TDSotM: Time

This isn’t “The dark side of the moon Part 2” which would have a neat and logical continuation of the previous post. It’s about something on my mind right now, and since it is definitely related to the theme of “Recovery”, I want to write about this one first. I hope you all will tolerate the idiosyncrasies here where I tend to simply jump here and there without keeping to a set of topics.

I’ve also realised that maybe it’s better to just write whatever comes out and not approach it like I’m writing a book. And most readers must have realised by now that the posts here won’t be “systematic” with new posts more or less continuing from previous – something like Puteri Kamaliah’s What Will Be, Will Be series, for instance.

The Dark Side of the Moon album by Pink Floyd in 1973: There’s a song called Time in this album which I first heard in 1978 when I was almost 18; in a place that deserves a few posts of its own (my next post might mention it). And the song too deserves its own post – a song that I must have heard hundreds of times, possibly exceeded a thousand (But have not heard it even once since my arrest in Aug 2005 right until now).

This post actually started as a second comment that I had intended to write at Mat Salo’s WordPress blog (his `other’ blog after the one at Blogspot) in Time flies and waits for no one. I had written about this before but I’m writing it again: Having followed his blogs and seen his interactions with other people there and elsewhere, Mat Salo has become someone whom I admire and whose words of advice I value highly. This is the second time I was spurred into making a new post; the first being Life is about choices when I had reflected on Mat Salo and Hisham of School of Tots.

madsalos_time_prtsc Mat Salo’s post is about his eldest turning 15. With Mat Salo here, each time I read family-related posts by him, I’d often remember and reflect on my own – especially my failings … which makes me respect and appreciate him even more. I had already made a comment in that post. But “something” would not go away, so I returned to it some days later. The following is my second comment for Mat Salo’s post AND a new post here (I hope you folks aren’t too confused)

[To brader Mat: The following is also to be regarded as a Comment for that Post]

I hope there’s no regulation about someone writing yet another comment after he had already made one here… a “Quota System” perhaps:-)

Actually, I suddenly remembered this immediately after I had clicked on the “Submit Comment” button … two of my four children have birthdays in November too. And there were other similarities with certain points of your post here. I’m a bit ashamed that I had failed to remember these at that time. In mitigation, I was very sleepy then (3:21 am) and had made that comment as my “last for the day”.

Or maybe it was in my not wanting to delve deeper into this aspect of living where I have failed miserably? Truth be told, I was/am thoroughly humbled by you with this post and a couple of others here previously.

Anyway, besides the mentioned “November” similarity, consider the following ones: (1) My son was 15 too in the 2005 story that I’m mentioning here. However, he was my youngest (as compared to your “eldest”).

(2) My previous comment on 5 Nov was his birthday. I didn’t remember that until; after I had sent it in. His elder sister’s 17th birthday is on 13 Nov.

[BTW she is undergoing a Degree in Education programme; as is her elder sister. Whatever the father’s problems with their mother, and whatever mutual hurt and bitterness harboured by each other, Thank and Bless the `lowly educated’ mother for her exceptional efforts in providing the tangible and intangible necessities for them (and with help from both sides of the families) during those years when the supposedly `intelligent’ and `talented’ father was sucked into and trapped in a morass of his own doing due to a moronic choice he had made.

Plus, he was also guilty of the inexcusable passivity and inertia “in not doing the right thing” by taking immediate and sustained remedial actions “as a responsible and right-minded person would have”.]

Well, that was something that I must bring out – as with a few other things in the previous post. How that come about is a combination of several comments made by different people not just at this blog but also “elsewhere” – other blogs, Facebook, SMS… maybe even Mohd Zawi’s visit to my house some days ago. It will require another post at least to state each and every influence.

But I’ll mention a few; just to show how “one can be influenced and moved into feeling and doing something when several factors or ingredients combine to create a reaction. Malaysian Tigress/Tehsin – her comments here, at Facebook, e-mails… This post was delayed because I was waiting for her permission to quote the following, even though it was “in public” (at Facebook). She had commented about this need to “bring things out”; which is what I’m doing with some of the previous posts and this one:

Any journey out of “hell” is inspirational in itself, Mat. Writing about it is cathartic, the final release. People like reading about it because it gives them hope too, not as mere voyeurs.It might strike something in themselves too that they never admitted to themselves.

Don’t worry about the past, just forge on. After all we can’t change it.

Anyway, I have one very happy memory when it comes to my children’s birthdays – for those two in 2006.

I was still under that court order, but was no longer at Pusat Serenti Gambang at that time. From mid-September 2006, I was among the selected 10 inmates “with exceptional records” from the other pusat serentis in Pahang (Gambang, Benta, Raub, Jerantut, Sungai Ruan, Karak) to become “residents” and undergo a special three-month pre-release programme at the Pusat Khidmat AADK (PKAADK) in Jalan Gambut, Kuantan.

People familiar with this town should know where it is – its neighbours are Sekolah Kebangsaan Teruntum and a shop selling kitchenware, with a government clinic in front. It is remarkable that two people who are now among my most trusted friends – in Sherry Nor-Jannah and her husband Nazmi – have their offices very close to it! Would have been GREAT had I known them then:-)

Anyway, I was thinking about these two children, and especially about their birthday – I wanted to give them something despite my situation. Well, God provided the way. Knowing that I “could speak”, “had an uncommon background” and “needed to be given some self-confidence before booting him home”, a couple of Kuantan AADK officers took me along for a session held for some 400 students and teachers at Sekolan Menengah Sungai Baging in Cherating on Nov 2. At the end of it, the school presented me with a RM50 note in an envelope (to be kept by the AADK until discharge).

That was it! I didn’t care that it was all I had – I wanted to give ALL to my children. And thank God for the kindness and helpfulness shown by the AADK officers… The following day, I mentioned this to one of the PKAADK officers – En. Alias – who helpfully offered to buy a Postal Order. And there it was the next day – a crisp PO for RM50 with the serial number J15763660 4 stamped “Bukit Ubi” and dated “3 Nov 06” (I still have the counterfoil; plus various other things from Gambang and PKAADK taken home as souvenirs for that most fruitful and memorable period of my life).

I stuffed it together with a short letter into an envelope and handed it to En Alias, with an International Reply Coupon (IRC) attached (David R in Seoul, Korea had sent me more than a dozen of them when I was in Gambang, God Bless him). A phone call the following week confirmed that it managed to reach my youngest (made out in his name) on Nov 5 (Sunday – working day in Kelantan). He then went with his elder sister by bus to the post office in Pasir Mas, exchanged it for cash, and bought a barrel of KFC to take home. It was indeed a most joyful and fulfilling moment of my life…

18 thoughts on “TDSotM: Time

  1. @kak teh
    Omigosh, What a surprise! That was FAST!

    I was still busy adjusting the accompanying picture, and was puzzled as to how a Comment could already have come in – and from England too:-)

    Yes, Kak Teh; the thought … It was also an extremely precious gift for me – the memories of it all, and in knowing then that “my mind and priorities were now correct”. It had also shown yet again to me how God will help us by providing the way when “the niat is right”.

  2. Mat, you will always be a great father to your children no matter how small you feel or how little you think you have contributed.Your love for them is so breathtaking and touching.

  3. Mat C – A gift, no matter how big or small, is still a gift. And a gift from the heart, like yours, is beyond compare. Simply put, it is priceless. Rest assured the children will remember it, and value it, for the rest of their lives. Have a good day and God bless.

  4. Assalaamualaikum Sdr Mat

    We ‘met’ in a ‘pharmacy’ called deminegara, and if I hurt you by ‘marking your territory’ there as “warm & friendly like”, I have to beg for your forgiveness. My nawaitu was & is bertemu kerana Allah berpisah kerana Allah.

    To me you are someone who has successfully conquered and crossed the ‘Sirrot Al Mustaqim’. From now on your life shall be surrounded by boundless bountiful warmth and friendliness Insya Allah.

    BTW today’s (Nov 13th) your daughter’s birthday I presume. Say my salaam to her – “Semuga Allah merahmati umur anda yang mendatang”. I make my grandchildren repeat this sentence on all occasions.

  5. Brother Mat, I held my breath until I almost turned blue in the face right until the last sentence…what more with my son’s picture featured in it. Mesmerized laa, bro. The way you wrote it – the story rushes headlong like floodwaters in a monsoon drain during a tropical storm. :)

    As flattered as I am, bro’ (thank you) I have to caution you that I really do have failings, plenty of ’em, and truth be told, the only one who keeps the whole together is my ‘lowly educated’ wife. She might not hold a university degree but let me tell you, if I had any say, I’d ask God to take me first. Degree or not I can’t for the life of me know what it takes, the sacrifices required, to bring my kids up in a manner worthy of being a responsible parent. In this regard, perhaps we’re lucky for someone else to pick up the slack…

    I don’t you how you can come up with this beautiful phrase bro, but as far sentences go, the impact, the sheer beauty in the message delivery below is nothing short of astounding:

    “Thank and Bless the `lowly educated’ mother for her exceptional efforts in providing the tangible and intangible necessities for them (and with help from both sides of the families) during those years when the supposedly `intelligent’ and `talented’ father was sucked into and trapped in a morass of his own doing due to a moronic choice he had made.”

    (sorry I don’t know how to italicize it)

    I think women who read this comment will no doubt agree: Part of the underlying message is WOMEN CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT MEN, AND PLENTY DO, BUT NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

    OK, I admit it. We men are weak, shallow creatures. Get over it. ;)

    It also holds true for me too but in a different vein. But it struck a chord in me , deeper than any sustained note in Gilmour’s solos on DSOTM. And that’s what this is all about, striking chords everywhere in people, not just fallible me will find similarities, hang their heads for a moment and savor life’s little blessings; finding what has been lost and wanting to find them again.

    It’s a poignant tale of redemption bro’ and it’s there in all of us albeit in varying degrees.

    You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself bro’, because I’m seriously beginning to think that it’s not just a weakness of character (and mine too) that makes us do what we do. No I’m not assigning blame on something else but perhaps it’s just the way we’re wired. I say this because I’ve had first hand experience with a close family friend who suffered depression. It took more than ten years to get out of it; getting hooked on prescribed drugs and then years having to wean off it. It’s a chemical imbalance thing bro, and that’s just the way God makes some of us so. Why is it with some people the susceptibility is different? One toke is all takes for some while it takes many more for others, yes? And that’s why for some the struggle is never-ending.

    I think for some it’s impossible to imagine, and through your writing you have managed to let others have a glimpse. The beauty of it is the writing itself provides catharsis for the writer, sort of killing two birds with one stone, eh? (Arahman7.. drum roll please…intro Free Bird! :))

    And oh, BTW happy birthday to your daughter today, and a belated wish to your son too. And believe me, that barrel of KFC means just as much to them as it does you bro. It might not be much to some, but it’s a cause for hope. And sometimes hope is all we got, and you have to run with it.

    You’re doing fine, bro… and try to make it for ’11/29? yes?

  6. Mat Salo,

    St.John’s Wort (a good brand) and Valerian are natural help for depression and insomnia…non addictive.

    Also Himalayan Rock salt…a teaspoon in a jug of water to minum all day..helps with the loss of minute minerals that affect mood and cause imbalance…

    Tried it..works. Simple fuss free.

    Anti depressants are POISONS AND MAKE YOU SUICIDAL.

  7. Mat…where are you? Yoo hoooooo.. Anyone there? Where is thouest delete function for comments in this darnest wordpress formateth?

    *4:07 PM cendana287Sorry for being late:-) Okay, I had deleted the second one. I know how you feel – had happened to me quite a few times. Especially at Elviza’s blog. That’s one problem with WordPress – sometimes it appears like the comment wasn’t sent, and we’d click again on “Send”, resulting in a duplicate. Sometimes it REALLY wasn’t sent, and our comment just disappeared. So, clicking on “Send” again is justified. And sometimes, it gets sent to Akismet Spam folder. This is the `leceh’ thing about WordPress; things do get erratic.

  8. Amazing post. Thank you Mat. It allows me to see things from the other side of the mirror. I am touched by the depth of your love and concern for your children..that gift came from your heart. It has gone straight to his heart – guaranteed. The Prophet PBUH said that i think..

  9. @Shakirah
    Ah, you shouldn’t have said that; adding that kind of adjective to the post. Actually, what is really amazing for me is the response of many of you folks – of “accepting me as a person”…

    You folks might find this statement rather strange. But people like ArahMan7 who were “from the same place” and now a fellow traveller on this road towards the nirvana of Recovery know what I mean.

    It’s like this – when people know we had/have a problem with drugs, ie in being thought of as “drug addicts”, we are seen as “sub-humans”. And regardless of how long we have been clean.

    But many of you folks here are different – YOU are amazing!. And people like Mohd Zawi who has gone out of his way to get in contact with me … and that AMAZING COUPLE in Kuantan ofNazmi and Sherry… not to forget David R, the American in Seoul… and the others…

    NO, you people are, not me nor my post/s and site here. Whatever I now have, it’s because of the encouragement that you all have given me. And I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

  10. hey mat,

    I appreciate your plug and your kindness…

    But I’m not as formidable as you make me out to be. Pi Bani is SO much more. She has done,is doing SO much more. And the intellectuals/learned ones out there on Demi Negara are way ahead and bernas. Apocryphalist, BoldAnon etc.

    And I don’t think I will be blogging for a while now…so you can remove that really kind plug…

    * Cendana287 8:28 PM – Now this is disappointing. I hope I have not put any pressure on you with my (honest and sincere) high ratings and ranking of the people whom I see and read at the blogs, Facebook and by e-mail(?) However, if you feel uncomfortable with it, I’ll delete my `review’ at the noticeboard. And I do hope you’re just taking a short rest from blogging and will be back at that blog “in the near future”. I’d like you to know this thing; my thoughts as I read you “everywhere” – You are an outstanding person.

  11. MC,
    My apologies for the late arrival. Feel bloated with euphoria after being mentioned twice by you as being a friend who is willing to walk along side of you.
    Suffice to say I am too happy to be of help to you in anyway.
    Now I know why Sherry and Nazmi were so concerned about your movement.
    Please tell your son I wish him a happy belated birthday.

  12. @mohdzawi
    “late arrival”? Now this is quite unexpected!:-)
    Bang Zawi, I seem to understand what you mean – which is why I’m quite surprised. Do you feel bad or anything that you had not come to read this on the very day that a post is sent in?! Masyaallah, No, please! There is NO “time limit” or whatever – definitely not here.

    I had wanted to reply to your comment in the previous post – the one about “the neighbour”. This is one of the things that I appreciate about you, Bang Zawi – that you are not ashamed or embarrassed to know or/and be associated with me. It’s also one of the reasons why I keep to myself – I don’t want my friends who are respectable members of this local Pasir Mas society to be tainted by their knowing me.

    It’s quite fortunate that you didn’t tell me who exactly that neighbour was – I have this tendency to lash out with some VERY sharp words. And I know how to hurt people… No, it’s not something I’m now proud of, and I do TRY not to do that nowadays for I know that people still hurt and remember some of my “slashings” YEARS later (they’d have a phobia about speaking to me. Or ABOUT me).

    Hmm, that sentence about Sherry and Nazmi is interesting – something I didn’t know about until you mentioned it. Okay, I’m gonna SMS them and ask:-)

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