The Literary Works of Hew Chee Peng - III

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IN A WORLD WHERE NOTHING SEEMS RIGHT......


In a world where nothing seems right,
The flowers, forests and the lakes,
Remain beautiful and make things bright
With their fresh dew drops from the night.
There’s nothing to worry
If you are alright,
For the earth is always around
To give you that comfort of the sound,
When even the birds that fly,
They speak about the goodness
In their pretty flight.
Now and again you may hear
The winds that scream,
In the middle of night
As you watch the moon,
Depending on whom .
Always there are exceptions,
Varied perceptions that think,
That touch on people and everything,
You will be amazed to see,
The oceans wait,
Until you have completed.
Nature and Man have not changed,
Since the first dawn,
That drew its inspiration
From the flaws that the world
Has engineered;
This is what people say,
Throughout the days.
More so as men and women flounder,
In their life,
Every measure depends on the hopes,
They hold like lighted candles
In an endless vigil,
To put an end to their eternal struggle.
I wonder we and me
Include all species on earth,
To decide on the future;
Nonetheless this obvious pilgrimage
Cannot cease without the twilight,
Coming down upon us,
As we hold on to our own beliefs.

(4 September 2010)


GIVE ME YOUR HAND


Give me your hand,
For I seem lost in this wilderness
Of my life; I am afraid
Because I don’t know how to get out,
Nor do I have another direction to go,
Except just moving and not drop to the ground;
There is so much muddy ground around ,
Like the mangroves in a swampy coast;
It is tough, it is resilient,
It punishes like a tsunami.

I need your hand to give me warmth,
I need your hand to guide me through,
These swampy muddy rivers inland,
Not just along the coastal areas of my life;
I feel the love flowing in your hand,
I feel the sensation; I feel I am loved,
Wanted not abandoned like so many,
But still vagrant and vague about my home,
Contained in the luggage that I carry,

Whenever I need to move;
Will this be my permanent place to stay, to rest,
To dwell because I miss home so much,
While the tears are kept aside?

(22 November 2010)


MISSING YOU


Like night that misses day,
I wait your return,
Having been the reason
for your leaving me;

It was a major night of misunderstanding,
I allowed events to control me,
I played the hero of my anger,
I could not see the enemy,

It did not seem right for you
To tell me when you could talk to me,
The cause for my present misery.
I have feelings too.

Now that you have gone away,
Forever or just for a time to heal,
I know not for sure you will ever come back,
I sit around with my regrets.



TASIK PERMAISURI


These leaves that people drop
Into the waters,
are incongruous
With the lotus flowers,
For they cover up
The sun’s face
and look the other way.
The rain trees remain solid,
Unperturbed with their large eyes,
As the lake shakes its body,
In a quivering motion,
Beneath the waters,
In a silent refuge.

The leaves then float away,
As the wind in ripples blows,
The reach of most people,
They move away.

All this and more,
These leaves, these trees and lake.
These lotus flowers,
Resplendent in the sun,
And their many directions,
Just looking at the reflections.

(29 October 2010)



BONDS OF BROTHERHOOD


The phone rang. Susan answered it.

“Who’s that?” Jimmy asked her from across the living room.

“ It’s John, I told him that you’re not in. Did I say right?”

“Yes, you’re a clever girl. He probably wants to borrow money from me for his gambling”.

“Well, I’m glad I did right. John’s always borrowing money from you. How much does he owe you, do you know?”

“Don’t worry, I know how to handle him. I’m sorry for him actually. One day he’s a prince and the next he’s a pauper. I’ve advised John to cease gambling but he never heeds my advice.”

“Jimmy. I think you should cut him off and don’t allow yourself to keep on supporting him. You know, I don’t quite like some of your friends. They always take advantage of you because they know you’re rich and have a kind heart.”

“You don’t know them well enough, my dear. We’ve grown up together and we’re like brothers! You women will never know nor appreciate what brotherhood is all about. Even if my friend does wrong, I won’t ignore nor abandon him. Friends of 30 years , you don’t just reject nor forget them.”

Someone called. This time it was not on the phone. That someone called in person for the gate bell was rung. Jimmy looked through the glass panels.

“Hi Rod! Please come in,” Jimmy spoke into the intercom and pressed the remote control.

It was not just Rod who got out from the car that was driven inside. There was also Andy. Both of them were wearing caps and denim shorts.

“Where did you guys come from? Rather, where do you plan going, dressed like this?”

“ You’re getting old my friend. Your memory’s going! Have you forgotten that you promised to go fishing together with us today?”

“Oh yes, indeed! I forgot all about it. It’s last week that I called you guys wasn’t it?

“ Yes, yes! Well, never mind. It’s still early,” Rod looked at his watch. “ We told you that we would fetch you at 9.00 but it’s now 9.45a.m. We thought you’d be mad with us for being late for our appointment. So you aren’t angry with us eh?”

“ Susan please get some drinks for these guys while I get dressed.

“ Thank you, Su. How are you Su? Sorry we didn’t pay respect to your highness!”

“ Oh come on Rod, you don’t have to say that! You’re a joker! “ Susan smiled.

“ I like your smile, Su. You look prettier when you smile.”

“ Where are we heading this time ?” Jimmy asked, as he came down the stairs of the magnificent bungalow.

“ No where; we’re going fishing in no where !” Rod joked. “ By the way, did you call John ?”

“ No, he called a while ago. Susan told him that I wasn’t at home. John said he can’t make it “ Jimmy lied.

“ Oh I see. Just as well. He’s not really interested in fishing. I think he prefers hunting......at the casino.”

“ Ok Let’s go. You driving your Pajero, Rod ?”

“ Yes, boss!”

The three friends drove out of the driveway. Susan waved them goodbye and sat down on the large sofa.

“ These men! “ that was all she could comment, and shook her head.

While they were in the car, Jimmy sat in front while Andy sat at the rear.

“ Andy, why are you so quiet ? You haven’t said a word.”

“ You know Andy well. He always keeps quiet. But he likes me, don’t you Andy ?” Rod asked.

“ Of course! Very much.” Andy was the only one not married. He’s gay.

“ I heard that you’re going to hold a fashion show in the near future.”

“Yes, I am planning to have it sometime in June in one of the complexes. This time around the fashion show includes men’s wear as well. “

“ Indeed! How nice! What about the male models? Who do you have in mind? If you are short of them, how about me? Do I qualify?” Rod asked in jest.

“ You’re just teasing me? No Rod, I already have some guys in mind. In any case, I don’t think you’re qualified, you’re too fat.”

“I’d thought you like fat guys!”

“Now that’s a different story. Male models must have a good physique and tall. They also need to have a sexy masculine appeal.”

“ Ah, Jimmy can do the cat walk. He’s handsome and his body is fit and he kinda walks like a hero.”

“No lah, you must be joking. A male model is selected according to certain criteria. Each of you has one or two favourable attributes but to be a model, you must have the complete package. It also depends on what kind of apparel one’s modelling. For example, swim wear. Do you think you have the body to parade in public and exhibit the swim wear to advantage? I don’t think so, Rod.”

“ In that case, you’re not my friend.”

“ Let’s talk about something else. Andy, I hope you won’t get hurt if we change the subject?”

“That’s fine with me. I’m okay.”

“How far away is the fishing spot we’re going to? Kundang, isn’t it?”

“ If you say far, it’s not very far; if you say near, it’s not very near either.”

“ You’re always like that, Rod. What I want to know is how long it will take for us to get there? It’s because I wish to have a nap.”

“ Why, wise guy? You didn’t have a good sleep? Did Susan disturb you a lot last night ?”

“ Please don’t talk rubbish! I’ll throw you into the pond afterwards!”

“ Ok, ok lah. Can’t talk about Andy and his fashion show; can’t talk about your relationship with Susan. So, don’t talk lah. I’m going to keep quiet like Andy.”

For the rest of the journey, everyone kept quiet. They passed through an oil palm and coconut plantation. Rod kept whistling to himself while Jimmy slept. Andy was in a world of his own, probably fantasizing.

Rod suddenly pulled the Pajero to a stop.

“Hey, we’ve arrived already! Jimmy, wake up. We’re here!”

They scrambled out of the vehicle, taking their fishing gear with them. The morning sun shone brightly and it was a cloudless sky.

“ Wait a minute, I’ve forgotten my dark glasses! ” Andy shouted to his friends.

“ Whatever for? “ Rod shouted back. “ You don’t wear sun glasses to fish. The fish won’t bother even if you wear nothing! ”

The three friends made their way to the rocks and finally found one spot that was suitable. There was no shade although there were trees at the farther end of the pond and some distance behind them. Andy got his sunglasses and was very happy wearing them. He claimed he couldn’t tolerate the bright sunshine. He almost slipped as the rocks were wet and slippery.

“ Why didn’t you tell me that you guys were staying overnight? You got me worried sick.”

Susan was scolding jimmy over the hand phone. “ You could’ve at least called me. If I’d not troubled to phone you, I wouldn’t know where the hell you are! ”

“ Sorry, it’s my fault, dear. Actually we didn’t mean to stay on. You know, one thing led to another. Rod’s driving and after we’ve done fishing, Rod suggested we go to Port Dickson. I said no, we won’t but what can I do? He told me I could get out of the car while he would drive on to P.D. I’d no choice, Su. “

“ So where are you now? Sleeping on the beach, all three of you? “ Susan was quite mad. ‘ Luckily, my sis came over. Otherwise I’d be all alone in the house! “

“ Oh please be reasonable, Su. I’ve apologized, what else do you want me to do? Come home now? I can’t because I’m not driving. Rod and Andy are half drunk. We thought of having some fun; that’s all.”

“ Your drug addict friend, Weng, came to the house. I chased him away. He was talking nonsense ; so I told him off and ordered him to get lost! “

“ Oh my gosh! How could you, Su? “

“ I don’t care! All your friends are taking advantage of you. And me? You don’t seem to be bothered; never even call back to inform you’re not coming home! I’m fed up, Jimmy! Your buddies seem to be more important to you than me! “

“ Don’t get upset, darling. It’s not like that! Of course I love you and you are very, very important to me........”

Before Jimmy could finish talking, Susan switched off her phone. He tried to phone her again but it had been switched off.

“ Women! I don’t understand them! What’s wrong with them?” Jimmy lamented. “I’d just forgotten to call her to inform. She gets so upset and goes on to talk all kinds of nonsense.” Jimmy ran through his mind.

“Rod, Andy! Stop fooling around! We ‘re going back to K.L. Su’s damn angry with me!”

“Hey, do you know what time it is ? It’s 4.00 o’clock in the morning. You’re crazy Jimmy! Moreover, I can’t drive; I’d had too much to drink. “

“ It’s ok. I’m going to take the wheel. You and Andy can just sit in the car.”

“ Oh no, you can’t do that! Andy! Andy! Get up! “ But Andy did not. The poor guy had passed out.

The two of them gathered their stuff and bundled Andy into the car. As he had declared, Jimmy took the wheel and sped off. He was adamant to go back to his house in Kuala Lumpur. He did not want to have trouble with his wife, Su. He knew she would be too upset and sore if he did not return home. Su could be very hard and harsh and Jimmy did not wish to have a fight on his hands. The wisest thing to do was to get back home and soothe the ruffled feathers of his wife. Otherwise, there would surely be more trouble. Su would explode like a fiery volcano. However, if he could calm her down sooner enough before she burst into flames, Jimmy was aware that all would be well. How he wished he could have borrowed Rod’s hand phone to call Su to inform her that they would not be back on the same day. His phone had had run out of battery.

Jimmy tore through the night with the car at high speed. His two friends were too drunk to notice. Never under estimate the fury of a woman! Jimmy reminded himself as he drove furiously homewards. He covered the distance in barely 90 minutes. By the time they arrived at his house, it was the onset of dawn.

“ Thank goodness I made it! “ Jimmy comforted himself since it was most likely that Susan would be still asleep. He switched off the engine and went about quietly. Rod and Andy continued sleeping in the car.

Jimmy knew how to handle Su’s wrath. He would play the role of a guilty husband and ask Su for her forgiveness.

His wife might seem to be a tigress when she was angry but everything would blow over once she believed she had had the upper hand. And this was not the first time, for Jimmy knew her very well.

“ So, finally you decided to come home! “ Susan was addressing herself to Jimmy.

“ After your phone call, I was scared because you switched off your hand phone. I knew you’re mad, real mad. So I dared not not come home immediately. I was afraid you’ll burn the house down, my dear.”

“ Really? “ Susan said sarcastically. “It’s good also that you know your wife isn’t a soft kitten; I’m going to punish you Jimmy. Come here, please! “ Su commanded her husband.
Jimmy went closer, with a bit of trepidation; he did not know what Su was up to. Then all of a sudden, Su hugged him and wrapped her hands around Jimmy’s neck.

“ Do you know how scared I was when you were away. I missed you so much, Jimmy!”

Jimmy was flabbergasted. So everything was okay. Su loved him so much and missed him. No wonder she was so upset.

“Clever boy, smart boy! Lucky thing you came back early, man!” Jimmy told himself. Now there was Rod and Andy to be taken care of.

Jimmy marched up to the dark green Pajero, opened the door and ordered his friends to get lost.

“ Ok, ok; you don’t have to get cross! We’re going, we’re going!” Rod reversed the car and drove off immediately.

Susan was very pleased to watch Jimmy acting the way he did. She felt secure in Jimmy’s love. No one was going to take Jimmy away from her. Jimmy belonged to her.

That evening, Jimmy took his wife to a special place for dinner. From the top of the hill, they could see Kuala Lumpur, all lit up and spread before their eyes. The view was simply breath-taking and fantastic!. Jimmy could sense that Susan was greatly impressed and she kept on inhaling the cold fresh air around her, saying “ I feel great, it’s so wonderful here! I love this place!” repeatedly. She felt reassured and assured.

“Do you know something, Jimmy?”

“No, I don’t. What is it? “ as he sipped his beer.

“ Your friend, John. You remember he called yesterday morning and I told him that you’re not in? “

“ Yes, what about him ? “ Did he call again? “

“ No, he didn’t phone but he came in person.”

“ What ? What happened ? Did he hurt you ?” Jimmy sounded astounded.

“ Nothing happened; you needn’t be so excited. Actually, this morning he phoned with intention to inform that he had won a jackpot and wanted to return the good luck money you loaned him. Remember, I said you were not at home and you said that John probably had wanted to borrow money from you again ?

“Nothing of the sort. Now, I’m going to give you a surprise,” Susan opened her handbag and pulled out a cheque. “ Here, John told me to give this to you, Jimmy! “ Susan said, as she handed the cheque for RM45,000 to her husband. “ RM 40,000 is what he owes you and the extra RM5000 is for you to give me a treat. Not a bad friend after all, eh?” she added.

“ Su, I have mentioned that John, Rod, Andy and Weng have been my childhood friends and we’ve gone through a lot together, the good and the bad, the happy days and miserable days.....No matter what happens, we ‘re brothers forever! “

“ Ssh, ssh, “ Susan put her finger on Jimmy’s lips. “ I know, I now know and understand. You guys are just wonderful!” And she kissed him from across the table.



TSUNAMI IN JAPAN


I stood in front of the tsunami,
Unafraid and defiant of its towering waters,
And torrential force,
For I’ve prepared for death
That will conquer the consequences,
As I waited to be swallowed.
Tsunami or no tsunami I was destined to die,
Someday, somewhere, sometime, somehow,
Then there is no fear in me,
As I looked the tsunami in the eye
My frail body cannot match the power,
That tsunamis are made of,
Across the miles of land that people lose,
Inspite of man’s technologies that span the earth,
Looking for answers to Nature’s way!

(Friday 11-03-2011)


RUNNING


I have done my running,
Other people walk, I run;
I ran and am still running.
Trekking through the jungles of my life,
Over mountainous sites,
And the ravines, chasms, cliffs and fogs,
The cruel tsunamis, the familiar and unfamiliar,
They were all mine to draw level,
Like a game without an ending.
I could be left parched on the desert grounds,
Or hung from a tree in nobody’s land;
It could be anywhere, anytime, anyone.
You wish to join me?
People travel, with their luggage,
dragging their bodies like refugees;
For you have paid for the package,
You don’t wish to lose out in the food,
And there’s no time for food of thought;
You just follow the crowd,
To everywhere, wherever;
How nice, how horrible, how dirty!
Simple words that tell everything!
You have been to London? China, Japan,
Mongolia where princesses are courted?
Hong Kong, New York and are you Bangkok based?
After all the travelling, their legs are tired;
They need another holiday to recover.
And so the story goes just like the money that travelled,
Unlike an adventure on a safari of life,
That expands, extends the world of your original,
Like a crocodile hunter or the footballer,
The vanquished souls and the victorious,
People everywhere are never different but same,
Unless you label them according to colour and stock,
Like shopping for vegetables in supermarkets.
Rather they are spread like the butter and kaya on our breads,
We need to eat even though in different countries,
With different foods and different ways;
So why do politicians and people preach,
The goodness they have to offer,
While underneath their robes the masks are broken,
Revealing the raw human nature of our cave-men days.
We never change and cannot change;
Only time, circumstance and technology has brought,
New and strange innovations that reinvent,
The engineering of the ugly human soul!


SUNGAI KLANG –SUNGAI GOMBAK


If these two rivers of Kuala Lumpur
Can have their corruption dragged,
With their boulders and mud moved elsewhere,
In the recesses of the population,
A century of history will approve,
What had been a meeting place for tin.
Like the scenic river Seine,
And gondolas of Venice,
Even the simple Melaka river boats,
Perhaps Kuala Lumpur can be seen
From the bottom of these two rivers,
With the reflections of K.L. Tower,
Perhaps the silver of The Twin Towers fame,
Can catch your attention as they gleam,
In the clean clear waters with their local name!
There’s no assurance that the rivers
Will be cleaned with all the millions
Thrown into them for some of the money
May be caught amongst the rocks,
And picked up by people at the top,
Recycled like building blocks!
Nonetheless, the time has come,
For something to be done,
Or else these two rivers will be gone,
Their silt will carry them to their mouths,
Simply to become a topic for more talk.

15-04-2011


THE SARAWAKIAN RIVER


This oldest, longest and quiet river has risen like a monster,
Over its banks as the rain thrashed
The forests while some human voice shrieked
In fear of the violence of Nature’s wrath!
The waters charged in an angry mood,
Unforgiving because of our human invasion
Into the river’s privacy,
And forget to give the respect due
To one that is old and wise for centuries.
Thus the river roared with a vengeance,
And killed off the farm lands,
Homes and the people’s livelihood;
The river reminded those who did
All these against the natural law,
Even as they threw away the noble manners
Of princes to engage the common man,
In a battle of control!
I wouldn’t want to receive a tsunami at my door.
Nor an earthquake to break my jaws;
I only want those who dared to provoke the rains
That continued to pour on the backs of the naive people
In villages and townships who are bathed in ignorance,
Accepting those gifts and believing the goodness in them,
Unknown that they have become no better than the vagrants,
In their own lands that have been lost,
Over the many years of corrupt underlings.
In the name of the common good,
In the name of a greater development,
The banners that propagate,
The promises that will compromise,
The rights and the people’s privilege!
Not that I know of,
Not that I hear,
Except that the river’s fierce some gods,
Will start a relentless movement,
To bring the truths that have been buried
Under the people’s feet.


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