A good friend used this word to describe my incessant, often incoherent ramblings. It stuck.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I don't want to make a wish



I received this today. Another piece of heartfelt junk mail from people who care so much they send you something that’s been around the Internet block twice over rather than an email asking ‘How are you?’

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for inspirational stories. I read all that I get before I delete them. They give me a nice warm feeling, knowing that somewhere out there, something good is going on. It refreshes me and sometimes even corrects my perspective on a bad day.

But when it gets to the end of the story, whatever goodwill that has filled my heart is drained completely when you read the inevitable line ‘Now send this to five people and your greatest wish will come true.’

How in the world does that work, anyway?

How does forwarding something that someone sent by mass mail ensure that the thing that I’ve been wanting and hoping and praying for for 2 years will suddenly fall into my lap? What metaphysical strings will my hitting the ‘Forward’ button pull? What kind of mechanics, on which abstract plane, makes this possible? In which cosmic universe can there exist such a ridiculous, brain-paining connection?

I can see how if I kick my cat, she will turn around and scratch me. I can understand that, eventhough I don’t even own a cat. But I don’t see how by forwarding a piece of emotional blackmail in a blanket email to everyone in my address box can grant the deepest desires of my heart.

It’s like blackmail, that’s what it is. Like I can’t enjoy a story for its virtue as a story but need to validate my guilty pleasure by subjecting someone else to the same arm-twisting. Its just plain silly.

One other thing that really got me riled up was the prayer at the end. It tells you to make a wish. Then pray. And wah-La I will finally be a proud owner of my own little MyVi in the exact same shade of teal as my 50% off Vincci sandals. Yeah that’s my greatest wish – to match my car and my shoes because colours just come out so terribly different on different materials.

But back to my rant.

So I make a selfish little wish, then pray a prayer that was written out by someone else – AND which, mind you, doesn’t mention my little wish AT ALL – and I’m supposed to see some kind of result next Tuesday. So eventhough I don’t believe in this God that the prayer profess, I will get my wish by virtue of this recitation.

By inference, therefore, God cannot resist the power of a forwarded email, nor the Prayer of St. Theresa, nor every other ridiculous line written by a bored adolescent and will grant my every whim and fancy like a fat, blue-skinned genie.

These emails imply that God, who is supposed to have created the universe, can be arm-twisted into granting my wishes. These imply that God, whose timing and plans no one can discern not even the angels, can be manipulated by the very beings that He created. These imply that God is weak, bound, limited, disappointing and not very God-like at all.

That may be a God I like, but its definitely not one I want.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ode to 2005

2005. Gone another 365 days of mine and this planet’s life.

What was it like?

According to the Time magazine, it was a year of dismay. Hurricane Katrina and the Bush administration’s shoddy, half-hearted attempt at rescue, the suicide bombing of the London Underground system, the 7.6 Richter earthquake which struck Pakistan, the immigrant uprising in the French suburbs, the passing of Pope John Paul II.

The photographs of these sad events are those up for vote for Time’s Best Photo of the Year 2005. Supposedly the winning image will represent the zeitgiest of the year that has passed. All are snapshots of grief and sorrow, each capturing the breakdown of the human spirit and the heights of man’s depravity in bright, mega-pixel clarity.

A young girl’s blue unbelieving eyes staring from the envelope of her father’s arms as they survey their devastated home post-Hurricane Rita. An inert form, bloated and anonymous, floating in the aftermath of Katrina. A numbed mother whose baby nurses at a shrunken breast, she is too weak to even sit up so the baby suckles with his head at a strange angle.

Death. Disease. Catastrophe. This is 2005. I am no idealist. But does life really suck so much?

No doubt there have been moments in the year of clear, unaffected joy, some form of human achievement or progress that lifts jaded hearts. Maybe something in the areas of space exploration, computer science or medical technology? But what made the headlines, what stood out and resonated in all peoples across the globe where these disasters – where lives are lost and anger triumph. Overwhelmingly, a year of loss and failure.

Then just as I was wallowing in that sinking feeling, Popular Science’s look back on 2005 instantly puts things back into perspective. Marking out man’s greatest inventions in the past year, one creation stands out – a feat that astounds and captures the imaginations of both man and child, a event considered equally groundbreaking in its niche field of science as well as in your home’s living room: the coloured bubble.

Casting every toy ever created in the for-your-baby-cousins heap, the coloured bubble was such a feat of chemical engineering that it took 11 years, half a million USDs and hundreds of stained kitchen countertops in order to come up with what could conceivably be nothing more than some detergent, water and food dye.

But oh no, if you were a colour chemist or a molecular biologist (which I’m not but www.popsci.com makes it look really cool to be one) you would realise that the common combination of the above would create nothing more than a clear bubble with a dot of colour at the bottom. What were talking about is a clear, transparent bubble of colour.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short – because even I don’t fully understand the intricate chemistry behind a dye that’s light enough to be supported by the two water molecules that make up a bubble or some such scientific mumble - two men did. Tim Kehoe and Ram Sabnis. And its set to hit toystores worldwide this year. Zubbles by Ascadia. Remember the name.

Bright yellow, electric pink, dazzling blue, purple transparent spheres floating serenely in the air. Lifted by the breeze to just go where ever it may lead. Just think about it.

I know it doesn’t make all the devastation we’ve brought upon ourselves any less painful. It doesn’t make death any less sorrowful. But just for a second – as long as it takes for the bubble to pop, perhaps – suddenly Life doesn’t feel so much like the dump it really is.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bittersweet

My heart is scored by a suicidal melancholy
Stabbed, I bleed all over my stony fascade

I am reflected in the shimmer of my leaking life
I - and you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Feeling important

I’m so occupied with the necessary that on my off minutes I think in

· Point forms

Fragments

..sound bites..

::BLURBS::

I can no longer string a proper sentence containing coherent and well-mediated thoughts together without losing its mojo under the burden of time constraints and the fear of someone finding out I’m whining like a petulant child instead of being a good little cogwheel playing my part in the national economy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

BOH Cameronian Awards 2005

11 Things That Made BCAA 2005 Worth It

1. Ida Nerina’s take on Jessica Rabbit

2. Jit Murad having to remove his glasses to read the script

3. Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Dato’ Wong Kam Hoong’s BOH tea joke

4. Jit calling Caroline Russell, CEO of BOH Plantations, ‘theatre’s favourite tea lady’.

5. Malaysia’s tortured performing arts community laughing at themselves

6. Marimasri’s gay cabaret meets boy band. Oh wait – they’re both the same thing.

7. ferrerorocher@yahoo.com

8. Deputy Minister’s slip-of-the-tongue anecdotes.

9. Ramli Ibrahim exercising some muscle to prevent the Minister from regaling the audience with more.

10. Izlyn Ramli’s disembodied voice rescuing Jit from a very awkward moment on stage.

11. Multilingualism

And THIS deserves very very special mention: Edwin Sumun’s very very sexy accessorising. Shiny, very very shiny.

Friday, February 18, 2005

In honour of Valentine's Day

The lights turned blue. The night went red. Afternoon delight.

She let out a sigh and fell, cradled, against his chest. The void had opened, the world had fallen through. Only her body remained. And his.

In the stillness – oblivion. My body is divested of its will, its tension, its desires, she thinks. My body rests, she feels. I am at peace. He brings me peace. No – it is Love that brings me peace.

She lifts her head and whispers into his ear, You make me feel so peaceful. He actually titters. Your closeness, she says, your giving. This is love. This peace. This revelation. She pledges herself forever.

Forever never lasts.

The third eye of hindsight caresses the jagged edge of her naivety. Peace, she spits. Grotesque and primitive, two bodies tyrannised by one instinct. Mired deep in the carnal pathways of evolution or sin or destiny, it drives the heaving of desperate bodies, the heated beast is in pursuit and they run and gasp for it to end. The chase peaks, the prey is caught, torn apart, devoured.

Peace. What the body in the red night knows is not peace. We throw our flesh to the beast, we leave our chains and meet the jaws of lust, we claw the boundaries of control and release, then we lie back and are emptied, this satiation is not peace. It is the ravished body, lying prostrate in ungodly defeat, whose perverse ownership, for a few darkly lucid seconds, cannot be denied. It is the paralysis of the broken, who, in the unguarded moment of release, embraces the dirty truths of her origins.
_________________________
Exerpted off an anonymous woman.
To Love: the icon of higher happier things.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Curious aftertastes

I've just managed to complete a 26-episode anime series. It took me a couple of months - notwithstanding the fact that I only get my fix (three to four hours at a go) about once a week but the series - Witch Hunter Robin, institutionalised witch hunting set in modern times - suffered from a slow plodding pace and a plot which left too many questions unanswered. Robin was often sidelined in favour of more entertaining activities.

Still I trudged on. I hate to leave things unfinished. The only book I remember abandoning in a sigh of exasperation was Herman Melville's Moby Dick which had everything and nothing at all to do with a white whale and its maddened victim. Even so, I determinedly returned to its tattered pages after a year's recuperation.

For a while Robin seemed promising. The series ran on the premise that there were still witches even in this 20th century world whose powers lay hidden and unknown, even to those who possess them, until their awakening. Once awakened, of course, they were evil and had to be completely wiped out. Hunting them down has become a full-fledged occupation with Headquarters and Chiefs and branch divisions in almost every country in the world. In Japan, they operate under the name STN-J where the protagonist, Robin, an innocent cloistered Jane Eyre type with the gift of the Craft, is introduced as the newest member of the local squad. In her Victorian widow-in-mourning get-up she sticks out like a sore thumb among her colleagues who wear regular clothing on their hunts, yet as a visual clue it marked her, as two-peas-in-a-pod with the leader of the squad, a talented mysterious similarly black-clad Amon.

The series began as a kind of a-case-an-episode crime fighting anime - and unfortunately, a bad one. The cases were simple, the lessons cliched and trying to love any of the STN-J members was difficult because they were so two-dimensional. Still I plodded on - a friend had highly recommended it - and it was only after 15 episodes of slow, pointless witch-hunting that things begin to come together. The STN-J is attacked, apparently on orders by its own HQ, with Robin as the apparent target. One thing leads to another and its discovered that STN-J's chief is conducting some secret research revolving around the Orbo - the substance that protects Robin and her squad from being affected by a witch's power - which is coming under heavy scrutiny from Solomon, apparently another name for HQ, which accumulates in the entire operations being destroyed.

At the same time Robin undergoes a kind of identity crisis when she finds out that she's the result of a genetic manipulation of a witch - an experiment that makes her one of the purest form of witch power since Salem.

Robin is unconvincing. I sometimes wondered as I progressed through the series if I'd missed out one or two vital episodes where they explain the origins of Orbo or Solomon or why is Robin not considered a witch although the has the powers of one. I also find it slightly incredulous that Robin's colleagues, despite having gone through attempted murder and the agony of loss together, should still band together to storm HQ in order to get a captured colleague out. Relationships in Robin are stiff and starched, as if everyone first met, and personalities suffer from depthlessness. Any redemption that comes at the end of the series is forced and superficial.

The end: HQ and the controversial Orbo manufacture goes up in flames. Everyone is in one piece. Amon and Robin, who returned to the squad for this final mission, have gone missing. Michael, the staple geek of the Squad, smiles knowingly as he narrates 'Robin and Amon died in the fire. That is what they say.' And I get shivers down my spine. It is a feeling that borders on the cringeworthy. First impressions of both of them are mysterious to the point of being anal with dispositions that bring to mind a discipline that is almost religious - something that the series has failed to break through. To think that they've found love with each other and have disappeared to explore this new life is a leap to big to be made.

And STN-J returns to normal. The questions that were raised during the upheaval regarding the true nature of witches, Robin's Craft, the nature of the Orbo - all these return to under the carpet whence they came and have apparently left no impression on this team who continue to hunt witches and condemn them to a dark end.