Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On my first week of work, my ex-colleagues came by to say hi at the bookstore, I was really touched.
I was feeling a bit awkward at that time because I was surprised by this kind gesture.
I think my eyes reddened a bit when I waved goodbye because I thought our relationship was mundanely professional and I had never expected such sentimental and thoughtful gesture by them.
I think they might have detected my eyes.

A few weeks later, they came again.
This time, I was already used to their gestures hence, atmosphere was more jovial.
When we said our goodbyes, one of them hugged me and encouraged me with the common Chinese phrase,
"Jiayou 加油"
This time, it was her eyes which had reddened.

I meant to write this post right after the incident with the classy bookstore owner. (The bookstore being classy, not the owner)
These incidents made me wonder, is my current position so depressing that people feel sorry for me?
Perhaps from an outsider's perspective.

What I know now is, the darkness hasn't visited me since I've worked here.
Not once.
Occasionally faint shadows, but that has always been around.
Believe me, that is pure bliss.
I was granted a job interview last month, for the Reporter post in the nation's leading English paper.
When I was preparing myself for the appointment, I can't help but be reminded that I'm 10 years late.
Had things been normal for me, I would have gone for a similar interview,...10 years ago.
Before I sunk deeper into self-pity, I got physically ill just a day before interview.
I suspected it was food-poisoning, with Dengue-fever like symptoms.
I called and email-ed and even forwarded a notice from my doctor.
When I didn't receive any reply, I thought that the door was closed on me.
Although I wasn't harping too much hope on the job, I can't help but feel disappointed that I had missed out such an important appointment.

3 days ago, the HR emailed me, informing me about a slot available as their MD wish to meet me.
Immediately I agreed.
And immediately I questioned myself, "What am I doing? Am I up for it? How can I hold a stressful job of a reporter? I need to sleep on time everyday as part of my self-care. But I need a job with more income..etc.."
After a series of shit happening, good news seem so unfamiliar.
I tried not to think about it.
Not thinking also meant that I didn't prepare for it.

The interview was yesterday.
The HR manager was really unfriendly.
Her blood-red long fingernails alone were intimidating enough.
She questioned my incomplete and not updated application.
Big companies are very thoroughly detail-oriented, of course.
Yikes, she's right. What am I doing?
Am I self-sabotaging again?

So, I entered the room for my 3.5 hours exam.
It was a very nostalgic experience.
It has been more than 10 years since I've taken exams that exceeded 2 hours.
The format of the exam is very similar to the ones during my Sixth Form.

I scored above average , y'all !!
I can't remember the last time when I had been associated with anything 'above average' !
I'm so happy !

I shared the news with my old colleagues.
They're happy for me, but also like myself, wondered how am I going to cope with the lifestyle.
Honestly, my self-sabatoging negative self hopes that the HR don't contact me anymore.

Let my story being interviewed for a job at the paper end here.
Let my story end with me scoring well on the test-paper.
Above average well.
The end.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

This quote is amazing,

"The old world is dying; the new world struggles to be born,
 and during this *chiaroscuro, merge monsters." 
Antonio Gramsci

*an effect of contrasted light and shadow created by light falling unevenly or from a particular direction on something

taken from Malacca Style by Tham Ze Hoe and Serge Jardin

Simon Sturdee| Agence France Presse
VIENNA: It’s miserable and raining outside as a few hundred tired migrants mill around a damp underpass at Vienna’s main train station waiting to continue their long journey to northern Europe.
Suddenly, a man wearing a red nose, tartan plus-fours and a brown leather aviator’s cap enters, leading a noisy procession of three clowns – all with a silly but also serious mission.

They are from “Red Noses Emergency Smile Austria,” a project using 66 clowns to spread some cheer among the thousands of migrants still arriving Austria daily, particularly the children.
“You don’t need to know the language, you just laugh and you feel a connection,” Simone Mang, a spokeswoman for the organizers, told AFP.

“Children need to have a little time to themselves, and play and laugh and forget about the circumstances,” she said.
At first there is a stunned silence as the clowns – professional actors who underwent special training – stomp in, playing an accordion and rattling tambourines.

But as the trio engage in a slapstick routine, the ice breaks. Laughter, clapping and cheering erupts as people gather round, carrying children on their shoulders and filming the scene on their phones.
Then there is a dancing session just for the children, who are given tambourines, ribbons and little pots of bubble-blowing solution.
Afterward they are led away, giggling, to a special play room where they can draw, paint and interact with the clowns.

“They are happy, at least we find peace,” said Hossam, a Palestinian, as he watched his four young children play, blowing bubbles and leaping onto a blue crash mat.
“I escaped from my country for them ... For their future, to have good education, to have a good life, if God is willing.”
“The [reaction] is amazing. So many eyes, so many beautiful eyes. Such beautiful colors, so clear and so direct,” one of the clowns, Marie Miklau, 37, told AFP.

“But at the same time we had very sensitive moments to look behind the party to see the more silent people, the humans inside. You see also the journey they had, and also the suffering,” she said.
The project came from Red Nose Clowndoctors, a charity sending clowns into Austrian hospitals to cheer up patients since 1994 and now active in 10 countries.
It is part of an immense voluntary effort that has sprung up since migrants began flooding into Austria in large numbers in September – mostly on their way elsewhere – and who keep coming every day.

“Train of Hope,” for example, a private initiative coordinating the volunteer effort, has 3,500 helpers who have put in a total of 300,000 man-hours in the past five weeks, its spokesman Benjamin Fritz told AFP on a tour.
“It began with a couple of tables and some bottles of water,” the 26-year-old explains on a tour of tents and containers around the back of the station, a hive of activity. “Now it’s like a small town.”

Organized largely on social media, the initiative provides everything from hot food and medical help – they even have an electrocardiogram machine with doctors on hand – to clothing and hygiene articles.There are also interpreters, psychologists and a missing persons point that posts pictures on Facebook and shares information with other organizations abroad.

The project has been so successful that organizers have asked people to stop donating certain items such as crayons for kids, toilet paper, tampons and even wheelchairs.
They still need many things, however, like formula milk, cereal bars and razors. And with winter fast approaching, the Facebook page now calls for warm coats, thick socks, hats and gloves.

More and more of the new arrivals are becoming sick because of the weather. And at the same time, there has been a noticeable drop in donations and volunteer numbers, Fritz said.
“If it snowed tomorrow, then we would clearly have a problem. But we have had countless problems every day over the past five weeks and we solved them. We will manage somehow,” he said.

“We will keep doing this until there are no more migrants here.”

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"... I have found the real me," said Elyas Yunoos, the barber.

“My squatter friends and children never asked for anything. I love these people, both here and in London, who ask for so little – to be allowed to squat or sit in a small space since they have nowhere else to go,”  -Nirmala Dutt
If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you
as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves
rather than a statement about your value as a person,
then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all."
~ Yogi Bhajan

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

from Streets of George Town Penang by Khoo Su Nin,

"Penang was much more than a port. The colony which Light created offered a liberal haven where each settler could establish the foundation for the next generations. This was true for the Malays escaping the Siamese in Kedah, the Eurasians fleeing religious persecution in South Thailand, the Chinese rejecting Manchu oppression to make their fortunes in the Nanyang and the South Indian leaving behind poverty and strife in the subcontinent."

When I read the above, I fervently hope Penang can liberate me while I am on her soil.
And this is funny.

"If spiritualism can be so easily traded for crass commercialism, under the watchful eyes of enlightened buddhas, then human beings are pretty much in the same predicament as the tortoises in the Kek Lok Si's 'liberation pond'."
I've been thinking about the incident where I was disturbed with the word 'desperate' being used on me.
More often than not, people say mean things to me.
So why am I only uncomfortable with it now?

I am all too familiar with this word.
It's a situation I often found myself in.

I can only conclude that I was irked that such educated owner of a classy bookstore speaks like that.
He spoiled the whole fairytale fantasy of all things literary.

I left KL for Penang because I was desperate.
I am now in this bookstore because I have relented.
I have to manage this illness.
What's next, teasips?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Look what I found Gombang reading at his security booth?
I'm so ... impressed ! And humbled !
He is studying English.
The medium of instruction is Nepalese and I had just learnt that Nepalese and Hindi shares similar foundation.
That's why he can communicate with the locals in Hindi.

Come on Teasips !
Learn something already !
Love this artwork by bibichun.
Title : Never liked chess anyway.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Homeless Artist Was So Talented That They Gave Her A Solo Exhibit- And it sold out.

Taken from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com
MANILA - All was lost for Jhalanie Matuan who ended up alone and unnoticed, begging on the streets of the metro, digging up piles of trash for food or anything of value.
Jhalanie dug hard -- day after day, night after night, garbage after garbage, until she found used pencils and coloring materials, and then herself.
Those pencils and coloring materials, worthless for those who used to own them, reminded her of a dream she once dreamed back when she was young and hopeful, years before all the misfortune rained upon her like an angry monsoon downpour -- a dream of holding her own simple art exhibit.

Like all broken dreams on the verge of reconstruction, it was all sketchy at first for Jhalanie, especially on the weary metro streets she once referred to as "bagsik ng Maynila."
But stroke by careful stroke, she drew and painted -- improvised -- with all the materials she'd pick up on trash.
Until the dream came into form, little by little, and people began to notice.

Back in April, Mae Katibog was so moved by a street artist in Manila, the capital of the Phillipines, that she had to make a Facebook post about it. "I had a rare encounter with this incredible artist along Buendia Avenue," she wrote.
##Today, I had a rare encounter with this incredible artist along Buendia Avenue. 
I have actually been noticing her for a week now, it's just that I am always in a hurry every morning that I couldn't get a chance to stop and see for myself what she's doing. 
Last week I promised my self that I will go early in the morning to stop by her. 
However two consecutive mornings I didn't see her on the same spot and I was sort of disappointed on myself. 
This afternoon though on my way home, I saw her and without second thoughts decided to stop. She really is incredible, I sat beside her and just looked on while she sketches. 
Shortly, two foreigners (Indonesian tourists, Zee and Derran) stopped by and curiously looked on like me. We all just sat by in awe and silence. 
Some while more and people started to crowd in. I said to her, I am buying the one she's sketching, only to find out the Indonesians wanted it too (lucky me I asked first haha!).
 They just asked me to tell her to make two more of the same so they can buy also. She sells her works for Php50.00 each. I had an urge to pay more (especially that according to her poster she is raising funds for her kidney problems). 
However, I also did not want to ruin the dignity she puts on her works (which by the way conceptually and visually are incredible). She can't speak, she only writes what she wants to say. One of my choices (An image of a nude woman on a dirty sidewalk) she said won her an award in Macau, she also said that she has had many awards for her works. This of course, I cannot verify but I told the same to my new-found Indonesian friends. 
It was actually funny how our conversation has gone. Ate will write, I will translate for Zee in English and she will translate in Bahasa for Derran. Anyway, her works exude deep meanings and one can draw out many interpretations. I am glad I stopped by. I brought home with me two incredible works by this wise woman on the streets. 
Poignant and respectable. She doesn't beg. She draws what she sees - both by the naked and the eyes within. She is Jhalanie Matuan (as how she wrote on paper). ##
And now, as if all the universe conspired with her, the dream is finally a few days away from actuality.
"It's happening!" artist Coco Torre announced on his Facebook account, talking about Jhalanie's solo art exhibit happening Friday, August 28, at A Space Manila gallery in Makati.

After chasing her down on the street, Torre asked her if she'd be interested in holding an exhibit at A Space Manila gallery. "Jhalanie was the happiest human being at that moment," the local news said.
But that wasn't everything the art gallery had in store.
Firstly, Matuan would be getting 100 percent of the proceeds made off the exhibit. For a woman living on the streets, that was great news. But even better was what the art gallery announced just hours ago on their Facebook page.
Not only did Matuan's 31 pieces sell out, people waited in long lines simply to converse with the artist herself.
Surely, this day will be one that Jhalanie never forgets, and hopefully, it is just the beginning of a long career for her as a paid artist.

Monday, October 12, 2015

I went to a public talk.
I am still feeling quite smitten over the Academician-Lawyer-Activist speaker.

His books were on sale.
I bumped into the bookstore owner who had organized the talk.
I have never liked him.
His personality is too flamboyant and pungent for my nerves.
I don't think I'm in his good books either.
He had this to say when he found out that I'm working in another bookstore.
"If you were that desperate, you should have come to work for me !"

Coming from a former academician in Political Science and a current active editor, and a classy bookstore owner, I would have expected more elegance in the choice of words.
Sarcasm, insensitivity, I can take.
I guess I had an unrealistic view of a local bookstore owner.

The bookstore however, IS very classy.
I absolutely love it.
It really does have a personality.
Good thing it wasn't the owner's.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday, October 03, 2015

I went to the Big Bad Wolf warehouse sale.
Saw a lot of books.
Some books which I have read.
They reminded me of my past

My memory has deteriorated since my treatment.
I can't differentiate between a memory or a dream.
It's so unreachably faraway.

As I browsed the titles, shadow pieces of memory drew a picture in my head.
A little picture of my past.
A glimpse of who I was.
A silhouette of my old thoughts and ambitions.
A whisper of my own unadulterated voice.

A soft but determined voice that says

"I am still here."