24 August 2020

sunsets

Sunsets are hideous. Not the colour, but the implied meanings underneath.

 

 When I was 13 at my boarding school, walking from the hostel to the dining hall during the evening was dreaded. There was one time where I woke up late because I slept after prep class in the evening, I remember waking up feeling so lost inside and I wanted so badly to run away. I missed my home and my family and this place felt like a punishment for something that I didn't do. The evening sunset was only making it worse.

 

I remember walking through the classroom blocks to the Kemahiran Hidup workshops on my way to the surau, crying a little bit because I couldn't bear living like this. I couldn't fit in, I felt unwanted. 


I remember the colour of the evening, so sickening, so orange, so sorrowful, so tormenting. There was a subtle cruelty in sunsets, like it was designed to tap into the sadness in your heart, the orange was unrelenting in its pursuit to search and unearth that emotion in you.  


When the hostels are empty, you could hear the faint noises from the field. Balls bouncing off somebody's feet and the cement court, shouting and whistle blows. They were complementary to the sunsets, it was a transitional phase from day to night and it felt so lonesome if you remove yourself away from the scene. 


I remember years later, I finally found a reason to make the sunsets more bearable. A person. A face.

 

Sunsets aren't that bad, if you're not alone. A simple companionship is all you needed to make it feel less tragic. And so began those years in my life when I no longer dread sunsets, that evenings are cool too, as long as I'd be experiencing it with you.

 

But evenings are the euphemism for something else, and without knowing it, you too are my own sunset. You were the phase, you were the transition. You once made the sunsets tolerable, that colours are irrelevant, time bears no meaning, sunsets and sunrises do not matter, as long as you're here by my side to live our truth. 

 

But alas, here we are now. I'm fighting my own sunsets, my own life failings, my torn apart dreams. I wished for you, I'd beg for you, just to make everything feel right again. But the truth that once was ours couldn't make it to forever, we have to make do with what we have, and we could only wish time would make us feel whole again.


18 August 2020

HeArtbreak

 I created a playlist titled HEARTBREAK on Spotify yesterday. It feel appropriate, an ode to the waves of sadness I couldn't properly address or dismiss. Is this the final goodbye? Amid the storm of never-ending works and juggling between being a person, an employee and a son, I had so little time to (re)visit the heartache. 


I was being held hostage by a hope that I had kept for so long, not exactly sure if I wanted to be liberated. There's no right or wrong, no future only the past. No love, just emotions. Raw emotions. I feel numb. The pain is strange, it's stretched thin over time, yet it is still there somewhere in the background, waiting for the cracks, my moments of weakness to attack. 


The songs on the playlist was every bit of lyrics that I adore, that I could come back to, that helps explain my emotions way better than I do. 'In the twist of separation, you excelled at being free' sang Take That. How so accurate! I always thought that losing me was a loss, but it was always me who suffered the most. I thought people would regret that they hadn't treated me better, they would cry missing me at nights, they would be jealous looking at me soaring so high above the clouds after they walked out the door. But it is me who regretted ever thinking that, it was me who cried feeling so inadequate of myself that I couldn't keep anyone near me for long. 

 

After several years, we are strangers again. I always dreamt of coming back, of finding each other again. Like that Christina Aguilera song: '...they say, "If you love something let it go. If it comes back it's yours..." 

 

The thought of letting something go just so that they could come back in the future scares me. I always held on to that one strand of hope, refuse to ever let go. And now, look where it brought me. Always stuck in a limbo.

That playlist was a cocktail mixture of everything; upbeat tempo, mellow songs, hopeful music, and then some. Some t.a.t.u, some Adele, some Boyzone. Some Glee, some Nabila Razali. It made me melancholic for a bygone era, sad for the present, but at the same time hopeful for whatever coming next. It's a reflection  of not just how I feel about things, but more importantly how I feel about myself. 

 

 I might feel like a weirdo sometimes, insufferable, lost. A hopeless romantic, mostly stupid. But that is me, and all the scars doesn't make me any less worthy, any less pretty. 


 You remember how We Are Young struck some chord about being young, being reckless, and being free-spirited? Listening to that song, I feel like bursting into flames, while smashing a glass with my Lumia 800 (RIP) in slow-mo, and the glass shattered so beautifully against the backdrop and the vibrant screen of the Lumia.


In the end, I guess this is loooong time coming. I feel a tad sad, a bit numb, but I had all these years of silence to prepare me for when that day finally came. After that, there's nothing between us. I won't pray for you again, I won't even hope for anything. Your family picture might pop up sometimes on my timeline, but for heaven's sake, you've blocked me, so when that very unlikely situation does happen, I would bite my lips and try to push back the waves of emotions from washing over me, and I would just simply pray this time, not for you, but for the best for you. And for me too. And I would tell myself, albeit reliving again all of those memories, that this is how it should be. This might not feel good, but this is right. 

 

After all, even after all these years, I guess I'm facing the greatest loss of them all.




 

24 June 2020

of Debts and Riba

Tajuk macam ilmiah je kan, tapi sebenarnya nak sembang-sembang petang je.

Jadi dewasa ni, semua orang expect kita untuk memenuhi tanggapan masyarakat. Umur sekian dah kena ada kereta, kena ada rumah, kena kahwin. My point specifically is about trying to fulfill expectations by burying ourselves in debt. Nak beli rumah - hutang. Nak beli kereta - hutang. Nak kahwin, pun hutang.

Saya dapat kereta tahun 2012, sebab Abengah nak beli kereta baru, family dia makin besar. Abengah offer dekat saya sambung bayar, RM450 sebulan kereta Saga FL, loan dengan Bank Islam selama 10 tahun (skim graduan). Masa tu baru 2 tahun Abengah pakai, jadi ada baki hutang 8 tahun. 

Abengah mula mintak saya jagakan kereta tu sementara dia dekat offshore dan kakak ipar balik kampung dekat Sabah selama beberapa bulan, jadi dalam tempoh tu dia bayar lagi monthly installment dengan servicing maintenance. Saya isi minyak je.  

Lepas dia balik dari offshore baru dia hand over kepada saya officially dan saya mula kena bayar kereta tu. Masa nilah baru rasa satu bebanan hutang ni, setiap bulan installment saja dah RM450, belum tambah pula nak service, nak bayar roadtax, nak isi minyak, nak bayar tol.

With age, comes wisdom. Setelah bekerjaya, sikit-sikit ada increment gaji, mula terasa kereta ni tak begitu membebankan compared to masa mula-mula pakai. Lepas tu datang pulak masyarakat punya expectation - kereta lepas beberapa tahun dah boleh tukar. Eh kau ni umur dah banyak, boleh dah beli rumah.

Dulu saya naif, percaya kata orang, ya rumah memang wajib kena beli. Masa terbaik untuk beli rumah adalah sekarang, sebab rumah sentiasa akan naik harga. Biarlah rumah flat sekalipun, yang penting rumah tu kita sendiri punya. Cliche kan dengar semua ni?

Every layer of society, dari berpendidikan tinggi, sampailah ke rakyat marhaen, semua fikir memiliki rumah sendiri itu adalah suatu keperluan. Saya pun dulu tak pernah mempersoalkan, sebab semua orang di bawah satu atmosfera yang berkongsi falsafah yang sama - rumah dan kereta, perlu ada. And even until now, for me it is still valid. Saya bersetuju kita memang kena ada rumah sendiri, cuma yang berubahnya saya mula mempersoalkan cara atau instrumentasi untuk mendapatkan rumah tu. 

Beberapa kali saya pernah terbaca, pasal isu riba dalam institusi kewangan kita. Hukum ASB, sampai sekarang setiap negeri ada fatwa masing-masing. Isu pasal bank Islamik yang pada nama Islam, tetapi pada pelaksanaannya tidak begitu. Tapi dulu baca dan lupa, sebab saya tak rasa saya akan terpalit ke dalam kancah riba, jadi saya tak ambil berat. 

Sehinggalah lately ni, sebab saya rasa pendapatan macam dah mampu untuk bayar mortgage rumah bulan-bulan, secara tak sedar kadang-kadang carian Google pergi ke arah berkaitan membeli rumah. Nak pulak zaman sekarang harga rumah dicanang-canang akan jatuh sebab PKP dan sebab permintaan makin berkurangan.

Khayalan mula melayang memikirkan keselesaan tinggal dalam rumah sendiri, hujung minggu keluarga datang bertandang, buat jamuan ajak kawan-kawan datang. I'm an adult now. My house my rules agitu. 

Beberapa minggu lepas, rasa lepas tengok video yang Mirul share. Pasal harga rumah dekat Malaysia yang tak masuk akal. Kalau ikutkan pengiraan, rumah mampu milik dekat Malaysia harganya dalam lingkungan RM280k, tapi what happened was rumah-rumah yang dibina lebih banyak peratusan rumah yang mahal.

Ikut video tu, katanya sebab tanggapan pemaju yang nampak keuntungan pada hartanah yang mahal, as compared to membina rumah kos rendah yang untung tak seberapa. Pemaju yakin bubble burst pasaran hartanah takkan berlaku sebab polisi Kerajaan yang banyak menyebelahi pemaju terutamanya bila rumah kos tinggi harga mampus milik ni tak terjual, Kerajaan yang tolong ubah polisi membenarkan warga asing untuk membeli rumah-rumah mahal tu nanti (RM600k ke atas).

Atas sebab tu dan sebab pemilik rumah sedia ada taknak harga rumah yang mereka beli akan jatuh, maka pasaran hartanah dekat Malaysia ni memang takkan turun harga walaupun supply rumah lagi banyak dari demand. 

Lepas tu bila korek-korek, terjumpa fatwa Mufti WP yang mengatakan hukum membeli rumah dengan faedah adalah riba'. I'm afraid to put a definition to riba' because there are a few, but adding an interest on your loan is a type of riba. 

Also, lepas Naja kata bukan setakat orang yang makan riba yang haram, memberi riba pun haram, a lil bit of googling led me here:

Tapi masa tu saya still belum 100% bersetuju. Saya fikir, kalau setakat 4.5% interest beli rumah, berapa banyak je kan riba kita bayar. Negligible je, tak sampai Lima peratus. Until saya tergerak nak tengok berapa banyak sebenarnya riba kita bayar. Saya pun Google house loan calculator. 

Saya masukkan harga rumah RM300k, assuming dapat 100% loan takde deposit, tempoh pinjaman 35 tahun dengan interest constant 4.5%.
This is what I got:

Beli rumah harga RM300k, bayar balik RM596k, twice the price. Interest yang 4.5%, over 35 years akan buatkan kita kena bayar over RM296k. And I was like seriously wtf weh. Ini memang riba, aku ingatkan 4.5% daripada 300k is RM13,500, so the fact that it's not, it's frigging RM296k just blew me away. 

Sampai sekarang saya tak boleh nak hadam, kenapa kita kena bayar hampir 2 kali ganda loan kita? And why everybody seems to agree to it? Is this right? 

Long story short, I began to feel like yes, memang semua orang sekarang ni dalam sistem riba, but it doesn't mean it's right and I have to agree with it. I vehemently disagree with how we are forced into slaving 35 years of our lives away to pay the bank. This cannot be right. 

(ergh panjang pulak sesi bincang petang dah sampai malam dah) 

So with this new information, I decided to say hell no to riba', kereta pun tahun depan nak habis (it's Bank Islam, Islamic financing but that term itself leaves a bad taste in my mouth), rumah pun taknak beli, I said to myself, I won't buy anything yang ada riba' and if cash is the only option, then I will save money however long that might take me, as long as I don't get myself involved in riba. 

Mungkin tak sempat nak beli rumah cash, mati dulu, but issokay. Saya ada jugak bangkitkan dekat beberapa orang, tapi they seemed to roll with it? Ada sorang member kata "takpe riba' beli rumah sebab satu keperluan".

Some people say buying a house is an investment. First of all, from the bottom of my heart, f you. I hate you. Rumah ni keperluan asas bukan komoditi dagangan. Nak beli banyak-banyak macam pasar borong, lepas tu create artificial demand sampai harga rumah mencanak. Lepas tu buat rumah sewa, master bedroom letak sampai 3 katil single "oh I did this sebab nak tolong orang Melayu anak2 muda susah cari rumah sewa." 

Zaman Nabi dulu pun dah ada solution untuk riba ya. Kalau nak tolong bukan dengan cara melibatkan diri dalam aktiviti riba, tapi perbanyakkan sedekah. Y'all are greedy bastards gunakan agama nak kaut keuntungan.

Secondly, kita bukan zaman macam dulu, sekarang ni banyak rumah tak terjual, sebab orang tak mampu nak beli. Dengan gaji kita yang stagnant beberapa belas tahun, kalau tengok pencarum KWSP pun separuh pekerja bergaji bawah RM2000, we are living in a sorry state. 

Housemate saya nak jual rumah dia pun kena jual bawah market price sebab there is no fricking buyer (anecdotal evidence but I know this is indicative of the market. Many articles I read stating this trend as well). Mungkin dulu ramai kata boleh buat investment, tapi sekarang we are reaching a tipping point where every house bought for "investment" are being resell back into the market, thus oversupplying. Lepas tu dengan rakyat marhaen semua, siapa je mampu beli rumah, just forget about investing already. 

After some deliberation, I decided that welp, this is not a discussion for everyone. I mean, yes, I've arrived at this conclusion based on my own understanding, and orang lain pun got to their conclusion from what they know and experience, so my decision to not ever buy a house on loan is mine and mine only to make. Perhaps kalau kita kena berhutang untuk beli maksudnya kita belum mampu lagi untuk memiliki wah gitu. 

I respect everybody's decision nonetheless to own or not to own a house. But I'm not buying it. Eh macam double meaning pulak lol. I'm not buying a house is what I'm saying. 

In conclusion, (sorry ya the first half I typed on my laptop the second half on my phone so yeah incoherence) I don't think I will buy a house in this economy. Some more being able to pay monthly mortgage for a house doesn't mean you can afford it with maintenance fees, cukai pintu, bil air elektrik and shizz that you have to pay on top of the mortgage. And berhutang sampai dua kali ganda your original loan just doesn't sound right to me. To me ya, to me. Kenapa bank tamak sangat weh interest sampai macam tu? 

And how come we all just sit idly by and give them our hard earned money like how did we become so powerless over our own being? 

I hope what I wrote spark some discussion or at least give you a new perspective on buying houses in Malaysia, my incoherence notwithstanding. With that I bid goodbye. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk xoxo

06 May 2020

happiness is a butterfly.

It's a fleeting rush of euphoria. A flailing sense of tranquility; an oxymoron.

Why are you still writing though?

Writing always comes from a place of incompleteness, of feeling hopeless, inadequate, sad. Of trying to explain ourselves, to express our underlying emotions. Explains why we wrote better when we were younger, because we felt lost sometimes, we pent up so much unhappiness inside, we were trying to navigate the world on our own with out limited understanding, trying to make sense of our surroundings. Once you figured it all out, there's literally nothing much to write home about.

Adulting is all about learning that there's an SOP pretty much to everything, which makes your experiences felt too manufactured, disingenuous, mundane, that you no longer see it necessary to tell.

Keon got married late last year, and the first words I uttered to her seeing her in her white wedding gown "Keon, you look ridiculous!" and we laughed and she said "I know right?"

Once her pain went away, Keon doesn't write the same like she used to. Her best writing often comes from a place of hurt, and once the hurt is no longer there, it's always sunshine, and the mundane details of a life, all celebratory and joyous, worthy of countless sugary instagram captions.

Naja stopped writing altogether; it's easier to numb the pain with Netflix and chill, instead of writing it all down. Quite frankly, I miss Naja's writing.

But once you have money, it's easier to buy material and drown your sorrow in it. Why would I write to cure my sadness when I could buy a plane ticket to somewhere and forget it all? Or I could go out in my car, driving somewhere to unwind? We used to not have these options, because we were poor. Writing was our only escapism.

People often said that blogging is dead, but that is true perhaps for bloggers, who often use blogging as a social media, as opposed to those writers who use blogging as a means to write. Those who blogged for social engagement has moved on to instastory, where crafting visuals is their next means of sharing to their audience, and to facebook as well, after facebook changes their status settings where you can write almost infinite characters instead of writing it in a blog and post it on your profile.

Blogging for me is where I'm most comfortable with what I wanted to tell. I love how I can put everything where I want to put them, I love the feeling of not being judged, unlike on facebook and twitter. I love how there are no limits to the themes that you wanted to write, no matter how out of tune they are to the current trending topics, I love how it's archiving its history in an accessible way for your future self to rediscover and remember.

Writing now, I'm not sure if it's because I'm consumed by loneliness, or the MCO has given me new opportunity to re-learn everything in life, that things we used to think permanent is actually not. Things as rigid as our 9-to-5 office hour is actually a social construct, and with the imminent threat of the virus none of our preCOVID life seemed so solid anymore.

And also, the threat of our fleeting youth scares me still. I don't want to be 40 in 10 years from now, looking back to my previous self and wondering why my life was so empty this past decade? I want to remember how I am now, no matter how insignificant I might feel currently. My current 30 self is looking at my 20 year old self and wondered, why didn't I write that often when I had the chance? Now that memories had faded out, what do we have from our past?

But I digress. Coherence is not my strong suit, let alone when I'm writing at 4:40 am in the morning, few minutes before my sahur.

To those who will find this later, never stop thriving. Never stop doing what you love to do. After all, everything is temporary. COVID19 proved it. I love y'all XOXO






03 May 2020

FINISHING SCHOOL

Pronunciation. Does it matter?


There's an obsession among the certain quarter of (Malay)sians netizen to correct people so-called 'wrong pronunciation' of English words. Liaise should be pronounced lee-ase, flour is fla-wer. Oh you get the gist.

I think it's condescending to correct people's pronunciation, because to be fair, we are a country that uses English as a second language, and another way of pronouncing certain words only goes to show that we learn English from reading, and not from communicating, which in itself is a good thing, and also, we speak English in certain ways because of our accent. 

That being said, this reminds me of the time during our last semester in university where we had to complete our Finishing School to graduate. In Malaysian universities at least I guess, we have to attend Starting School in our first week of studying back in semester 1, and a Finishing School during our last semester. 

In Starting School, they wanted to see your baseline English level. Meanwhile in Finishing School, they wanted to see if you're prepared to take on the world as you're leaving the university. And also if you've elevated your communication skills during your whole 4 or 3 year run.

It was a bummer because me and Hafifi registered late and our Finishing School was on the last weekend before our thesis submission. We lost a valuable crucial time to complete our thesis. 

So right from the start, I already had reservations about the whole thing. We couldn't really concentrate during the 2-day commotion because we were thinking of our unfinished thesis, and on top of that, I had to postpone my driving test.

We had two lecturers to assess us, Dr Aida from Faculty of Computer Sciences and Dr Syed Agil al-Sagoff, the infamous (lol) Principal of Kolej Kelima.

Fundamentally, Finishing School is just a group exercise. You got into a class of 25 I think, then you are divided into smaller discussion groups. All exercises require you to speak up, and the activities included presentations, role playing (?), forums, debates and so on and so forth.

So you know, since it was all in English, right off the bat during the inception, or the ice breaking you began to recognise certain characters - the English-is-my-first-language people especially. They dominated the discussion, because unlike the majority of the students, they didn't have to translate the questions into their mother tongue, think of an answer and then translate the answer back to English. These English speaking people cracked jokes in English, and they began to bond with each other because their English fluency was the common denominator that united them. 

Dr Aida learnt their names in like, 2 minutes in, even before the formal ice breaking session. You know these people, being loud is their introduction. 

Their confidence sometimes conflated with their ego. The way they think that their answer was the best, well hell yes because there were no other answers because no other people were answering, was shown in their cockiness. 

My take on the whole Finishing School was I was only going to engage when it's necessary, I wasn't there to make friends or have fun. It was just another class for me. I wasn't going to be loud just for the sake of being noticeable. I was too occupied thinking, or rather, panicking about my thesis. 

I remember Dr Aida told us she was strict in speaking only English with her youngest son, to the detriment of his Malay. He failed Malay even in first year in school.

There was this silent girl in the class, who impressed Dr Aida during the introduction because the way she pronounced 'collaboration'. She pronounced the first syllables as 'ke-la-bo' while we usually simply pronounce it as 'ko-le-bo'. Dr Aida asked her to pronounce it twice, "See how she pronounce the word? She is something" she said. She was the silent star of the class, she was not talkative but her English was great. 

During a forum exercise, there was a girl who pronounced 'host' as 'hose' which wasn't very noticeable if not for her stopping and thinking for a while if she said it correctly. That was hilarious. For context, she said "Hi welcome to our forum, I'm your hose for today." And then she stopped and her eyes rolled when she tried to think of the right pronunciation. That made us gag.   

So there was this another exercise where we have to select a hero and convince the whole class to vote for our hero as the best. The winner of this exercise was promised reward by Dr Syed Agil, unlike other exercises. The rest of them chose one of the 6 (at that time) prime ministers, while my group chose a very local hero - Abang Amirrudin Abd Rahman, the university prime debater. Heck I chose him and convinced my group to choose him, because without a phone with internet to Google infos (it was 2011, smartphone hasn't gained traction yet in that particular month, or maybe I was too poor to buy one) I didn't want to go on debating something that was completely out of my depth. 

I couldn't even recall any of the Prime Ministers' policies in detail, let alone their background, so choosing them would mean suicide. How do I convince people to vote for something that I am not convinced in myself?

Since I chose abang Amir as our hero, my group selected me to be the representative. So I had to rotate to every other group, convincing them to vote for abang Amir as our hero. We were given about 2 minutes at every group to explain our selection. Since I knew abang Amir personally (we stayed at the same block and he coached me during my short stint in Debat Kemerdekaan) I could at least take on another angle to the whole debate.   

The climax of the exercise was the winding up of the arguments, where we have to speak in front of the whole classroom before the voting. I explained that we need somebody close who we could relate to. The English-is-my-first-language speakers went to sentiments with our Prime Ministers, about how their heroism led us to the country that we were. Which was not wrong, but somehow fell flat in the Finishing School atmosphere. 

And here was the surprise, during the voting I received the highest votes, tied to another English-is-my-first-language speaker. And the funny part was, Hafifi raised up his hand to break the tie, giving me the win, because he wanted me to share the prize with him lol. 

I won my prize, and went on to share it with Hafifi when we got back to our college. (It was a tin of assorted biscuits if you wonder) 

I didn't take the class seriously, I didn't get the full 5 star (or was it 4) at the end. But who cares, this was only a pre requirement to graduate. But winning over the English-frst-language speakers when I wasn't that serious boosted my confidence. It doesn't matter if you're not fluent or you speak in an accent, or your pronunciation is wrong, as long as you get your point across. A local hero, an obscure persona winning the votes over national heroes, was to me showed how knowing your subject as opposed to just go with the most obvious ones could make a difference. 


(Just because it was long ago and I wish to remember, I'm listing down people that I remember from the class - Hakimah, Dafi, Ian err sorry I couldn't recall the rest) 

With that I bid my farewell. May we meet again and do pray that I have the time and mood to blog again lol 

SUBUH KALA

If it all makes sense, blogging is the, and I can't stress it enough, the only way, I could ever come close to stopping time. 

Jendela yang terbuka dari dinding kamar yang 80% kaca di tingkat 26 membuatkan saya benar terfikir, mungkin ini tempatnya saya mahu berada ketika usia dan ketika ini. 

Dari kejauhan pada batas kaki langit adalah Banjaran Titiwangsa, dan di sebaliknya matahari pagi sedang bangkit dari ufuk timur. Melihat Banjaran Titiwangsa, mengingatkan saya kepada beberapa siri penjelajahan dan pendakian gunung yang saya pernah turuti sejak 4 tahun yang lalu. Teringat waktu subuh di puncak Gunung Tok Nenek, dan jubah maroon konvokesyen yang disarung waktu pagi di Gunung Silipat, Thailand. Serentak dengan itu, kesunyian terus menyentak daun jendela dalam hati. Betapa banyak yang telah berubah. Kawan-kawan, paling terutama.

Betapa rindunya. Menyingkap tirai sepenuhnya pada waktu pagi sambil melihat kegelapan mula dirona biru oleh cahaya, dan seterusnya kuning sebelum semuanya menjadi terang begitu memberi ketenangan, membawa harapan baru walau esok bermula sebuah fasa yang celaru. Saya melihat kabus berarak di bawah awan, dan lampu-lampu neon jingga yang bila-bila masa dari sekarang akan terpadam. Pagi ini awan tampak sedikit hitam bergulung, tapi tiada petanda hari akan hujan.

Kicauan burung di celah-celah daun hijau mengingatkan saya kepada suasana desa. Syukur, serasa masih bertemu ketenangan di pinggir kota Putrajaya.

Masih lagi dalam perintah berkurung, hanya dihubungkan ke dunia luar oleh media sosial.

Dua hari yang lalu, saya diingatkan semula tentang masa yang rasa semakin suntuk oleh seorang rakan sekerja. Katanya, saya kelihatan tua. Tidak banyak chill, hanya bekerja di depan komputer. Betapa benarnya pengamatannya, menjentik perasaan marah sedikit dalam diri, kerana belum pernah mampu berlari menuju ke cita-cita sendiri.

Dulu, saya pernah berjanji untuk tidak pernah berhenti menulis. Tapi kini, menulis bagaikan sebuah keistimewaan yang perlu dibayar dengan harga yang mahal. Menulis kini, bukan lagi hak saya. Menulis adalah suatu perkara yang perlu saya curi daripada rutin.

Beberapa hal telah berlalu sejak kali terakhir saya menulis tentang menjelangnya usia 30 tahun. Wabak COVID19 yang melumpuhkan hampir keseluruhan norma, menyerlahkan sifat jelek dan mulia manusia, mengenalkan kita dengan maknawi baru hakikat-hakikat yang sebelum ini rigid dan begitu termaktub bagai tertulis atas batu. Siapa sangka, suatu virus sahaja diperlukan untuk mengubah dunia. (#inb4 seekor nyamuk boleh membunuh Namrod)

3 hari cuti yang panjang memberi saya kesempatan untuk membasuh pelbagai jenis fabrik dalam bilik, termasuk 4 helai kain ihram yang dipakai sewaktu umrah 2 bulan yang lalu. Baru kini punya masa dan ruang (literally, sebab bila hidup berkongsi waima ampaian pun adalah satu komoditi). Keselesaan selalu datang dengan senarai tugasan yang bertambah. Untuk merasa selesa, banyak ketidakselesaan yang perlu ditempuh. Every thing comes with a price.

Pagi ini terlalu permai. Yes I shall end on that note.

Pagi ini terlalu permai.



25 March 2020

DUNIA

#randomthoughts

Lalu jalan dekat UPM hari-hari sejak MCO ni, kadang terfikir, pelik betul rasanya. Aku dah bukan student. Kadang mengimbas semula memori - kata blog seorang budak U kan haruslah berkenaan universiti lol

*Dah nak masuk 31 dah tahun ni ya ampunnn*

Masih seperti dahulu, mungkin sedikit lebih mengenal dunia, celik sebelah mata. 

Dalam hujan rintik pagi tadi, secara rawak saya teringat peristiwa zaman U dulu. Teringat waktu hujan membasahi blok Jebat, beberapa hari selepas program DUNIA (DUlu, KIni dan selamanyA).

Teringat kami gulung-gulung fabrik hiasan beberapa meter panjangnya yang dibasahi hujan.

"Kenapa tak tunggu kering?"

"Musim hujan sekarang, kalau biar macam ni je lagi basah nanti!"

Entah simpan di mana kainnya, mungkin habis bertahi lalat sebab basah. Kalau nak hantar dryer pun, kainnya panjang kot beberapa roll kami beli. Entah ada ke dryer muat. Setiap tahun beli hiasan baru, setiap tahun temanya berbeza. Tahun pertama kami temanya Riang Ria Raya, tahun kedua retro, tahun ketiga...oh tak ingat. Something about Hollywood kot? DUNIA ni program tahunan dekat kolej, dipanggil jugak nama open block, sebab masa ni kami bukak pintu semua blok untuk semua orang datang masuk melawat.

Tahun pertama masa basuh pinggan mangkuk dekat paip tepi blok sebab masa tu buat open house tak silap, teringat deorang bersembang "...yang penting dapat stay kolej..."

Dulu kan, concern kita pada kehidupan meliputi hal-hal mudah - stay kolej, pointer, assignment, persahabatan. Dulu masuk macam-macam aktiviti, sebab end goal kita taknak kena buang kolej, nak kumpul merit. Cukup 40 markah untuk tahun kedua, dan 60 untuk tahun ketiga cukuplah, selamatlah dari kena mencari rumah sewa.

DUNIA ni satu-satunya masa sepanjang kami di kolej untuk merasa masuk ke blok perempuan. Masa mula masuk UPM dulu culture shock jugak sebenarnya, sebab 5 blok, 4 blok perempuan 1 blok lelaki semua dalam kawasan berpagar yang sama - sebelah-sebelah je. Tapi itulah, mungkin bila kita tak terlalu mengawal, student pun takdelah rasa ingin tahu sangat kan? Kalau dekat sekolah dulu sebab blok perempuan terlalu tertutup, terlalu misteri, jadi ramailah budak lelaki nak pecah masuk sebab rasa ingin tahu membuak-buak.

Dekat U, hey siapa peduli kalau blok perempuan sebelah je blok lelaki, takde misteri langsung. Lepas tu boleh masuk lagi secara halal setahun sekali, bila kita tengok ceh sama je macam blok kita, lagilah hilang feel mysterious tu.


Tradisi blok Jebat, masa malam lepas habis giliran blok kami, kami akan lawan cheers antara senior dan junior. Slowly, senior akan push junior makin ke tepi ke tepi, bila dan-dan je dekat tepi balkoni, terus mencurah air baldi dari tingkat 1 ke atas kepala junior, habis semua basah, pecah berderai gelak ketawa.

Sekarang ni tak tahu lagi ada ke tak tradisi tu, heck, Kolej Tun Perak pun dah tak wujud sekarang, bergabung dengan KPZ, apatah lagi tradisinya.

06 March 2020

KELABU

Sambil lagu Coba Faizal Tahir bermain di corong radio, minda terus teringat tentang sesuatu. Lagu Coba ialah salah satu lagu dari zaman keemasan Faizal Tahir lewat album Aku.Muzik.Kamu, disusuli Sampai Syurga, sebelum entah kenapa Faizal Tahir bergerak sendiri tanpa Audi Mok.

Selama betapa beberapa tahun, dalam kenang-kenangan menuju ke dekad-dekad tengah kehidupan, ada beberapa hal tentang hidup yang terasa kelabu. Bukan dalam binari hitam-putih, tapi dalam sebuah spektrum warna yang terjerat antara dua kutub.

Kelabu.

Pada waktu kita meninjau suatu kehidupan dalam sebuah kebuntuan, bahawa mungkin tidak semua yang wujud perlu menjadi konkrit. Ada perasaan-perasaan dalam dada kita yang tidak mungkin diungkap dalam persamaan norma. Sesuatu yang bukan cinta, bukan rindu, bukan kasih.

Tentang seseorang.

Kita melakar kehidupan yang terasing, bersama. Tapi kita tidak merasa cinta, hanya dalam dada dengan kejujuran emosi kita mempersoalkan kehidupan, bagaimana?

Sesuatu yang bukan cinta, tetapi sekejap percikan rasa bahagia.

Kita pernah menangis, bercakaran, berhujah. Kita pernah tertawa, berlarian, lelah.

Apabila teman-teman kembali pulang, pernah kita terfikir 'Sampai bila?' lalu diam menjadi sebati dalam bicara kita.

Kelabu. Buntu. Jawapan yang kita belum pernah ketemu, dalam buku-buku, dalam ilmu leluhur. Kita hanya berdua, begitu, selalu.

Tamat putaran lagu, aku menyedari sesuatu: Aku.Perlu.Kamu. 




25 November 2019

30, AT LAST

It feels like getting into a closet when you're 13, and coming out when you're already 30. That was how fast time flies these past 17 years.

I remember waving at my mother from across the lobby of my hostel, tears welling up in my eyes seeing her leaving the school when I was 13. Now that I'm 30 after so many years has passed, I am the one who sits next to her, driving her to places.

The 17 years went like a blur, all the pain that I kept inside for fear of being misunderstood, the nights I felt so afraid asking God if this is indeed His plan, the days I just wanted to disappear. The tears I shed while saying over and over again "It's OK not to be OK." The joy from getting a car, from completing my studies, for the scholarship, the awards, the blog page views, the mountains that I hiked, oh Lord that still feels so surreal.

They all went away, one after another.  

When you turn 30, there are at least 3 different versions of yourself exist; the person people expected you to be, the person YOU wanted to be, and the person that you are. Being 30, the challenge was not to decide what you wanted to be anymore, it's all about balancing those different versions of yourself; good and bad, fragile and strong, beautiful and ugly, vulnerable and sturdy, accepting the fact that each one of them is an integral part of you that makes you uniquely, you.

I am at that standpoint in my life, moving into the 4th decade of breathing, believing that I had achieved so little from my dreams, still bounded by my fears, still mourning the love I thought I had lost, and missing the younger days when I was brave enough and stupid enough to dream.

What the past decade of my life has taught me was that I am capable of changing and learning and recreating myself, I am capable of accepting defeat, that happiness comes from the smaller things in life, that hope is as dangerous as grudges. I learned to accept solitude, to embrace loneliness, to live life, to love infinitely. To regret, to feel indifferent.

30 is an arbitrary number, for some it bears no meaning. For some it means everything. But within this small last space before the number turns from 29 to 30, I could not help myself from feeling so emotional for the past and fearful of the future. Have I grown sufficiently as a person? Have I obeyed obediently as a servant? Have I fulfilled my duty filially as a child? From this point onward, being reminded that I am no longer 20-something pangs my chest with a sort of sadness I never thought thing as an arbitrary as a number could give.

Age is just a number, but the receding hairline, the backache, the fatigue tell no lies. 

This decade surely has passed, but I carry forward the lessons well into the next.

On my 30th birthday,  I am reminding myself to be grateful, to stay humble, to be true to my nature and principles even in distressing times. To always be the light that brightens up everything around me, to always love no matter what.

Happy birthday, myself.



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