Somebody Else’s Simple Pleasures


Here I am picking up on one of my favourite bloggers’ posts, Andrea Whatever, when she wrote about simple pleasures. No, I am not going to write about my simple pleasures. They are quite bland and excruciatingly dull. Just how interesting can boiling one’s guitar strings so that they will sound new be? Yeah, just about a notch or two higher than cataloguing the relative merits of blue-black inks from different manufacturers (which I thoroughly enjoy). Instead, I am going to write about the simple pleasures of a few people I know.

Case One: Ramli, a forty-something manager at a construction company, takes pleasure in staying back very late at the office even when there is nothing to do. This is how he puts it, “No, Bangkai. I am not a workaholic. You obviously don’t know my wife.”

Case Two: Rudin, a thirty-something bank-teller, has a trunk full of X-men and Ultraman figurines – and he is intent on buying more. Rudin buys them for his son (who simply adores them). Earlier on, Rudin couldn’t afford to buy these toys for him. Now that he can, he can’t see his son anymore: his son is now somewhere in America with his ex-wife. His son won’t even talk to him on the phone because he has been poisoned into thinking that his dad is a useless-good-for-nothing-bum.

Case Three: Minah, now some twenty years after-the-fact, occasionally takes out the letters (tied with a blue ribbon) that her ex-husband wrote to her while he was studying abroad and reads them to herself. Her ex-  is now married to a domineering, borderline psychotic control-freak and his step-children treat him with utter contempt. However, Minah says that there is nothing wrong with still being in love with the person he used to be.

Case Four: Bidin, a retired journalist, when having dinner at home, never fails to lay out an extra setting at his dinner table. It is for his wife who passed on over thirty years ago. He has never re-married because he feels that a new wife would object to this practice.

Case Five: Edna and Steve maintain a secret private blog. They use the blog to write long, passionate love letters to each other. This is their only form of contact. They can’t ever meet or call one another. These are things their spouses would violently object to.

And before anybody says it, I’ll say it first. Yes! I have some very sad friends

20 thoughts on “Somebody Else’s Simple Pleasures

  1. It is wonderful that you are still friends with them. Others may not want to have anything to do with them.


    Hmmm… how does the saying go? Birds of the same feather…

    These people are really fun. Its just that certain aspects of their lives are not so – how shall I say this? – ‘conventional’. Then again, if we look deep enough into anyone’s life, we are bound to find similar quirks.

    Good to have you visit, Shakirah.

  2. *blushes* holy shit! I am so flattered, man!

    *gasp*.. somehow Case 5 kinda sound –uhmm — familiar; except for the words “secret” and “private”, that is. *coughs*


    What can I say? I really enjoy your blog, ma’am.

  3. Will: Why don’t you remarry?

    Bidin: ‘Coz my wife is dead.

    Will: Isn’t that a superphilosophy Bidin. You can go on with your life without actually knowing anybody.


    You said, “You can go on with your life without actually knowing anybody.”

    This is so true. We may even go through life without ever knowing who we are – and get away with it 🙂

  4. Mat-san,

    I fully agree with MekYam.I don`t think those 5-examples are sad depictions of the oddballs amongst us.I`d rather be with them, than to be compelled to rub shoulders with those sterile,totally boring, vulgarly wealthy and perenially materialistic and immoral skirt-chasing zombies ,who do not have the faintest idea of who the likes of Tolstoy, Rembrandt or WS Rendra are, and what true relationships actually mean,and yet…they have the gall to claim their place as the pillars of society,just because their current status and designation, say so.(Sigh!)

    Truly, Case No 5 tugs at my heart strings, my friend, and man,don`t I personally know a few cases like that you described?It`s tragic, my friend, and I term the relationship as love in its purest form( Any wonder I can never get over that “Blue Bench at Regent Park” masterpiece of yours?It`s too close for comfort, my friend!))

    Cheers, Mat-san!


    It seems I have – much to my shame – under-estimated my audience. Though I ‘ve always thought of my five friend above (and I know many other similar people) as people with exceptional emotional fortitude, I also thought that others might find them as simply sad. I am pleasantly surprised to find that I am wrong.

    You are of course absolutely right when you say that in star-crossed lovers (like Edna and Steve, Azhar and Sarah [Blue Bench], my former sensei and his girlfriend) we can get a glimpse of what love at it’s purest may be like. How else would we describe passion that does not seek the gratification of consummation?

    Too close for comfort? This is perhaps a predicament that is shared by both you and I – and many others like us.

  5. We remain friends with our circle of friends or anybody for that matter because we accept and love them as they are.

    I think you are a very nice person.. your friends are fortunate to have someone like you to turn to. May they find peace and happiness.


    I think you have just made me blush. It is not often that someone thinks I am a “very nice person”.

    Thank you, V.

  6. Interesting read.In cases no 3 and 4, I guess some people just do not want to move on with life and bring changes… too afraid to open the next door…


    Good of you to visit, ma’am

    Some people dread missing the train while others are only too glad to watch it leave the station.

  7. Gee Matt, now that u mentioned it, I’m also not so much a workaholic as I’d thot I’m was, all along…hmmm, so it’s all about the missus…hahaha, no wonder my work was never done!

    My idea of simple pleasure; have a few drinks at the local alfresco café near the beach in my singlet, shorts & slipper jepun, watching the sunset & the world goes by with Satchmo ‘what a wonderful world’ playing in my head. Blissful, not a care in the world.

    Keep well Matt,


    P/S – No wonder, I’m so anxious to get back to work each monday morning; To read what all u bloggers r up to…muahaha.


    No lah! I am certain you have a wonderful wife who simply adores you – not to mention the hordes of other women who feel the same way, too!

    I bet you that one of your simple pleasures is to have one day when adoring women will leave you alone and not try to rip your clothes off your back.

  8. Dear MatB, I come here again and again, and then leave not knowing just what to say. What I know is that I go away feeling extremely sorry for your friends. Tch…

  9. ps. But then they are happy, so who am I to feel as I do?


    Then again, how sure are we that they are happy? Kata orang Melayu, “Koyak di baju nampak di mata. Koyak di hati, siapa yang tahu?”

  10. Haiyah.. whylah some men allow their wives to walk all over them… what good is a henpecked husband? A marriage built on “takut bini” foundation is no marriage. A spouse is not one to be feared but to be respected and cherished.

    puteri kamaliah

    First of all, I’d like to wish my favourite media expert a very happy birthday.

    Now that’s out of the way, we can get down to business. I am so with you, ma’am: hen-pecked husbands are useless. This makes me wonder why some women insist on treating their husbands in this way. They obviously must think that their husbands are idiots. How else can one explain this phenomenon?

    And why do these husbands let their wives walk all over them? Probably for the same reason some women take physical abuse from their useless wife-beating husbands.

    But the thing is, this will not go on indefinitely. At some point in time, the pain of going through a messy separation (divorce?) will appear less painful than the pain of the abuse. This is when the hen-pecked husband will pack-up and leave. At this point it will no longer matter to him whether the world thinks it was all his fault.

    But until then, he will stay and take the punishment – all the time waiting for the right time to make his move and move on.

    P/S most of the time, these husband-abusers don’t even realise what they are doing is wrong. They just simply believe that they are right – that their actions are justified. Why can’t they see the amount of damage they are doing?

  11. Hahaha Matt, u r one heluva of a MCP…….errr ‘Most Charming Person’;


    Women have only themselves to blame for all the lying men do!
    They asked so many damned questions…….muahaha, oops, there goes all my hordes of adoring women fan :(((



    Once again, you are so right, my friend. At least, about the part that they ask too many damned questions. About me being MCP, I’m not so sure. I am very realistic my chances of winning popularity contents: chances will range between nil and zero.

  12. Mat B,

    Talking about abused and hen-pecked husband… a friend at primary school was one or so I thought! One day was I had been so judgemental like telling him that he had become such a disgrace. I had known him as one tough meanie and always had many a girl always in tow…. Then I had listened in shocked and horrified silence, as he cooly described a revenge as fitting for his wife ending with … just joking, ok! A few months later, another friend told me that the news of a car crash in which a woman and her mother had burned to death had been his wife. Only he apparently had survived and with just minor lacerations to his hand. Dare we to say what state of mind is that of a pushed and hen-pecked husband?

    Red Alfa

    A friend once told me – and I cannot think of any authority to back what he said – that there is no hijab to the do’a of of a husband for his wife. I think its just like the do’a of a mother for her children.

    So the message here is, if your wife pisses you off, be very, very careful of what you say: it just might come true. The same applies to mothers, too, with regard to their children.

    Good of you to visit, sir

  13. Ooooh the last one will make many spouses scramble to check on surfing histories to see if it can lead them to any secret blogs heh.

    If that’s you in disguise, congrats for getting away with it hehehe


    I think surfing history won’t help much if the secret blog is password protected – not that I know a lot about these things, of course 😉

  14. case no 2 pierced my heart 😦

    i guess there are plenty out there who do not quite subscribe to ‘for better or for worse.


    Case number 2 broke my heart, too, ma’am.

    And for ‘for better or for worse’ to work, both parties have got to subscribe to it. Even then, there are no guarantees. I’ve more or less hunkered down and accepted that life seldom – if ever – imitate the movies.

  15. Mat-san,

    “Life seldom-if ever-imitate the movies…”

    Pray get a DVD(or is it VCD?) of “On Golden Pond”,starring Henry Fonda.Now, that grumpy old couple..that`s about as close to real life as you can get,and maybe, that`s love. Assuredly, it`s one helluva a movie.

    Incidentally, Mat-san, chanced upon a DVD of “Love Story”(Yes,Yes, that immortal line..” means never having to say you`re sorry”) at Dubai airport about a month back.Funny, watching it again at this age doesn`t quite give the same kick as when viewing it the first time eons ago, hand-in-hand…(I`d better stop there before I embarrass myself.)

    PS: Reading your responses to your ardent followers` comments gives me as much pleasure(if not more) than the subject itself.Wish I can write as well(Sigh!)

    Cheers, my friend,& Oyasumiinasaai!(Good Nite!)


    That my replies are more interesting than my actual post is probably one of the nicest things anyone has said about my writing. Then again, you are probably one of the kindest people in the world. Thanks, Higashi-san.

    And yes, On Golden Pond is a celebration of the relationship between two people of the opposite sex – in a ‘warts and all…’ kind of way. I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, too. And would you believe I’ve never watched ‘Love Story’? Now that I’ve thought about it, I find this rather alarming. I did try to read the book once but gave up half way. Being 11 at the time, I couldn’t understand what was the big deal about love. In fact, I still don’t – at least, not fully. We’ve got bigger fish to fry – like respect, honour, duty and friendship.

    I may get a lot of flak for saying this but here goes: in the relationship between a man and a woman, love is very often over-rated.

    Excuse me while I go search for my bullet-proof vest and riot helmet…

  16. how do i put it, eh?

    sad. yes. maybe ‘sad’ is the only word.

    anyway, those are sweet things in life.


    I do see what you mean. At the superficial level, it is sad what these people are going through. However, at a deeper level, this perception is likely to change somewhat.

  17. Hey Matt, I think my Oct 27 / 11.07am comment might had just push our buddy Oldstock to speak his mind too at his Just observation current post.

    Let’s pray he don’t get into trouble with the boss ;(



    Oh, dear!

    But Oldstock is a big boy; I believe he will be able to handle the ‘boss’ quite easily.

    I have faith in him.

  18. Greetings,

    Hmm…i do no. 1 as well but i am the wife(!).


    p/s : While doing a no. 1, googling the ex is one of the activities…i guess that’s my guilty pleasure.


    I guess what’s good for the gander should also be good for the goose.


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