Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Disaster

On the television, the news program showed highlights from last year’s tsunami, graphic images of people’s homes and lives being washed away by storms and floods, the will of Mother Nature.

“Don’t worry Grandma, I’m not going to be gone for long.”

My grandmother cried silently, the vain attempts to hold back her tears all but dissipated in the heat of the moment. “We are all that we have now,” she sobbed. “Don’t ever forget that.”

“Grandma, now I’m starting to cry…”

She held on even tighter, the embrace ever longer.

"The tsunami disaster last year brought home to people the realization of the power of God, as it took away the homes of others," the voice of the news announcer blared from the television. "We will not forget…"

“Grandma, I have to go now.”

She didn’t say anything, merely hanging on, before sobbing even louder. My little sister looked on, unsure of how to react, though I could tell by the look in her eye that she has already decided.

“Grandma…”

She half opened her mouth, and I half expected her to wail. Instead, she sighed, giving me only half of that which I had half expected.

On the outside, I was gamely hanging on, though a tear crept its way down my cheek.

Inside however, I was crying a thousand rivers, my heart screaming the silent screams that no one will ever hear.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

No Shit, Sherlock

It is a cold and hollow feeling in Tony's guts to lie and bed and realise...

...that they don't give a shit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Life is Beautiful

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13
_____________________________________________

There are days when I hate taking the LRT. This is one of them, a day with little to laugh about, and a long trip that is no joke at all.

I had walked from college to Sunway Pyramid, during which the sky decided to open up. Not too much, but enough to make my shirt stick to my chest, with me silently praying that pneumonia will be nowhere to be seen.

And then there was the bus. It took a while to get there, give or take some 40 minutes or so, but it eventually got to the stop. I got on, and settled myself at the back end of the bus, and leaned my head against the window, my eyelids drifting lazily downwards.

I don't know what it is that brought my attention to them, but it did so sometime after my bus trip began. There was little to be seen, nothing to be acknowledged up until then.

Then I saw it.

A couple of rows ahead of me, a black man and a Chinese girl sat together casually. The man had his right arm draped around her, his fingers gently caressing her arms as they looked deeply into each other's eyes.

I can't put my finger on it. I really can't.

But I know that they're in love.

Not infatuation, not lust, not even adulation. Love.

Love.

The bus eventually reached it's last stop, and everyone got off. I needed to get to the other side of the highway, meaning that I have to take the sky bridge. The couple didn't. They alighted from the bus, and walked on under the bridge.

I went to the top of the bridge, and watched as they walked along, hand in hand.

They're in love.

I laughed.

I've Always Wanted To Put Up A Post Where The Title Is Longer Than The Actual Post Itself

So there :>

Galaxy: The Journey

Jayken sat quietly, resting his chin upon his fist as his thoughts travelled a million miles away, his eyes travelling the length of the universe further than the sparkly stars before him. His legs crossed, the marking demeanour of an important man, in a rush, ready to spring off the seat at a moment's notice.

Outside the transparisteel window, the Vole loomed into view, a carrier he was once attached to. Now, under the treaty laws, more and more of the old warriors fell into disuse. He winced as he saw a floater mech blazed a section of the Vole, blue sparks fading immediately into space. Last Tristan told him, the Vole is to be patched up and used as a training academy of sorts.

How the mighty have fallen, thought Jayken. Times up.

Right now, that moment is a while yet. Right now, he's just taking in the view outside.

"More water, sir?" He jerked his head, his thoughts broken by the pretty blonde waitress, ready to pour more water into his glass, even though it's not even half finished.

"Yes...yes, thank you." The girl smiled, and with a slow, deft flick of her wrist, she positioned the jug above the glass, and then slowly poured the water in. The light from the stars reflected themselves in microscopic fashion as the water splashed inside, tinkling against the unmelted ice cubes, before settling in as the glass was filled almost to the brim.

A stray strand of her golden hair worked loose. With her free hand, she quickly flicked it behind her ear. Jayken froze.

The way she did it reminded him so much of Jo. He silently shook his head, trying not to think of her, and failing spectacularly.

The girl stood straight, briefly flashing her smile. Jayken flashed his in return, quietly thanking her again with a curt nod of his head as she moved out of the cabin. He leaned back against the seat, and looked out the window once again.

Jo...

Before long, the shuttle approached the Victory class carrier. It has been too long. But now he can't put it off any further.

The time has come.

Jayken stood up and left the compartment, his drink untouched.

*Read Galaxy: Tears of the Son.
*Read Galaxy: Across the Stars.
*Read Galaxy: The Prodigal's Return.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Five Things I Like About You

This is not something I usually do. My blog, though it offers an insight into the way that I sometimes think, is not as personal a platform as it might be for others. But when Joanne told me that she tagged me, though my initial feeling is that it's not something I necessarily want to do, I do feel somewhat pleased that she tagged me (though this feeling diminished a bit when I found out that I was only one of ten :>). Regardless, I decided to make an exception, and so these are the five criteria (in no particular order) that I look for in that special someone:

* Loyalty - This is an aspect that I look for not just necessarily in a girlfriend, but in all my friends. They can be whatever it is that they want to be, as quirky, evil, funny, or as scheming as they want...so long as I know that they have got my back. What does this mean? Well, it just means that I want to know that I can rely on them in times of need. With my girlfriend, I expect all this and more, which means that she will not be sleeping or dating others behind my back. Which leads to...

* Honesty - This is another quality that I expect in the people that I meet. By honesty, I don't mean that they have to tell me every single thing about themselves. We all have our own secrets that we wish few others would know. I can live with that. I just want my girlfriend to say what she means and mean what she says. If she doesn't want to go out because she just doesn't feel like it, then that's what I want to hear, rather than a contrived excuse. Will it hurt? Maybe. There are times when people don't tell me the truth in order to protect my feelings. I can understand that. But I don't agree with it, because I feel (from experience) that sooner or later, the lie will be found out, and when it does, not only will it hurt more, but it would also raise doubts in my mind. It will make me think of other things that she will have told me, and wonder whether they are really true. The minute it gets to this stage, then the relationship is on rocky ground, for no relationship can survive without...

*Trust - This is possibly the most important of all criterium. Honesty and loyalty have their roles, but that road leads to trust. If there is no trust, then the relationship dies. Full stop.

* Challenge - It was a while back, sometime last year, as I lounged in my friend's garden, perched high up somewhere in Cheras. She and I went through the reasons of a particular infatuation that I had (and to a certain extent, still do) for a particular someone. I explained that I do not know for certain what it is that makes me feel the way I do for this one person. I listed what I liked about her, but also noted that there were plenty of girls who also fit the criteria. Recalling a particular event when we had something of an argument, my friend proffered this insight: "Dude, you like her because she challenges you." I still don't think that's it, but it does explain a lot of things.

* Intimacy - This is important. I'm not necessarily talking about sex or kissing, but just hugs, holding hands, and gentle caresses, amongst other things. It might be a small thing, but if I'm with someone, then this someone must be comfortable with being intimate in this way with me. Having said that, I myself am quite intimate with a lot of my female friends, which might lead to some jealous glances here and there. But this is where all the rest (trust, honesty, loyalty, etc) comes in.

There you have it. I'm not saying that I'm willing to jump into bed with anyone who has these criteria, however. These are just some of the things that I do consider when I want to be more serious with someone.

Some of you will note that I did not include any physical criteria as others might have. For me, these things aren't important. Age, height, race...for me, they are nothing more than mere markers which we can see with our own eyes, but does provides absolutely no clue as to what someone is truly like.

On the other hand, I could very well jettison all of the above and follow my heart.

For that is where love lies.

And without love, there is no nothing.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bear With Me…

Q. What do you call a bear with no teeth?

A. A gummy bear.

*Taken from Reader’s Digest.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

For Joanne...

Once upon a time, there was a Junior by the name of Joanne. She lives somewhere in the middle of a place that I care not mention right here, partly because of security reasons, as I wouldn't want people to start stalking her, but primarily because for the life of me, and after a hefty ikan bakar for lunch at the Lake Club, I couldn't remember.

So it was that one day this Junior goes on a spiritual journey. Having been stuck in this place that time and everyone else has forgotten for a long time, she decided that enough is enough, and that she shall endure no more. So she set out on this journey, armed with nothing more than her arms and the will to live, to learn, and above all, to love.

It is this love that drove her through the sleets of winter, the flowers of spring, the bird wastes of summer and the dry leaves of autumn. On and on she walked, heaving and hiving (yes, I just made this up. I thought it sounded nice), until one day, she landed on her knees, crumpled to the floor, and, scraping her forehead on the floor in a manner that even Jesus would not approve, decided that she had enough.

Then she began to cry, a long and silent cry that echoed into the nothingness of the dark night. It disappeared, slithering its ways amongst the frozen trees and the falling snow. She cried, and she cried.

Suddenly, a light shone on her from ahead. Feeling the heat on her now scrappy forehead, she slowly raised her face, and attempted in vain to block the incoming white light.

"JOANNE!" boomed a voice, a loud and lame voice. "It is I, Fikri, the King of Lame, of the Kingdom of Middle Lame."

"My Lord," shivered Joanne, as her eyes readjusted themselves, before setting them upon a the fair and lovely face of the Lame King. My God, she thought to herself, he's cuter than Cedric. Finally focused on the stick that this Lame King has in his hand. "Is that a broomstick?"

"Yes," confirmed the two-time genius (Linora Low 2005). "It is my Thunderbolt, which I put to a use for more useful than pre-pubescent-adolescent-wizards-who-can't-drink-with-their-mouths-closed will ever do! I am here, with this broom, to sweep away your worries!" (trng dsh!)

"Yes, yes..." stuttered Joanne, falling under the Lame Spell of the beautiful writer (because he writes beautiful stories, writes beautifully, and is beautiful himsef). "I submit myself to you, oh Lamest of Lord," as she bows down, and starts to tear off her eyelids.

"Enough!" bellowed the Lame King, waving his broomstick. "Come with me, for together, you and I...we are one."

"Yes," Joanne said in a monotonous tone. "Lameness...is within us."

King Lame the First nodded sagely, not stroking his non-existent white beard.

Joanne felt her feet dragging her forward, one step at a time, as she moved ever closer into the blinding light. The heat in her body built up, causing her to sweat, until finally, she, the Junior from the land whose name no one remembers because of the ikan bakar at the Lake Club, and the Lame King disappeared into the light, and all is quiet.

For all is lame.

*This is probably the most ridiculous post I've ever posted. One of my Juniors has written about me as of late, and I decided to return the favour. To read her latest post on me, click here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

It's been a bad day. I care not to recount what happened today, but rest assured...it's been a bad day, even by my standards.

I drove back from university, forcing my way through the rain. The conditions were treacherous, the water seemingly intent on making life as miserable as possible for me. The wind howls their approval, nodding their silent and evil grins, before barking up into a laughter filled with menace.

I grimaced, hardening my face, and drove on, reaching the toll on the Kesas highway, which greets hello to Bukit Jalil and beyond, waving goodbye to Sunway and yesterday, today, any day.

"Selamat malam, abang," (Good evening, brother) greeted the man at the toll booth as he took my green buck.

"Er, selamat malam," I replied, somewhat taken aback. Toll operators tend not to be so forthcoming with their thank yous for my money, let alone be friendly.

"Balik daripada kerja?" he asked, wondering whether I came back from work, all the while expertly handling my change at the cash register.

"Tidak. Saya daripada kolej." I told him ("I'm coming back from college.").

"OK," he said, stripping away my receipt, before handing it and the change back to me. "OK, terima kasih, abang. Selamat malam!" he thanked me, bidding me a good night.

I said my thank yous in return, and drove off slowly, as quickly as a wide smile formed at my mouth.

The rain kept pouring, ever harder as it smashed against my windscreen.

But life is good.

"WOOOO!!!"

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

No Ledge

You think you know.

You thought that there is little need for any more. That things are settled, that you are comfortable, alive, and well. Safe in the knowledge that...

...well, whatever it is.

You thought that you could turn to find, not having to look and be left hanging by the ledge. With nothing but a 50 ft drop ahead of you...and nothing behind you.

You turn, looked around, frantically searching for something that you thought had been there in the first place. A rope, a lifeline, a goodbye...anything.

Then suddenly it hits you. You don't see it coming out from the darkness, but you try to block it. It blocks you in return. A jab to the face, a hook to the heart, moments before it lies on its deathbed, slowly suffering in the blood of its own making.

You think you know.

But you have no fucking idea.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

From May Yee

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

2 Corinthians 4:7

*Cheers, May :>

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hero of the Day: Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso. Champion.

Fernando Alonso. 2005 Formula 1 champion.

Nuff said.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

If The Name's Bond...

If someone's word is their bond...

...and they break that word...

...does it mean that the bond is also broken?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Book's Cover

"It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me."

Batman, Batman Begins

Monday, September 19, 2005

His Song

My brother ambled into my room, appearing to the outside world as oblivious as he had always appeared as. He came in slowly and stopped, looking around as if in awe.

Under the duvet cover, I lay unmoved, unconscious still. It is almost noon on Sunday, but I had a late night, and revelled in that Sunday morning feeling of waking up late.

He ambled towards me, and, placing his hands on me, shook me slowly.

I stirred, and opened my eyes slightly. Seeing that it's him, I grunted a hello, before closing my eyes again.

He wouldn't let up. He shook me again, and motioned towards my guitar against the corner of my room.

I grunted him to go away.

Of course, he didn't listen. He sat down next to my bed, cross legged on the floor, and kept bothering me.

Until I realised what was really going on. At how stupid I'm being.

I opened my eyes, and went to pick up the guitar, before settling back in bed.

Then I started strumming.

I hope you don't mind, Abali. I hope you don't mind that I put down in words.

How wonderful life is...while you're in the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Kingdom Hospital

I walked through the ill, the living, the dying.

It abhors me. The smell of death, of illness, hangs in the air, attacks my nostrils, insulting my general well being.

“Hello brother, can you take off my boot?”

I am here today to visit my cousin. He has been diagnosed with dengue. He’s recovering well enough, but I wanted to visit him all the same.

“Excuse me brother, please take off my boot…”

I turned to the direction of the voice. The owner is an old man, lying helpless apparent. He is stretched out loosely, his head propped lightly by a flat pillow. He is dressed in green garb, which would not doubt hang off his body is he stands.

I look to his feet, almost hidden from view by a pillow that is curiously fuller than the one propping his head. It is bare.

“There is no boot,” I replied to him.

“Come on, brother, help me out…”

I ignored him and turned back to my cousin. He seems puffy and dazed, having just woken up from his sleep. “I hate hospitals,” I told him. “That makes the two of us,” he replied.

It has not been so. For many years, given that my mother works in one, I am comfortable enough not to hate hospitals. It is a place of healing, a place where the sick are treated for reentry into common life. In the past 18 months, however, I feel that I’ve seen enough of hospitals to last me a lifetime. A feeling that I’ve been here before. Almost a sense of déjà vu, to the point where they all look and feel the same.

“Brother, can you give me some water?”

I turned back to the old man. He seems weak, yet his eyes looked at me, intent. “Please,” he said, “help me out.”

I looked over to his side table, and poured water into a mug. He drank gratuitously. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Too soon, the visit was at an end. I left my cousin, unable to cheer him up anymore. I don’t know what else to do. I’m sure that if I’m in the same position, I would feel the same way.

I left walking, feeling revolted still by the smell of illness.

As I walked away I realised that I hate hospitals because it is a place that puts me in the midst of people who I can’t help. No matter how hard I try, people will live, and people will die, and there is little I can do about it. It's this feeling of helplessness that I hate.

Perhaps it is not really hospitals that I hate.

Perhaps I just hate being me.

Ah well.

The world might be dying, but at least I shall give it water.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stage Beauty

"Beauty is a form of genius - is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon."

Oscar Wilde

*Thanks Anna :>

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

AM Radio

Q. How do you know a person is radioactive?

A. When they constantly play their radio.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Rebel Billionaire

There are 6 billion people in the world.

6. Billion. People.

And only one of you.

Which is great. You're one out of 6 billion. You're unique, special...you.

But what's the point of being special, of being you...

...if you can't be seen amongst the 6 billion?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Lion's King

It's 2:43 am as I write this. I had been lying in bed earlier.

Tonight (last night, to be precise), I got home at midnight. Upon returning, I notice a lorry parked outside the street lamp near my house, with a group of people crowding its root. It turns out that the whole area was down with power, at least for that time being. And so I had spent the last couple of hours, lying in bed, looking at the ceiling, through it, into the skies beyond it.

Which is my way of saying that it's not the ceiling that I'm looking at.

So what was I looking at?

Nothing and everything both at the same time. Nothing, because it is somethings that I could not quite gesticulate in words. Nothing, because I wasn't thinking how to express that. I was merely feeling.

And nothing because I don't feel like sharing it here.

Not now, anyway.

So what am I doing at the computer, online, at 2:51 am? The easy answer to that is...I don't really know. The simple way out, the back door exit, the lifeline tossed to me by an invisible man (or woman).

The harder answer would be...kaleidescope.

I was looking at the ceiling, at nothing in particular, given its relative darkness, when the power came back on. Instantly, my eyes squinted at the sudden brightness (for my lights, apparently, had not been turned off before the power was cut). And as I slowly adjusted my vision, it focused on the source of the light.

The light bulb, and its surrounding dome, if I may use that word. Last week, at almost the same time, I had observed to a close friend of mine that the intricate pattern caused by the light on the dome reminds me of that within the dome of a mosque. She laid beside me, and we looked up at it. For once, my memory fails me now, and I can't remember what she said.

Now, however, as I look at the light, I do not think of domes or of mosques. I think...kaleidescope.

In Elton John's 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight?', there is a line with the word kaleidescope. The first time I heard it, I didn't know what it meant. I know of the invention, but did not know then what it meant.

Back in the now, my thoughts shifted to that song. It is one of my favourites of all time. And as I thought of the movie from whence it came, one scene jumped to mind and is not leaving me now as I sit here at my computer at 2:59 am.

In this scene, Simba was following Mufasa back from the Elephants' Graveyard. Mufasa barked an order to Zazu to lead Nala back home. This he did faithfully, but before he left, Zazu placed a wing on Simba, and sighed. "Simba..." he said, before flying off into the darkness.

Mufasa continued walking the plains, while Simba followed behind, with his ears folded downwards, crestfallen. Suddenly, his paw fell into a small pothole in the ground, and he paid closer attention to it.

But it's not a pothole.

It's Mufasa's foot print. He had stalked with such force that his paw left an imprint on the ground, and it's this that Simba's own paw fell into. We look from a close bird's eye view, and read all the symbolism that we want to read into that: of Simba wanting to follow in his father's footsteps, of Simba realising that he is not the lion his father is yet, and that he has a long way to go.

I had seen that scene at the first showing of the movie in the mid 90s. About a year ago, I saw it again as it aired on the Disney Channel. I saw it with my mother at the time. The moment the scene came on, it hit me. It really hit me. A feeling that I do not feel often when watching movies, any movies. But it hit me then.

I wanted to cry.

My eyes had started to well up, and I had to fight to hold back the tears. I didn't dare blink, for I fear of the tears falling down my cheek.

That feeling hit me just now, as the power came back on and as the word 'kaleidescope' hit me. The above that I explained, happened in milliseconds, striking me quicker before I could actually put up my shields.

The scene continued with Mufasa admonishing Simba: "You deliberately disobeyed. You could have gotten yourself killed. And worse, you put Nala in danger!"

"I'm sorry," Simba sobbed. "I just wanted to be brave like you. You are never afraid."

Mufasa looked down on Simba. "I was afraid just now."

Mufasa then forgave Simba, and they playfully chased each other, until Simba caught his father. Hans Zimmer's score for the scene stirred to life, rising to a crescendo as Simba and Mufasa rested, laughing with each other.

One year ago, I couldn't hold back. I took the easy way out, and cried my eyes out.

Now, one year later, at 3:16 am, I'm taking the easy way out once again.

Friday, August 26, 2005

40 Days and 40 Nights Ain't That Tough...

I had thought of entitling this piece ‘How To Remain A Virgin’ and just put a picture of my face here.

But Meng Yoe wants at least 300 words, and since he doesn’t buy the ‘picture-paints-a-thousand-words’ business, I have to come up with 300.

In fact, I think I’ll give him ‘40 Days and 40 Nights.’ Josh Hartnett plays a character who is not supposed to do the dirty during the forty days and nights of Lent. Of course, it is during this time that he meets ‘the love of his life’, and starts to have trouble keeping his dick in his pants. To think that a movie like that gets approved.

Now, I’ve got nothing against Josh Hartnett. He’s not that great an actor, but he makes a good fist out of it. Plus, there are others who are worse and still make a decent living out of it, so good luck to him. Nor is it about the movie itself. I know it is nothing more than a money-making machine ($17 million parlayed into $36-odd million at the box office. And that’s just in the US).

No, my gripe against the movie is the ridiculous plot defies belief.

For my part, I can’t see why it’s so difficult to stay celibate for that period of time. Granted, despite the fact that I have indeed been compared to Bliss’ 3rd Sexiest Male (some people need to get their eyes checked), I don’t really look like him. I’m not exactly the hottest guy around (I’m the second hottest. But that’s not the point), so it’s easier to understand why it’s easier for me to stay celibate from the superficial point of view.

But what also drives me to stay celibate is the thought of my first time being with someone special. That first time with them will be probably be rubbish, or it will probably be the best I’ll ever do. But it will be special. It will only ever happen once, so I choose to wait.

Doing it for the sake of doing it, wanting to be popular, wanting to fit in, in the heat of the moment, because ‘we need sex’ seems…easy. Cheap.

Utterly meaningless.

40 Days and 40 Nights? Try 20 years (and counting)…

But then again, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

*Published in the April edition of Siren.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Galaxy: Tears of the Son

He sat there, across from the man who had been his hero, who had been everything he wanted and more.

The man who had given him everything.

And now it’s time to make a decision that would change his life forever.

“Bill please, garcon,” said Airus as the waiter nearly whizzed his way past. He bowed slightly. “Oui monsieur,” he replied, before twisting on his heels and heading for the counter.

“What are you doing?”

Airus didn’t say anything; he merely pulled out his wallet and fished out a couple of credit bills. "Keep the change," he said as the waiter came back with the bill.

“Airus…”

“No. No more,” Airus got up, and pulled on his coat. “I’m going.”

“Airus, please…”

But Airus ignored him, walked out of the booth and stalked his way out of the restaurant, hoping to get out before the tears burst forth.

“Airus! You will regret this!”

Airus stopped. Over his shoulder, the man stood defiantly.

“You know what, maybe you’re right,” said Airus, turning back to face him. “Maybe there will come a point in my life, when I will look back, and I will find myself thinking, ‘I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have left you stranded, alone. I shouldn’t have turned my back on you the way you did me.’” He paused, trying hard to hold back the tears. He itched to turn away...

No. This must be done.

He took in a deep breath, composing himself as he exhaled, and continued. "But I think it’s far more likely that you will look back on what is left of your life and regret the day that you gave up on me.”

And with that, the weight on his shoulder was gone. He no longer felt like crying, the pain of yesteryears finally making its way out of his life, drifting away into the nothingness of the dark galaxy. He looked down momentarily, anywhere and nowhere at the same time, before looking up again, with a coolness in his eyes that chilled the man's heart. “Take care of yourself. Enjoy your new family. And pray that your son grows up to be a far more forgiving man that I will ever be.”

“Goodbye, father.”

And with that he walked out of the restaurant, and never once looking back.

They will never meet again.

*Read Galaxy: Across The Stars.
*Read Galaxy: The Prodigal's Return.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Bug’s Life

“Fikri! Over here!”

It was a cool summer’s night in Bangkok. After a long day, and having spent some time in the internet café writing up my story for the day, I was walking back towards the hostel we were staying in, when Sze Mun, Li Yien and Suet Yeing called me over.

“What’s up girls?” I greeted them. Aaron and I seated ourselves.

“Would you be willing to eat something different?” said Suet Yeing.

“Well,” I mused that thought, my mind flashing back to the night before, when my lecturer Dr Yeoh described her as a mercenary. “That depends. If it’s halal, then I wouldn’t mind.”

“Alright!” she yelped. Then she turned to Yi Shu, who was sitting next to me. “You must close his eyes, and he mustn’t open them until we said so.”

That, I wasn’t worried about. I was willing to play along anyway, so there was little chance of me spoiling my surprise.

Yi Shu shut my eyes as I closed them and simultaneously opened my mouth. Within a second, I felt something stuffed in my mouth. “OK, chew.”

I chewed. It crisped with a nice, BBQ-like taste, as my teeth grinded it to bits, before swallowing it down. It wasn’t bad.

“OK, you can open your eyes now.”

I felt Yi Shu remove her hands from my eyes, and I opened them.

On the table before is a plate full of fried maggots and beetles.

And all I could say was, “Mmm.”

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Getting Hitched

"Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away."

Alex Hitchens, Hitch

* I saw this movie when it came out earlier this year, but for some reason never did put the line in here. Recently I saw it again, and am reminded of why I love that movie :>

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Soul Reaver

No matter how hard you try to stop it, it happens.

You see it breaking, tearing around the edges, striving almost as if of its own will to break free of its invisible prison.

You see it outgrowing itself, that “it stopped being cool”, that it no longer mattered because it can stand on its own feet.

When you fight for something that has always been there, no matter how hard it is, you keep on fighting because of it. Because you know that in the end, no matter what happens, it will always be there.

What if it's no longer there?

You reach out with your hand, with your arms, with your whole body and soul. You try to keep it together, to stop it from breaking. But it slips through your fingers regardless, like the sands of time in a glass jar.

As if you’re not even there.

What do you do now?

How on earth do you fight for something that no longer exists?

Friday, July 22, 2005

In The Fast Lane

“A life lived as a perpetual introduction to something you hope will be better in the future, is a life of disappointment.”

Matt Bishop, F1 Racing magazine

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Picture Imperfect

The sun sets slowly behind the clouds, sinking into a slow rest while bathing us with the orange ambience of grandness.

“They’re waiting for us,” said my friend as we both looked and admired the scenery.

“They can wait,” I replied softly. “This won’t.”

The clouds, magnified by the presence of the sun, puffed its underside in majesty, shadowy with its blue. The contrast between this and its brightly coloured top is striking.

“Take a picture of it,” I told my friend. She meekly resisted; something about how her cameraphone isn’t great. I didn’t say anything as she whipped it out anyway, knowing full well that she herself wants to capture the moment for posterity.

She aimed, squinted, clicked.

We crowd the screen.

The picture was rubbish. Its pixellated edges did nothing to accentuate the contrast, and if anything, it looked like a mess of a boiled egg.

The thought crossed my mind that maybe we can never capture the beauty of the scene. As it sinks ever further into the slow darkness, I can’t help but feel that its beauty lies in the fact that it cannot be seen, but felt. That it is not to be touched, or preserved, because it lies not with the sun, or the clouds, or anything else for that matter.

Maybe it lies with the emotions and feelings that are evoked within us.

That beauty is within us.

Either that, or her cameraphone really is crap.

“Let’s go.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Galaxy: Across the Stars

EXT – SPACE – The Vole jumped in from hyperspace, gliding a smooth path past a bright swirling star.

INT – BRIDGE – JAYKEN WESTLEY stands at the viewport, his eyes fixed on the Star of Itana. The door hissed, and KYE TORAN walked in.


KYE TORAN
We’re in position.


No response from JAYKEN. KYE paused, feeling sure that he said it loud enough. He walked over to JAYKEN’s side.


JAYKEN WESTLEY
I’ve never seen it this close before.

KYE TORAN
The Star of Itana.

JAYKEN WESTLEY
They say that it’s the biggest star in the universe, because you can see it from anywhere in the galaxy.


KYE remained silent.


JAYKEN WESTLEY
Back on Nualna, at my family home, my window was positioned such that the star shone directly into my room every night, without fail. I used to lie in bed for hours, just looking at it, and wondering how something so beautiful could ever exist. I’d fall asleep feeling safe, knowing that it would always be there like a guardian angel, watching over me. And I’d always wonder what it would be like to be closer here. Now that I’m here…I realized that it doesn’t make a difference.

KYE TORAN
Well, I think it’s more beautiful up close.

JAYKEN WESTLEY
No.


JAYKEN turned his head abruptly towards KYE, physically acknowledging him for the first time.


JAYKEN WESTLEY
It’s not. You may see it closer, but it doesn’t change anything.

KYE TORAN
Come on. It’s got to be better here than a million clicks away, Jay.

JAYKEN WESTLEY
It isn’t. It doesn’t change anything because the reason why it’s beautiful, why it’s brilliance is beyond the description of words remains the same.

KYE TORAN (sighs)
And why is that?

JAYKEN WESTLEY
It doesn’t exist.

KYE TORAN (snorts)
Don’t give me that.

JAYKEN WESTLEY
From far away, what makes it beautiful is because it’s unreachable, a high that no being will ever get to. Even when we’re here, that remains true. How real is it, Kye? It is beautiful precisely because it is not real, because it is not a part of this life. Because if it is, then it is subject to everything else in life…sweat, dust, grime, age, dirt, everything. It will no longer be as beautiful.

KYE TORAN
Do you want something that’s real?


JAYKEN moved his head, slightly facing KYE.


KYE TORAN
You think too much.


JAYKEN chuckled, and turned to face the star.


JAYKEN WESTLEY
I hope this goes well.

KYE TORAN
Don’t worry.


KYE glanced over to JAYKEN, before looking back ahead.


KYE TORAN
Dallas knows what he’s doing.


EXT – SPACE – The ship continues its circumference around the star.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Heat

The heat scorched the tip of my tongue as I cautiously sipped my teh tarik. I settled it on the table, loosening my grip, though I never did let it go. Lowering my head, I craned my neck, my mouth forming an O and silently whistled across the beige surface of the drink.

“You’re a very warm person,” she said.

No I’m not. Looking up to squarely meet her, her eyes, almost glazed by her glasses, told me that there is no need to share that thought with her.

“You’re smart, witty, charming…”

Yeah, yeah.

“…but you’re too emotional. There’s too much anger, too much angst within you.”

I stopped blowing.

“You have to try, no matter how hard it is, to control that. You’ve come a long way. But you still have some way to go. You can’t stop.”

She paused, and reached out with her right hand to place it on my left, squeezing it tight.

“Please don’t let your anger burn you.”

I looked at her hand on top of mine, its back softly withered by age and experience. By sadness, anger, betrayal.

I sipped my teh tarik.

It’s not as hot anymore.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Take One Part II...Or Something Like It

There comes a point in everybody's life when we stop, and we ask of ourself the following question:

What am I doing here?

We stop and we ask because we wonder whether this is where we want to be, whether it's part of The Plan that we had set out earlier in life. Is this what I want to do? Is this who I want to be?

Most importantly, we ask ourself because, in all likelihood, we would have come across something. An obstacle, a barrier.

A brick wall.

Then a sense of doom descends on us, heavy on our shoulders, and no longer are we standing. We are sitting down, heads in our hands, asking ourselves whether we are strong enough to go through this. Whether what we have is enough, whether we are capable.

I know this, because I went through that. I slammed headfirst into that wall, full speed, unsuspecting.

I had sat there, holding my head in my hands, hurt, injured, destroyed, anguished, humiliated.

But then, something happens. Something emerged from the cauldron. Hope. Faith.

The answer.

I didn't see it coming. Even as I wanted it to, just like a train coming from the opposite direction. Had I asked for it? In all honesty, no. But there it is anyway.

I felt the answer coming through to me, making me happy, content, joyful.

Making me feel alive.

I am still stuck in the same situation as before. Nothing has changed. The world hasn't gotten any easier. The problems remain, difficult as ever.

But now I have an answer. The one that makes me smile, that makes me laugh, the one that makes me wake up in the morning feeling that there are angels in the world after all.

Now, as I sit here writing these words, I find myself asking only one thing:

Where the hell have you been all my life?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Galaxy: The Prodigal's Return

Jayken walked down the corridor, excited to be hearing the voices echoing around the corner. He knew who one of those voices belonged to.

He missed her.

He had missed her dearly all this time.

His heart beats faster in anticipation as he turned the corner, a wide smile plastered on his face.

Then he froze.

Kye.

He was laughing along with her.

And his arms were around her.

Then their eyes met. His laughter faded away, his smile transitioned into a cold smirk. "Hello, Jayken.”

The anger simmering beneath the surface remained so for now as Jayken struggled hard to keep his cool. The memories, the fury, the rage came rolling back, hammering its way through the mists that was a time long ago. He tried to hold all of this back.

And he was rapidly failing, his clenched fists visibly shaking. “What are you doing here?” he growled.

Jo’s face quickly puzzled into confusion. “You guys knew each other?” She looked at Jayken.

Jayken flicked his hardened gaze towards Jo. “You brought him here?”

“Yeah,” came the answer, still unsure of what is going on.

Jayken looked back at Kye, that cold smirk still on his face. “The thought of you and Tristan makes me sick," he started, his voice low. "But the thought of you and him…” he breathed that out slowly, the feeling under his neck getting hotter all the time.

I need to get away from here.

Jayken turned and began to stalk away. Kye called out to him, the smirk completely gone. “Jayken!” When Jayken didn’t stop, he turned to Jo, “I’ll be right back.” He started after him.
Jo tilted her head, her confusion clear for the world to see.

“Jayken!”

“What do you want, Kye?” Jayken hissed, suddenly stopping and swiveling on his right heel at the same time. His body faced the corridor sideways, but his eyes were fixed on Kye.

“Jay, chill man,” said Kye, slowing to a stop. The anger in Jayken's eyes burned him, so he pretended to look downwards as if to size him up. “What’s the matter?”

“What’s the matter?!” The incredulity on Jayken’s tone rose. “You know full well what’s the matter.”

“Jay, I don’t unders…”

“You made me tell your lie,” Jayken's voice lowered to nothing more than a hiss. He clenched his teeth the entire time, tempted to spit out the ground enamel at Kye. “You made me tell your lie, and now Dallas is dead! And for what?” he flailed his arms. “For what?! An empty worldship that’s not even fully operational!”

“You think Dallas died for nothing?” Kye raised his voice, no longer willing to be polite. “He died for you, he died for me, he died for these punks here you call your friends. He died for the war!” He stopped to catch his breath, loudly inhaling and exhaling them. “It was a good sacrifice.”

Kye didn’t see Jayken’s fist as it flew towards the side of his face, catching him straight on the eyebrow. Neither did he truly realise what happened as he was flung, shoulder first, into the opposite wall.

What he did realise, however, was that he was in a lot of pain.

But that was only after he realised that he couldn't see properly as the blood trickled into his left eye.

“HE WAS MY FRIEND!” Jayken roared, loud enough for Jo to reach and cover both her ears. “NOT A LAMB WAITING TO BE SACRIFICED!”

Kye felt the blood as it trickled down his chin. His lower lip was busted open as well. He felt for it with the tips of his fingers, and examined it, before glancing up to Jayken, meeting him squarely in the eye. “Is this how you treat your friends?”

“You just remember you are not my friend.”

Kye sighed. “Well…” he began, trying to piece together the correct train of thought that won’t have Jayken ramming into him again. He gave up, and let the truth find its way. “I’m sorry you feel that way. I wish I didn’t have to lie to you. But I did have to.” Pause. “You wouldn’t have helped my otherwise.”

“And I’ll never help you again,” Jayken responded, his voice full of venom. “You can count on that. Even if you were dying of thirst on the Salikh One, I wouldn’t even spit on you.” And with that, he looked up to Jo for a couple of seconds, before stalking off.

“Jayken,” Kye started, just before Jayken turned the corridor. When he didn’t stop, he raised his voice. “Jayken!” When he still didn’t stop, Kye forgot all about his pain, and became defiant. “That’s right, Jayken. Walk away. Walk away!”

Jayken disappeared around the corridor.

“The GREAT JAYKEN WESTLEY!”

Monday, June 20, 2005

Love is Dead

"The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love."

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Take One

"Come on man," said Iqbal, his eyes squinting behind the viewfinder of the video camera as he focussed on my face. "Say something."

We are at his house. It is 1am in the morning. I had just finished interviewing his maid for a class presentation tomorrow (typical. The presentation is tomorrow and I do the interview the night before). My shirt is untucked, my hair dishelved, my eyes red and heavy at the end of a long day.

"Something," I smiled.

He looked up from the camera, looking straight at me, as if he's about to smack me for pulling another lame one. I returned the favour, before we both broke into a smile and laughed. It's a routine that never fails. "Come on man, seriously," he said, as he eyed the finder once again. "Say something."

"What do you want me to say?" I moaned, not exactly enjoying being in front of the camera. Somehow I've always enjoyed being behind it; I get incredibly self-concious of myself on camera ("There's so much oil on my face I'm beaming like a freakin' lighthouse!").

The red light came on. "Anything."

"I can't think of anything right now."

He stopped recording. "OK." He pondered that for a couple of seconds. "Imagine that you're saying it to your girlfriend. What would you tell her right now?"

"I don't have a girlfriend."

"You know....OK, just pretend that you have one or something." Pause. "Alright, I'll give you...2 minutes to think of something. I'll even..." motions towards Najyah, his girlfriend, "I'll even turn off the lights. Maybe you can think better like that."

He is persistent. "Alright, I'll do it," I relented, willing to indulge him for a bit.

"OK!" he beamed. He motioned to Najyah again, who flicked off the lights. "I'll turn it back on right before we start recording."

I sat there, engulfed in my thoughts as darkness descends. Though the light is turned off, some of it filtered from the kitchen, now the sole source lighting my eyes. I thought hard. What would I say.

Before I knew it, time was up. "OK," said Iqbal as the lights came back on. That wasn't two minutes. "I'll signal to you the countdown, before I start recording, alright?"

I nodded my understanding.

"Alright," he peeked through the viewfinder once again, before raising his hand and stretched out three fingers on his right hand. "Three," one of the fingers folded. "Two," and so did another. The last one was silent.

The red light came on.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Chosen One

They say that you may not choose your family, but you may choose your friends.

Though is not untrue, it doesn't tell the whole story.

For sure, I may decide and choose to whom I shall grant the chance to be my friend. At the same time, I cannot grant myself the same to be someone's friend, for just as a man's soul is his alone to keep, so I may not move another's heart to open up and let me in. That choice is theirs and theirs alone to make.

Thus, I thank you, for I am honoured at your decision, at your choice, to call me friend.

To friendship.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Thin Red Line

Where do you cross the line? The line between never forgetting the mistakes that you made and the lessons that you learnt, and not being able to let go?

Is there a difference between the two? Or are they just different ways to explain the same thing? One with good connotations, the other tainted with the bad?

Is there even a line there in the first place?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Traitor

Dear Turncoat,

How dare you.

How dare you go and do that to me. Despite all of that which I have done for you, you went and you did just that.

I find it difficult to swallow. I have trusted you, put my faith in you, believed in the good of you that shall always prevail.

There must have been times when I feel more letdown, but right now nothing jumps to mind.

Why didn't you do it? WHY?! I ask of you only one thing, ONE THING, and you don't even do that. And it's not even for me! I've never asked for me, only for others, and you don't. Do. Even. THAT.

Until now, I have never doubted your capabilities, but now perhaps therein lies the problem: you are not capable.

You don't do it because you simply can't.

Or perhaps there is simply no good in you.

I hate you.

The question now is...do I do the same to you? Given that you've turned your back on me, should I return the favour and give you the cold shoulder? Like for like, eye for an eye?

I think not. Just like an eye for an eye makes the world blind, so shall my faith, my trust, and my belief in you return to where it was. Time will pass, and my hatred shall die, of that I have no doubt. I will forgive you, for it is within me to do so, even if such faith may ultimately be proven to be misplaced.

But mark my words.

I will never forget this.

Sincerely yours,

Fikri

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Dark Ages

Q. What do medieval knights do when they're bored?

A. They send each other chainmail.

courtesy of Eddie G.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Hero of the Day: Rupert Augustin

"Forgiveness is love in its most noble form"

If there was one person who could personify the phrase ' black sheep of the family' to its fullest extent, it would be the only man I will ever have unconditional love for, my father, Rupert Augustin.

Rupert is everything. The husband, the father. The friend, the foe. The serious, the joker. The night, the day, the rose, the torns. He was the 4th child in his family. When his parents seperated, his father took the 2nd and third child. His mother chose the eldest and the youngest boy to take with her. There was no space for Rupert.

30 years later, there is still no space for him. More often than not, he is not invited to family sinners or drinks, unless he is needed when they lack financial backings, or have no transport, mostly. My grandpa Stan would never tolerate this, but he's gone. And Rupert has learnt to stand on his own, just has he always has been.

It has been in times when the Christmas meals mean nothing as his family fights, that I have seen the essence of his heroism at the very best. He is often shouted at and is constantly subjected to their mental and emotional abuse. But he never fails to say at the end of the day, with all the spears of lies and deceit that impale him - ''She is still my mother'', ''He is still my brother'', ''I am still her son."

He rarely ever gets angry (contrary to the Augustins in general who have uncontrollable tempers, like moi), and when he does, he takes it upon himself. He has never once let his
children see the side of him, that many of us would deem as simply human.

He smiles at every opportunity possible, and calls me & my brother up from a million miles away just to tell us a joke, just so he knows he made our days a little brighter. Even at times when bleakness engulfs him. He just never fails to make me feel like life is worth living.

My dad, to me is the strongest person I have met. I am his daughter.

K.A. Augustin

* This was written by my friend. I was sitting around the M Lab, seeking inspiration, and asked her who she admires. "Elvis," she replied quickly.

"No," I said, thinking that he's too famous.

"Gandhi."

"Too common."

"My dad."

I stopped, intrigued by her answer. "Would you write about it?"

"Yeah, sure."

Friday, May 27, 2005

Forgive Me Father

Q. What do you call a sailor who's done horrible things?

A. Sinbad.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Fight Club

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, May 20, 2005

Raging Bull

I was upstairs, playing around with my sister.

Thud, followed by the sound of a plastic cup clanging its way on the floor.

The hair at the back of my neck stood up. I knew exactly what it was.

Me and my sisters rushed downstairs, two steps at the same tie.

My brother was on the floor. He lies sprawled against the sofa, which he seems to have fallen against.

My sisters went to his side, while I grabbed a pillow to cushion his head against the sofa. I checked for blood.

There is none.

All the while, he seems glazed, as if he doesn't know where he is. That is normal. It always happens when he has his fits.

But there's something else.

A small sound escapes his lips.

He's moaning.

My brother only does so when he is in extreme pain.

I hesitated, wanting to ask him where it is. But I can't.

I feel hopeless. I don't know what to do. This...helplessness...this weakness of mine...shit...

It threatens to burst out of my chest.

I felt for his leg. He moaned louder, pushing my hand away.

There.

I went to the kitchen.

Why? Why?!

Why is always a question that's dee...

SHUT UP!!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Knight Rider

Eric Clapton's voice drifts lazily into the night air. The street lights flashed by, silhouetting my face by strips of yellow lightining repeating itself endlessly.

...I said my darling...you look wonderful...tonight...

He's good.

My hands are firmly fixed in the 10 to 2 o clock positions. Gilles Villeneuve, the late F1 superstar, abided by this fanatically. If it was good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

The night breeze rushes past, the windows wound down. I let the rush push me back, forceful, but gentle. Strong enough to know that it's there. That it's making a difference. It knows that I am in control. I can decide how fast the wind is blowing into my face, my neck, my hair.

The pinnacle of the overhead is nearly there. My left foot pushes down on the clutch, driving it forwards, jamming my soles into the floor. Left hand moves down. Enclosed the gear stick with my palm. I nudged it forward, quietly anticipating the slight jarring right about....now. Thud. I pulled closer sideways, pushed forward. Clutch free as my right toe pushed downwards, the brakes untouched.

Thud, thud. The whirr of the engine drones on, comforting me with its monotony.

At this point, I am reminded of a phrase in an article about Ferrari's pit crew:

Everything - even reaction to the totally unexpected - is carried out with metronomic precision: click-click-click.

Metronomic - mechanically or unvaryingly regular in rhythm

I am driving nowhere. It is 1:43am according to the car clock. In reality, it's somewhere slightly before 1:30am. The clock is set some time forward.

Ahead, a bend approaches, I lift slightly, letting it come on to me, before firmly gripping the wheel with both hands, neck almost unconsciously sided to my left, slowly...slowly...

...left.

The car swerved, slowly, but not losing its speed. The tyres picked up grip beautifully, friction warming the tarmac as it controlled my Satria's descent.

It never fails.

The bump approaches. I flinch slightly, but not bothering to swerve pout of the way. The tyres, the suspension can handle it.

Boom boom.

I know this car. It knows me. I can push the pedal this hard, pull the steering wheel this left, swerve and friction forcefully, and I know exactly what it will do. How much it will stop when I touch the brakes, how the front-bottom-left light isn't working, how the dent near that is caused by the time I grazed a stationary Mitsubishi pick up, slightly missing my friend's sister, the tin-can passed off as its body not quite near the level of Stuttgart metal.

I know how it will scythe its way through the air nonetheless, the particles respectfully pushed aside, a sea of the invisibles giving way to the galloping knight.

My knight.

I am in control of everything.

I am king.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Oh Susanna!

While we live, there is yet hope.

Susanna Khoo

Thursday, May 12, 2005

?

Everything I tell you is a lie.

Why?

The answer lies in the question itself. And at the same time, it doesn't, for why is not question.

And yet it is.

Why is a question that is always deeper than its answer. For in asking the question why, it is not the answer at the end that we look for, but the journey towards it.

Hence, it is not a question. It is a task, an undertaking, a journey that we must embark upon in order to understand, to fully comprehend.

And sometimes the answer that we look for is not there. Or at least we think it's not there.

But it is. It's there everytime we ask the question, everytime we set upon the journey, for this is where the answer lies.

The journey is the answer.

The question and the answer are one and the same.

And because many can undertake this journey, many will inevitably have their own answer. One may also undertake it and get different answers each time. The answer that you get from the journey is your truth. Yours and yours alone.

Which is why truth and lie are one and the same.

Which is why everything I tell you is a lie.

And the truth.

My truth.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Time Bomb

Tick...

Tick...


The clock ticks its way down. Slowly. The ticks are almost comforting, it's monotony almost soothing to the soul.

Almost...almost.

A look at the timer. The time shrinks ever smaller.

You desperately want to stop it. Throw it out of the window, run away, cover yourself with anything and everything within reach.

With reach itself.

You know it's coming. You know that the timer will go on counting. Until it counts no more.

Until there is no more.

And there is nothing you can do about it.

Tick...

Tick...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Clone Wars

Farish

This is Farish Hakim.

He is the only other person I know to be named after me.

People say he looks like me.

No suprises there, then.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A New Hope

Today, my wisdom thinkers...

...May the 4th be with you.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Welcome Aboard the Ride of the Relative Midnight

10:55pm. I was on my way home from university, and I realised that I left my Star Wars:Traitor book in the Multimedia Lab. Not in a particular mood to do my academic readings, I spent the ride home on the LRT merely observing people.

These are the fruits of my thoughts.

A man sat down, arms folded across his white-shirted chest. His head leaned against the glass panel, wearying away to a short nap. He seems preoccupied, almost despondent, even in apparent sleep. His brows creased. I wonder what thoughts are running through his head. Perhaps he is thinking about his job. Maybe about his girlfriend. Could be that his family is giving him grief.

Perhaps, maybe, could be.

Whatever.

Across on the other side, a baby's scream wailed its way throughout the train. All heads, concious or otherwise, instinctively flick in that direction, hailed and deemed an audience by a baby.

The man grumbled silently, and turned away.

The trained slowed to a stop. The warm night air worked its way through along with the people as the door swooshed open. An old man came on board. He carries with him a school bag, lightly packed. His white hair and glasses makes him look much older than he probably is, though I reckon he's pretty old. Then again, what do I know?

I motion for him to have my seat, and stood up, erect like a soldier called to attention by his commanding officer. Except that a soldier doesn't carry a black bag that he slings over his shoulder (maybe). And he isn't (usually) ordered to sit back down, the old man refusing my kind gesture. "My stop is only a couple of stations away," he said in Malay.

I nodded, and smiled.

The woman next to me. Smartly dressed, professional looking, almost aloof. She crossed her legs, using it as a pad against which her notepad rested. She is writing.

Rare that, these days, in the LRT.

I looked over. Her eyes were in rapture, concentrating hard. Her black hair fell across her face, prompted by the swaying of the train. She held the pen with one hand, and with the other, quickly swept it back across her head. She continued writing. The whiff of perfume is strong. I don't know what brand it is, but it smells nice.

It always does.

I feel inspired (not because of the perfume, mind you). So I took out my own notepad and started writing a 'stream of conciousness', the contents of which I won't reveal here.

Another stop. I no longer took notice of time and place. It no longer matters to me as I shot down every single thought that came into my head (or try to). I only realised where I was when an old lady staggered into view. I looked up, and got up.

She refused the seat. Not even a word, just a shake of the head.

I sat back down and continued writing.

I wrote for 20 minutes, and got through 3 pages. In the end, I have a hard time reading my own handwriting. But that's OK. It's not the reading that I'm looking for, it's the writing.

It's liberating.

My stop came too soon.

And so did the goodbye.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Of Life And Oranges

Everybody thinks their story is most tragic. I am no different.

Jeannette, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
________________________________________________________

I stand atop Mount Faber, looking out into the vast, dark expanse that is Singapore. I'm told that it is the highest point of the island.

It's beautiful at night. During the day, it becomes like any other Asian city. Busy and plentiful, though relatively clean.

But at night...

At night it would light up, its inhabitants asleep, resting for what tomorrow may bring them. Tonight, I bear them no grudges.

Tonight I marvel.

I look at the flickering lights in the distance, rows of little orange beans lighting up the entire island.

"There is no part of Singapore that is dark," said my friend who was also my host. "Everywhere you look there is light."

And then God said, let there be light. I can't remember which day that was supposed to be.

No matter.

I look at their life, and realise that it is only and exactly that. Their life. So much more to this world than our own. Their tears, their pain, their frustration, their anger, their love, their joy.

Their home.

It's wonderful.

I bid them a slow goodnight, letting it drift into the etherness of the never ending night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Plane and A Bird

Flying is a nice way to die.

For if I die.

They will never.

Ever.

Cry.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Rest in Pieces

"What is real? What is illusion? Where is the line between truth and lie? Between right and wrong? It's a cold and lonely place, Jacen Solo: the void of not knowing."

I tossed and turned, stared at the ceiling, contemplating, thinking, wondering.

Why can't I sleep? It has been a long day, my body is tired. It screams out for rest, for respite and salvation.

But my mind has other plans. And that itself doesn't plan on letting me know what it is.

So I lie there, wondering. Thinking. Endlessly thinking.

"You think too much, Fikri," said Sarah a couple of days earlier. We were munching on our respective Auntie Anne's at the time, its sweet taste slowly dissolving itself.

Maybe she's right.

"How did you know I'd come home?"

"It is an instinct of all pack animals: the mortally wounded crawl back to their own dens to die."

"Wounded?"

"With the greatest wound a Jedi can suffer: freedom."


I went for a drive. I took out the Kia Carnival some time around 2:30am, and drove aimlessly. Lazily, even. Jamie Cullum's voice was filling the air. What a difference a day makes.

What a difference indeed.

I had no idea where I was going, but then again, I don't have to have one. It's not where I'm going that's important.

It's where I'm coming from. I just need to get away.

I'll never know where I'm going. I can plan, I can dream, but ultimately I'll never know.

But knowing that is not important. Getting right or wrong isn't the issue.

I just need to get there.

"When you always know what is right, where is freedom? No one chooses the wrong, Jacen Solo. Uncertainty sets you free."

I'm home from the drive. I ended up driving all the way around my neighbourhood, before venturing out to Ampang and Cheras, and getting quite close to Bukit Jalil, via the MRR2 highway.

The Carnival is parked inside the gates, safely stored for another day. I put on 'Shrek 2' and laughed all by myself.

He shrugged listlessly. Life, death - all was one. One with the Force. He said, "The Force doesn't care."

"Don't you care?"

"What I care doesn't matter either."

Corners of her mouth tricked up and down. "Does it matter to you?"


I got into bed, and lied there, letting all the things run through my head. The past day, the past month, the past year. I had called a friend earlier, and we had chatted for about 10 minutes. She always had a problem sleeping. I wonder if this is what she feels every night.

"Welcome to my world," she chuckled.

I blanketed myself.

After a long, long silence, he sighed. "Yes. Yes, it does."


*Excerpts taken from 'Star Wars: Traitor' by Matthew Stover

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Running Man

There was a point of time, when I would wake up early in the morning. Slightly before 6, I would clamber out of bed, suit up, and jog off.

I would go on doing this even I don't feel like it. Many are the mornings when the alarm clock would slap me into lame conciousness, faithfully ringing my bells. Back then, the alarm is a Bart Simpson product, which would hail me with its "Yo dude, wake up and get out of bed!"

And by reflex, I would press the snooze button, and turn over to nuzzle even deeper into my duvet.

"Yo dude, wake up and get out of bed!"

"Yo dude, wake up and get out of bed!"

Five minutes later, I would be out of the house, jogging. And walking. Then, inconceivable only ten minutes earlier, I would run.

That short burst of energy would leave me a spent force in no time. But still I do it.

I would soar spiritually as I was being continually drained. The more I run, the harder and faster I do so, the happier I become. A huge burden would unlift, itself out of breath.

Left behind.

That's why I love it.

I felt like I was running away from my problems.

Nowadays, I don't do much running. In fact, I don't do any. Time is of the essence. The debate club, COSTA, my assignments, my videos and my family are all taking on an increasingly high place in the list of priorities.

I'd bite off more than I could possibly chew, drowning myself in mountains of work. But I'd go on struggling, fighting, trying. I'd drain myself.

But that's OK.

In a sense, it feels as if I'm still running.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Live Strong

I believed in belief for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe – what other choice was there? We do it everyday, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery.

So, I believed.

Lance Armstrong - Cancer survivor and 6-times Tour de France champion

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Emoticon

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Yoda - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
_____________________________________________________

Bullshit.

Anger, fear, hatred should be seen for exactly what it is. An emotion. Something that happens. Something that cannot be controlled as it is.

Nothing more, nothing less.

And emotion serves as a catalyst. Nothing more, nothing less.

It may lead to other emotions. It may lead to action. It may lead to good, and it may lead to evil.

Anger may lead to a curiosity to understand. To understand why. And in understanding why, it may lead to ridding that anger.

Fear may lead to a definition. A definition of who we are. In knowing what we are afraid of, that definition may lead to a confrontation of our fear, for we cannot face something that we do not know.

Hatred may lead to action. An action that will lead to greater good, for in protecting that which is dearest to us, it may lead to the preservation of life.

Of course, all the above may still lead to death and destruction. Hell, the above may be exactly that. The trick, therefore, is not to control our emotions, but to control our reaction to that emotion.

Because what may come of that emotion, is a reflection ourself.

Not that emotion itself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Dead End

Flying...

...is a nice way to die.

So is dying in your sleep. A nice place to die would be in church.

Die while sleeping in a flying church.

That would be a very nice way to die.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Hero of the Day: Fazly Jermadi

Every time I come home, he is there. Waiting, for something that he and only he knows.

He lies there, cross legged, on his sides, in front of the television. His fingers would be dwindling strips of newspaper, leaving a mess everywhere. I'd lean down and rustle his curly hair. He would look up, at me, through me, straight in the eye. Squints, almost as if he recognises me, then looks away.

I'll never know if he did recognise me.

I'll never know what my brother really thinks of me.

Fazly Jermadi is an autistic. He was diagnosed with autism when he was six months old. There are several definitions for autism, but I've always defined it as something that affects how you interact with others.

I write about him because he made me realise how difficult life can be for someone who is disabled or living with a disabled. He made me realise how difficult life can be.

I look at him and wonder how difficult it is to be him.

He reminds me that I have been given the chance to live, to lead a 'normal' life. It is a chance he will never have.

And because of that, I will never forget how lucky I am.

How lucky we all are.

And my brother goes on.

Waiting.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Thing About Valentine's Day

With the recent Valentine's Day having passed, there are no doubt many who celebrated it in the conventional style. Roses, dinners, and other treats.

And of course, there are those who don't. These select bunch tend to proclaim it to be "fake", the sort who believe that "love should be celebrated 365 days a year, not just on one particular day."

And that Valentine's Day itself is "something invented by shopkeepers and florists to make more money."

Which is kind of silly. It might be true, or it might not. My point here is that it is an excuse. An excuse for you to wine and dine your loved ones, or just to spend more time with them. You're willing to give up on potential time with your loved ones because of something that might or might not be invented by other people.

Of course love should be celebrated every day of the year. A lot of things should happen a lot of the time. But here's a fact: it isn't always so. For whatever reason, things just don't work out. Is this bad? Is this good? I don't know. But I do know that the celebration of love, rightly or wrongly, does not happen on an everyday basis.

It is like the movies. We go and wacth a movie. We know it's not real, but we try to enjoy it for what it's worth. Even if it purports to tell a true story, we know that isn't the real story itself. It would have been pulled this way and that to fit the requirement of your standard two hour fix.

Don't want to help those who apparently invented it to make money? Then don't. Whoever said you have to spend money on expensive flowers and posh dinners anyway? If you can and you want to, fine. If you can't, use your imagination. Take them on picnics. Make dinner. Organise movie marathons.

And if your partner insists on expensive flowers and posh dinners, you're probably better off without them.

Valentine's Day is fixed. It's fake. It's not real.

So what?

Celebrate love...whatever the reason.

* An article written for the February issue of Siren, an internally circulated COSTA publication within Monash University Malaysia.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Dark Horse

Q. What do you call a horse after sunset?
A. A nightmare.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ugly Duckling

The sun sets, the river flows. Nearby, a flock of ducks paddled, a small one left behind. This tranquil setting is bathed with an evanescent glow. You can feel it, but you can't touch it.

You just know it's there.

The year is 1999. I am standing in someone's back garden. Someone that I had only just met, and yet had offered me a lifeline. An act of generosity that would shape me, redefine me, and reconstruct me into the person that I am now. It was not without strings. I would have to make sacrifices that I never thought I would have to at that age.

I would have to stop being me. And in doing so, I allowed myself to grow.

I allowed myself to be me.

But at that time I pondered. I was unsure of the path that lies ahead, and even less sure of how to walk it.

The duckling remains, its pack paddling away. It tries vainly to follow them, their trail mapped by the rippled waves left behind. The duckling is not the prettiest of the lot, its whiteness tarred by wet dirt on its side. Maybe someday, this duckling will become beautiful and fly, I thought to myself, as it paddles its way towards its flock.

I smiled.

This duckling will fly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Timeless

Let me tell you a secret, something they don't teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment may be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be more lovely than you are now. We will never be here again.

Achilles - Troy
____________________________________________________

60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

That's a lot of seconds in a lot of minutes in a lot of hours in a lot of days in a lot of weeks in a lot of years.

That's a lot.

So there's a lot of time. Right?

Wrong.

In reality, we only live in one moment. In the now.

Not in yesterday, not in tomorrow.

And yet many waits for tomorrow.

Waiting for a day that will never come.

That day will never come because it does not exist.

And not only us. But everyone else. And everything else. Everything that exists only does so in the moment that is now.

Right now. In this moment that you are reading these words.

This second is all that matters. Nothing more, nothing less.

Why wait?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Bittersweet Symphony

Bittersweet
by Anonymous

this morning i saw you on my pillow,
i smiled hello,
and peace came over...
the dream nearly lasted forever.

yesterday you said hi,
didn't we say goodbye?
you are the only in my heart;
we will remain apart.

i love bittersweet like i
love you; ecstasy and pain so sky high.
i rather not look at you to love you,
but still, i rather love you.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Round Hole Square Peg

There is a peg and a hole. The peg is square and the hole is round. It does not seem as if the peg can fit into the hole.

Or does it?

Just to make sure, you pick up the square peg and try to place it into the hole. You try, and you try. The more you try, the harder it gets, even though by now logic confirms it's not going to work.

Still, you want to make it work. So you try again. And again.

And then you stop. You wonder if another peg might fit the hole. Maybe a smaller peg. Perhaps even a round one.

Or maybe you need to change the hole. Maybe it should be bigger. Or maybe it should be square.

Maybe both. Maybe neither.

Maybe you just need to keep trying.

On the other hand, whoever said that you have to put peg in the hole?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wait No More

The brittle air envelops him, the rain arrowing his skin. Blood dripped from his arm as he stumbled, crashing into the walls from side to side.

It was dark. Only the cold pavement ahead. He can see nothing more. In the distance, a cat howled, trash cans clattering after it.

Finally, he came to a rest. He dropped, knees-first, to the pavement, its wetness bringing relief to his feeble body.

His breaths grew shorter as he struggled up. Slowly. Slowly. Crawled and leaned against the wall, seeking comfort in its sturdiness.

Slowly.

The rain continue to splatter, relentless. The pain in his arms ached further, not helped by the gap in his shoulder. Crimson leaked there, patchy.

The rain gets there too.

He clutched himself, holding in his stomach, hoping the insides would remain so. Pain snaked its way through, the venom a drug he couldn't live without. The drug of life.

He had never felt more alive.

Most people don't get here, he thought. They don't get anywhere. They sit where they are comfortable in their zone, confident in their stride.

Afraid of living. Afraid of pain.

What is living without pain? The definition of life, the fuel of civilisation, the very catalyst of society itself.

Everyday, everywhere, everyone, one way or another, is hurting. But someday, somewhere, someone will be hurt enough to do something about it.

Pain cracks its whip, and all that lives will move.

Not him. Not this time. There he is, all of the pain in the world telling him to move. Telling him that he has been a stupid boy, to leave and drop everything just like that. Patience. Good things come to those who wait.

What if you have nothing to wait for?

Pain is telling him that he will die. Soon, if he does nothing about it. Pain is telling him to get up, to move, to go and seek help. To scream out and shatter the metaphorical silence.

He did none of it. He is no longer subject to pain.

It is no longer his master.

Not long now, he thought to himself, revelling in that rare, visceral pleasure that those before him felt when they realise that there is nothing left.

He looked down, chin resting against his chest.

Not long now.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Uncommon Courtesy

The thing about common courtesy is that it is common.

That may sound head-smackingly obvious, but I think it's worth pointing out, as it is not done as often as it probably should be. There are, of course, different levels of courtesy, but there are times when it gets to the point where you just don't expect it.

"Hi everyone," said my friend to her other friends. She did a gathering at her house recently. It almost went without saying that I was late. "This is Fikri. He's my friend from uni."

I shook hands and listened out for names I will soon forget.

She led me to the food table, where she kept getting interrupted by people. Lots of people. She listened to them and acknowledged what they are saying, before introducing me. "Yeah, it's over there. By the way, this is my friend Fikri." She did this, over and over again.

For some reason, that makes me feel important (whether I am is probably another story). But what really impressed me was the way she did it. Casually, normally, relaxed. As if it is to be expected.

Like it's the common courtesy it is.

I realised why it felt nice. I didn't expect it. Such gestures had become uncommon to me.

It really shouldn't.

Thank you, Dina.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hopeless?

I was sweeping the outside garden of dried leaves and dust when I realised I had swept along something else.

A flower. A single, red flower. The same crimson stalk that I had written in a previous post (Hope Springs Eternal), when I supposed the idea that the flower represents hope.

There it lies, lifeless amongst the dross.

Does this mean that hope is dead?

*Apologies for not writing much recently. I had that feeling where I couldn't be bothered. You probably know what it's like.

Monday, February 14, 2005

My Love My Valentine

"We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end."

Benjamin Disraeli

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Memories

A pair of headphones, a tattered old wallet, a Turkish bowl, a McLaren F1 model car, a blue teapot, DVDs borrowed from friends, and DVDs not borrowed from friends, amongst other things. I see a mess. But I like it. I know where everything is.

Pictures too. My eyes rest upon my little sister’s picture. In it, she couldn’t have been more than 10 years old (she’s now 12). She had given it to me as a birthday present. Unsmiling, seemingly shy, almost afraid. Incredibly smart and funny, she clams up whenever she is around people. I always tell her not to be so. I wish that others get to see a side of her that I see everyday.

I blinked, the humid air welling my eyes. The window is open, me wanting a breezy air would get lost and find its way into my room. Instead, its humid cousin is here, the days almost unbearably hot. I swiveled and shut the windows.

Turning back, a paper flower in a pen holder. A close friend gave it to me (I suppose you could say she gave me her flower). She made it during a debate training session during the semester break. I remember being surprised to see her that day, but it was of a pleasant kind. By that time, we had yet to know each other as well as we do now, but I’m glad I did.

I picked it up, having not touched it for a while. A thin layer of dust couldn’t disguise its beautiful construction. Sturdy, compact, its folds neatly lined. There were times in the past when I considered conducting reverse engineering on it, to know how she did it. I have meant to ask her, but I keep forgetting.

A set of unframed photos. I specifically printed them, for they are great reminders of some really good and fun times. I had never gotten round to getting a photo frame, but that’s because I like to change it every now and then.

Right now, it’s my sister’s birthday last year. My sister is holding aloft a CD player, with my parents and my little sister looks on almost in adulation. They are smiling. My parents are divorced now. Looking at the picture, I find myself wondering whether that was the last time we were all happy together. In the background of the picture hangs a family picture taken at Greenwich Park. It is one of my fondest ‘family moments’.

That picture is no longer there.

I picked up the photos, and flicked through them. Lunch at KL Tower on Mother’s Day last year, the day that my mother told me I have lost the “human touch”. Next, a picture of me and my classmates. After that, a frozen moment of my autistic brother, a reminder of how lucky I am. Eventually, I settled for my and my friend at the ball. I remembered that night well. It was a good night.

My Star Wars books, in chronological order, teaching me more about life than most teachers I know. My music collection, charting my rise from bubble gum pop to evergreen, via rock, techno and ballads. Empty boxes of computer components that I purchased after a month of hard working in a carpet shop, during which time my boss tried hard to not pay me. My Tamashi CD player that has served me well since 1999, comforting me through cold nights when I first lived overseas, away from my family.

Looking around my room, I don’t see inanimate objects. I see people, memories, pain, anger, love, happiness, joy, life.

My life. A mess.

I love it.

*Entry for a competition at The Particular Ordinary.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Starry Night Suprise

I walked along the river at the Esplanade, marvelling at how beautiful Singapore is at night. The breeze shaved my skin, teasing with its coolness.

They have a small stage along the riverfront. Tonight, a musician is performing her heart out to a small but noisy crowd, each one of them lapping up her melodic voice. It is actually rather good, and I had previously jostled with my friends to get some good seats (it was free), but left them and went for the walk instead.

I settled down on the benches along the riverfront. To my left, a bunch of kids were jostling excitedly, snapping moments for themselves that they will look back years later and laugh at how silly their hairstyle had been back then (that thought made me smile).

To my right, a couple adopted a more professional approach, complete with tripods and zoom lens. They were taking turns looking through the lens, seeing the other side of the river. I looked across, wondering what was it that had them smiling with silent contentness. Not seeing anything out of the usual, I leaned back, and necked my head upwards.

And was rewarded with a most beautiful sight.

The night was dark enough for the stars to come out and play, little twinkling spots, with non-twinkling blights (satellites) blotting the sky in its apparent randomness. The cloud formations moved, encouraged strongly by the wind. Big, small, in all shapes and sizes.

Sitting there, looking at it, it doesn't feel like the cloud itself is moving; it feels as if I am, like the whole world is, always in a constant motion. A reminder that no matter what happens, tomorrow is another day that the sun will rise and set upon, another night when the stars comes out to delight us, blinking almost mischieviously. A reminder that the worries of yesterday, like silly haircuts, will become nothing more than old news.

That life goes on.

In the background, the crowd broke into a rapturous applause.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Before Sunrise

It was a couple of weeks back when I spent the whole of Friday night (and early Saturday morning) doing anything but sleeping. I went to my friend's house for her birthday party. I played drinking games in which I didn't drink. I hung out at mamak's with people I don't know. I watched Chicago for the first time. In other words, things that I don't usually do.

Good fun, good people, good times.

What made is the best of times, however, is something that happens every single day.

It was around 7am, as I made my way back to my friend's place with another friend of mine. When we got there, the sun was just rising. We took the opportunity to sit down and look at it.

At first, the orangeness of the sun was quite fade. Then it brightens, so much so that the orange is no longer there. It was replaced by a yellowness that melts my heart. The view gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, one that I get when I am confronted with a thing of such beauty. It feels like no words can do it justice.

I took a deep breath, trying to take in as much of the scene as possible. Our position was prime to its slow arch as it greets the world for another day.

A couple of birds flew across that bright sphere. It seems that they are in a rush to be somewhere. I wonder why it is, what they might lose by stopping by and admiring. Then I realised.

To me, the sunrise carries with it a sense of beauty that inspires a million thoughts about a thousand things. It is something that makes me wish and hope, that allows me to feel melancholic and tells me no matter what happens, tomorrow is another day. Another day in which to love and to cherish.

To the birds, it is something that happens everyday.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Winter of Discontent

Winter of Discontent

The one photo from 2004 that made me think the most.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Multiplicity

"Are you OK?" asked my friend on the way to work one day.

I grunted an affirmative, not particularly in the mood to do anything more taxing.

"Really?" she asked, not entirely convinced.

The trouble with being me is me itself. Just like a story, there are different sides to people. I am no different, and there are times when I feel like showing a side of me that I may never have shown before.

I am sure you know what I am talking about. There are times when you just don't feel like doing or saying things. The point is not about what you're saying or doing, but what you're feeling.

You feel fine. There is nothing wrong.

And yet, because you are not saying much, because your body language may read otherwise, people ask of you things like how you are. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It shows concern, empathy, support.

So what do you do? You won't get people to stop asking you how you are, nor will you stop doing it yourself. I suppose it is enough to understand that there are many sides to a single person, and none dominates over the other. Just because it gets more 'airtime' doesn't make it any more real.

The sum may be greater than the parts, but it is still made up of the parts. And there are more than just a few.

"Yeah," I said, turning my head around. "Really."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Hope Springs Eternal

As with most days, I water the plants. The only difference now is that I was helping myself to some chocolates. So that's me watering the plants with my left hand, and several squares of Cadbury's finest in my right, its ends already marked with littles waves arond the edges.

Then, suddenly, as the chocolate slowly slithered its way down my oesophagus, I noticed. A flower. Not just a flower, but a flower that is blooming in the middle of a plant. In all that time it has done nothing more than to shine brightly a tonal shade of green.

Now it has one flower.

I couldn't believe it. I must have watered that plant for years, and nothing ever happens. And now there it is: a lonely, crimson stalk jutting out amongst a sea of lowly green.

And just to complete the picture, a small bird suddenly stopped, perching itself on the wooden gate of my house. It chirped shrilly, reminding me of Flitwick in Pocahontas.

I packed up and went inside.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Remembering What Is

What if.

One of the trickiest questions that is ever likely to be asked. And the trickiest part of that lies in its answer rather the question.

There is no answer. And there is one.

There is no answer because the question asks of us what would have happened. It asks us something that we, mere mortals, are not privy to.

What if...I had stayed in London?

What if...I never went to London?

What if...I never went to Monash?

Asking 'what if' conventionally will give us an answer that is limitlessly endless.

What would have happened? How do you answer that? Anything, everything and nothing all rolled into one.

I will never get an answer that will tell me what would have happened. I could spend years on end thinking about this.

But I don't ask the question conventionally. Which is why I think about it a lot.

I think about it a lot because I will never know what would have happened.

But I do know what wouldn't have happened.

I know that I would not have met all the wonderful people that have coloured my life in various ways.

I know that I would not have been through all the experiences that have made me into the person that I have become.

Thinking about what if...reminds me of what is.

The things and people who are important in my life.

And in remembering, it allowed me to cherish them. Which is why asking 'what if' gives me the greatest gift I could ask for.

The ability to remember.

To never forget.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hero of the Day: Jamie Furniss

I went to the World Debating Championship recently. Siding with Monash Australia throughout, and watching their debates, one debater from Ottawa caught my eye...but for the wrong reasons. He debated very well, but didn't take any objections from the other debaters (considered a must in the debating world).

His name is Jamie Furniss.

By the end of the tournament, he wound up being the World Champion.

But that is not why I am writing about Jamie.

What do you think a debater would do when he has just been bestowed arguably the greatest honour of his debating career, the highest any debater can get? I don't know about the others, but I know what Jamie did. Instead of going home to his friends and family in Canada, he changed his flight plans and went to Phuket to help with the relief effort (check out his progress here: Some news and CUSID Donation).

What would I have done if I won the Worlds?

Probably not this. I probably don't have the guts for it.

Jamie does.

That's why he is my first ever Hero of the Day.

Jamie, I salute you.