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.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Creative energy - that bitch of a thing! always running away when you have time on your hands. always surging inside when there's too much to handle. it's cheeky as hell. and almost spiteful.

it's like parkinsons gripping old folks when all they can do left is sit around and reminisce.

it's like an infant who can't remember the most pampered years because the human brain can't retain memories until about three.

how cruel. how ironic. today, i sit here in the office, killing time, whiling away my friday 7.5 just so i can pull the weekend closer. there are a hundred things i could be doing. but i have done nothing. not even but for my confinement to the desk but... but for my absolute lack of imagination. dearlord is there no redemption in sight?

alas. boredom is dystopic. and utterly sad.

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Genusfrog [ 3:09 pm ] | 0 comments

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Some people are just strange. my phone isn't exactly working up to scratch these days, so i lifted my dad's spare number and i've been using it to make the odd call here and there. what i wasn't prepared was for a far more odd call to come in.

Fergus: hello
Indian lady: sai ram, brother...
Fergus: hi. erm, this isn't dr ong. i'm his son.
Indian lady: oh
Fergus: i'm borrowing his phone.
Indian lady: it's ok. i just want to ask right, on the 25th, how many people will be coming...
Fergus: no, I really don't know. you'll need to call my dad. at his clinic.
Indian lady: oh okay.

how she thought i could have supplied her the necessary information, i swear, no one will ever know.


Genusfrog [ 4:51 pm ] | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's strange when you leave a past behind. you walk for the sake of going away, and you forget that in your haste to leave where you were, you're actually going somewhere else.

three months ago, adrian asked me what i thought it'd be like one year from now. maybe we all won't be doing the same things anymore, no longer hanging out in the same group, no longer having the same routines.

it turned out much faster than next year. three months was all it took for our lives to be completely flipped over. today, it bares little semblance to what it was this june. do you ever get that? like you've just walked out of one life and into another, and everything is now different?

i first felt that when i came home to malaysia and then broke up with laura. i felt like a movie character who had just stumbled into the wrong film. like clint eastwood's cowboys in a hong kong art film, or robert de niro's gangsters in a b grade zombie flick. it's weird when you move on in life and live out an entirely new routine, surrounded by new things.

but now it's different. right now, it feels like a sequel under a new director. the new director likes a different palette, so he changes the colour scheme a bit. he thinks that some of the characters should interact differently, so he readjusts the dynamics between the main players. some characters are killed off. some characters are being drafted for a mid-movie arrival. the setting is augmented but by and large the same. and though it's nothing as radical as walking onto an entirely new set, it is essentially still a distinct and new movie.

i'm living in this new movie right now. i think a few of us are. some parts of it are nice but other parts of it are really hard to watch. it's a movie with a few more giddy ideas but it's also got a lot more deep sadness. and sometimes, the poignant soundtrack moments mask the fact that there is a bitterly painful subplotline going on underneath. as the lead actor in my own narrative, i can't say i know what this new director is doing.

just please don't kill anyone else off.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

My family went all von Trapp this weekend. we do this sometimes, gather round a table and sing songs for hours together. my dad had this idea that when we came home for our annual mooncake festival celebrations, that it had to be a singing night. so we played this game, singing oldies, with one person singing one line of a song and the next person continuing the next line. we played until someone couldn't remember the lyrics, and then that person had to choose a new song.

you know, when i become a father, i want my family to be a singing family. it doesn't matter if nobody knows how to hold a note. the point is that i want my future family to live in full abandon, expressing themselves through songs with little inhibition. family shouldn't be too inhibited with each other. mine sometimes is but sometimes isn't. and i like my family best when we drop our guard and dare to be weird or funny or different together.

i'm really enjoying my weekend back home in muar. there is a feeling of certainty and security. the feeling that some things never change, and that somewhere in this huge, bizarre and everchanging world, there is a group of people who are gonna be exactly as i expect them to be. and on rare occassions like this, being with my family makes me feel like a 7-year-old again. in the larger scheme of things, it didn't last too long: about four hours. but for those four hours, it felt like 1987, and i was a little kid again. and we were all together, being family.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

"I'm not afraid of thieves, they cannot rob me of spirit"
- The Gracecars, I'm not afraid to die

Once every so often, the universe decides to pull its pants down, sit on an apartment block and shit on a guy living there. this morning, i was shat on like that.

my adidas shoes got stolen. yeah, the ones i blogged about. the ones that squeaked. i loved them. woke up, opened my door and there they weren't. just like that. you know, whenever i get a gig, i'll play I'm not afraid to die. i do that cos it's got pompous lyrics and i like proclaiming pompous things. this morning, the universe shat on me so that i'll put my money where my mouth is.

it's funny. on one hand, i want to denounce stealing. declare that it's wrong on principle and that no context should justify taking from someone what's theirs to be yours. but we all steal someitmes. from benign things like expressions and gestures to abstract things like ideas and originality. a stolen shoe feels more criminal only because we've set a higher price on the monetary value of things. a witty person's wit is free. if i heard him say something nice, i can lift it and insert it into my own conversations without crediting him. i'd have stolen what was his. and no one would make a sound.

i guess i just hope that the guy who stole my shoes finds that they fit. that my shoes can be snug in his feet and that in them, he'll walk towards a life where stealing is no longer necessary. the curse of poverty and kleptomania are equally damning. but i rather hope that my shoes now protect the shoeless, because there's no glory in losing something because of someone else's itchy hands. still, i hope my shoes make him happy.

goodbye squeaky adidas shoes. don't squeak too loud while you're gone. get used to those new feet. and if you can, take him to a good place.

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Genusfrog [ 9:27 am ] | 2 comments

Friday, September 14, 2007

"He in whom the love of truth predominates will ... recognise all the opposite negations betwen which, as walls, his being is swung"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

For two years, monet painted haystacks, grainstacks and wheatstacks. lots and lots of them. he painted them in the mornings, in the evenings, in the snow and in the flush of spring. the haystacks are essentially the same, but they aren't. i'm no art historian. what i am is bipolar.

i feel like these monet paintings. one moment, i can be a sunshine boy, the face of youthful optimism, brimming over with hope. blink and i can be bleak and cold, a bitter cynic wallowing in blustery defeatism.

i've been like this since going to melbourne. i'm not sure what precipitated it, but maybe it was a combination of a sugar-coated childhood and a cynical university education. it could hardly be anything else.

on most days, i find myself caught with my feet on opposing ends of paradigmatic extremes. i never really learned the subtle art of adjusting myself into the middle. most people do - they start out hopeful and they adjust to the cynicism of adulthood. others start out hardened, and they find hope and comfort as the years roll in.

for me, i oscilate between the two, taking turns to represent opposing positions without ever spending much time in the middle. i just never learned how to be a moderate person. i find little incentive to hold the middle ground, considering it on most occassions to be an utterly boring and ordinary position to represent. put differently, i might just be an extremist of sorts. a conflicted extremist. an extremist who plays both sides with equal dose of conviction.

i wonder, what must it be like to be a moderate? a balanced, steady middle-grounder with carefully considered opinions. it won't work for me, would it? no, a moderate's life will never work for me.

Grainstacks in the sunlight, morning effect, 1890.
Haystacks at the end of summer, morning effect, 1891.

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Genusfrog [ 2:20 pm ] | 0 comments

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Repetition. predictability. routine.

loop. loop. loop. loop. loop. i do the same things over again.

that's the thing about creatures of habit. i'm quite happy to walk into mcdonald's and every time, without fail, order myself a big mac. there's a new carl's jr in one utama. i've been there twice now. had the same burger on both occasions.

there's that side of me that will stick to familiar ground and keep going back to what i know are the surefire winners. i am comfortable like that. i don't find the need to constantly explore new ground and i'm not the kinda guy who needs to try everything at a buffet. once i latch on to something i like, i'm usually hooked.

but that could be changing. there's another side of me, a side that's impulsive, that longs for the thrill of the unknown. i have always been bipolar and this is another expression of it. whenever i'm not ordering the same burger for the thousandth time, i'm pulling up at the first restaurant round the bend and going in without thinking.

sometimes, we think it's good if people can predict how we choose things: i know he'll like this, i bet she'll love that. and while the predictable side of me is the side that often receives gifts, it is the unpredictable side of me that wants to pour out.

there is an adventure i want to go on. a wild transcontinental plough through the slums, wilderness and desolation of the world. i want to experience cultures, behaviours, languages, food, music and art. i want to stand in rainstorms, snowstorms and sandstorms. taste the awe of rural landscapes and drink the sadness of urban poverty. i want this adventure to take me where the comfort of a formulaic burger recipe has never taken me. i want to trek the unmapped, ride danger and rush along to an excitement that bubbles over.

i will always be a creature of particularly simple habits, revelling in the joys of the same thing done right the same way. but this adventure, this seductive lure for the great uncharted, i can almost audbibly hear it call.

and God only knows what lies in store.


Genusfrog [ 9:24 am ] | 1 comments

Friday, September 07, 2007

I am finally happy with myself.

sure, it might mean that i strike out on some strange, radical road less travelled, but i am finally happy and fully reconciled to the fact that this is the kind of person i've become, and it is in this direction that i will keep becoming.

there's a simplicity that i long for and i'm determined to find it. it's a stripped-down life, the kind i'm convinced now that i was born to live. it's a life that fully understands the appeal of luxury and the joys of abundant consumerism, but decides to live outside of it. it's a life that looks at the comforts of a secure life square in the face, recognises why everybody wants it, but then turns away without either fretting or getting holy about it. everyday now, i dream of a life that paddles against the grain of what i see around me. you've read it here before. i'm through with this suburban dream.

and for the next few years, i intend to live this alternative life out: find myself a middle-lower class place to buy and live, maintain my stripped-down lifestyle, work normal hours, don't get promoted, keep enough hours for my passions and not get sucked into that lure for the next luxury purchase.

i want a spartan life. (300 fans. i swear, i'm over the movie.)

i sincerely do. i don't want anymore clutter. i just want a simple life and - if she exists (i'm convinced she does) - a girl who will share those values and come along for the adventure. i had an idea the other day. when i eventually set up my home, i want to leave one part of it unfinished: a wall that's left unpainted, a faucet without a tap, or a room that's unfurnished. i want to do that as a constant reminder that this is not home. not yet. i want to do that so that i can up and leave without feeling the pinch of losing what i'd built up. i never want to trick myself into believing in that false sense of security.

and so, in all my 27 years, i've never been so convicted about anything before. i know now what kind of life i want to live. it's not a life that i've lived before. i've never known it. i have no experience to go by. but it's radically important enough and so i'm gonna try. i'm still gonna blog, still gonna carry a handphone and still gonna be a mac kinda guy. but i swear, i'm seriously not the same person anymore.

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Genusfrog [ 9:42 pm ] | 1 comments

Sunday, September 02, 2007

They forgot to tell me that i would feel an incredible separation, and that loneliness would make me write incessantly, even if i knew no one was reading.


Genusfrog [ 9:24 am ] | 0 comments

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Ever woken up to bizarre new ideas? i woke up with one the other morning, and it went something along the lines of "I want to buy a bicycle".

the last bicycle i had was a second-hand racing bike that i bought in melbourne to fix a childhood fixation with light-weight bicycles with funny handlebars. I called it June, partly because I bought it in my birthmonth, but also because I had only recently christened my then-spanking new Les Paul Jude (which in turn, was named after Hey Jude, but that's a different story). I cycled to uni and back, sometimes at breakneck speed in the evenings. I never crashed June. I sold her just before I left. With her I sold a life on two wheels and traded it in for the jammed-up bore-draw of PJ's disgusting highways.

but some mornings have a way of inspiring new old habits. i have little idea where i'd go with a bike if i bought one now - i could cycle to adrian's house, centrepoint and one utama. swing by a park sometimes. maybe that's it. but the idea still fascinates me. maybe it's that intrinsic need to fill the void of old habits with new ones. maybe now that another chapter of my life back in malaysia has been closed, i can open a new one and feel comfortable drawing references to my life in melbourne again. maybe now that life has moved on, i can reembrace who i was for five years in australia, and dip my toes into some of that freewheeling once more.

i don't know if i'll actually get myself a bike. but i do know what i'd want. wind in my face and road zipping beneath me. cold ears. i want to ride away into anywhere.

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