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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

But what is so unconstitutional about listening to what the people of Perak really wants? Listen to the roar of the people tonight. Listen to their cries!

my-perak

God have mercy on us.

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“Monetarists claim that the upward trend in interest rates from 1950s to the 1970s was caused by a serious policy error”, the teacher declared before he went on to expound on the LM and IS curves that sent my head spinning imminently. I thought Economics itself was the biggest error the world has ever committed.

She turned to me and asked: You think you’ll be good in bed?

I flushed.

But that was certainly a more engaging question than me attempting to understand interest rates and inflation. After all, I was sure neither Monetarists nor Keynesians could get to a short term/ long term equilibrium at a given point of ri and explain the formulation of a Crush Theory, of course, the ceteris paribus assumption holds, nevertheless. Do I think I’ll be good in bed? What do you expect a guy to say to that anyway??!!

I still do not know the answer to her query till this day. She won’t either.

I’d like to think of myself as a person who could hold a conversation without hijacking it. I didn’t need assurance when we walked in the park one day. She asked some serious questions to which I gave calculated answers. Answers I have come to regret today. She spoke, but despite that, there were so much more to find out years later. The truth was, everytime we spoke, I was ‘hijacked’. Of course, at the park, like the birds there, we loved the undeterring space, and the cheery mood, casually inspiring one into new songs.

Instead of focusing on the examples of Integration by Partial Fraction worked out on the chalkboard, I was jerked by her “How would you feel if I’d say I like you?” She has a way of breaking into surprising questions like this one. I was glad she asked, though it was purely hypothetical, not any more real than the polynomial functions used by the teacher. Yet, unlike Math, it was all inexpressible in numbers, equations, values and worth. It was just…well, it just was.

Years on and I still fumble, expecting the unexpected queries, thus making myself look foolish sometimes, saying the stupidest things. But there’s something about appearing foolish and stupid. You are not in control and you don’t seem to be able to engage all the defense mechanisms that life has taught you. They just won’t work. You will be left naked and vulnerable. And what baffles you most – it happens over and over again and you keep coming back for more.

I went to the park today and walked for a while, still feeling liberated. As I closed my eyes and listened, it struck me that something was compellingly different. I gazed upwards and looked beyond the canopy. Nothing there. No cheerful songs. Because the birds don’t come here anymore.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, I am sure mine is not the only voice of condemnation to the latest move by your government. I am part of the Malaysian electorate and if you want to know, and if you have truly heard, like the many voices of the rakyat who detest the Internal Security Act, I am saying this to you: RELEASE ALL ISA DETAINEES RIGHT NOW!

* * * * * * *

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, saya pasti ini bukan satu-satunya suara pengecaman keras terhadap langkah kerajaan kamu di saat ini. Ini salah satu daripada suara pengundi di Malaysia, dan sekiranya kamu ingin tahu, dan sekiranya kamu benar-benar memahami, seperti suara-suara rakyat lain yang membenci Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri, saya katakan pada kamu: BEBASKAN KESEMUA TAHANAN ISA SEKARANG JUGA!

 

It’s like one of those nights. I’d go for a beer after work and head home for my dinner, then go right off to sleep. You know, it could be one of those days when you probably are just feeling tired and you hope that all things will be okay when you wake up to a new day. Okay, old script. Oh, but I am not thinking of a mystical kind of grace that dawns in the morning sun which takes away the heaviness. Not like that. But perhaps a kind of unattainable grace, unforeseeable, beyond deconstruction. I called my friend and put off our appointment. What do you do when you feel that the world has continously walked out on you anyway?

Sometimes you want to tell the world that you intend to walk out on it. It feels good, for a while.

I stripped and stepped into the showers. The water was cold. A sensation I don’t really enjoy. But the change of temperature was helpful. I’ve ordered pizza and left it on the table. Outside, the TV was on, with the local news beaming.

I sat down on my couch. Gotham city is frantically seeking out a savior. The decadence of the city has reached its peak. Even law enforcers has become a B aN e to its people. The hero fell. Law and morality was indeed upheld by a lie. The white knight has re-emerged. But is this a knight the city needs or one which it deserves?

I don’t even remember how many times I dozed off on the couch. I got up. And found myself a new script. I need to help save Gotham City.

I realize that a “speaker”‘s work can be as didactic in its way as a sermon from a church’s pulpit. And I never believed that truth is learnt through instructive teaching or moralizing. It was certainly a challenge to slip into the same shoes again, as I did previously, and to facilitate a team leadership training for a group of 60 bandsmen. 10 years on and I’m thankful that I was able to reconnect with my base in the school band in which I was once very active. Of course, the team has come a long way and doing band now, as it turn out is far more trying than it was before.

The weather was a reminiscent of autumn in Osaka, minus the rain which poured adamantly throughout the whole weekend. I was glad that the team did more talking than I did, which to me was a good thing. And I was enormously taken in by the provocative opinions and the gracious acceptance demonstrated both by those from past and present. The formal salutations were, however pretty intimidating. Hopefully conversations like these will continue.

On a personal note, having gone through a really tiring month, I was really glad I made the trip. Found time and opportunity to:

  1. Read David Sedaris’ When You are Engulfed in Flames which Sue lent me
  2. Try a sip of Bear Beer which Joash recommended (how can anyone drink something like that?)
  3. Have lunch at Smokehouse for the first time – cream of asparagus for startes and Rainbow Trout for main. Paid RM100 – the chinese would say ‘got into the pirates’ ship
  4. Listen to Laura Fygi as I fall asleep
  5. Learn to enjoy Sauerkraut at a German restaurant – eat them with lots of mustard sauce – would taste even better with a bottle of Riesling.

Upset over the negative perceptions

I share our PM’s sentiments when he addressed his staff in the PM’s Department this week. He sternly rebuked those who spread lies and slanders via the Internet and the short messaging service (SMS). Describing those “lies” as an attempt to create a perception of uncertainty in the country, he believed it was also an act against the tenets of the Rukunegara such as loyalty to king and country, upholding the Constitution, the rule of law, and good behaviour and morality.

As he pointed out, perceptions has certainly influenced the attitudes and options of some people in making decisions including those related to investment and business.

Dear Mr PM, I agree and would add that you, and your government too has in no lesser degree contributed to these negative perceptions by virtue of your lack of determination in setting the records straight and coming out clean and clear on many issues pertaining to policies which directly affect public confidence in BN’s ability to run the country with integrity.

Sure, bloggers who lie and slander must be called to give account to their irresponsible deeds. But you, Mr PM, should first respond to these liars by setting the example. Let’s show them how a true and faithful Malaysian should behave. Let us hear you stating clearly your loyalty to our royal household by taking full responsibility for the unbecoming behaviour of the UMNO supporters in Terengganu and your glaring headline remark which demeaned the consitutional right of the sultan in exercising his prerogative in picking the new MB. Show these lying bloggers that it takes a sincere man to own up to his words, words spoken and written, which have been perceived to be disrespectful to our king. KESETIAAN KEPADA RAJA DAN NEGARA.

When fellow Malaysians like Manoharan, Uthayakumar, Ganabatirau, Kenghadharan and Vasantha Kumar were taken under ISA detention and purportedly linked with “terrorist organizations” which have been proven completely baseless, you summomed your minister but maintained your elegant silence. I was disappointed because I believed that you are a PM who will not tolerate violation of basic human rights to a fair representation when detained, and fair trial in court with clear charges. I urge you now to make clear to all that you mean business in upholding the constitutional rights of every Malaysian by abolishing the ISA. Indeed, show them that you honor KELUHURAN PERLEMBAGAAN.

Expose these liars by showing the world that there is no reason to doubt the judiciary and law enforcement institutions in Malaysia. Let’s restore public confidence in the police force by instructing all ministers (and their wives) to insist on turning themselves in to the police to have their statements recorded (like the rest of us) should there be any reports made against them. Like RPK and Nat (of course, there are many more) who had been hauled up for days and their family thrown into wild-goose chases for allegedly seditious and malicious postings on their respective blogs, can we have a clear procedure made known to public how cases like these will be dealt with in a fair and civilized mannner. Oh by the way, I remember there are similar cases reported against you too?? Let’s do what is right. Let’s have you and your BN MPs relentlessly pushing for reforms in Parliament which are essential to KEDAULATAN UNDANG-UNDANG – for a judiciary system truly separated from your executive powers and not just pay some unknown amount of money to certain judges.

It is very unKESOPANAN DAN KESUSILAAN of your MPs to resort to lewd hand gestures and name callings when they find themselves falling short of intelligible thoughts to offer. Please publicly rebuke these ‘honorable’ clowns and restore public confidence in the credibilty of those elected to run the country and economy. And while you’re at it, please also apologize and promise not to repeat your fondness in telling lies, like you did when confirming that the parliament was not to be dissolved, only to go back on your words the following day. Also, for all the flip-flop acts you have often demonstrated for all to see, leaving me so confused with where this country is heading, let alone those with business investment interests. Only then, the people will have confidence in your efforts.

Like most Malaysian, I desire peace. But peace, must not be paid with self-deceit, ignorance, gullibility, betrayal and surpression of truth.