Organik


Sudah berdebu rasanya blog ini, terbiar lama tanpa apa-apa isi kandungan baru. Seperti buku-buku di atas mejaku, tersusun rapi, tak terusik untuk sekian lama. Setiap hari kulihat, bermula dari kiri ke kanan: 1. The sky of the longing for memories, sejilid buku seni lukis karya-karya Makoto Shinkai. Sebahagian besar, malah boleh dikatakan separuh daripada buku ini tertumpu kepada seni dan lukisan serta proses yang digunakan dalam menghasilkan filem 5cm per second, manakala bakinya tertumpu kepada filem The Place Promised in Our Early Days dan filem pendek Voice of a Distant Star. Buku ini kusimpan sebagai sumber rujukan dan inspirasi, bukan untuk melukis (aku bukan seorang pelukis) tetapi untuk menulis. Proses pembayangan setting tempat, ruang, cahaya, dan masa, aku rasakan banyak persamaanku dengan Makoto Shinkai. Malah tema-tema yang disentuh oleh beliau dalam karyanya juga merupakan tema yang sering menjadi tumpuan dalam karya-karya(?)ku. Bezanya, dia melampirkan segala usahanya dalam pembikinan sebuah kerja berbentuk visual dan audio, manakala aku sekadar dalam bentuk tulisan. Ah, angkuhnya aku untuk membandingkan diriku yang kerdil kepada dia, orang besar yang menyentuh hati jutaan melalui karya-karyanya, terutamanya melalui filem terkini beliau, your name. Menulis tentang Shinkai mengingatkan aku bahawa dia punyai karya terbaru yang bakal keluar Julai nanti. Dengarnya, kali ini filem terbarunya akan ditayangkan serentak di seluruh dunia. Apa pula naratifnya kali ini? Aku sangat ingin mengetahuinya.

2. Namamu… – Di Sebalik: Earthbound. Buku ini adalah sebuah antologi cerpen yang mengiringi naratif filem your name keluaran Kadokawa Gempak Starz. Ya, syarikat pengeluar komik tempatan kita, Gempak Starz, kini dimiliki oleh pengeluar dan gergasi hiburan Jepun, Kadokawa. Aku hanya membeli buku ini kerana berasa lawak melihat judul buku ini. Pada masa yang sama, aku terhibur kerana menyangkakan ini sebuah gerakan didorong sepenuhnya oleh ketamakan korporat yang ingin secebis keuntungan daripada populariti filem tersebut. Dan aku juga ingin melihat setepat manakah penterjemahan kerja ini. Di sebelah buku ini pula, sejilid novel yang masih terbungkus plastik pembalut, 3. Kafka on the Shore karya Haruki Murakami. Sejujurnya, selera aku untuk membaca menjunam awal tahun lalu, maka aku tidak tahu apa cerita novel ini. Dan selepas beberapa bulan, daya untuk menulis telah lesap dari jasadku. Maka bermulalah era penulisan separa siap dan rutin yang hampir ritualistik menulis dan memadam berulang-kali yang menyesakkan jiwa dan mematahkan semangat untuk menghasilkan apa-apa yang punyai makna, dan akhirnya aku berhenti menulis untuk apa-apa, dalam apa jua bentuk. 4. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, 5. Eksistensi, 6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, dan 7. The Narrow Road to the Deep North berkongsi nasib dengan Kafka on the Shore. Terbiar. Tak dibaca. Berdebu. Mungkin aku harus membaca kembali. Membaca jambatan ilmu, bak pepatah Melayu.

Ah, kenapakah aku menulis tentang buku-buku di atas mejaku? Itu bukanlah tujuan aku menulis hari ini. Dan inilah yang membawa kepada ritual tersebut. Naratifku tak padat dan tersusun. Lari ke sana sini. Hilang pedoman, hilang fokus, hilang arah, dan akhirnya hilang langsung, Lesap ditelan kekosongan putih dan kursor yang terundur bersama tekanan berterusan ke atas kekunci backspace. Mungkin itulah sifatku. Sering aku sedri bahawa apabila bercerita bersama rakan-rakan, ceritaku, naratifku akan terbawa ke alam dan pentas yang bersilih ganti, dan di akhir penceritaan itu, kami berada di suatu cerita yang langsung tidak ada kaitan dengan cerita yang pertama. Namun cara setiap cerita berganti tampak begitu.. semulajadi(?), kami tidak menyedari transisi dari suatu cerita ke cerita yang lain. Semuanya tampak pantas dan tak janggal, kami dibawa bersama oleh cerita yang sepatutnya kami yang pandu. Dan di sini aku beralih lagi ke topik bukan pilihan fokus penulisan kali ini. Namun kali ini, aku telah berjanji untuk tidak menekan kekunci backspace. Biarlah ini menjadi suatu terapi dan peringatan bahawa aku mudah lupa dan mudah hilang fokus. Dan kini, biarlah aku kembali kepada tujuan asal penulisanku kali ini.

Pagi tadi, setelah selesai bersarapan bersama adik bongsuku Ema dan menghantarnya menaiki ETS, aku mengambil keputusan untuk menggunakan GoKL untuk kembali ke teratak sewaanku. Red Line akan membawaku dari KL Sentral ke Chow Kit secara percuma, dan aku teringin melihat bahagian-bahagian Kuala Lumpur yang sudah lama tak kelihatan kepadaku, walaupun di sebalik kaca cermin bas. KL Sentral sebuah tempat yang sesak penuh dengan orang dan kenderaan, dan kedudukannya di tengah-tengah bandar DAN sebagai hab pengangkutan awam utama Kuala Lumpur membuatkan kesesakan itu makin teruk, terutamanya pada hari-hari bekerja seperti hari ini. Sekumpulan polis trafik dan polis bantuan cuba sedaya upaya untuk melancarkan trafik di bahagian menurunkan dan menaikkan penumpang berhadapan Le Meridian dan Hilton KL kerana kebiasaannya kenderaan persendirian akan menunggu sehingga mengganggu sebahagian jalan raya tiga lorong tersebut. Ada kalanya, jalan raya tiga lorong itu hanya ditinggalkan dengan satu lorong untuk kenderaan bergerak, manakal dua lorong kiri dan tengahnya digunakan secara tidak berhemah oleh para pengguna kenderaan persendirian yang pentingkan diri sendiri.

Maka, sambil menunggu bas, aku lakukan sesuatu yang kurasa telah lama tidak aku lakukan: memerhati. Mungkin aku terlalu taksub dengan kehidupanku sendiri, aku sudah terlupa akan hobiku memerhatikan orang dan persekitaran hanya untuk suka-suka. Mungkin itu juga, selain daripada kurang membaca, sebabnya keapa aku tidak mampu menulis lagi. Aku kekurangan inspirasi dan rasa putus hubungan dengan dunia dan realiti. Tetapi pemerhatianku pada pagi ini sangat membuahkan hasil.

Masalah utama yang dihadapi oleh para pegawai polis, trafik dan bantuan serupa, ialah keengganan para pemandu kenderaan persendirian untuk, 1. maju ke kotak parkir paling hadapan, dan 2. berpusing semula jika penumpang yang dinantikan belum tiba. Terdapat juga 3. para pemandu yang sengaja parkir berlapis kerana enggan masuk ke petak parkir, yang menghasilkan bottle-neck effect dan menyusahkan para pengguna jaln raya yang lain. Pada hemat asal, kelihatan bahawa para pemandu ini hanya pentingkan diri sendiri. Mereka pun mengalami masalah yang sama apabila kenderaan di hadapan mereka membuat tindakan yang sama. Dan kenderaan di belakang yang terkesan oleh tindakan mereka berkemungkinan besar akan membuat tindakan yang sama juga. Kitaran ini berterusan kerana rasa bersalah itu telah terhakis oleh kebiasaan. Jika semua orang berhenti ikut suka hati, maka itulah nilai sivil yang terlekat pada minda orang lain, kerana ia sudah menjadi satu kebiasaan, biarpun jika tindakan itu menyusahkan orang. Tetapi selepas beberapa ketika memerhati, suatu dapatan menyinggah di benak ini.

Bahagian menurunkan dan mengambil penumpang utama KL Sentral. Perhentian bas tempat aku ‘memerhati’ kelihatan di sebelah kanan.

Jika dilihat pada gambar di atas, kelihatan bahawa terdapat banyak petak parkir untuk menurunkan dan mengambil penumpang. Malah, jalan raya tiga lorong ini tidak patut sesak biarpun pada masa puncak kerana sudah terdapat satu lagi jalan selari satu lorong di sebelah kiri (kanan sekali dalam gambar di atas, di belakang perhentian bas) yang sepatutnya digunakan oleh mereka yang menurunkan penumpang sahaja (petak parkir di lorong ini terhad kepada teksi sahaja). Namun begitu, lorong ini tidak digunakan. Kenapa? Kerana rekabentuk kawasan ini pada amnya tidak membenarkan kenderaan masuk pada masa puncak. Susur masuk ke lorong ini terdapat di awal jalan raya ini selepas lencongan dari jalan raya di sisi bangunan KL Sentral. Kebiasaannya, susur masuk ini terlindung oleh kenderaan yang berada di lorong kiri dan bertambah sempit oleh barisan teksi yang menunggu hingga terkeluar dari susur ini. Rekabentuk simpang berlampu isyarat sebelum lencongan ini juga memainkan peranan dalam melencongkan para pengguna jalan raya daripada menggunakan lorong selari ini.

Susur masuk ke lorong selari. Perhatikan barisan teksi yang hampir melimpah ke lana utama.
Simpang berlampu isyarat sebelum lencongan ke jalan raya di hadapan KL Sentral. Sebahagian besar kenderaan berada di sebelah kanan jalan raya, manakala lencongan ke jalan raya di hadapan KL Sental terletak di sebelah kiri.

Rekabentuk jalan raya yang membawa kenderaan ke bahagian menurunkan dan mengambil penumpang ini sendiri memangkinkan para pemandu untuk 1. tidak menggunakan lorong selari sedia ada, dan 2. berhenti di atas jalan raya utama kerana sukar untuk merapat ke petak parkir di bahagian paling kiri. Benar, sifat pentingkan diri para pemandu juga memainkan peranan dalam menyesakkan lagi jalan raya tersebut, tetapi rekabentuk sistem jalan raya ini tidak membantu meleraikan dan mengatur pergerakan kenderaan dengan lebih berkesan. Hasilnya, sebuah parti kesesakan jalan raya dan bunyi wisel hampir setiap pagi hari bekerja. Aliran kenderaan di kawasan ini seringkali terhenti dan terhalang akibat gabungan faktor-faktor yang dinyatakan. Jadi, bagaimanakah caranya untuk kita melancarkan aliran ini? Jawapannya ada di dalam badan kita.

Sistem aliran darah dalam badan manusia juga serupa sistem jalan raya di sebuah bandar besar seperti Kuala Lumpur. Seorang insan yang sihat akan mempunyai sistem aliran darah yang lancar, memungkinkan sel-sel darah bergerak ke segenap penjuru badan dengan efisyen. Satu daripada cara badan kita ‘menyampaikan’ sel-sel darah kita ke destinasi mereka ialah melalui hieraki ‘jalan raya’ yang betul dan tersusun. Saluran-saluran darah kita mempunyai saiz yang tersusun dari besar ke kecil untuk menyalurkan darah ini ke tempat tujuan. Setiap ‘pecahan’ dalam saluran arteri utama ini pula tersambung dengan saluran arteri yang lebih kecil sesuai dengan jumlah sel darah yang menggunakannya. Dan sel-sel darah ini akan melalui arteri hingga ke kapilari di mana pertukaran dilakukan, sebelum kembali ke dalam saluran vena yang ‘pergi meninggalkan’ kawasan kapilari. Kapilari darah kita serupa bahagian yang sesak di KL Sentral ini. Bezanya, badan kita melaksanakan proses menurunkan dan mengambil penumpangnya dengan lancar, manakala para pemandu di jalan raya ini tidak dapat berbuat demikian. Rangkaian jalan raya yang membawa kenderaan ke bahagian ini terdiri daripada dua jalan raya dua lorong, bermakna empat lorong keseluruhan disumbatkan ke jalan raya tiga lorong yang sering tersumbat ini. Berbeza dengan badan kita, jumlah kenderaan yang masuk ke bahagian tiga lorong ini tidak berkurang daripada bahagian empat lorong. Rekabentuk ini sudah berjaya memangkinkan kesesakan, dan keadaan bertambah teruk kerana lorong selari, kapilari kepada jalan raya ini tidak terpakai secara efisyen. Pertukaran haruslah efisyen untuk memangkin kenderaan beredar dengan lebih cepat dan lebih tersusun. Dan ini boleh dilakukan dengan menjadikan aliran kenderaan di kawasan ini lebih semula jadi.

Antara idea yang terlintas di kepalaku apabila meliaht situasi pagi tadi ialah mengubah bahagian perpindahan penumpang ini. Aku bukanlah jurutera mahupun arkitek, tetapi serasanya aliran kenderaan akan bertambah lancar di kawasan ini jika 1. lorong selari dengan jalan raya digunakan sepenuhnya, 2. kenderaan yang menurunkan dan mengambil penumpang tidak perlu bergerak dari tempat asal mereka berhenti di petak parkir, dan 3. insiden pemandu berhenti kerana parkir berlapis dihapuskan. Ideanya mudah, bukanlah sesuatu yang inovatif ataupun baru. Malah, idea ini telah digunapakai di negara kita di banyak stesen bas dan bahagian parkir kenderaan berat di kawasan rehat dan rawat. Rekabentuk kini mempunyai petak parkir yang selari dengan jalan raya. Kenderaan harus masuk dan keluar dari jalan raya yang sama. Hal ini menyebabkan kesesakan di lorong kiri apabila kenderaan ingin keluar masuk. Jika petak parkir ini dibuat secara pepenjuru, dengan kederaan masuk dari jalan raya utama dan keluar melalui lorong selari dan kembali bersatu dengan jalan raya utama di hujung lorong tersebut dengan susur keluar eksklusif, kesesakan akibat kenderaan ingin keluar dari petak parkir dapat dihapuskan.

Rekabentuk pepenjuru ini juga menggunapakai lorong selari yang kurang digunakan kini, dan kerana setiap petak parkir berbentuk pepenjuru, kebarangkalian untuk kenderaan parkir berlapis adalah sangat minimal kerana berbuat demikian akan menghalang laluan masuk ke petak parkir tersebut. Malah dengan rekabentuk ini, lorong kiri dijangkakan akan mempunyai pegerakan kenderaan yang berterusan, membawa imej pesalah terasing kepada mana-mana pihak yang ingin berhenti di lorong kiri jalan raya utama ini. Perbuatan parkir berlapis akan kelihatan janggal dan akan diterjemah sebagai perbuatan salah pada pandangan masyarakat yang sudah terbiasa dengan menunggu di petak parkir tersedia. Dan dengan lambakan petak parkir serta kemudahan untuk menunggu tanpa perlu berpusing semula, mengapa perlu parkir berlapis?

Dan semua itu berlaku di dalam otakku dalam selang masa beberapa minit sahaja. Namun untuk menulisnya di sini mengambil masa hampir dua jam. Tambahan, ini sekadar idea seorang pemerhati tanpa apa-apa kuasa untuk mengubah sistem dan rekabentuk sedia ada. Ah, apalah gunanya menulis semua ini?

12.46 am
26 April 2019

Stars


It’s been a while since last I saw stars in the night sky. Perhaps months, if not a whole year, has passed without gazing upon their little twinkles, their somber gaze upon us, another distant star to them. And I don’t know when will I get the chance to see them again. Life in the city, while all dazzling with neon lights and LEDs of a thousand tones of colours, do not have the same effeminate, mysterious, lonely, calming aura that those stars have.

The first six days here, or nights, to be precise, was hampered by cloudy and rainy weather. Only on this night, my penultimate, have I been blessed by the stars to gaze upon them. I was almost sure that I won’t have a single glance this time, and that saddened me. I like star gazing since God knows when. They give me a sense of strength in their lonesome, if not ended, voyage through their own life. And the fact that a lot of them may not exist anymore, and we are only staring at the ghost of their existence, the light that has left them yet hasn’t arrived even after their source had perished, is a mesmerizing fact, even today. Their essence still live on, and still guide sailors across unknown seas. They still gave van Gogh the idea for a Starry Night. They created legends and sustain myths and became narrators to folklore of people of different times and place. Yet they are still vulnerable. They, in all their greatness, are still way below God, and so are we.

So are we. Not just in the sense of being below God, but also in the sense of inspiring others. Like Jasper. Long have I and Sim dubbed him Star, for he radiates a compassion for progress and people, even towards those unlike him.

Yet, I still want my dose of stargazing. And I’ll appreciate this night’s canvas until my eyes give up.

10.53pm

19th January 2018

The Anthems of People


In the middle of a midnight shower, songs came to mind from out of nowhere. I said songs, but they were just some unintelligible gurgles of sounds imitating songs. Perhaps this is the most ancient of form songs have had. Perhaps this is the sound of songs predating any tuned instrument of any sort, be it strings or percussion in nature. Perhaps this is the synth of the millennia back. Perhaps.

And in this jumble of sound and blurring effect of the shower hitting my head, enveloping my ears in a calming rush of dripping water kept at warm to counter the drizzled night-cold, a few songs came to mind. Real songs. And with them, faces of people both distant and near, alive and deceased, that somehow in my mind are connected to those songs. Most are in an instant. A spark of those songs, usually first time listening to it, flashes a person through my mind. Some for obvious reasons. Others, well, maybe just a fleeting feeling. But all are stuck in my head right now.

First came a song I had forgotten its name, which after getting out of the shower, was reminded by the person who that song reminds me of (is this what it means by coming full circle?), Jasper, is entitled Lagu Untukmu by the now-not-the-same-as-then Meet Uncle Hussain. The song, although literally means ‘A Song for You’, is far off from the romantic nuance it gives off. It is a song full of rage, and it came out at the exact moment Jasper was full of it: rage. Then came Cat Stevens’ Father and Son, reminding me of my own father, not in relation to me but rather to his own father.

The next in line was Hawthorne Heights’ Decembers, reminding me of Sim, a dear friend of mine, now apart by space, as was him and the girl he once dated, loved, and because he felt was out of his league, left her because he can’t bear the idea of sparkly her in a long distance relationship with dim him. This was the song that he thought encompasses what he felt back then, and a fragment of it still lingers on his present character. Then at last came the latest addition to my ever growing catalogue of songs reminding me of people. Haruhi’s Trust me, I am fine reminds me of another dear friend Keon, which in this case I don’t really know how this song got stuck onto her. I think it was a gut feeling. It’s quite a new song, it doesn’t even register on Youtube. Or perhaps because there are dozens, if not hundreds of ‘Trust me, I’m a-” videos sprawling all over Youtube, I can’t seem to find the one for this song.

At the end of the night, as I lay on my bed, I thought to myself. What’s my song in other people’s heads? Or is there even a song people relate me to? For now, I can’t relate myself to any. I hope it’s a calming tune, or some post-rock. Post-rocks are nice. They usually don’t come with any lyrics.

Yeah, I’d really like that.

 

1.44 am

10th January 2018

A shape of warmth


To think that a week or so ago, I had the audacity to proclaim that loneliness is a form of beauty from which we should draw inspiration, and to feel loneliness creeping in on me like a malicious being full of deathly intent, suffocating under the pressure of that so-call being and almost breaking down in the middle of a crowded airport, just proves to me how foolish I am as a human being.

As my sweet sister waived her last goodbye beyond the glass wall separating the departure hall from the rest of us, the ones who stayed back, and as I waived back, that same loneliness that I so admired, or so I say, came and hugged me from behind, not wanting to let go of my heart, my soul, and my very existence. Yes, I do feel lonely and yes, it is not a good feeling as how I had written so before. Perhaps all this time, deep inside me, I knew that it was hard to be alone. Perhaps optimism had gotten the best of me, so optimistic I have led my lonesome life so far. Like the people of North Korea whom revered their dear supreme leader and his descendants like the gods they act like even though in truth they are nothing but dictators ruling with iron fists, I perhaps had looked upon loneliness through the same kaleidoscope as those people, seeing a bleak and and sickening feeling as something far better than despicable. Delectable, even. Spice of life. Reminder of the sky and the starless nights the city is doomed upon. I had looked away from the fact that it is a painful existence to exist as a solitary being, whence we are social beings longing for affection and attention all year round. And at that very moment, I succumbed to the feeling of loneliness. Broken. Fractured.

I waded through the flocks of people filling the airport. People walking in all directions, each with a destination, while I had none. I almost felt like running and pushing through everyone, but I had no goal to which I could run to. Home felt so distant and sad when I know I’ll be there alone, again, just like in the thousands of people in this gigantic building connecting to the world. In a place where connection seems a theme, I am despondent and disconnected from everything. My emotions are tangled up, my shoulders dragging, but my feet steadily marched onward, as the movement of dragging feet irritates me so, I’d like to avoid it even when in low spirits. I am really broken, but tears won’t come out. The hollow feeling left when being left by loved ones is too much to bear, even tear ducts cannot fathom the need of bursting then and there. And so I walked, desperate to reach home while not wanting to at the same time. But I got home anyway.

In the bus back home, I thought of how hypocritical I was for saying that loneliness is a friend when none are there in need. Of how I tried to gloss over the unsettlingness of being alone. And of how it seems laughable now that I tried to act tough. In the end, I am human. A thought entered my mind. A memory from earlier this year, I think, when I told a friend that breaking down once in a while at least reminds you that you are human, not just a cog in a machine called society. And for that, I am grateful to be reminded so.

It was a few short days with a few members of my family, yet those days filled me with a warmth I’d long forgotten. Especially the moments I spent with my ‘girlfriend’, sweet Ema who had just finished her SPM. The moments where we got at each other at every opportunity we had reminds me of home, where the both of us and our three other siblings will get at each other from now and then, just to tease, sulk, and make up every time. Perhaps that is our way of deepening the bonds between us siblings. And tease we would all the time, reminding each other that that annoyance we felt when teased is a precious part of our social and familial life. No one can take bad jokes better than siblings.

As I was walking back towards the apartment building where I rent, another thought came to mind. If loneliness was a black cloud of eerie, malicious, sickening, suffocating robe, then what form does the warmth of people take? All I could imagine is a big, bloating ball so soft and fluffy, it also suffocates you, but you don’t want to let go of that warmth. Like a blanket on a rainy morning, or a bar of candy that is too sweet it hurts your molars. Perhaps warmth is in the shape of hugs too. Perhaps.

12.57 am

20th December 2017

Welcome Loneliness


I want to be knocked out cold, fall into a deep coma, only to come back to life after 5 or 10 years. The thought was one I had since my school days. It kind of exhilarates me, thinking about the what-ifs that comes with the prospect of falling into a coma and more importantly, waking up to an unfamiliar world.

Imagine this. Ten years ago, the first iPhone came out, and it was a revolution. Ten years later, we can’t believe that that was just ten years ago. Mobile phone technology has exploded exponentially at the speed of sound, and that is just in ten years. That is just mobile phones. How about other things? Surely, a lot has changed. So, how does it feel to open your eyes to that change, without the graduality of living everyday life and seeing it for yourself? How does it feel to be thrown into the centre of, from the perspective of a comatose person for ten years, an abrupt change?

The confusion and thrill is what made me thought of it. And at the end of that thought, another came to mind.

I’d like to experience that. I’d like to be tossed into that turmoil of catching up with the world, of catching up with people, catching up with reality, of beating down the depression and confusion and build the determination to come out as a better man. I’d like to experience that and at the end of a long hard road, stand up tall with puffed out chest saying “I survived change! I survived loneliness!”

Yes. That is the essence of that thought. Loneliness.

This thought came back to me yesterday, after long buried in the crevices of my mind. Waiting for friends for a dinner get-together, I was walking aimlessly through the crowd in a shopping complex. The day before, I was also walking about in another shopping complex through another crowd, only that time there were three of us dudes. Perhaps walking in a similar setting two days in a row enhanced the difference of the two days. Perhaps it was the A Shape of Light album I was listening to that made me realize how lonesome it felt, walking alone in the midst of a crowd. The raw sound of piano keys and the grating of static resembling amateur recording resounded with the grating feeling I felt in my own heart. I felt hollow. I felt left out. In the midst of thousands, I was one without comrade, without kin. I was swallowed but left intact, not digested, like the fibre that we eat and defecate day to day. I was insignificant until I meet those friends, eat, talk, and laughed, and became insignificant again after I left them. But I wasn’t sad about that. I wasn’t depressed about feeling hollow, about feeling being left behind. No. Not at all.

And that kind of made me relieved and worried at the same time.

That made me remember a conversation I had with a bunch of friends a few weeks back. We were talking about eating alone in a restaurant and how it must’ve felt awkward to be seen like a nail stuck out of a board, eating alone. The other three were all saying how it must’ve taken a lot of guts to even do so, and how that would catch the attention of passers-by. I said it doesn’t and people won’t even realize or give a shit about you eating alone. Impossible! How do you know that? was the response I got. And when I told them that I know from experience, that I frequently eat alone in the middle of restaurants and cafes, even food-courts, they went silent. Pity swelled in their eyes, pity which I told them to keep to themselves as I do not feel the least pity for myself. Man’s gotta eat, man’s gotta get his grub. So the circumstances of how a man got his filling doesn’t matter. And the conversation ended then and there.

There is a connotation among the common populace that being alone is pitiful. That connotation was common to me once, but has become more and more estranged to my mind lately. Sure, the food doesn’t taste as good as when eating together with someone else, but other than that, nothing’s changed. The substance that enters the digestion tract is still the same whether you eat alone or with company. And as the days pass by, this loneliness that comes from being alone, especially in a crowd or in the middle of the city has somewhat charmed me, and I have became more and more mesmerized by the beauty that comes with the silence of loneliness. That grating sound and feeling in my heart has somehow transformed into a beauty that I can’t experience when around others. The sky seems further than how it used to be. Heck, I even realize there is a sky when I’m alone. Something I always forget when with others. And another epiphany of sorts came to mind after all these alone sessions.

I am finding loneliness beautiful. Precious, even.

And this is what scares me.

Also a few weeks ago, I was working my morning shift whit three gorgeous ladies, all whom are married, seniors at my workplace. One of the akaks ask me the big Q: When will you be getting married. To that, I answered, I don’t know. I honestly don’t. And it seems like there is nothing pushing me towards that, towards marriage. Those ladies frowned at my answer, and again, pity came in their tones. “It’s interesting. You should try it out” was what Nas said the other day, and I agree whole-heartedly. But as the days go by, I am more and more inclined to feeling that marriage isn’t a necessity. This thought scares me. Is it because I find beauty in loneliness that this idea crept into my mind? Perhaps.

But in truth, it is not the idea of dying old and not getting married that’s what scares me the most. In my mind, there is an understanding that marriage changes people for the better. Marriage is the converging of two very different, very individual lives. And to do so commands a lot of strength. To come out of it as a couple, a victory in the essence that one has become a better person, as one has overcome the challenges of toleration and selfishness. One becomes an improved person.

To me, the idea of conforming to the thought of marriage isn’t necessary is what scares me the most, because if I do conform to it, I am agreeing to the idea that I am content with the current unimproved me. I will fail to get over toleration and selfishness. I will never get the bonus stats of a married person (and the troubles that come with it). I will only finish life in normal mode, never getting a whiff of victory when playing hard mode. And I don’t want that.

But I am getting more and more accustomed to this lonely life. Even tonight, walking alone from the food-court opposite my apartment complex, with puddles of rain water the only sign left of a great downpour earlier this evening and Youkoso! Hitoribocchi blaring through my earphones, I still find my lonely state and the world overlooking it beautiful. I still find looking at neon lights from a lone pair of eyes without anyone to discuss with about those lights and their reflection in the puddles of water somewhat melancholically sweet. And with it, an unsettling feeling creeps into my heart. A warning blared in my mind. I cannot enjoy this more and fall into the comfort of being alone any more than I have. Reaching my apartment, a suggestion pops up to support that warning.

Perhaps it’s time for me to find a life partner.

11.51 pm

11th December 2017

 

Youkoso! Hitoribocchi is a track from Welcome to the NHK’s OST, which literally translates into Welcome! Being Alone (or Loneliness)

Slumberland’s Pit Stop


I awoke in the middle of the night with the feeling that I have just let go of something precious from my hands. It is not a figurative feeling but rather quite literal, the weight of that something still lingering in my hands. I was in a dream before then, yet I can’t make out the slightest of detail of it. Perhaps it was a nightmare of some sort, and the release from my clutches something akin to a sequence to that dream. A lucid dream. A dream in the most literal of ways, evoking the most real of emotions and touch, yet still beyond the boundaries of reality. Perhaps it was that kind of dream.

What was it that I let go from my hands? It felt important, but I have no recollection of what it is, even in my dreamlike state. It was as if I was holding to my glasses, or perhaps a stack of plates waiting to be laid down on the dinner table, a chore turn routine I have back home. Each of us in the family have their own designated plate, so come each mealtime, those plates will be taken from the tray and laid down in front of their designated users. The designation came out of habit more than out of obligation. Heck, what is obligated plates anyway?

And the moment I woke up, it felt like those plates just slipped out of my hand and came crashing down. Yet they are no plates here in my bedroom. My glasses are on the study, my phone on the cupboard beside my bed. Maybe it was something figurative that slipped out of my hand. Something intangible, yet if everyone could see it, the whole world would fight to obtain it. No. That’s a line from Toradora. Ain’t nothing figurative about it. No. That one’s a line from a Key and Peele sketch. Perhaps it was just some fleeting feeling that I am not accustomed to.

Or perhaps it’s just my sleep slipping out of my hands. Damn, I want my slumber back!

7.33 am

26th November 2017

Mandul Pemikiran


Bukan organ seks sahaja yang boleh menunjukkan tanda-tanda kemandulan.

Jika seseorang tidak dapat melunaskan tanggungjawabnya untuk memastikan kelestarian umat ini melalui persenyawaan, dia dikatakan mandul. Habis itu, bagaimana dengan mereka yang tidak dapat melunaskan tanggungjawab mereka untuk memastikan kebangkitan ketamadunan umat ini melalui pengzahiran ide-ide dan diskusi bermanfaat, baik konstruktif mahupun destruktif? Mandulkah mereka?

Aku kata, ya. Mereka ini golongan mandul pemikiran.

Bukanlah aku mengutuk mereka yang menjalani kehidupan seharian mereka semata-mata untuk hidup sahaja. Tidak. Usaha mereka untuk meneruskan kehidupan itu sudah cukup murni kukira, lebih-lebih lagi dalam dunia gila ini. Tetapi lambakan yes-man dalam masyarakat ini, lambakan kakatua yang mengulang kata tanpa olahan minda, membuatkan jiwaku sedikit lesu.

Dan aku bertambah lesu dan buntu apabila aku menyedari bahawa aku mula melangkah ke arah itu. Mula melangkah ke arah tak kisah, ikut sahaja ombak kata yang diilhamkan oleh entah siapa, omongkan sahaja apa yang didengari tanpa ulasan dan analisa, asalkan aku hidup. Biarlah kehidupan ini tidak bermakna.

Aku takut suatu hari nanti aku akan jadi seperti mereka yang aku benci, yang sudah mandul pemikirannya.

Atau dengan lebih tepat, aku takut pemikiranku memandul, dan akhirnya aku menjadi yes-man sahaja.

Kejarlah impianmu, mereka berkata. Itupun mengulangi ayat itu tanpa endah dari mana datangnya, asal-usulnya.

Bertindaklah mengikut gerak hati, mereka berkata. Kita semua penghasut. Jiwa anarki disemat dalam masyarakat bagai entropi kepada sistem yang tersusun. Heh! Pasti Cikgu Dabura marah jika dia ternampak ayat di atas. “Sistem yang tersusun. Itu lewah!” Ironinya, sistem ini, keteraturan ini ditentang kerana  ia disalahguna oleh beberapa pihak. Sistem yang sepatutnya murni ini sendiri telah menjadi kolot. Kolot, tanpa kasih. Sistem ini menjadi semakin tenat, semakin rumit, semakin mudah untuk disalahguna dengan kuasa menjadi taruhan. Mereka yang berjaya dijanjikan kemewahan dan kuasa, biarpun sekadar di dunia sahaja, ia cukup untuk mengaburi pemikiran ramai.

Entropi bukan sekadar dalam reaksi kimia sahaja. Ia ada dalam kehidupan seharian kita. Semakin teratur kehidupan, semakin tinggi peradaban, semakin kuat kuasa ghaib yang menolak ke arah bertentangan, ke arah destruktif, ke arah kecelaruan. Itulah entropi. Jadi, persoalan yang timbul, apakah peradaban itu suatu kesilapan? Apakah jika kita kekal di tampuk yang lama, di tahap yang rendah, entropinya kurang, dan kita akan hidup dengan lebih senang? Seperti tenaga potensi, makin tinggi duduknya, makin kuat dorogannya kemudian dalam bentuk tenaga kinetik. Maka, patutkah umat manusia kekal di titik yang rendah jika tidak ingin dihambur oleh tenaga kinetik yang bakal datang meribut? Itu satu jawapan yang boleh dipilih. Sama ada betul atau tidak, kita mungkin tidak akan pernah mengetahuinya. Lagipun, ke”betul”an suatu subjek bergantung kepada pemerhati dan nilai-nilai yang dia punyai. Tiada keadilan yang maha saksama untuk menilai apakah apa-apa subjek itu “betul” atau tidak melainkan Yang Maha Esa, dan penilaiannya rahsia kepada kita makhluk kecil di sampingNya.

Walau apapun jawapannya, kita harus terus mempersoalkan hingga jadi gila. Aku harus terus mempersoalkannya, agar aku tak melabel diriku mandul pemikiran. Pada hujung rencana ini, tetaplah diriku yang penting kepada diriku, selayaknya seseorang yang pentingkan dirinya sendiri. Biarlah semua aku dustai, kecuali kepada diriku sendiri.

 

6.35 pm

13 Oktober 2017