Revisited: Escapism

We were sitting by the lake. I was listening to him talk about his past life, regrets and hopes for the future. He was playing some Bob Marley on the ragged old guitar. I sang along with his raspy voice and crisp strumming. At the middle of Redemption Song, he stopped. And he started to tell me a story,

"Dulu aku selalu busk dekat Central Market. Tiap-tiap hari kau akan nampak aku dekat main entrance, dekat Annexe, dekat dengan pasar, merata-rata. Dengan rambut aku sampai pinggang, gian macam nak mati, dengan tak mandi berminggu, busking pon pasal cari duit nak hisap fit. Orang ingat aku gila.

Tapi dia orang tak pikir. Orang gila mana boleh main Bob Marley. Robert Johnson. Pink Floyd. Black Sabbath masa zaman awal diaorang. Led Zep. Manusia memang bodoh kadang-kadang kalau kau nak tau. Anyway.

Kalau kau nak tahu, masa kau kecik dulu aku pernah duduk Europe. Banyak tahun jugak lah. Masa tu dalam 80an. Aku ada lah kerja sambilan situ-sini. Nak support my dream of being a professional musician. Lepas tu, satu hari, I just decided to leave. Aku pon dah lupa kenapa, tapi bottomline, aku ciao keluar dari Malaysia. Aku jual segala benda yang aku ada. Segalanya lah. Dengan satu backpack, aku dengan awek aku masa tu beli sepasang one way ticket to Europe.

Masa mula-mula tu memang syiok. Tinggal kat hostel murah, minum beer murah, jalan sana jalan sini. Lepas tu duit mula kurang. Sampai satu hari habis lesap semuanya.

Masa tu lah aku mula busking untuk cari duit. Europe memang banyak buskers. Banyak gila beb! Aku buat kawan dengan buskers dekat sana, lepas tu aku belajar lah dari diaorang sikit sebanyak. Dari situ aku travel and busk all over Europe. Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Bordeaux, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, fuck man everywhere!

Macam-macam aku dah experience kat sana. Seronok memang seronok, tapi kadang-kadang tu susah jugak. There were nights aku dengan awek aku terpaksa tidur dekat tepi jalan. By the riverbanks. Dekat taman. Tumpang tidur dalam brothels. Merempat sini sana. Bila duit sempit makan tak penting, asalkan ada beer! Anyway.

Lepas entah berapa tahun aku tak ingat kau jangan tanya aku, baru aku balik Malaysia. Masa tu lah orang start busking. Believe it or not, aku lah one of the first buskers kat KL. I shit you not bro. Kau tanya lah kawan baik aku tu, Amy Search. Dulu dia pon busker. Dalam bilik. Hahaha!

Dah gelap ni. Maghrib pon nak dekat. Jom pegi surau dulu."

Last Week was Funny

- Buddha Bar has a song that if you listen closely, you can hear the guy saying with complete intoxicated whisper, "kote... phun... kote... phul", again and again and again and again.

- There's also another song that's mixed with a traditional Malay song. I thought that was pretty cool.

- Please go to If not, you really do fail.

- A couple of Zuzu's photos appeared on At first I thought it was one of those sleazy sexmelayu sites, but it wasn't all that bad. The author even credited me for the photos.

- A's facebook status: "Human beings in general are nice... but I need to smile more often". B replied to the status saying, "Anjing". And A replied back, "You wanker. Cakap benda positif tak boleh. Aku harap kau cirit lagi malam ni. Keluar pacat".

- One of my most favourite, over-used teka teki; Why did the dinosaurs went extinct? And, the answer is, jeng jeng jeng, because Ultraman killed them all! Hm. Eh, laugh lah. Funny okay.

- And here's some more,

I have very amusing friends.

A car decided to "stop by" for a teh tarik at The Attap (formerly Uncle Don).

Dimanakah Bahasa Ibunda Kita?

Sometimes, I feel ashamed that I think and write in English.

Sara Aziz (1988-2008)

I came across some stories about her online.

It's a shame that I never got the chance to get to know her personally. Although I do remember adding her on flickr and we did correspond a little bit there, a long time ago. I can see now that we do have several mutual friends. What a small, small world. Coincidentally, she's also doing architecture and we also have a mutual passion, photography. What a loss, to someone so talented, so young. But of course, things like these are never a complete loss, partly thanks to the internet.

I can see now why I personally find it hard to escape the net. In Sara Aziz's story, the websites only now act as a shrine, a place where her passion and herself is now immortalized not only in virtual memory but also as a place that strangers like me are made aware of her existence. It saddens me so much that someone like her had to leave this world so early, so tragically.

Perusing through her pages I can feel that she's a person that is passionate, full of energy and above all, hopeful. Rarely do I come across a photographer's work, especially someone still fresh and new in the field, that is able to convey so much emotion into a photograph. Be it animate or inanimate. I added her on flickr because I thought she had so much potential, and I did admire her modest collection of work then, and all the more now. It's odd that I don't remember her from last year's Rantai. I only found out that she exhibited her work there after browsing through her blog just now.

I've lost a number of friends and family myself. And although I never got to know Sara on a personal level, but I do feel a loss. I do feel saddened. And I feel, in some level, the pain that her family and friends are going through. It's the most difficult thing in the world to lose someone you love. How terrible it must feel.

Sara, thank you for sharing yourself. If not because of this thing called the world wide web, I wouldn't have known you even existed. Your life and your passions will never be wasted. It is now forever immortalized, in virtual memory, and in the memory of family, friends and countless of random strangers.


Post-Acoustic Raya

Rashdan Harith
Rashdan Harith

Wani Ardy
Wani Ardy

Anis from Sundae
Anis (from Sundae)

Zee Avi (Kokokaina)
Zee Avi (formerly known as Kokokaina)

Hanis Arifin
Hanis Arifin

Cupcakes by Karl Hilton.

And I'm the unofficial penulis event details atas billboard.

This banner was done during the Buka Puasa event on 27th Sept. Warms my heart seeing this photo again :)

I can't believe I haven't signed on this yet. Kept of nyanyuk-ing.

The first group to arrive. Thank you so much for your support. I'm so sorry I couldn't make it to your event :( Next time round I will I promise. I love you guys!

Inilah dia gambar orang buat kerja last minute dengan penuh gaya atas stage.

It's a modest sized place, but trust me, we have big things in store :)

"Beauty and the Beast" - Sam's very own words, not mine!

Remaja zaman sekarang... Ish ish ish. *geleng kepala*

Ray, Azrul, Zee, some hot chick, Alda, his girlfriend.

Farhan from Voce. A new up-and-coming acapella group.

Part of the crowd, almost maxed out at Lepaq and spilling onto the streets.

Zee + Zara = BFF.

I had one of the best Saturday nights of my life. It was much, much less tiring than the previous event, but it was so much better in so many ways. The line-up was superb, the performances were full of energy, the organization was less kelam kabut, the crowd was great, and we got many feedbacks from friends, performers and random guests that they had a great time. It's an amazing feeling to have accomplished what we have in such a short span of time.

It warms my heart seeing young, talented musicians being able to do what they love and having people appreciate them. Even if the number of crowd is rather modest, but, baby steps. What matters most is that we are doing something to help them, and in a way, to help to the local independent music scene to survive and grow further. People need to know that there are places like Lepaq Cafe and that there are actually many very, very talented musicians out there.

The only reason I'm doing all of this is out of faith and passion. It's an amazing feeling to know that you're part of a bigger picture, of a bigger and important cause. That even though all you're doing are mere ripples, but you are doing something. To make a difference, to progress, to help others.

Music have always been my passion. All the more music by my own countrymen. This truly is a dream come true. Even if this is only going to be a two, three, or merely several times affair. But it will surely stay with me for all time. This is a truly special time for me. The people I've met and the experiences I've gone through in this short frame of time have been nothing short of amazing.

Here's to, hopefully, better things to come. :)

Hari Bintang Jatuh

Para Senandung

Azmyl Yunor / Ana Raffali / Apple Juice
Bintang Batu / Captain G / From Cadillac To Geisha
Joshua Foong / Liyana Fizi / Rashdan Harith
Ray & Ash / Rendra Zawawi / Rina S.
The Fridays / The Siblings

Pencengkam Jiwa

Ashraf Ishak / Dianne Dayanna / Fynn Jamal
Nona Cici Suleiman / Shaira Amira
Wak Dol / Zahiril Adzim

Penglipur Lara

A collage of "Ke Hadapan Bintang Jatuh" confessions finally revealed.

Penghenti Masa

Independent photographers and artists confessing through their works.

Pasar Sabtu

Everything under one roof. The best reason to spend your duit raya!


Wani Ardy's Hari Bintang Jatuh is the official exhibition of a compilation of works from her brainchild, Mission Confession: Ke Hadapan Bintang Jatuh. I could safely say that this project is in some ways similar to Post Secret, but with a unique twist. Just so you know, this project is the first of its kind in Malaysia. To get to know more about Ke Hadapan Bintang Jatuh, click here.

For more information:

Contact numbers:
012-9072507 (Jasmin Ghazalli)
013-2243644 (Kerr Abdullah)




I will be participating in the photography exhibition (under my usual alias, Daniel Shinzu) and will also open a booth selling secondhand items like books, CDs, clothes, and a million other random nonsense. I'll also be tag-teaming with Not Frumpy, who will be selling an awesome, unique range of clothing items! Do visit their site for a sneak peak.

Hope to see all of you there!

Acoustic Raya Showcase at Lepaq Cafe

Lepaq Performing Arts Cafe is hosting an acoustic showcase especially for this month's Aidilfitri celebrations. Lepaq Cafe believes that our modestly sized venue is no hindrace to hold an acoustic gig with a line up as long as a mini Rock The World concert.

Starting from 6.00pm till late, over 20 performers will grace the stage and knock your pants off. With a rojak variety of singer songwriters, bands, a few songbirds and an acapella group, it would surely be an unforgettable night at Lepaq Cafe.

We will be selling our super finger licking good lemang and rendang. Come with an empty stomach and fill it up with our specially homemade Raya food! We only get to have lemang and rendang for a month in a year. Before this month ends, make the most out of it!

Kokokaina will be performing at Acoustic Raya @ Lepaq!

Rendra Zawawi and Izzy Mohamed will be selling their EPs there! Be sure to bring some spare cash ;)

Acoustic Raya @ Lepaq is proudly supported by Don't Panic Malaysia.


Here's to better things to come for Yuna. She truly is a rare breed. If you ever got to know her, you'd find that who she is as a person and her music is one and the same thing. Honest and pure in every way possible. You don't find that kind of quality much in music these days.

Come on over to KLPAC this Sunday 13th October at 3pm. Last I heard there's only about less than 100 tickets available. RM25 entrance fees includes cover charge and one copy of Yuna EP. Opening acts by Otam and Sundae. Both are must, must watch performers. So what are you waiting for? Beg, borrow, steal some dough and head over to Indicine this coming Sunday!

This video was shot last year at Zouk's Terrace Bar during Raw on Stage for Live & Loud. That night was officially the first time I saw her perform live and the first time we met after disappearing from each other's radar for more than a year. It was quite a night.

Dan Sebenarnya at Raw on Stage, Terrace Bar, Zouk. December 2007:

Deeper Conversation at Layar Tanchap, Shah Alam. January 2008:

Eventide and in the Morning (Revisited)

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 very early in the morning, just as the sun was rising, at an unusual time for me to be up. Wandering around the house half awake 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, baju melayu, and white telekung walking towards the nearby mosque. I clutched the cold grills with both hands, with complete childlike wonder, peering further into 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.

(I've posted this before, but I think this is a more appropriate time for this post)

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all of you.
Hope you'll have a spectacular time getting fat on ketupat and rendang.
I know I will.

"Ornament your Eid celebrations with the Taqbir" - Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.