Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Timo A. Bahari

Like father like son??
There is one thing I must admit to myself at the risk of being accused of bragging and that is I have left behind me a few good lookers to take my genes into the future. Here is one prime example sitting somewhere in the Alps his home turf doing his thing and that is my son, Timo. This guy is going places like his dad like it or not as i can see it in him, he has got that far distant look of a Bahari, like th world is not big enough for him to explore and once set loose explore it he will.

Like most of his sibblings, he reads and has a voracious appetite for the books, for knowledge and in his own way he too is on the way to becoming a seeker, one who will never settle for less than what is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but...

Maybe i do not have the right to be, but hell I am a very proud father when I look at his face i see myself in him. I see those years when i was his age groping in the dark trying to fit, to figure out where i belong, taking life with passion and hating it with an even more so. But like him I too grew out of my teen years battered and bruised but flexing my muscles a much stronger person ready to take on the world for whatever it has in store to throw at me.

The creative gene has yet to fully materialise but the seed is already there germinating into what, who knows as he will find his own calling in subject, medium or style when it happens. I know he will excell in his quest to become whyatever it is that he chooses for he has the determination of his mother and the craziness of his father. The fact that he was conceived in a Zen Buddhist monastery only adds to his color in life and character if he so chose it to make it so, his life will never be lacking in as far as his heritage is concern for he is the epitome of East meets West as so are the rest of his sibblings.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life Sketching can be fun...

Doing fast portrait sketches at the MGTF - USM as part of the entertainment activity for visiting school students can be a very rewarding experience as it gives me the opportunity to polish up on my fast sketching skills as well as learn to control my temper. The alter is offcourse having to do with the sometimes crude or smart remarks made by the bystanders and onlookers. In the past i never did like to do any kind of porttrait unless the subject is not aware that i am doing it. As such most of my sketchbooks are full of sketches of people who are doibng what they are doing while not noticing that they were being captured in my sketchbook.

What is good about doing life sketches in such an environment too is the fact that it might benifit one or two wannabe artist in the crowd and on top of that you also get to make a few friends among the younger generation who most probably will remember you for a very long time after all how often do they get to be sketched? No, I dont get paid for what i do at MGTF but it has been going on five years now that i have been hanging out at this Museum as its "Resident Artist'... for whatever it is worth. For me it beats the hell out of having no place to hang out and the option being a coffee shop or a cyber cafe worse comes to the worse. Over a period of time i have been adopted sort of by the staff and earned their respect and trust. One of them even vacated his office space with the computer and so on, (where i am right now), eversince the move to this new office space a year ago.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stirring the Pots

I spent four hours this morning from six am stirring huge pots of curries, chicken, beef, mutton, salted fish, prawns and cuttle fish. It was good to be able to sweat it out that early in the morning but i am beginning to feel my age after awhile. My cousin pays me about fifty RM for the morning's work which helps but not near as enough to stay afloat with my daughter going to the University...such is.
I enjoy doing this for different reasons too other than the fact that it pays and makes you sweat, I take it as a form of serious meditation practice. As I stir the sizzling hot oil with onions and assorted amount of spices such as coriender, anise, nutmeg, ginger garlic, pandan leaves, curry leaves and a host of other stuff that makes a dalca or a 'red chicken curry' or a 'kurma daging' or an ' acar', I would imagine my practice in life to be the same process. I am stirring all my thoughts and my perceptions, my experiences and my beliefs all in one pot and at the end of the day I hope to come out with a well balanced, wholesome and presentable dish of a lifestyle that others can benifit from. While i am stirring the pots my mind is focused on what I was doing as it would be dangerous not to as every stray thought can cause you pain. I have come to notice that everytime my mind drift off into some thoughts that is not related to what i was doing I would be rudely awakened by a splash of hot oil or boiling curry from the pot. I also enjoy the colors that goes into the making of the different type of curries and the textures to go with. The boiling curry sometimes reminded me of hot larva in the caulderon of the volcano and every so often I even felt the presecence of hellfire that would put my soul to an uneasy calm. Then there is the aroma of the different ingredients thrown into the pot all being brought out by the hot boiling oil, it makes all your senses comes to life. The smell of Pandan leaves, lemon grass roots, mashed ginger mixed with garlic, safron, powdered red chilly pepper, tumeric, cumin, annise an the assorted spices from the Alagappa's flour mill! It is said that when you cannot smell the smoke from a snuffed out candle it is one of an indication that death is upon you.
The head chef, the lady in charge of it all, Ana my cousin's wife is a tough act to follow when it comes to cooking for three or four thousand people. This whole catering business would be impossible without her relentless energy and power to organize and religate and deligate people. She has a well focused mind that is almost supernatural when it comes recalling what goes in where and how much especially when there are like six pots of different curries are cooking all at the same time. I only have full admiration and respect for this lady who comes from Balik Pulau and has the humble yet firm and strong character in dealing with others. She is well respected by one and all from her suppliers to her foreign workers who maeks up of Indonesians, Bangladeshis and Vietnamese. Some call her Ma'Cik, some call her Auntie, some call her Kak and some call her Ana, but by whatever name they call her you can sense that there is great respect if not fear when they address her. To me she is an artist by her own right and a damn good one at that for she has mastered her craft like none others and has a thorough understanding of human nature when it comes to dealing with people. In all her humility she would deny this when she is told so, but underneath that small frame or hers lies the iron lady.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Hauris Dancers

After being bumped around from one location to another within the Muzium Gallery walls I have found a small corner to do my painting in peace and quiet among the works of masters like Syed Ahmad Jamal and Chew teng beng and Redza Piyadasa to name a few; I am painting in the permanent collection storage room area.

How long this will last depends on the mood of the Director and the Ghosts that haunts this Heritage building but for now i am fine as i have a small space to call my temporary studio. In all my years as a wannabe artist I have never owned a studio of my own, I am like a Gypsy squatting here and there to do my work.
This painting is taking its time to happen as I am still searching for the mystry that is lurking behind this simple straight foreward imgery. Something that will give it a twist when it is looked at it will boggle the mind or at least make the viewer take a second look at it demanding an explanation.

I do not really enjoy spending too long a time while working on a piece of work whatever the medium or style may be and it is not impatience but more to it than that; it lacks the sense of spontaneity, too involved and predetermined, calculated and controlled? The mind has left the painting a long time ago while the painting is still dragging on unfinished. Just like the artist himself while everyone else his age are retired and playing with their grandchildren, visiting the Holy Land and making final arrangements with God, he is still squatting here and there with not a place to hang his hat and call it his own!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Marissa Bahari

The missing has not really sunk into my system yet but i know it will come sooner or later and it will hit me when i least expect it through some random events or item that we both commonly use. My daughter has since yesterday embarked upon a new phase in her life which i hope will open many doors of experiences for her to encounter. Yesterday My cousin Ahmad Kalam and I dropped her off at the Hostel of the Multi-Midia University at Cyber Jaya and already i feel sorry for her after having to climb to flight of steps to the fourth floor lugging her luggages. How interesting how everything looks nice and inviting on the outside but inside it makes you want to turn around and head for the hills. This small room she will share with two others and I am looking at a leading higher educational institution faciltiy!! Than God I had the sense to further my education in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
But... Such Is.. they say it builds character this toughness that life has to dish out especially at an early age of the game and my daughter i have every confidence will prevail as already when I last text her she had been elected the team leader, for what, I am not sure but...she is out there and Lo and beware she will prevail. If there is anyone in the Bahari family that i can say who is full of determination, marissa will top the bill and I know she is out there with a strong sense of getting what is rightfully hers and in time will start to make things happen in her life as a University Student...the only thing is I will miss my daughter as we have hardly ever been apart eversince she was born, she makes and breaks my heart.

She was born at St. Judes Hospital in the Missions downtown San Francisco, California. My family was living on Second Avenue in the Richmond District about two block from the Golden Gate Park at the time. While in her infant agae we spent alot of time at Rossi Park on Balboa and Guererro Ave where a number of fathers baby sit their children while their spouses were at work, it was the trend then. Marissa was a very active little girl who needed constant attention as she would disappear at the blink of an eye and I will be panic stricken looking for her. At one time i found her way up on the highest point of a climbing structure build for children much older than she was and had she slipped it would have been a painful drop to the ground.

While both my wife and i were working both Karim and Marissa were sent to Angela's Day Care on Fifth Avenue ran by a Chinese family and both she and her brother were well looked after.

When we moved to Sendai, Japan she was two years old and attended the Mukaiyama Yo Chien or Kindergaten which was considered one of the best in the country. Both Karim and her picked up Japanese quite naturally so much so that I had a hard time keeping up with them. In Sendai they were again very well loved by our Japanese friends old and young.

Friday, October 08, 2010

While its still fresh in my mind.

This morning at about 5a.m. I was awaken by someone wanting to get into the compound in order to start cooking for the catering orders of the day, happened before. However my cousin beat me to it and i returned to bed but instead of falling back to sleep i decided to sit in meditation.
As i have always done in the past after settling downinto comfortable rythm of breathing and my mind cleared of nagging thoughts i would pratice the ar tof auto suggestion which i had been practicing for more that thrity years now. I have explained this technique saveral times in the past in saveral of my blog entries I am positive but here i go again;
I tell myself" I am Whole, Perfect, Strong, and Powerful. Loving, Compassionate, Harmonious and Happy! And i can do what i Will to do...So help me God..."
Normally i repeat this for a number of times like a reenforcement, the idea being that I am communicating to my mind what my aspiration is and that it is this Goal that i am trying to achieve everytime I sit. Than if i do drift or got sidetracked from this as i usually do, I would do some Zikhr-ul-Allah.. repeating the 99 names or manifestaitons of Allah which is not much different from my auto suggestion, like AlMighty, The Great, The Compassionate and so on but in Arabic. It helps to draw back my attention into the here and now...sometimes.
However, this morning it dawn on me that I have been going about it wrong!! It was a shock when suddenly out of the blue your mind tells you, hey you should awaken and change this technique, it is not working!! How about I am empty! Empty of my own being, I am a hollow reed through which the Divine breath passes through, I am a stained mirror through eons of accummulation of dirt having been depostied upon my surface. I am trapped within this bag of bones for as long as i am breathing and nothing more and I have fallen asleep deeepr and deeper in this existential realm called Maya or Illusion un- aware. It is time to wake up to what Is. Even if it takes another lifetime of practice I need to liberate this mind from its bondage and with it liberate all those around me!!
I got up, took a cold shower and drove myself to the Jerejak Ferry Terminal where I used to work and waited for the sunrise while it was still dark. There are things not meant to be shared but what i experienced was something long overdue, it moved me body and mind inside out and after a very long time I felt tears running down my face as i was driving...enough said.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Still Many Rivers to Cross..

What is the update in my personal life, my spiritual,psychological, physical as well social outlook these days? As always I fell a sense of lacking, not being active to my fullest and a feeling of stagnation. I feel like i am wasting every minute of my life over things that is beyond or beneath my concern in some circumstances, I feel trapped, my feet nailed to the floor. To me off course these are what i have always felt having lived for the past sixty years, life is lacking in one way or another, like something is always missing, incomplete; what is IT?

It is the grandest illusion, It is the gnawing yearn for something that is not there that which is in itself ungraspable but it is there sitting like a ache in the middle of the chest, sometimes It is worse in intensity than at other times. It is not pain but just a kind of numbness, a sadness. What is IT? It is like a knot, a tangle that is urging me to unravel before i exit this scenario of life itself. Despite all the indulgences and meeting most of my commitments and serving my resposibilities It still sit there, the sense of emptiness, the longing for something unknown. it is like looking for the conclusion to this lengthy blogging but not being able to put my finger on what it is.

The age old question is still valid even more so as I look back over the years of my 'self exile from life', "What am I here for?", or to be more precise, "Who am I?" I realize that none can give me these answers and that It will present Itself in due time perhaps at the end of my days. I thought I had found solace in the from of my religious discovery but this has been like a temporary opiate that has on many occaisions soothed my confused mind, I have practiced intense meditations daily but this too is another form of temporay relief that has bought small doses of peace when I needed it. I have many friends whose respect and companionship has eased my burden in my times of need along the way, but something is lacking, something larger than life for me personally. What is IT?

and the Buddha said, form is emptiness and emptiness is form...the same is true of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, impulses and conciousness...

An echo from the teachings of the Master ....
"Friend, I want to lay the foundation of Truth in your mind and heart. That is the work of life and therefore of the eternal. You have not so far been concerned with that foundation, you have not taken to heart and pondered over that Truth, you have all the time occupied yourself with the past, with small misunderstandings, with the corruption from obedience, with petty loyalties to individuals, with the adoration of passing mediators and gurus. Is it not better to seek the Life eternal that shall nourish you always, than to seek shelters that vary from moment to moment, inviting you to their decay and stagnation?
Friend, believe me, I am saying all this out of the fullness of my heart. Because I am in love with that life which is in everyone, I would free that life; but you do not want that, you want the passing love, the fleeting comfort and the balm that shall heal your momentary pain. You desire what you perceive, but if your perception is limited and conditioned, your desire will be the cause of your sorrow. But if your perception has no limitation, if it is beyond all beliefs and traditions, then your desire will have no limitations, it will be life itself. You are not in love with life; you are in love with the past, and life is not concerned with the past. Life, like the swift running waters, is always going forward and is never still and stagnant."

Saturday, October 02, 2010

MCAT - Seminar

It was held at the Eastin Hotel adjacent to the Queensbay Mall here and it was a success in some ways as it brought together many of those who has the future of the Arts in their in their hearts. I made three proposals including one for LeeKhai who was not able to attend personally in the morning. All three proposals were accepted by those who were present and my graffiti art project was met with the most possibility. Now we sit and wait for the reaction of the tourism Malaysia to respond and how long that will take is anyone's guese.

My final observation, my last two cents worth made just before the closing of the event was to point out to the members present of the fact that they did not have to wait and hope for the outcome to be decided by the tourism department, however we should proceed and do what is necessary for things to happen on our own as it was the first time that we got together and among us we could make things happen. My perception is that art has taken the back seat all these while simply because we could never look beyond fundings and support from the government as such we often become a tool only to be sought after when needed. We had never had the opportunity to get together like we did to hash out our thoughts without placing our self interest ahead and the very commitment we made to be there was an indication that we cared about the future of art as a collective expression and is a potent one when religions and politcs are transcended. Those who are artists and those who support the arts are more often than not are creative thinkers and are more than capable to carry out any project we decied to embark upon. However it is our self serving interest that often stand in the way of accomplishing anything.