But I too had dinner with my Tuan Tanah friend recently. And by happy coincidence, his name bears a striking resemblance to Robin! And at that dinner, many issues of national interest were also discussed of which I will relate here and in later postings.
Now, I'm not a pretentious prick to think that I should write novel length blog posts and expect people to read it. I'm definitely not so grossly vain as to get my partners-in-crime to plug it for me.
So I'll simply write the conversation I had with Rabun in parts for easy reading and hope that people will appreciate it for real.
As usual, it was Thursday. And as usual, I was meeting my dear friend Rabun for dinner. This time Rabun had insisted on coming to one of the branches of a famous chain who had been very successful in capitalising on the “Kajang satay” brand.
I plonked my fat arse down into the stylo-mylo rattan-and-aluminum cafe chair at the outlet in Subang Jaya and ordered a teh tarik kurang kurang manis while waiting for Rabun. Halfway through the diabetes-inducing beverage, I spied Rabun hurrying over to the table where I was seated. Rabun seemed more animated this time, more agitated by events unfolding before his be-goateed chin. He was more on edge, more ready for contentious debate, and seemed to have a load of grievances on his mind.
As he sat down, there was a glint in his eye. Yeah...this dude was ready for a fight. No...he was SPOILING for a fight. My arse may have been twice as large as his, but he was a good head taller than me. So it would be quite difficult to find a suitable angle to sit on his face, but he could easily conk me one on the nose. Warily, I ordered a copious amount of satay, hoping the sight of steaming meat would curb any bellicose ambitions he may have had upon me.
But when the satay arrived, it was apparent that fine cuisine wasn't the only thing on the menu.
As Rabun dug his large hands into the bristling pile of meat, he began to mumble about Anwar's treachery towards the Malays, the non-Bahasa Malaysia literate Anak Bangsat Malaysia, the Pakatan's lame power grabs in Perak, giggling at the spectacle of A. Sivakumar being dragged kicking and screaming from the Speaker’s chair. He next trained his sights on a doctor/blogger's “CSI findings” by blaming Teoh Beng Hock’s suicide on a conspiracy between elements in the Selangor Pakatan government and their organized crime siblings. The BN Bagan Pinang win didn’t seem to uplift Rabun’s spirit. In fact, they just whet Robin’s appetite for more of everything. More power, more rights, more privileges, more concessions, more of everything.
As we dug into the delectable Hokkien Chinese invention (“sar-tneh” is actually Hokkien for “3 pieces” refering to a recipe that called for 3 pieces of marinated meat to be barbecued on a skewer), I could see Rabun's bulging jaw muscles really working overtime – even when he wasn't chewing. When he had quite enough of teeth-grinding he managed to choke out his first grievance:
“Why can't you bloody pendatang learn to speak Malay properly?!”
I looked at the bristling pile beckoning to me. Well, this was our usual Thursday dinner and I had an extra couple of hours to kill that evening so I thought I'd see if I could draw out whatever poison was working on his soul that evening. The satay could wait...I had to help my friend escape from the delusional construct that was his consciousness was shoehorned into by the 1Malaysia powers-that-be. As to who had implanted the poison within him, we would have to deal with that on another day. Today, it was all about my friend..
“Wahai sahabatku. Andaikata saya mengguris hatimu, saya minta seribu maaf dan berharap persahabatan kita tetap teguh. Apa pun badai yang sedang awak harungi, saya tetap di sisimu! Cakaplah apa yang terlubuk di hati, saya sanggup terima. Apa yang baik akan ku jadikan teladan, walaupun kurang manis didengar. Dan jika ada di antara kata-katamu yang terlanjur, ku harap awak akan terima teguran ku dengan hati terbuka.”
This gave him a little pause. Obviously, he somehow had gotten it into his head that all of us “pendatangs” were illiterate Ah Beng who only knew how to peddle DVDs, draw dragon tattoos on our backs and fornicate in smelly little rooms lit only by a small red bulb. But my reply suddenly made him realise the disconnect between the pendatang image in his head and the pendatang in front of him.
But obviously, it was not enough to dislodge the sinister psychological construct in his mind because he stammered on:
“You pendatang spend your childhoods immersed in your ancestral dialects and, in many pendatang families, English as well. Then your pendatang kids go to the vernacular school scourge.” He added, “Your rich pendatang towkays bypass the Malaysian educational system altogether and send your pendatang kids to private schools and an overseas education (spreading your pendatang disease over there). But you pendatang think your pendatang kids should have equal rights as Malaysians when you don't know how to speak Malay? Sorry la, you'll forever be a pendatang if you can't satisfy us with your Malay language skills!”
At first, I marvelled at his ability to cram so many “pendatang”s into one breath. But then, the ugly truth dawned on me. The person whom I had regarded as my friend and comrade had carried a secret grudge against me. And instead of talking to me about it, allowed that grudge to be nurtured until it confronted me in all its glorious full-grown form, dripping with venom today. But where did this grudge come from anyway?
“What had I ever done to him or his family?” I asked myself. “Why was I suddenly accused of being this monstrous caricature which was nothing like me?” I could see that I had my work cut out for me. Thank God that I had been married for some years and had learnt the art of listening to someone else bitch endlessly. So I let Rabun continue.
“What kind of guest are you? You come to live in MY country, but you won't learn my language because you think we're all dumb kampung....”
I assertively fed him a piece of nasi impit in mid-tirade and said, “Rabun, have another nasi impit.”
After he managed to swallow, I calmly asked him: “Rabun...have you been lurking around THAT blog again?”
Rabun looked at me. Indignance flashed in his eyes. “Yes! What about it? DemiNegara is the finest Malay blog there is. It's even been heartily endorsed by the Malay Mail!”
“You mean the twice almost-brankrupt paper? The one who squandered their huge advantage and is now a piddling little paper that no one wants to buy even to wrap fish in?”
“That's the one!” cried Rabun happily. “See? Even you recognize the importance of the Malay Mail and their endorsement of DemiNegara!”
“Right, right,” I replied. Pick you battles, my boy, pick your battles, I reminded myself. Out loud I said, “So I gather that what's-his-name...HilangWaras has released his latest turd into the sewers of the blogosphere?”
I could see that Rabun made a most heroic attempt not to leap at my neck! I was glad that our satay dinner didn't require the use of knife or fork. He brought his massive fist down hard on the table, startling the other diners. The still considerable pile of satay jumped 3 inches from the table like a suitably startled porcupine.
Drawing himself to his full height and gesticulating wildly, Rabun launched into a series of pronouncements:
“His NAME is KIJANGMAS! And He is a Shining Knight for all the Malay masses oppressed by the rich, greedy pendatangs. He is the Mighty Malay Satria wielding the Keris Cincangcina in His right hand that would bring the pendatang hordes into submission. And in his left, He grasps the Lembing SiTengking, whose righteous aim would pin down all those who would oppose Him. His Wrath knows no bounds for the pendatang hordes and his Compassion is ever for the gentle majority's good! Such is the Hero, the Saviour, the Redeemer of Tanah Melayu – He is the Awesome, Wonderful the All-Wise...KijangMas!!”
Striking a dramatic pose on the chair at the last hushed syllable, Rabun slowly turn his misty eyes to me again.
All other eyes in the restaurant were on him.
I thought to myself: “Man, this guy is gonna need some work!” I glanced at my watch. 8pm. Right. Not much time, and so much yet to be done.
After settling down, I began...
“Rabun, I think there are some things you should know...”
(to be continued...)