Yang hitam manis, pandang tak jemu.
I am si hitam manis. Nonetheless, I used to be darker during my childhood. The fact was made prominent by my younger brothers' fairness. One day in standard six, upon my exit from the teachers' room with Cimi in tow, a teacher, being confident that it was out of my hearing, remarked, "kasihan ya, adik lelakinya putih, kakaknya hitam!"
At kindergarten age, my defense against colour discrimination was to sulk. It worked just fine as my maternal grandma, uncles, and aunts, started calling me Putih, instead of teasing me about the stark contrast of my skin colour as compared to the younger brothers'.
Last Friday night, on the way back to Rembau from a family friend's open house in Seremban, with Kamal and I being in the same car as my parents, the old joke of si hitam manis arose. Surely, the teacher's remark was hilarious. Then, the surprise:
"You used another defence mechanism when you were in standard three."
"Yes. You came up with a pantun."
"Mak, are you sure?"
"Putih putih hampas kelapa dibuang orang. Hitam hitam baldu songkok dipakai sayang."
It became a secret joke between my parents. Ha ha ha!