Thursday, January 24, 2008

To write or not to write?

The Thaipusam took place yeasterday and there was a good turnout of people from all over the country and tourists from who knows where with their cameras hanging round their necks and sweating like hogs under the scorching sun. As always the atmosphere was electrical with alot of noises and from deafening hindu spritual wailings off the loud speakers as well as live. I love the rythm these sounds cam mesmerise one into a state of spritual estatic and move you to dance along with the crowd accompanying the Kavadies. Devotees with hooks attached to their physical parts some beraing small containers of milk, or lemons attached to the front and backs, there are those that have metal rods skewered through their cheeks while straining against ropes with large hooks attached to the backs like a wild bull trying to pull a cart. Then there are smaller more sedate performers who carry on their shoulders beautifully decorated kavadies with cans of milk attached at each ends, these were mostly women and children. The devotees were all performing a act of fulfilling their vows made to Lord Murugan or to any other number of deities who is a part of the Hindu Pantheon of devine manifestation such as the more popular ones like Lord Kirsna, Lord Ganesha ( The elephant headed deity) or Parvati and so forth.
I enjoy Thaipusam even if I am a Muslim. For me it is a spiritual rite that evokes ancient beliefs that had survived till this day and age linking our human psyche to the Universe collecctively. It is a dance of love and devotion between the devotees and the one devoted to where faith of the one overcomes pain and discomfort all in the strangth of Devotion. It does not matter who you are or what denomination you originate from, to be in the midst of the throngs of humanity marching in full conciousness evoked by the electrical energy generated by the the single purposeness of devine worship can have an effect on you. No matter how jaded and callous one has become towards spirutality or tyhe collective superconciousness inherent in us all one is bound to be moved by the scene and the vibes unless one is a total zombie in this realm of existance.
I enjoyed sketching the scenes and often getting approval nods from those around me as they peered over my shoulder wondering what in tarnation I was up to. While doing these quick sketches mostly using charcoal pencils the beat of Indian drums and chantings filled my being like i was at a reggae concert. I sketched to the rythm and became a part of the scene as though I was fulfilling my vows made to my own personal deity on this auspicious day in th Hindu calendar of worship.

At the personal level closer to the earth, i am still lost in my day to day struggle to make ends meet for myself and my three secondary school dependants. Two are my own and one is my niece who has come to stay with us to help ease her parents from the inconvenience of time and money inorder for her to go to school. It is a little tight for my already unpredictable financial situation but it has to be for the present untill something better couldbe worked out. School is still a priority in my list making sure hat all three kids gets what they need and get to school on time, do their homework have their dinner, do their laundry and most of all watch less CDs and DVDs!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008


This is my second try at writing my new year resolution and also bidding the past year bye bye. The first lengthy entry was wioed out when I tired to have it published! Damn internet! Just when Iw as able to write a whole more meaningful and positive finale for the past year it just wnet up in smokes. Anyway todat the Ch'ng Huck Meng Solo exhibition was just launched by the Vice Chancellor and there was a good turn out. I am working on my project of sketching the longest piece of paper I have ever worked on depicting life and buildings around the Island of Penang, and so far I think I have sketched about forty feet of the paper already.
I have a few minutes before he closing of the Muzium Gallery and so I thought i'd try again to recap what I lost yesterday about the New year. O7 was a roller coaster ride for me with my ego getting bashed in left and right as i was not able to make ends meet ofeten times. This was good for me as I needed these humbling experiences as they are good for my character building as I grow older. I am mostly thankful that my health has been good except for a bout of flu once or twice throughout the year. I am also thankful that i had been able to be productive and had my Second Solo Exhibition in Penang at the Gallery Tuanku Fauziah, USM and then later two one day shows at the Little Penang Street sales which earned me some income enough to cover the cost of my children's needs for their school.
There were moments when I doubted my Creator and myself when things got a little too unbearable but I am grateful that they passed without me loosing too much of my self esteem or stagnated in despair. I had made saveral new acquaintances with whose help and moral and spiritual support I have been able to face my trials and tribulations. my friend Hasnul and members of the Muzium Staff has been ever kind and generous in their tolerance and acceptance of my precence here. I have been very fortunate to be able to utilize the facility here at no cost and with alot of support which reminded me of my three years spent at the Miyagi MUzium of Fines Arts in Sendai, Japan. I guese there many things i am to be grateful for in my life and by right there should be no cause for complains.
I have made it through the year without too much bruises to my body except some to my pride and my ego and this i realize i fully deserve. I have been complacent and at times made judgemental errors towards life as being too much suffering but on looking back the past whole year of07 I see that things could have been alot worse. For one thing i am very glad that i decided to start depending on my artistic talents rather than work for someone else to earn my living;its not easy but I feel more satisfaction even when the times gets rough. I know that from now on my livlihood depends on how I do as an artist and there is no one to tell how or what to do with my time. I enjoy the hours i have regulated for myself in order to accomplish as much as i possibly could in achieving maximum productivity towards my creative endeavors. Having and not having money will always be an issue which I will have to face just like any other Tom ,Dick and Mary, but in this I trust my Maker to provide as i have done my work. Day and night i spend my time creating, painting, sketching writing and finding ways and means to sell them and this has proven often times adequate, I hope it gets better as time goes on and that the year ahead will have better financial hold for me.
Emotionaly and spiritually I am still at ground zero, but my meditation practices and my Zikhr has progressed towards fruition as I feel better about myself and connected to the whole alot more than before. I am able to see mylife in a whole lot more positive light and that greater things lay in store for me this year ahead as it is my year, the Year of the Rat!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! to all you ghosts out there who are crazy enough to have read my ramblings thus far!! I LOVE YOU.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Out 07 In 08

The year 2007 had been another memorable year in my life where the major shift being the fact that I had decided to to be gainly employed with a monthly income guranteed and a boss or bosses to please. I decided to become a full time artist putting my life and my children's daily needs and future in question. I was laid off from working at the Jerejak resort and SPA sometime in the middle of last year after my contract was now renewed, again I was earning too much for a job that was considered too easy and with the availibility of cheaper labor in the form of foerign employees the management at the Resort considered me a baggage to be released. It was time for me to make the change from being dependant on earning a wage to being independant and strike out on my own focussing my attention on my artworks and selling them.
It has been roller coaster ride eversince bothe the ups and down equally educating and humbling in terms of my experience. For the past few months eversince I have had days when I wondered where or how I am going to survive daily, however through my available time which otherwise I would not had I been emplouyed, I was able to meet many new friends and peears and fellow artists who had in one way or another guided me encouraged me and even financially support me to keep me and my two children in the grid. I have come to learn that the time I had been spending at so called being employed had deprived me of many moments which had enriched me as an artist and I had been able to produce more artworks isince than I had ever been able to before. I am also less uptight than when I was working as I have no one to answer to and not have to look over my shoulder to make sure that i am not being stabbed in the back by those that were vying for my position or felt threatened by my age and experiences as when i was employed. Financially too I have had alot better days days than when I was earning a specific amount every month, the sales of my works has been able to keep all three of us afloat and then some and the ehlp I got from sympathetic and understanding friends have made it easier for me and even more so made my life more meaningful in terms of the learning curve- I am more humbled and am beginning to experience compassion towards myself and in others.
With the step I am taking into the upcoming year I feel alot more confindent and in many ways alot happier with what life has to offer and my zest for living out my remaining years productively and with meaning is becoming a reality for; it has dawned upon my conciuosness it is not a matter of if I am rich or poor or that if I eat or not, what matters is that I am thankful for all that i have had all these years, that i have been blessed with a life full of roller coaster rides and I have rode them and survived to write as I am about them. I am thankful for all those great men and women who have shared my life at any given moment in time for better or for worse and I am thankful for those that had been my close companions, my soul mates, my redeemers and my protectors, those i knew of and those I knew not. I am thankful for having a good health throughout my life thus far except for the occaisional injuries and illnesses that an average person might encounter in his or her lifetime, it is a blessing for me that I have been spared of any major life terminating illness. I am ever grateful for my strong mind that have seen me through the best of times and the worse of times allowing me to act and be who I am making all the errors and accomplishing things that not too many can claim to have. I called it HUMIND, the human mind the instrument most powerful in the Universe that the AlMighty have created and i have been able to put it to the test by allowing myself to live this life to the maximum in every respect. Whether in my times of weaknesses or in my times or superior being I have watched my mind, coerced my mind cursed my mind moulded my mind, encouraged my mind and respected my mind for it has faith fully seen me through thick and thin and for this I am forever indebted to this faculty that is a vital part of myself.
Even if O7 has left many scars on my ego, my little mind the year has also seen a moral and emotional booster towards my sense of well being, my sense of who am I? The relationship I have with my two children is a loving and a very happy one at least this is my own inner feelings about it. The fact that I am not able to provide them with the best what life has to offer, (Whatever that is), I feel is a blessing in disguise for them have learned what it is not to have and what it means to take on responsibillities and make the best of what is at hand. Not to expect too much or feel ashame for not having but to keep and open and positve attitude towards what they already have for they from having experienced not having will one day know and appreciate what it would be like to have. I went through these motions and events in my own journey through life and I can really share with them through ymown personal stories, my own personal actions and accomplshments, success or failure is relative for what matters at the end of the day is how I have lived my life and how i will bring it to a fruitful and well meaning finale.