Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bye Bye, Bayo

Bayo in 2005 (photo by Antares)

I awoke on the morning of June 4th to terribly sad news. Bayo, the cutest kid in Pertak Village, was dead. He couldn't have been much older than six. On May 27th I had driven nine kids from the village to witness a surrealistic children's play by the Jumping JellyBeans called Terra Arata. Bayo was supposed to have been part of the group but he couldn't come because he wasn't feeling well. I was told he was suffering from a bad case of boils on his backside. As the other kids squeezed on board my trusty Toyota van, I waved at Bayo and he forlornly waved back. The next time I saw Bayo, about a week later, he was lying on his living room floor, wrapped mummy-like in a sarong, not entirely cold yet, but no longer breathing.

Bayo's father Empi burst into convulsive tears when it came time to wash the tiny body prior to burial. I can imagine the complex feelings that must have coursed through him, seeing his kid's body already turning blue, and the sinister seaweed-shaped bruise creeping over his left shoulder and moving toward his heart. A Temuan woman near me whispered: "Tengok! Dia kena barang hutan!" ("Look! Something from the jungle got him!") Later, after the funeral, Empi told me Bayo had been playing in the belukar (secondary forest) behind his Granny's house and he must have been attacked by the barang - a vague enough term for something inexplicable to modern minds, more in the nature of a curse.

Bayo's Granny, Awa, is a practising dukun or medicine woman. She may have been careless in the disposal of some magical effluent following a ritual healing. A few weeks earlier, one of my friends had taken Bayo to the hospital to treat his multiple sores - and the doctor had discovered a high level of staph in his blood. Bayo was admitted to the ward, but was hastily brought home later the same day when Empi created a scene, admonishing my friend for sticking his nose into other people's affairs. It was a no-win situation, for sure... but nobody had expected that the robust little boy would die from a few sores on his butt.

Empi and his wife Pita have had 13 children - and now, with Bayo gone, they only have 9 left. Little wonder Bayo and some of his siblings made a habit of hanging around my house, watching Disney videos and enjoying a regular bounty of chocolates, cookies, sweets, and sometimes even a full meal. A few years ago Empi was a very rich man, when he received close to RM100,000 compensation for ancestral orchards destroyed by the Selangor Dam project. Alas, he apparently squandered it all within the space of a year by throwing parties everywhere he went - and by changing motorbikes every couple of months. Empi's residual paternal pride was obviously affronted when my friend took it upon himself to admit Bayo to the Kuala Kubu Baru hospital.

If Bayo had been allowed to stay in the hospital for a week and administered some antibiotics, would he be among us still? Most probably, yes. But what's the use of further exacerbating his father's guilt? Bayo won't be coming around in the afternoon to lounge on our divan and watch Beauty and the Beast with my boy Ahau anymore. I'll miss high-fiving the little tyke as I drive by - and his impish grin and sassy salute whenever he receives a special treat.

Lata Suir was one of Bayo's favorite spots (photo by Colin Nicholas)

I have a plethora of many other thoughts and feelings to add to this blogpost - but not tonight, not tonight...

A Canadian View on 9/11

This is an entirely sober - and sobering - 9/11 documentary accessible on Google Video Canada. It's 83 minutes long and packed with the most revealing footage and expert perspectives I've come across thus far (and I've viewed just about EVERY 9/11 documentary you can name!).

In April I blogged extensively about 9/11 and figured that was it - there is now enough evidence right here on this blog to bring down the current U.S. administration.

However, the whole 9/11 plot is so ghoulish, so utterly EVIL, a large number of my intelligent and well-informed friends continue to RESIST the idea of a monumental false flag operation masterminded by a transnational cabal of secret societies with the help of covert agencies on their payroll. It's so much easier to buy the official theory codenamed "the clash of civilizations" and blame it all on Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Islamic fanatics are so uncool and irritating it's easy for anyone who subscribes to secular consumerism to scapegoat them.

If you happen to be among those who still cling to the official version - viz., four commercial airliners were hijacked by 19 Islamic militants fresh out of flying school who, against all odds, succeeded in slamming three planes into the WTC Twin Towers and one wing of the Pentagon all before brunch - I strongly IMPLORE you to make yourself a nice cup of coffee and set aside 83 minutes to view this video. It just might change your mind - if not your destiny!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Nuptial Vows Renewed!

It was good to take a short break from blogging - partying on a pristine beach on legendary Langkawi Island with my #2 daughter Belle and her husband Marcus on their 10th wedding anniversary. Belle and Marcus met while she was studying filmmaking (and he was doing his MBA) at Texas Christian University.

She graduated summa cum laude but after a year's stint as a producer at NTV7 she opted out of the scene to help build her hubby's fast-growing sports management company (Total Sports Asia) and raise a couple of kids (Max Alexander and Reiya Sunshine). Always figured my daughter would make a great movie director - but as it turns out she's chosen to put all her creative energy into producing epic wedding ceremonies for herself!

You see, Belle was originally named Tinkerbell (after Peter Pan's diminutive but oh-so-sexy sidekick) so that's where her penchant for Disney-style romance and Happy Endings comes from. Ten years ago she singlehandedly stage-managed her own wedding extravaganza at the Pangkor Laut Resort and now she's done it again... on an even more spectacular scale, with a grand vacation for family and friends at the Datai Beach Club that must have included at least 55 celebrants of all ages.

For the occasion Belle flew in a couple of hardworking specialist photographers named Zung and Hong, a videographer named Sean Lam, as well as a superchic decorator. I don't remember who designed her gown, but it looked every bit as good on Belle as it would have on Liv Tyler (I'm waiting for Belle to deliver the Official 10th Anniversary DVD, so watch this space for more photos from the gala event!)

Here's a flashback to 31 May 1997, the day I gave Belle away to Marcus Lüer. That's Belle's sister Moonlake Love beaming away at the back...

I was basking in the glow of being "Daddyums" to two gorgeous babes (pssst! their hot mama Lotus is still a head-turner after all these decades :-) who both married handsome, prosperous, and really wonderful guys... and who have made me a quadruple Dato' with their 4 adorable kids. I was extremely gratified that they all appreciate my singing, which augurs very well indeed for their future - and mine too, of course.

Go right ahead, folks... congratulate me!!!