Knowing strength

I have grown stronger.

As I typed away on the keyboard in the middle of the night, DH is far up in the skies crossing the Pacific Ocean to be back home in Vancouver within 10 hours or so.I didn’t cry much today at the airport – just very very teary but the bigger deal was, I was okay with having other people sending him off at the airport too.

You see, farewells are sticky situations for me. Whenever DH leaves for CA, I will request that no one appears at the airport because I dont really know how to handle myself being emotional in front of others. So the walk from the last hug and kiss at the gate is always, always, a painful and lonely one. I remember dashing out of the terminal every time, only to get into the car and let my tears flow endlessly in my own privacy.

This time, I could sense myself becoming stronger in my handling my own emotions as I get more used to the farewells. Also, it is a shorter separation since I will be in CA in the next 2 months or so, right after I wrap up the ‘Jalan’ series I am currently working on.

So, I had my cousins over, his grandma, his uncle and auntie all trooping down at the airport to send him off. The banter and chats helped to ease off the pain. Also, mum’s fall yesterday which had us staking out at the A & E till 5 am while waiting for the doc to stitch her cuts on her head distracted me. I had two worries – mum’s injuries and his departure. Both subjects are my deep love.

I thank God for managing well. Without Him, I dont really know how I can handle such situations.The timing of mum’s fall and DH’s departure was not the best – but that’s exactly what it is, isnt it? A test.

God knows better. And He always have a ray of sunshine tucked somewhere beneath the dark clouds. And me? Always can’t wait to have a peep at it.

Stop nodding

Why do people get away with murder all the time when they do shoddy work? Because the humans are gullible that’s why. And these people are smart to outplay that.

In the course of the past few weeks I witnessed quite a fair bit of this game being played. Some mind you, were not intentional. The charmer did not even know he was charming the ass out of his clients and over-promise everything – resulting in quite a fair bit of non-delivery.

A recent community exhibition I helped coordinate nearly made me fell off my bed on event-eve. The exhibition is a big hoo-hah on the national metre, was graced by no less than high-profile politicians, had every community leader scrambling for their best batik shirt to wear and cost enough for me to pay off my Riana Green studio apt mortgage, and another. It was a BIIIIIGGGGG event. Yet, at 9.30pm the night before the doors were to open for visitors – I and my teammates discovered major screw-ups.

Let me recall. And I am being kind here cos I want that company to succeed.
1) A panel explaining the meaning of the event’s logo was coloured light orange, with white stencil letters. What do you get? A wash out.
2) Archways were painted light apple green, with, again, white letters. What do you get? Another wash out.
3) Sponsor’s names were printed INCLUDING THE SPECS (read: font size dimensions, etc) beside it. And this mind you, was on stage!
4) They wanted to use white funeral chairs for all the 240 seats in front of the stage, including those for the VIPs – I nearly fainted.

At midnight, I did the unthinkable. I asked them to change the mistakes done. The guy begged and so did I. We were both begging. I asked for him to change and he asked that I don’t. It is too late, he says. “No printer of mine will reprint those panels at this ungodly hour.”. My weapon? “XXX, pls. You do this one right, everyone will remeber the good parts. No one has to know what mistakes you made the night before.” And so there we were sitting on the edge of the stage, looking quite dejected, exhausted and trying to keep a sense of humour, my husband in front of us observing how his wife handle the pressure cooker – and XXX made his calls. H ebegged and he pleaded his suppliers. I could not bear to be near him and walked away. The next morning, all was fixed.

That’s what happened when you overcommit and over promise. Our expectations of his performance, given the quality of his presentations were very high – and his charms did not help but elevate that further. How did it get that way?

I learnt such an important lesson during that hullabulloo.

Don’t nod when clients talk. He did a lot of that.

Raya Summary

And so this Raya came and went. But it was so special and so very busy. I dont even know what I ate, who I salam-ed and whose house I haven’t visited or did visit!

It was not a case of over-celebrating. It was really a case of bad-timing. All my projects reached a climax on Raya week and the week after, starting with Ra Ra Bazar live show on Raya eve. Then it was the deadline for the museum’s first research draft, closing HRA survey project, and then just when I was about to breathe – the Jalan project landed on me. I can never forget the night Zai and Yen called me downstairs to have a meeting at the void-deck on a Friday night to propose the deal – thats the avant-garde executive producers for you. Muruku in hand.

My husband, my dear dear sweet husband is my pillar of strength. This is his first Raya here in SG after migrating to Canada, and it was awesome. It was a good thing that me and Manja, my cousin planned our flower shopping 2 days before Raya. We did our traditional ‘curi daun dari kubur Cina’ too – from where else but Onraet Road. Ajun was amazed, but hey – Raya is abt tradition, no? Everyone knows about the curi daun custom me and another cousin, Azman, started sometime back. It is a case of kelakar-seram every year. PArk the car by the cemetery, quickly take out your parang and slash the beautiful dauns away, and quickly drive off. Oh yeah, baca ayat Kursi while you are at it.I shld really stop this silly routine 😉

My poor mum had a malam raya all on her own since I was on site in Geylang for the filming. I missed going to the mosque with her to takbir, as I had promised – and I remembered feeling so sad when the takbir bergema while I was with the rest of the crew in the OB van. I secretly told myself – “zuzan, never again. Never again should you work on Raya eve.” It just does not make sense to me but it was a commitment I made and I had to stick it out.

Raya day itself was joyful. We managed to do the octopus thing visiting both my side and Ajun’s side of the family with smooth coordination – thanks to the rented Subaru! The last house was Uncle Yem’s house around 11pm – where he cleverly served the BR clan with deep fried steak – what a nice wash for the already currified tummy!

The climax was of course kampong. It was hilarious, to say the least. Firstly, I made with a deal with Ajun that I will drive there,and he will drive back (clever right? cos I know it will be tiring to drive after a BBQ!;) I kept on gloating that the drive to Melaka is chicken feed since I do it all the time, and it was. Until I got lost. Sigh.

When we found my Busu’s house my other cousins were hard at work on the BBQ. I was greeted by a very icy look from my sister – the bossy one (surprise – I am NOT the bossy one in the family, you guys have not met my sister, the wanna CEO!). She hated the fact that i arrived late.

30 chickens, 26 kg of fish, 10 kg of rice and 1 big kambing were sacrificed to feed our family. The 200 or so chocolates from Canada that Ajun brought were also snapped up within seconds by the 40 kids we have in the 4th generation of my family – and the firecrackers did not stop exploding even though it was 5 pm in the day! Budak-budak bandar kalau dah pergi kampong ini jadinya – JAKUN. Haha. It took 30 full minutes just to gather everyone in front of Busu’s house for a family portrait – satu masuk, satu lari, semua masuk, satu nak pergi toilet, semua dah line-up, ada yang main bola. You get the picture.A big family isnt easy to manage.
And yes, my Busu BOUGHT the kambing we BBQ-ed since her missing ones never came back. Dah berhari-raya kat rumah lain lah tu kambing-kambing tu.The best part of all this are the smiles on the elder’s face. I just love that.

It is all this that I will miss. But I will try to return every year for all the chaos that make any Raya a celebration indeed.