Monday, May 19, 2014

Suit for the Soul

Recently, I ordered a suit. Went to a tailor, got my measurements done and last week, I went for a fitting.

It's a cheap suit, well below a thousand ringgit. I didn't get it for vanity or anything. I just noticed the eyes and stares some of my clients would give me when I show up in jeans and a shirt. And Bata's Power sneakers.

Ah, yes, I do a business where I get to meet - or rather HAVE to meet - corporate leaders. Wearing big boy pants actually means tailored pants.

I find it disrespectful when your client is all dressed up and stuff, and you come in jeans. So I ordered a suit. Yesterday, I bought a few shirts to go with the suit and because the last time I bought shirts was five years ago. Some of the shirts I'm wearing now has a few missing buttons. I dress like a fucking redneck.

In fact, one of my favourite brands is LL Bean. It's famous for outdoor wear, but recently have come up with office wear, using similar outdoor material. I want to wear a shirt meant for a lumberjack, but with corporate styling.

If I could, I'd wear a suit of leather armour and never, ever take it off. Like, fuck you, civilisation.

Five years ago, it was at FOS Centerpoint (now closed) and they had an amazing offer - three shirts for RM11. Yesterday, I bought two shirts for RM63 - there was a sale. One of them needs cufflinks, so today I bought a pair.

For advice, I consulted not one, but TWO former stewards and a few gay people and some Datuks. I also half-remember a feature on Esquire magazine about suits. I went to the tailor and got myself the most traditional, cheapest suit I could get. Black. British. Two buttons.

The suit will be ready next week. I imagined myself like Daniel Craig, but I'm more like Rodney Dangerfield, whenever he wears a suit.

It's a big deal for me cause I come from a swamp and I thought by this age, I'd be back in my village, slogging through some mud and weeds. Hardly any environment for a suit.

Life has taken me like a tumbleweed. I get blown off to one thing after another, like I'm Forrest Gump or something.

This suit will probably help in taking people's 1% attention away from me, but it won't protect me from feeling like an idiot. I HATE formal wear. It is a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless. EVIL!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Go watch the thing on Youtube. Embed disabled. Click Here

 I can fix my father's roof, but I can't fix my father.

I went home to Kuantan recently, and immediately, as soon as I got off the car, I got really pissed off.

The anger and frustration continued till I went back to KL. This is strange to me, as I was deliriously happy before I went back. Something's not right.

So today I went to the pool to try and figure things out. Eckhart Tolle said that if you think you're so enlightened, go spend a weekend with your family.

My father's sick. He can barely walk. Confined to a wheelchair, but he still refuses to use it. Stubborn old man. What I get from him is this intense frustration. His faculties are fading and he can't communicate as he used to in the past. He'd lose words, sense of time,

As a man who kept a very rigid control of himself and his surroundings, I can imagine his frustrations.

My job involves fixing things. I put out fires, I consult on best practices, finding solutions to editorial and communication - sometimes business - problems. I like it. I thrive on it. It is one of the things that uses my full intelligence. It flexes my considerable mental muscles.

And yet, despite all I have achieved, despite all my skill, I can't make the lives of the people I care about better. I can't rework or regrow the neurons inside my father's aging brain, ravaged by four strokes. I can't cure him of his diabetes. Or his hypertension. Or his heart problems. I can't lend him the strength to walk again, so firmly and sternly.

I can't reach out to my mother and calm her down. Or teach my nephews how to do well in school.

I can't teach people how to be happy and this makes me depressed. Why can't any of you see what I see? Always, spending time with idiots, it is endless competition. It is always the same old bullshit.

I have seen and heard all of everything I see and hear today and next week before and all of you bore me to death. I have heard all the arguments, all the justifications, excuses and bullshit a million times over. I understand the darkness inside everyone's hearts. And I feel suffocated.

If anything, this trip highlighted my limitations, and I hate it. I'm a fixer. I find solutions. I solve problems. If people want to be stupid or if they don't want to listen to me, that's their problem. That's their bullshit stupid monkey lives. I hoped for better things for my family.

Part of growing up is learning to let go. That has always been very difficult for me. I have my father's stubbornness. Friends or even family members won't understand because all of them do not have my insight or my powers of empathy. This is not gloating or a desperate attempt by my ego to feel superior. I don't FEEL superior, I KNOW I'm superior.

And yet, for all my superior attributes, I can't fix my father. Or anyone. This pisses me off. I'm afraid I'll have to let all of you go. May this being called God do a better job than I did.