Me, You, Us

He was sixteen when he first saw her. Sixteen and bored and his mother had him attend a “summer” camp. Strange for a camp to be called a “summer” camp in Malaysia, which had just a monsoon and a dry season. Yet, “summer” camp it was, a collection of sixteen year olds sent to a out-doors camp in the quiet town of Sematan, with beaches to the front and a mountain to the rear. It was not a romantic getaway.

He barely remembered the camp, except for that one-day when he dropped a frog into the girls sleeping quarters, while they were bedding in for the night. The screams drowned out his own laughter, as panic ensued and frightened girls made for every available exit, whether door or window; it did not make a difference. The monstrous frog was going to slaughter them, digest them and make green goo out of their remains.

He exchanged high-fives with his laughing buddies as they stood behind the bush that grew along the front porch drain and then he saw her. This vision of porcelain skin, dimple cheek and a single braid cutting across her face. She had made it to the stairs yet tripped and fell. And in the chaos was being stepped on.

He leaped from his hiding spot, grabbed her arm and pulled her over to the side, as the stampede of girls rumbled down the yard and across the empty field.

Lights turned on and curious onlookers scrambled out to inspect the commotion. But it was all distant to him. He was here and here was with her.

“You want some chewing gum?”

Yes, the first words he spoke to her were about chewing gum. A pathetic first impression.

The memories of the camp were a blur, but he remembers writing her phone number on the wrappings of a stick of chewing gum. And losing that wrapper. And wondering where things would have gone, had he called her and told her how he felt.

This was the time before Facebook or Twitter, a time when phone stuck to the walls and not in your pocket. It was a time of change and though much changed over the years, the memory of her porcelain skin, dimpled cheek and that single braid cutting across her face kept appearing.

Fate did not give up on him.

He is thirty-nine now, and sitting alone at a table in a garden. He had stop smoking a year ago, and reverted back to chewing gum to curb the lustful sting for cigarettes.

And he smiled.

Nearing forty and with months to live, he reached out for support. Eventually meeting old friends from his child-hood and especially those with memory of that porcelain skin, dimpled cheek, single braid cutting across her face girl from “summer” camp.

He had scrawled her number on a chewing gum wrapper and this time, he kept it safe, tucked away in his wallet. He had called. She had answered.

“Do you still want the ice-bucket?” the waiter asked.

“You can take it away. But do bring another glass.”

The waiter smiled. Sixteen and already working tables, he thought to himself. I was sixteen and foolish. And I spent foolish years but at the time of my last year, I will make it right. His thoughts rambled along.

And then he saw her, porcelain skin, dimple on her cheek, with a streak of white hair cutting across her face. And he was sixteen again. And they were sitting at a table in a garden at a place called Summer House.

THE END

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This is Home

Ash to ash,

Dust to dust,

Now I lay this body to rest,

Among stardust and forgotten ancients,

This is home,

Built of flesh,

Housed in skin,

Driven by spirit,

Powered by dreams,

Broken by pain,

Divided by creed,

Categorized by government,

This is home,

Me,

This caravan of self,

Moving along a path called life,

It has no address,

Saved by a name,

The name, my parents gave me;

And during the living moments,

This home resides in a building,

A house we equate as a home,

But true home is me,

There is no other like this,

Home for a child,

Grown old through time,

And in its twilight years,

To be surrendered to its creators,

This is home,

Some called it ugly,

Short, over weight,

Dark, light, round,

Square or long,

And maybe cute,

It has felt pain,

Felt love, tasted bitterness,

Cherish sweetness,

Been bent by sadness,

Ever changing,

Year by year,

Never the same,

A home in constant remodeling,

This is home,

Me,

This is home,

This body before you,

This person that stands before you,

This is home,

And from here to you,

Other homes,

We are caravans,

Travelling along this road,

We call life, we are home.

The Passing Of Moments

“Why do you bite the table?” I had to ask.

“It keeps my head steady, let my eyes focus properly and allows my hands to remain still.”

He was my teacher. I was his apprentice. And we are watchmakers.

What best then to challenge yourself to the craft of watch making? A feat of engineering, few could learn and fewer still could master. It was a dying trade, and I needed a challenge.

So I find myself learning my trade in Japan.

Switzerland is known for its watch-smiths but it is Japan that gives the Swiss the shivers each time innovation is needed in horology.

It was the Japanese who introduced quartz technology, it was the Japanese who introduced
factory manufacturing of timepieces to the masses and also the Japanese who introduced
shock resistant and waterproofing into the annals of watch construction.

And even though watch companies have turned to mass production of time-pieces, there are a select few that choose to ply their craft the traditional way – with steady hands and keen eyes.

It was late afternoon, and as I was cleaning; I caught Sensei sitting by the veranda of the
modest apartment that served as his workshop. The afternoon light caught the grey in his hair and colored the years upon his face.

“Sensei, is everything alright?”

“Everything is fine,” and he chuckled.

I was curious, what could be funny about the hazy Tokyo skyline on a lazy afternoon?

Setting the broom aside, I pulled a stool and sat next to him.

“You want some lemonade?” I asked, pointing to the pitcher sitting lonely on the kitchen table.

“I am not thirsty.”

We sat silent, and time ticked on by.

“People are funny.”

“Come again, I do not understand. Sensei?”

“People are funny. We create this thing called time. And we say we have no time. But time
does not exist. Nature did not create time, we did. Humans did. We divided the movement of the sun, the turning of the earth into hours and minutes and seconds and called it time.”

“So we are the creators of time?” I realized the truth in his words.

“Yes, we created a construct, only to enslave ourselves in it. We are slaves to our creation
called time. We created a guillotine and stuck our own heads through it, and complain that we will lose our heads.”

“That’s kind of funny.” I laughed at the image in my mind. “Then time is what we make of it. We do not have less time or more time. We have just enough. The comedy of our work is that we give people the illusion of time control.”

“Yes, time is what you make of it. We have enough. The universe has given us enough to work with.”

“Then Sensei, if it is not time then what is it? Say we don’t call it time, we must give it a name or a phrase or something to call it.”

“Let’s just call it ‘the passing of moments’.” He smiled and looked at me. “Lemonade?”

I smiled back, got up and walked towards the kitchen.

We sat there that day till the sun set, sipping on lemonade and relishing our moments. We
made watches that gave people confidence that they were able to control this construct called time.

But we both knew, that the control was an illusion. Time did not exist. It was all a label created by mankind.

Instead, moments exist. And it was with moments that the universe ticked by. Now, isn’t that funny?

THE END

Folly for Satire

SIREN ONE

 

Lies,

All lies,

All you believe,

They are all life’s lies,

 

Power is masked,

Behind the idea of strength,

To be equal is strength says the feminist

To be masculine is strength says the chauvinist male,

 

False truths,

Your society fed down your gullible gaping mouth,

Silly ideas, silly, silly ideas,

Small woman, smaller man,

 

You scream strength and ideals,

But control the world between your thighs,

You flirt your way through life, hypocrite;

Your weakness is your strength,

You are the satire,

 

You scream brawns and muscle,

Musky stench, condescending male beef machine,

Big muscles, small brains, egos bigger than your balls,

Your strength is your weakness,

You are the satire,

 

Puny mortal,

Men and Women are all satire…

 

SIREN TWO

 

Lies,

All lies,

All you perceive,

They are all life’s lies,

 

Truth is masked,

Behind the words of the powerful,

Incorruptible leaders, untouchable leaders,

Are the most corrupt, the most vile,

 

False truths,

Your perceptions are all painted fairy tales,

You believe what you are fed to believe,

Truths and perceptions, false men and false women,

 

You believe the painted faces,

Speaking truths through a silicon window,

She’ll say anything they’ll tell her to,

Your truth is what is made for you,

You are the satire,

 

Your perceptions drive you,

To a burning death, sheep to the slaughter,

To ruins, follow the leader, to burn, to burn,

Your ideas will not save you,

You are the satire

 

Such puny mortals,

Your truth and beliefs are satire…

 

MASTER

 

Puny mortals,

Puppets for powers,

Your very life is a satire,

Amusement for the universe,

 

Humans are a virus upon this earth,

Breeding to destroy,

Never content,

Greedy little critters,

 

You devise contraptions,

For the sole purpose of destructions,

The sole reason for elimination,

An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth

And all are left blind and toothless.

 

You are a satire onto itself,

A joke within a joke,

In spite of your religions,

Your religion seems but ONE,

 

Total destruction of each other and everything in between

 

Puny mortals,

Blame the gods when life is bad,

Forget the gods when life is good,

But you serve only one real god,

Yourself.

 

Holy men, hiding behind their masks of religions,

Plotting destruction on each other,

Rewarding each other for death delivered,

Heaven and Hell, filled with the murderers,

 

Your life is a satire,

A joke,

An oxymoron of everything you say you are,

A lie within the truth, you make yourself believe,

 

Satire is your belief,

Religion,

Your very own personal joke,

So are we wrong to say this?

Ask yourself.

I Heart Ciplak

*Ciplak = counterfeit

 

Ciplak, chaplang, cetak-rompak,

Labels invented to create separation,

Between what is ‘real’ and what is not,

Yet, it is the million dollar war-cry by wealthy corporations,

 

Telling us what we can and cannot buy,

I say, ‘Fuck the corporations’

I will choose what I want to buy or not to buy,

Let’s make it legal, remove the ‘ill’ and legal will be well,

 

I heart Ciplak

And if you have a problem with the Chinese sounding ‘Ciplak’,

Let’s give it a nice French name like ‘Homage’

Since imitation is the highest form of flattery,

You will be doing society the greatest service,

 

Help reduce the disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’

Let’s help everyone become equal,

We could live life imitating Big Momma R,

Since she did almost win the ‘Lead By Example’ award,

 

I can afford to buy a ‘BERKINS’ even-though it’s spelled ‘BERKINI’,

Not from Hermes of France but from a roadside shop at Serikin,

I can smell like ‘CHANEL’ though my bottle is spelled with two ‘N’s,

Smelling rosy even if I develop a nasty rash,

 

And if imitation is my thing,

Malaysia celebrates homage like no other,

From Petaling Street to the MO1 famous halls of Putrajaya,

From the Eye of Malaysia that developed conjunctivitis,

To ideas of a Malaysian New York Central Park,

That took a 650 million ringgit donation from the Malaysian tax payers,

 

Heck, we even have Petaling Street, the world’s centre of Homage.

A huge contributor to Malaysian economy,

And boy do we need to increase the nation’s coffers,

Trying to fake an Arab donation, didn’t really work out well,

 

 

We are a nation that survives on homage,

Never fully achieving maximum homage,

And even lesser than a full out ‘Ciplak’,

We talk big but never copy well,

 

Our so called Democratic-parliament is a poor copy of North Korea’s People Democratic Republic,

And forget paying homage to intelligence,

Our cabinet ministers are so smart,

Donald Trump would pay us to keep them,

 

We say look to the east, imitate the Japanese,

But we went as far as copying their porn industry then industry itself,

We laughed at China for their crazy ‘ciplak’-ing skills,

Yet flaunt our ‘Made in China’ iPhones,

 

I wear a 500 ringgit Seiko 5 Pepsi watch, Made in Malaysia,

Poor man’s Rolex they say, an attempt to imitate a great watch,

But if we were both late to a meeting,

Mine will be a cheaper mistake than your 30,000 ringgit Rolex GMT Pepsi, Made in Switzerland,

 

I heart ciplak,

Like how you watch ‘Train to Busan’ on DVD,

The week it was released at the cinema,

So we’re both cheap and looking to cut corners,

“Jimat cermat dengan perbelanjaan rumah,” kan PM dah advice,

 

Embrace ciplak, and you remove all status standings,

Because is not that what it is all about?

You hold status by the original item you purchase,

A rub in the face, that you have more money than me,

 

All because you can afford it, thus you’re higher, greater and better than me?

I heart ciplak because even copies have a place in this world.

 

THE END

 

I Hate Diaries

As a youngster, I thought keeping a diary was cool. Popular and mainstream and the in thing to do. A thought perpetuated by mainstream media and the agony of trying to decipher an identity for myself.

As a youngster, keeping a diary made me a fool. Invasive and disastrous are less words to describe, the horror one gets when others read your entries and use them as blackmail to curtail your behavior.

As a teen, I swore off all manner of bookkeeping. Of writing experience and chronicling every day incidents, choosing instead to keep in mind what was important and flushing out what was not.

As a teen, mistakes were plentiful, and red was the color of my ink. Demons would come for dinner, down the whole bottle of wine and speak whispers of memories, I thought I forgotten.

As an adult, I abhor such manner of writing. As if you decide that creating a paper trail of evidence of your life would add value to your seemingly incredible life experiences.

As an adult, your diary is fodder. For when old aunties come visiting at festivals, and instead of cake and tea; you place a book and invite them to dine on the juicy elements of your delicate being.

I hate diaries.

Only because, I rather that my inner world be kept away. It’s private.

Only because, it’s simpler to hide thoughts than a book within your bedroom.

Only because, those that know me, know me and not what I think of me.

Only because, parents should talk to their children and not read their diaries.

I hate diaries yet I keep a diary, of sorts.

Diaries in all instances are trigger objects.

Objects that conjure up a spectral of memory. A ghost from the past that haunts you; either malevolent or benevolent. It waits in ambush, in the dark crevices of your soul.

Objects that force reminiscent emotions to plague your thoughts with ‘What if’ even though you know, you can never change your actions of yesterdays.

Objects that mark milestones in life. The first love, first kiss, first argument, first breakup. And the first thoughts of how utterly stupid we are when perfect vision is only through the window of hindsight.

So I kept other things as trigger objects.

‘Memento Mori’, inked to remind me that nothing is permanent.

The Chinese words ‘Kind-hearted’, ‘Fearless’ and ‘Persistent’, are etched along my backbone. Words to prop up my character, personality and mannerisms.

Tribal symbols on my body, to remind me of my heritage. That I may stand visible in the after-life among my ancestors.

I hate diaries, the book that others can read.

But spend time with me and I may allow you to read me like a book. And I will tell you stories, no mere mortals can pen.

THE END

The journey continues…

My journey as a writer has taken many turns over the years. I have stop writing for news-portals and have over the past two years focused my attention to the formation and activities of a writer’s group, based here in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

It is a joy to see a small collective of liked minded people, come together, and find ways to expand the art of writing and spoken word.

Yes, to read one’s work before an audience is a daunting task, but in my opinion, is the zenith for any writer. You write for others to read and to hear your work.

By standing on a platform, people can hear your work, spoken as it was written in your mind. Your voice is now heard, not just behind the nuances of words but actually heard.

So, if you have the time check out the group I am working with at our Facebook page -> Wordsmiths Of Kuching.

Cheers!