The things that makes me cry

Life. Feelings. Emotions.

There are times when I can just sit down, smell and listen to nothing. Completely nothing. Like a vacuum in space. And it makes me weep. For nothing. Because in the absence of everything, the presence of nothingness becomes overwhelming. And it makes me cringe, it makes me nervous, it gives me goosebumps.

The divinity in the smallest thing. I hold so close to my dear heart. Sometimes, I’m lost in my thoughts. Sometimes, my thoughts lost in me. And in that losing, I found something else. Serendipity. But how do you explain serendipity on something intangible. How does a feeling, an emotion, account to serendipitous findings?

In loneliness and silence, I weep and weep inside my heart. For something I don’t know. Sometimes, I weep for something I know, but at the end of it, I figured, was it the reason why these tears fall down? Or could it be these tears wanted to run away from the thought, that it not only run, but flew away from the memory stuck in my brain?

The beauty of existence exists in the abyss of nothingness.

Ah, what deep thoughts you throw me, dear Lord.

If only this heart could carry the burden of thinking, and this brain could carry the burden of feeling.

And maybe.

Just maybe.

The bowel could flush it all out as simply as poo.

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I would buy a few people tickets to the theatre or the MPO. Tell them to watch shows and if they like it, to pass it on. More people need to support the arts. – Shamaine Othman

The first time I met Shamaine, physically, nor virtually, was when she did a promo for Projek Disko Baldi, an improv sketch project she was involved in, and the promo was at the June Bee Aggresive Poetry Slam, a poetry slam I was involved in. But of course, we knew each other on virtual realm, it being Twitter. And I had to confess, I actually stumbled upon her Twitter way before that. Probably the universe were giving some sort of a sneak peak for me, to this friendship.

Then, I went to watch Projek Disko Baldi.

THEN, I had to say how much GUTS this lady has.

So let me tell you what happened at Projek Disko Baldi. Showcased from the 28th May (Saturday) until 29th May (Sunday) with 4 shows, Projek Disko Baldi is a random young Malaysian comedy ensemble. When I put ‘young’ and ‘Malaysia’ in the same sentence, I’m referring to UMNO’s Youth requirement that stated, 40 years old and below. (I would not say who is in the ensemble because it might create a HUGE traffic to my blog if people google some famous handsome young malay actors).

In the words of a mutual friend who watched the show with us, she said, “It’s simple comedy.” Which I totally agreed. The sketches were inspired from daily happenings and it’s simple laughter. That’s what entertainment should be. An escape from reality but a total avenue to laugh at life itself. No weird wigs or props. Just throw in some singlets and elderly diapers, voila! Comedy! And I would fairly have to say, I grew up in comedy. I mean, I grew up being a sucker for Jangan Ketawa, MADtv, In Living Colour, Saturday Night Live and Russell Peters.

Another friend also said, Shamaine could be one of the most outstanding among them. And for another woman to say that about an ensemble with some very hot guys, that’s pretty much an honest bonus. Because she sure was. I, for one, thought that she was brave and brilliant. The others were good as well. Enough of the Senario or Raja Lawak shit, THIS is the FUTURE in Malaysia’s comedy scene. To be honest, if I own a TV network, I would’ve given them a weekly airtime. Then again, I’m not Tina Fey (or Jack Donaghy).

Again, another confession. Having met Shamaine briefly and on the virtual realm, we never actually have sat down for drinks. But I can tell you, she’s a pretty COOL and funny girl that one might enjoy her company.

So she’s this week participant in my Inspiration Beings column. And we get to see her … alter ego in this one. I mean … well, you get what I mean.

Who is the most inspiring person (dead/alive) that have made you pursue your passion?

The most inspiring person that has made me pursue my passion is my father.

How and Why is this person significant to you?

He is a film director and studied film,television and theatre in London in the 60s. At this time Malaysians were going to London to read law, medicine or engineering but dad stayed true to his passion for films. The arts is a risky industry in Malaysia- there’s not much money in it but most Malaysian artists do it for the love of it. For dad, it was both. He did it for money because he had a family to support. His continued passion for the arts has driven me to pursue it myself even though it doesn’t guarantee a lot of money.

If given a chance to have an afternoon together, what would you guys do?

Probably watch a movie then tea after. Talk about the movie.

If you were given a chance to Pay It Forward, what would you do and why?

Well, I’m only saying this because my two previous answers has been about the arts but I would buy a few people tickets to the theatre or the MPO. Tell them to watch shows and if they like it, to pass it on. More people need to support the arts.

Tell me your worst nightmare.

My worst nightmare is being an absolute failure. I can’t gauge what is failure to me but success to me is; doing what i love and surrounded with people that I love (ie; husband and kids). If I don’t achieve that, I guess I’m a failure.

Follow Projek Disco Baldi on Twitter or LIKE their Facebook page to stalk Shamaine and her baldi ensemble.

Inspiration Beings is a project under the Cosmic Abyss to learn about who inspires us and how their pursuit in their passion affects our own.

She (Polgara) taught me to believe that emotional people are valuable in a world full of showy brawn, and suppressed passion. – Ashvina Marie

When I first met Ashvina, we talked in silence. I meant that, literally. We were extras on Mien Ly’s short film set, and we were supposed to be those people who were chatting at the background scene. So we were chatting without making any sound. We only started to talk when we took some break, hangout at the playground outside, where I took out my camcorder and started interviewing people on what they wanted to be when they grow up. And of course, she wanted to be a teacher.

A law graduate who is still a very young energetic passionate soul, Ashvina strives to do a lot of things, in particularly to teach. In between teaching speech and drama classes to young students, she brainstorms ideas for fort*log, Ideas and Critical Analysis Consultancy where they provide sessions and workshops for, well, ideas and critical analysis. πŸ™‚ Sometimes fort*log holds weekly fun stuff for kids and adults under their Department of Curiosity.

It’s been a few years since I’ve known this warm-hearted soul. She is this week’s respondent for the Inspiration Beings project. Lets learn a little something that drives this young passion fruit. πŸ˜‰

Who is the most inspiring person (dead/alive) that have made you pursue your passion?

There is a long list, actually. If you asked me to name one, it would be near impossible.
Freddie Mercury, Jason Mraz, Rachel Blakely of Elephantine (blog), Ben Silbermann of Pinterest, Tori Amos so I’m going to go with Polgara (a fictional character of David Eddings’)

How and Why is this person significant to you?

Because she is this passionate, steely yet kind, highly skilled tour de force of a character in a world dominated my male figures. I read fantasy and sci-fi, but these books by David Eddings called The Belgariad and the Mallorean dominated my psyche from age 16 onwards. She taught me to believe that emotional people are valuable in a world full of showy brawn, and suppressed passion. She’s very, very close to my heart because she was practical, insightful and calm. I was the complete opposite of that growing up. I grew up in Kelantan, also, so I didn’t really have many strong women characters around me. I mean, my teachers were bossy, but they were not masters of themselves. Polgara is.

You’d read her again and again because Eddings wrote her voice so consistently and so lovingly – he enlisted the help of his wife in writing, so the tone and style of Polgara’s speech and demeanour was wildly real. I’ve been going on about her, and have left out the fact that she’s a Sorceress, but really that’s pittance compared to the power of her wit and her heart. She lives for thousands of years, and spends half her life protecting and keeping secret the bloodline of a royal family delineated from her twin sister, who died thousands of years before the book was set. Polgara deals with destiny, loss and disappointment, but everyone never ever disrespects her, mostly because they love her but will never say so – but really because they truly respect how much she has given up to do what she does.

It’s fiction of course, but it makes so much sense to a young woman, trying hard not to change for people who don’t see things the same way. I have no patience, reading women characters who whine and whine and never do anything with grace and passion. In my days and my nights, I find my energy running up the walls, but when I read these books, I go into this safe zone and nothing can hurt me. Anyone who is a true Edding’s fan will tell you that his characters ARE his strongest tool. I love him for that.

If given a chance to have an afternoon together, what would you guys do?

Drink tea and talk about my ideas. Quietly. Go for a walk in the garden. And then eat, and have more tea.

If you were given a chance to Pay It Forward, what would you do and why?

I’m already trying to. I have a little business that encourages people to never stop being curious. I teach Speech and Drama and I always fill my classes with love and freedom. I have an intern whom I adore, and watching her spread my wings makes me so happy.

Tell me your worst nightmare.

People I love not communicating with each other.

And a great giant boot, gargantuan, huge beyond measure and belief, stepping on a little white flower, and all goes black.

You can find Ashvina at Fort*log on FB and make sure you click LIKE.

Inspiration Beings is a project under the Cosmic Abyss to learn about who inspires us and how their pursuit in their passion affects our own.

Are you a practitioner or a complainer?

Once, during an interview to write for an eco-green series, the Producer asked me what is my stand on Eco-Green, and without a split-second of thinking, I told him, “I’m a practitioner.”

No, I’m not an eco-warrior nor I have perfect knowledge and parade in demonstrations for green peace. But I am a practitioner. I pledged to not use air-conditioner at home despite Malaysia’s humid weather. I rarely uses my car’s air-conditioner. Every 2-3 months, I go sell my recyclables. I don’t take a plastic bags for small/single item purchases at the store. I try my best. And I also recycle every single bit of writing paper I find at home because I am a writer, and I make hand-made notebooks.

Today, a family friend forwarded me this email and I am just caught by awe of how exactly I feel about the world right now. Please read and just reflect on your own contribution, which you can do within your means.

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained,
“We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.
The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right. That generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles,
soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the store.
The store sent them back to the plant to be washed
and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine
every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s nappies because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line,
not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts –
wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house –
not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because
they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you.
When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail,
they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it,
not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline
just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty
instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time
they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the tram or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room,
not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.
And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then! WOW!

The Curious Swan (Short Story by Abby Latif)

A swan who got so used to the lake, one day, thought to herself.

β€œAm I destined to just be here. To swin across this lake to and fro, and just walk around the bank, and sometimes, fly here and there?”

Suddenly, the lake spoke to her.

β€œIt’s not your destiny, nor am I trying to keep you here to stay. It’s your own choice. You chose not to explore the possibilities in life.”

The swan, who was in quite a shock, started responding defensively, β€œI wasn’t given the option. And nobody told me that I even had one. I should blame mother nature. She didn’t tell me I had other options!”

All of a sudden, the lake water started heating up, and it started boiling. the swan, furious of the sudden temperature rise, flew away and found another lake to settle down.

—– # —– # —–

Lakes doesn’t usually heats up and starts boiling, it’s not their nature. But when their reason being were being questioned, they can do perhaps anything.

My worst nightmare is having to give up dreams and losing everything. – Angelia Ong

When I first met Angelia Ong, it was an instant comforting moment. It was in Starbucks The Curve. I was with my then boyfriend and I believe that she took our first pictures together. A few hours before we met that day, we exchanged phone numbers and we were texting as if we were friends for quite sometime although “quite sometime” were actually a few days. We met through KLickr, a Kuala Lumpur based Flickr group, through our passion for photography.

Throughout the years, our friendship grew to becoming family. No, nobody was married to anyone except that we grew to love and respect each other like how we would love and respect our family. And who would resist loving her cuddly monkeys. πŸ˜‰

Angelia is the owner of Banshee Creative, a local creative consultancy that manages artists and writers. Lets just say, she’s one heck of a creative entrepreneur and a super mom. From taking her sons for football practices, to baking and attending comic conferences, Lia is the epitome of what passion can be achieved despite the mundane threshold of motherhood.

Lia is the first participant who responded to my Inspiration Beings project. And here what she has got to share with us.

Who is the most inspiring person (dead/alive) that have made you pursue your passion?

There’s no one person but I do look at writers, artists who have taken the leap and made a living at it too. A recent influence is Maria Brophy among others, for eg The SketchpadManila crew, the TeratoTech people, Some of the Comic Fiesta and Pekomik peeps, some of my own creative “family” . There are quite a few πŸ™‚ They have been inspiring in that they pursue passions, despite obstacles.

How and Why is this person significant to you?

They are creative entrepreneurs as well as talented people.

If given a chance to have an afternoon together, what would you guys do?

Talk a lot πŸ™‚ The sketchpad crew will draw, just talk a lot. πŸ™‚

If you were given a chance to Pay It Forward, what would you do and why?

I think I would be doing what I’m already doing or the projects that are coming up will cover that πŸ™‚

Tell me your worst nightmare.

Having to give up dreams and losing everything.

You can find Lia at Banshee Creative and Like them on FB and also follow them on Twitter.

Inspiration Beings is a project under the Cosmic Abyss to learn about who inspires us and how their pursuit in their passion affects our own.

As a Libra, sex offers you the opportunity to blend your dualistic appreciation for beauty together both the artistic and the physical.

Cerita Precious ni membuatkan aku nak bunuh ramai orang sebab geram.

I understand now. A President is the Head of State and a Prime Minister is the Head of Government.

The UN stated that May 15 is the International Day of Families. Good for kahwin? πŸ™‚

There’s this movie on StarMovies playing on TV. And when I heard the white guy tries speaking Malay, I was distracted. Kelakar.

Apparently it was Indonesian. But sounds more like Malay. Or, whatever.

cada uno con lo suyo – to each his own. πŸ™‚

Reading makes you feel stupid. Because you are not well-read. Yes, I’m talking about you, Abby.

Website kerajaan. Ahad webmaster cuti. Sebab hari ahad orang kerajaan tak masuk website kerajaan? *sigh*

Twitter web archive can only take me back until April 20th. Hurm… 25 days.

It’s 10pm already? Holy brown chicken brown cow!