When I was 7

(a collection of strung up memories, real and unreal, from the writer-poet-comic community of Spoken Word Brunei)


At 7, there were many firsts;

– I saw a snake, pissed on myself and laughed like a hyena.

– I had a huge crush. She was tall, slim, leggy and blonde.  Even at 7, I knew who the babes were.

– I was in love. With a woman, a real woman, who spent time crocheting with my mother.  They had the same height, though she was younger and darker.  There were other boys in love with her besides myself.  We grouped together in my bathroom one day when she and other usual strangers were in the house.  We synchronised our high pitched professions of love to her.  “We love you, Ani! We love you!”  Over and over we chorused.  She needed to know she was loved, and that we loved her the most.

Then, we moved from the Middle East to the Tropical Equator.  I would never see Ani again.  But I thought about her a lot.

I also thought about sunny days keeping the clouds away wondering if I could live in Sesame Street with Ernie.  I thought TV was life and life was stuff between TV time; making bonding family moments with Wonder Years and World Wrestling Federations.

I thought words were physical things.  Something solid that you could grasp in your hands.  And once you had a word, you could put it away in a box and take it out when needed.  The word would be light and easy to carry because you needed to collect as many words as you can.  Your word box was only as good as what you filled it with.  And I knew I had plenty of collecting to do.

Thanks to words, at 7, I realised I would not stay 7 years young.  I questioned Life.

Me: Life?


I questioned Life.  But not when I competed in a swimming competition at amateur level, where I not only won my first four gold medals but also set a new national record in breast stroke 🙂

Nor the time I had to go through a jungle and avoid angering a water buffalo, all so that I could play Nintendo at a friend’s house.

Not that one day either when I walked all the way home in the middle of a storm. It was weird; the heavy rain, seeing houses get blown, and trees, too!  It was scary.  And it was cool.

When I was 7, I was riding my bike in my simpang when suddenly I got hit by a car.  The driver was coming out of his house. Luckily he was going slowly because all I got was a scratch.  I got up, hopped onto my dented bike and cycled home, crying.  I never felt so embarrassed.

I fell of my bike again and this time I got stitches.  Another first.

Sure, I was no longer six, and was closer to eight but I was still 7.  So I cried.  I cried so hard.  I was in pain.  I was angry.  If only I had been 12.  I wanted to be 12 so bad because I knew at 12 I could take the pain.  At 12 I wouldn’t be crying.

In a huff, I built a time machine out of a DeLorean.  I wanted to turn eight.  Time was irrelevant.  I turned eight and wished I was 7.  Running around in my pampers, wishing I was 11.  Back at 7 thinking I was in love.  Screaming out loud and running around whenever I saw her.

Alas, when I was 7, I didn’t have a DeLorean, and my bike was dented, and my love was abandoned, and TV was TV and life was Life.  I was just a child, whose knees got scrapped.  No different than what I am now, a freakin’ man-child.  My friends sometimes want me to go spinning with them but I’m too traumatised.


This mash up piece was so fun to do!  Thank Yous to the 17 contributors who were at the Spoken Word the night of Sept 7th, 2016.  Keep Writing, Keep Creating, Keep Sharing! Much love!

Fice KB

The first time I heard about Fice KB, I was at Khizanat, the home of Ipoh based creative group, Projek Rabak.  I was getting schooled by head honcho Jayzuan on the ways of the artist when he casually mentioned that a Bruneian is one of the contributors for their next poetry anthology titled Lelaki-lelaki Merbahaya (Malay for ‘Dangerous Men’).

The month prior, I had been to an art exhibition in Brunei, where a bold and rambunctious painting by an artist of the same name had caught my eye.  I could hardly contain my excitement!  Words + Art is Heartwrite’s idea of heaven.  Alas, the book was not yet in print.

As fate would have it, Fice KB found us on social media months later.  He gave us a copy of LLM and Neruda Di Kuala (A section of lovers), a collection of his poems in English printed by Sarawakian based indie publisher, La Lectrice Borneo.  A quick read and some raised eyebrows later, Ying and I knew we had to meet him. Continue reading “Fice KB”