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Friday, December 30, 2011

Things I wish I had been taught during my teenage days

  1. Financial awareness (economy as well as family status) and financial management techniques
  2. Knowledge of current issues and know-how on where to get reliable information
  3. Political awareness
  4. Ability to stand up for and express individual opinion and emotions without fear or favour
  5. How-to knowledge with regards to accentuating feminine beauty (eg: use of makeup, understanding what type of clothes suits which kinds of body shapes, poise, etc)
  6. Guy tackling tactics and all related psychology
  7. Mandarin proficiency 
  8. Conversational and inter-personal skills

Good stuff

I could read this stuff all day :)
http://www.stuffjournalistslike.com/list-.html

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Write, where I belong

Ooh my. Several months have passed since I blogged. I guess so much has happened in between that it has made me forget that I do own a blog. Several, in fact.

Well, I am writing now from a brand new netbook :) My old giant Toshiba has been having hiccuping episodes, which in a computer sense I take to mean a blinking screen that alternates between the image of the things you are actually doing on the computer and a completely white, blank screen. Scary. But then again, at least when the computer does die, I hope it will not experience the Blue Screen of Death.

Anyway, the new chick that will be one of my writing companions from now on is called Eee PC Seashell1015PX. I shall rename her something soon, once I have coined up something savvy and befitting her elegant white nature.

To help your imagination, she looks like this:


I guess I don't have much of an excuse not to write anymore. I have a netbook that I can carry practically anywhere without breaking my back. Plus, I also own an iPod and a Blackberry Curve. Hehe. I wonder how many people own that many devices. It was not intentional, of course. One was a gift and another was for a work phone so... But well, I'm not complaining, am I?

So much has changed in just a few months. I wonder if I say this all the time when I blog, but the fact is, it's true.

In the span of time that I have been dormant as a blogger, I have gotten engaged; signed an agreement to buy a house; gone through the heart wrenching experience of losing Hans, my beloved German Shepherd; lost an uncle to complications following a heart bypass operation; attended my first ever Melaka wedding; gotten a not-so-hot appraisal at work; bought a netbook (which you already know about but I can't resist reiterating); attended Mandarin classes and hopefully, matured in some aspects of life.

Hopefully.

Oh, and not to mention, of course, an awfully pathetic FAIL at doing another Nanowrimo. Ah, well. Maybe such rushed deadlines are not for me.

Perhaps, with all these colourful moments in my life, it's finally time to write a book, as my real life encounters will have potentially deemed me as experienced enough to write something worthwhile. You know, it's like in singing competitions like American Idol where the judges belabour the point that the poor, hopeful young singer cannot possibly offer the best performance possible for an extremely emotional song because they just haven't gone through enough in life to really feel what it's all about.

I think a person just has to live two decades or so to have enough to tell a story. Everyone has a story. Hopefully mine will be readworthy enough to be published someday.

So here are some of the possibilities I contemplated writing about:
  1. A completely random novel about some fictitious characters in a fictitious plot
  2. A memoir for Hans, or something to that effect (but that would be in danger of appearing like a copycat of Marley and Me hmm)
  3. A story about my life
  4. A story about my love life (probably would be boring though)
  5. A book about the wonderful as well as horrible experiences of being a pastor's kid
  6. A book about wanting to be a writer and feeble attempts to achieve something which ultimately failed
  7. A book about being brave enough to switch careers (my experience being on switching from an IT job to a writing/editorial one)
  8. A book about my relationship with my sister 
  9. A story about my family history
  10. Compiling a book of my poetry interspersed with short pieces about my real life experiences and how it affected my poetry 
  11. Compiling a book of my short stories 
 Oh well. That's all I could think of for now. Let's see what comes up. But the greatest fear of mine is that what I start off will end up being abandoned halfway, and it would make me (yet again) the futility of attempting to write anything of the larger scale.

Maybe for now, I'll just keep coming back here and entertaining you with a tale or two. Hopefully it'll help me to garner some sort of confidence to get down to publishing that book I've always wanted to write.

TTFN, as Tigger would say.

Friday, October 14, 2011

0339

Hush
With not an echo
To reverberate the depths
Of thoughts and feelings
Held close
For not a soul to fathom

Stare
Empty, whitewashed walls
Castles and thrones
Buried in the sand
Time and tide, forsaken tunes
What had been now is not

Sigh
Live another day
To trace ebbing memories
And wonder aloud if
Cure was the prevention
The extension of a million maybes

Breathe
A tentative hope
For all the soles worn out
And hearts caved in

Another hour
Another possibility


- Posted via BlogPress from iPod

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Transitory

Ever gone to the store and searched the shelves for your favourite product, only to find it's not there?

Well, I have.

At the first attempt, I'd console myself by thinking,'Oh, it's probably just that this particular outlet has run out of stock for the product.'

And so I'll visit several other shops, expecting that I'd surely find the product I was looking for there.

Only to be disappointed a few dozen times before arriving at the conclusion that the product might have been discontinued.

Now, is it just me or do many of you face this too? Because it seems to me like so many products that I love end up getting discontinued after some time.

Perhaps I have a peculiar taste. Or that corporations just feel the need to keep churning out new products to appear productive and successful. A sign that the things in this life are so very much transitory.

Then again, maybe I speak in haste, and the actual fact is that companies are constantly improving their ranges of products thus phasing out the less perfect predecessors from the product line. Change is good and for the better. That sort of thing.

Well I can't decide which of the two trains of thought should prevail in this case. But it sure is bothersome to have to change my preferences just because a situation compels me to.

- Posted via BlogPress from iPod


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Questioning answers

"Why?"

The most common question posed to God - the mysterious Being from whom our very existence flows.

And in the absence of a tangible reply, the only plausible answer seems to be: "Because I am God, and you are not."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ideas to perhaps revive my (handwritten) journal habits

Zazu.

I just rewatched Disney's The Lion King movie last week. I guess that must be why I'm drawn to this blog... something that apparently happened by accident (please see my last blog post to understand what I mean).

It's a visual journal challenge! Haha. First time I've ever heard of the term. But well, no matter, it's something worth exploring. My creative muscles have become lethargic and almost non-functional for what feels like ages, so maybe a little help in reviving their abilities would really do me some good.

So here's how it goes. I read a challenge posted by this blogger (Zazu), and then do it. More details here.

Anyway, the blog looks somewhat dead but I'll take the last recent entry, which was in July here.

Well, if I'm in a good mood later I'll post photos. I have a nice camera now to use anyway teehee ;)

Online observatory

I was surfing random blogs on Blogspot just awhile ago and I noticed that the so-called random blogs that I came across consisted mostly of either doting mothers writing about their families, craft enthusiasts, gardeners and fashionistas. Is it just me or does Blogger perhaps offer "random" blogs based on demographics?

Because I don't seem to be coming across any teenage blogs, although I feel there should be plenty out there.

Hmm.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

There's The Writer, The Photographer And Then... There's The Reporter

Someone asked me recently what it's like to be a Writer. I guess I should address that.

One of the first things I'd like to say up front is that it's probably not what you think it is. Maybe you envision it's glamourous, full of events, excitement, scandals, quirky colleagues... the list goes on.

But well, hate to burst your bubble, but it's not any of the above. Mmm. Except for the quirky colleagues bit.

Most of the time while you're busy attending important corporate strategic planning meetings or out dealing with potential clients trying to close a sales deal, your poor friend the Writer is stuck in the office, staring at the computer screen with a web browser window open and a tab each for the dictionary, thesaurus and Google.

Even the Designer is much better off than the Writer. Because at least the Designer (regardless of the kind of designs he/she does) gets to see colour and graphics and - for the luckier ones - moving objects. But the Writer? All the Writer is afforded is bunches of words words words and more words.

Picture the Writer's brain as a big cloud, with all these words stuck haphazardly all over it. Words that the Writer does not even remember learning. Words that the Writer uses so often that he/she finds it so dull and commonplace and cringes at the thought of using... yet again. And of course, the words of every other topic EXCEPT the one that the Writer was supposed to be writing on.

When working on an article, sometimes the words come to the Writer in neat little packages, all nicely strung together in logical sentences and paragraphs. At other times, the words are all jumbled up - like a ball of yarn that has precariously fallen from a great height and has ended up all knotty (pun not intended). And at the least expected moment, occasionally no words come to mind at all.

Oh, but don't get me wrong, a Writer's job is not boring. Usually, Writers are the victims of some higher authority's Random Syndrome, whereby any and every topic under the sun is thrown at them, with the expectation that within the day - or on a pressing day, within a couple of hours - a brilliant piece will emerge from under their fingers. There has never been a greater pretender on planet Earth as the Writer. Yes sir. Not even the Actor comes close.

Because for the Actor, at least everyone else is aware that he/she is acting, and therefore they accept the actions of the Actor with the full knowledge that it is fully make-believe. But the Writer... you should view them as pretty skilled illusionists. Because nobody knows how they do it, yet they manage to sound extremely intelligent in topics they previously knew nothing of prior to that new assignment from the Editor. And the best part is, sometimes no one is even aware of that!

Oh but before you begin to recklessly abandon your dreams of being a Writer, let me assure you that it is interesting to be a Writer. If you are in good favour with the Editor, perhaps you'll get sent out to go interview someone or attend an event. That's good, isn't it? Unfortunately, you'll have less time to get things put down for your list of articles that are due the very next day.

But there are the perks, of course. You get freebies at events. And on many a day this also tends to include free meals.

Well, if you don't want to be a Writer and still want to enjoy the perky points associated with it (namely the social parts), you can opt to be a Photographer instead and seek employment at a news agency or magazine.

You will get to attend the same snazzy (and at times cheesy or even sleepy) events as the Writer but you get to do the more glamourous bits of parading an extremely attractive state-of-the-art (assuming your company is rich and huge) gadget. Snap, snap, snap... and your job is done. Meanwhile, your poor Writer colleague is running up and down trying to interview a dozen or so people to make sure all his or her questions (which are required for the construction of the article) are answered before the important people start to disappear.

Well, if you like looking cool and using the flash to distract and annoy everyone PLUS you want to get busy going around asking VIPs nosy questions, you can opt to be the Reporter. More specifically, you can become the Online Reporter.

Compared to the usual printed press outfits, most online media organisations are smaller and younger than their printed media counterparts and often (although I can't say for sure it's always the case) have smaller teams i.e. less human resources.

So, you, the enthusiastic Online Reporter get to do a two-in-one role: be BOTH the Writer asking all the irritating questions at the press conference AND the Photographer waving your smaller-but-just-as-powerful camera around and shooting everyone in sight.

Well, there you have it. What a Writer's life is like. Well, of course there are variations, such as Writers who are cooped up in the office more than they are allowed to go out, for instance, those who write research related articles or certain kinds of Copywriters... but in general, the porfolio pretty much looks something like what I've described (but feel free to dispute if you have opinions to the contrary).

On the whole, if you ask me, I'd say it's only glamourous to be a Writer/Journalist when you're on the outside looking in. Generally when it's you that is the Writer and you're in the thick of things, the only thing that will keep you plodding onward along the same path will be either the remuneration (cash or kind, whichever suits your fancy) and pure, unadulterated passion.

I hope I have enough of the latter because I don't have much of the former.

And we shall not go into what it's like to be an Author yet. I've not reached that stage. But from what I hear, similar to other forms of the arts (like dance, music or visual arts), you tend to become richer after you've died and passed on, but live poor in the meantime.

But so as not to end this post on a grim note, I'd say there's plenty of reasons to celebrate your career if you're a Writer. For one, you get to meet all kinds of interesting people. And you get to pretend that you know a lot of things very well (although you probably just happened to utter the right terminology often enough that people assumed you do).

Here's to (the illusive) glitz, glamour and the ever expanding vocabulary. (I sort of wish we could earn money just by entering spelling bees or writing perfect grammar. Oh well.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Presenting the past

"What kind of heart doesn't look back?"
- From Sara Bareilles' Breathe Again


Often times, we are told not to dwell on our past and to focus on moving forward instead - enjoying the present and planning for the future, or at least looking forward to it.

Yet there are times when looking back is not only worth doing, but in fact very much necessary.

Allowing yourself to recall the experiences you have emerged from in your past is important because it helps  define who you are today. It is a crucial building block for your future too as it presents the possibilities of who you can be or are already becoming.

If we allow everything from our past to fade completely from our memory, we become empty shells - devoid of meaning and purpose. There is no wealth of wisdom we can draw from because we have conveniently forgotten the mistakes we have committed previously, thus also discarding along with it the lessons we had learned back then.

Remembering your past also keeps you grounded. Although you may be a huge success today, there was surely a prior season in your life whereby you had yet to accomplish anything and had only ambitions and perhaps limited resources. Having undergone the journey towards success, it would now do you a great deal of good to always keep those times in mind because it will help in preserving their humility - an essential ingredient for truly sustainable success.

Despite the morbidity or even melancholy that may be attached to it (for certain cases), the past has values of its own to offer us, if only we took the time to reminisce.

Yet at the same time, we must be careful not to succumb to dwelling in the past indefinitely. There is a need for reflection, but there is also a need to advance. The past is not meant to hold us back. However, it is a necessary tool and treasure that we cannot afford to totally leave behind.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Picture perfect

Those picture perfect folk, don't they just drive you insane?

The ones with the oh-so-perfect looks and never-ending smiles on their Facebook pictures.

Those with the pretty dresses and flashy cars.

Who got married and lived happily ever after.

Or whose career has only progressed upward ever since the very first day of the very first job.

Who always have reasons to laugh, and are never grouchy or unreasonable or selfish.

Don't you just hate how lousy they make you feel?


- Posted via BlogPress from iPod

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To feel, a gift

I love the way my bedroom looks with the windows drawn at dawn.

The dimness of the light and the air which is still calm and cool.

The way in which the sleepy world is still mostly silent and only slowly awakening.

The cosyness of my blanket and pillows.

If only the peacefulness and freshness of the morning could stay with me throughout the day.

- Posted via BlogPress from iPod

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The wilting waltz - Part 2

* Read Part 1 here

Su Chen was never one to cry.

Even in her younger days, where other children would bawl their lungs out if they had their toys taken away from them or if they were denied from savouring a favourite tasty treat, she would just stare blankly back at the adults that tended to her. It was as if nothing would faze her.

In fact, her face rarely betrayed her emotion. Most times, it carried a cool, calm look which cleverly masked the turmoil of feelings that she wrestled with beneath the surface.

If anyone were to have asked her why this was, she would have blamed her parents for it.

She learned very early in her life that wearing her heart on her sleeve would not be acceptable to her parents. Especially if the emotions concerned were of the negative sort. Crying or throwing a tantrum when her parents denied her a request would only land her in worser punishment.

So she wisened up and devised other ways to get what she wanted. One of her main tactics was to feign indifference, regardless of what she really felt.

Subsequent trials for this new tactic yielded great results. It worked not only with her parents, but practically anyone and everyone she met.

The best friend who later turned out to be her worst enemy.

The teacher who punished her for a crime she did not commit.

The boy whom she loved more than anything in the world but who left for greater pursuits, inadvertently excluding her - or so it seemed at the time.

The mystery of her real emotions have never ceased to baffle the other people in her life, often driving those that sought to make her suffer experience a different sort of torture of their own.

So she decided since way back then to keep this modus operandi.

But there was one person from whom she could not hide neither her thoughts or feelings.

Tien Keat was in reality eight years older than Su Chen. Those eight years made for two very different personalities, even though they were siblings.

While Tien Keat was an indefatigable benevolent optimist who revelled in every enchantment and adventure that this life had to offer him, Su Chen was cautious, suspicious of everything and for the most part a recluse who believed that life would so much sweeter if everyone would leave everybody else alone.

It seemed somewhat impossible that the two of them could even be blood related since their personalities are worlds apart. Su Chen once pondered the possibilty that she may have been an adopted child.

But then there were certain undeniable similarities.

Their wavy hair. The greyish glint in their eye colour that would only be visible up close. The way they walked. Shrugged. Laughed. Argued.

They were each other's best friend in a family of absent parents. And for Su Chen, that's all she needed really needed to stay happy.

The wilting waltz - Part 1

I felt a need to write fiction lately, so I decided to grab a picture prompt and give it a try. I have to dash off for a late dinner with my family now, so I suppose I'll come back later to finish this. Meanwhile, try reading through this and drop me a comment if this piques your interest to know what happens next:

Source: 365 Pictures Prompts  (24 July 2011)

She stared silently as the blackbird flew past her window against the backdrop of the shady trees. The air was calm and cool all around her, but inside her, thoughts were stirring.

She recalled suddenly that blackbirds were birds of ill omen. For some strange reason, she couldn't remember where she had gotten that notion, but the moment the thought came to her, it made her squirm slightly in her seat.

She stood and began pacing around the room.

What had been merely peaceful a moment ago evoked a sense of uneasiness. The confines of her bedroom now felt somewhat stifling.

Stealing a glance at her watch, she noted that it was only 4 o'clock. Usually, no one would come looking for her until around 6 o'clock when it was time to start preparing dinner.

For a moment, she ambled aimlessly considering the possibility of a walk outside. A rising uncomfortable feeling had already started to grow in her chest. She clenched her fists. Then her jaw.

It was barely a minute later when she was already at the front door of the inn, shutting the door quietly behind her as she went.

The sky was grey and large, black clouds loomed ominously above her.

But her steps were sure and steady. For some reason, it was as if she knew where she must go.

* Read Part 2 here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Starting with a clean slate?

Today is 9 July 2011 and the local time is 4.48pm.

It is quiet over here as I type my post into my laptop while seated on my bed with the windows open. There is only the occasional sound of birds chirping from the nearby trees outside and the sporadic roar of cars as they make their way in and out of this peaceful neighbourhood.

But it is by no means serene in other parts of the Klang Valley.

Downtown in Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital city of Malaysia, things are abuzz as huge crowds have gathered in various spots around the city. Their aim: to march towards the famed Stadium Merdeka in protest of the lack of free and fair elections in Malaysia.

The catalyst? Bersih 2.0, a self-proclaimed civil society movement which was re-launched this year and has been at the forefront of championing this cause. (Bersih, in our national language, Malay, means "clean".)

National media has been peppered with reports of all kinds concerning Bersih for the past few weeks. News initially arose about a rally that Bersih planned to hold in KL on 9 July in order to march to the palace and present a memorandum to the Agong.

From then on, a chain of events ensued at an accelerated pace. Other opposing groups resorted to organising rallies of their own at the same venue and date to go against Bersih. Not long afterward, Bersih is outlawed and people in various locations around the nation start to be arrested for promoting the Bersih rally. The government began issuing warnings that those who persisted in wanting to attend any such rally would risk being dealt with.

The Agong stepped in to advise both Bersih and the ruling government, Barisan National (BN) to hold discussions and reach an amicable decision. Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, chairperson for Bersih, agrees to hold the rally in a stadium rather than taking to the streets amidst promises by the ruling government that this would be allowed.

However, the situation changed by the day and soon Bersih found that it is not even allowed to hold a rally in any stadium at all. Least of all Stadium Merdeka.

Yet Bersih and their opposers still stubbornly insist on carrying on with the rally.

The day of the rally has now come, and now in KL, throngs of Malaysians have gathered to brave water cannons, tear gas  and possible police violence to reach the rally's venue. It is both scary and exciting to be in the nation as these events unfold.

Although I do support Bersih's cause, I am not in KL for the rally because I do not really like the idea of street protests and am uncomfortable with the thought that not everyone out there is of the same mind although it may seem that way on the surface. There are political undertones to the event, some of which I also may not be in favour of.

Yet it is amazing to note that someone like me, who is for the most part politically apathetic, has actually started blogging about these current incidents taking place in my homeland.  It is a sign that recent events within the nation are starting to have a noticeable impact on its citizens. It is indeed impossible to be unaffected by the sentiments and circumstances as they unfold.

The truth of the matter is that Malaysia is by no means a first world country yet, and we've still a long way to go.

But change is good, in fact even necessary, in order for us to progress. It will probably take much more than this 9 July rally to transform our nation, but hope is budding in so many ways for us here. It is, after all, typically through struggles and difficulties and changes that we grow.

Proactiveness definitely has a place in driving this process. It would be a shame if no one in this country stood up for what they believe and risked doing something in order to make things better.

After all, looking back, we at times still suffer from the decisions of our forefathers, many of whom had been awfully apathetic about many aspects concerning the nation thus resulting in some of the ludicrous policies and practices that we now find ourselves stuck with today.

I look forward to a day when Malaysia will no longer be fighting corruption but will be living in integrity. For a time when fellow countrymen would see each other as Malaysians, and shed racial and religious labels. For a truly free economy that encourages businesses to thrive and which elevates excellence as the most respected and renowned value of the (national) brand Malaysia. For environmental awareness to influence town planning and development projects approved by the powers that be. For a country that truly keeps its word and puts its people first.

I am sure many out there have similar aspirations for the country - and possibly even more.

While Bersih's rally may trigger change in the electoral process, there is still much to be done in other spheres.

Let us - each and every Malaysian - do our part wherever we are to hasten the required changes in the spheres of society where we wield influence. Let us not get offended or sidetracked by the minute offenses around us but press firmly towards doing the right thing, being the conscience of the nation. 

Perhaps the day that we hope for may be drawing near. Much nearer than we realise. 

* If you are not Malaysian but have read this post, please pray for my nation or in whatever ways possible, support the voices here that uphold justice for all its citizens.

Monday, June 27, 2011

R for reasonably rationale

Clarity. My mind feels exceptionally clear tonight.

I am trying to figure out what it could be that is contributing towards me feeling this way.

Perhaps it's the brief church retreat that I just attended?

Or is it the rather exquisite coffee that I just drank earlier this evening?

Then again, could it just have been the after effects of good company?

No matter the reason, I am here now. In a familiar posture with my trusty laptop in... well, my lap... and my fingers poised for a few good hours (perhaps) of typing.I am all set to get going and to start writing some unfinished articles for work.

I do not really look forward to doing this.

There is a whole mess of data that I need to sift through and arrange into neat little sentences in order to create a respectable draft. I'm not sure sometimes whether having lots of information to process is more maddening or whether it is worse had I not had enough to work with. Either way, it is (at times) such a tremendously taxing brain exercise.

I'm still pondering all those competitions I could join and the side projects I could do. I feel as though I am lacking energy to do all that. But those are the real goals that I want to achieve, far above the constant churning out of articles just for the sake of commitment and deadlines. I hope I don't end up sidelining them till life passes me by and I find no great meaning in writing and all I end up doing is churning out article after article passionlessly.

That would be sad indeed.

I do not want to be found writing without passion. Without meaning to my words. Without caring for the effect it will trigger in my readers. Writing is just as much an art as sculpting or painting is. I want my words to be deliberate. The message clear. Creativity oozing out of each word and bursting at the seams by the end of each sentence.

I don't really know what I'm saying. I guess I should stop dawdling here and begin chipping away at the actual tasks I have on hand.

I will be back, hopefully soon. Till then... have yourself a good new week.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Y for yesterday

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, despite my snail like tendencies, I do endeavour to keep as many promises as I can, and I know full well that I still owe you blog readers of mine a few missing posts from the A to Z April Challenge (it's already JUNE! *wails*) so wherever possible I will attempt to fill in the gaps.

For this post, I take on one of the more obscure and yet formidable of  alphabets: the letter Y.

I spent most of my evening and night today clearing out and sorting my stationery drawer in my bedroom. In the process, I uncovered various treasures and memories from yesteryears - some of which I fondly recall, others which I don't even remember at all.

It's so easy to leave our yesterdays behind, and to forget all too quickly the value they have added to our lives and the lessons we have learned and should remember at the right times in our present days (so as not to repeat the same old mistakes).

One thing I especially cherished about my past was the ability I had back then to write poetry. That is not to say that I can't muster up a verse or so now, but it's not quite the same, or as somewhat prolific as I was in times past.

Perhaps it had something to do with the turmoil of youth? One thing's for sure, now that I'm in my late twenties, I am a whole lot more secure about who I am and who I am not than I was in the not-too-distant teenage years of my life. I recall the intensity of emotions back then were quite often the reason I turned to poetry.

I wonder what does it say of me now, though... Does this mean I have lost the ability to appreciate and come to grips with my emotions (and to deal with them accordingly) as I had during those times? I find myself less composed and more impatient now (surprisingly) than I remember being in those years.

I wonder if it has anything to do with me venting through poetry or rather, the lack of it, as this is something which I don't do at all nowadays.

Maybe it's time I revisited the habit of poetry writing. Hopefully this time, the depth in the thoughts and the themes will resonate with a greater sense of maturity than what they used to. That it will be an onward march into better quality poems that I can proudly share with everyone else around me, as opposed to having to feel sheepish about how they were written or how they sound.

Anyhow, I will share with you an old poem which I found today as I conclude this post. Hope you like it.

Glimpses

Sometimes in a stranger's kindness
Or in the fading flower's beauty
At other times amidst great chaos
And sudden calamity
For some in peace and quietness
From contentment and tranquility
Often unveiled for pure innocence
Yet occasionally afforded despite shame and adverse blasphemy
The beauty in the ever present sky
The promise of another day
Ever lingering hope
At times disregarded
Irritably forsaken along the way
But heavenbound hearts cannot be dampened
And faith not so easily strayed
Whenever time is salvaged
And still enough for comtemplated wonder
Room for just a tiny glance
Glimpses into the beckoning eternity

© SKSL
1 October 2005

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road blocks, speed bumps and other strange signs

I have been wanting to write, but feel as if I am paralysed whenever I actually try getting round to doing so.

With the exception of work (which is a must-do thing if I want to continue receiving pay cheques every month), I feel as though I am somewhat hindered from writing the stuff I want to write.

Well, technically there's nothing to stop me from writing, like what I'm doing right now. But I can't seem to muster any form of useful inspiration, and I keep myself from actually writing more and more often because I consider all times that I really did write, and feel horrible because I remember that the results of it were not very good.

I wonder how I could have ever written any form of entertaining fictional pieces in the past to the extent that those in my social circle could actually compliment me on it. In fact, I can't quite comprehend why anyone would have wanted to read the stuff I wrote at all.

Maybe it's just a rough patch of me not enjoying my work and in essence it's just another dry spell that will blow over at some point. Or perhaps my creative writing skills are coming to grinding halt - something I fear, yet often feel powerless to prevent.

I must admit, I have been entertaining thoughts of writing non-fiction stuff just to get a book published (one of my major life goals). And so I've tried writing opening paragraphs and chapters and what-have-yous.Later on, when I re-read what I've written, I feel terribly uncomfortable and extremely disappointed with myself. Am I forcing myself to write something that's not me, I wonder?

But everytime I try cracking my brain for some kind of imaginative plot that can serve as a starting point for a novel, I keep coming up empty. The very thought of writing anything fiction involving more than one chapter just completely scares me. I've tried it before and the ideas I have normally end up getting all tangled up in my mind and the entire episode will end with me completely abandoning the story.

Could it be that journalism is slowly wiping all traces of creativity out of me? That in the pursuit of hard, cold facts I have forgotten how to dream and forsaken the poetic license that allows me to bend time, space and the universe for the sake of a well told (fiction) story?

I feel defeated for some reason. And at the same time, I feel like even my emotions are unfounded. That if I so much as breathe a word on how I actually feel or what thoughts are actually coursing through my brain, I will be immediately rubbished off and told for the gazillionth time that I am being too emotional or just plain silly.

I even hesitant to compose blog posts. I can't even complete the missing blog posts for the already stale April Challenge. At least during my university days I could still write about real life or what I felt about whatever I was going through, but now even that feels worthless.

I somehow have it in my head that any outburst of emotions or articulation of thoughts on my part will result in me inadvertantly killing off the interest of blog followers in reading my blog, hence slowly but surely causing the number of them to dwindle until a point where there is no one left anymore to read what I post here.

I feel illegitimate. I feel inhibited.

I am tempted to believe that I have nothing good left to say - no more brilliant ideas nor fascinating philosophies nor riveting tales - to offer the world. That perhaps the passion that once sustained me and kept me writing is fading fast. It scares me to think about what will happen should it disappear altogether.

It's almost as if I've lost something precious, and that in losing it (whatever it may be) I have somehow lost the ability to be profound, to write things of value, to make sense and resonate with my readers.

It is baffling to analyse endlessly of what the thing you didn't know you lost is. Or the fact that you're not even sure that you had lost something in the first place.

Ah well, at least I haven't lost my morbidity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

S for students

As I had said, there were some posts in the April challenge which I missed out on writing. So I will be trying to cover those now.

So it's S for students for this post.

My colleagues and I are currently working on interviewing some students for an article we're about to produce.

It is in the midst of this process of talking to these students that I realise how out of touch I am with youth nowadays. The number of youth that I am friends with has greatly decreased, and I realise that I am slowly becoming more and more clueless on their sentiments and their interests.

There was a time not so long ago that I was involved in working with youth at my church, but I no longer do so now. Although in some ways it was a relief that I have been released from that responsibility, a part of me feels sad that I don't seem to have insight to how the current generation of youth are now.

In some strange ways, some little tiny part of my heart still feels like a youth and there's the notion that I could just snap back into their company and fit in at any moment without difficulty. But perhaps that is not quite as true as I imagine it to be.

Sometimes I wonder if God intended me to continue to work with youths.

Then again,  there's this other part of me that realises that perhaps I am not as good a role model as I should be to them, hence maybe it's better off for them that I stay away from being their leader.

Maybe the truth of the matter is that right now, in my mid twenties, it still feels like I don't fit in anywhere.

On the one hand, I am an adult, yet when I am with a predominantly adult crowd, I still feel as though I am being disregarded by some because I perceived as being "still very young" and this causes the older folk to think of me as being immature and not wise enough to have my opinions taken seriously.

Yet on the other hand, I am too old to fit in with the adolescents, because they have such a different lifestyle from the one I have, which is constrained by my work duties. That zest for life, a particular carefree attitude and nonchalance about the future and world events at large, is not longer a perpective on life that I possess.

Perhaps I am just ruminating a little too much over things that are in essence pretty trivial, nevertheless I must admit that it's something that rather disturbs me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Selfishness - Alive and well in our cities today

Spend a day in Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya (prominent cities in Malaysia, for the uninitiated) and you will learn what selfishness means.

Wake up in the morning and take your car for a drive down any of the major highways of these cities and it won't be long before you see selfishness mirrored in the face of a random driver that is bent on getting ahead of you, whatever the cost may be.

It's evidently permeating the air as an impatient motorist flashes his headlights at you in broad daylight, fully intent on squeezing into the lane you were cruising along just right at the very moment when you were about to pass him by. Without putting his signal, I might add.

Stare into the droves of people walking busily up and down the streets. It won't be too hard to spot the selfish one. She's the one who's busy chattering to her mobile phone but who drops it and breaks into a run the moment she sees a small van setting up shop and handing out freebies to the public.

Cars do not stop for pedestrians to cross the road in Malaysia, except when forced to by clearly marked pedestrian crossings. Zebra crossings don't always cut it. If you're a tourist visiting the country, take heed and value your life.

If you happen to space out while standing in queue for the payment counter at the hypermarket, be wary - someone just might cut into the queue randomly and overtake you, for no apparent reason and with no apologies.

Try taking the KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu), the public train system, during the after work rush hour - you will be pushed forwards and backwards in a queue that really isn't a queue but rather is just a mass of people all wanting to get on or off the train at the same time. It is an absolute nightmare, and you can forget about getting to wherever you need to be on time.

There was a time that I remember Malaysians were known internationally as being friendly people. But in recent years, Readers Digest has cited Malaysians under a list of the least courteous countries.

What a shame to even think we have progressed.
 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Aargh.... April ended!

Nooo... April has ended, but I did not manage to catch up with my A to Z posts! :(

Well, just to make myself happy, I'll be rounding up the posts I haven't completed and working on finishing them. Hope you'll read them, even if they're super late!

Once that's done, then I'll start cracking on what my next major writing project should be... I want to write something publishable... So let's see what ideas come up :)

Meantime, enjoy Labour Day! :) It's about the only time in the year we can be happy to be a labourer :P

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

L for lovely things

Some letters are just blessed more than others. Take the letter L, for instance.

It is richly endowed with a vocabulary of niceties that other alphabets cannot even dare to dream of: love, life, laughter, like, luck... probably even more that I don't recall.

And why so, while other alphabets suffer the lack of noble or interesting words such that people are prone to forget them far too easily, as opposed to the lovely letter L?

But then, you may argue that the letter L has shortcomings of its own.

Lies. Lust. Litter. Lost.

Yes yes, but which other alphabet can trump "L for love"?

R for romance, perhaps. Or F for faithful.

But that doesn't quite cut it, does it?

What do think, then, about the bad press that F receives undeservedly?

Fight. Fat. Fool. Frumpy. Frugal. 

Don't you sometimes get the Feeling that Life is a Little unFair?
  

K for kite

 A wau - a Malaysian kite

I've always wanted to fly one successfully. I don't think I ever have. I remember having to make one in primary school... a wau (which was supposed to look something like the one in the picture) and I used lidi and tracing paper and made colourful designs on it. It didn't fly properly.

I remember seeing people's kites get stuck in trees and feeling sad on their behalf when I was a child.

I wonder why the term "flying kites" ended up having such a negative connotation when kite flying is really a fascinating thing.

Do people even fly kites nowadays? 

Perhaps the reason I find it fascinating is because it's fluid.. it's dependent on the wind... and wind is something none of us can control. It's the intrigue of something that's beyond you, stretching far above what you can ever understand or imagine.

That an unpredictable gust of wind can have the power to lift up your kite... and figuratively speaking, your dreams too.

What are the winds in your life that lift your feet off the ground?

W for write, write, write!

Hehe can I double post for W? After all it's a DOUBLE u, right?

Okay, I'm considerably lame sometimes.

Anyhow, I've been thinking about it lately, and I still believe I'd much rather be an author than a journalist (which is what I am currently).

It's been one of my lifelong dreams to write and publish a book that gets sold in the bookstores around the city where I live so I can beam with joy every time I catch a glimpse of its title on the shelves of MPH or Borders or somewhere like that.

But that day has yet to come. I have tried and tried to write the opening chapters for what I hoped would become a book but so far the efforts have not been anywhere near successful. *sniff*

Recently, my Mum pointed out to me an article in The Star that said that the government is allocating a RM 2 million fund to help publish books. This is great because it's just what I need (now, to actually get round to writing that book hoho). I'm not sure if I'd actually qualify but I suppose it's worth finding out.

Perhaps, perhaps my dreams of becoming an author can finally see the light of day some time soon. Wonder whether anyone would read what I write though... would you? :)

Sometimes I wish I lived in some superbly well developed nation where you can do anything you love to do and earn a living from it. Over here, we still have parents nagging their children to take up accountancy, law or medical degrees just because it's assumed these education paths will land us jobs with decent pay.

Being a writer isn't exactly the most ideal choices a parent could hope for a child, I think. But well, it's not altogether frowned upon as much as... say... being a criminal underlord, isn't it? Heh. What an analogy.

Ah, I really should get moving. I need to head out to work soon. I wonder if it's true of all writers... that part of us just likes to dream more than actually write or do anything else?

W for weighed down

I feel rather sad because I have not been able to keep up faithfully with this A to Z Challenge lately.

Things at work were especially busy over the past week or two, with me heading out for assignments almost every other day. I suppose this is nothing compared to the life of a reporter who works for a daily newspaper, but it's tiring enough for me. The assignments were interesting though, and I suppose it should be the subject of a blog post too, but I shall save that for another time.

Plus, I kept forgetting to submit my tax assessment form, and it hung over my head like a small black cloud that grew thicker and darker by the day (okay, so I'm exaggerating a little, but tax claims are such a bother, aren't they?).

AND to top things off, I had some other additional writing task to do, which was not so well received by the intended recipient. Sigh. I guess there's no pleasing anyone for as long as the writing is for someone else's sake and not your own.

But now the tax assessment has been done and to both my dismay and delight I owe the government NOTHING and I discover the dismal truth that I really am not that financially wealthy after all.

The extra writing task is not, but the workload at the office is bearable. The workpile is moving, albeit slowly, but so far I've not messed up in any way, so all's good.

PLUS I am about to go on a short trip to Singapore to see these guys perform live:

(Psst. They're Switchfoot, in case you didn't already know.)

Whee :)

I'm really looking forward to NOT being so weighed down, and I hope that moment will come really soon.

So I promise you, dear readers, that I will do a little catching up before the month is up and will fill in the gaps wherever I've missed an alphabet or two or more.

Sorry if you were disappointed, but I assure you, I will be back... and soon too! 

Meantime, enjoy the sunshine. Another day has begun - well, at least in my part of the world ;)
   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

P for parents

They're the ones who scolded you and gave you a caning when you misbehaved.

The very same people who hugged you and told you could do it when you felt like you couldn't, the ones who cheered you from the stands when you emerged as champion in your favourite sport at a school competition.

The dependable duo who magically seemed to always have cash to spare whenever you asked for some (though you later found out this wasn't quite true).

And although they may the source of the most annoying yet useful reminders in your lifetime, they are also likely the two people who know you best.

We can't choose our parents, but we can choose to love them - for who they are to us and for all they've done in making us who we are today.

*Disclaimer: 
I know that not everyone has loving, devoted parents, so I guess this post may not resonate with every single person who reads it. But I'm speaking optimistically here, because even though we can't choose the circumstances life throws at us, we can decide to make the best out of whatever we have, and I guess that's the main message that I'd like to get across here. 
   

Saturday, April 16, 2011

J for Jane

Jane felt sad.

Mary had her little lamb, and Little Miss Muffet had her tuffet, plus the company of a curious little spider.

Even her annoying cousin, Jack Horner, had his stale Christmas pie to keep him amused, whilst her neighbour, whom she has only known all this while as Little Boy Blue, had his favourite horn with which he can blow funny tunes with to keep boredom at bay.

He was playing a tune right then, and as she listened, it was making her even sadder.

But she... she had nothing at all.

Folding her arms to her chest, she sighed. She needed something to perk her up. Gazing around the tiny confines of her cottage, she felt the way everyone else had described: a very plain Jane indeed. It was not a nice feeling.

After thinking for a moment, she decided to take a walk. So out her door and onto the pathway she went.

Jane walked and walked and walked. The sun was shining brightly and she felt more and more tired as she went along.

Suddenly, she heard a voice saying, "Hellooo? You there! Do you want some tea?"

Jane stopped in her tracks and whirled around to discover who it was that was speaking. Soon, she spotted a kind looking lady standing at the door of a hut, waving at her.

"Are you talking to me?" Jane asked, a little unsure.

"You! Yes, you!" Affirmed the lady.

Jane felt suddenly very shy and she hesitated. It also crossed her mind why she would want to have a hot cup of tea on a hot day like this. She'd much prefer a glass of iced lemon tea.

"But it's hot and drinking tea will make me feel hotter," she said somewhat sheepishly, staring at the ground as she spoke.

"Oh, nonsense!" The lady replied. "I have nice cupcakes and scones... surely you want some of those?"

Jane stopped to think again. She did not really like thinking much, because she felt her brain didn't really have the ability to think very far. Nevertheless, she tried and concentrated as hard as she could.

"Maybe just one or two?" She finally consented.

"Come right in!" Ushered the lady as she swung open the door of her hut and gestured for Jane to enter with her hand. "I've already got a kettle of water brewing."

- to be continued-

M for mall

Note: I know there are many missing posts for quite a few alphabets (I-L), I promise I'll fill them in later.

*   *   *

It's a rainy Saturday morning here in Mutiara Damansara and I'm sitting here at McDonald's in The Curve with Deric. He's busy watching football highlights, while waiting for me to finish my Sausage McMuffin. But I can't sit here just doing nothing, so I'm typing out a brief blogpost in the meantime.

It's so rare to have such cool weather here where we live, so times like these are really a treat. Unhurried time to spend with each other is also more rare nowadays. So I feel really happy just being here.

I really love being at the mall at this hour, because the place just opened not long ago. The shops are slowly coming alive, but the crowds are not in yet so it's still fairly quiet. The public toilets are still clean too, a fact that's very much appreciated since most Malaysian public toilets are usually filthy and more often than not, way below the satisfactory levels of hygiene.

I don't always like hanging around malls, but when I do, I guess I much prefer being there at the start of the day, rather than at any other times.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I for intensity

Intensity. Electricity. Snap, sizzle, zap. Over the wire I hear you. Talk. Gossip. Girls, too pretty too many too fiery. Disaster strikes, from the rooftops down to the paved sidewalks. They are watching, don't you see? I flee. I feel. Leave while you still can. Stand for something. When you try, you'll know finally what you're made of and if it's worth it. Forget it. But then again, don't. Can't you see? Nonsense. Nuisance. Prudence. Finales dramatically descending on the unsuspecting man. No way, woman. Dreams. In a bubble, as light as a feather. I float through the air while you stare unaware that there's a puzzle behind every piece. Pancakes, tossed up and flapping down into hungry mouths, so many to feed. What a treat. I see you me everybody I and ten cities.

H for here... right now! :D

Hello dear readers! :) I apologise for the lack of updates. It's not too late to catch up now, is it?

Harder to keep up with the alphabets now as the days seem to go whizzing by, especially when there are other things happening at the same time :P

Hear me out though, because although this post is up late, H is a special letter :) I don't know about you, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that there are so many important words that start with H.

How about heart? That's a major part of who we are. Where our heart is, there lies our treasure.

Hand is another one. A handshake is a crucial formal introduction that signals the beginning of meaningful relationships - be they business dealings or the tiny seeds of friendship sown after you've gotten yourself acquainted with someone who was previously a stranger.

Handsome would be yet another example. Okay, I admit that it's a little more old fashioned compared to other equivalent terms used today, but it's still a valid word, and the most polite, hard-to-go-wrong way to tell a gentlemen that he really is quite attractive and drop dead gorgeous without sounding too desperate.

Have I convinced you yet? How about the word hear? Or hard? Or holy?

Haha... did you notice anything else about this post that's extraordinary? :P Drop me a comment and give it a guess hehe... :D

Friday, April 8, 2011

G for gigs

No no no... not that guy who plays for Manchester United (even though my father is a fan, I'm sorry to say I don't quite share the passion).

What I had actually meant, my dear readers, is gigs as in live musical performances. Think concerts. Yes, you get the drift.

I was just at one earlier tonight - it was the album launch for a local Malaysian band called Paperplane Pursuit and it was at the extremely loud Laundry Bar in a livelier part of town called Kota Damansara.

Best part was I got a copy of the new CD free, just by being bold enough to go up on stage and to say into the microphone the name of the next guest band that was coming up.

Goes to show, my lovelies, that courage pays. But believe me, I still am rather shy along the fringes of my character. I hesitate sometimes. Ah, but I ramble. That will be a story for another post... R perhaps?

I still feel partially deaf, to be honest. Plus perhaps the jolt of adrenaline from all the noise and pumped up crowd earlier has yet to subside. Bah. It's rather late over here.

But well, since I'm here, time to do a little home ground promo... Please take time to check out Paperplane Pursuit - I'm possibly a new fan. :P

The video's pretty interesting... although it's nothing too fancy, it carries a vital message for Malaysians. In fact, it sort of addresses some of the issues I had mentioned here. Well, I'm a really nice person so here ya go, I'll make it easier for you by embedding the video here:

 


Supporting guest acts, Under Headlights and Bus Company were fantastic too. If you can spare a moment, check them out? :) Yay for Malaysian made and better days for the arts in days to come, which I hope will be sooner rather than later.

My boyfriend's whining about wanting to gig again. I want to whine, but then I shan't, since I'm guilty of slacking in my music ability since eons ago. Well, if he does anything interesting, I'll sneakily post it up later hoho. He loves he attention anyway.

Tomorrow's Friday (why thank you, Rebecca Black) and still a working day so I must leave you for now.

Goodnight, world.
 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F for fistfuls

One of the ways that I first began writing more seriously was through poetry. It is to poetry that I return today, and I hope you my dear reader will enjoy it. But if for some reason you find it hard to understand, please feel free to ask for an explanation. I'm sure I speak for poets and artists everywhere, that we really do enjoy telling you the story behind our masterpieces.


*   *   *

   
  
Fistfuls 

Clenched and firm
Hammering on tables
Making demands, decisions
Unconcerned of everything else but
Reflections
Of searing perfection
What is and is not yours
Profitability
At the stakes of humanity
The cigarette butts of poverty
Polluting innocence
Breeding insanity
Stuck on the temporary fixes
An addict to its adrenaline
Of trophies and popularity
With martyrs aplenty
To cushion invisible consciences
Taxes for gifts in apparent sincerity
Unending objectives for tightening security
For paranoia's sake
Too alone to want company
With proudly squinted vision
And heart carefully closed shut
March on, warrior
Clamor for your freedom
Independent democracy
One step forward
Two thousand steps back
  

D, E for Dear Ellina

* Killing two birds with one stone, here we go ;)

Dear Ellina,

It has been some time since we last spoke. Although it's just a few weeks, it feels like it's been years and years.

I'm not sure how we got here, but I'm sorry that we have. I remember times when things were simpler, happier. I hate to admit it, but I think we've been taking things for granted for way too long.


I guess I'm trying to sound really intelligent and all that, but maybe what I'm saying is that I'm sorry. Sorry that I didn't stop you from leaving and sorry that now I feel like a complete idiot because I desperately need you here but was just too downright proud to admit it.

I know I used to hate it when you'd ramble on and on about the things you had experienced in a day. I recall how I would cringe or recoil from you whenever you reached out to offer me a hug.

I wish I could have you offer me those things now.

When I finally go this time, I will go empty handed. I cannot take anything with me, even if I want to. I had always known this would be a solo trip, yet I never imagined it would feel this hollow. 

Would it be too much to ask for you to come meet me? Just one more time?

I promise I will be nice and that I won't dwell on old things.

Please forgive me and say you'll be there at the bus stop before 3pm.

Thanks, goodbye and hope to see you then.

---

* All details described above are purely fictional, and any perceived representation to any persons alive or dead is entirely coincidental.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

C for country

A much delayed post, but as they say, better late than never.

In case you may not have known it, dear readers, I live in a country called Malaysia, which is located on the part of globe which is known as Southeast Asia. It is a fascinating place to live - what some like to fondly (or at times, perhaps not-so-fondly) refer to as a melting pot of culture, since we Malaysians are a diverse lot, consisting of a variety of races, religions and much more.

But much has been happening in my country of late, and although it doesn't make as much worldwide ripples the way the tsunami disaster in Japan did or the revolution in Egypt did, it still matters and makes a difference in some way or another to us, and perhaps, by chance, to some other random stranger across the globe who is somehow affected by what happens in our nation due to his dependency on rambutan or durian or something.

Such is the level of patriotism of my race (which by the way, is Chinese) that quite a number of us are more keen on migrating to other countries just to escape the ongoing tussles that are taking place internally here rather than choosing deliberately to stay here and weather it. I don't think time permits me to go into details though, and I'm not sure if I want to but sometimes,  I just feel sad. That we in Malaysia lack such patriotism for our own land and are so quick to relinquish our citizenship here in exchange for a better life elsewhere. Has Malaysia nothing good left to offer?

Regardless of how grim things get Malaysia, you're still my home. I still love you and hope for the best to surface in the near future in a way that benefits us all.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April's agenda

It's...


And that means that the A to Z Blogging Challenge is on! :)


Whee! This is to help me keep track as I go along. Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer. I might try resurrecting my old fictional, poetic ways.

And please feel free to join this blogging pursuit. Commit your writing and blog name to the list here.
   

B for brief

It's B for brief this time, with a few extra Bs thrown in for good measure ;)

I guess I'll just keep things BRIEF and say that there are BETTER things that are yet to come. Do BEAR with me while I BRAINSTORM on more interesting topics to BLABBER on about. Maybe I should be BRAVER and try blogging in a more creative way. But I'm just worried that I'll be a downright BORE. Then my readers will BLAME me for making them read nonsensical things. Well, I've got nothing much to BRAG about right now so I guess I should get going. I'll just say BYE for now then :)

Alrighty, that's that and I'll see you back here for the next challenge day on Monday. I promise better quality posts by then. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

A for adventure

I was zooming down the ELITE highway, heading towards the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and trying my hardest to cut down a 47 minute journey into a 27 minute one. It was all my own fault, since my bf *had* told me to leave earlier but I had delayed it. As I went, I couldn't help but think, in the solitude of my car, about how crazy life is and how we never know where we'll end up in the future.

Just last year, at this time, I was in Paihia, New Zealand, walking the 90 Mile Beach and sandboarding. I could not have imagined at that moment, what I'd be doing right now. That I'd be officially a journalist by profession, and that I'd have experienced as much in life as I already have. That I am all the more bolder, and even richer from the lessons learned and the wisdom gained.

It's amazing where life takes you. Sometimes it's not all that extravagant, but even in the small things, it really is such a splendid adventure. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April addictions

It's really hard keeping up regular appearances here these days. It's not for the lack of wanting to, but it's just that life and it's many happenings that keeps me rather busy most times.

Being a journalist by profession now, I am technically exercising my writing muscles daily since I am perpetually swamped with assignments. Whilst that in itself is a good thing (since I have chances to improve my writing), the sad thing about it all is that I spend most of my energy writing things for my employer and not on the things I actually want to write and have an interest in (no offense, dear Editor, if you do somehow read this haha :P).

So, in an effort to keep this blog alive and well, and also to reignite my passion for doing my own thing, I hereby declare that I will be participating for the April 2011 A to Z Blogging Challenge! Whee :)

The requirements are simple:
The premise of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is to post something on your blog every day in April except for Sundays. In doing this you will have 26 blog posts--one for each letter of the alphabet. Each day you will theme your post according to a letter of the alphabet.
 
You will only be limited by your own imagination in this challenge. There is an unlimited universe of possibilities. You can post essays, short pieces of fiction, poetry, recipes, travel sketches, or anything else you would like to write about. You don't have to be a writer to do this.  You can post photos, including samples of your own art or craftwork. Everyone who blogs can post from A to Z.

Care to join me? :)

Just visit the link and click on the words "Click here to enter" which is located at the end of the blog post. You'll see this blog's name as participant #764 on the long long long list there. 

If you do decide to join, please drop me a comment. We'll have lots to talk about in April then ;)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Solo


As much as people keep saying to have the big picture in mind, sometimes it all just gets a little too overwhelming and confusing. 

Now and then, it's nice to just have little pockets of time to yourself, to be absorbed in whatever small, trivial thing you feel like having an interest in. Perhaps no one would notice, or even care, but what matters is you're at peace and enjoying life for whatever it's worth.

I treasure those times I have all to myself. Who says it's lonely to be left alone?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Malaysian voice

Malaysians have Foot In Mouth disease, I told my colleague today at work.

She laughed, and that's probably because it's inevitably, embarrasingly true.

If you need examples, you need not look far. Just keep up-to-date with daily news updates, and you'll be sure to catch something OR someone who fits this description.

There are those authoritative figures who seem to want to say intelligent things, but only prove the contrary the moment they open their mouths.

There are the leaders (both past and present) who utter things beyond comprehension because it does not at all jive with what they do at all.

There are those who, on purpose, converse in ways obviously intent on riling up the sentiments of another.

Then there are those who are always complaining and for all it's worth, just seem to be raising their voice for the mere reason of adding to the noise.

Thankfully I don't work for the national dailies. I might just die of incredulity or from the sheer shock of the kind of things I have to listen to at press conferences.

Please oh please, dear Malaysians - big or small, short or tall, funny or cranky, famous or unknown - please use your brain before you even consider doing anything else.

Boohoo

I don't think anyone really reads this blog. Bah.

Okay, I'm done whining. Moving along now... :P

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Magnifying glass

Clarity
Dissonant reality
Tripping on shoelaces downstairs
Dignity begging out on the streets
Trifles for an impatient palate
Menacing glares of passer-bys
Philosophers of time
Travellers astray
Treasure hunts for faith
With its crazy weather
Teetering ahead
Not knowing
Brakes from acceleration
Bitter truth from sugar coated imagination
Watch, as I fly
Lie low, breathe, relate
The common need, retrace
Lest we forget
And die

Friday, March 4, 2011

Many the miles

I just updated my profile on LinkedIn awhile ago, and it still amuses me to think of all the odd articles I've done over the past year or so since I made this switch into a writing career. 

10 steps on how to settle your credit card debts. 

How to buy car insurance in Florida.

Memory foam mattresses.

Citrine crystals.

Is the boss a friend or foe?

These are but a few of the extremely varied topics that I've covered in articles I've written previously.

It's all very funny when I look back and think of it.

I'd really like to write a book about it some time. If I can find people who are willing to read such things, that is.

It is insane to think that I started out taking baby steps towards a career in writing by taking on a freelance job to write a bunch of 10 articles every month at a rate of only RM1.50 per article. Imagine that. Would you have done that?

But it's amazing how small decisions can add up to bigger things as time goes on. My freelance rates have soared since then, and I have landed a full time job as a journalist now.

I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't taken up that measly job of RM1.50 per article.

Would I still be slumped over my laptop on weekend nights monitoring data over a server gazillions of miles away? Having sudden calls interrupt my rest times on public holidays and have my day ruined because I would suddenly have to return to stare at mountains of SQL queries and database tables?

Not that a career in IT is bad. It's just different. And for the wrong person at the wrong place, it could be very well your worst nightmare.

I guess I should not forget to mention too, that I got this far not of my own doing.

God has been awfully gracious in so many ways, opening doors I never expected and closing the ones that I thought would be best. People often ask me why I hadn't applied to the major publication companies (eg: daily newspapers) for jobs and what made me take up a position in an obscure company. Initially, I fumbled for answers to that question. But I know now: it's because I get exposure there that I am certain I would not get at all if I'd worked, say, at The Star or The Edge (both of which I did apply to for jobs and nearly got too, I must say).

I guess we never really know what's best for ourselves. Which is probably why trusting God is emphasised so much in the Christian faith.

There were human factors that were part of my bold step into the treacherous path of career switching too.

First mention goes to my boyfriend Deric, who kickstarted the first leg of my journey when he offered me a part time job website where I found my RM1.50 per article job and a few others. It was also because of him that I landed an editorial internship position in late 2009. He wasn't my boyfriend yet at the time that some of those things happened, but I guess this was one of those areas that helped me realise what a great person he was. And that possibly why I'm glad to be in a relationship with him today.

Family (inclusive of parents and my sister Joanna) were also the key enablers who made it possible for me to take the leap into a new career. Way back in the days when I was still a student, they had encouraged me tons and heaps by reading the little poems or short stories that I read and taking the time to comment on them afterwards.

I especially am grateful to Pa for the comments he'd scribble along the margins of my printed out articles - his way of offering me detailed feedback.

They did have their scepticisms on whether a writing career would actually ever materialise for me, but I'm glad that they still supported me when I decided to go for it.

I remember my Mum critically examining my desire to write for money, and her questioning me whether I was ready for the scrutiny that would be done on my writing if I chose to work in this field. Although it was not a very nice thing to have to think about, I'm glad she asked because that helped me heaps in preparing myself mentally to face such situations with each and every one of the employers and editors that I have worked for.

Two of my friends from my uni days - Meng Yoe and Natalie Leow - also played a significant role in encouraging me to develop my writing further. At that time, I was just a Business/IT student studying accounting who didn't feel confident at all that I could do well in writing, although I really loved it. I felt inferior to the students in the Communications course, whom I felt were the real deal because they were actually formally taught about writing and knew what it was really all about.

But these two friends of mine, they read my poems and my first attempt at a short story, even though I felt really shy about it then. And they told me that according to the stuff they learnt in their classes, there was such a thing called intertextuality which meant that you didn't have to agonise over whether your writing ideas were 100% original or not.

Somehow, that gave me the impetus I needed to keep working at writing and if not for what they had said to me, I don't think I would've pursued writing further.

I have definitely not arrived yet, but these milestones of the past have taught me much about pursuing my dreams. I'm glad that I came all this way, and I hope that for all the people I meet, I'd be able to encourage as many as I can to go down the same road of chasing their passion as I have been through.

It's scary. It's exciting. And it makes for great stories afterwards.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Authentic

There's nothing like the real thing.

I'm listening to David Crowder on my iPod as I'm typing this and thinking how lovely it is to own an authentic Apple product.

I'm not about to write a post exalting the virtues of the brand, but just think: there's a good reason why Apple products are in the limelight these days. It's because they really do have something good going.

Having an iPod of my own now, I can tell you for a certainty that it is a joy using a product of theirs.

And I also say with almost complete certainty that there are plenty of imitation products out there that look like and feel just like an iPhone or iPod, but somehow I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't be quite the same thing.

If nothing else, there's the satisfaction that you own something authentic, and that if you were to turn the device around to glance the logo inscribed at the back, it would really read "iPod" and not aPod or some other name that almost is like... but isn't exactly.

I guess the experience of having Jesus in your life is like that.

You only need to have experienced having Him around for just a brief moment to know that you've truly stumbled across something good. That He is the real deal and thereafter there would be no other substitute that could be just as satisfying.

Not to be so irreverent as to say the iPod and Jesus are on the same plane, but I hope you get my point.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

His eyes

I suppose the thought may have crossed your mind that I was about to talk about my boyfriend's mesmerising gaze, judging by the title of this post. 

Well, sorry to disappoint you. Haha.

What I actually wanted to write about was the devotion that I shared at my office this morning. 

You see, we have this tradition that we do at our office, where every one of us would take turns to share a devotional thought each Monday morning. A positive way to start the week and set the tone, you could say.

Well, so anyway, this Monday was my turn and I took the opportunity to share about God's eyes. I arrived at this I kept having Hillsong's I Will Run To You playing in my head for some inexplainable reason. Perhaps it's something God wanted me to say.

In any case, that was what I shared and that is what I also wish to post here. I have taken the liberty of turning it into a mini article to make it easier to read and to understand my train of thought. I hope it'll encourage you in one way or another :)

*     *     *

What do you think of when someone tells you that they've got their eyes on you or that they're watching you? 

For me, it seems to be a scary thought at first. But according to some people I have spoken to, it really depends on who it is that is saying that to you. 

Assuming those words were uttered by someone who genuinely cares about you, it would perhaps evoke a comforting feeling - to know that they are looking out for you. 

But the effect would be totally different had it been from the lips of a total stranger. In fact, it might be quite correct to assume in such situations that you just might be facing a stalker problem. 

So what then would be the effect of hearing that God's eyes are on you? Does that strike fear or courage into your heart? 

The sentiment which it would evoke inside of you really depends on your perception of what it means to have God watching you. 

Do you see Him as One who observes your every move just so that He can find fault with you? 

Or do you think of him as a spectator of a reality show, who regards your actions or reactions as a form of mere entertainment?

But really, God isn't in the business of spying on us. He has other better things in mind when He says that He's got His eye on us.

In Deuteromy 32:10, the Bible tells us that God watches over us because we are precious to Him.

"In a desert land He found him (Jacob or God's people), 
in a barren and howling waste. 
He shielded him and cared for him;
He guarded him as the apple of his eye.."

And God doesn't just have His eyes on us occasionally. In fact, He's looking out for us 24-7, for the rest of our lives. 

"... He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is you shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm - 
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."
- Psalm 121:3-8

Here are some of the common reasons why God keeps an eye out for us:

1. To equip us.

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him."
- 2 Chronicles 16:9
2. To give us direction.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye."
- Psalm 32:8
3. To reward us

"But when you do a charitable deed, 
do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
that your charitable deed may be in secret;
and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."
- Matthew 6:3-4

4. To protect/sustain us

"Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy.
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine."
- Psalm 33:18-19

And these are only but a few of the reasons behind God's watchful eyes over our lives. 

But even as we continue to discover the delightful purposes behind God's steady observance of our lives, we ought to ask ourselves this question:

Whilst we are aware of His keen eye watching over us, do we have our own eyes turned to Him?

In Psalm 141:8 it says,

"But my eyes are on You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge..."

May this be our attitude each day as we continue to walk closer to Him.