Thursday, 4 August 2011

Dim sum


They say friendship is at its most pure when it develops during student years, a time of freedom before responsibilities of work and family set in, and commitments make free time a luxury, before colleagues and networking become necessary survival tools and take up time and effort leaving little for the true friend, a friend you meet with no ulterior motive, no gain, other than the pleasure of time shared.

It started during a period of study, before the children arrived, before our world exploded.

Four research students, cooped up in a small room, two surgeons and two physicians, meeting after work, then meeting with “other halves”, getting together all over the city, and in each other’s homes and gardens.

One favourite Sunday pastime was for dim sum, the Chinese Malaysian couple knew where to go, what to order, and how much, three hours of conversation interspersed by little packages of fish, chicken, and vegetable, noodles, dilute tea and sweets.

Nothing however stays the same.

Research came to an end, “proper jobs” meant moving, children started arriving, one couple broke up, and then regrouped, and the meeting became less frequent.

The English couple were the first to outgrow the friendship, what is acceptable company for trainees is not so for established pillars of society, and when the people with the know how were also unable to make it, because they where in the middle of arranging for the their long awaited return home, we wondered if maybe non-Chinese food would be more appropriate now.

As we sat around the table explaining the difference between sambusak and kubba, he starts telling us of his recent trip home, the capital is a great place to live, vibrant modern and safe, the health service crying out for expertise, and the hospital project going ahead in the near future, the pay would be good, and lifestyle very comfortable and “if I was a foreigner I would go now”.

But and it is a large but, “if I went home there would be family, and family of family, they would be all be around, all requesting favours for themselves, their families and their friends, and they would in return part with regular advice, advice on life, advice on love and advice on future, advice I cannot live by”.

He cannot go home because of choices he made in the decades he has been away, away from home, away from the eastern influences of family and friends, and so he keeps moving around, seeking a replacement home, once he talks of Europe, another time it will be Malaysia, then again why not the Gulf.

And as we part I think to myself, I have always envied him his choice, he has a country to return to, but maybe even if one day we had a country we could return to, we may well find we would not either.
Laura said...
Dear 3eeraqiM: In a poem to his wife, the wonderful poet, Wendell Berry wrote of "the life I have let live for love of you...." That line came back to me as I read your post. Sometimes, it seems as if there is a certain reason that we do something and then, years later, there's a shift and hey, presto, the reason we've been telling ourselves over and over like an eternal talisman turns out to have been only incidental to the reality our feet and hands chose for us while our minds were otherwise occupied. And what was chosen--oddly enough--turns out to have been so right, even though we didn't know it. The life love lived for us, the life love lived us through.

Perhaps this is not true in your case, or will not turn out to be true. I'm just murmuring here, thinking how, sometimes, the miracle of our lives overtakes all our expectations. We turn a corner and see the rose in full bloom, every petal glowing in the setting sun.

I'm really not all that poetic. Can't think why both my comments have been so...dreamy-ish. (Have you caught up on your sleep? ) ; )

I hope all is well.

It is lovely to be able to visit your blog.

22 June 2008 07:10
3eeraqimedic said...
Thanks for visiting once more, the block was not personal, this blog has become my personal counselling couch and every now and then when my mood is dipping dangerously I need a break to think things over. After a while I return, often after a few good nights sleep and a glimmer of hope brought on by some good news (a family returning to their home in the “wrong part of town”, a story of palm trees planted in public gardens, a tone of hope in voice of someone I care about)
Thank you also for the quote, this is for me one of the most pleasant aspects of visitors comments, when a name I have not previously heard of is mentioned I go in search of more, and end up listening to a new style of music, reading an incredibly touching novel, or discovering an American male who writes about love, life and peace.
Yes for today at least there is hope.
22 June 2008 11:19
Laura said...

Dear 3eeIraqiM:

I think you will enjoy this poem of Wendell Berry's (from his Collected Poems, 1985):

The Peace Of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lied down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great . heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(peace to you and yours, L.)

22 June 2008 18:05
sami said...
Good evening 3eeraqimedic, I was happily surprised by your blog new look, it is shining, and I smiled happily when I first saw it.
You are a precious person for us (your blog readers) take good care of your self. sami.
24 June 2008 20:39

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