Her Vision In Infrared

This is an incident that happened many years ago. I can’t precisely remember the day it occurred. But I was 13 and I had a hard time understanding the turn of events for quite a while. But in some weird way, I am glad that it happened and I witnessed it.

We exist in an environment that is filled with malicious negative energies and evil spirits. And there is no indisputable proof that can end the debate on whether ghosts are real. You either believe it or you don’t. And we all have our fair share of encounters with dark shadows, lost souls and angry spirits. We experience paranormal phenomena, hauntings and ghostly occurrences, almost everywhere we go, if not at a specific place.

While that is common, it is a known practice in some parts of the world that people indulge in all sorts of dark arts for property, money and sometimes even plain jealousy. This is synonymous with Borneo and the Southern Philippines. It still is a tradition – practised today, in broad daylight. After all, it is a land filled with legends of headhunters and dense steamy forests.

While beheading is their traditional way of killing their enemies, people back then and now have no qualms stooping as low as they can to hurt people and get a piece of anything that is not even rightfully theirs. And watching their victims in pain is an entertainment. The most notable part of this practice is that it often brings about death. And why do so many people in our society enjoy intentionally do bad things to others?

Dark arts; I have witnessed many of this. And I am somehow conditioned not to ever question this practice, especially its effectiveness. I accepted it but am silently against it. It is still very bizarre to me how dark arts somehow give some people hope and the answers they had been looking for. It may be for some cases, the best of self-defence.

I am far from religious and was always a skeptic about the paranormal, dark arts and shamanic healing. But this particular one proved to be effective. My sister, just a few days old at that time fell sick, it was worrying. My parents were really devastated. They had to resort to the shamanic healing. And fortunately for us, the shamanic healer delivered what was expected of him. And my sister, turning 18 in April this year is alive and kicking. Thanks to – let’s not give it a negative name for this case – the grandmother of all medicine.

Apparently, the house that we live in 17 years ago was located not far from a haunted tree, despite it being in the city. The house was not in a secluded, undeveloped area, and that was quite a strange notion. As hard as I try to imagine the opposite, I did find the tree to be rather spooky.

Stood tall and motionless among the grasses, its branches twisted like distorted limbs extending out into the sky like skeletal hands and partly reaching out towards our house that is probably 3 minutes away. It had that force that gnawed us with unfiltered horror. Looking at it at night especially, sort of felt like it would rape me in my sleep. It was a sight nobody in their stupid mind would dare to capture. And when it comes to a haunted tree, even merely saying offensive things around it would provoke its wrath.

According to the shamanic healer, the haunted tree – I don’t remember what it was called – was stocked with evil spirits and curses. It was hungrily trying to absorb the soul of my newborn sister. And a newborn baby, who happened to have the ability to connect with the other side, saw something that perhaps even us adults cannot handle. She stared and cried at nothing. It went on for days. The sleeping troubles troubled the family.

My parents were cynical in the beginning and went to the doctor but came back with no solution. They panicked. Of course, they were! Something was not right with that precious new bundle of joy. They were desperate. Thus, the shamanism, despite the fact that at the same time, the shamanic healer also practices dark arts that lead to death.

So on that very night, while believing in God, we put all our faith in shamanism. With his impressive toolkit and assistants, the shamanic healer, suited up in all-black clothes, used all the cleansing techniques in his arsenal. I had goosebumps, of course, and I could not take the strong smell. But I was enchanted by his shamanic healing steps. He looked like he was in a wrestling ring, beating the hell out of his opponent. And I began to imagine a wicked-looking, black creature hovering above my sister. Staring at her with its big red eyes, almost popping out of the sockets, screaming its lung out!

Not too long after that, he stopped and fell flat. He looked pale and weak as if he had not been eating for days; as if he had been carrying a heavy load across the city for hours. But he did his job, as promised. His shamanic healing saved my sister. And yes, that incident did shatter my belief system and drove me to question my perceived reality; dark arts and the role shamanism plays in our lives.

Dark forces roam independently in the universe. And the ongoing battle between good and evil in the unseen worlds constantly shapes our experience of reality. Some people do bad things not because they were born bad, but because of the negative energy from outside that penetrated their body which they can’t control. If we choose to not pay attention, we will not be able to recognise between dark and light forces.

And in my sister’s case, several paranormal experts believe ghosts like to hang out in the UV and infrared ranges – so-called the spirit world – which we adults cannot detect. Also, at some point along the way, we have decided and believe that our experiences weren’t real. DENIAL, we call it. But unfortunately, babies are the opposite. While seeing spirit guides and angels are beautiful and magical, seeing something else, as per my imagination, is beyond spooky.

Without doubting the power of God – our creator, we are grateful that the shamanic healing worked. It is, after all, a gift from the Higher Power for the selected few. And we are glad that my sister survived the battle. She survived that and she will survive any battles coming her way.

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The Servant’s Heart

_20160817_201045“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
— The Buddha

We’ve all been stuck between a hot burning flame and a black hole when it comes to making decisions. At some point, after all that struggle, we’d just look to our instincts.

I would have this compunction or fixed attitude of thinking about my values when I make my decisions and choices. Sometimes, I feel like I constantly need my moral compass to guide my decision-making. This got me question if morals are flexible.

For example, English is my second language. As I’m not a native speaker nor have I ever taken any special English language class, I never take a word lightly. I grew up understanding that is important to have my own opinions. But it is also important to properly use a word so people are not offended when I speak.

Sometimes I still filter myself and make sure that I know the meaning of the words I tend to somewhat exploit in my speech. After all, today, we live in a world where sometimes we don’t realise how hurtful our words can be.

Just a few days ago, I was doing some personal self-evaluation. I’ve always known my flaws, my weaknesses, and my strengths in terms of work. As a person, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a girlfriend.

My mom is 52 this year. All her life, she had to overcome impossible obstacles, but she has astonishing exciting and success stories. One of our recent conversations got me thinking a lot about her willpower. I wish I could disclose and share it here but that’s too personal.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but think how I’m so much like her. And that I have to be stronger than her for her.

It’s beyond doubt that it’s because of her, I became the first person in my family to go to a university and complete my degree with honours. She had to mortgage her jewelry. That was one decision she didn’t hesitate making.

From an early age, I knew my family was different than most. At the age of 2, when we were still staying at kampung with my paternal grandparents, I could feel that our household was hostile and unhappy. This made me realised I had the ability to absorb people’s emotions very easily – probably the moment I was born. And I had my first near-death experience when I was barely 1 year old. My eyes turned white. It scared my mom to death.

At 3, we moved out. We moved to Kuching and my mom was so much happier. That hostel room we stayed in was her happy space. Although at that time, she was a young adult juggling her problems, work and being there for my dad and me at all times. Even though she’s tired, she still managed to go about the day with a smile on her face.

My mom never sugar-coated life, and she never makes promises. She had me when she was 23. Since I was born, she had no choice but always to have faith and believe in me.

Just watching her, observing her, feeling helpless that I couldn’t help her when I was younger, in some such way instilled practical life and surviving skills within me (I was also driven by anger and disappointment).

I owe all of my accomplishments to my mom. Of course, she had a dream for me. I didn’t turn out the way she planned but she’s cool with whatever now. I turned out decent – very ambitious, but not greedy. I mean, no matter what we do, what mistakes we make, what we say, or how much we upset our moms, their love for us will never peter out. It will always be pure and unconditional.

Watching my mom taught me how to work for what I want, rather than expect it for free. I learned that considering the long-term outcome over the short-term is important in decision-making.

At times I feel like she would unknowingly set unrealistic expectations for my sisters. But I know where she’s coming from and all she want is the best for everyone. She would push everyone to do their best. But she does it her way, which may not be in favour of some people. Moms, huh. Let’s face it, they put up with our crap.

My mom is a very simple person. Pride, arrogance, greed and selfishness are rampant today. She doesn’t practice all that. It’s not organic to her. And they are definitely not the right ingredients for happiness.

Every day, there are terrific opportunities to be appreciative and thankful. To humble ourselves which we may overlook. Of course, when shit happens, we can choose to be bitter and resentful. But that’s just really tiring. The best decision is to let it go or start shooting ammo.

My mom is appreciative and grateful. That’s how she go about her day and that’s what makes her different. She is truly an inspiration. At least for me. That one conversation somewhat opened her eyes to look at things from a different perspective.

My mom will never know this blog exist. She pays no heed to technology and I pay very little. But I know she knows that I’m here, there, anywhere and everywhere. And right now, I’m about to make a decision that she would probably not like in the beginning but will be fine with later.

PS: Some people are born appreciative, thankful and humble, while the rest just luxuriate in flattering themselves. I don’t have a servant’s heart. I care for people and I’d put them first. But at the end of the day, I’d die only for my family and friends who truly matters.

 

Sunset Boulevard

Genesis 6:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, [2]the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

[NOTE] – The daughters of humans were beautiful.

Beautiful to me is sunset. And sunsets are my favourite part of the day. I’m always drawn to it. There is no better end of the day than watching a great sunset. I’d love it better sometimes when it rained just before that. The sight of the cotton candy clouds, along with the double rainbow in the somewhat copper-coloured sky, that fresh, earthy smell of rain and the calmness, the placidity and how it makes me feel like I’m in another realm. A rather spiritual one, filled with mystery, away from the forces of darkness.

I used to sit in a tree to watch the sunset. I was between 3 to 6 years of age where I was always doing and experiencing things by myself. I was the only child at that time and often left alone as both my parents had to go to work. My dad would come check on me whenever he can in the afternoon as his office was nearer and he had a motorcycle. He’d get me juice or buy me snacks. I would only see my mom at sunset. She and my dad would arrive with style on his motorcycle. I always imagine them in slow motion, entering the vicinity like superheroes on their superbikes – ready to shoot the enemies of the world and punch them silly.

I would wave at my mom sometimes from the tree. She would scold me for climbing up high. The funny thing is, a couple of years later, I developed this fear of heights.

We stayed in a community flat, or rather a hostel actually, where the kitchen and bathrooms are shared. In our room, I remember we had a medium sized radio and a small TV – both with a sticker of my name on them. My dad would label all his belongings with my name. My favourite would be that yellow Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD he had at that time. A big-ass sticker of my name slapped on it. He does that still, even today. But instead of stickers, my name is fossilised in agreements, grants, and whatnot. And this is more of a lifetime responsibility – not wealth.

[REWIND] – At that time, it was only the three of us. I don’t quite remember what we usually do at night [dad would write songs or play his guitar] but after sunset, we’d all go to the kitchen and everyone would somehow cook dinner around the same time.

Moms cooking, dads chatting about and smoking [my dad doesn’t] while the kids would play. I would just watch them. Or have a chat with my mom. Perhaps I was always that kind of person – an observer, a listener and would talk to only certain people. I don’t share my toys as I didn’t have much and I don’t really play them or bring them out from our room anyways. But I had a stuffed dog. It was brown and I used to ride on it like it’s my very own limited edition Suzuki. I do have a best friend at that time though, after we moved out to another place. Our moms were colleagues. They’re Pakistani and I’d eat at their house almost every day.

There’s something very calming about the setting sun. Where we lived at that time, there’s a huge football field, tennis court, and there were big trees surrounding us, a rather spacious carpark because there were probably less than 10 people had a car and the best part is, there was also a ‘barok‘ there. I would sit in there, observe my surrounding, watch people come home from work, watch the kids running around and running away from their moms, I’d see dads washing their cars and motorcycles, I’d see younger adults playing football, smoking and joking around, when I see a few people having intense conversation, I would walk pass them or sit not so far away from them.

And that’s what beautiful about sunset for me at that time. Not so much of the beautiful sky… But life and routine. My relationship with my dad and my bond with my mom. My fresh experience of people before they call it a night – listening to and understanding how they go about their day, how work was, how they look at world issues and how things are changing around them.

Sunset is obviously one of the biggest cliches in photography. On weekends, we’d spend our sunset at a park not so far away. I remember my dad took a photo of me and my mom sitting on a bench overlooking the lake. The sky was beautiful. He also took a photo of me jumping and running with his basic, cheap Kodak camera. I don’t remember if we had a photo of the three of us. It was not a ‘selfie’ and ‘wefie’ era yet so, we didn’t know how to take that kind of photo.

The best and most beautiful sunset I saw and experienced was with my parents between the year 1989 and 1993. Then life happens. But sunsets are always special to me. Today, I’d drive watching the sunset on my way home, listening to Michael’s voice notes if not talking on the phone with my mom.

Sunset is romantic and it slows down time. I used to kiss my first boyfriend under the tree at sunset. It was always emotional and made me wonder if we were going to be together forever. Nope – that ship sank.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.”

People always say that God’s greatest masterpiece of creation that He has ever made is you. For me, sunset comes right after that.

To whom it may concern,

One day, I want to watch that last sliver disappear below the skyline with you. I want to experience this gorgeous life’s gift with you. Even if we were to meet just once, I want to share that calming, beautiful moment with you. There’s never one sunset the same. Ours will always be special.