Thursday, June 30, 2016

Through the years of my Blogging, since 2005, I have maintained that my prime concern with life is to turn all the negative into positive; events, experiences, self inflicted errors, bad habits and all else that has been my faults. I cannot turn back time to erase these wrongs nor can i repay all my debts to all those who I owe them to in one form or another, nor am I going to justify to myself of make excuses for my past actions, but I will do my best to make it my intention in cleaning up my slate by doing what i have been doing through my Blogging. I will keep on writing all that arises in my mind of past present and future such that it will help for me to understand myself better and come to know: Who Am I.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record I will keep on repeating this 'Mantra', that I will not forget this purpose i owe to my life and existence and to all those I have wronged in the past in one way or another. This writing has taken a life of its own over the years, it has become something more than just a diary/biography of who i am  This writing has become  more than just a confessional, it has become my means of laying it all out before the Universe, before God, before that which Is as a form of record of atonement and self purification. Simply put, it is my way of baring myself naked before the Whole. My ultimate goal is to attain to my Spiritual Awakening and my Complete Enlightenment and leading to my Final Liberation from this state of ignorance. I will continue on this journey till my last breath, existing every minute of the day in investigating all that transpires within and without of myself, observing my thoughts as they manifest themselves and making all effort in maintaining my posture as a 'Truth Seeker', for lack of better term.
While travelling through the three South Western States of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado sometime in 1978-79, I made it an effort to stop at every Native American National Monument Areas to savor the depth of their Spiritual Quest. I sat alone at night on top of a Mesa close by to, "The City of Rocks', National Monument at Almo, New Mexico. I might have written of this experience sometime somewhere in my Blog because it was an experience that I cannot forget easily: it was my Vision Quest of sorts. I stood stark naked underneath a glorious starlit sky and held my arms out to pay homage to the 'Great Spirit' and listened to the coyote sang in the distant Prairie around below me.  I felt safe, I felt the awesomeness of the Universe around me and I felt like a fool watching a family of Prairie chicken parade two feet away from where i sat, led by the mother hen and I am sitting on top of a Mesa, (table top mountain) a hundred feet or so from the ground. Where did they come from and why are they not afraid of me, where did they go?
I realized that he Universe often enough talks to you and if you listen well it will reveal to you the mysterious that you normally would fail to notice. If you ask with genuine interest to know sometimes the answers will come to you in the least ways of your expectation; prairie chickens!

The State of the Nation. -in a nutshell

Sometime yesterday our Chief Minister, Mr. Lim Guan Eng was arrested accused of corruption involving the purchase of a banglo for himself. There goes the man with the 'Tunnel vision', Guan Eng wants to built an underwater tunnel liking Penang to the Mainland, an additional means of getting across tot he island after the second bridge being constructed. He intends to leave a legacy behind in no small way perhaps name it after his father, Lim Kit Seang. Be as it may, I like both of them as both father and son are fighters in the political arena the few left who can provide a check and balance against the Najib led Malaysian Government. Ever since 'the Tiger of Jelutong', the late Karpal Singh has departed and the former Deputy Primemininster, Anwar Ibrahim has been safely shoved back into the prison, and the PAS leadership playing both ways left and right. ther is fewer and fewer opposition team left to make sure of an equalizer in the running of the country.
Like what was said by the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir, the country is going to the dogs economically and democracy is becoming a dictatorship under the unstoppable Najib Tun Razak rule. Malaysia has become a rouge nation if not a failed one in the eyes of many Western countries and the 'Rakyat' are still oblivious to what is going on. The state of the nation is one of unpredictability and we are headed for a major disaster if nothing is done to steer her clear off the perilous waters ahead. Most of the people, especially the Muslim Malay community and especially the government employees are still existing in denial living within their comfort zones playing it safe not to rock the boat of political uncertainties.
We Malaysians are indeed living in our dark moment in history of the country and i am making this entry just so i would not accused of failing history in my lengthy account about my life and times. There is indeed too much corruption all around from top to bottom and the ones that suffers most are those at the bottom of the food chain, the poor and the destitute and those on the verge of loosing everything they had dreamed of achieving. Suicide cases are indeed on the rise and road rage is becoming a common phenomena. What holds the fragile link between the different races that makes up this country is slowly eroding with decadence and despair. The trust between races are being compromised at a scale worse than prior to the May13th.1969 incident. We are indeed living on top of a powder keg about to blow up in our faces , only this time it would be so big a bang that we might never recover from it.
It looks like up to date no one side is going to give in as the politicians are going for their guns but none is really doing any shooting yet. Most are taking pokes at the other still unsure what it is all about as the government bureaucracy makes it almost impossible for transparency in what is truly happening.
However as my friends at the fisherman's jetty said, it is the fasting Month and this is just one more test the Lord has given us to deal with. Worse come to worse we will soon run out of options and the country will take a nose dive into yet another ocean or we might cease to exist as a Nation as we owe everyone around us so much that in order to repay all the debts we owe we might have to mortgage the country itself. I genuinely hope we will find a way out sooner than later before shit hits the fans.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Taking the next Leap of Faith.

It is as though every time i approach the edge and about to take that leap of faith into the unknown i find myself pulled back by some form of attachment or some form vexation to this realm of my existence. These phenomenal experiences have strong holds on me often enough as they involves the ones i love most and care about at the present moment in my life. There are times when i felt like taking a blind leap into the abyss and merge into the unknown of what lies before me, within and without. But i have been holding myself back for whatever reason and it seems like it is becoming a form of procrastination, or perhaps i am becoming cold with comfort of existing in my present state of mind and well being. I know i will need to take that flight soon before i am stuck for good in this rut and unable to break myself free from the tedium of growing old and dying in my bed not having fulfilled my journey of liberation from this realm of mind created existence.
I have to free myself from flip flopping back and forth between this and that, right and wrong and have the courage to let it all go as I had more than once in my past intended to do but for one reason of another faltered and regressed. I know i have to take that final leap and not look back and it will have to be soon as i feel my life winding down with chest pains and what ever else going on within my physical form. I am getting tired more easily and my muscles aches all over from lack of movement. My eyes are cloudy like i am  walking in haze covered landscape, I need to visit the Optometrist or adjust to the changes as i know i cannot afford the cost in my present financial state and it does not really worry me the lose of my eyesight gradually as i have seen enough, more than my share with them, perhaps it is a blessing that i start seeing less as i get into my old age. 
As for my children, both of them have made their choices to leave home and embark upon their own journey and I am confident that they will both learn to survive on their own without my being around to prop then up every time they made the wrong turn. They have grown up tough and perhaps even as wise as the old man and are a source to be reckoned with in their own ways. I have led them thus far to the water's edge, it is up to them to drink or not to where knowledge, belief or faith is concern; the choice to be is theirs as this Blogging itself is testimony of my commitment to all four of my children and perhaps my daughter in law too. What they choose to make of it all is entirely up to them, however it was my intention when i was asked to do it, to write all my thoughts down for better or worse, good or not so, right or wrong, that those who will come after me can benefit in some small way from this ramblings.

I need to have a Show soon!

The Malay Artist Gallery, on Chulia Street, Goergetown, Penang

Viewing my Solo Exhibition.

Works were installed by MGTF Crew.

My cousin Ahmad kalam in Bright Yellow Batik shirt.

Sometimes you just have to resort to the old ways.

I had a mini Satori again last night when i dropped by to pay a visit to my buddies at the fisherman's jetty off the Jelutong Freeway. Upon arrival at the location I was feeling my worse attack of 'gastritis' which i subscribe partly to the fasting and irregular intake of food or any one of those causes i cannot or care not to fathom anymore these days. After being offered the local brew of 'air Ketum' a drink made from a plant that in the old days was taken as a herbal remedy for many an ailments by the locals all over the rural areas and also well known for its ability to generate a little extra energy for those who labored in the rice fields and brave the hot sun and waves fishing off the coasts, air ketum has today become one of those 'Drugs' that the government are seriously taking action against for its abuse by the young.

Pokok Ketum, juga dikenali sebagai Pokok Biak (bahasa InggerisKratom), ialah sejenis tumbuhan daripada famili Rubiaceae yang banyak terdapat di Afrika, di utara dan tengah Semenanjung Malaysia serta di selatan Thailand. Di Thailand, pokok ini dipanggil Kakuam, Ithang atau Thom, di Amerika Syarikat pula sebagai KratomNama botaninya Mitragyna speciosa korth.

The Ketum also known as Biak in some parts of the country plant is found in several parts of the world including African countries, in the Northern and central Malaysia and in Southern Thailand where the Thais calls it Kakuam, Ithang and Thom, while in the United States it goes by the name of Kratom. Its Botanical name is Miragyna speciosa korth. The leaves are boiled and drank and it has a terribly bitter taste to it, and so it is often drank with a chaser, like Coke or some other sweet bottled drink or coffee. It does gets you 'high' if drank excessivly but for me half a glass got rid of my chest pains after a solid burp or two. While working in the hot sun weeding at the organic farm i was offered to partake in drinking the Ketum drink and yes it help to promote that extra energy from within which I did not realize i had. I feel lighter in my head after taking a glass and finds it easier to fall asleep at night. I do this only when the opportunity presents itself and the need for it is not addictive as I have a hard time with the taste.
Again like most natural 'drugs' found in the plant world, there is use and there is abuse and many today especially the younger generation users are falling prey to over indulgent in this substance becoming dependent on it till it consumes them. Anyway back to my mini Satori or minor revelation story, i partake too smoking a joint being passed around and after a few tokes I felt my body began to unravel as the pains started to materialize in all forms and from all parts of my body including and especially the mind. I did not realize how much pain i was in and how tight my body was all wound up and how much tension I had in my mind. So i began doing what i would normally do when I get stoned, I sit and i breath deeply and slowly till I find my center and worked out all the sources of my aches and pains and watched them drop off like sour fruits. As it normally does, my physical body starts its 'Yogic' routine of stretching and flexing all my muscles and realigning my bones only this happens almost effortlessly being under the influence of the Marijuana and the 'Air ketum, combined.
After having gone through the whole works and witnessed by the group who paid half their attention on the religious
 talk show on TV and having being used to my 'weird' motions and exercises, I found myself much lightened and relieved from all the aches and pains, I felt rejuvenated and I realized how so wrapped i had been for the last few weeks dealing with issues at home and then came the fasting to compound the pressure, it was a miracle i did not suffer a heart attack. My realization was that I had gathered so much knowledge about self discovery and consciousness and all the rest of it, but i failed to put any to practice. I kept getting hijacked by all the trappings around me and almost collapse from over burdening myself with useless and non essential issues; I forgot how to breath and let go. I told this to my close friend and he said it is a test of the Month of Ramadan.


Educating the Young Minds is one Option we have.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My faith in Islam.

Spiritually making what others think or feel I feel like i have been regressing into allowing for compromising myself to please those around me than being true to who I am or have come to know myself to be. All the years of deep research and practices on my own or with the help of my teachers and Gurus seems to mean less and less important although deep in my heart i still experience the transcendence truth that i have reached at some levels whereby I know who or what i truly am and what my spiritual beliefs and understanding are in essence. One of the primary cause of this regression is perhaps this need to please those around me, to make them feel like I belong and that their ways are the right path i should follow which in this case the Islamic faith. Again let me reemphasize here that i have arrived at accepting Islam as my religion or faith and it has been not because i was converted into it or because i have read or listened to anyone's views of it, I am a Muslim by choice arrived at through my journey of self discovery.
Having lived almost half my life in the West as well as in Japan, I have tasted, investigated, researched and analyzed all the other faiths and religious beliefs without fear of being accused as an apostate. On one of my visit home from the US some years ago my twin brother drove me all the way to KL from Kuala Terengganu, a journey that took five to six hours more of less. We hardly spoke a word all the way until we approached the outskirts of KL when he turned around and told me that I could be killed for having practiced Buddhism and the other religious faith as i was a Muslim back then. I did not say much as i knew it would only led to bigger arguments between us. Later at his home in KL he again raised the issue and this time he was even more serious. By then I realized that I will always remain an outcast among my Muslim brothers and sisters and that I have to resolve this one way or another.
To make such a choice of faith is not something that can happen overnight for a man like me who has more than one ax to grind about life as I have known it growing up into adulthood. I blame no one but my own ignorance that I have been led down this path in life, now that i have aged and approaching the pearly gates, I have arrived at my own conclusion somewhat as to what or where my faith lies in and no man can tell me who, how or when to pray without my consent and if I do it is only out of respect for those I love and look up to and for what they believe.
I have always said when asked what my religion is, that I am a Christian if you are, a Buddhist if you are, a Hindu, a Muslim a Jain, a Bahai, if you are; my God has no religion, as the Mahatma said. before anyone point his or her finger at me, i ask that they look very closely at their own finger if it is stainless and pure. The Prophet of Allah had warned that those who point a finger in accusation of fault to be mindful that the other four fingers are pointing right back at them... right or wrong, WallahuAllam, only the Lord knows.   

Sunday, June 26, 2016

And the fasing Must go on.

It has been a dragging kind of fasting month for me as i weigh back and forth what and why I am as I am not truly in sync with what is going on as far as the fasting goes. I know I should be more serious about this holy month in carrying out the precept laid down by the holy book and all but my heart is still not into it and it is not because i cannot stand hunger or resist from looking at a nice piece of S without imaginations. I feel like there is something not quite right about it all and i just cannot put my finger on it. Last Friday as I sat listening to the Imam hammered out fiery words from the pulpit I was again turned off by the fact that he had nothing new to say but repeated that same old stories with new twists and turns and ended out with lashing at those who failed to fill up the 'saf' or lines for the Taraweh prayers He kept shouting out how lazy we have become for opting out to do 8 'rakaats' instead of the 21 prostrations as this particular mosque had chosen to do. I simply do not attend the taraweh prayers anymore like I used to. 
Yes i am sure many would frown upon my lack of piety and be ready to point out how my life has been full of errors and failures due to perhaps this lacking of faith in God. In God I have faith, but in Muslims in general I have lost most o what I admired on Islam as a Religion. During this month again I will be made to pay my Zakat or tith which is not much by comparison as far as taxes goes. In Malaysia millions if not billions are collected every year by the religious department, so, why do we find Malay Muslims living in abject poverty  all over he country? It is calculated that if all the money collected were to be disbursed to the public wisely all Muslims in this country can live comfortably. So where do all the money goes, other than building more mosques and suraus that half the time id left empty?
More and more 'Ustazs' or religious teachers are appearing on TV and videos giving their two cents worth at how to live life according to the Prophet of Allah, Not according to how they live themselves but the Prophet, and if you look at how much they make for every 'ceramah' or religious talk they give you think they are no better than the Evangelist like Billy Graham, though not so affluent as yet. Like David Barton, many Muslim Gurus are making their influential status among the 'Ummah' or the congregation as a stepping stone into politics and in this country's case , via PAS, the Majority Muslim opposition Party in Malaysia. Most of these Ustaz or religious teachers are products of the MIddle eastern Universities such as Al Azhar and are no bout intelligent  if not slick in their approaches, through threats, cynicism laced humor all rolled into one. Then there are the 'entertainers' like the 'soul brothers' group in the West crooning religious verses from the Quran to pacify the masses at a lucrative price. Islam like most major religions of the world has become a big business. Muslims may abhor Christmas celebrations or even Valenyine's Day and Birthdays, but it sure has got the Month of Ramadan and the days of celebration that follows as equally commercialized. The Hari Raya Aidil Fitri has become another massive commercial industry that rivals Christmas. New cloths are being ordered and food and drinks requested a month ahead of the event. In short the amount of money spent is phenomenal; at least by those who are fortunate enough to afford it.
But this is not what bothers me about the religion as it has nothing to do with the teachings and as a matter of fact most are counter to the teachings. What aches me is this feeling of something is not right within me, my own mental perceptions of the religion when looked with keener eyes and consciousness. I know i do not deny the fact that I am a servant of my Maker, the Lord of the Universe its Creator, but i have doubts about the rituals and practices, like going to Mecca for the pilgrimage; here's the most lucrative business industry in the world today and the Saudis harvest wealth much richer than oil. What do they do with all that they have collected? WallahuAllam! Only Allah knows. All in all Islam is a great business package that benefits the religious as well as the corrupt, but my doubts comes from deeper source within my heart which as yet I am still looking for the answers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy Father's Day to me

I have listened to as many spiritual talks as i can on You Tube simply to keep reminding me that i must not allow for external events in my life take precedence over my inner sense of being who I am. During this Fasting Month of Ramadan my mind is pretty much preoccupied by the turn of events involving my two children who have now attain to adulthood and are in the process of cutting their chords and freeing themselves from my influences in their lives. As much as i look forward to their embarking upon a life of their own, I still feel a sense of attachment to them concern over their well being once they are on their own. However i also feel that both my son and daughter are more than ready to face the life on their own as they have proven in character to be rational and respectful of others, caring if not compassionate to a certain degree when dealing with those less fortunate than themselves,
There is no doubt in my mind that their characters and personality has yet to evolve that they may mature to the fullest of their capabilities that is inherent in them; that is for them to find out, seek out and actualize. It is for them to iron out all their petty grievances that life has ditched out through their lives thus far and the sooner they are able to let go of as much of these useless baggage the sooner will they come to terms of who they truly are and what their potential for success in this life can be. As it is both my children are still carrying scars of their negative childhood experiences through parental upbringing, peer pressures as well as spiritual and secular educational conditioning. 
The sooner they are able to see through these shortcomings and move beyond their negative impact the greater are their chances of becoming creative and productive with their lives. However if they keep carrying the baggage of their past negative experiences like badges on their chest, it would be very unfortunate for them as from my own personal experience I have realized how detrimental these have been for my own well being throughout my life. I have tried through my writings to shed as much light upon this important aspect of life and how the mind feeds upon the negative more so than the positive if it is allowed to do so, 
In his teachings, the Tibetan spiritual teacher Trungpa Rinpoche had at one time spoke of how one uses all the good and bad experiences of one's past as a compost or manure for our future spiritual growth. Collecting all the accumulation of our past trials and tribulations and mixing them all together like in a pot and fermenting them till they are ready to be reused as compost for the field, new and healthy thoughts and ideas can be fomented from them, just as one would recycle food waste to turn into fertilizers. I sincerely hope that my children can see through this and act accordingly. Life is too short to dwell upon what has been and too precious to waste trying to untangle what cannot be untangled; the past is always food for the future. 
My thoughts on this Father's Day is simply that they would drop the senseless and grab hold of the sensible. Remain in the present and build towards the future. For whatever it is worth, I am proud to be a father to all my four children. I may not have been the best but i have tried to be a good father in my own way.      

Saturday, June 18, 2016

'Mat rempit' - 'Hell's Angels' of Terengganu.

Arrived back in Georgettown, Penang this morning after taking a short trip back to Terenggnau to visit my friend Mohd. Rafi who had an accident and the rest of my family. Rafi was on a motorcycle with his youngest boy when they came up face on with three 'Mat Rempits," Motorcycle racing maniacs very well known in Kuala Terengganu. These kids often under the influence of the cheapest and often the most mind bending drugs would race down the road at break neck speed performing hellish acrobatics while riding their bikes. I had the experience of picking up brains scattered all over the road at one time while living out near the Airport in Telaga Batin sometime in 1990s to 2004. These 'Hell's Angels' on their small bikes would roar back and forth in front of my house till wee in the morning hours depriving comfortable sleep to the neighborhood. I took it upon myself to declare 'war' on these characters.
Dressed in dark cloths and armed with a 'sling shot' or catapult, I hid in the bushes by the roadside and ambush them every time they zoom by and eventually they gave up after not knowing what kept hitting them. Rumor had it the the stretch facing my house back then was haunted by a black figure seen every now and then disappearing into the jungle nearby. Every weekend especially on Fridays, these suicide riders would be racing up and down the main road leading out of town right where my nephew's bakery is located and it used to be hundreds of spectators would line the road to watch and cheer these mindless 'daredevils.' According to my nephew it has become  a whole lot less now since the community took the trouble to reach out and communicate with them on the evils of mindless racing. Most of these youths comes from poor Malay families and for lack of better things to do,were trapped into this hellish sport. (look on You Tube for 'Mat Rempit').
 What happened to my friend and his son was another mindless incident that has plagued the State if not the Nation as illegal racing has become a land mark sport or way to commit suicide among the 'lost' and 'stoned' youth of the nation. Mohd. Rafi and his son got off easy fortunately as he slowed down on seeing the oncoming rider who had laid flat on his stomach across the bike while speeding towards him. He suffered minor injuries and so did his son, however the trauma I am sure would linger on. One of my nephews some years ago died from similar accident and he was only sixteen then. I know a family that lost two sons from the racing, they were racers.  


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Still fasting Away!

Six days into the month of Ramadan and i am still grappling with my faith, belief system right understanding of what is right and what is wrong with me, how do I accept myself as who I am without involving in didactic or intellectual discourse over this whole issue about 'knowing who I am or who you are.'  In essence still not having thorough understanding of who I am ,how do I worship Allah? Who is worshiping, who is praying and who am I praying to? I am naive perhaps but this is my recurring mind trip when it comes to faith and religion. That does not mean that I have chosen to  neglect them of the rituals and practice that is required of them, like fasting and praying five times a day. I try to fulfill these but not as often enough unfortunately. But i am aware my mind would dwell on these issues like there is no rest to it once the subject begins and i know at the same time how futile an effort to try and untangle the tangles.
JUSTFICATIONS!! All my life I have been justifying myself and trying to convince myself that i can achieve the state of emptiness within this lifetime whereby I merge with my Maker and become One. This fasting month I have been awakened to the truth about Islam and the teachings of the Prophet of Allah about the fasting Month. The Month of Ramadan is one of the most trying month for mankind; it has always the most for me. This is the time when my beliefs and the question of my faith 'Tawakal' in Allah comes to the front stage and I am still at a loss as to how can i become absolutely one with my Maker where there is 'None but Allah,' and 'I am- No more.' occurs even like the flash, of lightning that rips the skies of illusions set my 'Self' if not my 'Mind', free from this state of being who i truly am. I look in the mirror i see my face, my self, how I manifest physically, then I take step back and i manifest my mental formations of who I am, and as i steep further back i see who i have become and as i take yet another step back i am looking at myself  melting away into space as atoms and strings of consciousness, and as i step back even further i see myself  as tiny atom floating in space among many atoms large and small and I am lost in space. In this state of consciousness i raise my heart to Allah and declare that I am but His servant, from Him I have come and to Him shall I return, Insha'Allah.  This is how and when I am most closest to Him, I pray in these moments when I am most empty of my doubting mind, while there rest of the time I am at 'War' with my Lord. It is not a war between enemies, heavens forbid, it a war between father and son. between husband and wife, a war of justifications, of right understanding.
In the words of  Sadguru."Believe essentially comes still because humanity has not become sincere enough to come to this. What i know, I know, What i do not know i do not know. Everything you do not know you must believe because believe gives you confidence, clarity will lead you towards understanding. Confidence without clarity can be disastrous."...You Tube.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Nancy.

It is my late wife's birthday today, may she rest in peace with the Lord. A piece of me was taken when she left Malaysia with my two children accompanying her back to the United States to be looked after by the doctors there on what was her problem. She was diagnosed as having Alzheimer's or in her case as rapid dementia a more vigorous form of the disease. I looked into her eyes as she walked through the transit lounge at KLIA and felt the pain in my heart as my wife looked at me with despair; I felt hopeless and helpless. I should have been on the plane with her but due to the 911 incident I was not allowed to accompany her without a visas processed which would take two months. My wife did not have two months as she was rapidly slipping into darkness. 
I give credit to my two children for being able to deliver their mother safely to my mother in law's home where she was admitted into a nursing home there in Waterloo, Illinois. They were about twelve and thirteen years of age then but had done enough travel that I trusted them with their sick mother and allot of prayer that she would not suffer any attacks on the plane all the way from Kuala Lumpur to St Louis. My children were later sent back to me in Malaysia by their grandmother as she could not handle all three under the circumstances, a sick mother and her two children. Their moving back to Malaysia meant I had to find a place for them and work on getting them in school. Fortunately i got a job working for Jerejak Resort and Spa in Penang.
I knew I would not be seeing my wife again when we last looked into each other's eyes with tears ready to spill at the transit lounge of KLIA , but in my heart I told myself as thought i was telling her that no matter what i will look after the kids till they are of age. This I have done although not to best of my ability but my two children are now adults and are doing fine as adults can be. The suffering my wife and I had to endure throughout our lives together I will take to the grave with me as it is not worth sharing the details that only two people can understand to make any sense. For better or for worse I know i loved my wife as best i could and had remained faithful to her from the beginning till the end.    

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Living in Daly City -San Francisco - 2

I was working for a Produce Buyer and as part of my job it was to drive a produce truck to the San Francisco Produce Martket at around midnight and fill up my orders for the next morning.. After I have completed my purchasing I would  drive all the way across the bay bridge to Rockridge Mall where i would stack all the produce i bought in the cooler there. 

In the day time i would find my way to my favorite haunts like the Green Gulch farm and hang out there with my friends. Sometimes i would hang out at the Golden gate park to do some sketching there.

I did this sketch off a painting on the wall of my dentist a Dr, Ringrose who place two caps on my molars on the left hand side of  my jaw that is till this day still intact after almost thirty odd years, however the real teeth underneath are being infected and starting to decay, causes me pain when I chew.

A section of the Rockridge Mall where I would do my unloading of the produce after my night purchase at the SF produce market. I worked for Del Tomaaso produce.

Most of my time when not moving around was spent at the back yard of the house on Delrose Court in Daly City a place i rented a room along with an Architect and his Filipino Girlfriend. Tom Thompson was a very hyperactive character who  had allot to share.

 Allot of my time was also spent at the Museum of Natural History in the Golden gate park of SF. I spent my time studying all the stuffed animals behind the glass cases. I would spend hours sitting on the floor doing these sketches while being observed by onlookers.  

I lived in Daly City for a short while but my life there was yet another experience that I look back upon with allot of  fond memories as well as a whole lot of regrets.. Somethings you can't change but you have to just live with it.

Living in Daly City - San francisco

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Malaysian Trip

My Malaysian Journal from one of my trips back home. 

Stumbled upon a n opening of a show at the MAYBANK building in KL. I was visiting the central market area to find out what was going on  with the street artists there.

The then Minister of Culture, Officiated the show.

Visited my twin bropther and his family; he was doing very well for himself.

How many times and how many Airports have I sketched throughout my years. 

Why i fast.

It is the fasting month and like every other fasting months I find myself trapped between reality and illusions, between spirituality and religious showmanship. I have no problem with hunger and thirst and already have forgotten the need for cigarettes. My problem is in not being able to accept the whole ball of wax about Religions as a whole. Even as I am writing this I am forced to listen to a preacher preaching from the next cubicle where an office staff has it going on from You Tube out loud enough. It seems like as i am getting up there in age my mind if not that which has evolved over the years into who i am is not quite comfortable with what is being fed to me through religious practices and belief systems.
Needless to say that religions have been hijacked by political entities to garner control over the masses where force and economic constraints have failed. This happens in all religions on a relative scale and in almost every country around the globe. Some of these have taken the worse turns that has till this date is causing untold miseries and environmental disasters all in the name of religion with the motto, God is on our side. The killing fields are scattered all over the world and humanity has become comfortably numbed in accepting the atrocities that is being afflicted by one group upon another. Picture of children screaming and brutalized forms scattered across the streets has now become a common sight being shared by viewers on the Internet - ironically to be 'shared and liked.
Perhaps in fasting these pandemonium, this chaos that is proliferating like mushrooms all around from one country to another is being made aware of as we each become aware in ourselves what it is like to be hunger and thirst that is suffered by those in the war torn zones. But i feel highly unlikely as i see the amount of food being consumed and the amount of money spent during the fasting month exceeds what is normally spent on a normal day. Instead of loosing weight I found according to statistics that more weight is gained during the fasting month by most. By right i believe it is during this month that each and every individual is left alone to his own devices in his relation to his Maker. This should be a time of absolute privacy where a man search his soul for answers with no interference from outsiders; he can choose to fast or not, it is simply between him and God.
Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking or harboring negative thoughts or unhealthy behaviors, fasting during the month of Ramadan is a month long purification of one's inner being and feeling the connection between one's self and one's Maker. In fasting one opens the door of one's faith towards the existence of the All Mighty and that you have come from Him and will return unto Him. During this Holy Month one is reminded of the covenant made between the Soul and God prior to conception; hence the Shahadah- There is none but Allah to be worshiped. 
As one's senses is being heightened through hunger and thirst, through abstaining of pleasurable and mind altering mediums, one becomes aware of the collective spirit that is suffering throughout the world and ideally would be more sympathetic and merciful towards the pain around us. It is in this sense that fasting in the month of Ramadan becomes a collective effort. Through our fasting as a whole we come to realize the need to help in easing the suffering of our fellow man and help to bring the conflicts to an end by whatever means possible. This is my reason for fasting during this Month of Ramadan; heaven and hell has very little to do with it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Kuala Terengganu in Reflections.

 Terengganu is one of the most beautiful state in the country with a long stretch of golden sandy beaches from the north on the Kelantanese border all the way south to the Border with the State of Pahang. All along the coast fishing was and perhaps still is one of the main occupation except during the monsoon season when the seas would be too rough to handle by the smaller fishing boats. Today if you ask anyone living in the state you will find that food is very expensive compared to other states and fish is one of the most expensive commodity and never fresh. It is  said that most of the fish being caught were sold by the fishermen out in the sea where buyers from neighboring countries pay a much higher price for the catch.
'The Penanmbang" or ferry boat that takes one across the river is still in service when i was last in Terengganu..There is no sign of upgrading the services or the physical appearance of the boats. In a way it is a blessing as the river crossing itself is an experience worth taking the trip. The sound and smell of diesel engine and the assortment of riders makes it a moment in time.

The ferry remains the same while the jetties were being renovated and upgraded time and again. Not too many people use the ferries anymore these days but they still make a good trip up the river on a scenic  tour if one has a small group of people.

When not fishing like on this Friday, the fishermen hang out at the coffee shops watching WWF or World Wrestling Federation cheering for their favorites like the Rock and Triple H 

There is always an assorted crowd and all sipping Kopi o or Teh Tarik the local favorite drink as there is no Liquor allowed.. The conversations over nothing in particular will always be loud and  sometimes aggresive.

Along the beaches are also found shacks where fish are processed like for drying and for the making of Belacan
a kind of fish paste the is used for cooking or making chilli paste. Terengganu is famous for the production of 'keropok'a kind of fish chips and the state is also well known for the fermented fish called 'Budu' which in days gone by was what most of the people ate with their rice during monsoon seasons. It is the most smelly and disgusting looking thing left under the house to ferment and often infested with maggots, I love it. 

Monday, June 06, 2016

Time Out!- The fasting Month has begun.

Making Art a life long activity is possible if it is not turned into a the only source of income in your life, this i have come to realize over the years. One has have to have an alternate source of income no matter how small it may be but there must be something coming in other than selling you art. This may not be true for everyone but for me art has never earned me a steady income and i have a difficult time selling my works, I get this feeling like I am pandering my self esteem, like I am prostituting myself, like my works were being sold off to cater to my needs. I am wrong off course, and has always been so as my pride if not my ego has stood in the way of my meeting my financial daily needs.
My art has served me as a record keeper of activities that I have experienced or gone through as I live my life; it serves as my diary.
 Watching over my elder brother till his death in the ICU from Kidney failure. I sat with him for two weeks till the day he passed away. I did a few sketches while i was doing this and had much thoughts about death and dying.

Visiting an Art gallery in Jogjakarta. I met several  Indonesian artist while on my trip to Jogjakarta which was then on the road to becoming an cultural city for country.

Each and every sketch or drawing carries with it a story, an episode or an event in my life and sometimes they become a proof of whatever i claim in my talks or when I tell my stories. I was there and done that and it says so here.