Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lawak Antarabangsa

Aku bengang baru-baru ni bila terjumpa bebudak berangan tak sudah.

Kalau ko rasa ko international standard, ko pitch la kat kompeni international. Bukan susah, bro. Pitch je la.

Aku start pitch idea dan cerita kat kompeni antarabangsa masa umur aku 19 tahun. Aku ambik outline cerita, idea dan cerita tak siap - pasal aku budak umur 19 tahun yang tak mengenal dunia - pastu aku hantar pakai email ke Random House, Del Rey, Dark Horse Comics, apa-apa alamat e-mail yang aku jumpa masa zaman purba Internet.

Kebanyakan daripada diorang reject. Ada yang hantar rejection letter yang amat sopan, baik dan pemurah. Ada sorang je editor berbangsa Yahudi yang memberi galakan yang hebat. Berminggu-minggu dia suruh aku habiskan cerita pasal orang Yahudi masuk gas chamber.

Dia rasa, seorang beragama Islam menulis cerita sci-fi pasal orang Yahudi kena bunuh masa Perang Dunia Kedua sebagai satu cerita yang penting. Sampai sekarang, aku masih terhutang budi kepada seorang editor Yahudi yang membakar semangat aku di kala aku rasa terperangkap dengan dunia penerbitan fiksyen. Banyak jugak aku belajar daripada dia.

Beberapa minggu lepas, aku pitch kat satu kompeni international yang bertumpu kat sini - kat Malaysia. Selepas 14 tahun, akhirnya ada kompeni sebesar tu yang suka cerita-cerita aku. Apa akan jadi? Adakah aku dapat buat cerita-cerita yang aku suka dan pasarkan ke arena lebih besar? Entah. Aku tak tau.

Aku masih berpijak pada bumi yang nyata.

Yang penting, aku tahu yang aku hanya akan gagal selepas aku berhenti mencuba. Jadi, kepada sesiapa yang amat yakin dengan karya sendiri, kalau nak pitch kat kompeni international, dipersilakan. Bagi aku, aku percaya kepada membangunkan kemahiran sendiri dan mengkaji penerimaan pasaran di kampung halaman sendiri sebelum kau mencuba pasaran luar.

Apa-apa karya yang mampu menyentuh sekumpulan manusia, mempunyai kebarangkalian besar menyentuh kumpulan manusia yang lain. Sebab karya kreatif ni cuma menyampaikan cerita dan idea kompleks melalui apa-apa medium, dengan perlaksanaan yang hebat.

Aku menyampah kat ramai Gen Y sebab berangan lebih. Fahami market kau sendiri - fahami industri kau sendiri sebelum kau terkinja-kinja melompat macam beruk. Fahami manusia. Kalau pemahaman kau pasal dunia cuma bergantung daripada buku yang kau baca dan siri TV yang kau tonton, baik ko pergi keluar dan betul-betul hayati dunia ni macam mana.

Tetapi, aku juga rasa amat gembira bila aku terjumpa Gen Y yang bersemangat nak buat kerja. Ya. Aku tau. 'GenY' dan 'kerja' tidak selalu selari. Tapi ada yang rajin. Ada yang mahu terus berusaha. Ada yang faham bahawa kejayaan itu tidak datang daripada duduk melangu, mengelamun sambil tunggu orang basuh berak kau.

Gen X pun ada jenis tunggu orang bagi dia duit. Atau fikir orang buat kerja sebab nak rompak/curi duit dia. Aku kenal. Ramai.

Ada kos untuk semua benda. Kalau kau fikir kau hebat sangat, dipersilakan. Selepas 10 tahun aku bergelumang dalam industri korporat dan kreatif, aku masih lagi budak umur 19 tahun yang hantar pitch kat syarikat antarabangsa.

Cuma janganlah kau fikir semua orang ialah bibik kau yang akan basuh lubang jubur taik ko untuk bayaran picisan. Ko cubalah dengan kompeni antarabangsa dan tengok sama ada kau diterima atau tidak. Kau mungkin berjaya, atau kau mungkin jadi lawak antarabangsa.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I'm Better Than You

You know what? Just because I come from a teacher's family from the outskirts of Kuantan, I AM better than any of you.

Think about it.

I come from a rural area, my family barely had any money, I never went to a single fucking tuition class, and still manage to score in the top 5% of the country when I was just 12 fucking years old. I beat over 90% of you, on a lower budget.

I got all As for UPSR, all As for PMR and six As for SPM (out of 10) cause by the time I was 17, I was an extremely egotistical kid who wanted to prove I could score without studying.

I got 4A1s, 2A2s and a bunch of C3s for SPM on subjects I didn't give a shit about. Plus a 1A for my 1119 O Level. I look at you rich retards, and I think, "Fuck you, you rich motherfucker."

While you fuckers plonked down 400 bucks for Yu-Gi-Oh cards, I could only read reviews of games and comic books online. While you fuckers get driven to piano classes and dance lessons and whatever the fuck shit rich kids do - I was staying away from being raped and/or beaten up.

I beat the motherfucking odds time and again. The ever shifting standards of education in the old days? I educated myself. Fuck you.

I was stuck in the fucking swamp and I learned stuff myself, on my own. I AM better than you.

I can imitate any skill, given enough time and the right reference material. Nothing is beyond me.

Given enough time, I can do anything.

Despite all your resources, all you could ever hope to achieve is to be a loser douchebag while I accomplish heroic feats impossible to rich people cause they never know what it means to be so broke, you survive on cigarettes and boiled water.

You never had to survive on 600 bucks a month, eating eggs, rice and Aji-Shio. Did you? Huh? Did you?

Have you ever been so broke, you couldn't even afford eggs, so you ate rice with soy sauce? Huh? Fuck you, you rich bastards. You pampered sons of thieves, robbers and murderers.

I had to fight, claw, scratch my way every single inch of the goddamned path. And only by the grace of God did I scrape through.

I was almost homeless and I got no money to rent, so I had to squat at a friend's place. I stayed there for six long fucking months, maybe longer, feeling shitty every single day.

I paid it forward by housing a struggling guy, but he screwed me out of money - that's another story for another day.

I was on the brink more times than I could remember. Idiots and fucktards THREATEN suicide publicly. Let me tell you this: if someone's really, REALLY suicidal, they'd just shut up and withdraw.

I'm fine now, but I was so depressed in my 20s, I was hospitalised. Thank God I had insurance.

You don't fucking know what it means. None of you rich fuckers will ever, EVER know what it's like. To live on the brink. And to survive. Every. Goddamn. Time.

I wrote this so I can say: I'm better than you. Any of you. All a you motherfuckers. You pampered bullshit sacks of motherfucking monkey ass rapists.

Best in the World!

I am looking at the comic book company I am doing, and despite all the odds against it, I still want to do it.

The thing needs two things - product and funding. While I'm doing all sorts of tricks and somersaults to get enough money to launch the damned thing, I am also working on the products.

It should have been launched by now, but we hit a few snags here and there. I'll be a monkey's unclefucker if I tuck tail and run, though.

By hook, by crook, by what creeps, what crawls, by what does not, I will get these projects off the ground. I've waited 15 goddamned years to find an angle to do it and I'll be damned to hell if I stop now.

Only death can prevent me from doing comics. That or mental illness, a debilitating disease, apocalypse, a car accident, sudden successful suicidal attempts or if I fall in love with an alien from the planet Pandora.

Other than this, I will keep at it and keep working until one day, I am crowned the Best Comics Writer and Publisher in the world.

Neil Fucking Gaiman will KNEEEL before me and slap himself silly, wipe his ass with The Sandman Comics - The GREATEST comics known to mankind - and say, "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!"

(Though if I ever meet the guy, I'd probably be a blubbering psychopath and wet my pants.)

So yes, it's on. I don't give a fuck. Unlike other projects in my life right now, this one is entirely mine, so I really, really special to me. I am already working 15-hour days. If I have to pump it up to 20-hour days, I don't give a fuck.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Rord of the Fries

Woke up again at close to 3am. Sleep patterns erratic. So I guess I'll tell you about myself. Again.

I left home when I was 12 years old. All my siblings left home when we were 12.

I went to a boarding school, where I was immediately aware that I am poor. Other kids used up their pocket money - I did not have that luxury. I saved every single cent my parents sent me. Nothing to take the edge off that hellhole.

My school was an all-boys' school. So to keep up the macho image, some things were done para-military style.

Orientation week was a time of physical torture. You wake up? 100 squats. You want to have breakfast? 100 squats. Lunch? 100 squats. Dinner? 100 squats. You want to go to sleep? 100 squats. You did something wrong? Everybody got 200 squats. Squats not synchronised? Repeat it again, from the top.

You know the movie Full Metal Jacket? The first part, about private (military private) training? It was like that.

We were 13 years old.

You want to end the night's activities? Stand on tables and chairs and blow at flourescent lights till they go off.

Orientation week was supposed to be for a week, but in various permutations, it lasted four years.

You can get beat up pretty often. You smoke? You get beat up. You make faces at a senior? You get beat up. You say shit to any senior? You get beat up. Walking too loudly? You get beat up.

There were weekly beat up sessions where it started with intimidation and ego-stroking and always ends up with stunts like flying kicks and shit. Saturday night. There was nothing else for the kids to do. We were all very smart - top 400 kids in the country.

I was never really beat up. Some prefects punched and kicked me a few times cause I was standing in the way of love between two people, but that's nothing. Compared to others, I was barely touched cause I slept through most of high school.

Every single time, the reason they give is this toughens you up. It was supposed to break you down as a human so you could be rebuilt. Some people had to pick up pieces of themselves and carry that around for the rest of their lives.

I have to say one thing, though - once you have gone through that hellhole for five years, not many things other than prison fazes you. You learn the true value of everything - nothing. You learn the true value of humans - nothing.

I hate my experience in the hell-hole. But I must admit that all I have seen there has greatly benefitted me. It's like surviving Lord of the Flies. I know how far down the abyss humanity can go. I've been there. I saw the demons lurking behind the masks of tribal anonymity. I saw them smile and bare their teeth.

Nowadays, I hardly ever look back. I hope the worst is over, so I can continue watching porn.

God of War

Been a crazy two days.

Until 8pm just now, I slept for two hours over a 48-hour period. There was a task I thought I couldn't finish by today, furthermore when it is heaped on another task.

But then, somehow, all the layers peeled away and I was there, alone, facing a world of iron and nails. I hacked and hacked at it, never once even thinking of giving up.

And lo and behold - it is done. It is finished. Tasks I thought I couldn't complete - were completed.

I went home and for my reward, I received my mother's cooking.

I felt like Kratos.

Tonight I wake up, and I am already thinking of new work. New tasks. This obsession has barely started.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Under Budget, Ahead of Schedule

I saw one documentary on Samsung and how they got to be where they are.

Those people practised one of the most kiasu strategies in their business. The philosophy was: under budget, ahead of schedule. For every thing.

This will only work in a society that values hard work. There are hardworking people who work hard all their lives and manage only to live till they're old. No Gs, no cheese, no snowmobiles, no skis.

My grandfather - I believe his name was Fong something-something - came to Malaysia on a fucking tongkang. If I remember correctly, he was in his teens. I think he was born in the year 1900. Came here in 1917 or something like that.

He used to tell his kids that he slept on a rock as a pillow. It was by choice, by design, so he would not feel too lazy to get out of bed in the morning and start working. The idea is, if your bed is too comfortable, you'd want to stay in bed all day.

In his 90s, my grandfather lived on a plot of land with a huge chicken farm at the back. Not that huge, just around a few thousand chickens or so. He kept over 40 dogs - all mongrels - and had a small bonsai garden.

He would wake up at 6am every morning and do some farm work. My ancestors from Guangzhou planted tea and lychee, so that part is inherited a few generations, but it stopped with me. I don't plant trees. I plant ideas.

Anyway, my father inherited that thing and played fair, worked hard all his life. The worst offence in our household, when I was growing up, was not doing any work. You constantly had to be doing something useful, or his worst insult will come out: "You're useless!"

He told me to plant corn one time, and I was really pissed off that all my hard work watering those damned things and carrying a sack of chicken shit all over a quarter acre was only going to be worth RM5 per seven ears of high quality corn.

My father's sense of pricing was stuck in World War 2. This was in 1995 or so. I was 15 years old.

We were never rich and putting food on the table was the primary concern. I didn't have lots of pocket money and even though I liked comic books, the only way to enjoy them was to read reviews online (I was online in 1996) as well as Master's thesis on comics.

This is due to the fact that people in 1996 shared useful stuff on the Internet. I read academic journals and papers, slowly realising that the world is full of bullshit and spin.

To this day, my mother cuts chicken to 16 pieces to make sure they go around. We were supposed to eat more rice as it's cheaper.

When a member of another family came and decided to finish off the other dishes, my mother was horrified. Scandalised, even!

This is due to the fact she keeps leftovers in the fridge. She has three - I bought her a large one in 2008. Inside these things are all kinds of food known to man.

During the recent flood in Kuantan, the first thing my mother assured me was that they have enough food in reserve. I didn't need that reassurance. I know in those fridges are a year's worth of provisions - just in case the Japanese were to ever attack us again.

The food may be spoiled, but you won't be hungry. You may die from food poisoning, but you'll never go hungry.

Anyway, in my efforts to be under budget and ahead of schedule for my own projects, I believe this would be the first year in 33 that I would not be going back for Chinese New Year.

I don't think my father or my late grandfather would mind. I know that if I explained it to them in farming terms, they would understand.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Corporate Vs Creative

I got started on some corporate jobs recently and I soon found myself utterly consumed by it. Whenever I start work on any one thing - with nothing else to take my attention away - I devote myself fully to it.

Everything else falls away, as I see only one goal in front of me. I will fucking hammer at it until it is done. This actually has a physical effect on my body. High on adrenaline, or something, I find my core temperature raised. I feel hot all the time - and not an unhealthy, feverish hot. I stay up longer, and my mind does not stop spinning, painting many possibilities and simulating solutions for everything.

It's a sickness, an addiction. I have been here before. I know the feeling. It's like that one time I rode pillion on a small kapcai from Karak to Lembah Pantai, in the rain. Doing 140km/h on the highway, small droplets of water turn into stinging beads.

Soon, your hand feels numb, then, your face. Soon, you are just a nub of humanity facing erosion in the wind.

I am extremely intense.

Over the years, I have learned some degree of pacing, of patience, of managing expectations. But when I work - when I push - it is this intense energy that carries me forward. And I like it. I do hope everything works without a hitch.

Creative projects generate a different kind of energy. I become more spread out. It's chaos without any single point to focus on. This wide dispersal is about mass movements of energy - about people. It is about arranging many different pieces in a lifetime to prepare a collage.

Sometimes, I get lost in it and not much comes out of half-written novels or unfinished short stories. Movie scripts, though, I approach with a corporate mindset because there are others on the team waiting for the damned thing to be finished.

Both fields provide a different kind of rush. Corporate - an addict-like fire that burns everything raw. Creative - a more holistic, all-embracing neatness in a chaos of fractals.

I think I need to lay off the corporate for a while until everything is confirmed. My intensity might come in handy later on, but I also need to pace myself. What I need to do for this phase is almost done anyway. There are still a lot more to do, but I can wait for the others and other things to be there as well.

I might as well sleep for now, cause I don't know what I need to do tomorrow or next week. I'm just afraid the fire will be stomped out prematurely, which is still a possibility.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tardy TARDIS

Today, I felt like Dr Who. I was taking a companion on a tour of humanity. The little games, the intense desires and truths and lies and things with molecular structure and this is my boomstick.

I have long past tired of humans and animals. Even plants. Truth be told, given the money, I would just work out every day beside a koi pond, with a yoga deck.

Something like this, but more modest

I have the perfect spot - it's beside my house at the kampung. I'll build a koi pond there, some day. On the side, there will be a wooden deck where I can install a cardio machine or just an empty space to do yoga.

I'd stay there, in that house, watching the koi, and one day I will die. I do not need or want anything else.

I see people with ambition and desire, and I always say good luck to them. I know that for me, nothing they want in life is anything I truly desire. I don't judge them for it - except for those who are animals. Those, I always judge because they choose to be animals - but I wish them well on their way.

The world has enough for everyone - as long as we do not breed like viruses and exhaust the resources - and I believe a quiet, often flooded place at the edge of the Malaysian peninsula is enough for me.

I mean, I'm already immortal - I got my own IMDB page (which is not entirely correct and will always be incomplete) - and I have done all I ever wanted to do in this life.

My daily issues are just that of survival and one day to be able to afford that koi pond. My focus has gotten more intense. I have no regard for any thing other than my goals.

Oh well. Here's my sonic screwdriver. Time to take a nap.


Notes on the Run

Lots of idiots were shocked when I offered the view that we are all insignificant. That I am insignificant - that you are insignificant - that everyone is fucking insignificant.

They see this as some sort of depression, when this thinking is one of those things that got me out of depression.

They don't understand it. Because they are undoubtedly idiots.

When you remove your 'self' from the equation, you will be able to see things more clearly. You will be able to feel real emotion without the constraints of the ego, without identification with the self. I have seen so many smart people fall prey to arrogance and the ego. Scratch that. In doing so, they are no longer smart - but idiots like the rest of them.

These past few years, I have been experimenting by tapping into my natural tools such as my drive, my energy and my sense of urgency while retaining my sanity and clarity of mind. The clarity comes realising that I do not matter. That I am nothing. But in order for me to get some things, I have to do certain actions and display certain ... traits.

For example, in order for you to get service at a restaurant, you need to increase your visibility and presence. While talking to people, you need to be empathic and become a receptacle to their thoughts and ideas. In order for you to talk, you need to listen, blablabla.

So anyway, I have found my peace and my solace by removing my presence and my killing instinct entirely. What is outside of my being exists as it is. I sometimes see myself doing things. In the past, whenever I do stupid things, I could sense and see it, but I could not do anything about it. It's like having a dream, watching this idiot stumble through life. That idiot being me.

Through meditation, breathing exercises and mental practices, I have managed to slow the perceived response time between action and thought. It's still not complete - I'll always be a work in progress - but I have seen some improvements.

The more I practice this and the more I make mistakes, I seem to become calmer. It is possible today, to be excited and calm at the same time - if that means anything.

Anyway, I finished a few things tonight and will wake up tomorrow hopefully refreshed enough to tackle the challenges and the Herculean tasks I have set for myself and my team.




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fight the Future

A friend asked recently about the future of this country. A pretty hefty topic for a light meal we were having, but I decided to answer him in full.

"We are all heading for destruction," I said. And I mean it. Not just for Malaysia, but for the world.

There is not enough space nor resources to accommodate the virus that is mankind.

"So where is this country heading?" he asked.

I gave a lengthy answer, but the truth is, and to put it in simpler terms - this country is heading where its people are heading.

Everything that makes a country - the social contract, the laws, the administration, the song, the culture, the flag - all of it were just because some years ago, a bunch of people got together and said, "Hey, let's live together and adhere to these rules. And have these things represent our group."

I've always seen all constructs - nation, race, religion - to be very flimsy agreements between a bunch of people. Do we have to follow all of them? Well, if we agreed to them, and continue to, we are honour-bound by our word - our promise - that things stay as they are.

Therefore, those who are lucky enough to be in control of the wealth or political power should find it in their best interest - in order to remain in control of said resources - that there is a fair distribution of wealth, and some degree of freedom that the majority accepts.

Otherwise, the majority - the basis of democracy - might decide to either not follow the contract put forth that makes this country, or make new rules. Or even take all the money for themselves, denying those who previously have the wealth to have any.

Everything requires balance, and this balance is extremely hard to come by. More so is a sembling of balance, but let's not digress.

One thing I find the majority of Malaysians don't understand is money. Much like energy, money can't be created or destroyed. Almost. There are exceptions, such as the US printing money on the basis that their dollar is strong. It's not that strong anymore, but they keep on printing it, I guess.

Money flows from one place to another. It is limited because scarcity is one of its traits, bla bla bla. I don't want to go to Form Four Basic Economics.

What I want to say is that the future of this or any country depends on its people. If the people work together and benefit each other, there will be much money to be made. If we continue to be entitled toddlers who do not understand that there is a cost to everything and you can't run away from paying what is due, then we as a society are doomed to destruction.

I am writing by electric light. There is a cost to this electric energy, most probably coal or diesel. I am writing on a table. It's wooden, meaning at some point, a tree was cut so it could be made. The lorry that carried that piece of log to the furniture factory was paid.

Everything is connected, and everything has a cost. That movie you just downloaded - somebody paid for the production design, for the crew to haul equipment and operate them. Somebody wrote a stupid script for porn actors who mouthed the lines while sucking cock or nipples. And he/she got paid for it.

I just threw some tissue paper into a wastebasket. Tomorrow, someone will come and collect the trash I will put in the rubbish bin outside my apartment. There is a cost to that garbage man and his garbage truck, and the landfill he will take the trash to.

The roads you travel on - somebody paid for the bitumen or asphalt to be hauled. And they paid for the crew to set it there.

These are our resources, this is our money, and it flows from one part to another. From one person to another.

I find a lot of Malaysians laugh at my face when I tell them the invisible things we have to pay. These are people who download pirated movies. People who avoid taxes. These people use everything everyone else paid for, but have the audacity to try and be cute and get away with not paying.

Sometimes, there are reasons. PTPTN, for instance. I had a huge problem with their customer service at one point. They acted as if they were monkeys yelling at other monkeys to pay up. I hated them for years, but my last official dealing with them was pleasant, and I am well on my way to finish paying the loan. I paid RM300 bucks a month for three or four years already, plus 5K three years ago. And I made sure it's by a monthly cheque, so I would have double paper trails should the dogs of PTPTN who hounded me over the phone years ago decided to try and steal my money by claiming I never paid them.

My bank advised me to use monthly cheques, paying them 5 bucks a month so I would have this security of double paper trails. If there are liars and douchebags in PTPTN - whom I encountered over the phone years ago - I am ready for them.

I pay my PTPTN loan because I understand and accept that if I don't, the generation after me might have problems funding their increasingly expensive education. The MoE or Government can't conjure money out of thin air.

I don't have money currently and the only thing I can do is abide by the rules I agree to. I refuse to be a monkey, and this is the only way I know on how to avert total destruction.

I queue up. I do not vandalise public property - okay, I litter a bit. I pay for what I can, and what I should. I refuse to be part of an entitled generation. As if the world owes me a living. And I'm not talking about Gen Y. The Baby Boomers are the ones largely responsible for an entitled mentality. That things should come free. That money should drop down from the sky and wipe their asses.

My only worry is that these days, I find myself to be the ONLY mature and responsible adult in Malaysia. Everyone else wants to be kids. Some of them want to be monkeys. Racist, stupid, irresponsible, fucking bullshit monkeys.

I'm not just talking about politicians and people in control of power and/or wealth - they are all evil monkeys. I'm also putting responsibility on the group of people who made this all possible - you. You who have created a stupid, superstitious, unscientific, egotistical monkey society. You who have cut queues, both figuratively and literally. You who have no problems calling everyone else racist but have yet to realise your own racism. You who pretend to be good and pious, but in essence are less honourable than a prostitute fucking a dog. And what's wrong with fucking a dog? It's non-consensual, bitch!

You have no fucking idea how many stupid fucking monkeys come up to me and judge me with their stupid little monkey brains that I am exactly like them. With the exact same insecurities and fears. They think the little tricks they do is enough to fool me or anyone else for that matter. It is extremely insulting and condescending for them to think that their stupid little monkey tricks are bulletproof when they're as transparent as a hooker's nylon panties.

I do not hate you idiots. Nor do I love you. I don't care. I have stopped caring when I was eight years old and realised I was in a swamp and that the whole world is a swamp.

And thus, I believe that the future for Malaysia is one of wanton destruction and murder. Blood will flow freely on the streets. Monkey blood. I hope I'd have died long before then.



Friday, December 6, 2013

Intermission: Hard Rain

I was pissed off in November because I couldn't push my brain and my work 100%. Things were in limbo and I was playing a waiting game. Not by choice.

Suddenly, things start to change. Now, I am in a situation I know all too well - one man with an army of work in front of me. There are others with me, but who will remain standing in the trenches after all is said and done? We shall see. It's time to be that guy again.

Meanwhile, Kuantan is flooded. Again. This happens every single year, for as long as I could remember (1983. I was three years old and the first few memories were of rain and lying snug in my parents' bed).

There was a legendary flood in the late '70s. One more around several years ago. This flood, though, this 2013 flood, is probably the worst.

Water levels have risen very close to my house, which sits atop a small hill. The swamp is catching up to us.

I check with my mother almost every day, except today - too busy today and need my sleep.

This week, I have never had a full night's sleep, often going to bed only around 4am or 6am and waking up around 8am. Not that I couldn't sleep - I just have too much work, and it will pile on even higher.

Which is why I will do two things:

1. I need to sleep this weekend.
2. I will train other people.

Over the years, I have acquired skills that I replicate from other people. The result is a unique combination. I need to get other people to have similar skills so I can go to Thailand and have fun without worrying about any ongoing project.

Unfortunately, over the years, no one has shown an interest in learning anything. Or they are incapable of doing so, due largely to the aversion to work. My style is huge amounts of work that other people are usually intimidated by. Not many are keen to do work, but like to sit around and talk about times when they thought they were diligent. Some people revel in the amount of money they managed to scam. I take pride in earning every single cent either through my immense brain - I am the Greatest Mind of the 21st Century - or via pounding at something until it doesn't move.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's another proposal to write.








Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Racism is for Those Who Have Given Up

I have not given up.

I hate people, but I refuse to believe that racists are the norm rather than the exception. I want to believe.

So. When you girls who are neither Malay nor Chinese see me walking, please sit down, cover your moist vaginas, and start making intelligent conversation with me.

I will judge you based on your soul, your brain and your lithe body. I wanna fuck you in the ass.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lagu Orang Gasar Dari Timur

Sebenarnya aku tak suka benda-benda rumit. Aku suka benda yang mudah, dan bentuknya pun ringkas. Apa gunanya semua benda yang rumit, dengan pelbagai segi, apabila di dalam terasnya hanya ada satu bola yang bulat?

Ramai beruk yang sering cuba cucuk aku, supaya aku bereaksi macam diorang. Sorry, macam diabinatang. Nak suruh aku mengalami emosi macam diorang. Marah, sedih, insecure, dan mula buat benda-benda bodoh macam diorang. Perasaan yang negatif itu suka dikongsi, sambil manusia dan beruk berpura-pura kebal sebab memang diorang dan diabinatang insecure.

Tekanan perasaan yang pernah aku alami dalam hidup aku yang pendek ini mendorong aku mencari jawapan kepada kewujudan manusia dan kebahagiaan. Aku dulu tertekan sampai emosi aku dimanifestasikan sebagai sakit fizikal.

Aku pernah dimasukkan ke hospital sebanyak empat kali - semuanya sebab tekanan. Aku kena batu karang, pernafasan tak keruan sampai tak boleh tidur, darah tinggi dan macam-macam lagi. Sepanjang menderita sakit, aku mula terfikir yang semua ini bodoh.

Aku membesar dengan latarbelakang orang kampung yang hidup susah. Aku barbarian. Kemudian aku ke bandar. Aku tengok ramai manusia tanpa pengakhiran yang gembira. Hidup untuk membiak, kemudian mati. Macam virus. Hidup, habiskan makanan dan sumber semulajadi, membiak, kemudian mati tanpa makna.

Sepanjang hidup, manusia dan beruk akan cuba menyakiti satu sama lain tanpa sebab. Walaupun di kalangan spesis yang sama. Pasal apa? Pasal keinginan dan cita-cita manusia dan beruk hanya satu - DILIHAT lebih baik daripada yang lain. Nak jadi spesel.

Aku fikir pasal semua ni, sampai aku tertekan, kemudian sakit. Aku cuma nampak bentuk peta yang rumit tetapi ringkas dari segi struktur kebodohan dan penderitaan.

Sambil aku hisap rokok dan bunuh diri secara perlahan, aku fikir ini mungkin peranan sebenar manusia - menjadi penyakit. Buat apa aku nak lawan? Buat apa aku nak bersyarah ke hulu ke hilir?

Bila aku dah tak peduli, aku mula rasa tenang. Berjuta ekor beruk boleh menggegarkan daun pintu dan rangka tingkap rumah aku, tapi aku masih tetap sama.

Ego dan insecurity beruk tidak seharusnya mempengaruhi keadaan dan kebahagiaan aku.

Aku tengok dalam diri aku, dan aku jumpa keinginan aku sendiri untuk jadi spesel. Aku tak cuba lawan, tapi aku cuma perhati kewujudannya. Aku perhati, dan aku tak layan. Lama-lama, dia mengecil.

Aku perhatikan ketakutan aku, dan ketakutan aku mengecut. Ketakutan ni, cuma penolakan kepada masa depan. Tetapi masa depan tak wujud kecuali sebagai masa sekarang. Jadi masa depan sebenarnya tak wujud. Buat apa aku nak takutkan benda yang tak wujud? Ketakutan itu sendiri satu penipuan besar. Walaupun ramai beruk yang cuba menakutkan kau dengan mainan bodoh diaberuk, itu cuma usaha - ikhtiar - beruk untuk menakutkan kau.

Daripada ketakutan, lahir kemarahan dan kebencian. Macam cakap Yoda. Jadi kalau ketakutan hanya satu penipuan, maka semua ini pun satu pembohongan. Cuma bentuk rapuh yang tiada isi. Kosong. Rompong.

Identiti, imej dan label hanyalah kulit luaran yang amat nipis dan boleh diubah-ubah. Ini semua tidak kekal. Semua struktur tidak kekal. Semua benda tidak kekal.

Jadi, sebagai kesimpulan, beruk-beruk ni semua boleh pergi mampus. Aku pedulittaik?



Definisi Kejayaan Mutlak

Aku perhatikan beberapa budak Gen Y dah mula cakap pasal kejayaan dan kegagalan. Masih terlalu awal untuk diorang cakap pasal tu. Mungkin masih terlalu awal untuk aku cakap pasal semua kejayaan dan kegagalan aku sendiri. Aku masih 33 tahun, tapi aku memang jenis yang akan mati cepat.

Aku dah lama fikir pasal kejayaan aku sendiri. Sejak aku umur 8 tahun. Rancangan induk aku simple - aku kerja sampai umur 55, bersara, start menulis, dan kemudian mungkin buku aku akan difilemkan. Lepas tu, orang kampung aku akan bawak obor dan garpu besar ke rumah aku, dan bakar rumah aku. Aku pun mati dan tiga hari lepas kebakaran tu, satu-satunya kesan aku pernah hidup kat dunia ni cumalah kesan arang terbakar dan sebusut abu kecil yang akhirnya ditiup angin.

Ini akan menandakan aku telah berjaya. Inilah impian aku masa umur aku 8 tahun - aku nak mati lepas berjaya buat semua benda yang aku nak buat.

Malangnya, semua benda macam terbalik. Aku dapat menulis dan buat filem lama sebelum aku cecah 55 tahun. Aku juga gagal menjadi ancaman yang cukup besar untuk semua orang, hanya beberapa ekor beruk yang sesat dan terencat, yang dengkikan apa saja benda atau pencapaian kecil yang aku ada.

Duit bagi aku, hanyalah alat untuk mencapai apa yang aku inginkan - kebebasan. Aku sedar sekarang yang aku hanya mahu mampu mati. Aku mahu ada cukup kemampuan untuk menyara hidup dan kematian aku. Ramai Melayu tak faham yang nak mati pun kena bayar. Cina pulak asyik cari duit sampai lupa nak hidup. Aku boleh kutuk dua-dua sebab aku separuh Cina, separuh Melayu.

Ramai cuma nak apa yang orang lain ada, demi menampal/mengisi lubang dalam diri mereka sendiri. Diorang pun fikir orang lain nak apa yang diorang nak. Sebab minda seekor beruk memang terhad.

Aku tidak menjadi ancaman orang kampung aku, tetapi sedihnya, aku ialah ancaman kepada beruk. Beruk-beruk ini sedar yang aku jauh lebih pandai daripada mereka. Jadi mereka ragu-ragu, was-was dan khuatir aku mahu merampas sampah yang mereka makan dengan rakus. Maaf, aku tak minat sampah-sarap. Aku nak makan daging. Tapi aku faham.

Aku faham semua kegelapan dalam diri manusia sebab semua kegelapan itu wujud atau pernah wujud dalam diri aku sendiri. Bezanya cuma aku berevolusi demi menghadap hari yang mendatang, manakala berukera masih lagi berukera.

Satu benda yang aku suka pasal keluarga aku ialah mak bapak aku tak pernah nak paksa aku buat apa-apa. Contohnya: kahwin. Membiak. Aku tak diberi tekanan pasal pembiakan sebab mak bapak aku paham, ada pasangan atau anak bukan semestinya bagus. Dahlah mahal, kalau pasangan cam pukimak mak bapak dia, pun susah.

Ramai orang berkahwin dan membiak sebab ini fesyen. Beruk lain membiak, dia pun nak jugak. Kalau tak, dan kau ada sebab kau sendiri,  maka baguslah, tapi ramai yang bila aku tanya, "Kenapa kau kahwin?" atau "Kenapa kau nak ada anak?" selalu bagi aku jawapan yang meletakkan seluruh tanggungjawab pada agama, Najib, atau orang lain.

Bagi aku, hanya budak kecik dan binatang saja yang tak boleh dipersalahkan atas tindakan mereka. Yang lain, harus bertanggungjawab. Ada ramai yang walaupun sudah tua, masih lari daripada bertanggungjawab pada diri sendiri - apatah lagi orang lain.

Baru-baru ini, ada member yang dapat tawaran menulis untuk syarikat media gergasi dunia. International, wa cakap lu. Aku tumpang gembira sebab kalau kau pentingkan kejayaan, maka kau juga akan gembira atas kejayaan orang lain.

Aku? Aku masih berusaha untuk menyara kehidupan aku, dan harapnya aku mampu bayar untuk kematian aku.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kegilaan Orang Ramai

Semalam ada orang tanya aku pasal pandangan aku tentang orang ramai dan pasal 'brotherhood'.

Aku berterus terang yang aku fikir bila manusia dikumpul ramai-ramai, dia jadi bodoh. Individu itu pandai, bijak. Tapi bila jadi masyarakat, pemikiran dia jadi primitif sebab keinginan manusia untuk membentuk kumpulan melebihi kepandaian dan akal mereka.

"Aku rasa macam ada kemarahan dalam kau," tanya member aku.

"Aku marah sampai umur aku 28. Lepas tu, aku dah tak peduli."

Masa umur aku 28, tahun 2008 dan awal 2009, aku dalam keadaan marah dan rasa macam mangsa. Sebelum tu, aku hidup dengan nilai-nilai murni aku sendiri tapi pengakhirannya aku hanya dapat pembelotan dan kebodohan yang dicampak ke arah aku.

11 tahun sebelum tu pun, aku dapat rasakan hipokrisi kumpulan. Persahabatan dan struktur sosial yang hanya menguntungkan beberapa orang yang meletakkan diri mereka dalam posisi yang sesuai. Yang lain hanya wujud untuk mengayakan dan memberi hormat - menyembah - mereka yang 'terpilih'.

Sejak aku kecil, dan sejak aku di sekolah, aku perhatikan kepincangan kumpulan manusia yang besar. Aku mengasingkan diri daripada kebodohan sebanyak yang aku mampu, tetapi akhirnya, aku masih ditolak sedikit demi sedikit untuk berdepan dengan masyarakat yang aku kira tiada bezanya dengan sekawan beruk di tempat pembuangan sampah.

Aku rasa resah masa tu sebab tiada siapa pun dalam dunia yang faham apa aku cakap. Aku dilahirkan tanpa sebarang bakat, dan aku tak spesel langsung, cuma aku ada otak yang lebih pandai daripada semua manusia. Itu saja yang aku ada - aku lebih pandai daripada semua orang.

Otak aku mampu mengulang pola pemikiran sesiapa sahaja, jadi aku boleh mengajuk semua perkara yang menggunakan proses berfikir. Aku faham manusia, jadi aku amat kecewa. Pada tahun 2008, dan awal 2009, aku dalam tekanan perasaan sebab aku faham semua motivasi manusia di sekeliling aku, dan memahami hati mereka - bermaksud aku juga memahami kelemahan manusia. Mereka penakut, pentingkan diri sendiri, dan mereka semua pada asasnya seekor beruk di kawasan pembuangan sampah yang berjuang demi sampah-sarap.

Manusia ni, motivasi dia, tujuan kewujudan dia simple je - nak DILIHAT lebih daripada orang (bukan lebih, tapi DILIHAT lebih) dan hendak disayangi. Masalahnya, semua orang sama saja, dan tak ada lebih atau kurang. Kedua, tak ada manusia yang sayang manusia yang lain sebab 99.99% masa dan kuasa otak setiap manusia digunakan untuk fikir pasal diri sendiri dan sayang diri sendiri. Ini tragedi beruk.

Aku rasa terperangkap dalam dunia beruk. Jadi, aku pun mencipta Tai Chi.



Lebih kurang macam tu lah.

Aku mula melepaskan semua kekusutan aku dan mula mengucapkan pergi mampus kepada berukera semua.

Kebahagiaan sejati datangnya bukan daripada orang lain, tetapi daripada diri sendiri. Macam melancap. Aku mula berasa tenang dan aku mengasingkan diri aku sepenuhnya daripada pergolakan dunia - dunia beruk di kawasan pembuangan sampah-sarap.

Aku cuba membawa ketenangan aku kepada berukera, tetapi aku gagal. Dalam kegagalan aku, aku juga belajar yang berukera tidak faham bahasa manusia. Mereka tidak faham aku sebab aku tidak bercakap bahasa mereka. Beruk tidak reti bila aku bercakap pasal isu dalaman, tetapi berlari ke hulu ke hilir, menayang bontot, kencing merata dan makan sampah.

Ini menjerumuskan aku ke dalam tekanan sekali lagi. Bayangkan ada enam ekor biawak, dan seekor biawak tiba-tiba pandai bercakap dan ada pengetahuan semua tamadun manusia. Dia cuba memberitahu biawak-biawak lain - biawak-biawak biasa yang hanya reti telan telur dan jelur lidah.

Jadi aku asingkan ketenangan dan ketenteraman dalaman yang aku jumpa dalam diri aku, dan aku mula susun kosa kata luaran yang harapnya beruk dan biawak ni semua boleh faham.

Hasilnya, aku fikir sekarang aku boleh menjadi tenang di dalam sambil aku maki hamun berukera di luar. Pengasingan ketenteraman dalaman dan kemarahan luaran adalah usaha aku untuk berfungsi dengan lebih lancar dalam dunia beruk yang penuh sampah sarap ini.


Monday, November 4, 2013

The Persistence of Memory: A Review of Teater Kompilasi Namron

Teater Kompilasi Namron just concluded its run at the Damansara Performing Arts Center and I caught the last show. This is something I have been waiting for seven years and for the most part, it was not disappointing. Sorry, I'm being a bit British here even though I come from a small swamp in Kuantan - it was quite brilliant.

The first one was a monologue - Aku Nak Jadi Bintang. First saw it many years (NOTE:10 years ago, in 2003, played by Mardiana Ismail) ago as a performance at the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards. This time, it was performed by Sharifah Amani.

The first staging of the play was unique in its stark juxtaposition of innocence and guile, youthful enthusiasm and jaded reality. It is always quite disconcerting - unsettling even - seeing a small, child-like character in an oversized man's shirt and fishnet stockings, her lips the smeared rouge of a lady of the night.

It's like watching Lolita (the 1997 film, not Kubrick's inferior adaptation) - a kind of uneasy draw.

The original staging had what I remember - if memory serves correct - the performer walking a very narrow tightrope made of light on the stage, with the lightbulb representing perhaps the character's macguffin - the brightness of fame, success, love and affection.

The performer wobbled as if she was on a real tightrope, or on the Islamic Siratul-Mustaqim or the Zoroastrian As-Sirat. Both referred to the same thing - a thin line the seventh of a hair which represents the narrow path of righteousness and morality one has to travel in order to get to heaven.

This instance had the setting opened up. The aisles of light wider, and the wobbling less so. Also missing was a punctuating fall at the end of it, which ended neatly with the character wobbling, almost assuredly falling off the path, and then the lights go out. That was seven or eight years ago, so my memory is questionable.

However, despite these differences, Amani successfully delivered an unsettling tale of ambition and sex. As with all ambition, which is poison, nothing ever ends well.

The second piece - Laut Yang Tenang - completes Namron's unfinished trilogy. Unfinished in my mind, as I never saw this third installment.

I have seen Aku Nak Jadi Bintang and Laut Lebih Indah Dari Bulan around seven years ago.

After a stellar performance of Laut Lebih Indah Dari Bulan, I asked the director and scriptwriter Namron about the two plays.

"This is my trilogy," he said.

And I said, "What trilogy? There's never been a third one."

Then he fixed me with one of those weird stares, and that was that.

Seven years later, here we are.

So, anyway, the second one seemed... a bit rough. The two actors Vanidah Imran and Aqasha are brilliant performers and executed the text well. However, the source material itself seemed incomplete and rushed.

I was listening to the audience and the increase in the amount of involuntary noise, the clearing of throats, the shifts in seats - someone was absent-mindedly playing with his/her keys at some point - showed a detachment of sorts.

This piece has a lawyer interviewing her client for a very important trial. The client has been accused of rape and murder - very serious crimes. Blablabla. So it is up to the lawyer to get the accused to open up. The theme is sex/porn addiction and Aqasha played the engineer like a real addict - his tics were made to be very obvious and his rubbing of the hands and foot-tapping conveyed an uneasy energy.

This could easily have been Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, or Alan Moore's Rorschach and his therapist in the Watchmen comic book.

A simple psychological thriller where the prisoner/authority figure or patient/healer roles can be reversed midway, with sex as the core theme.

However, what we get were merely glimpses of it and what could have been, from the script.

Then came the intermission and when the stage is ready again, the audience was in for a treat.

I have seen Laut Lebih Indah Dari Bulan. For the life of me, I couldn't be sure if it was Mislina Mustaffa who performed it those years ago(CORRECTION: Bulan was played by Marlenny Irwan in 2008 and by Junaidah Lojong in 2006. Some sources told me this just now). My apologies if my memory has started its inevitable decay and I can't fact check at 3am by calling some people. But I know what this piece was going to be - a treat.

I had doubts about Sofia Jane before watching the show, though. I mean, she's beautiful. The Bulan character I knew is an earthy woman who was once quite pretty and still retained her sensuous attraction, but has been weathered by the ravages of time and abuse.

Sofia Jane is still pretty. She would need to look like the Leha of the first 10 minutes or so of Perempuan, Isteri Dan.... Could she?

When she started, Bulan was talking just a bit faster. Just a half-step faster than what I believe would be perfect. But credit to the actor, she drew the audience into her world and her story. The energy soon settled down into a slow but intense burn, which is perfect for Bulan.

Aku Nak Jadi Bintang is about desire as poison and those who drinks it readily. Laut Yang Tenang is about addiction, perhaps, and maybe delusion. The story of Laut Lebih Indah Dari Bulan is the ultimate victim story. A woman who was the victim of society, her family, religion, the media, the world, even the man she loves. And she conveys the hurt without being whiny - which is a credit to the text as well as the performer.

Sofia Jane easily delivered a sympathetic performance and even managed to connect with the audience enough to get them to laugh at some jokes in the middle of this tragedy.

Overall, a very good show and I am glad I went to see it. It was brilliant.

I wonder... if Namron could convince Ijat to do Lembu and Md Eyzendy to do Matderihkoloperlih - two other pieces which are some of the best in minimalist theatre I have seen staged in Malaysia. Maybe after they get back from taking the Teater Kompilasi to not-so-distant shores?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

KL Noir: White Launch at Kinokuniya


Last night, Fixi Novo - the English line of Buku Fixi - launched KL Noir: White at Kinokuniya, KLCC. I was the host as per tradition, because I am the editor for this edition. It's a tradition that started with the first volume - KL Noir: Red - so it happened just once before, but a tradition it is nonetheless.

It was a good event - good energy, good turnout. I arrived two hours before the event because I thought of planning everything - the flow, what to say, etc. However, the publisher said it is better to leave it organic as some writers might arrive late and there's no way to set up a list of readers to play off each other's strengths.

I'm big on planning nowadays, because I fucked up a few times in my life due to lack of strategy, so I started the event with some degree of trepidation.

I didn't even introduce the first reader properly, but hopefully nobody noticed (until now). But I believe I made amends after he finished reading. The rest was good - had some snafu here and there, but everyone who came got to read passages from their stories. 

Already, some early birds have picked their favourites and announced it gleefully on social media.

One writer came all the way from Dubai, in a surprise appearance. Some of my schoolmates showed up, and after what I said about SDAR previously, I am quite touched they bothered to attend and even bought several books.

All in all, it was a good event - we even finished ahead of schedule - and I wish the next volume success. KL Noir Blue is open for submissions starting today. Deadline is Dec 31 2013. You can find the details on the KL Noir Facebook page. Also available are photos:


You can purchase Kl Noir: White at Kinokuniya and major bookstores all over Malaysia. If they are out of stock, or if you prefer, you can get them online at the Buku Fixi website here.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Separuh Masa: Tweets Pasal Filem

Aku sibuk. Dalam menguruskan tiga syarikat (aku ada tiga syarikat, bro. Siap ada auditor bagai), menjalankan projek-projek korporat dan kreatif, aku terjebak jadi curator @Twt_filem - satu akaun twitter pasal filem Malaysia.

Aku rasa aku tau sapa start, tapi aku malas nak menuding jari.

Sebenarnya, aku dah tanam semua impian aku nak buat filem. Aku dah tulis tujuh skrip filem feature, dan empat dah keluar wayang. Mende lagi aku nak? Nothing to prove, pasal aku best nak mampus.

Kalau pasal duit, aku mengusahakan kerja korporat dan kreatif aku yang bukan filem. Nak borak pasal buat filem pun aku rasa poyo. Aku lebih suka bagi connection kepada bebudak baru nak start yang takde connection.

Tapi, makin lama, aku rasa macam semua isu yang aku muntahkan balik jadi macam sesuatu yang baru untuk bebudak generasi ni. Diorang tak pernah fikir ke nak unionise? Tak pernah tengok jumlah kutipan filem local yang makin jahanam dan rasa industri ni menghala ke arah kemerosotan yang boleh dikira Apokalips X?

Nasib pekerja filem dan pelakon yang buat filem akhirnya akan mintak sedekah dan dikasihani, kalau tak kaya. Struktur sokongan untuk pekerja kreatif amat rapuh dan mungkin takde. Pasal apa sesetengah pelakon di masa tua kena jual produk? Kena bukak bisnes yang belum tentu ada untung? Apa insurans diorang ada, kalau tak beli insurans sendiri atau kalau tak ada anak?

Kalau aku pun tak berhati-hati, aku pun mati beragan. Mati kering. Yang akan menyebabkan aku kurus dan langsing.

Lepas tu, Datin Sofia Jane (Cinta Kita, brooo!) cakap ada ramai orang nak buat benda sama. Rasa best pulak Sofia Jane berborak dengan aku. Harry Boy, brooo!

Dan aku masih ada dua cerita yang aku simpan, tak bagi sesiapa buat melainkan aku dapat full creative control. Aku kerek, aku sombong, aku tak bagi orang buat melainkan dapat dibuat dengan sempurna.

Tapi, macam biasa, aku belum dapat tidur malam ni sebab aku fikir pasal sistem yang lebih bagus. Untuk SEMUA. Sebab aku superhero.

Satu dunia di mana rakyat Malaysia dapat menonton filem-filem best yang menghiburkan. Producer boleh buat duit tanpa menganiayai pekerja kreatif dan pelakon. Idea abstrak boleh disampaikan menerusi medium visual tanpa perlu mengira alignment politik atau kaum. Satu dunia di mana kebajikan rakyatnya bukan bergantung harap pada derma ikhlas untuk orang tua. Filem sebagai pemangkin evolusi beruk kepada manusia.

Malaysia tak sepatutnya jadi negara kebajikan. Negara kesian. Pasal jawapannya semua ada. Bagi aku, amat jelas. Terang lagi bersuluh. Nak mengerjakannya, bukan senang.

Ah, pergilah mampus. Aku ada meeting pagi esok. Aku pun nak melepaskan tengkuk aku sendiri je.

Friday, October 18, 2013

KL Noir: White

KL Noir: White
Click on the picture to purchase KL Noir: White

This is KL Noir: White, the latest installment in Fixi Novo's ambitious four edition anthology. KL Noir: Red has topped Kinokuniya's chart for months now and after White, there will be Blue and Yellow next year.

I am the editor for this anthology and I hope everyone - or at least most people - will enjoy the 18 stories by 18 Malaysian writers, all of whom are scattered all over the world. I believe most are in Malaysia, which is good because we are doing the launch on Oct 30 at Kinokuniya.

Editing it has been a joy as well as a traumatic experience. A joy to do it and traumatising whenever I find errors in an already-edited proof. But such is the way these things work. Keeps me humble, which is not a good thing. Haha.

You will find tales of the classic crime melodrama: murders both vivid and subtle, nuanced as well as hard violence, time travel and superhero stories, nostalgia, a bit of romance and heaps of passion.

They are all wonderful stories and I am honored to have worked with all these great writers. All their stories are great and all the faults in this book are mine.

I'd love to talk more about the stories, but I believe I'll allow the book to speak for itself, and also to talk about the tales spun more directly during the launch. So I guess I'll write about other things concerning the book.

The cover is inspired by a cigarette pack. I would often meet with the Fixi Novo publisher and every time he'd say, "Think of a cover!"

And I'd smoke away and then we came up with the cover. It's strange now, because I am in yet another attempt to quit smoking, but I guess a cigarette pack is hardboiled enough.

KL Noir: White is available on the Fixi website right now - as in, today - and will hit major bookstores two weeks from now. Please click on the picture to be taken to a page where you can purchase it directly. It is now available at a discounted price, as mentioned on the website.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Shinji Ikari: Motherfucker of the '90s

I'm a big fan of Gainax Studios - that damn animation studio set up by anime fans and for anime fans. A big fan, but not an Otaku. I don't know who started it, comforted by the knowledge that the info is safe on Wikipedia's servers. And despite my prancing around as knowing everything, I don't really want to know Gainax all that well, personally. Sometimes, it is best to keep a fan's distance to enjoy their stuff, and I have been enjoying their work for the past 20 years or so.

Three of Gainax's best work ranks high on my top 10 anime of all time - the sublime FLCL (or FuriKuri or FoolyCooly), the romantic Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances) and the pop-culture defining Panty and Stocking (sometimes with Garter Belt). And yet one of the most intriguing characters in anime is from perhaps the most well-known of all Gainax creations - Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion (or Eva for short).

Shinji was a revolution in anime as much as the mecha designs in Eva and the highly philosophical and religious themes. The mecha designs of Eva moved from the manly Super Robot of the Go Nagai era in the '70s to the science-based samurai armour-inspired Real Robot era with Gundam and Macross to its signature concept - organic and feminine.

Shinji, meanwhile, deconstructed the typical mecha anime character - from the brash hot-blooded, death before dishonour of Ryouma and Kouji, the nihilist pragmatism of Hayato, to the cowardly, introverted, effete Shinji.

Shinji is a coward who runs away from everything. He ran away from his father's almost criminal negligence and reckless endangerment, he shuts himself from the world and other people by means of a Sony Walkman and more tellingly, hides literally in the womb of Eva-01 (the pilots are inserted via plugs into the belly of the semi-organic monster) which is later revealed to be carrying his mother's spirit or something. For all intents and purposes, Shinji ran away into his mother's uterus and sometimes gets reabsorbed.

It is a very graphic representation of wanting to have never been born.

As a young man, I sympathised with Shinji. I did not and do not want to crawl back into my mother's womb, but there were times in my life I would have prefered to have been aborted as a fetus.

I was a runner. And I also let other people run roughshod over me.

Around five years ago, I decided to turn around and tuck my chin to my chest and headbutted everything and everyone into submission. With varying degrees of success.

But success is not the point. The point is to stop taking bullshit and beat everything into submission. Especially if I encounter another Shinji who blames everyone and everything but does not take accountability for himself.

We all have a moral obligation to take care of ourselves. It's not a choice; it's a responsibility. I loathe to talk about responsibility because people who usually talk of responsibility are usually irresponsible. People who incessantly talk of honour are dishonourable. We are all walking paradoxes.

I just wanted to share this because I'm feeling combative. Itching for a fight. But I know enough to choose my battles. It is simple profit/loss. Even if I win, even if everyone agrees that I am right - and again, I do not need people to tell me I'm right; I KNOW I'm right - there is nothing at the end of it but stupidity and waste.

These days, I hardly fight. I just step aside and allow the laws of entropy to decay and destroy everything - to strip away the unwanted evil.

However, surging forward, I do feel the need to climb into a Pilder and dock with Mazinkaiser. Shinji and Eva might very well define the psychological, philosophical and religious aspects of '90s mecha, but my heart, my soul, burns with Fire Blaster.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mengejutkan Serangga Daripada Tidur Tapa

Dalam dua minggu lagi, member aku Roy akan balik Malaysia lepas bertapa dekat New York Film Academy. Apakah yang telah dia hayati?

Aku harap dia balik cepat sebab projek komik kitorang memang perlukan dia. Aku tak tergapai buat sorang-sorang.

Member baik aku sorang lagi pulak, Sunder, akan balik Kanada dalam dua minggu lagi. Dia dah berjaya menapakkan diri kat sana.

Fareeq tengah handle ahli keluarga dia. Aku taknak kacau sampai settle hal dia dulu.

Terserempak ada sorang member yang pernah bekerja kat tempat sama satu masa dulu. Aku nak masukkan dia dalam salah satu projek aku.

Baru-baru ini jugak, aku memutuskan untuk menghidupkan kembali satu usahasama yang lama terbengkalai. Terbengkalai kat aku, tapi diorang jalan terus.

Juga, ada satu lagi entiti yang dikepalai sorang lagi member yang aku nak tarik gak.

Aku masih berhutang dengan Chee, beberapa gambar.

Dalam kepala otak aku sekarang, semua benda ni berpusing dan melayang-layang. Jadi tak penat. Jadi best.

Aku ambik masa setahun untuk mengubat pembelotan lama. Namun, aku bersyukur aku masih waras dan masih hensem.

Liar dan Angkuh

Adakah aku sakit gastrik sebab Tuhan mahu aku menilai semula apa yang aku buat selama ini?

Aku tak seangkuh itu untuk fikir Tuhan peduli pasal aku. Aku self-worshipper, tapi aku tak self-centered. Nampak? Tak nampak, bodoh.

Aku fikir aku sakit gastrik dengan teruk sebab aku makan tak menentu, dan aku makan Naga Jolokia, juga disebabkan tekanan daripada kerja yang menimbun.

Aku biasa bangun, lepas tu tak makan sampai pukul 6pm. Malam aku makan pukul 12 tengah malam. Aku menulis sampai pagi. Tia-tiap hari. Dulu, masa muda boleh la. Dulu boleh tiga hari tak tidur. Sekarang ni, aku tak tidur sehari, seminggu nak recover.

Aku kelakar dengan sindiran seorang rakan beberapa minggu lepas yang mencadangkan bahawa aku seorang yang hanya tau berkata-kata tanpa buat apa-apa. Aku fikir balik, dalam sepuluh tahun aku bekerja, mengerja dan dikerjakan oleh KL, aku dah buat lebih banyak daripada ramai orang dalam seluruh hidup mereka.

Dan aku cakap ini dengan penuh rasa bersyukur, bukan dengan rasa nak berlagak. Aku tau aku bernasib baik. Walaupun kerja aku menyebabkan aku masuk hospital beberapa kali sebab tekanan, aku masih tak mati dan masih mampu siapkan kerja ikut deadline.

Aku asyik gelakkan dan mencemuh orang yang buat sesuatu untuk dapat recognition. Sebenarnya, aku tak berlaku adil. Aku dulu pun buat benda untuk recognition. Aku cuma nak cakap yang recognition daripada orang lain itu hollow. Kosong. Tak berisi. Sekiranya tidak disertai dengan recognition diri sendiri.

Terima kasih atas penghargaan dan pengiktirafan itu semua, tetapi tanpa diri sendiri menghalalkan apa yang diri sendiri sudah buat, kau takkan temui kepuasan.

Setiap benda yang aku buat akan menyebabkan aku berfikir panjang. Baru-baru ni, aku edit buku. Aku belajar banyak benda baru, walaupun aku dulu pernah jadi editor kat suratkhabar, dan ilmu yang aku dapat aku harap akan menyediakan aku untuk kerja-kerja yang lain.

Kebanyakan skill sebenarnya ialah pola pemikiran. Kalau kau boleh melompat daripada satu cara berfikir ke satu cara berfikir yang lain dengan cepat dan mudah, maka lagi banyak benda kau boleh buat.

Aku pun tak tau kenapa aku tulis semua ni. Mungkin, dengan menghargai perut yang tak sakit sampai guling-guling kat atas lantai ni, aku dapat rasa satu angin baru yang bakal membawa aku menulis sampai ke pagi.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Guts and Glory


Caption: PICTURE IS UNRELATED

Last week, I felt a sharp burn in my gut which left me rolling on the floor, not laughing at all.

So I went to a clinic where a doctor diagnosed me with gastritis. I have never had this condition before. I thought my guts were made of iron because I could eat the hottest things on the planet and still be unaffected. I ate the Naga Jolokia, South African chillis, and all the spices recorded by Asians.

Alas, my stomach is not immortal and this weekend saw me battling pain and drowsiness from all the meds I had to take.

Every time I was stressed out or even think about the word 'stress', I could feel a wash of acid descending on my stomach walls. I had to redo my breathing techniques and up my oats intake and swear off eating chilli until today.

It is yet another reminder that I will soon die. Thankfully, I did not grow old and ugly first.

Wanita Kosmos

Tonight, I met someone whom I consider a legend.

I am not a very big fan of many things from Malaysia - except for my own stuff - but there are a few things that stuck in my head.

Eight years ago, I was a judge for the now-defunct Malaysian Video Awards. It was the first time I met Yasmin and I was immediately annoyed by her extremely positive outlook on life.

However, that optimism was what you needed in order to sit through over 500 short films in three days.

Honestly, most of the shorts were just okay. Some were really bad. A few, though, stuck in my mind perhaps forever. One of those was Wanita Kosmos - an animated short by Diffan Sina.

It was done in a naive style of picture books complete with labels. There were jokes concerning Dr M's administration, but done in that light-hearted manner that few comedians have managed to do. Most comedy and satire often fall into being too light or too harsh. Wanita Kosmos was just nice.

It was satire without being too much, commentary without being pedantic and an overall good story.

Together with 6horts by Amir Muhammad, Wanita Kosmos made me want to do short movies.

It has been eight years. I have done exactly one short and then found myself disliking the task of directing. I don't care enough. I have so many stories, but no one to do them, and not enough time to properly execute everything myself.

These days, I only want to do movies if I can have a great deal of creative control, without being the director. Scriptwriters are often pushed to the side and I can no longer step aside.

I do, however, have a network of friends who want to do these things anyway. So let the the games begin.

Tonight, I met Diffan Sina and watched his short film Kekasih, amongst 10 other movies at Malaysian Shorts. I also met some people who still have the drive to aspire for things.

I am much too old, much too jaded and my energies focused on survival to focus on creating something, so I would have to work with other people just to create stuff for the hell of it.

But enough about me. Diffan Sina is one of those creators who take their craft seriously but don't take themselves seriously. Someone like Lat. So it was no surprise Kekasih bagged the audience choice award tonight, and I start dreaming of doing things for fucks.

Overall, a very good night. Most of my gastritis, I believe, stems from stress. Stress from chasing after some payments and dealing with reality. But tonight, tonight I will dream.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Art for Grabs

I will be performing at Art for Grabs. Stand up comedy. In Bahasa Malaysia and stereo surround sound. Too sick to promote everything else, but my presence should be enough to make this the must-see event of the century.

Art for Grabs

Achy Breaky Gut

Last evening, I experienced some stomach pains. Thinking I might have food poisoning, I quickly went to my stash of meds. I took activated charcoal, buscopan and for preventive measures - oral rehydration salts and Smecta. Also took some painkillers to take the edge off.

The pain became a burn and I had to put off any work scheduled last night in favour of sleep.

I woke up this morning with severe abdominal pains. It was equally distributed on the top part of my stomach. I was worried.

So I put on some shorts - sometimes I like to sleep with my dick hanging out - and waited for a cab, while messaging all my appointments today that I might have to cancel.

As soon as I got a cab, I went in and told the driver my clinic in Bangsar.

"Are you sick?" he asked.

Pallor, sweating, clutching my stomach. No shit, Sherlock.

"Yep."

"Oh, I was sick, blah blah blah. Blah Blah Blah. Memememememememememememememememe! Me! Me-Me!"

This is the failure of many unevolved monkeys - the self-centeredness and self-absorbed nature that has made many potential evolutionary candidates into blabbering apes who can't stop talking about themselves in order to do their fucking work effectively.

The last thing I wanted to do at that time was to entertain a stupid idiot's ego. So I told him, in an abrasive tone, "Yeah, SURE."

Noticing my anger, the monkey shut up.

And then he opened his monkey trap again.

"Are you in pain?"

"Just get me to where I want to go."

And he shut up the rest of the way, having evolved to being human due to my radioactive anger and slow-burn pain.

As I stepped into the clinic, I told the girl manning the counter, "I am in severe abdominal pain. Can we just register later - I need to see the doctor now. Like, NOW."

She just looked everywhere except my face and handed me a piece of paper to write my name and IC number. What a fucking monkey.

I had half a mind to give her my IC, but realising she is a monkey, the damn animal might shove it up her ass or something.

So gritting my teeth and holding my slowly exploding gut, I wrote the necessary information.

I was waiting for the doctor. The pain made me impatient, so I said to the monkey, in BM, "Saya tengah sakit sangat ni. Boleh jumpa doktor sekarang?"

"Doktor pergi toilet," came the response.

Great bedside manners, bitch. If I die to some tumor or whatever, I'm coming back specifically to haunt your sorry ass.

A minute later, I got to see the doctor. I gave him the nature of my condition and also my patient history relating to this matter - I once ingested two Syntex's Anaprox DS 550mg pills, causing severe stomach pains which required IV medication.

I gave him a list of meds I am taking and any substance I have taken or exposed to over the past two weeks.

He took down notes, listened to my stomach using his stethoscope and asked me this final question:

"Is it a twisting pain or a throbbing pain?"

"It's a... burning pain," I said.

"You have gastritis."

"You sure? Any other diagnosis?"

"Do you take spicy food?"

"Yes. Had South Indian Beriyani - rich in spices - a few days ago, masak lemak cili api, oh, and I also have a stash of Naga Jolokia - the hottest chilli known to man, exceeding 2 million on the Scoville scale."

"Are you stressed?"

"Very much so. I am handling three companies and seven projects at the same time, I am chasing after people who owe me money and I apparently live in a world filled with self-absorbed idiots and dishonourable monkeys."

"Yes, I believe it is gastritis."

So he prescribed me four types of meds and advised me on my diet, as well as a possible long-term treatment to restore my stomach lining.

I asked for a jab of painkillers and he gave me one. In the ass. It was Tramadol, which they also give to dogs.

I left the clinic feeling slightly better, so I had breakfast with my sister.

Walking, though, caused some increase in the intensity of the dulled-out pain. So I got myself a bottle of Gaviscon. That did the trick, and I am now at home, thinking I should probably sleep to ensure I don't smoke as much.

The meds are enough for five days. I hope to be up and about by Saturday, though. That's whn I perform at Art for Grabs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fight the Future

I make fun of these namby pamby rich kids cause they'll never understand.

If they fail, they can always run back to their parents. "I'm broke. Boo fucking hoo, my life is miserable." And then their parents give them a million bucks or more.

I fail, and I die. I got nothing and no one - nowhere to fall back on. I use up all my money, I can probably go home to Kuantan for a few days. Then I'll get bored, go to the back, dig a hole and blow my brains out.

This is why I scramble. This is why I push. I know what's on the other end, and despite my own reservations and doubt, I am ALWAYS right.

One of my more privileged friends tried to tell me I'm all talk on the same week I did more things than he ever accomplished in his life. Does that make me better? No, he is in a better position because money is not a true factor for him. Not like oxygen or water.

These rich kids, they regurgitate what a generation of cartoons have been telling them - live your dream, go for your dreams, do what you love. And somehow, some way, things magically fall into place.

This is pure bullshit.

The reality is things will fall into place if you will it there. If you push, if you actually do it yourself.

Here's how I work. I set things up. I plant seeds. Years later, I see the fruition of that small spark. It always surprises me... that I am always right.

People run their mouths about me and years later I see them either still garbage or have become rubbish. Do I look like I give a fuck?

Been a great week. Started off with schadenfreude as I gleefully laughed and rubbed my hands at other people's misfortunes. Then came the grind. Met my deadline tonight. Have another one tomorrow. But that's tomorrow's story.

I have avoided burnout - barely - and right now I need to regulate my rest time.

And may everyone pay me the money they owe me.

Friday, September 20, 2013

PERKOSA - PERsatuan Kahwin perOgol SAya

Dah nak masuk Perhimpunan Agung UMNO dah, November ni. Masa peniaga-peniaga kecil Melayu macam Papagomo pergi jual kain berjenama Siti Nurhaliza atau Tudung Mawi (tm) kat PWTC. Dengar-dengarnya jugak masa untuk hotel-hotel yang menempatkan perwakilan UMNO tukar tuala kepada jenis yang RM5 pasal takut kena kebas.

Masa juga untuk UMNO muhasabah diri, buat lawak, bagi laporan, undi majlis tertinggi dan menetapkan halatuju parti yang semakin popular dan menang makin banyak kerusi walaupun bebudak hipster dan bebudak normal banyak taknak sokong UMNO. Pasal apa? Pasal tak cool.

Cool ke, UMNO? Tak kot. Tak hip langsung.

Aku ada pikir gak nak bertanding jawatan Ketua Wanita UMNO, pasal Wanita UMNO dah takde calon dah. Dah kering, dan bukan sebab menopause. Ketandusan penggusti yang popular, macam Diva's division dalam WWE.

Sebagai langkah permulaan, sebelum masuk Oktober pun, Najib dah umumkan peruntukan beratus juta, atau dah lebih satu billion untuk usahawan Bumiputera.

Katalah satu billion. Daripada jumlah tu, banyak mana dapat kat kroni? 70%? 90%.? Aku tak tau. Biasanya aku kira dana yang diumumkan, dan aku budget hanya 10% akan available untuk rakyat biasa macam aku. Kali ni dia cakap lain, jadi tengoklah camana dia bahagikan duit tu.

Selain isu usahawan Bumiputera, ada jugak isu Chin Peng. Aku jangka akan ada lawak jenaka dan air mata yang dititiskan atas expense Chin Peng. Yang dah mati, matilah. Aku cuma tertarik dengan apa nak jadi lepas ni.

Aku rasa takde sapa berani cabar Najib, melainkan dia sendiri nak undur. Mukhriz nak bertanding VP. KJ pun nak, gamaknya, tapi dia kena lepak dulu. Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, Nazri Aziz, dalam sampan yang sama. Bukan bot pun. Sampan. Tapi takde sapa nak masuk sampan tu, pasal tak best.

Zahid Hamidi ialah watak yang menarik, kalau ikut logik filem. Dia dulu geng Anwar, sama-sama gangster masa UM dulu. Sama-sama redah bangunan fakulti, cat tanda dalam English, suruh tukar ke BM.

Ya, Anwar, Zahid ni semua dulu nak paksa UM tukar ke BM daripada English, supaya orang Melayu miskin macam kat Baling boleh pergi universiti.

Zahid dulu geng Anwar, tapi sekarang branding dia hardliner. Jadi je Menteri Dalam Negeri, dia tangkap kiri, tangkap kanan. Silap-silap, aku kena tangkapnya.

Hishamudin Rais pun aku rasa member dia. Pun kena tangkap. A Samad Said? Sasterawan Negara? Tangkap.

So Zahid Hamidi ialah seorang hardliner? Tegas dan keras. Entah. Manalah aku tau.

Shahrizat Jalil dengan skandal NFC yang tidak diuruskan dengan baik. Kalau ada calon lain? Ada kerrr?

Senang camnilah. Aku bagitau apa orang Melayu nak. Orang Melayu yang masih boleh sokong UMNO, yang masih akan undi UMNO, nak Dr M. Bukan anak Dr M, dia nak Dr M balik. Jadi sama ada UMNO klonkan Dr M atau cari orang yang sama pandai, sama tegas, sama hebat dengan Dr M. Ada kerrr?

Perkasa ialah satu idea menarik. Ambil semua perception yang buruk dan gelap pasal UMNO, dan reka satu entiti yang mewakilkan semua kegelapan itu. Ini secara teori membolehkan UMNO berfungsi tanpa dicalit kehitaman semangat pelampau perkauman dan wanita-wanita yang ingin menjadi pelacur kelas atasan.

Bila pembangkang serang Perkasa, diorang tak serang UMNO, tapi menyerang bayang-bayang UMNO. Masalahnya? Bila Perkasa meluahkan isi hati sesetengah orang Melayu sendiri.

Ya, mamat calon Perkasa Shah Alam tu kalah, tapi tak kalah banyak sangat, kalau dikira ikut peratusan pengundi. Ada market untuk Perkasa, dan ini membimbangkan aku.

Dalam keadaan terdesak, semua jenis option akan diambilkira. Tak susah nak timbulkan kekacauan kat Malaysia ni. Dalam lima minggu ni, aku pun rasa macam nak bunuh orang. Ini aku, seorang yang amat pengasih dan penyayang. Lemah lembut, bersopan, walaupun tak gay. Bayangkan kalau beruk.

Aku ramalkan dulu yang kalau didesak, UMNO hanya ada dua pilihan - jadi PIS-M (nama sebenar PAS) atau Perkasa.

Kalau kau baca Sun Tzu, strategis perang tu tidak merekomen kau desak lawan kau (kalau kekuatan sama atau beza sedikit saja) sampai dia akan berjuang bermati-matian dengan taktik bunuh diri. Bila menyerang, sentiasa pastikan ada ruang untuk diorang berundur. Terutamanya untuk peperangan jangka masa yang lama.

Kalau untuk setiap pertempuran, kau asak habis-habisan, pasukan kau takkan mampu bertahan sampai habis perang.

Dalam komik terjemahan HK, Raja Rimba, huraian falsafah ini juga merangkumi taktik 'Tanah Terpencil'. Kau desak, hambat lawan kau sampai dia berundur ke satu kawasan yang dia fikir selamat, tapi sebenarnya kat situ ada perangkap.

UMNO bagi aku, pada masa sekarang, berada dalam keadaan tertekan. Diorang takde formula, takde idea untuk menang sokongan dan hati mamat-mamat dan minah-minah urban.

Pengumuman Najib pasal peruntukan usahawan Bumiputera pandai, sebab dia tengah memperkukuhkan akar-umbinya dahulu. Siapa nak undi UMNO? Siapa nak undi BN? Buat masa ni, sokongan UMNO dan BN hanya kuat daripada kawasan luar bandar. Kawasan bandar sebenarnya dah lama goyah, tapi bebaru ni aje BN kalah teruk kat bandar. Jadi, Najib uruskan orang Melayu luar bandar dulu.

Satu soalan je - kenapa lambat sangat?

Aku dah bagitau lama, tapi bila aku cakap, kaki-kaki bodek Najib semua cakap aku nak tunjuk pandai. Dah aku memang pandai, nak buat cemana? Nak sorok pun tak boleh. Diorang insecure pasal diorang bodoh.

Okaylah. Better late than never, kata orang Kuantan.

Lepas tu? Apa?

Kalau aku Najib, aku akan teruskan buat benda-benda positif je. Bangunkan orang kampung, improve public transport supaya Melayu semua boleh duduk kampung - menatang bullet train tu tak jadi ke? Nak jugak aku duduk luar KL, kerja kat KL. Bangunkan zon-zon ekonomi supaya boleh cari makan kat luar KL. Benda-benda biasalah.

Pembangkang? Well, beberapa perkembangan menarik kat kem pembangkang. PIS-M ada schism, ada selisih, dengar khabarnya. Ada kaum tua dan kaum muda. Dua-dua bertelagah pasal siapa lebih Islam, siapa lagi terer. Ramai kaum muda kalah pilihanraya, menunjukkan orang PIS-M nakkan perisa yang kuat. Kalau extremist, nak extremist betul-betul, taknak yang progresif ni semua.

PKR bosan nak mampus. Drama apa ada kat PKR? Lepas GE, diorang ambik jalan bodoh nak buat rally tiap-tiap minggu. Aku dah cakap, suruh buat rally sekali setiap suku tahun. Kalau buat tetiap minggu, maksudnya kau penatkan manpower ko sendiri, dan ko buat orang bosan dengan rally.

Dua minggu bolehlah, nak turun full force. Lepas tu? Orang Malaysia ni malas. Dan yang tak malas, ada banyak kerja nak buat la, bro. Sibuk. Takde masa nak jaga bulu puki ko je setiap masa.

DAP takde dengar khabar berita, melainkan Lim Guan Eng nak ban Tanda Putera itu hari. Menggelabah nak mampus.

Terang-terang lah, GE14 nanti, UMNO vs DAP. Melayu vs Cina. Sama macam GE13, tapi lebih jelas dan nyata. Yang lain kacau je, kerjanya.

Jadi apa hal Perhimpunan Agung UMNO kali ni?

Entah.

Aku harap ada drama. Muhyidin cabar Najib ke, Ku Li ke, Barack Obama ke. Kalau jadi, UMNO akan hancur sebab keadaan diorang macam telur di hujung tanduk.

Aku saja tulis kat sini supaya aku senang sikit tidur.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why I Won't Review Vikingdom

I wrote seven feature film scripts for KRU. Four of them got made and were released.

The four were: MySpy, Magika, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa and 29 Februari.

Therefore, if my review is favourable, then some people would accuse me of being a KRU stooge. If my review is negative, some people would accuse me of being bitter at not being offered to write Vikingdom.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be involved with an international production? It is the wet dream of many. Sadly, it is not mine. My dreams are of freedom, not creation.

I want to be able to afford to die. I have no Government pension, no wife or kids to leech off from, no one in the family to suck their bloods dry and nowhere to retreat. I have only the work and the grind, which I tackle with my wit, and my will.

While I don't give a fuck about what the idiots think, I also have no intention nor the time to deal with them. I have the work, of course.

While some who were jealous of me backstabbed and did their shitty stuff, I was and am busy juggling my life and my work. Doing services for KRU is always a mixed blessing.

I respect KRU's attitude of following up with what they said. While others only spoke or masturbated in front of computer screens while dreaming of doing movies, KRU had the balls and continue to display their testicles in the film industry.

I believe this is commendable. In a world of talkers, the men and women of action actually do something. Anything. Good, bad, I like to believe I know enough of the brothers to understand their drive. I am pleased to have been given the opportunity to be part of some of the projects.

The downside is inheriting their beef with some, though it is only a minor inconvenience.

So I will go and watch it later this week. Maybe ask a girl to blow me as I do so. But no, I won't write a review about it. As if that matters anyway.


Death of a Salesman

Writing this might land me into trouble. It is better for me to shut up, but I can't. It might not be good for business, but I am compelled to write it. Come what may.

On Sept 16, the death of Chin Peng was announced.

I thought, "Okay. That's that, then."

And then all these people started saying the Communists were heroes.

Well, if that is the history you want to believe, I don't care. If it's the narrative that will benefit you politically, or financially, I don't care.

What I have are only my family's stories that happened way before I was born. I told it many times before. I just want to record it here before it is rewritten, as history is often rewritten by the victors and I don't know how it will turn out five or 10 years from now.

I did not read it from a textbook, nor did I watch a movie about it. These stories are possibly the only family heirlooms I have.

My father was very young, and he had an older brother. One night, the Communists came to the house and took the older brother into the woods and asked him one last time to join them. He refused, so they shot him dead. He was a civilian.

When I tell this story, some people would say, "It's war! People die!"

Yes, people die during wars. But this was not during war, and my uncles (there was another murder, but I am not sure of the full details of that one) were not soldiers or policemen. They were civilians. Even in times of war, if the armed forces killed civilians, there is a thing called a war tribunal, and there have been people who were convicted as war criminals. Usually for killing or torturing civilians.

Maybe it's because it happened to other people, and not their families. Their families are special cause they didn't get killed by Communists.

I'm sure people whose families were killed and/or tortured during the Rape of Nanking would not accept the justification that "It's war! People die!"

So, yes, Chin Peng is Bapa Kemerdekaan? Sure, I don't care. It's not my title to bequeath or take away. Want to bury him at Tugu Negara? I don't care. Not my piece of land.

Communism rules? I actually agree. Star Trek is a socialist utopia, and I like Star Trek.

I have absolutely no interest in the politics of the whole thing. I don't care what the motivations are, nor do I care about any justification. Truth or lies, innocent people were murdered. That's the whole point of the story.

Why was there no tribunal? Is it really necessary? I don't know. I don't care.

Chin Peng's body or ashes being brought here? That issue? I have no opinion because I don't care.

I wish Chin Peng the best of luck in the afterlife. Be him hero or war criminal, that's not up to me.

I just want to record the story here, before it gets changed, and I want to say this:

"Nobody kills my family. Only I kill my family."


Monday, September 16, 2013

Hardboiled Friction

It's 4:03am. Am gonna call it an early night.

This is the first weekend in months I have planned to do nothing - ended up doing lots of stuff anyway. But the mental fatigue is clearing, slowly, as I didn't plan on doing any work and as a result, I did not spend time thinking about work.

Just watched The Dark Knight Returns animated adaptation. It's less... gory, dark or sombre. Used to love that comic book. Used to own it as well. Seeing Batman at over 50, battling a world that has left him behind, forgotten him, always touches a nerve.

Some people ask me about my drive. Why I keep on punishing myself with insane workloads. No, those were not questions. They were accusations.

My answer is simple - I want to be able to afford to die.

Right now, I can't. Don't have enough. Working on it.

You see, I don't have anywhere to go back to. If I fail, I can't run back to mommy or call my father and have him pick me up at the bus station or something. They've been very clear on the terms of my freedom. I can do whatever the fuck I want, as long as I do not trouble them.

Quit my job? Go ahead. "Just don't be a burden to me." That's the only message, in those exact words, thrown my way.

I don't expect anything more than that. Or less. I thank them, because I offer them the same.

I don't plan to be a burden to anyone. I'd die before that happens. There, right there, is my greatest fear.

I see lesser minds go through the motions, going in cycles I have completed decades earlier, and I puke. It is condescending, pedantic, but it is true. I have been there before. I have seen it all. And I bore easily.

I see through their little schemes, poking, taunting. As if I am still subject to my ego like I was years ago. Hmph. Primitives. Idiots. Monkeys.

There were these insecure idiots who tried to 'get the better of me' by taunting me to fall into place. They tried some psychological tactics I read when I was 17. Perhaps thinking it is ground-breaking, edgy or something no crazy scientist has tried to study before. Or wrote in books.

You play the antagonist in order to push someone to a corner you believe they should be in. Because humans play roles. They are dependent on roles. On assigned labels. They are too stupid to step back and view everything as a whole. Some are even more retarded. They cannot hold multiple opposing ideas in their heads at the same time. Or switch between multiple roles.

I have been wasting my time, writing about idiots.

Time for sleep. Bed. Soft. Rest.

When I wake up, I want every single one of you monkeys to go fuck yourself.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saiko: Pencuri Otak

It occurred to me as I sat down and watched Psiko Pencuri Hati today, while shushing monkeys who managed to buy tickets, that I probably should have watched and reviewed this movie first, before Tanda Putera.

The reason being Psiko Pencuri Hati also ends its screen run in a couple of days and it needs all the help it can get, simply because it is one of the best local movies to be released this year, if not THE best. If you can catch it, please buy a ticket.

The premise is excellent - four main characters, each with a specific mental illness - is on an island resort with two other people. One of them gets killed and they quickly realise that the killer - of the serial kind - is one of them.

I believe the movie should have been titled Saiko, because Psiko might make the monkeys call it 'Pesiko' instead. This is one of the reasons I believe the film is not doing that well at the box office. Also, a lack of promotional budget does not help. This is a shame, and maybe a last ditch effort by Lim Guan Eng to ban it might help ticket sales.

Great premise, good idea, but it suffers somewhat in the beginning and is also afflicted with a hasty third act.

At the start, we meet O. Sidi (OCD, geddit? But he is NOT suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He's... something else), a novelist who has not completed his book for the past three years. We also meet his roommate, Man, who is often depicted as his polar opposite, and possibly as having a sexual relationship with Sidi.

This is due to the many shirtless scenes between the two. I have stayed with nine other guys before, for four years, in a 900sqft apartment and I have not been shirtless with my many housemates as often as those two did in an hour plus. That, is foreshadowing, and a revelation of how Sidi and Man love as well as hate each other.

Some scenes were clear revelations of the actual relationship between the two. Man constantly taunts Sidi, egging him to either die or kill someone.

Then, we meet Wani and Khai - a couple with problems. Wani suffers from depression while Khai suffers from... having a wife with depression.

Anyway, the four eventually find themselves on an island resort, where a classic murder mystery is set. I love a good mystery, and trying to figure out the exact medical conditions of the four was also fun. But that's just me - I'm crazy.

I find the human brain to be very sexy. It transcends gender boundaries, sexual gaps and anything else. I believe that humans' desperate need to connect with one another is beyond physical but enters the spiritual, or mental.

Hence, Wani's immediate attraction to Sidi. Of course, this can be explained by the fact that women - in general, and I am being misogynistic - love men who understand pain. It is because women experience pain every month, at the very least. Men usually ignore or pretend not to be able to experience pain. It's the macho thing to do.

So before I go any further, I must say this: I once passed a kidney stone through my dick. The doctors told me the pain is akin to giving birth. Recently, I have experienced pain that exceeds even passing a kidney stone through my dick - having the barely digested remnants of Naga Jolokia (the hottest chilli known to man, exceeding 2 million on the Scoville scale) pass through my anus, at 4 o'clock in the morning.

The pain I experienced made me religious. So, ladies?

Back to the movie. The premise is great, the characters very deep, the performances adequate, and the mystery is a breath of fresh air.

However, the film suffers a bit from obvious hints at the start, as well as great delivery that doesn't belong in a film. Amerul Affendi's performance as Man is commendable, but some of his lines sound they belong on stage rather than in a movie.

On stage, you can use awkward words and phrases and it would not be out of place. You can pause for half a second or a full second or two, and the energy can be carried forward. Unfortunately, in a film, gaps, pauses, silences, etc - without any purpose, deliberate alternate shots or music - feels empty. It might have been deliberate, considering the true nature of all the characters, but in the first part it seemed out of place amidst his other wonderfully delivered lines.

In essence, Amerul's scenes were some of the best in the movie. Need to see more of him. Soon.

It is refreshing to see Sharifah Amani playing someone other than Orked. I have watched most of her movies, including Sayang You Can Dance, but they have all been one character. With Wani, I was expecting her to burst out with spunk (the spirit, not the bodily fluid) but she delightfully did not.

I prefer Bront Palarae's character here than in Bunohan. In Bunohan, he was capable and dangerous. Here, in Psiko Pencuri Hati, he is weak, exposed and generally a loser. Good stuff.

Syed Hussein reminds me of Norman Hakim. He could have pulled off Tun Haniff Omar in Tanda Putera, or an aristocratic bastard in another movie. His character of Dr Khai is aptly annoying - you just want to punch this guy in the face.

The third act feels forced, with two flashbacks to quickly solve questions about two of the main characters and to reveal the real killer. The very last shot could have been executed better if Man was positioned with another group of people in the scene rather than with the one he ended up talking to.

I like this movie - the story, the characters, the fact that we have a mystery film - but the execution leaves something (just a few things, really) to be desired. Perhaps with more time and Tanda Putera's RM4.7 million budget, director Namron could do something even more polished. For a local movie, this is as good as it gets, most of the time. Unless you count Bunohan, which skews the graph for everyone due to sheer brilliance and excellence of execution.

The theme of mental illnesses is also very refreshing. I saw a play once, produced by Lorna Tee - now a super-powered international film producer - called Otak Tak Center. That one was also about mental illnesses, and if I remember correctly, the statistic given was that 10% of Malaysians suffer from some form of mental illness, but most go undiagnosed. I might be wrong and if I am, that number could be very much higher.

I have friends who do suffer from real mental conditions. One came out recently with OCD, and I have visited people with real bipolar disorder/manic depression. It was my effort to diagnose myself as I suspected I was manic-depressive. Observing them, under medication, I can safely say I have nothing but a case of mood swings and minor drama queen issues.

I also did some work at an old folks' home where dementia has set on many residents. I remember an old guy who constantly tried to convince me that his children would pick him up soon. They never did.

Fortunately, none of my friends or people I know suffer from schizophrenia. It is impossible for anyone who has that condition to diagnose themselves and the Malaysian attitude towards mental illnesses is always deplorable.

Now, I have given clues to the mystery. I am trying to entice you to buy a ticket and watch Psiko Pencuri Hati and solve the mysteries of the murders as well as the human brain. I believe if you need to watch just one Malaysian movie this year, let it be Psiko Pencuri Hati.