Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Middle Path

Finished my progress report presentation yesterday.

I am getting better at addressing a crowd of people nowadays. I could answer questions, spontaneously asked audience for questions, and even commenting on certain facts promptly when asked, in front of all the watching eyes.

They were not ordinary people...most have at least Masters degree under their belt, whereas I only possess a very ordinary first degree from a young university. But I didn't feel intimidated, mainly because I have all the facts inside my head. You could argue with me fact to fact, I am all free for that.

But it's still a long way to go before I become fully confident in front of people. For all I know, I'm improving myself day by day.

Today is the birthday of someone whom I hold in high regards...although she may have a different perspective on me. I texted her birthday wishes deep inside the midnight cold...around 3 a.m. Never before I texted her past midnight.

I never wanted to be the first to wish her, because I believed a lot of other people were competing for that spot. If I were to join this chorus of other people, I would be just the other ordinary guy.

But I didn't want to be the last either. That was why I chose that middle spot, in the middle of the night. When everybody else were asleep, I was awake and thinking about her. And praying for her. Sometimes, to be special, we need to take the middle path. Not the first, but not the last either.

She replied this early morning. A very deep and meaningful reply. That just made my day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Half Past Midnight

This simple piece was written earlier this month, precisely on Feb 3. I had just finished a book then and had difficulty in sleeping...a common occurrence nowadays. So I turned on my laptop and started writing, although I didn't have a clue on what to write.

In the end, I managed to sleep. Maybe writing is my best cure for insomnia.

Half Past Midnight
Feb 3, 2015 

It’s half past midnight and I still couldn’t sleep. So I’ll write something to pass the time.

The problem is, I am in no mood to write anything. I’ll just scribble the word as it comes to my mind to break this writer’s block.

I've just finished a book which I borrowed from a local library. “The Art of Thinking Clearly” is quite a masterpiece. Full of psychological insight and anecdotes, the author is very much the resemblance of Malcolm Gladwell, arguably one of my favourite authors.

This excellent book presents almost one hundred common errors in our everyday thinking. It is a well-researched compact book, packed with chunk of information gleaned from established researches. The writer is highly intelligent but surprisingly modest in explaining the theories behind every experiment.

I remember reading Richard Feynman’s book (which I forgot its title) mentioning about pseudo-science. To him, anything other than “hard’ science is not the real science. To a certain extent, I agree with him. All the information in that book is pseudo-science in nature…but that doesn't make it completely worthless.

Science can explain everything…but not everything can be explained by science. Take heaven and hell for example. We know that both exist, but to say it is scientifically proven that heaven and hell exist is plain wrong. Even generally accepted scientific theory could be wrong sometimes. The evolution of human is a scientific theory, but we know it is off the mark.

Time to sleep.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Lonely Saturday

I think I’ll put a temporary halt on my “throwback” moment. It’s quite tiring to switch back and forth between my current affair and my dreary past, because my mind is trained to focus on the future. My worst fear is the possibility of my past dragging me back to its clutches of misery. That would be a much dreaded nightmare.

That wouldn’t make much of a difference, though, because my life now is already a nightmare. I already deserted my hometown…becoming an outcast in this restless city of Penang.

While alone at the Sungai Batu beach this evening, I called Amir to check on his current condition. He was accepted as uitm’s master student in education. A good friend of mine while in Unimas, Amir severely lacked self-confidence. He often said that he was very jealous of me because I was purportedly “very good in everything…both education and sports”, a claim that I often find amusing. If he knew my past, he wouldn’t have made that claim.

Nevertheless, I tried to raise his spirit any way I could. I helped him translate his thesis into English, although I couldn’t find the time to edit his resume. He was very happy to receive his acceptance letter that he contacted me straight away. It’s ironic how I could raise other’s spirit except of my own.

While stopping by in Bayan Lepas night market on the way back from the beach, I accidentally met my long-time and long-lost friend, Sani. A friend of 18 years, I first met him in 1997. We grew up together in the same secondary school and shared many unforgettable moments together. I stood by him during his difficult moment. He was formerly slated to fly to Germany for his engineering degree, but fate was not on his side. Later his love life crumbled and he was thoroughly flattened. But luckily he regained his footing and got his life back on track. 

Never did I fathom that I would unexpectedly follow his same dark path afterwards. He tried to pluck me out from my downward spiral but I refused any help, even from him. He came to my sister’s wedding and even pleaded me to attend his, but I totally ignored everybody, including him. I was sick of everybody and wanted to be totally alone. Maybe that was my undoing, maybe that was my mistake. But I did why I think was right for me and everybody else back then.

Maybe that’s all for today…I’m beginning to shed tears. If I could go back in time, I would. I surely would. So that I could undo all my past failings and restart everything from scratch. But unfortunately I couldn’t. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Revenge Of The Fallen

I wrote this short piece on July 1, 2009, not long before I completed The Soulmate That Wasn't. But for some unclear reasons, I buried this piece in the draft mode up until today.

Kyra was a very young and naive girl back then. We worked together in the same department. A fluent Mandarin speaker, she rose through hardship her entire life. She cast so much influence during my disarray period that I wrote The Kyra Chronicles, a three part series to immortalize her in Pancasara.

But she was unhappy with it, partly because she didn't want her life story to be made public. After a short period of display of the final part, I retracted the trilogy from public view, out of respect for her. Although I rate The Kyra Chronicles as one of my best piece, it would never be seen in public again. I will bring this trilogy to the grave.

The Revenge of The Fallen is important for me because it also marked the re-emergence of Najwa during this difficult period.

I made a vow to shave my head bald if Kyra were to further her studies. She was a girl full of potential, but she was quite reluctant to study. She did in the end, and we lost contact ever since.

Wherever she is now, I wish her all the best.

Revenge of The Fallen
(July 1, 2009)

I woke up pretty late on Monday morning. By that time, my handphone was already inundated with messages. I was slated for an early screening of Transformer this morning...accompanied by Kamarul and Fauzan.

The earliest slot (11.30 a.m) was already full by the time we got there. So we settled for the next slot, scheduled at 12.15 p.m. This eagerly anticipated movie was fully booked for 3 straight days beginning Wednesday (its released date)...Transformer surely has a special aura under its belt.

It was a crowd puller at its best...almost a full house even though it was still 12.15 noon. Kamarul and Fauzan wore special jacket to cover their office attire. They skipped their duty hours to sneak into GSC...if they were caught, they'll be in deep trouble.

Overall it's a good movie...with superb visual effects and earth-shattering sounds. But to be honest, I prefer the first movie...which I watched in Langkawi.

Shortly after the movie, we went for lunch. Upon reaching home, I took my bath...and readying myself for a special occasion... which I had my hair shaved to baldness.

This is the first time I ever do this...and I did this for a reason...for somebody...

I could feel the Adrenaline rush all over my was a tense moment. I only openned my eyes when the process was over...the first time I glanced towards myself in the mirror, my first thought was...I looked weird. Very weird. Like an alien from the outerspace.

But I'll get used to it in no time.

When I got home, a strange number rang a miscall on my handphone. I never replied to an unknown number...but this was followed by a message, surrounded by mystery...

Barely 3 hours later, she revealed was surely a pleasant surprise. I never expected her to emerge at this difficult and trying time of my life. I was on a rough patch...and when a legend that once conquered your heart came out from the wilderness to greet you, how would you feel?

The Kyra Chronicles will commence as usual after this was prepared in advance. But it will undertake a short break...there were so many things to consider. There are some things that should be kept only to yourself. "Some things are better be left untold" they say. Even with the sudden unexpected re-emergence of Najwa, I won't edit the content will be a long story, spanning the period of two months before she left for Arau.

If my calculation was correct, the news of my 'baldness' will reach Kyra in no time. And I was dead correct..there is something in this world that can travel faster than the speed of light, that defies logic and physics...and it happens when women talked among themselves.

Kyra told me not to do it anymore...but nevertheless she acknowledged my 'bold' move (or should a 'bald' move be a more appropriate sentence?)

But in the meantime, I have to stave off ceaseless 'friendly' taunts from all corners. Wan called me a "dragon ball"...while Amir referred to me as a "skinhead".

I only hope my hair regains its crowning glory as soon as possible...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Soulmate That Wasn't

Written in August of 2009, I kept this piece of writing away from public view for almost six years. I almost forget most of the events described in the writing, because it happened a very long time ago. But by reading it back, it summed up all my sweet and bitter experience in those turbulence years.

I republished this for the sake of memory alone...not for any other reason. She has her own life now...and I have my own. I only think of her in passing nowadays...remembering how she used to be very nice towards me. But that's all of it. We never met again since 2007. We both refused to see each other since then.

She has completely forgotten about Pancasara now, but in the rarest of event if she inadvertently stumbled upon this blog again (there's 0.01% probability for that to happen...the same probability as if we were to be hit by a flying pan. That's practically closed to zero), sorry for using your old picture without your consent.

As I said earlier today, we cannot change the past...but we could always change the future. I look forward to a brighter future, with this memory as a reminder. That I was once a foolish young boy, eagerly trying very hard to turn fantasy into reality, but ended up destroying my own future.

Now, I present...

The Soulmate That Wasn't  
1. Born on 2nd August of 1985, Nurul Najwa turns 24 today...exactly 15 days older than me.

2. On that fateful evening in 2004, we met accidentally in Kulim bus station. She and her two other friends were in a loss. They approached me, asking for direction to Kolej Mara Kulim. Maybe they thought I was the local resident.

3. Upon realizing I was student too, one of them, Haniza, offered me to have a drink together with them. I agreed to their request.

4. She caught my attention by surprise...thanks largely to her natural beauty. My sight was glued to her...I was completely charmed by her enthralling outlook and exquisite manners. Love on the first sight, maybe?

5. We took a bus heading towards KMK. We never met again after that.

6. As fate would have it, we met again some weeks after that. I was training squash with my fellow friends in Kulim Hi-Tech, preparing for the upcoming KAKOM, when she suddenly appeared out of nowhere with her friends. Mr Tan, the squash co-ordinator, was on his way to check on our progress when he came across them in town. He picked them up and brought them along to the Hi-Tech.

7. My life in Kulim revolved around squash. I was handpicked by the Squash head co-ordinator, Ustaz Ikram to oversee the training of my other squash compatriots. I was given the captain's armband to lead the squad in KAKOM, held in Malacca. It was a proud moment for me.

8. But even when I was playing, my mind kept thinking of her. I wondered If I'll ever get the chance to met her again? I really wished I could.

9. My wish was granted some time later. I was grouped into the Reds team for KMK's annual Sports Day. Surprisingly, she was in the same group. The Reds were having difficulty in the badminton area's...they severely lacked players to compete in the tournament. Zaki, the outspoken Reds head, desperately urged me to join the team. I was reluctant at first...but agreed to his request later on..because of our friendship.

10. She was there..never had I thought she could be one of the Reds female players. Not even in my wildest imagination. With no racket in my possession, I picked one of the rackets on the floor. I eventually won the match against KPUTM...even though I last played badminton years ago. It was not because I was that good, it was partly because they were crap.

11. KPUTM stood for "Kursus Persediaan UTM". Some of us nicknamed it as "KEPETUM", and some even called it "KEPUT"...including Najwa. It was a degrading terms. We (matriculation students) had strained relationship with them. I was outraged at times with their constant jeers during the match...but I somehow managed to keep my cool and finished them off once and for all.

11. I discovered later I was using her racket during the match. I thanked her later on...and she replied she was thoroughly afraid her racket would "break into two"...due to my aggressive play. I never break any badminton racket up to this date...although I did accidentally smash my squash racket into the fibre-glass backdoor back in 1999 and had it broken into two parts.

12. We took picture shortly after the match. Oddly enough, it remains the only picture we had taken together until today. And I never had the chance to see the mysteriously disappeared.

13. That badminton affair proved to be a crucial springboard for our future relationship. In a rare consequence of events, we met again in a bus heading towards our hometown. A yet another coincidence. This time, I was with my tennis buddy, Azad as well as the diabolical Husrul.

14. Azad was my good friend back in KMK. He represented KMK for tennis in the KAKOM tournament. Husrul, meanwhile, prided himself as the former "MRSM Kuantan" students. According to him, he spoke KL's dialect because "he spent two years residing in boarding school that is MRSM". What a load of craps. I've spent nearly five years in a private boarding school in Malacca, yet I've never lost a bit of my native Kedah's accent.

15. At this stage, I had to fend off relentless challenges from the two of them. Introducing Najwa to them was my biggest mistake. Almost in a passing of seconds, they had developed feelings towards Najwa...epitomizing my worst-case nightmare. But I strongly think if I worked hard and sincere in my deeds, I'll win the battle and captures her heart eventually.

16. And I did just that...after much hardship and perseverance. But it came at a price...which I paid dearly. She was a feeble young girl, easily influenced by people...even if they had ulterior motives towards her. And she would regret her action after that. Upon realizing my frustration of her deeds, she braved the sea to meet me in Langkawi. That was the hallmark of her sacrifice...which I would never forget.

17. We declared the day before we took off to our respective universities...she was accepted entry into UM, while I headed towards USM. After pledging our relationship, her first words were "Hang percaya kat aku dak?" (do you have faith in me?). That phrase still rings inside my ear until today. And her first advice for me was to "refrain myself from making any friends with girls".

18. LDR (Long Distance Relationship) for the first timers like us? It seems like a very tall order. But we should try anyway. And I still keep my promise to her.

19. It was a smooth-sailing ride in the first year...but tumultuous moments awaits us the following year. The tension was building up even before that inevitable catastrophe happened, but I ignored all the signs. My inexperience and immaturity proved too much a hindrance for us...she slipped off from me in the most unexpected way.

20. I scratched my head in could this happened? Was it my fault? Or was it hers?

21. I was at fault...I must admit it. And she was at fault too. But I won't place the blame squarely on the both of us. Love was the biggest culprit. It was love which united us in the first place, and it was also love which separated us in the end.

22. Looking back, I did what I think was right for her back then. I relied much of my information from her nemesis, which may be incorrect or plain wrong at worst. But my guts feeling hold the belief that she was on the wrong path. I sticked out my neck to be slaughtered...with her family firmly behind her. That proved to be a disastrous decision...but what happened to me wasn't important.

23. This series of events left me with dire consequences. I suffered serious depression...unable to concentrate on anything. Sleep disorder ravaged the inner working of my immune system...and later I developed imsomnia. My condition was in a total chaos. It was a turbulent time...and I didn't get the support that I badly needed.

24. I applied for a year long break from USM...fortunately it was granted. I lived in exile for a year...trying in vain to pick up pieces of my broken life. Despite numerous attempts to lead a steady life like my former self, it was never the same. I lost part of my life in her.

25. Two years on...I gradually regained my self confidence. Life is too short to be wasted like I did...but I learned a lot from this painful experience. I befriended many people, many of whom who wouldn't possibly appear into the mainframe of my life if not because of this bitter tragedy. It was all the folly of love...wasn't it? Having a little dose of love is essential...but if we worship it too much, we would end up being the slave of love.

26. To my surprise, she emerged from her two years, self-imposed wilderness earlier this month. But her sudden appearance was marred with her shocking revelation a week later...somebody had proposed to her, and she was having difficulty in making a sound decision.

27. "Only you who have the patience to stand my behaviour..." she admitted. But love alone isn't enough...the most important thing now is money. I have plenty of the former, and it was proven to stand the test of ruthless challenges time and time again. I severely lack the latter...and given the strained relationship I have had with her family, that is too far out from my grasp.

28. She decided to accept the proposal eventually. If I were to believe her words (which I did), she accepted it half-heartedly. By her own admission, if the marriage doesn't shower her with her longing happiness, she has her pupils to cheer her up.

29. Regardless of her final decision, I am of the believe that we shouldn't accept someone whom we can live with...instead it is far better to choose someone whom we can't live without. But it was her decision...and I will respect it. I just need three years to prepare everything to get my life back on track. But three years were too long for her...even with the presence of my stout heart, I have lost her trust.

30. Now...time for me to shed some tears? I did...but not so severe like the last time. I poured my heart out for the last time...getting it all out off my chest. It felt better that way. There are three biggest wastes of life...time not properly used, talent not properly administered, and love not properly expressed. And I have floundered all of them all this while...

31. I still believe in love. Love does exist..we can feel and see the affection of love everywhere. Love binds people together...provides the spark that inspires people to reach a common purpose. But true love, coated with gallant loyalty was nowhere to be found has vanished, becoming extinct in the modern day euphoria of instant, fast-paced love.

32. I will shun love starting from this day onwards. The unusual way of losing my handset got me thinking, if love is such a hindrance for me, why keep shouldering the burden? Let it go once and for all...we won't die without it. Instead of dwelling on the gloomy past, it is always better to concentrate on the future. Shine or doom, we still have a say on our future...but we couldn't do anything about the past.

33. I dedicate this posting to Nurul Najwa binti Azmi, a humble, exquisite princess that once throned my heart. May she discover her true happiness afterwards, in this rash and uncertain life. For the better or worse, she had changed my life forever.

34. Now...having rid myself off the backlog of love for my new lease of life...where do I go from here? Maybe some squash would days without squash makes one weak :)

(Picture taken from her now defunct Friendster's account...and used without her prior permission. She wouldn't mind...I hope so)


*** What the fuck is "seven days without squash makes one weak" supposed to mean? Feel like I want to kick myself in the face if I could go back in time. Couldn't believe I wrote that stupid phrase back then (19/2/2015)

Unlocking Pancasara 2

I launched Pancasara on September 27, 2007, in a cyber cafe in Jitra. I frequented that spot for almost every day since my downfall from my normal self. Everyone could see that I definitely changed completely since that catastrophic mid year of 2006.

Almost 8 years have passed since then. Things have gone both sideways...for the better and for the worse. In some sense, I'm getting better, wiser and more knowledgeable in spectrum of areas. But in another way, I'm getting worse. Most notably are my self-confidence and my dealings with other people. I never really improved my communication skills all this while. Maybe I need to put extra work on that.

I created Pancasara out of my love for writing. I have difficulty in explaining my ideas orally. And I just could not talk in front of more than two people comfortably. I would just stumble and stuck for words, stopping here and there looking for the right words to if I'm slowly scanning words from my brain. So I chose not to speak in front of other people. I'd rather listen to their points and weigh their opinion inside my head.

I write faster than I talk. And I could explain myself better through writing. This is why Pancasara came into existence. He would help me explain myself to the world. He is my medium of communication, my messenger. I always maintain that Pancasara is an entity...he has his own distinct existence. I am not Pancasara, and Pancasara is not me. He has a life of his own...although he is not alive. He conveys my message to the world. And I'm completely sure he'll stick with me, at my side, come what may, no matter what.

For my love of writing, Pancasara was born. Love can create something out of nothing. We were born because of love. Love could also bind two extremely different people together. When love eventually subsides, that binding will also recede with the passing of time. For as long as my love for writing remains, Pancasara will continue to exist.

To date, not all my writings were published by Pancasara. About one third (1/3) of it still stuck in the draft mode, waiting to be released. Not all our writings are ripe for public reading instantly...some need time to develop itself, some were withhold to protect identities and sensitivity. And some were not published for no apparent reason.

I maintain my earlier position circa 2008/2009 that Pancasara told only the truth about me. I can safely say that 97% of the content of Pancasara is true. The other 3% error was due to my mishaps in memory, but I try to limit that to as little as possible.

I was loaded with monumental amount of works this coming month, so I will have no time to spend on two of my favourite past time, which are reading and writing. And passing the thirty years old age mark this year, I'm feeling older as days passed by. Maybe the time has come for me to attempt a Galois...there is nothing more for me to lose. I will start releasing stockpiles of my past writing which still remain hidden among the draft mode in Pancasara.

Am I attempting a staged suicide as per Galois? After all, my past has almost killed me back then. Wouldn't it attempt to kill me again this time around by reviving it back? Would it be better to be safe than sorry?

Absolutely no. I am a different person now. My past was all behind me...all I look forward now is the future. You cannot change the past, but you can definitely shape the future. I'm reviving my past writing for the sake of learning...we learned from our mistakes. And to remind myself that I was once a happy, passionate young boy trying very hard to fulfill his destiny. Although that destiny was now gone. And that passion is slowly diminishing.

All that special feeling has now gone. All I have now is that everlasting memory. It is not the destiny that matters, it's the journey.

And most importantly, my past will never define me ever again. From now on, I will define my past.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Unlocking Pancasara

Evariste Galois

Ne pleure pas, Alfred! J'ai besoin de tout mon courage pour mourir à vingt ans!
(Don't cry, Alfred! I need all my courage to die at twenty!)

That was Evariste Galois' final remark to his younger brother Alfred before he died of severe abdomen injury (he was fatally shot in the abdomen in a duel).

A math genius, legend has it that Galois knew beforehand of his impending death. The night before his duel, he poured all his mathematical thoughts onto paper which has an everlasting effect on mathematics.

The theory that Galois outlined in these papers is now called Galois theory.

His duel was likely a staged suicide. One writer succinctly described his duel as the result of his unhappiness with his surrounding events. 

"He was weary of life, because of his unhappy love affair, his fruitless efforts for gaining recognition for his mathematical work, his financial and work situation..."

I share many of Galois' disgruntlement (minus his mathematical work) and I can easily identify myself with him (again, identify with his feeling, not with his mathematical wizardry). At times, I feel totally lost, without any direction to guide me through the path of the future. 

I could choose to bring all my memories and feelings with me to the grave. Or I could choose to do a Galois. 

Pour out everything onto paper (or in my case, onto Pancasara, and not mathematical equations as Galois, only my feeling and thinking), so that people could comprehend my real feelings and inner thoughts when I'm long gone.

I am not contemplating suicide anytime soon (God forbid), but I'm not so sure about this life anymore. Maybe my time will come tomorrow? Who knows? We can't never be really sure. 

For all my misdeeds and mistakes, I hope people who knew me still have vacant spaces in their hearts to forgive me.

As for doing a Galois, time will tell. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

A weird occurrence

I'm staying alone in this "yet-to-be-named" tissue culture lab.

This is my first time staying here up until midnight. Just finished sub-culturing/passaging cell. I need to religiously maintain this cell for my research.

Went swimming this afternoon, with Amzar and Syafiq, in a lavish condominium. Rin as well as Dr Asyraf live there. Rin lend us her access card so that we could come in. Met Dr Asyraf as we were entering the gate.

Also met Kuhan, his older sister and their family there. They were visiting Aaron, who happened to have his first child. Kuhan is a young squash prodigy who is currently training with me. His older sister is also playing squash, albeit with a lower level of competence.

Aaron meanwhile, was a former Malaysian international squash player. He is currently coaching the Penang squash squad. I never knew that he is living in that area.

I am getting stronger day by day...physically. Last week, I beat both Ammar and Sashwen, back to back. Ammar was a former USM captain who has a qualified coaching badge. Sashwen meanwhile, is Penang's state player. He is currently number four in packing order of Penang MSSM under-18 squash squad . Is this the second coming of youth? I have no idea.

Sadly, my mental strength is going down the drain. I'm still adjusting my life into this new environment. I love new challenges, but sometimes, I feel lost...for no apparent reason. My spirit fades away as fast as I breath.

It's just like, day by day, my body is getting younger, but my mind is edging older.

And this feels really weird.