Category Archives: Abby's Journal

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!

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“You would be great for this!”

Someone knocked my inbox with an opportunity that left me grinning for the past hour. An opportunity I’ve always thought not qualified for.

I just deleted a whole load of things I just wrote for this post. Sometime later, someone will read it wrongly and tell me how emotional I am.

If I am told to be less emotional, it is as if I am told to be less of myself.

And all I can think of is this, the poem I read on Saturday.

Aku. Tiga. Dan Lima.

ini kata puisi

dari karyawan yang lara.

barangkali bikin hujan timpa

lebih bergelora.

kisah cinta dihisab

satu malam panjangnya.

mengenai si tiga

dengan yang ke lima.

kalau aku kira sepuluh

kembali ke nombor satu

mungkin tiga dan lima akan ku curi

bawa pergi. jauh dari sini.

mungkin kita lenjun ketika ribut melanda

biar demam dalam kehangatan cinta.

bersama tiga. dan lima.

kalau empat tambah satu

dan empat tolak satu

tiga dan lima masih milikku.

hei tiga dan lima

lantang kau laung kata cintamu

yang dengar bukan satu, bukan seribu.

dan juga bukan aku.

tapi lagak karya sasar amir hamzah

atau nobatan cinta ilahi si rumi

ini puisi insan bernama abby

nombor ganjil tidak bererti

jadi biarlah aku, tiga dan lima

di dalam hutan gelap puaka

bermadu cinta manja dan lara

kerana kami semua

bukan uda, bukan dara.

hanya aku. tiga. dan lima.

Waking up to Composure

I am not the coolest person I know. In fact, I am the most uncool person I know. Seriously, a lot of my friends are so cool, I almost am considered LUKE WARM. And that, by standard itself means BORING.

We’re not Italians but my family could be the most dramatic expressive family I’ve ever seen outside of the idiot box. We could even topple down Korean drama box-office records if we have had better mainstream commercial looks.

I guess it’s the age. And celibating. At 31 years old, single and not practicing any kind of sexual activities, one can develop menopausal symptoms. Yes, I have enough braincells to (in)credibly develop this psycho-analysis of mine. I’ll be 32 this year. I might start shopping for a chastity belt soon. Got sell online or not?

But that is not the point of discussion for today. My last post was a good night post. A good night post written almost half a year ago. It was written on the eve of my birthday, because I was born in the wee hours of the morning. Thus why I love the dawn. And in that hour I am most pure and free and no one could disturb me. Outside of those hours, I’m (almost) doomed.

I have lost my balance a couple of time and I’m losing my focus. My heart cries at night hoping I find my soul in everything I do. I start questioning what’s right and what’s indifference. I start questioning indifference and nothingness. Why do I want to do things that does not include my name in the big picture? Why don’t I want to help make a name for myself? Selfishness arise from these questioning. I am falling not in my abyss but in worry and guilt. For being selfish. For wanting things for myself.

I realised, at the end of the day, I will only be remembered as “yang pakai baju putih kat hujung tu” (the one in the white shirt standing at the corner). 

So Please,

Dear God,

help me wake up in composure,

relieved of all these selfishness,

and take me out of this indifference.

Adab dan Tamadun

It’s gonna be a LONG drive back from Sintok to KL now. Abah is lecturing on Civilisation through Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama.

It started when I told him I wanted to pursue my post-graduate in Master of Southeast Asian Studies (yeah, this one will make me tons of money, I tell ya).

Then he told me that I should first know what civilisation means.

He said, I should read Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and The Last Man.

Abah cannot blame me for wanting to pursue these studies. I grew up on the road, as nomadic as my childhood is, but most importantly our family spend a lot of time together on roadtrips in the country. Abah will grab any opportunity to drive along the countryside and stop at all the places where there were history landmarks. He loves telling us stories about these places, as he grew up as a young soldier, walking through the jungles of Malaysia.

I remember my fascination with ASEAN grew with wanting to learn more about culture. I was blessed with my upbringing where I learn to adapt to different environment easily since a very young age.

When I did my solo trip to Jogjakarta last year, I was really really amazed at how happy I was walking in and out all of the temples. It’s as if I’m walking through dimensions of time.

And I trust that is what the studies will take me. Through dimensions of time and space.

I always wanted to learn about geo-science, but I never excelled maths and science to even qualify for the studies.

Maybe this year I build up enough courage to admit myself into the course.

God willing. Insya Allah.

 

Akuan Penonton

Movies is all socio-economics and culture.

Why Bollywood is a thriving economy?

People simpan duit sebulan to watch a movie and it’s their escapism. My dad once told me, how the peladang and pesawah di India simpan duit semata-mata untuk tengok kehidupan ilusi for 3 hours. Movies for them is escapism. Satu kehidupan yang mereka impikan. And going to the cinema is a whole day outing. They get to watch one and a half hour of the first half, then during intermission they get to keluar panggung to makan and discuss on what has happened and what will happen, then masuk balik panggung to know the ending.

Kalau ending orang jahat tak mati, ini memang boleh sampai bakar panggung punya type of audience.

For us, the Malaysian culture masih music, not so much on movies. Look at what is flooded and hyped for. Konsert Jom Heboh. Konsert Gempak Astro. Imam Muda pun buat ala konsert sekarang.

Masa kecik kita grew up dengan Bintang RTM. Hiburan Minggu ini. Konsert boybands la apa la. Urban ke, mainstream ke, music it is.

Masa zaman 80s, mak saya akan bawa kami naik bas dari Selayang ke pekan Kuala Lumpur, just to watch movies. Kami akan makan kat Chow Kit road. Minum air Sudi – a can drink produced by Sudirman.

For us it was outing yang ditunggu-tunggu. Sekarang it’s sad sebab saya tiada masa untuk bawa Mama to go to the movies.

Last 2 years, Mother’s Day saya ambil cuti. Bawak mama tengok filem Chow Kit. Panggung kosong. Saya beritahu Mama, saya booked panggung for her. Felt quite cool although in real nature, it was sad to see a Malaysian film with only 2 person filling up the hall.

Going to the movies also became a ritual antara saya dan adik-adik. Zaman Harry Potter dan Twilight. Itu quality time saya dengan adik-adik. Usually it is a much anticipated outing with them. Especially sebab selalunya saya sibuk belajar di kampus dan pulang hanya ketika cuti. Now, both of them have their own driving license. Mereka lebih suka pergi tengok wayang bersama rakan-rakan.  And saya pula, sekarang saya sibuk tolong orang lain buat movies. Saya tiada masa untuk do my former rituals with loved ones. Sedih sangat.

Bagi saya, going to the movies is my culture. Kalau orang tanya siapa Abby Latif, apa yang dia tahu pasal buat filem? Saya audience kamu. Since 1982. Itu je.

For me it’s easy. The culture you want to create, you got to live it first.

Sekian mukadimmah hari ini. HAHAHAHA.

Par-lia-ment

Entering Parliament building for the first time.

The parking sucks, maybe because everyone who goes there are driven by their drivers.

There are two buildings and I went to the wrong one, almost walked into where the Prime Minister was. Haha.

Being there reminds me of when I wanted to be a journalist. Okaylah. Not.

Good Night, three decades of life.

On the 10,958th day of my life, someone asked me, “Are you a Gen X or a Gen Y?”

I quickly replied, “I’m actually in between Gen X and Gen Y but I consider myself a Gen X, only because my younger siblings are Gen Ys and because of my 11 years age gap with my younger sister, I got the chance of raising her.”

Today I start a new journey after having completed 30 years of living. For me, birthdays are milestones. That time of the year where you reflect on what you have done and how much have you achieved in life.

Thirty years of living, in today’s context is almost a lot. That includes 8 leap years, thousands of mistakes, tens of thousands of experimentation and probably hundreds of vices.

Some people like to call themselves, an old soul. Of course, I like to do that as well. Only because I don’t know what the mainstream music is playing as I get fixated to my iTunes or just MixFM, LiteFM and Klasik Nasional. Trust me, I probably only know 3 songs from Bruno Mars and I don’t even remember their titles. And no, I still don’t know what One Direction is. Are they a band? Are they like Backstreet Boys? Do they even know Backstreet Boys? Are they even legal? Have they hit puberty? See how aunty I am.

Today I went to Monash University for a screening. Not only how the kids dressed to school surprises me, but also how they react to issues, where they would prefer to contest than understanding concepts that they are not familiar with. When I was growing up, because no one explain why things are the way it is, I tried hard to learn how to understand the context of things myself. Weirdly this is not just from today’s trip. Apparently having seen all universities we were invited to screen in and having younger siblings who are still in college, this is my generic take on Gen Y. I guess they just come from a different era. In which I need to understand more of.

Three decades. The first two decades in my life, I spent a lot as a nomad, having to move houses every three years. The last decade was spent working. Initially, I only give myself four decades to live. I know, it’s God’s decision but let’s just be realistic. With this ‘realistic’ plan, I get to appreciate the power of ambition. I get to tell myself, I must do a lot of things because I can never tell when I’m going to die.

I still have ten years to tell people that I am worthy of their respect.

I still have ten years to create magic.

I still have ten years to create lifetime of memories for people to wish their prayers on me.

For tonight, this is a homage to that three decades I’ve lived through. Trust me, I have nothing but gratification for everyone who have hugged me, told me that they love(d) me, who took me into their lives, who I have fallen for and although rejected me along the way (AHAHAHAHAHA) – still managed to be that positive factor for me to be a better person, who have given me opportunities and faith is the person that I am, and always always always my wonderful great parents who loves me, ever so kindly and be that pillar of strength I can always cling on to in times I have nothing else to live for.

Three decades will not have been easy without God. Trust me, those nights spent crying on the praying mat have been the best nights in my life.

Thank you, for these three decades. I regret nothing.