Recycling is the New Black

I was spring cleaning my room last week. Underneath piles of rubbish and beneath my dusty bed I found stacks of papers from past college notes to poetry print outs, old sketchbooks, post-its, forgotten books, scratched CDs and 90s cassettes, incense burners, faded receipts and movie stubs, snacks, worn out clothes, pieces of architecture models, empty paper bags and various paintings. And it suddenly struck me. I remember now.

Few years ago, as I was cleaning up my room, I threw away my Monet painting.

What a fucking idiot.

Of Irony

Isn't it ironic that those things that gives you so much pleasure and joy; pancakes and ice-cream and candy and unprotected sex and nicotine and alcohol and marijuana and ecstasy and cocaine and heroin, would inevitably kill you in the end.

Isn't it ironic how religion professes peace, love and tolerance, but yet have been the symbolic axiom and the backseat driver behind many of history's longest, bloodiest and most violent wars.

Isn't ironic that there are some part-time activists and bedroom tree-huggers who rant and write about current environmental issues plaguing the planet, that buy only unprocessed food and refrain from using plastic bags and polystyrene boxes, that participate in online petitions and street demonstrations, but yet consume their fair share of nicotine fixes, frequent clubs and guzzle down alcohol, and travel in automobiles churning carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.

Isn't ironic how there are some bands that write fiery far-left politically charged lyrics, cite Che Guevara and Bob Marley as their primary influences, throw profanities against the capitalist system and advocate for social and economic reform, but yet sell t-shirts that were made from China in sweatshop factories, sell albums that contribute to the very economic system they oppose of, and quietly fall into like minded and similar voices that tirelessly attempt to stand out and appear unique.

Isn't it ironic that the first human beings in history begun life, prospered and lived in Africa some 150,000 years ago, but yet today that very "Mother of All People" continent consists of some of the most technologically backward countries in the world, witnesses dozens of violent civil wars under the rule of tyrants and dictators, and houses some of the poorest, sickest, and most helpless people on Earth.

Isn't it ironic that oil, with its massive contribution to society in the form of fuel for automobiles and boats and aircrafts, daily consumer products, fuel for processing metal that builds today's magnificent skyscrapers, trade and export deals that churns billions of dollars in profit for oil producing countries, financially benefits hundreds of oil and gas companies that gives jobs and livelihoods to thousands of employees, but yet is one of the main contributors to today's alarming exponential rise in environmental pollution of catastrophic proportions, seen as one of the primary catalysts for many cold wars (amongst Arab states) and invasions (Iraq and Kuwait, US and Iraq, etc), that have gave birth to countless of conspiracy theories (9/11 claimed to have been planned and carried out by the CIA and the US government as an excuse to invade Iraq for oil), and have caused the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, children, and helpless elderly people.

Isn't it ironic how Socialist and Communist political and economic systems of the past collapsed despite the fact that they were theoretically sound, honourable, altruistic, ideal and fair, but yet the very system that survives today, Capitalism, is the only one that is in tandem with human nature, but yet we have seen more wealthy people get richer and the under privileged become ever so poorer, whereby the number of people affected poverty, famine and slavery have increased more than ever before in history.

Isn't it ironic that parents tell their children to go to school, get good grades, become an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer, find a good wife and make cute chubby babies, to follow rules and bow to societal expectations, but yet it is evident that the movers and shakers of history that have influenced and shaped our world for the better have all been mavericks that have gone against the grain of order.

Isn't it sad that for all these sad, catastrophic oxymorons of today's time, all I could do right now is to write about it here and have a sip of grape juice with a sardine sandwich while listening to Ratatat.

Paradiso, Literary

In my world, this is heaven.

Gemini Baby

18th June, 9.09am:

I slept the shallowest of sleeps. I retired to bed much too late and rose much too early. I had a strange, strange dream. My cats, an ex-girlfriend and I was in it. I dreamed that Dylan, Sid and Jonsi died. She knelt on their graveyard, her face dripping with sorrow, and sat there silently. She turned, suddenly, and looked at me long and hard. I couldn't tell what she was trying to tell me with that cold, solemn stare. I had already died by then. Time was of no essence. Every scene was juxtaposed without any beginning nor ending. The mise en scene was confusing. But I remember the bits and pieces. And I remember that it was strange.

19th June, 12:45am

As of 4.30pm today, decades ago, I came into the world in complete silence with one eye shut and feet as long as my thighs. I did not yelp a single cry. For a brief moment, my parents went berserk thinking I was a half blind, mute, semi-disfigured baby with alien legs. Thankfully, that was just a temporary joke God played on them. For whatever reason, remains a cosmic mystery. Probably for all eternity.

Fast forward to today, I am a healthy, cynical dreamer with no definite plans for world domination. Yet. There is just too much to type out the story of my life. Too much have gone by, and there is too little time and much too large of an ego (to not come off as being a tad too narcissistic) to realistically write about one's autobiography in a single page.

"My body is my temple", they say. Though I don't know if that's the case for me. I wish it was otherwise, but that's just useless wishful thinking. Over the years, my mind, body and soul have been riddled with bullets of shitty diet, haphazard hangat-hangat taik ayam workouts, infinite amounts of sins, cigarettes, and general substance abuse. As a result? I have a memory of a goldfish, fitness of a 12 year-old, guilts of a Protestant gay priest, and a perfect pair of charcoal lungs.

My only consolation lies in my firm belief that mistakes are what we're made of. I'd rather go through a life of rollercoaster than to cruise through life mechanically and monotonously with hardly any memorable bittersweet moments of stupidity and disaster. I've had a difficult, yet colourful life. And I'm thankful for that.

I'm thankful for all the memories, good and bad. For the people, friends and foes and lovers and family, that have came and gone and stubbornly stayed. For all the wrong things that I have done to others, and others unto me. For all my mistakes, stupidity and immaturity in the past. For every single one of my failures. For every single gray day and hopeless moments of utter defeat. For all the memories, and that I still have a decently semi-working one to remember them all.

I'm thankful that I'm still breathing today. 'Cause y'know, I kinda like living. More so now than ever before. And I think there's still a lot of good I can do for myself and others; friends and family and strangers. I think so. Lets just hope that's not yet another wishful thinking.

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be absolutely boring" - Marilyn Monroe.

19th June, 2:20am:

I watched Nosferatu halfway. It's an insult to the film to doze in and out of sleep, so I decided to lay it off till tomorrow. I hate sleeping.

'Cause I try and I try and I try

Listening to: DJ Shadow - Midnight in a Perfect World

We went for a few rounds of pick up games the other night. Got handed some nice thrashing by the local Chinese boys. I'm standing firm on my excuse that I haven't played basketball for the longest time, hence, the thrashing. We were hanging by the sidelines having a smoke when Jambu Boy asked me,

Jambu Boy: Dude, kenapa six packs kau senget sebelah?
Me: Sebab aku cacat.
Setan-tapi-kerja-TV9-bahagian-Agama Boy: Direct jawab. (sambil tersengih sinis)

I've been working out (almost) everyday to achieve a body sculpted like the guys on Men's Health. It's a long shot, I know. But worth trying nonetheless. Miracles do happen, y'know. Exercising does make me feel good. Though that's not nearly the point. Even though my stick thin frame might never look good on a men's underwear catalogue, for me, asal syok sendiri sudah. Personal satisfaction, baby.

A Couch Potato of Epic Proportions

The sleeve says:

"Rainer Werner Fassbinder's controversial, fifteen-hour-plus Berlin Alexanderplatz, based on Alfred Döblin's great modernist novel, was the crowning achievement of a prolific director who, at age thirty-four, had already made forty films. Fassbinder’s immersive epic, restored in 2006 and now available on DVD in this country for the first time, follows the hulking, childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht) as he attempts to "become an honest soul" amid the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany. With equal parts cynicism and humanity, Fassbinder details a mammoth portrait of a common man struggling to survive in a viciously uncommon time."

The story:

"Based on Alfred Döblin's influential and prescient epic novel about the waning days of the Weimar Republic, Berlin Alexanderplatz traces the fall of Franz Biberkopf, an urban Everyman, as he attempts to make his way through a society compromised by unemployment, violence, anomie, and promises of social order proclaimed by conflicting political parties. Fassbinder not only adapted Döblin's complex narrative for the screen but also composed an original two-hour epilogue in which Biberkopf travels through a turbulent dreamscape emerging from his and Germany's experiences." -

I've always had a thing for European films, both classics and contemporary. Strange thing is I've never really fancied epic films much. I'm patient and I can wait, but I prefer the fast forward button more. Which begs the question, why this 15-hour film? The truth is, I have absolutely no idea. I just want to. I just feel like it. One thing's for sure, I'll need to hide the remote. Far, far away from arms reach.

I foresee saying to myself, sometime in the not so distant future perhaps, "Aha. There goes 15 hours of my life".

Serenity Prayer for the Pseudo Masses

There is probably nothing in the world that I loathe more than stupidity and ignorance. Handling each at a time is difficult enough. But what makes it even more stupendously difficult is that both comes in a package. You can't be stupid but not ignorant and you can't possibly be ignorant and not stupid. Can you dig it? Of course you can. You're not stupid. Or are you?

I think the problem stems from a number of disturbing, unresolved swept-under-the-carpet issues in our society. By this I don't mean the whole rainbow spectrum of our glorious multi-cultural society, I mean us. Orang Melayu. According to my birth certificate, I am a Malay. But technically, I'm not a Malay by blood. I am Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, Arab, Persian, and a whole lot more that I'd need to wake my parents up to tell me because I can't remember the rest. My memory eats itself up almost instantaneously. Anyway, moving along before I forget what to write next.

Well, we have this idiotic rule that in this country it is impossible to be Malay and not Muslim, and be a Muslim and not be a Malay. In other words, lets say the 6' 2" redhead George Swanson from Ireland converts to Islam, Encik George bin Abdullah automatically becomes a Malay. White ass, freckles and all, till death do us part, Malay. No other country in the world has a rule like that stamped for all eternity in their Federal Constitution. The thing is, what I find funny is that there is no such thing as a Malay race to begin with. Don't diss me for such a foul, blasphemous statement. Blame the anthropologists. They said so.

According to those "experts", our ancestors migration can be traced from Southern China during the Ming Dynasty roughly 6,000 years ago. You can find traces of migration from Vietnam and Cambodia to present day Kelantan. On top of that there is also migration from Southern Thailand into that state. The Minangkabaus, as we all know, are descendants of Alexander the Great and a West Indian princess. If you think I'm joking go read up your Sejarah Malaysia textbook. And if I'm right, go slap yourself and say sorry to your parents for skipping all those Sejarah classes during school.

And of course we all know that Johorians' ancestors were originally Bugis. The Bugis predominantly live on Sulawesi, but interestingly enough, they're not even Indonesians to begin with. Neither do they fall into the same group as the migrating Southern Chinese of 6,000 years ago nor the Australo Melanesian group from Africa. The Bugis are a cross-breed between the Mongolian Chinese and the wandering Arab Pirates (to all those loyal members of the anti-Johorian club, now you have a scientific fact from an anthropological viewpoint to explain your sweet hatred for Johorians). The nephew of Daeng Kemboja was appointed the first Sultan of Selangor. That makes the entire Selangor Sultanate part Arab, part Chinese.

(Oh and remember the infamous princess Hang Li Poh that married a Sultan of Malacca? Fiction. Go get busy, do some research and you won't find a "Hang" in the list of princesses during the Ming Dynasty.)

If you go back in time, there was a 2,000 year-old Hindu empire in Kedah called Langkasuka. Predating both Borrobudur and Angkor Wat. The name Kedah originated from Hindi and Sanskit words, "Kadar" and "Kidara", which means "fertile land for rice cultivation". You can find plenty of Indian influences in our so-called very Malay culture today. The terms "Sultan" and "Raja" was adopted from Indian culture. The pelamin at weddings and the snake amulet that the Sultans wear today are photostat copies of Indian tradition.

(On a separate note, it's funny that we call ourselves Bumiputeras and the rest as, well, migrants. Well aren't you forgetting something? We are all migrants, idiot. Kau tu pendatang, aku pon pendatang, bangang. Amik kau kan dah rhyme)

And also, Parameswara wasn't the first Sultan in our ridiculously short history. The first one came 1,500 years ago. Can you dig that? Of course you can. You're not stupid. Anyway, carrying on. There is also a whole set of arguments pertaining the very definition of the word "Malay". But that'll turn this nonsense post into a thesis wannabe. Maybe another day for that impossibly crazy endeavour.

So, in short. We, the Malays, are a very new race. We are infants, children in the eyes of the world, in this 6,000 years of recorded history on this 4 billion year-old earth. It's been a long time since the Mesopotamians till today's Information Age. And in a larger context of world history, the Malays have just merely begun. Post-1969 National Economic Plan was crafted with that in mind, that the Malays, the Bumiputeras, needed help. We don't have the knowledge and experience of other older cultures such as the Chinese and the Indians. We're still learning and we need help. But unfortunately, many years later, it backfired. But that's a whole other different story. Worthy of another thesis wannabe, another sorry attempt at sounding clever. Maybe another day.

It took me awhile to realise why is it that the mat sallehs, of the same age, seemed to be far more matured, experienced and exposed in almost every aspect of life. I have family scattered all around the world, but the closest ones is an Englishman an a few Australians. I've come to learn much about our differences from them. Interacting, observing, listening. And I remember feeling so stupid and ignorant. The disparity was so nauseating I could've puked on myself out of sheer self-loathing.

(Don't fret, I've met my fair share of beautifully flawed mat sallehs. Shallow, boring, complete raving idiots. Half of them can't even spell correctly in their own mother tongue.)

Generalisations are horrible. Of course they are, all generalisations are horrible. But in most cases, they are unfortunately true. It's just that most people disregard and push them aside just because they're unpleasant and politically incorrect. Of course you can argue that there are exceptions, anomalies, etc. Well hello, that's what generalisations are, you genius. A "general" viewpoint. Nothing is perfect, just so you know.

You can blame our "stupidity and ignorance" to a thousand things. Terrible education system, bad governance, being an infant pseudo race, whatever. The future might seem bleak. But I'm sure there's a way out of it. There always is. When a door slams shut and breaks your nose, a window magically opens. And maybe if the door was cheap PVC, it'll crack, and you'll find a way to pry it open. When an obstacle hinders your progress, you can either jump over it or just bulldoze through the damn thing. Or maybe both at the same time if you happen to hail from Krypton. In that case, God bless you.

We are an eclectically mixed up race of borrowed blood and borrowed cultures. I don't find anything wrong in that, nor do I have any problem with it at all. There is hardly any originality in today's world anyway, so why bother fighting a losing battle? The problem is that we are afraid of admitting the truth. For whatever stupid, stupid reasons.

We are sick and dying, and we need help. We've been drugged with complacency and childish tendencies. We are drunk with over indulgence and unnecessary pampering. We need a fucking 12-step program. We need to admit that there is a problem, seek help, engage in self-examination, make amends, help ourselves and our fellow brothers and sisters. We have to do something before our beloved pseudo ABC campur race takes a backseat and one day be something worthy of being forgotten.

This is my way of doing something, anything. With this ridiculously expensive computer I bought with daddy's money, I type out my shamelessly borrowed thoughts and borrowed unoriginal ideas and borrowed cold hard facts, hit enter, and send it warping at light speed to cyberspace with the godsend help of TMNet Streamyx, the world's most screwed up and completely unreliable internet service provider. Through sheer chance or perhaps magic, it appeared on your screen. With hopes that it maybe, just maybe, cause a twitch. A prick. A hard on. An epiphany. A ripple. Something. Anything. This is my plea. To stop being stupid. To stop being ignorant. And fucking wake up.

"God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference" - Serenity Prayer, NA.

p/s: I originally wanted to write a dedication to a few "stupid and ignorant" acquaintances who have been irritating the wits out of me, albeit from afar. But irritating, nonetheless. So basically that original intention was lost after the second paragraph. I think I meandered a bit. Just a little bit. A teeny weeny bit.

The Paradox of Our Time

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; we have more food, but less appeasement; we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we've become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology has brought this letter to you, and a time when you can choose to either share this insight, or to just hit delete."

- Dr Bob Moorehead

The Girl in the White Dress

What can be more alluring that her warm sweet smile carved by such sweet sultry succulent lips wrapped around her soft porcelain face. Her braces twinkles just as her eyes sparkles so adorably. Her silky, jet black, bobcat hair she wears bounces on every careful rhythmic step.

Like a cup of moist chocolate mousse. Soft, tender and melts ever so gently in your mouth. It melts onto your tongue, flowing gently through your body, and into your heart of hearts.

She walked up to me, smiling widely, and politely asked in completely disastrous broken English, "Some tea or coffee you like having? Very nice very warm, on the house no pay you are guest".

I asked for some coffee instead. She walked away, presumably to get my "very nice very warm, on the house no pay you are guest" coffee. But after a good 20 minutes I figured she must've forgotten all about it.


Your Country is Stupid

Giovanna is an idiot.

Even Antonio, her fellow Itallian, can't stand her. Fira wants to punch her face in and Ina wants to kick her out of the house.

I've a feeling Giovanna is an Aries. Stubborn, argumentative, strong willed, and somewhat entertaining. She can be funny sometimes, but most of the time she's just plain nasty. She's a selfish demanding diva who does whatever the hell she wants whenever she wants without care nor regard for anyone around her. Apparently simple courtesy doesn't exist in her dictionary. Though among all of her utmost "admirable" qualities, the biggest one is definitely her inability to respond to common sense. How do you deal with someone who constantly complains about everything under the sun and insults your country, people, weather, food, architecture, culture, traditions and religion? How do possibly argue with a Roman Catholic who says things like "Nobody in Italy reads the Bible, it's only there for show". Even Zakir Naik would eventually give up arguing with her. Ahmadeedat? He'd just stab her to death with blunt chopsticks.

Honestly, I love dealing with difficult characters. I enjoy the conflict and the endless debates. People like Giovanna are like old, grumpy, sexually abused Persian cats. Nothing in the world can possibly please them. They're almost never not angry. They're picky and demanding. They hiss at you when they don't get what they want. They're zenophobic. They live alone and eventually, probably, die alone.

But of course, it's not easy being an unattractive sexually repressed 30 year-old mat salleh female in a local government university. Especially when you go to class wearing a white singlet with no bra on.

Tip: If you don't want to die a lonely old spinster (with no cats, because they hate you so much they'd drown themselves in the washing machine), try not to be a hard headed nihilist cynic who complains about everything because you're too perfect. Also, when you're doing your Masters don't major in Stupidity. It really doesn't help when you're ugly, stupid and hateful. Definitely not a winning combo.


Happy birthday my dear budak kecik, semi-stranger, and now, imaginary ex-girlfriend.

I remember you once asked me, "Am I strong?". I knew fully well how you were feeling at that time, and the rational thing to do would be to utter words of optimism, of encouragement. Positive cliches, albeit overused, are true. To a certain extent. But sometimes we need to hear the truth. Without rose-tinted glasses, without lacing words with sweet hypnotic perfume. Sometimes we need to know things as it really is. And there will be times that we'll need exactly that.

But that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. It really isn't. The truth is difficult. Having to face reality is difficult. Life, being the way it is, is composed of constants and variables. I believe that the "truth", in the most general sense of the word, is a variable. I may have done bad things in the past, I cannot change the truth in that. But because of what I had to endure, I learned that I can change that "truth" today so that I will not repeat the same mistakes tomorrow.

I replied back to you, "You are not strong". Because as of that particular moment, you were not. We all have moments like that. And it is also one of those infinite number of variables in life that we all just have to deal with. Even at the most trying of times, you can change that. When? How? Well, that is all up to you.

It is written that life is fated and predestined, but never forget that God gave us free will for a reason. And it is our duty, whoever we are, whatever our beliefs are, to utilise it to our very best. To search for that constant in life, whatever it may be. In hopes that it will give us something strong, something concrete, a constant truth if you may, to hold on to dear life and enjoy the ride for better or worse, in sickness and in health, in death and in dreams.

You may not be strong today. But isn't it true that we need to be weak to be strong? That we need to learn to walk before we run. That to be able to climb a thousand stairs we need to take that first step. It is only natural to fall and falter every once in awhile. Sometimes we trip over a small boulder, sometimes we fall into bottomless pits of despair and hopelessness. But isn't that just the other half of the yin and yang of life? The other duality. The central idea and concept in life, in Islam. There is the beginning and the end, good and evil, weak and strong, male and female, black and white, life and death.

I've never believed that the other half of life's duality to be something bad nor should we fear it. Darkness is not darkness in itself, rather it is merely an absence of light. It is just a necessary evil. And necessary evils are, of course, a necessity. For a good reason.

Fix your variables. Find your constant. And believe in yourself. Nothing in the world can stop you from finding what you want.

I hope you will one day see the light in yourself. Because believe me, I see it in you.

"Is it true that some of our strength comes from suffering? That suffering hardships makes us stronger? That those of us who have never known a real hardship, and true suffering, cannot have the same strength as others, who have suffered much? And if that is true, does that not mean that your argument is the same thing as saying that we have to be weak to suffer, and we have to suffer to be strong, so we have to be weak to be strong?" - K.

Those Were the Moments

We were having a smoke at the basement carpark. In that purple haze, we were catching up, talking and laughing about everything under the sun. Of our past stupid adventures, girl troubles, how much our homes have changed, the shitty weather, our cats.

I passed him the joint, and he said, "Bro, I hope we'll be friends for life".

My heart smiled, and I whispered to myself, "Me too. Me too".

Two Minutes and Much, Much More

You can see it in their eyes. Their hopes, fears, insecurities, and the abundance of masks they try to hide themselves in. Their past, present, future. Some people carry it in their eyes their lies and truths. You can sense where they've been before, their pain and anguish, and the changes that transpired later that made them the people they are today. That fiery passion, that blind determination, that peace of mind, that sincerity.

I saw that in her. She's a person twice my age with an energy of someone twice as young. She carried something in her eyes. I remember seeing her past, present, future. Her past was painful, difficult, it was full of emptiness and turmoil. Her present is a monumental sigh of relief, happiness and a peace of mind. Her future is full of unbreakable hopes.

But what really struck me was her sincerity. She carried such an honest, innocent heart. So much warmth, so much compassion. But at the same time with the maturity and realist of an experienced woman who have gone through enough in her lifetime to know how to keep her feet planted firmly on the ground without letting her ideals turn to aloof wonders and float about with careless childish abandon.

She turned to my mom and said, "You have a powerful son".

And one of the last things she said to me was, "I can see it in you. I believe. You can move the world".

Thank you. For your honesty. For your encouragement. For your hopes. For sharing your life with me for those brief two minutes. But believe me, you gave me so much more.

The First Day

I got a call from Fareed one day. A friend of his needed some help. The kind of help I can't allow myself to get involved in anymore. He refused to tell me for whom it was for, so yeah, I got the hint. I politely declined and hung up.

That day I was in the city for a seminar. I sat through the first day with as much enthusiasm as a 12 year-old listening to a microeconomics lecture. I chomped down sour sweets and took frequent cigarette breaks to keep myself from falling asleep. The second day came and I thought to myself, "No way in hell I'm gonna force myself to sit through this again". I refuse to waste my time in something I'm not even remotely interested in to begin with. I got dropped off at a nearby hotel, strolled to the adjacent train station and bought a one way ticket to the nearest shopping mall for lunch.

After a shitty meal at that dodgy mall, I took a walk outside and lit a cigarette. I watched the ebb and flow of the city street. A colourful charade of people and cars, stray felines and zombie-like dogs. School kids in virginal white uniforms and 12 year-old wannabe punks loitering around and about. And then I saw a familiar figure. He waved from afar.

It was Omar. "Holy fucking shit!", I screamed aloud. We shooked hands and hugged like a stupid sappy Jejak Kasih reunion of two long lost brothers. I haven't seen him for the longest time, thinking all this while that he must've gone back to Saudi Arabia. We weren't very close, but we did have some pretty damn good memories. The best ones were those times listening to him rap to Tupac in the wee hours of the morning while I helplessly try to catch up. He raps like a motherfucker. As a matter of fact, that was the first thing he said to me when we met eons ago, "What's up motherfucker". He was on medication, so I excused his ridiculous rudeness.

He was a joy to have around. With his thick American accent, he spoke as fast as a runaway freight train. Severely bi-polar at one point, Omar had frequent outbursts. My first encounter with his occasional explosions of rage was when we first met. After introducing myself, I sat in midway through one of his infamously annoying monologues. Omar was talking about Gaddafi, calling him a traitor to the Arab world and a fledging cocksucker, steadily increasing the tone of his voice and inserting every profanity known to man, he started talking about homosexuality and describing in articulate detail of the various ways that gays, lesbians and trannys will burn in hell. At that point he was fuming red like his head was on the verge of exploding, rocking back and forth trying to calm himself down. He paused midway, popped in a pill, and continued rocking back and forth. I liked him since then on.

"What the fuck are you doing here!", I said. We caught up and he updated me on his whereabouts these days. I found out later that, apparently, Fareed's "secret friend" who asked for the "favour" was not that much of a secret after all. That friend was Omar himself, who happened to be our mutual friend. What a ridiculously freaky coincidence. I get a call from an old friend (how he got my number, beats me), whom I haven't heard for the longest time, asking for a ridiculous favour on behalf of another friend, who turns out to be an old friend of mine, someone I've completely lost touch with for a long time, whom I coincidentally would bump into at a place downtown (where I hardly if ever go to begin with). In a cruel twist of fate, I met the last person I'd ever want to meet again.

We took the monorail back to his place. I knew that his parents are filthy rich and could easily afford that affluent apartment, but I also knew that his family has cut him off financially. I asked him about the place, and everything he owned from new clothes to the latest PS2, brand spanking new stereo system, Astro, everything. This bi-polar, rap machine, junkie also happens to be a genius mathematician. He went up to Genting and won shitloads of money (think 21). Twice in a span of a few days. The casino banned him and escorted him out together with his winnings. He came down, bought a place in KL and finished every dime on PS2 games, drugs, booze and hookers.

I bought him lunch and spent the day at his place. We had nonsense conversations. Half of the time I sat quietly listening to him rap, in between verses telling me about his life in Malaysia, past sexual conquests, and hopes for a better future. The evening rolled in, darkening the smoke filled room. It was time to go home. I promised him I'll come by the next day and took a long walk back to the hotel.

Omar called me the next day. After a dozen or so missed calls, he sent me a text message. "Kau mana motherfucking orang gila". That was the last time I ever heard from him. The following week, he took the first flight out back to Saudi Arabia.

"All the best motherfucker".

Eventide and In the Morning

I can still vividly remember hearing the takbir Raya for the first time. I was a few years old back then when we were still living in Taman Putra. It was early in the morning, just as the sun was rising, at an unusual time for me to be up. Wandering around the house bored and groggy, I heard a faint sound coming from the outside.

Out of curiosity, I walked to the locked front door to peer outside and inspect what that sound was and where was it coming from. I looked around and saw people with white jubah and baju melayu walking towards the nearby mosque. I clutched the cold grills with both hands, with complete childlike wonder, peering further to that faint, mysterious sound.

And then it came. Floating frighteningly, rapidly, soothingly through the peaceful still morning air. The serene music sent tiny ripples throughout my body. A million goosebumps erupted on my skin and sent a sudden shiver down my spine. That was how I felt the first time in my life that I heard the takbir Raya. Years and years have since passed, and it still gives me that same feeling from that morning in Taman Putra. That sensation that resonates and uplifts me like nothing else. A sense of peace and melancholic serenity.

I've never heard of any sound, any song, any music, more beautiful than that. And I know I'll never hear anything else that will sound any more beautiful than that.