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.


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!


As much as I’d like to think ‘cozy’ or ‘cosy’ (because not all of us adhere to American spelling) resembles plush cushions, a hot cup of tea, and snuggling to a new episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, recently it hasn’t been like that.

Cosy is wearing a long-sleeved jumper and having a cheap IKEA cushion in my arms while I type away on my laptop in the cold, unforgiving office air-cond.

Cosy is being able to smell the artificial lemon scent courtesy of the cleaning lady that comes every Friday.

Cosy is plugging in my earphones and listening to droning, melancholic post-rock during lunch time.

As 2018 draws nearer, I can feel the exhaustion of 2017 setting in. Suddenly I’m overwhelmed by everything that has happened and it seems like work is the only thing suppressing those thoughts. Perhaps I’ll be able to face my discomfort during the weekend.

I’ll probably sit and contemplate what 2018 will bring me – or what I will bring to the new year, since one of the biggest takeaways I’ve learned is that you can never expect things to just happen to you.

More so, I will think about past relationships, friendship shifts, uncanny encounters, piety and where I stand in the spectrum, and so many more I can hardly stop myself from squirming in agony.

But for now, I’ll settle with being cosy at work.

PS post-rock playlist here. It’s not all post-rock, nor is it all droning and melancholic. But it’s good shit. 🙂

via Daily Prompt: Cozy


Can You Repeat The Question?


The “yes but…”s and “maybe”s, the sputter of weak, half-assed agreement that rolls off your tongue, obscuring your genuine thoughts.

The sorries that stumble out from muscle memory, by sheer exasperation, too weak to leave.

Petty words by a petty thing.

But why?

Perhaps it is from fast-paced conversations, your replies washed away by the natters and laughter from quick-witted one-liners you wish you’d have thought up.

Or perhaps it’s merely from the lack of interest – Whatever you say.

Or. Perhaps you don’t know yet. Perhaps the extra five minutes you spend trying to construct the perfect joint makes your mind wander – idly twining words past spoken to people. Fragments of conversations stick, bits and pieces of keywords failing to form coherent sentences.


“Yes, no…. maybe. I don’t know.”


No Glitter

You want the photos but not the smell

of petrichor and saccharine garbage water

permeating the humid city of Kuala Lumpur,

You want KLCC but not the streets of Chow Kit

Dimly lit in nightfall with leathery-skinned uncles on basikal buruks

Pedalling hefty folded cardboard boxes bound by fraying tali rafias.

Not the pitter patter of footsteps crossing from one road to another,

tiny children laughing on their makeshift playground.


You want the #nofilter on your face –

strike a pose between undulating hills, exuding the all too common image of ‘wanderlust’

but not the back alleys scattered with cockroaches and

pudgy rats satiated by the abundance of waste to devour

where the mamak stalls set base

but that’s where the good nasi lemak is.


You want the glitter that comes with living but not the dust

that trails after.

You want the easy

– but who doesn’t?



A two-minute, half-baked ramble about things I’ve noticed recently with people – myself included. We all need a good slap of reality – because asking why can’t everything be easy is like screaming into the void and waiting for your echo to bounce back.