Everybody knows I hate working on weekends. I would wake up wondering how long I would take to finish my rounds. However as soon as I reach the wards, I realised that as I’m here to work, I might as well do things properly as it should be done, hence I’d sit and listen to my patients more than I would have on weekdays.

It’s a job, yes. But it’s a job that could be done better when you do it with a pinch of passion and a dash of empathy. You don’t need that much to get you started, because once you’re in it, you’d already have the momentum, the push, the energy.

It’s really nice to just sit and listen to all these mak cik, aunties, uncles, talking about the sick loved ones. Somehow the only time I could really get to listen to them is when their loved ones are asleep, or unresponsive, to be exact. We would just sit next to the bed and they’d talk about their 20-over years together, their lives, their children, the challenges, their advices, their experience….my eyes would be glossy at one moment, I would try not to shed tears, as these carers often don’t.

A lot of time, my troubles would fade away. Life is seen in a different light. I would realise or understand some things in my life that were not clear before. All emotions – sad, happy, worried, relieved – will rush through me, one by one.

I attended a course a few months ago, on grief and bereavement. Instead of the formal powerpoint presentations, they thought us to search deep into ourselves, our joys, our sorrows and our fears, when we respond to certain issues. I have heard once, you do not see the world as it is, but you see the world as you are. How true…

It’s nice to see how families stick together during tough times.
It’s nice to see a wife, a son, a daughter, faithfuly take care of the ill father, when he could do nothing without the help of others.
It’s nice to know that there are happy families in this world – responsible fathers and mothers and children and in-laws…
Yes, even though the circumstances they are in are not nice at all.

* * *

Funny how life can be sometimes.

At one point you worry about all those around you. Your mom, your dad, your brothers, your sisters, your friends….you love everyone around you and you would want to spend a lot of time with all of them. You rush here and there just to be with them, to make them happy that you’re there. It leaves almost no time for self-care, no time to worry about yourself, your career, your future, your own social responsibilities and social life too…

And once all the worries are lifted away, you are left alone, suddenly you recognise someone that has not been in the limelight of your life – yourself.

As for myself…

Mom’s happy there in the holy land. Dad’s going around doing his own things. My brothers are all grown up and I’ve never worried about their survival skills. My sister’s happily tucked away in Sungai Petani. Cousins having exams. Best friends all working.

So I was left alone….with myself. I thought it would be as simple as it was five years ago. Here and there alone, careful about my own safety but otherwise content with my own being. I thought it would be as straight-forward as ‘turning in with a good book and a hot chocolate’. I hoped it would have been that easy.

Funnily, it wasn’t. Life for the past three years made me aware that there’s so much possibilities that I would never have seen all those years ago. There are so many people out there with so much stories in their lives that I started to accept that anything, just about everything, is possible. And yes, I’m facing all that.

Funnily, I started to feel what others feel. I looked into a man’s eyes, and I could feel the sorrow and misery of two men. Then I looked inside myself and I realised that the heartache was mine. What’s not supposed to have happened in their lives was what’s not supposed to happen in mine.

I listened to my cousin’s favourite songs and I would feel the joy of five girls, meeting up with their favourite superstars and going to their concert, screaming with all the excitement that only teenagers would feel. The palpitations, the light-headedness, the smiles, the laughters…

There’s a lot more but I guess it might be overwhelming just to read about them…
* * *

I guess I’m as materialistic as the girl next to me. Perhaps a bit more, but maybe a bit less. It scared me when one day I was looking through a newspaper article on what to give to your mother-in-law for Christmas, and there was a photo of an expensive diamond ring. I said to my cousin, “hey, if I have all the money to buy this expensive ring, I might as well be single all my life.”

Like, oops, there. I don’t know whether or not my dad could hear me. He didn’t say anything though.

True, money can’t buy happiness, but without money one will never be completely happy – all the worries about unpaid rent and no medical care and no transport to work and no education for children….really, are these what you call happiness?

I don’t look for a man to get all his money. I think many of us still get married for fulfilment, for true meaning of life, for spiritual completion – and I do, too. I guess it’s just a survival instinct – a man with no stable job may not be stable emotionally, they are insecure with their egos scratched with every failure (and your success will scratch it even more), hence emotional instability means marriage instability.

I didn’t mean to generalise and to be judgemental, though. I don’t even know whether what I want is actually what I need. The same way with love before marriage vs love after marriage. Someone apparently believes in love after marriage but ends up like the Ikea flower plant – nice to see, but you bring it back, not tending to it enough, it just dies in front of you. Someone else had a long and happy relationship before married life, and after that they seemed to be even stronger…

I don’t know. Indeed, nobody knows. I think I’ll just let it be.

I guess I had rambled on too much. I need to stop now.


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