"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."
Gilbert K. Chesterton, English writer
I wanted to update my blog (ugh, I hate that word so) on Saturday night, but instead I spent it on MSN talking a whole lot of cock with Phoebs and Mitch. I wanted to update on Sunday night too, but I attended a Christmas party instead over at Vince and Nick's place next door - the first real Noel bash I attended in... in my life actually. By "real" I mean it's "not secular". More on that later. Maybe. Maybe not.
I also planned to update earlier today but you won't believe the lethargy that got hold of me today. I didn't even feel like budging to get breakfast and lunch! I was that stoned. Oh well, here's a post I promised I'd do awhile ago but hey, hey, hey - who was keeping tab anyway, right?
Well, during the course of my last holiday in September (yeah, it's that dated), I've decided to cross over to the man-made island, Pulau Melaka which stuck out of the smelly mudflats a kilometre off the coastal centre of the ancient city of Malacca like a resurrected shipwreck. Milling through the city in midday and in the evenings, I could see a plateau craning barely a few feet above sea level at high tide with uninspired rows of shophouses standing solemnly like guests at a funeral on its unremarkable flat-scape.
And one day, I spotted an obelisk like structure sticking out from behind the shops,
So being the jobless vacationing student I was, any distraction was good distraction to me - so I drove right over to check the place out.
The only way to cross over without (a) a boat, (b) getting mud in your shoes and socks, and pants, underpants, shirt, mouth, nostrils, ears... is a four-lane bridge which connects the south part of that little artificial sand bar we call Pulau Melaka to the commercial centre of Melaka Raya.
If you can forgive a little bit of digression, I just want to tell you that my dog, Peegs, is buried under the bridge. Just remember him when you drive over, okay?
The island was just as desolate as it appeared from afar, with long, shady streets and stark staring windows on the rows of empty un-leased shops. It's the sort of place gangsters bring people to execute - at least, if I'm a gangster, that's where I'd force some poor bastard on his knees, put a bullet through his head and then get my cronies to tie up the body with bricks before heave-ho-ing it into the mud-sink. You'd think the same about that place too if you're there. It's a place where bad things happen.
And I wasn't alone on the island either.
A small group of Indonesian men were loitering about the plaza and with my usual xenophobic paranoia, I immediately became convinced that they intended to axe me and steal my car. I'm the sort of person who can't help imagining the worst case scenario superseding every single moment of my everyday - and it has been like that ever since I got trashed and mugged three years ago in Subang Jaya by two Malay men. That changed the way I look and feel about everything afterwards, even in my own peaceable hometown of Malacca. Places where I used to stroll with careless leisure can no longer offer that same feeling of sanctuary they used to give me. The Bukit Serindit park. The seaside. The Portuguese ruins at night. All that was serene and calm had become omens of unseen danger and people who meant to harm me.
It's terrible not to feel safe and protected in one's own home and city.
Driving to the other side of the island - far away from the would-be Indonesian thugs - I found a mosque built standing half in knee high water. The spire I saw from the mainland belongs to it.
I wondered idly what it's like inside and whether if it's okay for an "infidel" like me to enter a mosque just to - I don't know - admire the architecture and the interior decor? I know that the Kampung Kling Mosque over at Malacca's Chinatown is open for visitors during non-Azan periods of the day, it being a historical site and all (I've been in it). Of course, I didn't go up to the gate and ask - they might consider it to be bloody cheek.
I guess I just have to stand outside and gawk from a distance what my Dad's tax money helped to build.
I wonder if the state is going to build a floating Buddhist temple too on the island. Or maybe a floating church or Hindu temple as well. Hey! Maybe someone can go up to the city council and ask permission to do just that, and promise whoever's in-charge there that we'd build it out of our own pockets. We can tell them we wouldn't use a single cent of the tax money which we paid so the the government to improve our lives. What do you think?
It's a rather long stretch of beach after all.
Wishes you a Merry Christmas,
k0k s3n w4i