When I was staying near a river in Thailand, I was often bitten by sandflies. For those who are not aware of what sandflies are… well, sandflies actually look like flies- except that they bite and the itch that follows after that is very bad- you’ve just got to scratch it. And once you stratch it, blood will come out from those little swollen skin. These sandflies are quite sneaky- when they bite you, often, you will not be aware of it- they travel up your sleeves and pants unnoticed.
If you do not take care of the bites immediately- they will leave a scar- in the form of black one or five cent coins. My friends who were bitten by sandflies would be busy applying lotions and stuff like that so that the itch goes off and the scar would be minimize.
But not me…. I will just scratch and scratch till the blood come out. Anyway, I noticed that the more stuff we apply, especially minyak angin on the skin, it’s like a neon sign to the sandflies that say, ‘bite me, bite me!’ -the more of these little fellas. I thought it was like other mosquitos bite that will come out.
Then one evening, while I was scatching my calves from the bites, my friend look one look, shook his head and simply said, ‘those scars will not come off, you know’. I thought about it and shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘it’s ok. Probably a sign that I can no longer wear miniskirts or shorts. I can live with that. I’ve had such good times living with nature- these scars will serve as a nice reminder’.
After I came back from Malaysia, I tried to be careful to hide from my mom by wearing long pants coz it will freak her out that her fair skinned daughter had got these scars. Things were going on well for a while. But in one unguarded moment while cleaning the house wearing shorts, I heard a loud gasp from my mom whose eyes were fixed on the little blue black dots, ‘what on earth happened to your legs?!! All those 50 cents coins. Oh no, don’t you know those scars ain’t coming off.’
Normally whenever I come back from Thailand, my face will be many tones darker than its original colour- because I never liked to use the umbrella or sun protective lotion- just go out in the sun. But after back in Malaysia and staying indoors, my skin will soon return to its original colour. So after a few times of that, the dark and sunburnt look no longer becomes an issue. But the scars, well, they’re another thing altogether.
Some friends had told me that treatment like skin pigmentation or consistently applying certain lotions from the pharmacy may work but I was not interested to try them.
Scars need not necessary means a bad thing. Sometimes, it reminds you of a good memories. I’ve had great times living in the wilds, experiencing life like a hill tribe person would have experienced it. And I brought back some ‘momentos’ as rememberence. These outward momentos will stick to my calves, just as the wonderful memories do in my heart, for life.