Being a Good Person

There are days where I wake up and what drives me to work, to write more, to run faster and push myself harder is ambition. I have this great burning ambition that makes me feel that until I achieve whatever it is that I want to achieve, falling back is not good enough. That life is only good and better till I get what I want to get.

Today I heard a colleague of mine passing away. I did not know him very well, but I had worked with him quite closely on some occassions and he was very kind and friendly to me during our Away Day. He was a good person, a well-respected man and when news of his passing came around, the first words people usually say were, “What a loss. He was a good man.”

When you die, no one is going to remember your ambition, how much work you’ve done. The first thing they remember is if you’re a good person like my colleague was, and the personal loss they feel from losing a good friend.

It’s something I ought to remember as I go about life: that it’s not all about stepping on people or clambering up the mountain as high as possible. It’s about living a good and moral life, that life is about being kind and being generous. Because at the end of the day, as the cliche goes (there’s a reason why it’s a cliche), that is all that counts.

Advertisements

When the Doubt starts creeping in

It’s been ages since I last talked about writing. And by ages, I mean, one week. But since the end of Nano, I’ve only been touching my novel with a long end of the stick. It’s been so hard to get back to writing it and I know it’s going to be even worse to start editing it.

Strangely enough, the problems that were plaguing a lot of the Wrimos during November are starting to come out to me in fullforce. It all started with a shower (doesn’t everything?) and me trying to figure out what would be my next writing project, despite, you know being 1/3rd in my story.

And then, I came up with this brilliant, or at least I thought it was brilliant, storyline about some kids who decided to go out camping. And then I started plotting, came out with the characters, came out with the feel.

Except, as always, the honeymoon period to the story ends about a week into its conception. You start convincing yourself, that your story is not as brilliant as the movie that just came out recently. You wonder why on earth Aussies don’t like your story (even though, it might just be one Australian, naturally you will extend the generalisation to an entire nation)? And then why on earth are you not romantic enough? Some of my friends write stories that are sentimental and romantic, I find that my stories are cold and grey, seen through ice, written through eyes who care very little for sentiment and romance.

And then I start wondering if there’s something wrong with me? What’s wrong with my heart that it rarely beats for anything romantic? Why don’t I chase for love like Disney Princesses?

All this of course, in between daydreaming up the plot for my sequel (fuckin’ hell, I haven’t even completed the first book or even started the heartbreaking attempts at selling it) and then wondering if DT will be okay due to his back surgery. I show more concern for an actor who does not know my existence then I do about the events surrounding me. Priorities, priorities, priorities.

So what does this all mean? I know it just means that I have not been working hard enough on the story when doubts start to creep in. But November burnt me out quite a bit. In between writing papers, negotiating for a new job, working on Wrimo and even the shorts for NIDA, I’m starting to feel the weight on my shoulders is going to press me down to the floor and I’m just going to collapse one of these days.

During these times, I usually do one thing and that is I keep repeating the final two lines of my favourite Robert Frost’s poem. And that is what I must do, so for now I bid you adieu as I do some work that earns me a living as quickly as possible in between trying to get a few words in for my novel.

Snow in Malaysia

This post is dedicated to David, since the picture is taken in his favourite mall in Malaysia.

The one with the lion. They did not put a hat on the lion though, this year, for shame.

dsc01096

Bright red Christmas trees.

So it’s almost Christmas time and for us Malaysians, even for those of us who don’t celebrate it, it’s a time for lots of presents, lots of shopping and most importantly, lots and lots of tacky decorations.

I don’t actually say it to sound cruel, but we are awfully tacky. While I used to be terribly embarrased about our tackyness e.g. the giant lion, our penchant for using the French ‘de’ in the wrong context, like De’Shop, I’ve grown quite fond of our silliness over the years.

Now that it’s Christmas time, all our decorations of course is focused on having a White Christmas because you know, it just makes an awful lot of sense. Never mind that we live in the tropics and the closest thing to a white Christmas Malaysia will ever experience is if Indonesia catches fire and the smog blows over Kuala Lumpur because dammit, how on earth do you play the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” without snow?

It’s been raining quite a bit lately in Malaysia and the skies are a dull grey, and surprisingly enough, it’s actually quite chilly here. I could actually pull out a scarf and a coat, and with my eyes closed I could imagine I’m in England. Granted, I’d probably be sweating like a pig within 5 minutes but that’s how cold Malaysia is right now! It would have taken me a grand total of 2 minutes before.

But I digress. Still it ain’t snow. So, the best we can do in Malaysia are snow machines that shoot out foam snow where kids run around and every one looks at the snow in wonderment.

Kids high on sugar and fake snow

Kids high on sugar and fake snow

Watching the kids run around like little cats on catnip remind me how excited I was when I saw the first flecks of snow in Canada and then the eupohoria of seeing the real thing, the heavy downpour of snow in Coventry. And I always have a flutter of excitement when I see snow, it’s something you see on TV and don’t actually get to experience it all the time. It’s something really special.

Not quite there running over fake snow

Those flecks ain't dust, it's snow!

It’s one of the things in life that I would say I’m so glad that I was able to experience. Snow is as great in real life just as it is in the pictures, in the movies and although I’ve not reached the stage where I’m going to start running around in the mall shoving kids aside so I could play with ‘snow’, seeing the ridiculous snow foam machine, well, let’s just say that it tugged a few strings to the cold heart of mine.

Under Pressure

Facebook is currently filled up with baby photos as my married friends have now begun to breed and start spouting away additional human beings. I’m not the biggest baby fan in the world but I do have to admit that some pictures did melt the icy grip around my heart and I go “Awwww!”.

As I was flipping through the photos, it suddenly occurred to me that with the superfluous number of baby photos on Facebook, some of my friends must be comparing baby photos. We’re all very competitive people naturally. We compare jobs, we compare salary size, compare spouses and I’m sure people who look at the pictures of their friends’ babies, they must be thinking “Oh, would you look at that? My baby is definitely more gorgeous than that one!”

Urgh. How depressing. Children today are under so much pressure at school, and I foresee it’s just going to get worse. Not only the child would be under tremendous amount of pressure to make mummy proud by playing the piano and the violin AT THE SAME TIME and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro before supper, they must also be ridiculously good looking and cute so that when mummy posts up a picture on Facebook, everyone would comment and say “Awwww….such a cutie.”

Does that mean, some parents probably get all paranoid that no one comments on their babies photos? Do they think, “Hey, A. said C’s baby was cute, but didn’t say it for my baby! What’s wrong with my baby?”

I brought up the issue up with my mum. Mum nodded wisely and said, “Yah! I know. Considering all babies are kinda ugly anyway when they’re born.”

Of Basils and Dinners

I have a posh dinner to attend tonight. And I’ve nothing to wear. I can go back to my theory that it’s the world versus Adlina again, the best way to humiliate her is to invite her to dinners where she’ll either end up being overdressed or underdressed.

Mark my words, world! If that happens tomorrow, being either underdressed or overdressed, I will go to my next posh function, NAKED. And since the next function is next week, World, you really don’t want to see me naked yet. I haven’t been going to the gym as often as I should.

How’s that for a threat?

***

I bought a plant. I’ve been meaning to start this hobby since sometime in June, a gardening hobby. Actually, correction, I’ve no intention of starting a gardening hobby. What I’ve been meaning to do is start a collection of edible plants that I could keep in my apartment and harvest. You know, credit crunch and everything means that I could save a bit of cash by eating the plants at home. You can’t eat orchids, you know. Plus, since I love to cook, it’s all about vertical integration. My brother said we ought to get rid of the cats, and replace them with cows since I’ve been looking up techniques on making my own cheese.

Well, not so cruel as to get rid of my cats, but the fresh milk thing and cheese is tempting.

Anyway, so I bought myself a basil plant and I did taste a bit of it recently. I’m a little disappointed that it doesn’t taste as strong as it should. I wonder if there’s a way if to make it stronger.

Getting the Warm Fuzzies

First things first. I would like to proudly announce that I finished more than 50,000 words in a span of three weeks. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that I won Nanowrimo 2008. Winning meaning, I finished 50k within November and in three weeks. THREE EFFIN’ WEEKS PEOPLE. Get that? I started November 7th.

nano_08_winner_large

Muahahahahaha.

***

“Hold me in your arms, don’t let me go, I want to stay this way forever. Closer each day…Home and Away”

Was at the Astro-NIDA opening ceremony today despite being a little reluctant to attend it at first. It IS held in KL and I am not that big a fan of getting to KL from where I live. But all in all, I was glad I did turn up. There were people I had not seen for over a year and since Coming Out the Closet, so it’s been great to catch up.

In a way, it’s also about coming a full circle. Last year, when I attended the NIDA course, I was at an all-time personal low. I was depressed and it took a lot out of me to drag my butt out of bed to go to the course but I think it was well worth it. It’s nice to see how far I’ve come. I may not agree with everything I’ve been taught at the course, but definitely, what I have to be grateful for is how hard I’ve pushed myself creatively since. It may not yet be the time where I can earn a living from my creativity, but I do believe that one day, David Tennant will act in something I write in!

You hear that DT? I’m going to write for you!!

Ahem. It’s a lucky thing that this blog gets so few hits and even fewer people in this world know and read this blog, since it allows me to post like, whatever. A bit like dancing like a fool in public and no one notices.

Anyway, it was not all sappy and sentimental. Two of my the previous tutors could not make it this year, but I did meet two new lovely tutors: Tahnee and Nick Bishop. Tahnee is super sweet, she helped film my short this year, an unexpected decision since it was originally turned down. I reserve the rights to feel all the warm fuzzies about it since I liked seeing my short filmed.

I did not manage to get to know Nick Bishop much though, but I found out he was an actor on Home and Away. Like really. Don’t believe me watch the clip below. He’s the one who scared the living pants off the other cast members for being alive.

I got a picture with him as well, a close up picture of a…celebrity of sorts. Not quite the Mr. Tennant that I’m in love with but hey, we all have to start somewhere. Who knows! Jesse Spencer (Robert Chase in House MD) and Kylie Minogue started on Neighbours. Dannii Minogue, Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts from H&A.

Home and Away reminds me of my second year in university where I’d be watching it before seminars in my cold living room. I’d be eating lunch, usually something disgusting like fish finger sandwiches with mayo and chilli sauce . I’d be dreading the bus ride, since I always ended up missing the bus for some reason despite my best attempts at reading the bus timetable. But definitely, I enjoyed the solitary moments of having the house to myself, having lunch with the telly on and relaxing. It always either Home and Away, Neighbours or Doctors.

But I did not tell Nick that I was a bigger fan of Neighbours.

***

As part of research for my brother’s project, I watched Bolt in 3D. Although originally I bitched about getting a headache from the glasses, it turned out just fine and even though the story is formulaic and a doggy tale (cat person here), I quite enjoyed it.

2008 had been one hell of a roller-coaster year, from financial crises to the economic crisis and in my own personal life. Hell, I’m even still recovering from the traumatizing Doctor Who season finale. Even movies tended to veer towards the depressing and morally vague (think The Dark Knight) and so watching Bolt had been ironically, quite refreshing. There is always a place in this world for Disney and their feel-good movies despite their mad marketing tendencies.

Getting the warm fuzzies is always good.