The Lockdown : The Future Looks Uncertain

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020. Day 14 of MCO. We have faithfully complied to the lockdown (well, except yesterday I went out for a bit). I hope things will settle down. I sat down and pondered upon my uncertain future. I felt done so what is there left for me? That’s what the uncertain future meant for me. A while ago my health was an issue that was a bit scary.

the sampan looks so small compared to the mighty ocean but I could ride it to explore the open sea

On 19 of January 2020 I went for my third operation to remove the stent out of my ureter. It was placed after the last operation. It was Saturday and by late morning I was wheeled out to the OT. Everything was familiar as I’ve been through this before. People were buzzing around with little interest in me. I guess this is a common scene around here. I was transferred from one bed to another with some hand over notes between the nurses. Everything was in order and I was left at the waiting bay for a while. It was Saturday and most of the staff were leaving for the weekend as I heard goodbyes and see-yous. Someone pushed me again and said we were going in. The OT was bright and smelly of disinfectants. Oops! You should be our last, Sir! We have someone else in the schedule now. Hmmm as you are infected by some bacteria, we will have you in here last. I was pushed out and left in the corridor for the period they worked on that patient. It felt eternity being left in the alley like a pathetic homeless person. I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself down.

I woke up as my bed was pushed again into the room. About 5-6 people were there doing the preparation. This one guy flipped my gown over and I was exposed from the waist down. I felt cold and naked. There were people in here and my dick was a showcase. Ok! Whatever….. The doctor then nipped my dick head and blobbed it with some jelly. He poked something inside the dick and reminded me to breath in and out. Ouch! Oooouuuuu! I groaned painfully, omg the thing’s going in. At that time pain is an understatement. I gritted my teeth and hope for the world to end. So, everything, everyone including myself will be destroyed and the pain will stop. But then I felt it went through and some thing was trying to find its way out. A minute later the stent was out and shown to me as a proof. It’s supposed to give me some relief. How could I! my dick was still sore. Again, I closed my eyes and let them finish off. I finally felt relief and unstuffed. That wire was out of my system. They gave me a couple of shots to keep the bacteria away. The side effects, as they told me, would be pretty sniff. Just get it over with and let me deal with it later. It was pretty bad. I could not stand up straight and my lips felt numb all over. The skin dried up and itchiness spread to all part of the skin. The more you scratched the more you felt good until it bled. What a nightmare.

I stayed on for another 10 days to recover. The bacteria pseudomonas was finally out of my system. The urine culture gave a negative reading. I was allowed to leave.

Although the results were clear, you must remember one thing, the doctor warned me sternly, don’t get sick ! if you do come back immediately or your life will be at risk. I will take that chance because I didn’t want to stay at the hospital anymore. From that point on I knew my health is no longer as it used to be…strong and energetic. Now it is like a shield being lift off and I am exposed and vulnerable. The recovery was very slow and depressing;physically and mentally. You felt like half of a man because your dick could not function properly. And for a man his little prick is everything to him. I am hoping for a brighter future.

The Lockdown : Tiny and Dangerous

Monday, Day 13 of MCO. I went out today just to breach the lockdown. The streets were eerily quiet. That what the tiny little creatures could do to you and your world. I felt so vulnerable and afraid that we might not get out of this situation successfully.

Sunrise @Hospital Selayang : another day, another hope

Back when I was attacked by the tiny little thing before the procedures, I was stunned and hopeless. I went to the hospital to remove a stent and they could not proceed because my urine was not clean. The doctor came in and delivered the results and the follow-ups that they will do. I listened half-heartedly. The fact that I have tons of work to finish (it was final exam time) was so insignificant to be voiced out and plea for mercy. The procedure must be followed no matter what. I prayed to Allah for my strength and patience. All these ordeals proved how powerless modern medicine can be (no antibiotic to fight the bacteria) to overcome the complexity of human anatomy. A tiny micro-organism can be a threat of fatality and nothing can stop it. Make you feel small and weak again. The doctors left and silence filled the room. Soon, sorrow and frustration have started to overcome my emotions. I didn’t want to be a man sitting by the window all day waiting for the death angel to come.

The place I used to call home …

But I was there, nevertheless, locked down in the room and all I could do was looking out the window into the sky as if to wait for its colour to change. Far in the horizon the sun has magnificently showed off its morning glory. It seemed a dull morning. I was restless to not being able to do anything useful to finish off the morning. Ironically, I felt to have gone through the same ordeal before. Yep! when I was doing my PhD in Essex the same thing happened. I was in the room similar to that hospital ward maybe a bit smaller and consistently attacked by restlessness and anxiety. Always wondered what to do with my research, my time and my life. Most of the time I had no clue. I kept going and stumbled a few times but was able to pick myself up and moved on. Maybe because I was young and ambitious it compromised the downfall. The great thing about life is it gives you some time between the falls so you could figure out what’s going on. Doing my PhD was a great experience although it was a long and tedious journey. The fun part was not the end of it but the little patches of time along the way. If you are having a second thought of doing your PhD…don’t! dive into it and start right away. The more you wait, the more you get the reasons not to do it.

Meanwhile in Shah Alam, the stores have run out of bread flour…aarrggh no baking today!

The Lockdown : A Storm in the kitchen

A view from my ward @ Hospital Selayang

It’s Day 12,13,14….. I lost count. But it has been long since we were locked in. Supplies are depleting and we are running out of bread recipe to try out. And the house climate is changing…. a storm is brewing in the kitchen. I have no intention to butt in; just let it pass. So, everything is running low in the bunker; not sure how long we can hold on, but we all hope for the best. As long as daddy is okay, the house is okay. Things are quiet down a bit in the afternoon and as I flipped through my notes from the hospital, I just could not resist to share these thoughts ……


I was restless early in the morning. The bed was hard and lumpy. Made my back sore and painful. At about 5:30 am I was up and out of bed to end the misery. Outside, darkness was about to disperse. The air seemed thick and still, holding on to the mystery of last night. I breathed in the thick air in the room hoping to feel fresh and cool as the outside. Hopelessness lingered loosely at the end of the breath. But still the morning conveyed the message of positive anticipation… as always. The sunshine that has started to knock on my windows proved that the day will be okay as yesterday’s. I sat still to see the world around me started to move and picked up. I wish I would move around as well but not today. Today, I will be locked down and get better. A brief pause sometimes is needed to make you realise how vulnerable your life can be without proper care and attention. Within the boredom of my predicament, I hope there lies an excitement somewhere.

  After I got better, I wanted to roam the world. But CONVID19 got here first and everything just went crazy. I sat myself down and for the first time felt tired and vulnerable. InsyAllah I will endure this pain like the other things in my life…. I  survived. Looking back a few decades back, I was poor, soft and weak like a bird chick that could not fly but at the end of the day it pushed itself off the cliff and flew, eventually. I remember coming home from school one day and asked my parent if I could go into this express program at school. I could skip one year of schooling if I passed the test. Apparently, no one gave a shit about it as nobody understood the benefit of it all. I didn’t either but somehow wanted to be in that class. Ayah signed the consent paper in the morning with a half-smile… a smile of uncertainty but there you go anyway. Consequently, the program has put me one year ahead of everybody else of my age. Huge impact on my academic and working life. That initiative, apparently, one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have one year of time to spare in case I screwed up.

A light reflection on my wall:nothing strange just fascinated by it

I did not do well in school just enough to keep up. I determined not to give up so easily and keep struggling no matter what. A teacher gave a homework one day during my primary school. He was known to be strict and whip your ass for no reason. I had to find the meaning of some Malay proverbs (peribahasa Melayu) They were not in the textbook and I did not know where to find them. Mak did not know either so I was sent to bed before completing my homework. I cried the whole time until Mak had to wake my brother up to see what the homework is all about. With tears in my eyes and sobbing endlessly I waited by my brother’s side as he went through the proverbs. He did most of them and threw the book back to me annoyingly. I wiped the tears away and hugged my homework dearly. It was good enough for me. The next day the teacher did not even look at the homework, but I was happy to know a lot of the proverbs. In my own little way, I love and appreciate knowledge more than anything else. I guess that’s how I survive all these years.

The lockdown continues.

The Lockdown : Missing Friday Prayers

Day 10(27-03-2020) of MCO. The death toll keeps rising and the end of this pandemic is not in sight. People are literally struggling to survive and stay alive. This is not a movie but a reality that some us have yet to grasp. They went on jogging and strolling as if the lockdown has nothing to do with them. Well, people act shit sometimes. I woke up this morning feeling empty; today will be no fajr prayers at the surau and for the second time there will be no Friday prayers. For a moment I’ve lost the sense of purpose of me being alive. But I was up anyway because my daily routine has started and I would not miss a pre-dawn serenity that my body and mind need. I stared into the darkness and embrace the stillness of the morning; it rejuvenated me. Anyway, it was a perfect day for making bread. Because we are out of bread and the store may or may not have the stock this morning. I have no luck for making a perfect bread so far. Today I will start again and see if this beautiful morning will bring luck into my oven. The hard part of making bread is the yeast does not bubble up properly that will make the bread damp and not fluffy. Then you have to let it set for an hour blab la bla…..I don’t have time to wait for a long time…..and for that you wont get a fluffy white bread but a hard rock clump of flour that will ruin your breakfast. While waiting for the dough to rise, I fried some mee to make “mamak style mee” and fill myself up for the morning. Looking at the dough, I think, I won’t get my bread very soon.

Overstimulated dough : My daughter tried to redeem my loss. Hers tasted better.

And PM has announced a stimulus package for the people to manage this crisis. It costs billions. I don’t know where the money will come from…frankly, I don’t want to know.

My mind wandered to the beginning of this year when I was locked down at the hospital. The year 2020 greeted me in a very unhealthy way. A warning that my health is still an issue. I was hospitalised and stuck in the smelly ward; and there was no sign I’d be discharged very soon. The angry and aggressive bacteria are still in the system and I had to stay on to fight them. I was furious at first but as the reasonings went around my head, I surrendered to the inevitable. My priority was to get better and that would not happen if I had given up to my hothead and despise the doctor’s efforts. I was in the middle of busy schedule and staying put just seemed impossible. I was restless. but again I managed and pulled through eventually. Life was boring (pretty much like this home-based lock down) and it got worse when the phone died. Somehow that little thing has become my heart and soul now. When it dies, the world just stop and the time stands still.

I had plenty of time to ponder and I looked back into my past. Sometimes the past came in patches of time. A specific period of time that vividly came to mind. This time my childhood flashed across my mind as one of the best parts of my life. Just me, Mak, Ayah and my naughty siblings. A simple life that I happened to be part of. Those were beautiful moments that I safely kept at the corner of my memory box. I love them because I felt safe and secured although the “adult” world around me was not pretty. The fact that we were poor and lived in a house that leaked every time it rained, we had each other all the time and life just went on beautifully. Ironically, I never felt poor, feeling sad or disappointed for being poor.

Looking out through the window, I’ve never missed the beautiful sunrise. As it climbed behind those treetops, the morning rays revealed the story of yesterday. I could see how people hurriedly walked in the shadow to start their day at the hospital. They came to make a living. The job must be hard and tiring, but that is something we all must do to keep alive. I wished them well and good health. During this difficult time they are the frontliners that are fighting to keep us safe. May Allah help them all.

The Lockdown

Day 9

This is Day 9 of MCO. The pandemic has claimed its 21st death. as deadly as it seems, people are still taking it lightly as if it happened far far away in Africa. Get hold of yourself before it comes knocking on your door. I , too, feel the thing is so remote that makes me so secured and out of reach. The fact that it is happening next door is so mind-gobbling. One of the neighbours is already tested positive and warded at the hospital. Well people get sick everyday ;I keep telling myself to deny the magnitude of this pandemic. If I were not in the social media, I would be the most ignorant person on earth. But my phone keeps beeping and the incoming messages are mostly the reminders of this thing—I can’t be the asshole that would endanger not only myself but the people around me. I got the message and pin my ass to stay home. Soon boredom crept in and found myself confused between home and a prison cell. Boredom is that one put himself through to experience the stillness of time and contradict the dynamism of space. Not everyone can endure this circumstance and they usually end up rebellious. Domestic violence is mainly the result of this behaviour. I am a “home” person and like to be home most of the time. I was dumped by a girl because I was too “home boy” that never took her out for a dinner or movies. That ex was no good bitch anyway so we parted. That happened a long time ago but today during this lockdown I reflected upon myself and see a character lives on within me. So don’t yell at me to stay home…I AM home!

But the most dramatic place during this time would be the hospital. The people, the smells, the sound and the sickness make the place so intimidatingly sad. and yet we encourage our children to study hard and be a doctor or surgeon. I have a daughter who is a doctor and my prayers are always for her to be safe and protected. I mean the place is full of germs and viruses that might attack you anytime. I was there a few months ago for a kidney stone surgery. a surgery is a surgery and for me there is no minor or major surgery; you still have to go through the procedures and it was shitty definitely. But the doc said by three days you will be out and about. I smiled and felt so good. The reality was that I had to be there, warded and all, for 26 days before I burst into flames and checked myself out. But that’s not the main point here. The main point is how easily I got infected in the hospital and the treatment had prolonged my stay until I just could not take it no more and left the ward. I was in the ICU for two days to treat the infection in my lung. I guess the convid19 patients are going through the same thing as the virus damages the lung. So I was there for two days and as the air was blown into my lung like you stick your head out of the car window while driving, I was not able to sleep as well. For two bloody days and nights I stayed awake just to work my lung out. It was so bad; you pee in the bag, you shit in the diapers and your back hurts for laying too long. The only happy moments were when the nurses came to change your diapers and wipe your ass. That happened once a day before the sunrise. I remember those moments vividly. Anyway, it was not pretty to be in the hospital for whatever reason. I keep myself healthy to avoid just that.
Again, I stayed home.

So now they want us to work from home(WFH).I am not sure the socio-economical impacts of WFH but it seems reasonable and feasible to me. I have to conduct classes and give lectures online. But…this sem I have a lot of lab sessions for programming subjects. So how? google notebook? The thing is that I have to redesign my lab activity….hmmm. Will figure it out somehow. don’t worry this lockdown will give me plenty of time to adjust and accommodate

My Ramadhan: Day 27

A castle in Rabat, Morocco

Saturday 1 June 2019

Something must be in the rain. It settled things. Despite the scorching heat an hour ago, now the air is more pleasant. The heat made you run for cover and the day seemed hopeless like we were being punished or something; when the rain came we went for cover also but to wait for the rainbows to shoot across the sky. Life can be beautiful sometimes whenever you put your trust into it.

Ramadhan is leaving us soon. The fasting has taught me to “let go” of something. Let go of eating and drinking and sex. Tough isn’t it!? because we all live for that- eating, drinking and sex. But thank God I managed. Soon we will let go of everything ; are we ready? I for the sake of this argument has started to let go many things. The hardest must be to let go of the family members, yep I have no clue. But I have started to let go many friends. I have good friends and pretend-to-be good friends. Some of them were really mean and the bad things they had done to me will come with me to the grave. It was not only the pain but the guilt and shame will forever be part of my sadness. Sometime my mind went back to the old place and the old time so that I can be sad and painful all over again. The memories make me smile and cry at the same time; the wound would be fresh again. So I can feel again. Strange but true. Only those who has an experience being betrayed your trust by someone you really look up would understand this odd predicament . I want to let go those friends but can’t.

Out of nowhere this beautiful bird dropped by …..

I have also needed to learn to let go my own bad blood aka family that suck on you whenever there’s a chance. What a bad jinx to own such a relationship. But they are out there and they are your own flesh and blood. The one that always ask for money but has never intended to pay back.yea that one I am sure you have them too on your side. You wish to let go of them as well; but, you can’t.

Chechaouen , Morocco

To let go of your home is a tough one. Maybe some of us have experience in moving houses; so to let go the house we have been living is something difficult to do. We built a house in Dungun; from scratch that is. From the design to buying materials like woods for flooring or roofing, I’d done it myself. I went to pick up some of the materials with my tukang— a nice local house maker that we paid weekly. No house loan. So there was a lot of memories and experience went into the development. But in one fine night, robbers put us all into a deep sleep and rampaged the house while we were in there. So terrible. We lost a lot of my wife’s jewellery but most of all we lost our privacy and dignity.The intrusion left in us a deep wound of fear and insecurity. We decided to let go of our beautiful 7-bedroom bungalow and moved to Shah Alam. We may never have a chance to own such an awesome piece of property again but , you know, we just wanted to move on.Sad but it was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

Nowadays I am not afraid to let go of anything or anyone anymore . If you fucked me up please leave my life, just go away. For a long time , I have been nice to people when they return shit to me. Made me a fool out of my own naivety. I framed a nice smile nevertheless. My mom taught me that to give a sweet sour smile whenever I was made a fool. But no more. This land is flat for you as well as it is for me.

Thank god I have nice neighbours otherwise I have to let go of my neighbours as well. On the right is En Saiful and on my left is mr Lim. We have been good all this while so no issues. But both of them have moved since so could it me that is an ass?? Hmmmm inquiring mind wants to know. I hope not.

Bad colleagues also give you bad environment; thus, unnecessary stress. We all have this so do I. Sometime it is difficult to let go of them but believe me you must, slowly and surely.

Students are hard to let go for sure. I love my students very much no matter how bad they smell.the restless eyes, confused faces, and sticky hands with limply handshakes make your heart flutters for no reason. But one principle I must abide —- you can see but you cannot touch. It’s like a glass wall has been built between us. But no matter what they will be gone by semester end and you will be forgotten like yesterday’s news. So I must learn to let go of them and not get too attached. So heartbreaking isn’t it? But that’s how it works so get over it. One thing I learned about students is that they live in their own complex life. With own language, characters and social structure. They have their family at the center, girlfriends in the next layer, buddies will line up around next layer, other friends coming in next, and the rest is lump together in the final layer. If you are lucky enough , you might be in the last layer. But most of the time your importance is at the same level as the bangla at the petronas gas station—- talked to only needed and once the change is given get the hell out asap. So forgettable. Every time I see my beloved students, this framework will be fetched from the back of my mind so I wont be heartbroken again. Just let them go, they will be fine…..don’t worry….go and write some stupid articles or something.

My Ramadhan : Day 26

A restaurant selling delicious lamb dishes in Marrakesh Medina,Morocco

Friday 31st of May

The morning gave a sense of stillness with the sky rumbled like something is unsettled. I like this calm morning; it gives you the okay sign to get up and have your day the way you like it. I propped up my potty plants and gave them some new and fresh soil that was delivered last night. They will be up and reaching for the sun in no time. I like that to happen and see the new leaves and buds grow into a handsome tree. Keanu was screaming at the background and it seemed alive and well. Although still small, the stray kitty has shown a good recovery. Keanu gonna be okay; such a strong little kitty.

Maybe if you are interested to know the little things about myself can follow the images below;otherwise, don’t bother because there is nothing interesting anyway. Some boring stuff that l have done for the last few decades. A question most probably popped up — for what? After all those years that you have done all those things for what ? Really! Yep what a waste of time. Do I feel accomplished for some reasons ? Not really but I do feel unfinished …. like I have not done the shit that I have to do…. and I don’t know what that is…all this while no one could tell me what I need to do to feel complete of myself although some can tell me what not to do. Nope it aint this one try another one. And I do have a little bit of extra time and energy left in me to pursue another try. I will keep looking……


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