Sunday, May 27, 2007


Track 13

In terms of marriage, everyone knows that tying the knot with your high school or college sweet heart is stuff of dreams. So when two of my college friends, who were dating for four straight years, decided to marry upon graduation, everyone was incredibly envious. They were indeed the loveliest couple, and I had always secretly wished to myself that I would do anything to be in their place. To find, declare and be legally bounded by love at such a young age – they seemed like they had it all.

Recently, over coffee, my friend told me they were divorced.

What??? How did this happen?

“Apparently, he changed, Muddy. He got all violent and disappeared from home for days. She just could not handle it.”

A part of me felt sick to the core because it was only a few months back when I was at their home, enjoying their spaghetti and iced tea. And they seemed so happy. It felt illogical that they are now divorced, and how could Karl be that way?

“I think it was the drugs,” my friend whispered. “He is still addicted.”

Karl was my first friend in college. We naturally gravitated to each other because we came from the same neighborhood. After class, I would often visit his room to watch movies on his PC or later talk for hours about the hot girls in our class. It was also in his room that I discovered his favorite pastime.

“You don’t mind?”

No, I responded. I sat there on the floor, still as stone, while he took out a small plastic bag of marijuana from his pocket and a plastic bottle from underneath his bed. He later deposited the leaves on this contraption made of tin foil, lit it up and sucked the smoke through a pipe attached to the bottle. The bottle gurgled. He exhaled.

“You want to try?” I shook my head. He looked at me, noticed how bewildered I must have looked and said, “I am only doing this because I can’t sleep without it. It puts me to sleep.”

I nodded and watched and slowly felt slightly intoxicated from the smoke that filled the room. This happened every night, and there were days later that I did join him because I was curious. And it was days later when I accepted his routine as normal. However, I noticed he behaved differently soon after. He missed morning class many times because he could not wake up on time. His eyes were always blood-shot red as well, and when people asked, he said he got shampoo in his eyes when he showered. There were also days when he would just be silent, ignoring me when I talked. And that’s when our friendship drifted.

When Karl got married, I thought he had changed. At his wedding, he looked healthy and had this positive glow surrounding him. When he saw me, he smiled, shook my hand and patted my back several times. “Thank you for coming,” he said, “it means a lot to me.” I smiled back, because it does feel great to know that your friend is clean and set on the right direction.

So when I got know his marriage failed because of his addiction, I was crushed.

He is not the only one I know of that has an addiction to drugs. A good friend of mine in the fashion business would often snort a trail of cocaine before he would hit the clubs. I never asked him why he does, but it was obvious that he needed it for the confidence. He was indeed very cocky when he is on it, hitting on every girl at the bar and even had the energy to dance until the wee hours of morning. “I feel invincible,” I heard him say one night.

But when he is not on it, he is different. He is quiet and according to a friend, he falls into a deep state of depression. He never let me see him in that state. He only let most of us see him when he is high on cocaine.

At the end of the day, I realized that I don’t have the power to change my friends with this addiction. They have to seek professional help and have the motivation to change for themselves. The best thing I can do is to tell them that it is wrong. I not done that just yet, and that makes me sick to the stomach.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's Either Write Or Wrong

The Bunny Laid These

I am unsure of where to begin, or exactly how I should say it with words, but I guess I have to start somewhere.

Because what I will tell you is essentially very amusing, and I need you to listen very carefully.

Perhaps you need to come closer, so that I can whisper it into your ears…

(…that I am ready to write once again…)

- - -

Mrs. Adams screamed at me when I took seven chocolate eggs from the basket on her desk. She told me, with her sharp index finger to my face, that everyone could only have two chocolate eggs, and not seven. She even told me that the Easter bunny was very disappointed at me. I just laughed. Hahaha! Because, when you were six years old, you really did not give a flying fart for rules and regulations, or the feelings of some imaginary rabbit. Especially when it comes to chocolate.

I ran to my desk, quickly peeled the red and silver wrapper off the chocolate eggs, and gobbled them up with glee. “You’re going to get sick Muddy,” Mrs. Adams cursed at me, “Too much of a good thing is never good.”

And boy, did she curse me good, because the next morning, I was stooping over the toilet bowl, puking a sea of chocolate goop out of my tiny, six-years-old mouth. It was like Exorcist reincarnated.

I guess that is exactly what happened to me with writing. I was so into it – craved it, loved it, indulged in it – that, like those chocolate eggs, it made me sick. How? Well, I am unsure medically how, but at some point last year, I was getting sick of writing. I did not want to write at all because it took too much effort. Too much thinking. Too much of my time, that I simply huffed that I had enough. Sayonara sucker, I thought to myself, it’s so over.

Funny though that when you try to run away, something or someone unexpected always catches up with you, and bites you right in the ass.

If my memory is still intact, I think it was October last year that one of my long lost friends from the magazine industry called me up and said hey, are you interested to write something for me? There I was, staring blankly into my laptop, at work, and reviewing that scene in my head when I dramatically vowed to myself that I would not write again. Because, you know, it made me sick.

I have stopped writing, I told him over the phone. And you have not read what I have written. So I might suck, you know.

I read your blog, he said. I need a two pager by next week. On fashion. Bye!

What the???

So I guess he’s going Hitler on me. I later gave him a call, said ok, I will do it but told him to give me a run down of what I would need to write. He told me that he wanted a list of fashion do’s and don’ts of last century. I thought, man, this is going to suck because I can’t remember the last time I wrote a list. Or fashion. And I don’t know anything beyond the eighties, because hey, anything beyond that is like prehistoric times.

I thought about it, toiled on it, googled on it and the night before the deadline, I was like, okay I am going to surrender. Give up. Because there is no sane way am I going to develop that list. Why didn’t he get a woman to write that article? I swear my stomach was making noises, and I think I am burning up as well.

So you see, writing did make me sick.

But it was the money that smacked me to my senses. The article was worth only a few hundred ringgit but hey, moolah is moolah. I ate a chocolate bar, and for a solid two hours, I typed away. Phew! The end product was not completely what my friend wanted, but to my surprise, his senior editor loved it.

Please find below a taste of the article (writer’s edition) :

10 Best Local Fashion Duds

In recent years, our nation has strove to become more fashionable. This is evident at how many fashion weeks are constantly done each year, and how many talented local designers are unearthed and promoted to help carry this mission. In fact, if we look around us, the majority is seen to be more receptive to fashion trends than ever before, thanks also to the heavy exposure to fashion infused TV channels like Channel V and magazines like Plan B.

Despite all the good that has resulted from the fashion movement, a large percentage of trends that were carried out have left many fashion gurus and the normal consumers screaming, “What are we thinking?” While some horrific trends do meet their timely death, some were found to be more persistent in the local attire. So, let us sit back, review and be reminded of our ten “best” local fashion duds which should be avoided in the near future.

1. The shoulder pads

While recent fashion celebrates the eighties, most trends defined by that decade should seriously be long forgotten. Shoulder pads, for instance, were famously incorporated into the baju kurung back then, which only diluted the demure and the feminine form of the national garment. For a good embarrassing decade and more, most women literally looked like they were wearing boxes. While a few may see the need for shoulder pads to power up a business suit, there is absolutely no sane reason why we need to also power up the baju kurung.

2. The winter clothing

Perhaps retailers are partly to blame. Despite Malaysia is evidently a very tropical country known for its humidity, winter clothing is nevertheless made available for local consumption. It is horrifying at how common it is to see a large percentage of the masses in puffy sweaters, thick leather jackets and snowcaps even when the sun is shining and baking everyone underneath. Winter is an unnatural season this part of the world. Some people, however, still don’t get it.

3. The low-rider jeans

The fashion forward, from Dolce & Gabanna to Calvin Klein, has sparked the rage for the low-rider jeans. They are regarded to be sexier, more appealing and if the eyes can talk, more exposing. There lies the problem, as locals sit at restaurants and cafes, while having large chunks of their underwear or butt crack peek-a-booing through their low-rider jeans for the public to see. In this nation, public display of anything is still regarded as taboo. A whole national campaign on common decency should be based on this.

4. The slogan tee shirts

To most, slogan tee shirts are regarded as a cool and hip way of self-expression, allowing others crossing paths to know when “I’m Getting Lucky” to whether you are a “Pimp”. The problem, however, is that the majority of the locals wearing these tee shirts do seem clueless on exactly what the slogans mean. For instance, if ever at the vicinity of Kajang for satay, kindly spot a tudung lady normally wearing a tee shirt with a picture of a cat and that says, “I love my pussy”. Now we know why the satay tastes so good.

5. The animal print

There are many tribes around the world where individuals dress up as an animal to evoke deep emotions such as courage, sorrow or even anger. When translated into our modern world, wearing animal prints are seen by some to portray status and power, as exemplified by the Mak Datins. Often decked head to toe with prints such as tiger, pony to zebra, these ladies would prowl and growl away at high-end malls to 5-star hotels. Little do they realize that such outfits seem more natural and apt at Zoo Negara.

(The other five points can be found in the magazine).

When the article came out, I felt kind of sick. You know why? Because the majority of my smart comments were edited out. I mean, the meat was there, but gone were the gravy, and what ever happened to good ol’ salt and pepper? My closest friends read it and said, hey this is good stuff. But for me, I thought otherwise.

Till this day, I have yet to collect my payment for the article. I did send them the invoice, but the money is no where to be found. A fellow freelance writer said that I should follow up and demand the money. But this is all so funny to me. I mean, the article published did not seem like it was mine, after it was edited out. It felt foreign, not really me, and I felt sick claiming for it.

See how writing is so nauseating?

- - -

So why write again?

Because I realize that it was in my blog that I could write about anything without being edited out.

Because it was in my blog that I could write without the pressures of a deadline.

Because damn it, I feel like it.