End of the Road… and the Start of an Expressway
April 15, 2013
Exactly three years ago, in the April of 2010, I was on the road towards a slow death and no one knew it. Maybe not even me! Or at least I didn’t realise how bad a state I was in until later.
I was still in Kangkong, Pasir Mas at that time living all alone in a house on stilts just off the main road leading to Tanah Merah, and about 40 metres from the mighty Kelantan River. It was a house that I had built with a government housing loan in the early 90’s; a house which I had then lost ownership of due to non-payment brought about by drug addiction. It was just 30 metres away from where my former wife’s house is. That was where I had lived and somehow survived from the last quarter of 2004 and until April 2010, with the exception of those 16 months where I had spent three months in the horrific Pengkalan Chepa Prison, and then a gloriously happy 13 months at Pusat Serenti Gambang. But big things were coming my way…
From late 2009, my health was slowly deteriorating. This was brought about mainly by my poor nutritional intake and general neglect of my own self. I had just gone through a divorce, which was very bitter at the start of the legal proceedings. Later, I was starting to totally withdraw myself from society again. It was two years after my release from Gambang and I was having difficulty trying to adapt and fit in with the society that I was forced to live with. “Forced” because, if given the choice, I would gladly have gone back to spend the rest of my life at Pusat Serenti Gambang. I was wondering what my purpose in life was – if things had not been what they later are, I might likely have relapsed and gone down that pit of misery yet again.
I was also the type who didn’t like to go anywhere. I also didn’t have any transportation – not even an old kapchai. The only way to get food was to wait for a bus or taxi and then go to town, which was 4.5 miles away. Often, I’d procrastinate until I was getting dizzy from the hunger before finally going. Usually, I would be content to just have oats from morning until night whenever I was hungry. The rest of the time was spent reading – either from printed material or from the internet. I was gradually losing weight and would suffer frequent bouts of constipation, some of which were very severe. How severe? Well, have you spent six hours in the toilet before? I had… a number times. However, I didn’t quite realise the bad state I was in – since I could get up and walk, I felt I “was okay”. Only later did I realise that I might have arrived at a point where there was no return.
But, yet again through the grace of God – as it was when He brought about the intervention in the form of my arrest on 12 August 2005 and the subsequent road towards rehabilitation, He put into motion what was to save me and bring forward to a new phase in life. And He did it through someone who accidentally stumbled onto this blog on 1 April 2010 – a reader who had used the name of “An Nisaa” in her comments. The regular readers already know what then transpired; plus I had already written a few posts about this. It is indeed remarkable of how things have gone from there – from when I made the big move to the west coast and until now, April 2013. A lot had happened in the last three years and this “An Nisaa” had recently written something about it at her blog.
Earlier on, before making the move and also after it, I was burdened by one huge worry – that I would be a parasite to her. I didn’t have anything to offer – what was in it for her?? Here was someone so honest and sincere in wanting to help me, especially in getting my health back… and not expecting anything in return! But I didn’t want to live like that – a life where one person gives while the other only takes. And, after the stay at Gambang and the lessons and realisations that came along with the experience, I resolved never, ever to be a parasite to anyone again. Definitely not to this woman.
But she, somehow, had faith in the future – for as long as we are honest and sincere, and for as long as we keep doing the right things and, most importantly, having faith and trust in Allah, things will turn out right. And they have!
After 12 years of unemployment or under-employment, I finally became productive again. I finally have the ability not only to support myself but also to fulfill my obligations. Thanks to this wonderful woman – the only person in the world who could ever love me this much, who has the courage to risk everything with me, and who has the patience to put up with all of my weaknesses and shortcomings – my life has moved forward to another phase and level. With me, the ability to also help her with what she is doing has given added meaning and purpose in life. The latest project that I’ve been involved with is in helping her move to a new office – an undertaking which we accomplished last month despite the obstacles which we had faced.
My wife, Aniza, had done the rounds before she found her true calling. Earlier in life, she had worked at managerial level with two well-known companies, Guthrie and Royal Selangor. But, as with many of us, there was also the certain uneasiness and desire “to do something else… something better, whatever that is.” With her, it is Perubatan Islam (Islamic Treatment System), which she had started in 2007 (Click here for Bitly link on Sistem An Nisaa). This was a progression from her interest in alternative healing which began with Colour Vibration Therapy a few years earlier.
It was also my interest in one of her products that had started it all – my curiosity of anything that says “Cendana” (Sandalwood) . Even from the start, I had a fascination with what she is doing; of someone who had left the comfortable corporate life and doing something that has a lot less certainty. There was also a certain attachment to her products the first time I received them in Pasir Mas… and of wanting to somehow be involved.
When I first came here, she had sub-let an office at Desajaya Commerial Centre, Kepong. However, in May 2011, just three months after we were married, she had to move. It was a stressful time, especially when money was short. But, as always, God Knows best. As it later turned out, the move to Nusa Subang, which was nearer the house, was a very good decision – her practise became even more successful at the new office even though it was rather awkwardly located.
Nonetheless, I wasn’t really happy with where her office was. Again, she had sub-let it from someone else and not directly with the owner. It was also located at a rather “semi-industrial” area, with most of the units around there being used as stores. There was also a certain untidiness about the area with the local council (Shah Alam) generally neglecting it most of the time. But, out of necessity rather than choice, we simply had to take it due to our lack of resources.
Things took a dramatic turn from last February. Firstly, the main tenant decided to move to another office nearby. As a result, we had to take the whole floor, which also means paying a higher rental. My wife then decided to expand her business with her good friend by renovating the extra space and conducting training classes there.
Fortunately, before this was started (and spending valuable capital in the process), a new development forced us to evaluate the decision to stay there and take up a whole floor. Early last month, someone rented the ground-floor unit and turned it into a depot for recycled items… a besi buruk store! As seen from this picture, the besi buruk store made the already depressed-looking area even worse. That was the last straw – its presence made having and maintaining the pusat rawatan Islam there intolerable.
In a way, there was also relief for it meant we now can go look for a better place. At the same time, we were also worried because that would also mean higher expenditure. One day, while driving along the main road near the house, Aniza said “I want to show you these lots”… and turned into a road which I know had really nice corporate factories. I was thinking “This is a waste of time looking at them – we can’t possibly afford to rent a three-storey factory! And why would we want to?” But it was to another place – a recent development which I wasn’t even aware of despite it being so near!
Sunsuria The Core, in front of the famous Uptown and just off Persiaran Surian in Kota Damansara – when I first saw this spanking-new development, it was love at first sight. And it was the same with my wife – this is where we want to be! But we were quickly brought down to earth when both of us then asked the uncomfortable question: “Can we afford something so nice? The units look so expensive.” Well, there was no harm in asking – at least we’ll know for sure that we can’t afford it and move on. But we also know that we will always be thinking about it, especially if we find ourselves in a dinky office. And I wouldn’t be happy – I know what my wife is doing, her intentions, her abilities, of the people that she has helped and wants to… she deserves to have a decent office. Her patients deserve to be at a comfortable place. If Allah Helps us, then all will be well. And yet again, He came to our rescue!
Through a very earnest and cooperative real estate agent, Terry Tang, we discovered that “it was possible” to get a unit despite our small budget although we would need to meet the owner halfway and agree to something “a bit more”. That’s because there are units which are smaller than the “usual” office size. Here’s the deal: a unit that is smaller than the previous office (at 60% the floor area) but costs 50% more. It took us a few days to think and evaluate, besides looking at it three times with the agent (not to mention the other times when we drove around just to see and feel the area): We’ll take it.
It was a big decision and we were apprehensive about it. Besides the usual three-months-rental deposit, there was also the renovations that needed to be done. The unit was bare-bones empty with a concrete floor. And there’s also that big matter of moving things from the old office. All of these would be easily taken care of if we had a big budget – something we didn’t have. Again, we had to place our trust and hopes in Allah; that He would give us the energy and the help that we need. And again, He did just that.
Those three weeks in March were among the busiest and most tiring ever for me. So many things to do and problems to overcome! But I also realise one crucial thing – with Aniza, when we are together, when we are sehati and do things together, we can achieve a lot. There’s energy in togetherness and when we do things honestly and sincerely. To cut costs, we did things ourselves whenever we could. And that included packing and hauling the smaller items with a borrowed pickup truck.
The renovating – we were fortunate in that someone we had known from the Nusa Subang office offered to help us to handle it. And we are very pleased with the cost and workmanship. The final major piece to the jigsaw was the airconditioning. It was something which we had spent days thinking about and discussing trying to come up with the best bang for the buck. We would look at a nearby office which took up three first-floor units – a company which obviously had a big budget – and then at ours with our very limited resources. But we were happy – despite everything, and despite the various problems and obstacles, we have succeeded in getting the office up and running. There isn’t a signboard yet though but at least the office is now fully operational (Click here for location on Google Maps) For me, there is the satisfaction and happiness in knowing that I have helped Aniza, the same way that she have helped me ever since three years ago. We can only pray to Allah that the new treatment centre will be a success; that my wife will be able to do what she wants in life, that is in helping others in their lives.