True Story – what is it good for?

Day 4 of writing every day.

An interesting conversation somehow submerged tonight in my family. There’s this new Indonesian movie that making rounds online. Ipar Adalah Maut is a story of a husband who has an affair with his wife’s sister. This short sentence is enough to make me not want to watch the movie. I can imagine how dramatic everything would be – how soap-opera-like it would be.

Both of my parents’ released the same comment: this is why, after a marriage, the newlyweds shouldn’t live in a house where sister/brother in-law also lives – just in case.

Of course, sis and I went laughing. We could never imagine this kind of drama emerge from our family – not even in our extended family.

But then my dad, who has investigated this movie, without even watching the movie, brought up another point.

Apparently, during a confrontation, the mother of the 2 sisters told the one sister (I’m paraphrasing here), “oh look at your poor sister, her marriage is falling apart.” This received a following response from the sister who is having the affair (I’m also extremely paraphrasing), “you always side with her! You never cared about me!” This comeback apparently stressed out the mother to the point that she died because all her life she actually, and secretly, loved this sister (with affair) more than the other (the wife).

My dad asked my sis and I a shocking question: “have either of you ever feel that we love you differently?”

Sis and I both laughed. I certainly didn’t say anything. Not because I feel like there’s an inequality of love my sis and I received. It is because I know that my parents love my sis and I differently. I think it’s the curse of first born and last born – but that’s for another story.

My dad had to repeat the question, which then my sister replied with an “of course not.” This clearly brought a relief to both of my parents’ faces.

My dad then continued, “because that was what happened with your mom’s brothers.” My sis and I let out a shock then.

So, my mom has 2 older brothers and they were about 10 years older than her. The second-born brother accused every elder in my mom’s family to have loved the first-born more. None of us really knew what happened then, but the second-born brother slowly ‘recuse’ himself from the family and none of us kids knew this uncle. Notice how I keep using past tense – this uncle is rumoured to still be alive, but because I have no memory of his existence, I’ve accepted the possibility his death. In fact, my sis and all of my cousins have also all agreed to presume that he’s dead.

Tonight, I asked my mom, whether her second-born brother was treated differently by my mom’s parents and elders. Was he actually loved less? My mom said that she’s unsure – but what she heard the second-born brother actually uttered those complaints. How the elders actually put all of their attention for the first-born and how the elders actually loved the first-born more.

This was crazy for me. I understand that my parents treat me and sis differently, but that’s just human nature, I feel. You treat people differently, based on how they want to be treated. I have never felt less loved, esp when compared with my sis. I have never felt that she received more attention – I had a meltdown as a teenager, but it had nothing to do with my sis. Basically, my sis and I grow up, although side-by-side, but it may as well feel like we grow up in two separate houses. This is because my parents love us both based on the way each of us require and inquire.

This actually reminds me of the equality vs equity meme. I think the equity side perfectly illustrate how my parents treat both my sis and I.

What even more interesting to me is that my dad actually asked us now, when my sis and I are well into our 30s. Maybe my dad is really getting old and he’s really starting to weigh in how much good/bad he’s done in this world, to prepare for the afterlife.

The craziest thing about this whole thing, in my opinion, is that the movie’s plot is based on a true story. The actual story has been viral on TikTok and now everyone can enjoy the fictionalised version.

As for myself, I’m still not interested in: 1) watching the movie; and 2) watching the viral TikTok video that has inspired the movie.

My family’s true story is dramatic enough – I don’t need to know someone else’s family’s true story.

Thoughts on My Friends by Hisham Matar

There’s only one thing that bugs me currently: Khaled.

Okay, he was told by Scotland Yard to be vigilant and that he has to keep an eye open at all times. Just in case. But all these lying and all these fictionalised stories that he made and spread them around his closest friends and allies are straight up weird.

I don’t know – maybe I’m struggling to see an exile’s life because my privileges clouded my judgement. But all these lying!

Also, I’m just so worried that it will all come back and bite him in his ass later on.







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