Ratchpatch

I have a habit of zoning out whenever I put earphones on, so when the stand fan blows in front of me, I hear nothing but whooshes, so reminiscent of the beach; soft wet sand engulfing my curled toes, the salt on my skin, heady scents of saltwater and hot wind blending together…

But I’m not really a beach person so I settle for the fan on my earbuds.

So much has happened these past few months and I’ve tried writing about it but the 15 drafts proved how short my attention span is. But when else am I going to face the music?

The 14th General Election was held on the 9th of May. Surprising turnout when the opposition won, despite numerous attempts to prevent that. Tun Mahathir took his seat in parliament as the Prime Minister once again after 15 years of dormancy from Malaysian politics.

I had gotten into the habit of checking the news more frequently than before. The thirst to keep up with current events have led me to educate myself on its importance, and the influential power the media has. The results of this election wouldn’t have been as successful if it wasn’t for social media, news portals, opinion pieces, and the internet. So here comes the age of reformation. The unification of all Malaysians demanding for change and advocating citizen rights, all-encompassing, have led to us making history.

This time, the people have spoken.


 

Last weekend I spent my free time re-watching Nodame Cantabile. The Japanese live-action ‘dramedy’ follows the adventure of two music academy students in the world of classical music, along with tales of friendship, relationship and self-discovery. A stale relic, but one that has impacted my perception on classical music so much to this day. The analysis on each piece played is so human and romanticises the technical aspects that even if you aren’t a ‘technically-inclined’ person, you’re still able to appreciate it.

Growing up, I’d spent 4 years learning classical guitar. It was a time when music made sense to me. I never classified sound as complicated because every dynamic had a story behind it. Forte, forte. Mezzo forte. Pianissimo. Motives I understood but the child in me never realised how incredibly fitting it was. A stark contrast to present day where sound is analysed very differently.

Perhaps I had given up on classical music a tad too early, so I decided to brush up on my skills. Currently I’m relearning how to read music, getting my fingers all nice and calloused again, and soaking up everything about classical music since I’ve got quite a bit of free time.

I should probably add that I’d officially resigned on April 30th. It has been approximately two weeks since I’ve left my job and truth be told, It’s been both fun and boring. Though I haven’t really been at home since now I’m mostly going back and forth from the condo trying to make it semi-habitable. Also, Imran’s car got smashed by a tree branch during a particularly horrible thunder storm a couple of weeks ago so in the midst of all this, that is another thing we’re trying to settle.

Like I said, a lot of things have been happening but they are all good. Things are finally falling into place; painstakingly slow, but making sense. It’s currently Ramadan and I’m sitting at a café coffee-less, accompanied only by the whiff of Arabica and pitter patter of the evening rain.

May is almost ending and I’ve yet to apply for Uni. Maybe I should get on that soon. Another chapter of life awaits, and I’m totally excited for it. Expect another ratchpatch episode, I suppose!

 

 

 

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Asceticism

If the multiverse theory is true, I would want one of me in a parallel universe to be born a Cynic.

A Cynic’s principle is simple; to achieve happiness through the barest means. Free from the shackles of worldly desires, and remain unfazed by the vicissitudes of life.

They live life in accordance to nature – from where you come, you live.

Introspectively, that would be the most ideal.

My friend once said if you had 24 hours to pack and leave, the most you would need is one suitcase… and a half; because that is all you need to survive while still retaining some sense of self. Perhaps a favourite book, or photos of you and your loved ones.

Lately I’ve been picking at myself a bit more. What are my habits?

Excessive spending. That beautiful basic black top, I must have. Even though mummy complains I have too many already. At least two a month. Socks. Socks?! I could wear socks if they were fluffy and soft enough – and look, it’s in powder pink, and on sale. I could wear pink if they were… powdery in colour.

There is always a reason to every purchase. Reasons soon turn to excuses. Excuses then abandoned as my futile attempts are replaced with defeated acceptance.

Good food. Oh, gluttony is always my favourite deadly sin. Today I spent RM12 on rice and chicken. Tomorrow I think I’ll eat noodles with dumplings. Perhaps later in the week, a plate of beautiful crispy chicken rice. I love chicken. Can’t live without it, really.

There is always a reason. An excuse. The thought of buying something with my own money excites me. I earned this, I should be able to do whatever I want with it. Who’s to tell me I can’t? This is mine. I earned this, I should be able to do whatever I want…

Pity my excitement lasts for a fraction of a second before I slip back into familiarity. My laptop to write, my kaftan, sketch book and a pencil, a good book. Where are those socks, again?

The Swedes are doing it right. Lagom, meaning ‘adequate’ or ‘just the right amount’ is a lifestyle promoting sustainability and discards excessive consumerism.

Diogenes – the founding father of Cynicism – took it to a more extreme level when he lived in a tub on the streets of Athens his whole life after being exiled from his birthplace. He criticised everyone’s social conventions and makes poverty a virtue. He tells them that it is the privilege of gods to want nothing, and godlike men to want little.

Granted, the man lived in a tub and ate on the streets.

It’s funny how we were all born with nothing once upon a time, and suddenly underwent a paradigm shift. Now everyone’s looking for more money, more things to make ourselves feel better, even for just a fraction of a second.

And… perhaps this is the part where I criticise myself, but I know that we’d all prefer the distraction. Perhaps to dull ourselves, numb our senses, keep us passive and obedient. Spruce the fluff, they say. Keep us warm and toasty.

I think to myself; Girl. You’re still so young, but not young enough to excuse yourself from this. Live within your means. Achieve wholesomeness not through materialistic crap that only serves as a brief mood lifter, but through things that serve a purpose to you. Stop getting distracted by the glitter and gold; they are worth next to nothing.

He has the most who is the most content with the least.

Tonight’s musing: Time to declutter.

 

 

MARET

Happy March!

It’s been a while. I am procrastinating as usual. I was supposed to come up with two campaign ideas for a client tomorrow and so far I’m one-and-a-half away from completion. To be fair, I spent the whole of yesterday in bed because I had the flu so that was one day…. burnt….

Anyway.

This was what I ended up doing today:

  • Bought breakfast
  • Watched 6 episodes of Jane the Virgin
  • Went to get my glasses done
  • Binged on a bunch of YouTube videos (I can vouch that this was to crank up ideas)
  • Read my old (and I mean really old) blog posts while eating tacos.

 

It’s fine. After this post I’m going straight to planning my week. A habit I’m training myself to do so as to decrease the anxiety leering around the corner. Not today, nerve satans.

But anyway, here is a recap of what has happened so far:

  • To’ Bah’s wedding was a success (yikes)
  • Adele gave birth to four adorable kittens
  • I’ve submitted my resignation letter last Wednesday
  • Had a few job offers come in soon after

 

Yesterday was Mummy’s 53rd and she is still as young as ever. Ummi surprised her during breakfast with Shakoli and a brownie cake*. Speaking of, Shakoli is growing up so beautifully. She has approximately 6 teeth (4 on top and 2 at the bottom) and has developed a habit of biting people now. I’ve suffered the wrath of her bite once, and I’m making a mental note to tread carefully around her face for the time being. She has also reached a whopping 12.3kg in just 11 months; Assikin refers to her as my ‘Chub Squister’ and I can’t argue with that, it’s pretty apt.

On the 7th will be arwah To’ Mi’s birthday. My plans to take off and visit her grave has to be put on hold for now, because of how messy everything is at work what with the resignation, and the extension…. I’m just having a difficult time grasping things and sorting them out properly. But I digress.

Oh – wait, I guess that’s it.

Tonight’s musing: sleep is for the weak.

*Brownie Cake (.n): A towering stack of brownies generously layered with Kinder bites and strawberries, drizzled lavishly with chocolate syrup and caramel sauce.

 

Light Jog

Vague analogies of Mokele in the wee hours of the morning.

Freezing cold, breaths come in heaves of desperation. I keep at it.

Sweat, sweat, sweat. Tendons scream in agony, heart palpitating. I want this to be over.

I stop, so close to vomiting nothing. Thinking about the future, what I’m living for, new prospects. Dizzy. Frightened. Anxious.

What I’d give to be a cryptid.

A minute feels like a lifetime of experiences when you’re running.

Paradigm Shift

Incubus is set to perform tonight at KL Live and this will mark the third time I miss their concert. My 10 year-old self is crying on the inside, and I really wanted to take Imran with me since we both grew up listening to Incubus but alas, tak tercapai impianku kali ini.

My relationship with my brother has alway been… turbulent ever since we were born. We had our ups and downs, and now it’s a weird…. tolerance, I guess? Between us. It never used to be like this.

He was a totally different person when he was a child; someone that I’ve grown to miss over the last few years.

Imran was soft; easily moulded and shaped into whatever you wanted him to be. Easily bullied, to put it bluntly. But over time, he’d formed spikes from within for some reason and started mutating into someone we hardly recognised. It was getting increasingly difficult to see with him eye to eye, and at one point, none of us in the family wanted to have anything to do with him.

He shot up to be more than a handful for all of us. I shamelessly admit I was close to hating him and my father was inches away from delivering the ultimate blow of completely giving up on him. But my mother, bless her heart, always saw through the bullshit Imran had put and fought for him. Hard. Because none of us (including him) were making it easy for her.

You see, I grew up spoilt. Had everything I wanted, everything I needed, and was always given options. Imran had all that too, but the difference between us was I didn’t know what to do with them while he abused them. We were complete opposites living different lives.

Sometimes I wonder what compelled him to do the idiotic things he’d done. What was he rebelling about? What frustrated him so much to make horrible life choices when he was younger?

Or was he just a stupid little kid making stupid kid decisions?

Me, I was always the good one. I scored my exams, read books as a pastime, had little friends and kept to myself. I rarely went out on school nights because I hated the idea of socialising, and considered the things I had to be enough for me. I detested my brother for mixing around, doing time-wasting things when he could be home reading or studying.

When we moved to Damansara, I was in a phase where I hated everything in sight. I wanted to go back to Banting, wanted to retreat back into my safe bubble. But he was excelling. Made new friends, did new things, broadened his horizons… and I was jealous of that. I didn’t know how he was doing it. But instead of approaching him with curiosity, I shunned him from my life (didn’t help that he was an annoying little fuck back then) and refused to be a part of his formative years.

Sometimes I look back and regret that. Could I have made a difference if I was closer to him when we were younger? Would we have formed a much closer bond? Could we have done cooler brother-sister things growing up? Would he have let me into his life, and would I have helped keep him out of trouble?

But the thing is, maybe none of those things could’ve happened even if we were close. Maybe things were always supposed to be how they were in order for both of us to grow as individuals. I learned from his mistakes, and I hope he learned from mine.

Our relationship was close to nonexistent for some time until he left for Lumut. The less I saw him, the closer we got. I suppose it was the distance; absence really does make the heart grow fonder. And funnily enough, we reached the pinnacle of brotherhood when we started smoking up together. We used to talk a lot. He would invite me to his room and we would chill, smoke, talk about life goals… or rather he would talk and I would listen. I liked listening to him verbally plan out his life. I was proud. Here was this boy who 4 years ago looked like he would amount to nothing, now making proper plans for his life. I was envious, sure, but never have I been prouder as a sister.

Back when I was working at The Wknd, I was at a good place. And he was too, and I remember thinking to myself; if this is how both our lives are going to be like from now on, we’d make Mummy and Baba so proud.

But Baba still had a lot of issues to work on with Imran. He was going through his own dumb ass shit (that he put himself in) and was taking it out on his son. This was common back then. I suppose that was where one part of Imran’s rebellion stemmed from. Daddy issues, who doesn’t have them am I right? This time around however, I was on Imran’s side. I didn’t understand the unrealistic expectations, the weird obsession these men have with their egos. I couldn’t understand their thought process. Two very similar heads butting against each other when they could be working together.

Both wanted different things for one person, I guess.

Eventually, both grew out of it and currently they’re in a good place now.

Also eventually, I stopped smoking up and we drifted apart again. No, I know better. Weed wasn’t the crutch to our sibling relationship. It was a pedestal for us to gain better understanding of each other, but it couldn’t have lasted forever because we never really solved the deep rooted issues within.

I think he still bears grudges against me. Perhaps it was because of how I (mis)treated him when we were little. Really, I was a mean bully. And he was soft, like I said. Perhaps it was because I was always given higher regard, asked to be made a model out of, compared to by our parents and grandparents. Obviously it was damaging as an individual. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have milked it in so much but I was young, and revelled in the fact that I was the golden child.

But we’ve both grown up since then. He definitely has, and is much more mature than I am in some ways. I am happy for him. Proud. There is no way to go for him but up at this point. Hopefully.

I learn a lot from just observing his antics and the way he plans his life out. Everything is cut and dry, black and white, yes or no. There is no think, there is just do. I admire and respect him for it, wishing my life can be as straightforward as that.

But here’s the tricky part. He needs to understand that with what he has now, as an individual – minus the hustle and life goals – is not enough for him to be wholly… mature. He lacks compassion and empathy, which frustrates me to this day because sometimes I wish he could see it from someone else’s point of view instead of his own.

Someday I will confront him about this. Someday I will dig all the frustration, dissatisfaction and whatever issues he has out. But the difference now is I will not come from a hostile place. I will sit, and wait patiently for him to talk or lash out, or say whatever he wants to say to me, and I’ll take it all in.

Then I’ll tell him what I think. Patiently, in his language if possible, and reason with his feelings. No more quips, no more belittling. Just… talking.

Whatever it takes for us to move past this dip in the ride.

Tonight’s musing; friends come and go, but siblings are forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act II Scene VII

It’s 2 am, what am I doing up?

Earlier today my boss was explaining how the world economy works (or rather trying to) and I found myself Googling it for hours after that.

What an interesting thing, economy is. This ecosystem we’ve built connecting nations and countries to work together and distribute back to its people.

But it is also saddening.

He said “every day, the U.S shreds close to $30 million dollars in order to ensure the stability of its currency”. So I asked what about the poor? He tells me “Fact of the matter is, nobody cares about the poor. The ones who are helping, are always in it for something.”

Which made me think about the good deeds people deem they do. Are their intentions purely genuine? Or are they merely doing it for their own personal gain?

There was an episode of FRIENDS where Phoebe and Joey were arguing about whether there is such a thing as a ‘selfless good deed’. Joey claimed that there was no such thing because people are inherently selfish. When Phoebe let a bee sting her to prove that she was doing it a favour, he asked her if she felt good after, to which she replied yes. So he said that didn’t count – because she was benefiting from it too, and that was selfish. (The scenes are muddled up, but that was the takeaway from this episode).

See that’s the thing; I believe that there really is no selfless good deed. If there is one thing, and one thing only that everyone in the world has in common, it’s selfishness and self-centredness.

I mean it’s not a bad thing when you factor in personal growth and seeking your own happiness and all that. But take this and amplify it into the economic equation. You discover a myriad of horrible, horrible things that people do for their own benefit. The people with power impose into the lives of the poor, and the poor suffer the brunt of the consequences.

Bukowski depicted the injustice perfectly with a scene in his book on the budding healthcare system in the 1930s. He said “They experimented on the poor and if that worked they used the treatment on the rich. And if it didn’t work, there would still be more poor left over to experiment upon.”

People are merely tools for the ones with power to become more powerful.

Even if there are genuine selfless people (which I’m sure there are), what little difference they make in the grand scheme of things. Because you cannot escape the system, and you can never escape the system.

Humans have lived on this earth for centuries, but we’ve never found a proper way to coexist in a nature where everything is clean. Everyone wants to climb to the top. But what is the top?

People with money want to make more money. People with power want more power. People with control want more control. We are all selfish, and greedy, and seeking for something to be satisfied about but we don’t know what. So we keep kicking everyone else down, because maybe that, in essence, is what we’re looking for all along? To be the best, everyone has to be beneath you.

My boss said “The sooner you realise how the world operates, the quicker you become successful.”

The world is sick and filled with cruel intentions. You live long enough, and you might see yourself joining the mountain of men pushing and shoving to the top.

All the world’s a stage, and the men and women are merely players.

Tonight’s musing; don’t go to bed angry.

Fussing

February’s reaching the end of its first week. Time really is of the essence now, even though it’s just a concept people create to measure their achievements, or failures… whatever it may be.

I feel like I’m chasing something – scrambling, trying to reach for something – but what?

I’ve only recently started to make sense of last year’s ventures. I started off last year with a list of all the things I wanted to achieve. Among them are:

  • Start my YouTube journey
  • Save up for London
  • Blog
  • Write a book
  • Draw more
  • Open mic

And so many small, arbitrary goals. Well, not really arbitrary but they were small and easy to accomplish. When I started ticking them off, I realise that I’ve done quite a bit for last year – but I barely made through half of the list. And the overwhelming need to finish everything put me in a bitter mood. I blamed myself for not achieving things I’d sought out to do – when in reality, I’d done a lot more that weren’t on the damn list.

Why did I let a list dictate me?

I suppose unlike some who celebrate their achievements, it takes me a while to consider anything I do as one. I downplay myself quite a bit and then I realised it was because I was merely gliding through my life without direction. Work, for instance, has made that incredibly easy.

I power through every day doing one thing after another but I never properly absorb anything. I always think to myself; I can leave. This is temporary. I don’t want this. It’s not for me. That’s not what I want to do.

Epicurus says: Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

And therein lies my mistakes. Because no matter how many goals I set for myself, no matter how much I do, if I keep hoping and chasing for something that isn’t there, I’m just wasting my time. I suppose it’s because I’m too skeptical and lazy to dive in head first. I don’t believe in putting my all for anything because it leaves so much room for failure. You’re literally setting yourself up for failure. Why bother?

Sigh. To be afraid of failure is childish and cowardly, but to be cynical of success is downright stupid.

I’m an idiot.

I half-ass my art because to me, it only serves as instant gratification. I just do it to feel good. Like how I make music, or write. I didn’t bother making this into something because the vulnerability would eat me alive.

I think I’ve always been a complacent child. Person. Being. There’s nothing and no one to blame, I’ve just been lazy. There’s no need for me to do anything if I really think about it. I can put in good hours being a clerk, I can do admin jobs for the rest of my life. My finances are stable, I don’t need a relationship – much less a child, and I have my own place. Literally every box on everyone’s list of Things I Need To Survive Life is checked. What am I working for, exactly? Why go through the trouble of having goals and aspirations?

A question I contemplate quite a bit.

But I suppose God has better plans for me because I can never live knowing I’d settled. It’s ironic that I am starting to settle for mediocrity when I constantly fear and beat myself up for it. What is this weird cycle I’m in? And how the fuck do I get out? Or am I not mediocre to begin with but somehow I tricked myself into lying under this brick wall illusion of being average? I don’t know!

But despite my inner turmoils, 2017 was a tough year, even I have to recognise that. After everything that has happened to me and everyone around me, I feel like I’ve matured into someone who’s very much capable in handling whatever life throws at me. Even if I have no idea how, I will find a way to.

It was a good year for self-reflection. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and everyone else’s. But I need to be quicker, sharper, less… turbulent and wishy washy, cut contemplating the ‘what ifs’.

Because I cannot afford to indulge in my reveries and dream of things that aren’t here anymore, can’t afford to revel or squirm in the past, can’t afford to shy away from opportunities, can’t afford to waste anymore time.

You see? I’m chasing again. But it’s okay this time. I don’t feel as lost or clueless as I was before. I stopped seeking what is not there. All that I need are here, in abundance – and I intend to utilise them.

Maybe now I’ll be running towards something tangible enough to reach for.

Tonight’s muse; spruce up your CV!