Thursday, December 30, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! From Us in Dubai

It is said that life is what you make it to be! So Be It! There is nothing in this world that is stopping a man from achieving that which his heart seeks, nothing that sincerity and humility, faith and determination and alot of creative thoughts and energy cannot accomplish.
Time is an illusion of the movement in space, sooner or later we get there whether to the top or the bottom and space is relative to where you are at, whether you like it or you dont.You can be seventy and stand at the top of Mount Kinabalu among your grandchildren or you can be seventeen moaning and groaning of boredom on the Face Book.

You win some and you loose some, as they say and that is life and at the end of the day it does not really matter whether you win or loose, it is not the end of the journey or the top of the mountain that is life, it is how you get there. It is the journey that makes life.
As another year comes to a close I am happy and sad all at the same time as I see that my journey is sowly but surely winding down to an end. I have more than my share of travelling, experiencing, giving and taking, my share of joys and sorrows, living in this borrowed time and space wishing and hopin that I have amounted to more than occupying space and sucking in air.
My children have each and everyone grown up into their own ways after travelling their own journies along with me part of the ways and it is a good time to untie the thethers and set them along their own paths.
My only wish now is to return to my spiritual path in seeking that which is 'ME' and be prepared to meet that which is my 'Maker'. If there is any possiblities I would wish to travel to Sri Lanka and find a space to meditate on my grandfather's and my father's grounds and later if Allah would have it, I would like to fulfill my pilgrimage to the Holy land.
These are my New Year's resolution, Insha' Allah.

As head of the family, as father to my children, as an artist to my friends and as The Cheeseburger Buddha, I wish the whole Universe in the ten directions, Past, Present and Future, PEACE; JOY AND PROSPERITY!!
Life is only what YOU make it to BE!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Whats Christmas without Giving?

Giving is something more than receiving,. Giving has the authority and a sense pf generousness and charitable power over receiving. The hand the gives stands above the hand that receives but no giving can ever happen when there is none to receive. Hence giving and receiving is like two sides of a coin, they are one.

These acrylic black on white strokes of random sketches I painted for my son at about three a.m. on Christmas Day when my kids were all in bed. They manifested after a long hour of silennt meditation upon waking up in the middle of the night and reflecting upon what was best to cover the walls of his new 'Villa'.

The idea for these works are not new and many artisits throughout history both in the East and west have rendered their own strokes such as these spontaneous epressions in one form or another. In modern term they may be considered as a Zen Art or Taoist mindless inactive action.
Later I found most everyone who came over to the hopuse on Christmas Day and the following liked them very much and one or two offered to buy them! But these were a Christmas gift to my son from an empty mind through inactive action. Capturing a fleeting moment in space and time like the flash of a lightning, now here, now gone!

To my son's mom, my former wife and still my closest friend in spirit, a great Golfer, 'Dune Basher', Sky and Scuba Diver, A Globe Trotter and a great mother and Extrordinary Teacher...
A special gift to salute her accomplishments in life.
Yes, her black cat sitting facing a golf ball on a 'Tee' facing in the Distant the tallest building in the world in Dubai and the words read..."To the Top...9 Iron.

Faye M.Batey flew in from the cold German winter to celebrate Christmas of 2010 in Dubai with us. In years to come if this blog still exist as it should in cyberspace, this moment in the lives of the Baharis is forever remembered...this is giving and receiving...and 'Unconditional Love prevails., on yet another Christmas day.

Christmas In Dubai

...and what is Christmas without turkey! What is Christmas without family and friends?
This is Capt. Jack 'Falcone' (not Sparrow) of the Emerates Air and his family, a 'Jack of all trade' and an Ice Hockey Goalee.

I have never a better Turkey than this that was prepared by Steve, another Emerates Air Pilot, and I have had some turkies in my days celebrating 21 years of Christmas in the US.

Yeah... you got it Bro! Let that Turkey fly my man!!

Meanwhile at the neighbour's, Sandy and naz were busy Christmas Eve making sure the steaks were according to what was ordered, Rare, medium rare, ...burnt!!

My son Karim stuck to drinking cold water all evening no amount of persuasion could get him to try wine or Rum and Coke! Way to go Karim! Stick to your principles like a man!

This is what it is all about, where parents were being honored and entertained by their children, this is the Christmas tradition where joy and happiness is shared among loved ones to remind eachother of the bond of human interpersonal relationship and the unity of man.

..and Boys will be boys no matter how old they are!

Hi! I am Naz's mom I just flew in from Germany, but I am originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin!
Hi! I am Sandy's Mom I juat flew in from in from England but i am originally from New Zealand.!

The Baharis Golfing in Dubai

Thats right, lead the way Karim, look at how tall the kid is, and Naz's Mom the Golf instructor is following right behind....
Thats right... you the woman! Why sweat hitting balls when you can sit and pretend you are on vacation in Dubai!

I used to be a caddy in my younger days! Yessir! I was a caddy for H.H. the Sultan of Terengganu the late Sultan Ismail Naseruddin Shah, grandfather to the present King in Malaysia. That was the closest I came to golfing.

Thats right keep swinging, you are bound to hit it right sooner or later. If not in this life maybe in the next, this is what golf is all about.
Hey~! if the Tiger can do it... so can all of you...theres alot of balls to wack around!

2010 Christmas in Dubai

Two chefs prepared a splendid dinner for the christmas eve get together with Steve and his wife Lucia at their home. Steve flies and Lucia is a cabin crew for the Emerates Air.
My eldest grinning with his wine while my two other kids sat timidly with their mint water. When Karim had this picture on his Face book one of his Muslim friends in Penang commented that he was showing the face of a drunk, judging that Karim too was drinking alcohol. Yeah we tried to get him to taste wine but he refused, good for him.

Cheers! To Happiness and to Peace for all Mankind wherever and whoever they may be...AVVERY MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH A HO HO HO!

Steve is a connosuere when it comes to being a chef, here he is making desert with fried bananas and ice cream.
Steaks! There are ways of preparing a steak and no one chef prepares it in the same manner whether over a grill or a skillet. Nothing is worse than spoiling a good steak from not knowing how to get it just right. When it comes to steak I believe the Americans have it down pad.

The Christmas tree!! No Christmas without one and in the background is my painting done the last time I visited Dubai for Steve while he was living in the old apartment at the Manafel Towers. The only surviving mural pieces I did as the rest were asked to be painted over by the owner when the pilots moved tho their new residence. Steve was the only smart one who asked it to be done on a combination of many canvases.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Castles in the Sand

You rarely see thiss kind of luxury in Kuala Lumpur or Penang but here in Dubai just about every other vehicle that passes you by on the highway is bound to turn your head around.
Thursday nights you get to see or hear them roar along the multi- laned highways most are probably driven by young Emeratis whose life is a bowl of peach when it comes to wealth and what it affords.

The Marina itself was like Monte Carlo or somewhere in the Floridas where boats worth more than the average homes found in Malaysia are moored alongside each othere. Just to maintian these luxury is enought to make your economic head spin.

There is so much wealth showcased in one place like I have rarely seen before and it makes you wonder at the meaning of it all this existence that we call living. It makes me feel guiltyinside to even be here knowing that I cannot afford to pay my rent where i came from!! But live and let live as for every down there is always an upper all a matter of time if one so desires. To exist on downers alonecan be one hell of a boring existance and to be on the upper all the time will be as equally monotonous as there is no rythm whatsoever to your life.

The house of cards, thats what my son viewed Dubai to be whe I asked him how long will all these last as we drove around the Desert City of dreams. I felt like I was in a fantasy land, a chapter of the Arabian Nights being told of a Khalifa who once had a dream of raising a Mega City outof the Sands.

A part of me admires the audacity of the rulers whose vision has become a reality in manifesting such a futuristic city upon a piece of land that was once simply a desert area. However when I had the opportunity to have sen the whole city it struck me as the whole idea is preposteros and a grand waste of money and resources. I asked my son who are going to occupy those buildings and he said he has no idea but ll he knew is that most people who have made a residence of tis city, the expatriates are leaving.
At least I told my son they could install solar panels on top of all these bildings it might save them alot of energy in the long run. He agreed,however he said this one thing about the locals, they will never listen to anyone and themslves are very short sighted. One positive step that have shown a difference in my opinion about the environment is the fact that alot of grenery have started to take root all over the City. Perhaps tis might make a difference I told my son. If they keep this up there might be a significant change in the whole environment, for better or worse.The weather itself might get affected by the prescence of the trees and green pastures.

We drove by another almost completed group of residence area and I asked if theses were the low cost housing area and my son said yes, more for the higher income bracket of foreign workers like secretaries and hotel and motel employees but not too many are occupied and most probably never will be. Why? Cant you smell that sewage!! Who would like to endure living within the area with that raw shit smell!! I took a whiff out of my window and sure enough, theres that fammiliar smell that I used to take in while driving along the Jelutung Highway in Penang while they were building the present sewage plant. Most homeowners would want to make sure that the toilets in their homes work efficiently and most city dwellers would like to make make sure that their sewage facility is up and running as a priority. Otherwise shit happens, shit hits the fence, shit is not something one would compromise with while choosing a home.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Honoring my Father

What must my father had felt when he got himself to Penang from Sri Lanka some eighty years ago? He was a body builder and a prize fighter other than a well sought after Goldsmith having worked for De Silva Jewelries. He claimed to have designed and mounted a three hundred pieces of diamonds on a pendant for the 'first queen" or Permausuri Agong of Malaysia and had shown me the black and white picture which he showed me with pride a long time ago. He also claimed that he had been comissioned to do a one foot tall solid gold sculpture of the Hindu God 'Lord Murugan" which till this day is transported from the Temple in the 'Little India' district of Georgetown to the Botanical Gardens temple for the Thaipusam or Kavadi Celebration. I distinctly remeber him telling me with pride that the idol is no more as shiny as when he worked on it if I looked at it today, it will be black in color from som much cows' milk being poured over it over the years by the devotees. I mad saveral journies myself to view this statue over the years and everytime i look at it my father's image came to my mind and I only felt sadness as I reflected his life in the country he chose to live and die.
. My father was a great artist by his own right, a Goldsmith who was one of the last of his kind whose methods was from the old ways where very litlle if not no machines nor technology were involved in the creating of his works. I had the opportunity to watch him for years absorbed in his own world of creating pieces of handcrafted jewelries for the Royal Family in Kuala Terengganu. From a piece of gold bar the size of a two to three inch long pencil he would forge it into tiny links of a chain for a necklace and the remaining into a a pendant to go with. Each link painstakingly done using the arhaic tools including the foot operated bellows for the torch burner. Sometimes i could feel the the tears of frustration in his eyes when he over burn or melt the gold more than he needed to and had to start all over again.

My father was one of the most patient man that I have come to know now that i am approaching his elderly life and having succumed to alcoholism was his escape and downfall. It had torn him from the respect he could have well deserved from his children if not his wife. In all the years I had lived with him after being readopted into my immediate family at the age of twelve, I had come to know my father and felt the inner duffering of one who had given up hope and country to survive in another man's land. Despite his shortcomings, my father was well respected and loved by those who knew him for his reseved and gentle nature. In a way they had honotred his creative ability as a 'Master Golsmith" and overlooked his weakness.

I write this this early in the morning in Dubai because I felt my father's prescence when I woke up and found the black and whit picture of me placed in a folder by my oldest son. I also realized how much I wish to make a trip to Sri Lanka to feel the roots of my father's and my grandfather's heritage. I have been told that there is no cjance of tracing back my bloodline on my fathe's side but it would be just as rewarding for me to understand where he came from for my own self discovery of who I am.
In his letter written to me to inform me of my father's death, my eldest brother wrote "with the passing away of our father a capter in the history of this family has come to an end..." I was angered by this comment from him at the time but i understood his implication e needed to erase the Singhalese-ness in us and embrace the Malay-ness!! But life and its ironies...when my two children got their 'Newly issued Malaysian Birth Certificates' thye were both included as Singhaleses!! I did not paid attention to this untill my daughter asked me out of the blue, "Hey dad, whats a Singhalese?" The spelling in the birthcertificate itself was wrong but I knew waat it meant. SUCH IS!!!
Henceforth I am proud to be a Singhalese even if the rest of my family claim themselves as Malays.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The CB Buddha in Dubai

The 'Limo Crossing" at the Mina Seyahi on The Dubai Marina. can you spot the limo in the background trying to make a turn? The Emerates/Dubai Duty Free Power Boats Grand Prix was held. Class 1 World Champions Nader Bin Hendi and Arif Al Zafeen of the FAZZA team won the race.
Surprisingly the crowd was not what one would expect for such an event and the entrance being free of charge to the public. But my family and I had a great treat to the one of a kind event on such a pleasent day in Dubai.

I was more thrilled by the sound of the power boats than anything else as it was a roar of raw power of man and machine.... And there goes the Abu Dhabi Boys!! They tried ...but they could not keep up with the Fazza Kids.

The Dubai Marina Bay area is a state of the art facility harboring such collection of yatchs from all over the world. 15 years ago there was only a scattered number of fishing villages and small harbours along this coastal! Its like there is no more room to squeeze in another dhow.

The Power Boats getting ready to head out to the starting point for the racing event of the day.
Someday when you look back you can always say, I was there when it all happened...the birth of a City by the sea...a bunch of castles built on sand the Las Vegas of the Gulf States, the Tampa Bay of the Emerates.

It is a parking lot for the rich and famous and they come from all corners of the world to be where it is the shifting sands of time.

Yeah! I wish it was mine too, but Idont think I can even afford a tyre off this thing.

The mushroom of sky scrapers growing out of the sand of what once used to be the desert is fueld by the black gold the lay beneath the ground. It took the creative imagination and the will to carry it out for this skyline to come into being.

It is an illusion of grandiour but it is a symbol of material wealth for symbolizes the triumph of the human endeavour to create a thing of beauty and power, it is a Ferrari!!
Yep, my kind of vehicle, big and strong and red in color, says it all. Keep your distance and mind your own business, the road is mine.