by Susan Abraham

Someone said he was going but did he come? Someone told me he was coming but did he go?

In Malaysia, while loyal to my land of birth, I stay awed by a restless spirit that provokes about me, an air of deep conjecture and mystery for the faraway and reckless. I am unsure of why my footsteps hurry me on, while linking one puzzle into the silent waiting gap of another complicated one with the utmost ease.

Like a box of crayons where one brazen colour may erase a meeker shade without sympathy, I run to where cultures top religion and landscapes melt into the sea. I embrace hills that grow on mountains and linger at airports which catch the skies. I can never understand why nor the time and hour that may seem so detrimental to others but which stay hospitable to me.

It must have all started from childhood when my father would bundle my mother, my two brothers, sister and I into an old Toyota to seek out the splendid neon lights of a Merdeka symphony every August 31st when Malaysia gloriously celebrated her independence with her famous dame-like austerity.

Ever the eccentric, my father would carefully circle a roundabout in Pekeliling Street of old Kuala Lumpur and now as I know this to be in my grown-up years; nestled right next door to Chinatown. In the middle of the roundabout and statued in its resplendent flamboyance stood a large colourful fountain.

I watched with awe as how swayed by the wind, tiny garlanded bulbs danced around it in a robust harvest mood. That must have been the moment for an old truth when my girlish dreams would begin forever, their tailspin journey into the unknown and never turning back.