Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Heroes


"When the chips are down, and you're at the end of your rope you need someone that you can count on. And that's what you'll find here - someone who'll go all the way, who'll protect you no matter what. So don't lose hope. Come on over to our offices and you'll see that there's still heroes in this world."

Allen Francis Doyle, private investigator

________________________________________________________


The 'Angel' television series ran for more than five years, racking up over 100 episodes during that time.

And yet, the most memorable character for me was Doyle, a half-Demon who appeared in 10 episodes.

And the most memorable part about him is the quote above, which has been in my head for the past 9 years.

Perhaps now I can exercise the (half) Demon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hero of the Day: My Half German/Half Japanese Baby

Heroes rarely come in the shape and form in which you expect them to be.

Thus, the hero of today is not quite what you expect it to be. Nor is it for the reasons you expect her to be one, either.


For she has given me companionship through the lonely nights, ever loyal and steadfast in nature. She's easy to turn on, and to slip things into (provided that they're of the right size, of course).


She has lead me to laughter, moved me to tears, driven me to succeed, and mocked me to misery. Yet/Thus, I am inseparable from her, for without her I couldn't write my scripts. Without her, I couldn't edit my videos. In a sense, she is my muse. I have slept with her, cried with her, anguished over the pain she went through when she became ill with an infection.


Once, I had to keep her permanently plugged to the life support machine, for her heart had grown so week. In fact, the situation was drastic enough that I had to arrange for a heart transplant...and conduct the operations myself. I sought the best cures that I could afford, for she is my baby.


My hero.


My life.


I love you.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Parent Trap

Parents don't know everything.


There, I've said it. They don't know everything. They most certainly don't know best. Many others may be willing to testify the same sentiments, and even carve those very sentiments into stone. But before that gets into overdrive, let's rein in that fever pitch right now.


Dad”, I wrote in the SMS, “Need help with the phone lines. Need to install it at the new house. Any ideas how much they cost, and how to go about it? Thanks.”


I had expected a response that detailed a rough estimation on the basic costs and what I could expect from them.


What I did get was actually a precise, concise exercise in how to sit back and learn from your old man. “Son,” he called, his response a clear verbal one down the line. “There are two things to be considered here. In order for you to get a phone line, you must have an internal connection and an external connection. Here's what you have to do...” He went on to lay down a masterplan so simple and yet complex that my mind almost boggled for a little while.


But then again, this is my dad. Had there been more time, I might have even been treated to a little history of how the telecom company was formed (and how this public utility was plundered into private entity by a greedy and corrupt government that does not care about a large strata of the society during the non-election season. But I digress).


Parents.


They may not know everything.


But they still know a lot.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Starting Point

“How vain it is to sit down to write, when you have not stood up to live.”

Henry David Thoreau, author
____________________________________________________

I have been posting a lot of quotes as of late. The idea of doing so, and of this blog in general, is to essentially give you a nugget. A nugget of information and inspiration, for information empowers, and inspiration makes you fly, but a nugget nonetheless.

A part of that is due to laziness, I must admit. But the bigger factor is that it serves as a moment of inspiration for me too (yes, I need that nugget once in a while).

My mind, for the most part, works as a 24/7 idea factory. No idea is too big, no information thought process is too small. It's like a never-ending cycle, but it is a pleasant one. The flow of idea is usually sparked by small and everyday things. Over time, they gestate, grow, develop and are finished as Optimus Prime.

As the Petronas Twin Towers.

As the bank balance of Bill Gates.

If not in actual size and physics, then certainly in execution contrasted to the starting point. And the starting point, for every filmmaker, writer, director, storyteller, is the same.

A blank page.

The metronomics of progress, time, and information spread (see, information again) has transformed us. Whereas the filmmakers of yesteryears would punch away at yellowing typwriters, on yellowing pages, the modern day, 21st century, RM10-is-a-decent-price-for-a-cup-of-coffee metropolitan creator of worlds, words and wisdom would tap away on the mobile notebooks, laptops, notepads, and what have yous. Which gets smaller and smaller over time as well.

But if the medium is replaced, the process, the starting point is not.

It's still a blank page, however and which ever way you look at it.

And, thus, here is the crux of my recent shower of quotations: It fills that empty page. Not in the sense of the physical gap that you might see on your computer screen right now. But in the spiritual sense, in the sense that jars me right to my soul.

I need to write. It may not necessarily be the ideas that float around in my head, but it is the nugget within which they gestate, age, and grow.

And with the posting of each quote, each picture, each single line joke, I am not breaking the writing process. In truth, I never stop writing. My father, a man of great wisdom if, at times, nothing else, hammered into me the basic truth of being a storyteller.

You need to read, and you need to write.

Rare is the occasion when I find something that could be so simple and yet so true rings louder above almost everything else.

Thus, in the quotes, and the single line posts, what I am doing is writing, and not breaking the process.

So...you want some milk to go with that nugget? :>

*Wishing a Happy Eid Mubarak to my fellow Muslims . May this festive season bring you and yours the very best of good luck and happiness. Assalamualaikum to all.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Celebration Time

"Remember that the reason you’re in the festival is because you made a terrific movie. Once the lights come up after the first screening, there’s no telling what’s going to happen next. So don’t postpone your celebration. Enjoy it now."

John August, filmmaker

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Until My KL Sings...

As I seek the identity from my past,

Looking for meaning, searching for my soul,

A piece of your life and your soul I near,

To quench this thirst, to satisfy my lust.


At the KL Sing Song I searched high, I seeked low,

As if in a dream, my fantasies came true

Between the lines the words reside,

More than Siti, more than Mawi.


Thus this is my hunting ground,

A place to portray your life and your soul,

From one corner to another,

I won't ever stop,

Until my KL sings...


Adi Iskandar

*A translation of Sehingga KLku Menyanyi.

Postcards from Heaven




Optimist Prime

"Optimism is what being a photographer is all about. You look through the lens at the ugliness in this world, and there's always some beauty to find."

Michael Bay, filmmaker

Monday, October 08, 2007

Disturbia

Are you happy?” I asked my mother, sipping the tea as I did so.


It's late night. Or perhaps early morning, depending on which side of insomnia you fall into. At this rate, however, it is late at night, for my body ached with yawning tiredness. And yet, there's something that keeps me awake still.


Yes, of course I am,” she replied. It had been the only time of the day when we were able to sit down and have our little chat. It has been a long time since I did so, and the path to this day had been littered with little arguments, heated debates, drawn out misunderstandings.


Thus, given the minefield that we both had negotiated to get here, I sense a little in reserve on her part. And more than a little on mine, too: it's too late (or early?) in the day to get into more arguments.


I have a beautiful house,” she continued, “and I'm finally settling a lot of things properly.”


Things could be better, of course.” She had paused, and yet that sentence come on like a train that never stopped. Never lost its momentum. “There's the thing with grandma. And your brother was admitted into hospital recently.”


A small chill went down my back. Cliched as it sounds, that's what it is regardless. “Why?” I asked, erecting another layer of defence to filter the concern. I think I succeeded, though a part of me wondered what has become of the world when a man filters his concern for his own brother.


Perhaps its just the man in the middle himself, rather than the world around.


He had a series of rather serious fits,” she continued after a matter, having sipped her tea. “I was around at the time, fortunately, and called for an ambulance. Thankfully, it worked out OK, though he spent three days in the hospital. Didn't think he enjoyed it very much.”


The conversation continued in this pattern, a conversation that deepens the sinking feeling in my stomach. It is a feeling that is alien, for it has been away for a while, but at the same time, there is enough elements that are familiar to root it into one category that I have visited time and again. Into a void of seeming unending darkness.


That of irrelevance.


Sitting there, at the table, I felt somewhat irrelevant as details of that particular episode unfolded in good time. A crazy, and somewhat inexplainable feeling. But it is what it is. A sense of disconnection with what was a part of my everyday life.


Now that I am no longer living with my family, it is easy to wrap myself in this cocoon of mine. I know not of my brother's (further) ailments, my sister's achievements, my grandmas' antics, my mother's trials, and even more of the tribulations where that came from. But at the same time, there is a sense that what I've been going through these past few weeks, that of (re)constructing a life of my own is what is necessary.


But it doesn't mean that I like it.


And thus, that void of disconnection, that feeling of irrelevance, calls out to me once more.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

James drove the Aston Martin on, smoothly caressing the steering wheel, quietly telling the car that it needs to turn up the steep road before it actually does. Next to him, his wife looks excitedly out the window, exclaiming at the sheer drop on the other side of the barrier.


Then James tells the car to stop. It does so, rolling slowly to a standstill.


She turned to look at him, a hint of surprise making her seem ever the more beautiful. Her smile curves slightly upwards, almost at the same time as her eyebrows, asking James why they had stopped.


James returned her smile, the one that couldn't quite bring the words to his mouth. He let his actions do the talking, leaning over to her, kissing her lightly on the cheek. He then reached slowly to the glove box compartment, unlocking it and unveiling ceremoniously a bottle of France's finest.


Oh James!” she squealed with delight.


As if by magic, a pair of champagne appeared out of thin air in James' arms. He flipped expertly, and gave one to her. She took one, and he uncorked the champagne bottle. The loud pop was followed immediately by laughter, as the overflowed wine bubbles made their mess in the car.


Not that James was in the slightest minding it.


They settled after a while, her in his arms, looking into the distance across the furthest of seas.


What do you think will come of us, James?” she asked. “Won't there ever be a time when you will have to leave me?”


He lazed his gaze over hers. Her eyes, blue and sparklingly beautiful, never failed to delight him, to tease his heart strings and make it sing. This time, however, there's a sense of apprehension, a grey cloud that formed on the horizon.


He leaned over and planted a small peck on her forehead. “Don't worry, my sweet,” he reassured her. “We have all the time in the world.”


His warm voice makes her feel all fuzzy inside. This really is what love is like, she thought to herself as she snuggled herself ever closer. It feels nice.


What happened next seemed to slow time itself. In the distance behind them, a quiet rumbling almost thundered its way into existence. James instinctively turned his eyes upwards, against the rearview mirror. A light blue Thunderbird was rising fastly into view, becoming ever bigger in the mirror.


It is the person in the passenger seat, however, that chilled him to his bones.


It's Blofield!” he shouted. “GET DOWN!”


He pushed her head down, trying to hide her from view, while retrieving his gun at the same time.


Blofield made the pass, leaning out of the window, a sub machine gun in his hands. He fired it, shattering the windows of the Aston Martin into mindless, chaotic debris. And then, almost as quickly as he appeared, he ducked back inside his car.


James unlocked the safety on his gun, and rolled outside, straight into a shooting position on his knees. He fired, but the shots hit nothing as the car went around the bend and disappeared from sight. He threw it to the floor in frustration.


It's Blofield!” he said, turning back towards her. “I don't know how he managed to...”


And he couldn't finish his sentence.


She lies there, unmoving. Her head slumped to her right shoulder, as her hands covered the bullet wound in her stomach smeared with blood. Her eyes were wide open with shock.


A tremor shook his body, deep from inside of him. No no no no NO NO NO came the voice from within. He rushed around to the other side of the car, almost tearing the door open off its hinges, and cradling her simultaneously. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO....


Time seemed to stop once again, but James wouldn't be able to tell you that. He wouldn't be able to tell you anything, as the pain in his heart threatened to overwhelm his every sense of existence, on this plane and the next. He wouldn't, couldn't begin to put the slow throbbing his heart felt, and yet the sheer loudness of it ringing in his ears. He couldn't even hear his own screams of anguish that tore into the silence of the Mediterannean sea like a lion's roar.


He couldn't.


No one could.


Eventually, a police officer trundled along on a motorcycle. It was almost comical, the presence of a law enforcer when the enforcement of the law itself could have prevented this. The policeman, however, was blameless as he looked in through the driver's side. “Is everything OK?”


James looked up at him. “It's OK, officer,” he said “She's just resting now. We have all the time in the world,” his voice soft at this juncture, before looking into her eyes, those eyes, for the last time. He closed them slowly.


We have all the time in the world.”


Monday, October 01, 2007

Ramadhan

Q. What kind of food can be eaten during the fasting month without breaking your fast?

A. Fast food.

Ho hum :>

The Pen, Mightier Than...

In writing, we express.


It's almost a natural form of expression, one that we can't help but do. Much like seeing letters and words that we recognise; we can't escape from comprehending the meaning between the lines. Born into us from an early age, engineered so that comprehension is but a split second between awareness, recognition, and forced acceptance.


Thus, in writing, we express. At times, the writings reflects that which resides not in us. Not deep in our hearts, anyway. The writing mirrors that which is on the mind. As it stands, it is now 1:16AM on Thursday morning, September 27. Soon enough, the time will come for me to sleep forcibly, for tomorrow there is an appointment at 11AM that I have to go to.


Forcibly.


Thus, this is what is on my mind right now. This, and others. The others...I shan't divulge here, now. If ever. The other has the capacity to render even the strongest of men motionless. Their bodies may move mechanically, but the drive, spirit, heart of the matter no longer resides there in them. Thus, they become motionless, in the sense that they have less motion.


Tis a concept that may not be grasped immediately, but then again, this is not a philosophy lesson.