(The head tilt started early)
I can remember as far back to when I was about 4-5 years old. We lived near the beach, about 15mins by foot, and we'll be watching my dad fish on the jetty. Those days, he could catch lobsters, baby sharks and lots of yellowtail scads (also known as Ikan Selar Kuning). We went fishing very often. There were 6 of us in the family and I grew up in a modest 3 room HDB (Singapore's public housing). I recall my dad waking up before dawn to go fish for the yellowtail scads, bring them home, clean and fry them as my mom prepares about 50 packets of Nasi Lemak so that my dad can bring them to his office and sell for extra money. I love her Nasi Lemak. Gotta convince her to cook more.
(Little brother and me)
My dad had 3 jobs when we were growing up. But he's always around. Its like the only time he is away is when I was asleep. Cos I remember him cycling me to Nursery school, sitting in the weave basket propped in the middle of the bicycle.
(Photo for illustration purpose only)
We're always going on picnics every weekend. He'll bring us to Parkway Parade to play at the indoor Fun World (how many of you can remember Fun World?). My sister and I used to call him at his office every single day. "Hello, can we speak to Mr Anis please?" and then ask my dad the same question 4-5 times a day. "Ayah balk pukul berapa?" (Dad, what time will you be home today?) When I started Primary school, I remember him waiting for me outside the gates after school, even though our house was literally 2 mins away and had a birds eye view of the entire school. So even though we weren't well to do, we've never felt like we didn't have enough. An embarrassing fact to share; my dad would tuck us in to sleep and tell us a made up bedtime story or he'd make up a song and sang to us almost every night.....till I was about 12 years old. We're ever so thankful to have amazing parents and whenever someone asks me about who inspires me most, the answer will most definitely always be my dad. Oh the stories he would tell of his childhood. That in itself is a book waiting to be written.
( Fun World / Dad and me)
Growing up, my dad has always told me that I was different from my siblings. My character that is. Ive always chosen to do things that are not mainstream. In Kindergarten, we had this end of the year performance and I was part of a group that had to dance to the 5 Stars Are Rising song from the National Day songs. We had to wear white gloves, wore white shirts and black skirts. We practiced almost everyday and I was excited to perform. But then one day, in the next class, I saw another group practicing and it looked way more exciting. It was like an aerobics ensemble with lots of kicking and punching and their outfits were nicer. So I tried to talk to my teacher into switching me to the other group. She refused because I would have to relearn everything and it would take a longer time. But I didn't care. I had to join the other group. I went home, talked my mother into going to the school and convince the teacher. Boy, do I sound like a brat. Anyway, that was the beginning. In primary school, most of the Malay girls would join Malay dance. I tried. It just wasn't me. I joined Chinese dance instead. The only Malay girl doing splits and putting her leg up behind her ears. Now I can't do a split to save my life. I had so many CCAs! I did swimming, harmonica, badminton and like a lot of girls, found their true calling in Netball. I loved my Primary school days. Even though the boys in class would tease me and made fun of my name, they called me Ugly Nuts (not because I was ugly (I think) but because my name was hard to pronounce), I would just brush them off and go about my day because boys will be boys but they're still nice to me (when they're not crying in class for getting teased themselves). I went about my days being oblivious to everything that was negative.
(8 years old I think)
Then secondary school came. And oh my god, was that a rude shock to my system. The story is long, so I shall save it for Part 2. Hope you guys liked reading this first part!