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Showing posts from November, 2008

Permission to Come Aboard...

Picture credit here


31 bodies in immaculate white uniforms snapped smartly to attention, sitting rigidly in their seats. 29 cadets with faces unsure of how this person standing in front of them would be - strict, rigid, disciplined?... or relaxed, easy-going, and a slacker for the rules? The 2 officers among them looked cool and unaffected.

I walked briskly but surely to the table at the front of the room, put my things down, and faced the class.

The cadet-in-charge for the day got up from her seat and walked smartly in my direction. Upon reaching the spot exactly half a metre from me she halted and snapped to attention.

"Assalamualaikum sir!" She said in a clear, clipped voice. "29 cadets and 2 officers reporting for duty, requesting permission to carry on, sir!"

As if by imprinted on a cellular level, my body responded almost automatically through half-remembered gestures and nuances.I was transported to anothe…

At last... Some respite... (Repost with minor changes; same situation)

As I mouse over the sign "SIMPAN" on the UTM marks website, I hesitate.. could it really be over?... My finger trembles for a while, both from lack of sleep and an overdose in caffeine...
Like a Gulf War veteran, vivid images of dazed days and sleepless nights overwhelm my senses... oh the horror... the desolation... the senseless destruction... the red pen in my hands bleeding dry, as the blood red ink pours itself onto tons and tons of paper pages... oh the horror...

Suddenly, I am back in my room in UTM... The clock reads 11:10pm... Way too late to be at the office... How I long for the comfort of the bosom of my loved one... This tour of duty has gone on for too long... (Soundtrack: Soldier of Fortune by Deep Purple)

I press the mouse button...

After what seems like an eternity, the grades come to life... I blink in a daze...

I blink again, and comprehension registers...

I have given my students their due... Time to get mine...

At long, long, last... my nightmare is over...


The Battle Commences

Photo credit here

It is that time of year again, where the students feel exhausted, light-headed... but relieved...

Their tour of duty is over...

Soon they would be home with their loved ones, leaving the battlefield behind... No more operation manuals! No more midnight patrols!... At least for a month and a half, they would be free...The airlift back to civilisation awaiting them at the base.

Leaving us here...

Time to take out our torches and burn the midnight oil.

Time to get out the blood-red ink, ready to stain the piles and piles of lined papers, where they left their scrawny handwriting behind.

Time to start marking those exams papers, lads...

We'll hold the fort until they return.

The Ones That Got Away: Look into your heart

For those who have read my earlier posts, you may be aware that I have written several songs dedicated to different people in my life.

Well, this was the first, dedicated to her... Written during the time when she was beyond the sea and far away.

(XXXX represents parts of corrupt memory... I really can't remember these parts)

Here goes...

Look into Your Heart

We've been friends for so very long
Our friendship's so strong
But I don't want to end it today
By what I have to say

I've been waiting half my life
For something to arrive

Be careful what you hide
Please don't take me for a ride
Just look into your heart
And you'll see who's inside

I remember when you went away
I begged you to stay
You left me alone in fear
And a mountain of tears

When you came back again
To comfort your old friend
Then what I felt right from the start
must reach into your heart


Just look into your heart
and you'll see...

Who's i…

The Ones That Got Away : Somewhere beyond the sea

"You're going to do what?" I asked, stunned beyond belief.

"Don't act so surprised" She replied, her voice brimming with barely controlled amusement. I knew that she was probably rolling her eyes and smiling her quirky smile on the other end of the line. "Besides" she continued, "It's not going to be that far".

"But you'll be in another country..." I protested, still not quite sure about what I was hearing, "And whatever happened to finishing university together?". It seemed to be such a shame, I thought. Here was perhaps the cleverest girl in school, a killer combination of brains and beauty, who could run circles around me in all subjects, except English (even then she came a close second), talking about doing something else besides finishing university.

"I already told you my reasons" Her voice finally showing some signs of strain, "I thought you'd be more supportive of this"

I was torn…

The Ones That Got Away : The sign

I couldn't believe it!

I actually managed to pass my Chemistry Finals!!! All the blood, sweat and tears that went into trying to understand my most hated subject finally paid off...
I held the result slip in my hand, not daring to let go... As if letting go would mean that I would let go of the pass that I had obtained.

I smiled.

We both knew we would finally be where we dreamed of the entire time we were in school... University. That magical place where dreams would be made into reality. That place where we could become all that we wanted to become... To start our journeys into adulthood, into the real world.

And so when we got our offer letters, it was with mixed feelings that I said goodbye to her... Part of me was sad because it meant going our separate ways, but part of me was excited to start a new chapter in my life... I guess it didn't make a difference back then, because I knew that in my heart of hearts, we would be together in the end, no matter how long or winding the r…

The Ones That Got Away: School daze

NOTE: Before proceeding, it is of paramount importance that this post is a reflection of memories, not of regrets...especially when one is happily married. In this life, there is precious little time to waste on regrets. There are incidents and lessons we learn, before we move on, taking with us precious memories along the way.


Within each and every adult there would be bits and pieces of certain memories that they treasure. Memories of times gone by, memories of people they had known, and for many, memories of the ones they would forever remember as 'The Ones That Got Away".

I must admit, I do carry a few of these in my mind, though the one that I will always tell with an air of Greek tragedy would be my first.

High school. Final year. Exams looming in the horizon.
I knew that I needed help with my chemistry, and I needed it quick! In my mind, there was only one person that I could depend on for help - my best (girl) friend (This distinction is very important because I also h…

Blindness in the dark

Photo credit here

When blinded by the dark one must always take extra care not to wander about aimlessly, lest she bumps into a stone wall, or steps on some nails, or anything of the sort.
A person blinded by the dark can only grope at anything they find, any leads from any source, be they good or bad. A voice in the dark can goad them to move forward without taking heed of anything under them. A flash of light may give them false hope that they are actually able to see, and again, throw caution into the wind.

Such is the nature of blindness.

When blinded by the dark, a person wandering aimlessly not only becomes a danger to herself, but to others as well. She is a juggernaut that crushes everything in her path, leaving only destruction in her wake... Until she actually pauses to reflect, and waits for the sunlight to come and guide her once more...

But usually by then, the only thing that she will see is the destruction she left behind.

'I was mislead' says she, with a heaving sigh…