Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It’s a Part of Me

Standing below the scorching sun, I was lost. Cars passed by me, leaving dusts plastering on my face. I squinted my eyes and looked ahead of me. To my relieve, there’s a my saviour – RapidPenang bus, in its most recognisable self, approaching me, like how Rapid KL does, every time as I need a ride to KLCC.

I stretched out my hands, waving a little too frantically. Though there must be no excuse it couldn’t see me, it roamed past me, without a sign of it slowing down. Frustrated, I realised because I wasn’t at a bus stop. But where could I find a bus stop, in a foreign town where some bus stops don’t even look like one? I crossed the road, watching carefully to make sure I was not in the way of some huge, raging metal boxes, charging towards their destination. Soon enough, I saw people gathered under a shade. It looked like they were waiting for something to happen. Oh, silly, me, they were waiting for the bus, weren’t they? And the bus stop was hidden by the big trees around which provided the shade.

I stood there, waiting for another bus which had a sign saying “Jetty”. I have very limited sense of location and direction, even in Penang. If that’s what left for my instinct to tell me, then it has to be something I have to follow. Time flew as I was thinking about the interview which ended 20 minutes ago. I probably have to work in Kangar, Perlis, if I were hired. The lady who interviewed me looked hopeful, and was convincing me to really consider working somewhere not Penang or Kuala Lumpur should I be hired. I promised her that I will consider. Consider means discussing it with my parents, because it is a big thing. And the reason I want to work in Penang is also because of them.

After 20 minutes, RapidPenang 701 halted in front of me, stating “Jetti” I hopped on, paid RM1.50 and grabbed a seat. I had no idea where this bus could travel to, but if it is going to jetty, that is the end of the story. Two things I like about Rapid buses: (1) air-conditioned [Under such torturing weather, this is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.] and (2) they wait at a bus stop just long enough to let the commuters hop on and hop off, not like some other buses which waited for 30 minutes at a stop just to gather “more” passengers. I tell you what, that is exactly how they are going to gather lesser and lesser customers, because it wastes our time at every stop!

And hence, the bus moved on. It passed by some small villages, rural areas which I didn’t expect to see in Penang Island, some schools, and more villages. It also passed by some old shop houses dated back in the colonial era, where I remembered my family used to have our lunch there, at that very favourite coffee shop of ours, every time we visit Penang Island. I smiled in reflex. I remembered my favourite dish was the wantan mee and fresh orange juice. I wonder if the stall is still there.

This whole interview thing kept me thinking for the whole morning and afternoon, that whether or not I really like to work here, be it Bukit Mertajam or Penang Island. I always think that I love Penang simply because it is a fabulous place and I grew up here, period. But I have been living away from Penang for around 5 years in a roll, and was only home for not more than two months for each semester break. I was wondering if this will squeeze out the last drop of Penangite essence out of me, that I can no longer relate to this place. That, I become a foreigner to this once familiar town.

 I felt lonely. And I miss the convenient public transport in Kuala Lumpur. Where I can always say: “It’s ok, I can take a cab from the nearest LRT station.” whenever I am not quite sure of a place. And even people who have no sense of direction can speak the language of LRT Maps – that the landmark of that place is XXX so we can take YYY to ZZZ then change to ABC and from there we just need to walk a little bit more to reach the place.

The 30 minutes bus ride really opened my eyes to realise how much I am NOT a Penangite. For I don’t know so many places in Penang, and chances are, I can’t even survive in this place, let alone like it. I got down the bus heavy-hearted as we finally reached jetty. Walked all the way up to the passenger waiting area, and indulged myself in a copy of The Economist, my only familiar non-local companion in a foreign hometown, how irony.

The siren acknowledged the arrival of ferry, and I dragged my tired body to the stomach of the ferry. And before I could complain the waiting, another siren went off to prepare us for the sail.

The sail to where? The sail back to the time when I knew exactly why I love Penang. That it’s not a perfect place, but it is in ME. The dancing waves, the salty breeze, the gentle wind, the blue sky which cannot be separated from the horizon of the sea, oh, and the puffy clouds which make the whole picture priceless!

I stood at the side of the ferry, looking out at the awesome view, while listening to the wind calling my name. How could I not remember my love for the sea? And Penang has the sea that can sing away my sorrows. I remembered the beaches, my bare soles making prints on the sand as I ran along the beach from end to end, grinning like there’s nothing more fulfilling than listening to the music of waves.

My dad told us that, all the names of us four siblings, are related to the seaside. My sister has the SANd in her name, me the shell (Cher), my brother the wind, and my youngest sister, the coral. It is beautiful, isn’t it? And I wonder could it be the reason I always have the unexplainable liking for seaside. It is ME, my long lost love, and I remember now. It is a part of my history, it is a part of me always. And I want the place to watch me grow, as I take part in the development of this peaceful place.

The picture looks darker than the real scenery. Believe me, the view was truly breath-taking :)


San Dee said...

Niao...Whatever decision u make, think twice.because moving into a new place, lots of the consideration counts. New environment for a start, after all you'll need start everything from the bottom again like a clean sheet of the white paper. Plus, living in a foreign land, without friends and family around, loneliness can just come and attack you easily. You will need to make sure if you are able to handle it when you are facing this situation... Also, before you are taking up this job, is this your dream job that you desire? are they paying you average and above? does it worth for the sacrifies u make?

Gine said...

Dee Dee, thanks. I've talked to mum and dad. MSN me lar jia jia ;p