Monday, April 29, 2013

Journeyman Mistakes: Good or Good Enough

Lots of people approach me and tell me they want to write. But they never do, so fuck them.

Those who do, sometimes ask this stupid question, "But what if it's not good enough? What if people hate it?"

Here's some science I pulled out of my ass - no matter what you do, 3% of the people will love it, and 3% of the people will hate it. The rest of the world - 94% of them, won't give a flying fuck.

People are self-obsessed. They only care and think about themselves. All their judgments and reactions are in reference to their stupid, fat, egotistical, dumb selves.

Look at the current campaign for GE13. You can't miss it, if you're in Malaysia. Both PR and BN plaster every inch of the city with their flags, banners and bullshit - mostly bullshit. It's as if people are so stupid, they will vote based on who can put more of their logos in public places.

The sad part is - it is true. People are stupid.

They will vote for the General Election, and decide whether they like a story/politician or not, or make any decision - based on nothing other than how it will make them look.

Since the Malaysian mentality is stuck at 4 years old, we as a society are still grappling with self-image issues. The society and its people are shallow motherfuckers.

My point is, in writing, fuck off and die. Who gives a fuck whether it's good or good enough? No one can tell, really, because it's relative to what and how it makes some people look, whenever they comment on a work of art or a work of rubbish.

It doesn't matter.

So the next time I put up a call for submissions, don't be afraid and send me your stuff. I have read some great ones which will go into the book KL Noir: White and some weak ones which - if I have the time - I will send back to the writers with my comments.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Decade of Decadence: Freedom

In my 10 years working in the media industry, I have quit my job maybe several times. Always, I quit to go and do freelance or to set up my own company.

My recent resignation from the biggest media company in the country is also to set off on my own and to enjoy the freedom of being out there and doing fuck all and masturbatorily love myself and suck my own dick.

My new company starts early May, probably before the election. I have some deadlines in terms of setting up service packages, pricing, and SOPs which I need to present to the team.

If you don't set how things are going to work or do ad hoc all the way, all you're going to get is more work. I'm talking from experience.

Servicing clients is one thing, but sometimes clients don't know what they need.

Being the Greatest Mind of the 21st Century, starting May 1, I am not taking any shit from anyone. You want shit done? You listen to me. You want what's good for you? You do what I say.

In order to enjoy freedom, to be free to do anything, you must be prepared to lose everything.

I have made decisions all my life so I would not be responsible for anyone's lives but my own. I have no children, no wife, no house, no car, no whatever. I have nothing. To lose.

I am not jumping into any project midway. I am not going to follow other people's workflow but my own. It's my way or the highway. And I'm okay with taking the highway cause it gets me there faster.

So fuck all of you who doubt me. Suck my substantial dick.

The Malay Melee: The Next Big Thing

I looked at the roster of politicians slated to be the next big things, and the only person I saw from PAS or PAIS-M (Parti Agama Islam Se-Malaysia) was Mat Sabu.

I heard at one time, there was a rift in PAIS-M, between the old ultra-conservative ones and the younger dudes. Where the fuck are the younger dudes? The people next in line seem to be Mat Sabu.

I mean, if anyone were to become PM from PAIS-M, it could be Mat Sabu. I don't know about Spender Stopa or Husam Musa - Kickdefella's mortal enemy - but I believe Mat Sabu speaks to the young ultra-conservative types.

I didn't really want to write about politics again. I wanted to write about languages, but then I realised that the wave of neo-conservatism, the Born Again Christians, Born Again Muslims (BAM!) amongst the youth and the young ultra-Malays supporting the extremist group Perkasa  started with a shift from English as the preferred medium, to BM and Chinese, as well as Tamil to a lesser extent.

I heard that allegedly, you can find the bodies of English newspapers in the Klang river. Circulation has gone down, and many blame the Internet. I dunno. Harian Metro is doing brisk business, and I believe Chinese-language dailies have stayed strong.

Only English newspapers have suffered. Why? I can point a lot of fingers (plus one substantial dick) to a number of factors, but chief amongst them could be the people's shift towards languages other than English.

This shift to BM, Mandarin and others have had - I suspect - a disuniting effect. People in this country are no longer talking the same language, or about the same things.

I blame it all on Anwar. Years ago, I had a chat with Prof Khoo Khay Kim who reminisced about the Anway halcyon days of the '70s. Anwar led a student rebellion in UM at the time and part of this was to go and erase/smear/attack any sign in English.

His cause was originally a good one. It was about getting the poor to UM. People like in Baling, Kedah. The thing about them not getting into UM and other tertiary education places was in a major part due to their weak grasp of English.

Anwar sought to change this, and to a certain extent, he did. For generations, English has been neglected and  after talking to a number of students from outside city centres, I have discovered that the remnants of Anwar's fight was this hatred for English amongst mainly Malay folk.

Malays who speak English were ridiculed and looked at 'diagonally' (dipandang serong). But these are all anecdotal and wanking.

The problem with limiting yourself to only one language is you close doors to other ideas. My current writing, for example, is steeped in BM, English as well as Japanese traditions.

Cintan, the novel I am writing right now, taps into Chuck Palahniuk's anarchist Fight Club manifesto, Edward Albee's absurdist theatre - one of only a few texts I studied in UM as part of an elective course - Osamu Dazai's wanking love-letter to writing and to himself in Run, Melos, Run, Sakaguchi Ango's In the Woods Beneath the Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom  as well as young writer Hadi M Nor's Sepucuk Pistol Dalam Laci anthology.

As you can see, I am very much in love with the idea of the book as well as the idea of myself. And some people thought I was going into politics? Absurd!

But anyway, I see nothing wrong with Mat Sabu being PM. He is at least entertaining. Sure, he will burn the country down under the heel of Islamic extremism and animal-like stupidity, but at the very least, we shall have a good laugh as we all die from the fires of religious industry.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

GE13 Campaign Update

I am currently watching a dreadfully boring TV3 show on the impending election. It features two speakers who drone on and on about stats and numbers - fine - but the BN agenda was right smack dab in the middle of the room like a giant white elephant humping the studio lights.

I see this, and I believe this is an accurate representation of what is happening in the Malaysian political landscape at the moment. Preachers preaching to the choir.

I had an inkling of this when I tried to show - in the same week - the Anwar sex video screencaps as well as GlobalWitness' expose on alleged corruption in Sarawak to both BN and PR supporters.

Both types of people REFUSED to watch the video that is not in line with their fixed beliefs. One guy went so far as running across the room.

One person saw one of the videos, went home crying, and had to be consoled by other people who told her it was all just a dream.

Such is the political landscape in Malaysia. Campaigning was done years ago, and I doubt we will  see any dramatic major swing in the next few days.

Of all news outlets, Al-Jazeera had the most interesting implied view. According to some friends who have Astro, some parts of the GE13 news coverage on Al-Jazeera supposedly implied this election as between the poor Malays (preached to incessantly by BN) and the non-Malays (by non-BN).

Yes. Race-based politics, which is nothing new. Even the political parties are not addressing it directly, but they do it anyway. Which is fine. addressing the race issues might fan the stupid flames so much and some incidents might occur.

Politics is usually not about love or ideas. It is about hate and the victim mentality. It is about ego and these days, I can't even go out and see my fellow Malaysians without having this choking hate-miasma shoved down my throat. It is unfortunate, but this is how I see politics as - of course - a divisive thing rather than something that unites people under a common cause. Really, where are the causes? Buried under an avalanche of personal attacks, what we have here shows me that for the past 56 years have always been hateful monkey politics - and I am pointing fingers as well as one substantial dick - at ALL sides.

On a lighter note, I notice some cunning on BN cybertroopers' side on social media. Before this, The Internet have always been the playground of the opposition. Hence, most populist hot chicks - or at the very least girls who do not look like complete animals - have always been anti-establishment.

The BN cybertroopers have wisened up and kept retweeting stuff by girls who are pro-establishment, who look half-decent. I have no proof for this, and I could just be talking out of my ass. But if this is in any way true, then please continue.

Meanwhile, I run away from all this negative energy by focusing on my own work - a novel, one video, some projects and a book I am editing. I have booked a vacation to Thailand after the election so as to cleanse myself from all this hate and negativity, which I am sure will grip the nation for the next month or so.

Decade of Decadence: The Five Year Gap

Malaysian media is usually about five or at least a few years late from the global leaders.

Social media adoption has been relatively fast, but we're still a few years behind.

This creates opportunity as well as headaches.

Some of the biggest challenges in the industry are: managing expectations, educating the industry and making them understand how things work in this world.

I have been online since 1994, searching for Doraemon porn whenever we break into the computer room at my school. I also have a degree in computer science, which I have never used.

What interested me, though, were the online communities. How humans act online is similar and at the same time different than in the real world. I frequented and am still a member of certain forums online, for example the currently-defunct Phuket-Info, where I researched and gleaned information, tips, tricks and made friends in the wonderful world of Thai nightlife.

I have been banned many times from the forums because I was in a phase in my life when I constantly challenged people's religious beliefs and make fun of idiots as a form of entertainment.

If you want to see how people interact online, go to YouTube and read the comments there. Then go to political Facebook pages. See the difference? Why? Accountability, for one. FB has some of your info and lots of people use it to socialise with their friends. So it is easier for them to be exposed on FB as well as places like LinkedIN where people post their full resumes online.

 How information travels is also different. Technology influences how humans act and react online, but the way and mannerisms are different. Twitter is all about speed as well as the ephemeral nature of the Internet and information.

Go to 9gag, icanhascheezburger, 4chan and numerous online game forums for some injection of culture.

Eventually, after a few years, a big picture starts to form. You can see the altruistic side of humans as they contribute and edit Wikipedia pages. You can also see their dark nature by reading said YouTube comments.

There are literally thousands of different tools and hundreds of different platforms out there, but the most important is yourself.

Decade of Decadence: Kamen Rider! Decade!

My first job was at The Malay Mail.

Actually, my first job was at a pharmacy in Midvalley Megamall. I was a cashier. They paid me RM600 a month and if there was something crazy like the Carrefour Midnight Sale or something, I got some overtime.

The reason I worked there was because I was holding out for a writing job. I graduated in computer science but had decided to not pursue a career in that line.

I had, by that time, received an offer to present a system I developed in UM to a conference in Portugal. I developed a tutorial system complete with an AI that could mark tests and tutorials - even subjective questions and answers - and then assess weaknesses as well as dispense notes and reading lists to individual students based on their unique performances and answers.

The system could identify which part of the course each student is weak with and then point them to relevant passages or pages of reference books/notes.

It's pretty simple now, and I see kids as young as 12 coming up with even more complex and elegant systems. But this was 2003 and back then, it was quite okay. For UM.

However, I have decided that I was going to be a writer. Fuck everything else.

When I told my father, he was pissed off.

"Who are you going to write for? Harakah? Tamil Nesan?"

And so I was a cashier at a pharmacy, waiting for that writing job. The pharmacy was just outside Carrefour and Carrefour had this lunch deli, where you can buy fried rice or chicken, whatever. They sold fried rice by the weight of the amount you took.

I went to the thing and used a skill I learned in school - I spent 10 minutes each time, filling my polystyrene with bits of chicken they put in the fried rice. And then placing a thin layer of fried rice on top.

All my life up to that point was about surviving in harsh conditions, and RM600 in the middle of KL is fucking harsh.

It was possible to survive. I mean, dinner was usually fried egg with rice and aji-shio (pepper loaded with MSG). I took the bus, which meant a lot of walking.

I squatted at friends' apartments. I also took my first writing job - as a food reviewer.

There was no pay, which led me to quit the thing after a month or two - but I got to eat. I ate at the most expensive restaurants in town. I had escargot, truffles, Australian crab, lobster, scallops, fresh-water prawns, honey-fried squid, shark's fin, high-end dim sum - you name it. I have eaten every type of food I would want to eat.

This is how I supplemented my diet for a brief period.

I was also writing scripts. I used my online contacts to land exactly one animation writing gig. I did three episodes, but was paid for only one, cause the other two sucked balls.

I got help from one of my brother's friends to print out 52 applications for writing positions all around town. I got called to six interviews. NST was the first.

They asked me to write a feature story, and I did. Then, based on that one article, I got into The Malay Mail.

Looking back, those few months were crazy. I did not have money or support. My family was not and is not rich, and I was shoving as much MSG as I could into my face to mask the blandness of rice.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Decade of Decadence: Sandy and Friends

As I was writing and making preparations for tomorrow's slate of tasks and meetings this late afternoon, my PC - a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i5 2500 system - became unresponsive.

I rebooted and got this error message in BIOS - CPU Temperature Error. I went into BIOS and discovered the bar was RED. Shit.

I quickly turned it off and then went to bed.

After that, I opened the casing and wiped away a few years worth of dust and dirt. I rebooted the system and checked BIOS. The temp was steadily increasing beyond 55 degrees Celsius.

I know now that the limit would be 65 degrees, making allowances for Malaysia's hot temperature and high humidity.

I made some phone calls and had a possible diagnosis - the fan wasn't spinning fast enough anymore, or some material at its copper whatever is fucked.

So I took out the fan, rushed to Digital Mall PJ to buy a new fan, and then rushed back home. The whole trip and buying session took 30 minutes or less. All the while, I was yelling "Sandyyyy! Sandyyyyy!" like a character from a rom-com movie.

I replaced the fan and then saw the temperature hovering at a stable 51 degrees. Phew.

I love my PCs. They have served me better than any human.

All started in the early '90s with my brother's 486 machine.In 1996, my father bought a Pentium-S PC. It was the first Pentium 100MHz chip, overclocked to 133MHz. Hence, Pentium-S.

My own PC was a Pentium III machine. 833MHz, with 128MB RAM. Then moved to AMD dual-core. The AMD machine gave me loads of problems. Then I made the switch to Sandy Bridge and so far have been extremely satisfied with the performance of the hardware as well as Windows 7.

The fuck am  doing? I need to go and finish that novel.

Decade of Decadence: The 10 Year Anniversary Series

They say that an empty vessel makes the most noise. And that people who know little, will crow about what little they know.

I am that empty vessel, so hear me crow and shit.

May 15th will mark the 10 year anniversary I have been in the media. Until that date, sans a few days when I go home to vote and my 4-day vacation in Thailand - partly to celebrate my 10th year anniversary - I  will fill this blog on what little I know this past decade.

I came to KL in 1998, to enrol in UM. I chose UM because I took SPM - and scored like crazy - during the global economic recession. I got an aggregate of 8 and where my seniors managed to land scholarships to Europe and the US at 18 aggregates (the lower the number, the better), my superior results got me nowhere. There was no money to send an unconnected son of a teacher to any of the western countries.

Yes, we are related to some powerful people, but my family has an arrogance and stubbornness which sometimes frustrate even me.

I was stuck here. So I applied to the one university WITHOUT a dress code - UM. I did not choose it for its superior academic whatever or its location. I knew ITM required shirts, tie and black shoes for their matriculation students, same goes with UTM, UPM, USM, UKM and whatever else.

I had just spent the previous five years wearing a stupid fucking tie every day except Sunday and a formal Baju Melayu every Friday. I mean, fuck you. I wasn't going to wear a tie or iron my clothes.

I asked around, and UM was the only university that allowed me to go to lectures wearing sandals, flip-flops or whatever. I also went to class wearing shorts at one point, but the predominantly Mohammadean community started laughing and admiring my fair thighs.

So there I was, alone and not rich, in the capital, armed only with my wit, and my will.

I spent five long fucking years eating roti canai and - for the occasional treat - Maggi goreng. I hear lots of Chinese students want to get into UM and I was like, "What the fuck for?" I gained countless kilos from eating whatever cheapest food I could find. Really cheap shit. I bought the occasional snack based on weight.

Loaded on carbs all day, every day. It wasn't by choice. I discovered then that my family was poor. They couldn't afford my education.

I don't hold it against them. They did their best, and I played whatever hand I was dealt to the best of my abilities.

Life in UM was one of survival. I needed enough food to keep me going. It felt like living in the jungle.

I had a budget of RM6 for food every day. This meant either RM3 for lunch or RM2.50 and the rest for dinner. Breakfast was an occasional dream.

I watched as the rich kids threw their money away on expensive food and unnecessary stuff. Some of them even drank or partied. There was no party for me. There was only survival.

I stayed at one point, at a 900sqft apartment with nine other students. Nine fucking students. Some of them drug dealers and one was a thief. The rich kids would get the 3-4 bedroom 1440 sqft apartments and have a room all to themselves. Three people in an apartment - my mind boggled at the thought.

I made some friends, and with their help - logistics, mainly, cause I had no transportation the first few years I was there - I also landed typing jobs due to my proficiency with languages.

They paid McDonald's wages, which was RM3.50-RM4 per hour at the time. We prayed in the meeting room. Oh, I prayed five times a day back then. Every day, five times, I would get down on my knees, place my head on the ground and thank God for my life.

Cause you know why? Other people had - and are having it worse.

I grew up in the swamp, motherfucker! My neighbours were and are worse off. They make a few hundred bucks a month to feed families of eight or more. In the best of times, when rubber prices go up, they can make maybe up to RM3,000 a month. Imagine eight people having that amount to survive in the modern world.

Look at their food, man. One of my neighbours buy tiny day-old shrimp - the cheapest shit they could find - and make what is sold in La Bodega as gambas paco alcalde - shrimp in a red sauce, but with more chilli instead of tomato.

They cook the thing, and all you could see on the dish was a red paste. The shrimp were tiny and they were very few - too few to feed eight people, or more.

My parents often told me of the kind of food they had to eat back in World War II - the skin of bananas, soft barks of certain trees, mushrooms. The kind of shit these people eat are just one level up.

I usually shop for clothes every five years. Means everything I buy must at least last five years. I scoured shopping malls and bundle sales, looking for quality. I recommend LL Bean which I bought at FOS for RM12 as it is outdoor wear, but tailored to be office wear. The quality of the material is outstanding.

I still have those shirts. I still have my jeans from when I was 17, patched up and now disintegrated from constant washing.

Now, I'm an old man, and I see kids nowadays wasting all the opportunities and convenience which they have taken for granted, as I am sure the previous generation saw mine do the same, with our fancy RM2.50 meals.

So the election is coming up, and the current Government is saying they did good on all fronts. I do not deny they have tried, and some of the initiatives bore more fruit than others.

However, to say that life in Malaysia is easy, or even that we have enough food for everyone - I cannot say that. At the very least, tell it to the hardcore poor.

Run, Amir, Run

I was lying on  my bed, feeling good about myself.

Tonight, I watched the Dakota Fanning rape movie - Hounddog - and also rewatched an episode of Aoi Bungaku - animated adaptation of Japan's greatest literary works.

One of the stories was Osamu Dazai's Run, Melos, Run. I am extremely fond of this adaptation, particularly one scene.

First, the story is about a writer tasked with adapting a Greek myth into a stage play. However, he stumbled upon a block as the story shares some similarities with his own life story. The question posed by Osamu Dazai was, "Is it more painful to wait for someone, or to make others wait?"

The story has flashbacks to the writer's old life, and flash forwards to the play being staged - probably just in the writer's mind.

My favourite scene was writing the sequence when Melos was fighting to get back to a castle, and as the  writer wrote it, each stroke of his brush corresponded to a slash, thrust or parry of Melos' blade. The narrative flashes back to the writer's original story, and then flash forwards to the play being acted on stage.

Then the characters from the stage play spills over to the writer's desk and start fighting there.

Writers are a masturbatory bunch. We're wankers, mostly. But that effect, multiple threads happening all at once, with the same theme, creating an extremely powerful resonance, can only be achieved using animation.

It reminds me of an episode of Kino's Journey. The first one, I think, about three old men on the rails. It was punctuated with Kino's story about a land where no one had to work.

This one had a simple resonance, but Kino's Journey has always been about asking question to the reader/viewer.

These are the type of stuff I want to write, and I hope I will have enough resources to do so, before I die.

Tonight, I managed to write 3,431 words of my novel. Progress has been slower due to me wanting to maintain some form of quality, and of course playing some games. Tomorrow, I will merge that with some earlier stuff I did making a grand total of almost 9,000 words. A bit of writing, and I can reach 10,000 words before my afternoon meeting tomorrow.

If I can achieve 20,000 words by Monday morning, I will be extremely happy.

It is not good to measure progress on how many words one has written. Volume is no guarantee of quality. However, having postponed this project for a long while, I just can't wait to clock some serious word count on it.

And the secret to writing good work, is not to try and write good work. Just write. Like the guy in Melos said - I don't want to read a great novel. I want to read your novel.

That is very wise of Osamu. There is no such thing as the greatest because those are all decided by different people, inside their heads. Blablabla.

Oh well. I should really be getting some sleep.

Journeyman Mistakes: Building Character

Freed from other distractions - for now - I started writing my long-postponed novel Cintan last night.

I decided to scrap almost everything and start fresh. After several false starts since two years ago, I believe this is a good path to be on.

I'm now taking a break after completing 3,000 words tonight. Target is 10,000 words by morning, which is possible.

So I want to talk about writing characters. First, disclaimers:

I do not believe writing can be taught by anyone other than yourself. You write, or you don't write. That is all.

Content can be anything. Style, can be understood when you read. You can get into the writer's head and see things from his/her perspective. This is style. This is all there is to it. There are techniques to strengthen style, for example, HP Lovecraft would create anticipation by writing, "Oh, these horrors are indescribable!" and then he would describe them.

Characters, though, can be drawn from real life. The best person, is yourself as a template. People are multi-faceted beings. It is impossible to capture the essence of a person in 800 words, or eight million. So you can take any part of yourself and design a character based on the traits you see or understand.

Most readers can only process one or two facets of a character at any one time. The third dimension, they add inside their heads based on ambiguity we provide.

For example, a one-dimensional character is: Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and now has the proportionate strength and agility of the arachnid.

A two-dimensional character is: Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and now has the proportionate strength and agility of the arachnid. This causes chaos in his life as he tries valiantly to lead a normal existence.

The third dimension - the extra depth - is added when readers assume or colour Peter's internal strife due to the conflict of being lucky enough to have superpowers and unlucky enough to be burdened with responsibility. It is this 'simulated experience' in readers' minds - peppered by their own world views and how they relate to the world - that creates this depth. As usual, writers merely provide guidance and nudges to get people to perhaps think this way.

As raw material, your own self is great. Carl Jung said of the personality archetypes. You can assign these archetypes to your characters and build layered back-stories that only you know, for your own reference. If you reveal everyone's roles and their psyche as well as how their minds work, the mystery is gone and your characters become boring.

There is no need to explain everything and you can trust your audience to fill in the blanks of each character with their own unique perspective.

If you remember series such as Survivor and Lost, those are great character studies. The best characters are when readers use them as a means to define themselves.

"Jack is solid, reliable, dependable and responsible!"

"Sawyer's the best cause he's a rebel! And he speaks the truth. No bullshit."

"Hurley is nice and gentle."

"Poor Desmond is the unluckiest and most unique person on the island! He has suffered so much. He deserves a great happy ending."

"Sayyid is a Mohammadean!"

"Ben is the most creepy, manipulative psychological bad-ass since Hannibal Lector"

"I'm on Team Edward because he is the Chosen One! And he has done everything right and followed all rules - even establishing his own!"

"I'm on Team Jacob because he's a rebel and he is the underdog and he has prevailed every time. His is the love that should not have been, but defied blablablabla"

If you look at Lost, they're basically just one or two people there, but split into numerous characters. This theory I had in my head was supported by the final season which showed a battle between two forces on the island. It was carried out by conflicting sides within each character.

Never underestimate the power of reader's choice as they will even put things in places where there were none. Of course, the role of the writer is to prepare or establish these spaces and the readers will fill them. However, sometimes the attraction of the story itself compels readers to create depth where there were none.

Edward and Jacob from Twilight, for example, are two generic stock characters, but the story resonated with a huge fan-base and with those kind of numbers, it was enough to create extra dimensions for the characters inside the minds of Twi-hards.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Race, Religion, Relationships

I just went to see a stand-up comedy show at Merdekarya. I'm doing a stand-up routine at the next open-mic session for stand-up comedy probably on May 1.

I went there to see what kind of audience I'm dealing with and what kind of stuff is being dished out. I think I might have some things I can do, some stories I can tell.

For now, some theory:

I believe there are only three things that are funny - race, religion and relationships. Politics fall under race and religion, in my book.

Race jokes or racist jokes are only funny if they are just that - jokes. You insert malice and/or spite into them, and you get Michael Richards infamously calling some black people niggers.

All jokes work on the same premise. It's about relating to an audience, not alienating them. Unless that is the joke.

In fact, all of entertainment work on the same basic principle - communication. Not message, communication. The message is the content of the communication and the style is the form, while the medium is that on which the communication is relayed.

I hate people. I really do. But if that is the communication I am sending, all you get back is more hatred. It is possible to hate people, unapologetically, without sending hate. It might be confusing, but this goes to how much of a human being you are - whether you have any depth as a homo sapien or shallow like the monkey you are.

I thought about doing racist jokes, for my stand up routine, but I told them all eight years ago. I've moved on. I'm done. Tyler not here.

I mean, what am I gonna say? Malays are lazy? Hell yeah, I'm lazy. I find the easiest way to do things and this sometimes result in genius and other times in dirty plates accumulating around my workstation.

Bumi rights? Oh yeah, how I get discounts at toll booths. And how every month, Najib comes to my house and dumps a few million bucks of Bumi subsidy.

"Here you go. Buy some shades to wear in shopping malls like a good Malay, Amir. Fuck a milf. Get a kid."

That's funny. Eight years ago. 

About how Chinese people believe they have the best hell cause their hell has banks and a paper-based monetary system that crashed a thousand years ago when they created the movable type printing press and printed hell money into severe devaluation and causing inflation in hell? That's not even funny. 

Or how an Indian with a Proton Wira is a demi-God and an Indian with a BMW is God incarnate? That's not funny. That's just racist.

I also believe only people of that race can make jokes about that race. I'm special cause I'm half Malay and half Chinese. This means I can halfheartedly make fun of both races. And nobody cares about Indians. Not even DAP.

I told all these jokes before. Racist jokes are tired, man. I'm not offended by it, but nowadays, I can hardly find any comedian who can tell a funny race joke in Malaysia. There's too much anger, hatred and spite. Too much edge into it. Too much baggage, hang ups and the jokes aren't even funny.


Religion - now that's funny. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Yang Kelakar dan Tak Kelakar

Yang kelakarnya, ada orang buat spekulasi, aku berenti kerja pasal nak masuk politik.

Ko ingat, lepas bertahun aku panggil ahli politik sebagai makhluk paling hina di dunia ni, aku nak jadi hipokrit dan masuk arena bangang camtu? Melayu memang bodoh.

Tapi, ya, aku nampak kenapa benda camtu orang Melayu suka fikirkan. Member-member abang aku, generasi dia, dah ada masuk politik. Siap jadi calon GE13.

Member-member aku - walhal baru umur 33 - dah ada nak masuk jadi calon. Aku faham kenapa. Kalau ditengok ahli-ahli politik sekarang, kau letak anjing atau babi pun, anjing dan babi nampak lebih logik dan menarik sebagai calon.

Mat Sabu suka menyamar beruk. Rais Yatim suka buat kenyataan macam dia tu dinosaur terlepas meteor. Nizar Jamaluddin terlompat-lompat macam arnab, ketar kepala masa buat statement, berbuih kat mulut dan ada iras-iras arnab.

Bugs Bunny

Nizar Jamaluddin

Hishamuddin H20, mulut ikan baung.

Dalam keadaan macam ni, tak hairan kalau sesiapa pun fikir diorang boleh jadi ahli politik. Asalkan kau bukan binatang, rasanya kau layak, kan?

Tapi, sebenarnya, dunia politik tu amat sukar, dan hanya mereka yang bukan manusia mampu survive kat situ.

Aku agak lega dengan pilihan Najib, meletakkan dalam 1/3 muka baru dalam pencalonan BN, sebab aku rasa Generation X harus diberi lebih banya peluang. Baby Boomers dah lama menjahanamkan muka bumi ini, dan Gen Y takleh diharap pasal kerek tak tentu pasal dan fikir dunia berhutang sesuatu pada mereka. Hanya Gen X (lahir 1966-1980) yang faham bagaimana dunia ini rosak dan diracun ketamakan dan sifat pentingkan diri Baby Boomers.

Kepada yang bercita-cita mahu masuk arena politik, fikir elok-elok dan dapatkan maklumat yang terperinci. Idea saja tak cukup - pelaksanaan jauh lebih penting. Kau pun tak tau jenis apa punya serangan dan tikaman kau bakal hadapi.

Aku? Aku pedulittaik. Aku neutral. Yang membezakan aku dengan Switzerland cuma Switzerland banyak duit dan banyak bank.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Hard Goodbye

These are the last few days I am with Media Prima.

In fact, I am scheduling this post to be published on April 8, 2013 at 12 midnight. Which means by this time, I am no longer a staff of the company. I am writing it on April 5.

I planned it so I could complete one last project for them, which culminates this weekend. Didn't feel right to leave the company half-way through what is - I believe - one of the most complicated entertainment events in Malaysia.

A million different moving parts over a six-month campaign period, servicing hundreds of thousands, and in the end millions of people.

Actually, I could have left sooner. This stage of the campaign doesn't require me at all. In fact, some of the stuff I have no knowledge of and no experience with. You ask me, and I'd be like, "Hoh?"

I don't organise events and I hate almost all aspects of events. Don't ask me to hold or organise any event whatsoever. I hate organising events and I hate filling in forms. Fucking hate that shit.

Even though I am writing this past midnight, after completing some tasks necessary for tomorrow and three days later. And I am NOT the busiest people on this project.

In the past two years with this company - the biggest media company in Malaysia, I have been intrigued by mass-online campaigns, national-level communication strategies as well as how corporate new media fits in.

I have seen many types of projects, campaigns, platforms, roles, functions, processes, tips, tricks, et cetera.

These two years completes my 10-year tour of the media industry in Malaysia. Began in 2003 with newspapers, moving on to magazines, TV, movies, newspapers again and eventually the Internet.

What is important are the thought-processes. Some people call it best practices, others call it a minor form of corporate culture - I call it 'the approach'. It is the thinking and how you think as you approach a project, and how other stakeholders think as they approach a project.

The what can be anything. The hows as well. The who is usually - in an ideal world - unnecessary and irrelevant. Unfortunately, in monkey-Malaysia, that plays a part as well. It doesn't matter to me.

So, what next? I dunno. I got some plans, and maybe a company set up, but I don't count the chickens before they hatch. Anything can happen. I am sure that at this time, even on April 8, I am still somewhere in Bukit Jalil, doing social media.

Some rest - a bit of sleep - is in order. I also booked a flight for my next vacation, but that's in May.

I made this decision also to write books. I feel compelled to go back to the stories I so loved and finally write them. I will finish my novels this year and perhaps some short stories. Short films - definitely. Movies, feature-length - I dunno.

I only want to write movies where I can have total creative control within my boundaries as a screenwriter. I also want to only do stories I want to do, unless of course, I am starving and need the money. Those stories never come out right, though.

Oh well. I dunno. I don't know what tomorrow brings. But to the folks at Media Prima, thank you so much for the experience - both good and bad. I shall use it to my advantage and let's hope we cross paths again in the future.

This is not my first goodbye, so it's not really a 'Hard Goodbye'. I put the title as that simply because it's the title of a Sin City story.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wanted: Dead or Alive

As I near the D-day of one of my official work projects - one of the biggest entertainment events in Malaysia (I handle the new media aspect of content), I get bombarded with offers for freelance, outside work.

Videos, websites, translations, articles. While I am grateful to be wanted, dead or alive, I prefer to stay alive.

Let it be known that while I am flattered, I am not doing anything until after April 8, other than my work in the office and around it.

After April 8, please, let the offers come down like a tsunami of work.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Membeli-Belah di Hujung Minggu

Sabtu lepas, aku shopping. Aku benci shopping. Bagi aku, shopping ni adalah aktiviti menyeksa diri sendiri untuk cari benda yang mungkin takde.

Contoh, bila aku shopping baju, aku cuma nak baju yang selesa, warna hitam, maroon, kelabu, olive-drab, navy blue dan kadangkala oren. Aku taknak kaler pastel, turqoise, aquamarine, kumquat, baby blue hapakejadah.

Pattern aku nak simple. AKu taknak bunga, aku taknak statement, aku taknak hapa lancau. AKu nak kualiti kain yang bagus. Ko nak letak gambar Tupac ke, gambar Snoop Dog ke, Ludacriss ke, aku pedulittaik.

Baju aku tak melambangkan aku langsung. Konek aku melambangkan diri aku yang sebenar. Berdiri tegak seperti tiang bendera di tengah kekalutan dunia.

Samalah macam pergi shopping benda lain, macam aku pergi shopping fryer itu hari. Last year, aku nak beli dryer Electrolux mechanical. Aku taknak yang elektronik, pasal aku nak pakai appliance yang robust - kalau aku hentak dengan Tombstone Piledriver pun, dia masih berfungsi.

Aku cari dua minggu kot, jumpa la sebijik kat Harvey Norman. Punyalah payah.

Sabtu lepas, aku terpergi Ikea, ikut orang shopping. Terbeli la pulak rak buku Billy.

Rak ni, lebih dalam dan besar daripada rak buku Billy yang aku dah ada dulu. Aku angkat dua bijik.

Lepas tu, aku beli benda ni:

Ini rak Expedit. Sesuai untuk satu ruang kat rumah aku.

Pastu aku cari rak kasut. Ada satu rak ni, RM9.90 je. Tapi tetiba aku ternampak benda alah ni kat As Is (barang dah damaged/kena return):

Harga RM70 je. Pasal kena reject. Aku beli dua. Hahaha.

Kalau sebelum ni, rumah aku macam tempat lambakan sampah yang super hebat, sekarang dah teratur dan kemas. Rak Billy original aku, aku letak dalam 'office'. Pastu rak Billy hitam dua bijik aku letak kat luar, kat ruang tamu.

Perlu diingat - Ikea ni kira perabot murah. Tak tahan lama, melainkan kau sanggup jaga. Aku memang jaga. Meja dengan kerusi Jokkmokk aku, sampai sekarang masih elok. Aku bukan ada bebudak kecik main panjat-panjat lepas tu terjun dari kerusi untuk patahkan kerusi tu, dan diri sendiri.

Bagi aku, Jokkmokk yang aku beli dua tahun lepas, adalah set meja makan dan kerusi terbaik untuk harga yang rendah:

Ko bayangkan kerusi X 4 dengan meja, dapat RM395 je. Kalau set lain, meja sahaja dah RM500 lebih.

Pastu, aku ingat nak beli ni:

Tapi rasa cam tak perlu, jadi aku beli benda alah ni yang lagi murah:

Ko kira la, upah pasag menda alah ni - RM3.99. Kalau aku pasang, mau sehari dua, pasal payah. Hahahaha! Brader tu cakap, biasa diorang tak pasang benda ni, tapi sebab aku beli banyak, okaylah.

Aku memang tak suka shopping, tapi kali ni, memang perlu sebab rumah aku dah macam tempat orang gila bekerja. Bu next week, aku rasa aku akan selesai menyusun semua buku dan dokumen aku.