February 15, 2009

the prodigal child returns

Posted in Random Ramblings, The Thesis, Travel and Adventure at 6:20 pm by meldee

Good lord, it’s been months since I last updated. I apologise (though I’m really not sure why) for my unaccounted for absence–I’m sort of borderline ‘OhMyGod you poor fellers who still come by this blog (all two of you)’ and ‘Hufff it’s my prerogative to update/not so live with it’.

I even forgot my blog username/password, if that’s any indication of my dedication to this. In summary, I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I (will) blog when the spirit moves me, but also I’d like to get back in touch with writing (insightfully and wittily)–for my own good.

Updates, updates. As much has been happening in the last few months since that frazzled, angsty post.

In no particular order:

  1. The Thesis was submitted on time. In fact, about 10 days early. A lecturer remarked rather incredulously to me that this is possibly the first time she has seen anyone hand in their work before the deadline. Which made me smug, because I pride myself on doing things faster than your average procrastinator.
  2. The Bali conference went spiffingly! I met some really lovely people and gaped in awe during speeches of some incredibly inspiring women (and some men). I felt a sense of belonging there, though some of the ‘older’ feminists did pretty much frighten the beejezus out of me.
  3. My Australian break was fabulous. I cooked, baked, ate, lazed, read, watched a shitload of TV and went to the beach. I went camping, drove a boat (for all of two minutes), became a Mummy Koala (according to T’s second niece) and had many, many drinks of the alcoholic variety (my poor liver was out of training for so long). And oh–I got engaged! ๐Ÿ˜€
  4. So yes, though we are now engaged we have not set any date. The not being in the same country is a huge hurdle, as is the fact that many companies in Australia were not hiring and had freezed headcounts (especially for foreigners, sigh). The lack of money and work experience on my part is also a problem, albeit one that is being worked on. We have no idea when we’ll see each other again for sure (save the Skype webcamming) but I’m hoping he’ll make it up here for my graduation in September.
  5. I did not forget to apply for graduation this year. Yay, me.
  6. The Thesis (unofficial) results came back a few days ago, and it really hit me when I rang T to tell him. I got an 86 from one examiner and a 90 from another, which should give me First Class Honours as prior to getting these results I had an average of 81.5 for both the taught units. Needless to say, I was over the bloody moon and exuberantly declared that I would happily do it (the whole Honours year) all over again. Actually, on second thought–maybe not.
  7. I am currently being interviewed for a number of jobs, and chastising myself for not being ‘all’ that these companies want. I am now torn between the idea of working for a huge MNC (but I dread the idea of being a desk jockey doing things I absolutely despise) and the idea of working for a publication, which has been my lifelong dream but does not have the same sort of prestige/payroll as this particular MNC would (also, that area of writing is not exactly my forte–have been shitting myself all weekend reading everything I can get my grubby paws on and making little diagrams). But I feel I know what I want, and becoming a corporate bunny most definitely is not it. I am dizzied from the options and pros and cons.

Going for interviews also exposed me to something quite nasty which I have (usually) been quite oblivious to. The fact that when people see a relatively nice-looking young woman (who oh, happens to wear makeup and dresses and have kitsch accessories and shoes) they look at you funny. And by people, I mean middle-aged women in positions of power. I know it’s extremely catty and stereotypical, and as a quasi-feminist I should know better, but I’m just saying that it happens, and I’m certain not all middle-aged women are so inclined–I’m just speaking from experience.

Hell, I might even end up being one of them in a few years. I’m not exactly getting any younger, and I do admit to tut-tutting over the way some of my ex students were dressed/conducted themselves. I guess we all do that–judge. It’s nasty but that’s the way it is.

Anyhoo, I don’t know why but it really gets to me. And I know it shouldn’t, because I am in control of the thoughts I give energy to, but I would really love to be judged by merit and not anything else. But that’s my idealist speaking–having worked in media-esque fields I know in this industry (and in ANY industry, for that matter) it’s all about who you know and not necessarily what you know.

I just find it a bit sad, that’s all.

I should dash now–there’s a barbecue going on at a dear friend’s place as a send-off for her to go to Australia to pursue further study, and I’m sicketty sick sick–a detour to the doctor’s is needed before I rock up at her door and possibly render everyone else there sniffly and coughy.

On the note of infectious diseases–whoever drank my Black Label and Coke last night, if you catch my cold serves you bloody right. Effing freeloaders.

Right, I promise to try harder for my next entry and actually have a structure/form of some sort.

If I remember that I have a blog. Heh.

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October 16, 2008

on see-sawing

Posted in Happenings, Random Ramblings, The Thesis, Travel and Adventure, Uni at 4:14 pm by meldee

It’s been a mad few days; and ones that I will possibly look back on in a few weeks and smile wryly at. Until then, I’m floundering in a pit of frazzled-ness.

Take this morning for instance.

Was supposed to send my grandmother to the bus stop for her to catch her express bus to Melaka. I thought she said 8pm, so I was rushing to get her there by 7.30. When we got there, poor thing gives me a doleful look and says, ‘It’s only an hour I have to wait’.

Her bus was due at 8.30am.

After driving off, I felt so bad I wanted to turn around and wait with her, but it took me 20 minutes to wait at the traffic light to make the U-turn so I decided not to. It took me about 50 minutes to crawl the measly 5km to uni after that.

Got to uni, and BLOODY security guard at the staff carpark stops me and demands to see my card. There’s only one guard who does this to me, always the same feller. I pressed my card up to my window (it displays the card validity period and faculty) and he shooed me away.

There was a car behind me and I was still wracked with guilt from depositing my poor gran off so early (plus my window rosak. Proton car, what’s new) so I just reversed and drove all the way in to the construction area to park.

By the way, this guard only picks on me. I swear to God. In the time that it took me to walk from my car to the end of the path, he’d let in four other cars (two with P stickers!) without so much as a ‘STOP! SHOW ME YOUR ID!’.

I was eyeballing him furiously from behind my bug-eye sunnies and he was actually eyeballing me back! At the end of the pathway I pulled out my ID and waved it very violently at him to say ‘I HAVE MY BLOODY ID YOU STUPID COW!’

Then I got stopped at the main gates. By the nice lady security guard who sees me everyday.

Who also asked me for my ID. (Bloody hell).

Turns out she was walkie-talkieing with the feller who denied me entry and she eyeballed my card.

‘But your card expires in two weeks,’ she said, confused. ‘I know!’ I wailed. ‘This is the last week of my class and I always park there but he didn’t let me in! He always picks on me!’

Grimacing sympathetically, she walkie-talkies back to the guard. ‘Her staff ID expires on October 31st 2008. Today is not the 31st, it is the 16th.’

Apparently the fat bastard thought this month was what, NOVEMBER?! Bloody eejut. He then apologised and asked me to go back so I could repark my car. Huff. Fat chance.

Anyway.

Rest of the day was spent tutoring (for four hours, oh la la), giving a talk (I am totally creeped out that my name has been splashed on all the uni computer desktops)…in which I got to talk to a cute guy (ho hum!), and now, waiting for my effing virus scan to be completed because the effing uni laptop gave me a nasty something-or-other.

On the agenda is another talk to attend in the evening, working on my slides for my presentation tomorrow, and then starting to read feedback from one of my supervisors on one of my chapters.

And, oh, work on my conference paper.

Yuppo, will be going to (get this) BALI to present my very first (international, eek!) conference paper! All expenses paid, which I am quite smug about. I said I’d blog about it only when I got it, so it looks like my visualisation has actually been pretty effective.

It’s basically a young women’s leadership forum and dealing with the future of feminisms in Asia, so I will be one of possibly hundreds of presenters. I am both terrified and thrilled, and I know it’s a wonderful opportunity, but still.

Wah. With the current workload. Plus there’s a wedding this weekend! Gah.

I’m quite literally see-sawing up and down and mood-swinging like a maniac, because there have been so many things coming up this month. I am so relieved that tomorrow is officially the last day of the semester, and that all this madness should settle by next week.

Big sigh. Apologies for being a Rambly Pants but I’m done now. Expect to hear nothing of me for the next few weeks. It feels like at times like these I am too busy to even breathe.

September 25, 2008

on nothing in particular

Posted in Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Random Ramblings, Social Responsibility According to Me at 10:12 am by meldee

Don’t forget.

Canon EOS Kiss, The Annexe @ Central Market ladies’ loo (heh), Kuala Lumpur.

***

If they gave out awards for the worst bloggers ever I wouldn’t be surprised if I were up for a nomination. As long as they didn’t notify me via my blog, for obvious reasons ๐Ÿ™‚

Apologies for not replying comments etc, I’ve become remarkably bad with this sort of stuff in general so please don’t take it personally! I’m not even sure why I still keep a blog anymore (sort of like a token pet chicken, that you can’t bear to, um, slaughter for dinner, nor give it away or set it free because you’ve sort of gotten used to it).

I expect to be blogging a bit more when I’m actually on my 2-month sabbatical from All Things Academic–what a luxurious (or hellish, knowing how easily I get bored!) break that will be!

My final thesis deadline is the 14th of November–that’d be my third and final edition (good gods I hope so). A few more rewrites are needed–my third and fourth chapters need to be majorly beefed up in terms of theory and I’m supposed to have a full, rough-ish version by 24th October.

I really never expected this year to be so draining, though I imagine if I hadn’t been such a busybody everywhere else and stuck my fingers in so many pies I wouldn’t be feeling so frazzled! I recall blogging about this, or at least writing about this in my diary (I think this latter possibility is more likely as I don’t think I caught on to the whole blogging phenomenon until I went to college) when I was in Form Five or something when I was trying to teach myself Physics, slog three hours daily over Add Maths prep questions and memorise endless facts for History for SPM, on top of being Interact Club President, President of the English Society (I think? Good grief everything feels so long ago!), go for volleyball training for MSSD, etc…and I think there was the Taylor’s College Debate thing I did as well, on top of like a million other things!

Given all that I suppose I, of all people, shouldn’t be surprised that I feel like a goldfish with its fins tied together. Perhaps it’s no wonder then that everybody else but me seems to have confidence that I will pull through and come up swimmingly!

I’d normally believe it but I really do find myself dreading things that I normally looked forward to…such as holidays, because holidays mean my productivity levels plummet because I’m, er, actually on holiday, or that the uni’s locked up (as it will be these Raya holidays–I cannot imagine anyone else coming in, and the security guards are always very grumpy about having to buzz me in because my swipe card doesn’t work on public holidays!) and since I’ve reformatted Isadella (It’s a Dell, lah) I’ve been stuck with a FOSS version of Microsoft Word which makes me lose all my formatting…gaah.

Anyhoo, moving on.

I had the privilege of doing some rapporteuring for an advocacy workshop on migrant workers in Malaysia and one of the issues that were inevitably brought up was the status of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia. Now, I’ve always known that these issues have been out there, heck I’ve even done work with refugee children before.

But I don’t think I really quite grasped the seriousness of the issue–we’re talking about real human beings here who should have the right to safety and shelter and healthcare and education, but they have almost nothing–Malaysia doesn’t even recognise the status of refugees, some of which have been in this country for over 15 years!

I was completely appalled and had to almost hold my jaw off the floor as I heard anecdotes (off the record, of course) about cases of abuse and violence. There were even some pretty heated arguments and debates about what refugees should get and supposedly what they want, which I overheard parts off.

Which made me sort of go a little quibbly inside because from looking around the room I know most of the people there were not refugees, and probably didn’t really have to give a damn, but they did. They don’t have to get so involved, but they do. Which made me again think of this Amnesty International saying, that ‘the only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing‘.

And it just made me want to try to save the world all over again, you know?

A poem shared with me by a friend not five minutes ago, that made me think of refugees, because my friend reads my mind.

If Porcelain, Then Only the Kind
by Stanislaw Baranczak

If porcelain, then only the kind
you wonโ€™t miss under the shoe of a mover or the
tread of a tank;
if a chair, then one not too comfortable, lest
there be regret in getting up and leaving;
if clothing, then just so much as can fit in a suitcase,
if books, then those which can be carried in the
memory,
if plans, then those which can be overlooked
when the time comes for the next move
to another street, continent, historical period
or world:

who told you that you were permitted to settle in?
who told you that this or that would last forever?
did no one ever tell you that you will never
in the world
feel at home in the world.

Translated by Frank Kujawinski.

***

Selamat Hari Raya to all.

I wish things in the country would bloody settle down already so issues of actual importance can be worked on–I’m sick of all this faffing around. Roar.

August 26, 2008

on (four)ces

Posted in Angels, Random Ramblings, The Thesis at 9:43 am by meldee

No.44.

Canon EOS Kiss, Somewhere in Penang.

***

I’ve been away again.

Way to go, Captain Obvious (one of my students loves this line).

But as I sit here on this (blank) Tuesday morning (I don’t have a window in this cell so I’m left guessing the state of the weather outside) with five chapters of my thesis handed in (BIG HURRAH!) and God-knows how many words written, I am experiencing an odd moment of stillness that befuddles me.

I like it, but I don’t. I’m bored of it already, but I also know I’ll be caught up in a mad flurry of something-or-other again soon. I’m tired of standing still, but at the same time feeling the wind created by something other than me (and I am not refering to flatulence here, mind you) is great.

Seems like I’ve been in limbo for the longest time.

***

Since I’ve been so terrigibly vague lately, with the BlogStalker and all, here are some (‘real life’) updates.

I discovered that we have an online branch of like the CIA, wooo~. It’s called CyberSecurity Malaysia and I suspect they track the IP addresses of whoever goes to their site (you pandai-pandai cari yourself la ok) or types them in a search engine. Their job scope is very vague (even more so than me!) but ah well. I’m guessing these were the folks behind all the blog arrests, and YouTube posts, etc. If they’re reading this…hello, CyberSecurity Malaysia people! Please do not investigate me, I lead a fairly boring and clean life.

Four Dahlings are reunited in the turf of SJ, which makes for fun times…but not overly, as this Dahling is often stuck in Uni from 7:30am (yah shut up I told you I’m boring) till about 5pm…or 9:30pm, depending on what mood I’m in and what day it is, and how freaked out I am about work. One more Dahling is going to Singapore soon to be reunited with her ManFriend, yet another one is going for job interviews and one more is flying back to the UK in a little over a week. BOO.

Oh! AirAsiaX has finally listened to my fervent prayers and decided to bloody fly to Melbourne already! This came a day after I was mooching over my Angel Cards and asking about Australia, and the cards Ask came out for the Present, and There’s Nothing to Worry About for the Future. So I asked, and I received ๐Ÿ™‚ I got a return ticket for RM1,500. Sweet as! I’m leaving November 22nd and back January 21st. Now, I really really really want to be able to find a job I love there in those two short months so I can come back to SJ and grab more stuff (i.e. clothes and shoes) and relocate there to be with my own ManFriend! C’mon folks, visualise with me…

I am trulymadlydeeply obsessed with thrifted and vintage stuff lately. I love. And it seems to be all the rage now too! Awesome finds lately have been old 80’s chiffon hairclips that I’ve been wearing out at night as a hairpiece, which had a Dahling gushing that it looked soooo GossipGirl. *beams* Oh and my heeled brogues, bought for a happy-clappy RM29 from Bata. I kid you not. And I can bloody run in them too, they’re that comfortable.

I work alone nowadays. I’m not a big fan of major drama (though small dramas can be fun) but this recent bout of it has left me completely thrown. Consequently, I am in hiding. Sort of. Yeah, I know, back to being vague again.

***

Ooh! Celebrate Merdeka with a difference this year.

Come to Central Market this weekend and find out for yourselves!

OK I’m running out of things to be vague about and I need to go return my Cockburn book. Haha no, seriously, I kid you not. She’s a famousish feminist theorist dealing with ICT and gender.

June 10, 2008

it’s only words

Posted in Random Ramblings, Snapshots, Strange Feelings, Uni at 10:36 am by meldee

Taken with my Baby Bazooka (a.k.a. Canon EOS KISS and my ‘nifty fifty’ lens) at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Sometimes words are so arbitrary.

***

So I’m back from my brief holiday, sunburnt as hell and supposedly reenergised.

It was pretty good fun! Pictures are up on Facebook if you’re my Friend, if you’re not then you’ll have to make do with this one ๐Ÿ™‚

At the risk of whingeing (again), I’m not feeling reenergised, not really. I came back to news of the passing of one of the country’s best known feminist activists due to cancer, crazyhigh jacked up petrol and diesel prices, the fact that Rodham-Clinton’s out of the Presidential Race, and a 4,500 word 60% assignment which I am dying at 3,800 words because I’ve run out of things to say.

See? The arbitrariness of words. I really don’t see why we have to say things at times that are already known. Skipping nimbly to another topic, the problems with blogs is that so many people are talking, but nobody’s really listening. Are they?

Am just rambling. Talking, and listening to myself.

***

I got given a pair of home-grown avocadoes today. They remind me of giant scrotum. Maybe I’ll keep them on my desk at uni as a talisman.

May 30, 2008

enough!

Posted in Random Ramblings, The Thesis, Travel and Adventure, Uni at 9:33 am by meldee

It’s the last day of the semester, and I finally feel I can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s been a fun 13 weeks (for most of the part, I think I flew off the handle somewhere between Weeks 6-10, which are the usual killer periods) but I can’t wait to just bloody go on break.

And (yes, I’m whining here) it’s not even a real break, but a pseudo one. I’m in early on a Friday (tis eerily quiet about the 6th floor today, most of the lecturers take it off for fieldwork/research day) to try and force myself to knock out at least a couple thousand words on my 60% assignment (which is due in two weeks…groan) and work a bit more on my Introduction for The Thesis (I’m about 1,200 words in, but I’m deeply dissatisfied as everything sounds like utter rubbish).

To cheer myself up, I’m making a shopping list (I swear I have a latent Virgo in here somewhere, nothing about disorganised Pisces, or impetuous Aries, or flighty Saggi have anything on list-making, which is something I love though not to the same extent Miss Venn-Diagram Pet does) of things to buy in Bangkok.

Ironically, more than half of them are requests from family (my aunt requested 10 pairs of velveteen flip-flops. Now, really, why?!) who’ve asked for everything from shoes to hair products to leather flowers (believe me, I’m as bemused as you are). Didn’t they just go to Bangkok like, last month? Hmm.

Not to say I mind a whole lot, it’s just that I’m traveling with my Dad and brother, and I know for a fact I will get no mercy from them with my luggage. I forsee me juggling my duffel bag (to be checked in), backpack, dorky passport pouch (I despise these things with a vengeance, however I am more concerned with the safety of my passport and moulah and gadgetry rather than how much like a DVD seller I look) and camera bag, running for a bus or something, while those two prance on ahead.

Dad wants to cover his ass, so he’s already declared repeatedly that they’re not checking in anything, and if I want to carry “so much rubbish” I can carry it by myself. Huff. Very well for you to say, Papa Song, you don’t need to worry about carrying shampoo (given how he is borderline balding) or deodorant, or tweezers or razors to prevent hairy ‘pits. I can’t bloody carry on all that stuff!

Ooh, does anyone know if I’d be able to carry on my camera tripod though? I’m flying AirAsia, and am worried it might get dented or bashed up mercilessly, though I guess I can buffer it with my clothes. My check in luggage is ridiculously light at the moment. Dad’s already scoffing at me, saying that we’re going to do outdoorsy stuff (like whitewater rafting, oooooooh! Something I’ve always, always wanted to do before I died!) and not going for a fashion show.

Bah, men.

***

I’m really beginning to be sick to death of The Thesis.

I’m tired of explaining myself (already) and am sorely tempted to just do a half-assed job of it so I can actually reclaim my life instead of spending weekends in uni being miserably unproductive and subjecting myself to the godawful cafeteria food (because I’m too lazy to walk to Medan/Rock Cafe–good God, what a lameass name!–and I hate the catcalls and up-down looks from the mechanics in the workshops).

But on another level I know I’ve already programmed myself such, and being the bloody overachiever I am, I know I will not be content until I get First Class. I will bloody spend nights here if I have to! Kiasu kan! Sigh, what to do.

I feel like I’m a set of overused rechargable batteries. I wear out quickly, get recharged and am on Power Mode and super-cheery for a few days (I was crazyhyper the other day after Cuppacakes with Eva—I was asking all the lecturers if they could do cartwheels/handstands, and made futile attempts in the office with The Office Mate looking amusedly on) but then I begin to shudder to a halt. It’s times like these (now) when I lie, drained, in bed, having a Family Guy marathon and turning off the lights by 10.30pm.

I’ve had enough of this shit, really, but I know I have no choice but to go on :/ I just wish I had a longer-term solution, and one I would not get bored of so easily.

Damn my goldfish attention span.

May 12, 2008

over the hum of the drum

Posted in Random Ramblings, Social Responsibility According to Me at 9:50 am by meldee

It’s been one of those weeks where time zooms right by you, and before you know it, it’s Monday morning again. You’re dragging your ass out of bed and guzzling coffee, then stuck in traffic listening to the same old crap on the radio, and before you know it you’re in the office (first one on the floor for a week in a row, woots *cocks evebrow sardonically sif to say “This is the drama that is my life”*) Facebooking and trying to find any means to not do work.

I must say, these two years since I’ve gotten back from Australia have been possibly the most trying, ever. I’m not a patient person, and I like getting things done like, five minutes ago. Which is why it kills me when I know something big is coming but I have to be patient and count the days, and in the process bloody behave myself and do what I am supposed to.

Which of course, is the bane of my existence: my Honours thesis. Progress on it is blood-vomitingly slow; I’ve only begun my fieldwork interviews and am still close to tears trying to wrap my head around the theoretical framework—I even have a bloody diagram, believe it or not, revolving around Foucault’s notion of the subject and discourse, before lifting ideas from Baudrillard, Butler, Spivak, Bourdieu and de Certeau.

I don’t think I’ve talked about my thesis so far, or at least what I’m doing—since I’ve presented it already I might as well share my genius *cough* with the rest of the world. It is a qualitative analysis of the use of Facebook by (as a sample which can hopefully be extrapolated to other forms of activism) Malaysian cyberfeminist activists as a vehicle for offline practice mobilisation, titled “The New Face(book) of Malaysian Cyberfeminist Activism: A prelimiary study”.

Trust me, it sounds a lot cooler than it actually is. My lovely (Sagittarian) supervisor, or rather, one of my supervisors (one’s a Cancer, another Sagittarian! Oh la la!) has been (oddly?) quite firm in me aspiring for something doable rather than grandiose, because as she constantly tells me, “It’s an Honours project, Mel! Not a PhD!” (I love how Sagittarians use nicknames for others and themselves so easily). My Cancer supervisor, on the other hand, clicks his claws and peers at be from behind his spectacles and wants me to draw out timelines and budgets. Lovely, but typical.

So there, that is my year-long project. Throw in a smattering of activism, and hair-raising attempts at tutoring (which I love, though it is incredibly frustrating—I blame the Malaysian educational system that makes our students so complacent with all the spoon-feeding. There is little or no initiative, and they expect a quick fix for a problem that requires consistent and thorough work done in their own time—I am only a tutor, not a miracle worker! I can’t bloody help if nobody does their readings *sigh*), coupled with the madness of my homelife, a long-distance relationship and you have a crazed woman.

Though I suppose I can hardly complain; life has been comfortable for me and I have too many blessings than I know how to give thanks for. And I suppose ‘complain’ is a term too harsh, because I’m not—I’m just ranting, because I realise the fault is fundamentally mine, for being impatient and brash and…superior (told to me by a dear friend, whose intentions I am uncertain of—regardless, it stung, because I’ve never thought of myself in that light).

I suppose then this time not getting what I want when I want it (boo) is supposed to be a lesson in cultivating patience. And humility. Among other things. I’m just moaning over it because it’s like having to eat one’s veggies at the dinner table—you may not necessarily like it, but you know you have to because it’s good for you.

***

I have discovered a few facet of my personality when I am drunk—friends know me as the ‘clean-up drunk’ or ‘the happy drunk’ or ‘downright stupid’, but drinks last Saturday brought out the impassioned politics spouter. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I got so hot under the collar talking about the Malaysian judiciary, Pakatan Rakyat and how racialised politics came about in this country (citing Farish Noor’s The Lost Tribes of Malaysia talk in tipsy spurts) over frozen Margaritas.

It also hit me over dinner that I am having a full meal that I can afford to pay for with friends whose company I enjoy. I am sound physically and to an extent, emotionally and mentally, and I have options. It made me sad, thinking about what’s going on in Myanmar now—Myanmar, Tibet, Africa, the outskirts of KL even. And I think while it is selfish, I had to stop thinking about it because it brings out the feelings of helplessness and anger—something I tell myself often, “What can I do? I’m just one person.”

Melody Melody quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row.

At times I think I am the biggest dork this side of the planet. Then I think of ministers in Malaysian parliament and I stop feeling so bad.

Nobody can deny that there will always be things bigger than oneself, and more work cut out than any one person can take on. But I believe if everybody does what they can within their capacities, something can and will get done, right? I guess I just need to mobilise myself in my moments of humdrumity and remind myself that I am a cog in a wheel.

And I just need to remember, in the immortal words of Dory, to “just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming…”

April 23, 2008

of traffic jams and clouds

Posted in Random Ramblings at 9:51 am by meldee

I’ve probably said this a million times already, but I absolutely abhor Subang traffic. Or PJ traffic. KL traffic. Traffic, period. I get tetchy and aggro and impatient when stuck in jams, mostly because it involves me pumping the clutch up and down repeatedly and my left knee is my bad one; on bad days my knee clicks everytime I press down on the clutch.

But for this morning, it was different, somehow. Mainly because traffic was so bad–coming out of my row in USJ, there was an immediate traffic backlog all the way up to the main road. And this was at 7:55am.

As I crawled up the road along with the masses of other irate drivers (not too many cases of driving on the wrong side of the road–which surprised me, considering how there was no policeman at the Nightmare Junction (friends would know what I’m talking about)!) with my mellow music CD on, I found myself appreciating the little things I haven’t thought about, in a long time.

Like how pretty the trees look in the early morning sunshine. Like how the droplets of dew hanging off the leaves sparkled like crystals. Like the cool tinge in the moist air, soon to be polluted beyond belief by fumes and curses. Like how funny Chinese grandmothers that go for morning walks look, in a sweet way, wearing their matching floral print top-and-long-pants combinations with Nike jogging shoes.

All the way to uni, crawling along in traffic (I never once went up to third gear!), I found myself dreaming–something which I actually don’t recommend while on the road, because of the high chances of getting into an accident!–and listening to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now.

And it struck me how those simple lyrics, drawing parallels between clouds, life, and love, were so pertinent. Life is an illusion, and no matter what we do, how high we rise or how low we fall, we don’t really know life. It is so impermanent and changes so much, so fast.

I listened to it over and over again, and on some level the traffic soon faded away and it was just me. Just me and the clouds, and love, and life. Because really, that’s all there is.

***

I am addicted to Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. I want to slow-dance to this song at my wedding with a thousand fairy lights twinkling above me and a soft sea-breeze in the night air..in the arms of the man I love.

April 19, 2008

word therapy

Posted in Random Ramblings at 4:46 pm by meldee

I know, I’m awful with this blogging thing lately. I haven’t written for the usual reasons–no inspiration, no time, nothing to say.

But I find I miss writing. I know I do write, at a surface value, the articles I churn out for various publications, the assignments (indeed, I still have them!), the comments I give on my student’s tutorial exercises and of course, the endless Wall-to-Walling I indulge in on Facebook.

But words are more than just words sometimes, you know? And it both frustrates and amazes me that something so structured and limiting can also provide so much release and liberation. And how I need them to maintain my sanity.

Words, to me, are like breaths. I suppose I have been feeling so out of depth lately precisely because I haven’t been writing the way I need to.

These last few months have been some of those horrible times where it dawns upon you (so you think) that life is more than just dreaming, loving and praying–I mean this in the daily grind kind of way–you know, work, routine, same old, same old.

You cynically tell yourself that dreamers and lovers and those with faith also need to pay bills and carry out mundane tasks, and no amount of visualisation or nights spent conversing with divine powers can ensure that there is food on the table and that the people depending on you can continue to live comfortably. I shouldn’t scoff, I believe I did think this way for a while.

But a little piece of me dies everytime I set writing aside to scurry about the laboratory maze that is the rat race of the societal discourse of living, which is ironic because I should be proud of how much I am accomplishing. How I’m paying bills, repaying my education loan, saving up for my future. But I’m not; not really.

I remember how I felt so centered and at peace with myself last year, with the creative writing classes Sharon taught us. The words that spilled from my pen to paper and often, flowed from my fingertips to my keyboard onto a blank screen were weaved into a fabric of an alternate universe that allowed me to escape, which I need.

And as self-indulgent as this sounds, I do need escapism to continue functioning–I am, fundamentally, a Piscean. With fire planets abounding in my astrological chart, I suppose it’s easy to slip my quivering fish in a bowl and tell it to be happy in there till my other more action-oriented planets get whatever it is the fuck they imagine they need to do, done.

So I lived, but a part of me was probably also on its deathbed; pardon the drama! To me, this makes perfect sense–I’ve been cantankerous as all hell, I snap at people I love, I’ve neglected societal causes that mean a lot to me, and worst of all, I’ve been attracting bad energy. I’ve been utterly miserable, and while I am doing all the things I should be doing, I’m not doing what I want to be doing.

What I’m trying to get at, I suppose, is to remind myself, albeit in a public space, to stop. Breathe. Dream. Write. Because through words, another part of me comes alive; the part that isn’t available to the prying eyes of the world. It is the part of me that comes alive when I am alone, thinking thoughts and penning them down.

Too often, too easily, we think nothing of decentering ourselves in the pursuit of material things, telling ourselves it doesn’t matter what we want to do, we need to do these things which are way more important–or so we think.

This is a reminder to myself, and to those of you who still read me (you poor things, LOL) to remember that what your heart and soul needs are just as important as what your body and mind needs. When body, mind, heart and soul are one, you are at peace; living is no longer a chore, but a source of joy.

So I will write (here, there, anywhere).

I will take pictures of things and people that move me (provided I have my camera on me, of course).

I will splash through puddles; so what if I ruin my shoes? I have another 30-odd pairs to choose from!

I will laugh loudly when due to my own oversight I land myself in ridiculous situations (like with an old carseat that lodged itself under my front bumper yesterday, because I drove over it, because I was too lazy to get out and move it); what else can you do?!

I will sing off-key at embarrassingly loud volumes ; smile warmly at strangers; listen to other people’s problems though I have my own; I will savour the taste of food on my taste buds, stop skipping meals and give thanks that I have food that I can choose to eat at my pleasure.

I will read books with beautiful words and admire gorgeous clothes and shoes; I will ask for whipped cream with my frappucinos; I will play with children and hold them and laugh with them and kiss them.

And I will remind myself as often as I can, that these are the things that make me who I am.

March 4, 2008

lately

Posted in Poetry, Random Ramblings at 11:24 am by meldee

late/ly i

stumble.fumble.crumble

cookie-dough on chippendale desks

a-waiting for a

ย 

time/ly change

beeps wake me

words a-dancing a-cross

a-pathy a-rising

ย 

cost/ly freed.om

betting.getting.fretting

on something false. or true?

i think and

ย 

slow/ly act

a-ppaled at apples

snap out of syndromes

internalised pain.pan.ic.pan.dem.ic

ย 

blank/ly i

forget how to use my hands

a mind un-mine

slip under a seaweed blanket

ย 

smug/ly i

curl toes and thumbs

gleeful.glad.glorious

basking in a fluorescent glow

ย 

snug/ly i

crawl beyond dreams

buoyant.buoyed.boy

solace in a smile.

 

 

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