“Bila kita duduk sini lama, kita tahu yang orang putih ni sebenarnya tak ada apa. Macam kita juga. Ada pembersih, ada pengotor. Ada pandai, ada bodoh. Tak layak dan tak payah diagungkan pun. Media paling buat rosak. Kalau kenal orang putih melalui media, memang jadi haprak. Konon semua dia hero, walhal ramai yang zero. Yang baghal, yang gila, yang sesat, yang tak ada matlamat – bersepah. Tak semua boleh pakai. Ada benda dia lagi pandai dari kita, ada benda dia jauh lagi bodoh dari kita.”
-A senior of mine
(Story below may not be related.)
I was at a bus stop in front of Central Station, right smack in the middle of Sydney city, with my husband, waiting for – obviously – a bus. It was rather late at night and the benches were full. People heading home from work, from shopping, from picnic, from dinner, from the Sydney Festival, waiting for – obviously – a bus.
“Excuse me, where can we buy the bus ticket?”
It was the two Mexican ladies who sat next to me.
“Oh, you can buy it on the bus.”
“I thought you can’t do that and you’ve to buy it somewhere- no?”
“Nah, that’s during the day. You can buy it on the bus at night.”
“Ahh. Thank you so much.”
“No worries.” I smiled.
Sitting next to my husband were two Indian families. Young couples with babies, both of them. They didn’t seem like Indian-Australians to me. They seemed like South Indians. I could tell by the way they dressed and spoke. They had probably lived here for a year or so, like me. You could tell that too if you look at me.
One of the babies was crying, fairly loud, while the mother and father gently tried to hush him down. It wasn’t really a scene; there were more than twenty people at that long stretch of bus stop and none of them seemed bothered by the baby. Babies cry, obviously. This baby was possibly tired. It was 10pm; potentially his bedtime but sleeping could be a problem as the bus stop was at the side of the road – obviously – and the road was banging with cars and buses and big bikes.
Then out of nowhere, a local forty-something woman appeared, with her bags and a dull hat and a guitar case, walking straight towards the couples and barged in rudely: “WHY IS HE CRYING?? WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?? I can’t stand babies crying! I can’t sleep, I can’t do anything! Stop! Make him stop!” And she went off angrily, stomping her feet.
I couldn’t hear what the young parents replied; their voices were low. Maybe they said “sorry” because the father cradled his son right away and tried to comfort the little guy.
The selfish bitch stood by the bus stop signage and glanced at the baby from far. She could still hear him crying. She stood further. She could still hear him from where she was standing but this time she couldn’t stand any further because she had to remain within the bus stop – she was waiting for a bus, obviously – so all she could do was sulk. Sulk and sulk and sulk. As if the baby’s teeny weeny voice could explode her brain (if she had any) and cause cancer to her ears. Her facial expressions exhibited total resentment and repel towards the innocent child, and quite a few times I heard her went, “URGH!”
She didn’t hide her nasty mood and mean spirit at all.
Later, a local thirty-something man walked to the same bus stop. Since the benches were full, he stood by the signage. The selfish bitch tried to start a conversation with him. I observed her with my eagle eyes and rabbit ears and it didn’t take me long to realize that she was flirting. Worse, she was flirting AND raging at the same time. How, you ask? She was talking flirtatiously to the man and every time the baby’s voice reached her ears, she turned and looked sharply at the baby in revolt. “URGH!” Then back to the man, smiling coquettishly. Boy, was I tempted to give her a good slap right there and then. And you know what? The man didn’t even seem interested. Why should he? The woman was middle-aged and short and ugly and most importantly, bitter. She was spiteful and it showed. Everyone at the bus stop witnessed this scene that she created – obviously – not the baby.
I’ve never chanted selfish bitch so many times in one night and in my entire life. As much as the baby disgusted her, she disgusted me a bajillion times worse. This selfish bitch was exactly the kind of woman who would abuse children and dump babies. The kind of woman that sane men will never want to marry and spend their whole lives with. The kind of woman whose siblings would loathe her visits, whose friends would love to kick out of their houses. Why was she carrying a guitar, anyway? An artist should have a sensitive heart and not be harsh to babies. Yes, she had the right to feel whatever she wanted but to actually display that hatred in public? She shouldn’t be carrying a guitar. She should carry a sign that says I HATE BABIES AND I AM FUGLY instead. I was speculating and stereotyping all I can that night – guiltlessly – because she was one.selfish.bitch.