Alam Perwira

Arts and entertainment

When I was 7 or 8, dad bought me a comic book. Anyone remembers Tony Wong? That man was a legend, the grandad of manhua, The Godfather himself. He gave birth to countless inescapable titles including Jejak Wira, Dendam Kesumat, Dewata Raya, and of course the ultimate bomb, the true king, the one comic to rule them all… Alam Perwira! Ah, those steroid-laden male protagonists whose shirts never seemed to be able to withstand their prowess, how I miss them.

Yet with the absurdity of its characters and story lines, Hong Kong manhua engaged me in learning Bahasa like no other textbooks could. You heard that right, CHINESE COMIC BOOKS TAUGHT ME BAHASA. They did such a god job at translation that it came out poetic almost every time. Where do you think I first heard of the expression “Lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama”? From Rahib Esa!

In secondary school, computer games were all the rage. Final Fantasy, Mortal Kombat, Earthworm Jim, I could go on. I was addicted, spent countless of bread money and hours at the Cyber Cafe. Needless to say, it single-handedly destroyed my SPM results (ha, ha…)

I have no regrets. Playing computer games was the equivalent of attending extra tuition during the school holidays, but with actual fun. Back then I could barely even write a sentence properly, yet I knew words like ‘ammunition’, ‘affirmative’, and “you must construct additional pylons!” Nothing motivated me like computer games did. I explored and tinkered around, I was learning by myself, driven by an intense desire to reach the next checkpoint, to achieve, to succeed. Isn’t that every parents’ dream?

Then I started work, and discovered films. Oh. My. God. Where have I been? How could I have missed this perfectly fine piece of human civilization? Am I even worthy of your love, o Lord?

Films are amazing. A good film makes me reflect and question my beliefs. A good film examines the very core of human condition, as to why we are what we are and do things that we do. More personally, films are my strength. When others could have turned to drugs, alcohol and sex upon their darkest times, I turned to my movies. It was far less self-destructing, and cheaper too.

These are my love. Arts and entertainment. They enrich children’s mind, stimulate their imagination. They should not be a second class option in our education system, instead we should uphold them as the ambassadors of our era. P Ramlee and Sudirman? Those were the people who represent our fathers. Who do we have?

Arts and entertainment are beauty, and I will pass them to my child, my godchild (if Melissa Ernshin still thinks I’m worthy…), and my child’s godchild, as long as my breath gives me way. Cause beauty is all we have left, when we are all out of words to say.

Ugh

I don’t know what’s wrong with me anymore. Between Diana’s departure, the piling workload, and the political BS at the office, I have been stressed out. But it’s not the kind of stress that makes me want to run around the building naked at four in the morning holding a pitchfork screaming THE END IS NIGH, but it’s the kind that makes me go quiet. Just silent, as I walk into the office in the morning and as I leave at night. I am sad, but I don’t know why. I want to cry, so at least I can feel something, anything at all, but I can’t. I become more and more cynical at every dash of positivity around me. Worst of all I snapped at some people, and it’s happening more often now.

See, I am not a good person, I would never claim to be. But I really don’t want to hurt anyone else, nobody deserves that from me, not these bunch.

Sick and tired

I’m sick and tired of office politics, of power struggle, of taking credits, of trying to look good for whatever reasons, of the constant gossiping, backbiting, whining and bitching. If everybody is working towards the same goal, why can’t they just do their jobs? I just want to do my job, I just want to be a better person. Yet I’m sick and tired that I got myself involved in this, even contributed to the gossiping and bitching, even played a part in the game. I’m sick and tired of not trying hard enough to be a better person.

Little things

I want to write on a diary again. I mean, actually write with pen on paper, instead of typing on a computer. There’s some liberation in it, being free to record all of the little things that make happy, yet not having to worry about dumbing down my audience because it offers them no intellectual stimulation whatsoever. Little things such as how I met certain particular friend on certain particular day. Like today where I hang out with Safira for the first time, and we had such great conversation. We were browsing through few art installations or something, so there was that shared unique experience. I said hi to a lot of other friends too, including dearest colleagues Melissa and Becca, stumbled upon Salaam (such a pleasant surprise), and one other guy who said approached me but I didn’t remember who he was, though I recognized the face.

And Ruby! Of course, dearest Ruby. A good friend whom I meet almost only once a year, yet we shared such strong trust that each of us is important to the other. I came down all the way to Publika was to support her and her art. I’m proud of you Ruby, and I love you.

This kind of little things. I want to be happy for these little things.

Writing

These past few months has got me in a state of malaise. I wasn’t weighed by any problems, yet I wasn’t thrilled to live life either. There was just a void. Indifference. Emptiness.

So I took a step back to reflect, and came to the likeliest cause: career. There has been a growing discontent on where I am right now. It’s already December, which means that another year has gone by with me being the same old IT guy and nowhere nearer my dream of becoming a writer.

But then I asked deeper, why do I really want to be a writer? Do I really want to be ‘a writer’? Does the title even matter? No it doesn’t! What I want, what actually makes me happy, is the act of writing itself. So it doesn’t matter where I’m at, as long as I get to write.

Recently I have been applying to a few magazine jobs. My plan is if I were to work full time as a writer, it would greatly sharpen my writing skill, a skill that I really want to be good at (as opposed to a skill that “might be useful someday”). However the writers’ scene seems like a very closed and tight-knitted one, I might have to wait for months to even get my email replied, if at all.

So for now, I am fine being here. The work is good (I do enjoy it), the cause is noble, and the people are amazing. I just have to keep writing. And since the success or achievement of my writing don’t matter, I can immerse myself in the act itself, the writing!

Did I just unlocked the secret to unlimited happiness? I think I did.

Diana

It feels odd to think that Diana is leaving the organization very soon. I am so used to having her around in the office, exchanging joyful greetings in the morning, giving commentaries on random topics, or just sitting nearby each other. She is someone that I can relate to the most, someone who can feel as much when it comes to appreciating beauty, someone who has the same frame of mind in almost any kind of situation. She even understand myself better than I do. She is so much fun, and I love her.

Diana is a person that I will definitely make an effort to keep in touch with, after she leave. She’s too precious.

2013

2013 has been a very significant year, as some new chapters have been opened in my life.

Firstly in March, my sister safely delivered her first son, also the first grandchild for my parents. He brings so much joy into the family, he’s the catalyst that gets us closer and tighter than ever before.

Secondly, today, my best friend Xin Xin tied the knot with Justin Lee. She’s only a friend of mine for three years, but I have never felt as close and as trusting to anyone as how I feel towards her. Watching her walking down the aisle, exchanging vows with Justin filled my heart with so much happiness. I couldn’t hold back my tears as I was standing at the far back of the church, I didn’t bother to.

Xin Xin dear, you looked so beautiful today, and I pray for all the goodness in this world for you and Justin.

I will hold these two events very dearly, as they are a reminder that we as humans are capable of being genuinely happy for someone else. We are capable of unconditional love. And despite all of the negative emotions that happened to me in the past during my lowest moments to the point of self-loathing; I will remember that God has also given me a gift that very few are given, the gift of love, for love.

I am deeply blessed to be able to experience this level of love in my lifetime, and I have no regrets.

Empty

I feel empty.
Not depressed, not even sad.
Just empty.

There is no joy in anything.
No joy in work which consumes a large part of my days.
No joy in however much hours left before I go to sleep then do the same routine the next day.
At least the sleep is good.

Sleep frees me from thoughts.

Social interaction keeps me sane.
People like Diana and Yee Eng are reminders that life is still worth living.
For no other reasons but to witness their presence.

But I don’t want to just merely live.
Taking up air and space.
Producing waste.
I don’t want to just merely exist.
Having brought up to this world just for some selfish pursuit of happiness.

I want to contribute.
I just want to do a good job.
If I can’t even do that,
Then what’s the point of me being here.

Intermission

Well I haven’t really been keeping up with my Writing November, has I. Forgive me, for I am but a mere mortal.

I’ll speak to you very, very soon.

Introvert vs Extrovert

Extroversion and introversion are probably the most misunderstood personality types ever. Do an image search on them and you’ll find countless iteration of webcomics, depicting extroverts as a bunch of social animals and introvert as self-sufficient, stay-at-home individuals.

As a commonly misunderstood extrovert myself, I feel a sworn duty to explain this concept in the simplest language. Here we go.

First, let’s get the obvious bit out of the way. Extroversion doesn’t equal to being loud and introversion doesn’t equal to being shy. We cool? Move on.

Now, let’s try to define them from the words of C. G. Jung himself. He observed, “Each person seems to be energized more by either the external world (extroversion) or the internal world (introversion).”

Being energized by the external world sounds fancy, but it’s not like that one time where Goku asked for everyone’s spirit to defeat Majin Buu. No.

It means that extroverts prefer to interact with the world outside of themselves. They seek conversations and activities with other people (outside world). When they think, they think out loud (outside world).

Introverts on the other hand, are comfortable with the world inside of themselves. They enjoy being alone with their own thoughts and ideas (inside world). Before they speak a word, they construct the sentences properly in their head first (inside world).

Extroverts have to experience the world to understand it, introverts try to understand the world before experiencing it.

Of course, these are just preferences. They are not meant to be used as labels.

Instead, use them as a set of handy tips to build human connection. If you meet an interesting introvert, be patient and go for slow friendship. Listen more, and wait for an answer. If you get to know them long enough, you might find a very enjoyable, talkative and loyal companion to be around with.

If you meet an interesting extrovert, please forgive us for all the horrible things we had regretfully said. Our mouths just happens to be faster than our consciences.

So there. I think I’m merely writing this to explain it to myself.

I think I just miss my introvert buddy, Diana D: