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.