Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sydney / 2008

Much to my dismay, people are still in town. There I was, confident of leaving the office at 6.30pm in an attempt to reach home by 6.45pm, sitting in a traffic jam in front of Berjaya Times Square. I looked around to find other disgruntled people, all looking as if they were fooled by the 'KL will be empty for Raya' belief.

I say it's just an urban myth. Pfftt.

MokcikNab, one of my favourite Malaysian storyteller, says that her husband's ideal Raya is to have a deserted KL, which he thinks "it's good to have Kuala Lumpur back to yourself again." I absolutely agree with him, particularly when my Raya celebration is starting to shift to KL. But it wasn't always in the city. Just like MokcikNab, I, too, have fond memories of Raya in kampung.

But with age (as if so old lah but I mean, we're talking when I was 7 or something), I can only remember some striking images of my kampung:

The Volvo Wagon driven up and down Karak Highway's winding roads, where the view was filled with lush green trees (this idea of a view later became an interesting perspective for my photography, which I'll explain another time). The 2 houses, both maternal and paternal grandparents' houses, were separated by a fence. One had dark corridors and an attic, the other had green cement floor and kekabu mattresses. Despite the differences both had one thing in common: "Myra tidur mana?". I remember the young watching tv, the women baking, the kids playing. Bunga api (cap Black Cat or Thunder Cat? I forget), mercun ular, ayam, katak and lebah. The flurried Raya eve would end with everyone camping out in the living room, grouping either according to family or geng (peers lah).

I don't remember what happened afterwards on Raya day except receiving duit raya and lining up to take the Raya photograph (also grouped according to intermediate family, siblings and cousins).

Point is, with all this recollecting memories and being nostalgic and all, Raya celebration is always shifting. People grow older, cookies are manufactured, duit raya gets less, unrecognizable relatives coming up to ask, "kenal tak siapa? awok ingat tak siapa?", etc. Without anchors, I suppose it gets less communal and less in your face. I don't know. I'm not complaining. I'm not complaining about the shifts because I've had my Raya di kampung experience. I don't remember much but I know how great it felt.

I guess I'm wondering what kind of Raya my nephew and niece will remember.

Oh well.

Selamat Hari Raya! Have a safe one & maaf zahir batin :D

Listening to: Mabuk Gusti by Slamet Gundono

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cambodia / August 2008

As Raya draws closer and closer, I'm impatiently waiting for people to leave KL. I've spent too much time in traffic jams, from Jalan Tun Razak to LDP, cursing and stressing over rude drivers. It can't be good for my mental health or the car's break pads (must be checked! break pads, not brain). So for this Raya, since I'll be working up to Raya eve, I'd like to see roads empty of kakak-kakak in Kancils and abang-abang in souped up Wiras right from Bukit Bintang to my doorstep. I'd like to be able to leave at 5.30pm, go on Tun Razak and maybe go for a spin around the city before taking a longer route home.

I'll be unemployed as of next week. With an exception of a small photography gig in early October, I'm not sure where I'll find more moolah. You'd think money's just for food, petrol, bills and entertainment but you forget little things that costs money like fixing laptop after it's been Trojanized, tapau-ing food for your friend then your friend lupa bayar balik, toiletries, etc.


ps. Thankchew Husni and Kucing Kopi for the postcards.

Listening to: -

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wild Ass / Photo by Brent Huffman

Random fact:

The Tibetan wild ass
, or Kiang, will gaze across dry Tibetan plains to find oasis but when they do find paradise, they head back to the dust for no apparent reason.

Listening to: -

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The trailer for an upcoming documentary by superstar Fahmi Reza, the same f'lla who did 10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka.

Watch the trailer. Watch the documentary (20.10.08, The Annexe, Central Market).

Listening: -

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cambodia / August 2008

Kalau kena marah, suck it in and maintain a poker face.

Listening to: -

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sydney / Konica c35 AF3 (1983) / 2008

Tip minggu ini is provided by a fellow fasting friend:

Macam ni, bila nak order buat-buat tengah call anak. Boleh kata, "Aiman (nama anak boleh ditukar) nak makan apa ni? Mama belikan kat mcd (pause). Aiman lekaslah, Mama puasa ni, mama letih tau. (pause) Apa? Aiman nak big mac dengan chocolate sundae? Ok, bye anak mama."

Listening to: Festival by Sigur Ros

Monday, September 15, 2008

Steve Urkel, Sydney / Photo by Sabrina / June 2008

I've been tagged by Syed Husni Syed Abu Bakar to do this 15 things nonsengs.

1. Unlike Jebon and Husni, my Bahasa Melayu is so teruk. I can't write/speak in Malay without sounding like a dud. C6 for BM for SPM. Selamba.

2. As a kid, Miffy was my hero.

3. I like bragging about running on the treadmill especially when I've gone on P3 mode aka 'fat burner' mode (4kms of brisk walking, jogging and running). This P3 regime, which lasted no more than 3 times, was actually prompted by Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2007. The things that flat stomach and long legs can do to you.... Anyway, I don't know which is worst: having inferiority complex or not exercising because I overcame that inferiority complex.

4. My number one fear: balloons.

5. I get Husni, Fahmi and Sabrina to rewrite edit my articles. Shameless.

6. Keanu Reeves said 'hi' to me at his Street Kings premiere in Sydney. Selamba.

7. Old furniture and old buildings make me nostalgic. I particularly like Majestic Hotel, shop lots on Lebuh Armenia and the Bok House.

8. I can hold in pee for quite some time. "Joy of retention," as a friend puts it... though I did pee in my pants once in primary school. Recess was almost over and I had to return a book. At the age of eight, it was a hellish binary situation: to go pee or kena denda for not returning a book on time. Luckily I wore track pants.

9. Star City 's bright lights has seduced me three times. I lost twice and broke even once. Here's a tip: go play Roulette and/or Black Jack with accountants.

10. I'm a champion when it comes to singing Coldplay's Fix You on SingStar.

11. I insist on marrying Tony Leung Chiu-wai.

12. There are only two movies I watch over and over again: Chungking Express (one of TIME Magazine's ALL-TIME 100 Movies) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Chungking Express is on a daily basis, right before sleeping.

13. Obsessed with Havaianas: six pairs and counting.

14. The first time I produced a theatre production (Dua, Tiga Dalang Berlari by Five Arts Centre) was in June 2007. It won an award at the Cameronian Arts Awards 2007 for Best Group Performance (Theatre).

15. I'm a Sydney University Alumni with a Masters degree in Media Practice. Selamba.


I'm tagging all lah

Listening to: -

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia / August 2008

I waited for Chow Mo-Wan to appear at these steps.



In the old days...
If someone had a secret they didn't want to share...
You know what they did?
They went up a mountain, found a tree...
Carved a hole in it...
And whispered the secret into the hole.
Then they covered it with mud.
And leave the secret there forever.


The setting of the final narration of the story is at Siem Reap, Cambodia, Chow is seen visiting the Angkor Wat and whispers several years worth of secrets into a hole in a wall, before covering it with mud.

Listening to: -

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bedok MRT Station, Singapore / Lomo LC-A / 2005

Despite not understanding any of Sigur Ros' songs, Heysatan (from Hvarf-Heim, 2007) tops it all. I first heard it while letting Heima play on Google video. It was difficult to name it at first and I had to load the first half of Heima (45 mins) every time I wanted to listen to this "song on a barn with statues of animals and human beings".

The sound scape of Heysatan is spectacular that it's almost surreal to be listening to it while stuck in a jam on Tun Razak. One should be in an open field with a big bonfire, watching the Northern Lights while listening to this. The sight of Pekeliling flats isn't so sexy lah, you know?

Anyway, like most of their songs, no one (excluding Bjork) knows what they're singing. They apparently sing in Vonlenska, a term to describe the gibberish nonsengs sung by Sigur Ros. Meaningless syllables, word meaning and inconsistent grammar structures are repeated throughout many times throughout each song.

But people do try to make sense of their music. For example, I had asked a friend what Birgisson was singing in one of their song.

"I sigh alone," said my friend. I percaya like for the longest time that particular song's chorus was "I sigh alone, I sigh alone."

So when the Sigur Ros bug bit me, I Googled 'I Sigh Alone Sigur Ros' in hope of finding the song. Nothing came out.

I smsed my friend:

'You liar. Where got Sigur Ros song 'I Sigh Alone'!'

He replied:

'I was joking lah. How would I know what they're singing but it sounds like it, no?'

It does! With dreamy, depressing, bleak, quiet sound scape, it's not that hard to think they're singing about life in the cold and grey Iceland. Somehow I imagine there'd be a lot of sighing going on there. Haha.

So when it came to Heysatan, I read the translation and it was about haystack and tractors! Then I found someone's comment on the thread that best describes how I feel about reading translations:


Listening to: Heysatan by Sigur Ros

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sydney CBD / April 2008

If you really don't want to hurt your parents, and you don't have nerve enough to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts
(Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut)

Try reading that on AirAsia and then deal when all eyes on you because you're laughing and choking on your own saliva. It's quite a sight.

Listening to: Not Ready to Love by Rufus Wainwright

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Smiling Room, Siem Reap, Cambodia / August 2008

Two donuts sat next to me on my way home from work today. One was Cocoring, the other GoNutz. One hour into a massive traffic jam on the LDP, they started talking to each other.

Cocoring: !
GoNutz: !!!

Unfortunately I couldn't eavesdrop because I had massive headphones on.

I'm sure they were scheming on something.

Evil donuts.

Listening to: A running commentary of BBC's Planet Earth

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah / August 2008

I've discovered that listening/watching Sigur Ros' Heima on Google Video helps in easing hunger pangs. I've never really paid that much attention to them even though I used to see endless Sigur Ros concert posters along George Street or hear the cd in Fahmi's car.

I find it too depressing.

But today, while being bleugh due to low sugar/water, Jonsi Birgisson's falsetto voice and minimalist post-rock music has soothed the starving one. Bravo Iceland.

Q: Why so depressing?
A: Because it's a cold country.

Listening to: Sigur Ros