Sunday, November 15, 2015

I have read too much Hiromu Arakawa (A selfish post on tragedy)

“And now, I'm thinking again, isn't there something we can do about something we can't do anything about?” - Edward Elric

Right now, the cycle has begun again. Senseless violence. Mass killings. Tragedies upon tragedies. Then people respond: first with fear and shock. Then sadness and sympathy. Then anger. Then suspicion. Then self-righteousness. Then judgment. A week or two later: apathy.

Oh my, you say. Don’t pay attention to just Paris. Look at Palestine, look at Syria, look at this place and that place. Look at all the tragedy in the world and try and feel something and make it relate to you, even if you’re not the victim. Because if you don’t, you’re heartless and not human.

Ugh. 

Read the news people. People die every day. Innocents are killed, the evil murder and destroy, every day, everywhere. It’s not that all these things are happening at once on some eerie day. It’s you that has suddenly become incredibly aware that it’s happening.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel sad. Or angry. Or afraid or hurt or shocked or numb or sorry. You are human. There will be emotions that you will feel and thoughts that you will think of. That’s how humans work. We respond to the world around us. 

I’m saying, don’t shut off your awareness after a week. Don’t shut off this response once you’ve posted a status on it, or changed your profile picture to whatever you want to show solidarity.

Don’t shut off the awareness that we need to do something, that we need to start being part of the solution.

Stop praying for a hero or a solution. God has placed us here. What are YOU doing?

But, you say, I don’t live in Paris. Or in Beirut. Or Japan. Or –

Stop.

Didn’t I just say it’s happening everywhere? People are suffering everywhere. That includes where you live. That includes the people around you: at work, at school, at home, etc. Whether you like them or not, they are humans. And all of us, one way or the other, need help.

Be the solution for them. Be kind, be generous, be loving. Go all out, even for those you dislike or afraid of. Stand on your own two feet and use your own two hands to reach out to others.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it’s pleasant. But it’s something you can do. We all want the world to be a better place. We all also acknowledge that we’re small, helpless humans.

But if all of us helpless humans moved our weak hands together…wouldn’t that be better than nothing?


And the first pair of hands and feet that you can move, are yours. 

“Stand up and walk. Move forward.” - Edward Elric
To all who suffer: ... it's difficult to find anything suitable to say, but...

Stay strong.

Monday, September 28, 2015

waiting

there’s a page to be filled
a blank canvas waiting
for words, and ideas but
i say tomorrow

there’s a bed to be filled
a tired body waiting
for rest, and sleep but
i say tomorrow

there’s a life to be filled
a big world waiting
for deeds, and me but
i say maybe never

there’s a hole to be filled
a darkness waiting
for dust, and me, and 
i say maybe -

Note: this was written a long time ago. I just found it again while rummaging through my stuff. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"How many instruments can you play?"

Ahaha...that question again. 

When I introduce myself, I say I play the piano, so people tend to be surprised when I'm suddenly playing the drums or guitar. Then the question comes: How many instruments, can you play, exactly?

This is a common question for musicians everywhere, I believe. 

I once read an answer to that question given by a better musician: Does it matter?

Of course if I would sound like an obnoxious prick if I said that, but the idea is: does the number of instruments you play really matter? 

I think that for some, your musicality is judged on how well you play an instrument, and the more you play the better you are. Of course discipline, hard work, technical skill, improvisation and expression are all crucial. But at the heart of it is music and whether you love it or not. If you do, you would want to pursue it in your own way. 

Why do I even care about playing more than one instrument? It's not out of showing off, I assure you. I think over the years, musicians all over the world have taught me that there can be no showing off in music. You know how to play 15 instruments like an expert? Just you wait, there will be someone younger than you who would have mastered 20. You started to compose music when you were 13? That's great, but this kid who's like 4 years old has been doing that for awhile now. You learnt how to play the piano by ear? Psssshhhhhhhh that's the most common thing out there, okay? There is no way you can stay proud for long in music. You learn to admire everyone and be happy with what skill you have.

Google "piano boy youtube" and tell me you won't find something that makes you slam your 
head on your piano and cry. I DARE YOU. 

Is it out of interest? Yes and no. Most of the time, I don't even know how interested I would be or not be in it. Example: I hadn't touched the drums for easily 10 years (stopped after a short lesson from my cousin when I was ....7?), but in uni, out of necessity, I became a drummer a number of times, and somehow it just grew on me. I don't consider myself a drummer, or guitarist. I only "dabble" in them, though if I had the proper budget for classes and equipment I would like to take them seriously. I dabbled in violin for awhile too, and if I could do it again (minus the traumatizing experience), I would. I have dreams of trying out a wind instrument, and I sometimes window-shop online for melodicas.

But why all these interests? It's not like I'm even doing a music degree or planning for a musical career, right? 

Mmmm, how to explain this? Well, in brief: I love music, and I want to explore as much as I can in my life. It's not about earning money, or being famous, it is about me enjoying this beautiful thing that is here on this earth. If I can help others through my playing of any instrument, all the better, but I'm not doing it for them, per se. 

The piano is my go-to instrument to express myself best, but if there is no piano around, I'll find something and make music in some way. Because I'm a musician first, and there should be no limits to what you can play, just what you want to. 

So how many instruments can I play? In all honesty, and with greatest humility, it really doesn't matter.

Music is music is music. Just enjoy it. 

Letting the tap flow

I'm not putting off blogging because I have nothing to write. If anything, it is because I have too much to write, and too little time or inspiration to edit. 

My dilemma is that I constantly feel like I need to produce the best, most heartfelt post, every single time. For example, those three sentences I just wrote? I've edited it three times in less than five minutes. I may edit it more as I type along. 

I have 6 posts stored away as drafts, unfinished, or finished, but not "perfect". It's making me rather pissed off at myself. I mean, if there is one place for me to produce crappy work, it should be in the toilet and here, you know? And yet my own inner critic is holding me back, afraid of making any mistakes. 

I'm annoyed, because I shouldn't be afraid of making mistakes, as long as I learn from them. That's what I tell myself, my juniors, my students. And here I am, being a coward, not wanting to write, because I don't have the right words, the right plot, the right timing, situation, topic, etc etc. 

Screw that, I tell myself. It's high time to take my own advice. 

I've been trying to read up tips on writing, on doing things, and the only advice I get is to do it. Do it, suck at it, learn from what made it suck, and do it again. Let the clogged tap flow and let all the muck and sewage out, and eventually, we might hit clean water. 

So, I'm locking away my screaming inner critic. That voice in my head that tells me everything I do will never be good enough. I'm putting her in house arrest (or brain arrest). And I'm just going to crap. Every post that comes out now, will be a draft. It will never be in the perfect standard that I imagine it would be, because that standard, that place, is imaginary, and I'm never going to achieve it. 

But if I take the first few steps to get on writing, maybe I'll find something. 

I've edited this post 4 times now. I'm a chronic editor. Hence the need for this new mission. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Production

I'm back, peeps, if you're still following. These are a set of poems I sent in for a poetry competition this semester. It's a set of three, but the last one was "canyons grand", which I have already posted up here, so I won't waste your time on it. 


Milk

The spilt milk drips 
like murky white blood drops
staining the brown floor
and collecting black dust. 

     
The broken glass
creates icicles shattered
and silver dust scattered
from fallen wishing stars.


Who did this? Who did this?
I did this, and so did you.
The milk has spilt and stars have fallen -
No reason to cry for the two.


Tanjung Malim, April 2015


Commentary: I wasn't very creative for this competition, due to time constrains. I wrote a rough draft of this many, many years ago, and with a pressure of a deadline, I pulled it out again and edited it. Well, when I say "edit", I mean change everything except the first line, haha. 


A Haiku for Distance

As our two clocks turn
both in the same direction
we still move in two.

  
I wish for a time
when we only need one clock
and we can stay still.


Tanjung Malim, April 2015


Commentary: I always had a fascination of haikus, and how they can compact so much meaning in such a tight, structured situation. This was scribbled hastily just a few minutes before the deadline. 




In conclusion, deadlines fuel my productions, like any other procrastinator. Oh well. 

Hopefully, I'll be writing more in this short window of free time. Toodles. 

p/s: oh, I won the competition...=] got a 8GB pendrive, which is great, because I was about to buy one. Hurray for free stuff!