Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Me, The Cheater

I am going to get really candid about my personal life in this blog post, something that I fiercely protect from people. I want to be known for my work, and not the shenanigans that happen in my life off camera.

And today will be the first and the last time I talk about my personal life, and this concerns about my broken relationships. You see, I've only had two serious relationships in my life. The first one lasted 5 years, and the second one that just ended clocked in at 4 years. That also means that I have been attached since I was 18.

And during the duration of both relationships, it was I who cheated. Yes, you read that right; I was the cheating one in the relationship. And maybe your perception of me would change after reading this post but I feel that there is a moral responsibility on my end to talk about cheating or fidelity at large. I am not picking sides with cheaters and neither am I trying to justify my actions. This post I hope, would speak to you and serve as a reminder for those who are in a relationship and those who will be in a relationship in the future.

Cheating is wrong. Everybody knows it and anyone who has indulged in it or had been at the receiving end of it knows of this fact. I am a cheater, and I cheated in BOTH of my relationships. So basically I am scum. And it gets worse: I cheat, repeatedly.

And it has cost me both of my relationships. All those lies, secrets and promises of change amounted to nothing but heartbreak, broken trust and a deep sense of loss. But I have no one else to blame but myself. I knew what I was getting myself into, and yet I went straight into it, thinking to myself "This would be the last time" and then I did it again, and again, and again.

I suffer from the Othello Syndrome. It is the delusion of infidelity of a spouse or a partner accompanied by morbid jealousy and in many cases, cheating on your end to counteract offset that delusion. This syndrome affects, surprisingly more males than females.

This is not an excuse. I have no excuses for my cheating, I was well aware of the fidelity of my partner and that fact alone makes me feel worthless, and worthless is all I have been feeling for the past few days.

Many chances were given and many chances were misused. Many promises were made and many promises were broken. What kills me is the sudden quietness in my life. It is deafening and it kills me every second. But I know better than to seek refuge in others because I am responsible for my own actions and I deserve this deathly sense of loss and pain. It is the only treatment I deserve.

I don't think I will be in another relationship. I don't think I have the emotional capacity to forgive myself for what I've continually done in the past.

Let this serve as a reminder to all of you out there who are cheating at this very moment, or have thoughts about cheating on your partner. Let me tell you this: It's not worth it. You will lose much more than a partner. You will lose respect for yourself. And no person is more pitiful than one who has zero self-respect.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

School For Mothers

I stumbled upon this textbook: How To Be An Effective Working Class Malay Mother. Apparently all our mothers come from this school. Here are the Ten Golden Rules.

1. Threat your kids with death

"Aku terjun baru korang tahu! Bila aku dah mampos baru korang tahu nasib korang!"

2. Compare your kids with other over achieving kids

"Kau tengok anak Cik Timah, semua baik jadinya! Mana yang tak tinggal sembahyang, mana yang pergi universiti. Sejuk perut si Timah tu. Ntahlah, anak-anak aku susah lah, tak boleh jadi macam diorang."

3. Ask for an extravagant amount of money from your kids.

"Jangan bohong dengan aku! Hah, kerja overtime aku tengok hari-hari, buang duit dengan orang tua susah!"

4. Scold your kid's friends who sneak into your house when you're not in.

"Ah bagos!! Masuk satu-satu macam pencuri! Berambus pun macam pencuri!!"

5. Use "Kau nak jadi setan?!" at least once a day.

"Kau maghgrib-maghgrib tak tahu nak balik eh!? Kau nak jadi setan?! Ah bagus, bawak anak dara mana ntah balik rumah. Kau nak jadi setan?! Yer, subur-subur semua masih membuta. Kau nak jadi setan?!"

6. Sad, sacrificial stories. Use your tears.

"Aku selama ni korban, tangan jadi kaki, kaki jadi tangan besarkan korang tapi satu anak pun tak kesiankan aku. Sob. Dari kecik aku bela sampai dah besar panjang. Sob. Ni balasan korang kat aku? Sob, sob, sob.

7. When your kid turns 21, every day, you must ask them about marriage.

"Bila aku nak timang cucu? Bila kau nak kahwin? Kau takda kawan ker? Bila nak bawak kawan kau balik rumah?"

8. And when they bring their gf/bf home, criticise.

"Betina/jantan apa kau bawak balik? Pakai tak senonoh, dengan orang tua tak tahu salaman, bagus lah, jantan/betina gini kau nak jadikan bini/laki?!"

9. If you have a son, always threat that his future wife will never be like you. If you have a daughter, threat that she will never be like you.

"Nanti kau kahwin bini pengotor, baru ah kau tahu langit dengan bumi. Situ tempat tido, situ tempat main, situ jugaklah dia menyerakkan."


"Kau memang tak boleh pembersih macam aku. Buat kerja rumah punya pemalas, masak, haram! Nanti kau dah kahwin, kasi laki kau cekik Maggi hari-hari!"

10. Nag. Nag about everything. Minimum is two hours. Great mothers nag throughout the night and continue till next morning.

I don't have enough space to type the nagging. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


It has been ages hasn't it? This is going to come across as an insincere reason but I have been incredibly busy. And I meant in it's truest sense. The fact that I have time to sit down (lying down actually) in front of my MacBook and type this post out is a miracle in itself.

Bonda Bedah and Mak Temah's popularity has been gaining incredible momentum and I have been busy with my work as a drama trainer (IT NEVER ENDS) and little holidays in between.

So anyways, here I am again. Hopefully this starts off yet another slew of snarky and hopefully hilarious posts on this recently abandoned blog. Haha.

One thing that I would like to share with all of you in this returning post is the reason for the feeling of pride in my little chest. I took part in the 24 Hour Playwriting Competition by TheatreWorks and given the fact that I have to complete writing an entire play in 24 hours and I slept halfway through it, it is a miracle that I got 3rd place for it!

YES! 3rd place yo. Pretty drag proud of myself. I haven't had the courage to go for these competitions because of this thing called self-doubt (I have it, and in excess whether you believe it or not) but man. First time, and already clinching the 3rd place speaks a lot about what I have always been afraid to do.

My play was titled Lanang (Boy) and although they left out half of my father's name (see the link below), I am happy I did it. So here at A Son Of A Peach, I am going to share with you snippets of paragraphs from the play. Hope you all enjoy reading it!

Synopsis: Following the death of an enigmatic matriarch, Hajjah Ruminah Binte Salimin, the play talks about how her favourite grandson, Adi Bin Razali, and her daughter Habsah Binte Marzuki, cope with regret, unfulfilled dreams and the fragility of life. The relationship between mother and son is further strained when Habsah, after the death of her mother becomes a completely different woman than she was before, much to the disappointment of her son.

This one man play (one actor, two roles) aims to showcase a beautiful and many times, a flawed relationship between a boy and his grandmother and a daughter with her mother.

Lanang (Boy), a play by Hafidz Abdul Rahman

My grandmother, Hajjah Ruminah Binte Salimin was an immigrant from Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. At the age of five, she came to Singapore with my great grandparents and settled in a small village in Jalan Eunos. At the age of 14, she was married to her first of three husbands. When she married my grandfather, her third marriage, she was 24 years old and would in the end gave birth to 13 children, 10 boys and 3 girls. My mum was the youngest girl, the third last sibling in this huge family.

My grandmother never went to school, never touched a book. She was, as some would put it, the quintessential uneducated, child bearing Malay housewife. And like every quintessential uneducated, child bearing Malay housewife, she toiled with her bare hands to raise a family. A huge family may I add.

My late grandmother had a gift. She was a brilliant masseuse. Dislocated knees, sore muscles, pregnancy related problems that require a rub here or a stretch there; she could do it all. So at 35 years old, she decided that she didn't want to sell food and kuehs from a makeshift stall by the roadside anymore and decided to put her gift to good use. She would work as a masseuse and help her husband find more income to provide sustenance for her growing family. And before long, she was sought after by everyone on this island. This was the start of her 35 year long career as a masseuse.


She used to affectionately call me “Lanang”, which is Javanese for “Boy”. She would spend her afternoons watching programs broadcasted only on Indonesian channels with the help of a TV antenna that my mother had bought for her at Yaohan, now known as Thomson Plaza.

The reception was never clear and the images shown on the television screen were always grainy but my late grandmother didn't mind it at all. I guess that was her small little way of holding on to a piece of home; being able to watch an Indonesian channel on television, even if everything was grainy and hazy.

And that was how I got bitten by the Bollywood bug. Every afternoon at 4pm, Surya Citra Televisi, otherwise known as SCTV, would air old Bollywood movies till seven in the evening, just in time for the Mahgrib prayers. So there I was, lying down, head resting on my late grandmother's outstretched arm and watching an old Bollywood movie as usual. It was a hot afternoon and my grandmother smelled of baby talcum and a hint of lemongrass oil. I, till this day, will never be able to forget that smell.


And for the first time ever, I finally understood the magnitude and the amount of love that my late grandmother had for me. I knew my late grandmother would do anything for me. She was a very strict lady or at least that was what my mother told me, but her generosity was unparalleled. If she was down to her last dollar and you were in need, my grandmother would give the dollar to you, without batting an eyelid. That was why her sustenance in my opinion never seem to cease, no matter how much people owed from her, no matter how much she spent on her children and grandchildren. I guess that was God's way of rewarding her.


Fast forward two years and here we are in my living room, and a paranoid mother to boot. I know my mother is getting better and she has learnt to cope with the death of my grandmother pretty well. I miss my late grandmother. But more than that, I miss my mother. I miss the old Habsah Binte Marzuki. Coping with the death of a loved one is not easy. But when you come to terms with the very fact that everyone will die, one way or another and you accept the fact that there is nothing you can do to stop it, only then will you realize the importance of now, the present. I am starting to feel like a motivational speaker here but really now, in all honesty, you can mull over the past and you can plan for the future but never forget the importance of the present.

The present is not a memory, not a likelihood, it is tangible, it is seizable and it is meant to be appreciated and lived, vicariously, precariously and may I add, lovingly. If anything else, the death of my grand mother taught me one thing. A mother can take care of ten children, but you don't know whether the ten children can even take care of one mother. My grandmother had thirteen children, and yet she died all alone. (pause) I better go fetch my brother from school now. Beacause if I don't, let alone the present, I won't have any future whatsoever. (smiles and walks upstage right, exits)


My sisters were probably right. I probably drove him crazy with my uncompromising stance on cleanliness. No wife would want to admit that she is a nag, but if there is an award for nagging, I'd probably win it. And I have 19 years of experience in nagging so that probably is a good foundation to drive anybody crazy.

My divorce was a fairly peaceful process. There wasn't any fights, there wasn't any arguments about who would get the custody of the children. When I got divorced, after 19 years of marriage, my eldest son Adi was already turning 19 and my youngest was already 13 years old so my children were already big and definitely didn't suffered from any of that post divorce traumatic syndrome rubbish. My kids were very wise beyond their age and they respected our decision to separate. So I had it easy, to be honest. There wasn't any tantrums, any tears, any tension. A trip to the family court was all it took. My divorce was finalized in less than half an hour.


Throughout my marriage with Razali, my mum have helped me on the side by constantly buying for my household needs. Razali is a carpenter and he has been working at the same company for over ten years and he was happy working and drawing a minimum wage. I had to go work in order to get extra income for my family. I have four mouths to feed at home! My mum, Hajjah Ruminah Binte Salimin, bless her soul, she would accompany me on my weekly trip to Geylang Serai for grocery shopping on the pretext of accompanying me but when it comes to paying, her hand was always the quickest to pay for things first.

Nevermind, use that money for your children” was what she would always say to me. My son Adi was her favourite grandson, much to the annoyance of my other siblings. Even they had children and even they were Hajjah Ruminah's grandchildren. Why the unconditional love and showering of gifts be reserved only for Adi my son?


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why I'm Thankful Of Being Singaporean

Dear Stephanie Micayle (Mycale? Micyale? Whatever),

Now before I start, I would like to request that before you start reading the content of this letter, I want you to adopt a new fake accent; something exotic preferably, whichever you think is good enough for your Aussie bottom (I recommend something Scandinavian or any accents from Eastern Europe). Alright, ready? Good, now we're set and good to go.

Oh honey, where do I start?

Okay let's do something first. I want you, right now, at this very moment, to think about your parents, about your friends and families, about the happiest place that you love to hang out at, about your favourite Starbucks drink, your favourite website to visit daily, your funniest part-time job experience.

I want you to think and recollect on all those things and now, I want you to step back and realize and come to terms with this fact, this well known fact, that there are millions, MILLIONS out there who have nothing.


They have no parents, no friends and families, no jobs, no Starbucks to go to, never set foot in a place to hangout and chill with friends, no access to the internet and to the world, no clothes on their back…nothing.

So who are we to sit in front of our computers and bemoan about our plight and lack of reasons to be proud of our country? To say, "I am not proud to be a Singaporean" and then list down every single thing and reasons for saying so?

Yes Stephanie, this country is incredibly flawed and needs to be changed in the way it is being governed but is gratitude too much to ask for? Even I am not in agreement of many things that is happening in Singapore but I am thankful, I'm thankful that I get to wake up and see my parents, friends and family members, that I am able to put food on the table and am able to have three square meals a day and to go out as and when I desire.

Because I choose to see things in the bigger picture. Yes, I'm typing this out to you in a small four by four metre room, a pathetic pigeonhole and a far cry from bigger, more spacious rooms out there in the world. But I have a roof over my head. And so do you.

I have a roof that protects me from the rain and the sun. There are no bombs, missiles and snow falling down through this small four by four metros pigeonhole of a room.

I am thankful that the girls in this country can roam around in the streets at two in the morning (or any time of the day to be honest) and not get raped, beaten, bludgeoned to death.

I am thankful that my mum is able to walk around in public with her hijab intact, and proudly pinned on her head. In some countries, my mum could be fined, thrown into jail and sometimes beaten for wearing the hijab in public.

I am thankful that I am not living in a refugee camp, living in makeshift tents (okay those people at Changi Beach don't count).

So Stephanie, it is okay if you're not proud to be a Singaporean (trust me, even I feel the same way many, many times during the course of my existence) but be thankful of what you have. A little gratitude goes a long way.

If you don't like how your country is being run, CHANGE it. We are the next generation of Singaporeans. If you don't like your government, change it. Don't sit down and list out all of your grouses and not do anything about it, and worse while residing in another country. The elections are going to happen, YOU change it.

I know I will.

We need to stop this whole misguided sense of entitlement that our generation has right now, at this very moment.

If you fail at everything, migrate (I presumed that you have so nobody will be stopping you now would they?). But don't complain about something when you can do something about it but you don't. Because if you don't and the rest of our generation doesn't, then we're basically screwed.

And we have only OURSELVES to blame. Cause believe it or not, we have, as a nation, the power to change our country, but all we seem to do is to whine about it.

And of course as an artist you cannot make it in Singapore, everybody knows that. Have you seen Mediacorp? That is why artists like JJ Lin, Tanya Chua, Taufik Batisah, Stephanie Sun, Hady Mirza and many, many, many others go regional or global. The world now is so small Stephanie, nobody is asking you or our artists to remain here and bemoan about your stunted growth as an artist that is in a country that doesn't nurture your talent.

If you have the talent, you'll make it. Anywhere and everywhere. Talent and luck is all it takes, every self-respecting artist knows that.

Talent sustains. Complaining does not.

Now you can reach the world via YouTube…oh wait, you've done that already. So what is this whole "Singapore and Talents and Artists" talk about then Stephanie? Hmm? Aren't you already the "only Singaporean" in that talent show? This, I'm having trouble understanding.

In conclusion, though I honestly agree with you on many things that you have said in your video, I do wish that you would have handled the topic with a bit of gratitude and fairness to you famous statement.

Our generation needs to learn how to be a doer instead of a whiner. Our generation needs to know and understand the magnitude of their luck of having been born and raised in Singapore, a country questionably bridled with the flaws in its governance but have given them, simply, a childhood to come out ALIVE of.

And there are millions of children out there who sees our supposedly frustrating and monotonous regime of a life as their idea of a dream life.

And until we stop and do something about out country instead of sitting down and complaining (which to be fair is perfectly acceptable and dare I say it, encouraged once in a while to let off some steam) about it, nothing will be changed if our future generation doesn't change it themselves except for a growing list of grouses over time.

And yes, count your blessings while you're still at it.

A Son Of A Peach

My Ass-pirations

My 13 year old nephew is going for a CCA day at his school this coming weekend and he had texted me in Whatsapp (yes, our family is very big on texting, don't judge) asking for my opinion and I replied, "Anything that's not dance related. You have got two left feet, don't embarrass yourself."

That text got me thinking about careers and aspirations. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to share with all of you my aspirations when I was younger in this blog post.

When I was a small kid, I couldn't be older than nine years old; I harbored a deep desire to be a lawyer. I think we can all agree that as kids, our dreams were very lofty. A doctor, a pilot, a lawyer, a policeman, a scientist etc. Even my late grandmother had wanted me to become a lawyer.

My mum however wasn't sold on the idea. I wanted to put the bad guys in jail, fight crime and spend my days saying, "Yes your honour, no your honour, three bags full your honour" and earn lots and lots of money.

My mum however said, "If there is a snake and a lawyer in front of you, you will kill the lawyer first you understand? Lawyer first! Then the snake! A lawyer twists his words more than a snake can coil and for that he or she should be killed first!"

So you can imagine why my lawyer dream didn't blossom further during primary school.

In secondary school, I then started to harbor a deep desire to be a radio presenter or a newscaster. I would buy newspapers (Only the government sanctioned, the one sided, disgusting The Straits Times for me thank you very much) on a daily basis and read out loud all the articles for about an hour. I found the idea of reaching hundreds and thousands of people an exhilarating affair.

I never came around to being one but after two years of practice, I came out with near perfect diction and reading capabilities. Oral exams became a walk in the park and I took part in various oratorical, story-telling and debate events in school and out of it.

When I was 15, I had a great desire to be a literature teacher. I figured that I would be a brilliant educator and would make literature an easy and fun subject for my students; complete with music, song, dance, pantomimes and drama. For the next couple of years I toyed with the idea of being an A* Lit teacher.

It is also during these two years that I started to fall in love with theatre and the performing arts. I was so heavily involved in it during secondary school that after my "O" levels, I made up my mind to enroll in an arts college to pursue my tertiary education.

And so I got into Lasalle, after doing an Anton Chekov's Three Sisters Monologue for the audition piece.

By 17 years old, I wanted to be a playwright and an actor. I would go home from college and write mini monologues for myself. In fact, I even wrote an unfinished (they always remain unfinished) play titled Heat.

The story revolves around an ironing board and how different people from different lives reflect on their existence while ironing their clothes.

Typing that made me smile. I was so idealistic. I told myself, "You're going to write a play, go to a theatre company and have it staged three months later to a full house." Little that I know that the whole process is an impossible dream because simply, my plays weren't completed; an unfinished product.

But to be honest, wanting to be a playwright was my last dream career. and it stayed on for so long because it is a feasible possibility for me.

All I got to do is finish up on all these half-finished plays that I wrote back in college. And who knows, maybe one day, you will get to watch one of my "yet-to-be-completed" play on stage. And that of course is a huge stretch.

I cannot even finish a blog post and have it published on time sometimes, let alone a full play. (: