The Day 5 A.M Arrived Early


“Bandi…”, a voice was heard in the darkness “wake up. It’s time!”

Half groggy, I looked up to see my cousins ….literally my sisters looking excitable – 10 year old Emilda and soon to be 15 year old Era gazing down at me.

“What time is it?!”, I had asked.

“5 a.m”

They were already in school uniform and costume, ready for the big day. I grabbed my alarm clock next to my bed. The digits showed an unkindly 2 a.m.

“It’s 2 in the morning!”, I muttered.

“But…your Game-and-Watch in our room showed 5 a.m…”, Emilda’s eyes looked big to me expressing her defiance.

I got up – half dragging my 12 year old self to their room. And sure enough, the game console showed 5 a.m. I picked it up and pressed a button.

“That…”, I said “was the alarm screen…”

I showed them the screen where it displayed the real time.

“Its 2 a.m, girls!”


… which was a bit creepy, now that I think about it…in the darkness – seemingly disembodied voices giggling in the middle of the night.

Apparently in their excitement for the big day, they had misread the console, thought that it was already 5 am and had readied themselves in the wee hours of the morning! And no one had bothered to check with the wall clock.

I went back to my room, intent on catching up on my sleep. Behind me, the girls were still laughing.

We reawakened a few hours later at the “real” 5 a.m and had breakfast with somewhat sheepish smiles.

That morning, the whole of Brunei seemingly went to town – or rather to the National Stadium in an event filled with pomp and grandeur.

It was the 23rd of February 1984 – Brunei’s first National/Independence Day.

However for 3 children, it was also a day when 5 a.m arrived early.




Navigating life a story at a time.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

How To Forgive Your Mother

Black and white photo of a man with with a moustache and a woman behind him with a white bow

What Happens When Your Work Doesn’t Work?

Going to Work, Going to School, Coming Home from School, Coming Home from Work

Claire’s friend.

Jobs: After grieving lost family, my mom found her calling — as a funeral service worker

Safely Plan To Celebrate Christmas Party During COVID-19

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Subandi Kamis

Subandi Kamis

Navigating life a story at a time.

More from Medium

3 Things to Teach Your Child About Giving This Valentine

My Dogs are Democrats

Please Don’t Look Under My Couch

Narrating Toddlers’ Emotional Rollercoasters, and Daily Life