A Muted Global Pandemonium

Internet luring is common, since perhaps, 10 years ago. And any child can become the victim of an internet predator. A sexual predator, to be exact. And these predators are open to anything. They don’t discriminate gender, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, even religion.

Nowadays, there are many stories of young children being groomed online and raped. Rescued? Less than half of that.

However, even at home, one is not safe. One does not have the fear of being left alone for no reason. Or being left alone with a certain person.

I don’t personally know any rape victims, but I do know a number of those who were sexually abused – as a child, even adults. And there are a few that I know who were sexually assaulted by their own next of kin – the victims of incest.

While they nervously shared with me about the routine event of molestation, whether or not they experienced the sadistic crime of rape, I don’t really know.

When I was 18, a friend in high school once shared a very disturbing story with me. A story of incest that took place in the 1970s between his uncle and his aunt. Every now and then, whenever the topic comes into discussions, I would have flashbacks of the narration that makes me sick. The narration was so graphic. It was more than just molestation. And I questioned the incident, though – was it rape, or accidentally a consensual sex?

It was a tale of incest that first took place in a cornfield. His uncle who was drunk when he shared the story with him was in his late teen when one day he realised how fully developed his younger sister was. Puberty did her right. She was curvy and voluptuous. She still is today, even in her late 50s.

The siblings were close when they were kids. They were innocent. He admitted, however, that he has always been sexually active and developed wild imaginations when he was a young boy. As he gets older, masturbating was getting boring for him.

He has had his eyes on his sister for quite some time before the cornfield incident. He shared that he would have sexual dreams of her. Her shadows and silhouettes at night drove him crazy that he would masturbate to the images he has of her whenever he had the chance.

The sister who had no idea what was going on in her brother’s head, of course, didn’t have any suspicions and was okay being left alone with him. He was her trusted babysitter. Or at least, seemed less predatory.

The story as told by my friend:

So one day, in the cornfield, and happened to be far from everyone else, just the two of them, he couldn’t control himself. Watching his sister walking from behind, somehow physically exposed, he could feel himself having a hard-on.

He couldn’t stand the torture anymore and told her to stop walking. She ran to him and coincidentally brushed her breast against his face as he lifted his head and moved closer to her.

He took a step back and looked at her from top to toe. Obviously, he was undressing her. But still, she didn’t suspect anything. Until he got even closer to her and started violating her body. She was stunned, I’m sure but, couldn’t say anything. He pinned her down in the dirt in the cornfield.

He started touching her firm breasts. He took off her shirt. And then her bra. He groped and massaged her breasts. He pinched her nipples between his fingers. Her nipples both go rock hard at that. She whimpered. It turned him on and then continued rubbing and pinching her nipples for a while. He was having a time of his life with no guilt at all. And she moaned a little as if she liked it.

He then started kissing her breast, and slowly went down and started sucking them. While at it, he pulled down her pants, sliding it down her hips. He spread her legs and started caressing her thighs. He could feel her body shaking. And slowly pulled down her pants and panties to her feet. She was breathing heavily and moaning as he became more aggressive with her breast. When he rubbed her pussy, she whimpered. She was so wet!

Dude, I am a guy and I know for sure, why he couldn’t help himself!

Her body language was so inviting, she whimpered and moaned! She was so wet that she allowed his finger slid up her snatch then forced its way inside her pussy! She was a virgin and her pussy was tight.

It’s so wrong that I was so into his story. They are my uncle and aunt for fuck sake!

And of course, naturally, she spread her legs even wider. He didn’t need any more encouragement to go on. He took off her pants and panties, shoved his head down, started kissing and licking her pussy. She was moaning like crazy as his tongue plunged in and out of her. He fingered her and ate her out. And later, his hard dick slid into her wet pussy. As he was fucking her, she was moaning, gasping and panting, craving more.

Doesn’t she know that she was being raped? Did she want it to happen? I had so many questions in my head.

And I asked my friend, “Didn’t he feel guilty at all?”

“He said he enjoyed it, and he could tell that she enjoyed it too. She sort of didn’t say stop,” said my friend.

“Did it happen again after that?” I asked.

“No idea, I didn’t ask. But I can’t look at them the same way anymore,” he said.

Well, I don’t think I can even see them as siblings, hugging each other without thinking it’s sort of in a comforting yet sexual embrace.

But they seem to be cordial with each other. They are both married. Not to each other, of course. And in fact, they are grandparents now.

Let bygones be bygones, I guess. But I am pretty sure, if it was rape, she must be traumatised by the incident. And if she was, perhaps at that time, nobody reacted to her traumatic reactions. Perhaps even she herself would not have realised that she has checked out for a while and was not being herself. And she must have had an endless amount of sleepless nights. And perhaps, dealt with it by never telling anyone, and eventually forgetting it herself.

No two rape victims will react in the exact same way. Some would want to be positive and live their lives. While some would think, what is the point of living anymore? And they would engage in substance abuse of drugs or alcohol to help cope with the overwhelming feelings.

There are many short- and long-term effects of sexual assault and rape. There are the physical, mental and spiritual effects. Mental illness and depression can lead to self-injurious behaviours. Victims of sexual abuse become abusers themselves.

According to Penang Women Development Corporation (PWDC) chairman Yap Soo Huey in 2015, there are 3,000 rape cases reported every year on average in Malaysia, with only two out of 10 cases going to court.

Rape is a crime that revolves around power, hostility, and violence. Rapists don’t discriminate. And they can be anyone – strangers and family members with an insatiable thirst.

Rape happens every day. Yet, it’s one of the most under-reported crimes in Malaysia and around the world. A lot of evidence point out that Malaysians’ attitude towards rape is very poor. And victim-blaming seems to be the culture.

I’m not a professional but I’m glad that people trust me enough to talk about their experiences with me. I believe by doing so, they feel more relieved and liberated. And that they stop blaming themselves for what had happened to them.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. For some of us, it’s a day of love and romancing. Some, it’s a day to be a complete couch potato. While for the rest, it’s probably a day of reliving their worst nightmare.

Everyone wanted their first time to be a loving and positive experience. Unfortunately, not everyone gets what they want and eventually make themselves believe they had a wonderful night.

On a separate (yet related) note, one of the biggest forces in the Universe is puberty. It has the highest potential for transforming one’s life from zero to hero. Don’t forget, good genes play a part too.

While we can say that puberty kicked in at the right moment and did the right job with some of us, it did not for the rest, with additional fat tissue and funny patches where they are not needed.

But when it did the right job, and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it gives rise to certain evocative tales – sexual assault and rape. Perhaps, let’s include child sexual abuse as well.

 

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Being Sarawakian: We No Longer Behead

Here is one of the common conversations I had with the people who met me for the first time when I was in Peninsula.

“So where are you from?”

“I’m from Kuching.”

“That’s in KK?”

“No, that’s in Sarawak. KK is in Sabah.”

“Aah.. So, you’re from the headhunter’s tribe? Do they still hunt heads there?”

“Uhh.. No, we don’t do that anymore.”

I do not know much about my own tribe except the basic knowledge the whole world would have. Let alone, about other tribes and their history. But it is offensive when a conversation like this takes place in the 21st century.

However, I don’t blame people for immediately associating the word “headhunting” with Sarawakians. They are not entirely wrong. After all, Sarawak is the land of headhunters.

The practice of collecting heads was widespread among the Dayaks – the indigenous, non-Malay inhabitants of Borneo. And the Iban tribes are reputed to be the most formidable headhunters on the island.

I am a Bidayuh; a tribe known as “Land Dayak”, a name that was first used during the period of the White Rajah of Sarawak. We are the second largest Dayak ethnic group in Sarawak after the Iban (Sea Dayak).

My parents are from two different geographical areas. While my dad is from the Penrissen district, my mum is from Bau. And they both speaks two different but related dialects. My dad, Bisitang and mum, Bijagoi. One is much softer than the other. But the Bidayuhs are generally very softspoken people.

However, they are also known for their warrior audacity. The men are proud and strong. In a war, a Bidayuh man’s prowess and status are determined by the heads he collected – the more heads, the higher his rank.

And what happened to the heads, you asked?

Well, the brains were carefully extracted through the nostrils. And then the heads were skinned, placed in rattan nets and smoked over fires. I still can’t get this image out of my head. The skulls then, were stored in their baruk, a roundhouse that rises about 1.5 metres off the ground.

Curious about the history of headhunting, I had a conversation with my dad about it. He could not give me the kind of explanation I wanted on the subject, though. But according to him, back in the days, the men would go out for a headhunting expedition once in four (4) months. The first to bring home a head is considered a hero. Sounds to me like headhunting is a form of sport. And sort of… Evil?

But our ancestors were animists, and the skulls were said to possess powerful forms of magic. Since the ideas of manhood were also bound up with the practice, the skulls were considered trophies of manhood and bravery.

Dad also spoke about tribal wars. Our ancestors’ headhunting skills played no small part to their aggressive culture of war against other tribes. When there is the need of territorial expansion due to overpopulation, there is the need to intrude on lands belonging to other tribes. Thus, there is the need for brutal confrontation as it was the only means of survival. And during that time, while the Bidayuh men were killed, the Bidayuh women were taken and raped (a common scenario in any wars).

But our headhunting days has long gone. It was outlawed in the 19th century through the efforts of the colonial Dutch. Conversion to Christianity or Islam had also suppressed the practice. And our humility and peace-loving reputation had opposed our headhunting past.

My Thoughts In The Backroom

I was glued to my chair that rainy evening, busy editing my songs when I heard my parents’ commotion in the living room, talking about someone’s death. I was curious and worried as for the past couple of months, many of our relatives had passed away. And I was not around to attend their funeral.

I went down and saw them staring at the TV. Sarawak’s 5th Chief Minister Adenan Satem had passed away. He died of heart complications that Wednesday afternoon (11 January 2016), just two weeks shy of his 73rd birthday.

The great son of Sarawak has been described as the best chief minister the state had. He who held the post for nearly three years has contributed greatly to Sarawak. He spoke openly about autonomy for Sarawak and the rights of Sarawakians.

Fondly known as Tok Nan, he had done much to the rural communities by giving bigger allocations for infrastructure development. His rakyat rallied behind him as he brokered greater autonomy for the state and dealt with long-standing issues such as recognition of native land rights. A few days before his passing, the great leader was still talking about autonomous rights, education and his rakyat.

In a mark of respect, on the day of his funeral, flags were flown at half-mast. Our state government declared a seven-day mourning period following his death. His demise is a loss to Sarawak, but we will always be grateful for his deeds and contributions to the state.

The popular leader had a way with words and his sense of humour as well as toxic remarks on things at times raised eyebrows. There is no leader quite like him. His successor – Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg or Abang Jo – certainly has very large shoes to fill. It is now up to the elected representatives to carry the state forward and fulfil his aspirations for the state.

His death hit Sarawakians like a tonne of bricks. And today, many Sarawakians are still coming to grips with the fact that they have lost their highly-regarded leader. Our prayers go out to the family and may his soul through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

 

On a separate note, millions out there are addicted to politics. Some people are fervent followers of all things political, while some are interested in politics but would prefer not to discuss it for fear of offending people. And for the longest time, I was one of those who is simply apathetic and couldn’t care less about voting and the general state of things.

I used to think that being interested in any political matter won’t change a thing for I see that for the longest time, caring for it and hoping for changes only generate frustration and pessimism. And when talking about Malaysia’s Barisan National (BN) political party, all you will get is HATE.

However, people often tell me that our opinions matter a lot and defending a candidate and voting for him/her can make an actual difference. I was 25 and all I cared at that time was about myself; focusing on my own situations rather than examining any political issues. The struggle was real.

At that time, I decided that it is not worth it to vote or get involved in politics. And I cared more about being realistic. I mean for decades, despite knowing which political party is the strongest, we hardly have a reliable source of sufficient information to back our decision between two candidates. The uneducated ones won’t know. Those in the rural areas have no clue. But they are forever hopeful that things will change.

And the opposition’s vote is always overridden by the government’s. I find that funny because based on my observations over the years, the number of people who are against the government is more than those who are with, which got me thinking, at this rate, shouldn’t the votes hold heavier weight, highest importance and the bigger number?

“Well, that’s politics for you,” people would say to me.

Like it or not, politics is worth paying attention to. Today, I do care a little about politics, but only on matters that I care deeply about. And I keep tab of what the government is doing. But I would rather not talk about it as I prefer not to know other people’s take on politics. Talking about politics is not my idea of a casual conversation. I am sure of course, that they would have very valid points and I respect them. But there is no such thing as a friendly conversation about politics. It usually turns into a debate that I am not interested in as I don’t like the idea of shoving my ideas about politics in someone’s face.

You see, politics is something that affects literally everything in our lives. And the decisions politicians make are the ones that directly influence every tiny detail of our daily existence. Tok Nan walked the talk. And I am very grateful for my autonomous rights as a Sarawakian and benefits that I get as a Bumiputra in Malaysia. And thus, I, of course, do not want to live in a world without any government at all.

More people voting means corruption is less likely. And it should be fine by all that our responsibility stops at the ballot box, f we even get that far. But to vote and help make a difference, people should be given the freedom to support their candidates full heartedly.

People shouldn’t vote for a candidate because their parents, friends or head of the kampung ask them to. People should be allowed to have their own views and belief. They shouldn’t be clouded by petty debates on why they should vote who through someone else’s eyes. They shouldn’t be convinced to vote for someone else’s choice. Otherwise, if that candidate turns out to be a douche who is obsessed with power, your neck is on the line. Everyone has a voice, everyone has a choice. Let them make theirs with their own voice without interference.

A big chunk of Malaysians might not be big fans of the BN coalition, but Tok Nan has managed to prove himself as a rare leader in Malaysia that walks the talk. He delivered his promises. His brand as “a different kind of politician” was so strong that it had changed my mind and view on politics and politicians. And Abang Jo certainly has his work cut out for him.

Politics preys on moral outrage and the lust for power. Even if you are not a politician, whatever you do, wherever you go, whoever you deal with, subtly or not, politics affect your lives as you will need to play the political game to survive.