Clarity in the City

I thought that my life in Penang was monotonous. I did not realise that it can be even more ho-hum in KL. Wuan wakes up at 5:45am to cook my lunch and goes off to work while I am still in bed. I do not get to see her until around 8:00pm when she gets back from work with our dinner. I am home alone throughout the day, surfing intermittently and enjoying the sight of the little patch of unkempt greenery Wuan calls her garden. Since moving to an apartment, which incidentally is close to the hills, it is not often that I am in such close proximity to so many different types of plants.

Outside the compound, beside the road, the frangipani tree shows off her unmistakable maroon blooms. Heliconias, lilies, cannas and a magnolia tree straddle the fence. The pomegranate tree stands tall with its solitary fruit hanging ponderously by the tiny twig holding it. Several bamboo shoots peer out from behind. Birdnest and staghorn ferns look out of place in their pots and hanging on the wall. There are yam plants, ginger shrubs, cekur and pots of adeniums.

Adeniums – two of those I brought for Wuan when I came to see her for the first time five years ago; another two when Mum and I visited Wuan a couple of years later. Mum had a garden full of these adeniums, also known as Desert Rose or fu gui hua in Chinese. These are the only remaining four that Mum had cultivated from seedlings. The rest she gave away when we moved, including six lorry-loads of other garden plants.

This solitude has given me an opportunity to reflect on things away from the familiar confines of my apartment. There are just too many distractions at home, too many memories and too much lingering grief to keep a calm mind. There are memories here too, like the adeniums and the crystal tree Wuan displays prominently on top of her television. Mum had helped me choose that clear quartz tree. It reminds me very much of Mum and brought back beautiful memories, precious and most cherished.

Wuan had been trying to get me to come for a long time. Somehow, I always had something to do. I am glad I made this trip finally. Being away from the comforts of home has posed some challenges. It has also opened my eyes to the kind-heartedness of strangers. Their sincere smiling faces while assisting me along the way from Penang to KL tells that there is hope yet, especially after the indescribably sad catastrophe in the region. The monotony here is just a little price to pay for regaining some clarity of mind and to be reminded of the beauty of humanity.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

13 thoughts on “Clarity in the City”

  1. Peter – it’s life! 🙂 And it’s also what we make of it. Plus it’s not external. What goes on inside is important, too.

  2. Chet,
    Very true. I guess I can get pretty screwed up inside from time to time. Thank God that I have the sense to pick up and move on most of the time.

  3. wooh.. bloggers meet?

    Gee, I’m no blogger but I would really love to just say hello over breakfast after morning mass (??). I noted that Mystic goes to SFX. I attend the 8.30am session at Assumption in Jalan Templer like 10 mins drive away.

    Can?

  4. peter, i am jealous lah. you will get to meet lots of KL bloggers. now one day when i’m in KL i must try to arrange to meet some bloggers too. ahh but unlike you, usually i’ll be in KL only for a day or 2 so kind of hard to arrange.

    seeing the response of some KL bloggers (your other post), i’m sure many will turn up, wanting to meet you. at this rate, it might look like you get to meet more KL bloggers than penang blogger!

    hey, peter, mabye we should arrange for a penang bloggers meet one day too. remember the last one i arranged? it was kind of a fast short notice one and only 2 turned up!

  5. Arusa,
    You are most welcomed to join us. We may be bloggers but we are also regular people just like you and everyone else. I, especially, would love the pleasure of getting to know another friend and a fellow RC too. See you at One Utama Sunday?

  6. Your KL trip will be a valuable exposure to the many wonderful aspects in one’s life. You will always have fond memories to hold on too. Cheers.

  7. Sean,
    I have been to KL numerous times. I last travelled alone 5 years ago. Although there are always helpful people around, there is this inherent fear of getting stranded far away from home with no one to call for help.

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