Get Your Java And Juice.

 

1607 - CoffeeChords 1050x1050 v2

Grind 22 has been pretty good to me. I met one of its owners, Zool, while busking in Publika in October. He wanted me to feature for the venue, and I brought some of the regular Barlai performers along. Since then, we’ve worked out a strange, symbiotic working relationship (it’s not technically “working” because I don’t get paid to coordinate it – I’m not complaining – okay, maybe a bit), and the humble little busking/singer-songwriter thing has grown.

My plan now is to scale it down to manageable levels (the most performers we’ve had has been ten or eleven, which equates to around 5 or so hours of hanging around). It’s soul-sapping, and I reckon that capping it at 6 to 8 performers is more than adequate. The only issue is ensuring that everyone gets heard, so hopefully I can find it within myself to commit to make it more consistent, as opposed to the current idea of doing it when I’m free.

The next instalment features Dani, Brendan de Cruz, Reening Lau, Sounds of Kites, Nicholas Sia, Hilmy Amim and myself. It’ll be good.

2014? Okay, fine.

I realise that I rant a lot on Facebook…so much so that it’s slightly unbecoming. But, lo and behold, I’d like to share my New Year’s rant with you. May it not damper your spirits, and may you still have a very Happy New Year.

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I often like to think that each step we take leads to the possibility of greatness – I mean, it’s true, isn’t it? Some of us take the whole idea of rejuvenation and renewal seriously when it comes to approaching a new year. But, for me, I reckon that I need to set my mind to a point where it really approaches stepping into January 1, 2014 as just another day that just happens to be a day off. 

There’s no need for renewal or resolutions, or to break the tether from 2013. There’s no need for heavy-handedness in proving that you’ll be a better person, or that you’re so lacking in depth that you’re going to fill a hole to prove that you’re NOT. The fact that you’ve already achieved so much the last 365 days should be tantamount to you feeling that everything’s okay. I mean, you’re still ALIVE. Wrap your head around that.

But, yes, climb that mountain, lose that weight, quit that smoking, buy that house, trim that beard, propose to that girl, bathe for once, brush your teeth more, stretch a bit more, eat less carbs, eat more carbs, get a makeover, pop your cherry, eat more cherries, have a blast. Don’t do all these things because you feel obliged in the name of ‘renewal’. Do it because you want to. Because you HAVE to. Because you’d probably regret not doing them down the line.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that. But y’know, as smarmy as it sounds, as selfish as it may be to say – I’m going to be alright. And so are you.

So lighten up.

I Heard The Herd.

Bit of humour thrown into the mix, as Chinese folks answered the question of what they REALLY wanted in life.

On May 8th, an incredibly large amount of Malaysians trudged to the Kelana Jaya stadium in Petaling Jaya to show their support for the nation’s political Opposition. I was amongst them. I wanted to hear if the Pakatan Rakyat coalition had a plan to harness the power of the people to see that the newly-appointed, ruling Government would pay for the fraud that it pulled off during the recently concluded 13th General Elections just three days prior to the rally.

It didn’t.

At least, it seemed that way to me. Speaker after speaker took the stage to reiterate, rinse and repeat the rhetoric that the Government was being a cheat, that the Prime Minister had to step down, and that the nation’s Election Commission needed a severe overhaul, whilst also calling for its Chairman to step down.

Now, I’m a simpleton, and I get bored very easily. My attention span is such that — anyway, it was the same message drilled into our heads. Now, there were people who were lapping it up, and I can understand why. People were gathered there to find a common ground — and they did. But my innocent curiousity was not piqued [I had voted for the Opposition, by the way], and my friend and I who had gone to listen felt a bit underwhelmed.

 

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Stadium

Is groupthink more pervasive now in the way that we view things than five years ago?

After everything that’s happened between the 12th and 13th General Elections, the Government has blundered its way through scandal after scandal. There’s a form of widespread anti-Government hysteria going round, and it’s hit a fever pitch. A casual glance at your social media feeds will already show you this. After more than a week, there’s still enough user-generated content to last for a long while more.

All this is fair and good, but now we’re getting more and more people who actively share content without properly verifying and validating what it is they’re sharing. The time for conscientious media consumption is over, I suppose. More and more of us are starting to become even more polarised, and the middle ground isn’t sacred anymore — in fact, it’s starting to erode away.

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Can the younger bunch take  any of this seriously?

There’s a wealth of untapped voters when you consider young Malaysians who haven’t come of age yet. I saw a younger set of people all around me at the rally, and it sort of momentarily freaked me out in the sense that they were treating it like a massive social event: kawaii posing, peace signs and a heap of Instagramming a-plenty. I don’t mind it that much, but it honestly made me wonder about how well informed they were about the issues at hand, or if they knew why the rally was being organised the first place.

I mean, yes, it’s good that there’s some sort of populist angle there to get them hooked on it, but the amount of political slacktivism that rampant social media sharing has garnered might devalue their presence there. I’m just saying that we, the old farts [I can’t believe I’m labeling myself as this] have to take it upon ourselves to try to sort give a bit of levelheadedness towards everything that’s being said.

Cooler heads will prevail, and as condescending as I might be sounding, we need to breathe a bit.

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What’s the plan, then?

I’m just a bit peeved that I felt that my time was wasted at the rally. It was hastily organised, and you could tell — there wasn’t a proper route out of the stadium grounds [it was a tight squeeze to leave the inner workings of the place, from the field to the rafters]. People were edgy, and despite coming together for a unifying cause, I could see people scuffling about.

There were also encouraging signs. It’s always good to have throngs and throngs of people coming together and sharing positive vibes. And I’m all for that. My only issue is that there was no real plan. No agenda. No statement of intent. Nothing. Just a constant stream of chanting. It came to a point where I couldn’t hear anything anymore, though that was equally attributed to a lackluster sound system and a riled-up crowd.

I just wish that more could have been done. Something meatier, without the fat. I know that it was only 3 days after the election, but I’m quite convinced that the powers-that-be in the Opposition would already have been able to cook something up for us to sip on. Anything, really.

Are we going to start seeding out vote counters and election staff in the next election? Are we going to embark on some rural community outreach to explain why we want to vote for the Other Guy? What can we start formulating on to ensure that the majority doesn’t embark on another round of election fraud in the future? There’s no time like the present for the Opposition to tackle these problems. A blueprint should have been kickstarted on the night the power got blacked out.

We’re impatient. We need a solution: now.

[Yes, I know I’m harbouring on being a pure irritant, but it’s only because I have faith in the Opposition to provide hard, fast, final solutions in a jiff.]

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All in all, most people around you would probably state that they went to the 508 rally and loved it immensely.

Me? I felt like was the donkey that was being ridden hard, without a carrot dangling. Come on. At least give me a carrot.

“LICK MY BLOODY CUNT” or My Aunt Stuck To Her Balls.

8 years ago, before she succumbed to cancer, my aunt was part of the Kepong MCA machinery, and essentially got her hands dirty very frequently. She was apparently recruited into the party based on a proposed economic plan that she had published. One highlight of her stumped political career was that she had helped to set up the MCA Hotline, and subsequently held a gig as its Service Chairman.

Things took a turn for the weird when she decided to stand against Chew Mei Fun for the MCA Wanita Deputy Chairwoman position during the party elections. My aunt subsequently lost. The end result? Chew Mei Fun – 1320 votes ; Tai Sim Yew – 423 votes. Chew would have won the seat, uncontested, if my aunt hadn’t steamrolled her way in. Admittedly, my aunt knew that Chew would have won, either way.

So, WHY did my aunt run a losing race? It was because of the ‘cai dan’ – a shortlist of candidates that MCA delegates would have to choose from to fill up the Central Committee’s posts. In her own words, it was “undemocratic”.

(Others might point out that the ‘cai dan’ does not actually outrightly hinder anyone from entering the ring, though, admittedly, you’d be under hard pressure NOT to choose anyone off the list.)

She stressed that the reason why she was fighting the powers that be was because what was going on was not FAIR. After announcing her intention to contest, my aunt received a few death threats and prank calls, but she was an experienced lawyer, and was most probably more amused than outright fearful. She stuck to her guns. And was then kicked out of the Kepong MCA Wanita committee for not playing by the rules.

My point here is that even though she was part of a losing battle, she was still committed to doing whatever she felt was right. I think it reminds me of the duty that we owe ourselves, not just through voting, but in everyday life — we must do what we feel is right, otherwise our conscience would most probably take a swandive.

There are people around us in better positions who do not have such a conscience, and they’ve gotten away with abusing their powers. It’s come to a point where you and I can agree that, “Okaylah, let them abuselah, but not so much”. We’re giving allowances for people to abuse our trust, because we’ve resigned ourselves to no other possibility.

By the way, this isn’t an anti-MCA/BN rant. This is just a soft reminder that we should always try to do right, whenever we can, and to stick up for those beliefs when we get cornered. It sounds ideal and naive, but sometimes seeing things in black and white can keep us grounded. It’s also good to occasionally QUESTION what’s going on around you, and to be curious. It’s a tedious, tiresome process, but it’s always be better to be informed than to be impeded.

My aunt had a favourite phrase she’d like to throw around – “If they don’t like it, then they can lick my bloody cunt”. My aunt’s words. She used them a LOT.

I think my aunt would be equally distressed and pleased if I shared my own skewered political views with her now. Then again, she was a bit of a pain, and would probably have rattled me senseless now.

I miss her; at the same time, she was a prime example of what you should and shouldn’t be in life. But that’s really a story that’s too personal to be shared.

But any way.

May she rest in peace.

And may lesser fools lick her cunt in Heaven.

Check this out to learn more: http://www.thesundaily.my/node/177222

There Is No 30!

I am an overgrown man-child. I take a look at all my friends, and they’ve accomplished so much, while I’ve somehow managed to regress back into a bum who stays at home to earn his dollar.

Sadly, everyone else is envious of me, and I have to admit – I can understand why.

But as I move further forward into the foreboding future, I’m still wondering if I can really live up to my own expectations for what my future holds.

I’m waiting on the grey hairs to start pecking me.