Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kain Pelikat & Pagoda T

I have decided a long time ago that I will live a stress free life. After almost two decades in the construction business, my current job which I held since 2006, has been a dream.

Although, just the bean counter, as one Australian Engineer called me, my stint in the construction industry had me stretched both ways, by the demands of payments by the subcontractors and suppliers, and begging for payments from clients and employers.

Since 2006, I have further evolved to become even more stress intolerant. So much so, that when my current employer is now asking for attendance for our annual dinner, I had the inclination to tick the "not attending" box. My excuse, it will be on a Saturday night, and I am to dress up in the prevailing theme and I will have leave the comfort of my home in Shah Alam and drive all the way into the very heart of Kuala Lumpur... Like I have been doing, almost daily, for the last decade.

My perfect weekend will be waking up for the dawn prayer, and then crawl back into bed until the sun shines through my bedroom window and starts warming up bedroom above non-sweating temperature. Also, by then, those pesky birds would start making a commotion with their chirping and squawking outside my window. Thereafter, I would stumble down to the kitchen, finding my wife diligently doing something (if I am lucky, it will be breakfast, if not she would be starting lunch, or just cleaning up, and lunch will be on me...).  After making myself a hearty breakfast of sunnyside egg sandwich and Ali Cafe with ginseng and tongkat ali, still in my kain pelikat and pagoda T-shirt, I go back up stairs, and plop into our reclining sofa and watch whatever that I may have the slightest of interest on TV, like a bunch of people forging a weapon, or some people bidding for abandoned self-storage facilities, or if I am lucky , some old movies that I have seen a couple of hundred times before.

At some point, I may possibly fall asleep, until my darling wife calls me down for lunch or wakes me up and say say lets go out for lunch. I prefer the former, of course, not willing to get out of my weekend attire of pelikat and pagoda T.  Lunch is followed by the compulsory afternoon siesta.

Into the night, and I await the start of the weekend football, or when there aren't any football, any sport event will do, tennis, badminton, Formula One maybe, Ping Pong captures my attention sometimes... anything competitive to make up for my dormancy.

And to think I will have to give all these up, just for a few hours of mingling with my bosses, colleagues and staff, entertained my a local artist, eat a five-star dinner.... Are they out of their minds...

But, alas, I have to say "yes, I will attend" just for the sake of humanity (staying in touch with other humans) and, also, my boss expects me to be there.

Now I have to shop for a Hawaiian Shirt.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Annual Year End Rant...

Here we are at the end of another year. I have lived long enough to no longer expect the so-called new year brings new hope. New year's day is a holiday celebrated by everyone on earth no matter what race or religion they are. Perhaps, for that few minutes or seconds before and after 12 midnight, we, or at least the majority of the citizens of earth, are one. Then, at 8 am on 2 January, we get down to doing the same thing we did before we go on our year end holidays. For a fleeting moment we live in a fantasy, living the life we dream of and still earn a decent salary, before, the work week start again, schools are opened, and we are at the top of the ride again, spiraling down into the abyss we call life.

That is, until we retire. For some, retirement seems like paradise. After the long hard life that, the promise of days of doing things because you want to, not because you have to, is the highest level of living on this earth to be achieved. Then, after a while we find out, that we need to have some motivation to push us to do the things we want to do. Suddenly, life loses all its meanings. Many turn to God, spend time at mosques, re-learning the Quran, listen to talks and sermons of the best ulamaks. Well and fine to prepare oneself for the afterlife.... it's just that we're not dead yet.

Some of us are still (relatively) physically healthy, we can still think rationally, and we have so much experience and knowledge of the world that we can (if we wish to) impart to the new generations. Except that, most of our knowledge is obsolete. Or, totally useless, at least in the present world of smart things.

Going back to our daily grind, as we start a so-called new year, we are becoming more relying on technologies we don't understand. We imagine that we are the masters of this technologies because we can command it, by a press of a button, or the swipe of the screen, to do our bidding. But, we don't understand how they work. We only know that we need to do something simple and a bunch of invisible algorithms in a device that we can carry with one hand, do all the work, then, in a literal blink of an eye, we get the result. Slow devices that takes too long to process our request are reviled and replaced. Too long could be about 20 seconds or more.

Little babies can use these devices with ease. Give them one of this smart things, and they will leave you alone for hours. And, some parents actually clap their hands in glee to see their cute little off-springs poke their cute little fingers on the screen. Little do they realize that the little baby, with its limited knowledge and zero life experience, is able to do the same commands that we adults do. Who needs brains.

That is our future, that is what we will be. The machines are taking over. The servants are slowly rising to become our masters.

Look out for a man with Austrian accent demanding to see Sarah Connor. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why I hate pets

Today, my son, Aiman, accidentally stepped on our pet hamster, Bucky. The late Bucky was brought home by my elder son, Afiq, not more than a year ago. Bucky was a winter hamster. That's why Afiq named her Bucky (before confirming Bucky is a she) after Captain America's nemesis and best friend, James Buchanan (Bucky) Barnes a.k.a, the Winter Soldier. This is the fourth pet we had to bury, (if you count the five or six Koi Fish as one since they all died together when the aeration pump stopped overnight). I felt sad every time we lose a pet. 

That's why I hate them. I get attached to things (dead or alive) easily. I guess I am insecure that way.

When I was young, some one gave me a balloon, the first one with helium in it... just like the ones on TV. I loved it so much... I had it tied to my wrist for the whole day. Then, while sitting on the sofa watching TV, the string must have come loose, and the balloon floated up.... toward the spinning ceiling fan. By some miracle, it did not pop, and floated away after being hit by one of the fan blades. But, for me it was a traumatic incident. I watched in utter horror while the stupid innocent balloon rose up to the merciless menacing blades, destined to certain doom and oblivion. I cried my eyes out, my brother-in-law looked on, unbelievably and with ridicule, while my sister (Kak Besah) comforted and hugged me to her breasts, saying it's OK, it's OK.

Before that I had a cat, whom I called Lassie, after the famous TV dog Lassie, not knowing that Lassie was a girl dog and that my cat is a male. The cat looked nothing like Lassie the dog. It was white with a couple of black patches and a short tail. One day I heard a commotion outside, and saw Lassie the cat writhing on the ground for what seemed to be a long while before he became quiet an died. He was run over by (I think) father as he was reversing out of our garage.

These traumatic incidences have sworn me off having pets. I hate having pets because they die.

The last one that made me cry was our rabbit Nibbles, when he died in June 2016...

Today, it's Bucky's time.... I will miss her...


Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Perfect Day

What is your perfect day?
Asked the motivator
I look at him and smile
A perfect day is when
I created something
A drawing of anything
A pattern on a piece of white paper
A paragraph of my thoughts
Add another chapter in my unfinished novel
Typing in my blog about random things in my head
Lazing around doing nothing
But, to the motivator I actually said
Achieving what I was set out to achieve...
Corporate objectives and KPIs,
Meet my deadlines, and perform the best for my masters.
That is really my normal day...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It's My Brothers' and Sisters' Fault.

I am a daydreamer.

Being the last one in a family of eight older siblings, I was born at the stage where my parents were already fatigued by child raising. Not that they did not care, just that... they are not overly concerned. There are pros and cons, I was only caned once by my father when I refused to wake up to go to school. I never wanted to go to school, but that day, for reasons I cannot recall, I pretended to sleep so deeply that even after my father carried me in to the bathroom, I actually laid myself down on the cold and wet bathroom floor. This is nothing compared to the punishments that younger (and angrier) father laid on my elder brothers (at least according to my mother).

I read somewhere, someone said that the two things that influence your future most are the people you hang out with and the book you read (Now, I believe we must add to the list; the movies you watch, the social media group you are in and the Youtube video you watch).

Analyzing the people around me as I was growing up, my friends are mostly the small town boys who lived in my neighborhood and my school friends, and they do not like to read (apart from this very popular Malay book called Mona Gersang, which was passed from one teenage boy to another). But, my elder brothers and sisters were English educated. We watched English TV programmes, and English movies (although, the first movie I ever watched was Achir Sebuah Impian, starring Broery Marantika and Emilia Contessa), listened to English songs and read English books.

So, it's their fault. My sisters and brothers, all grew up during the British occupation, albeit towards the end of it, had shaped me in a way that made me think better in English than in Malay. They exposed me to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones to name a few. The only local celebrity that can be added to that list is P. Ramlee. I was exposed to some Malay arts and culture, too, but, mostly I know the song but don't know the artist. My sisters reminded me that I used to stand on an old dressing table and sing "Si Cincin Emas". I probably wiped that out of my mind when I hit puberty, because I have no recollection of it. 

The Beatles had the most impact on me. Especially, when I read that I share the same birthday with John Lennon, only 24 years apart.  And, when I learned that they are a group from Liverpool, England, I made up my mind that anything that came out of that place must be good. Hence, I am now a Liverpool FC supporter, though I never set foot on English soil much less on Merseyside. (Lucky for me, I only learned of Everton football club later). 

So my siblings gave me the preference of English over anything local (languages, etiquette, products, etc.), but, they were mostly inclined toward arts rather than science. Somewhere, somehow, as artistic as some people say I am, I love science. I love Physics, especially, even when don't I understand much of it. This is a mystery to me. Why do I bother to read Stephen Hawkings' "A brief History of Time" and Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" cover to cover without fully understanding it... 

For my SPM, I had only two A's, English and Physics. Maybe, had I been more focused, and maybe if I had known that arts and science are not mutually exclusive, I could have been another Michael Crichton or Steven Spielberg...

But, no... I do not regret not having written a bestselling science fiction that would later become a series of blockbuster movies and made millions. In fact, I think I prefer to be on this side of the screen, enjoying the finished products. Products of my imagination. I imagined a starship like the Enterprise, of hi-tech spy gadgets, the possibility of interstellar and time travel, hover cars, robots and artificial intelligence.

I just don't know where all this interest came from. But, it was started by my exposure to western cultures brought upon us by the British Colonials, passed on to me by my brothers and sisters.

To my Akak-akak and Abang-abang, thank you, I love you all.... God bless.    

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bury me at sea

When I die, bury me at sea
So there will not be an obligation
To water my grave, and sprinkle petals on it
Or, the need to worry what people will think
of how my grave was hardly visited...
Life goes on for the living
Time has stopped for the dead...
When I die, I only hope to live in memories
of those who want to remember me.
Say a prayer for me whenever they pray
Not only, on the eve of Eidul Fitri, throng the cemeteries out of guilt
That the dead was abandoned for 364 of the 365 days in their year...
No forced tears to be shed
No need for silent contemplation
as they sat about the stones that marked the place of my decayed remains
When I have become one with the earth from whence I came...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Reacting to A Reaction

Stephen Covey wrote in his book Seven Habits, that as humans we are not supposed to be reactive. We are not animals that make decisions on the instinct of life preservation and the survival of the species. That was one of the biggest "AHA!!" for me in that book... although, in truth, there were many, at least one on every page.

Alas, we are but creatures of emotion. If indeed we evolved from apes, the survival instincts has perhaps evolved into ego and, for some of us, it is bigger than the real feeling we feel for someone.

More often than not, we react to what we perceive to be hatred, or anger, or disgust. This perception is so often wrong, yet our ego concludes that, that someone who treats us differently today, must be angry at us, because we just did not have the humility to ask... are you angry with me? or, did I do something wrong?

Humility is the key and communication is the window. If you do not have the key then the window will remain shut, and the person you love on the other side will never know how you really feel about them.

The longer the window remains shut, the further away we'll drift apart. The next thing you know, loved ones become strangers.

I wonder if I (again) I have learned this lesson to late......