain each time I go up and down the stairs on my left knee. I am not sure what pain it is, maybe because of the ukemi during training. Maybe it is not.

Accidental reading

It was 9.40 pm last Friday and the announcement at Kino/kuniya KLCC called for customers to quickly make their final purchases before they close shop. The husband hurried to me, a bunch of books already in his hands with a ‘ Quick I just need just one more book to make the quota!’  He had wanted the discount card which is valid for a few months and in order to so, we needed to spend a certain amount in one single receipt. Being near to the young adults’ section– browsing books for my students reading list, I grabbed what was near to me with a shiny logo on it. It says ‘National Award Winner’ and off to the counter. We made it through with the coveted discount card, which kino/kuniya here is very stingy with.

Image taken from here.

I started with the book that very night when we reached home and by Sunday evening, I was done with it. For an accidental reading, it’s an absolutely candid and insightful account of the lives of an average Native ( Red ) Indians living on reservations, the kind where glimpses of those ( young men with long hair and who go to school on Reservation Schools ) which appeared in the movie Twilight.

The fact that the book won National Book Award and a series of other awards is no big surprise. Written as a first person account of a 14 year old native Indian living in poverty in the Spokane Native Indian reservation in America, and his will to change the course of his life is both heart-wrenching and hilarious. 

The book somehow compelled me to draw parallels between the native Indians to the lives of the native Australians, whom we were more accustomed to calling them the ‘Abos’. Both are plagued with alcoholism, poverty, illiteracy/lack of education, fatalistic syndrome and the identity crisis especially in this century.

I like the angle in which this book was written. Instead of the usual sappy-whiny-woe-is-upon-me-damn-whites-who-stole-our-motherland theme that is usually prevalent in books depicting the fate of natives the world over, this one here was written through the eyes of a high school kid. Instead of depression, his perspective is that of hope and struggle–wanting to both belong in loyalty to his race and also move forward in getting himself out of the reservation. At the cost of being called a traitor and white-men lover, the book is about a kid’s guts to defy it all, including his illness which he was born with.

I think my students–the older ones should be ready for this. I desperately need to wean them off the high school musical stuffs they are hooked onto.

A mug of cereal and Salonga’s croonings

I am beginning to find that like Maths, Aikido is difficult. But unlike Maths, I like ( am hooked, actually ) to Aikido while I still don’t like Maths. I have learnt a few techniques and yet I still find it difficult to even do kamai correctly, find my central balance and focus on where the ki flow. It frustrates me to no ends sometimes especially during training when others get it and I don’t. But with all good things, it is an uphill task so I shall persevere in this with wisdom and patience.

Whhhoaaa how about that?? Not bad for a self prep talk at almost 1 am in the morning over a mug of cereal??

Truth is, I can’t sleep, both because I am hungry and because I slept in the afternoon just now ( which is now yesterday ). Milo is sitting next to me, his eyes droopy but he refused to go down to sleep. I guess he would only go downstairs when I do. So he is keeping himself awake by playing with his tail.

I picked up a small quote book from the table while cleaning the living room. It is by Ron Kaufman, yeah the botak angmoh we were sent to by the civil service college for internal course years ago by m/o/e.  At random, I turned the page and it says ‘ You are never too old to begin anything you dream of achieving. Be it at 18, 28, 39, 40 or 61… age is just a number’ 

Ok fair enough. At this moment, all I can think of dreaming is to become the first hijabi aikido sensei and the owner of a chain of cheesecake cafes. Bake during the day, teach aikido at night. Lofty dreams! LOL 🙂

Anyway I better try to get some sleep now before I hallucinate even more. But before that, here’s a video of Lea Salonga singing On My Own in Les Miserables. I was smittened by her when I first watched her live in a musical back in my hometown in 1998. It was Into The Woods and I remembered her beautiful face and voice made my jaw kinda drop ( and I am not even going to imagine men’s reaction to her ). She looks and sounds so angelic and each time she sings, it’s as though the world stands still. I am a big fan, like that…

Zero point

Sometimes when I tell the kids I am teaching on the games I used to play when I was a kid, they look at me as though I came from another planet. 

In this era where playstation and other sophiscated computer games rule their world, the games I used to play as a kid have since gone the way of the dodo bird in their world. I told them I used to get a kick playing the ‘ye ye’ or ‘zero point’. They have never heard of that. They never knew that joining many rubber bands together to form a skipping-rope like thing can lead to the fiercest competition amongst girls ( and even boys ) back then.

It was pretty simple, really. Join the rubber bands entertwined with each other until it forms a long rope. At least 3 players are needed, two to hold the rubber rope at each end, one to jump across the varying heights beginning with the ankle and ending with the head. To compete further, an ‘inch’ above the head is added. The rule of the thumb is, no part of our body can touch the rubber rope. Once any part of our bodies accidently touch the rope, the jumper ‘mati‘ and the next person has to jump.  This rule only applies to the waist down levels. There were also the jargons attached to the game. Like the ‘twist’ where one has to jump around the rope held at waist length around 5 times.

Such a simple and cheap game like that teaches kids more than one skill, now that I look back at it. I learnt the names of the body parts bilingually via this game as the rope had to be placed at different heights from the heel, ankle, knee, waist, armpit, shoulder, neck, ear and head. Next, I learnt target setting. Starting from crossing over the zero point and then moving on to the next level, I learnt that once we can jump one height, we can practice to jump higher and higher. It also taught me team work, as when there were 6 or more people playing, we need to be divided into two teams and each member of the team had to cheer on/train other team mates to jump higher. The competition can be quite fierce hence I learnt to be competitive. Not to mention that in all those, my gross motor-skills got trained as well. A bag of rubber bands in those days cost a mere 10 cent. But we learnt all that and more.

There were other games I used to play too. Like the batu selembat, made with green beans sewn into leftover pieces of cloth. There should be 5 mini beanbags and we played by throwing it up into the air and catching them back in some form of patterned movements. This entry actually came about as I was cleaning the library and found a set of batu selembat I bought right after I got married to teach the husband how to play this game. This game taught me precision. How far to throw to catch it back. It also taught me the importance of mastering basic techniques ( for throwing and catching ) before I can engage in other sequences. Hence I learnt the importance of fundamentals.

And oh.. there were the pick up sticks. My childhood friend Budin and I used to collect used satay sticks, washed them and played pick up stick. And there were jelon, goli, congkak and games which needed no equipments at all like ‘sembunyi-sembunyi ( menyorok )’, police and thieves, jelon and the list goes on. Oh the exhilaration of it all!  And they all cost next to nothing. Maybe some did, like my collection of play cards like donkey, old maid, snap and happy family. Each deck of cards was 30 cent a pack. 

When I talk to my students about all these,very often they think I am telling them some fairy tales in long faraway lands. But this was my childhood sans Toy R Us and computer games. The cheap but exhilarating childhood that I had and which they don’t, despite the sophiscated things which money can buy.

 I think it is time to revive those games back, no?

Like a chapter in the past…

By the 2nd day on the resort, we were quite bored already with the resort and itching to explore the island as it is. So in the trusty signature Pangkor pink cab, ( whose driver, an old Chinese uncle born and bred Pankorian used to live and work in Ang Mo Kio for 6 years connected with yours truly almost immediately ) — took us to see the whole island, which is very small indeed. Pangkor was like rewinding life back to the 80s. I loved the idleness of it all. The husband thinks the island is ‘livable’. I think so too as although we were both born and bred in the cities, we have some strange connections with all things rural, and old.


Arriving at the town. Pekan Pangkor which is just 15 min drive from our resort

Like Joo Chiat Road/Kg Jawa in the 80s, kan ?

Where children still get excited by the sight of ‘biskot kati’

Where the messy kedai mamak with the goods hanging from plastic bags reminded me of the similar shops in Jalan Eunos bus depot where I used to get my supplies of KaKa snacks with my then best friend, Budin. We were 5 years old…

With quaint kampung houses

And their signature PINK cabs. Which are actually vans…the only form of public transportation on the island

Where motor kapcais rule the world

..and Bai Roti still runs a thriving business

Where children who have very little have the biggest smile

With the jetty which leads to nowhere. In the background, the more urbanised mainland Perak sets the skyline, and the pace of life different from what we found in Pulau Pangkor…