Thursday, January 30, 2014


One of my colleagues from work, suddenly broke the surprising news to me : her only son was planning to get engaged and she wanted me to help her with the 'hantaran'. She said that she wanted something simple since she was running out of time. The 'merisik' and 'bertunang' is going to take place during the Chinese New Year holiday and she has to make the journey to Melaka since that is where the girl's family lives. I told her to go back and discuss a few things with her son since I did not want to work without any ideas and plans. I needed information. I also told her that great news like this should be shared since many people, especially friends and family members, would love to contribute something for the 'hantaran'. Initally, she was a little bit reluctant since she did not want to bother other people. I told her that sooner or later, she still had to tell the others about the occasion and some people might feel offended for not being able to be involved. I was right (as usual, of course). A few people wanted to be part of it. A colleague lent the 'dulang' for the gifts. Two more colleagues wanted to give a fruit basket and cookies. Another ex-colleague helped with the 'lipatan'. Her own sister volunteered to prepare the 'sirih junjung'. And what did I do? Basically, nothing. I only told her to go and survey a few wedding supplies stores so she could get an idea of the concept and look that she (or her son) wanted. She went with her daughter and came back with the gifts and supplies needed to complete the 'hantaran'. Everything was nearly completed and she seemed very happy with the result. She still has to do the final touch since not all the flowers and decorations are permanently fixed onto the 'dulang'. But I guess she is going to have a fun time doing that with her family members who will be accompanying her all the way to Melaka. Congratulations, dear friend. You are going to be a mother-in-law soon!

Friday, January 24, 2014


I read with great interest the different opinions given by Netizens regarding the need for law on filial piety in Malaysia and I have to say that the time is right to enact a bill that can protect the well-being of the elderly especially those who are in need of special care and attention. Filial piety has always been one of the key virtues emphasised in Asian societies and it is diminishing in importance at a very alarming rate. I am not sure what the root cause for this lack of empathy and compassion is but the number of cases of the elderly being neglected and abandoned in Malaysia is certainly growing. To me, the bond between children and their parents can never be broken despite children being abused, neglected or disowned by their parents when the children were young. Because of this, some people might think that they are not obligated to care for their parents since their parents did not carry out their parental duties as should be. It is sad to hear when children have to justify their reluctance to care for their parents due to some unfortunate events that happened in the past. There is no way that we can turn back time but there is always a way that we can correct a situation. Some people even try to shift the duty of caring of their parents to others. I have seen quite a few cases of senior citizens being left totally in the care of strangers. There have also been cases of children marrying off their widowed parents so their parents can be taken care of by their more able-bodied spouses. Some only send the monthly financial support and come to visit only once a year. Some send their parents to live with a relative or neighbour who is willing to keep an eye on them as long as the money keeps coming in. Some ask one of their siblings to take care of them and totally forget that they should be sharing the responsibility too.Some even go to the extent of quoting religious verses by saying that taking care of one's parents is the duty of the sons or the eldest or whatever that they can use to free them of the responsibility. Some who are more affluent provide servants for the parents and think that they do not have to do anything else since the servants are paid to take care of their parents. And the saddest part is when there are some who totally abandon their parents and leave it to various organisations to shoulder the responsibility without the slightest feeling of guilt at all. The examples that I have provided are not comprehensive but they might give us an idea how bad the situation is with some of the elderly. We have to look into this issue now since currently, there are more than 2.4 million people in Malaysia who are above 60 years old and the number is certainly growing. The Malaysian society is changing and the once accepted traditional way of caring for the elderly might not work anymore. Elderly care is not easy and can be quite expensive sometimes. It should be shared and that is why I think a new bill that can be proposed and passed. No one should ever have to spend the rest of his or her remaining days without adequate emotional, financial, social and medical support. At the same time, other aspects of elderly care such as accommodation, assistance, recreation and safety should also be considered. It is the right of every human being to live with dignity and that also includes those who are getting on in years.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


It was a tough decision to make but I could not bear to see him suffer anymore. My tomcat, Hitam, had a condition known as sporotrichosis and just when I thought he was getting better, his condition turned from bad to worse. For the past few days, he refused to eat or drink anything at all. He did not even touch his favourite canned food and this made it much more difficult for me to give him his medication. The sores on his ears, legs, body and tail also started showing signs of bleeding again and his eyes and nose were also affected. At the beginning, I let him out of his cage so he could go out and enjoy the sun a little bit but he seemed to be in very serious pain and only rested among the flower pots behind my house. Deep down inside, I knew that the end was approaching and he would not be able to make it. It would be only a matter of time before he would go. I could have kept him alive until his last breath but I could not bear to see him like that. It was too much for me to take and I did not want to see him reduced to only skin and bones. A decision had to be made and quick. I had two choices : to keep him until the end or to put him to sleep. Neither one was desirable. The final decision that I took totally bothered my conscience. Never once in my life had it crossed my mind that I had to resort to something like this. To terminate a life was not something that I had condoned in the past. I realised that I had written before this how I did not believe in euthanasia or even mercy killing but all that went out the window when I saw how serious the condition Hitam was in. He was in great pain and there was nothing I could do to ease it. I wish I had all the magical power to end his suffering. I took him to the vet and after saying my goodbye, I left him in the vet's office. I had earlier consulted the vet since I did not want to make a mistake in my decision. I was offered to watch the procedure being carried out but I had to decline. I was not strong enough. Making that decision was devastating enough for me. I sat outside the office and waited. The procedure did not take long and a lot of things went through my mind at that time. I hoped I had done the right thing and I tried to convince myself that it was the best thing to be done. I prayed to Allah to forgive me if I had acted against HIS will. I know the decision I had made will haunt me until the end of my life. At 5.30 this evening, Hitam finally joined the others that had gone earlier before him : Nomot, Nenet, Mimi I and Mimi II. My tears flowed uncontrollably when his body was taken out from the office. The staff had wrapped his body and for that, I am forever grateful. I did not want to see his lifeless body especially in that state. I want him to be etched forever in my mind as the tomcat with shiny black fur and a patch of white on his chest. His body was still warm when I took him home. I buried him in front of my house where my other furkids are also laid to rest. I know he is now in a much better place with the others that will keep him company. Rest in peace, my dear Hitam. You were much loved and will be deeply missed. One fine day, we will surely meet again.

p/s This is one of the three pictures that I took of Hitam when he was still a baby. The flower basket was his favourite sleeping place.