Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 12

Bukit Setiawangsa looks serene after the raging storm a while ago. Puddle of water splashes away with every passing vehicles down my balcony. The sky is starless but the clouds have cleared. This quiet balcony is the Camelot of all places in my life. In the still of the night, I flip through my old moleskin in desperate search to put up a new post here. Nothing materialises – nada, nil, zero – only empty pages reign the sacred moleskin. Writing is a tricky affair; there are moments when it pours like rain; at times you will find yourself staring at the empty pages for hours on end. This Sleepless in Setiawanga 12th’s draft has been sitting in my draft box for a month.

I recently chanced upon an opportunity to rekindle an old friendship with Oyen – my friend during the torturous CLP course. While not being the best of friends, Oyen was never in my bad book. Trust me, I do have few names in my bad book. Hey! I am only human you know. Personally, I think Oyen has too much brains for me to catch up with. No pun intended.

We sat at Friday’s one lonely Thursday evening under the pretext of discussing about work (yeah right!). Oyen toyed with the idea of taking a sabbatical leave to finish the thing she desires to do; her doctorate, write a book or just read herself to oblivion while trying Nigella Lawson’s recipes at home. I smiled listening to her raving on and on about her intended sabbatical. For someone like Oyen, that is a complete U-turn. Marriage has mellowed my old friend.

Oyen graduated from Ivy League university, passed her CLP without much effort, an eloquent orator and a budding writer (I suspect so). But Oyen deleted her blog. She told me in earnest that she can’t write if she keeps worrying about what people would think about her. So long as she fears judgment from the public eyes, she can’t honestly put her thoughts into writing. Her statements struck a chord in my heart. I never really thought of what people would think of my writing. I figure since this is my blog, I can pretty much nurse my neurotic thoughts here. Ah, Oyen got me there…

A renowned publisher once told me that the key to writing is to keep on writing; to which I stared at her in blank confusion. In all fairness, I can’t just write for the sake of writing. Inspiration needs to move me before I can start dancing my pencil across the acid-free paper. I guess I wasn’t born to write. For me, writing is a skill I have to sharpen ever since I found the joy of reading.

And writing is a lonely pursuit; writing is a reclusive affair edging you on the border of insanity. I have tonnes of unfinished drafts strewn around in my life – stuffs I scribbled while waiting in court, incoherent pieces I wrote in fists of anger and poems I drafted when Jefree first swept me off my feet. But the pieces now sit in a box gathering dusts and cobwebs for I lack courage to do anything with it.

I end this post with a quote from one of the best movie ever written in this century, Finding Forrester, where a great author says this to his protege, “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is … to write, not to think!”

I guess that renowned publisher was right after all. Good night sleepless wherever you are.

 

Ah, Balkis…

Reading the Sunday papers has never been this interesting before. Lately, the main stream media is bolder and wiser after years of being discarded by the public. A new Star columnist, Zainah Anwar, thinks that reading the morning papers could become a habit again. I agree with her. The MSM is heading towards the right direction. But they have a lot to catch up with those journo-bloggers and their flaming blogs.

A day after Khir Toyo’s faux pas being made public as he came to his wife’s defense in justifying the ridiculous amount of money pumped into Balkis – a society presides over by the Selangor assemblymen & MPs – another bomb blasted right in front of Balkis’s door. This time the public raised an eyebrow over the transfer of RM9.9 million from Balkis account to Bakti – an association of the wives of minister & deputy ministers – days after Selangor fell to the Pakatan Rakyat. Balkis’ president, Zaharah Kechik, argued that they have legal rights to do so because Khir was still the caretaker Selangor Mentri Besar at that time.

She assured that they consulted their bright lawyers every step of the way to ensure the legality of the money transfer and the dissolution of the society. Balkis’s office bearers decided to dissolve the society on March 11 after they felt that they would no longer be “effective” under the new state government.

As a practising lawyer myself – albeit reluctantly – I am of the view that lawyers will cook up anything to steer their clients away from the technicality of the law. But Zaharah must ask herself whether such move was done bone fide (in a good faith) or was the move mercenary?

Bukit Lanjan MP and a friend, Eli Wong, thinks that the move tantamount to breach of trust and flight of funds. The new mentri besar of Selangor, Khaled Ibrahim, requests Zaharah to return the money and to hold the dissolution or they will pursue with the legal action against the office bearers.

And Balkis plunges deeper into misery…

Me? I don’t want to be one of those bright-conniving-overpriced legal eagles. :-)

Ah, Khir Toyo…

The Maverick of main stream media, The Sun, has an intriguing report today by Citizan Nades. I almost choke on my latte when Nades highlights the former Selangor Menteri Besar’s blunder of saying “state coffin” instead of “state coffer.” Oh, dear… isn’t English a tricky language?

Earlier, The Sun reported that PKNS paid the fine of RM330,000 imposed against them for clearing the land around Bukit Cahaya using the public funds. Khir Toyo, in response to the above said that PKNS is indeed a private company hence the issue of using the rakyat’s money should not arise in the first place.

He then said, “the fine goes back to the state coffin!” You and I know that he meant “state coffer.” But Nades wrote that Khir said it twice and I cringe in my seat in light of the mistake. My sincerest advice to Khir is to be extra vigilant in presence of reporters for they have the sharpest listening sense among us all.

PKNS steals the limelight again today in the wake of payment made to Balkis – an organisation presides over by the wives of Selangor state assemblymen and MPs:

  • RM218,719 for the opening ceremony of Komplex Wawasan Balkis;
  • RM200,000 for Balkis Dinner;
  • RM10,000 for a table at the same dinner and
  • RM161,660 for programmes organised by Balkis.

And I thought, “RM200,000 for a dinner party?” That amount of money can feed the entire orphanage in Selangor for a year or so!

PKNS also sold a piece of land in Section 7, Shah Alam to Balkis at RM5.74 per square foot. In case you haven’t the faintest idea about real estate market, please click on iproperty.com. The premier real estate portal in Malaysia sells the land around the same area at RM44 per square foot. How dense can you be to sell it at such a low price if you don’t have anything hidden in that closet of yours?

However, Khir said that PKNS is a private company, so it does not matter to the people of Selangor on how PKNS burns their money. But the mission statement of PKNS – a statutory body governed by PKNS Enactment 1964 – has the rakyat’s interest at heart. Read about it here.

Me? I continue my struggle in improving my English. :-)

[Source: The Sun]

Konsert Amal Kasih

The PR officers of this concert did a lousy job. No posters visible in the city and no radio or TV announcement heard about the event. Except for kakiseni.com – an internet portal for art lovers – which had a posting about the concert. I found out about it from Acciccatura after a brief phone call on Friday. Accia’s husband romanced the violin for the 3-day-concert at Planery Hall, KLCC with his Kasih Symphony Orchestra led by S. Atan.

Last Saturday night, by pure manipulation bordering on force, I managed to convince my husband to sit next to me at Plenary Hall to watch Konsert Amal Kasih featuring Jamal Abdillah and Saleem Iklim. For someone who does not care at all about the local musical scene, Jefree must have really loved me to go to the concert on his precious Saturday night. The concert was brought to the public to raise fund for Pengasih - a non-profit organisation caring for drug addicts in Malaysia.

I have been wanting to see Jamal sings live for a long time. I ignored the nagging doubts in my heart as I read the concert’s press release on the net telling me, in no uncertain terms, that Saleem Iklim would anchor the concert with Jamal. I must say, I don’t care much about the latter’s musical career but I went anyway just to watch Jamal.

My nagging doubts proved founded. Saleem was not, by any measure, prepared to perform at places like Plenary Hall or anywhere of the same statures. His performance lacked conviction, his singing mediocre and his over-size suit bugged my eyes. Saleem tortured my ears throughout the first half of the concert with his off-tuned songs, opss-I forgot-the-lyrics-again and gong* attitude.

I am no Simon Cowell or Ramli MS but I seriously think that Saleem single-handedly ruined the concert with his lackadaisical effort and it was so obvious that he wasn’t at his best to sing that night. When he sang Gary Moore’s classic - Still Got the Blues – I cringed in my seat and berating myself for wanting to go to the concert so badly.

Let’s move on to a positive sight of the night. So what if  Saleem can’t sing? So what if Jamal Abdillah was half an hour late to the concert? Who cares about his fake hair which looks so real on his scalp? And you, of all persons, know that Jamal abused substance and almost destroyed himself in the process. And you silently thought of his succession of wives whom he lost in pursuit of his drug addiction. But all of the above does not matter when Jamal opens his mouth to sing - for he sings like an angel.

Jamal Abdillah, for me at least, is born to do nothing else but sing. He sang his old hit-songs peppered with a dash of blues and zapin to prove that he is the quintessential male singer of our country. My heart melts when he sang “Kekasih Awal & Akhir” with the sweet sound of violin at the background. Ah, Jamal…

The concert also featured guest artists – Misha Omar, Ahmad Nawab and Blues Gang. Save and except for Jamal’s singing, the rest of the other performances of the night are forgettable. If it wasn’t for charity, I am quite tempted, to call the whole night a sheer waste of time.

And  what about the audience? We have miles to keep up before we can be called a refined society who can sit in a 2-hour concert without uttering stupid remarks and shouting unnecessarily. This was not a concert at your local fun fair, for god sake! To say that I miss the audience at Cats and My Fair Lady is an understament.  

See you at Beauty & the Beast.

*Gong in Trengganuspeak is state of snobbery with a tinge of stupidity. But, if you wish to have a perfect definition of the word, kindly go to Awang Goneng’s blog*

Letter to Phantom II

Dearest Phantom,

You missed an awesome outing last Saturday, at the Curve. Mat Salo worked very hard and must have jolted his phone bill up to the sky in an effort to gather all of the bloggers on the day that coincides with All Blogs’ first birthday.

Tokasid played co-host in giving Mat Salo a hand by texting everyone about the change of venue from Kayu Nasi Kandar to Asam Pedas – a hundred steps away or so. Jacqui hailed all the way from the States and Tokasid drove from Malacca. Of course, Nora flew from Miri with his wife to meet us all. The rest are the usual suspects at Mee Rebus Tuesday with a pleasant addition of Pokku and celebrity blogger, Pak Idrus.

Yang Berkhidmat Eli Wong, Kak Marina, Eleena, Anu, Aiman, Captain, Shah Talkonly, Kerp, Stephen Francis, Jaff and Yati of KL Confidential. To the rest of the bloggers I left out here, I sincerely apologise.

Blatantly obvious absence came in a form of Rocky, Kak Ena, Zorro, Kak Ton, Husna, BigDog bla bla bla…

Here are the pictures, I hope you enjoy them.

Yours truly hugging Dalilah of One Breast Bouncing with Jaff, Captain, TA, Mrs. TA, Adam and Nora from Miri at the background.

Lighthearted moment 1 – Jafflam of Jaff Point, Yours Truly, Stephen of Shanghai Fish, Kak Marina of RantingsbyMM, and the head belongs to Nora of Anon from Miri.

Lighthearted moment 2 – Stephen and I grinning like an oyster with Jaff looking on and Captain looking away. Kak Marina doing things with her hair!

Hello! Eli Wong, Yang Berkhidmat for Bukit Lanjan Parliament shaking hands with Yours Turly.

Girl Power! Eleena of Acciacatura, Yati, Me, Jacqui, Dalilah & Kak Marina flashing their best smiles away for Mat Salo’s lense. What an august company; beautiful sharp minds and pleasant personalities. Pictures from Mat Salo of Borneo Blues.

I pen off for now my friend, Phantom. Till our next letter…

Ah, Yusmadi…

News about a fellow practitioner and recently-elected Balik Pulau MP, Yusmadi Yusoff, flashed before my eyes this morning as I nursed my first cup of coffee in the office.

The august house met yesterday in a closed-door briefing for the newly-elected MPs and the Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Ramli Ngah Talib, was referring to the mother-daughter team from PKR as “weird”. Yusmadi promptly commented that he was uneasy with Ramli’s choice of words. He further reminded that one must be careful with his choice of words.

Ah, Yusmadi… it does not matter what choice of words are being used by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to describe the debut team of mother-daughter in parliament, what matters is the the changes they can bring. And to comment on such a trivial matter (to me personally) is just not necessary don’t you think? Litigation lawyer such as yourself is surely seasoned to many more harsh words from courts and opposing counsels.

In my opinion, statements from MPs describing whatever family-combination in Parliament tantamount to much ado about nothing.

I am not interested to know about the family-combination in Parliament; the only thing I am interested in knowing is the changes the new MPs can bring. The voters – who had just voted for a change - are waiting with bated breath for the newly elected MPs to realiase their manifesto during the 12th general election.

All said and done, I hope my congratulation for Yusmadi is not too late. So, congratulation Yang Berkhidmat.

Me? I am enjoying the drama in political scene lately but I am taking a short break to hide at the Book Fair in PWTC. See you there!