All posts by abbylatif

is under construction and not so relevant on social media anymore.

Where are these voices coming from?

I hear it but I cannot identify where it’s coming from.

Is it from your heart?

Is it from my heart?

Is it from my fear?

Is it my subconscious?

I write words.

Words that does not have any importance in the virtual realm.

But in this realm where my soul exist,

these words carry the weight of a lot of heart breaks.

I scroll timelines and watch stories of people around me

And nothing answers anything.

How do you mute a voice that is not even there?

How do you silent a calling that does not call you?

We live in a monochrome of speeding lights

each one piercing through our senses

Our being become this penetrable form that doesn’t confine substance.

But here we are looking left right above and below

Trying to find where these voices are coming from.

This is not a diluted Brownian finding purpose.

In this empty abyss, all I hear is voices.

And that is all that is in my mind.

But in my heart, is a different voice.

Telling me to keep loving you.

 

Then how?

First of all, I want to warn you that this post could sound a bit arrogantly narcissistic but it is not, or it’s not meant to.

Because one, I really don’t think I am that smart (because if not, I would’ve been making RM 15,000 to RM 25,000 a month in a senior management position right about now)

and two, I am very worried of the subtle ignorance of people which I think should not be there in the first place.

Here’s the thing. People of today’s world are not alert and observant when they want to do things. And I’m not even being specific about certain age groups whether it is the millennials or anything, I think it’s more of the world that is feeding the people of today. People choose to be aloof and blur thinking maybe that’s how creativity works. I’m not so sure if that’s how the world is built but during my days as I was growing up, being alert and fast allow me to be ahead of others. And I’m always, to this very day, aspired to be ahead of others.

The world has been leading people to be lazy in how they think and act because of what is available to them.

There’s Waze and Google Maps so that you don’t have to practice your navigation memory or the art and bravery of asking for directions.

There’s smartphones so that you don’t have to remember anyone’s phone numbers.

There’s flexible office hours at the office so that you don’t have to wake up early in the morning to go to work.

There’s the internet and ebooks so you don’t have to read normal physical books anymore.

There’s social media so you don’t have to build interpersonal skills to interact with people in physical life.

And of course there’s autocorrect so you don’t have to pay attention or be careful when you’re writing.

The worst part is, the world is championing and supporting all these advancement thus feeding the people until they don’t become resourceful, observant, alert and careful people with good interpersonal skills.

It’s not that I oppose any of these help. I too, am guilty for taking advantage of most of it.

But what kind of people will the world have now?

Keyboard warriors who are mostly dependent on the cloud and harddrive memories; do not have proper manners in real-life interaction and conversations; can’t write without using a spell-checker; have no navigation skills and wear glasses since they’re small?

I live and work among these people. My habits are slowly changing to fit in as well.

But then I look at myself. Am I being a smart-ass when I pointed out the smallest and simplest thing that one can do with one’s brain and not the help of technology?

I am not a smart person, if not I’d be rich by now.

But I really don’t want to be one of these people because I want to be ahead of them.

She is love

Before this, I live my life everyday with a lot of ‘what if’s.

That’s why the movie Sliding Doors really intrigued me. I like the fact that there are two possibilities. That there are two realms that possibly exist side by side.

Today, only one realm exist, and for now, I cannot for the life of me imagine it to be without her.

They say many things about love.

I have written many things about love.

But I have written those things in longing for love.

And now I am starting to believe that they too, wrote it, in longing for love.

The ideal love that they have envisioned to be when they finally get it.

Sometimes we assume things when we don’t know.

And that was what they wrote.

Love is this, love is that.

Love is seas, love is sack.

But when you meet the right one, everything you read, everything you said, could be crap.

Sometimes, I go through verses and verses of love poems from my favourite poets and still can’t find the right thing to describe her.

If love is magical, then maybe it could be a trick too.

For once in my life, I can’t write what love is.

Because it’s too complicated but feels so true in nature.

It is uncertain, I cannot say forever at all.

It is by the moment but you live life vicariously on a thread.

And the thing is, it is so real and yet surreal.

I no longer have ‘what if’s. I don’t know if it is a good thing or not but I realise that it is my life now.

And if anything that could define what love is,

I know for sure I can’t imagine anyone else than her.

So who do you look up and listen to?

Well, to be honest, it’s more like who do you look up and read.

But yeah, that’s the thing.

Social media… so many topics and angles we can write about the pros and cons of social media. But there’s one thing that have been bothering my mind of late.

That credibility of opinions now is based on how many likes and how often a person talk about an issue, rather than experience and real case studies.

I was born in 1982. Meaning I am an 80’s child that grew up in the 90’s and stepped into the world when the world stepped into the millennium. I was that generation that was introduced to MTV, E! News, cable TVs, software engineering, hand-phones and computers. We were the Gen X border-lining with Gen Y, if the Gen terms are involved.

So growing up, I read the stories of my culture and social issues discussed, written and told by the likes of scholars such as Karim Raslan, Farish Noor, Amir Muhammad, Kam Raslan, Rehman Rashid. I read the Malay poetry emoted by Salleh ben Joned, A. Samad Said, Amir Hamzah, Usman Awang and slowly (really slowly) reading the archipelago literature works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Hamka.

We didn’t have social media back then.

And the works of these amazing authors, writers, artisans, social philosophers and anthropologists allowed us to view and reflect on our culture, roots and opinions on where we are heading or should head next. These people who on ground and experience life during times of war, reformation, and regeneration. It gives me great pride to be able to read their works, especially when it received accolades locally and internationally supported by grants from international bodies.

The youths of today does not read these works now, nor do they know or recognise these names. They read timelines. Twitter timelines. Tumblr timelines. Instagram timelines. Facebook timelines. These timelines are fed by words and opinions of their peers. So eventually they don’t really have to look out for credible sources of information. What people post on their social media has become a legit source of information, enough for them. Some will have the tendency to cross-check the legitimacy, only when they have doubts and slightly disagreement with that particular opinion.

The youths today read timelines.

It’s suffice to say that the youths today look no further than their own peers and timelines to have opinions thus validate each other’s credibility.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Peer influence is an amazing thing to explore, it’s comforting when one feel relate-able to a certain opinion or thoughts posed by another person within the same age range or school of thought (which usually are also from the same age range).

Does peer validation gives credibility?

Only through social media, it does. People don’t care anymore about how many degrees you have or how many years of experience you have in a subject matter. What people see is how many Retweets or Likes you have on your posts. This is an instant validation to what you have to say, regardless whether you are qualified or experience enough to say it.

I learned that I should not talk about things I know nothing of or I have yet to experience. So for me, I either quote someone (which means I really have to read a lot) or I have to experience it to give my point of view in it. Not through other people’s opinions that I feed off from my timeline.

In the wise words of one of the best female comics in history, Amy Poehler,

Try to keep your mind open to possibilities and your mouth closed on matters you don’t know about. – Amy Poehler

The Things We Talk About

As medium.com , my recent blogging/articles platform refuse to load its page on my Chrome browser, I started to jot down what I wanted to write on my notepad, then got sidetracked to googling my previous articles online which then led me to my wordpress which is actually still pretty much alive.

So that’s the backstory to what I’m about to write, about.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile, but more often than not, I wasn’t in a situation conducive enough to sit down and get it out of my head.

Excuse the rambling. It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. We’ll get there. Eventually.

So right now I’m approaching my seventh month in a pretty stable relationship, and probably, if I am not mistaken, my first ever solid relationship. We’re crazy about each other, we’re very much in love with each other and to cut the story short, our lovey dovey dopeness could make a lot of people vomit (don’t get me started on the number of “I love you”s in a day – okay I won’t, my maths is still pretty bad).

But as I go through this relationship, I started observing other relationships around me. And what I like most is the things we talk about when there’s just the two of us.

Everyday, I look forward to those times where we get to sit down and talk about our day which eventually turn into a discussion on many other things. And if our day goes by without us having the chance to meet each other (since we don’t live together, yet), I feel quite hollow inside despite the fact the unsaid things get bottled up.

I observe the people around me, and how they communicate in their relationships. A few days ago, I overheard a conversation between a middle-aged teacher with her husband and she was telling him everything that has been happening at school so far (it was only lunchtime) and addressed everyone by their first name when she was telling the story (me included, as I was the facilitator for the workshop we conducted in her school). And when she ended the phone call, she told me that due to their different working schedule, phone calls have been the main medium of communications. But for me, to see a couple in their 13th or 14th year of marriage to still be able to make sure that they keep each other updated, is already amazing, especially when the type of conversation they had over the phone was almost similar to my conversation with my girlfriend.

Then of course, there are couples who don’t really have the need to talk to each other everyday. My birthfriend can go on for a few days not talking to her boyfriend and she’s fine with that.

My parents, who are in their 39th year of marriage, talk about matters from TV dramas to their friends and also the news headlines (more like just a touch on the surface rather than in-depth discussions).

As I mentioned earlier, this is my first solid relationship. I have never been with anyone that I could have conversations as in-depth in issues, or deep in spiritual, or stupid in nature. I find it intriguing and I really starting to pay attention to these conversations that will take place at random times in our lives, hopefully more in numbers although random in nature.

It’s amazing how we can share so many things between just two people and there’s never scarcity of things to talk about.

But the thing is… it can get to a point where I keep on repeating or recycling my stories to her, and she’ll listen until it’s finished then say, “You’ve told me this one already.” Well, I guess aside from love is blind, love should just play deaf too. Alang-alang.

To write or not to write

So I have been having this thought that I should relive/revamp/re-everything for my blog. I have always been blogging but of course, we have always been keeping ourselves up with the trendiest things so we can use the term ‘passe’. Although we don’t really understand that. Does being ‘passe’ means that we can or cannot do it anymore? And when we do, do it, will it be called ‘retro’/’vintage’? I don’t know.

 

Having said that, let’s throw out all the relive/revamp-ing of the blog and call it what it is, ‘retro’-ing the blog.

 

Social media has really made us think lesser and lesser in characters. I started to keep a journal to keep track of meetings and doings rather than posting it on Twitter and I realised that I have been writing each paragraph to not exceed 140 characters. And it’s weird because when you are in your character, or when I am in character, I have too many things to say, so many words to use and never Twitter, Instagram nor Facebook have enough space to showcase my thoughts and opinions. The blogs have always been that for me. I don’t even talk that much in the presence of other people’s company (1. My friends are all rolling their eyes now. 2. NO, I ALSO DON’T TALK A LOT IN THE PRESENCE OF MYSELF COMPANY. 3. My English is really bad now and I call myself a writer???)

 

I do miss writing. Working too much made me overthink about emotions (should I show my emotions and what would it make me look to other people) and words (am I sharing my own personal thoughts and let people ReTweet it or should I just share information that is valuable and worthy of being disseminated?)

 

I had coffee earlier this morning with a lady who actually told me I haven’t been updating my blog and it felt weird because I met her because I was supposed to know enough of social media and the digital world. It scared me, the thought that I have been researched and that my last post was last June about words that I wanted to get out of my head but only managed to be written in 23 lines of an average of 5 words per line.

 

I spent the past 2 weeks re-watching Sex And The City, all six seasons of it. It felt weird watching it at the age of 32. Suddenly, somehow everything seems real and relate-able although I do not live in New York, nor have I ever had a Mr. Big and an obsession with shoes or had a column in any newspaper. But the thought of finding love, the thought of being single in your 30s and losing faith that you would ever find love, and the thought that I did not spend enough love for my girlfriends – that felt too close at heart.

 

When I was 12, my family had to move to Kuching, Sarawak from Ipoh, Perak. When I moved to Ipoh, Perak at the age of 10, I was a very quiet girl at school. My only friend, possibly, was my brother Muid back then. We would hangout with his friends, or we would just hangout with each other. Throughout the end of my stay in Ipoh, I started making friends and having to leave them made me turn into a writer when I moved to Kuching. I would have lots of short stories about fantasies having friends and living on my own when I grow up to be an adult. I would read love/romance novels and start to interpret the stories to be my own short novels. I never keep any of those stories. We were constantly moving every 2-3 years. But I remembered writing them and remembered wanting to grow up faster so I can relive those stories.

 

Today, none of those stories did ever happen but I have collected so much other stories that I am still telling while I am alive.

 

And it is great! Because you know what, this is what this year is for. To be living the life I love and being able to tell my stories.

 

Let the good times roll!

Clocking in Space

A lot of drafts have been made,

most of them left… redundant.

A lot of dreams have been dreamed,

they say sleep is for the weak.

Ideas smideas. Such pompous pursuit.

When we sell our soul to the devil,

we didn’t ask for any discount.

And then we claim back the good deeds to redeem ourselves,

and those deeds remain unacknowledged.

They say,

“Abby, write something which is not about love.

You need to change your style of writing.”

I say,

nothing.

We live in this loud crowded world in silence.

We don’t project our needs.

Wanting something which is not yours,

how do you earn its worth?

You don’t.

Go on living.

Tomorrow we might die.

Puisi lepas ini aku mencarut dalam bahasa aku.

Di dalam diam.