Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I'm BAAAAAAAAACK!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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?

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1 comment:

  1. welcome back to the world of blogging, Hafidz! ^^
    and congratulations on the success of Lepak One Korner ^.^

    ReplyDelete