the last time i went home was about four or five years ago. last saturday i got on a plane and spent two hours fighting nerves as the plane flew relatively smoothly over the south china sea. it had been a while since i had flown in broad daylight and the tarmac seemed a little too close for comfort as we taxied on the runway. shouldn't the plane sit a little higher? I thought. about halfway we flew over a large island. i was sure it could not be tioman as it looked too huge. mum said it was an island that belongs to indonesia, but i never heard of such a thing in the middle of the south china sea. must look it up.
about half an hour away from landing, i see a small puff of cloud hanging over the sea and a tiny bright orange flame. an oil rig, i suppose, though the size of the flame makes me wonder if there had been some terrible explosion. from our height the tiny sliver of orange could well be the raging of a column of fire over five or ten stories high. it reminded me of the oft-expressed home sentiment about local oil fuelling nationwide, or should i say westside economy. just a sentiment.
my most favourite parts of town are the bits that remind me of my childhood. basically that means any art that hasn't changed much in the last ten years: tanjung aru beach, gaya street, tuaran road. the rest looks like kl cloning, what with overpasses, traffic jams, same old same old branded shops. there used to be a time when i would bemoan the fact that all kk had was cheap boutique shops. the biggest brand we had was parksons, at only one location. now with all the esprits, coffee beans and starbucks, i kinda wish it hadn't lost some of its hardcore shopping sensibilities. way back then they didn't really know what store interiors and displays were all about. clothes were on hangers in rows, or in plastic bags.
the most interesting thing to me was how malay it seems to have become. it's good in some ways, but i have yet to see a kadazan-dusun restaurant in town. it's either mamaks or chinese or western. on the way home, the airport newsagent had two shelves devoted to "religion", but all i saw were rows upon rows of islamic literature. i thought the shelves would be better titled "islamic literature". having "religion" as the shelf headings seems to me to suggest all religions would be represented, or at least those relevant to the general populace.
we often forget how much we are colonisers at heart, and how much the urge to make others just like us can overtake even the most basic urge to be civil, or respectful. i fear my people will look up one day and find they have lost all trace of themselves and their culture, purely because they didn't notice they were being colonised. it's not just religion, but cultural and social aspects being affected. i regret the situation but can't or won't do much about it. it seems that it is too hard to expect better from others and from ourselves sometimes. i am also so far removed from my people. it is purely blood and a residual feeling of regret about how things have turned out that keeps me thinking about the past and future injustices i have seen or heard about.
i loved being home, really relaxing and re-discovering my past haunts. things i thought would be really important to me, like my old hangouts, weren't. i was making new memories with my family, and leaving behind, or at least expunging those old memories i had of me as a teenager or as a child, and getting them out. i visited my old home, now owned by a new family who loves the house as much as we did. mostly i enjoyed being home in my parent's house and enjoying the peace that has come to our own household after a recent major event excised an evil from our lives.
the most beautiful sunset in the world. tanjung aru beach.