12 February 2010


Saturday, June 20, 2009

I don’t know if I am old enough to claim that the years have surely passed. The incontinent geriatrics may scoff at my claims to age, but youth is not convincingly mine either. Even 35 year-old taukehs call me uncle.

Nay, I do not lament that. I have never feared ageing. I fear the unknown discomfort of crossing over to the next life, admittedly, and my hope is that the progress in medical science will render that as comfortable as passing through a turnstile.

There are many things of particular significance that elude me still. My wisdom is less watertight than this twisted world requires it to be, and my forbearance is not nearly as strong as the daily ordeal behind the steering wheel would demand. So far, frailty hasn't made me resigned to the choices my daughters will make in their suitors. I fear sometimes that my son has not caught on that strength is in being ‘quick to be broken, to heal again’. But these anxieties have not been summoned to the fore, providing some strand of evidence that not all has passed me by, that it is not yet time to panic, as I turn 45. In ammunition, that would denote calibre. That interpretation surely does not apply to one not born with his psyche poisoned by the slow infusion of argentum upon his lips.

But once in June 1964, a babe was born looking as clueless then as he does today.

Life was rather disquieting for an abandoned child, contending for attention, affection and affirmation that was not to be forthcoming growing up amongst those who were not my very own.

Adventure and misadventure were both mine to taste in varying proportions. It was a raggedy life, an awakening to many truths and the sustaining of some inevitable scars. And all that time, I had no idea that four years apart from mine entry into this askewed world, was another born to completely turn my life around.

Today, it becomes difficult for me to recognise yesterday. By her side then, is where I find the greenest of pastures I could ask for, the still waters that revive, that quench, that make me restful. From here springs all in whom I have my delight. I know not what manner of angel or saint resides in her, but I know that I have been tormented into being a better person because she stayed. Likewise, rapture has been mine for the knowing, so to be drawn into trusting that life is as much to be enjoyed as it is to be worked at and nurtured. Surely it has taken more strength than I know any man to embody to risk a journey by my side, to courageously cast out my demons and in so doing sustain as much or more pain herself in my wake as my imagination would have me believe was mine alone.

But do not misunderstand me, because domestication has its delights. I mean, I once hated chocolate, for goodness' sake. But because of her, I would now without second thought trade my soul for Ritters.
Through her I have come to know the laborious joy of raising children, of being part of their rising in the morning to their laying to sleep at night as often as good fortune would allow. Though I have not been there for the better part of their lives, such as this call of duty does dictate, I know that my life would be bitterly impoverished for their absence.

Therefore as I rest one foot upon the juncture of my 45th year, it appears unimportant to muse upon the mercurial evasion of youth, the greying of my tussock top-which actually began when I was twelve, the creeping long-sightedness, the irreversible hearing loss.....

The word here then, is thanks.

That is the only word befitting her gift on this day, when the bottle of oaken gold single malt rested in my hands in stout and reassuring fashion.

Like that gift, some things linger long after the giving.

Moreso now the fear of death for being bereft of all these who make my life worth the living.

I still have today. Perhaps then, I may have tomorrow. Abundant then shall the gift have been on account of that.
And girls, please be smart like your mother and pick someone at least like your father, or just outdo her, that we may all live in peace.

Yes, son. Go forth, get married, be fruitful and multiply. May your joys be plentiful and your parents' vengeance on you complete when you make us proud grandparents.


  1. Reading this made me cry, Matisa.

  2. Ms Yeoh, I hope they were not tears of sorrow

  3. awwwww... so sweeettttt... i love this entry the most... :D

  4. Thanks miss Rozyana. That's kind.