Tuesday, November 29, 2005

hey, nice pen!

i've got this Waterman pen, a really expensive writing instrument, given to me by one of my uncles. i don't use it very often, unless i'm going for some very official function, or important, prestigious and once-in-a-lifetime-y (and frequently, it's all of the above).

you know how it is with pens - a really good one makes you write slower, because you're either enjoying the writing sensations, or pretending you're this super-important man who's closing a big deal, or ratifying some big law. anyway, you write slower because you're savouring the experience of a wonderfully pen.

also, some pens make you write slower because of the way it is built. maybe it's a fountain pen, maybe it's a inky one that threatens to run away from you if you don't accord it respect, frequently it's just a really nice pen that writes really well. you write more eloquently, more beautifully and more thoughtfully, because to write really quickly would be to do an injustice to the pen in your hand.

so you write slowly, and somehow connect to a few things. you're connecting to the medieval people who wrote slowly with quills, or the Mesopotamians with papyrus, ancient Chinese with their bamboo skins; indeed, many major plays, novels, classics, treatises, laws, constitutions, love letters and the like were written slowly.

and what's wrong with that? we live in such a fast-paced world that challenges us to utilise every second of our lives, even to write really quickly (doctors are particularly at fault here, scratching away illegibly). the encroachment of technology means we type a lot more than we write; it's become a chore, an archaic art that should be left in the dustbin of history. and we hate it, and as such, write as quickly as we can so we can get back to the typing business.

that's why i like good pens. they make me slow down. they make me connect with my thoughts on a much deeper level than when i scribble away quickly with ballpoint pens. they make me feel really human, putting my thoughts down on paper just like they used to do it. and i like the feeling - it makes me more complete.

i'm going for another debating tournament today. the Waterman's packed. i hope i get to use it.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Afternoon of A Writer

there's this short novel by Peter Handke, and i have a short excerpt about a writer who has this terrible writer's block, and so goes off to the local pub to drink it away, hoping for inspiration to strike.

"For today he required no more, no sight or conversation, and above all nothing new. Just to rest, to close his eyes and ears; just to inhale and exhale would be effort enough."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

what are 10 days worth to you?

i have just gotten back from 10 days out of my hostel in KL. you know how it's like with student hostels - you start to make yourself comfortable, the little knick knacks are all in their right places, your rhythm of life is set - and you have to move out for a while.

ok, so i've been in KL for 5 years already, so i've made my "home" here as comfortable as i can. who wants to come home to a dirty, unkempt and unfriendly living environment after a hard day's slog anyway?

a weekend training in Ipoh, a week in Teluk Intan Hospital, another weekend training in Bangi; the results of which are:

1. 3 washing machine loads worth of laundry, split equally between shirts, t-shirts and pants, and socks, briefs, sheets and etc
2. a fascinating case write-up about a snake bite
3. a 3-CD collection of Billie Holiday's songs
4. work piling up at school
5. itchy feet wanting to kick a football
6. missing good food and a good bed
7. one of Malaysia's strongest debating squad, as we head into the Royals.

arguably the most important tournament in UKM's debating history for the last 5 years, is happening in 10 days time. we're hosting it, it's our university's 35th anniversary, our team is consolidating, we have a lot of freshers, a lot of people have a lot of points to prove.

we are ready, aren't we? :-)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

the evolution of acting

i just came from watching The Firm on astro for a few minutes - i had to photocopy some things and was waiting for the photocopy lady to finish (really mum, i was not slacking off).

you know what struck me as being really bad? the acting. it was so contrived, the delivery was bad, the pacing horrible, the cinematography so 70s for a 90s show, the directing atrocious - i can go on and on.

tom cruise and gene hackman are pretty versatile actors - but even they failed miserably. not even john grisham's tight, gripping storyline and nuanced dialogue could rescue this dud of a movie.

thank god i'm in the era i'm in now. how could i have been brought up with such bad storytelling and acting, worse, adapted from a bestselling book??

Monday, November 07, 2005


i haven't been back home for more than 3 days at a stretch, for more than 1.5 years already - and i'm so thankful that i just spent one glorious week at home.

when you spend weekends at home, you retain a lot of the tune of life in the big city. you are wound up, pressured knowing that your Sisyphean life begins anew in barely 48 hours time, just that little bit restless somehow despite being able to relax - because you know you're perhaps stealing time away from very important things. you don't allow yourself to get caught up in the rhythm of your past, because you know you don't want to get trapped, you know that you have to pick up another gear in a few hours time.

but a week - what magic does one week do to you? beautiful magic, i tell you. you get into the rhythm of your hometown, relaxation seeps insidiously into your psyche and you welcome it. your daily schedules are tuned into the special beat of life of your hometown, the special rhythm that makes grown men pause for a while to remember how they spent their beautiful childhoods. and isn't that wonderful? to be able to re-connect, to re-establish the relationships with your real self?

you grow into it - you're not a transplant of geography and time for a mere 2 days. you are the willing captive of the romance of your past, willing hostage to the simpler things in life, willing victim to the things that you once knew best - family, friends, your bed, your favourite dish in your favourite restaurant, the usual supper haunt, the football field, the creek in the river, your old school.

being home for one gloriously magical week - thank God for the beauty of home.