Home

I have dreamt of home countless times, and I don’t mean home physically, not really, but home where I am with my parents. It usually starts out flooded with the feelings of pure, unadulterated happiness and relief, that I am finally home where it is safe and familiar and full of love. And then because this is an occurrence that happens way too often — so often that I fall so easily into the trap of believing in it and wake up the next morning feeling completely disorientated when the first thing I see when I open my eyes is my anime poster-plastered blue wall instead of my pink one back at home, filled with dread, feeling like I’d just lost something incredibly significant to me, because all these false hopes feel like a ten-tonne weight pressing against my chest when the dream bubble of a transient home is, yet again, cruelly burst — my mind subconsciously develops a testing system so that each time I plummet into yet another illusion of home, a brief moment of lucidity wherein I get myself to recall my flight back to Malaysia stands as gatekeeper to adjudicate whether this is real or not real. If I am unable to do that, to remember the details of how I left Manchester, what I did on the flight, and what I did upon reaching the airport in Malaysia — which is every single time because, well, it really isn’t real and I have never actually flown back yet — I subconsciously get to acknowledge that this is a dream within the dream itself, to cushion the guaranteed delivered blow so that it won’t be as hard and dreadful upon returning to consciousness. Pretty much the same principle as the spinning totem in Inception, except perhaps less cool.

But last night was a first. It was the first time my test malfunctioned and failed itself. It was the first time that I managed to fabricate a memory of flying back to Malaysia and deceiving my subconscious into truly believing that I was home. I dreamt that I was in my uncle’s old house back in Taman Golf and there was a family gathering. My relatives were all present and so was my cousin who I was hanging out with. Even my dog, Heart, was there. The subsequent sequence of events were all surreal and would never ever happen in real life (as dreams usually are) but because I was reassured of the verified status of my being at home by that mind test thing, I relaxed considerably and let all my guards down, which was why the mini panic that I had upon waking up and staring at my goddamn anime posters made me feel the most bewildered I’ve ever been after waking up from a dream of home. And after you’ve repeated this entire process a sufficient number of times, home in itself feels like the most unreachable concept it’s ever been.

Teeth

The setting is always different, and so are the characters. It usually just seems like any other random, unpredictable nonsensical dream about a series of events that don’t make sense when conjoined together (as most of my dreams are) until it happens.

I start to lose my teeth.

The way this occurrence fleshes out is often identical: I feel my teeth (plural, not singular tooth) moving around in my mouth, loose and falling out and start to freak out. Sometimes they stay in my mouth, dangling from my gums but sometimes I spit them out onto my palm, staring at them in horror.

Last night’s dream saw me at an empty dystopian Alan Gilbert Learning Commons trying to search for something when I felt the upper right row of my teeth wobble before one of my bottom right molars came right off.

The worst part of it was how vivid and real the dream felt. I could feel the pain in my mouth as if it was really happening to me. The yanking strain in my gums that throbbed in sync with my heartbeat. The metallic taste of blood on my tongue. The confusion and fear as to why am I losing so many of my teeth? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had dreams like this but each time, the anxiety of it happening doesn’t seem to subside from the previous ones.

Last night was the second time this week and 438973829542th time overall in my lifetime’s history of dreams that I’d dreamt of my teeth falling out.

n for nightmare

The first part of last night’s series of dreams had the same recurring theme for a month now. Always the same people, albeit in different places and situations.

The second part of the dream, I found myself in Oxford University. In the state of dreaming, I was aware that I was there as a student, that I’d gotten accepted and was starting my first day there. Before I continue, I’d like to emphasise on how vivid and realistic the entire sequence of this dream was, because upon my arrival at Oxford, I remembered details about my flight (and even wondered how I’d survived the flight alone without any anxiety attacks) and tweeting about my entire journey (where did I get the wifi/data? I don’t know. These things don’t always make sense).

I was at a deserted open-aired corridor filled with empty round tables, and I was waiting for my law tutor to appear. A peculiar thing I noticed was how modern and new the building I was in was, which wasn’t very Oxford-esque at all. In the dream, I even suspected I had ended up at LSE instead. When my tutor arrived, I excused myself to go to the toilet, and went down a really dark corridor that turned left into what was presumably the toilets. There was a counter there manned by an Indian woman dressed in a sari and she was pointing to a sign that indicated I needed to pay to enter the toilet, but all I saw was a string of letters that made no sense to me crudely painted across the sign. It wasn’t legitimate currency, but I understood it was currency all the same. I paid her and entered what I thought to be the ladies’ room, but it turned out to be a huge lift that people used for loading boxes and stuff. There were two Asian girls in it, one that seemed to be my age and the other one in her early teens. I asked them where the toilet was but they didn’t say a thing. The lift descended and when it opened, the younger girl passed me an umbrella and pointed at the place I was supposed to put the umbrella at. But. The thing was. The lift opened into a giant freezer. I took the umbrella from the girl and walked straight ahead and turned right and placed the umbrella on a freezer (a freezer within a freezer, how poetic) as indicated by the girl, all the time gripping my phone in my other hand in case I had to make an emergency call and desperately hoping that the two girls wouldn’t abandon me here. Thankfully, they didn’t. When I turned back, the younger girl was waiting for me outside of the lift and I felt so grateful.

When I entered the lift, the lift changed into a smaller one, the usual kind you find in apartments and other tall buildings, and the two girls were gone. I remembered that I had to get back to my law tutor but I didn’t know which floor that was but I had a feeling it was one of the lower floors. I didn’t press anything as the lift was going up and there were other people in the lift. Gradually, the lift emptied as the lift ascended and even in the dream, I could feel my fear of heights tingling at the back of my mind. The lift started to fill up with people again as the lift started going down and I pressed Level 2. Right before I reached my level, there were two people left in the lift: a boy and a girl, both Caucasian. Before I got out of the lift, the girl turned to me and said she recognised me from Carousell. I was pleasantly surprised and could only afford a smile and a nod before the lift doors closed. I then realised that I’d gotten off the wrong floor. This wasn’t where my tutor was, and it was already night time (this floor was open-aired too). There were, however, long tables in the middle of an open space area and seated behind them were four really pretty girls dressed in long gowns and then I realised one of them was Emma Watson. I went up to her and she said I had to buy some kind of booklet to get her autograph and so I went up to a different table where someone was selling the booklets and I realised that the seller was also Emma Watson (This is all so wild I cannot possibly be making any of this up. Although technically dreaming is making things up…but not consciously so).

After getting Emma Watson’s autograph, I decided it was time to return to my residence. I took an escalator down one floor and as I did so, it just dawned on me how alone I was in this foreign country with no one I could rely on. I brought my phone screen up and I didn’t have service nor wifi and I couldn’t call my parents or even go online to tweet or something that at least gave me a feeble semblance of company. At that moment, I felt a surge of loneliness and sadness so strong and intense that I woke up with my heart hammering against my chest and my palms sweaty. My clock in my room wasn’t even working so I couldn’t even tell what time it was (although I guessed it to be around 5am because it started getting brighter quickly from then on). All I knew was how relieved I felt when I realised I was in my own room at home, and I got up to write down what I could vaguely remember from my dream in my journal so I can write this ridiculously absurd post

mimpi ngeri

I had a nightmare this morning. It was probably a result of my stomachache and the anxiety that ensued.

I was in a biology lab (note that I say “a” and not “the” because it was nothing like the bio lab in Sunway, in fact, it looked scarily similar to the bio lab in Asma) taking bio practical exam for AS, which is ridiculous because I don’t even take biology for A Levels. The only other student I remember being in my dream was Zi Tian, who was on my left doing the exam as well. Before you ask, yes, I was aware that I wasn’t a bio student in my dream, but I still went on as usual anyway as if nothing was wrong, not even questioning why I was taking that exam when I wasn’t supposed to. Besides, Zi Tian was there and we’re classmates, so it didn’t exactly feel unnatural.

The exam started and we were all given a test tube filled with blue liquid which was apparently glucose and the test tube was placed in a huge conical flask filled with water and when I reached out to take the test tube out to begin the experiment, my hand slipped and I spilled the contents of the test tube into the conical flask filled with water. That was the moment I started to panic because that would mean that I had to re-do my experiment all over again with a brand new sample and I kept on glancing over at Zi Tian because she was already done with the experiment and was filling in her exam paper. So I told the invigilator, who happened to be Miss MC, about my predicament, and she said, “Are you sure? If you use a new sample it would be recorded in your exam paper and they might deduct marks for that” and I contemplated just bullshitting the entire paper with made-up data and observations but realised hopelessly that I couldn’t even begin to bullshit if I didn’t know exactly what was it I was measuring without the glucose sample. So I appealed anyway and the new glucose sample took forever to prepare as another teacher took out the raw ingredients to make the glucose sample and I was just ?!?!?!?!?!?!?! the entire time waiting for her to prepare my sample.

By the time my sample was ready, everyone in the lab had already left save for me and like, two other students and that was when I realise that my dad was also in the lab watching and waiting for me and I got even more anxious as I tried to concentrate on conducting the experiment again. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a different batch of students from a different intake entered the lab, and apparently their practical lesson had to go on despite the fact that there was still three of us left taking an exam. The entire time I was conducting the experiment I was just so nervous and sweating profusely, looking at my watch every few seconds and praying to God that I just finish the paper, please, as long as I finish the damn thing.

I woke up covered in sweat, heart palpitating, breath caught in my throat. Ngeri betul.

Nocturnal Trauma 2.0

The dream I had last night was beyond horrible. I dreamed that I was part of a volunteer team and managed to get into Libya to help out, together with my parents. I remember feeling so happy with myself, because I finally, actually got to do something to help the people in Libya.

You know how dreams are like, they usually get all weird in some places and don’t make sense at all. The same can be said for the next turn of events.

When I reached the country, there was this military person in a wheelchair and I was in charge of helping him, I think. So I collected the chairs he seemed to be collecting as well, and then watched him teach some kids a dance for an upcoming celebration in their village that I wasn’t aware of. I also found Devon helping out in the village as well.

This part of the village must be relatively peaceful, with people still hiding out in their houses.

The scene then fastfowarded to the village chief shouting in Libyan language to the villagers with an amplifier, calling them out for the celebration events he prepared, but nobody came out of their houses, because of the chaos the rest of the country was in. And then in the end, as a desperate attempt, he shouted something else, and the effect was immediate, kids started running about, carrying fireworks. I asked a villager what was it the chief had shouted and she said he shouted, “Gong xi fa cai”, (which means Happy Chinese New Year in Mandarin).

I will never understand how my mind functions because I honestly don’t see something like that happening right now in Libya.

The turning point of the dream happened when I walked around the village (celebrations were over) and actually got the chance to look, really look at everyone’s face, and they looked frightened. That’s when I realized how much danger we were in. How a bomb could land upon this village anytime, how mercenaries could be driving tanks towards this village right this second. Who knows what the insane madman was capable of doing? We could be dead in less than a second. That’s when I got scared, and contemplated asking my parents if we could go home now. But then that would just seem downright selfish, wouldn’t it? I came here to help, not to chicken out, and by coming here I should already realize the danger I was putting myself in, and being able to risk my life to help the people of Libya. But that still didn’t put an end to my fears, especially after hearing news that the village Helen was helping out at was attacked. I didn’t even dare check Twitter in case there was something bad headed our way and we were too late to escape.

I woke up, found myself safe and sound in my bedroom, and realized exactly how fortunate I was.

***

I recounted my dream to my dad in the car and he chuckled, adding that “Libya doesn’t need your help.” And I realised he was right. I and I myself alone cannot possibly be of any help to a country whose leader is killing his own people from within. Libya doesn’t need my help, Libya needs our help.

The first party everyone turns to in the event of a nationwide crisis is the United Nations. What are the UN doing? I know they are constantly expressing their concerns and threatening intervention if Gaddafi doesn’t cease assault, but what exactly are they doing? What is anyone doing? Do millions worth of oil fields really matter more than the lives of millions?

“Japan is suffering from natural disasters, and these people are fighting a war among themselves.” I literally facepalmed and wanted to punch myself in the face when I heard someone say that. Are you really going to blame these chaos on the people? Really? If you had a leader as crazy and insane as Muammar Gaddafi, would you have quietly followed under his reign? There are some things that shouldn’t be oppressed and concealed forever. There are rights to be claimed, a proper ruling set right, a country that should be rightfully led by its citizens, that would only be logical. There are also situations that cannot be compared in any way, the uprisings in Middle East and the Japan quake are examples of that.

The world is under siege right now, if everyone is still blinded by prejudices and bias, there is no hope left for a better turning. We are all human, and if you are still going to judge someone based on their race, religion and beliefs, you are nothing less of a bigot, a chauvinist. Are you really going to stand by and point fingers as a pandemonium unravels in front of your eyes just because you are of different colour, of different beliefs? The world is in danger right now, and we are the only hope she ever had, and has left.