Firdaus Tarmizi

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Much Ado About the New Year?

In Musings, Ranting on December 31, 2011 at 11:58 pm

1.  Normally seen at around this time of the year: our Facebooks  flooded with wishes of New Year, Happy Holidays, etc.  There will be jokes about resolutions, actual resolutions, and sometimes statements of regrets about not meeting the resolution of the past year.  I think is all quite  natural.  After all, the enthusiasm in welcoming a general celebration is contagious, so it’s normal to be hyped up into the festivities.

2.  Also normally seen:  our Facebooks flooded with statements condemning the celebration of New Year, ridiculing people who are going out to countdowns and concert events, and personally crafted “words of wisdom” from people who feels proud of being apart from the media-controlled masses.  I think this is also quite natural.  After all, holier-than-thou feeling of superiority after lifting one’s self above others is also contagious.

3.  First, let me get one thing straight.  I do not celebrate New Years, in the sense that I normally do not go out for countdowns and parties.  But not because I think celebrating the New Year is ridiculous, not because I think the Gregorian Calendar’s New Year is not for “true Muslims”, and not because I think only fools are tricked into conformity.  I do not celebrate New Years because I am a secretly introverted lazy bum who get nauseous in crowds, who hate driving in Penang’s hellish traffic to get  to a place just to suffocate smelling other’s sweaty armpits, who prefers to contemplate alone at home what I did wrong in 2011 and what I can do better in the next year.  In short, I do not celebrate New Year simply because I think “Hey, I’d be more comfortable celebrating at home on my bed”, and not because I think I am too good for something.

4.  In fact, I love the fireworks.  I love seeing the smiling faces of people being optimistic of the future.  I love being next to loved ones whom I’ll be spending the next years with.  I love the witnessing the festivities, the live bands, the view of people reveling in the fact that they are given another day (and hopefully a full year) to be alive.  And so I totally understand those who want to in the thick of the celebration, shouting out the countdowns with thousands of others, because I know it’s FUN.

5.  All that said, for the New Year, maybe we all can be a bit less judgmental. Maybe we can feel less tendency to begrudge others their freedom to spend a good time with friend and families.  Maybe we don’t have to be proud of our religion all the time, and the need to push what we think about their stupidity down their throats.  Maybe we can be happy for others for a change, and stop being such spoil-sports / party-poopers.

6.  And so, I wish all of my friends and family a happy new year.  May it be a new beginning for you.  And shout out the countdown on my behalf!




True Story: Childhood Crimes Revealed (Part 2)

In Confessions, Family on December 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I nearly forgot to finish this 2-part series, and was reminded by a colleague who just read the first entry here, and urged me to list the rest of my “crimes”, saying that some of them sound familiar.  This gives me the suspicion that some people might have made the committed the same kind of mischieve when they are kids.  So, this continuation is also to shout out to all other ex-Menaces out there.

5.  The crime of cheating on homework.  Status:  Unknown.

For everyone, there are times when laziness creeps in, and you simply want to curl and do nothing.  But how do you want to do that when you have homework to do, and your mom and dad are strict enforcers?  Pretend to do your homework only when they are around?  Or try to bluff you way and tell them you do not have any HW on that day?

I did better (I think).  Putting my book in front of me on the table, I would invent random sentences and say them out loud, like “Kassim pergi ke surau menaiki motosikal barunya” or “Ahmad ada 30 biji limau, dan dia mahu bahagikan kepada 3 orang anaknya“, so on and so forth.  Of course, to do this you would need to know the pattern of how a question would normally sound, so as not to sound fake.

So, I was able to just shoot out these random sentences and my mom won’t come in the room to check up on me.  In the mean time, I would just stare out the window or finish up on my comic drawing.

Just make sure you don't overdo it.


6.  The crime of porn-burning.  Status:  I think my mom might have suspected something.

Ahhh, the early days of discovering the wonderful, sinful world of pornography.  I remembered that my first porn were introduced by a good friend.  He wanted to hide them because the teacher was suspicious and wanted to check his bag for contrabands, so he gave them to me because I was a prefect, and naturally I had the teacher’s full confidence.

I didn’t want to, but I had to bring them home, because of course, I could not betray a friend’s trust.  My heart was crying, and my hands were rebelling when I pulled them out of my bag as soon as I got back home and locked the door.  I just wanted to inspect them to make sure they were not torn or anything, you see.  They were printed on pieces of A4 paper, and I had to make sure they were safe.

After a few days, I didn’t get around to returning the items to my friend, and he also seemed to forget about them.  I got panicky each time my mom went in to clean up my room. I was sure she might discover the hidden treasure.  So at last I decided to get rid of them.  But how?  I can’t simply throw them away in the dustbin.  Stashes of paper might be easily discovered.

So I burned them.  In the kitchen sink.  Just a few minutes before my mom came back from school.  Yes, for some reason it seemed to be such a good idea at that time.  As soon as she came in the door, her sensitive nose brought her straight to the kitchen sink.  She called me over and asked “Yop bakar ape ni?”.  I simply said I was just playing and burning some paper for fun.  Surely she bought the excuse, right?  Right?

No One Must Know!


7. The crime of TV cooling.  Status:  Made to confess by dad.

This is a story well-known even to my extended family, as it had been retold by my father time and time again.

My sis and I were instructed not to watch the TV after school, maybe until we finish our homework.  Alas, the temptation to catch that 4:00 pm cartoon was too strong, and we succumbed a few times.  However, knowing that our father would be furious if/when he finds out (his method of finding out was by feeling the back of the TV to see if it’s hot or not), we decided to employ an ingenious method:  we tried to cool down the TV using a fan.

The result?  Well, when he came back that day, he went straightaway to the TV and felt the back as usual. Until now, I don’t know whether he knew we were guilty due to his sensitivity to heat (because I already made sure the TV was not even slightly warm), or simply because he could read the guilt on our faces like a book.

Either way, we were served a can of whoop-ass for dinner that night.  Sedap kan, Syitah?

When a normal beating just won't do!


8. Dish Washing Shuffle.  Status:  Plan Failed

This last one is not so much a crime, than an attempt at one.  But that in itself make it a crime of some sort, I suppose, because I am sure it had a bit of psychological impact on my poor sister.

The story is simple.  Similar to the bottle sharing plan devised by my father (in part one), my sister and I also had to share the task of washing the dishes.  I had to wash them on odd days, and my sister on the even days.

So me, being lazy and evil, simply tried to confound my sister (confundo!), telling her that SHE was the one supposed to wash the dishes on that day, which was an odd-numbered day.  I was sure my sister did not actually fell for that one, but I guess my confidence and stubbornness on sticking to my lies actually did confused her quite a bit.  Or maybe she was simply aghast with how stupid my plan was.

Anyway, I can’t really remember how this story ended.  I usually bury all the bad failure memories deep in my subconscious mind.  Maybe Syitah can shed some light on how this was resolved?


The end!