Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Talk of bad Luck

The Jerejak Resort was out of electricity for the past three days as some idiot who was working on laying pipelines has cut an electri cable instead. This happened over Christmas when the resort was fully booked. Ill equipped to face the situation resort lost quite a few angry customers who left frustrated. The TNB ouir holy national power supplier took almost three days to get power via a generator to supply the resort and by then the damage is done. Today the resort ran out of food supplies i was told and again more angry guests checked out! We had one accident after another too in the past few weeks and who knows what else is in store.
I am looking forward to be promoted to a better position still despite these bad scenarios as I have the feeling that i am meant to take the bull or the devil by the hornsin this matter. When I had my talk with the boss I told him that I look at myself as a healer of sorts, not of individuals but of the place as a whole if the place needs healing. I believe in thin confession after looking back at my past working at places that were on the verge of falling apart or being shut down. One such place was H & H Ship Services on China basin in San francisco. I can safely say that I had a hand in putting Green Gulch Zen center back on its track while i was there. In Malaysia my methods has helped to iron out many situations that woould have otherwise been critical. All these i did without any concious effort towards achieving any goals but simply just to ease the burden or make the road seemed smoother for the rest of the employees or those involved.
Jerejak resort it seems will be a monumental challenge as it would take short of a miracle to turn this ailling hospitality industry into a success. The biggest challenge i foresee is in getting the employees to have an attitude change with respect to their jobs. Most of them are hard and willing workers but they do not work together wellespecially inter departmentally. Alot of egoism has got to be erased especially among the staff members whose attitude is like without them the resort would cease to function. The true meaning of service or hospitality has yet to sink into the minds of the staff and employees as most are self serving.
Then again what do i know? I am new at this job myself and Jerejak is known not for its beauty as an island but for its infamy as a one time leper colony and a detention center for drug abusers. Perhaps i have to work on healing the place itself like a shaman driving away all the evil spirits or bad vibes that still haunts the island. Well whatever it takes the task wil;l; not be easy and the bull is not going to lay down and let me run all over it or turn it into hamburger and the Devil will still be standing his ground in making sure that nothing good comes out of the place. My job will be to clean it all up one way or another and that is what I intend to do. Tough words for a cheeseburger buddha.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What would the new Year bring?

Sometimes life has its twists and turns as unprdictable as the movements of an eel on dry land and just as slippery to catch a hold of. What lays in store for me in the coming year? Will my luck take a more postive change or will bd luck still ride my on my back/ Who knows and at present there is very little that i can do but ride out these last few days of 05 and hope for the best on the future.
I was offered a better more challenging position at the resort which promisses a better salary and thus I look forward at least to this comes 06. The Jerejak is still going through alot of trials and tribulations with one problem cropping up after another looking like there is no end to it. There has been quite a few dismissals among the the managers and looks like the winds of change is blowing through the whole resort management division. Perhaps this is the much needed spring cleaning of personells who has not been performing their best for the benifit of the whole, or perhaps it is one form of cut backs as the resort is not doing too well financially. Guests visiting the resort has voiced complains of poor attitudes and services and the fact that the price is too high especially for the day trippers. But there is little that I can do except give these visitors breaks whenever i can to pacify them and make sure that they are not totally discontented with their visit to the resort.
I am looking forward to having my first Malaysian Solo exhibition show at the University Sains Gallery here in Georgetown, Penang.However I am a little purtubed by the fact that I might encounter financial difficult in getting my works framed professionally and perhaps create some new additional works to add to what I already have. The Gallery is quite large and sits in the heart of the business district here and so ther is a good flow of traffic. I guese this is my litmus test whether I am going to make or break as an artist here in this country.
My wife it seems is fully contented where she is at the Nursing Home in Waterloo, Illinois. According to my mother -in- Law she is happy and has been busy teaching the other patients who has come to like her prescence there. My wife wears a beautiful smile on her all the time regardless of the circumstances and for this many who has come to know her cannot afford but to like her being there. I have been praying to the AlMighty Allah every day for her safekeeping and well being and that is about all I can do for now other than making sure that her two children here are well looked after and grow into worthy adults. InSha'Allah, or Allah willing I will see that they return to the US again to see their mother whether she recognize them or not anymore. So far they have handled loosing her quite well and I hope it keeps that way for now as I am having a tough time as it is to keep them fed and cloathed and not to mention their school costs, hey what the heck, this is what life is all about ain't it? What a boring life it would it be not to have all these shit happening just to keep your mind tickled and your body in good shape. No sense in bitching and moaning especially when you know Allah is beside you, watching over your every move and directing your next step.
2005, I might say has been a downer for me and my family all around and I have been forced to make some drastic changes in my lifestyles and revaluated my principles and at teh same being humbled in my approach. Many great lessons have I learned from many sources that I sometimes was not aware of. I have been helped by many selfless kind hearted samaritans who made my trials a little less burdensome and eased my sorrows. I have llearned never to despair and surrendered my destiny to the Maker and Designer of this life. It is undoubtedly true for me to realize that it is in times of dire need that one turns to the Highest Authority for His devine grace to deliver one through these times of tribulations. I was lost as it was said but now I am found and I have found the Truth and the Truth is within me.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Perhaps the silver lining...

Today my boss asked for my resume with the intention of upgrading me to a better position perhaps even as a Health and Safety Officer. If so, than my patience is paying off. When I took the job as a ticket seller the man who interviewed me asked me why I am willing to accept such a low paying job and I told him that I am hoping for a better position in the future. The job at the ticket counter actually is not so bad as it has given me a lot of time to draw and look deeper within myself in my relations with the general public especially the Chinese and the Indians. Most of the time i have found it ver pleasant if not entertaining and i have come to learn how to communicate with these racial groups better often earning their respect.I have also learn to overcome my fear in dealing with money especially when it belongs to others which is one of the reasons I took the job. It was a challenge to overcome this handicap.
I told my boss the same reasons when he asked me the same question but I added the fact that I have also come to know the people i am working with and if i am to hold a higher position I will have an advantage of understanding who I am dealing with.In the process of doing my job I have earned the respects of my fellow workers, from the boatmen to the front office employees, from the gardeners to the kitchen staff. I realize that it will not be easy working with people who at one time were your superiors but being one of the oldest there has its advantages as everyone call you uncle.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Shit Happens anyways...

Today is my off day from work and so i decided to tackle my daughter's school registration for next year which would take me to the school then to the education office and who knows where else as she also wants to transfer from her present school to another. My cousin Ahmad Kalam as always becomes my primary help driving me here and there and making sure that I do everything right. We frist headed fopr the secondary school where the signature of the principal was needed on all triplicate copies of the request forms. The Principal off course was not available but the substitute was in and so after convincing him that we were not getting hiom to sign his wealth away we headed for the education department. There we sorted out all the pertinent papers and was finally accepted as completing the paper works and now we wait. Then we decided to attempt the school tansfer fprocess and again we repeated the same route and finally when it was all done we headed for another side of town for the 'new' education department office where the transfer script would be processed. Along the way we had to come to a stop at a street light which had numbers and was turning from Zero to stop. My cousin applied the brakes and came to a stop. A few seconds later we were slamped from behind sending our car a few yards into the middle of the junction.
I noticed that my cousin was quite ok other than the fact that he was a little shaken up and then turning around I tried to get out of the car but found out that i could not open the door. The car that had ramped us from behind turned out to be a new sporty Volvo car driven by a young Chinese who was already on his handphone calling someone to inform of what had happened. Perhaps he was on the phone all along and that is why he failed to see the stopped car in front of him. Then the tow truck guys came all four of them handing out cards and the police arrived after taking one look at the mess told everyone to remove the vehicles as it was causing a traffic jam. My cousin left with the owner of the repair shop who had turned up and heade for the police station to make the report anf i followed the wrecked car towed to the repair shop to collect all the belongings from inside of the car.
My friend Cikgu Yusof came to take me home with all the items collected from my copusin's car. I told him that i felt guilty for what had happened as my cousin was involved in the accident on account of running an errand for me. He chastised me saying that i am back to the material man's mentality as it was not my fault or his for that matter and the 'test' was not for me but for my cousin. A spiritual man would just accept it as destiny, all meant to be for some odd reason beyond our comprehension.All the help that has been given to me he said consider them as my right, Allah's blessings and not to be questioned but accept with grace. All the negative incidents that I am experiencing at this point in my life consider them to be Allah's way of making me realize who I am and my relationship to Him, they are his ways of giving me a wake up call. If I doubt or become despair by what I am going through than I have deviated from Him and His infinite Mercy.
I went home later and laid down to sleep giving my body a rest from the trauma that I had just gone through and later did my laundry.

Monday, December 05, 2005

My Wife Nancy II

You were a traveller and a seeker just like me,you traveled to Russia even when you were in High school and then you lived in Japan for 10 years speaking and writng the language. You have lived in Malaysia for 6 years and almost become a good Muslim if you are not one already. You hold a Master's degree in Linguistics and have taught English for over twenty years of your life, what an achievement! Your children will know all thes one day when they decide to read this blog as it is primarily meant for them. It is my way of keeping a record of who they are and what their parents were.
Today our lives is at its nadir and we are seperated from each other, all of us as both our kids are living away from me with their friends and relatives. With them out of the way I am making full use of my time putting all my energies into taking the bull by the horns and by the Will of the AlMighty, pull all my resources and create a miracle that will bring all of us together again. I may be down but I am never out for so long as this mind and body is capable of working I will prevail.
So I will keep on sending my prayers to you so Allah will keep you at peace and contentment and that he will deliver us through this these difficult times of our lives. Know that everyday that I write this blog I am thinking of you if nothing else and let no one claim otherwise.
Karim has left for Kuala Terenggany to be with his buddies on the East Coast where it is the rainy season. The just had a Monsoon Regata there where racing sail boats from all over the world took part at Pulau Duyong, remember Awi's yellow and Hashim and his family? Well now that I am here in Penang things starts happening over there, just another bad luck. I miss those guys there, the simple life and the simple folks who treated us like one of their own for the six odd years we lived there. Marissa is staying in Brown Gardens, Penang with her cousins. She likes it there better than where I am living right now. She is growing up fast and more beautiful each day.
I am going to get her registered for next year for both Karim and her are required tro re-register with the Penang Education Department because of being foreign students. More paper works and more fees to be paid. I have no idea where i can get the money for their school fees and books for next year but I know it will be there when the time comes, call it faith for its all that I have got right now. Faith and the determination to succeed in this life despite all my failures in the past.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My Wife Nancy

I imagine you sit alone in your room often enough thinking of us perhaps if your mind is not far too gone to temember us, but we think and pray for you daily, we love you and will do all we can to be with you someday even if you have no memory of who we are.
We miss you, the children may not show it but I know they are doing their best to face the painful fact of their lives, their present and future and I have no answers for them except the fact that all is meant to be, It is Allah's will and we are His servant doing His bidding in this life. Perhaps it may sound like an escape to most western minds but I must declare that all that has transpired in my life is meant to be, a lesson in gettinhg to meet the Lord of Truth. I have been seeking throughout my life for the meaning of my life, why I am who I am and thus far have come to my knees banging on the door of the Al'Mighty for His infinite mercy and thankful for having been chosen to record my life for the sake of my children and grand children. What good is your life if it cannot be shared for its beauty and glory its pain and sufferings in the eye of the Lord.
He created man in His Image and awarded him with the one thing no other living soul posseses the capacity for Compassion, for Love and Devotion, He created me through His breath and His Creative Spirit. I am who I am, created to walk my life through from the day I was conceived till the day I am in my grave. I am on my journey to meet my Creator, my Lord and Master and He is running to meet me.
I have not become all Muslimised or trying to scare you as a Muslim bad guy out to blow up market places to proof a point, No I am a seeker who is almost home with what he has been seeking.
I am drinking sips of LIVITA (Honey)while a loud Bangladeshi is on the phone next door, the Muezzin is calling the faithful to their needs on the loud speaker from a nearby Mosque and the kids are doing battle on the computer behind me, I am at home! Allah is the Lord of Power, the Great, there is none, only Allah is to be worship. It took me a long time of long and windy roads for me to discover myself, for who or what I am, I have been down there as low as any man can get and I have climbed way up there where few I dare say touched in their single life span, and I have not even yet started. This included visiting Chinese and Hindu Temples, studying the Tao Te Ching and the Gita, meeting with great men and sharing my life with the women in my life. All along the way I have questioned my Lord, challenged Him, Tempt Him all for no apparent excuse, I became a Munafik a shirik, I was totally lost into the vortex of this physical life. While spinning in this crazy vortex that I met you in San Francisco, "We were two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl...year after year..." It was in 1998 I will never forget the great quake that hit the Bay Area during while the World series was about to take off between the SanFrancisco Giants against the Oakland A's. I was then living on Mission Street at what used to be the Sear's Roebuck department store, latter converted into the Unemployement Office, I shared a studio with another Artist while working as a produce buyer for Del Tomasso.
Its not it was love at first sight between us we both knew it at least I can still remember our life together spent at 191, Haight Street, in down town San Francisco.
Remember the Zen Center at 300, page street and David Carlson and Blanch! Remember Harold and Noreen and Elyeze and doctor Samuel Kawamoto(sam). Remember all those accupuncture sessions and me becoming the willing pin cusion to be practiced on? You were teaching ESL at the UCBerkley Extension on Market Street. You were well oved by all your foreign students, you were their favorite. I hold great pride in your dedication to teaching. The Malay students at KUSZA in Kuala Terengganu used to tease you as looking Angelic when you walk down the hallway in your colorful baju kurung and tudung. You have worked very hard and with dedication most of the life that I have known you. Youy deserve better than to simply vegitate away at the prime of your life and i am helpless to do a damn thing about it. I have played myself into the hands of fate, I have tempted fate a bit too far, but it is not over till the fat lady sings and I am not about to quit just yet, I just have to readjust a few strategies and rebound soon enough and all through I have found my true energy and devotion to the One, the Al'Mighty most Merciful and Compassionate, I found Allah again.