I still remember when I was very small. My parents divorced and I was brought to my hometown, Teluk Intan, purportedly for a “holiday”. That holiday lasted about 15 years.
When I was small, I was the naughtiest girl in the village, Pasir Berdamar (a place where you mention it, everyone in Teluk Intan knew how naughty the children were brought up) and growing up with cousin brothers can’t help much, too. When bitten on the right palm by a neighbour’s dog due to my mischievous, my paternal grandmother quickly summoned that I will be treated with an injection. Fearing injection, being so kiasi (afraid to die), I cried so loud and refuse to go to the clinic until my aunt was asked to follow along. Along with a human being, there also came the accompaniment of a thin, long stick, something call “cane”! Somehow, the sight of a cane was enough to shut my mouth and I readily allowed the doctor to treat and injected on me the necessary treatments. The kiasi me. The small scar still remains till today.
I still remember that a few years before staying in Teluk Intan, I was all about with my aunts, my maternal grandmother and everywhere in Sungai Petani, sometimes Kuala Lumpur and Teluk Intan. Partly due to both parents working and could not take care of me much, I had to follow whoever who could help.
Remembering the times in Sungai Petani where the village shared a common toilet right in the middle of the kampung. Those which you call the jamban, wooden-made cubic, where you go right in, lock yourself and all you can see is a large hole in between your legs. If you look closely, there is nothing more than a bucket at the bottom of the hole. I thought someone will collect the bucket each time it was full.
Since I was so young, I think I was only 3 years old, my aunt reminded me that I should not lock myself. “Just go in and shit/urine.” But being so afraid of exposing myself, again the kiasi, I locked myself one day. And lol and behold, my leg just step right into the hole due to darkness and immediately, I slipped and fell into the jamban hole! Shouting “HELP!” was all I can do. The whole village came to rescue by forcefully opening the jamban door.
I was carried to my home and looking at the “wound”, although not even bleeding, I cried so loud. The ankle was with a small little piece of skin tangling. My aunt wanted to peel it off which I shouted and cried louder. Even with much reassurance that there will be no pain, I still hesitated. The kiasi me… Auntie has to convince me by saying if the skin was to accidentally peeled off, then could be much more in pain. Insisting that it should be removed but the kiasi me still could not believe her.
She then covered that piece of skin with a piece of tissue paper and I cried, too. Auntie said, “I am just covering it… don’t worry!” and as she removed the tissue paper from my ankle, the piece of skin was GONE!!! Although I did not feel anything at all, but the dismiss of the piece of skin made me cried even louder… kiasi. My grandma always use the trick – tucking a spoon to the “Milo” tin and then tucked it right to my mouth to pacify me. Somehow, Milo powder was my favourite since young and that was the best thing to stop me from crying. And grandma knows best!
And did I went in the jamban to do big or small business? I have forgotten…
This morning, I went to Teluk Intan McDonald’s to sahur. When I stepped across the step, I accidentally stepped into a hole, making the same injury I had at the jamban – a small piece of skin at the very same ankle! So, I covered it with a tissue paper and removed it. No, there was no pain at all, although the whole day I felt some tingling pain on that jamban “wound”.
Today, I have a much much larger wound on my abdomen which I will never forget. A wound that will remind me of the dying and how I have saved someone’s life. Being such a kiasi and still dared myself to cut a 14-inch “mercedes” logo on my abdomen. Just how things can change when we grow up.