Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mereka Biadap, Mengibarkan Sang Saka Malaya di Ambang Merdeka 2013

Kesian, seorang sasterawan negara yang begitu gah namanya serta dikagumi karyanya diusung ke hulu dan ke hilir dilacurkan untuk memenuhi agenda politik yang hina lagi jijik. Hilang sudah rasa hormat kami pada beliau kerana merelakan dirinya diperlakukan sebegitu rupa.

Butakah mereka yang tidak nampak Sang Saka Malaya itu amat mirip kepada bendera negara China? Gelapkah hati mereka sampai tidak perasan yang bendera Indonesia serta Singapura juga iras seperti itu. Bodohkan mereka yang tidak sedar bintang kuning itu imej tetap di bendera negara atau negara bekas komunis?

Semangat dan keberanian lelaki yang merampas bendera bendera ilusi tersebut amat dikagumi, tindakan di luar jangkaannya itu telah mengejutkan semua orang sehingga tiada yang membantah atau cuba melawan balik. Sememangnya mereka yang menjulang Sang Saka Malaya itu juga sedar bahawa apa yang mereka lakukan itu salah dan cuma satu provokasi politik.

Ini bumi keramat, tanah airku, tempat tumpah darahku. Namanya Malaysia. Benderanya Jalur Gemilang. Penduduknya berbilang agama dan bangsa. Kami hidup berpaksikan perlembagaan. Sesiapa yang tidak mahu menerima kenyataan ini, serta ingin mencabar perlembagaan, ingin mengibarkan Sang Saka Malaya, silalah cari negara yang masih mencari bendera serta identiti baru.

Terima kasih, tetapi Malaysia tidak memerlukan anda.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Merdeka Day Eve : 1988

Twenty five years ago, just about now, we were busy getting dressed in our old-style ‘baju kurungs’, ‘baju kedahs’, ‘kain batik’ as sarungs and also as head coverings. The boys were in their ‘baju melayu’ and ‘songkok’, with ‘sarung pelikat’ as ‘samping’, some wearing it like sash across their chest, just like the villagers of the old days. The reenactment of the ‘Merdeka’ countdown parade, the main event of the week long ‘Minggu Kemerdekaan’ celebration will be a first for many of us. Many has already made banners with 'MERDEKA' painted with paints swiped from ‘Seni Reka’ Dept. using bedsheets (which aren't usually used as bed covering by the boys anyway). 

Come 10pm, we assembled at the car park opposite ‘Segitiga Shaari’. Some are excited of what's to come, head already buzzing with stories of those who fought for our country's independence, fighting spirit burning our youthful blood. And then there's some who were dragging their feet down from the dorms, a few were even seen being chased down by the wardens, loathing the idea being taken away from their TV time.

11:30pm we took our place down the road in the village of ‘Pondok Upeh’, then started our march toward the college, with chants and shouts of 'Merdeka' waking the sleepy village in the middle of Balik Pulau. At that time it feels like we were really marching arm in arm toward ‘Padang Kelab Selangor’ to join our brothers and sisters, the ‘Merdeka’ warriors. I remember a friend, one those that were ‘forced’ to join the parade, he was among the loudest, raising the banner the highest.

The clock strikes 12, with ‘Negaraku’ playing on the cassette player, we sang along as we never sang before while the Union Jack was brought down to symbolically mark the end of the British Empire rules on our land. And gloriously our very own, flag of ‘Persekutuan Tanah Melayu’ was proudly raised. The flag fluttering magnificently in the cool midnight breeze reminding us that we are the people of an independent nation, Malaysia.

As we slowly headed back to supper and then to our waiting books and beds, heart and mind burning with new resolve, to do our best in whatever we do, to bring pride to those that has fallen before us in order for us to be where we where then. Most of all, we understand now the responsibility that’s on our shoulder as the chosen ones. I hope none of us has forgotten any of the spirit we had that night.

‘Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka!’ 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You should date an illiterate girl.

Here's to all the men who are intimidated by intelligent women. Who are insulted of the idea of a woman who reads. Save yourself, run for your life.

Date a girl who doesn't read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in a film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you've unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale or the evenings too long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn't fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn't, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn't read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent of a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, goddamnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn't read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the cafĂ©, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so goddamned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. Or, perhaps, stay and save my life.

~Charles Warnke~

Friday, August 23, 2013

jars of heart

"Your song is on air" he texted.

She coyly replied "Which one?"

He click call on her number, she picks up after one ring "You know exactly which song I am referring to..."

"Oh, that song... It's not my song really, never been, people just keep saying it is that I almost believe it too" she sighs. "You know, not so long ago, I discovered the smallest of the jars, hidden deep behind the other jars. It has my name on it. In it I found my heart, slowly beating, bleeding from a large gash, barely healing"

"I know now why I am incapable of love. I have forgotten that I have had my heart stored away, so that nothing can hurt me any more.  I have pretended to live a happy existence for so long that I don't remember I don't have a heart. And I think love is a sham. It's just a scheme to break you. A lottery in which most people lose, and the winner is never you"

Confused and almost angrily he argues "But... You, him, the people in your live. Me? The things you do, that can't just be being charitable or plain goodwill. That's love!"

"Don't be silly, mistaking my affection for love, and most of all, you out of all people, please don't fall in love with me, you will only get your heart broken. And as they did, you too will blame me and them jars of heart. When the truth is, I don't have a heart to love. I don't even know what love is any more  I am incapable of love. I don't believe in love. And that thing called soulmate? Only the delusional hopes and searches for it. Yes, maybe soulmates exist, one for you and one for me too. They are probably out there, in a world parallel to ours but definitely not here, not now. They just don't exist in our life or even during our lifetime. We are not among the lucky ones"

"I can't love, I don't want to love. It's a self-preservation thing. I am damaged. I am no good, I will just destroy the us that we have, and I will ruin you" she adds.

The door bell rings, she wipes her teary eyes as she opens the door, expecting her aunt. He is standing there. Looking into her eyes, he whispers,

"But you see, it's not too difficult to fall in love with you"

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Remembering Neruda

I Like For You To Be Still

I like for you to be still:
it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away
and my voice does not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things,
filled with my soul.
You are like my soul,
a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word 'melancholy'

I like for you to be still
and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting,
a butterly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night,
with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star,
as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still:
it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy,
happy that it's not true.

~Pablo Neruda~