Saturday, August 27, 2011

1Malaysia, 1Week to Merdeka

A few days ago, on Wednesday, I found myself in my favourite part of town. I'd dropped by the camping store (Evergreen) in Campbell Complex, and thereafter decided to have lunch at the Capital Café along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, opposite Sogo.

It was a colourful and busy day, to say the least. The (daytime) Ramadhan bazaar was in full swing in that area between Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Masjid India, and the merdeka mood was in the air with Malaysian flags everywhere. It was then exactly one week to Merdeka (Malaysian Independence Day).

It was after lunch, walking down the road, that I noticed the scene above. Young Malay woman surrounded by textiles in her shop; old Chinese aunty picking up her things; and the Indian money-changer behind the glass of his little kiosk. It was such a 1Malaysia scene, and yet the very sort that the politicians are most likely to miss -- both to miss the presence of the scene, and also the point of it.

I suppose that's because there's really no interaction between the three 'characters': it's almost as if their existence (and differences) is acknowledged but not explicitly referenced in any way. And to me, the 1Malaysia that has always existed is the one where we live together, oblivious to the notion that our differences were/are ever a problem.

You don't see it very much around these days; our hurried, media-saturated lifestyles make it so easy for the wrong kind of propaganda to infiltrate our hearts and minds. But I'd like to think it is alive and thriving in some pockets of the city -- the confluence of people just as Kuala Lumpur is literally a confluence of two rivers.

* * *

Discovered over lunch on Thursday with Li Ern, that she likes Big Fish too.

So I found a clip of the ending on YouTube (not sure where I placed my DVD), and watched it awhile ago. Never fails to leave me teary-eyed, that scene where everything comes together. One of the best endings of any film, ever, I would say.

The reason why I looked it up is not only because of the conversation with Li Ern, but equally, if not more so, because of the events that happened yesterday -- from the news of this little victory and Alissa's email, to the two Skype conversations -- events that made me think about storytelling all over again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

All Our Scars are Stories

For SEATRU, Slot J 2011.

All our scars are stories,
Ongoing moments alive beyond the healing of the wounds,
Like tracks laid in the sand
Or a deed purchased today in the promise of land for tomorrow.
One hatchling leads, the others follow
Into the ocean, into the night
Into the fight
Into the darkness that awaits--
Braving the dangers because the stories of the sea tell them
Their journey is not in vain;
Like scars that promise we can endure pain again
They depart beneath stars that one day they may return to that land
On which they, as eggs, were lain.

(3.02 p.m., 7 June 2011)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

O Mighty Cross, O Tree of Life

Be my guide, O Lord.

Lead me in the way that I should go.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Medium is the Message

Nathan Jones quoted this famous Marshall McLuhan quote in his defence of film photography (link here). One of the things he said about film photography, was that it involved "[transferring] the responsibility for technically competent shots from the near infallible machine to the very fallible me."

And this was the first thing that came to mind when I read about (DPM) Muhyiddin's food stamps proposal. Whatever the merits, or otherwise, of this proposal may be, I leave to parliament--and the thousands of online forum theorists--to debate. What follows are just my wayside thoughts on the subject.

People like SooT believe that moving forward in politics necessitates a move away from the 'policy' framework we are so entrenched in.

I agree, and I believe this also entails a move away from dependence on political systems/parties, and towards a sort-of taking of things into our own hands. And nowhere is this probably more true than in agriculture. For all that SooT and I disagree on, we are agreed that it is probably a good idea to start small community--akin to subsistence--farming.

Have a need? Don't wait for government to meet that need. Transport woes? Get that bicycle out; don't wait for fuel prices to come down, because they won't. No government can stop the rise in prices of a commodity that is only getting scarcer by the day.

The medium is truly the message: long-term sustainability requires a complete overhaul of the way we are leading our lives. Those who know my environmental views intimately, know that I care very little for the Green Movement that is taking the world by storm. My position on the environment is very simple, and twofold: love nature, and live simply. But a simple life is not the way of the world, nor is appreciation for beauty that cannot be price-tagged in our money-driven society.

So regardless of how the Muhyiddin move works out, I'll still have my bicycle. And I'll still be shooting film.