Updated: Apr 29, 2019
He was coughing profusely. I could see his chest heaving painfully as he struggled to
Worst, because of his condition, he began vomiting the pleghm. Unlike us, my
cerebral palsy stricken twin is unable to cough out the pleghm like a normal person.
I began rubbing his back slowly and gently tapped his spine. His cough subsided.
Moments later, he vomits whitish liquid into the little bucket I had placed on his lap.
When he was done, I wiped his face clean. My mum wheeled him outside to get
some fresh air.
My twin was born normal in 1986. He was a healthy baby just like me. We were born
45 minutes apart.
But destiny had other plans. A couple of weeks after our birth, jaundice struck. While
I recovered, my brother didn't. So we had to conduct a blood transfusion.
Now, blood banks were pretty scarce in Malaysia back then. The hospital did not
have my brother's blood type had to use other alternatives.
Months later, when I turned one and began showing signs of being active, it was a
different story for my brother.
He was bed ridden and unable to speak like a normal person.
I grew up alone as much of the attention was given to my brother. I used to hate it as
My parents tried every thing they could to find a cure for my twin. From medical
experts to priests. None worked.
Much of my childhood was spent in temples, mosques, churches, amongst priests,
and folks who claimed to be able to communicate and channel deities.
I remember wishing I never had a disabled twin. I often used to wonder what it must
be like to be able to share secrets and have adventures with a brother.
I had none of that.
My brother began coughing again. My mother quickly brought the bucket and placed
it on his lap again. I started to rub his back.
After coughing for almost five minutes, he vomits out the pleghm. I shake my head
and turn to my mother.
It was time to take him to the hospital.
As my mum immediately got ready, I prepared for the worst: My brother could be
warded because my instinct told me that it could be a serious lung infection.
Minutes later we were in the car, enroute to the hospital.
For the first time in my life, I actually felt I would lose my twin. As I pondered on this
possibility, I began feeling anxious.
If there is a silver lining, it is thanks to my brother and his condition which taught me
to see the universality in all ways of lives. That despite our differences in terms of
religion and skin colour, we're ultimately the same within.
The same source of life is inherent in all of us. We're tiny leaves on the giant tree of
Yet, in the end, I am human and I too can succumb to the fear of losing a loved one.
So I did the only thing I knew would possibly work at that time.
I bartered with the higher powers.
And as weird as it might sound, it felt logical at that time. I'm a smoker. In a week, I
smoke close to 60 to 80 sticks. At that point, I felt the reason why brother was
coughing was because he had taken on an ailment that was supposed to have
befallen me. It was a weird twin hunch.
I knew there was a price to be paid if I were to seek for a cure for my brother's bout of
coughing. And usually, one has to sacrifice something extremely dear in order for the
magick to work.
I love smoking. I enjoy cigarettes. But it was during that drive I realised that I love my
I shook hands with the source of life. The deal was made.
When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor immediately sent my brother for an X-ray
scan. She held the same suspicion as me.
Several minutes later, the doctor comes out holding the scanned image.
I held my breath and held my brother's hands. In my mind, I readied myself to hear
any form of negative news.
"Interesting, your brother is okay. His lungs are healthy," the doctor remarks,
bewildered as I was.
I looked up at the ceiling and heaved a huge sigh of relief. As tears streamed down
my eyes, it dawned upon me that I have to hold on to my end of the bargain.
I have been doing just that. I've been smoke free for more than three months.
As for my brother, the cough was gone within a couple of days. He is back healthy
I used to wish I didn't have a disabled twin. Now, it doesn't matter so much anymore.
He is who he is. Perfect.