I am still the same perhaps
I remembered the few minutes before going up the stage at finals for the Asia Pacific Cup English Presentation Contest, that, I want to relay Muhammad’s last words and wishes, even if it’s just one aayah ..even if it’s just one line. So, it was.
After surprising myself and also others, I vowed to myself that I will start living my life, because life is not just about talking on stage or at the pulpit. It means nothing if I just talk about it, although impressively ( I did make the judge from the California Education Departmen shed some tear during my presentation). It means I will try my best to live it. To live the spirit. To fight for what I believe. Because Allah made the impossible possible. An unknown, guy ..hopeless ..deemed loser and a bastard by his own father, to win that, Allah gave me a gift to reflect. I vowed to live it at my level best, and not just be a poser. What a commitment. What, may I say, perhaps a foolish intent.
I thought it was a natural thing to say. A progression. A combination of the power of belief, so after the win, I have to pay back by being the embodiment of my love for humanity. I talked about a new hope for us, the humanity that had gone through a lot, but will still go to much more. For the children, for I who did also went to such sadness and pain, I want to say that, we have this hope. So, it is not the end. And that, I will not lose hope. I will fight. I will give my all.
I don’t know if that intent really shaped my life from then on. Looking back, I realised, from my younger self’s wish of wanting to make a difference to intent on living my life instead of just talking and saying the perfect phrases and sentences to impress, I said, it means more if I live it.
Looking back, I noticed how challenging my life after that. How my career, or what’s left of it came tumbling down, spiralling and at times, crushing down to the pits of the Marina ocean hole. It was hard because I had to endure soo many heartbreaking betrayals, abandonment and still I remembered trying to smile, being patient, forgiving and knowing that I wished the people who hurt me could have made a wiser decision for their own soul, to find the happiness and peace that perhaps they have been searching themselves. I confronted greed in its shackled and also camouflaged form. The beast cloaked in smiles. The friends who shucked me aside time and time again. When I felt nobody I could count on.
Nobody but God. Only He stayed true and never once, left. He stayed with me, through all those times. It made me brave, braving through the uncertain futures. Not saying that I didn’t face my downtime at all, but through it all, it’s like an unshaken belief that it will be okay one day. Somehow, I think there were nudges here and there, that made it possible for me to pick up the pieces, nurse the pain and wounds and get up again.
I can’t say I was left not un-bruised. At times, my head felt as if it was crushed to a boulder. That was the intent of my perpetrators, but I survived. Some wanted me to never ever come back again. IF they can’t have it, they will make sure I won’t ever get it. They will make sure to eliminate me and raze me to the ground to ashes.
Most of our encounters, maybe didn’t realise they became wicked. They felt that in the corporate world, office settings are behind doors and walls. So, nobody will know. But God knows. It’s not just a game. A corporate setting does not mean, God’s rules may not apply.
That’s why, when I set up my own gig, I wanted to make some way, not ultimately something so new, but nevertheless, to promote a peaceful way of doing business, through and through.
Making or practicing peacefulness in an organisation, is the most important goal, rather than profits. Because above any other dealings and contracts, the only deal that matters is the one with Allah. The only profitable deal in business, promised by Him. If only we belief Him more. We think, behing closed doors, behind company rules, corralled by appointed and nose led HR troops, one should feel safe when trampling on other’s rights, welfare and happiness. Treating fellow human being just like a piece of rubbish. Making lip service or the right PR lines to save face but not doing anything in reality to make it better for the people who gave their all. That’s the thing, why even give your all to soul-less organisations ..so ..some of us, gladly became slaves. Drones, and meets an unhappy day in day out life.
I thought it is a noble thing to do. Not just lip service. I want to help really deserving entrepreneurs and companies, to thrive against the megalomania and greedy capitalist. I thought it could tilt for the better.
Cleverness used for goodness. For God. Was it easy thus far? Frighteningly hard, even just an inch from where I started. That’s how far I’ve gotten since I vowed that words to myself. Did the universe heard that?
Since then, I knew about my ancestors. Never really cared or knew the surprising stories behind my mom’s family. Anyone could have balked with disbelief when one knows that if things were a little bit different, my grandfather and Tuan Guru Nik Aziz’s grandfather could have been kings, as they were brothers. My mothers line came from the longest and ancient royal bloodline this part of the world .. Then it all wrapped up by the puzzling lore of the Wali Songo, which came from the Champa side of the family, that replenished the recent House of Jembal, the newer clans ..filled with stories of mystical Puteri Saadong, Cik Siti Wan Kembang, Raja Loyor whose skin any weapon can’t penetrate …the lost Pulau Sabar, the sunken Royal Siti of Jawakotti aka dighaibkan dari mata kasat.
What should I make of it? Me a modern guy. Yeah, I seemed to enjoy GOT, but that is just a story kan. How come, Puteri Saadong is real, because if she is not, then I will not be here. She is our family, a real person, not a myth. In me, I realised, history itself, waiting for me to comprehend.
I recalled getting the hairs on the back of my head and neck all up whenever I read the names of Puteri Saadong and Cik Siti Wan Kembang when I was young ,everytime. The calling came to me then tapi how could I have known what to make of it. I remembered those days, growing up, all I ever wanted was to become a manusia cahaya, an angel man. What an idea..for an 8 year olds or ten, even.
Kerajaan Cahaya. That name came to me. Rupa2nya years later I got to know that, my ancestors pernah dirikan kota Grahi, Kota Chaiya, or Kota Cahaya. And Srivijaya ..is The Kingdom of Glorious Light ..Kerajaan Cahaya Gemilang. Haha ..Subhanallah
I thought I was going crazy. My father abandoned me, the one who raised me. I love him still do, but I was looking up to him to guide me spiritually, but he left me. Tapi in his defense, this thing I have to find out for myself kan. SO it was not his fault. Takkan inipun tanggungjawab dia. Tapi my father bukan calang – calang orang. One of the prominent professor in his niche in this region, sampai Oxford panggil dia onboard tapi terpaksa tolak. Whenever I rasa my father did me wrong, I remind myself, he saved two orang gaji Indonesia yang didera oleh jiran – jiran berdekatanyang tidak berhati perut. Satu dipaksa makan babi, jadi terpaksa makan nasi dengan air selama lamanya sampai pengsan dan menangis2. Sorang lagi, sampai anak – anak majikan dera sampai dia lari dan my father jumpa di bawah pokok di taman permainan pagi pagi hari. Kesejukan, kelaparan dan tersesak2. I think he is some sort of a hero kan. For the most part of my life, he was tapi growing up, that idea was challenged soo many soo many times that I know I am betraying my own core belief, it felt so wrong. Tapi, my father is not perfect and that is something is after sometime relayed to me. For someone who did that,saving two hapless indon orang gaji battered women, my heart just melt.
Before one of our last parting, my father kata, he believes in me. A gift. If he can give that honour to me, then betullah orang kata, apa kita apa pun semuanya kerna mak bapak kita. Tanpa mereka, siapalah kita. He never pressured me to marry. But I know I will and that last secret will be about my progeny. Jadi, as much I worry, I don’t. Even if I die before I could ever marry, I will upheld it as God’s will. Jadi begini, tak sampai jodoh lagi, it’s because i have to do some things first. So, when the time comes, if it ever comes, I will be the one who will be surprised, siapalah yang akan jadi my destined partner. Who will be my Siti Zubaidah, Dewi Nareswari to my, Wan Bo Tri Tri aka Raja Zainal Abidin of Champa.
Life is very lonely. So hard. Tapi, nak bitch about it won’t change it pun. So, I will fulfil my duties and awaits that destiny. IF I am worthy of it. Maybe I am a bit special and different after all, in my own case, bukan perlu banding pun dengan orang lain.
Do you know that one of the most memorable film and one of my spectacularly favourite is Powder? I find it refreshing and inspiring.
Picture credit from ThisisColassal