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?



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.


Introversion and the Writer

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always commented on how quiet I was at home, when in the social circle I can be very involve. It is as if, I turn off the moment I reach home.

In fact, I really do turn off once I settle into my security bubble.

For many years, I’ve had this thought that something was wrong with me. That I was living life in hypocrisy. Socially engaging but private in nature. And this conflict within my personality has been a point of stress for me.

This was the case until I discovered and accepted the fact that I am an Introvert and an extreme one at that.

I’m an Introvert, who is expected to be an Extravert in an Extraverted world.

But of late, I have learnt to accept myself for who I am. This is just the way my brain is hardwired to handle the world. And I am not ashamed neither afraid to tell people that I am an Introvert. That my silence at meetings and seemingly aloof nature is expected. It is my natural response to the world.

And my Introversion is what makes me the writer that I am. It is in fact, the strength behind my writing.

A key trait for an Introvert is the ability to “think before we speak” and we do this naturally. And I have this trait in spades. The ability to reflect and ponder and think things true is something an Introvert is born with. It is instinctive for any Introvert to draw back into their own mind when confronted with decisions, arguments and issues. And Introverts think with their fingers. They write their thoughts out, work well with diagrams, charts and images that reflect the ideas they have within their heads.

Doesn’t the above reflect the traits needed to be a Writer?

So if you feel that you are an Introvert, consider trying out writing as a means for you to communicate with the world.

Mind your Prose – the voice in creative writing.

I often find myself telling those wishing to embark on creative writing to find their “voice” and often times they think it means to find their own style in writing. This is true to a certain degree because it is always good (or better) to have your own distinct style. But what I am referring to is something called Prose.

Prose comes from the Latin prosa which translates to “straight-forward”. Prose in creative writing points to the telling of the story. The narrative voice of the writer. The use of words, the structuring of words in a sentence and the conveying of ideas in the most straight forward of means.

To find your own unique prose or “voice”, take time to listen to how you converse with people. Take note of how you convey your point to those that you talk to. Listen to the use of your words and sentencing. The way you pause your sentence and stress a word or play down an emphasis. Now, take that and put it to paper. That is your prose, your voice in a literal setting.

It will take practice and the tussle between proper writing conventions and keeping your own distinct style will always linger in your mind. Yet, choose to stick to what makes you sound authentic as a writer.

Creative writing as oppose to technical or poetry is less formal. The fact that you can run away from formal conventions makes it creative.

Listen to your speech and adopt that as your prose, your voice as you put to words what dances upon the stage of your creative mind.

In order to write, start writing.

A dear friend called me up and told me, she couldn’t seem to get into the “groove” for writing. There always seems to be a distraction that throws her off writing. I sympathize with her because she has come across something writers all over face.

The dreaded, “How to start writing?” or “I need the feel of writing” condition.

It’s not writer’s block, because you do have an idea of what you want to write and accomplish. Yet, how do you get into the “groove” or “feel” of writing.

Just start writing. Write. Anything. Just write anything that comes to mind. Pick up a piece of paper and write. Even if it’s a shopping list. Just write. Doodle if you need to but you need to jump-start the coordination between thought-fingers-words. You need to form that connection again.

This is why, in the lull between writing my books, I post blog entries (twice a day – when possible) or contribute articles to a news portal. The whole idea is to keep on writing something, even if it’s a short piece. I want to keep the connection between my mind-fingers-words constantly open and ever ready to produce sentences.

Of course you have to couple this with reading. Read as much as you can and then write and keep on writing on a regular basis.

This is the only way I can think off to jump back into the groove. The longer you have been out of the groove, the harder it seems. But the moment you are in the groove, you tend to stay there until you decide to slack and jump out of it.

So start writing my friend.

Young Writer’s Project: I Have A Bone Tumor

I Have A Bone Tumor
by Fatin Nurizzati Bt. Faisal

Pain. What is pain?

Can anyone describe pain? No!! Nobody can fully describe it. Sometimes, it can be described. But sometimes it just can’t.

Do you want to know why?

Pain can only be felt by the person who has physically experienced it. Can you imagine the pain of those who suffer from cancer, tumor, or whatever other disease that exists in this world?

This is my story, I have bone tumor.

At first, I never thought I would have bone tumor.

It all started when I was 13 years old. Initially, I was an active person. I was engrossed in sports. I was also very good in traditional dances and was a school dancer.

One day, at my school’s open day, I participated in one of the sports. As I approached the finish line, I fell down and as a consequence, my left ankle was injured. When I reached home, my mother put some medicated oil on it but to no avail, my ankle became more swollen.

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Article on FreeMalaysiaToday – The Arrogance of hard work

Another one of my articles got published on the news portal. These guys are doing their bit in allowing an avenue for the normal Malaysian to voice their opinions on a larger scale. A scale that is not censored by the government. Well, here’s my take on the governments habit of giving out hand-outs to Malaysians, that have in fact made us rather lazy people : The Arrogance of Hard Work.