Saturday, December 29, 2007

"The Intention Experiment" by Lynne McTaggart

I was introduced to the book by my friend and Muzium/Gallery Director Encik Hasnul J. Saidon who beleicved that it is my cup of tea and so far having read the first two chapters of the book I am hooked! I must confess however that having thus far read the book I have yet to be able to fully, concretely grasp the scientific remifications of this study as I am an artist, not a scientist. Sadly enought maths and science are still subjects that hides behind a veil for my mind too illusive to penetrate but having read saveral books in the past such as those by Stephen Hawkins and Fritjof Capra and the likes of Garry Zukav and Deepak Chopra I am not totally in the dark when it comes to these subjects like quantum physics and the 'relativity theories' of Einstien's. My knowledge of science thus far would hardly make me a rocket engineer but suffice to say that i have enough knowledge to compare and contrast simple premises such as the workings of shamanistic and faith healings and the scientific discoveries that would tend to verify and scientifically authenticate these 'unscietific practices'.
Albeit the discovery of the possibilty of the powers of the mind to control the outcome or the state of matter at its minutest or the interrelatedness of all from the individual to the galaxies as a flux, the book is another step toward the scientific west attempt to authenticate what the eastern minds has taken for granted thousands of years ago. The Hindu vedas have hinted at these possibilites through their analogis and allegorical teachings that most devout minds had be able to accept and put to test but there was not scientifically proven and authenticated experiments carried out at least not for the records to prove these practices were feasible and in line with the discoveries made by modern science.
Islam holds the belive that with all of us is the spark or essence of the Devine light, (Tzat..Allah), that with which man is connected to his Creator (AST). In the Hindu lores the first man or MANU (hence the word Manusia meaning man in Malay and man as in English), was a manifested devine spark that fell from heaven into the Himalayan mountains and upon impact sent miriads of sparks all over the planet and this was how mankind came into being.

" Gary Schwartz had witnessed the coherent photon stream emanating from from the hands of healers. After studying the works of scientists like Popp and Hameroff, he finally had his answers about the source of healing; if thoughts are generated as frequencies, healing intention is well ordered light."
The Intention Experiment, Lynne McTaggart.

The Buddhist Monk Thich Naht Hahn (one of my teachers at SF Zen Center) at ont time talked about the 'Interdependance of Coorigination', as he called it the fact that according to Buddhism the Universe is one complete whole whereby there is an ubroken interrelatedness of all the exist from the Galaxies to the tiniest of amoebas in the form of a dust particle stuck in the toenail of the Buddha. When the dust is removed from its positon the whole universe is symbiotically affected in one way or another, felt or unfelt seen or unseen. Hence the dropping of an atom bomb has needless to say an impact that is umimaginable throughout the Universe and its ripples is perhaps still rolling into oblivion till it settles. The impact was not only physical, it was psychological as well as spiritual in nature that our species has suffered from some reaping positive understanding while others found negative means to exploit human weaknesses through force/fear. No matter how we view the outcome of such cataclysmic event in our history it is a fact that collectively we are affected just as the whole of the Universe is affected. The adverse effects of the climate changes that is becoming alarmingly prevailent is not pure because of the fact that man has been burining too much carbon fuel alone or polluting the rives and oceans but it also is historically connected to bygone acts of stimulating the whole by indiscrimate acts such as nucklear testings and genetical manipulations of nature. Man has often assumed that his existance is independant and superior from the rest of nature and the universe as a whole and thus his actions reflects his inherent arrogance being the only thinking creature that walks the planet. Every once in a while a thought or phenomena,(not unlike a Zen knock on the head), gives rise to doubts about this perception of man in himself and when this happens he jumps at every opportunity to prove himself right or others wrong and in the scientifc realm this is an accepted norm no matter how insignificant the discovery may be, like that made by Cleve Backster of the sensitivity of plants towrds positive and negative stimuli and the ability for the plant kingdom to communicate with our human conciousness.

"Years after he made the discovery...he would think of this moment as one in which his plants picked up a major disturbance in the Force, he had discovered of measuring it.If plants could register the death of an organism three doors away, it must mean that all life forms were exquisitely in tune with each other.Living things must be regitring and passing telepathic imformation back and forth at every moment, particularly in times of threat or death". (In this casethe plant was registering the death of a group of brineshrimp being boiled two doors away).
The Intention Experiment. L. McTaggart.

Dedicated scientists and laypersons such Cleave Backster and Popp who spent a good amount of their time and life experimenting into the mysteries of nature and the simple act of communication has allowed modern man toespecially those in the west to be more open minded with the ways of the shamans and bush doctors, the native hunters and the fishermen whose life is often influenced by superstitions and so called mumbo jumbo by the western thinkers. It is only valid when it is egraved in the stones in black and white, tested and verified and certified before it is legititmate otherwise all thoughts and ideas beliefs and faiths will remain as such.
Despite the prejudices that inevitably has become the norm where knowledge and practices are concern in our civilization the western domination over scientific discoveries cannot overshadow the fact that in the east communing with nature has been a fact of life, that a man has the instinct to know where or what to or not do when it comes to nature is an accepted symbiotic knowledge handed down from his forefathers if notheing else but for his own survival. It is becuase of the lack of faith and later support in the eastern mode of healing and dealing with nature by the west that has inffected the estern minds with the slow but steady loss of their abilities to commune with nature and the rest of the universe which their ancestors had handed down to them. Hence the disregard for the well being of forest and rivers and the financial exploitation of our resources by every means possible regardless of the detrimental effects it creates. Ironically it is from the west that any form of healing towards these malaise would come in the form of knowledge- scientific discoveries and financial assistances as the enticements. It is the old cavalry charge to save the settlers from the impending massacre by the Indians, the west will always act with a certain taint of colonial mentality, the Aryan type superiority complex over the Easterners. The day est and west can come together in a symbiotic merge without pride and prejudice, fears or favors, that would be the day when Global healing can proceed through collective thought processes and hidden latent powers that the ancient ones had been trying to relay to our generation through all the religions and cultural and physiacal practices.
As noble a challenge as it may sound that is to be able to unite the entire human collective conciousness into a healing force in the effort to heal our ailling planet it is yet to be be seen if and when the minds of both eastern and western scientits and thinkers, statesment and religious gurus, shamans and plastic surgeons can at the end of the day come together and unite their thoughts and conciousness and create a Force in the Universe not like any ever encountered before... it might help us save the planet in not the Universe itself.

"You think youself insignificant and small, whereas within you is a Universe far greater than your mind can comprehend."
Saidina Ali (RA).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Yes even christmas came and went and I hardly felt any jubilation or anything special on this day that in the past used to be a part of my life where i would look forward to going home and finding my family waiting by the Christmas three and eyballing what was underneath. Nope not this time and far from it my children and i spent our day with me working at my cousin's catering business stirring the pots while my kids kept themselves glued to the TV. No one mentioned Christmas as it I felt would only usher in memories of my wife and how she loved Christmas times. Furthermore i had only four ringgit in my pocket which i left for my children to split between themselves for the day's meal. I latter arrived home to find that they had bought a can of tuna spread and a loaf of bread to go wirth which i gratefully shared with them. Yes life's a bitch and then you have to be thankful for being alive! Yessir! God don't like your complains much less listen to you moan and groan about life all through your god given span of allotted time on this planet! Well tell it to thiose who owe me three thousand Ringgit and decided that it is okey for them to delay the payment so long as i do not make any fuss about it!
Suffering without bitterness a friend once told me and this is a tough act to follow even for the best of us and Allah is the 'Tester' and test us He will to the max untill there is no more room for us to back but the corner where we will have to stand and face the ultimate test or perish there in. There are those the so called luckier ones who breezes through life without too much terpidations or even a minor jolt when it comes to destitution and poverty or social and psychological pressures and often enough they have even paid their dues for a ticket to heaven in the afterlife by their piety and chritable acts in this life. Then there are those who are always at logger heads with their own Maker so much so that as they aged and die their lot never seem to improve but gwets worse as time wore on by. They become more and more dejected and succumb to defeatism and despair. They give up their ability to rebound and take charge of their lives as they once used to blaming it on ageing and fate, I am becoming such a one and how I pray that before i die I will snap myself out of this quagmire and salvage my pride and dignity as a man worthy of calling himself the wholesome person created in the image of the Creator.
My most memorable Christmasses were the ones that I had celebrated in the US especially those I had spent in Green Bay, Wisconsin when I was till married to my first wife and spent the Christmas days with my mother in law and my son present. There was always piles of snow and sliding down the hill or riding slegh rides with son was part of the Christmas package. Later in the evening as almost everyone gathered in the tavern for a get together on Christmas Eve it was like in a whole different world where love and joy and genuine handshakes was for real and everyone was into making eachother happy even if it was for a day or two of their lives. Christmas gifts as commericalized as it seems to be makes everyone felt special to give and receive reagrdless of how small or how great they recieved. It was still an act of giving and receiving and it touched my heart everytime i sat and watched others opening their gifts amidst the warmth of the fireplace and chill outdoors. No matter what is said about Christmas or for whatever reasons it is being celebrated, this once a year celebration has my warmest feelings towards it and all the memories i had connected to it will always outweigh the traversities I am facing today. In shaa'Allah, there will be days like those in my life yet before i give up my holy ghost.
What and when was my my most memorable Christmas?
It was in 1990 and my wife had left for Illinois to spend Christmas with ther parents. I had to work Chrisatmas eve because there was an emergemcy at H&H Ship Services that had to be rectified or we would be facing a loss of a vacuum truck. The problem was that the driver, Norman Peterson had sucked intot he vacuum truck waht was wet cement and which was quickly solidifying insde the tank. had we let it sit we would have a solid piece of concrete inside the vaccuum truck. So we had to work emptying the content before it solidifies and it took us all evening obn Chrismas eve crawling wihtin the comfines of the vaccuum tank scrapping and shoveling sand concrete and water out of the tank.
Whe it was all over i was standing in the middle of market street waiting for the bus to take me home to Haight Street and i had bought some chicken and other stuff to cook myself a Christmas dinner in the form of a chicken curry. As i stood there in the middle of the street where there was an island for the bus to pull alonside I noticed a man half laying on the concrete slab struggling for his breath. He looked like he was having a seizure and no one was paying any attention to him as he laid there his body jerking and I felt sorry for him. I felt after a few seconds that I was in a vacuum where there was no sound whatsoever and i was looking at a silent movies with everyone else moving in slow motion, some walking pass by the man struggling on the slab with barely a change their paces. I walked over to him and dropping my packages began to stroke his chest slowly as I felt his chest was about to explode from his struggle to breath. His hand was clenched in a tight fist and his mouth was foaming with blood dripping along with his saliva. I stroked his chest and whispered into his ears to breath slowly and to stop struggling and as i did this he began to come to, his breathing seemed to slow down and his body started to drop on to the slab. As he began to gain control of himself I notice all the details in his features from the tight frightened painful look his facial line for line began to relax, the panic expression replaced by a calm dignified appearence.His fingers began to uncurl and he was letting go settlin into more gentle rythmic breathing. I kept massaging his chest and along came a police officer who asked me to stay with the man for a little longer untill they got help for him. As soon as I heard the abulance arriving I lifted my hands from the man's chest and as I felt the final contact between the tip of my fingers and his chest I felt his heart beating and it sent chills through me. I grabbed my stuff and head for the bus that was also about to stop at the Folsom and Market Street bus stand.
Sitting on the bus i felt the vacuum around me again but this time I felt strangely relieved of my aches and pains from work and my having to face the ordeal of bringing a man back from the edge. I felt very peaceful inside and outside and when I arrived home there was a kid sitting oin one of the houses with a bag pack beside him. He looked like he too was going to spend the Christmas by himself and so I offered him to join me but he turned me down politely and accepted the wine I had bought for myself when I offered it to him to keep himself warm for the night. I found out he was from Phoenix, Arizona and had just arrived that evening.
Although i had to spend the vening all to myself i was fully contented and the Christmas I celebrated that evening was the most joyful one i ever had after I had finished my plateful of chicken curry and topped with all kinds of spicy stuff i could pick from the grocery store in China Town, downtown San Francisco. That Christmas eve I came to understand how great life is and how fragile we are.
Even if life is a bitch sometimes, there is nothing that is not worth living for if your heart is ever thankful for what you already have.
In Islam we are taught to be thankful always no matter how worse off we are as we know deep within us that there are those worse off than we are. We can bitch and moan about the way life has been treating us the injustices and the insanities but we are humans for so long as we are breathing our life will be like a roller coaster or the wheel of life there days when you are down and days when you are up. When you are down look forward to getting up and when you are up look forward to coming down. This is riding the waves or going with the flow even if as the Buddha has pointed out that life is suffering my good friend Peter Oyimbo reminded me that it is suffering without bitterness!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Aidil Adha (Hari Raya Haji)

It came and went yesterday and i hardly noticed it if not for the early morning prayer at the mosque which I followed while half asleep in my bed feeling rotten about myself and how worse off i have become especially in my spiritual being. The Aidil Adha is celebrated primarily by those who have gone on the pilgrimage to the Holy Land and it involves the sacrificing of an animal by those who pledge such sacrifice towards the ALMIghty, Allah (SWT). It has to do with the covenant made between Allah (SWT) and his Prophet,Abraham in the effort to test the later's faith towards his Maker. Allah in this case had demanded that Abrham as test of his faith was to sacrifice his only son to Allah and this Abraham willingly carried out despite all his human emotions and attachments towards his only son, Ismail. Only Allah (SWT) in His infinite compassion at the very nick of time substituted Ismail with a sheep thus sparing the life of the boy. Henceforth, the Muslims had accepted the incident as a reminder in their history of their covenant with Allah through their beloved Prophet Abraham. For more detail and correct information on the subject I advise you to read it from amore authentic source and dont take my story to be exact.
I decided to join the festivity despite my feelings and headed on to the mosque where I learned that they were getting ready to slaughter three cattles in the nearby yard. I had always wanted to do some sketches of these scenes in the past and never got the chance simply because chances were that I would be handling the knife myself lending my expertise as a meat cutter of years gone by. I worked as a 'boner' for almost three and half years in Green Bay, Wisconsin when I first arrived in the US sometime in 1974 onwards. I worked in a packing house where we were packing cold storage meats for the making of hamburgers. If I had learned anything from this experience it was that to keep your knives sharp at all times!! A sharp knife makes a difference between making good tallies or going home with sore arms especially at the wrists. In the effort of keeping the knives sharp four things have to be mastered and that is the use of the grinder initially in order to put and edge on the blade, then the used of the sandstone or honing stone to make the edge last,the third and fourth care of the knife involves the expert use of the 'steel' and the 'ceramic' which helps to keep a sharp edge on the knife for a longer period of time. The mastering of these techniques makes one a master boner. The packing house I worked for at the time used to process about 900 to 1000 heads of cattle a day. The cold condition and the wet floors, the fierce compettition and the nature of the works itself can eventually turn one into a cattle. It was a dehumanizing work but ti was created me as a man who survived the worse that America had to offer for the next twenty years.
So watching my fellow kampong friends slaughtering the cattles did not have much of an impact on me as far as blood and guts goes. I took it all as another visual set of images that is in its raw form both aesthetically and emotionally invigorating. I enjoy the sense of being a part of an age old practice as primeaval as mankind himself except for the use of the chainsaw. The crowd gathered for the occaission were just as pleasing to observe and enjoy and the day went by with somethigbn positive manifesting instead of just another product of a manic depression or even despair for me who lately these days have been waking upon the wrong side of the bed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why do I Keep This Justifying Myself?

I am fully aware of the fact that I have been complaining,trying to justify, trying to make sense out of what is the mundane in my life and from any philosophycal or psycological perspective most people would agree that this is not a healthy or productive practice. "No one like to read about your complains or your need to explain your life away." I have been told by one or two close friends and i agree with their views on this matter. Life is too short for one to spend so much of it analyzing and scrutinizing it till there is no more room for one to make any mistakes from it when all is researched and verified. It is not my intention to do this from the start but it seems to have developed along the way as I keep this on going journal, I find that writing about my day to day experience has some form of benifit for me. I am by nature a ver y careless individual and I have always been careless about what my life is all about least of all in trying to explain myself of how or wherefore i am at. I like to believe that i live in the moment like most great philosophers or intellects profess htemselves to be doing but who am i kidding?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

KFC Time!!

Saturday! I feel like a fool as I often do whenever I get kicked in my butt and it is always time to reflect upon the small miracles that my Maker awards me with in the nick of time. I got my one thousand ninehudred from my friend Shaparel who got paid for the works purchased by the USM Gallery. The monay was handed me yesterday not half an hour after I had moaned and groaned about how life sucks on the blog. When he handed me the cash for the purchase of my works I felt goosebumps all over relfecting on fast the Al MIghty decideds to teach me yet another lesson on perseverence and of being patient. I have always maitained a love hate relationship with Allah (SWT) throughout my life but I have the feeling that my Creator has more in store for me than meets the eye;He is not going to make it easy for me, nope, not in this life. He tests me every step of the way to see if I would make it or break, if I can remain steadfast or buckle down under a little bit of pressure, if I am greatful or forgetful whenever I am given the bounty that I had received.
Today I spent one hundred and fifty Ringgit worth of KFC for the staff at the Muzium as a token of my appreciation for their help and support of my being in their midst utilizing the facility and all the tools and equipments available at my dispossal. I am very fortunate more than most and realize it and appreciate it no doubt in my mind as in my situation as an artist who for the first time am trying to remain a full time artist earning my daily bread through my works as an artist to support myself and my two children. The rent has be paid in full and my son got his school uniform and his walkman which was waht I had owed him from using his money earlier. I have paid back the ferw ringgit here and there that I had owed people and I feel alot lighter in mind and spirit and on Monday I hope to drive to the immigration office and collect my children's visas and pay the 240RM fee.Oh what a relief it is at least for the moment.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Son is drifting...

What has he done for his school vacation not too much anything but alot of watching DVDs at home all by himself like he is hoping for something to happen to his mind after all is watched and rewatched for the umteenth times. I am both sad and disturbed by the fact that he has become worse that a couch potato, as we do not have any couches and he watches the movies from the bed instead. I watched alot of times when I am home and we talked some about what we watched I try to slip in a lesson or two in English or geography or sometimes the psychology behind the scene and so on whenever he is paying attention or he ask something. Thers is the pros and cons to this situation as he spends alot of time off the streets and seems to be looking for something is all these. But of the other hand he is not out there like other kids his age chasing girls or building his biceps.
I am a little disturb about my son's lack of enthusiasm in living in the real world and tasting success and defeat hands on. I know he is not unintelligent and as a matter of fact I think he is pretty way out there in his mind except when it comes to doing the simple things in life like picking up after himself. it is a common phenomena for all kids to behave in like manner but some kids are just total loss when it comes to taking care of the little tings in life. Its like they believe there is someone else out there who is assigned to follow behind them and pick up the pieces after them, like their mother or a servant. I cannot blame my son for lack of passion about life as I am not either and this he sees and he hears from me day in day out. He knows the fact that if it is not against my belief and principle and if it is not against the common laws I would have gladly ended my miserable existance right now. I am living for sake of fulfilling my alotted time and hoping for and end as soon as possible. I learned a long time ago that I am a coward when it comes to suicide and so I have become an expert at justifying knowing that I am not convincing anyone not even myself. So it is with my son, I feel sorry for him and the more I watch his condition the more I feel the regret of making the move to return to this country.
It is Friday today and i spent the afternoon at the muzium working on what might turn into my longest painting, a scroll of that will be filled with heritage buildings around Georgetown in black and white. I don't even know why I bother to waste so much time and money over this project but I feel it is keeping my mind from tilting towards insanity if not despair with life and God. It is also perhaps because I was offered the scroll as a challenge to carry out the project by the Dean Professor Najib. I should have gone to pray at the mosque but my heart is bleeding too much for me to concentrate on God and begging Him again to forgive me for my ever incessant weaknesses. I miss my family,my wife, my daughter and even my son who is drifting away from me into his own world of make believe, a safe heaven from the madness that i have dragged him and his sister into after loosing my wife to her illness. Who do i turn to or what do I turn to when even God is not a comfort anymore? I spend my time making pictures and my heart is not into it. It seems Fridays always brings me down, spiritually it is the nadir of my life for the week and as a Muslim it is an irony to be at odds with your Maker on this day or days.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Climate Change continued...

"The bottom line is that the Global energy system is out of alignment with the ecological system that sustains our planet....Realignment will take fundamental shift in regulation, market incentives and international cooperation". So stated Kevin Watkins of the UNited nations intergoverment Panel on climate change. There is an inbalance in the Force! as Yoda the Jedi Master would have muttered to himself with a sad shrug of his shoulders signifying the futility of dwelling upon the inevitable. If it is up to humans this planet would be turned into one huge condominium complete with swimming pools and gymnaziums, a market place and shopping malls, parking lots and garages,(we are addicted to motorised vehicles), if it is up to us humans we would turn this planet into
one huge nursing home for the elderly and whatever else that we deem would serve our purpose in our short span of life on this planet. Balance? What is the need for balance if all our needs are met with and not only are they met with they are met with in style and comfort unparralled in our own history. We are a living organism that has come to realize our potential and that potential is inexhaustable or so we believe. So long as we are hardworking and productive we will keep on creating as we will and manage this planet till there is no more of it to manage.
Does an average man on the street realize the imbalances in the nature of things in this planet of our? Is he aware the the ocean is rising due to the melting of the polar caps and so on? Off course he is and he does care or that is what we who write and read about these things would want to believe but in reality the man who repairs the engines of broken down cars and motor cycles has these thoughts as far from his mijd as the thought of a meteor coming crushing down on his head one bright sunny day. Talk to these individuals sit and shoot the breeze, have a teh tarik and browse upon these subjects and see if there is any concern for them over the matters that you believe is of life and death importance for this planet of ours. It is best to talk of the latest model of cars coming off the lines or the latest sex scandal or the political climate of the kampung and you will find better response, not of climate changes. The most that you can learn from these members of our human race is the fact that it is raining more than usuall at the wrong sides of the mountain ranges for this time of year and that is not good for the Durian trees or for the rice growers.
Those participants who are presently sitting at the conference tables in Bali deliberating the state of the Planet due to Global Warming and Climate Changes have the work cut out for them. Nature is going AWOL, Nature is no more respecting her predestined courses nor is she sticking to her regular schedules. If anyone of those who are there in this Island Paradise is not aware or refuse to acknowledge the state of this planet's well being is in jeopardy they aught to be sent home in a box sooner than they can say Tsunami! Nothing really profound came out of the KYOTO Accord other than the ladaisical smooth talking and lips servicing that most governments gave over the years each dragging their feet towards taking any significant action towrds finding a solution to the predicament mankind as a whole is facing. How many more years and natural disasters, how many more species and land masses are lost before there will be a real collective effort globally to address this impending spectre that is threatening our very planet itself?
Is the planet heating up from within?
Is the Planet heating up from without?
Is man affecting this changes in the planet's climate?
Is there a need to be concern?
Is there a need for change in our mindset in these issues?

What do we leave our future generations and what are our excuses?
What is holding us back from seeing the obvious and acting collectively, intelligently?
What would it take for us to wake up before it is too late.
What is the sense of calling our era a civilized one if we are the cause of our own demise.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The UN Climate Change Summit-Bali

I was at the Kyoto COP-3 UN climate change summit and had not be able to participate because I was not a member of any NGO or any government bodies representing a nation, I was there as an individual artist who happened to have put together a year' worth of Newspaper cuttings frome the Japan Times of anything and everything that had to do with the environment. These were displayed outside the convention center where arriving guests to the convention were able to catch a glimpse of what was going on with the environmental issues at the time. The four pieces of display foam boards covered with the news paper cuttings were later borrowed by an NGO contingent from Washington DC in the USA and taken into the convention center where they were hung on display. I was proud to have done my part and for my effort to be taken further than I had expected by chance. The boards were later sent to me back in Sendai whaere I was living after the Convention was over with a beautiful thank you note.
I had most probably wrote about this episode somewhere earlier in my blog but I cannot help it whenever there is a UN Climate Convention happening I am reminded of my trip to Kyoto curtesy of The Director od the Kawaijuku Bunri in Sendai. Thats who sponsored my trip when I cpould not get the Malaysian Embassy or the Japan Times to do it. I found it hard time and again for an individual tomake any significant impact without some form of support from those who has the means and by humanistic rights should offer help for anyone aspiring to be of use to the benifit humanity for whatever cause. Artists are those who more than often fall into the category of needing help when it comes to this situations. They are most passionate about these issues that often does not attracts the average person on the street as there is no financial gains to be made for one thing and for most there is lack of awareness or even interest. But for the artist and i can speak for myself at least what happens to the environment, the state of the planet as a whole and to humanity in general affects me personally whether I like it or not. I dwell on issues that an average normal person would care less about throughout my life i remember dealing with global issues of one form or another in my mind like trying to find some form of solution to the problem with AIDs and the wars being fought all over the world, the famine and starvation plaguing poorer nations and the impact of global warming upon the planets' well being. I keep reminding myself, how dumb it can be for me to think that there is anything worthwhil that would come out of it except mega migraines at the end of the day. I keep reminding myself that I am no Bodhisatva of Compassion and even if i am the destiny of this planet and its inhabitants are foretold and has to be played out with or without my intervention.
The water will rise and the temperatures will rise and the species will one by one disappeare and there is not much that can be done for so long as there are humans like me plaguing the planet with my needs, my Greed, Hate and Dellussions. I am the thinking creature that is capable to create, preserve or destroy this planet and at the rate and direction my kind is heading it dont seem like there is much to hope for in terms of saving this planet from slipping into darkness. I wish as a collective concious there is some form of telepathic wavelength that we humans could stay in touch amidst all these scream of death and destruction, or thirst for power and lack of compassion. I wish we could all hear the voice of silence every once in awhile so that we could take a clearer look at where we are at at this point in time and what we are doing to ourselves and to this planet of ours, to our fellow creatures and the rest of sentient being inhabitting this small atom in the galaxy of galaxies.
How can we not feel responsible, how can we not feel the loss of extinction of species or the cries of desperation from those that we in our ignorance and lack of awareness have exploited and trample upon just so we can get our wants. We would dare to do whatever it takes to survive but when it comes to the survival of the rest of the creatures we turn a deaf ear and make believe that they dont exist or dont matter in our lives. We would kill in the name of our belief system, our race or religion but we cannot save a tree from being cut down or burnt to the ground just so we can grow crops that financially benifit us and us alone. We can never have enough or play second fiddle to anyone else in appearence or intellect, we are creatures that often forget that we are fragile and that our life can come to an abrupt end at any time and all that we have been craving for, killing for making others miserable for is all an illusion. There is not a dirt or an atom of what we are or who we are remains when it all comes to an end in ourselves. The planet itself may still keep on spinning despite all that is going on aimed at its self destruction but we as individuals matters no more when we let out our last breath of air. Our physical self is left to rot in the ground, food for the miriads of worms and maggots, this body the we so proudly fought and defended, cherished and cared for.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Blogging under scrutiny?

The Star Sunday 2 December-Focus article entitled 'Caught In a Web- Spin' is the latest take of prominant leaders on the pros and cons of Blogging. How it affects the polls or the individual characters who are the loudest in the country, the way the government is run or the fish is bought and sold legally or illegaly on the the high seas. Blogging had captured the attention of the who is who in the itellectual as well as the government bureaucracies just like the illegal processing of belacan in some off the road hidden boonies. Just as bad belacan affects all of us lovers of the fermented shrimp paste that is most popularly used in making The Sambal, blogging is becoming a threat to many who is feeling insecure from having to share their sense of well being and intelligence, their limit of understanding and compassion, their comfort and security living within ivory towers. The Blog is becoming like the Blob! It is becoming a boogieman that spells danger, that is beginning to be seen as somethig that can shake the foundations of higher learning around the globe as it is the result of collective universal thoughts that will eventually be expressed when all is said and done in the blog! The blog is within the Net or Jala!or Jaring! You need to pick up one strand of the net and the whole comes up at you with its force and weight, here you are dealing with the ultimate collective Mind! It may not be as apparent as it is now but in time all decisions made concerned with humanity and its self preservatiion will come via the blogging or better programes yet to be discovered by the collective unconcious. The Blog is only the beginning just as the Net itself was a beginning. Welcome to 'Cyber Space!'
There are and will always users and abusers just as it being the case of alcohol or drug users in the human realm, there will be morons and geniuses out to proof their points, let the world know their existance and how great or how small they actually are. But all in all the Universal Collective Spirit, the Collective Mind that rules the Net even at its subconxcious state is the ultimate Creator and Preserver of the sanctity of the Blog.
A comment by the MCA Kota Melaka MP, Nai Chee is and for sometime from now be the normal stance to be taken by those who feels the need to make comments or be heard on matters,
" The Government is still trying to live with the new development. We are still in the infancy stage but one of the guarantees of the Multimedia Super Corridor was not to curb the internet content except maybe using certain legislation to control the situation."
Here is the kind of oxymoron that we humans in our present state of mind still live by, it is the few attempting to silence a storm that the very few hard helped to generate in the past. The few whose thinking process is haunted by insecurities of their own positions and advantages in this day and age and cannot see beyond the sense of letting things grow into its own maturity and drop to the ground of its own without any form of control or force.'...maybe using certain legislation to control the situation', control what? Governments has done nothing but strived to control anything and everything that it cannot understand, refuse to understand or assumes that it understands in history often enough failling to realize that the very act of controlling itself is what fuels the growth of what is deemed needed to be controlled. Only the insecure and comfortably positioned individual would resort to such antiquated ideas AND THE NET IS NOT AN ANTIQUE, IT IS AN ALIVE AND EVOLVING ENTITY! If you are not par with the thoughts and ideas that is floating around in the blogs today you had better reserve making any judgment about how to control it. By reading and analyzing a few politically motivated entries by individuals whose narrowmindedness could only see the means to exploit and abuse any god given grace to their own benifit one has failed to understand the nature of the Blog.
Nai Chee went on to admit to this as he said,
"We can't control it, we just have to acclimate ourselves to it."
Acclimate ourselves to what is currently floating in the collective expression of the universal mind is more acceptable a statement from a minister than suggesting control. The need to control has its validity when it concerns the exploitation of net by unscrupulous degenerates such as those that ply their sexualy oriented wares making it sure that even children can excess them or those who has no sense of self respect voicing out obscenities so the world can hear their grievances, but these too has their rights in the scheme of life it is for those who makes the difference in making decisions that affects other lives to seive acclectically through what is acceptable and what is not. The politician is a genius when it come to politicking just as a fisherman is a genius when it comes to fishing and the two has to learn to respect eachother's roles in life without taking advantage of the empowerment of status or positions one has in life to dictate.

I have been writing these thoughts of mine for almost three years now and have almost become addicted to it. It seems to grow upon me and have become a part of my creative repertoire the collective expression of my thoughts and ideas about life as I see it. Having had the opportunity to live in the US for 21 years and 3 years in Japan and having travelled to twenty odd countries in between my mind is no ordinary mind that simply likes to sit a weather away with age into oblivion. My mind is in a constant state of aggitation and flux and when it sense that there is an injustice or a radically wrong stir in the heavens or a bad taste left in the mouth, it rings out to be heard, to manifest its own obeservations in the hope that it can calm itself down with some form of sanity or peace. MaKING SENSE OUT OF NONSENSE, most of the time I write to myself just to help clear my own cobwebs that is constantly accumulating in my head. A futile effort at cleaning up my own clossets, my own toilet, my own soul before I am called to account for what it was that I was created to do in the first place or who am I or what the hell am I?
So I blogged! I keep on rambling of things that I doubt if it matters anymore one way or another so long as my mind sees the need to express itself. And why Not! Just got done reading Alan Watts's article ,"The World as Emptiness", from his seminar given on the subject of Emptiness. It is ironic that after having read this whole article I come to realize that what i am doing is actually emptying my mind, letting go of whaever that is stuck in there or got attracted along the way like having read the Star news paper article on Blogging! It is not the most important thing in my life at this moment to view my thoughts on the subject but it is something to do. I would rather very much like to sit somewhere doing a sketch on my piece of scroll given to me by the Dean Encik Najib but I am procrastinating for no obvious reason and i hate to push myself to become involved in creating when my mind just could not get it together in the first place. Creating has to happen without any formn of compell or coercion, it just has to happen and for it to just have to happen there has to be an empty space in my mind or my being devoid of transgressions of feelings that is occupying my mind. In other words i have to find peace of mind a mind free from worries of what is beyond my control anyway. To do this I have to sit and let it go and all these while i have been sitting and letting it all go through writing all these that i have written. Now i feel a little empty and enlighten! if anyone had the nerve or taken the trouble to follow this piece of scatology he or she might have caught a little of the wisdom beyond wisdom of the whole principle of form and emptiness. I may have procrastinated about doing the sketching but i have sat and wrote a long piece of my distorted view of life, sat out of harm's way for the day and caused no grief or commotion to anyone but myself and watched another day passed getting me closer towards my self anihillation and becoming one with the void.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Immigration Department experience- revisited

I arrived early in the morning at the Penang Immigration Department Office building at Padang Kota Lama. Found a parking space and made sure there was enough coins dumped into the meter to cover at least two hours of waiting. Lined up for the information and service numbers only to be told that the processing of student visas is no more done at this office and is now done in Seberang Jaya, across the channel. So off I went not letting the aggravation gets the better of me as it had done in the past so many times before. Fortunately for me i made it to the ofiice without too much hassle of finding the location and parking too was not a heartache. For those who has no experience of living in a scorching hot country like Malaysia all these little trivias can spell a catastrophy if one's luck is not in its good posture. Just driving around locating an office can be a painful experience if not for yourself it would be hard on the vehicle not to mention the fuel spent.

The Seberang Jaya Immigration office is relativelly new but already the early set on of lack of maintainance is already showing especially on the seats. Malaysians have a very long road ahead when it comes to cleanliness and the proper use of public property, there is a seriou lack of civic conciousness among the common folks in this country. The attitude it seems will never change for so long as it is not one's own property the hell with it, or let someone else pick up the garbage why should I be bothered, its not mine, not my home, not my toilet! The service at the counter was a pleasant change as the two ladies who attended to my needs were more than pleasant and even sympathetic. However due to a lack of document that the education department had not issued me I was told that nothing could be done untill I make another trip back to the education department and procure what is needed. So off i went back across the Penang bridge to Bukit Gambier and demanded for the pertinent document while keeping my literally overheated emotions under controll. By the end of the day I managed to get my children's papers filed away and it would be ready in a week to the tune of RM240 for two years. As i did not have the money I was told I could pay it up when I come to collect the documents.
Thus another major hurdle in my life is about to be overcome as far as papers and documents are concerned. It aint over yet but it is just as good as accomplished and it was a long tedious trip getting all these done simply because I lacked the financial resources. In more than one ways I was lucky that i got away with not paying my children school fees for two consecuttive years thus leaving the validity of their travel documents in question. Call it being being irresponsible, I call it being completely broke and making priorities out of what was needed day to day for my children and myself to stay alive without having to do too much begging or stealing. These were leaasons in staying alive and yet be able to accomplish what not too many can boast of at the same time, like having a solo exhibition at a prestigious Muzium Gallery for a whole two months!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In right out left

The money made at the Little Penang Street Market on Sunday is fully utilized to pay for my two childrens'elated school fees covering three years amounting to the tune of One thousand four handred RM. I was short of one payment as i did not have enough to cover Rm240 for my daughter's 2008 school fees. Boring!! These are the most tedious aspects of life that one dont normally talk about much less write about for others to read! But... hey, life's a bitch someone in his or her infinite wisdom once said and then you die! What makes great things in life is the most tedious things that one can overcome and turn around into great things despite its tediousness. Sit and watch the grass grow the Zen master once said, effortlessness, inactive action, detatched involvement, to pluck the lotus without wetting the fingers.However, no matter how or where or when we look it, life and its trivials are merely grist for the mill and the mill keeps on grinding with or without the grist. We can choose to play along with the game and excell despite all the pressures and tedium or we can buckle underneath and be buried by the dead weight that we have accumulated throughout our lives. So called problems that we face day to day ius not going to poof! and disappear no matter what we may think or do, they are like weeds that ever grows as soon as we remove existing ones. Karmas! The Buddhas said, ancient and twisted karmas! Born through body, speach and mind!

I was almost given the run around again by the lady that was handling my case and i felt it coming the moment she decided to ask if the paper works ahd been checked by the 'other' office and this after she had collected my money and made out the receit. I told her I made doubly sure what i needed to do through the school pricipal's office and they had found out from the Education department that i am to make my payment at her office and that all my files were already with her office. Then it all started to unravel like another horror show as she started insisting that they had no files on my case and that I needed to drive all the way back to the'other office' and get everything checked an so forth. Afteer almost getting me all riled up she finally got someone on the phone from the 'other' office who okeyed for the payment to be made. One phone call!! Damn them! and Damn their upgraded computerized system that is supposed to make life simpler for the common folks! What is most aggravating was the fact that while handling my case she was also busy figuring out the off days for her fellow office workers.
I cannot imagine what it must be like for those who lack the means and knowhow in dealing in these matters, the paper works alone would kill an average man on the street and now i have to go back to the Education office in Bukit jambul and start another long process of filing for the renewal of my children's Foreign Student Visas which would ultimately be dealt with by the Immigration department. This is the part and parcel of being a part of the Global Community, for having chosen to live life in these days and age of a borderless society! Live and learn, from the faults and mistakes of people like me and my family it is hopefully realized that there aught to be a more humane and compassionate ways of dealing with registering and filing of paperworks that would not leave a bad taste at the end of the trail. From my experience and personal dealings with most of the government personells I learn that most are happy to help but really does not know how and when things gets a little tight or confusing it is best to drop a bomb or two on subject and make the one who needs the help do the run around to find the solution. How thankful it makes you feel finding one soul working in a Government Agency who cared and solve your problems to the best of his or her ability simply by doing his or her job as paid to do so. Woe unto you when you come up against an ego that had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed that same morning or whose application for a short vacation had not been approved!!
Its a mindset most people would agree when it comes to being served by the System's bureaucracy and does not really reflect the whole. The Malaysian Government Agencies are mostly run by Malays with a cultural and aptitude and attitude of their own. Knowing how to deal with these care givers is an art especially if and when one is at a disadvantage like not being able to afford a payment or short of a pertinent piece of paper. Malays do not like to be talked down to and are very sensitive when it comes to value judgements but they are flexible if and when the situation demands as they have a greater sense of tolerance than most other races. How you talk to an officer and how youplead your cases makes alot of difference in whether you can get a decent help or fail miserably and have to bear the paper chase. State your case as clearly and honestly as you can and chances are you will find a sympathetic ear and get your case solve with little confusion or even aggravation. Government officers are human who has to deal with humans everyday of their working life and thus they have become accustomed to dealing with all kinds of individuals and circumstances. I am just another case, a number in the filing system that they have to deal with and they help to solve my issues to the best of their abilities.

Monday, November 26, 2007

LittlePenang Street Market

It was a beautiful Sunday, sunshine but not overpoweringly hot and no rain! It reminded me of a San Francisco Block Party or the Embakadero Flea market on the water front of the Bay Area. A great crowd of people mostly the higher income bracket and a good turnout of foreign tourists. My works were well received with a good number of genuinely curious visitors who wanted to know what a mono-print is and how it is made. I made a few great new friends young and no so youngpeople who seemed to have alot of positive energy and motivated to get things done especially in making it a happening for the street fare. Penang needs this event as it showcases a good repetoire of many talented artists and craftsmen from around the city. There were also a great turnout of local musical talents and a few far out jazz and blues singers. All in all it was a beautiful day the flew by fast.
I sold five pieces of my monoprints and made about one thousand odd RM which will go immediately to the Education department to pay for my childrens' school fees. The sales came in the nick of time and what can one say but thank you Lord for the small graces that You provide through Your Care and Love for those who are in need. I am most grateful to my friend Encik Joe Sidek whose compassion made it possible for me to take a breath of relief from the financial pressures than has been threatening to bury me deep into despair. It is for these individuals who emerges out of the blue if my times of need that I create despite all the odds that had laid against my chances of a success. It is also in these types of individuals that one find it impossible to envy their wealth or affluence for their charitable hearts more than makes it up for what they have.
I hope the Little Penang Project keeps growing and bacome a more regular event without loosing its quality of products and presentations. Although it may cost a little more to buy the products here it is worth the cost when viewed at as a whole scenario of epole from all over the world having a good time like a grand Block Party.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Meeting Great Minds

My friend Joe Rosli Sidek came by the Muzuem Gallery with two of his friends a lady who is suppose to write a little about me for the upcoming event at the Little Penang event nex Sunday and then there was Latif Kamaluddin a poet writer and a faculty member of USM whose appearence kind of reminds me of Hebert Alpert or better known as Baba Ram Das author of the famous spiritual guide book "Be Here Now". Kamaluddin, despite his appearence that would throw off your average man on the street is a very deep thinker and not someone who would frivolously pick his companions or who he hangs out with and so I feel privillaged meeting such a character like meeting Guirdjief in the foot hills of Georgia.
We talked mostly of myself with Kamaluddin giving me the rundown on how to make it and why not about my survival as a full time artist in Penang. I need to get myself a job as i have always did iin the past if I am to stay alive and porvide support for my children. From his honest views I tned to agree with him as i am beginning to see very little prospect at making it as full time artist and there seem no resourses that is available for retired veterans of the Arts in a country like this, artist just dont count when it comes to benifits and such. The actors and writers guild are only recently getting recognition for thier contributions in the past and the government are now acknowledging the fact that these individuals deserve to receive pensions or gratuities for their life long careers. But in the fine arts painter and sculptors, ceramists and weavers are yet to be accounted for as part of the work force that is covered under the government pension funds.
The artists of old had depended on the 'Patrons of the Arts' in their respective societies for thier financial support and most were under the patronship of the ruling class. Their works were often purchased upon completion by thier 'managers' who then send it to the actual buyers. The Artist is gauranteed an income and has little need of wheeling and dealing in the financial transactions or his works. This does not exist anymore and the number of artisits has grown so much so that it is almost impossible for such a system to exist. Todat the term connections is more in use than patrons of the arts. It is who you know that sells not who you are. Most fortunate artists finds themselves one or two corporate buyers through their connections and these buyers are not too many these days as are art collectors.
As I listened to Kamaluddin I began to realize that somewhere i have missed my calling, my works are now more as valuable as they had once seemed at least their worth in the market is not that great an asset and I need to come up with a viable backup plan if i am to survive. I need to explore all other possibilities in th job market, whatever that is left out there for one who is over the working age as myself. If it is not for the needs of my children the problem would not be that dire as i would enjoy very much to just turn my face away from it all and join the monastic practice first chance i get.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Its the FLU!!

The caughing is what will kill ya! Sometimes you feel like like your whole chest is about to rip apart from the sudden expansion and explosive exhalation just to clear the throat from the irritating mucus buildup at the back of the throat. When I am in this state of being I feel useless and handicapped especially in dealing with answering questions about my life and what I have in mind about the state of world. However it is during these moments in time in my life too that i often discover something new about myself or even catch a glimpse of hope manifesting in the form of a delirium or restless medically induced dreamstates. New thoughts, new insights new perceptions would break to the surface when I least expect and then my mind would spin into action trying to bring into realization all that these revelations may imply or has to offer. In other words even in being sick I am looking for a positive angle to move on into new realms of expressions.
The owners of Gallery 'Little Penang" are keen on having my works on display at their next Sunday Bazaar show which is located in front of the E&O Hotel at the end of Penang Road. I look forward to this show and hope that I can be productive at the show too.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Dream last night

It was one of those dreams that lingers onto your waking state leaving you with either total depression or total elation and this fortunately had an elated feeling about it. In this dream there lights in the skies like in any dream it was man made partly just to let you think of lights in the sky. Then there were stones dropping from the skies like precious stones not your ordinary gravel kind that would kill you if one caught you in the head. These were cut square stones like jades and rubies only larger than normal. They seem to fall right through roof tops leaving square holes in them and then the one stone that came sliding by me slid right into a groove of what seemed like the third eye of a statue of a buddha and fixed itself there. I felt an explanantion inside me telling me that this is the Bodhisatva of Compassion, it is for me to accept what is inevitable in my life and act accordingly for i have become a Bodhisatva of compassion having been entertaining the children and giving away what i can ill afford and all the small gestures of kindnesses that i have been sharing with those who needed them, all these have not gone unnoticed. I felt reliefed, sad but releifed like a load was lifted off my shoulders and i cried into the morning while sitting on the bed.
After that ideas kept pouring into my head as to what my future moves would have to be and how to fac the oncoming predicanments with regard to my children's future and they all seemed so simple enough as they were played before my eyes but one thing I understood and know my course of action would be is that the first opportunity I get i will renounce this life and enter a Buhhist monastery wherether here of in Sri Lanka where my father was originally from. I would like to die with a very clear head and I belief in this day and age the Bikhus or mendicant monks are one of the very few who walk this earth with the purity of a lotus amidst muddy waters. I dont know how or when this is going to happen but this is what will happen to me, this life that i am leading has become toatlly meaningless and a waste of good karma.
There will be alot of noise from my family, maybe, not that they have given a shit of what is happening to my children and I right at this moment and my friends and relatives here might be a little disturbed by the fact that i am leaving Islam or becoming an apostate, blah, blah. I do not renounce and will not and cannot renounce my true being that of being at one with my Creator, Allah (SWT). Between my Lord and I the covenant is sealed even as this writing at this moment in time and space testifies to this fact and furthermore at my age I need not justify anymore to anyone religious or otherwise.
Only my two children are my source of concern at the moment as they are still under my supervision and i am bound and obligated to care for their wellfare till they are of age. I have been preparing them mentally and spiritually towards facing the inevitable of the uncertain future of which thanks mainly to the Governmant Bureaucracies have made life short of miserable for all of us since we landed into this country, my home. My wife may Allah keep her has given up and her shell now sits somewhere ina Nursing home in Illinois waiting the final cut and i will never see her again to say how sorry I am for not being with her and protecting her from these pains she suffers. I had dragged her here from Japan where she was most happy doing what she had love best, teaching ESL, I took all that from her so that she can come here to become converted to Islam! What an irony! She came here to suffer from day one at the hands of the insensitve, heartless Ilamic religious department personels till the day she left the country not knowing anymore who she really is. For this i bear all resposibilities, I I took her happiness and in return gave her uncertainties and grief that today haunts my two children as well.
Somewhere in the distant lands of the Alpine, Switzerland another of my debunckle, a mistake that has far flung consequences till this day in the form of an angry young man who wants to know his true father and what a dissappoint this father has turned out to be for him. I am truly sorry to both my son and most of all to his mother and there is no amount of justification that can erase my shame and disgust at myself. But as far my son is concern i am proud to have a son and who knows we will one day sit face to face yet and make things happen for the best.
I have taken many wrong turns in my life and most of it was done with no thoughts in mind, most were spontaneously undertaken without hope or recourse, but thses were mostly done when i was alone, living on my own and making decisions for myself. Now I have responsibillities to others for whom I am obligated to fulfill as thus anyhting or any move i need to make i have to consider the outcome for them more than for myself. What is liberation? What is the deliverance from cares that Shaikh Kadir Al-Jilani has been preaching about? What is quality of life? Are we to exist merely as cattles following the dictates of manipulators and shysters who gets away with murders simply because? Are we not created as the Keepers of the laws, Caliphas, wardens of this domain? Why do we allow the shrewed few flog us into submission so much so that we can be marched into the bull pen to be counted for the slaughtering? They wear their masks to perfection disguising their looks to deceive the unweary. Closest friends or so called, the so called care givers with fancy names like NGOS, the esteem Educators whose moral virtues is as deep as their pocket linings eyes and ears always peeled at whatever fortune there to be made along with their regular salaries, the law keepers, what a joke this has become for us lesser people the law enforcers of old at least were deadly serious, they shoot first before they ask today you end up having to pay for every law they keep. Politicians! No! There is nothing worth saying here.
Yes I am bitter, especially when at the last Friday prayer which I attended at the Sungai Pinang Mosque, my native kampung, the Imam pointed out that there were more fancy fans inside the building than there were worshippers. The Mosque's safety box was broken into twice and what are we the Kampung folks doing about it. THis would not have happened in the Sungai Pinang of old! If i could have spoken I would have shouted at him to wake up and smell the sewerage that they have been processing in the kampung area or take a look at the building across the street from the mosque a see who resides within this entire complex if not foreigners. Please! The original Sungai Pinang guy is a rare specie in this village! Next time stop building big mosques that way you will not have problem filling it up all the time.
Now that I have got most of the crap off my chest let me see if I can make sense out of it all. I need to step away from this whole mess and reasses, re evalutate, I need to recharege my enrgies and recuperate from this cold and this negative vibes that has been hitting my family. It is worse than a curse and I definitely got to end it or it will eat me up. I have to find new gates to knock on to open and enter, new ideas, new thoughts new paradimgns, new whatever it takes to break loose from the vicious hold this parasite has on me and mine. Time to don my armour, unsheath the sword of wisdom and cut through this illusion this veil that is shielding me from what is my goal. Time to die! and be reborn!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Desperation is not a good feeling

Today I came very close to breaking down what a shrink would consider as a nervous breakdown but I only sat and cried on my bed and after a long quiet sitting I managed to compose myself and decided to turn my face away from all the crap that is bugging me. I decided to wrap up my show at the Muzeum gallery well at least gather all the journals and store them as there is no harm in leaving those on the walls for the visiting students. Not many understand the German Video exhibition that is presently on going and there is one or two pornograpic images in those video scenes which I think the Gallery staff missed or maybe...
I also collected the items I left with Haslam at the Ghara gallery Tanjung as I have no intention of prolonging our relationship into the future, probably my loss but I have to make changes in my approach or I will dragged down the same path to no wghere depending of others for my survival. I doubt that i will be having anymore shows in the future and from the way I feel it looks like I am about to make a drastic shift in my life and it is scary. I dont know where or how it is going to happen but something will happen for the better or for worse.
I still owe half this month rent and my car payment and so far there is no income from anywhere in sight, it makes me sick to even think that i cannot give my two kids a short vacation in the east coast like they wanted to instead they took off to their friend;s home and the3 daughter is working for one of her uncles. Well done Bahari! You really blew it this time and really big time!! Where's the dvine intervention or the karmic grace where's all that crap about being Perfect, Strong and Powerful trip? Wheres' all the rich family and friends who used to look for your return and for god's sake what is going to happen to your kids and their visas and their educational situation? Wake up!! Before its fucking too late wake fucking up! This is not fun anymore, you are not getting nay younger nor wiser and how often have you wrote this same old crap to yourself over and over like a broken record, dont you ever learn?
It will take a miracle yes nothing but short of a miracle to turn your life around either that or the end or your existance. You still wanna be an artist? Ha! be creative because its a divine gift? God given talent and all that jazz? Look at where it has got you all through the years. So many had warned you about the consequences but do you listen? No! You beleive in yourself being on the right path, the right motivation, the right calling and all that crap, today the world need another creative genius like you like it needs a Nuclear Holocaust! Wake up Bahari! Seek deeep within your soul and seek deeper than you have ever find that miracle before it is too late and stop looking at others for your liberation from this mess.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Convent Greenlane Art talk.

This morning I spent two hours giving an art talk and demos to a group of sixty girls from form threes and fours and some form ficves students of the Convent greenlane Girls secondary school. It was quite an experience as i had never faced so many young girls and including my own daughter in the group, before. I did not realize that young girls can behave just as unruly as young boys if not worse! But I took charge of the situation right from the start by telling them a short story, my favorite, "What brought You here?", an African folk tale about a hunter who found a skull in the forest that can speak. Suddenly I had their attention and from then on it was a matter of making it last the two hours.
For the talk I gave them the spill about not wasting their time and age as long as they are in school and to remember that there is alot of competition out there especially from foreign workers. I tried to hammer intot their heads the fact that their future hangs in a balance where jobs security is concern and they had better take stock of their predicament and be prepared for the future. To stay focus and awake while they are getting their education and to respect their teachers. I emphasized the need for creativity and the search for what is originality especially in Art and why it is relevant for creativity to be developed from a young age. My point in my talk was to get their attention towards facing their future in the country as the younger generation that will take on from those before them. I doubt that much of what i said was received with full understanding or acceptance but i have my hopes.
I gave a brief demonstration on the technique of sketching paying attention to light and darkness. Most did not know what to draw and copied my works on the board instead. But as I moved around among them I started to communicate better on an individual level of interaction. Most that i had the chance to talk to were able to understand the rudimentary techn iwues of seeing and sketching what they see. It is an eye opener to realize that very few of these girls have any understanding at all about sketching or drawing. Those that shows any talent at all were into sketching Japanese look alike animation characters with big round eyes that the Japanese nver have and the hairstyles that defies imagination while clutching huge swords or some other weapons ready to save the world from some new form of life.
Obviously Art is not the nuber one priority in Malaysian schools at least not in the secondary school levels and where art is left out creativity is on the way out. Students will suffer from lack of the ability to think and act creatively or they will become stereotypes and followers instead of creators and actors. At the rate the school system is running Malaysia will one day arrive at what japan has been through with her younger generation as far as creative thinking goes. In Japan it used to be so bad that no man dare to think any different from the rest of the group or collective whole. Creativity came to a standstill and japanese found out that they lacked inovative and creative thinkers, planners and designers to keep their industrial production vibrant and up to date. This was remidied in the past ten years where young Japanese student were allowed to and encouraged to leave their Japanese Universities and studied abroad especially in the US where they were exposed to a more liberal form of education whci does snot stifle their sense of creativity. Some of these returned to Japan with red and green hairstyles and raised hell with their Japanese elders demanding a change in mindset that had long been nailing the Japanese minds to the tatami boards. Malaysia being a follower country will run the same ciours unless something is done sooner than later to rectify this flaw in the education system. No scientifc research or space travels can create creative minds for the nation, only the humanistic and fines arts schools can help to create

Friday, November 09, 2007

What's the next Show gooing to be?

I have got a few months ahead to prepare for my next show and many ideas are floating around inside my head including painting white on black which can be a challenge if i can only find the theme to go with. Then yesterday I had lunch with the Dean of Humanities Sschool at USM Prof. Najib and he came up with a great idea for me to work with and even provided me with the material for it. He gave me roll of good quality drawing paper of and told me to sketch the Penang streets with all its landmarks and heritage buildings. 'Pucok di cita, ulam mendatang' as the Malay saying goes to translate it would be a futile attempt at the moment but suffice to say that it is what is hoped for and what materialised far exceeds the expectation.

Today I took a drive to Georgetown and visited my friend and gallery owner Encik Haslam and he took me to lunch at a nearby restaurant where we discussed my future in the art business. He suggested that its time i have a business card and he would foot the bill and also that i should think about working out of his gallery so that i can find the exposure and at the same time meet foreign visitors who visits the gallery. Tomorrow we will be attending a Aidilfitri gathering at teh Penang Malay Chamber or Commerce to be attended by the second Minister of Finance a gentleman i had a chance accounter when I was working at Pulau Jerejak. On his returning trip from the Jerejak Resort the speed boat he was taking broke down and almost drifted away and he ended up eventually taking the motored sampan instead. I was at the Penang jetty to welcome his return and when he arrived I was impressed by his laid back attitude as though he had gotten use to such set backs in his life and this was nothing to be upset about and this is the man who controls the purse strings of the country. I have known quite a few Dato's and datins big spenders and even some little spenders who under simmilar circumstances had raised such a stink that made us the little fellows who had tried our damndest to make them comfortable lost any sense of respect we had for them. The problem is who to borrow a batik shirt from as tomorrow's event requires that all guests wear one.
Talking to Haslam has helped me get to know the art scene of Penang especially who is who in the art business of buying and selling, of what sells and where and when. Although he is relatively young and new in the business, he seems to have a good perception over the art commercial scene. He is fortunate too in that his father is a very influential man and has strong connections through his former illustrious career. The Ghara Seni Tanjung Gallery is located in the Armenian Street area od Georgetown, squeezed in between two rows of shop houses although it seemed congested it ha an aesthetic quality by this very fact and it would more so if and when this whole area is renovated or restored to its former glory of being a business area for the Hindu Muslims. If the owner's intention of acquiring and renovating the adjacent building does take place it would be a great space for a gallery.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What's cookin in the country?

The Putra World trade center is inundated by the devotees of UMNO the ruling Malay political party a part of the National Alliance or Barisan National which comprises of the Malays Chinese and the Indians predominantly and the rest of the minor races that make up the nation. It is an anual convention that very few who declares themselves stalwarts of the UMNO Party ever missed and alot of highly charged speaches are delivered by those in power from the Prime Minister on downwards to the district representatives vowing and pledging their unwavering commitment towards the ruling party in its effort in running the country. Its like any political convention anywhere all over the world as the next general election is around the corner the part needs to do political housekeeping making sure that past unwonted experiences do not repeat itself and future successes are gauranteed. Like most political conventions there is alot of fiery words thoughts and ideas thrown at the participants and through the media is passed on to the nation so that they have a vague idea as to what they can expect as far as future policies and government rulings would entail.
This is Democracy in action, this is where words and actions are being syncronized so that the governance of the country can move forward with greater vitality and lesser complacency as every words thoughts and ideas raised at the convention is being obeserved and scrutinzed by the whole country those supportive and those in opposition of the ruling party. making fiery speaches is the hallmark of Malay politicians sometimes detrimental to the party itself when these over zealous political leaders get carried away making accusations and pointing fingers, making claims that is almost impossible to at time to ascertain or fulfill but each and everyone who has the opportunity to express themselves become the firebrand for their constituencies as the election is around the corner. What is claimed and what can be delivered is often secondary, what is important is to deliver the nations' woes and concerns, to demand for justice where justice is wronged, to cry oput foul where corruption is detected, to plead solidarity despite all the petty grievances among the party members.
The man on the street are mostly oblivious to the big pow wow going on at the PWTC and those who take the trouble to keep in touch follow as much as they could in the morning papers gazing with envy mostly at those impeccably dressed with glitterings beyond their own means cutting cakes and enjoying another day at yet another "Kenduri". Those that i had the opportunity to pry upon their comments simply shrugged their shoulders and express their skeptism over the rise of food and oil prises, the corruption that still is rampant despite promises made at previous conventions and the most critical issue that Malaysia is facing, that of foreign workers in the country. Most fear that the government is doing too little too late and this issue is another time bomb waiting to go off. My personal feeling over this matter is one of ambivalance, I am torn between the need for foreign workers and the danger of over dependant upon these workers. For most foreign workers are genuine hardworking people at least when they first arrive however after being here for a few years and having learned the trick of the trade as well as the opportunities available here most become opportunistic and even greedy. These even becomes arrogant and often can be seen treating the local Malaysian with impunity and disrespect. The worse of the lot takes to crimes and clandestine opperations forming syndicates that defies government control. How do I know these? I read the news papers, talk to the Immigration Officers, the Policeman on the street, the Sosial Worker and the penghulus; this is no secret and it aught to be addressed sooner than later.
Malaysia has opened her gates to those who are willing to work within her boarders and it has been a very humanistic gesture to those poorer nations who benifit from this gesture. It is no doubt that in doing so Malaysia has been able to develop her infrastructures at a rapid pase and cheaper cost, thus making it a win win situation. However, today this scenario is running out of sync with what the government had in mind. The number of foreign workers for one thing has become a cause for concern and their influences is steadily becoming a effect upon the Malaysians especially those who sees opportunities in making a fast buck with the situation. The saddest and most concerning effect is the crimes and social effects the foreign nationals has and will continue on affecting this country. It is an obeservation based on experience of having bee a foreigner myself living both in the United States and Japan. I am not in the process of blaming any one or pointing my finger at the government, for me this solve nothing and would even land me in trouble for no good reason. But as a Malaysian I have my rights to express what concerns me and my fellow countrymen, the fault is not in anyone agency or the processes that is being utilized to bring foreign workers into the country, the fault or the flaw is bacically in all of us Malaysians becoming complacent and to put it more drastically greedy. As Malaysians we have become dependants instead of independant as we claim to have achieved for the past fifty yearts. We have become dependant on foreign entities and foreign workers to develop our country, how can we claim to be independant when if without foreign workers and foreign aids our Country would be fifty years behind Singapore in development?
These are food for thoughts that all the hoopla that is going on at the PWTC has triggered for me. How much all of theses cost the Malays if not the nation as a whole it is not for me to ask or need to know as i am sure every penny spent at the convention is accounted for or well spent. It is my only hope that the outcome is well worth every dime and penny and not to mention the hours taken off by every individual from their regular paying jobs is accounted for. We as a nation must never be accused of being a wasteful nation, we can be affluent but not wasteful and this lesson we have to hand down from generation to generation, we can live in this materialistic world without being sucked into materialism. An independant nation is a nation that does not need or depend upon any external help in any form for its existance but we have to learn through words, thoughts and deeds to become truly independant.
If there is any to blame lets blame ourselves those of us who are capable of creative and productive thinking and those of us who can make things happen one way or another whether through our positions or our intellectual understanding. For those who can but will not, they aught to be blame, these are people who for one reason or another refuses to become involved and i am one in many ways for i am not as zealous or pariotic as those who had gathered at the PWTC. In many ways they by the fact of making the effort to be at the convention has involved thelselves in this nation building and deserve a cheers regardless the cost.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Japan Foundation 2

Received my reply from the Japan Foundation and found out that the final result of the awards would only be announced in April the date I had intended to have my Sendai show. In the meantime I guese the time will be spent getting feed backs to and fro bet me and the Foundation...the paper chase begins, if I care to comtinue. It has never been my good luck when ot comes to getting things accomplished when I have to deal with any form of bureaucratic red tape, it is just not in me when I have to deal with paperworks. However it is yet another challenge to face and overcome with once and for all like who says it cannot be done! There are worse demons out there than a bunch of pen pushers gaurding the coffers of the Foundation and they just demand a little respect, just need to follow the rules fulfill the requirements and even if at time things makes no sense I just have to dance along and make it happen. Anyway the date to my solo exhibition might not be in April according to the Gallaery Director Noni who I met a couple days back at an openning. The whole schedule it seems might be changed and as she put it you might end up at a later date into the distant future, most probably not in April as offered. It is okey by me one way or another so long as you got your act together, I mean who the fuck am I but just another artist hardly known around my own kampung, I can be flexible take it or leave it! I mean screw my plans and for that matter my life!

As I have often commented in the past making changes in life is a risky business especially at this late in life. Some say that if you are not a millionaire by now forget it, chances are you missed the boat or your calling somewhere back when. I now seem to feel this way, the depression and the empty feeling of not being able to get things accomplished, the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that in the past had haunted my life is making its prescence felt again. I have dealt with missing my wife and dealing with my children's future, I have made every effort to provide for their daily needs and see that they go to school. I have put on a solo exhibition at one of the most prestigious Galleries in the country, my second solo exhibition in Malaysia sincce my return to this country. I have established good relations among the contemporary local artists and have built good rapport with many, yet i am at a loss. Where i go from here?
One of my spiritual mentors, someone whose teachings i follow closely in my daily life if only through reading his works keeps calling on me to be patient. The Prophet ( Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said,
"Poverty and patience are the boon companions of Allah (Al Mighty and Glorious is He) and the poor and those who endure with patience are the boon companons of the All Merciful (Ar Rahman), their hearts today and the body tomorrow". Patience is again a very tough act to follow especially when one is in desperation of need. I have to find some source of income at least for now to fill up my gas tank or I will never make it home! Is it because i doubt? Is it because I am being logical whatever it may be at this moment in time to weigh between the practice of patience and desperation it feels like desperation demands a greater attention. I still need to beg borrow or steal in order that i can make it through the week.
Someone who stinks of Zen made a comment of my frevious entry that it is not Zen enough. I have no idesa what the person was refering to, however I thank him or her for caring to even read what i write and as far as Zen is concern I have no idea what is or not enough about what i wrote for to me Zen is Zen day to day moaning and grumbling about life is day to day living. Day to day grumbling about life is Zen.No Grumblings no Zen No Zen no Grumblings.

Sunday, November 04, 2007