Youngest kid of six with an inferiority and black sheep complex, but determined that God saves not just his soul to heaven but the remainder of his manic-depressive life, so others won't say he became a Christian and remained a jerk.


On identity
i won't be transparent before i'm opaque. and you'll get to know me starting from the small things: who my favourite bands are. what kind of movies i like. who are my heroes.

On Christianity
I’m convinced that when confronted with sincere, real love, the Jesus factor will become obvious. But let’s not plant the cross before we carry it. I’m not trying to con you.

On dreams
Some dreams are meant to be achieved. I know that. But maybe other dreams are meant to drive us, privately. Never known to anyone but ourselves.


On melancholy
It is a sadness that, when choosing between crying and sighing, will choose sighing. I'd almost say that melancholy is being sad about sadness itself.

On memory and nostalgia
It saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting.

On language
I've learnt that the word irregardless is filed as a non-standard word in the English language. That's a lexicographer's way of saying it's not a real word.

On politics
Crowds are fickle things. So when we stand in the thousands and cry against the present government, do we know who we're actually crying for?

On society
People always want the best for themselves. But I want to sometimes take second or third or fourth best, just so that the loser down the road doesn't always have to come in last. It must feel like shit to always come in last.

On growing old
Leasehold property make me feel sad. It doesn't matter how old the family photos are that you put on your wall. It's your family but it's not really your wall.

On philosophy
I ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?

On a daily basis
One line quips, like this.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

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Genusfrog [ 12:24 pm ] | 2 comments

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"It's sad to fall asleep. You have to... separate. They say "sleep together", but it's not true"
- Patricia Franchini, A bout de souffle.

Streetlamps. headlights. neon signboards and lit condominium windows. nothing captures the bleak isolation of loneliness better than the onset of night.

the sun falls away and the dramatic evening sky too quicky expires from yellow to orange to blue and then black. the long and short of it falls inside the parameters of about one hour. and then, it begins.

that slow crawl between eight and eight, when functional people retire to their television armchairs, families and pyjamas. the less functional crawl out into their subcultures to worship the god of nocturnal activity. and all this while, the lonely stare out of rain-stained windows, looking at both the city's celebration of after-hours and the suburb's comfort of steady domestic habitation.

when i look at the highway, i see all the lonely cars, each carrying one person. there are so many of them, but they're not together. they drive right next to each other, but they are protected from one another, safe within the four walls of autolock, power windows and bizarre prog-techno car alarms. when they pull up at traffic lights, nobody looks sideways. and while we accept these things at midday in the name of a busy working populace, the same separation feels less deserved, and harder to breach, when it happens when it's dark.

there is something about the onset of night - the arrival of crushed-out shadows and weird lamp glows - that colours every mundane thing with a tint of sadness. maybe it's because nighttime is when the whole world go back into their homes, their safe places, and indulge in the comfort of warmth, love and security. for the lonely, the disparate men and women who at some point rejected a life of warmth, love and security, the night reminds them of the price they're paying for living a life of separation.

like what miss franchini said. nocturnal separation. the time to look inward and be private people until the sunrise compels us to look out again.

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Genusfrog [ 9:59 am ] | 2 comments

Friday, August 17, 2007

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious"
- Oscar Wilde.

There is no such thing as a good person or a bad person. yes, there are only people who are compliant or rebellious, easy or challenging, simple or complex, or in Wildean terms, charming or tedious. but there are no good or bad people.

some days, i wish this weren't so. if real life was like afternoon soap operas, the lines that separate good guys from bad guys would be clearly drawn, fat and thick. if i were a soap character, i'd know exactly who to trust and who was going to land me in a pile of horse mud by the end of each day's episode.

in film and writing school, they teach you that villains need to have redeeming qualities, and that heroes need to have flaws. that's supposed to be real. blur the lines between the wicked and the righteous and you have three-dimensional characters worth either killing off or giving the girl to (excuse the patriarchy). but even that fails to adequately tackle at least my reality.

because it's a lie.

there are no goods and bads when it comes to people. there is no such thing as an evil man. i ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?

there are evil acts. maybe. maybe not just maybe, maybe yes. and righteous acts. maybe. you can do a good thing or a bad one. but to be bad. or good. that's just too much of a fullstop on one person's identity for my theology to hold. or i ask you: how much bad must a good man do before you call him a bad man? bob dylan asked that question before. there is no answer.

there's a chance that as life pans out, i'll be labelled a bad man by people. heck, i know i've been erroneously labeled a good boy before too. (what were they thinking?) but i know my only aid to brush aside labels like this is not by convincing myself that i am good, but by knowing that the greek dichotomy of soap operas and eastern yin yang of film school characterisation will forever be inadequate. we can brush aside labels only by knowing that the only label available to us all is not black or white but grey.

yes, that's it. no goods. no bads.

everybody grey.

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Genusfrog [ 1:42 pm ] | 3 comments

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Nothing is as real as the pain you feel"
- Ron, Furniture.

Is that true? is nothing really as real as the pain you feel? i've had this line lodged in my head for the last many weeks, not least of all because it has the tendency to pop up in the car while i'm nowhere on the ldp. (incidentally, the ldp is a bleak, sorrowful highway, and there are few other landscapes on which you will want to be when you contemplate pain, suffering and aesthetic hurt.)

maybe i can find something more real than my pain. i'm holding a book up intermittently, as i type - maybe this book is as real as the pain i feel. it's got this waxy texture to its pages, and i can feel the sharp edges of every crisp, unread piece of bound paper. that's quite real. some days, i think books are more real than pain.

maybe my face is more real than the pain i feel. when i'm feeling blue, i like to put my hands on my face - cover it, rub my eyes, scratch my forehead or bury all of it between a pair of arms and a tabletop. i can feel the skin, the brows, the arc of bones. that's quite real too. some days, i think my face is more real than pain.

of course, the two paragraphs above mistakenly assume one thing, that they posses in them the definitive idea of what reality is. if reality is cognitive, then yes - my book and my face have a good chance of being on the top of the existential pile. but what if reality is experiential. if that's true, then maybe i've carried many books and covered my face many times without fully appreciating the reality of those acts. i've put things in places where i can't find before. i've gone through days where i forget what i've done.

but pain is not like that. pain won't let you ignore it when it walks through the door. like the guy in a hawaiian shirt and a loud voice, pain makes itself abundantly obvious, not least of all if you're the one whom it's crept into. i can forget that my room has white walls, that the girl next to me wears perfume, that my fingers are right now touching plastic keys, or that i got bubblegum in my mouth. but i've never forgotten when i hurt. some media smartass once said "if it bleeds, it leads". i somehow feel that that's as much of an experiential truth as it is a broadcasting one.

so maybe ron was right. but i've got one last nagging question. is pain more real than the guy in the hawaiian shirt?

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Genusfrog [ 8:53 am ] | 2 comments

Monday, August 13, 2007

"We could sit for years, staring at our fears."

- Guillemots, Annie, let's not wait


Genusfrog [ 11:21 pm ] | 0 comments

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fergus: Are those your new shoes?
Shuyee: Yep! See.
Fergus: What's your favourite pair of shoes? The one you love the most?
Shuyee: It's the one that hurts the most. It was love at first sight.
Fergus: Hahahaa... Why are we all like that?

Yeah, sometimes we're all like that. we go out into this bizarre world and we fall in love knowing how much it's going to hurt us. the fact is that love and pain seem to be intertwined in some cruel but strangely addictive relationship. it's hard to know where the line blurs between loving in spite of great hurt and hurting because of great love.

and we keep walking back in. maybe it's a compulsion, driven by the very image in which we were assembled. maybe we're just taking an intrinsic lead from the jesus whose extreme love led to and stemmed from extreme pain. maybe we don't know better, and we keep trying to injure ourselves in the name of a big heart.

but someone once told me that pain without redemption is meaningless. and someone else told me that pain is not abstract, it's personal.

if that's the case then maybe i shouldn't speak of pain and love as if they were divorced from the people feeling the cut and heart. and maybe if that's so, then pain finds meaning when the redemption makes sense. a pretty pair of shoes, though they knock your feet up pretty bad, might be redemptive enough as an object of beauty. a creation, though it grows mouldy by lunchtime every day, might be redemptive enough as a people for god to love.

but where in this congestion of my knots and stuff will i find my good reason to love?

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Genusfrog [ 11:49 am ] | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I am bored with christianity.

yeah. want another scandalous quote? i'm tired and i want a change.

after five years of being a christian, i've finally grown so restless, i know that i can't keep going on the way it is. christianity as i've known it for the last half decade has turned out to be utterly boring and predictable.

it's too damn safe.

when i became a christian, i knew what i was getting myself into. lots of church, friends, comfort and security. but i've fallen in love with another jesus and i'm going to start this breakup pretty soon.

for five years, i've been battling my way around church people whose primary concerns include an assortment of whether keeping books with dragons on them is fine, when i plan to get married and why having children is a commandment of god.

and along the way, i catch myself being inexplicably drawn closer and closer towards a boring, middle-class christianity that's self-centered, security-driven and terribly yuppie. look a bit closer and you'll realise that christianity is actually no more radical than the malaysian dream baptised in jesus' name.

if that is christianity, then i don't want it anymore. if that is the jesus whom i'm giving my life then he's turned out to be such a disappointment. a suburban clone of our bourgeoise times. like i said, i've fallen in love with a jesus who isn't the jesus of church aunties.

the jesus i'm in love with looks a lot more like a terrorist, whose operation demands death and whose method invites being hated. his bomb is love and he infiltrates to free, not to kill, and he does all this on maximum risk.

the jesus i love is a wanted man, hated by the powers that be because the message he carries is so frightening to the haves, they will kill him out of guilt if not out of fear. and i'm convinced that if this is the jesus who tells us "follow me", then i better start working towards being a wanted man. a man the authorities want to subdue.

i'm not talking about being radical for the sake of being radical. we've got enough fundamentalists of every persuasion already. i'm talking about being radical because i now realise that the alternative - the steady income, invest in securities where moth and rust destroy jesus - is a dangerous counterfeit that is keeping old people sedated and young people chasing sedatives.

christianity as i've known it is boring. there's nothing revolutionary about it because we're all too busy looking for life, we forget that we lost it. we lost life, along with the plot, a long time ago.

i am guilty of this myself and for that, i am disgusted with the yuppie, self-serving, vending-machine faith that i've been toting. "god, help me buy the right condominium." how dare i pray that kind of prayer while god still has kids sleeping on the streets every night?

this whole suburban comfort zone christianity is embarrasing. it shames the legacy of the jesus who was fiercely radical, thoroughly homeless and so dangerous, the government found it necessary to torture and kill him.

but i love this jesus. and i want to be like him.


Genusfrog [ 10:49 am ] | 3 comments