Ghosts at midnight

Nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop. And an illustrated book about birds. You see a lot up there but don't be scared. Who needs action when you got words?


The biggest issue I have with the idea of ghosts coming out to haunt you when the clock strikes midnight is simple: timezone. So okay, say you are living somewhere along the Malaysian bank of Sungai Golok in Kelantan and you you take a peek at your watch and hey, it's midnight! Oh my god! So scary! I better cross the river and get into Thailand; it's only 11 o'clock there. Hurry hurry hurry!

Phewh. That was close.

So there you are, chilling at a bar in Golok, looking at the horrors that's happening across in Malaysia. Oh look, it's almost midnight in Thailand, I better swim back to Malaysia. Hantu Siam a lot more scary weyh!

But wait, at what time do ghosts go back into hiding after their ghoulish spree at midnight? Subuh? Okay, cool. Subuh should be at the same time on either bank of the Golok. But isn't that quite unfair to the Siamese ghosts? They get to scare people for 1 hour less than their Malaysian counterpart.

So okay, maybe you could argue that since the Siamese ones are more badass, they can do the same job as the Malaysian ones in less time. Of course, as history shows, Thailand was never invaded by foreign power while we Malaysians got screwed 4 times over.

One of them came on fucking bicycles some more! Damn hipsters.

Here's another thing to take note. Remember how our elders used to remind us that during their time, they woke up as early as 4 in the morning and petang-petang they would stop playing and come running back to the house at 6 o'clock. You know, to show how kids back then are better behaved than our degenerate generation?

Well, here's the thing that is often left unmentioned. Time in Malaysia hasn't always been 8 hours ahead of Greenwich. Up until the break of the Second World War, our time was somewhere between 7 to 7 and a half hours ahead of Greenwich. When the Japanese came, it was 9 hours because Yamashita don't want to reset his watch. Then the British came and changed it back to 7 and a half until finally Mahathir on New Year's Eve 1981, pushed it to 8 hours ahead of Greenwich. Why? Because 8 is auspicious. If you don't believe me, why don't you spend a few minutes pondering how much Malaysia has developed since 1981.

Told you. It has got nothing to do with the lands we invade across the South China Sea. But unfortunately kiasu Singapore said, "How come Malaysia that side is half an hour faster than us meh? Cannot! We also must change our time lor!"

So they did, and so they too got prosperous. Haish!

So anyway, depending on which generation group that said elder came from, their midnight could've been our 12.30, 1.00 or even 2.00 a.m! So back to our ghastly topic, you can see how much more problematic this is to the whole notion of ghosts coming out at midnight to haunt you.

The coup de grace is of course, when you consider the fact that there is always somewhere on God's earth that is currently experiencing midnight. You know, because the Earth is a almost a perfect sphere and it rotates on its axis as it revolves around the Sun and all that? So that means that there are always ghosts going around scaring people at all times?

Doesn't that defeats the whole purpose of the notion that ghosts come out at midnight to haunt you silly?
Posted on Friday, July 30, 2010 | 4 comments

Pangung Indonesia

Jika seseorang yang paling kamu takuti, melarang kamu untuk membuka sebuah pintu, jangan pernah buka pinta itu.

Pintu Terlarang. 2009.
Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2010 | 0 comments

Grey areas

Back when I was young, drivers would flash their high beam to warn the drivers on the opposite side of the road about speedtraps or police roadblocks up ahead.

These days drivers flash their high beam to tell the driver in front of them to get the fuck out of their way.


I was at The Gardens MidValley parking, lining up to pay the ticket at the autopay machine. There on the screen is written: Change is possible.

Change is possible.

A utilitarian information with a rather thought provoking message. I'm weird, I've been told.

There's this one Angels & Airwaves song in their first album called 'It Hurts'. In the chorus, Tom Delonge repeatedly said "Your bestfriend is not your girlfriend". Not something that you want to tell your girlfriend, isn't it? As the title suggests, it hurts.

But then again, what is he really trying to say? Your bestfriend is not your girlfriend. Here's a scenario. Your name is Adam, your girlfriend is Sarah and your bestfriend is Sam. Let's apply that to 'Your bestfriend is not your girlfriend'.

Your bestfriend is not Sarah.

Ouch. But then again, it can also mean something like this.

Sam is not your girlfriend.

Somehow I like to think that the latter is more interesting, deeper, more thought provoking. I could be wrong, but don't all artistes leave the interpretations of their work to their audience?

If that is so then, I'm right.

Your bestfriend is not your girlfriend, so don't treat them like one. Whatever that means and however you define it. Of course, this would be easier when your bestfriend is your girlfriend isn't it?

Anyway, that song came from an album called "We Don't Need to Whisper". It was released after Tom's split with his bandmates from Blink-182; Mark and Travis. The both of them went to start another band called +44 and released their own album called "When Your Heart Stops Beating".

We don't need to whisper when your heart stops beating.

I like to not believe in coincidence.

Of course, they got back together and promised to release a brand new album last summer. One summer later, we're still waiting. Just because someone said something, it doesn't mean that they mean it nor does it always mean what you think it means.

Somehow I think I got the grammar wrong in that last sentence.

There's always grey areas in a person's action. Yeah, I guess this is probably what I was writing about. Grey areas. Or is it gray areas?

Gray is a color.

Grey is a colour.

Oh, why bother.
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | 0 comments

A friend getting married

Friends getting married

.. makes a hundred other friends merry.

Congratulations to Fadhli Tahar. A prefect, house captain, scholar, footballer and now, husband.

25 July 2010.
Nikon D40 kit + Adobe Lightroom + Friends will be friends, right to the end.
Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010 | 3 comments

Alter Ego

Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race.

Kill Bill Vol II.
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2010 | 0 comments

Bottled Promises

Beautiful Girls (1996).
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010 | 0 comments


Don't burn down your bridges.

Most grudges are not worth keeping.

Beggars can't be choosers.
Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 | 0 comments

April 2010.
Jalan Putra & Jalan Tun Ismail.
Zorki-4 + Industar-50 50/2 + Lucky SHD 100 + Peluh si proletariat.
Posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | 0 comments


I believe that European countries and its people whining about immigrants and the problems they cause to simple flip open their history books and read how they themselves, a few hundred years ago, went to distant foreign lands and fucked the people there.

You took people's land, you enslaved them, you robbed their gold, you burned their houses, you raped their women, you destroyed their religion, you erased their language, you forced them to accept your culture as you shunned and banned their own.

Wicked isn't it?

So now, what is it with these immigrants that you hate so much? They speak their own language, yes, but they don't force you to speak it. What's the big deal about that? They dresses up differently than you but they don't expect you to follow suit. What's the big deal about that? They worship gods that are unfamiliar to you, but they didn't burn down your church and drag you into their places of worship. What's the big deal about that?

They came to your land to earn a living. What's the big deal about that?

Surely you liberal, well-educated people from the most civilized lands on this sphere don't really believe that globalization is a one way street do you? As idealistic and progressive as you might be, you are still backwards in a lot of things.

Wake up and smell the coffee. Karma's a bitch isn't it?
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2010 | 0 comments
Merpati Sedjoli

Hawa tercipta di dunia
Untuk menemani sang Adam
Begitu juga dirimu
Tercipta tuk temani aku

Julai 2010.
Nikon D40 kit + Adobe Lightroom + Merpati sedjoli, hari-hari begini.
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 | 0 comments

Social Experiment

Posted on Monday, July 12, 2010 | 0 comments
Yesterday's News

Giants fall, winners lose, friends hurt each other bad. People change, time moves on.

May 2010.
Zorki-4 +  Industar-50 50/2 + Lucky SHD 100 + Yesterday's news.
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2010 | 2 comments

31 in 55

I was doing this video last month, a video kesedaran on the issue of buang bayi. In the video, there was this one segment about happy families, that showcases how some people really value and treasure their offsprings, eventhough they face tremendous hardships in bringing them up.

A family that has to deal with a son that is handicapped, a women whose husband kidnapped their child and flew the boy away to Europe and of course, families living in poverty.

I was scrubbing through some footage while a friend beside me was cutting up a part about one-such poverty stricken family. After a while, he played the footage. It was of a father, in some village up north in the peninsula.

Kita miskin kan? Kadang-kadang tu saya rasa sedih la bila anak mintak kita belikan apa-apa barang, tapi kita tak mampu nak beli.. Ye la kan, barang macam.. nasik goreng..

Nasik goreng. I stopped doing my work and asked my friend to replay the video.


Nasik goreng.

Back when I was in high school my buddies and I makan nasik goreng almost on a daily basis. It was a no-brainer choice. Simple, fast, tasty, cheap.

Apparently cheap is subjective. Relative.

Sometimes we don't know how lucky we are. We grumble when our parents won't buy us that Nike Air Presto, or when they told us to get As in exams before thinking about buying us that PlayStation, when they are people who have to save money just to buy their kids nasik goreng.

Sure, it's not your fault that you're born rich. It's not your fault that you're born poor either. But either way, I guess as clichéd as it is, we should learn to appreciate.

Wanting what you have and you'll have what you want.

I guess I need to learn that. No.. live that.


Fa-biayyi alaa'i Rabbi kuma tukadzdzi ban?

Maka nikmat Tuhanmu yang manakah yang kamu dustakan?

La bisyay-in min alaika Rabbî akdzibu.

Tidak ada satu pun nikmat-Mu, duhai Tuhanku, yang aku dustakan.

Insyaallah. Alhamdulillah.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2010 | 0 comments


Five people fighting for the same job couldn't have been any more amiable then how we were this morning.

I got a phone call early this week asking me to drop by for an interview at a production house that needs an editor. I said yes, of course.

So today morning I drove my Satria to one of the Damansaras early for the interview. When I got there. the receptionist gave me a piece of paper with a few personality questions printed on it, not unlike the ones you'd find in those girly magazines.

Your presence bring life to the crowd. Agree/Disagree.


You enjoy talking to strangers. Agree/Disagree.


At the end of it they even asked me to totaled up my points, which I happen to get 45 and three quarters. Unfortunately, unlike the magazines they never told me what sort of person I was. So sad..

Anyway, after that the nice lady took me back into the boardroom which was interestingly named 'Tarantino'. I was thinking that I would probably get a chance to ask the what does Marcellus Wallece look like. Probably.

Seated inside the rather empty and cold room was another lady, her spectacled eyes turned to focus on me. Okay, third lady interviewer in seven months. Interesting.. So I walked in, put my envelope on the table and excused myself.


"I wanna go wash up for a bit, hold on", I said and out I went towards the washroom with a rather naughty sign of a stick figure boy peeking at a stick figure girl. Cool company.

After a couple of minutes I got back in the boardroom and sat down at the seat on one end of the table. That's the nearest, and I was rather pragmatic. The lady was still there, her eyes still ever focussed on me as if she was waiting for me to say something smart. Instinctively I put both my hand on the table while rubbing them together and said, "So..."

"Hi, my name is Susan (bukan nama sebenar), and I was called to come to this interview for the post of video editor" she said.

"Oh, cool.. okay" I replied. She's not the interviewer, she's here for the job too. "Where were you before?"

"I was working at This Company since the last few years"

"Oh nice, I really like that magazine you guys make" I said. "Why did you quit then?"

"Oh, they closed shop. We were all retrenched" she replied. "That magazine too. It won't be printed anymore"

"Really? Alaaa..", too bad I guess. I just bought a copy yesterday and it doesn't really show any sign of getting discontinued. Maybe that's why I couldn't find it at Kinokuniya.

Then, dead air. I suddenly at lost of things to ask her as my mind wonders to whether what she said was true. I didn't read anything about it in the news. But then again, I don't really read financial news much. Well, at all actually.

But but.. I listen to BFM News daily. I didn't hear anything about that there. What's gonna happen to Tapai?

Then as I was rocking the chair back and forth, staring at the ceiling lost in my thought, she broke the silence.

"It quite a nice place you have here"

Wait, what?

"It looks very professional, it's quite a big company right?"


"Err.. you thought I was interviewing you is it? Hahah.. I'm so sorry! I'm here for the job too!" that was probably what I thought I said. At this sort of embarrassing moments you can't really be sure.

Wait, why was I embarrassed? Oh well. It happened.

"Laa.. Haha. I thought you're the boss or something, you know, with you sitting at that chair instead of this many other chairs" she said, her face now flushed red. "No wonder you're quiet je, macam blur"

"Well, to be honest at first I thought you were going to interview me"

"Ah, then we're on the same boat la" she said. Lega I guess.

"Shh, let's not tell anyone"


Then a few minutes later came in another guy, thankfully he announced as he stepped in that he's here for the interview, so no one needs to guess.

Then, another guy, and another guy.

So there we were, five people for one post, sitting together in a room, each examining the other to see who got the upper hand, sizing each other up. Cool. This is the first time I've been to a non-solo interview. Most of my other interviews were just me and the bosses chit-chatting.

The clock is at 11:30 and yet there's still no interview going on. We got bored so we started to talk and talk and talk until at one point I imagined that the boss would just come in and say something like, "Okay, thank you for participating for the interview. We're developing a new form of interview where we remotely monitor how you guys interact with each other total strangers whom you know is after the same job as you. You can go back now and we'll let you know".

My eyes began to scan the room for any such device, hopefully poorly concealed inside the aircon like the one in Nasha's home or something.

Too bad that didn't happen. The boss came in soon after and quickly trimmed the selection down to just two guys in a matter of some 10 minutes. Bang bang bang, ending all tensions just like one of those Tarantino's signature Mexican standoff.

But then again, what tension?

For 40 minutes, five strangers sat together, talked and laughed. Enjoying each other's company. Now, why can't the world try to be that simple for once?

Five people fighting for the same job couldn't have been any more amiable then how we were this morning.

Thinking back at the questionnaire:

You enjoy talking to strangers. Agree/Disagree.


So at the end, I didn't get to ask the boss what does Marcellus Wallace look like, but I did get some much needed laughs and a rather nice experience to remember.

That and someone thinks that I have a boss-like swagger.


Thanks people!


Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2010 | 3 comments

Benjamin #1


May 2010.
The Attic.
Zorki-4 + Industar-50 50/2 + Lucky SHD 100 + Anton Corbijn.
Posted on Tuesday, July 06, 2010 | 0 comments
You can't always be the flavour of the week.
Sometimes you've got to make yourself be a discontinued flavour.
A well-loved discontinued flavour.
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2010 | 0 comments

The things I did when I was young

Things I Did When I Was Young

Things I Did When I Was Young

Things I Did When I Was Young

Things I Did When I Was Young

Things I Did When I Was Young

Not failing.

Yes, sure.. I never passed my Add Maths, but I was sure that I was damned good at other things that other people couldn't quite comprehend yet, or ever.

The beauty that lies in a thin straight line, in the curves of a serif font, in the sharp edge of a sans serif, in a dash of colour amidst a sea of black, in a plain white page.

Man, I used to love it when I can see something that others can't. It makes me feel special. Smart.

Nowadays, I kinda realize that some people just don't care for all this.

It makes me wonder what use is being knowledgeable when there's no one but yourself to appreciate it. Have you been in that situation when you know that something is different than what people think it is, but you're just too damn afraid to speak it out loud because you know that everyone will just shoot you at the very end of your syllable?

Like saying that the legal age of consent in Malaysia is 16 when everyone else is goddamn sure it's 18.

Like knowing that Jose Mourinho's name is properly pronounced Jose, not Hose, because he's Portuguese, not Spanish

Like telling people that more megapixels in camera means worse image quality when they ask your opinion on a purchase.

You know, those situations?

Of course you've been; everyone has. Everyone tried pointing the truth at least once, and everyone has had their share of being shot down.

Maybe that's the problem with the world. The people who knows are too afraid to speak up and the people who don't know, are full of themselves and won't listen.

Here's the thing I see.

Some people, we are only as good as the circle we are in. You're an average writer, but you are in a circle of people whom mostly are poor writers. In their eyes, you are excellent. They keep telling you this over and over, and over and over, you came to believe them. When that happen, you think all the things you pen down are a masterpiece, worth quoting by the world's some odd 6 billions.

Before you know it, your quality drops because you are so sure of yourself. You no longer think that you're making any mistakes. You no longer think that you need to know more.

The same goes for photographers, those people who has only been holding a camera for a few months but everyone around them are calling them a sifu.

I guess it's okay to be the sifu among your peers, but don't ever swallow the recognition whole. You're the best of your circle, that's great, but there are many other circles around you. You'll never know when you'll be sucked into any of those, and suddenly finding yourself at the very bottom of your game.

How could this ever happen? You then get frustrated. Then you give up.

Because you got full of yourself, you stop searching, you stop wondering, you stop trying, you stop failing, you got content.

Be thankful, sebab bersyukur itu wajib, but don't be content. Even our prophet told us to search for knowledge, even if it means having to go to the very edge of the Orient.

So what does all this pseudo-self help ego talk has to do with the things I did when I was young? Because back then I was in that circle and I did everything I know now is wrong. The moment I stepped out of it, I fell and until now I'm trying to get back on my feet.

Sure, some things you know and do means nothing to everyone else. Don't stop sharing. Even if it means that everyone else is going to disagree.

We'll never know.
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2010 | 4 comments
Viel Glück Deutschland!

Four goals again and again. Maybe it's about time for a fourth star above that eagle?

Viel Glück Deutschland!
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 | 0 comments

Passing Ports

Passing Ports

Passing Ports

Passing Ports

Passing Ports

It's called passports because you need them to pass 'ports.

I'm a sucker for the romantics of traveling; luggage tags and stickers on bags, immigration stamps on passports. So that's why I was rather frustrated back in January when I was crossing borders in Europe. Apparently the European Union acts like a single country: you don't just enter Germany via Frankfurt, you enter Europe via Frankfurt.

Crossing from Germany into France doesn't quite feel like crossing into a different country, it feels like taking the train from KL to Ipoh (albeit much much faster of course). Crossing into Spain from France on the other hand, is much more scary, with the border police taking our passports away for checks and asking as questions after questions, all while keeping the train and everyone else on the platform.

So through the end of the trip, I only have one stamp for Europe; in via Frankfurt, out via Frankfurt.

A few years back while I was stamping out of Jakarta, the immigration guy asked me, "Mas, ada uang kopi ngak?", apparently hoping that I deposit him with my last few rupiahs.

Too bad I still have that keeping foreign money hobby.

In Bangkok, my friends told me that they were passing free condoms to everyone going out of the terminal, which I somehow missed. Back when you are 16, these things interest you much isn't it?

The flight on the other hand was quite interesting though, albeit a tad queer with the plane conductors, oh I mean, stewards.. stewards doing a quiz show to some hundred tired, bored and suffocating passengers.

On Lufthansa en route from Doha to Frankfurt, a German steward (yes, steward) was nice enough to give me a rather personal attention like feeding me with sandwiches every 15 minutes, asking me if everything was good and such. All because I said "Danke schön" when he passed me the headphones. He asked me back "Ihnen sprachen deutsch" or something as such. "Nien", I said. He smiled as he walked away and boom, came the sandwiches!

For a few brief moments, high above Saudi Arabia's Rub-al-Khali, I felt thankful that I learnt that phrase from a Dutch chemical engineer a few years back on that KLM back home from Jakarta.

"Ah, you learned that from your friend ya?", said that stunning Dutch stewardess, all smiling and glowing to us both. Somehow that does happen when you hearing bit and pieces of your language spoken by a foreign tongue, like when I was browsing through the bundles in Bangkok and one of the shop owners walked to me and said, "Hok ni buleh kure lagi be".

Dank u wel, meneer.

That prompted me to go ballistic when on the Qatar en route to KLIA, the snobbish (Malaysian, thank you very much) crew somehow 'forgot' to send refreshment to my entire row, then not responding when I clicked on the stick figure with a cup button, again and again, only to act panic when one hungry Arab guy got up, walked to the back and scolded them.

Which is nice actually since prior to the flight they announced over the PA that "We at Qatar are dedicated to provide you the best service. If you have anything to complain, please do ask for our Customer Satisfaction card". Oh, of course I did.

"You have the better plane, the seat smells new, the buttons all works, your music library is epic and that funky neon lights are cool. Yet, I had more fun on Lufthansa".

Oh I don't care if they tore up the card. I feel good. Somehow my Kelantan genes are hard at work that day, if you know what I mean.

But then again, I do miss holding hands with the Malaysia Airlines stewardess as she walked me all the way from the terminal to my seat. She too gave me undivided attention on my short flight from Alor Setar to KL.

Maybe because back then I was a young passenger traveling alone. Heh.

Chuck Palahniuk in Fight Club wrote about single serving friends. Those people you know from the small talks on flights. Thinking about that I guess I don't mind having single serving friends, and being one myself. Our memories of them are pure, simply based on that few hours that we know each other. And then it's over. You remember the deeds, not the faces, not the names. Sometimes you would wonder more about them; who they are, what they actually do. But how are you to know? They then become a mystery and that makes it all more beautiful.

Just like the night when Ted Mosby met Victoria over at Claudia's wedding. Before he ruined it all.
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 | 2 comments

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Location: Klang Valley, Malaysia

Rebel, sweetheart.

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