Pick Yin did this, and she tagged me. I had an odd time doing this, really. I haven’t thought about my childhood much, much less talked about it to anyone here.
But anyway, here it is.
1985: 20 years ago.
My earliest memory. I am in my grandmother’s house. It is late morning. I am walking in, and I see the family dining table. I see old photos, medals, rememberances. The floor is terazzo.
My grandfather calls to me, calling me by a name no one else uses: “Muhammad Tariq”. He is a jolly fat mamak man, who dotes on me and spoils me.
I have a younger brother, just two years old. He is chubby and cute, and I bully him often, as older brothers do.
I love the television; often too much, as I often stand in front of it, blocking everyone else’s view. It’s a bad habit I will eventually abandon.
I start kindergarten this year. My first day, and I see a beautiful, blond-haired fair-skinned girl and fall in love with her, thus setting a rather unfortunate trend on my relationships with the opposite sex.
The only times I will ever feel this way again will happen after harsh bouts of illness, when I am young and fragile again, and the world feels fresh and renewed.
I am 4 years old.
1995: 10 years ago.
I am a Cempakan, and I hate it here. It’s probably the hormones, and some of the isolation. I don’t feel like I belong here.
I have seen death visit twice; once to take my baby sister away after seven months of life, the second time to take my grandfather away.
I have another baby sister. She is 4 years old. After the death of my late sister, she comes into the family like tinkle bells and the spring breeze. Everyone loves her.
I have established a reputation of being an underachieving social outcast. I am often lonely and frustrated. My parents note how angry I often seem to be.
My brother is now taller than I am. He seems more popular as well. We don’t get along too well.
If Simple Plan was popular, and if I cared about music, I would have been their biggest fan.
I discover the Internet, and at almsot the same breath, thanks to the article in Time, easy access to pornography. Really easy. A love-hate relationship begins.
I am 14 years old.
2000: 5 years ago.
I am in INTI College Subang Jaya, which, after Cempaka, is a welcome change. I lose some of the rage, but the loneliness remains. A string of stalky “relationships” begins.
I move from my house in Ampang to a place in Petaling Jaya. At least we don’t have to wake up at bloody daybreak to get anywhere now.
I discover Half Life and Counter-Strike. I am not as good as I used to be, back in the days of Quake Multiplayer. But I have fun for quite a long while.
Not knowing what to do, one of the women I… well, ‘stalk’, gets the help of one of her more confident and aggresive friends to either scare me off or distract me. We start dating.
My parents aren’t exactly pleased; having had no experience in dating or what to do or behave, I screw up introducing her, among other things. The mistake takes years to rectify.
I am 19 years old.
2002: 3 years ago.
I have been in London barely four months, and my girlfriend calls and shatters my world. I don’t recover for a long time, but the aftermath leaves us stronger.
I have really long hair now. It reaches below my shoulder, and is the envy of hippies all around.
I’m beginning to doubt what I want to do for the rest of my life. Programming and computing science doesn’t seem as attractive as it used to.
Homesickness takes its toll. I’m beginning to realize, outcast that I believed I was, nothing compared to the sense of alienation I felt when I am alone here.
The isolation, doubt, and homesickness eventually will cost me my degree here.
Thanks to the urging of my friends, I begin blogging here. It was for friends, and was very sporadic. It will eventually die from lack of support, and a few HTML comments-based bugs.
I am 21 years old.
2004: Last year.
I come back, after two years of trying. Sometimes people need to go away to realize what they’ve already got.
I start a LiveJournal, mainly to keep in touch with friends who use this service.
Why Are You Here? comes to life. It doesn’t get at all regularly updated, disappointing people for some damn reason.
This is a time of relearning—I re-enrol to HELP and major in Business Information Systems. I begin feeling some degree of reverse culture shock, which is a shock in itself.
Hani and I spend more time together, getting a feel of each other after two years of no physical presence. She introduces me to bloggers. I get along great with a some of them.
I do something I’ve always fantasized about, but thought I’d never do. It’s fun, but exposes me to feelings that I never thought I’d feel from doing it. A couple more incidents like it, and that’s it.
My first birthday at home in two years is held in a Swedish Pizza parlor.
I am 23 years old.
2005: This year.
I graduate this year, with Second Class Upper Honours. My parents are understandably very proud. So is Hani.
I start looking for work, and I eventually find it. It’s a change from being a student.
I break the news to my parents, who are understandably upset and taken aback by my decision. Much negotiating begins, and the rest of my family becomes privy to something I have kept secret for almost half a decade.
My sister grinned and gave me the thumbs-up when she found out I had done the deed.
I call my brother, who is in Australia. We both talk. He expresses concern, and asks me if I think it’s a good idea. I say it is. He wishes me good luck.
I’m looking forward to Christmas.
I am 24 years old.
2006: Next year.
Performance Review Time. I get past that particular hurdle, and another stage of my life begins.
Another major event the middle of this year. It’s a frightening prospect, but I look forward to it. Probably more than some people, though…
I am 25 years old.
2015: Ten years from now.
“Daddy, what are you thinking about?”
Oh, nothing, kiddo.
Well, that’s that. So now, I’m tagging…
- Hani (which she’s done, but not on her blog).
- Jordan (he done been tagged)
SashiWell, he did it already.
And, for the hell of it, these people:
- Rajan (or, once you read what he's written, “My Descent Into Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Eventual Starvation”.
Feel free to take it up, if you’d like. It’s a free-ish country.