Sunday, 28 December 2014


Okay, so a dramatic monologue simply put is a play of speech that is performed by one person. I’ve seen one before, but I didn’t realise that was a dramatic monologue. Haha. Anyway, I was surfing (yeah, I still use that word) YouTube when I absent-mindedly clicked on this Australian short film know as The Language of Love a.k.a. La Langue de L’amour, written and performed by Kim Ho. The topic is more towards LGBT actually but I don’t mind that. I love all good short films. And boy, The Language of Love is amazing. So, I decided to write my own dramatic monologue. Well, probably I’m so not up to the theatrical level of monologue writing but it won’t hurt to try right? Haha. Let me present to you this one.


By Mohd Afiq Bin Mat Razai

David is sitting quietly in the library while reading thick books. Items such as notebooks, stationeries, and a water bottle are on his desk. The other tables are filled with people doing their own work.


Hey there.

So here I am in the library. I thought it’s gonna be a bit quiet around here but, uh, not so much. This place is supposed to a beacon for knowledge, not a place to heat up romance. Look at that couple over there. Smooching and I-don’t-know-what. Wonder if the guy’s going for sex books after this.

Anyway, at least they’re here. Some people said “library is dead.” Bullshit. This institution will stay alive until the next millennia… unless we humans annihilate each other first. As a species, we are pretty dumb.

Well, I am talking too loud. Some people are looking at me. Cranky because of my voice? I know I’m not Morgan Freeman or Tom Hiddleston reading that erotic E. E. Cummings poem. That one’s real good.

Anyway, here I am alone, amidst all these pairs or groups. I guess I’m used to it… have always been a friend to loneliness. Ugh that sounds terribly shitty.

Now that I think about it, this seems like a typical Hollywood film scene. You know, a guy with no friends, in the end he gets the most beautiful girlfriend. My life so far, not that, uh, fanciful.

Honestly, I don’t have lots of friends. Yes, I do have classmates, but that’s it. I don’t easily make friends. People look at me differently. You know like this guy beside me. He is looking at me as if I’m crazy.

But anyway, as I said, they look at me differently because I am kinda peculiar. You know how we have two genders? Male and female. Boy and girl. People see those two things as wholly different concepts. No spectrum between those two dimensions. You are either a boy or a girl. Me? For them I’m different. I’m a boy who has feminine-like characteristics.

Truthfully, I don’t really act that way, but, I am not that manly either. I know you’re confused but that’s how it is.

I can’t be a girl because I… I’m not one, but I can’t even play football.

Let girls be girls. Let them play with dolls, or makeup, or kitchen knives. Let boys be boys. Let them play football, or fight with each other because that’s what boys do.

Fuck. Boys don’t fight because that’s what boys do. Boys fight because they don’t use their brains. Just look at Bin Laden or Bush. Maybe I should lower my voice. A couple over there is looking at me. I suspect they’re Americans.

Football. Fuck football. God really, those Physical Education teachers, they never provide us with proper education. They tell the girls to sit in class quietly and do their work, while the boys, “All of you, football in the field now.”

I know the boys don’t want me in their teams. I don’t know how to play football. I just can’t comprehend the manly needs of boys to kick the object into the goals. I can’t kick the ball strong enough. I duck when the ball flies towards me at 50 kilometres per hour. Although in the end, one of the teams still accepts me, they pretend like I’m invisible.

Yeah, maybe some of you think that I don’t try to participate, but honestly, I would rather do other things. Drawing, writing English essays, read books. I love reading books. I learnt all about the Ancient Greeks, planets, countries, et cetera.

I don’t really talk about girls’ cleavage and boobs and stuff, so what? I’m weird because I don’t like to talk about… girls? Come on! Not everything in life is about girls.

I would be okay with that though if they leave me alone. But they don’t. They hurt me because I’m not like them. I am not physically hurt so bad, but still, they hurt me.

And they won’t stop calling me names. And they saw me crying.

I don’t know how to fight back. I only know how to cry. They only know how to taunt me further.

“David’s a cry-baby!” “David is a girl!” “David needs to change his gender” “David this!” “David that!” “David this!” “David that!” fucking over and over and over and over again.

People are definitely looking at me now.

The boys and the girls said I am girlish because I cried. A boy doesn’t cry, they said.

Is there a written convention anywhere saying that? Why can’t boys cry? Because crying is not macho shit? Because boys don’t deserve to feel emotions? Are boys expected to go through anything silently even if they are in pain? No guidance, no advice, nothing, just keep it all… in.

I’ve never told anyone the things happening to me because I don’t want them to say that I’m weak… but I cry. That means I am weak, right?

I still feel alone. I can’t even play football.

How Far Can You Jump

How far can you jump
Gone is the bridge
the water's burning cold
"forget it."
have you the bravery
your feet
are they chained
or can they spring
how far
"look," they say
"it's too far
you fall and die
trust me."

but you let go
one second after
there's no turning back
the swoosh of air
the absence of ground
the leap of faith
you cross

how far?
did you jump?

Saturday, 29 November 2014


I didn’t sleep well that night. It was not right to sleep well when the day after would be a rather different day than the usual. At eleven, you asked me a question, I looked at the ceiling absentmindedly and replied, “I don’t feel like going back.” Honestly, I didn’t feel like going back. I knew that it would be a joke to not go back. My time there, at least for that phase of my life, was over. I was also thinking of something else. That morning, I didn’t watch the morning sun rising from its hiding. That morning, the only thought in my mind was ‘Thank you for not pushing me away. Thank you for still having faith with me.’

That mid-morning, I went to the last place there where my feet still touched the ground. I talked with both of you, but it felt different. It felt different because the next time when I listened to your voices and see your faces again would probably be so many months away. I still could bottle up my real feelings though. I didn’t want to show I was sad. I wanted us to depart on a happy note. That day would not be the last time. I promise that. On that plane, I watched the sky. The blue that day was a beauty. The clouds were dense and white. The only thing on my mind was nothingness.

Friday, 28 November 2014


So, I was having this conversation with a friend of mine, and one of the sentences that he said was “If I get the girl who will like me for who I am, I will be happy.” Okay, I’m not so sure if that was the correct sentence, but in essence, that was it. It got me to think two things – one: “Dude, you’re not a bad looking boy, but I feel you.” *imaginary hug* and two: “Do we care about the imperfections of the people who we love?” And when I mean the people who we love, I mean everyone.

Perfections, imperfections, we are humans. We are never free from having mortal flaws, both outside and inside. Defects that litter on our bodies, in our minds, inside our souls, or within our hearts, they all make who we are. The first question is this: do we blindly accept those people with all our hearts? We can’t possibly accept people who’ll do damages to us in the end, and some damages can be irreversible. I know that we always say that ‘I love that person. I don’t care about the not-so-good things that person has.’ Fine, it’s good because well, acceptance is one of the keys to a good, long-lasting relationship (as long as the flaws are not detrimental to the bond you have) but in a way, what kind of imperfections can we accept without them being detrimental? Physical, well I think so. But terrible behaviour? Horrible attitude? Are those acceptable flaws?

The second question is this: do we let our own limitations stay, or do we change to be better? Obviously the real thing is to change them. I do really think that all of us have an obligation to adjust ourselves better. We can’t possibly stay on the same level for too long of a time. We can harm the very people who we adore if we let our own flaws to consume us in the end. If we know that we want the people who we love to be a permanent fixture in our lives, the one thing to do is to change. What kind of changes? The changes are those that will make us a greater person to ourselves, a person who is way superior to our old selves, one that will make us proud and happy.

All of us have an Achilles’ heel, or maybe two, or three, okay, maybe way more than that. Sometimes, we can’t change if we don’t have someone to support us. If the people we love have faith in us, they will gladly go through the bad times and the good times together. These people want the best for all relationships that they have. They want us to be better, and in many ways, they will be better themselves too. We need one another. We want to be there for one another. Changing is not easy. Love is not a walk in the park. Once you get it, you will hold on to it. We want to be the best for one another.

With the words of Auzellea Kristin Mozihim

Taylor Swift's 1989 D.L.X. Version Track By Track Review

Taylor Swift is going pop, and she’s going big. A few months ago when Taylor Swift announced that her new album is going to be sonically different by being a full pop offering, fans around the world were divided into two different factions (Divergent this is not). Some rejoiced the fact that Taylor’s trying a whole different sound, and some thought that Swift’s abandoning the very essence that has made her who she is now. Me? I’m in the middle. I love her Country twang and vibes. I knew her from her single Teardrops on My Guitar and the song made me cry on my… uhhh… bed, because it was real good, but then again, her transition into a full mainstream pop artist, does it surprise me?

You see, from her first eponymous Country album back when she was like 15, to her sophomore effort, Fearless, that basically became her catapult to worldwide stardom, to Speak Now, which cemented her position as the artist to be reckoned with, and finally to her previous album, Red, that provided us with a taste of what Taylor is giving us now… every single album before this has increased pop values and 1989 feels like a destined shift of Swift’s singing career. 1989 is a fine beginning to Taylor’s pop career as she manages to blend in the current trends of mainstream music, with the uniqueness of the 80s. The admixture works rather well for her. So, to answer that previous question: I’m not surprised. I’m just surprised at how good she executed this change.

Welcome to New York, the opener of the album immediately tells you that this album is truly a pure pop offering by Taylor. This song is the red carpet to the new door that Swift is guiding us in. It signals that new one direction (totally not a pun) that Taylor is heading to, and it begins with New York City. It’s an anthemic, catchy tribute to the city of lights, with its entire dewy-eyed girl’s hyper positivity of a brand new place all around. It’s not the best song dedicated to the Big Apple out there, with Taylor putting her school girl story on the song. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind does a better job describing the grit and glory of NYC. Welcome to New York is but it sure makes you want to fly there and see the bright lights of New York yourself. Dancing in Times Square is optional.

Blank Space, the second track and the second single of the album, is a song that shows Taylor Swift actually realises the reputation given to her as a-serial-dater-who-break-people’s-hearts-so-that-she can-make-songs-out of-it. I know there’re too many dashes over there but I can’t help it. The song is quite minimal and when they said it is quite similar to Lorde’s style, well I couldn’t help but to notice it. The lyrics are playful and fun and mischievous, this is TayTay satirising about what the masses are saying about her, and clearly she had fun writing this while imagining that she’s a sort of a femme fatale or whatever.

Style is the third track in this CD. Makes you think about Harry Styles, doesn’t it? Perhaps it is about him, I mean it is obvious isn’t it? Anyway, the music sounds like the 80s noir crime drama theme song. The lyrics touch on fashion (well a bit, the song is titled as ‘Style’) but the main point is about a relationship that is a mistake but you still want to be in its cycle.

Out of the Woods is one of my favourite songs in this album, perhaps one of my favourites from her entire career so far. One word that I can use to describe this song is ‘epic’. This synthpop offering (courtesy of Jack Antonoff of the band fun.) falls on the same line with her song from the previous album, Red, titled State of Grace. Genre-wise, State of Grace is actually a soft rock song, but in its essence, Out of the Woods and State of Grace for me are the same, aurally haunting sounds. Out of the Woods is ambitious and monumental, full of deep percussions and heavy synths, with beautifully layered vocals by Swift, accompanied by looping cut voices of Antonoff, and chorus that sticks to your ears. This is a song like no other Swift has ever done. As always, Taylor shines in her song writing skills here. This 80s-inspired tune is a grand offering.

All You Had to Do Was Stay, the fifth track, is one of my favourite, although many other ‘official’ reviews put it as a mediocre song. Hey, people are entitled to their opinions. I like the chorus part, when Swift croons about a man who wants her back after he left her in the first place. Of course, there’s no going back now for the man. The background voice saying ‘stay!’ makes it all the better for me.

Shake It Off, the saxophone-laden sixth track, acts as the first single on the album and it immediately reminds me of her first single from Red, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Why? Here are the similarities: first, the choruses of Shake It Off and Never Ever just hook you from the beginning. Second, there are spoken sections in both singles (which I know lot of people like to say with weird accents, including me) and third, those two songs are energetic, upbeat anthems that prompt us to shake out butts off. I should add the fourth one now – they are not the best that Taylor (and her team) can create. Sure, I love both songs. Head-shaking and butt-wiggling are sure to occur like there’s no tomorrow when the songs are played, but they are just similar to many other pop songs these days. Still, you can’t deny this song’s mass appeal.

I Wish You Would, the first song in which guitar plays a prominent role. And as always, two o’clock in the morning is the time when Swift is still breathing, perhaps making music. Listen to her previous songs and tell me how many times she used the same hour in the songs. The song is up-tempo and as it goes on, it goes bigger and bigger. For me though, the song is quite ordinary?

Bad Blood is Taylor Swift being pissed off like how Taylor Swift can only be pissed. Well, this is her fifth album, so she is pretty much an expert in putting a person to a limelight with her lyrics and emotions. She is angry and she wants to have her revenge. Do I love this one? Well, not so. In fact, I think Better than Revenge from Speak Now has greater pissed-off value than Bad Blood.

Wildest Dreams is a slow ballad, and honestly, not all ballads appeal to me. Here though, we can see that Taylor Swift is channelling her inner Lana Del Rey. Whispering and trembling voices, and minimal music, the songs is about Lana… wait, I mean Taylor, asking a guy to remember her when she’s gone due to a condemned relationship. Does Taylor passed the Lana Del Rey Mimicking Test? Perhaps 59.9%. Lana Del Rey is better as Lana Del Rey, but congrats to Miss Swift for trying.

How You Get the Girl straight up sounds like the song that is connected to Taylor’s previous brand of music, although the influence of 1989 is still there. Really, if you take away the pop production, this could sit well with Swift’s earlier Country albums. The song is Miss Swift telling all you guys to be honest with your girls. Tell them what you really feel. It’s cheerful, chirpy, it fits for a family serial drama background song, and it’s what I like.

This Love is the eleventh track, and boy it is slow… and sentimental. Swift gets her vocals layered and fluid here and the song itself has sonically layered synths. And yes I said I don’t like some ballads, but I kind of like this song.

I Know Places references hunters and foxes, perhaps it’s Swift trying to equate her and her lover and the media with those two things, you know since the lenses of paparazzi (and the public) are on her life all the time, but it could abode well with couples trying to get out from annoying aunts or parents asking them when they are getting married. The verses are menacing and unnatural, as if you’re waddling through a river in a scary forest. Seriously I thought the song is going to be like that in its entirety, but comes the chorus, and it changes to a cheery, joyous sound. The alternating drums and piano give different vibes to the music. All in all, the fast pace tempo song manages to stick to its theme.

The final song in this album is Clean. First thing first, if the song is in another singer’s album, I would be inclined to think of it as a coitus-related song, you know on the same par as Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, Beyoncé’s Partition or all Miley Cyrus’ over-sexualised videos, because the title ‘Clean’ implies that… uhhh… sort of. Nevertheless, the song is NOT about coitus and Swift still manages to keep her squeaky clean images intact with the song. The song is all about addiction (wait, didn’t you say Swift is clean in this song?). Well, it’s another kind of addiction, an addiction to a person who destroys you, but then you learn how to let it go bit by bit and come back to the hopeful world that you have left behind. This is an emotionally flooded song, and aptly titled so, since it employ many water metaphors. The electronic vibes of this ballad makes it different from the other pop ballads that you have heard before. One of the best songs in this album.

Now, if you buy the D.L.X. version of this album, you’ll have three extra songs. The first bonus song is Wonderland, and if you guess it’s related to Alice in Wonderland, 10 out of 10 you are right. Taylor equates her life with her beau with all those sinister and beautiful things in Wonderland (Underland if you want to be technical…).

You Are In Love is the second bonus song, and I don’t like it. It’s a song that you can play during a marriage ceremony as it will make your bride smile, but nah, not for me.

The final song is New Romantics. New Romantics… one question to Miss Taylor Swift is why didn’t she put this on the normal version of the album? Like why the hell why?! It’s funky, it’s groovy, it’s anthemic, it’ loud, it has this I-don’t-care-attitude! I love this song. The 80s rhythm is so good here and the chorus is noisy and freaking infectious.

To end the 1989 experience, Taylor Swift provides us with three voice memos, describing the ways she writes her song. So you can get her personal insights on where her creativity and inspiration come from. You also get to listen to early versions of three of the songs in 1989.

So, Taylor Swift has finally completed her transformation from an All-American Country Sweetheart to a Global Pop Force. Some people may find it to be a disloyalty to her Country roots, but if you’ve followed her growth since the day one, the progress from one genre to another seems to be natural. She has proven herself as a great Country musician, and now she’s making a really titanic splash in the pop arena. If there are people who can juggle two different kinds of music in the same time, one of them will be Taylor Swift. Of course we don’t know if this transition is just a one-time fling or a permanent fixture of Taylor’s career, but one thing is sure, Taylor has done it again, and Taylor has done it real good.

I need to say my thanks to Syed Noor Yazeed, my classmate, for buying me the album. He’s my Secret Santa for my class’ Farewell Dinner. Thank you so much Yazeed!

Friday, 14 November 2014

INK - Issue:1

Do you know what a zine is? Zine is an original, self-published, small-circulation booklet or magazine either cheaply photocopied or in digital form. I have always wanted to make a zine for a long time because it's unique and personal. People usually make zines on the topics or matters that they love, be it films, gaming, poetry, food, anything.

Since I didn't have anything to do, I actually created one with my Photoshop and Word today haha. The name of my zine is the INK. So, I can say that I’ve finally fulfilled that dream! Yeay! Making the zine was a bit tough but I do love it. I especially love creating the layout. So, lads and lassies, let me welcome you to the first ever issue of the INK. In the November 2014 issue, it’s all about haiku. So sit back, relax, and read on! Thanks!

Read it here: The INK

Monday, 10 November 2014

Like Water

I look at you, and in my mind, you are an element of nature. Perhaps like the water of the sea, one that comes to the shore as waves that grip my feet and sweep me away from the ground, pulling me into the freezing depths of my soul. You make me realise the tremendous amount of affection I have towards you, deeper than the bottom of the ocean, circling around my body like never-ending oceanic currents, giving me heat to sustain living. This love (one that you may never find out) makes hurricanes that devours on that heat. This love is one that drowns me, in as many ways as the sea harms a human. I am suffocated, no way of breathing air, but I can’t let you go. I am blinded, no light falls on me, the saltiness hurts my eyes, but still I wanted to seek you. Like waves shaping the coastal shores, you shape me in ways unfathomable. I am a yacht without a sail, travelling slowly upon your surface. I want to break free and get back to the land, but as much as I want that, I dream of just being afloat with you, letting you to dictate my course. Sunken or docked, my final verdict still unknown.

When You Were Eight

When you were eight
you made a fort
out of the pillows
you were the king
midnight was still early
but morning was all too soon
chocolates were never enough
colours came in 12 sticks
and you had magic
paper aeroplanes were as
good as the big ones
for your small eyes
the world was big enough
but then you said
“can I be an adult soon?”
you couldn’t wait
to be tall strong beautiful
you couldn't wait
to have your own job
you couldn’t wait
but you could not have known
the world never stops
now you look
to a mirror
and wish to send
paper aeroplanes back
to yesterday
when you were eight
falling from a bicycle
made you cry
now it seems
the visible scar
was less hurting than
a broken mind
a shattered heart
a wrecked trust

Sunday, 9 November 2014


Let’s face it, life can be unfair. There are many people out there who don’t know how to escape from the problems they face and end up doing things that hurt themselves, or worst, committing suicide.

But as always, a lot of people are not helping. Some people think that those who cut themselves are crazy. They think that people who have suicidal tendencies are just clamouring for attention. What the society thinks of them are harmful.

People who mutilate themselves or choose to end their lives do not find any ways to solve their problems. It’s not because they cannot search for one, it’s because they have lost hope. No one supports or loves them. They have let their problems to be a part of themselves. What I know is this, diminishing the values of the crisis they are facing will never aid them. We should not equate the lives of other people based on our own.

The thing is maybe we can never even understand what they are going through, but if we try to understand, encourage and be there for them, they will know that they don’t have to face this world alone. Everyone needs one another.

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

So, before I begin, let me tell you a story. I’m not a person who really knows how to control my emotions. Nope, not the usual kinds of emotions, but the one when you get too excited and too happy that you just forget about the other people around you. Well, that’s me. I saw this book in the bookstore, almost one month after the book came out, and I literally screamed and ran towards it while shoving my friend (as if she didn’t exist) like a madman because I was that happy. So… let’s forget about that now, shall we?

The Blood of Olympus is the fifth and final book from the Heroes of Olympus pentalogy. In this book, the seven demigods, Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Frank, Hazel, and Leo also the trio, Reyna, Nico, and Coach Hedge the Satyr, are in the final quest to save the Earth from the waking Gaia, the primordial goddess of the Earth. If Gaia wakes up, we can say ‘yasas’ to the planet (that’s ‘goodbye’ in Greek). While the seven demigods are trying to get to somewhere in the Greek mainland to fight Gaia, Reyna, Nico, and Hedge are struggling to bring back the statue of Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood as a sign of truce between the Roman side and the Greek side of the demigods and prevent a destructive war. Will they ever succeed? Also, the book has a side (a major side for me, at least) of Leo trying to get back to Ogygia, where the love of his life, Calypso is trapped due to her curse. Will he ever succeed in getting another kiss from Calypso?

Anyway, as always, the author, Rick Riordan, wrote the story with flair that is just so amazing, weaving humour, sass, suspense, adventure, emotions, and educational stuff in a book 500 pages long I admit, I’m no Percy, heck, I’m not even Piper… I can’t hold this book for an extended amount of time. It takes a lot of energy from me! You open one page and you’ll laugh out loud (especially when it’s Leo who speaks). Open another, and for five pages straight, you’ll scream “Fight! Fight! Fight!” as you yearn to know what will happen to the characters (Will they die? Will they kill the monsters?). Open yet another page, and be ready to be sucked into a wormhole of emotions as the heart falls from the chest due to really emotional scenes between the characters (and there are so many of them, which I love, since you can never put aside humanity from the young ones). It’s a fun book, really. You’ll even learn so many things about Greek or Roman myths. That’s why I love Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. The myths are the integral parts of the story. Rick Riordan doesn’t shove them in your head like… well, like a History book.

Still, I wish there are POVs from Percy. The book doesn’t have that. It is sad since I fanboy over him like a lot. Also, I wish Rick Riordan added at least another 25 pages to make the Gaia scene in Camp Half-Blood more electrifying and scary and well, more fights, since she’s Gaia, the primordial goddesses. It feels short to me, the demigods fight with Gaia. But all in all, the book is a great read. The characters? They are always the best.

The friendship in the book, they are all believable, and the support and love and faith they give and get from one another prove to be the catalyst for them to go all the way in the quest. I’ll say these things about the characters:

Percy – Percy, Percy, Percy. You know I’m always smitten with your goofiness and clumsiness. NO ONE, AND I MEAN THIS AND NO MORTALS SHALL EVER DO THIS, no one can ever hate you. Percy has always been protective of his friend, but he never has any qualms on keeping the wrong things he has done to himself. He shares his mistakes because it’s the right thing to do. He is remorseful of all the faults he made before, and he tries to mend them. If one thing, the traumatising experience in Tartarus changes Percy for the better. In a way, Percy is much more humanised, if I may say so. Percy is as strong as the waves over the ocean, but he still knows that he can never succeed without this friends. No one in literary fiction can ever outdo Percy. Hands up!

Annabeth – One badass demigod with an ocean of knowledge and a knack of logic and martial arts, don’t mess with Annabeth, the daughter of Athena. Annabeth has always been one of my favourite female characters, and I don’t think I’m farfetched to say this: she’s one of the best representations of female in literature in young adult fictions. She has brawn, she has brain, and her spirit shines bright. She’s Percy’s beacon, she’s the guiding light of everyone else in Argo II. Like all humans, she has her weak points, but she never lets her weaknesses to be barriers to her life. She crushes them like she crushes giants.

Jason – Let me confess, I didn’t like Jason the first time I met him. He seems so… stiff, rigid. It is like he doesn’t know what he is supposed to be. I’m glad to say that Jason, after five books, you have climbed up my ranking of characters. You starts to excel in the House of Hades, and in the Blood of Olympus, you are, what can I say, a kickass guy who learns that your heart is the greatest weapon and ally you have (well, besides the fact that you are the son of Jupiter). Jason shows us his flaw in this book, and honestly, I pitied him like a lot (and I never expected I would). He develops so much in this book, I feel like he should have his own book now. I admire Jason for who he is, his steadfastness and his trust in all his comrades.

Piper – Piper is a beautiful girl. Enough said… if you only look on the outside. She wants to prove to the world that good looks are not the only thing that she has, she wants to show you that clouding your judgments with the things on the outside is a wrong thing to do. Within her, Piper has the power to carve the road that she wants to take. Her destiny lies in her own hands. She is quiet gale that will sweep you away with the slightest force.

Frank – From a big kid, to a still big but now buff Roman Praetor, Frank’s tremendous change also echoes the change in his faith to himself. He used to be insecure, thinking that he is going to die anytime, his lifeline literally burning like slow combusting coals, but Frank then gains all the confidence he needs to know that life is not about worrying all the time. It’s about living it in ways that will make it more meaningful at every single moment. Having a well-toned body helps too.

Hazel – The daughter of Hades has the power to bend the mist according to her will. It’s a good thing, although unfortunately before this, she is not that willing on having her feelings in check. Fortunately, in this book, Hazel learns to not confuse herself over guys. Well that’s good since she has great powers, like super dangerous powers that can even confuse Gods and other creatures, and she’s way better with it now. Go, magic girl!

Leo – This kiddo! This damn little scrawny skinny fuck-ass git! Why on earth why?! You are sloppy, you know how to blow stuff and ironically, you make stuff too, you are such a clumsy, clumsy, clumsy kid, and only know how to make bad jokes (that are admittedly funny) 24 hours a day, seven days a week… and then you just… just… ugh!!! You brave, brave boy. You think you are a coward, you think you are the seventh wheel, let me tell you, if you are alive and kicking in front of me, I’ll scream at you and say “Get fucking over it! You’re the most badass best boy out there!” Live your life with Calypso. Go, go, go!

Reyna – In this book, we get chapters from her POV. I was rather apprehensive in the beginning, but boy, I love that we get that. Reyna is a strong character. Even with a troubled past, she managed to get through it (well, sort of) and be who she is today. She doesn’t let her past to determine her future. Her sisterly bond with Nico? It’s cute. I like it that she has someone whom she can trust, especially on her history. Reyna is always about putting other people first. She believes in the goodness in other people’s hearts, and in the end, that faith frees her own soul from being chained to guilt.

Nico – Another child of Hades, and Nico, let’s start with how much I adore you. You are always left in the dark, being all alone. You think it’s because the others think that you’re a bit of a freak, you know with you being the son of the God of the Underworld and all, but then you realise that you don’t have to be invisible. You step out into the light and be happy. You overcome your fears of not being accepted, of being alone. I’m so proud of you Nico. Not to mention, you now have sass too. You go, di Angelo!

So, this marks the end of the Camp Half-Blood world. There is no going there again. Percy Jackson and his friends may still need to fight occasionally, but for now they will save their weapons in a good place while living their lives normally. I guess that’s a good thing about it, you know, imagining that your characters have a good future to look forward too. They must have had enough wars for a lifetime. Me? I’m just going to go to the shower so that I can cry. Farewell Percy Jackson and the Gang. It’s been good knowing you all this time.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Film Review: Christopher Nolan's Interstellar

A grand voyage into deep space, a stellar effort to save humanity, all starting with an element that is scientifically incalculable, love. This is Interstellar, a film of immense proportion that, in a really good way, pulls you in intimately.

Interstellar is a film by Christopher Nolan of Inception and Dark Knight Trilogy fame. Pretty sure many people out there have heard of him. This film takes us on a journey of a lifetime, far into the reaches of the universe. It is the near future. Our Earth is dying. Humanity is on the brink of extinction. Food is scarce, save for the corns. Cooper, a widowed father of two, is fished out of his life as a farmer by his former employee, NASA to embark on a journey beyond the solar system known. With Dr. Brand, and the other members of the team, they seek to find a planet that can be the new place for all humans to colonise. Of course, a difficult choice needs to be made, so Cooper leaves his children behind, his son, Tom, and his genius but grieving daughter, Murphy. He wants to save them. He wants to save the humans. But is there something weird behind this pure-intentioned scheme?

Interstellar stars Oscar-worthy casts. This include Matthew “Alright, Alright, Alright” McConaughey, Anne “I Dreamed a Dream” Hathaway, Jessica “Hey, I Found Bin Laden” Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, and many others. Their portrayals of their characters are spot on. McConaughey is a really great artist, we can’t deny that. If you can’t believe his pain when he leaves his children, or when he cries seeing them grow up without him being there, or when he tries to understand and rectify the things around him, then there must be something wrong in your head. The first hour of the film is where he shines the most, with his believable bond with young Murphy (acted by Mackenzie Foy). Anne Hathaway (as Dr. Brand) also does not disappoint. Both Hathaway and McConaughey have a good on-screen chemistry, but it does not really border on love per se, more on the faith that they still have one another. But I think the main scene-stealers of the film are the two clunky, rectangular robots known as TARS and CASE. Trust me, they are as human-like as the rest of the characters, even if they don’t look like humans at all. They make the film funny in all of its sombre nature.

As a sci-fi movie that brings us into the space, the VFX is actually quite minimal. Whenever applicable, Nolan opted for studio sets, or real locations to add depths and realness to the story. As such, the set production’s realism is rather high. Real space chamber, real spacecraft, real lots-of-things. But the visuals of the space, they are astounding and just take your breath away. Wormholes, black holes, all space objects, are depicted in a really spectacular scale. You can’t help to feel how small you are amidst the grandeur of the space. The cinematography enhances the splendour of the story. The sound and music are not that extensive in the movie. The film stays true to the fact that sounds don’t propagate through space, and this is evident in some external spaceship scenes. The scores by the popular Hans Zimmer sound like the 70s or 80s sci-fi movies background music, and they fit the film perfectly. Listen to it, and you’ll understand what I mean.

The film has enough exhilarating, high-octane action to keep you entertain. There are parts in the movie that made me to be on the edge of my seat while gritting my teeth. Humorous moments are kept to the minimum. Granted, it’s a movie by Nolan, so that’s understandable. Most of the film’s funny scenes come courtesy of Cooper and TARS or CASE. What you can expect from Nolan is thought-provoking, mind-boggling stuff. This is a sci-fi film that touches a lot of the theory of Relativity (you know, things like gravity, space, and time), and deep space objects, so expect your minds to have a bit of exercise (which is a good thing actually). Obviously, Nolan won’t leave his viewers scratching his head over the movie, so adequate explanations are still given. But still, the film is still heavy, so don’t watch the film with your heads thinking about the recent problems that you face. You know, unpaid taxes, Mathematical equations, or marital problems and such. Also, don’t watch the film with your bladder full of liquid. The film is 169 minutes a.k.a. 2 hours 49 minutes long. You don’t want to miss even a second of the film.

At the end, the heart of this epic film is the human scale of it. Against the vast dark abyss of the space, there is a sense of belonging and hope to the entire humanity. Grief and regrets are here and there in the story, but we still hold on the dreams of surviving even in the harshest of times. It is a tale that sparks our mind on these questions: are we able to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment to the ones we love, even if the sacrifice takes a toll on them? Are there chances for us to forgive ourselves? The bleak future of all humans is possibly not even the end. Maybe we can look into two places to seek for the answer: the sky above us, and inside the hearts of those we love.

Aidan (Part I)

Aidan swore he was dreaming. There was nothing that could explain the bizarreness of this place. It was a meadow of strange yet beautiful wildflowers of many different colours, tall twisted trees with really dark-coloured barks, and around him, rectangular mirrors about two metres tall formed a perfect circle. The sky was pinkish, with a little proliferation of clouds here and there. The sun was right smack in the middle, indicating that it was noon, but it was not as warm as it should have been. Aidan would have found the whole situation to be odd, if not for the fact that he seemed to have recognised this somewhere. His mind, though, would not cooperate with him regarding this matter. He stood there, watching the whole thing alone. The entire meadow was silent except for…
Except for those galloping sounds he heard from his behind. Aidan turned around and his face turned paper white. His blood rushed to the heart like speedy cars on the German autobahns. A wall of horses, as fast as a bullet train, as loud as the crackling thunder, was moving towards him. He half-expected those horses to stomp him to pieces. But then again this was a dream. He wouldn’t die, would he? What if he died in real life as the result of dying in his dream? The galloping sounds grew louder and louder and the horses got closer and closer. Aidan did not know what to do. His feet were cemented to the ground. He willed himself to walk, but not a single part of his legs followed the order. The horses all gravitated towards him, an unstoppable earth-hued wave. One… two… three… Aidan could only manage to close his eyes. Well, any minute now…
The sound stopped so suddenly. Aidan’s legs were shaking like trees in the tornado, but he still remained steadfast to the ground. His ears had not tricked him. No more sounds, but for a soft licking sound. Aidan opened his eyes slowly. What he saw took his breath away. A single stallion remained in front of him. Aidan was dumbfounded. No other horses were in sight, save for this one. The stallion was regal, so Aidan thought. His mane was long and silk-like. The coat was glistening copper. The horse was tall, even taller than him. Aidan then realised something else about the stallion: a single tusk on its head. It looked like a shiny black narwhal tusk, with a razor-sharp tip. Again, just like the scenery, Aidan seemed to recognise the horse.
“You can’t be a unicorn.” Aidan said, his voice small. The stallion moved closer to him. He nuzzled Aidan’s nose. “You’re not afraid of me?” Aidan asked. The horse appeared to understand Aidan’s question. It kept motioning to its body, as if to urge Aidan to ride on his back.
“I have no idea how to get on you.” Aidan admitted. He had never ridden a horse before. He was a city boy, and anyway he couldn’t just go to a horse track to ride one. The horse pushed Aidan’s head to the left. Aidan saw a boulder and immediately he realised what to do. “You want me to use that boulder to get onto you?” Aidan asked. The horse waggled its head up and down. Aidan walked while the stallion trotted to the boulder, in which after a few attempt (including one embarrassing fall to the mossy ground), Aidan finally managed to mount the horse.
“I supposed we could ride slowly now.” Aidan said. The stallion however made a neigh that sounded like a laugh. The horse kicked his hoof on the ground, and after another neigh or two (which didn’t sound good at all inside Aidan’s head), it abruptly gallop without a warning like a lightning bolt, making Aidan to scream as he had never done it before, while holding on to the stallion’s slender neck. Wind of hurricane-like intensity smashed his face. The scenery, that was visibly solid seconds ago, turned blurry. The most amazing thing happened a few seconds after that.
Like flowers growing from the Earth, horses started emerging from the ground and surrounded the regal stallion. They were smaller than the stallion, but they travelled with the same speed, muscles all ripped and buzzing with wild energy. It was the most beautiful sight that Aidan has ever witness in his life, or so he thought until he twirled his head to the front and saw a looming mountain up ahead. Aidan could perceive its grey rocky surface, dark crevices, and on its top, a pure white ice cap. How high was that mountain, Aidan wondered. It was breathtaking indeed, but there was one thing about the mountain that bothered Aidan. Just like the meadow and the stallion, the mountain was recognisable. It was engrained in his brain somewhere. Aidan was pretty sure of that, but now he did not remember where or when he first saw that mountain.
The horses all sprinted with astonishing speed, covering the distance between the meadow to the mountain in a swift pace. Aidan started to wonder if that mountain was their destination. Aidan himself was, for some reasons unknown, attracted to it. He felt as if his name was being summoned by the mountain, which was odd seeing that mountain was not breathing, living creature. A mountain was just a landmark, a piece of rock jutting out from the ground.
“Uhhhh… where are we going?” Aidan asked awkwardly. He was talking to a horse. Everyone would feel awkward doing that. The stallion answered the question with a nicker… and with lights coming out of its front legs, which then enveloped the whole body slowly. Aidan’s eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The front legs shorten and rapidly, dark feathers with golden tips formed one by one and finally fused into two ethereal wings, larger and longer than the wings of an albatross. The whole body of the horse started to become wider and the stallion’s head seemed to retract, but the mouth turned pointy. The hind legs shortened and became claws. Aidan couldn’t form any words to describe the utterly abnormal nature of the situation, but moments later he understood one thing.
“Eagle? We are not going to… arghhhhhh!” again, Aidan screamed loudly, filling the valley below with his ear-splitting voice. Everything on the ground started to appear small, trees, rivers, rocks, everything. They were soaring above the air. Aidan was flying, for the first time in his life. This time, the eagle was not as fast as it was on the ground, but Aidan was totally cool with that. The other horses also turned into eagles. Their wings cut against the air, creating whooshing sounds. Together, the eagles filled the air with a chorus of screeches. Cool air brushed Aidan’s face. Bravely, he glanced below. The land was like an atlas he used to peruse with his one best friend. Aidan’s lips curved into a smile. If only his best friend could see this. He had never felt this way for a long time. He felt exhilarating. He felt joyful. He felt… he felt free. Freedom, one word that lost its meaning for Aidan, but the word was coming back to him slowly and slowly now, and somehow, he was fearful about it.
The regal eagle that Aidan rode finally made a swift turn to the right. Aidan realised that they were about to land on the ice cap. Aidan braced for the impact, but the eagle and its companions all landed softly on the snow. Only one bird managed to land quite badly, slamming face (or perhaps beak?) first into the ground with a hard thud, but it was alright nonetheless. The snow cushioned the collision. Aidan laughed seeing that. As much as everything was weird, a funny thing was still a funny thing. After that he immediately stopped laughing. Did I just laugh, Aidan thought. His thought was cut short as the coldness of the place started to seep into Aidan’s core. There was nothing around him, except white powdery snow. He was on the top of the mountain. Surprisingly, the air wasn’t thin. Aidan still breathed normally.
“Well, where are we?” he asked the eagle. It didn’t answer. Instead the eagle he rode began to squawk and then it shone again, this time with an even more blinding light. Aidan was flabbergasted and stumbled backward, covering his eyes with his hands. A few moments passed and Aidan heard his name being called a few times, slowly at first, but then…
Aidan could not believe his ears. He recognised that voice, but it couldn’t be the truth. He was frightened, because that voice should not be heard anymore. He was frightened, because he loved that voice. Aidan picked up his courage to turn his face to the direction of the voice. When he did, he got the greatest surprise of his existence.
“No… it can’t be…” Aidan struggled. “Fa… Faolan?”

Saturday, 1 November 2014

I Can’t Love You With a Heart Made of Stone

I can’t love you with a heart made of stone
each walk a deepening step in the mud
feet anchored like roots steadfast to the ground

I can’t love you with a heart made of stone
head pulled under the waves
body sinking in the heart-staining torrent
unable to breathe unable to live

I can’t love you with a heart made of stone
heavy shackled nightmares waking me from sleep
chained mind barricaded from dreams

I can't love you with a heart made of stone
a crumbling statue disguised as a human
recesses of arteries clogged with pebbles
oceans of blood dirtied by desires

Friday, 17 October 2014


Have you ever taken psychological personality tests? Yes, I know what you think, and what you think is that those tests cannot be trusted. Of course, we cannot eliminate our uniqueness and difference from one another. We developed our own personalities as we grow older, but believe it or not, barring all those occasional disparities, we may be able to find those who are actually quite similar to us. That girl or boy next door to you may just have the same attitude with you.

The main thing here is that personality tests are designed to make you able to recognise your potentials and weaknesses, be alert to your surroundings and people in that environment and how they relate to you, and understand the things that make you tick or freak. Personality tests are of course not a 100%-correct judgment of your lives, but in many cases, they can be pretty correct, just like the one that I did. It is a website known as and it will tell you on your type of personality based on a number of questions.

So, I did mine, and my personality turned out to be one of INTJ, that is Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging. INTJs are among the rarest personality there is. Just about 2% of the world’s population are INTJs. Basically, I’m a unicorn haha.

Instinct and theories play a large role for INTJs. INTJs are well known for their curiosity and desire to gain knowledge and are readily happy to share the information they know with other people (sounds just like me). If INTJs wants to do something, they will focus on that something properly and execute plans or strategies that will help them to achieve it. INTJs are resolute in analysing their environment and being rational and logical. They will do anything to keep their theories or stances intact if they feel that they are right (based on what they read or experience), but if they are given new opinions or ideas that are quite true, they can adapt themselves and receive the new views gladly. Honesty and open-mindedness are the virtues that INTJs find to be important. Also, INTJs like to have some ‘me-time’ with themselves (I do). They can be really private, mainly due to their introverted nature.

Nevertheless, the weaknesses of INTJs can be quite detrimental. INTJs can be quite narcissistic and arrogant or look at other people as mere peasants, especially if those people are not doing things properly (well, can’t say I don’t feel that way haha). Judging other people? Well, INTJs can’t help it. The good thing about INTJs pursuit for plans and strategies can be bad as they strive to be perfect, in fact a bit too perfect in many cases. They will always question themselves like a lot and are likely to overanalyse every single thing that they do (I do that a lot and it frustrates me). Besides that, their penchant of being honest causes them to be insensitive to other people. INTJs emotions are generally not as well developed as the other personalities.

What I do learn from the test is that in many ways, I should try to improve myself, especially in aspects where INTJs fail the most. Why don’t you try it?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson, half-boy, half-god, and one whole dramatic queen when he describes about… wait for it… Greek gods. Duh, what else would that demigod talk about anyway? Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods is a collection of short stories, but they are not really Percy’s short stories. If I may put it, the short stories are basically ancient Greek mythology being retold by Percy, and boy, Percy makes a really good storyteller.

“Greek mythology? It’s boring!” you said. You know what? Pray that Zeus won’t zap those butts of yours. Greek mythology is a serious matter and there are thousands and thousands of stuff related to Ancient Greece out there, be it stories of gods and goddesses, creatures, demigods and mortals. I won’t be surprise if Giorgos Sampanis is a demigod… (okay, haha, he’s not… Who’s that you ask? He’s a really awesome Greek pop artist. Yeah, a Malaysian listening to a Greek artist. What gives?).

So, this novel is mainly about the creation of the Earth by the Protogenoi or the primordial entities, the first entities that come into existence, followed by the Titans, and finally (and this group plays a large bulk of the book), our peaceful, people-loving Twelve Olympians… okay, I’m just kidding. They are not peaceful or people-loving. Many other gods and goddesses and heroes and immortals and mortals and nymphs and satyrs and giants and… well, a lot of stuff is also touched by Percy.

Honestly, knowing Percy Jackson from his original series and the sequel series, Heroes of Olympus, Percy is never, never, never a guy who likes to be serious (unless when he’s fighting, wielding his Anaklusmos or bidding the water to do his commands). Rick Riodan always makes Percy Jackson likable with his wit and attitude. We don’t learn much about Greek mythology in our schools, and usually the teaching of History subject in our school system is ughhhhh, but Percy, with all his sass, sarcasm, funny anecdotes, and rather ingenuous dialogues manages to bring the stories of Greek mythology in an all-around fun and comedic manner. Forget those Homer or Herodotus-styled prose. Percy is a modern kid, and like a modern kid he brings to us these tales. He even employs a little bit of dramatic license. I mean, of course, they didn’t have cell phones, Facebook, One Direction, or Justin Bieber back in Eighth-Century-Before-Common-Era Greece, but you can bet that the mythical characters all behave like they live in the current time. It’s a totally hilarious, non-boring way to learn about Ancient Greek myths. Me? I’m smitten with Percy, so yeah… uhhhhh, moving on…

Of course, I need to tell you that Greek stories can be a bit, mature I supposed? Besides, we’re talking about Greek gods here. So, expect rape, or murder, or incest, or revenge, or just about anything bad, but as usual, Percy Jackson (and Rick Riordan) describes those acts in a total family-friendly manner. Also, there are some community messages and really good advice on life, because hey, these Greek tales are also stories of human endeavours, failures, mistakes, and triumphs. Ancient tales are reminders of our way of living, even if they are told in a highly super-exaggerated manner involving immortal beings.

Speaking about ancient tales, Greek myths are a bunch on messed-up stuff! From this novel, I learn that Greek gods and goddesses were born out of every imaginable way you can think of (heck, I even think if bread toaster existed during those days, maybe a Greek god would be borne by jumping out of it. God of Toasters… think about it). Also, be prepared to be changed into either plants or animals of you ask for help from the gods. Don’t forget that they like to kill humans who do wrong things from their own perspectives, even if the humans are actually innocent. Oh one more thing, the book is HEAVY!!! I felt like asking a satyr to hold it for me while I’m reading it.

Anyway, this book is a whole pack of smart-arse-ness courtesy of Percy. Pick this thing up and sacrifice a cow, or maybe a goat, or a chicken or… you know, I’ll just leave it to your own decision.


Leopard hat
…and I am so happy because I finally found one after years of search! Blerghhh~!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. This book… this damn book! I knew that this novel is about giant insects destroying the human civilisation. I knew that the main character is torn between choosing his girlfriend or his good friend. I read this book expecting it to be… well, a good read.

And then, everything changed when the Fire Na… wait… that’s not it. I mean, my perception of the book did change, and changed it did, like a lot! The book is rather bizarre. Well, basically this is the kind of book that you’ll get if you combine stories about a sexually-confused Polish-American boy known as Austin Szerba, testicle-dissolving corn, a secret experiment gone wrong that resulted in human-size praying-mantis-like creatures that are sex-crazed and love to eat people, a small town in recession, and possibly the highest number of mentions on teenage horniness you've ever read in a novel.

Teenage horniness… trust me when I say the other books that you read before only have like 1.999% of the words semen, sex, horny, boner, and everything on par with those words. Like, I know teenagers have raging hormones (I’m a student teacher, I know what my students feel…), but really, Austin is like a dynamo, I don’t think he has ever had a day where he doesn’t feel… perk up after he reached his puberty. This is not the kind of book you would categorise as family-friendly, especially for those young uns’.

Like I said, it’s bizarre. I mean two-headed babies and testicles in a globe-like container? Of course, you can’t forget the large praying mantis. They only know how to eat and copulate. These insects are the annihilators of humans worldwide. Pitbull can forget his Mr. Worldwide title because probably those insects might have chopped his head off during their own world tour.

Austin Szerba is a Polish-descended horny boy (I mentioned that before), and he smokes cigarettes. I don’t care about his sexuality, but really Austin, that boy could not make up his mind that he’s a bisexual. He’s quite funny, with his sometimes mundane or peculiar explanations and views of stuff, but I like it when he talks about his family and friends, and I like that everything in his life is connected like a spider’s web, a chain-of-events, because I totally believe in that, a butterfly’s flutter in Gaborone, a raging storm in Montreal sort of thing. There were times though when I wondered on how he manages to actually know about the things happening in like what 150 years ago involving his great-great-grandparents up to his grandparents, you get the idea. He’s really omniscient that way, way too omniscient. But hey, that kid knows, so…

Austin has a friend, Robby, and Robby’s a gay. Their relationship is typical, only that in many cases, Austin seems to deny that he loves Robby, which is of course what you would do if you’re in a relationship with a girl. Austin’s girlfriend is Shann, and as much as I want to believe that Austin really loves Shann and vice versa, I could not help that Austin is using Shann for his own pleasure. I don’t really feel the love between them… it’s more like lust. Anyhow, together they live like the usual American teenagers in Ealing, a town that’s facing recession. Truthfully, and I don’t kid you with this, I felt claustrophobic reading this novel, mainly because of Ealing’s deprived, dreadful conditions (it’s not that bad, but hey, my mind likes to exaggerate stuff, yeah, that brain). To make matters worse, Austin and Robby may have caused the insect-infested apocalypse.

The writing of the book is quite slow in the beginning, but after the first 100 pages, the pace begins to pick up. The book has a large number of flashbacks and history lessons courtesy of Austin, and he likes to repeat certain things (and I don’t just refer to his hor… well, you know what, I stop writing that). Of course, Andrew Smith managed to weave in his wonderful prose to the book, making simple things to hold a higher meaning than what we always think. Also, the book is gory (I haven’t mentioned that, have I?). The way those insects copulate and eat are, how shall I put this, explain rather ‘thoroughly’ that I may not look at praying mantises the same way again. Again, this is not a family-friendly novel. But really, the explanations of the bugs are only introduced during the last 1/3 of the book. It bugged me (bugged, see what I did there haha) as I was itching to know about it earlier. Nevertheless, the book ends with a quite hopeful resolution. Although the book is about apocalypse and experiments and underground bunker and big insects, it is not really a sci-fi oriented story. The novel hashes teenage plotlines of self-identity, relationship, and the human life. Andrew Smith does well in describing Austin’s indecisiveness and troubles in life. If you read Winger, you’ll vouch on that.

Grasshopper Jungle is a really non-traditional book. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure some conservative schools out there will ban the book for you-know-what reasons. Some of you readers may not appreciate its unusual plot, but for me, this highly strange convoluted novel is quite a ride. It may not be the best book I’ve read, but it sure is fun and funny and in many times, my brain managed to do 360 degrees rotations… Read it, and feel free to feel the same. You know what I mean.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Elements of a Tome

Tomes are magical, really. You take a book from your shelf or your table, open it, dive yourselves into the words and with the power of imagination, you’re transported to a whole new place. Your souls and hearts and minds are now resided in a disparate world but you and your physical selves are still here. It’s like being in two places in one time, connected yet separated by the thin veils of papery leaves.

While reading is certainly an experience for the mind, how about the other small things that we barely notice while reading books? How about the feelings of having the tip of your fingers caressing the pages of your book? The smooth sheets beckon your fingers to nimbly flip it, so that you won’t do any damages to the paper. Paper is such a fragile element, but its rather short permanence makes it much more valuable.

The rustling sounds that the pages of paper make as you turn them one by one, aurally inviting as you continue your adventure in words. The sounds are like music. The pace changes, always, depending on how fast or how slow you read a book. When you get excited, suspenseful, anxious, the sound comes like a fast flowing tempo. When you savour the most intimate moments, the part where the characters are at their most vulnerable, damaged state, the part where emotions are abound, the rhythm of the paper slows down.

Have you ever smelled your books? I just love the smell of new books, old books… okay maybe books of all ages. You just can’t get enough of it. The smell of books is caused by a natural alcohol found in woods that is known as ‘lignin’. Old books will generally have a sweet wonderful scent of faint vanilla and grass. Lignin is the natural aroma of woods, the natural aroma of books. You can’t get any better than that and it is aptly fitted to the fact that books are the food for your soul.

As books grow old, the pages started to yellow, and you may notice the blots and patches of rusty colours here and there. We call those patches ‘foxing stains’. On the downside, it is a sign that the books are deteriorating, a normal process, yes, but certainly not a welcomed one. In a way, however, I love seeing those marks. It shows that the books are growing old, just like how we are getting older and older every single day. I’ll make sure that my books will stay with me as long as I live.

Books are my treasures. The words inspire, the stories enthrall, the bound pages held either by threads or glue are the guardians of our imagination. For eons, books have worked for us, for eons to come, they shall stay that way.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


The vine-covered walls imprison sounds
the cobbled ground barely makes sounds as
the boy walks slowly through the street.
It is midday. The boy looks up, in contrast with
the mud-coloured walls, dusty brown road
the sky is an open sanctuary. If this is a dream,
it doesn’t feel so bad to die in a sleep but this is life.
Red pomegranates in a plastic bag, a football
under his left armpit, short cut jeans
a shirt white as jasmine, a smile and a quick dash.
      These all
           “A boy killed —” one headline says
                                                   cease to exist
Violence creeps like termites devouring wood
until only faint traces of the living can be seen
the headline doesn’t say this:
                                      “A boy is in a sanctuary.”

Thursday, 7 August 2014

I Could Really Use

I could really use
lying on a beach
feeling the damp sand
on my back
tasting the salty breeze
on my lips
I could imagine
the heavenly bodies
twinkling relentlessly
against the night sky
were a million ships
shifting slowly across
a vast dark ocean
I lie there
I stretch my two arms
two majestic wings
and I soar aimlessly
above the ships
that is what I feel
body on the ground
head over the clouds

A Bear

I made this as one of the décors for my hostel room. You won’t burn your pockets making one. The things that you need in creating this décor frame are a cardboard frame, superglue, a string, a puncher to enable you to hang the frame, and some decorations. For this one, I use a teddy bear keychain (with the chain removed), a wooden letter (A to represent my name), a printed map of constellations as the background, and two little wooden hearts. It doesn’t cost more than RM15. Hey, you can be creative in every way you want to.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

You Could Have

It is a cold, damp morning. We sit beside each other under the canopy. You are looking at your book, trying to remember the little details that seem to be important. Water drips from the drenched canopy roof, hitting your book. You look up, sigh, and rearrange yourself in a position that is now closer to me. I sit silently, watching your face, trying to not let you know about it. Even in my fear, there are too many things about you that just pull me in. You look like you are contemplating on something. I may not know what it is, but I know that I am in love with the way the light shines upon your face, soft and warm even in the gloomiest of days. You mumble things, saying how you don’t understand a heck the book is saying. I laugh. Not because it’s funny (well it is funny), but because I love hearing your voice. Then you look at me and smile. The way you smile, it’s crooked, it’s not perfect, and that makes it beautiful. I look away, pretending to watch the birds soaring above the clouds. You see our friends, close your book, get up and walk, your steps creating muffled squishy sounds as your shoes touch the water-filled pavement. I look back at you, you never realise that. You never realise how I am in love with you. How I long to say things I’ve been safeguarding for years. How I long, but in the end, I just can’t. My mouth won’t ever form the words. But you need to know this: you could have never stopped me from loving you.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Est Belle

I’ve heard it before
I’ve heard it yesterday
“You’re fat.” they said
Look, look at me
What do I got?
Big fat waist
Large thighs
lumps on my face
“Hideous clothes.” they said
I don’t wear skimpy dresses
I hate pink
Tell me am I wrong
to not be like them?
Wear this, wear that
Don’t be yourself
Be like the rest
Stop enough
Yes I stride like a guy
A proud one at that
Acnes on my face
They won’t stay forever
My teeth are crooked
I still cuss and it feels right
Short hair like a man
I wear it like a crown
“You’re not one of us”
I don’t want to be one of you
I just want to be one of me

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Life of Peter

Peter was born on the third day of the second month in 1981. He was beautiful, he was adored by his parents. Peter played all the time, he had nothing to worry about, except when he lost his toy cars or when his mother forced him to sleep when all he wanted to do was not wanting to sleep late at night. Time passed by and on his fifth year, Peter entered the kindergarten. He was already taller than the other boys his age. The boys, as all young children behaved, did not spare any of their comments.

“Big giraffe!” “Big giraffe!” “Big giraffe!”

Peter wondered why being tall was a bad thing. He asked his mom. Mom answered the question by saying that the boys were just envious of his height. Peter’s mom said that he should be grateful that he was tall, for he could do things that the other kids could not do.

“Like what?” he asked.

Mom said, well washing your hands without having to stand on a stool. Peter stood still. Yes, “it’s good to be tall” he thought, but he still wondered, if being tall was good, why did the boys treat him like he was a fly out of the ointment?

Time passed by and on his tenth year, Peter was in school. He loved playing football, he sure loved it. He kicked the ball and scored many goals, and his teachers liked him for that.

“Peter scored!” “That’s a great goal, Peter!” “What an awesome little guy!”

He loved football, but he loved something else too. Peter adored cycling on his own to his grandmother’s house, which was just nearby, and cooked delicious meals with her. They made mouth-watering tarts and cakes, they made this really big and juicy stuffed turkey, they made everything together. Grandmother loved the boy. One day, grandmother called Peter’s dad. She wanted him to taste the cakes that Peter baked. Peter’s dad came to the grandmother’s house, looked at him and said,

“Boys should not cook. It’s a girl’s job to cook.”

Peter looked at grandmother. Grandmother tried to convince dad that his boy had knack in cooking. Dad remarked, “Boys don’t have a natural talent in cooking. Let’s go back Peter!” He pushed the boy out. On the table, that chocolate cake was left untouched. From that moment on, Peter swore he would not cook again.

Time passed by and on his twelfth year, Peter got into the fight with another boy. The boy took his lucky Kennedy half-dollar, an old coin given by his grandfather. Peter told the boy, one with a fuzzy hair and freckles all over his face, to give it back. The boy feigned ignorance, saying that Peter was wrong to accuse him. So they fought and fought until Peter struck a blow on the boy’s forehead. Blood oozed out. A teacher came and asked the boy about the incident. He said Peter hit him. Peter cried and said “But he…”

“No buts!” the teacher stopped him. She dragged him harshly to the principal. Peter cried. Everyone saw him cried. Everyone teased him saying how a boy should not cry.

“Peter’s a girl!” they said. “Peter’s soft!” they said.

Peter’s eyes only traced the way his feet walked. He did not dare to look up and see the faces of the whole school. He felt distant from those boys and girls now. His parents arrived and, as if the teacher’s anger was not enough or as if the principal’s warning was not enough, they began to scold Peter. Peter stayed silent the whole time. His body was rigid, he still did not look up. “Why do you have to blame me?” he thought.

They walked out from the building, his left arm being pulled by dad. On his way out, he finally looked up and saw the faces of too many people looking back at him. They all blamed him. The worst thing was they said Peter cried like a girl. A boy who cried like a girl, that’s preposterous, laughable, puny. Peter heard them all. Peter would never get his half-dollar again. Peter would vow not to cry again.

Time passed by and on his fifteenth year, Peter was in the library reading books to complete his homework. He was supposed to play football but he just could not do it. He felt different. A few weeks ago, he looked at the other guys in the locker room and his heart thumped like it had never done before. He stared at the boy for what it seemed like a long time. What was happening to him? Peter got up, packed his books, and walked out of the library. Girls look at him, coyly, flirtatiously, with a hidden intent in their minds. Peter had kissed one of them before. He liked the kiss. Peter liked those girls, with all their perfect skins, and long legs, and lipstick-laden lips, so it could not possible that he had feelings for guys too. What if he did? Peter did not want to be that way. He liked girls, he liked girls and girls only.

Two weeks later, on the news, he saw how one man was beaten to death just because he liked another guy. Peter was afraid. He did not want to die like that. In that moment, dad added “Well, we couldn’t have a guy liking another guy on this planet. It’s absurd.” He chuckled. Peter continued watching the television, but when his dad started to give his own opinions on how people like the beaten man should not exist, Peter could not bear it anymore, so he stood up and yelled at him.

“He was still a human!” Peter said. “No one should die that way!”

His father looked at him under an intense gaze, opened his mouth in retaliation, but in the end, chose to say nothing. His father took out a cigarette, lighted it up, and puffed out smoke in the form of a ring. He turned his face back to the news. Peter was fumed. He ran to his room, slammed the door hard, and lay down on the bed. His heart was pumping fast. He was never that furious with his dad before. If only dad found out whom he was. Peter liked girls, Peter also liked boys. Peter would most likely be dead if dad knew that. Peter promised himself not to let his dad discovered that fact.

Time passed by and on his seventeenth year, some boys from the school beat Peter for they knew who he was. Peter liked girls, Peter also liked boys. That was adequate enough as a reason to destroy his body repeatedly. On the left corner of a deserted cul-de-sac, during a dark wintry morning, three boys from his own football team punched him in the gut, kicked his again and again. They shouted the worst of words at him. They forgot who Peter was. Peter was not a human. Peter was a monster. He was a disease that ought to be eliminated. Peter implored them to stop, but the plead fell on deaf ears. He forgot the vow he made five years ago. This time he cried, and cried, and cried, until his voice was heard no more. His body got bluer and bluer, his skin was covered with blood. He closed his eyes, trying to suppress the pain which only got bigger and bigger over time. Then, it stopped.

Peter was not moving.