August 17, 2010

In The Local Newspaper Yesterday

A little something outside the photopoetry world:

My article was published in The Star yesterday, on Page 19 of the StarMag section. You can have a look at the full article on The Star’s website here: Click

The one published in the papers have been edited here and there, perhaps made for better public viewing. The one below would be the original, unedited one, or for lack of better words, straight from my heart.

Despite what the news have for us today, I hope the day has been good for you.


In no specific order, listed here are the top ten things I seem to have trouble catching up with:

1a.) The quicker way of going up…or down.

I recall an experience of visiting my grandfather at the hospital whose room was located at the eighth level.

I remember the people waiting for the lift on the Ground Floor. A pregnant lady and her concerned husband. A man on wheelchairs and his pleasant-looking daughter. A doctor or two. A couple or more. And a bit more waiting to plant kisses on the foreheads of their loved ones resting in rooms located in probably the fifth level or higher.

And a newly painted flight of stairs located less than two metres away from the lift.

In came everyone into the lift.

While priority was given to the ones with wheelchairs and the ones who needed it, in came a man calmly filling up every breathing space left in the lift which looked a little bit more than full.

Out went the man just slightly less than a second as the door of the lift opened to what we saw was …Level 1.

1b.) The quicker way of going up…or down (Part 2).

Spotted during lunch time two days back were two healthy-looking men standing in front of the lift complaining of…well, the lift.

“Haiya, so slow one this lift…Have to wait so long one…”

…as they continued waiting.

Spotted clearly two minutes away from where the two men were standing were two flights of perfectly-moving escalators.

In an unimpressive math equation, I’d sum up that the point from where the two men were standing to the point where the escalators would begin moving and then to the floor they were heading to, is quite clearly, “not so long one…”.

Note: This incident happened in a mall consisting of slightly more than two floors. Four.

2.) The thrill of being a car ahead.

How exciting was it to be able to honk the eardrums out of the driver in that yellow Kelisa in front just so one could hastily go past it with a little curse? And then to be a proud driver of the first car in that line governed by a traffic light clearly lighting the colour…red?

Pandunya laju. Jauhnya sesiku.

Perhaps we could stick to the thrill of having the wind brush against what might be our droopy cheeks while the car windows go down and the tuner plays “Here Comes The Sun” on a calm, breezy cruise instead.

3.) The customer-serving frown.

Written clearly on the entrance of a room in one of our telecommunication-services office was “CUSTOMER SERVICE”.

As I approached one of its counters, I was greeted with a sigh.

As I ended my query, I was responded with a “You can call our Customer Call Centre to fix it”.

I got served.

4.) The comparison of riches.

It puzzles me sometimes why we spend a year’s worth of wages for One Big Day.

What puzzle me more are the things they say:

“Ee dia kasi hantaran kasut Vincci je? Kalau I, kena kasi Miu Miu.”

“I tak nak kahwin lagi. Sebab tengah kumpul duit nak beli Jimmy Choo’s.”

The last time I checked, marriage was about love. Not a woman's fixation of designer shoes.

No, I do not want a Vincci.

But no, I do not want a Miu Miu.

Hand me a pair of Bata slippers painted in art and words of poetry and love instead, my dear.

5.) The fascination of going in circles…in the parking lot.

This is no parking lot which requires red and green light indicators. This just needs people who’d be willing to walk a little bit more.

No, they will not settle for that parking space at Zone Z in spite the many empty parking spaces inviting them.

They’d spend an hour circling the parking lot just so they’d get a parking space at Zone A.

Zone A being nearest to the entrance. Zone Z otherwise.

6.) The music they hear in honks.

Was it the bumper sticker at the back of that Satria?

Or was it a rough night that every nook and cranny of the city decides to somehow participate in an orchestra of honks the next morning?

And to witness a bunch of cars running amok with all sorts of honking rhythms just makes us wonder if they’re really honking for all the reasons there are. Or for no reason at all.

No, I’m actually talking about the bunch of angry cars witnessed in the almost empty space that is the basement parking lot at 7a.m. in the morning.

7.) The obsession towards titles.

You may spend thousands and include Dato's and Tan Sri's and what-have-you in between your names, I still think the coolest name is that of a Hawaiian boy: Kananinoheaokuuhomeopuukaimanaalohilo (No, really. His name goes a long way to mean “The Beautiful Aroma of My Home at Sparkling Diamond Hill is Carried to the Eyes of Heaven”).

They may go "I bumped into Dato' earlier today" but I'd rather go "I bumped into Abu earlier today" because Abu minus the Dato' is a beautiful name. Because Abu is what your mother named you.

Disclaimer: Unless, of course, if Abu was much older than me. Who'd then be addressed with respect. Pak Abu sounds nice. So does Uncle Abu.

8.) The act of butt-kissing the people with titles.

Do you smile to the old lady who sits on the same spot across the street every other day because she probably could use a stranger's smile?

Or do you smile to Abu every other thousand-dollars-worth of moment you bump into him because last year his name became longer by a word: Dato' ?

9.) The art on the road.

Here begins a day when the sun shines a little brighter and the skies appear a brighter blue.

Maybe it’s that time you could probably take a walk to the mamak restaurant two blocks down just because.

Maybe the drivers in the cars won’t quite care.

What you see is a pedestrian-crossing.

What they see is a nicely-decorated part of the road painted in white stripes.

Of course the drivers need to insert a honk or two. Of course they need to dash their ways to be the first in the line of cars governed by a red traffic light.

Here ends a day when the sun shines a little brighter and the skies appear a brighter blue.

10.) The line that wasn’t.

Here we are in a room of seemingly professional beings clad in corporate outfit in what feels like a decent ambience of a buffet dinner.

Here we stand in a line waiting for our turns to pick our favourite food from the lip smacking selection of the buffet.

And here, is where we bring among the earliest lessons we learned throughout growing up and finding our confused selves: To not cut queues.

But of course comes in one seemingly professional being suddenly appearing in the middle of the line because he needs to rush for a meeting. But of course he was also forgiven earlier for honking his way through the parking lot because he simply needed to rush.

And here, we witness, is the exact same boy who pushed his way through the line in the school canteen because he simply needed the last aiskrim potong from the pakcik kantin.

I'd stop now, at ten. Not that any further writing could help me understand this common need to rush. Nor the common greed towards money, material and power. Perhaps I don't quite belong to the city.

Indeed, I took the stairs down after visiting Tok at the hospital. ‘Twas a beautiful day for I saw him smiling as I planted a kiss on his forehead. Made me hum nursery rhymes as I skipped my way all eight floors down.

Only to land on the Ground Floor bumping into the Level-One-man coming out of the lift.


  1. i so agree with the 8th statement! =)

  2. Congratulations! :D

    I was curious cause I know you tagged us on Facebook ages ago, but was it picked up through Facebook or did you submit it through the newspaper?

  3. Thanks everyone! :)

    Ken: Number 8 and 5 were most of my friends' favourites. Things we witness a lot around us these days huh? ;D

    Aida: Oh I submitted it to The Star but published the original piece earlier on Facebook hehe.


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