The powder of joy

32 years – that’s how long time has marched on since that fateful day when my path crossed with that of Heroin. This was “the powder of joy” that was to grip me, change me and controlled me through two important phases of my life – the mid-late teenage years; and incredibly, my early 30’s to mid 40’s when I was supposed to be “matured and at the peak of my life”.

As a teenage growing up in Alor Star in the mid-70’s, there were four main drugs that were the bane and dreaded by parents then: Alcohol (it is a drug), Cannabis/Ganja (or the slang of “dam”), Valium (Roche), and then the king of it all – Heroin. I had heard of LSD pills, which were associated with the 1960’s Hippies, but never saw a trace of it.

Two of the above were legal, of course – alcohol (often in the form of beer or cheap “Maharaja” brandy) and valium. The latter was quite freely dished out by the government clinics then, and was a part of the medication therapy for those with psychiatric problems. All you have to do is to tell the doctor that you are addicted to heroin and wanted to stop. He’d give you about 10 pills; kindly informing you to `top up’ with more after three days.

Taking one would result in feeling disoriented like a drunk and drowsy. The user’s speech might often become slurred. It’s something that never quite appealed to me, and I was quite amazed as to why and how some people preferred it. And I recently learnt that something similar to the 70’s valium called “Domicon” is sold at RM15 each at private clinics. And to think the government could give it out for free back then!


But it was ganja and heroin (slang of “fit”) that were the most common. And they were not too difficult to find either.

Yes, I was extremely curious to find out what they felt like. I had avoided alcohol then because I may actually be a prude at heart – it was haram. Yes, I know what some of you are thinking: “And heroin and ganja aren’t??” But that’s how jahil (ignorant) we were, plus an example of our “selective self-fatwa”. It’s also interesting to note that none in my group of around 15 had performed the five daily prayers (But we did go for Friday prayers).

Curious I definitely was, but I held on despite the chances that came my way – either for free or through a “collection”, with each forking out the price of his share. There were a couple of stalls in front of Sultan Abdul Hamid College where we’d hang out in the afternoons after school – Kedai Ah Kaw (that also sold beer, and had a jukebox) and Kedai Busu (a Chinese actually, and who spoke flawless Kedah dialect). Ah Kaw didn’t allow the teens to “smoke strange things” at his stall. Busu wasn’t too happy either, and would utter a few curses and a lecture to those who did; about “Nanti kalau bond mai, hampa kena!” (When the detectives come, you all will get it!). But he didn’t prevent the act.

And then one afternoon at Kedai Busu in 1976, a friend named Ahmad Zaki from Jalan Sultanah asked me “to conspire with him to play a gag and con another guy, Hisham”. Both of them were drug users – smoking heroin mixed into a Lucky Strike cigarette. Now Zaki was someone whom I liked and was a prankster. The gag here came with an objective: “to reveal that Hisham was acually `faking it’ – that he wasn’t really `gian’ but just pretending”. That might look odd – bizarre even. But it was like that with some teenagers – proud of doing something that is wrong, and even faking a condition just to attract attention. In Hisham’s case, I was wrong – he was `gian’ then. [BTW Mohd Zawi seems to have concluded what happened, based on his comment on Oct 7]

Zaki showed me some white stuff inside a small plastic wrapper that was in small chunks, each the size of a matchstick tip (the plastic is the same as what we use to make the long “ice-cream Malaysia” – syrup or whatever left to freeze in the refrigerator). He said it was `chalk’, and was waiting to share it with Hisham. Zaki wanted Hisham to be convinced it was really heroin, and my part was to take a few puffs and attest that it was such. The stuff (still inside the plastic of course) was rolled over with a bottle until it became soft powder.

[7 Oct 8:14PM – “Occupied” the whole day. This post will be completed soon, Sorry. A lot of things to catch up on. 8 Oct 1:25AM – Can’t understand it; why am I so tired and sleepy? Had spent the whole afternoon sleeping but I’m still sleepy… Might be because of the medication I’m taking. Oh, okay – I’m taking Subuxone the past few days. It’s a mixture of buprenorphine and naloxone (see information in the link) to help former heroin and morphine users rid the cravings for these drugs that sometimes come.

It doesn’t replace what heroin and morphine do, like giving the “rush” and feelings of ecstasy (this is what that keeps users coming back again – to re-capture the feelings. And later becoming physically addicted). Subuxone has one benefit – it prevents one from getting the “rush” and other “pleasant feelings” should he take the opiates. Hence he won’t get that desire of “wanting to repeat the experience” when the drug wears off – because he had not felt them in the first place! Subuxone is addictive, though not as severe as the opiates – which is why I don’t want to take it. “Unless necessary”. Must sleep after this – I want to meet with “Mister Pasir Mas” Mohd Zawi of Life As I See It” later this morning. Will have difficulty should I sleep late…]

[8 Oct 4:18PM – This story is “is tergantung”. When am I going to finish it? Don’t know. Right now I’m going to go to Pasir Mas town (I live in the rural area) to meet with Mohd Zawi. The next post might be about this. But that’s okay with you folks, I hope(?) Oh, Elviza: I remember the “assignment”, don’t worry:-)

*9 Oct 9:13PM – Strange guy, this “d-addict“. I had received an e-mail from him at 4:54PM. Don’t know whether the address is valid. And he had included a 6MB RAR file (which I had not opened yet). Here’s his message. Oh, to “d-addict”, I hope you won’t mind too much my producing it here because I don’t see any harm either to you, me or anyone else. But if you’re not happy, please send me an e-mail again and I’ll delete his part from he post.

BTW, I’ll be busy tonight and tomorrow morning with some work reading a book – Mike’s Election Guide 2008 by Michael Moore (Grand Central Publishing) A very nice woman in PJ had sent it to me.

“d-addict’s” e-mail titled “I am sorry, but i love your blog”: [Cut & Paste follows]


I am sorry if i made you mad
I am sorry if i am acting as a pusher
I am sorry if i have crossed my line
I am sorry if i have offended you in any way
I am sorry if you pissed with me
I am really really sorry

I am actually addicted to korean and japanese  drama. as the price is far more than i can afford, therefore i usually downloaded it from not just drama, im addicted to their songs too..

New stuff in my mp3 player is MC Mong. He is a rapper from korea and i like all the song in his 4th album. I have attached one song for you, title: circus. Mc Mong 1st single in his 4th album -my favourite so far and my ring tone. I like it cause the song is so meriah like dikir barat.

I hope you enjoy the song. and really, from deep down of my heart, I really mean, I AM SORRY.

Hope and wish u all the luck in the universe and live happily with family and love ones.

d-addict fan!

p.s- I have found the english translation for it in the net.

Circus Translation

When the cold wind blows will you come to me?
When the world is harsh and it annoys you,
Let’s play! Let’s laugh out loud just once
Ha ha ha ha ha ha
Until this night is over.

When I was loyal to misers and to shady people
I was the star of entertainment,
but when goofing off I was just Mong.
I followed the spotlight around
shaking shaking in show business.
But don’t forget your original intentions,
It’s a punishment to get you to create your own music.
The audience is Gepetto and Mong was Pinocchio
A Pinocchio that would often fool the people
Lies and truth, you are the answer
The long and short of it is that
I’m only as tall as I am in the eyes of the public.

Ready get set go, set off the cannon!
Send your body flying
Ready get set go, set off the cannon!
Send your tears flying
No matter what kind of embarrassing situation crosses your path
Just have some fun
Show’s just begun 4th Album
Everyone is welcome in the Circus with Mong

When the cold wind blows will you come to me?
When the world is harsh and it annoys you,
Let’s play! Let’s laugh out loud just once
Ha ha ha ha ha ha
Until this night is over.

A prohibition of the failure of society is project Circus
Music that shines with the focus on you
First and last place, the victor and loser
If you pulled out a knife, at least cut the radish
To the people who are dried up, that cant afford to cry
To the poor family who are gasping for air in a one room home
To the ones who cry in pain from the wounds caused by your sufferings
A prohibition of the failure of society is project Circus

Ready get set go, set off the cannon!
Send your body flying
Ready get set go, set off the cannon!
Send your tears flying
Hey, life is like a sitcom
No matter what people say
You have a right to get your share
Show’s just begun 4th album
Everyone is welcome in the Circus with Mong

When the cold wind blows will you come to me?
When the world is harsh and it annoys you,
Let’s play! Let’s laugh out loud just once
Ha ha ha ha ha ha
Until this night is over.

Don’t cry anymore
I know in this outrageous world there are many pains
Don’t be late, be on time
Hurry and come together,
to this exciting Mong’s vagabond troupe!

One More time!
When the cold wind blows will you come to me?
When the world is harsh and it annoys you,
Let’s play! Let’s laugh out loud just once
Ha ha ha ha ha ha
this exciting Mong’s vagabond troupe.

[Edited on 10 Oct 10:56PM to rectify character set problems from the above e-mail from. I use UTF-8, which is the international standard. But many people use the Windows default of “Western European ISO-8859-1”, which results in their e-mails (especially that sent through Yahoo!) having odd signs … like “?” replacing ‘ (apostrophe) in my Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail/newsgroup/RSS client. BTW since this post has become a bit long, the continuation will be in a new post. At this moment I’m writing “Elviza’s Writer’s Writuals” which I had put off for almost two weeks with Windows Live Writer]

14 thoughts on “The powder of joy

  1. Abg mat,
    bz ke? Tot nak ajak lepak2 since arep masih d kb. Esok ptg dah nak gerak. Do call me [deleted] kalau free k. U may delete this. Thanks

    8 Oct 1.17AM: Arep, I’m very very sorry! Bukan busy, tapi terbalik – tidur the whole afternoon. And my handset was accidentally set off when I was sleeping (was late in receiving Bang Zawi’s SMS circa 3PM yesterday)

    Was holding it when I dozed off. Had just sent a few message to Sherry and Nazmi who were at a restaurant then (although Sherry later went to a bookstore). I must say I was quite surprised when I received your call earlier.

    BTW I hope to be able to meet Bang Zawi, who I believe has the best sites about Pasir Mas and possibly about Kelantan too. His links are included here.

  2. Mat,
    This is the beginning right? Hopefully others will learn from your mistake. I am happy that none of my children were tempted or tricked into trying all these as they were easy meat if they were targeted.

  3. Salam. Good morning.
    its ok.. Lgpun i’ll b bck again end of this month. Ada kelapangan we shall meet.

    8 Oct 7:20PM – That’s good news! Yes, I hope we will be able to meet this time. BTW had just met with Mohd Zawi at 5.35PM just now. We had some mee kuah at a restaurant along the `new’ Jalan Pasir Mas-Rantau Panjang, and he drove me home at 6.50PM. Now, at least one person knows where I live. Should some “ada apa-apa”, “I disappear like in Aug 2005”; you all know who to contact.

  4. Salam…

    It might be difficult but if you put your mind to it, you would be able to do it. Try not to take Subuxone… it is never good to depend on such drugs just so that you can overcome the cravings for heroin or morphine.. Like u said, it is addictive… don’t fall for it…………. again.

    Just my 2 cents thoughts…

    9 Oct 12:17AM –Lady M, There are `times’ when I’m so very weak. Like the week leading to Raya, when “all this effort to set things right seem unappreciated; and with obstacles purposely put up”…(a few of my very close friends know about this one). Yes, I know it’s self-pity; and I’ve almost gotten over it (owing a lot of thanks to these friends, who helped me to focus on a wider view of things again).

    These are times when I get self-destructive from the self-pity, frustration and resentment that build up; with strong thoughts of “So what is a shot or two of morphine? Won’t do any harm if I limit it to that. And `some people’ don’t care if I stay clean or if I take it again, so it’s better to just take it again…”

    Yes, I know that thinking is wrong; and it’s what that sets MANY recovering addicts down the road again. I have to face his often… Most of the time, I could let it pass. But there are times when my spiritual level is very low. So, since “it has to be something”; and rather than morphine or heroin…

    You are 100% correct about Subuxone – just one stroke of the pen, and it’ll be under the Dangerous Drugs Act. And those with positive results for their urine tests could be subjected to the Drug Dependants Act. I’m very aware of what you’re thinking here, and I agree – I’ve been down that road quite a few times. It’s just one step away “from the real thing”. Yes, I’ll do “the right thing” about this, Insyaallah.

  5. 6th of October = the powder of joy
    7th of October = it is, the powder of joy
    8th of October = still, the powder of joy
    9th of October = huwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :(( , the powder of joy

    how can u do this? mianhe, but in my dream there is a sequel for ‘the powder of joy’. now i know why my mom say i am a hopeless day dreamer. am i? i am not, right hyung? hyung is typing it right now right? what? really? hyung, u really typing it! ooohhhh kam sah ham nee da!

    10th of October = yeeeeeehaaa,************

    hyung = big brother
    mianhe = i’m sorry
    kam sah ham nee da = thank you

  6. @d-addict
    Uhm, yeah, You might add 10th & 11th October too, although I honestly hope not. Sorry if you are waiting. But I’m not chasing a deadline (usually – unless if I promise anyone).

    There is this thing called “work”; and I can’t ignore this. Yes, despite knowing some people might be waiting for the continuation. There’s also my not wanting to force out things that I might not want to write about at some given moment of time.

    But that’s just it – All in its good time. Which means “my” time. Oh, forgot to tell you that I have another blog to take care of – Cendana Blues: Addicted to Politics. The link’s up there. And that one is part of my work…

    So, little brother: As the good people at NA would say: “One day at a time”. Here, with me, it’s “One paragraph at a time”. Sorry, but that’s how things go here.

    Oh, I’ve just figured this one out, Little Brother. I think I have something that should please you and me – how about if I write a book AND you buy it? This way you won’t have to wait – you decide how much or how little to read at any given time. So, how about it? (Won’t be too expensive – RM25 to RM30.

    *Added on 10 Oct 5:25PM by I had re-read this reply, plus your e-mail, and there’s something that I’m a bit uneasy about – I sincerely hope you (or anyone) else is not offended by this. No, there is no sarcasm anywhere there – including the last sentence. But “some people” might read it as such … and I should have put a smiley there. If you (or anyone) are offended – I’m very sorry; I truly am.

    “Hurting people’s feelings”… this is something that I am very careful about nowadays, and I certainly don’t want that to happen here – even if it’s unintentional. Even at “the other site” (Cendana Blues: Addicted to Politics), I try to avoid this (although I know it’s impossible because of the nature of the topics I write about).

    So, as sort of “to make up” for this, I’m setting aside whatever work I’m doing right now and write another post. But it’s not a continuation of his one – yet. It’s to oblige Elviza of the Write Away blog especially. But since you had said you “love this site”, I hope it’ll be okay(?)

  7. whoa… makan mee kuah x ajak.. huhuhu…
    arep dah sampai tawau. dah masuk opis. kerja kerja kerja..


    7:12PM – Don’t worry, Arep. We’ll have some mee kuah some day soon now that I’ve overcome this fear of meeting `unknown people’ – thanks to Mohd Zawi, and especially your “Kak Pah”. Tak apa kerja ni – just remember that so many people are without one – or a worthwhile job – and compare that with your present situation:-)

  8. Hai Arep..nanti sampai KL 22hb sms ye…akak ada kursus kat KL..kita makan mee kuah.

    p/s..sorry bro Mat…tumpang iklan jap..

  9. @sherry-norjane
    I had forgotten to mention this: I do allow advertisements at this blog. But they must be paid for (baru ada `income’ sikit kan). So, erm, how much should that space be worth, ya?…taking into consideration this site is ranked “PR4” by Google Page Rank.

    Oh, terlupa – you dah “ada bayar” tadi… and sebelum tu. So, takper; kira `settled’:-)

    P/S: Can’t get my SMS’es through to you from 3PM onwards. Why?
    P/P/S: The “T” of my keyboard keeps sticking. If “something” seems to be missing in my sentences (and I failed to notice before sending), it’s because of this.

  10. Family Day 2008…

    Living with unresolved problems”It makes a difference to have friends who care if we hurt.”Basic Text, p. 54For most of our problems, the solution is simple. We call our sponsor, pray, work The Steps,……

  11. It is good that you took your time to write this post; it’s great to hear another’s point of view. I respect your work on this site, and I’ll return for more info.

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