Friday, January 25, 2008

Salvation

Dear Jaded,

You pride yourself on being realistic, you pride yourself on seeing things for the way they are, not through rose-tinted glasses like everyone else. The others call you a cynic, and you scoff at them and secretly think they’re ignorant idiots. Ignorance is bliss, right? You think if they knew half of what you knew, they’d think just like you, feel just like you.


Yet you smile and say things that you think they want to hear, you always feel like you have to dumb it down just a little so that they can entertain your thoughts and maybe, just maybe, accept your thoughts. It never occurred to you that the person talking to you might actually be doing the same thing, dumbing down their thoughts into an idea that you would be able to comprehend. But both of you are actors, and both of you are good at what you do. You reject other people based on what they looked like on the outside, not even considering even for just one second, that the guy who looked so self assured and happy outside might actually have more in common with you than you think.


Why do you scoff at them? You can deny it as much as you want, but only God knows that more than anything else, you desire to be just like them, to be content just like them. The sun shines on your back just like everyone else. When you look up to the skies, you squint your eyes from the sun just like everyone else. It’s the same blue sky.


You think you need to be saved. No one is going to save you. There isn’t a knight in shining armor, that evil witch who’s trapping you in your castle is your pride. Stop thinking people won’t understand. Salvation is within you. I know that you rarely ask for help, you think you’ve lived with this feeling for your whole life; what’s another couple years? But no man is an island. No one was born to live alone. Stop shutting people out from your life. Stop trying to get the people who have been shutting you out to care. They will never do. Stop rejecting an advice even before trying it out. You are not smarter than everyone else. You say you’ve forgiven those who’ve wronged you but do you really mean it? Do you harbor hate when you think of those who’ve wronged you?


You refuse to get help on the account of looking weak. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a sign of initiative. Where others have failed to do so, you’ve showed a passion for living, a desperate attempt to change your situation. While others have surrendered to their current situation and make no room for improvement, you strive to improve it. You think you don’t need someone to judge you by their opinions, you don’t need a piece of paper to tell you what you are. You think the person who is judging you is being condescending. You think she assumes she’s smarter than you because you’re too young to matter. You think if you were 40 and said the things you said now, people would perceive you as wise. Right now you’re just a radical teenager. Stop feeding your ego with all these thoughts. No one is complimenting you with such thoughts. Truth is, you and I, we are just two people in a sea of billions. We are minute. I doubt if people cared that much over our thoughts.


It frustrates you that people might misconstrue your thoughts. You hate the idea of being misunderstood. You talk about not caring what people think of you. You talk about how different you are from everyone else. How do you know? You dismiss people even before getting to know them. Did you ever considered the possibility that the person in your everyday life, the one who seemed so simple and uncomplicated, the one you knew since childhood, might know a thing or two about how you’re feeling at the moment? But how would you know? As I said before, we are all chameleons, we change according to the crowd we’re with. A person who declares herself to be true self all the time is a liar. What you see is a fa├žade. You see the smiles, the laughter, the norm. What goes on in the mind or in a locked space, only God sees.


There will be those who spread the lies because it makes them feel better to see others in suffering. Those who ask a lot because they like seeing you have difficulty answering the questions. Those who joke about it because they think it’ll never happen to them. Those who say you never solved anything, you just ran away. These are the ones you should shut out. These are the thoughts you should reject. Not of those willing to help. You never ran away. You faced the bull head on and close your eyes waiting for the consequences.


I wish I could your hold your hand, but I’m afraid you’ll twist mine. We’re not that different, you and I. You think that’s impossible, you pride yourself on being different. I, on the other hand, never entertained the thought that I am alone in my thoughts, although at the moment I feel very much alone. And I know how the world punishes you for being different. When all the other girls were made from sugar and spice and everything nice, I always felt like I was made from vinegar and ice, and everything they despised. Cold and sour. Because that’s what the reality is. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, the truth can be bitter. And I plan on telling it like how it is.


I want to tell you that there’s much to say about dreams and hope. Please don’t dismiss the idea of finding your own state of contentment or happiness. It’s not overrated. Please don’t dismiss God. While happiness might be something as trivial as having fame to others, it doesn’t have to be the same for you. I know you feel as if you’d never be happy again, like the Dementors have sucked all the happiness out of you. Lame attempt at a joke and poor comparison, I know. You experience the fear, the anxiety, the feelings of helplessness, the paranoia. I’m sorry I can’t be more eloquent but I know what isolation does to you. You feel alone even when you’re surrounded by a crowd of friends.


I want to tell you that I know how it feels being trapped, even if it’s only in your mind. I know how it feels to be trapped in a prison, alone with your thoughts. A prison where you’re afraid of being alone, but have no courage to go outside and face the others. The feeling that you don’t have a choice, or maybe just the ones you would want choose. It’s just that maybe you enjoy being alone, you enjoy misery.


There’s a place we can go to if you can wean yourself from your sadness, a place where you can start over. A place you’ve never been before; where people accept you without questions and don’t bring up your past. A place where we take time off from the real world, from the world that moves too fast for us. A place where all the bad things that have happened to you are but a distant past. A place where the sun doesn’t burn but shine, a place where the water is pure, a place where the ground has never been trodden. A place just for people like us. A place to heal until when you’re ready to face the world again. And when that happens, you’ll realize,


Now I am truly free.



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stereotyping in Malaysia Part 1

Growing up in basically one place and not attending a boarding school (SBP), I didn’t really get to meet kids from the other states in Malaysia until I went to college. It was then I realized people expect you to act a certain way just because you came from a certain place. Does this sound familiar to you:

Oh…kau dari [insert state here] ek? Patutla kau [insert stereotype here].


Honestly, I never liked these stereotypes. Most people find stereotyping funny as long as they’re not the ones being stereotyped. Not only are some stereotypes plain offensive, they’re not even that funny. These are some of the examples I’ve heard over the past few years, I’m sure others have heard many more, so do enlighten me. Starting with…


Terengganu :

You end every word that ends with an ‘n’ with a ‘g’. All of you live by the sea, most of you are fisherman and you eat keropok lekor all the time. Everyone knows about Rantau Abang because apparently that’s where all the turtles go when they want to lay eggs. Sad to say that you won’t find those turtles anymore because everyone steals those eggs for the purpose of selling or eating. I’m curious about those Muslims who have eaten turtle eggs. Are you allowed to eat their eggs? Because I thought turtles were haiwan dua alam. Plus, there’s always that stereotype that all orang Pantai Timur are warak. Anyway, you can test the ‘g’ stereotype when you go to a warung in Terengganu and asked them what sort of fried foods they offer. You’d probably imagine the menu goes something like this:


“Ayam gorenggg, telur gorenggg, nasik gorenggg, mi gorenggg, ikangg gorenggg,...“


Only 7 species of turtles exist in this world, and 4 of them lay eggs in Malaysia and are endangered species.


Clockwise from top: Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael.


The way the kids would sound like in school:

elekteghonggs = electrons

the ghoad not takenggg = the road not taken


Ready to avenge those who steal their eggs.


Sarawak:


Even though brochures and the media like to portray Sarawakians as Orang Aslis who run around wearing rainbow coloured cawats and chandelier headdresses, please don’t be disappointed when you step off the plane and discover that the people there actually wear jeans and T-shirts. Everyone assumes Sarawakians live on trees and eat animals that they hunted in the jungle. The Sarawakians are forced to hear things like this constantly:


“You’re from Sarawak? You live in a rumah panjang, right?” with a beaming shit ass face that’s so proud to be able to apply what he/she remembered from Standard 6 Kajian Tempatan. The Ibans live in rumah panjang. The Melanaus live in rumah tinggi.


And although this might be beyond your comprehension, some Sarawakians actually live in bungalows and drive Mercedes. And why not? They certainly travel around by planes.


Bohemian dress or a dress inspired by the Sarawak traditional costume? Hmm. Using Sienna Miller to launch that trend? Very smart, Hollywood.


Penang
:

I think the biggest misconception about Penang is that everyone in Penang has a curry face (muka kari = anak mami/mamak). Do you know why I call it a misconception? Because Penang has a higher percentage of Chinese than Malays living in it. Apart from that, it is also the state has the lowest amount of Malays or Muslims in Peninsular Malaysia. People also assume you eat nasi kandar, rojak and laksa penang everyday.

Non-Penangite: Hari ni ko makan nasi kandar ek?

Penangite : Tak, nasi putih je.

Non-Penangite: Kat Penang ade nasi selain nasi kandar ke?[shocked expression, just discovered something that has never occurred to him/her before.]


I guess this is partly to blame because of movies like Anak Mami or Mami Jarum. While some might argue that the movie pretty much describes the mentality of Penangites accurately, I find that sort of hard to believe. How can Penang be the 3rd most economically advanced country in Malaysia if all of the them are super kepo with a ‘jaga tepi kain orang 24 jam sehari’ attitude and the biggest concern in their lives is finding a suitable partner for their unmarried daughters?


Pahang:

If you say you’re from Pahang, people will always imagine you live in the middle of a hutan, befriend orang utans or that you are an Orang Asli. The Pahangians are most unfortunate in being bombarded with questions like these and such:

“Ko duduk dalam hutan eh?Monyet curi spende ko tak bile ko sidai kat luar?”

“Lepas kelas ko nak pegi menyumpit ke?“


Possible basis for this stereotype? A famous Pahangian with her Orang Asli friend hanging out in a coffee place in the middle of a hutan.

Apart from that, most people don’t really know other places in Pahang besides Kuantan and Bentong. I don’t really know much about Pahang myself except once I heard Pulau Tioman looks like a chicken drumstick when viewed from above. And that even though Tioman is on the border of Johor and Pahang, it belongs to Pahang. And oh yeah, if I was Pahang, I wouldn’t say anything at all. People who stepped on my land and insulted me will mysteriously be disumpit by darts that magically shoot up from the ground.


The resemblance is uncanny.


Perlis:

The “Perlis is sooo small that…” jokes.

“Don’t blink when you’re driving past Kulim or you might miss Perlis.”

“Perlis is like Labuan… the only difference is, you can see Labuan on the map.”


Honestly, the way people talk it’s as if whole state has a population of only 200 people. So I decided to wiki Perlis. A rough amount of 215,000 people reside in Perlis as of the year 2007. I also discovered that one of the four main sugar factories in Malaysia is located in Perlis (Kilang Gula Felda Perlis).

If Perlis was human and that human was me, I’d be like, “You insulted me, asshole? How dare you call me kecik and everyone in me kampong? Well don’t touch my beras and gula. Go enjoy your sugarless Teh Tarik. Apa! Kau ada susu cap junjung? Fine. Pegi buat Apam Gula Hangus kau tanpa gula.”


Special bonding moment between a kid and his pet snake. Snakes are said to be ‘tetamu khas’ in Perlis homes.


Kelantan:

Most people would say the stereotypes about the Kelantanese are the most controversial. I disagree. I find stereotypes being made about the people from Negeri Sembilan are far worse. However, I do think that the Kelantanese are the most stereotyped people in Malaysia. In fact, there are so many stereotypes about them that I have to list them in bullet forms.

  • All Kelantanese food are sweet, even the lauk pauk. They eat nasi kerabu, nasi dagang, budu and ayam percik all the time. Kelantanese can’t handle eating spicy food. Tidak boleh sama sekali.
  • They don’t like to mingle with other people from other states. If you want to join their conversation, they will kecek Kelate so that you will not be able to.
  • They don’t like non-Kelantanese people to kecek Kelate because they feel you will do a shitty job of it and murder their language.
  • Semua orang Kelantan sokong PAS and are very religious. However lately, that stereotype has taken an opposite direction when videos of the Kelantanese youth doing immoral things on Youtube surfaced.
  • Their parents don’t approve their children of marrying people from other states. If their child is a female, then it is discouraged but still acceptable to marry a male from another state. If their child is a male, the mother will forbid him to marry a girl who is not a Kelantanese.
  • All the makciks either work in a kilang batik or songket.
  • For some reason, Kelantanese have a reputation for being lazy and messy, even the women.
  • The men like to criticize people, especially from the physical aspects.
  • Kelantan women are the best looking women in Malaysia, especially those from Pasir Mas, where their beauty is legendary.

I’m starting to believe that last stereotype although I have never set a foot in Kelantan because:

Me : Cantiknye pompuan tu.

Kelantanese : Haa tu la, ko tak tau, muka macam tu kat Kelantan banyak je kat tepi pasar.

Me : [Astounded]


It isn’t really that suprising actually. Pasir Mas women are renowned for their Tok Seh (Middle Eastern) looks and fair skin. I read that this is partly due to their mixed heritage, some are descendants of Afghans and Pakistanis who were traders and merchants who came to Kelantan to set up their businesses in the early days [source: NST 31 Oct 2006 by Syed Umar Ariff]. I also heard that lots of Kelantanese (not only from Pasir Mas) have Japanese, Arabic and Thai blood in them.Not to say that Kelantan doesn’t have its fair share of ugly women.


One of my closest friends is from Kelantan, and she could eat food that’s spicier than anything I could ever handle. As far as supporting PAS, I’ve met stronger supporters from KL.


As far as stereotyping goes, it’s a case of the blind leading the blind. One idiot decides it would be fun to start it, and the rest follows. There’s only one problem – generalization is never a good idea and most of the time, there’s no basis in these accusations. It’s like expecting all the children to look identical because they came from the same womb. Take note that I do not in any way believe or support these stereotypes.


Coming soon: stereotypes about the other states in
Malaysia that I haven’t mentioned.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Photoshop – Blessing in Disguise

I did an entry before on how makeup can change the way women (and men) look to the point that they are barely recognizable without it. What I failed to mention is that it is not entirely the work of makeup alone. No celebrity is complete without photoshop.

This post is for every girl/guy who had ever wished or said out loud, “I wished I had the body or face of [insert celebrity name here]. You don’t wish that, because what you see in TV or magazines don’t exist. In addition to having numerous plastic surgeries, 2 hours of makeup before every shooting and hair extensions, they have also been digitally retouched. To be fair, I won’t post pictures of celebrities when they are unaware, because everyone has their bad moments. Like this picture of Jessica Alba:

See how easy that was? No, no, I am going to try to be as objective as possible, therefore I am going to use pictures of celebrities from the actual photo shoot itself, after hours of prepping with makeup but pre-photoshopped.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but eternal beauty and fountain of youth don’t exist. Botox injections, face lifts and photoshop do though.



I’ve always wondered why freckles were considered as unattractive and why everyone aims for that poreless, waxy sheen look. I mean, they even erased her smile lines. They look as if they have been permanently botoxed.


You’re right. I would never buy that magazine if it had the picture in the left on the cover. What’s the big deal? She’s 39 and she looks like it. And now that she has breast implants, she finally has a chance of being on that most desired body list.

I’m posting these pictures up because my friends are constantly saying they want a body like Gwen Stefani. I’m hoping that they will finally shut up after seeing these pictures because:

If you can afford breast implants, then you too can have a body like her!

Did you seriously think that male celebrities were exempted?



This is a personal favourite of mine. After the first, second or tenth glance, people will still be wondering what on earth was photoshopped. Just goes to show how the media screws you and you barely notice it. No, it’s not the colour of her underwear. Or just her leg. They reduced the size of Nicole Richie’s body by a quarter of her size. Notice how much wider she is in the original photo? Then they photoshopped her to look as if she is the same size as Paris Hilton in the new photo.

…now you see it.


This is not a photo. This is actually a process while digitally retouching a video. Yes, you can edit the way a person looks in a video too. You can view the proof by viewing Britney’s Piece of Me videoclip on Youtube. Aha… now you’re noticing how unrealistic her lower half looks in the video. Do you feel enlightened? I feel like a magician.


Look, it’s Edie Britt from Desperate Housewives! No, that wasn’t so impressive. How about this:

I think that’s Brittany Murphy. Not sure who she is, but she looks amazing after being photoshopped. Erase away. Erase her eye bags. Erase her smile lines. Erase all her pores.



I have no idea who this chick is, but she looks hot after being photoshopped. I know this is an ad for a TV, but who’s looking at the TV with a face like that? Just to give you an idea how much work is done before each ad is printed. Are you starting to feel as if everything you see is a lie? Hahaha.


Personally I think she looks fine on the photo on the left. I don’t know why that photo sparked so much controversy. I know many other celebrities who look much worse without their makeup.

If you are an average looking girl and dream of being a superstar, fear not. You can always turn to surgery:

Who knows, maybe one day you can represent your country in Miss Universe! Nothing’s impossible nowadays. You can even change your chin, nose, eyes and the shape of your whole face. For an extra USD800, you get dimples thrown in!


I don’t really watch many Korean dramas, but those of you who do will probably recognize some of these actresses who have been through numerous surgeries. Click here if interested.


Fear not, true beauty does exist. Behold the ever so beautiful Angelina Jolie:


Let’s applaud all these celebrities for their dedication and hard work. To say the most important criterion to be an actress is not beauty would be hypocritical. I can name some famous actors that aren’t good looking (Adam Sandler, Jack Black just to name a few) but I have yet to hear of a famous actress that isn’t beautiful. With actresses earning as much as USD10 -15 million per movie, I would hope that they use that money wisely and fix their face because no one wants to look at less than perfect faces on cinema screens. The problem is stupid teens or unrealistic adults who expect normal people to look like that and suffer from low self esteem because they feel like they can’t measure up. People are so dramatic. They create a shithole and whine when they get trapped in that shithole. You were the ones who criticize celebrities when they have a crooked nose or ugly skin, yet you get all worked up about trying to look as pretty as them. Just try to watch the bloody movie and try not to confuse it with your reality.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Life after Marriage

On my last entry, I received a comment that goes like this (I’m posting it exactly as it was written):

“First criteria man sees in a woman is her character. The way her do stuffs. Examples the way she eats, the way she drinks, the way she walks. That's what really attracts man.”

I’m sure the person who commented this meant it in a good way, but let me explain to you why this sort of mentality will doom your future marriage. People will argue that the main reason a marriage doesn’t work out is money. I beg to differ. I think it’s because after marriage, they are disappointed to discover that their partner isn’t the person who they appeared to be.

If you’re young, have no or little experiences in relationships and have only Korean dramas or other romance films as references for your love life, you should read further. Take note, this applies to both sexes.


  1. The Way Your Partner Eats/ Drinks

Before Marriage

Girls: Your partner will sit properly, he will try to eat with as much manners he can muster and he will refrain from burping and farting while he is eating. He will make as little noise as possible, and he will be conscious whether there is any food dripping from his mouth while he is eating. He will make sure he isn’t slurping down the drink. He will refrain from picking at the bits and pieces of meat stuck in his teeth after the meal. He will however excuse himself to go to the toilet and privately do this.

Guys: She will sit bersimpuh or bersila, and if you ask if she’d like a second helping, she’d politely refuse or say she will have so later. She eats quietly, and will refrain from making any noises except to talk. If she is eating with her hands, she will refrain from gnawing on the chicken bones even though she usually does so in private. She’d usually have a napkin nearby to wipe off anything that sticks to her lips. If she feels the need to burp or fart, she’d try to hold it down as long as she could or release it as quietly as she could and pretend nothing ever happened. If she feels as if something is stuck to her teeth, she will excuse herself to go to the toilet, remove the pieces from her teeth and reapply her lipgloss.

1 Year after Marriage:

Minus all that with the burping, farting, bone gnawing and tooth picking at the table.


  1. The Way Your Partner Looks

Before Marriage

Girls: Before each date, he will make sure he has bathed and dressed decently. He will comb his hair nicely, apply hair gel and cologne. Hell, some guys even spend an hour on their hair before a date. He actually puts thought into what he’s wearing.

Guys: She always looks great and smells like flowers. Her makeup is always immaculately applied, her hair is always in place/ her tudung is always neatly pinned, her clothes tidy. She’ll excuse herself to go to the toilet from time to time to reapply her makeup, thus making you believe she wears no makeup at all because she looks great all the time.

1 Year after Marriage:

Girls: He’s too lazy to take baths and most often when he’s sweaty and stinky, he will flop on your made up bed and spread that stink to the whole bedroom. He never wears the cologne at home, only wearing it to go to work. He will wear the oldest and ugliest shirts at home, and huge underwear with holes. When you complain about it he will say those are the most comfortable underwear he owns. Sometimes he goes commando, leaving you to have the honour of doing the laundry and washing the pants of a grown up man with smelly stains. Don’t even talk about the hair. On weekends, you have to stare at that muka air liur basi until lunch because he’s not going to bathe until the afternoon.

Guys:

a) If your girl is a housewife:

She will NOT look like Bree Van De Kamp. You always seem to come home from work before she has time to bathe after menyiang ikan/mopping up the floor/changing your baby’s diaper, thus she will always end up smelling like a fish market/the toilet/your baby’s poo. Most often after doing all that she is too tired to take a bath but she does so anyway and after taking that bath, she will most likely be too tired to eat what she has cooked for you, and definitely too tired for any action in bed. She will always be clad in huge baju Kedah /T-Shirts and Kain Batik rolled up to the knees, or huge shorts that are comfortable to move around in. You can forget about the makeup. Those days of her wearing baby tees and tight jeans? Long gone.

b) If your girl is working:

She looks like shit when she wakes up, however will look and smell great before she goes to work. When she goes home, she will take off all that makeup and nice clothes she wore to go to work and wear her ‘comfy’ clothes. Read: comfy clothes= clothes that are ugly to look at but comfortable to wear. If you have a baby, she’ll start to smell of baby food and drool 10 minutes after holding the baby. You’ll start to wonder why she makes so much effort to look so great when she has to go out but makes no effort to even wear a perfume when she’s alone with you.


3. In The Bedroom

What You Imagined Before Marriage:

Girls: Everything will be as you have fantasized. You will make love, he will cuddle you afterwards until you fall asleep. Every morning you will wake up in his arms, and he will miraculously wake up the same time as you do. Then he will proceed to stare into your eyes and kiss you on the lips. And his breath will smell like roses. Your bedroom will smell like flowers. Birds will chirp.

Guys: You will have a great sex life. She will have a body of a pornstar and she will wear a sexy and different lingerie every night just for you. Your bed is huge.

1 Year After Marriage:

Girls: The cuddling is uncomfortable and he hates it. He snores. He farts in his sleep. He hogs the blanket. He hogs the bed. You have to refrain from puking everytime you smell his morning breath. He stinks so bad because he told you he was too tired to take a bath after work yesterday. Great. You need to install one of those air fresheners just to get rid of the smell of his sweat from your bedroom.

Guys: She’s always too tired. The work makes her tired. The household chores. The baby. She snores. She farts in her sleep. She has cellulite. She has stretch marks. She wants you to cuddle her constantly even though it’s extremely uncomfortable for you to sleep in that position. She kicks you in her sleep.