Friday, April 24, 2009

The Midnight Ride

I shudder each time I think of "what could have happened" and "what would I have done had it happened", during those days of long ago when I was young and had the world at my feet.

Being a mother of two grown daughters and stepmother to another, I understand only too well the kind of pressure they face daily, at work or socially, and they have my unreserved sympathy.

When they come home fused, highly agitated or just plain angry with someone or something (usually it's someone, and most times it's a sleazeball), they know they have me to unload their woes on.

But the world was different when I was young. Back then, it wasn't a done deal to confide in your parents or elders about issues of the heart. You just coped the best you could because you didn't want them to worry about you.

Many a times I had to depend on my wit, creativity, large doses of good luck, and endless prayers to God Almighty, to get out of really icky situations, almost all of which were due to my own naivete.

One episode I could not erase from my mind happened just months after I started work as a reporter with the Malay Mail.

I was confronted with an issue too big for me, at 19, to handle, yet handle it I did, and came out physically unscathed but emotionally shaken.

Not so long ago Mat Bangkai of "What, No Tea and Scones?" mentioned in passing, in his blog, a name that still sends "what if" chills down my spine 36 years later.

The ertswhile devil (let's call him Mr A) would be in his late 60s today, and I hope to God he has repented.

I became acquainted with this well-known radio entity when I was put on the RTM beat four months into my job as a reporter.

Being young and innocent, I accepted his friendship at face value. What I never knew was he had a hidden agenda.

All things considered, those folks up in Angkasapuri were a very nice, friendly bunch. They were not skint with their knowledge and went out of their way to show this greenhorn the ropes.

Outwardly, Mr A was no exception, so when he invited me out to dinner one day, I accepted. I vaguely remember him telling me his wife was back in her hometown and he needed someone to talk to.

I had gone out to dinners with TV and radio personalities before - it was part of my job as an entertainment writer - so there was no reason to refuse his invitation.

By all accounts it was a good outing and when he offered to send me home after coffee, I was thankful for the generosity. Little did I know I was about to be taken on a ride of terror, literally.

Befuddled as I was (I was still unsure about KL routes), I realised we weren't exactly heading for Cheras where I lived with my aunt and her family. But fear kept my mouth shut, although I was shivering inside.

As we drove on, I saw road signs saying "Ipoh". It was almost midnight; darkness prevailed and the stretch was lonely. (We were on the KL-Ipoh trunk road; this was during the pre-PLUS Highway days).

I instinctively knew I was in for an ordeal. I had to think and act fast. So I asked him quietly where we were going.

His reply rings clear even today. This married man (and probably father of a few kids, I don't know) said: "We are driving to Ipoh. We are going to spend the night in Ipoh."

I was so shocked with the answer I could have fainted. But God was great. I found strength I never knew I had. Steadying myself, I told him to turn the car around and return to KL.

He refused. Instead he stopped the car in the middle of nowhere and tried to paw me. I remember raising my voice, almost shrieking: "If you harm me in any way, I shall ruin you - your name, your career, your marriage, your future - everything!"

That, somehow seemed to sink in. He backed off, shook himself, started the car and drove back to KL in complete silence.

Instead of dropping me home, I asked him to leave me on the NSTP doorstep in Jalan Bangsar. I no longer wanted to share the air I breathed in with this scumbag.

I tried to steer clear of him whenever I was in Angkasapuri, but our paths crossed many times in the canteen. As always, he greeted me cordially, pretending as though nothing had happened.

On my part, I usually tried to sneak away when he came into view. I abhorred his very being. He made me feel unclean. It took me a long while to come to terms with the situation.

I spoke to no one and told no one about it. I felt ashamed it happened as though it was my fault it did, so it never crossed my mind to confide in anybody.

Today, 36 years on, I have forgiven him but I have not forgotten how terrifying it felt to be trapped in that car in the middle of nowhere, like a caged animal desperate to break free...


19 comments:

Salt N Turmeric said...

Kak Puteri, thank god he decided to take you back to KL. Nauzubillah but dead in the middle of the night and nowhere, he could have done something to you! And he had the nerve to pretend like nothing happened? Sumpah 7 keturunan! Grrr...

mamasita said...

Salam Puteri.
I hope you have managed to unload some of the pain of that terrifying moment.Shame of him for trying to be miang and trying to take advantage of you.Luckily you managed to scare the wits out of him!
I am so glad you shared your past ordeal story with us.It makes us feel closer to you even more than ever.Mujurlah you pandai jaga diri.
Bangsat punya jantan!Patutnya you bagi dia penendang kat situ! hehehe

Kak Teh said...

Gosh Puteri, we could have been near victims of the same person. I joined the place as a trainee and before I knew it I was asked to accompany this person on an assignment. Stupidly, I accepted - but, but , but, you know I had many seniors working there and luckily I had mentioned this to one senior - who said - where got such an assignment? This person doesnt even cover assignments. I went home, told my siblings and when he came to fetch me, my brother in law went out to tell him that I wasnt well. Thank God for that. aaah, at the NST, Pak Cik Dahari , bless him, saved me from a lot of hassles - all those YBs on the campaign trails...arghhh, it is all coming back.

Naz said...

What a horrible situation to be in, to put it mildly. I am not surprised if in cases like this, for one that gets away, at least 5 got trapped. Sebab tu dia berani agaknya. Ish!

Pi Bani said...

Dia ingat he can get away with anything. Tapi last2 kena ugut nak ruin his marriage etc back off juga. Takut bini kot...

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

Chitt..what a scumbag!!!

When I taught the off campus Mass Comm guys, I heard of similar stories as the one you experienced. Could my students be talking of the same individual?? Many of them were from RTM.

bangkai said...

Your poor darling! I am absolutely confounded. Just goes to show there are sides to people we never get to see.

However, I'm glad it turned out OK (-ish?).

Oldstock said...

Kak Aji Kama,

It takes you 36 years to be able to recount this traumatic experience. You are one brave lady.

Scums like this man exist everywhere and it is quite frustrating that men like these rise to positions of power.

I would agree with you to forgive but NOT forget. Your daughters are lucky to have a mother that they rely for support in times of emotional distress.

Thank you for sharing this story.

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Orang ni, di mana sekarang? kata Pak Malim sambil memegang parang. Pak Malim, nak jumpa dia. (Note : kucing garang sedang memegang parang).

Salt N Turmeric said...

Betul jugak cakap Naz tu. Something has to be done to get the story out or else there will always be victims of him or people like him. Could we be having RTM-gate soon?

Anonymous said...

Satu mlm (thn 1989) my friend & I naik teksi nak balik ke Brickfield after makan-makan dgn kengkawan kat Juara Tomyam, Kg Baru. Biasalah bila sekali-sekala berjumpa, lupa nak tengok jam. Dah pukul 11 lebih baru nak balik. Si pemandu teksi durjana tu bukannya bawa ke Brickfield tapi arah ke Cheras. Masa tu Cheras masih bersempadan dgn tempat jin bertendang. Bila terperasan aje, we all dua org pakat buka kasut dan bantai pemandu teksi tu habis-habisan. Nasib baiklah tak accident langgar org sebab teksi tu langgar road divider dan terberhenti. Allah nak tolong adalah beberapa kereta pun berhenti. Bila tau aje pasal kedurjanaan pemandu teksi tu, 'abang-abang' dalam kereta yang berehenti tu balun lagi dia ni. We all tengok pun takut sebab mamat tu dah berdarah-darah dan tertangkup atas jalan. 'Abang-abang' tu macam dah kena 'rasuk' lak. By the time we all terima offer satu keluarga China nak hantar balik, dah banyak kereta berhenti dan macam 'pesta' balun lagi pemandu teksi tu. We all berani ikut keluarga China tu sebab dia ada bawa anak-bini. Ramai lak yg beri we all kad bisnes dan kata kalau we all nak repot polis, they all boleh jadi saksi. In the end we all tak repot. Takut nanti 'abang-abang' yg pukul tu pulak 'kena'. Lagi pun mamat ti tinggal nyawa-nyawa ikan dan kena hantar kehospital (we all dapat tau the next day bila we all call the abangs yg bagi cards to thank them).

Jue

Kama said...

Farina - His face selamba aja each time we ran into each other kat Angkasapuri.A real pelakunlah that chap.

Mamasita - I guess when cornered we find the strength we think we don't hav. Saya nekad at that time, if he harmed me, I would not keep quiet.

Kak Teh - I think you and I are talking about the same person. later I found out dia memang 'juara'.

Naz - Sadly, you are right. memng I heard ada yang 'kena'.

Pi - I think he knew I meant every word I said.

Kay - If it is mid 70s to mid 80s, you may be right.

Mat B - Indeed Mat. Sometimes, the affable, suave, polished personality is worse than the perceived ruffian.

Oldstock - At this age, dah banyak I can accept, thank God. Dulu rather emotional, now a bit more realistic.

Ray - seriau tengok ray yg garang
cukup terer dok acu2 parang
jangan berbuat sebarang
sat lagi diketuk orang..

Jue - hehehe, you hv just made my day. I would balun secukup rasa too kalau it was me yg kena.

─╣aptop™ said...

Sitting at the edge of my seat reading your story.
Read Jue's, terus jatuh kerusi!!

Ada guna juga stilettos selain giving you ladies the height.

Adam said...

Salam Kak Hajah,

Worried jugak Kak,my pet kat perantuan tu.
Only advise I could give her was 'be in Command" dan I bekalkan sebatang Kayu Tas,real original Kayu Tas.
I told her,any intruders hantam dengan kayu tu,pasik dia jadi Beruk"
Ranjau Sepanjang jalan Kak.

Pak Tuo

Zendra said...

You were one spunky gal, kama, with survival instinct. Still is too, aren't you?
You know, after the Nurin and Sharlinie cases, I just shudder everytime I read about yet more young girls reported missing from home.
Any way you can spot slimy people like that man, from afar?

Kama said...

Lap - yes lap, those stilletos can be a mean weapon..

Pak Tuo - I share your feeling. Memang kita sentiasa risau bila anak2 jauh, especially girls.

Zendra - Must be survival instinct, I think. Trouble is, it's not easy to detect this kind of slimeballs - the outwardly 'baik' kind.

Sherry said...

This story reminds me of what happened to me when I was in Form 2. A male teacher whom I always thought was too friendly (masked as being fatherly), one day pinched my cheeks (like how you would do to a cute baby). I told him "Don't you ever, EVER touch me again or I will go straight to the headmistress". He backed off and said, I was just kidding.

Slimeball.

Bustaman said...

Rasanya I can guess who the slimeball is.
We only shared Cartier cigarettes.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Yes Pokku, I bet my bottom dollar you can.. thank God Allah pelihara saya :(