Arrogance in Humility


Humility is a virtue one should embrace. A low head and a lower heart does not mean loss of pride and face. Rather, it is the practice of controlling the whims and desires and fantasies of one’s self with prevailing logic and calculation. It is a restraint to not let out the ugly beast that is human. Human too, that it may not seem different compared to passion and fervour from the get go. Thus, humility bounds us to our morals and the nature of always wanting to bear well to others and the world.

Alas, men are walking, breathing contradictions. The wants of men always collide and go in separate directions. In the rules that we make for ourselves, we will then find loopholes and break them ourselves. This is the creativity of men. And that creativity is not evil at root. Men do not like to be shackled down by chains, be it physical or metaphorical. Yet at the same time they long for connection to some spiritual plane. Connection that is entailed in the form of binders we tell ourselves aren’t chains. A semblance of logic. A thought of virtue. A right to belong to. And perhaps most, a reason of being. To wander the Earth from birth to death without reason most certainly haunts most men. Those who are not afraid of it are senile, alien to the idea of logic and reason.

And so, most men live their lives wanting to be better. Yet most stop in their tracks and perhaps as compensation, tell themselves that living tomorrow and not dying yesterday is much better than today. Every day passed with just being alive is good enough. And thus, mediocrity dwells in the hearts of men, providing comfort and gross excuses to not pursue what is not yet owned.

Yet, the notion of this mundane way of living, in spite of living it myself most of my life, does not sit well with me. Hence, an idea was born, perhaps out of creativity, perhaps out of desperation. And perhaps most of all, out of wanting reason of being. Due to me being part of the men that I speak of, I too am bound to the conventions of men. The wanting to be better. The comfort of knowing that being alive another day is a blessing and is enough. The contradictions that swirl within the hearts and minds of men. Yes. I too am subject to those contradictions. And in the idea of humility, I found a contradiction.

Being humble is perhaps being most arrogant for men.

I come to the realisation that humility only exist when one knows the value of being over the border which we call humility. Beyond humility are terms like being outspoken the least, and arrogant at best. But the realisation that that value is there, and the idleness that came in the name of staying humble when men can claim higher victories.. isn’t that a form of ignorance? Is that not being arrogant? When we have the power or at least the chance to climb further upwards, we shun it in the name of not wanting to do more than the bare necessary needed to just stay alive. We get comfy with mediocrity, telling ourselves and everyone else that the world is a shitty place, can’t do much about it, deal with it, and move on with mediocrity. When in fact we can make a change. Change need not be glamorous or magnificent. Change can be in little steps. Mini steps, even. Yet we have long been subjected to the idea that change is supposed to be done in such a grandiose manner, it isn’t change if it isn’t done that way. Thus, in the end, we stay the same. Routine. Dull. Yet living.

Such is still in the scope of being humble, yet it reeks of arrogance. To be given the window to change, yet to have the audacity to say no to it. Yet, at the same time, praying to be greeted with a miracle. A dream to come true. A hero to swoop down and save the day. All the daydreaming men could afford, yet they do not want to move their own hands and feet to bring about that miracle, or that dream, or being the hero themselves.

Such is the arrogance of men. And like contradiction, we may never escape it.

2.10 am

6th September 2020

Joy


She fills me with joy

Evermore with every smile

Resonates with her tender laughter

Enchanting me with her warm embrace

Nourishing my soul with her very presence

Defining my own meagre existence

Into the void I go now

Pushing forward for that glimpse of light

In those brown eyes upon your face

Telling me “my love, this is love”

“You’ve searched hard, now take your rest”

5.05 pm

13th August 2010

I was supposed to do other things, but alas


Learning how to walk again,

From shambles of a broken self,

Totter past the plains of life,

Plain it may I thought of last,

The echoing confidence of starting fresh,

And rumbling of dreams gone passing by,

And excitement of flaws and minute detail,

And encouragement of self to be better yet.

 

My nights and days are tumbling by,

My life awash in flooding emotions,

My will a flicker in deep cold nights,

My devotion assumed a backseat stance.

 

I’d like to talk more, walk more, run more, but not from life,

I’d like to listen more, see more, to read and write,

I’d like to finish masterpieces dreamed all my life,

And set up a cafe with recipes thought overnight.

 

I’d like my imagination running rampant around,

I’d like my hands transcribing words from mind,

I want to fly to islands around the globe,

Then come back to my cozy, humble abode.

 

But alas, I am here, doing nothing profound.

 

1.09 am

25th September 2018

Of death and reconciliation


The night is dark and full of terrors, or so said a certain red priestess from a certain tv series. And on a certain night, there’s a me who had a fight over the phone with a stranger. A stalker of sorts, he kept calling the hospital to get in touch with a colleague whilst she’s not even here. An annoyance long persisted, my head blew the moment I had the chance to let it off onto the appropriate person, the one causing us much unease as we almost doze off after supplying meds to the wards past every midnight. Distraught (or even offended) by my high voice, the guy started swearing, while my own hands shook with anger as I listen to him rampaging through all the swear words that he could find in his vocabulary. However, in the midst of getting punched and releasing my own fuck-free howlings, I started to find the whole commotion comedic. A string of wry laughs crept past my mouth, and in no time, I was laughing out loud into the receiver, while he incessantly asked me why I am doing so. Unable to get a satisfactory answer, he turned towards calling me bapuk, “and your dad must be a bapuk too”. And that only pushed me towards laughing harder. What kind of sane growned-up man calls out another guy and his dad just because you can’t get to that guy? While I was enjoying the hilarity, he fumed too hard and offed the call just like that. And that mad me laugh even harder.

In my laughter though, a little quiver of regret echoed inside my heart. This stalker guy is, according to the colleague, her ex-boyfriend. Fate took a turn, and they both got married to different spouses. While she enjoys and cherish her family life, he had tumbles in his marriage. Perhaps reminiscing their good ol’ time together, he wanted to get back with her. Him, a married guy, with her, a married lady. Perhaps he felt cornered by the whole world and she his only salvation. Perhaps. I’m no mind reader nor an expert of hearts, but my deduction based on his desperation to get in touch with her only proves so. Or at least hinted towards that notion.

And that is what’s most regretable to me.

Reason is long dead in this guy’s head, or heart, or wherever it’s supposed to be. Should you find yourself troubled, the correct route to take is to solve it, not splatter it on some other person or persons. His decision to get consoled by her is just making the puddle bigger and deeper. Yet I can only say that here, for I too know that solving a problem is far easier said than done. Should I end up in his shoes, will I have the willpower to move on, or would I take fleet in his steps too? I surely hope not, but tendencies do show up in my character of too much pondering on stuff long past. So here I pray the day of letting reason die in me will only come the day death accepts me into its cold embrace. Please God, do not let me trudge down his path.

An hour and half later, he called again, asking the same question of her whereabouts, and coincidently, even with a one out of three chance, I was the one who answered, again. Recognizing my voice, he said “oh, you’re still there”, to which I spontaneously answered ofcourse I’m still here, I’m working right now. A sigh after, he started apologizing for his behaviour the call prior. Still giggling, I said I am too, for raising my voice. He started rambling about life problems, and I just lend an ear (you think this is the Befrienders or something?). After a couple dozen apologies, justifications and enforcement of reasons for his actions, and pleas of empathy later, he said that he hopes I do not get into a tricky relationship bullshit like his. We are all human beings with our own set of problems. I hope problems on your side will be settled before long, sir- was what I said at the end, to which he said thank you and goodnight. Putting the receiver down, I laughed again while my colleagues watch on bewildered. This time, I’m laughing not only out of amusement, but also out of relief. In his pressured state, he still has the courtesy to admit his faults and even more so, to apologize for it. And to that, I give you my full unadulterated respect.

To you the stranger on the other end of the line, I hope you find solace at the end of your grief, to end your grief. I really do. And when that moment comes, whenever it comes, I hope you’d reconcile with fate and the world. May you find your own happiness. Amen.

5.52 am

13th June 2018

But not for me


Those eyes, those laughter,

That sweet, sweet smile.

 

The merry thoughts together,

Those feel good vibes.

 

The reasons for rain inside your heart,

Are the same for what’s causing mine.

 

The melodies you sang in tune to them,

And the dance you flutter to their grace and whim.

 

It was never meant for me,

It was never meant for me.

 

And so we chase those elusive tails,

In a circle of misses and regrets,

Till the end, happiness we did not find,

We are alone,

You and I,

We are alone.

 

And so we chase those elusive tails,

I hope your eyes turn towards me

like how you hope his turn to you,

Till the end, I pray happiness will find itself to you,

Though not for me,

You and I,

Perhaps may never be.

 

Even if it’s not for me,

I pray that you will be happy.

6.20 am

28th May 2018

Passing through your bedroom


Passing through your bedroom

in the twilight hours of day,

While the sun crept over the city,

I tip-toed pass your bed,

A slab of reinforced concrete

in a tunnel beneath the road,

You sleep so soundly in the howlings

of motorcars above.

 

Then I wonder..

 

Do you also dream in slumber,

Or are you dead as a log?

Do you also have regrets

haunting you in slumber’s lost?

Do you dream about the stars

or just for a roof above your head?

Do you worry about work like me,

Or just wished you had it to worry?

 

Passing through your bedroom

in the twilight hours of day,

I pray the day be well to you,

And I ought you pray the same.

 

6.50 am

26th April 2018

To be nice or..


It is a rainy Thursday evening, and I was about to doze off in the bus when a thumping sound so hard met my earphone-plugged ears. At that moment, my eyes flew open and since my head is angled so towards the seat diagonally from my position, I could make out what caused that sound. A chinese Indonesian couple were sitting a row in front of me on the other side of the aisle, and the guy just pulled back his fist from the cushion in front of him. Then, the lady sitting with him profusely apologize to the driver who was threatening to stop the bus and let them down. In the heat of the moment, an understanding arose in my mind: the guy punched the cushion in front of him (they are sitting on the front-most row behind the driver’s seat), and the driver got angry. At the same time, a question arose in the same quarter of my mind: what made the guy punch the cushion in the first place? Curiosity takes control of me, and so I lowered the volume of my music. And after eavesdropping a little, a narrative emerges.

Before I get to that part though, I’d like to tell you about the situation prior to me getting on the bus. I was rushing to the bus stand at KL Sentral to get the bus at 5.30 pm to KLIA to meet abah and pass the books ummi asked me to buy for the orphanage. A 6 pm bus is still possible for me to meet with abah, but I’d like to spend time with him over perhaps some light dinner before he gets on the plane. While waiting for the bus to open its doors, the bus from Genting Highlands pulled in, and a flock of people alighted, the Indonesian coupled included. She pushed through the crowd as if her life depends on getting through in quite the boorish manner, which was what initially pulls my attention to them. Not long after, I saw an Indian lady approaching the Genting Highland bus ticket counter next to our line for the KLIA bus, and heard that she found a wallet lying on one of the seats in the bus. Not knowing who the owner is, she left it in the custody of the ticketing girl, in hopes that the wallet may find its way back to its owner. Then, the KLIA bus finally open its doors for passengers to embark. A line was present, common courtesy when embarking and disembarking any public transport, and a lady was standing near the entrance to check our tickets.

It was my turn to board the bus when suddemly thoa couple came right in front of me, without any word or even looking at me, and cut in line like it was the most normal of things to do! These barbarians without courtesy!, I thought to myself. But I didn’t say a word. Not worth my eneegy, or so I thought, and I hope you’ll be hit by karma big time, I thought again.

Now, back to now, in the bus. The couple are talking in chinese, semi-shouting, fully tensed, and after a moment, the lady asked the bus driver if he could pull over and let them off, to which the bus driver claims to be not possible since he could get into trouble with authorities should he did so, a total 180 from his earlier threat to let them off. The lady pleades again, saying that her husband had forgotren something valuable at KL Sentral. But the driver insisted on going on. Get off at KLIA if you must, he told them.

Now, if you were me, and you saw the things that I saw, you ought to come to the same conclusion as I did, right? You now know why the guy was so frustrated, he punched the cushion, and what and where is his precious item. But at the same time, you, if you were me, will probably think, should I help them out and tell them where what they are searching for, and how to get it back the fastest? Should I be nice, or should I clench my fist and pump it up while internally scream “serves you right”?

6.33pm

1st March 2018