Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coarse Gentleness, Gentle Coarseness

If you are an avid fan of the P Ramlee movies, especially the comedies, you would not be surprised to discover that the man uses a lot of what would be considered coarse and harsh language today. For example, the infamous “kepala hotak kau berjambul” that does not make any sense what so ever was probably first heard in Seniman Bujang Lapok when the manager, Kemat Hassan scolded a subordinate who could not make it to work that day. It seemed perfectly fine, in fact it incites an intense want to just laugh out loud. It was full of camaraderie and we felt comfortable in the zone. However, have that similar line pronounced by one of our comics today, the rule would be this is a PG13 movie for its harsh or (horror!) vulgar language. Looks like the movies today have been cleaned up or have it not? So, did we just grow much sensitive or did we just decide to think that we’re much more civilised nowadays?

Having read The Malaysian Way of Life where there is one cleverly written article by someone I could not bother to look up now, it was deduced that Malay Language is probably one of the very few languages in the world that does not portray any foul words when it is used in the media which is pretty much on the contrary for many of the users of the language itself. Self censorship is pretty much non-existent and thus signifying why the ubiquitous way of parents punishing their child by “cilikan” their mouth for experimenting with some of the restricted words. It would suffice to say that many of the words used has connections to the genitalia of either male or female or even references to sexual connotations.

But just as the F word in English Language dictionary has developed itself to now be a noun, adjective, adverb from its former function as a verb, the Malay Language has also found its own way to say things in a twofold way that it brings subtle double meanings. So you can restrict what they say in a straight forward manner but you can’t stop them from implying something because they could say it was perfectly innocent. Cunning eyh? Indeed, man finds a way to do what it wants even when it doesn’t appear so. For example, take this scene in the movie MySpy that I watched in the cinemas last year:

Scene: AC and Harun were trapped in a refrigerator without bare minimum clothing on their back. In order to overcome the chill, they decided to hug each other. This was what they said

AC: Kau ada rasa apa-apa tak?
Harun: Kau rasa apa? Aku ada juga terasa...
AC: Kau rasa apa??
Harun: Adalah sesuatu...

The rest of the movie was also filled with dialogues as such and as a movie-goer, it is not inaccurate to point out that elements of racial defamatory, female discrimination, homophobia and discrimination against transgender would be the jokes to poke our hearts in current movies. Needless to say, such kitsch brand of comedy just does not work with me and I reckon also towards a majority of other spectators. However, it is the small kids nowadays that grow up watching these movies that we should worry about because in our effort to stop our children from cursing, we are teaching them to be bigots. Teaching them that when a man hugs another man, there is surely something to worry about. That women who do not have a pretty face cannot wear decent clothing. This stereotype, that perception which now seem to colour the landscape of our current society.

It’s time we rethink what are the underlying values of our societies, whether it is alright to laugh at things that we ought not to because in the end, it is not what you say but how you say it.

We Are All Machas

another one from That Effing Show of PopTeeVee

Oi You

Oi You,
I Love You,
But I'll ruin everything,
If I told you,
Oi You,
I Want To Marry You,
But you'll leave everything,
If I asked you to,
Oi You,
I Sakit Kepala,
Pura-pura I Don't Mind,
Yang You Tak Kisah Too


“I wish that dad would come back”

Yet another loud whisper woke me up from my deep slumber, adding a sudden pang of ache to my pulsing head. It was rather dark still, with a distant glimmer from the others like little glass beads being showered with astonishing glare of rays. I thought of that hopeful whisper and shut my eyes hard. Maybe I was hoping that there was something I could do about it, maybe I was merely trying in vain to attain more rest. I did not know what I wanted. But I knew everything seemed impossible just as every other quaint murmur- sometimes muffled while others quite piercing- would always distract me from getting more sleep. I rolled over on my resting point and drifted away in my train of thoughts.

Born 7 years ago in Magellan, I have grown up listening to angry pleas and mournful hopes, I was scared and puzzled so I used to scream at night thus waking everyone in the vicinity. They stared at me when I roamed around the town and they mocked my answer when I told them about the voices. Mummy tried to take it all in and raise me up as a mother and father would but I think it got too much for her so she packed up our things and told me that we are going on a visit to Big Momma’s house in Persei. I leaped with joy as we have never gone anywhere but being gone was what she did. She wafted away from me like a puff of smoke as we reached Persei and taking me into her stride, the fiercely wilful Big Momma who was mummy’s closest kith said that I should ignore all those voices, that they were all just inside my head. She told me to withstand the sounds and endure them like a man despite my young age because I am no ordinary kid. I knew I had to fit in and build myself again so I did as I was told. Plainly said, we never talked about it anymore.

I would have never thought of sharing my dreams and fears with anyone here. I just wanted to be like everyone else, just like the hundreds of us in this quiet little city of lights because if you’re different, you stick out like a sore thumb. So I went on with life and played little games with all the others and ignoring the voices I hear as I hopscotch just to batter my limbs, to burst with energy or to explode in anger from time to time. I had to dominate to rise from a lonely spot into a force to be reckoned with. It is never easy to do that but we all try to.

As years passed by, I have grown with a healthy glow about me and I shine like an imaginary pearl glazed with lucent gold. I have knocked out everyone else from the equation to be the most powerful in town for I stole the limelight only for myself. Alas, the voices kept getting louder and more defined as I got stronger. It messed up my head sometimes and I threw some tantrums to stop them but all I get is little ‘ooohsss’ and ‘aaahhhss’ of wonder. Those voices never gave up and continuously coo their songs of yearning without fail. Then, one day, it came: a peculiar revelation as the voices slowly subsided into nothing.

I grew hollow inside and felt lonelier than I ever did before. My spirit dimmed and nothing seemed able to revive it, not even the longest nap I ever had in my life. I suffered in the unfamiliar tranquillity though that was all I wished for all my life. Unable to fathom this, I brought myself to Big Momma’s door. She still beamed with radiance even after all these years. Sensing my distraught manner, she cajoled me in and asked of my wellbeing. I have lost my ability to show weakness so I said in a stiff voice,

“I have not been listening to them. I thought I would be happy but it disturbs me that they don’t. Is there something wrong with me?”

She stood still and let out a heavy sigh, as if heaving out a burden contained in her chest. Her eyes flickered with a malicious secret that receded that sigh, as if it evoked a certain memory that just cornered itself into her mind. She opened her mouth then hesitated to say something.

“You should tell me, Big Momma,” my voice finding a sympathetic tone.

“You’re different, Cygnus. You’re gifted for you have been chosen among all of us to be the Wish. It is their wishes that make you strong and hopeful because with their hopes, you build yours. You see that blue spot there? That is your wishing point where all your wishes come from,”

“But why have they stopped wishing?”

“I do fear that this day will come, when they would give up on hope and become non-believers. When love becomes a stranger and wrath governs for when this happens, they will destroy each other. It is now time for a reminder and it requires a huge sacrifice,”

Big Momma’s eyes were now heavy with grimness. I threw a glance at the blue spot that I have never bothered about before and thought about how I have affected these people.

“I will do it, Big Momma. I will…”

I kissed her cheek and stormed off. She was shouting my name but I was too fast for her. I sped off towards the end of Persei and as I got there, I was quivering with zest. I looked out towards that blue spot that seemed a million miles away and remembered all the prayers I have feigned not to hear before. As all of them came rushing into my mind, I spread out my hands and felt my heart thumping with a million beats of promises. A surge of energy centred on all those hopes and I gloried in all of them. I smiled in the glory and shone into a blinding brightness that shook Persei off her feet. I dazzled in the knowledge that my existence was not in vain, that I was not a freak but I am a saviour.

“You’re watching CNN War Minutes and you’re here with Randy Miller. Reports have been cited of a possibility that the gleaming ray of light seen on the sky last night for about 5 minutes everywhere around the world was a supernova that erupted in the Chi Persei Galaxy located a billion miles from the Earth. This phenomenon is dubbed as Nova Cygni and convinced that this is a miracle for it is rare occurrence to be seen by the naked eyes, many were found dumping their weapons and flooding mosques, churches and synagogues instead to seek solace while hoping for the world to be a better place. This seems like a sign for a new beginning after years of animosity and let us all hope that hope never fades.”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ahoy, The Competitive Coach!

It is a well known fact about me that I am extremely competitive and I strive for the best in what I am passionate about. All my friends even said that they would never participate in Amazing Race with me for the mere fact that I would drive them crazy with my constant pushing about. However things are not going that well for me lately and “I am sick of being the loser”, would the phrase I would like to shout out now!

Story is we participated in a somewhat prestigious debate competition for certain types of school recently and have managed to prove to everyone that we were able to put up a fight. We beat 4 out of 5 schools in the preliminary rounds and Suhail (woaaahhh, it’s the first time this name is ever mentioned here…) won the best speaker in the 5 aforementioned preliminary rounds.

Come semi-finals, was up against one of the schools that did quite well in the SPM 2009 results and the motion was:

This house believes he who controls the Information Technology controls the world

Our position: Opposition

We nailed it, ladies and gentleman. We sealed the deal but because of the presupposition by some rather narrow minded people, it came across as if we did not deserve to win. Our points were solid and we set plus controlled the motion on that day. No POIs at all from both the first and second ministers of the government and their points were supported by mere sweeping statements with neither facts nor data. We provided data and facts plus reports from United Nations, USA and whatnots while they spoke about Facebook and top-up cards. It was a clear cut win for the Opposition with poor rebuttals from the Government. Call me biased but I do know what I am talking about as 12 years of experience at different levels does come in handy now. Though Suhail was the best speaker, alas, we lost!

The only thing that saddens me is Suhail could not make it to the national levels because of this unjust treatment. If there is a good reason why I want to win this, it would be for him rather than for myself. The guy debated for 5 years, for goodness sake! I think, as his teacher, I have failed to bring him to a better level probably due to my inability to put together a good team for the debate which brings me to point that it is very apparent that my students have a chronic inability to think critically and they are also afraid to live up to the expectation. I had debaters pulling out of the team when I only had a week to go and had to train another girl in that same duration.

Everybody in my school keeps shoving everyone else except for themselves into the team and they would cringe if we identified them to be a debater as if being one is like slitting your own throat. I hate to admit that most of them are cowards who keep putting themselves down and not believing in themselves. I remember when I was in school, we fought for the part to be a debater and being in a community where we had a lot of Chinese and Indian friends, the atmosphere becomes competitive and everyone puts in their best. To be a debater, you really had to debate your way in and such was the practice that I had to succeed in life.

I am going to miss having a Suhail in my team next year and I would hollow out the earth if I have to in order to find someone even half as good as him. It might have been destined that we lost but I am happy that he would be acknowledged as the BEST SPEAKER of the whole competition (you’re just too good, dude!). You did win something and you owe it all to yourself. Anyway, Thank you and congratulations to my debate team who made it to the semi-finals and a heartfelt appreciation for Suhail who made all of these possible. Although I screamed and shouted at them because of my drive to win, they stood by me. Even when I scolded them severely, they smiled at me. Thank you for putting up with the competitive b***h in me and for not turning away when things were at a boiling point. I Love You Guys

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Aiqa Chica

Just goes to show we're never short of real talent.