Sunday, June 15, 2014

"We Don't Sell Durians in Sungai Sepi Anymore"

image from

On the usual days in the middle of the year – no festivals, no foofaraw, no nothing – you can tell that the average build of the people in Sungai Sepi is quite lithe. Barring the sweet plump old neneks and the gaunt yet paunchy pakciks, the general populace here are strong women and men. Bodies built of hard work and hot sweat. Clean clothes and simple practical adornments reveal near-tactless honesty and lack of pretension beaming from the good, hardworking locals.
So when Raya rolls around, and the holiday exodus brings in the pale-skinned, soft-framed bodies of the city people, wrapped in allegedly fashionable, neon colour-coordinated dressings of the season, one can’t help but take notice of the stark contrast.
Despite this peaceful juxtaposition of lifestyles, there is still a century-strong commonality held close to the hearts of the people of Sungai Sepi: The love for durian.
Read the rest of this short story over at ISSUE Magazine!
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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maryam is Engaged!

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Maryam, OD-ing on choccies

Trying to think of a way to properly word a good congratulations to my dearest Maryam, who got engaged today and I felt a pithy tweet or an errant Facebook status is less than appropriate.

As she's heard me say a mite too often, "words are all I have", so here are some. I hope this is okay.

Our past relationship has been sparsely-documented here and there on the interwebs and without putting too heavy an embellishment on it, I'm sure some femto-cosm of the outside world used to cheer us on. I don't blame them because let's be real here: we were awesome together.

We weren't always good with each other, admittedly. We both wanted out and both insisted on staying at different times of us being with each other. The rough patches start to chafe. Chafing is how you scrub yourself out and become better, of course. But frequent chafings can scar some. After too much agonizing, we chose to part ways.

There are clear solid-colored pockmarks on my life and livings she's made over our years as a unit (more so than anyone else, ever) and I can't help but my thoughts be fish-eyed when certain things enter my consciousness.

Maryam is great with maps and directions, putting things in its place and looking adorable. She's thoughtful and persistent, handy and patient, and I'm unspeakably glad she's found someone who can match up to her needs. Also, although she's now decided that I'm just 'alright' (:P), I will still insist on her all-around awesomeness.

May Allah pour on His blessings and mercy on her and hers, and may the forces of evil get confused on the way to her house.

Here's to Love and all that comes with it :D
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Being sad makes me happy

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How do I say this. Hm.

I don't get happy.

Not to mean I'm chronically depressed or anything, but what I mean by that is I don't understand the meaning of "happy".

Fun, I understand. It's a joyful, pleasant feeling coming from circumstances or an event. A doing one does to feel good.

Happy though, I don't get. What is it?

I seek out experiences for fun, yes. Companionship, self-fulfillment, accomplishment and achievements, I welcome and look for.

Happiness though.

Perhaps I'm a little reluctant to admit that I'm most comfortable being a hair shy from sad.

A splash of dejectedness or moroseity makes me feel most at home on Earth. Looking back, I suppose I've felt this way ever since I was a kid pun.

I've never earnestly tried to examine this or even noticed until quite recently. A recent breakup has allowed me to poke through and analyze my patterns of emotional expression and I've noticed how the most alive I've felt and most cathartic and satisfying conversations with the separated was when I was feeling sad.

Being miserable is a valued release for me. I chew on despondency. It lets me be in solidarity with most of the world.

Because as those of us who pay attention know, (I'm including the reader, of course) most of the world is miserable.


Every day that we do nothing for the rest of the world is a day we incur more debt towards our brothers and sisters.

Having fun allows us to recharge before we take on the world's problems again. 

Happy, though?

I don't know.

The date I'm writing this is February the 20th. It's Kurt Cobain's birthday and I'm reminded of one of his lines from In Utero:

The day is done, but I'm having fun / I think I'm dumb / Or maybe just happy

Being happy implies that we need to put aside the thoughts of others' suffering and replace them with rememberings of our own abundance. Wave away the blind disabled hobbling to your table and think of your imminent fish head curry. Turn your head from the pictures of fire and maimed on your news feed and click over to the adorable furry cat photos. Cup your ears to the pleads of needy disaster victims and switch to a radio station that plays that song you've been singing along to but don't know the title of.

It doesn't feel right to me that it's so easy to do all these things. Of course I know how easy it is because I do it all the time.

My job is to craft a story that convinces strangers to purchase products and services they may or may not need.

I connect people. I enlighten them to solutions to their problems they might not be aware of. I help businesses find their customers and I help customers find what they need.

That's the rhetoric I use each time the thoughts come to mind.

I understand that one's emotional state is very dependent on what one is doing and the company one keeps. 

But I fear my perspective-shifting abilities and flexible mental boundaries that help me become an imaginative working creative are the same attributes that make me unable to sit well with and accept that 'happy' is a thing one can be.

The way I cope with myself is to seek experiences that sand off the rough edges of my thoughts and in so doing help me go through the days and weeks without sinking too far down.

It took a little too long for me to discover this about myself, I suppose. I get miserable often when left alone and it's best not to share that part of me too much.

So to those who stuck with me at my most miserable, expecting me to do the same for them, I am sorry I couldn't at the time. I didn't know how to. I'm getting better at that though, I'm hoping.

There's ways of coping. And I'm doing well for the most part. I'm well. I'm not looking for advice ke ape, I just felt like writing this down. 

It's not masochism or anything. Much like how a shy person is just shy or light-skinned or is a germophobe. It isn't an acquired trait or something I can learn to not be. It just is. I can learn to deal with it and function well with other people at the same time though. So no biggie there, really.

To me, a combination of feeling good and doing okay needs to have with it a twinge of solidarity with the rest of the world who are not as fortunate as you are. For whatever I feel, I want the rest of the world to be okay with it, too.

Here, I'll have Axe Cop explain it.

So here's to the happy people :D May you never find out how I feel.
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sometimes I have too much.

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I bought a subway sandwich with my own money today. Also a bowl of mushroom soup. I was hungry. The price of which all works out to about RM17.

That in itself doesn't make for much of a "new year blog" story does it?

Let's try again. 

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