Azira reflects, inspired by her beloved Bupu.
CONNECT THE DOTS — Fed by misinformation. In conduct of an internal inquisition. In formation of an inquisitive mind. Like a child beholding a picture book, connecting the printed dots and filling the colours of my fascination with the beloved nation of mine.
It is very human to think that you have the worst lot, the empty half of the glass. It is too easy to slip into the position of envying of vying for what others’ have, or that no one else could have possibly landed themselves in such scrapes.
I call it the “Me, me, me” complex. Ever notice, most of the time, in arguments, the person accusing another of selfishness is actually spelling out their personal dissatisfaction about not feeling appreciated, not getting enough, etc?
The Me, Me, Me complex.
The person accusing others of being selfish is often the one being selfish? Make sense? It takes a while.
I have been at certain points in my life, guilty of the Me Me Me complex, and it is not something I am proud of. It is also the main cause of people giving you rude hand gestures during a traffic jam, despite the fact that it is your right of way, but of course, KL taxi drivers and motorists are not known for their reasonableness.
Anger. Frustration. General Unhappiness. The stuff that pulls your smile upside down.
I drive a Kancil that breaks down pretty often. Its name is Bupu. The benefit of having an old car is that you learn how to fix it quickly yourself, but it also means that at times it requires extraordinary lengths to get to places that you need to be, or be forced to cancel if off , which on a larger scale, sucks a lot.
However, I think, that broken down Kancil has allowed me to talk to an otherwise unknowable segment of society whom I’d never talk to otherwise. The random people at random places during my time of misfortune.
Like when my car had a flat tyre in a shopping mall’s parking spot within a week my father bequeathed it to me; the security guards aided me, and I met a nice lady who drives a newer version of Kancil, and lent to me her toolbox so that I could change it to my spare. I ended up making the acquaintance of the security guards (I frequented that particular mall often in Shah Alam).
Or the time when it had to break down in one of the various tolls at the highway, somewhere between Shah Alam and KL, a middle aged man who worked at the PLUS toll helped push my car so that it won’t block the entry point for the toll. The kind man stayed and made sure that I was not harassed in any way until my parents dropped by with my mechanic’s tow truck. He did not have to, mind you, it is not part of his job, but he did. It took a few hours, I think.
I also have this unfortunate disease of absent mindedness where in a hurry, I would forget to turn off my headlights/frontlights, and the car will run out of juice, and require someone’s kindness to help me jumpstart it. There’s this one time where, after a meeting at Pusat Rakyat LB, that happened, and I was aided by a certain journalist from Malaysian Insider and two minions of Lord Bobo. My embarrassment was laughed off and we managed to patch up Bupu just fine.
And on the night of 3 May 2011, my second day of starting work no less, when after my car was jumpstarted at my office, and I was driving it home through my usual route AKLEH, and it died on me while I was cruising on N (neutral) down the slope in the middle of Ampang’s wondrous rush hour traffic jams.
No less than 3 drivers of random cars made enquiries on whether I’m alright, and 2 drivers (one man made a u-turn, stopped his car, and walked to me) graciously offered to help me out, which I declined because any attempt then would further bottleneck the already jammed road.
Then this gruff man who introduced himself as Yahya/Yahaya, in E21 AKLEH Wira stopped, freakin’ pushed my car a good 20 metres away from the “dangerous slope” and helped jumpstart another Viva Elite Manual with similar battery problems as mine (and consequently was off on their merry way too). He refused the offer of tips by my Mother.
All of these past embarrassing events regarding me and my Kancil makes me smile. I am oft accused of being a masochist for this. Here’s the thing. The kindness of others gives me hope. As long as there is kindness such as these in this blessed earth, I think what we have, what we’re doing now, what we’re working for, it’s worth fighting for.
Human rights is essentially working for humanity, putting priority on the rights of the individual for the benefit of the community as a whole.
P.S : Bupu is my first car, though I admit holding on to it on pure sentiment is impractical I still am quite emotionally attached to it.
Azira is a self-professed mongrel Malaysian. She hopes to have “Malay” and “non-Malay” relegated as a relic of the past sometime in the future.