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Malaysian Alien


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Thursday, July 26, 2007
Since 1975

I remember a long time ago when I was a little girl, perhaps way before my two brothers were born, I lived a relatively blissful childhood. Those early childhood years were spent in Tampin, where both my parents worked as high school teachers. We lived in a little house on stilt, wooden and green. It had a nice garden with a mango and a rambutan tree. The windows were from floor to ceiling and the floor creaked whenever my tiny feet ran across them.

My father told me that he drove a white Volkswagen Beetle when I was very little. This, I cannot remember. There are no photos of that car to remind me of it. I however remember the red car my father drove, mainly because I have a photo of it. Next to the porch where the car was parked, there was a little swing. My father made that swing for us to swing the evenings away.

My father's red car in Tampin

It was an idyllic time, spent chasing boys in the preschool, climbing trees in the garden and exploring my parents’ cupboard. I do not consider myself a naughty child but my parents swear that I was horribly disobedient. Smart in the wrong way, my mother said time and again to her friends. And they shook their heads in total disbelief that a girl was more naughty than their little sons.


To understand me, you must first understand my parents’ relationship and how it has affected me until today – in both positive and negative ways. However I will never blame my parents for my own fuck-ups. My fuck-ups are entirely my responsibility. I do not believe in shifting the blame on anyone other than myself. That is what I have always believed in. Strong personalities do not cry and blame others. Strong personalities ride the waves in life and overcome and I am such.

My parents were high school teachers. My father taught English and Science and my mother taught Mathematics. They first met when my father taught a pretty girl in her senior year. My father was a dashing young man, just 8 years older than my mother. They met, fell in love and then they got married. To this day, my mother blamed her stupid choice of a life partner on the fact that she was too young and way too naive when she met my father.

They were married on the first day of 1975 and I was born 13 months later. My mother became a mother at the age of 25. She then studied and trained as a teacher while I was a toddler. Throughout my young years, my mother warred with my paternal grandmother (that would be her mother in law). And for years, my mother argued with my father over the old lady.

Throughout her married life, my mother experienced immense disappointment. She felt let down by my father, who was supposed to love her and cherish her. Instead she felt that my father loved his mother more than his wife. This story is common, I know but what I know is not common are the repercussions of the thirty years of arguments. Even as a young child, my mother taught me never to trust men. You have to work hard for yourself and not let any man bully you, my mother said for years.


The funny thing is, I never experienced that with my father. I am my father’s only daughter and he cared for me when I was really little. I have many memories of afternoons spent playing games and watching my father on the tennis court. There are albums of my childhood, testimonies to the bond that my father and I shared. I cannot even begin to tell you which childhood memory I loved best.

As terrible as he was, according to my mother, my father was perfect to me. And he loved me and I knew it. So when my parents argued, I would step in and tell my mother to get over it. ‘You cannot harp on the same issues since 1975,’ is the line I say to my mother whenever she argued with my father.

Yes, my mother had every right to argue. She was right most of the time. My father was careless in his love, divided between loving his mother and his wife. My father was wrong because he failed to protect and nurture my mother through the early years of their marriage. However there is no resolve if she insisted on talking about something that happened 30 years ago.

My relationship with my mother has been strenuous at best. To her, I was born disobedient and ungrateful. Her measure of my love was based on my loyalty towards her. I must have been born with a set of opinions at birth because my mother heard my opinions of things from the day I could speak my mind. And for having my personal beliefs and opinions, I have not had a good relationship with her.

But my relationship with my father has always been good. Till today, I know that I am his favourite child. Out to buy dinner from the night market, my packet of dinner will have something extra that no one else had. The list of favouritism includes my favourite piece of fried chicken or extra vegetable because I am a spinach freak.


‘Do not side for your father. You think your father loves you?,’ my mother asked one day. She was sobbing, her hair in a mess. She was a puddle of tears one morning when she, again, felt that my father did not love her enough. I came downstairs to screams from both sides and I just calmly told my mother the same thing I told her for years: ‘Move on with your life. You cannot live your life based on something that happened 30 years ago.’

‘You think your father loves you?’ Those words were like venom, injected into my veins. ‘Your father did not want you even when you were in my stomach. He wanted to throw me and you out of the house when he had not even seen you. What sort of man throws his pregnant wife out of the house?’

And so she began to tell me a story; a childhood story that I cannot remember because I was not even born yet. My mother was heavily pregnant with me when my parents argued one day and according to my mother’s story, my father told her to leave the house. Now I understand my mother's anger towards me. My mother was angry with me for all the years that she thought that I have been ungrateful. That I loved the person whom she considered had ruined her life. That I have not shown my loyalty towards her because she was the one who bore me and stayed in an unhappy relationship for the sake of me.

‘You think your father loves you? Your father did not want you.’


If you have never been told that you are an unwanted child, I can honestly tell you that the knowledge is not pleasant. If you are going to be a father or a mother, please do your future children a favour and spare them of such information, even if it is the truth. A child should never be told that he is not wanted.

I walked away from the living room and I could hear them wrestle on, like the way they do for all the years that I can remember. I do not remember crying or feeling anything in particular. ‘So Miss Otto, how do you feel now that you know that your father did not want you when you were little?’ I asked myself that question for days.

I was present at their next argument again. Often time their arguments were over minor things such as my father forgetting to buy a certain breakfast something for her or he disagreed with my mother’s opinion. Those acts and some others, according to my mother, clearly showed how much my father did not love her. Thus confirming that she was right all along. Since 1975.

‘You know what? I don’t care if my father did not want me when I was little,’ I said to my mother. ‘It does not matter because I know that my father loves me NOW.’ I think those sentences shocked both my parents. ‘I forgive my father for it. It happened a long time ago. Now he is a changed man and I know for a fact that my father loves me.’


You always have choices in life. There is no such thing as ‘no choice’. You have made a decision and the decision was a ‘no choice’. There are always options and alternatives in life. The choice is in your hands.

You can choose to cry and sulk over something that happened a long time ago. Or you can choose to let go. In my mother’s case, she can choose to appreciate what she has now – a man that is willing to change his ways and try to win her heart. But my mother chooses to relive the 1970s and even though my grandmother has passed away last year, my mother cannot let go.

Yes, life is a bitch. Life is not fair. Yes, you were right and she was wrong. So what? What do you want? You want the old lady to tell you that she was wrong? That she was sorry? She is dead, she cannot say anything to you. And as far as she is concerned, she too, has moved on to another phase in her life through her death.

If you can just stop for a moment and open your eyes, you will see that everything is good. You have grown children, all who are responsible, intelligent and working. You have a reasonably healthy body and you have sufficient finance to live off. You have a man who still drives you around and takes you wherever he goes. He is not perfect. He learns from his mistakes. The key word is change. If he changes, then you must let go and understand that with each sunrise, a day brings fresh hope for a new beginning.


I could hate my father forever. How can any man disown a young baby? What can I do wrong as a little baby, other than I burp, spit milk, cry and dirty my diapers for 20 hours of every day? What did I do to deserve a father who is willing to send his pregnant wife away? I can be angry forever and I even have legitimate reasons for so.

But I choose to look beyond those days and see what I have presently. I have a father who listens intently to my stories, the way he does when I was little. I have the company of a 63-year-old man for teas and breakfasts. He eagerly shares stories of his fishing trips and until today, my father is the happiest man, even when he did not catch any fish bigger than the size of his palm. My father is no further than a phone call away. I have tested this idea - I have sobbed on the phone at 3 a.m. because I had bad cough. That happened 2 or 3 years ago, so I am not joking when I say that my father is a nice bloke. He made mistakes like all young men do. The difference is my father changed and now he is a good man.

Forgiving someone and letting go of the past are two very difficult things to do. It is hard to overcome anger and hurt but you have to deliberately choose to forgive someone, if you want to be happy in life. I know it is not the easiest thing to do in life. Some of you might now say ‘Oh Otto, that was such a little thing. You are not walking in my shoes. I have a terrible life and I have such injustice done towards me. Yours is nothing.’

Well trust me, honey. You have not walked a mile in mine. Forgiving my father was easy. Forgiving someone who took my innocence away was far more difficult. How do you forgive the man who single-handedly mishandled you so much that you feel that you can no longer trust men? How do you forgive the man who threatened to murder you and chased you around with a knife? How do you forgive the man who climbed over the gate and attacked your front door with a hockey stick? How do you forgive the man who robbed your brothers of their innocence when they were less than 12 years? How do you forgive the man for the trauma he has caused you and your family?

It is not easy. But life offers you choices and I chose to let go. I cannot live unless I let go of everything that has happened in the past. I purposed in my heart to forgive and move on with my life. The past has happened and I cannot change it. But I have control over my present and my future. I dare say that one of the more significant points of my life is the day that I talked to my father about it.

‘I should thank him for all the horrible things he did to me. I would not be where I am now if it was not for him. I have done so many things that I never dreamt before I met him. For one, I would not love myself as much as I do if it wasn’t for him.’

I learnt to accept the past for what it was. Everything happens for a reason. I could choose to make it a life lesson or I could drown in the past sorrow. I chose to make use of the experience and that was my choice.


So life is truly simple actually. It is made out of choices. Even your ‘no choice’ was a choice. You can either hold a grudge or forgive. I rather choose to forgive because forgiving everyone for all the injustice done towards you will set your soul free to live and love again.

Or you might one day wake up, old and grey, and you realise that you are still living a memory 30 years ago. Time has moved and the earth has changed. The only person reliving the bad memory is you. And that’s a lonely place to be.

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Totally agree! Life is full of choices and I make mine :)

6:03 am  

Wow.. for some reason this post just speaks volumes to me. It kinda brings "stuck in the moment" by U2 to mind

8:52 am  

for some reason i connect with you. oh the ironies!

i too had a dad that didnt want me.

i too had a version of damien.


well all i can say is, forgiving and moving on is a great thing, very hard to do but essential. very much agreed with you.

hrmm, ur mum was probably very hurt thats why she will peobably cling on to watever is painful to keep it going! my mum is like that too...she's still in denial with real depression. hope one day our mums wakes up!!

12:24 pm  

Thank goodness you're BACK! I was afraid the previous post titled "The End" had a double meaning.

4:02 pm  

my mum told me she wanted to abort me. i cant really remember why. but, i tink my grandma said no. so i m still around

9:44 am  

wow. thanks for sharing.

2:06 pm  

You have to work hard for yourself and not let any man bully you, my mother said for years.

You mother was right. Women should never depend on men. The thing is most women would like to leave their other half eg abust, not happy, etc etc but its all about the money as they are dependent on men for money.

On the other hand I can feel your mums pain. Pain of a women wanting to be loved held and touched. I can also understand the mother in law bit.

You have a flair for writting when is book coming up? Any updates on Alex? Hope you are well.

2:24 pm  

love ur entry.

it has a very personal touch and nostalgic. could reflect my own beliefs with urs as well. (:

5:06 pm  

Yup, we all have a choice - whether we believe it or not. See, even my previous sentence has more than one option.

I played "Stuck In The Moment" on loop in my car for quite some time. It has rather wise words.

I would like to believe that there are many people out there who share similar experiences as I. The world is such a lonely place if I were to be the only one to experience it.

No Strings
*hugs* I have never felt more welcomed among my readers =) Thanks for making my day.

9:18 am  

Everyone tries to do things to the best of their abilities and knowledge. Some decisions are wise and others done with the best intention.

You know that you are here for a reason and you breathe for a reason.

Welcome *smiles*

The book is nowhere in sight but I am not too worried. I realised that all I have written for ANNN constitute short chapters, suitably compiled into a book. It is ironic.

I find that my story is morphing as I experience different things. At each level of living, I feel a need to tell a different story and to paint my words with different colours.

I am well. So is Alex. We are still communicating although I think it'll take time for us to find our places again.

Thanks. I hope you continue to enjoy these stories and never grow bored of them =)

11:20 am  

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