Dear Daddy

Suddenly, I miss my dad.

Like, I know I miss my dad – it’s not a feeling that you can switch on and off. Well, sometimes you can. I know that’s what I do most of the time now. When there’s stuff to focus on I keep the focus and switch it off. It helps to not think. It also helps to not focus on the negatives like how I was home 6 months ago and dad was there and now after 6 months he’s gone. Or how I shouldn’t have done this and stayed closer to home and perhaps it would have lessen my guilt. Or how I should have been a better daughter…you know, fulfilled his dreams or something.

I guess I’ve never had the chance to properly grieve for the loss of my dad. When he was feeling sick I was halfway around the world, trying to do my job while keeping an eye and an ear for updates on dad’s health. When I was in the middle of packing to catch my flight in the afternoon, news came that he was already gone. My reaction to the news scared me to be honest. I was calm and accepting. I was sad but I was keeping it together. My room mate couldn’t keep it together and he wasn’t even her father to begin with. I think I was staying strong because 1) I have a few flights to catch, 2) I didn’t want to be bawling all over the ship 3) I didn’t want anyone to worry about me and 4) Because there’s nothing I can do to bring him back.

So there I was, rushing to the HR, rushing to pack, rushing to the airports and finally back home. I saw his body lying in state, I saw my family and I saw my relatives. The brave front stayed on, until today. I just can’t afford to lose it. It has always been us looking at dad, looking at mum, depending on them to be the adults. Suddenly mum is looking at us and so yeah, we are the adults now.

I admit that there is a part of me that blames him for leaving so soon. Like why do you have to go before I came back? Why do you have to curse me with this eternal guilt of being the daughter that wasn’t there? Those were the thoughts of my childish mind. When I try to reason properly with that child, I know that my dad would always want me to be happy. Maybe he didn’t want me to forget the vision I have of him before I went away – not the shadow that was left when cancer consumed him. Maybe he was happy to know that I’m on my way home – and that was enough to bring him peace. Maybe…

So right now, I’m feeling part guilt, part anger and part acceptance. It doesn’t matter which part is bigger – his presence is still a big part of our lives as a family. I know we all think about him and will  continue to do so as  we carry on with our lives. It’s cocky of me to say it but I’m my daddy’s girl.

It’s been a great 29 years with you dad. Do watch over us and we’ll see you soon.

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Challenging the Asian Life Formula

“Is that like your dream job?” my inquisitive co-worker asked.

“Well, it’s not really a dream job”.

My dream job consists of me having no job yet the ability to spin money out of pure Malaysian humidity which will make me very rich indeed.

Many have questioned my sudden decision. Most who probably feel I’m having “delusions of grandeur”. Who knows, maybe I am. Some people, probably out of  sheer politeness or maybe  just out of plain shock said nothing. Some people asked too much. Some people were feeding me lines I don’t want to hear. Yep, the rules to the Asian Life Formula.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the guide to living a somewhat “successful”  Asian life, there are a few stages to which you go through in life.

First, you study hard. And make sure you get into University because that’s what most people do.

Then you get a “good” job once you graduate. I thought I knew what a good job was. I believe good in that context meant something stable and most likely in an office setting. I guess the worse  you could do is not have a job rather than have a bad job, haha.

You then get a spouse, get married, buy property (doesn’t really matter if you can afford them or not or whether it makes sense, property is stability!). After that, have kids and slog away raising them and paying your mountain of debt. Your kids will grow up and hopefully be decent people  of society.

Don’t get me wrong and don’t start flying into a rage.

I know some people who did well and are happy with their lives. It’s really nice to come home to a cosy house  and family and go to work knowing everything is going well. But this isn’t me.

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell”. I quote Belle from Beauty and the Beast, lol. Darn those Disney movies. And the Little Mermaid? “When’s it my turn? Wouldn’t I love? Love to explore the shore up above?” Again I digress.

I had my fair share of the whole Asian formula thing. I went to school, didn’t study much but hey I did get pretty decent grades. I went to university. Had boyfriends. Worked with some amazing companies.

“Still no boyfriend?”

“Still not married?”

“People your age should focus on a stable career.”

“Are your parents okay with this?”

You know, I might really wake up one day and regret everything I said today. I might even laugh at myself for being so stupid. Like har har, should have just stayed with that job and all this shit wouldn’t have happened , har har.

But I want to be foolish.

I want to go all out and be out there, instead of wishing I have done it. I couldn’t give two toots to the kind of life that wants me to settle – married with 10 babies and all.

Most likely I wouldn’t end up rich, famous or driving a BMW. But I’m cool with that.

 

 

Living a Solo Life – Being Sick

I had this conversation with a friend earlier over lunch.

I told her, “I’m actually at a pretty happy place right now.” I enjoy my freedom. I enjoy the peace. I am pretty happy with the solitude.

It’s quite nice being independent and single, living in the city. Being able to eat whatever and whenever I want. Having no curfew, no expectations on what time to call home.

Went home and took a nap, woke up at 7-ish in the evening and felt a nagging pull on my lower abdomen. The twinge is almost too familiar. It’s gas, wind, flatulence and I’ve had too much of it, as usual. Probably due to bad nutrition, I’ve had a pretty rumbly stomach for the past week now.

The instant I felt the cramping pain I recalled how bad the full fledged attack was on me. I was in my teens and had to call my dad on my cell from the next room to come get me up from the bed because I was too much in pain. The thought of that happening to me here got my heart pounding. One because I am all by myself. Two because I know that nobody really cares enough to come over. Three because I’m really bad at depending on someone. It’s either the upbringing or the pride but I don’t like to trouble anyone if I can help it. Which is why I’ll probably be found as a dried up corpse by the time someone gets to me.

So in fear of having to crawl down approximately 20 steps and driving myself to the hospital, I quickly opened my box of medicine, all taken from my past visits to the doctors. Some of the labels read Pain, Stomach Pain, Gas, Nausea etc. No idea which is for this kind of pain so I Googled the names of the medicine (what will we ever do without Google) and swallowed a pill. Literally.

I feel better now after burping out gas (and farting some) so let’s just pray it goes away soon and I’ll have no trouble giving myself a full body stretch before bed, lol.

Do I still love my life? Yes.

Do I still enjoy solitude? Yes.

Do I want to be alone? Maybe, with someone I can depend on who is within a 3km radius that I can call for help.

 

28

So I just celebrated my 28th birthday.

I’ve lived for 28 years.

But what is living actually? What kind of life?

My family isn’t rich and I was brought up in typical Malaysian fashion, education first and other things second. I studied in a mainstream school and later on went to private university, mainly because my grades weren’t “good enough” for the public tertiary system. I can say for sure that when I was growing up, I wasn’t a very driven individual. I have no goals and no dreams of becoming someone. Nothing inspires me and at most, I was a “kinda” person. Most of the time, I got pretty okay grades because fortunately enough, I am pretty smart (or so I think). I sailed through my whole schooling life pretty much that way. I started taking school a little more seriously in Form 6. I started being really into school when I entered uni.

I think that being in a working class family, my parents’ didn’t have time or energy to focus on our education and inspire us to dream big. My siblings and I were more or less raised by our grandmothers and left to our own devices after school. So that could be a reason for my disinterest and lack of drive.

It just sort of feels weird to me right now that at that point of time, the future never really seem to bother me. I did remember that I wanted to enroll in Limkokwing University (prestigious design uni in Malaysia) when I finished my Form 5 but my mum said “No money, just go to Form 6”. I didn’t even try to find out what other options I have.

So all that aside, I wanted to study in the city. I did receive some protests from family but a real big part of me really wanted to go out and “see the world”. You know, the whole grow up thing and you’ll never get a chance to do it once you don’t do it sort of idea. My dad supported me financially while I took an education loan from the government and finished my degree. Fast forward to now, I’ve been bouncing back and forth getting job experiences and pretty much liking what I do.

Now is that living?

I’ve done the typical Asian “life path” plan thingie. Study, graduate from university, get a good job. Next in line would be to get into a relationship, buy a house and get married. I wouldn’t be able to afford a house in my current situation. “But you can always find someone and share the house between the two of you”. I’ve been in a few relationships and let’s just say, I’m pretty contented with being single right now. Relationships seem to get more complicated as you grow and at times, being without one means having less drama to deal with. I’ll just have a glass of wine and go to sleep with my “imaginary boyfriend” pillow, haha. So nope. Not sure if parents will be disappointed but I think they understand.

Living – in my context is living your life in the path of your goals and dreams. You may not have achieved your dreams but you are driving yourself towards it. We can all have numerous dreams and waking up everyday knowing you are doing something to make it happen is living.

I have dreams now, plenty in fact.  I want to travel to places. Try different food. See different views and faces. Move out of the country. Spend more time with family. Have a house with a garden. See the northern lights. Eat crabs in Alaska. Dabble in new hobbies. Learn diving. Learn new languages. So many things that many people have done but so many have not.

I want to live.

365 Days of Gratitude: Day 1

*Had this inspiration to start a 365 day journey of gratitude where I try to look at things from a better and higher perspective in life. This first post was taken from my Twitter account after watching our national badminton player’s match during the Olympics*

We will never be able to comprehend the amount of sacrifice made on your part, from missing out important moments with family & friends, the pain and struggle of training and injuries, the huge amounts of stress and expectations being put on your shoulders. Winning might just mean an extra medal, a little bit of glory and maybe a day of holiday for some but I think it is amazing that you are able to do that on a day to day basis without giving up. For me, that’s the true spirit of a hero and a sportsman.

Thank you, sportsmen and sportswomen of Malaysia.