Archive | August, 2009

Our love affair with lies

31 Aug

“What is truth?” Pontius Pilate asked that of Jesus.

“What is wrong with telling the truth?” That is my question.

I laughed over nasi lemak last night when friends of mine playacted the “It’s not you, it’s me” charade oft-played during breakups. Yet the humour underlined that human dilemma, that hang-up we have about sparing people’s feelings.

That’s bullshit.

A lie is still a lie, no matter how you sugarcoat it.

My relationship with my oldest friend is defined by our commitment to always, always be frank with the other. I am who I am partly because she loved me enough to tell me what I needed to hear. Always.

A guy I dated last year was a textbook case of ‘sayingwhatyoudon’tmean-itis’. It got to the point I could never trust him anymore – whatever few memories we had were tainted by all the truths he covered up, all the white lies and things he never meant. The saddest part? Dishonesty pretty much became his default state.

Friendship to me is a covenant. Truth is its foundation. I might hurt a friend’s feelings today by being blunt but I will lose the friend’s trust forever if I should ever be caught out in a lie.

If I call you friend, I will not lie to you. I won’t even tell you a dress looks good on you if it doesn’t. Or I like your haircut if I don’t.

Because I want you to know, with absolute certainty, that I mean it when I say:

– I care for you.

– I want the best for you.

– I am happy for you.

– I believe in you.

– I’m here for you.

– I love you.

Say what you mean.

Mean what you say.

Is that too much to ask of people today? I suppose it is.

Advertisements

Joy in your happiness

16 Aug

IMG_2535.JPG

Some occasions are more than mere celebrations. Which was precisely why I chose to make a trip all the way to Penang just to attend Peter and Wuan’s wedding dinner.

Anyone into the local blogging scene will recognise Peter as a prolific blogger passionate about the rights of those with special needs. Being bound to a wheelchair hasn’t stopped him from being vocal about the rights of the disabled, even if he occasionally rubs people the wrong way.

I have always admired his tenacity and dedication. Beyond that, he is also gracious, kind and really rather funny in person.

Wuan, you could say, is his rock. She has faithfully stood by him through the years and behind her demure facade, she is probably one of the strongest women I know. Where Peter can be emotional, she is calm and steady. Her gentleness and giving nature are things to admire. She is also quite the photographer, something Peter’s justifiably proud of.

I despise romance novels but Peter and Wuan’s love story is one for the ages. Because it is real. It’s true. When I see them so happy together, I feel happy too.

It’s easy to give up on love in this time and age. You see women marrying for money, men collecting trophy wives and trading up once the woman’s youth and beauty fades. Society and its twisted notion of beauty, celebrating the skeletal, the shallow, the vapid and the vain. I get so sad listening to people tell me they’re lonely when they’re really just waiting for someone who matches all the requirements on their lists. They would rather be in love with a fantasy ‘perfect’ person than ‘settle’ for a real, flawed human being capable of love.

Speaking as someone who’s been broken many times by the relationship game, I say it’s a wonderful thing to see someone get it right.

To Peter and Wuan, may you be blessed and happy in your life together. May God watch over you, guide you and comfort you through the challenges life may bring.

Most of all, I wish you love. All the days of your lives.

Things lost, hope found

12 Aug

PosterWebEMP’s second production is another series of short plays in the vein of its last show, Stage Therapy. I loved Stage Therapy for its humour, the quality of its scripts, the energy of its actors and the satisfaction I felt after it ended.

How does The Things We Have Lost fare? Though slightly uneven in parts, I still think it’s worth a watch. Acting-wise, the ensemble was a good one though I would have to say that Elza Irdalynna, especially, stood out.

In a role much too easy to overplay to the point of melodrama,  Elza tackled the character of a crazed, wrought and desperate lover deftly. In the hands of a less able performer, it would be easy to typecast the character as the typical ‘psycho ex-girlfriend’. She brought honesty, believability and vulnerability to a role that is much too easy to play badly. Elza also has something that’s a rarity in today’s local theatre scene: near faultless diction.

New actor Justin seemed to have a case of the stage nerves, often letting his voice drop to a whisper. Project, young man, project! Sham Sunder, as usual, chewed through his scenes deftly though I wished his roles had a bit more meat to them.

Some of the skits seemed to drag on a bit, leaving you with the feeling they should have ended sooner. But overall, the hour spent watching The Things You Have Lost was a good one. There’s a rawness to the material that is endearing, minus the pretensions most people associate with cinema.

I remember Alex Chua, the director of EMP’s Stage Therapy, saying that when writing you had to find that elusive ‘something true’. The Things You Have Lost tells not one, but many, truths. Truths that hurt you, disturb you or creep up on you unawares. So make a point to catch the show and see if you don’t find your own truth in this worthy EMP endeavor.

For bookings, call Elza at 017-2232578 or Marvin at 012-3061229

Want more background on the play? Read Electric Minds, Engaging Theatre.

My dad is my personal Chuck Norris

11 Aug

After two weeks of happily bumming around and having faith that God would provide, I got a job.

Starting Monday, I’m joining the alternative press. I texted my dad about my leaving PR and jokingly added “I’ll try not to get arrested.” He texted me back and his SMS reply was so made of win, two of my straight male friends declared they want to marry him.

My father said:

“Well, people don’t see the same truths most of the time. But freedom is the foundation of a civil society. You should strive for a higher calling, not mere dust of history. Good luck and god bless….”

I think I almost cried.

It wasn’t always easy being my father’s daughter. Growing up, I found him stern and distant. But I loved him. I was my father’s daughter and I aspired to his ideals. He has the most moral integrity of any man I know. Once, he had to choose between compromising his moral standards or losing his job. He chose to resign rather than feed his children with ill-gotten gains. Always he chose the high road.

It’s hard, sometimes, having a father like that because the men I meet just don’t measure up. I don’t want them rich, successful or handsome. I want them good, honourable, truthful and courageous. I want to know that they would fight for what is good and true, even if it meant I would play second fiddle to the community or the higher good.

My father’s also done something few people are willing to do. He became a better man not just for himself, but the people he loved. He became a better husband and a better father. For love.

On my 25th birthday, he told me “No matter what happens, or what you do, you will always have my love.” That was my best birthday present. Ever.

For more gushing about my father, here again is the tribute I wrote to him for his birthday.

You’ll always be my hero, Pa

I am my father’s daughter. And that is all I aspire to be.

Electric Minds, Engaging Theatre

10 Aug

Despite being surrounded by thespians, I usually need to be coaxed to see shows. Not this time. Electric Minds Project, a theatre company setup by dear friends of mine, is putting on a second show after the mad brilliance of their maiden production Stage Therapy. It’s another series of short plays but with darker themes.

“A woman with a gun tries to fix her relationship. Three children contemplate selling a house, and their memories of it, one after the other. A mother grieves for her child in an unusually cruel fashion. Friends sift through the ashes of their previous lives. Two lovers contemplate eternity, the view from their rooftop, and moving to Mongolia. The Electric Minds Project is proud to present The Things We Have Lost, a collection of original Malaysian short plays about grief, despair, abandonment, and hope. It stars Elza Irdalynna, Natalya Molok, Nicole Fuchs, Sham Sunder Binwani, Mikey Tai and Justin Wong.”

FlierWebOne hell of a synopsis, eh?

Come for the actors. They’re amazing.

Come for the writing. It’s varied, nuanced and fun.

Come for the venue. PJ Live Arts has a great location – Jaya One.

Come for the ticket price. RM20 for Pete’s sake.

Come for good theatre. You won’t regret it.

Showtimes:

08:30PM – 12 Aug 2009, 08:30PM – 13 Aug 2009, 08:30PM – 14 Aug 2009, 08:30PM – 15 Aug 2009, 03:00PM – 15 Aug 2009, 03:00PM – 16 Aug 2009 |

For bookings, call Elza at 017-2232578 or Marvin at 012-3061229

Of the zombie who thought he knew how to live

9 Aug

I remember once when you used to fascinate me. Excite me. Entertain me.

You were all about living life to the fullest but, darling, you took from life and begrudged giving anything back. You wanted to be a free spirit, unchained, unfettered and not tied down.

Women loved you. Adored you. Fawned over you. Now you no longer have women queuing at the revolving door of your bedroom, you’re feeling unwanted.

I’m not sorry for you. It was always, always about you. You never gave of yourself freely. Oh, you were generous with stories and the random joke. But you didn’t understand what it meant when a woman loved you. You treated affection like candy: sweet, cheap and readily available.

So now you’re all alone. It scares you, perhaps? Maybe this time you’ll learn to live and care like you mean it. Being alive means being open to hurts, being able to give as well as take, and fully appreciating the people who help you understand what it means to be truly alive. To feel pain as well as pleasure, to take sorrow’s cup as well as the wine of joy.

I have no time for the living dead.

Somebody, hold me too close,
Somebody, hurt me too deep,
Somebody, sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody, need me too much,
Somebody, know me too well,
Somebody, pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive,
Make me alive.

Make me confused,
Mock me with praise,
Let me be used,
Vary my days.
But alone is alone, not alive.

Somebody, crowd me with love,
Somebody, force me to care,
Somebody, make me come through,
I’ll always be there,
As frightened as you,
To help us survive
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!

Why I went Mac – my Macbook Pro experience

7 Aug
fzSkinned with my favourite Van Gogh painting

Skinned with my favourite Van Gogh painting

After years of resisting Apple’s computers, I finally swapped my self-assembled desktop Windows PC for a 13.3 inch MacBook Pro.

“Finally!” “I’m so proud of you!” Of course, my Mac fanboy friends just had to comment.

Truthfully, I’d never been enamored with Apple’s PC hardware. The pricing usually made my eyes bug out especially considering you could probably get a pretty decent desktop for half the price of an Apple iMac. Being in the tech mag industry, I’d tried and tested notebooks of all sizes and shapes from every existing manufacturer in the market. I knew what I wanted. I knew what I could get with my money. Apple’s proposition was just too hard to beat.

If you want value for money in the desktop arena, I’d still say get a non-Mac PC instead. The new MacBook Pro range, however, is a whole different story. I wanted something that was light without skimping on the screen size. It had to have a great keyboard. It should have good enough specs to handle basic image editing, the odd video processing, a game or two, and good battery life. The MacBook Pro had it all.

I chose the lower end model 13.3 inch MacBook Pro which set me back a cool RM4.5k. Not cheap. My more frugal friends would have argued for non-Mac laptops. Yes, they’re cheaper. But they didn’t come with Mac OS X, iLife ’09 and funky touch commands. They didn’t have a lovely backlit keyboard that’s even better to type on than the ThinkPad range’s. Then there’s the nearly seven hours of battery life.

To top it all off, it’s a stunningly beautiful machine. It is. It’s the supermodel of ultraportables. Not as skinny as the MacBook Air, but at least it makes up for it with its specs.

With BootCamp, I can have my Windows gaming cake and eat it too. Since I’ve left the MMO world, the only game I have on the Windows partition is the Company of Heroes anthology. Three of my favourite males cajoled me into it so WWII RTS-ing I go. And you know what? It installs and runs like a dream on the MBP.

It’s a great laptop, which just happens to be a Mac. But you know what makes it better than 90 percent of the ultraportables out there? It doesn’t come with unnecessary vendor bloatware. Dudes, you make great machines but your vendor software? It sucks. OS X, fortunately, doesn’t. Next up – waiting for the Snow Leopard upgrade which only cost me RM39. Yes, I love my Mac and I probably ain’t going back.