The glorious and triumphant return of now-19 year old Blogger, the revival of a once-grand and dare I say influential webspace that produced daily content, and the crippling anxiety of a young woman who no longer has any time or motivation to write, and feels like any ability she had acquired in the past through repetition and sheer will alone is now slowly slipping out of her grasp. Brief history of the Blog and Blogger can be found here.

Here be personal journal entries, observations, slices of life, questions and conclusions, as well as exploration of social and political topics seen through the lens of a Malaysian Muslim, feminist, lesbian, Marxist, and horse enthusiast.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hate You From Russia

Admittedly I'm losing the will to write now that I'm not reading anything (it's probably just a really bad backslide that I'll be able to overcome soon, hopefully) and my 'review' of The Princess Diaries, if you can call it that, is all over the place. I pressed publish as soon as I wrote the last sentence, I really don't feel like rereading it tonight or anytime soon. I've never been good at reviewing stuff, and that's just a bummer because I know I can't write like I'm writing a blog post all the time. Patience, I guess. And practice. I'll force myself to write a new, proper one soon.

Speaking of. I got a car. I don't really want to talk about it because there's nothing to talk about. Yeah, it's weird that I have a car and I can't really drive all that well yet. On Wednesday, my parents took me out to practice driving (with my dad's Honda) and it didn't go well. It ended in my mom throwing a fit at me and I had a panic attack and cried my way home (by that point, my dad took over the wheels). I ripped up a boxful of tissues, threw stuff around my room and cried in the shower for about an hour before falling asleep, forgoing any sort of meal until I woke up at ten that night. My mom was all apologetic and bought a ton of Famous Amos cookies, and my dad kept slipping money under my door so I could order food. The only delivery service available at quarter to eleven was McDonald's, so that was my first meal in about 24 hours.

While eating, I had the urge to watch Next to Normal, because that's my go-to musical for just about anything, and now that I wasn't on speaking terms with either of my parents, I figured watching a musical about a family more dysfunctional than mine would calm me down. It helped, somewhat. My cough was still alive and kicking (it's been two weeks) and I had sort of bawled my eyes out for three hours straight that morning so all I wanted at the time was to curl up in bed and watch sad musicals, so after Next to Normal, I put on Once (which I always have such a hard time understanding) and The Last Five Years. Sometime after listening to the Once soundtrack for the forth time in a row, I remembered that I never did watch the movie properly (because I couldn't understand what they were saying) so I downloaded it and brought it with me to Hanna's house.

Her parents and siblings were staying at the Hilton for the night (no idea why, or why Hanna chose not to go with them - she said she's had enough of her family after their trip to Indonesia) so we had the house to ourselves. I tried playing Once on my tablet but of course the sound quality was low and I had trouble understanding the heavy Irish accents even when we put it on the projector in Hanna's parents' room. Most of the movie, Hanna kept squealing and cooing, and she had no idea that it had a sad ending. When she asked me if it was a sad movie, I just smiled maniacally at her. She cried a lot towards the end and then wouldn't talk to me the rest of the night.

Woke up the next morning to Dani mentally torturing me by introducing the idea of a Kum Once AU (well, Falling Slowly is and always has been Kum, we've always been aware of that). Hanna was gone when I woke up because she had to go to the shop and take passport sized photos of her. I was expected to follow her to KL to register for her college. It really astounds me how much Hanna and I are around each other for the big, momentous occasions, like how she was present when I signed up and paid for my O-Levels and also, after I checked my results, and how I accompany her to register for MCKL. When Hanna got back, we spent ages doing nothing, waiting for her dad to swing by and drive us to KL, but when Hanna called him, he said that he didn't recall ever agreeing to send us for this. Like. Parents. They're so.

Since Hanna's dad flaked out, we took the LRT. On the way, my dad called and told me that I should just ask my mom to pick me and Hanna up if we're going out anywhere, since my parents weren't too keen on the fact that Hanna and I took a taxi back home when we went to Midvalley last time around. I didn't tell him that I was on public transport right that very minute, and made up a lie about how Hanna's mom was chaperoning us. Turns out that I didn't need to lie because Hanna's mom called her and said she was picking us up at KL Central. Good, I thought. That meant a car and all my fears of walking several blocks in search of a college campus in the bright heat of a Malaysian afternoon were dashed. On the LRT, Hanna and I talked about parents, and how weird it was that most of the time, they were plain old lousy at the job, because most humans probably weren't cut out for the whole two-and-a-half kids nuclear family bullshit anyways. I suggested that a procedure where baby girls get their uterus taken out early and installed only when they and their chosen life partner undergo and pass an exam of qualified parenting. Invasive, yes. Grossly demeans the autonomy of young babies girls who probably have enough on their plates as it is, definitely. But it's not exactly FGM. It's not a systematic curtailing of women's bodily pleasures or anything like that. Keep the clits, throw out the baby oven. Guys should get their balls off, too. This is a revision to the plan that I should update Hanna on. It shouldn't hurt anymore than it needs to. Males and females alike can enjoy however much sex they want without procreating and, yeah, the idea of the government or some such organisation determining whether you can or cannot reproduce is very dystopic (and realistically insane) but in this fantasy scenario, the current world powers won't be as it is today. I'm thinking of a more socialist society where you can't sell babies on the black market with impunity. Besides, teenagers around the world would rally behind this. Science can evolve. Science should.

We got to KL Central to meet up with Hanna's mom, who gave us money for lunch and promptly disappeared. I wasn't too clear on what the plan was right then but Hanna paid for my lunch so I wasn't too fussed. She then led the way to the Hilton, which was next door, and we sat around waiting for her dad and the rest of the family to come down. Hanna sure was pissed at finding out that her entire family was accompanying her to her college-to-be, right down to the 3 year old toddler. What I wasn't expecting was for Hanna's dad to throw his hand in the air and announce how, even though they had a perfectly serviceable car, we were all going to walk to MCKL. Hanna's dad sure is crazy. On the way home, he started talking about how he wanted Hanna's brother (the oldest one) to take over a farm they were going to one day have. And then he wondered aloud about where they were going to find a goat.

My shoes weren't meant to walk several blocks in the sweltering heat, that was for sure. It was the pair of Crocs flats I had gotten a few years prior, a size or two too small and I hadn't ever bothered exchanging it or doing the sensible thing and throwing it out. I developed blisters within a few blocks and Hanna kept looking down at her phone and saying that we were almost there. We were so not almost there. When we got to MCKL, we were a strange lot. Hanna with her parents, her four siblings and me. While Hanna was signing some visitor pass, I kicked some sand into my eye or the wind blew some dirt it it and I couldn't stop rubbing them. So to recap: blisters on my feet, sweat running down every square inch of my skin, and dirt in my eye. Great. Hanna said it was punishment for having her watch Once the night before. That was probably a mistake. I didn't, in fact, take into account the fact that she had just gotten out of a relationship but to be fair, she was listening to that sad One Direction song about having half a heart almost 24 hours a day. She didn't exactly give off the vibe of someone who would like to saturate their life with cheerful material until the dust has settled a little.

The inside of the registration office or whatever that place is was air conditioned, thank fucking God. I liked the guy who took all Hanna's forms and talked to her parents about fees, because he was a Chinese nerd. Chinese nerds calm me down because they usually work at stores and I deal with them a lot more than say, Chinese non-nerds, or people of any other race, nerd or otherwise. So I asked him whether I could take the candy in the jar and then complained about the heat. He looked appropriately baffled.

I took my shoes off while I swung my legs under the chair when Hanna and her parents started firing questions at the guy. He was gone a lot, though, photocopying stuff, and Hanna's parents would fill in the silence by talking about weird stuff only parents could think to talk about. Stuffing my feet back into the flats was excruciating, and adding socks into the mix didn't help a bit (I found socks in my bag from the last time I wore them. You probably don't want to know when that was). The walk back felt shorter but by the time we were on the escalator back up to KL Central, I couldn't take it anymore. Every single step had my sensitive and reddened skin rubbing against the cruel and unforgiving lining of Crocs shoes. I took off my shoes once we got off the escalator and put my socks on instead. I asked Hanna if she would judge me. Her mom definitely did but then again, I've witnessed the entirety of Hanna's family being weird the whole tiring day, so tit for tat, auntie. Walked around KL Central barefoot. Nobody even noticed. Put shoes on to walk across the road to the Hilton but took them off again once inside. The floors of that place felt like cold butter beneath my aching feet.

It was a really weird day for me, fresh off the emotional exhaustion of fighting with my mom (and physical exhaustion from dry heaving and thrashing around the place during my breakdown), to see the dysfunctional side of someone else's family. Almost serendipitous, I guess you could say, but without the whimsical connotations. Like, obviously I wasn't mad at my mom. The incident didn't make me think any less of her. Didn't exactly make produce warm fuzzy feelings in my chest but I definitely didn't think any less of her. I was more or less just angry at myself for being such a shitty driver, for being so hard on myself, for letting the things my mom say get to me, and for reacting the way I did. The whole thing, all of that. It was all exhausting. And getting to sit in and witness first hand that Hanna undeniably feels the same way about her family, sometimes. That's just reassuring. And this is probably not the best reaction towards a friend of mine having a bad day but the universe gave me this, okay? The universe lined it all up for me and I'm going to take it and be grateful. That was a good pick me up. It was exactly what I needed to get past the roadblock that was the disaster of my first day out driving.

It was raining hard when I got home. I was tired and my eye was still bothering me immensely. My mom picked me up from Hanna's and we went to pick Nisa up. Nisa had apparently been trying to contact me the whole day because she had gone to her grandmother's house early just so she could go to mine. I can't remember the exact details of our protoplans. I think everyone was supposed to sleepover at Hanna's at first but then that plan fell through because Intan couldn't make it so I just asked Nisa whether she wanted to sleepover at my house. I invited Hanna later on for good measure.

But when I had picked Nisa up, she told me that she had a wedding the next day, so she couldn't sleepover after all. Well. It looked like I was going to have another night of Hanna and I was getting quite tired and worn down by then, mostly because of the whole walking a lot and dirt in my eye thing. When we got home, I holed us in my room the whole time and told Nisa she could do whatever she wanted with my computer while I writhed around in pain on my bed. Nisa's laptop wasn't working. That, on top of the fact that her iPod couldn't charge properly and her phone was stolen, left Nisa with pretty much nothing, so she was more than happy to take the opportunity. Or maybe not, but I was more than happy to just not talk to anyone or do anything for more than a few hours.

Hanna arrived later than expected, after I had whined to everyone who would listen about my eye and my mom told me that I should just go to the doctor several times. I think we just sat around and talked as well. There was this thing where Intan tweeted "you know whenever someone sneezes out loud I am going to say bless you out loud" and we rolled around the floor laughing about that for ages. With hands shaking too much due to laughter, I RT'd it and got the rest of them to do it as well. The 3 RETWEETS notification under it still make me shake a little to this day. After that we were pretty much stumped for what to do. My glorious idea was that we take a walk... outside... just. Around the house. To. Walk. And everyone was so bored they agreed to it. So we put our flip flops on and walked around the rain-sodden grass. It was pitch black because none of the lights in the garden ever gets turned on. I led them to the back so we could see Caesar and Smokey through their window. It was... I have no words. I have no idea why I suggested it, much less why the other two went along without any resistance. When we got back, I started Googling for stuff to do, and Nisa found an online 'Would You Rather' game that, surprise surprise, involved a lot of excrement, incest and sexual acts that had Nisa confused.

When Nisa left, Hanna and I retreated into Hanna-and-I mode, in which we hardly talk to each other and just sort of exist in the same space as the other, more or less. There were less words exchanged than normal because we had just spent the past 24 hours together. Enough is enough, you know? Hanna wasn't the only one screaming when Nisa announced that her parents had decided they weren't going to Setia that night anyways, and were sleeping at Nisa's grandmother's house. It took a lot of convincing (and lies) to let Nisa sleepover at my house that night, and with absolutely zero effort on Nisa's parents parts because I was the one who picked her up from her house. That's right! I drove! And I did a u-turn! For the first time, a proper one, on an actual road!

The rest of the night was uneventful. Well. Unless you count when I tripped over my own two feet and managed to tear a huge chunk of skin off a blister. There seemed to be a lot of that going around that day, falling. Nisa tripped and fell on my stairs that evening. It was the least graceful thing I've ever witnessed. Another noteworthy thing was when Nisa discovered Hanna's used pad in my shower. Which reminds me, I don't think I've had my bathroom properly bleached in a while. Things settled down eventually. We got the mattress on the floor but it was a single so Nisa got some thick quilts to sleep on instead. But she made a nice nest thing that ended up looking pretty cozy, actually. I downloaded a terrible cam rip of Frozen because Hanna wouldn't shut up about it and we watched that. Or, well, the two of them did because I fell asleep halfway through. It's funny that I forgot to mention in all of this that I was still sick at the time, because I had completely forgotten that part. But yeah. The whole trek to MCKL was made while my systems were fighting to stay alive and I would sneeze or cough every few minutes. The long day took its toll on me. I couldn't turn the AC off because I had guests so I had to have cold air blowing at me from above as I dozed off, but I dozed off pretty quickly, so that wasn't too bad. I woke up with a papercut throat, though.

Everyone was lazy and lethargic in the morning. Nisa went home early, to go to the wedding. Hanna and I woke up at maybe 12 or 1 in the afternoon and she had the crappy measly lunch my house has offer and I didn't eat anything. My dad wanted to go to the British Council center to pick up my exam certificate that day and we sent Hanna home on the way. I didn't drive because I forgot my glasses and I am technically and certifiably blind otherwise.

We started this thing the day after. Saturday. Elia, Marissa, Sya, Roo and Mei, my Secret Santa gang. Our in-joke #HYFR, pioneered by Elia, one of the greatest minds of the age: 

Nothing happened on Sunday that I can recall, but on Monday, my mom called and told me we were going to Temerloh because my grandfather's in the hospital and it was critical. He had something of a stroke. Now he has really bad short term memory and can't really recognize people. He sits around and sing songs all day, sometimes remembering that grandmother has passed, sometimes not. I don't really want to think about it. You know how much being confronted with mortality unbalances me. I just would rather not. Think. Or talk. So I won't. 

The next days were calmer. I don't recall doing anything other than watch Scrubs and catch up on New Girl and How I Met Your Mother. On Thursday, I had to wake up early because Afreena had just got back from the UK and we were all meeting up at Raihan's house. Well, everyone except for Nisa, who was in Johor for no other reason than she was bored. Bored the week that apparently everything was happening. They had prom just the night before, on Wednesday. Hanna looked slamming. I finally saw pictures of all her close guy friends. Guys are truly hideous creatures. I picked Hanna up first that morning. I drove, with my mom next to me. I was very clear that she had to be nice and quiet and calm the whole way through and I was so happy when we drove all over the place without a single mishap. I got honked at only once on the trip to pick up everyone and dump us all at Raihan's. While at Afreena's, we spent a long time trying to ring the bell and contact her. The gate was actually unlocked so we could have just slid it aside. Her maid finally answered and told us that she had just woken up. So we stuffed her in the car, blurry and not quite awake, and I drove us to Raihan's. My mom left with the car, of course.

Raihan wasn't still asleep, which was quite the surprise. We hung out in her room. She was going to move because her dad wanted an above ground house and a huge yard for grandkids to run around on. See, parents are just the weirdest. He apparently made the decision and bought a plot of land without consulting the rest of the family who were adamantly against moving. They've lived in that house for, like over 20 years. Nobody but Afreena helped with packing and that only last less than ten minutes. Intan arrived soon enough, straight from work, and soon everyone was just rolling around, complaining about food. It was raining like mad so our McDonald's order got automatically canceled (how dare they). Raihan got one of her brother's friend to drive us to McDonald's and we took our food to her house. Somewhere between all this, Nisa messaged me that she wasn't able to make it home before Sunday, so our sleepover on Saturday had to be canceled. She said that I could hate her if I wanted to because she certainly did. Whatever. These things happened. But apparently Intan being pissed off wasn't kosher, so the whole day, Nisa and Intan got snippy with each other on WhatsApp. Intan, Afreena, Raihan and Hanna (and me, of course) agreed that we should all go out on Saturday anyways. And then we plotted the different things we could do to Nisa out of spite. 

I'll continue the following days and events in a separate post, because that's how I've planned it in my head. There's no good ending to this because I'm writing at 3am on Christmas eve.

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