Friday, January 18, 2013

Walking Down the Memory Mine Field

I'd never thought that writing a childhood memoir would be like walking down a memory mine field. One wrong word and you'd cause a long dormant emotion to flare up. 
Which brings us to the reason why people write memoirs.
To seek the truth. To set the record straight. To be fair to our own memories in spite of how others choose to define us.
However, dislodging an entrenched image is an arduous task. 
The Brat. The Enfant Terrible. The Rebel. The Hippie. The Prodigal Child. The Belligerent Sibling. The Miserable Single.
Types created by those, who by virtue of their birth order or ranking, felt that they have the absolute right to perpetuate the family myth.  Since in most family hierarchy or pecking order, someone's got to be The Scapegoat, The Whipping Boy, or Girl. To fulfil others' cravings for an externalised Object of Ridicule or Contempt. Or projections of their own Guilt.
And that someone is expected to be a sport to laugh along at put-downs thinly veiled as jokes or harmless recollections of the past. She must never, ever lose her temper, regardless of how she's provoked. Perhaps the best approach is to view those instances as opportunities to practise graciousness or to develop a profound understanding of human complexities. Lest she be accused of being The Ingrate.

An interesting read:

Defining Your Authentic Self

Are you living a life that is more in tune with your "authentic" self (who you were created to be) or your "fictional" self (who the world has told you to be)? 
You probably weren't even aware that these versions of your "self" existed! Dr. Phil explains the difference between the authentic and fictional self:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Badaruddin Family Tree

           After a few days of surfing for free templates, I've finally constructed a basic family tree chart on my own.  All thanks to Geni!
           Now, I'd have to look for a 'bodhi' tree (tree of life) or 'pohon beringin' instead of an oak tree for the backdrop. And of course, pictures of the family members, which will be a challenge to acquire! Well, at least I've got started. It's just a matter of building on it.  Try it yourself - it may be tedious but fulfilling.
A very basic chart to build upon
Family Genealogy
First tier:
Paternal grandparents: Haji Yusoff Shahabuddin m Hajjah Aminah.  
Maternal grandparents -- Ahmad Semawi m Karsinah aka Chemplok
Second tier:
Father & Siblings (Aunts & Uncles/Hala & Halathi) -
Haji Yusoff Shahabuddin (Siddi) m Hajjah Aminah = Azizah, Badaruddin aka Aji Din, Haniffah, Ishak, Hasnah.
Mother & Siblings (Aunts & Uncles/Wak) - 
Tok Mat Semawi + Nek Chemplok = Hassan, Zainah, Rahman, Rahim, Rabiah, Said. 
Third tier:
Paternal Cousins -
1.  Hajjah Azizah m Haji Kassim = Mahfudzah
2.  Aji Din m Rabiah = Hatta, Hanum, Kamal, Hayati & Baiti
3.  Hajjah Haniffah m ? = Abdullah, Khairiah & Fakhriah
4.  Haji Muhammad m ?  = Fatahiah
5.  Haji Ishak m Hajjah Rodhiah = Naimah, Hassan & Lukman
6.  Hajjah Hasnah m Syed = Syed Abdul Rahman.
Maternal Cousins -
1.  Hassan (Wak Asan) m Kalsom (Wak Som) = Rashid (Abang Sed), Latiff (Abang Tep), Aziz (Abang Ajis), Azizah, Kamariah, Razak, Wahab, Wahid, Manan and Karim (Dadeh).  
2.  Zainah (Wak Enah) m Sirat (Wak Sirat) = Abang Osman, Abang Ali, Manisah (Kak Bulat), Kak Jamilah, Abang Omar, Kak Halimah and Maimon.  
3.  Sa'adiah (Wak Yok) m Mohd Said (Wak Said) = Abang Ja'afar, Rahmat (Abang Imat), Rahimah (Kak Imah), Abang Sani, Rafeah (Kak Pat), Jamilah (Kak Milah), Jamil, Tutut and Ratna (Tenah).  
3.  Rahman (Wak Amang) m Maimunah (Mak Munah) = Habibah (Kak Bibah), Hamzah (Abang Amzah), Halimah (Kak Alimah), Hanafi (Anapi, died in an accident when he was pre-adolescent), Halim (Alim) and Hashim (Achim).  
4.  Rahim (Wak Aeng) m Zaharah (Wak Jarah) = ????  
5.  Rabiah m Badarudin = Hatta, Hanum, Kamal, Hayati, Baiti.  
6.  Said (Pak Cik Pom) m Mariam = ? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hidayah Amin's The Mango Tree

'The Mango Tree' Children's Book Launch
The State vs Hidayah Amin and the casualty is the Mango Tree

While I've been dawdling back and forth through my drafts, Hidayah Amin has published her second childhood memoir, The Mango Tree.  Its launch is scheduled for March 16, 2013 (a Saturday) at the Pod@National Library, Singapore.  Since it's a children's book, there'll be a Nature Talk, Music Performance, Book Sale & Book Signing, Free Air-Brush Face-Painting (upon purchase of book), Special Gifts for those wearing or bringing something green or yellow.  Since space is limited, do RSVP to

Well, if that doesn't spur me on to publish my own childhood memoir, then nothing will.  For a start, I've engaged an editor who has made recommendations for the overall structure and sections for the proposed title and should be editing each line of the second draft by now.  
So as to allay my doubts about who'd be interested to buy and read a memoir of someone who hasn't really made her mark in this world, I was also asked to answer the following question:
Why Bury My Heart in Kaki Bukit?
'To bury my heart' in a place where I had spent my childhood, a Malay kampong and a symbol of the Malays’ entitlement as the native settlers, means a sense of belonging and attachment to a place firmly lodged in the Singapore Malays’ collective memory and psyche.
 Draft Foreword (what to “expect” as in “why” the segments are as such)
 There’s something about the end of an era which set a train of thoughts in motion.  When the impending closure of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in July 2011 was announced, it opened a floodgate of memories of railway journeys with my mother across the Causeway - to visit my paternal grandparents in Klang, to view my father’s ‘paddy’ project in Kahang and, of course, to uproot ourselves and resettle in KL.
  However, my intention was not simply to reminisce about the past, nor present a personal tale of unresolved issues with my father’s rage or a tender eulogy about my mother’s strength.  I believe that my personal plight and my family’s misfortune are merely threads which weave into the larger tapestry of the collective experiences of the Singapore Malays of that era. 
  The turbulent years which followed the atrocities of the Japanese Occupation, the intense struggle for Independence and the UMNO-PAP contest over the political control of Singapore had left a deep scar in their psyche.  My story represents the narratives of those families who sought refuge in Malaysia.  For those who stayed or migrated elsewhere, their voices should be heard too.  
  Plus, I'm also experimenting with this opening - not sure if it will attract or repulse readers of my daughters' generation - the Gen Y.
1            The Turning Point
          You think that Singapore is all about Marina Bay Sands and The Eye.  Do you know that before there were urban renewal, skyscrapers and infinity pools, there were fishing villages, kampong houses and miles and miles of sandy beaches.  As a tourist, you think it’s cool to celebrate multiculturalism by traipsing around Little India, Chinatown and the Arab Quarter, but you don’t even mark the Malay Village in Geylang Serai on your map.  Please don't tell me that you're secretly ashamed to be a part of a race that’s been labelled backward and a culture that’s deemed deficient.  
          You might think history is not important.  The past has no place in the present. That it’s best to move on and let go.  But you don't know what it's like to be born and bred in a kampong created out of indigenous claim.  You don’t know what it’s like to belong to a land where your forefathers had traversed millions of years before you took your first step on that same soil.  You don’t know what it means to shed blood and liberate your motherland from the clutches of the colonisers.  You can’t imagine how humiliating it is to be downgraded from the status of natives with special rights to that of a mere minority.  It never crossed your mind that this people who’s accused of surviving on crutches and government hand-outs was once a proud race of seafarers, warriors and craftsmen.    
If you would only look at the course of history, you could see that the ’64 Riots was the turning point when an intelligent, articulate and fearless race morphed into an insipid, bumbling and spineless bunch of people.  In just a space of 13 months, they were to lose their grip on indigenous rights to their homeland, and, along with that, their constitutional rights to defend their language, culture and religion.