Monday, October 23, 2017

Crowdfunding for Medical Treatments for the Poor

Three years ago, I had a heart attack. I was hospitalised at UMMC and had my angioplasty there. It cost me RM10K, inclusive of ward charges. I was lucky I had health insurance I bought on a whim in my 20s.

Now, in my ward, there was a rotating cast of characters. I remember one of them vividly. He had the exact same problem as I did. He suffered a heart attack and he was supposed to get an angioplasty.

The Welfare Dept identified him as a real poor guy. So they pledged to pay 50% of his medical fees, which amounts to RM5K. He just needs to find another RM5K to get his treatment.

Unfortunately, he told me he didn't have RM5K, no relatives, no savings, nothing.

"Easy for you, you're Malay," he said, with resentment.

I kept quiet because even though I paid everything through my own funds and did not receive the RM5K assistance from Welfare Dept, I understood his desperation. I was angry at this racist bullshit, but I understand.

That man will take aspirin and go home after his heart attack and hope he doesn't get one in the next few weeks or months. The chances of him surviving the next heart attack is possibly 40-60%.

I thought of all the FB pages asking for donations for one medical condition or another, and also the scams mixing it up with the real cases.

So after getting discharged, I went around for a while with a pitch for a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter, using existing local platforms like mystartr.

The idea is, after hooking up with the Welfare Dept and the hospital, a bunch of volunteers can determine and isolate the charity cases after they have been filtered by the Welfare Dept to ask for donations from the public. The funds will go straight to a hospital account to these identified cases.

The volunteers will keep the public updated via the website on how the treatments have been administered, and whatever happens to the patients. They must be trained to respect the modesty and privacy of these poor people, and not photograph them at their weakest or in dishabille.

It will also filter the scams. If you feel like donating, it's better to do so in cases where the Welfare Dept AND the hospital have vetted through them and not some random FB page set up by God-knows-who.

This will save lives.

I met a few people willing to do the thing, but could not get any hospital to say yes. I believe they think I'm bringing more work to them or they think I'm trying to scam for money.

In any case, I have heard of other similar initiatives being started by one or two banks. But I have not heard from them since.

I wonder if the idea is still viable nowadays. Maybe it's a bad one. But whatever. I felt like sharing this.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

At the Fountain of Youth Again

I went to Comic Arts Fest KL a grumpy old man forced to wake up early on a Saturday morning and went home on Sunday night a kid again.

I was reborn, resurrected. This happens every year. This small two-day arts fest, focusing on comics, is so full of hope and filled with dreamers that I can't help but be swept away with the enthusiasm.

We had a panel on Saturday at 4pm, where I wanted to reveal the harsh realities of the comics industry. How the numbers spell a difficult - yet hopeful - circumstances for anyone wishing to tell a story in comic book form.

I had gathered a small amount of knowledge - and always fear those with a little bit of knowledge. If you know nothing, you generally shut up. If you know everything, you would be wise enough to keep silent. But the one with  a little bit of info and armed with statistics from dubious sources, and hastily-cobbled estimates, usually make the most noise.

A few minutes into the event, and I see people beaming excitedly with new books, new stories and I just couldn't stay negative. It's impossible. There are certainly lots of things to bitch about, but why should anyone do that? It wouldn't solve anything, and only add to the cacophonous orchestra of whinging I've always hated.

I mean, these people don't give a fuck. I used to not give a fuck. What happened? I got old.

I felt the spirit stir within me once more.

So we did the panel and I made the decision to focus on the more hopeful stats. I left out a few, because I am ancient  and forgetful. The fact that comics sales is probably increasing as compared to some other publications. I don't have the numbers to back that up, of course, but reactions from bookstores show much excitement on comics as a thing they can sell.

Anyway, fuck the numbers. Fuck it to hell. I can tell you about the age bulge in South East Asia (bell-shaped curve, bulge on the manpower sweet-spot, ours is a young population with like 60-70% below 40 or something). I can tell you the trends of print sales in two or three major markets around the world(comics the ONLY print medium in North America to experience a positive growth in the past five years, but probably not last year). I can probably extrapolate the growth - or decline - of the print business for the next 5 or 20 years in this region (magazines to continue decline, books holding steady, possible growth).

And all this is bullshit. Because nobody knows what the future holds. What's real, are the emotions.

When my friends from other areas of the creative industry dropped by CAFKL, they were all enamoured with the energy and the vibrancy of youth and creativity.

"And these people are actually good!" said one best-selling author who has sold tens of thousands of books. She overspent her budget on art and souvenirs, of course. She and her friend listened patiently while I rambled on enthusiastically about the ideal size of conventions - regurgitating what I heard earlier.

"I can't break their dreams, man," said one old hand in the comics industry. We shared knowing looks. Even though both of us know nothing and are incapable of influencing anyone.

And these kids, this young community of artists, are not stupid. Or ignorant. I had breakfast on Sunday and had the pleasure of talking to a few. They know the market is still too small to make everyone rich (there are some who do make serious money). Or even to accommodate everyone.

And yet there they were, armed with their prints and zines and button badges and fridge magnets, not giving a damn.

It would be so pedantic and condescending to assume that these people, charging at windmills, don't know what took me three years to find out. That it's so damn difficult to make comics mainstream again. To erase the stigma that comics is just a medium for kids when it holds so much potential. That we don't have proper systems or structures for a lot of things.

But is that so bad? Not having systems, structures, or rules mean that you can set your own and avoid the mistakes of other sectors of the creative industry. The fact that there's not much money in comics as compared to TV means that the big corporate people have yet to stroll in and stake their claim and rob everyone blind. No big bodies have any resources to focus on such a (by comparison) small industry.

I've rambled again. I dunno, man. I don't know shit. I've failed so many times in life, maybe it's time to step aside and let these young dreamers attempt another charge at the windmill. Who am I to judge? Where I and others have failed, maybe they will succeed.

Until such a time, I'll keep my company alive, hoping that the next comic book we publish will unlock more things and opportunities until one day these titles will hit critical and we all live happily and then die ever after, never returning as zombies.

I feel happy, sated after I have had my fill of youthful energy. I feel like a vampire. I hope I didn't suck anyone's energy. I don't think I did.

The CAFKL organisers were efficient, as always. I'm always impressed with their professionalism and their own attempt to ride this tornado of chaos. And I'm always thankful they organise this small comics event every year and allow us - the small guys - to hawk our wares and try to share art and the little stories we do.

Thanks to all those who stopped by our booth to say hi or grab a few comics. Thanks to all the fellow sellers. I got your stuff, but wish I could get more.

Now, I need to go and probably sleep till noon.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sampai Jumpa Lagi, Ruhayat X!

Dua minggu lepas, kawan aku yang dihormati Amri Ruhayat dah meninggalkan kita.

Amri ialah antara penulis yang telah meyakinkan aku yang menulis dalam Bahasa Malaysia pun boleh jadi cool. Sejak itu, aku pun meluaskan penulisan aku daripada eksklusif dalam Bahasa Inggeris kepada BI dan BM.

Amri ialah seorang yang sentiasa cintakan idea. Kau boleh nampak keriangan pada muka dia bila dia bercakap pasal idea. Dia paling suka bila kawan-kawan berbincang pasal idea-idea dan projek-projek kreatif.

Kadang-kadang, Amri akan mencelah dan beri pendapat, atau lebih kerap sebenarnya, buat lawak sambil kutuk orang. Lawak Amri biasanya ialah pura-pura tak faham atau tersalah dengar sesuatu benda yang diperkatakan.

Hmm. Tadi aku cuba tulis contoh lawak dia tapi hambar. Sebab Amri je biasa buat lawak Amri. Aku tak biasa sebab aku tak melawak, macam Donald Trump. Aku amat serius, dan itulah lawaknya.

Lemas dalam dakapan kekasihnya yang sejati ini (idea), Amri seringkali tidak menyiapkan idea yang dia ada. Niatnya ada, tapi kesanggupan untuk menyiapkannya tiada.

Asalnya aku fikir dia ni malas, atau tak fokus. Macam aku jugak, aku fikir, sebab manusia itu self-centered. Tapi sebenarnya aku rasa dia terlalu sayangkan idea sampai dia akan melompat daripada satu idea ke idea yang lain dengan amat cepat.

Juga, dia tak perlu nak siapkan apa-apa sebab aku rasa dia dah cukup berjaya buat apa yang dia nak buat. He has nothing left to prove.

Sebagi seorang insan, aku perhatikan yang Amri amat tajam pemerhatiannya dan amat compassionate. Banyak kali dia nampak aku stress atau marah dan dia akan tegur aku sebab dia tau aku hanya perlukan interaksi atau perbualan bodoh yang takde kaitan dengan masalah atau dunia.

Masa aku marah sebab diperkotak-katikkan oleh beberapa orang bekas kawan, dan bila aku tersilap menyatakan fakta pelukis, dia ke depan dan borak dengan aku pasal bidang yang dia tau aku mahir.

Dua tiga hari sebelum dia meninggal, aku melawat dia di hospital tapi aku tak sanggup nak cakap panjang. Takde benda pun nak bagitau dia, kecuali, thanks.

Terima kasih, Amri.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

J Revolusi, Logan, Adiwiraku dan Adakah Kita Tak Berbakat?


Selamat Tinggal Yang Pertama

Logan ialah filem pasal kegagalan dan kekecewaan. Dan ini filem X-Men paling best setakat ini. Filem terakhir Hugh Jackman sebagai Wolverine. 17 tahun dia bawak watak tu, dalam sembilan atau 10 filem. Ini juga ialah filem kedua terbaik Jackman, selepas The Prestige.

Logan menceritakan pasal Wolverine yang dah tua dan jadi Uber/Lyft/Grab driver, healing factor dia dah tak berfungsi dengan sempurna. Nak keluar kuku adamantium dia pun cam segan-segan je. Nak lawan penyanggak curi tayar pun payah gila.

Ini bukan Wolverine/Logan yang boleh lawan mutan-mutan terkuat dunia - ini orang tua yang hidup segan, mati tak mahu. Logan yang dah letih, macamana aku pun letih. Prof X lagi la teruk. Dia dah nyanyuk. Ada penyakit otak yang membahayakan orang sekeliling dia.

Macam anak yang taat dan soleh, Logan jaga Prof X dalam satu tangki air untuk pastikan kuasa dia tak bunuh orang.

Muncul la pulak seorang budak kecik - Laura Kinney aka X-23 - yang ada kuku dan kebolehan macam Logan, sebab dia diklon daripada darah Logan.

X-23 berjaya menggunakan kecomelan dia untuk paksa Logan bawak dia ke satu lokasi yang tertera dalam komik X-Men (X-Men wujud sebagai komik dalam dunia Logan).

Road trip ini bermula ganas dengan serangan orang jahat yang nak tangkap X-23. Scene paling aku suka ialah bila diorang nak langgar pagar pakai kereta. Pagar kawad berduri je. Kalau filem lain, kereta diorang dekat je, pagar tu dah terbang ke Uranus. Tapi dalam filem ni, sesuai dengan tema kegagalan dan kekecewaan, diorang langgar tapi tak lepas. BEST!

Semua watak orang dewasa dalam Logan mengecewakan, sebab memang tema diorang pasal kekecewaan. Wolverine yang takleh heal dan ada sakit adamantium poisoning (agaknyalah), Prof X yang nyanyuk, dan orang jahat yang juga mengecewakan semua orang.

Semua orang yang Logan jumpa dalam filem ni mati atau terseksa, sama macam komik dan cerita asal Wolverine. Kalau kau pernah baca pasal Wolverine kat Madripoor dalam komik, dia noir abis dan asyik cakap pasal sesapa yang menyayangi dia atau duduk kat keliling dia, akan terseksa atau mati.

Aku suka gila cara diorang handle X-23. Separuh cerita dia tak cakap apa, cuma stare tak puas hati pastu jerit-jerit dan kelar orang pakai kuku adamantium. Best! Dan bijak, sebab bila budak tu bercakap, suara dia memang suara budak perempuan 10 tahun - tak macho langsung.

By that point in the movie, ko dah tak peduli dah suara dia cemana sebab X-23 best.

Semua benda pasal Logan best, kecuali ending dia yang terlebih cheesy bagi aku. Bila Logan duduk lepas lawan dan nak mati, dia cakap, "Laura, Laura, Laura" - ini bukan Logan, tapi Hugh Jackman yang berlakon. Pastu X-23 cakap, "Daddy, daddy!" Fuck that shit.

Patut dia takyah cakap. Just nangis je kuat-kuat pastu baru la Logan cakap, "So that's what it feels like." Pastu mati selepas dapat rasa jadi bapak orang.

Filem ni cerita superhero kedua dalam masa 2 tahun yang stakes dia bukan pasal nak selamatkan/musnahkan dunia tapi pasal benda yang jauh lebih kecil. Filem satu lagi ialah Deadpool dan dua-dua filem ni jauh lagi best daripada KEBANYAKAN filem superhero yang asyik berlawan dengan awan jahat atau lampu yang menyala ke langit.

Aku suka sebab dia hold back dan restraint, keupayaan untuk tahu kat mana nak push dan kat mana nak hold back, bukanlah sesuatu yang ramai filmmaker paham.

Evolusi UTK Drift

Cakap pasal krisis yang memusnahkan dunia, tadi aku baru tengok J Revolusi yang mnengetengahkan plot Ultra Virus yang menjadi senjata bio yang mampu bunuh semua manusia. Hollywood pun dah mula sedar yang krisis kemusnahan dunia ni dah tak best, dan filem kita baruuu nak find out benda sama.

Judo, Skodeng, Eddie dan anggota UTK lain perlu mendapatkan virus itu kembali sambil menyelamatkan adik Judo, (watak yang dilakonkan) Fazura.

J Revolusi dipasarkan sebagai sebuah filem Malaysia yang 'tidak memalukan'. Kalau ko baca Grand Brilliance punya Twitter account, ko tengok dia retweet orang yang cakap "eh, tak malulah dengan Filem Malaysia lepas tengok J Revolusi" or something like that.

Aku fikir, "Sapa yang malu dengan filem Malaysia?" Aku tak malu pun dengan filem aku sendiri, atau filem-filem Mat Rempit atau Apa Celop Toqq atau Cinta Kura-Kura. Atau Tanda Putera, Strawberi Cinta, Bahaya Cinta atau mana-mana filem tak best yang lain.

Aku rasa 'bangga' ni bodoh sebenarnya. Dia macam satu penyakit. Satu 'virus' atau 'Ultra Virus'. Ko nak bangga dengan sapa? Dengan mat saleh? Mat saleh pun undi Trump. Mat Saleh pun buat Suicide Squad. Mat saleh pun buat Batman v Superman - filem paling anjing dalam sejarah anjing.

J Revolusi cuba menjadi sebuah filem gred B. Jenis yang kalau ko pasang TV memalam buta pastu ada cerita orang tembak-tembak, ko tengok la sebab takyah pakai otak. Masalahnya, J Revolusi kena pakai otak gila babi.

Pasal apa? Pasal dia ada banyak plot holes. Ya, semua filem ada plot holes, kecuali Babe - filem sempurna.

Contohnya Fazura betray family, UTK dan negara senang nak mampus, aku rasa. Tak strong. Ada banyak elemen macam auction scene tu setup tak betul,

Pastu ada banyak masalah dalam storytelling. Ada member aku point out, Eddie (Izara Aisyah) pakai baju siang, tapi pergi ke auction malam. So Eddie pakai baju tu lama gila la, dari tengahari sampai malam.

Member sama cakap Judo pengsan 6 bulan pastu sedar je terus orang jahat nak buat pertukaran virus dengan tebusan - part ni, member aku salah sebab Judo sedar seminggu lepas operation and 6 bulan kemudian BARULAH jadi macam dalam filem tu.

Aku nak tambah, ada orang jahat jatuh ke arah jalan, tapi mendarat atas kereta yang dah parking. Pastu ada air kat bawah kereta tu. Darah ke apa? Cemana darah boleh mengalir cepat ke bawah - nevermind.

Pastu diorang cuba buat fast-cut, multiple angle yang tak jadi. Bila gaduh je, nak tumbuk sekali, ada dalam 4 cut sesaat, semua tukar angle sampai ko tak tau apa jadi, sapa tengah buat apa, kat mana, etc.

Masa misi pertama pun, aku tak paham apa yang tengah jadi. Sapa tengah serang, kat mana, blablabla. Akibatnya, takde stakes. Audience tak tau pun penting ke tak mamat A bertumbuk dengan mamat B dan diorang kat mana.

Kalau ko tengok filem yang buat cut camni, Captain America Civil War, ko nampak dan tahu la jugak apa tengah jadi. Captain America ditolong Scarlet Witch lompat masuk bangunan, Falcon gaduh kat luar, Black Widow gaduh kat luar. Orang jahat lari, Black Widow kejar diikuti orang lain.

Action dia ko boleh follow, walaupun pakai teknik sama.

Pastu, on the other end of the spectrum, ko ada John Wick yang diinspirasikan oleh Oldboy. Action ko dah cukup power, jadi takyah cut. Ko just buat shot pan sikit je kiri ke kanan.

Scene Oh Dae Su (Oldboy) gaduh pakai tukul dengan ramai orang, camera work John Wick yang takde gerak banyak sangat.

Malah, Marvel's Agents of Shield pun siap buat long cut berapa kali dah season ni (Season 4) masa nak tunjuk action.

Dari segi action, untuk sebuah filem yang cuba ketengahkan action, J Revolusi tak best sangat.Takdelah teruk muntah darah, tapi still tak best.

Lakonan jugak tak best, secara purata. Cerita dia member aku tulis, tapi aku cakap gak la, banyak plot holes.

Despite all this, sebenarnya aku agak terhibur dengan J Revolusi, kat certain parts. Mungkin pasal sebelum aku masuk panggung, aku dah turunkan expectations aku ke tahap terendah mungkin - sampai aku rasa suicidal, baru aku pergi tengok.

Cikgu Pinang Tunggal

Kalau J Revolusi pasal nak selamatkan manusia daripada "WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION!" kata salah seorang orang jahat, Adiwiraku pulak cerita pasal cikgu dan bebudak kat sekolah yang agak terpencil, cuba nak participate je choral speaking peringkat daerah.

Sekolah tu memang dicop sekolah loser dan cikgu dia pun jenis sukarelawan Teach for Malaysia.

Adiwiraku - title ni tak best langsung - ada sumber cerita yang amat AMAT rich. Cerita dia kaya dan subur dengan benda-benda best macam kisah pelajar kat kawasan tu - jenis benda orang bandar tak paham sangat dan amat bagus untuk diorang tengok.

Cerita pasal cikgu memang bagus dan senang nak cari benda menarik nak ketengahkan. So dari segi cerita, Adiwiraku memang takde masalah langsung. Based on ini sahaja, korang pergilah tengok filem ni sebab cerita memang ada dan cerita dia rich.

Malangnya, penceritaan dia tak best. Awal-awal cerita dah start narration yang dictate semua benda dan bukan dalam cara yang charming atau kelakar macam Jean-Pierre Jeunet atau Wes Anderson.

Ada babak yang best masa awal-awal tu, contoh bila ada bebudak maki hamun kiri dan kanan. Tapi narration aku rasa salah letak terus.

Show, don't tell. Diorang tell gila babi, so rugi sikit kat situ.

Pastu, pasal fokus. Dah ada cerita yang best, yang rich, so director and writer kena decide apa yang dia nak letak dalam filem. Ko takleh letak semua sekali sebab nanti yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendung berciciran.

So masalah dia ialah cuba nak buat banyak sangat benda pada satu masa. And ada babak yang sengaja nak perah air mata yang aku fikir tak perlu sebab kalau ko relax je pun orang nangis.

Aku nangis gak tengok filem ni, tapi bila dia cuba nak buat aku nangis, aku stop nangis.

Aku sarankan kalau ada sesapa nak berlakon atau berangan dia pelakon, silalah tengok Adiwiraku sebab bebudak yang bawak watak diri sendiri memang best nak mampus. Kalau korang pelakon takleh bawak watak real macam bebudak tu bawak watak diri diorang sendiri (admittedly lagi senang la) baik korang toksah berlakon.


Aku penat. Aku penat macam Logan penat. Dan aku nak cakap yang tema Logan pasal kekecewaan dan kegagalan amat sesuai untuk apa yang aku rasa sekarang.

Aku mula fikir, adakah industri filem Malaysia tak keluarkan filem-filem best sebab memang kita ni tak berbakat nak hasilkan filem best?

Tak cukup berfikir kat sesetengah tempat, terlebih-lebih kat tempat lain. Takde taste.

Aku rasa ya. Takde bukti yang menunjukkan kita berbakat.

Directing tak best. Acting cam haram. Writing pun ke laut. Semua tak best.

So, sekarang ada dua benda je filmmakers boleh buat - stop buat filem dan berhenti membanjirkan pasaran dengan filem tak best.

Atau embrace our own mediocrity. Tak reti la aku nak cakap dalam BM. Redha kot?

Tapi, ya. Aku memang penat.

Sebab tu aku akan hilang kejap next week.

Balik kang, corporate job aku suspend 2 bulan and aku nak tulis skrip filem suka-suka.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Not Minding What Happens

Somebody called me using an urgent tone today. She recounted her own dramas, and how she perceived she has fucked up something.

It immediately put my own fuck ups into stark contrast. As I listened, and began dispensing advice, I am also listening to myself.

"Your first enemy is your own mind," I told her. "Only we, ourselves, can create an enemy or a monster tough enough to take us down. Normal humans, they are not so powerful, or clever."

I meant every word. If there was a room full of myself, each one of us would know exactly how to fuck the other up. We would be in possession of all the buttons, history and would also know the exact timing to push what to get the desired result. And that is assuming that every copy of you has that same negative motivation.

In a room filled with random people, every single person is taking input, making observations and thinking all in relation of their own selves. Everyone is self-centered, therefore 99.999% of their time and brain-time is dedicated only on how these things make them feel, look to others or how they can benefit.

Humans are animals - neither good nor bad. They are always in fear and they always think about themselves. The methods may differ, whereas one would think about how people perceive him or her in terms of kindness, firmness, intelligence or grace, another might think how they could get some to react in ways more beneficial to him/her. It is all self-absorbed bullshit.

Even with different psychological make-ups - the ancient Greeks divide personalities into four, Jung postulates 12 archetypes - their final focus is always the self.

For most of the ignorant, unaware humans, they just want to be told they're special. This information is extremely powerful for manipulators - whom I hate.

You can fuck any girl in the world if you make her feel or think she's special. You can make anyone do anything if you are the button they can push to get that pellet that makes them feel special.

This is coercion. It is very powerful, dangerous and to me, dishonest and evil.

So the second thing is, people are not so focused on you. You don't matter - they do.

The third one is that imagining everyone else as a giant conspiracy to take you down is towards the self-harming part of paranoia. The truth is, that's what would happen if you are facing a room or a world full of you. Thankfully, we do not and everyone is not so organised.

"The secret to happiness," I said, "According to one of those gurus, is saying this - 'I do not mind what happens'."

This is being space. To allow life and the world to happen to you without judgment or baggage. It is extremely difficult, but if you could do it, it is the only way to function.

Not minding what happens brings with it calmness, a sense of purpose and extremely effective actions that are not laced with destructive emotion.

When you enter into a situation without expectations and without judgment, not minding what the facts that are soon to be revealed are and how things will unfold, you are setting yourself in a position to act effectively to anything that happens.

It would also not damage you emotionally or physically as it takes away a lot of stress.

I am glad my friend called me. That was exactly what I needed to hear as I slog through this mountain of work in front of me.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

He got a heart attack, that's what happened.

I used to live in the future. Always needing to be several steps ahead - or several years ahead - of everyone else.

I fancied myself a futurist and the depression and stress that comes with the self-afflicted temporal displacement were badges of honour. Scars that proved I am better than everyone else.

I was proud of my drive. It defined me from the rest. While others whined about how much work they had to do, I did literally six times their workload, and then piled on theirs on top of mine.

I longed to say to these lazy people this line, "Enjoy your salary this month - it's free."

I rose higher and higher, eventually reaching levels I never thought possible. And always, every step of the way, I was far ahead, flung to the future.

Here's how it looks like.

The future has infinite possibilities. To make sense of it all, I classify things, events and happenings into gradients. Basically, indefinite flowcharts with no boxes, just possibilities that has no borders. Instead, they are gradients, like colour.

Say, you want to start walking from A to B. Every decision you make will lead you to either falling down a flight of stairs (red) or get to B safely (indigo) if these are the only possibilities you want to acknowledge. Anything you do will lead you to these two extremes, or more often than not, it can be anything in between.

I=As I walk from A, I exist on A, between A and B as well as all the colours between red and indigo. And I prepare for each possible outcome, which are also gradients. I often thought this was what they meant when they say, "be all you can be."

I pushed too hard and like Icarus, I fell. I was really sick. I almost died. Then, slowly I recovered. I regained my footing and I let go of the old drive, replacing it with presence. For a while, I was truly happy. I was at peace because I didn't mind the future. I was calm and serene in the present.

Now. Well, now you have an idiot like Trump, who stands for stupidity, at the head of a country that might destroy the world, and here in Malaysia, we have idiots pushing for hudud. I am surrounded by stupidity and stupid people. The politicians are all stupid - on both sides - and taking all our money. How can people so stupid take all our money?

I'm not just talking about BN. I am also talking about DAP, PAS, PKR and Parti Bersatu.

I am beginning to ask myself - do I really want to live on this planet anymore? Nothing I do will ever save the world or anyone. I am not that important or powerful.

All possible futures point to decay.

Maybe I should start pushing until I stop or am stopped. Tick tock. Tick tock.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kesejukan Sepandang Layang

Semalam aku tidur pukul 2 pagi. Hari ni aku bangun pukul 7.30am dan terus buat kerja. Rajinnya!

Aku amat busy sampai nak main game lumba kereta pun takde masa.

Bapak aku kat kampung, sebelum dia sakit, pernah marah aku pasal dia tak faham apa aku buat.

"Aku tau apa kau buat kat KL tu," dia cakap.

"Amende?" Aku tanya.

"You sit around everyday and you play with your computer. That's not the way!"

Aku tergelak masa tu. Rather unkindly. Bapak aku dunia dia, dunia typewriter dengan stencil yang jenama Robot tu. Pada 1996, memang dia ada beli PC daripada abang aku, tapi dia tak reti pakai sangat. Aku je terhegeh-hegeh sambung kat modem 14.4kbps untuk cari porn.

Bagi bapak aku, komputer ialah alat untuk main Solitaire atau Freecel. Mungkin dia fikir aku duduk berjam-jam depan PC, main game kad.

Sebenarnya, apa dia fikir tu tak salah sangat. Memang aku main game kad. Nama dia Hearthstone. Berjam-jam. Tapi bila aku ada masa lapang la. Aku jugak main game lumba kereta yang perlukan planning macam handle kompeni gak.

Mak aku bengang baru-baru ni sebab dia cuba korek apa benda aku buat kat KL ni tapi aku cakap kat dia aku menganggur. Takleh la dia nak gossip. Hahahaha. Walaupun aku tahu spy dia ada dok baca Twitter, Facebook, blog dan tengok Youtube videos aku. To that person, fuck you. Dumbass motherfucker.

Keluarga aku maybe suspect aku gay sebab aku suka buat lawak gay. Heh. Salah orang la wei. Aku tak gay. Yang gaynya, yang itu. Bukan hal aku.

Sekarang ni, aku tengah handle tiga kompeni aku sendiri. Takde satu pun yang berumur lebih 3 tahun. Maksudnya semua perlukan usaha lebih tanpa jaminan untung lagi.

Ada 6 judul komik yang aku terbabit sebelum April ni. Ada 3 projek jangka sederhana (6-8 bulan) dan satu projek ongoing.

Aku jugak ada personal projects. Passion projects yang mungkin takde duit pun.

Hari ni aku kena pergi print something - 200 mukasurat - dan kemudian pergi meeting untuk projek yang aku rasa aku kena tolak. Pastu kena balik rumah tunggu delivery pastu malam nanti kena keluar meeting lain.

Hari-hari aku keluar pagi/tengahari, kalau balik kang kena sambung buat kerja pulak. Balik tengah malam pun buat kerja gak.

Dalam masa 4 bulan ni, aku dah dua kali burnout. Aku dah cepat marah orang. Ini tanda-tanda besar aku kena pergi cuti. Jauhkan diri daripada KL dan keluarga.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Burning Man

I'm feeling the strain.

Been going out full-throttle on all fronts for the past six months. I am beginning to snap at people and losing my cool at whatever stupid thing I see. Even though there will always be stupid, meaningless things everywhere, all the time.

It's that time of the year, when I feel burnt out. Already scheduled a vacation soon. But can I survive these next few weeks?

My health has taken a back seat to chasing after stuff. I was already running four projects and two companies. Today, I started another initiative. All the while doing my taxes on all fronts, like a good adult.

The strain is real. But work doesn't kill you. Stress does. A doctor told me this. So it must be true.

When I work, it's like there is only one thing that exists and it is the goal, the objective. All else fades away as I allow the intensity to consume me.

I am well-suited to games that require min-maxing, but after a while, I'd grow tired. Spent. I treat life the same way. You go all out or you go to hell.

I guess it's time to shift into lower gear and cruise for a bit. I won't survive another six months of this. Some things will have to change.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Flu Fighter: Old Man Edition

I was going full throttle at the end of December all through the first week of January, when I was hit last week with a flu virus. Or bacteria. Rhinovirus, right? So yeah, virus.

When I was younger, the shortest amount of time I fell sick was three hours. Nowadays, it takes a week, it seems.

I'm past the worst but still feel a bit weak. Rather than pushing it, I am going to go to sleep soon, after taking my meds.

There are so many things that need tending to. Pisses me off, actually. I have several deadlines looming, but since I gave myself a few days margin, I think I can wing it through to the real deadline.

Still angry. But that doesn't help. I still worked through the feverish conditions but progress is slow. I ended up watching a lot of YouTube videos while drinking lots of soup and eating oranges.

I stopped drinking juices for a while now, and focus entirely on oranges.

Man, I'm getting old. The parts are not working as well as they did. But they had a good run. I had a good run. Can't complain, really.

But... come hell or high water, I will finish these things I'm doing by tomorrow night, 24 hours before the deadline. I stake my grandfather's reputation on it. Not mine, obviously.

I am better, really. Just the tail end of it. The weakness that comes with being sick.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Of Writing and Being Clever

So here I am, at 2am, just after rewriting some parts of the movie script I am doing. I'm allowing myself this because I worked on my corporate stuff over the week, so this weekend, it will be this project and a few others.

I got feedback on my first draft from friends and a professional script doctor. I would really recommend working with someone who can comment professionally on your script, especially someone who is used to extremely different working arrangements and styles.

Method Writing

I started this project wanting to break free from my usual scriptwriting routine. Here's how I did it last time:

1. Synopsis

- Just a few paragraphs

2. Rough Treatment

- This details the acts, whatever format you choose

3. Scene Breakdown

- This step usually doesn't exist, but I used to work with production managers who want to know how many locations and how many actors with speaking and non-speaking roles are in how many scenes. This helps in calculating the budget, payments and duration of shoot.

4, Actual script - first draft

- Then you fill in the scene breakdown with stuff like dialogue and whatever.

5. Polishing

- this usually takes the most time and can take as many rewrites as possible.

6. Shooting script

- This is purely optional. You break up the scenes into shots to help the director and the AD. In fact, sometimes the scriptwriter doesn't do this in Malaysia.

I got bored with this method really fast, so for this project, I went all chaotic evil from the get go.

It jumped from one stage to the next and all over, because I wrote what I felt like writing, how I wanted to do it.

It's quite a mess now and I'm cleaning it up. I think it will be quite good after a few polishes.

Feedback is very important and knowing my extremely charming (in the way serial killers are charming) and dominant personality, I needed to apply shutting up and listening to people who know their shit.

You can always agree or disagree with feedback, but your goal is always the final product. And I want to push the thing as far as it could go because this story has already surprised me that it got this far. And I can't wait to close the book on this one, because I am working on other projects as well.

Relevant Questions

The script doctor asked me questions I found in scriptwriting books but never took seriously. It is different, hearing someone say it than reading it in a book.

Some of them are like, "Why are you writing this shit?"

And my answer would be, "To have fun!"

"So why would anyone go and watch this movie?"

"To have fun!"

I wasn't being glib or clever - and we'll talk about that in a while. I am being serious when I say I am writing these damned things to have fun. And I hope the fun translates to the audience.

Being Clever

One of the things I learned over the past few years about movies and writing them, is that it's not such a good idea to try and be clever.

In Fight Club, Tyler Durden asked Edward Norton, "So how's it working out for you, being clever?"

See, I have a deep-seated psychological issue of needing to be the cleverest person in the world. I believe everyone has that. They think, even in their stupidity and moments of sheer foolishness, that they are either smarter or they deserve to be smarter, BECAUSE.

It is linked to the primary driving force for all humans - to want to be or be seen as superior to others, due to their own insecurities.

I know this, because I have it too. I can only recognise things I see in myself.

I would like to say that after embodying the teachings of Eckhart Tolle that I have attained a level where the ego couldn't reach me, but that would be a lie.

I struggle with all these things on a daily basis. I am still insecure about my intelligence, despite being the Greatest Mind of the 21st Century. I do observe it, and notice it, whenever it pops up, but it doesn't mean I am any better at handling it.

I did do a short film that was too clever for everyone else. It had subtle hints at a bigger story, some wanky subtext shoved in all over the place. And when it was screened, nobody got it.

So I realised at the time that I write movies to reach out to the audience, to you. So understanding how stupid all of you are in understanding the glorious me, it would be stupid of me to assume that you would be so desperate and insecure yourself to want to understand every single fucking facet of any of my work.

Nobody has the time for that, except me.

The work serves a function to someone - anyone - and it is from their perspective. And while I enjoy puzzles to a certain degree and have dedicated my life in the pursuit of certain subcultures, I cannot expect the same of you. Any of you.

So let me mansplain everything to you, the inferior person, in an inferior language you could understand and one I wouldn't have any rejections over - fun.

Because in an existence with no real meaning, you should just have fun. Or else.