From L to R: 1989 – Ina (with her hands on Amy’s shoulder), Ita, Aning, Awa and Ijah.
My sister Aning is getting married in exactly a month’s time.
Aning is special because she shares the same birthday as Takuya Kimura. Jie (Azri Ahmad) from my old homeroom (Damai 87) was also born on the same date. When she was born, I was 9 years old. I went to afternoon school, riding my red little bike with one training wheel attached and my teacher was called Cikgu Azizul. I remember he once asked me 106 minutes is equal to how many hours? in one of those pop quizzes in school.
During the late stages of pregnancy, my mom stayed with my grandma coz Ita and Awa were still toddlers and my grandma was basically a free babysitter. So, there were only the 3 of us at home: my father, Ina and me. My older siblings were already shipped into boarding schools. In the morning I would make a flask of teh susu (black tea with condensed milk) for my father to bring to school and at night he would make us dinner. Almost every day we ate fish cooked with tauchu (look up tauchu in wikipedia right here) with a dash of vinegar. He sure liked his tauchu.
When she was born, Aning was very small and had curly hair. Her nickname came from a popular drama series back then, where the heroine was called Ning Ana. At 5 years old, Aning still could not speak properly so my mother worried constantly that Aning could be, well, slow. One day Aning came into the living room and said “api, api” (fire, fire). My mother was so proud because Aning could finally speak a proper word. The truth was, she was playing with matches in the bedroom and had set the mattress on fire. So, we found out Aning was not slow, she was just too lazy to speak coz she had so many sisters looking after her.
When I was in Form 1 (1987) I bought Aning a small rabbit fluffy toy before I boarded the train home (I studied in Penang so I took the train every school holiday). The rabbit has since been beheaded but for the longest time it survived all sorts of calamity and disasters. When my nieces were still small, they too played with the rabbit whenever they came to Perak for a visit.
As an adult, I am sad to report that Aning cannot sing although we go to karaoke regularly and she practices her singing in the living room at night very often. Sometimes we try to correct her key and tell her to go “higher! higher!” or “lower!lower!” but it never works. We have since accepted that she is slightly tone deaf.
She is also a terrible cook. When she had just gotten engaged, she tries to cook often and fails often. I remember that we had to eat telur masak pedas (eggs in chilli gravy) for 5 nights in a row because she wanted to get it right. Lucky for us eggs are very cheap. There was also the bubur cha cha phase (sweet flour porridge) and the tomyam phase. And no, she didn’t get those right either. Thankfully, she has stopped her cooking attempts and we are back at buying our food from mamak stalls.
Aning also cries a lot and complaints a lot – in fact she is lembik (a sissy) and clumsy most of the time. She breaks plates, trips on herself and falls down more often than anyone else I know. Alan complained to me that sometimes he makes a U-turn when he is about to enter his office coz Aning is in there crying (Alan is the GM at Aning’s workplace). Aning once got a hilariously outrageous poison pen letter from a fellow colleague for bringing her piggy keychain into the surau (prayer room). I laughed so hard when I read the letter because these kind of things, only happen to Aning. The piggy keychain was disgusting, it’s the kind where if you squeeze the little piggy’s tummy, poop comes out from its ass.
Let me count… if I am now 34, that means Aning is 25. Waaah! So young already want to get married? But never mind lah. After all the last wedding we had was Ina’s and that was like what… more than 10 years ago? About time someone sacrifices herself and renounce her selfishness to get married and keep my parents and relatives busy. Like that lah.