Sunday, March 25, 2007

Who's the Man!?

Everyday, I get home from work around nine at night. I normally make something light for supper and gorge it down in front of the TV. Then I sit in front of the tube until bedtime.

It was fair play at first, or so I thought. I keep TV company and TV keep me laughing and informed. But unknowingly, TV had been working on a wicked evil plot of world domination, numbing into stupidity one brain at a time. So TV was hypnotizing me all these while. And it got me. I’ve traded my will and soul for a couple of hours of laughter and drama every night. TV totally owns me now. It tells what to do and when to do it.

No, I have had enough of it. I’m sick of the rubbish TV is dishing out to me. I’m not taking any of this shit no more. Down I’m but definitely not out. I’m fighting back. The gauntlet is thrown and I’ve declared war with TV!

Sun Tzu said that in wars, when know yourself and know your enemy, you’ll win all your battles.

I pulled the plug on that little sucker. Let see who’s the man now.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fly Away

W must have like 12 billions butterflies in his stomach. His veins were all tied in dead knots that were impossible to undo, his head were a sloshing and dizzying turbulence, his feet were icy cold and his hands were all jittery as if he was high on meth. His speech was reduced to such a slur of almost incomprehensible sounds.

W was beyond stressed out. He could hardly crack the faintest smile, as his elaborate and colorful Javanese-Sumatran-Banjar style wedding to his beautiful and graceful wife-to-be, D, was barely days away. Oh yeah, no wonder he could not smile!

The 2-day wedding festivities were full of traditions and highly symbolic. First day were the showers for the going-to-weds. Separately, both the bride and the groom had the first sprinkle of water gently splashed to them by the respective parents at the exact same moment. Thanks to the count down via mobile phones. Later that night was the bachelor night rated G at W’s place, loads of singing and food. Then the second day was the big day with the lavish wedding ceremony and the opulent reception at night, attended by hundreds of guests.

Throughout the 2-day affair, there was a particularly poignant moment. After the morning prayers on the shower day, W knelt in front of his parents. Solemnly, in simple but moving words he gave thanks to his parents for their love and upbringing, he proudly announced his plan to get married then humbly asked for his parents’ blessing and finally he sought forgiveness from his folks for all his wrong doings.

Half kneel and half crawl, he then moved forward to his father, kissed him and embraced him. Next to his mother, he kissed her and embraced her, then put his forehead on her laps. She bent down placing her hands and head on W’s shoulder. She was crying. At that moment W lost it. His nose turned red and quickly followed by his eyes. His throat turned lumpy and choked. They locked in such gentle embrace, like forever. It was truly powerful, intense and emotional, one of those moments that split one’s life into before and after. With that blessing and embrace they gave away their only son (In Javanese tradition the groom live with the bride in her family after marriage). From then on, W was all grown up, leaving home and starting a family of his own.

Congratulations W.

All the best, D.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

When You Believe

Religious rituals and praying ceremonies are fervently observed and proudly practised in Bali. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of temples on the island, all extremely well kept and extensively decorated with intricate carvings and wood works. Walking along the street in the morning, there would be a lot of colorful offerings of rice, sweets, flowers and incense lining the sidewalk. The locals go to the temple to pray early in the morning before starting their days. Such is the devotion of the Balinese to their religion.

Early in the last evening of my stay, I heard some commotions outside my hotel room. I went out to the porch/balcony (I stayed on the ground floor) to check. Outside, next to the building was this narrow strip of land and there was a shrine erected towards the back of the building. There were almost the whole hotel staff there, dressing mostly in white, sitting or kneeling down on the ground, holding the flowers and incense, praying. In front of the shrine was a table filled with more offerings: a roasted pig, towers of fruits, flowers. A priest presided over the worshippers, chanting mantras and splashing holy water.

I stuck around to take some pictures, trying to capture the solemnness of the ceremony. Through the lense, I saw absolute devotion, resoluteness and faith on their faces as they prayed, with their eyes closed, their closed palms placed upon their chests. They prayed, surrendering themselves to God. The serenity in the air was both powerful and comforting at the same time, even to a skeptic like me.

At this moment, I'm not particularly religious. I envy the Balinese's devotion.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Finders Keepers

I was about five. We were still living with grandmother. It was our morning routine that I’d follow her to the market every morning. By market, it was simply a truck filled with various farm produce parked beside the lane in the neighborhood. It was an important place for the trading of two commodities, first the produce and then gossips, or was it the other way around.

I remember that morning vividly. We got there a little early. There weren’t a lot of ladies around yet. Grandmother was busy with shopping and I was allowed to hang around the produce truck. I was squatting down next to the truck, fiddling with the fishes in the bucket. Then something on the ground caught my eyes. It was a red paper on the ground. It was a ten-ringgit note! I scurried over, scooped up the tenner and stuffed it into my shirt in like three nanoseconds! Then I tried very hard to play it cool but I was just about to burst out hollering with the incredible joy of “I found 10 bucks!” I just wanted to get home ASAP and tell grandmother about my little fortune. The feeling was as if I found a fortune! Well back then ten bucks worth a lot to a five year old.

I was one hell of a happy kid that morning!

A couple of night ago, I headed to the car park for my car after work, cutting across the fountain park as usual. I was almost dragging my feet along, head hanging down low as I was beat from a long day as well as the hour-long workout. I just wanted to get home ASAP and get some chow down. Then I stepped onto a piece of paper on the sidewalk and it jolted me a bit. It was a green fifty-ringgit note. “Is this for real? Or am I just hallucinating?”

“Wow, that’s a lot of dough!” Being bigger, quicker and stronger now, I scooped the note up like a super reflex reaction, in barely 0.2 nanoseconds! This time around I just stood there, holding the note in my hand, looked around at the trickling flow of foot traffic, in my head questioning how could they have missed this.

“Is this some comedy prank show from TV?” Quickly, I swirled around looking for out-of-place characters or even hidden cameras. Everything seemed normal. But as I walked away I was anticipating the TV people jumped out from nowhere shouting “Gotcha! You greedy dog!” Oh my, I’ve been watching way too much TV!

The whole thing did not feel right. It was just too good to be true. I felt bad, perhaps a little guilty taking the money actually. I didn’t know why. Maybe it was because I did not earn it. It felt like cheating to me, somehow. But whom was I cheating? And how?

Driving home I remembered that happy morning when I was five. It hit me like a sledgehammer, realizing a day and night contrast: I did not feel the slightest joy of finding the 50-buck note. Instead there were doubt and skepticism. I kept thinking there must be a catch somewhere, there’s no free lunch in this world. Well in this case free dinner. This was too sweet of a deal. It was unreal.

It was exactly the same situation some twenty-five years ago but things did not seem so complicated. Why? Am I incapable of being happy now? Boy, I am turning into a drama queen.

Perhaps I’m too caught up with this growing up and being successful business that I lost the inner child in me. Perhaps the office politics, the long hours and the traffic jams numb my most simple and natural feelings. Perhaps I’ve been subconsciously building up a shield to protect myself and to survive this dog eat dog world that I’m trapped within my own cage.

Now I am a drama queen!

The truth is there wasn’t any elated emotion picking up the note that night (so not Chinese!) and that had to do with the fact that things been insanely hectic lately.

I just wished I was five again.

Friday, March 09, 2007


It has been a long week. In fact it has been some long weeks lately. The stress and frustrations and rage and anxiety have been brewing steadily and about boiling over now. The sense of loss and uneasiness and gloominess hovering around are overbearing. This negative energy just can't be shaken off and it's driving me nuts.

It's Friday night. I need a stiff one and I can use a fag to unwind.

Good thing my brother just walked in. I stole a cigeratte from him and made myself an extra strong screwdriver.

You know what, I can use a couple of Vicodine or Prozac. Or both.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Taking Pictures in the Bush

I went walking in the bush again. Well it's was taking pictures in the bush priority number one, and walking was the only way to get around.