Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Strange relations

My aunt is never one to be subtle, on the other hand she can be two faced in the worst of sense. I never really noticed it until several incidents pointed that way and now I firmly believe that this is to be true no matter what my dad say. I used to think that relations are nice people (until the fiasco with my uncle that is), at least the most immediate ones anyway.

We certainly make it a point to treat them nice, my dad especially never goes there empty handed whenever we arrive in Kl, usually buying something from Kuantan such as dried fish or stopping by Petaling Street to get a whole duck from Sey Ngan Chey (one of the more famous roasted duck stalls there) for dinner. We own a house in Kl situated in Kelana Jaya SS5 and since our whole family is residing in Kuantan, a cousin of mine and his family are taking up residence there while we’re away. It’s totally free of charge and we don’t charge a cent for it. In any case my cousin’s dad is really a no good lout (sorry to say it so frank) who never ever comes home and never pay a cent of support to the wife and kids, so much so that the other uncles and aunts are chipping in to help them keep afloat.

I have always gone back and stayed at my grandmother’s place (she resided there before she passed away years ago) whenever I am down Kl. Usually there isn’t much happening, we all stay for a while, uncles and aunts jostle to pay the bills for family dinners and after we’re done we head back to Kuantan. Times like these my aunt often is quite jovial though most of the time she declines to join us in visiting the other relations, stating she’d rather stay home because of all the housework to do.

Things seem a bit amiss when I was in university and was heading back for my semester break to Kl before boarding a bus back to Kuantan. That time I was still with my ex and since a large group of my former housemates were studying in Kl we wanted to meet up and catch up on old times. The problem was that we didn’t have a place to reside and since I naturally had a house there I decided to ask my aunt whether we could all just bunk in for the night (there were 3 of us) since some of us were from Nilai and UKM and we had plans to meet others at Midvalley early the next morning. Okay so I figured what can be such a big deal, it’s a small group of friends and we are just going to be there for a night maybe even not sleeping to chat the night through.

It turns out my benign intentions let loose a storm of controversy. I initially passed the message to my cousin since her mum was out to relay that I needed a place where some friends and I were to spend the night, at worst we’d just put out things there and head out to the local 24 hour mamak so as not to disturb anyone. Minutes later while I was studying for my chemistry finals, I got a call from my dad. He was hysterical and demanded an explanation why he was suddenly called by my aunt with reasons why it was not a good idea to allow my friends into the house.

Imagine, I called my aunt’s place just to ask whether it was ok, at the same time I was studying for my finals which was going to take place the next day and here my dad, as he usually does, was breathing fire and blaming me as if I had caused an international crisis without even allowing me to explain matters. I don’t know what my aunt told my dad about my request, but it seemed kind of overblown to illicit such a response from dad. I couldn’t even reason with him until later when I called mum and explained it through.

Mum told me that my aunt made it a fuss stating that my friends would be a bother to her family, that we’d be inconveniencing her household and cause disruption to her children’s studies. My God, she never does anything else besides being a clean freak and mopping the entire place twice over everyday and watching Mandarin dramas all day on Astro, so what inconvenience can we cause her. Plus for the fact that if she was so concerned about her children’s studies we could’ve always go out, it’s not like they study all night. The most galling thing was she did not confront me in person, instead choosing to go directly to my dad and telling her version of the situation without my knowing, that’s tantamount to disrespecting me as a person.

So its okay her son goes out for days and stays at his friend’s place while mine, who I have not seen for months are not welcomed even for a night? I was so indignant that when my flight from Kota Kinabalu reached KLIA, I straight went to the MAS counter and bought a ticket straight back to Kuantan, no need to spend a lousy night in an unwelcoming home. Yet when my dad and I were there when I was about to fly back to Sabah, once again she put on her cheery face as if nothing happened in front of dad.

Over the years, it seems that the same pattern was repeating and she seems ever more reluctant to put me up for any period of time. It was so bad that when I opted to work for my uncle’s firm, I stayed at my other aunt’s place so as not to bother her. After that incident I’ve never really felt welcomed, it’s sad because I had so many good memories growing up in that house. Whenever I'm I try not to 'inconvenience' her, going out through the day, not being a bother there, eating my meals outside and not depending on her to cook, but nothing works i guess.

Now the house in Kl is being put to sale due to the investment collapse of my uncle’s goldsmith business, my aunt and cousins have moved to a new apartment at Sunway Damansara (fully financed by another uncle as they do not have any income to speak of). I am planning a day trip back to Kl this September and my dad at first suggested I spend the night there, but she called my dad with various reasons such as there is no one at home during the day, her son is working at my uncle’s company, blah blah blah, in short a thousand and one excuses why she cannot accommodate me. Instead she suggested I stay at the other aunt’s place, so fine by me. I guess my perfect ideals on relations are shattered innumerably and though blood ties are often touted as unwavering I often find the worst feuds and prejudices come from within. At this point I think I’d be better welcomed if I asked my friend to put me up for the night instead of relations. Not to mention that the house now is being rented out to other people while we wait for the agreement to sell it and she went and somehow lost all the keys to the place, leaving us to fork out the bill to replace every single one there. Gratitude and family relations? Blood is not thicker than water, a hard fact in life.

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