Warrior

     The sound of gunshot crackled through the crisp cold morning air.  The bullet penetrated through the misty dewy darkness of twilight, escaping into the vast emptiness, beyond auditory threshold.  It signaled the fresh start of a long 21-kilometer run.  Tens of thousands wobbled at their feet, their toes still slightly cramped from the morning cold.

The senses orchestrated themselves to lots of things happening around.  The ears captured all that was there to hear: the endless chatter of the overly-excited crowd, the rapid pattering of thousands of feet, the resounding siren of the police, and yes, the gunshot.  The eyes looked ahead… and about.  They saw people in orange vests in front, beside, and behind.  All running on their feet, their faces twitched by the lack of oxygen.  The sweet, small mouth – it gasped for air. The lung expanded and contracted at normal pace in intervals.  The Chambers of Life pumped slightly faster than usual.  Little drops of sweat trickled down the tiny pores of the skin, dripping onto the ground.

There she was, a young woman not over 20, running on her two feet, not too fast, not too slow, a speckled dot among the entire lot.  It was her first half-marathon in her life, and she was determined to make it.  Not that it was impossible; she had exerted a bit more than an hour on the training grounds running ten kilometers.  She mentally repeated to herself that she just had to go slow and take it easy.

It was only 4AM.  In the blank state of her mind, the young woman felt extremely refreshed.  Nothing crossed her thoughts.  She was so relaxed.  There was no sign of pain as she swayed left and right (that was the way to run, right?) and her heels hit the ground.  It seemed so utterly effortless.

But no one knew.  No one knew what the dear child had gone through, that only seven years back, her very life had hung on a thread.  That thread was about to snap if it were not for her seven life savers, all crowded around her in the surgery room with their green overalls on.

It had come from the back.  This big vehicle, a lorry probably, was speeding down the empty road with hellish swiftness.  A young, fat Chinese man was behind the steering wheel.  He had a companion at the back, open-air end; was he Malay, Chinese, or Indian no one could remember.

The companion was sitting at the back, but he was not sitting still.  He was frantic – but, good Lord, why?  The two appeared to be rushing from someone, something.  In all the hullabaloo, the driver did not even notice the young girl walking in front of him.

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Photo credits to Faizan Khiyani. Make-up and wardrobe by Alicia Ai Leng.

    She was just right in front of him, you know.

In a matter of seconds, everything happened.  The lorry slammed the girl down.  Her right shoe slipped out of her foot and flew off, landing distances away.  The impact forced the young woman out of her gait too,  and she landed on the ground with a thud approximately a hundred meters away.

Nonetheless the lorry did not halt its brakes.  It just went on as if nothing had happened.  It would have sped off if not for the traffic lights – and her younger brother as well.

The small thin boy ran as fast as his skinny legs could carry.  He wanted to stop the driver, and he did.  Stupefied by the horror that had occurred right before her very eyes, the boy’s mother stood watching.  The little boy made the driver’s companion hoist his motionless sister into the vehicle.  He vehemently directed the driver to the nearest hospital.

That night was a night of desperation.  As the heart monitor gave out its timely beep, doctors worked on the body, half hoping, half dreading; the child’s mother sobbed uncontrollably in devastation, and her brother did his best to look calm, although signs of overwhelming distraught showed in his eyes.  Friends and neighbors came to console the mother, but it seemed hopeless.   Finally the main surgeon walked out of the OT. “She has only 25% chance of survival.”  That was the last thing anyone wanted to hear.

Her spleen was removed – at least a huge portion of it – and her lung too, for it was completely lacerated.  Her blood capacity was below 50%, and her ankle and rib cage were fractured.  She was now very pale and thin.  Her eyes were shut close as her spirit breathed on and on, considering whether it should hold itself together or simply give up.

In the dire circumstances, her spirit fought through a tough combat between Life and Death, between the real and the Void.  It battled to keep the girl alive, her dear heart beating and her lung breathing.  Her warring soul never stopped for weeks on end.

Yet just when everyone was almost losing hope on the beautiful child, her beautiful brown eyes flickered open.  There were a few more battles, battles that were not as tough as the one before, but were still battles.  First she lost her voice – and then it came back, slowly, gradually.  Then she had to learn to stand up; she fell hard onto the ground so many, many times the searing pain shot through her feeble spine and left her semi-paralyzed for a second.  Next she had to learn how to walk again.  On several occasions she fell headlong on her crutches as she hobbled through the corridors of the hospital.

Nonetheless, she conquered each and every fight.  She grabbed hold of the crutches – and no, she did not hobble along anymore.  Rather, she walked the crutches swiftly, as if she were carrying the crutches with her wherever she went.

Finally, she let it all go.  She left her crutches behind and started taking small steps.  Before she had even mastered the step, she went ahead and started running – or jogging, more like.  It was very hard at first, but Sabrina always believed in allowing herself time to grow.  She did not condone in pushing herself far too much.  And run she finally did.

Today, at the age of 25, the young woman has not stopped running, although not competitively.  She has completed 21 kilometers in two hours – her first half-marathon – and she swims 10 laps in her condominium pool regularly.  She is now a month short to her bachelor’s degree, and is working on her first start-up, Brainiac Laboratories.  She aims to do her Masters too, with a focus on clinical psychology, and finally develop another startup concentrating on personality development.

Life is about firing one’s passions up to the maximum.  There will always be the inner struggles and the external ones as well.  Nonetheless, these come together to put the pieces up and make up the being as a whole. You just decide one day to grab your life in your hands and steer your own way.  It is about harboring a Spartan spirit, where the strength of the soul overcomes every war it faces with honor,dignity, and perseverance.

Red Scarlet

 

Love Yourself

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Parachuting. That’s me. (Photo credits to Alicia Ai Leng.)

Part of the things that spills excitement in life is trying new activities that spark and ignite vigor in the eager soul. Yes, I am in love with such stuff, be it music, dancing, traveling, extreme sports, hiking, fashion, educating, entrepreneurship, or just plain old writing. It is a part of me I will never let go. Not for you. Not for them. Not for my faith even.

It has been a long way up, and a hard one too. Glad I made it. Still, the journey is not over. It is my own right to do as I please; I am not even going to hurt anyone. So really, why bother. The only person you are ever going to be afraid of is yourself.

There is a lot of acculturation that I have undergone, seeping into a beautiful love with my own self. It is a lot better to work on one strengths than shift focus on other matters. My faith has educated me to love myself as a woman; it has taught me the boundaries of where and what not to touch. Really, I mean it. I consider myself way better than the average woman, or even the average man (so well, I am at most times snobbish and arrogant). Not to say I feel so great, because I have done some pretty cool stuff like getting into flings and things like that. But well. I have learnt many good lessons in life.

For one thing, while most people my age are happily making babies or just having sex, I take pride that I am 25 years old and still am a virgin. I would love to stay that way as long as possible too, hopefully till 40. Despite dancing like Kesha and making guys go gaga, but well they cannot touch me.

I settled more than MYR50,000 with my own hands, my own toil and sweat – and I was nearly raped a few years back when I first left my abusive home to live alone. I had a terrible accident when I was 13, and I lost parts of my body, ie. a lung and the spleen. I wanted to commit suicide (twice), and I was suffering from depression that got so bad I was going to go sick in the head – but I put an end to it by channeling my thoughts and laying out my vision.

I sound proud of myself, perhaps. To be honest, it really matters a lot for women to develop themselves wholly first before getting themselves hitched. To know themselves, inside and out, is to develop their strengths and proliferate their abilities. It could be anywhere, from school to work to recreation.

Women also have rights to do what they want. They are not baby-making machines or sex dolls. Permit them the time and space to grow and nurture themselves. I for one have my own rights too, and one of the rights is to be left alone. And Coach D*, if you happen to be reading this, I would like to thank your wife for teaching me how to respond to special requests.

Red Scarlet

PS.: Coach D is one of the megaspeakingcoaches from the JT Foxx team.

Prison Break: The Great Escape

 

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Sunset at Pattaya. (Photo credits to Alicia Ai Leng)

Believe me, I have so many, many things to tell you. I daresay I have not seen the whole wide world yet, but thank god for the opportunity to venture a little further out. It all started out with a – what, bang? Crash? Whatever you wish to call it, everything came like one huge wrecking ball smashing the not-so-cozy corner of my final year. Really, I mean everything.

 

Oh, what a way to put it.

There I was juggling my new business, my love life, final year, family, and an ever-clingy roommate who did not know her boundaries of what-not-to-touch. It was really exhausting to deal with so much at a time. I will never share rooms with anyone again. Everyday was like a battle raging to be won by either side, Light and Darkness. My mind was imprisoned behind bars for what felt like forever. I could not breathe with the lack of oxygen. I tried taking each issue after another slowly, but heck, as I have always mentioned, Time did not have his mercy on me. My beautiful heart was longing for someone to take me by the hand and dance with me through the song of life.

Until life happened. I watched it unfold as I dropped everything right there and then, and took an international flight to a place called Thailand.

Lots of things needed fixing,and somehow I knew there just had to be a way out. But I needed a break from the prison first.

The Great Escape.

Red Scarlet