Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dare I Look Back Into My Past? The Beatings

I was reading Mrs J's blog and what she wrote brought back my childhood memories... including my teenage and young adult years. How hard I try to forget them but they're always there, lurking, waiting for moments that they could escape out of their box!! And I have to work hard again catching them and putting them back in that box, nail it shut and hide it way behind other boxes! Since I'm not that organise, I always hope that the mountain of boxes will form a maze as to when those memory esacape from their box... they still a hell of a long way to get out!

But they always do. Always at an unexpected moment. Always when I think I'm safe. Always bring tears to my eyes.

My friends say how they admire my strength, my tenacity, my gung-ho outlook in life - I'm going to do it my way and to hell to consequences! It's all untrue. Under that facade, I'm a coward, give up rather quickly and timid.

Dare I go on and open myself to everyone?

Since I started my blog recently, my stories are all randomness. I like randomness. Randomness doesn't stay. Randomness comes and goes. But randomness does sometimes, being random as it is, bring out hurtful memories. So probably... this story is a bit random too...

I was born in a little town (it was little back then) called Batu Pahat in Johor. I was told that mom was ill when she gave birth to me. She couldn't breastfeed me. I was a bottled formula child. And I have to say this about breastfeeding. You have a stronger bond with your mother. I never had that. Of course I love her to bits but I know there's this bond missing between us that she has with my older brother and younger sister. Try as we might, we can't seem to get close. It saddens me.

I try to fill my head with happy childhood memories. There are a lot of them but they don't cover the pain.

My first few memories are my life in Johor Bahru. How my brother (Abang), our neighbour's kids and I used to play fire cracker. That I used to have a goose. My mom finding a purse under this huge tree near the kitchen (I think my mom and the owner of the purse remain friends til now!). How I used to feed my cat the vegetables on my plate cause I hated vegetables and my cat just lap them up! At nursery school I got so excited about being in the front row of our dance show that I just stood there and waved at everyone instead of following the steps taught and was sent to the back of the group so the show can start again!

And now and again... the memory of my father's brother, who babysat me while mom and father went to work, taking me into the bathroom and wanked infront of me.

We moved to Segamat as my father got promoted to Segamat's District Officer. My father's brother still came and visit and babysat me when the maid was away. Somehow one day, he was found out. Mom told me that one day, her cousin was visiting us and I was just running around being a happy child when he arrived and my mom's cousin noticed that I looked so scared. My mom's cousin managed to get it out of me on what's been happening... and she told mom about it. Being 6 years old in the 70's in Malaysia, I wouldn't know anything about sex. Kids were still kids back then. So mom's cousin believed me straight away and so did mom... who told father.

But being in Malaysia in the 70's... this went no further. And no matter how many times I assured my mom that it's not her fault, she still blames herself.

Since it was never talked about. I always felt there was something wrong. I did something wrong. I think I lost my childhood when that came out in the open... at least when my mom and father found out about it. I was under my mother's watchful eyes all the time. She needed to know where I am, who I'm going out to play with, I always have to be back at a certain time... and I felt suffocated by mom and try to detach myself from her.

My grandparents' (mom's side) home brings me freedom! I loved it when mom say I could go there for school holidays!! That means I could go and run around without anybody putting rules on me... apart from granddad curfew of always have to be back in before Maghrib prayer time! About 6:30pm.

Then we moved to Muar and back to Johor Bahru.

I can't remember when the beating started... but I do remember clearly one day Abang got an answer wrong and father went into a rampage! My father went out side and cut a fresh bamboo and started hitting Abang. How my mom pleaded for my father to stop.

Abang will always be special to my mom. Not just because he's her first born... also because he survived pregnancy. Mom miscarried before she had Abang... and when she was pregnant with Abang, she went to see her neighbour and my father went berserk when he came home and she was at the neighbours without his permission and kicked my pregnant mom. No wonder Abang hates my father. My father was violent towards him even before he was born.

Anyway... since that day, I always try to get good grades so father would be happy for me. But I wasn't the braniest child. I don't think I even reached average. All I wanted to do was play but I know I have to get good grades. My grades were never good enough. And no matter how much money he spent with extra tuition for me, I could never get the grades that he wanted me to.

I was even sent for piano lessons. And all I discovered from my lessons was that yes, I can sight read and play the tune, but I'm tone deaf! I can't tell the difference between an F or a C or a B for that matters. I can still sight read a bit now... but I'm still tone deaf.

Get a bad grade I get a beating. Get a report from school for being a prankster, I get a beating. Arguing with my adopted sister, both of us get beating. Make a bit too much noise for his liking, I get a beating. No matter how much I try to please him, I couldn't.

Mrs J. You said that that's probably the only way your dad could show you love. Maybe it is with your dad but not my father. How I try to believe that he did all of that because he knows the best for me and I must have deserved all the beatings. I don't. As I told you, I always made sure to nurse all the scars and they healed well. But the mental scar remains.

And what hurts more is the fact that when I was a teenager, my father's brother came over as he was getting married and how my father forced my mom to forgive his brother. Mom told me to stay in my room that day because she didn't want me to witness her forgiving my father's brother. I don't blame her. I know if she didn't say that she forgave him (I know she didn't mean a word that she said to him) my father would beat her up.

There's too much tears in my eyes and everything is blurry... thank goodness that I know how to touchtype! I can't write anymore. It hurts too much and the memories are coming back like bullets... there's just too many for me to dodge. Maybe... oneday... I'll continue with my story.


Blogger Ms J said...

sweetheart - you had a horrible childhood but only from one man. so forget this part of it and keep this locked away. my dad only beat me up ONCE but it was horrid enough, so i cant imagine what you went through. but hey, we re survivors arent we? and we know better how to best love our children.


6/01/2006 04:41:00 pm  
Blogger yati said...

Mrs J - i'll lock them up again... i'm so glad that i found you again!! *the biggest hug to you*

and, yes, we do know better... *another big hug!*

6/01/2006 06:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Niiiinaaa said...

Hey Yati,

You know, no matter how ever much time I hear this story, it kills me...I don't know if I should be angry or sad or both or simply hit your Pa for what he had done to you. And your uncle is simply evil (sorry but this is honesty).

Hugs, Nx
p.s BTW, I have your P Ramlee movie...:-)

6/04/2006 03:24:00 pm  
Blogger yati said...

nina - YEAY!!! you sure know how to cheer me up!! which one is it??!! i am soooo excited!!! ibu mertuaku?? bujang lapok?? or the one with pak belalang in it??! can't wait!


6/04/2006 06:50:00 pm  

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