Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nature's love

A friend from the other side of the world was wandering through a corn field one day.

She lay down spontaneously between a row of corn stalks, before she realized a love-shaped hole on one of the leaves, courtesy of some 'lovely' pest.

This was taken in July this year. I kept the picture all this while, waiting for the right moment to release it.

Maybe the time has come. Maybe I should let it all go...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A session with Dr Ooi Kee Beng

I was in Borders this noon, to attend a brief public session with Dr Ooi Kee Beng.

An established writer, his books cover a wide range of topics, but he focuses more on local politics. His biography of the late Tun Dr Ismail abdul Rahman, also our former deputy prime minister, caught my attention in 2007.

"The Reluctant Politian : Tun Dr Ismail and his time" was published serially in a segment in Malaysia-Today. It chronicles the life of Dr Ismail, dubbed "the man who saved Malaysia" for his actions as the home minister in the period succeeding the tragic May 13 racial riot of 1969.

Dr Ooi is a fluent speaker of English...his spoken English is as good as his writing. He speaks out his mind naturally, and delivers his idea in such was a privilege to hear him in person. He talked about being a good writer...the do and dont's, deriving points from his own experiences.

But frankly, the crowd was very poor in number. There were empty seats everywhere...I seated at the far back. I was the only Malay present...sandwiched between a row of two young Chinese and a family of an Indian.

"My books" said Dr Ooi "were published mainly in Singapore".

"We have to master the language, not to let the language to master us. Sometimes we think we already mastered the language, but it's not the case. We've become the slave of the language"

"Sometimes, we have to rewrite the whole chapter. There were times when the idea seems to stray from the intial argument"

"We need to concentrate on one page at a time. That's how could we come up with over 300 pages book. Imagine if Nicol David was trailing 8-1 in could she win the match? By focussing on one point after another"

"The title is important as well. It keeps our focus on the main discussion. And I created all the cover of my books myself"

As Dr Ooi drove his points, I wondered how did he manage to be the man he is today. He must have been an avid way could he write a succession of good books without himself being a keen reader. He admitted he doesn't write fiction...I bet fiction doesn't interest him much.

The session ended half an hour later, and he received a couple of questions from the public. An Indian man in front of me asked about freedom of expression...whether Dr Ooi faced any scrutiny for his outright views expressed in his books.

"No...never. It is important not to criticise without substance. The way way we projected our view is also important..."

I smelled something fishy about that Indian guy. His two sons were seated next to him. From his way of talking, I know he is not from the establishment school of thought. But I let my suspicion to remain with myself.

A young Chinese man inquired about Dr Ooi's inspiration. After that, the crowd went more questions being asked. Dr Ooi looked into my eyes, and asked whether "us", the young generations, have any other questions.

I threw a smile and responded indirectly that I have nothing to ask.

Then, the said Indian guy began talking about his son, who is supposedly learning history. Of course everyone learned history in school...his action puzzled me. What was his motive? But then his motive became clearer. He began talking about distorted view in history....about heroes that shouldn't be called heroes.

That confirmed my earlier prediction that he is from the anti-establishment side. But luckily Dr Ooi handled him perfectly.

"We don't have much time in school to teach everything" said Dr Ooi.

"So it boils down to tertiary education" added Dr Ooi. I can't remember much of what was being said by Dr Ooi, because I focused my whole attention on that arrogant Indian. Lucky my spoken English is not that good...I could have shot his points down at ease if it was otherwise.

And the session ended peacefully afterwards...leaving me wondering, where are all the self-glorifying, 'liberated' Malay bloggers in the blogosphere? none were there. Are they not interested in learning some tricks to write better from the master himself?

Maybe they are already good enough. I wonder.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A dream too far...

I didn't get enough sleep last this entry won't be long. I'll put a stop when my energy runs out.

Me, Amir, Hafiz and Fahmi played Football Manager throughout the night. It's mind-boggling to think that the over-aged teenagers like us, with me being the youngest, still play this addictive football game. We hardly find a good time together these this is an excellent chance to make up for the lost time.

Fahmi is still his former self...he didn't change a bit. He reminds me of our younger days...when we browsed through daily life together. No worries...only happiness and excitement along the way. We made mistakes then...but things happened. It's no use crying over a spill milk.

Five years is just too short. I wonder how the elected President of America could ever achieve anything in that short period of time. Time just flies pass us without we ever realizing it.

When I was a small child, I looked upon the sky whenever a plane flew passed over my head. I wondered, then, when will I ever be on that plane? Do I stand a slightest chance, to experience the sensation of flying? If I do, what would I be then? A scientist...travelling by air to meet fellow scientists overseas? A doctorate student on board to attending an international conference?

When I first stepped up onto a plane, I ignored all the warning signs. I didn't turn off my hand phone. I didn't tighten the seat belt when the plane was about to take off (I didn't even put the belt on) When the plane was just seconds in mid air, I looked down to the vast land under me, and muttered to myself " younger me. I have failed you"

My only dream is to serve the nation. I'll begin by caring for myself, taking good care of my family and my immediate relatives, and reaching out for the poor and the needy as far as I can. I'd like to inspire instill confidence in them, helping them realize their true potential so they could use it to the maximum effect. But judging from my current condition, maybe it's a task too tall. A dream too far.

I think I need my rest now. It's been an incredible weekend. Maybe a weekend to remember.

Dec 7, 2009
2:49 a.m

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Going Afloat...

After months of solitary confinement, I will let Pancasara float again in the blogosphere.

Some of my avid blogger friends have either abdicated or retired for good. So it's back to square one...I will become a lone blogger again.

I have so much in store....I should stress again Pancasara is my reflection of what is happening in my life. One day, when I'm gone, this is the only place where people could extract accurate and reliable information about the roller coaster ride of my life. I maintain my earlier position that 97% of the content in this blog is true.

So I need to roll up my sleeve and get ready for the bumpy ride ahead...for Pancasara's life is very different from other ordinary folks. I am an ordinary man doing ordinary thing in the extraordinary atmosphere...

The next posting should be about someone very close to my heart. I would be a long story with lots of accompanying pictures...but I'll save the details for now.

For the moment, welcome aboard, Pancasara....brave the sea, and the opportunity is as endless as the horizon...

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Homecoming...

Fahmi arrived two days ago. My best friend in my sophomore year in USM, his sudden arrival came quite as a shock for me.

The last time I met him, it was a year back. Then, I was just coming back from a rare trip to KL.

I went there by first ever experience onboard. I went straight home after that, only for Fahmi to arrive days later in USM to complete his hectic 3-week intensive study schedule. He asked me to keep him in Firdaus the ‘Papa’ was unable to join him.

I took some time off in the comfort of my home before agreeing to his request. It was a short semester break in USM...and I was still plunged deep inside my depression period. I needed space and time to recover...what better way to rejuvenate yourself than being in a company of somebody who understood you inside out and shared your agony?

We were born in the same month, have a strong passion for football game, used to skip classes together, used to quarrel about petty issues, have had a fair share of betrayal from someone close to our hearts, and did stupid and useless things together.

For three weeks, we locked ourselves in our room in Indah Kembara, battling head-to-head in Football Manager. I had the upper hand over I was using Liverpool (with Torres firing on all cylinders) and he was managing his obviously weakened Arsenal side. He grew frustrated with the game...and at one time, he tried to block my acquisition of Ricardo Quaresma by deliberately (and of course, desperately) launching a late bid. But he failed to land that flamboyant winger, indeed he settled for the unknown Loric Cana.

Loric Cana, then the captain of Marseille, did score against his beloved Arsenal side in the Champions League. Another player, Fernando Belluschi, which I signed, was playing with another Champions League side that night...but we failed to get a glimpse of him. Most of the young players we knew today were the result of Football Manager.

This time around, Fahmi will be here for three weeks. Much had changed since then...but some things remain the same. Not even the passage of time will change them. Hard times are ahead...I wonder what’s his plan for the future, but for an intelligent man like him, I’m sure he’s got plans already hatched for the future. It won’t be easy, but we’ll try...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Moving On...

It’s been two weeks since I moved into my new home.

I left with a mixed feeling. Of course Hamna did leave a big emotional impact on me...having been there since May this year.

But it had to be done...Hamna is just too crowded. The parking lot was packed with cars...the environment was only a bit better than awful. And not a day passed without a doubt casted on my mind about the state of the tap water. Hamna is deteriorating badly...the whole area should be demolished and rebuild from scratch.

I’ll miss that cute, cherub little Chinese girl on the ground floor. Daughter of a very young mom, that innocent look caught my attention whenever I passed through her little comfort home. She just can’t stop playing with herself. There were no less than seven people packed into that house. I don’t know how they could live in that condition.

Next to the house, resides a family of Indian Muslim. They spoke alternately between Tamil and Malay. Once, they conducted a Yassin recital ceremony inside the house, with the door widely open. But religious tolerance is widely practiced here...everybody respects other’s religion and beliefs.

On the fourth floor of the building opposite mine, lives an old man of Indian origin. I suspect he is an Indian Muslim too. Everyday, he’ll sit on the balcony, with books on his hands. He’ll read and read...sometimes for three to four hours long, until late evening. He’s very old...I wonder where did he derive that insane stamina from.

Just in front of my house, lives a family of African origin. On their left is an Indian family...and an eccentric Chinese group living on their right. There was a time deep inside one late night, a young Chinese man laid unconscious in front of my house. It terrified me indefinitely...I really thought he was dead. A group of men, believed to be his friends, promptly explained to us that he was drunk. They picked him up and brought him inside their house with a burst of laughter.

It was a nostalgic moment when Ah Yong and Kamarul paid a brief visit to the house. It was there Hafiz humbled Sabri again and again in the game of football. Sabri grew tired of that and struck a boycott from the game. Amir came once in a watch football or to have a simple chat with me. It was there that our relationship strengthened...I gradually learned and understood the inner side of him.

It was a memorable moment, and it left a lasting impact on my mind. I don’t know when will I visit Hamna again, but from the look of it, it just won’t happen in the near future. Thanks for all the memories,’ll be out of sight, but not out of my mind...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Accuracy Of Death...

What if you know when will you die? If the exact date of your death was told in advance, what will you do just before death come calling?

When I was diagnosed with some kind of disease a year ago, I thought it was just a minor issue. Nothing to worry about...I can continue living my life. Read books, watch movies, play badminton, brush up my squash skills, eat extra meals, surf internet, sleep, dream, sleep again, and work part-time.

Since I was a small child, I was blessed with a great health. I never really contracted major disease, a stark contrast with my sister. Before she turned 7, she was diagnosed with blood cancer (popularly known as Leukemia). Mom and dad tried hard to save her, they gave out their best. One day, an anonymous guy miraculously saved her through blood donor, but mom and dad failed to find that godsend guy. We could never thank him enough for his deed.

When I was in secondary school, sister was caught with another fatal disease. This time around, her lung was found to be filled with water. She had this bad habit of bathing at night. She suffered terribly...and she kept on fighting to survive. She told us she felt very sharp pain whenever Doctor gave her injection...she was running out of tears to cry. She managed to survived this fear eventually...and was discharged off.

From that point onwards, she never really contracted any major disease.

When I was in standard 1 or 2, I accidentally cut my finger. The wound was quite deep, but I hid my hand behind my back, and asked permission from my teacher to go to toilet. On the way out, I showed my bleeding finger to Busra, and she was rightly shocked. I washed my bleeding finger with clean water. Although it wasn’t bleeding profusely, the blood just can’t stop flowing out, and I started to feel out of consciousness. I sat down beside the pipe...and almost fall asleep.

I cheated death on more than one occasions. One day, somewhere in 1993 or 1994, in the middle of a heavy downpour, I recklessly crossed a road. A speeding car came just within a striking distance...even to this day, I still can’t believe my luck. I’d be dead for sure if luck wasn’t on my side that fateful day. And I attributed that luck to God, He still wanted me to continue living and repent whatever sins I’ve committed.

There was one time, I rode my father’s bike so fast in the middle of the night. It was early 2004, and out of nowhere, there’s a voice in my head telling me that something was wrong at the end of the road. I continued speeding while trying very hard to figure what my unconscious mind is trying to tell me. To my horror, the road split into two directions, forming a junction. And there was a river on both sides of the roads. I applied the break just seconds before the splitting road, and it saved my life. I lost control of my bike, went to the ground...but fortunately I escaped that incident injury-free.

There were numerous other occasions where I should be fatally injured...but somehow I managed to dodge all the bad luck. To this date, my bones are never been broken...I keep my frail body in the best condition. I exercised, keep my diet in check, regulated my sleeping hours, and keep my brain recharged by reading good materials. All these are crucial to maintain a good health.

But there were times when things are out of your control. Some ripples turned into a massive tidal wave, a spark turned into a raging fire...these kinds of things disturbed us endlessly. It disrupted our pattern...and we morphed into something else. Something unthinkable...out of this world. It forced us to be somebody else...even thinking of doing foolish thing.I know the matter of life and death is in God’s hand...but I’d be happy if I could live past 60. That time was enough to accomplish my dreams...

Written somewhere around 2007, I found this piece stacked alongside my other unpublished articles in my hard disk.

Inspired by a Japanese movie with the same title (which I never watched), I began writing...but it sent chill to my spine whenever I went through this piece. The thought of suicide was very close to my mind...all the things that surrounded me during that period seemeed too much for me to stomach.

Thank God nothing happened...