“Hey. How is it going? Did you just arrive?”
“Hey. Nah. I arrived at 5 pm, around that. Just went back to get my bag. Did you just come in?”
“Yeah. Traffic was bad.”
“True. But that’s kinda normal, I guess. From work?”
“Yes. What a week. How’s your work?”
“Well, like that. Endless things to do.”
“Work never ends. You always came here?”
“Most of the time. I mean, I’ve tried other places. But most of the time, I come here. What about you?”
“Just here. Other places are definitely out of reach for me.”
“Rule of thumb: gotta find place to exercise either closer to your work or your home.”
“Agree. Your work place is quite nearby, I assume?”
“Okay. I ride, so it’s quite bearable.”
“That explains your jacket on weekdays.”
“Yeah. And all the bags.”
“Do you have to carry those everyday?”
“I don’t have any other options.”
“And you still manage to come here everyday?”
“I try to make it everyday. And I guess you come every other day?”
“Close enough. Two days or three days in a row, then a day break, then another two to three. Gotta listen to what your body says.”
“After a while, you know your body rhythm.”
“Yeah. Are you with your trainer today?”
“Today? Nah. Not today. I’ll just run on my own.”
“Me, too. I mean, I just run.”
“I … Well, I notice that.”
“Right. Yeah. Okay. This is my spot.”
“Alright. See you.”
All the conversations that could’ve happened. All the imagination that only exists in mind. Instead, the words are replaced by distant gazes. Mere gazes. The sights seen at great length that they mute words and voices. The eyes that see only with miraculous hope that the object will feel being seen and return the glances. Alas, it remains a wishful thinking.
How is it that one word with two letters can carry infinite possibilities?
How is it that one word with two letters be the hardest word to say?
How does one start saying … “Hi”?
“Hey. How is it going? Did you just arrive?”
I miss falling in love.
I miss smiling as I am gazing.
I miss making playlist of songs, since every song is about our fantastical fantasy relationship.
I miss daydreaming, imagining and eventually thinking ahead of every possible scenario.
I miss falling in love.
I miss the joy out of living.
I miss the happiness it brings.
I miss the thrill it seeks.
I miss the anticipation out of unthinkable possibilities.
I miss falling in love.
I miss the beat of my heart that drums when you pass.
I miss the sigh of relief when you miss my glance.
I miss the whisper of my own wish when you stand in distance.
I miss the pray quietly uttered when you may or may not be there.
I miss the wetness of my eyes from too much smiling when you step in to my mind.
I miss falling in love.
I miss seeing your flaws as flawless.
I miss seeing your imperfection as perfection.
I miss seeing your scars as beauties.
I miss feeling your quietness loud.
I miss feeling your silence deafening.
I miss feeling your mere presence larger than life.
I miss falling in love.
Because I miss living life.
Blessed are those who wake up under the safe roof of one’s own, next to the loved one, and others who wait within reach.
Blessed are those who wake up alone with smile on the face as breakfast’s guaranteed and running soon ensues.
Blessed are those who wake up grumbling about the night before and the day ahead, for it is a sign of living.
Blessed are those who wake up with their stomach churning about to do the number-two, for it is a sign of living.
Blessed are those who wake up daydreaming, because when mind wanders, infinite possibilities will happen.
Blessed are those who wake up with drools, because normalcy is never overrated.
Blessed are those who wake up moaning, because living starts with loving.
Blessed are those who wake up with a silent prayer, for one is always connected to the universe in many inexplicable manners.
Blessed are those who choose to wake up.
Tomorrow, our communal blog linimasa.com will turn exactly one year old.
In this day and age, I cannot believe that I get to say such a cliche statement: “how time flies by”. But when it comes to this blog, time has indeed flown at such a rapid movement.
Linimasa came at the right moment. I was in the middle of some sort of self-healing. Then when the came offer, such a generous one, indeed, I immediately said “yes”. My initial reaction was that I got to have a habit of writing once a week. A routine, you may say. Something I had not had for a while then.
You see, I used to write a weekly review for a local paper. In English. I got to think hard what to write every Wednesday, because the deadline fell on every Thursday, before the writing got published on weekend. When I got the Thursday slot for linimasa, the almost similar routine stroke again: I got restless every Wednesday. Whenever possible, I tried to avoid going out, making out, and anything that required me to be out and about every Wednesday night, fearing the looming deadline.
You know how it is with blog: you are the writer, the editor, the designer, all rolled into one. Once you finish writing, you have to check any grammatical error or any mistakes in spelling. Then you insert links to anything on your writing that needs external URL source. After that, you choose appropriate image to insert on the writing. Sometimes, this takes up more time than the actual writing. You hit the ‘preview’ button to see how it looks. As I read the write-up on the preview mode, sometimes I spot an error or two, or more, then going back to the dashboard to edit again. Finally, we hit the ‘publish’ button.
And then we wait for the reaction. From readers, that is.
Linimasa.com marks my first regular writing in Indonesian. One of my friends wondered whether I could keep it up. As you can see right here, most of my personal blog posts are written in my unbelievably broken English. I am writing faster in English, indeed, especially to convey personal opinions and thoughts. But Linimasa.com gave me the opportunity to learn the joy of writing to your nearby neighbours, friends, colleagues, and everyone within immediate “reach”.
After all, what made me nod to Linimasa is not only the opportunity to write regularly in Indonesian again, but also to learn. When Roy asked me, he mentioned the other writers who had agreed to participate. I have been more than familiar with Gandrasta and Glenn in terms of their works. I also read a few of Roy’s writings, and so did Fa’s and Dragono’s. The only one I was not familiar with yet at that time was Agun. Of course, it soon changed for the better.
As you also know, Agun writes about music, film, and pop culture very smoothly and easily while throwing in facts he meticulously gathers. And who would’ve thought that Roy is the dreamer of all? Glenn acutely observes the society we live in now. His writing tickles.
From Gandrasta, I learn how to grab attention in your writing from the get-go to the end. He never fails.
Then Dragono comes with deep thinking in his writing, almost to Zen-like effect. Most of the time, I feel terrified writing after him, since I got the Thursday slot after his Wednesday.
Then the women of Friday, Fa and Leila. Farah (or Fa) came with a bang, typical of playful young woman in her 20s who likes to explore variety of things with winking observation. When she steps down, her replacement, Leila, is exactly the opposite. A young woman in her 40s who already know what she wants, and this is reflected in her writing. Read Lei’s writings, you will find many tactical, practical tips that clearly show how the writer has experienced and gone through it all.
And a year on, I have proved to what I told the same friend who asked about the idea of Linimasa: that I get to be standing on the shoulders of the giants, and learn from them.
To date, I still read old posts from months ago written by the other writers. Perhaps you also do the same when you click on an article, and then further click on another once you finished reading one. Sometimes I chuckle, most of the time I smile reading the old posts and comments.
As Roy often points out, I don’t think we set ourselves to be a hard hitting journalism. It is, after all, a blog. Maybe in his words he’d like to point out that what we do is a sensational public display of masturbation, but I’d like to think that we just share what we feel like sharing, because we never take ourselves seriously in the first place. We write what we want to write. Sometimes I don’t know what to write in the eleventh hour, sometimes I have no idea at all. I often dig through past writings, and modify them a little to publish in Linimasa. Sometimes I just take a quote and elaborate any possible words I can think out of it. Sometimes I am just hopelessly in mercy of whatever gets me to the day. And that one happens very, very often.
I came across a saying once that goes something like “writing sets one free”. I could not be more grateful for the past 52 weeks that I never fail to show up every Thursday, and be able to present my rambling for that particular week. To date, as I am writing this note, I am still amazed at myself to be able to carry on the routine. Every week, and I was never absent. Not once. I hardly commit to anything, but why is it actually possible to honour the commitment here?
Well, who knows?
We’ll just keep on writing.
Happy birthday. Thank you for putting me here, guys.
I remember watching an episode of Sex and the City a few years ago. Can’t recall which season exactly, but it’s the one where Cynthia Nixon (Miranda, right?) stands on the ferry taking her back to Manhattan. She looks at the island from afar, and says, “Who would’ve thought an island that tiny would be big enough to hold all our old boyfriends?”
Today, as Singapore turns 50 years old, I can’t help thinking along the same line.
No, the island doesn’t hold all my old romantic flings.
But this city, this tiny red dot island, has a great power millions times of its size to change one life’s for good.
This is the place where I get my university degree, the sole one I have so far.
This is the place where I start learning how to earn a living. A waiter, a clown, a salesman, a liaison officer, a customer service assistant, a writer. Wow.
This is the place where I gained and lost extreme weight within less than than half a decade.
This is the place where I met friends, lost friends, and eventually, have friends for life, for good.
This is the place where I started falling in love, and never look back again.
For others, Singapore may be the concrete jungles where business and fun meet.
But to me, Singapore is the leisure walk on a drizzling Saturday afternoon with friends for coffee followed by movies in Cathay or Lido. Or Sunday jog followed by lunch in any hawker centres. Or those do-nothing-but-sitting-on-a-couch in a friend’s flat. Or those late night supper of prata and nasi lemak back in our younger days.
I lived in the country for 6.5 years. I began as a young boy who left his hometown to study, and I left the country as a young man who decided to drop everything for a career change.
It has not been a smooth sail. But somewhere at the back of my mind, I keep thinking that I’ll be fine, as long as I have friends I made when I was here. Because they’re friends for life.
And now I remember that I watched the Sex and the City episode for the first time back in Singapore, in the room of my rented condo in Bukit Batok.
Happy birthday, Singapore.
You’re not just a well-designed country. You’re the land that has changed one’s life for good.
One of the great unfortunate elements of falling in love is that you don’t remember the exact moment.
You don’t remember the specific time.
You forget the precise dotted point on the clock when you start falling.
By any means, it is perfectly fine.
We are swept by the excitement of having someone new in life.
We are thrilled by continuous discoveries we unearth of each other everyday.
We are overjoyed by the sheer sensation of living on clouds number nine.
But then the law of gravity plays its part.
For everything that is put up above, eventually it will come down.
For every moment of falling in love, it will soon be followed by falling out.
We are busy questioning everything, not enough with just accepting.
We are keen on interrogating and investigating, not enough with just asking and believing.
We are dwelling on anger, bitterness, confusion and disappointment. The ABCD of emotional fallout.
We forget that once, we were alive.
We forget that once, we were happy.
We forget that once, we were in love.
Thus, if you ask me when was the last time I fell in love, I can only meet your eyes and say, “I don’t remember”.
But ask me if I ever want to love again, and I let my smile say, “always”.
“What’s together like?”
“You and me, right now.”
“What’s happiness like?”
“You and me, right now.”
“What’s forever like?”
“You and me, later.”
“What’s ours like?”
What’s love like?
You and me, no longer.
It does not take Eid to forgive. That is true.
Forgiveness, after carefully processed time and self acceptance, shall be done at any given moment. When one is ready, one shall forgive.
But just like any other big days covered in celebration, we need to glorify the importance of one thing that makes us celebrate the coveted day. Today, that thing is forgiveness. Eid is one day that serves as a reminder, that no matter how hard it is, forgiveness prevails. Forgiveness takes time. Forgiveness needs our great willingness to do. Forgiveness shows us who we really are.
Forgiveness should come from the heart.
And when all is done, all is forgiven.
I don’t think I have ever been comfortable with myself. Has anyone ever?
Years ago, that actually seems like centuries ago, I was bullied by many as I was obese. Gradually I lost weight, and I lost more weight to the point of being accused of anorexic. I loved food, and still do, too much to throw away, let alone after eating. Then I gained a few kilos, people started saying that I looked fine, not fat nor thin, and it made me feel good. Gotta be honest about this.
Then I worked hard to maintain the seemingly proper weight. It was not easy. My weight kept fluctuating. I could go from looking plump to looking thin within a relatively short period of time. I tried applying a particular mantra “the thinner, the better”, but where did it get me? Nowhere. The body kept moving across like average stock index at any given month. I began losing track when I actually felt good about myself.
And how we concern about our physical attributes always affects how we think and perceive ourselves.
On top of that, a certain past relationship kept me wondering why I bothered to stay while the other party often made inappropriate comments about how I looked like. Of course, at that time, the comments passed of as jokes, albeit unfunny ones if I look back at it now.
Taking comments from other people about our physical appearances can take a toll on our mentality. We’re afraid to try new clothes. We keep getting obsessed with being perceived as “good” by others. We’re scared to eat. We think ourselves as unworthy.
All those sad notes, while we still have to make a living. We are stressed out. We are often feeling guilty over nothing.
Then suddenly, it all stops.
At least for me, the worrying stops.
It takes a while before I could just smile when someone greeted me with, “Do you gain weight?”, and still silently judge the other’s communication skill as other kind of greeting can easily be used. It is not easy at first. I take it personally, very personally, and you should, too. It is easy being superior over others albeit for a few minutes. But the effect on the other party? We always have no idea.
We have no idea, too, when we already lose weight, we still want more. We are still not satisfied. Once the flabby tummy’s gone, the wrinkles are still there. More people call us “sir” now than two years ago. Grey hairs are impossible to hide.
We are never satisfied.
I am never satisfied.
But I can accept.
Gone is the time of submitting photos 10 years ago in dating sites or for official purpose. Gone is the habit of reducing age as we press buttons on treadmill.
Time has never been kind to anyone. But if we are kind enough to ourselves, we get through time in a much more relaxing manner.
I still take way less selfie than anyone. Probably I only take selfie, and still not alone, once every 4 months. I still cringe when I see myself in work photos or videos.
But do I spend or waste my time dwelling on that? Hardly. Not anymore. For there are books to read, films
to watch, places to go, and sports as simple as running to do, we shall turn our utmost attention to those kinds of activities. They make us feel good. They make us feel smart. They make us feel that no time is wasted.
They enrich our lives.
And after some 600 words we read together, I still don’t think I have ever been comfortable with myself.
But I can accept, and live.
Maybe, just maybe.
We never know the answers to the unresolved problems and the unspoken questions.
We never hear sweet words once spoken in soft and tenderness.
We never understand why people do what they do, and we act how we react.
Maybe, just maybe.
There will never be love like what it was.
There will never be life like what was once led.
There will never be lust anymore.
Maybe, just maybe.
Forgiveness remains unspoken.
Feeling remains unshared.
Friendship remains undone.
Fiendship remains unbroken.
Maybe, just maybe.
Enough is enough.
Here we go again.
The time when we could not help but pretending. We pretend we have watched all the nominated films. We pretend we know the taste of around 6,000 members of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), commonly known as Oscar voters, but for most of us, they’re known as, good God, “Oscar juries”. But hey, don’t we like to play God? And what better way for it than to guess who get the gold statue of naked man without penis holding a sword?
“the heart wants what it wants”.
“the heart tricks you into thinking and believing that the one you want is something, or someone else besides what you already have, or what is readily available for you. but you choose, you want to succumb to the desire for the sake of pleasure that is actually equal to defying logic your mind has already said to you, over and over again. that forsaken joy brings you no security, no roof above your head, and yet you are prone to falling for it anyway, because it is addictive, it makes you feel alive, it makes you excited, it makes you going head over heels, but more often than not, it can easily break you, hurt you, and leave you deserted, with your heart broken into pieces. That is what the heart wants. That is what you get to follow your heart in its full glory and all these … fabricated happiness.”
I’ve gotta tell you something: I love short movies.
In fact, I love our local short movies.
Having sat through around 500 short films to watch every year for the past 3 years now, there is nothing more exciting to finally see short films now made with big screen viewing in mind. Sure, I’ve worked to grow 21 Short with all its might. But beyond that, short films create a long lasting impression, extended beyond their limited duration.
However, this annual note celebrates feature film as seen on big screen. The above number of short films to assess often gets in the way to enable me writing the note. That, and the endless temptation of American TV series. Goodness, these series keep getting better and better, don’t they? The best dramatic plots for the past 3 years have been found in our living room, or wherever you watch TV series.
Hours will go by easily as we hook on the series. But once in a while, we need to breathe fresh air. A walk to nearby cinema is needed to see other people, strangers, friends, or anyone. It’s good to dress up a bit, even in T-shirt and sneakers just to go to cinema. After all, cinema still matters.
And these films matter to me this year.
In alphabetical order:
Date of watching: June 19, 2014
Movie magic does not come very often in Indonesian film. But this film, particularly in the penultimate scenes involving mosques and churches, come very, very close to being a defining one. It still gives me chills as I am typing this while recalling those scenes.
Date of watching: October 28, 2014
The film proves and shows that heart and passion about anything you love will eventually be reflected in whatever you make. “Chef” Jon Favreau loves good food. He loves people. He loves seeing the good in people, or rather characters, he creates. The result is perhaps the warmest feeling we had in cinema-going experience this year.
Date of watching: April 16, 2014
I could not hold back overflowing emotion that the first Wes Anderson’s film I can see on big screen is his most well-rounded yet. This is his most accessible film so far, and it is easy to see why: the characters feel very human.
Date of watching: November 6, 2014
Love it or loathe it, Christopher Nolan knows how to succumb both his fans and haters together to his world. The film is unmissable. The technical wizardry is used to accommodate his ideas that he is willing to toy with his audiences, something we, as mentioned earlier, either like or be uncomfortable with. But let’s agree on one thing: his film always, and always, deserves a cinematic viewing.
Date of watching: March 28, 2014
Perhaps this is the most heartfelt tribute to Jakarta on big screen yet. What others fail to capture is the essence of struggle, something the film is proud to wear on its sleeves with genuine laughter and tears. I watched it again in regular screening after the full-house preview, and it held up. A tight editing and a carefully written screenplay allow greater freedom for Daniel Ziv, amazing first time director, to explore the emotions of the three main character we cannot help but love.
Date of watching: April 24, 2014
A film like Buried or this one makes a terrific cinema-going experience. We are forced to sit through the entire duration of 90 minutes with one person in real time. Tom Hardy delivers the impossible with crazy intensity, and we cannot help but marvelling at the highly discipline of filmmaking in creating this film. To put it simply, it is unforgettable.
Date of watching: November 10, 2014
While The Act of Killing jolts us in shock and surprise, its follow up chooses a different path. The tender and often quiet treatment results in one thing: the film stabs us gently, and before we know, we weep in silence.
Date of watching: December 21, 2014
It is not easy to surpass 3 Idiots in terms of being a message movie that is still likeable and entertaining. But the film achieves the impossible feet by choosing risky theme, and present the time as blatantly as possible. Forget subtlety. Banal religious issues, being as it is, should be presented with images and lines that often show the extreme. And it works. And it stays in our mind long after. And it provokes discussion. And it works!
And for many reasons that the following films are not available in cinemas, either by the time it was shown on big screen I was out of town, or they were not picked by local cinemas for various reasons, they still make impressive viewing memory in me.
Thus, my top films, non-cinema wise, in 2014 are (in alphabetical order):
1. THE LUNCHBOX — my favorite film of the year.
4. LIFE ITSELF
5. GONE GIRL
See you next year!
Do you know how the first part of the song goes?
“I may not always love you / but as long as there are stars above you / you never need to doubt it / I’ll make you so sure about it …”
That one famous song.
This version of that song that actually I played last night.
Do you know that the song played exactly as we had the following conversation?
“Hey, you there? / Yeap. / Don’t fall asleep yet. Even if we’re not talking, I still want to think that you’re there. / I’m here.”
God knows when a Christmas miracle should happen.
… bukankah pada akhirnya, bahagia yang tak terbatas adalah rasa bahagia melihat orang lain bahagia, meski kita merana?
… bukankah cinta yang tak tertuturkan dalam lisan jauh lebih mengendap dalam pikiran dan perasaan?
… bukankah tindakan yang berlebih hanya akan membuat kita menjejak di ruang semu angkasa?
… bukankah nalar yang tak terasah menuntun kita pada angan tanpa landasan?
… bukankah hati selalu terdiam saat bersirobok dengan orang yang tepat?
… bukankah kisah hidup selalu dimulai dengan tangisan yang berbalut tawa, meskipun diakhiri dengan senyum bijak yang bermakna?
… bukankah waktu pasti membiarkan dan membiasakan kita bertahan hidup?
… bukankah lamunan pasti akan terusik sebelum jatuh menjadi buaian?
… bukankah kita selalu mencari alasan agar berhenti menggunakan akal pikiran?
… bukankah pada awalnya, kita hanya ingin merasa bahagia, apapun itu resikonya?