Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lelaki berkebolehan

I’m almost 30 years old of age. I’ve done a number of things, some I’m proud of, some totally cringeworthy. However, there are three things that I’ve done that I am very proud of. 

I’ll start off the list with something that I can’t even recall completely. I was in university at that time, in a meeting. What essentially happened was that what I had said earlier was quoted by a friend in the meeting. The thing is, I don’t even remember what it was that I had said. I’m pretty sure that it was something original and I remember feeling impressed with myself for being verbally quoted by someone. Anyone from back then still remember what it actually was? 

The second thing had happened earlier, but I remember it a lot more clearly. I was seventeen and home from boarding school during a gap between the SPM papers. The cistern in one the toilets wasn’t working properly, so my mother got a new one. The problem was my father wasn’t around, so I had to install it, even though I wasn’t the handiest person around with tools and plumbing. Seriously, my Kemahiran Hidup PMR project was so lousy. It was one of those tacky wooden shelves with a lid that lights up and plays songs when it is opened, only that somehow the lid on mine could only be opened partially and it didn’t light up and play songs. It was THAT shoddily-made. Anyway, back to the cistern. To make things more complicated, the new cistern didn’t come with an installation manual. But I didn’t feel like disappointing my mother at that time, so I took the plastic bag apart and started tinkering with the parts. And what do you know. After half an hour of “Maybe this goes there...” and “now what the hell is this?!”, I finally managed to put the whole thing together, and it worked fine, too! I was really proud of myself at that time. And I still am. I’m a man, and admittedly society requires men to be handy with tools and repairs. We can debate until the cows come home about how gender stereotypes are just a social construct, but for me personally, that is one demand towards men that I must be able to fulfil for me to feel like a proper man. It might not sound like much, but hey, no manuals. Maybe one of these days I should get a plaque made to commemorate that event, and get it pasted on the toilet door. Maybe if I’m famous sometime in the future, my fans (or my devotees. Oooohhhh...) will flock in droves to pay respect to that particular toilet. What should I write on the plaque? 

“He got his hands dirty to make this toilet clean“ 

I should probably keep working on it. 

The last thing in the list happened in 2011. I can’t tell too much about it, although this time it isn’t because of my prematurely-failing memory. It’s due to privacy and safety. Basically put, what happened was I jumped five FRUs who were jumping a guy whom I didn’t even know. How I came to be in that situation I can’t explain. But suffice to say we weren’t doing anything illegal, it’s not like I was a Mat Rempit helping his buddy escape a roadblock or anything like that. However, the raw and unbridled threat posed by my imposing physique was quickly and rather effortlessly neutralised by the rest of the FRUs who weren’t jumping the guy I was supposedly trying to save. I mean come on, I’m 55 kg and 170 cm; what do you think was going to happen? I was restrained and one cowardly senior officer then even took the chance to sock it to me. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt at all. I had expected more from a member of the armed forces. I guess that’s what happens when you only take cheap shots, and at restrained adversaries. You turn into a weakling. Also: Pigs go oink oink. But later the dude I was trying to save and I managed to slink away from custody because the cops then had their hands full with other things. Or they just didn’t feel like coming up with the paperwork needed to charge the two of us. 

So why am I proud of this particularly thuggish episode in my life? First of all, like I explained earlier, the people I was with at the time weren’t up to anything illegal. The dude I was supposedly trying to rescue, had not committed any offence. In fact, it came to light later that day that the FRUs were only stopping us because they had thought we were about to get into a fight. Couldn’t they just have asked first?! But then again if they had the smarts to ask first, they wouldn’t need to become cops for a living, to begin with. But more importantly, I am very proud of this moment because I have always read about people who risk their own safety and even lives to rescue complete strangers who are facing danger without thinking twice, and I’d like to think that I’m made of the same stuff as these selfless heroes, after that incident. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who is brave enough to help others who are in dire need by putting aside my own needs and safety. I hope I don’t sound like I’m bragging. That’s not my intention. I just want to share with you how I function. 

In fact, I don’t exactly know why I wanted to write about these so-called achievements of mine. Maybe it’s because I’ve quit my current job and needed to remind myself of what I am capable of doing. Oh, haven’t I told you? I’m leaving Jeli and Kelantan at the end of this month.

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