Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My life changed on Valentine's Day.

Many years ago I was talking to a friend. He said I was lucky to have relatives staying nearby. My brother-in-law (my wife's sister's husband) was staying in the same housing estate with me as so did this friend who knew about our family tie. I told him I have another closer relative staying even closer by. My own younger brother  was staying just a few meters from the friend's house. This friend was shocked when I told him this because although he knew my brother he never realised that he was closely related to me. This was because although there were similarities in our looks we were different in many ways. We still are.

My brother is just two years younger than me. We walked to the primary school together. We ate, slept and played together. Together we chased our neighbour's goats and cattle when they encroached into our mother's property. One day we even tortured one of the neighbour's sheep by covering it with mud. This caused a rift between our families. 

These all changed abruptly one day when I was twelve and my brother, ten. On Valentine's Day 1962 I entered a fully residential school in another state. Yes, on 14th February 1962 I entered Sekolah Dato' Abdul Razak, Tanjong Malim, Perak and my life changed ever since. So did the lives of my contemporaries and thousands others.

The first thing that I missed was my mother. She was not there to wake me up every morning reminding me to go to school. She was not there to wash my clothes and to prepare my food. Instead I had to wash my own clothes and adjust to hostel food. When I felt sick she was the only person that I thought of. 

I began to listen to British and American music. The first foreign song that I liked was 'Outsider' by Cliff Richard. Cliff Richard then became my first foreign favourite artist. When The Beatles arrived I began liking them too. I read somewhere that if anybody was a teenager in the sixties and did not like The Beatles there must be something wrong with him. Well, I am no exception. 

Every week an English speaking movie would be shown at the school hall. This was where I began to know of Hollywood actors like Charlton Heston and Elizabeth Taylor. I also began watching similar and newer movies in the two movie theatres in town. My mother was not happy at all when she learned of this new hobby of mine. Nevertheless she did not have to worry financially since I went for these vices with my own scholarship and school pocket money. 

But as for my younger brother, he never liked The Beatles or western music for that matter. To him a James Bond movie is just another movie. He does not know that the song 'Yesterday' was sung by the same person who sang 'Live and Let Die'. So it is no surprise to say that I differ with my younger brother in many ways. 

I never cared about Valentine's Day. The only thing I read about Valentine Day was this thing called 'The St. Valentine Day Massacre' which happened during the Al Capone era in the thirties. 

Nevertheless my life chaged on one Valentine's Day.


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