Friday, February 24, 2006

Back to work at Jerejak.

Well after talking to a couple of friends over the matter I decided to swallow my pride and face my boss at work this morning. Hi boss I said to him he jerked back, I am not your boss remember you said to shove your job up my ass? What do you want now? Well I said I came to apologize its just that things got out of hand for both of us and being intelligent adults that we are we can come to see it as such that it was all in the heat of the moment and nothing was meant what was said. I explained to him of why I was angered and that sometimes I do have a problem of managing my anger especially when I felt being unjustifiably accused.
Anyway we cleared the air and buried any animosity left between us with an understanding that he is the boss and I am an employee and no matter which way i roll I am bound to get hurt. I got my job back and possibly a paycheck at the end of the month which would sure as hell come in handy. Another lesson learned in humility and knowing when to attack and when to retreat.I learned a bit about my boss and his ways of dealing with people for he too has lived in the US for some ten years of his adult life and he has accepted to deal with his work the American way whatever that is. In this case he admits that he would chew someone out but will not hold on to long term grudges. It is something Malays will have a hard time swallowing as they are sensitive by nature. Malays tends to hold every character attacks personal and they do not forget easily. I can see where he is bound to come up with one too many unhappy employees if he keeps up with his strategic approach to this American style of management. To the American and to a greater degrees the Japanese work is work and what transpires at work stays at work and after work the boss and the employee can sit and drink together till they both hit the floor, nor hard feelings. But the Malay will carry his work problems home to share with his wife and in laws and close friends and whoever else that is willing to listen. Often the animosity bulids up between boss and employee till it explodes and usually at work.
For most of the Malays there is no relief valves to let off their steam like the Chinese or the Indians, the Americans or the Japanese, there is no drinking till their heads hit the pavemnt nor getting stoned till their nerves are numbed from the onslought of work pressure. They, being the good Muslims that most of them are has limited venues to scream their anger out and most would turn to the Koran or simply pray and accept things as Allah's Will, while anger is bottled up inside like a time bomb. The word 'Amuk' comes from the expression attributed toward the relieve of this bottled up anger. Most succumb to drugs and finally leading to the demolishing of their family lives and the final stage being self destruction.
The Malays too I foind cannot act collectively, it is difficult for them to band together and take on a problem at work, they are more more individualistic in approach and thus having such thing as a Union is beyond their scope of thinking. Problems faced by individuals at work are treated as such its and individual's problem eventhough the same problem is face by the rest of them. They would moan and groan about the issues and blame matters on this or that but they cna never sit down together and collectively make a decision to end the issue. There are those who would change their views and oppinions as soon as the boss pat them on their backsor give them a small raise. For these the issue is no more and issue, the issues are someone else's untill the whole problem comes back to haunt them.
The fact that my boss is trying to run his job in the American style will not work in the long run because he will only end up making alot enemies rather than gain loyal employees. He has to accept the fact that he is back in a whole different kind of work culture, an environment where a whole different paradigm of work ethics and approach is necessary and this includes to certain extent the spiritual side of the human coefficient or he might find himself with his wife or children walking around like a zombie for the Malays have ways about how to deal with hard headedness without the detection of the law. Sometimes their ways can make Voodooism looks like child's play.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What is happiness?

They say that happiness belongs to those who have ample wealth as with wealth every hope and wishes is being fulfilled.Being wealthy gaurantees that one is listened to and one's weaknesses is often overlooked or easily forgotten. Money justifies all even if it is the root of all evil. One the other hand poverty and destitution makes every genuine and sincere effort goes unrecognized or unappreciated, ones endeavors are often buried in failures, one's words carries no water. What is sometimes worse is that one tends to become a victim of exploitations by unscrupulous individuals with the power of having greater wealth.
But the measures of Happiness warrants deeper understanding and a thorough research as many would say that happiness is relative. I am a wealthy man although my pockets are empty but my wealth is in my living experiences, my years of travelling and the places and people whose lives I have touched one way or another. The many different cultures I have been a part of even if for a short period of time, learning things that no amount of reading or watching TV can teach. I am a wealthy man because I have seen, touched tasted and experienced wealth in all its glory throughout my life. Hence in this sense I am a rich man but when it comes to having real money or property, I never could qualify myself among the well to do. Why is this so? My mother never said much in terms of advice but one of the few things she said that had stuck with me were that when it comes to food and drinks never be stingy as when it comes to cloaths and other conveniences as money spent on food is money well spent and never a waste. She also told me that when it comes to handling money I have holes in my palms. I beleive it has to do with my being a spendtrift I cannot keep money, I spend faster than I make and I never thought of my future living always in the now. If I have money I like to see others have it too and those who dont or are in dire need I find it not hard at all to depart with whatever I have sometimes detrimental to my own financial state.
I am a believer is wealth is something one share not something one hoard for so called rainy days. Often the rainy days do not come at least not in the negative sense and even if it does one always will find help to see through these days because there are those who will be will to share their wealth just as you had shared yours. At least this is my believe and I had lived by this believe right or wrong. Perhaps the lesson I am learning right now the falacy that I had lived by, that giving and sharing is well and good for the birds, for man it is fuck you, I should be taking care of Number One and thats Me!
Wealth is also having good health which I cannot complain about too much. I have been seriously ill once or twice in my life, like a bout of Malaria when I was in my teenage years and then I suffered from a kind of accident that caused fluid to build up in my lungs in the early 1983 in Corte Madera, Marin County. California from which I thought I was going to die. Other than that I am normally healthy and am thankful for. Without health what is the use of having all the money in the world? Even as I am typing this words my friend's Indonesian maid interupted my to ask about Tumors! Does her mother in Indonesia need to have it removed and if she does it would cost her 4million Rupiah, equivalent of her eight month salary working as a maid. What can I tell this maid? That life is a bitch and then some? To have good health and well being is another form of wealth often more precious than having financial stability.
Sounds so far like an old folk remedy of life and how to deal with money, having and not having, rich and poor, sad and happiness, where is all this leading up to? Well this is what happens when you have time and no money on your hand.Then there are those whose happiness hangs in their sense of accomplishment, their achievements their success in whatever they undertake to achieve as their life's goal. Remember that guy Longfellow Deeds? Now there's a guy with lots of money and does not need any of it except that it was meant to be spread around. We can go on and on about happiness and being happy anh money or no money has to do with it or being the toughest man or smartest nerd has to do with it, but the fact still remains one seek happiness throguhout oine's life like it or not just like it is a quest set up by the AlMighty or the Buddhas or some Cosmic Joker out there, a quest that some of us are willing to kill or be killed to fulfill it. We have created all manners of ideas and phylosophies, spiritual as well as psychological 'isms'in order to justify ourselves and our purpose for wanting to procure what it is to be eternally happy.
Thus far we have had prophets and philosophers, rishis and roshis,scientists and artists trying to create for us what this sense of happiness is or what it entails.
Oh my God i am so sad, so depressed, so bored with life, what am I going to do with myself? HOW OFTEN DOES ONE HEAR THIS MOANING AND GROANING!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Goodbye Jerejak

Yep it happens at last, the last straw on Allah/s testing of Hu'S Siiner, I am out of work! What happened? Well got to work as early as usual and clocked in at 7.30 ( My actul time being 9-5) but I love to ride the early morning bus when it is not too ceowded and I love the half an hour walk to the water front in the wee early morning hours watching the sun rising across the horizon. Walked to the end of the jetty and did my meditation and morning stretching exercises alos had my stick with me to do a little BoJutsu. The 7.30 ferry camr and i took the ropes and anchored them.
Everything seemed normal at the Jetty as a few of the staff members sat waiting, smiled and waved at the girls as the men were deep within themselves still with hardly life written on their faces. Decided to water the lawn and latter went out along the roadside to pick up the garbage, ( None of these are my duties but I do it just to kill time and because I love to do it). Sometimes i am beginning to feel like a fool, no doubt about it doing things that are thankless and if nothing else can be seen a brown nosing, but that's me, dumb me, a man who never learns.
When I got back to the ticket counter there were a few people milling around waiting for the 8.30 ferry and a guy came up to me letting me know that three of them were going to the island and that they were from a pest controll company. Great I sadi you have to pay 10RM which is half the actual cost and he protested saying that one of the staff members had said that they were to be given comp[lementary tickets. Okn call the staff and confirm it he walked away telling me. So I sat with my security man beside me waiting. The Resort Manager came by and the guy went over and had a long discussion with the RM, I thought nothing of it and later they went to the ferry without paying and I assumed the RM had given them his OK.
As soon as the ferry terminal was cleared of the morning crowd the RM turned on me by first accusing me that I was being rude to someone, that he had been nice to me given me a raisde and why the hell am I being a pain in the butt towards him and others? I was stumped! I did not expect this early morning attack and asked who was I being rude to this time and he refused to answer me thinking that I knew what he was talking about. One thing led to another and as it is not wise to write too much about your work or your boss which might be incriminating against one I would say that it came to a no turn state for both of us, it was time to part company.
What this means is simply that I might not see even my salary for the past few weeks if he has his way about it, great just plain great. Now what am I going to do about my next month rent and not to mention the kids and their school and what do I tell them? Their Dad is a failure all along, cant keep a job. I am faced with a dilemma which is dragging me down soffocating me like a drowning man. This was never in the grand scheme of things, at least I never thought that it could get to this. Kneel and beg O ye and repent your sins for the Lord thy God is a Great Tester,
Oh well at least tomorrow I have no need to worry about waking up at five thirty in the morning anymore, and my children will remeber their Dad a whole lot better being a failiure than not being anything at all. Oh Yeah!! Life goes on.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What else is there to say...

It's my day off, whoop- dee- dooo!! Woke up as late as i could to avoid being hit by the blistering hot day and the drag of having to look for a place to eat and face my son when he gats back from school having nothing to offer him in terms of pocket money. I am living on borrowed financial status, broke to the bone and dont seem to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. What a way to live what a bloody life, it Is a Sin to be poor oh well it is a sinb to be broke. Cannot equate life with poverty as wealth is relative. One can be financially broke but rich in experiences or knowledge. But not have enough money to make ends meet sucks!
I have stooped to begging my son and a few close friends into sending me a hunbdred bugs just to pull me through this phase in time and yes it is a shame and it is low but it had to be done. When i meet my Maker if I do get to meet Him at least I cannot be blamed for not asking or in this case for not begging. He cannot lay it on my sense of pride anymore, as I have laid my pride on the table. Off course in the MUslim or Islamic tradition I have committed a blaspheme against my Maker as it is Shirik to ask or expect help from any other than the Lord thy God. To have complete faith in the AlMighty in every need one has to over come any hurdles in life, total submission to the Will of Allah is the way to go for a true beleaver. It s not easy, itsnot easty to practice patience, to stop the mind from anxiety attacks as to what lies in store for not having the means to stay afloat.
Oh Yeah!! Life goes on.... as the Buddha would have said its all Maya, Illusions! To pick the lotus without wetting your fingers is the trick. My solo exhibition is a few months from now and there is alot to do yet to give the best for the world to see the last of the Bahari Saga. Creativity at its best is what I had set out to accomplish in this life and that is what I will present, "The Art LIving to the fullest as an Artist" not as a craftsman but a true bonafide artist in the caliber of Paul Gaughan. To explore the world of life and cultures to experiment with life to challenge what it has to offer and to stick a finger at uthority if and when it need be. To bow humbled as a beggar and beg borrow or steal when it calls for without remorse. To give oneself wholehearted without a second thought to those who are in need to dare to love and abe loved to cheat and be cheated, to kill or be killed. To dare to be ashamed and humiliated if it is what it takes and to accept victory with grace and greatfulness. To be able to run a Hazardous Waste Facility and understand the Discourses of Sheikh Kadir Al Jilani or Ibn Arabi. To be able to live in Sandpoint Alaska. Sendai, Japan or River Road , Penang. To be married to two Americans and have a child living in the Swiss Alps. This is life, only few can tast and those who do are never ordinary men, this I will testify is the life of an Artist. The ellegant beggar as expounded by Alan Watts,the Zen Master. The mad monk at San Francisco Zen Center or the Yard Dog at H&H Ship Services on the SF water Front, the Ferry Ticket Seller in Penang or the Halibut Fisherman (Fisher of Man), in the Berring Sea or the Meat Cutter at Green Bay's Meats and Colds Storage, wherever my life had taken me I had tried my damndest to live and deliver a standard of high performance just that of an Artist, for I am an Artist all round and not just a Fine Arts Student. I am an Artist of life itself. I paint my own life, I give it beauty and I tore it to pieces, I am the Maestro!

Monday, February 13, 2006

What is Global Ethic?

The Penang Global Ethic Project Lasting from 4th. Feb. til 10 March is a joint project including the USM and other various community groups in Penang with the purpose of heightening the Religious and cultural awareness of the various religions of the world. I visited the exhibition today at the USM ABN-AMBRO gallery center. The show is impressive in the way it has been displayed especially for the younger generation those who need to get acquainted with the more spiritual aspects of their lives. Religious knowledge is becoming more and more a critical issue in this modern day and age whereby the world is spinning towards a tug o war between what is peace and chaos what is human and what is being a beast, good and evil is coming into confrontation manisfesting in physical forms where the value of life as we know it has become negotiable on the arms market. God and the Devil is at each other's throat and it wont be long before it becomes an all out war of the opposites, of good and evil, light and darkness and we are but mere pawns in the hands of puppeteers making decisions to our fate.
This they say is the age of Knowledge, he who has the command of knowledge rules, the CIA, the FBI, the MI-6 and KGB and Mossad and whaever else fancy fearful names that they go by these days are the sum total of our human knowledge put to use in order to keep us free from oppression and afford us peace. Backed by the finance of their various governments these so called intelligence agencies are the bullies needed by our manifested intelligent colletive minds to protect us from our neighbors. Then there are the so called Terrorists, people who are bent on self and mutual destruction of others to proof their case and acting often enought in the name of their Gods, God have mercy on their souls! The battle royal is set to spin off between the West and the Muslim Nations and it is a matter of time. Arm sales are high on the priority lists of governments East and West Muslim and Non Muslim Nations and Satan is wagging its tail and licking its tougne as it watches the turmoi that the so called Sons of Adam reaches for eachother's throats at every drop of a dime. A carricature of the Prophet is causing an uproar all over the MUslim World louder than Salman Rushdie could ever imagine, if Ayatollah Khomini were alive today what would he had done? Thank God Sadam is out of the picture, what can the Danish Newspaper be thinking, one wonders, what does the editor hope to gain or who is he or sahe trying to impress by doing the most obvious short of lighting the fuse for an Armageddon? Then there is a Moron even here in Malaysia somewhere in Sarawak a newspaper editor who has to become a monkey see and monkey do printing the same images in the SarawakNews Paper causing a stir here too.What are people hoping for to happen? That the Muslims would be cured of the love and respect for their Prophet and bend towrds the so called liberated minds of the the so called free western thinking? Or is Life too boring for some that poking at the hornet's nest is the best they could think of,why cant they just take up musterbation and get off from the need to releive themselves of boredom. Leave the rest of humanity to live life day to day, we do not need your thoughts or your dark sarcasm, tell em to your wives and children, keep in in the family if you need to, see if they approve.
The Buddha Said the life is suffering and suffering is due to ignorance. God help us because in these days and age of knowledge we as humans have become worse than animals in our ways and we are heading dead on our own self destruction all because we have become overly arrogant in thinking that we do not need the religions of the world, we donoit need to heed the whispers of the ancients ones, we do not need to read with understanding the sacred texts left for us to guide us through these dark days. As a wise man once pointed out, we have bacome too lazy mentally to study the spiritual nature of our Being and we have lost our sense of awe at the unknown or what lies beyond Death. Thus life has become cheap for us today as we become more and more insensitive towards the cries of our souls, the light that is fading dimmmer and dimmer within us which eventually would leave us in total darkness of ignorance. May Allah forgive us all for tby then it is too late to cry foul or to bemoan our lot we the so called sons of Adam, the callipha or visgerent of this planet of our for we have shit enough onto the very plate that we are eating of that we cannot tell the difference anymore between what is Right and What is Wrong.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

To Terengganu and back

Arrived this morning from Kuala Trengganu after a chilling bus ride at least phhysically that is, the bus driver must have thought that he was bussing a load from Chicago. Everyone on the bus was crawled up onto the seats bured into the cushions or wrpped in two or three layers of cloathings. My cousin QAhmad Kalam picked me up from the Sungai Nibong bus terminal together with the Ary materials that i had gone to fetch from KTr. I got my roll of canvas and left over tubes of paints. Also found my stack of cheeburger buddha cartoons done over the years and brought them along.
In KTr. things has not stirred much from where or when they were left the last time I was there and my friends are still dealing with the same problems that they had been dealing with since i last talked to them. I spent a nught at Awi's Yellow House on the river in Pulau Duyong and it breought back memories of days gone by. Awi was till his old self selling and buying boats that are not exactly his just as he would buy and sell names, like name a guy and chances are Awi have met him or had some form of dealiongs with him before. Mr.Yes or Anthony is drunk as he has always been running around the place in his underwaer and raving about how dare his mother died on him at such a young age of seventy eight, Life's Bitch he kept telling me and then you die! Have I heard that saying before? That was his mother's saying and I kept playing along with his ravings as I neede a place to sleep the night.
Over the past few years that I have spent my time at the Yellow House I have met all kinds of travellers, some very intresting and knowlegeable while others were simply looking for a cheap and quaint place to stay. Most of the guests to the Yellow House were Europeans and some from Australi, there were a few regular Japamese travellers too who frequent the chalets. Most were seasoned travellers and they have been there before and some have stayed for weeks or months at times, its like a retreat for the international gypsies and universal hobos. Most camr here for the rustic setting and the cheap and laid back life that they can enjoy after their globtrotting or their hectic stint in the big cities and Awi's reputation as an accomodating and discreet host, respected or more or less feared by the locls who steers clear of the yellow House thus giving the residents the feeling a safe and comfort tot be there.
I drove to Batu Enam to visit my friend Azhar the Mechanic and learned that he had lost his boy Mizi to an unknown illness. His mechanic shop sits inside the Kampung away from the main raod and ot was surrounded by broken down vehicles looking like a graveyard of steel and oil. The same guys were crawled underneath the cars with the same greasy pants and elbow grease and Azhar was busy running from spare part to another picking and choosing from among the piles of jig saw puzzles pices of parts that he can use to fix his four wheeled patients with. He is a master creftsman no doubt, a man who knows the ailments of his engines just from listening to their sound or the smell of the exhaust fumes,
I met Azhar through my friend Fadzli, the computer negineer whom I had been working with to set up mu wb site since 2002 and has till now has not accomplished the task for one reason or another. The present web site that is has been set up by my friend David Carlso in LA is a continuation of Fadzli;s efforts which some how never got to completion. I have never really confronted him on the why and why nots simply because i feel that it is up to him to come to realization over the fact of the matter. I always kept telling him that my policy has always been that we should try to carry a project to as far as we could and see what then and thus where we are at now is how far Fadzli and i could accomplish despite all excusses. An un completed task is as good as a task not began and any who fails to see this lives an incomplete life present writer included. I sat with fadzli at his office loading images on to the discs for the web page that David had created with the hope that David can work with them. Well see how far it will take us this time and what each and everyone of us has in mind with regard to this ongoing unfinished project of ours.Who knows one day it will all come together and the pieces will fall into place and i would have decent website whereby I can share my works with the future generatios. A website created by two of my friends from East and West both computer whizzs. In the meantime I have to find myself a place to set up my painting studio so that I can start burning up the midnight oil creating for my upcoming show.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

KungXi Fa Chai!

The Chinese New came and went and as with every national celebrations and public holidays I was working selling ferry tickets to happy people on their happy vacations. Vacations they have earned after working all the year round to save up the time and money to have some good time with friends and family away from home. Sadly enough in Malaysia a good number never made it to their destinations or home as they end up as road accident victims. Malaysian looses their lives on the roads more and more each year so much so that we do not need a war to keep our population from exploding. However for those who made it to the ferry terminal i kept reminding myself that I am there to make their visit to the resort a welcome experience worth their time and money at least I try to make them feel welcome. I am the Gate Keeper to the Resort, I told my bosas one day as the guests who walks throught eh terminal meets and greets me and I them first, whatever their impressions of the place after that depends on their first impression of how they were met at the gate. This is my job, this is the job of anyone who holds simmilar position as I do at any Hospitality facility. If you ever get a chance to stay at a four or five star Japanese Hotel you will get a good taste of what being welcome is all about.

In the past few days of the Chinese New Year holidays we made good selling the resort, it was the most I have ever collected and the boss seemed a little happier.I hope this will keep up into the future. As for my children well the girl has decided to test my stand on how much perimeters I would allow her now that she is growing into a teenager. In short she is rebelling and getting supports from her cousins who are a year or two older than her. I see trying times ahead with her and that is to be expected after all she is a Bahari. My son is doing better at being himself the TV addict and the kid who has not found what he is looking for. So far they are doing good as they are not into drugs or any form of negative activities that parents dread these days.

I have decided to take a few days off next week starting Monday and head for Terengganu to see my brothers and sisters and friends over there. Catch up with what has been going on and share a few details as to my plans here. perhaps if i can borrow a few dollars here and there to get my art show preparation going. I also want to get back whatever i have elft of my art materials so that i can start on a few apintings to supplement for the show a I found that I am missing quite a few of my works here, either misplaced or stolen. I look forward to taking a break from this island and the life here, even from my children. Got to sit by the ocean at Tok Jembal where we used to live and where I spent alot of time staring out at the horizon wondering what might be. I have come a long way from driving a fancy car and having a bungalo for a residence and eating out every night, today I am living on practically borrowed money. But such is, such is. Lets see waht tomorrow brings.

Got an email from an old friend in Japan, what a pleasent surprise! Emi Yanagisawa, what a lovely lady! And found another friend that I used to hang out with at the Rossi Park in San Francisco where I used to babysit my children when my wife was teaching at UC Berkley Extension on Market Street. Well it is good to know that there are those who care to slow down and look into what is going on in the life and times of the Cheeseburger Buddha.