Monday, October 31, 2011

When I should wake, where do I go?

When I should wake, where do I go?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We were young and waiting for the lights to come on 2

We were young and waiting for the lights to come on 2

Monday, October 24, 2011

An indian summer draws to a close and nothing is quite the same again

This Bird has Flown

Your humble narrator is happily residing in dear Loughborough where she'll be for the next few weeks (left)

But London has been so beautiful that we just don't want it to fade away...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Secret Life of Woes

I don't think it's any coincidence that after 13 years, written word is still my main outlet and muse. For that reason, the designer that I was trained to be is dumb founded and often times offended. Only that 'offended' is too light a word to use in here. Gravely insulted to the point of treason would be more appropriate.

I've been thinking a lot about that lately, prompting me to read, once again, my copy of The Word (by Indra Sinha) given to me by my boss last year when I was undergoing a copywriter's training. I've kind of taken it as a bible of sorts. Whenever I am feeling really really low and lousy with work, Indra Sinha's words, never fail to inspire me, or at least make me feel a little better. As such, I do feel compelled to share two very meaningful passages from the manuscript.

A picture by itself, however powerful, can teach us nothing new.

Any picture however powerful, however shocking, however provocative and upsetting, is something to which people can only react. And to react means that they can bring to it only what they already know, think, feel or believe. 

You will find that the meaning of pictures change, depending on the words you put with it. By itself, the picture has no particular meaning.

To turn reaction into action, we need the power of words.


Words are fuzzy.

This is very good news for the writer. It is actually the fuzziness of words which gives them their power, their layers and layers of meanings, their ability to surprise, their capacity for opening minds to new possibilities.

A single word can be charged with many powerful meanings. Draw it into the gravitational sphere of another fuzzy word and the potential for confusion and therefore for unique and exciting effects is multiplied manifold.

By the way, this is also the reason why adjectives tend to stifle good writing. Adjectives are attempts at precisions, to impose a particular vision on a word. Doesn't often work.


Looking back, I do realise that it's been a year since completing that training. How have I benefited from it remains another question. Till this day, I have troubles saying with a straight face that I worked as a copywriter. The job itself feels so emotionally taxing. To be able to write clearly from the heart sure takes a lot of confidence. Confidence that I'm not sure I have yet. It takes a strong and opinionated mind. But it is so difficult. For in this world, nobody wants to know what you think. They want to hear what they already know, read out to them in your voice. 

And when it doesn't work that way, they'd rather hear the voices of the media, parroting an idea that has been tried and tested. In other words, an idea that would keep them safe and snug in their sleep.

So really, who are these people who call themselves creationists? Those who chose the mode of a wordless communication to escape the sharp controversy that only word can produce? And what then, is the point?

Monday, August 29, 2011

I think this post is obscenely so behind time it is already next fall

Maybe it's being in another country that I'm feeling more inclined to miss home. Even if I'm just 45 minutes away by air.

I watched Yasmin Ahmad's Sepet today on the You Tube. Six years after watching in on the local network back in KL. I remembered that it was quite a big deal of a movie back then, being all controversial and Yasmin Ahmad-ish to the point that I found it annoying. Of course, it was also an additional prompt from a then former flame that might have got me judging the movie a little too quickly before I even got a chance to understand it.

Now six years later, I must admit to having what Jack Sparrow would have said 'stirrings' for the movie.

I think what got to me the most was how close to the ground it was and yet, how deliciously dream-like everything was. For example, who knew that Ipoh could be so romantic? Or that love could seem so pure and yet so hurtful? I must say that I definitely felt that this movie hit really close to home and I'm sure that many urban Malaysians couldn't agree more.

If I were to try and sum it up, Sepet is actually based on a very simple boy-meets-girl storyline. It opens with a tender moment between Jason, a young VCD seller and his mothers in an almost too familiar chinese household before quickly shifting to another scene where Orked, a young and modern Malay is finishing her prayers. This quickly sets the context for viewers, giving insight to their personal lives and being.

Fast forward a few minutes later, our two protagonists are shown coming together when Orked meets Jason for the first time as a customer, buying chinese movies from his stall. He quickly falls for her in what would seem like love at first sight and makes his move, despite the teasings and taunts from his friends as well as a sarcastic racial remark from Orked's companion and friend.

From there, it is revealed that Jason is a true hopeless romantic behind the facade of a typical chinamen while Orked proved that Malay girls can also be open, quirky and fun. In time, love blossoms between the two despite the social and racial pressures that take a toll on their relationship. But things take a twist when Jason is suddenly pursued by members of a clan over a mistake in the past that would later lead to complicated misunderstanding between him and Orked.

In the end, Orked forgives Jason and confesses her feelings over the phone while she is on her way to the airport after being offered a scholarship. He picks her call, and all looks resolved when Orked finally tells Jason how she feels for him. At this point, the camera zooms in on a tragic road accident where Jason is lying in a pool of blood. Nearby, his mobile rings.

I must admit to being totally mind-fucked at this point but later on, realise that it may have ended this way to allow audience to interpret the story for themselves. For me however, it just made me want to watch the sequel, Gubra to find out what happened.

And while it may also seem cliché that Jason should fall for Orked the minute he had set eyes on her, I thought that it was aptly addressed when he later asked Orked 'How long do you think it takes to fall in love?'. That's just another thing that makes the film or any production of Yasmin's so spectacular: she is never afraid of doing anything cliché.

"First love has always fascinated me because it happens to you at a time when you have not yet learned to lie to yourself. With first love, within five minutes, you accept the other person for everything that they are, warts and all. I believe that our first love is the truest love of all. "
-Yasmin The Story Teller

Friday, May 27, 2011

The winds of change and then some

So I got my tarot cards read today. Not that I'm much of a new age person but a dear friend had recently learned how to have them read and was offering to do it for me. It was pretty fascinating actually. Of course, my naturally cynical self would have once made a whole big deal about it but if anything, the one big thing I've learnt over time here at 95% was to be more open to new ideas regardless how silly they may sound at first.

Will I disclose my reading here then? Perhaps not but I won't mind sharing that it did mention something about 'a big change'. 

Yeah, big change at that. I've been counting down to the last day of my time here at 95%. I reckon that the feeling of leaving is really sinking in deeper with the passing of each day. Four more days till unemployment. As I was transferring my files, a huge archive of work done in the span of one year, into the office hard drive, there was a certain feeling of wonderment. Disbelief that I've actually done so much. I was also really surprised by how easy it was to delete chunks of drafts that had taken up so much time (and occasionally tears) to write. In my mind, they don't mean anything that much to me anymore. In a way, just like how I have to learn to let go of certain things, I need to learn to let go off my work as well. Not in the irresponsible sense that I'm no longer accountable for them anymore, but just in a way that it doesn't hold me back by having me think that those work are the best that I can produce. Ha. While this might seem unfortunate for someone who ought to keep a portfolio of previous work, I suppose I'll have to make it work for me somehow.

With that done, I've also finally transferred the entire creative department to my new designer  (nestled in one huge WD drive). I suddenly feel so much lighter now. 

So what's next for me now? I can't say with full certainty but I smell Singapore in the air. It feels that a certain youthful dream might actually be coming true for me after 4 years. Or something.

Keep watching this space won't you?