Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Legacy of Positivity

Hey, today’s the last day of 2014! 

Depending on how your year went, you would either read that with relief, dismay or even fear. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it though.

When I wrote down those words, it was mainly because I needed to write something and didn’t quite have any idea what to type, so I just typed what everyone else was talking about on twitter. Wow Anwar. Much original.

Earlier today I watched a video: Jin Hackman 2014 Malaysian Rap Up. It’s basically a video of him rapping about everything that has happened in Malaysia throughout the year. He’s been doing it for several years, so it wasn’t really a surprise when the track dropped. Have a listen here:

Being reminded of all the things that happened throughout the year, I start to think about how much I’ve done throughout the year. It’s always of question, whether I did enough in the 365 days I was given. Honestly speaking, I don’t think so.

I started the year as a social media consultant for a think tank organisation. I spent four good months there before being posted to school in Penang, and now I’ve been teaching in school for about eight months now.

I’ve had my ups and downs. Made some new friends, which is good. I undertook a project or two, only to leave them unattended after a couple of months. Bad bad not good.

Lots of things happened. Malaysia as a country went through its fair share of challenges, and they certainly affected me. Left me wishing I could do more than just pray.

Read some books. That was good. I think I was able to get through a good amount of books throughout the year. I wish I had read more, for sure, but I definitely did more reading than I’ve done in previous years.

2015 promises to be a year full of potential. I already have a few things lined up for it. I need to remember that life is about making choices, and I need to choose to put those plans into motion and work towards making them happen, and happen good.

But of course, the future is never promised to us. I can’t say for certain that I’ll even wake up tomorrow to greet 2015. None of us can. Let us never forget just how fragile life is, so that we may let go of the little things that get in the way of us enjoying and cherishing the things that we do have and that make it good.

We’re here today, and we need to make that count. Contribute something positive to the world. In the words of the poet Walt Whitman, quoted ever so elegantly by the late Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, “The question, O me! so sad, recurring—what good amid these, O me, O life? / Answer. / That you are here—that life exists and identity, / That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

What will your verse be? What will my verse be? What will our verses be?

Choose to make them positive verses. Leave a legacy of positivity. That goes for you, Anwar. Jangan dok sedih sangat.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Book Club Idea

For full disclosure, I am part of a youth collective called Akademi Belia. We organise and run programmes catered towards youth development. Some examples of the programmes that we have conducted are futsal tournaments, talks with prominent leaders such as Tun Dr Mahathir, helping out with soup kitchen efforts as well as cultural exchange programmes with youths from different countries (such as China and Russia). Most (if not all) of the programmes are run within the Klang Valley area, so little old me in Penang here can’t attend all of them.

I like being part of this youth collective. They comprise of passionate, competent and fun-loving people, and a lot of times I feel like I have the least to contribute, which is good since with that feeling, I know that I’m around good company.

For the upcoming year, I have proposed a programme of my own. It’s still in its inception stage, so the idea’s unpolished and rough around the edges, but writing this down will hopefully make it clearer both to me, to Akademi Belia as well as to anyone who might be interested.

So it’s basically a book club. A bunch of people get together every couple of weeks and talk about a specific book (what it’s about, what they liked about it, what they didn’t like about it, why). And the fruits of that discussion shall be recorded and made into a youtube video, for everyone else to join in the discussion in the comments.

How it’s gonna work is like this:

Step 1: I shall post a poster on twitter/instagram/facebook declaring that a meet-up will happen in two weeks. In that poster shall contain the book that shall be discussed as well as the date, time, place of the meet-up. Anybody interested in joining shall have two weeks to read/re-read the book for the meet-up. It’ll be done on a weekend, in a public space.

Step 2: On the day of the get-together, we’ll talk about the book, what it’s about, what we liked about it, what we didn’t like about it, the reasons for our opinions. We’ll record some of the discussion to be put up on Youtube. And we’ll eat pizza. Or kuih bahulu. Or whatever anybody wants to bring. (I don’t expect more than 5 people to come, so we’ll have plenty of food to go around yay!) After about an hour of eating and talking, we’d have made some new friends and gained some fresh perspectives of the book we were reading! And food!

Step 3: About a week afterwards, the video of the book discussion shall be uploaded onto Youtube. And steps 1-3 shall be repeated again.

I like reading books. And I love talking about them too. And I know that there are people out there that share this interest. But I’ve found that the right place and time to talk about them are hard to come by. So hopefully, by doing this book club thing, we’ll all get to gather and do exactly that, at least once a month. It’ll be fun, and we’ll eat food! Okay now if it’s not abundantly obvious that I really like food, then taktau la.

And this activity shouldn’t be exclusive. Anybody who’s anybody can join. If you come having read the book, then that’s great. If you haven’t read the book but still want to come, then there’s nothing stopping you. We’ll hang out.

It’s simple stuff, but it is within my hopes that we’ll gain something positive from it.

Again, this is just a rough idea. Whether or not it’ll work out in real life, we’ll see.

I don’t have a name for it yet. Any suggestions?


I am a male person and I have emotions and I typed of the resulting thoughts and they are now on the internet. Nothing wrong with that. It’s my blog, after all, and can write and publish whatever I may on this free internet space. But I realise now that yesterday’s episode (the previous blogpost) was just me being whiny and mengada. It’s totally legit to feel those feelings, but they’re not an excuse to become a less decent human being.

I remember a thing my friend told me a couple of weeks ago. I was staying over at his house because he was ever so generous to let me spend some nights there. On the last morning of my stay, we had a conversation. I was talking about this person I knew and I was telling my friend about how I wanted to like this dude but I didn’t because I caught some vibe that said he did’t like me very much. 

In response to this, my friend said “kenapa tak just like him anyway jer?” which totally hit me in the head. I was like “ya jugak tu, why do I need him to like me for me to like him?” but only in my head ajalah. I verbally replied, after a pause, “betoi jugak.”

In that one response, my friend reminded me that other people shouldn’t affect my decision to be a decent human being and like anyone or everyone, even the ones that don’t like me back.

Another friend of mine brought this quote into my life: “Kehidupan ialah tenting membuat keputusan. Life is about making choices.” And everything we do is a decision. I can decide to be weak in the face of uncertainty, or I can choose to be strong. Either way, that uncertainty will still be there.

So when I doubted myself yesterday, I forgot that I was making a choice. I chose to take the view that the kind of person I am was something I couldn’t control. And that view shapes the way I behaved and influences the choices I make whilst in that state of mind.

I needed to remember that the opposing view, that I can control the kind of person I am, could equally be true. And when I hold that view, I can start to be more conscious about my choices in behaviour, and I can influence myself to do more positive things and view things in a more positive light, shaping me to become a wholly more positive person.

So instead of mengeluh and complain that I don’t know if I’ll be a douche in the future, I just need to remember to not do douchey things. As long as I refrain from doing douchey things, I won’t be a douchey person. And isn’t that the best type of person? The non-douchey type?

So be nice anyway, Anwar. Do good things, regardless. Smile, regardless.  Always look for the positives, regardless.

And you should be just fine, no?

Monday, December 29, 2014


I don’t know why, but I’m feeling ill at ease at the moment. Which is why I’m typing this out right now. Writing usually allows me to clear my head and let me focus for a bit, forcing me to sort out the never-ending clutter that is in my head.

It could be because of the news that another plane from our region has gone missing. God knows that can rattle just about anyone into dissonance. 

It could be because of the ongoing flood situations all around Malaysia. They’ve made me wishing I was doing more than just donating things and retweeting ways to get help to the flood victims. 

It could be because I just did a rant on twitter just now, expressing my views on how helicopters could be put to better use than flying ministers around places to get their pictures taken with the flood victims, and the backlash I got from that little rant was more than I could handle.

One person said that I was “pandai, tapi mengata kat orang bukan main lagi.” That made me feel guilty.

Firstly, I don’t feel that I am at all “pandai”. I actually think my intellect lags waaay behind that of my peers. I’m just a dude that is severely under-read and spends most of his free time taking naps, quite the antithesis of the habits of any “pandai” person. So to be called so by that total stranger whom I most probably will never meet throughout my life, made me feel sejenis guilty because I somehow was able to convey to that said person that I am worthy of such a label.

Secondly, part “mengata kat orang” was somewhat justified. My tweet was actually directed towards the parts of the general public that expect their elected “leaders” to be around the flood victims. Sure it may look good in the papers and on blogs, but let’s get real here. They’re really only doing it because they don’t want to taint public perception and be seen as “one with the people”. If they were really genuine (and some are), they wouldn’t take up valuable resources (such as helicopter rides) and bring a whole entourage of people whose sole purpose is to publicise their presence among “the people”. Because not being there would result in netizens screaming “WHERE ARE OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS?! ALL THEY KNOW IS TO RUN AWAY AND LAZE IN THEIR AIR CONDITIONED OFFICES!!” and that would affect valuable votes in the next elections, and they can’t risk that, can they? Why let actual workers do actual work in helping to get the flood victims sorted out when their reputations are on the line, right? The public need to see their elected officials feeling the people’s suffering, barula puas.

So yeah, I was “mengata”-ing, and that doesn’t really reflect the type of human I want to be. What type of human do you want to be Anwar? I guess the type that only has love for his fellow human beings. The type that is able to see the good, even in the horrible. They type that doesn’t complain, but tries his best to make things better by being a better person and doing better things.

But I’m not that type of person, am I? I’d rather laze around in my comfortable bed, retweeting a whole bunch tweets and feel content with all the “work” I’ve put in to alleviate the victims of their suffering than to go out and actually help.

And that makes me a horrible person.

So that’s where the dissonance is coming from.


There’s this one story that’s been spreading around twitter about the Sultan of Kelantan driving out to a flood shelter on his own and helping out with stuff and things. When asked by some guy “where’re you from?” he simply replied “I’m from around here.” and just chuckled when people suggested that he looked like the Sultan. Whether that story be true or not, THAT is an example of a genuine person helping out. Going over unannounced, helping out without fanfare and plays down his role in the bigger scheme of things.

I’d like to think that if I were in a position of power, I’d be something like that, you know? Genuine. Chill. 

But the truth is, I don’t know that. For all I know, I’d value my position too much and, blinded by my status, be all full of myself. I’d use people’s tragedies for political mileage and basically just sell my soul to the devil just to be viewed as a saint in the eyes of my fellow man. I’d stop caring about people as soon as they can give me nothing in return. 

Can I ever be such an asshole? The answer is yes. Yes I can.

And that scares me shitless.