Friday, May 25, 2007

Tales of The Wanderlust:the preparation

when i was small, i could only listen to tales of my siblings' adventure abroad. two of them are pilots, and so they get to travel everywhere, up to a point where my brothers dont really go anywhere once they reach their destination -weary of travel, and already feel like they're part of the city. it's like going back to their homes in so many cities. the other sisters often travel as well, some on business, some on vacation.

i remember my eldest sister went on a european tour in the early 90s, and i remember looking at all the pics. she was complaining to me "your nieces were only interested in souvenirs, but not looking at the scenery". she was talking abt the their tour to the highlands of Scotland. she showed me the pics they took at Versailles, the palace of the great Sun King, or Louis the xiv. then there was a picture of tyrolean ladies dancing, spinning around. and in my silent heart i said to her "you should have taken me along, because i'm interested in all these".

with so many wonderful tales, how cant i be tempted? but as i was growing up, i was afraid of challenges, of the unknown. i embrace the routines and the familiar.

until the day i opened my mind to literary discussions.

i remember laurence sterne's A Sentimental Journey, Muhammad Hj Salleh's Si Tenggang's Homecoming, rushdie's Midnight's Children and The Moor's Last Sigh. i'm much influenced with rushdie's idea of cultural hybridity, of rootlessness - of not being rooted to a single place, but to be a traveller, and therefore, open to new ideas and cultures. that's the idea for a postmodern world. a borderless world.

a tourist is just a tourist, only satisfied with the commercial tourist attractions. but a traveller is more than that. a traveller seeks to discover new places and cultures with vigour and enthusiasm and learns so much more.

and so, armed with advice of friends and siblings, i'm preparing to be that traveller.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

copy cats, cheap publicity and pop culture

at first, there's only one. the one. the next thing you know, imitations mushroom everywhere. an original louis vuitton will cost thousands of ringgit, while it's inferior counterpart (made in siam) only costs less than rm50.

talking about imitations leads me to my next point, which is the wild fire spread of copy cat reality tv shows. i understand that some tv stations are only concerned with reaping big bucks and ratings, but sometimes it's just too much. please, 1 david blaine show is enough....and there're a lot of other copy cat shows as well. and that too much publicised wedding - frankly i find it vulgar to commercialise such a dignified and sacred event. which is why i respect raja nazrin for making his a small but closed affair. it's tasteful, dignified and very royal.

back to reality tv shows, they target the younger generation (reminds me of a malay proverb something abt sorong bantal pd orang ngantuk?) who eagerly lap it up and even have factions fighting over their favourite celebrities.

makes one wonder - is this what we want our malaysians to be? to be too absorbed with entertainment until that's all they can talk about. this is also one of the reasons why youngsters do not read as they spend their time in front of the idiot box. and the ministry finally has to force the students to read by introducing literature component into the syllabus. i was really sad once when i started talking about books that i read as a teenager to my students. as i read out the titles of the books, i was met with silence and blank stares. how are we supposed to produce critical minded citizens then?

yes this has become our pop culture. the culture of texting on mobile phones, watching shows, less reading, less contact with our traditional culture...

where are we heading to?

Monday, May 07, 2007

a wedding and the aftermath

a long time ago, i used to have hopes of getting married and live happily ever after (well, dont we all? read that in the dryest tone). there was once when i hit rock bottom, but that wasnt because of a wedding, but of a pregnancy of another person, and it happened after i broke up with my ex. felt like i was a failure, like the whole world was against me. that was when i did my masters.

when one of the nieces got married recently, my other single nieces and i hung out as usual, after the nikah ceremony. some of them were depressed. me? well, i m past the stage. what can i say? my niece found a nice man. that's all. and so we moped over a muffin and ice blended chocolate with whipped cream.

i'm reminded of an episode of sex and the city, when a friend of the 4 girls got married and she threw the bouquet. the flowers fell at carrie's feet. they all looked down, but carrie never bent to pick them up. instead, she said her goodbyes to the other 3 girls and went off. probably i've become carrie, disillusioned.

the journey of life is full of thorns which make you cry. in the end, you become tougher, although i must admit, there are times when a wandering thought can set off unstoppable tears. it makes you wonder if you'll ever be happy. my niece pointed out that i successfully completed my studies, i've ex students who still contact me after 7 years, and students who respect me, and i can travel. happiness isnt attained when you have a handsome or rich husband. happiness comes from within you because you love yourself, you have people who care for you, and you pursue your dream and succeed in doing it.

it's in your heart.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Song of the Sea: Collecting Shells

In the midst of the calm morning sea,
I left fresh footsteps in the wet brown sand.
The peach globe was radiant and well-pleased,
listening to the orchestrated waves.

I couldnt help myself but smiled,
And looking down,
I was a girl once more.
There lay a curved row of beautiful treasures
of pink, brown and white.
I bent down and picked one.
With each piece I was reminded
of visits with my father,
listening to his tales of fishermen
reading the stars to sail home with their bounty;
eagles would fly majestically to signify the end of monsoon.

To the South China Sea
I paid homage and re-lived the ritual,
collecting treasures of the sea.
This is my land,
And the shells bind me to it.

penned on 6th June 07.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Song of the Sea: Laments of a Heart: A Tale of Innocence

In solitude
I crossleg on the millions of granules,
witnessing the birth of a new day.
It's peaceful around here.
Before me spreads a priceless painting,
Splashes of pink and orange spice the dull blue.
entitled "happy colours of the innocence".
Strange as it seems, the colours that remind me of you
are created on this land.

As children we breathed the same salty breeze.
We frolicked under the same sun.
We watched the high and the ebb.
But I had strayed from our playground.
And you, with the gentleness of the lapping
waves in June,
brought me back.
We were the innocence.
We confided our dreams,
We laughed, and we shared.
But today there are only regrets and a sharp pang.

This emptiness in me will no longer be filled with innocence.
The waves still lap gently.
They come and retreat.

I'm sitting here alone
Realising I can never catch my waves.
Realising I will miss you a lifetime.

penned on this day, 29th June 2003.