Monday, January 14, 2008

The Brother & I

Written by arimi sidek

I came from a big family with 14 siblings. Three passed away on their tender age, while one of my elder brothers passed away 4 years ago. The remaining 10 of us survive till this day. I can write a lengthy articles on each of them. But this time I am writing about my eldest brother. He is more successful than I am. He was a senior officer with a state government agency until he opted for early retirement 5 years ago. Apart from that, he is a qualified lawyer, a part time lecturer and quite a well known writer in Sabah.

The a matter of fact, he is the source of inspiration and pride for our family since I was small. We talked about him all day in our childhood, as he gone to “naagi oang putih” for so long that we hardly visualized his face anymore. I remember one day, my late father came home with broad smile on his face, and a piece of newspaper in his hand, showing us the picture of his son, my brother. Later I found out that the news was about my brother being elected as student leader in UK that time.

Mind you, it was in 70s. And when I say we were proud, actually we were really proud in real sense. Notice this. Whenever he went back to kampong and the news spread over, it was as if we hold little kenduri every time. As if the routine activities in the kampong stop. It was a self declared “public holiday” for the rest of the neighborhood, not just our family.

He inspires me to write and I found out later that writing is easy. I also found out that I am not a good inventor, to be honest. I need others to inspire me to do something to serve as kick start every time. Without that, practically I am just an amoeba. Alive, but amount to nothingness. This is equally right when a good samaritan someone inspired me to compose songs, to draw, to study Islam and Sufism, Hinduism, and to further study in academics. I was inspired to be with Tabligh for some time. I learned about Kadayan mysticism because someone encouraged me to do so. Even to learn about computing and typing, it was my wife who inspired me. Without her, I may still be glued to TV every night, not knowing something else to do.

Now, back to my brother. He IS the one who planted the “Kadayan bugs” into my head back in 1990. After 18 years the bugs are now fully grown and I am fully infected with them.

He inspires me to write and I found out later that writing is easy.

He planted the “Kadayan bugs” inside my head back in 1990.

No, No. Don't expect our relationship as what you and your brother might have.

Until this day, I simply don't go to his house and say “bro, may I borrow your car?”

Neither does him.

He plays cocky to me as long as I could remember. He is bossy me around all the time. When I just graduated, the first advice he gave me was “we are both graduates. I expect you to be smart. Being smart in such, you should not expect other to help you bla bla bla...”

Yes, he speaks his words. Never that he assist me to find a decent job, although that was during the PBS time, and getting a job was started to became scarry difficult.

He knew lot of people, his close friends were among the cabinet ministers back then. In short, he was in best position to help me, his youngest brother. Probably, it was a matter of a single call to put me somewhere in any government departments. Yet, he had chosen NOT to.

He is very talkative sort of person. Talkative, that sometime, he remind me of our late father very closely.

So talkative that its safe to ignore most of what he said to me. It is normal for him to talks, preaches me non-stop for more than three hours, especially while driving along the highway from Kota Kinabalu back to our home town. Honestly, most of the time I can't catched up with all his talkings. He speaks very fast for me to chip in, leaving me of no choice other than to became a good "yes" man.

He also talks so loud most of the time, he terrifies me all the time when I was small. My childhood memories with him are full of terrifying sorts. Like my father, he can make us pee unnaturally by just starring into our eyes.

The earliest one which I still remember clearly is when he came back from nowhere (probably Government Secondary School Hostel) while I was squabbled with my younger sister. He scolded us with a long rattan cane, that chicken us dead.

However, the cane memory was also the good memory. This was the first time he bought us short pants, for my sister and I. Then he captured both of us in photos. That were the first photos I ever have, they were taken in 1972. But the good experience of course, short lived. I never had a chance to wore the pant. I never even had a chance to touch it, the other brother took it away from me.

He is ever aggressive and forever energetic. He kinda person that full with ideas. And when memory is full, like when your telephone SIM card memory is full, the behavior tend to be erratic. Forgetfulness is one of those.

I tell you forgetfulness isn't part of the ageing process for him. For example, its forever safe to ignore when he say that he wanted to see me, all the time. Except, of course, he said that he already waiting for me somewhere. Even for this, sometime he just bluffs. He probably still somewhere else, does some other things.

I never had a chance to really intellectually argue with him face to face, and I never will. This is due to the simplest fact, he is my eldest brother. I respect him as much as he can get, and as much as someone expect what the respect is all about, from young Kadayan of old point of view, to their elders. For me respect includes, among other things, inability to argue with him. I notice this isn't just me, he encountered the same problem with our late father. I never saw they had professional and intellectual arguments to each other, not even until the day my father dies.

I never had a chance to really intellectually argue with him face to face, and I never will. This is due to the simplest fact, he is my brother.

My childhood perception bother me too much to argue with him correctly.

Others, probably due to different communication channels. I can just argue in civilized manner in Kadayan and Malay language. I only use English when I curse someone. He is just the opposite, he can only talk properly in English, and his Malay so bad that even my son don't understand what he said sometimes.

Bad news, my son is also a Kadayan, and I noticed that he imitates my policy so well.

My brother may be travels a lot, highly educated and knowledgeable person for most people. But for me, he is my brother and I love him as he is. I understand him a lot more than almost anybody else. The most important thing is I can see deep inside him. And gladly share what I found there – he is a kadayan, like me.

Or even more, he is a true kadayan, unlike me ...

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