Firdaus Tarmizi

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

What Will They First Remember?

In Family, Parenthood on February 4, 2014 at 8:17 pm

1.  I always wonder at what point will my son start to remember things.  What actual event will he be able to recall in adulthood?

Will he remember dancing like nobody’s watching?


2.  I worry about this because my son is nearly 4, and I do a lot of weird shit in front of him.  Walking around just in boxers… doing number 2 with the door open…. taking my shower in the nude with him… or taking the shower in the nude with him, then stopping to do number 2, and then continuing to shower with him….

Will he remember being used for cheap labor?


3. The earliest memory that I have are these:

  • Lying on my back on the floor of the… kitchen?  The lights were off, and I was looking up to my mom, who called down to me from the second floor…
  • Running, in the dark, to the outhouse at grandma’s house. Just the memory of running as fast as I can and closing the door…
  • Crying at the front door, with a bag and a towel in my hand.  My mom was there, just watching me.  I think I was crying because I threatened to run away from home, and instead of panicking like I hope my mom would, she actually helped to pack my bags…
  • I remember running along the beach of Kampung Nelayan, when my foot stepped into a shallow hole…  a hole that was used by someone as their toilet the night before…
  • Sharing the use of the toilet with my sister.  We used a squatting toilet, so we had to squat back to back while doing our business…
  • Waiting in my dad’s Proton with my sister before going to kindy.  While we waited, we played with some snails.  I think we actually built some obstacle course for the snails to climb over…

4.    I’m sure there’s more, but those are the ones I remember vividly.  Is there a trigger, or reasons why those particular memories chose to remain?

5.  With these in mind, I wonder what my son will first remember.  Will he remember his mama putting him to sleep?  Will he remember his dad being too busy or lazy to play with him?  Will he remember riding on the bike with his Atok?

6.  I hope, whether the memory is good or bad, he will at least remember that I am around, all the time.


For sure I hope he remembers this!


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!

The World is His Playground

In Family, Parenthood on September 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm

1.  One of the first things I realized about Hamzah and his toys is this:  he has short patience with them. He’ll play with them for maybe a day or two but will get bored, and explore other, more mundane things around him.

2.  He’ll be more entranced with empty boxes, the fridge, an empty water bottle or with keys and sheets of papers lying around (yes, our house is a mess).  We’ll shake his rattles at him, and squeeze his squeaky toys to get his attention, only to have him grin quizzically, and then turn to his new-found love:  this time maybe my neatly rolled boxers (FYI, I do not fold: I roll my laundries),  the sliding door, or the contents of his mom’s handbag.

Doing his "discovering" the way he knows best


3.  He’ll once in a while “rediscover” his abandoned toys, flirts with them for a few minutes, and re-abandon them.  This makes it tricky for me to distract him, since I am never sure which toys will successfully draw his attention.

4.  More annoyingly, he’ll be adamant to play with anything that I, likewise, adamantly refuse to let him play.  Thus, the never-ending struggle to drag him back from chewing on his mom’s Crocs shoes, and also the constant tug-of-war using the TV cables.

5.  In a way,  this might also prove to be fortunate, because I need not worry too much about what toys I should buy.  Perhaps, I don’t even have to buy him toys, and just let him explore whatever he fancies, as long as they are safe.

Hamzah discovering the joy of climbing UP the slide


6.  One thing for sure:  I am thinking of not getting any of my children these modern gadgets I keep seeing children these days are running around with.  I am going to experiment whether it is possible to raise kids without too much intervention of gadgets, in these age of PSP, smart phones and iPods.  Instead, I am going to let them run around the neighborhood, play in the fields, climb trees, explore the drains and chase after dogs.  I will show them the joy of reading real books, bring them to public libraries, and drag them along with me to jungle-trekking, fishing and camping trips.  They can get their own iPhones and notebooks when they are ready, but as long as I have the time and energy, I will try to get them explore the world around them.

Can I go out now? I'll be careful, I promise!


7.  I hope #6 is not just a wishful thinking, and I know it’s going to be hard on Hamzah when he sees all the kids around him burying their faces in their cool and shiny gadgets.  But hopefully, he can appreciate how the world is bigger and more magnificent than what can be shown and contained within a screen, and the world can, literally, be his playground.

My Little Bundle of Terror

In Family, Parenthood on July 18, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Once upon a time, the biggest worries for me are such mundane things like not passing exams or not making it to a good college.  I remember fretting about not finishing assignments and failing a paper and, more recently, about not meeting the cycle time for the department or being anxious each time a performance review came around.

Little did I know that these concerns are nothing compared to agonizing over your child’s safety.  And a child not even 1 year old, at that!

My nightmare started as soon as Hamzah learned how to turn over.  No more being left on the bed alone for him!  I remember my first close call with cardiac arrest when, with me napping just next to him, he rolled his way to the edge of the bed and I managed just barely to hold on to his legs.


He now uses the skill to crush enemies and cousins alike


Once he started to commando crawl (shuffling on his tummy), anything on the floor is fair game for his culinary testing activity.  Now, I started to be troubled with anything small enough for him to accidentally swallow, and I had to focus on removing anything that is small enough out of his way.  Which leaves everything else stinking of his saliva.

Om nom nom


And now, he’s at his crawling stage.  Beside the huge increase and burst in speed, he also developed a new hair-tearing ability to change direction abruptly, just to smack his head into something.  His playground just became much bigger than his play mat, and his father just became much nearer to bubble-wrapping the whole house.


Quick! Smack me on the head before they see us!


I am fearing what is in store next, and I wait with bated breath the day he starts to walk, and run, and climb on things.  Wait, he already is doing the last part.  Maybe that bubble wrap idea is not so bad after all, eh?

True Story: Childhood Crimes Revealed (Part 1)

In Confessions, Family on July 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I am going to do something seldom done by others:  I’m going to confess my childhood crimes.  Most of the items in this list is already known by my parents, and had been the hot topic of many embarrassing conversations.  But some, I think, might have been kept hidden all these years, until now.

1.  The crime of counting while playing congkak.  Status:  Stopped by angry cousins.

You guys know congkak, right?  Malay traditional game, played using marbles and a wooden board with holes?  Popularized through the inane Congkak ghost movie?  No?  Here is what it looks like:

Congkak - from

Kira kak jangan tak kira.

My alleged crime was cheating by counting the marbles, hence predicting where the last marble will land.  Honestly, up until now, I have no idea why counting while playing congkak is considered cheating.  Without counting, wouldn’t it be a game of mindless grabbing of marbles and putting them in holes?  Where’s the strategy and tactics in that?

Anyway, due to this “cheating”, I would win against my sister more often that not.  The counting is done silently in your head, but if caught by your opponents, they will of course cry foul and protest vehemently.

I only realized that my cheating was making me unpopular when I played against my cousins.  Unhappy with my cheating, they actually plotted together by stealing the marbles from my store, and silently adding them to my opponents’, bit by bit.  To make matters worse, I didn’t realize it was happening until one of them actually TOLD me at the end of the game that they have been counter-cheating me, maybe just to spite me.  Kids can be so cruel sometimes.

2. The crime of “bantal botol” stealing.  Status: Exposed by the victim (sister).

Bantal Botol - from

Have you seen one of these adorable pillows before?

Someone gave my sister a baby-bottle pillow.  Being the evil big brother, I demanded to have the pillow also.  To solve this conflict, my father set up a turn system so my sister and I will share the bottle.  Monday:  My turn, Tuesday:  Sister’s turn, Wednesday:  Back to me, so on and so forth.

One day, I tried to cheat the system.  Before going to bed, I quickly took the pillow and put in on my sister’s bed.  Why?  Yes, to give the impression that she had the bottle the night before.  So, I can have the bottle two nights in a row!

Too bad my sister was not easily fooled.  We fought long and hard into the night, with indignant tears on both sides (I was also a good child actor).

The week after that, I got my own baby-bottle pillow.  Win!

3.  The crime of emptying the bottled water.  Status:  Made to confess by father.

The incident was simple.  I had to bring a bottle of water every day to school.  I hated drinking plain water back then, as opposed to the chemical-laced, colored sugary water they sold at the canteen.

Since my father will check the bottle at the end of each day, I cooked up the brilliant idea of simply pouring out the water before my father picked me up.

I can’t remember who exposed this simple yet brilliant scheme, but I do remember the whacking I got that night.

4.  Cheating in performing the solat.  Status:  Unknown.

This is a bit embarrassing to recall.  I also hated performing the solat back when I was in primary school.  Not that I hated the actual doing of the solat, but it is just that I had so many things to do apart from praying.

So, each time when I was told to perform the solat, I will obediently go take the wudhu and waited for my parents to show up.  As soon as I can hear their footsteps, I will straightaway go to the last part of the solat, and acted as if I have just finished.

And when my sister and I had our own separate rooms, I started to lock the door when I performed the solat.  Knowing that my sister will sometimes peek under the door, I responded by putting the prayer mat so that anyone peeking could see me standing as if doing my prayers  on my side of the door, when I was actually reading my comic book.

Peeking under the door - from

Who does this, really? My sister, apparently.

So, what do you think?  Am I going to hell for these sins?  LOL

Parental Rules

In Family, Parenthood on July 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I think somebody should write some simple yet comprehensive set of rules of what you can and can’t do to your children.  Something along the line of, “You should not hold your baby by the leg upside down” or “You should never allow your baby to lick your navel clean”.

This is because there are a few things I am not sure whether they are normal parental practice, or just something my wife and I cooked up as we go along.


1.  When my son had a runny nose, I distracted him with songs and dances.  When he had his attention elsewhere and was relatively still , I quickly swooped in and suck the snot and fluid out.  Granted, he’ll be wailing indignantly after that, but hey it worked all the time.


Waahhhhh stop the snot-suck ambush!!!

2.  My wife and I found out that our son does his best bowel movements when he is in his Bumbo seat.  We found this out the hard way when once, after a meal, we heard a loud PROOTTT!!, and saw the sudden stillness of Hamzah’s facial expression.  What followed was plenty of washing of the seat with water and industrial strength soap.  So, right now, each time we want him to poo, we’ll just leave him in the Bumbo seat.


Wur hur hur it's coming it's coming get ready. You got some cleaning up to do.

3.   This last one is not really a practise that we have, but just something I secretly love to do.  When we meet other parents and their babies, we like to put the babies next to each other, usually to snap pictures of them.  This is perfectly normal.  I, however, would sometimes “prod” them to wrestle each other.  Hilarity will usually ensue, both in the flurry of small fists and feet, and also in the panicky effort of the moms to stop them.


Man... I'm gonna have to teach him to be gentler to girls

So, are these normal behavior on a parent’s part?