Monday, December 22, 2008

Longest Album Title Ever

When The Pawn... (Fiona Apple)

When the Pawn hits the conflicts
He thinks like a King
What he knows throws the blows
when he goes to the fight
And he'll win the whole thing
'fore he enters the ring.
There's no body to batter
When your mind is your might
So when you go solo
You hold your own hand
And remember that
Depth is the Greatest of Heights
And if you know where you stand
Then you'll know where to land
And if you fall it won't matter
'Cos you'll know that you're right.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pre-Sleep Randomness

You Should Be a Puppeteer

You are an entertainer - pure and simple.

You know how to engage an audience. You are a natural storyteller.

You are naturally dramatic, even when life doesn't call for drama.

Luckily though, you save most of your drama for your stellar performances.

What the House Test Says About You

You are happy with who you are, and you don't have an inflated sense of self importance. You do your own thing quietly. You don't take up a lot of space.

You aren't against being community oriented, but it's not really your thing. You tend to prefer to focus on your family and not the neighborhood around you.

You are a playful, charming, and seductive person. People feel instantly close to you.

You look good in a low maintenance sort of way. You do the minimum required to be attractive.

You are moved by the most simple of things. You can find pleasure from a small, perfect moment.

There Is 1 Gap in Your Knowledge

Where you have gaps in your knowledge:


Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:







You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.

You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.

You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.

You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.

Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.

You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.

You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.

You Are 63% Tortured Genius

You are smart. Brilliant in fact. And while it's a blessing, it's also a curse.

Your head is filled with everything - grand ideas, insufferable worries, and a good deal of angst.

You Are a Log Ride

You prefer to live a fairly calm, relaxed life... with a few surprises thrown in.

You don't tend to get yourself worked up easily. You can roll with what life throws at you.

In relationships, you are steady and solid. You maintain a pretty broad perspective on what's going on.

That's not to say you can't get swept away. You're emotions run as deep as anyone else's.

Your life seems like it has been remarkably easy so far. But that's due to how you manage it.

You never stretch yourself too thinly, and you think out your decisions carefully.

Taking the time to enjoy each day is important to you, and you don't let your emotions rule you.

You stay the course and do what's right... knowing it will all work out in the end.

At your best, you are tolerant and understanding of other people's quirks.

You take "go with the flow" to the extreme. Even if you don't like where you're going.

At your worst, you repress your feelings and end up being a little tightly wound.

You definitely have some explosive emotions that occasionally come to the surface!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eight (These Graces We Await)

In the spaces we once roamed
I am now waiting
Me and all my distant halves
I stand where you are waiting too
Poles apart with the same smooth dreams
If time could shake off its long repose
From this space of eight to none
You would stand where I now wait
In our place which no time commands.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fable of The Mermaid & The Drunks

by Pablo Neruda

All those men were there inside
when she entered, utterly naked.
They had been drinking, and began to spit at her.
Recently come from the river, she understood nothing
She was a mermaid who had lost her way.
The taunts flowed over her glistening flesh
Obscenities drenched her golden breasts.
A stranger to tears, she did not weep.
A stranger to clothes, she did not dress.
They pocked her with cigarette ends and with burnt corks,
and rolled on the tavern floor in raucous laughter.
She did not speak, since speech was not known to her.
Her eyes were the colour of faraway love,
her arms were matching topazes.
Her lips moved soundlessly in coral light,
and ultimately, she left by that door.
Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed,
gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain;
and without a backward glance she swam once more,
swam towards nothingness, swam to her dying.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Why do you spin lies about raging fires when all you ever saw was smoke?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Of Madness & Urban Legends

The following is a story I accidentally stumbled upon last week. I still wish I hadn't because as it is, I have a severe phobia of clowns, and the extreme suddenness of the story popping up on the screen left me frightened and unable to sleep without the light on for several nights. Ever since then I've been itching to relay this story to someone else because when a story is able to give you such an extreme case of the chills, you know it's got good horror factor (I guess that means you'll find this a great birthday treat, Mady). However, if horror stories are not your cup of tea, DO NOT PROCEED PAST THIS SENTENCE.


A wealthy couple with a large house hires a babysitter to look after their children as they are going to spend a night out together. After putting the children to bed the babysitter decides to watch television. However, the television in the living room does not have cable as the parents set strict limits on their children's viewing habits.

She calls the parents to ask if she can watch cable television in their bedroom. The parents agree but the babysitter has an additional request: can she also cover up the clown statue in the corner of the room with a cloth or blanket? Its stare is so intense that it unnerves her. There is a silence on the other end of the line. The parents hastily tell her to rouse the children and get out of the house as quickly as possible. Confused, the babysitter asks why. The parents reply, "We don't have a clown statue in the house. We'll call the police."

The babysitter quickly gathers the children and they run to a neighbour's house while they wait for the police to arrive. It turns out the clown is a killer who has escaped from prison.

...seriously mind-warping, folks. I already have an intense dislike of clowns - I don't understand why children think their sinister-looking make-up and disposition are a synonym for happiness and joy.

As with most urban legends, there are some alternate versions of the story. The one I just recounted makes it seem as if the clown was targetting the babysitter, waiting for her to let her guard down before attacking her. In another version, the "statue" is located in the children's room, and they complain to the babysitter that the statue is frightening them. The clown's identity alternates between being a killer/a retarded homeless midget/a man with a disorder/sex offender. The stories always end with him being apprehended by the police, and the children and babysitter live happily ever after. Well, except for the part where the babysitter wakes up screaming at night for years afterwards because she can still feel his eyes on him. Hmm, I sense a movie at work here...

An interesting element of urban legends is that they aren't as pointless or fixated on shock value as people may assume - much like our own local cerita orang tua, these stories are meant to safeguard us or act as fables, only with more fantastical elements, as all good stories that imprint themselves in our minds do. In the case of the clown statue killer, the fact that he is always caught in the end may serve as a antithesis to the current state of the world today, where so many kidnapping/murder cases involving children still remain unsolved (JonBenet Ramsey, Madeleine McCainn etc).

*exhales* Thank goodness. Now that I've gotten all of this off my chest, I feel so much better. Be gone, demonic clowns.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Down The Road In Blue

I am, admittedly, a person of modest ambitions. I don't care much for any unnecessary explosions in this corner of my quiet existence. I love the simple life, with people I love and a career I am passionate about. This also extends to my choice of cars, which people may pooh at and say, "Small potatoes!", but hey. Not only is it practical for a first car and as transport to and fro from work, this shade of blue is too gorgeous to ignore (I have been looking for precisely this tone and colour for ages, but rarely see one on the road), and I'm pooling all my resources into getting this Caribbean Blue Myvi. You and I are going to be best friends. Love.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Road Mix: December 2008

1) Patrick Park – The Lucky Ones

2) Patrick Park – You’ll Get Over

3) Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

4) Iron and Wine – Flightless Bird, American Mouth

5) Iron and Wine – Evening On The Ground (Lilith’s Song)

6) Everly – Home Is Me (You Are Mine)

7) Blind Pilot – Oviedo

8) Portishead – The Rip

9) Handsome Furs – What We Had

10) Oasis – High Horse Lady

11) The Artificial Sea – Outpost

12) SADS - Masquerade

Over the past year I've found myself gravitating more towards indie folk-oriented tunes. Great, relaxing stuff for a nice, long drive. Granted, Masquerade is more than a little out of place on the track listing, but after a round of mellow music I find it nice to close the collection with a bang of sorts.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Dear sir,

I do not know you outside of a professional capacity. I'm sure you are a nice person, with your mild manners and your politeness. For all I know, you could be the saviour of your family, the toast of gatherings, the life of the parties. Different perspectives, different impressions.

But I have to tell you that from the perspective of a student, you are one of the most disappointing lecturers I have ever been under the tutelage of.

I registered for your subject with much anticipation and excitement - it was part of my passion, and I planned to pursue it as a possible career in the future, so how could I not expect anything less than great? But then, towards the middle of the semester, after many cancelled classes and less than two weeks' worth of topics covered, the original lecturer had to resign as her health was failing. I thought it was kind of you to step in and take her place, occupied as you were with the other subjects you were already teaching. Granted, you were the only person available and with the most similar qualifications, but I remember feeling sorry for you and the extra workload you had suddenly been burdened with.

Then I had my first class with you.

I remember taking a writing class with you a few semesters earlier, before another lecturer took over for you. You sat in front, mumbling monotonously and more to yourself than to the students. But I forgave that because while you lacked the skill of lecturing, you still knew your field. The things you spoke of were relevant and interesting, and your decades-long experience in journalism more than made up for your poor lecturing skills.

Taking this new class with you was a whole other story. From the start, it was clear that you knew little, if not nothing, about editing. Everything you taught us steered further and further away from editing and focused on journalism, which, while related, is a mostly separate field to learn about. You completely dismissed the original notes which the other lecturer had saved for you and told you to read, and we learned nothing about editing. Every week, you taught us in lists, and even then what you taught was so mind-numbingly general that I began to despair every time I stepped into your class. Sir, I already know that in captioning a photo, I have to: a) write an interesting caption, b) look at the photo first before I write the caption (???), and c) make the caption short and concise. But where are the technicalities? The terminologies? The relation to editing and not journalism?

The worst thing I could not and will not forgive you for is your linguistic skills, or lack of it. I don't expect you to have a perfect grasp of language. But in a subject like editing where language is the core characteristic of a good editor, it makes us students worry when we can spot many more linguistic errors in your writing than you yourself seem to be aware of. And it wouldn't be any of my business to judge your linguistic skills were it not for the fact that you use it to mark our proofreading exercises, consequently giving us consistently low marks based on your shoddy grasp of grammar. Even less fun was how we always had to go up to you and painstakingly point out to you why a particular error was in fact correct, and vice versa, in the hopes of getting that mark we deserved and you denied.

The final exam was a breeze. The questions were straightforward and were direct regurgitations of the lists you taught us in class. But when it came to the proofreading exercises my heart broke into two and sank, just like the Titanic. For where you had stated 10 marks for 10 linguistic errors, there were clearly many more. Every classmate I talked to afterwards agreed.

Still, I hoped. I hoped that even if I could not save my final exam, my carrying marks were proof that I was doing well enough to score an A-. But no. It has come to light that apparently you rarely hand out As, even to people who deserve it, and I pity those people. Now, I'm in the same boat. You gave me a B. While I may sound like a whiny brat who cannot see the bigger picture or reasoning behind all of this, I can safely say that based on my carrying marks and the fact that I know I answered the questions in the finals correctly, I did well enough to warrant more than a B. Thanks to the grade you gave me, I will have to graduate with a 3.495 - barely off the Dean's List, and I don't have to tell you how upset I am about that.

More than the grade, more than the marks, more than anything else, though - I'm disappointed in your conduct as a lecturer in class. I feel cheated out of a subject I had loved so much in the beginning and found that I'd got a cheapened deal. You taught us nothing remotely relevant or interesting pertaining to the field of editing, and if anything, you have made me fear what the others in your field could be like, if even you with all your years of experience could turn out to be so lackadaisical in imparting knowledge. And I feel sorry for all those who have to take your classes in the future, if you are still teaching editing then. I would have commented on all of this in the TER, but at the time it was still under the name of the original lecturer and so I could not say what I so badly want to say to you now:

You make me pity you so much.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A New Little Baby

Finally, the day came.

Yesterday evening, Abid informed me that she'd checked into the hospital to prepare for the birth of her first child. I have just received the news that she gave birth to a healthy, bouncing baby boy early this morning. Alhamdulillah. Needless to say, I am over the moon with this news.

Obviously, you probably will never get to read this, but I'm so happy for you, Abid, Hamzah and little Baby. Happier than you will ever know. Us Turds always used to joke that it would be either Abid or Ruby who'd be the first to settle down and start a family, but the actual achievement of this reality is unprecedented and overwhelming.

In short: Congratulations to the both of you on your little miracle. I fervently pray that you are all doing well, and hopefully we'll all see you and Baby at Ruby's wedding soon. Baby already has many aunties waiting to shower love on him. :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Man of Words & Not of Deeds

A Man of Words & Not of Deeds

A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds,
And when the weeds begin to grow,
It's like a garden full of snow;
And when the snow begins to fall,
It's like a bird upon the wall;
And when the bird away does fly,
It's like an eagle in the sky;
And when the sky begins to roar,
It's like a lion at the door;
And when the door begins to crack,
It's like a stick across your back;
And when your back begins to smart,
It's like a penknife in your heart;
And when your heart begins to bleed,
You're dead, and dead, and dead indeed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008



After a week of intensive work, the English and Asia: 1st International Conference is finally over, and I'm proud that I had the chance to be part of it. For the most part, it ran quite smoothly considering this was its maiden voyage. I'll post more regarding the conference within the next few days. Today, my mission is simply to relax and unwind.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Cupcake Post

The Cupcake Post

I used to watch Ren and Stimpy when I was younger. I don't remember much about the cartoon, but one episode that stands out in my mind is when Ren and Stimpy are complaining because it's Thanksgiving but they don't have the budget to cook a spectacular feast. In true sick Ren and Stimpy fashion, they compensate by looking at pictures of mouth-watering turkeys, crumpling up the papers into balls and stuffing them down their throats... I feel like doing with these beautiful, sumptuous creations. Hope they make you salivate as much as I did! Now, join me in one, two, three:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gacela of the Dark Death

Gacela of the Dark Death

I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to withdraw from the tumult of centuries.
I want to sleep the dream of that child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.

I don't want to hear again that the dead do not lose their blood,
that the putrid mouth goes on asking for water.
I don't want to learn of the tortures of the grass,
nor of the moon with a serpent's mouth
that labors before dawn.

I want to sleep awhile,
awhile, a minute, a century;
but all must know that I have not died;
that there is a stable of gold in my lips;
that I am the small friend of the West wing;
that I am the intense shadow of my tears.

Cover me at dawn with a veil,
because dawn will throw fistfuls of ants at me,
and wet with hard water my shoes
so that the pincers of the scorpion slide.

For I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to learn a lament that will cleanse me to earth;
for I want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.

- Frederico Garcia Lorca

Image: In Her Silent Way by Joe Sorren

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Laughable Treasury of Turd-y Quotes

A Laughable Treasury of Turd-y Quotes

...recorded in the past 3 years, because I have foreseen the future and it involves blackmailing my friends for money when all else has failed.

'Atiqah: "Ohohohohohhh...I can feel my tongue!"

Mady: "I wanna boom...but I don't wanna boom."

Akak: "...knowledgable ignorance..."

Mady: "I love bontot!"
(For the sake of upholding Mady's reputation, she was in all innocence referring to the ends of bread loaves)

Ruby: "You can't steal my sanity. I stored it in a jar."
Mady: "Jars are breakable. I can break it and get it."
Ruby: "I'll store it in an unbreakable jar!"
Abid: "I have a tupperware."

And my personal favourite...

Mady: "I have an IQ of 200!"
Me: "Grams?"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Useless Prophecies


"...they are about to graduate, they are about to get married, they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are innocent, they would never hurt anybody.

I want to go up to them and say Stop, don't do it - she's the wrong woman, he's the wrong man, you are going to do things you cannot imagine you would ever do, you are going to do bad things to children, you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of, you are going to want to die. I want to go up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it, her pretty blank face turning to me, her pitiful beautiful untouched body, his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me, his pitiful beautiful untouched body, but I don't do it. I want to live.

I take them up like the male and female paper dolls and bang them together at the hips like chips of flint as if to strike sparks from them, I say...

I say, do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it."

- Into The Wild

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Bright Lights

My Bright Lights

An Indian family dressed in shades of red, yellow, green, blue. Bursts of brilliant colour amidst the dull grey sheen of rain outside.

An impossibly adorable baby boy sitting quietly next to me on his mother's lap, excitedly patting my handbag, luggage and wrist.

The smile on my significant other's face when he spots me across a crowded room.

These are the bright lights of my day.

I hope you all have had yours today. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Oldest of Ghosts

The Oldest of Ghosts

He is the oldest of ghosts
Knows no time, knows no grief
Knows not the peace of half-light
Nor the glow between sleep and waking hours.

((Time is a ponderous jest
Under which I cup my tears.))

Antiquarian aches mire their shapes
In crevices, in dark fissures
In no ways he may reach
On the frigid moors he haunts.

((Here then is an elsewhere
Where my weight bears fruits of ice.))

And if you chance upon his grey immortal eyes
You will see the shorn beds sorrow lies you in
And if by chance he speaks his woes
You will know the black manes of old
That judgment entangles you in.

He will tell you all and still you will know

((These are my constant ways and means
In a life I do not live.))

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saints & Sinners

Saints & Sinners

You were my brokedown Cinderella
You were the cherub that I staked too hard
Too late, too late to cleanse my ways
Now you're just a sketch within my mind
That draws another time and place
Times we can only recall in dreams

Why do we always run backwards into the fire
when heaven is just a breath away.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Presenting 45 Degrees of Hot Genius

45 Degrees of Hot Genius

What do you do when you don't get what you desire? Opt for second best, of course. And L Lawliet is the best damn second best that a girl can opt for. Am planning to create an L-centric layout of my own in the future, but considering my current love-hate relationship with HTML, it will be a while in the making.

Significant Other does not like L. Must make sure he does not see this. *sweatdrops*

In other world-breaking news, since I cannot for the life of my dimwittedness figure out how to add a comment box using the HTML provided (at least not until I ask Mady), I have temporarily added a tagboard in my quest for feedback. A poor second best, but I don't want to delve into all that again.

To all L fans: Yes, we would have liked him to live longer, too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

R.I.P. TeeVee

It's funny how A can drop to Z in the course of one week.

Owing to Blogspot's impossible template system, I had difficulties adding a comment box to TeeVee's layout. Basically, the ultimatum was: either switch from classic template to the new template to add a comment box compatible with the html - but lose TeeVee - or be loyal to classic template but have no feedback for my posts.

I chose to sacrifice TeeVee. ;(

This is my new temporary layout. As a writer and lover of literature, I am well aware of how substance should triumph over style at all times. But the things you have to sacrifice in order to get there pain you. I dreamed of putting TeeVee up for months. Takde rezeki.

I am Z.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

TeeVee's First Test Drive

Yay! After much stumbling over the past few weeks over my abysmal knowledge of HTML, I finally managed to get the new layout up on this little blog. Thank you, Mady, Fairuz and Hancur (whose other skins you can see by clicking the link under the "Muses" segment).

Current mood? Word is "goooood", ladies and gentlemen. ^_^

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My To-Finish-Reading List

Okay, so that wasn't the most original post title ever. But, as is the traditional relationship between my body and the first few days of Ramadhan, the weakness saps me of my creativity.

Things To Finish Reading Before This Semester Ends:
1. Quran (before Raya)
2. The remaining Watchmen issues
3. Horseradish by Lemony Snickett
4.The Long White Cloud - Gallipolli by Buket Uzuner

Ambitious much?

Tick-tock, Tick-frickin'-tock

"By labor we can find food and water, but all of our labor will not find for us another hour." - Kenneth Patton

"Time drops down an unseen thread
Generated from a baby's first breath
It dissipates too quickly into a hole
We don't quite know how to
get into."
- "The White Rabbit", yours truly

As far as concepts go, who can really explain what time is? People in different pockets of time who would never have the chance to meet share the same questions: is time eternal? Do the past, present and future each have their own pockets of history and destinies, or do they occur simultaneously? How can we keep up with its endless-yet-moves-too-quickly paradox?

For me, time is just another example of how it is the intangible that has the most power over us. You see time passing in the form of day and night, the spin of the earth on its axis, the changing of seasons. Time - like prayers, art, seasons, the universe, Love - is a gift.

It's funny, though, how time is so there - time is and has always been so present in our lives that we never really think about what it means, only how to use it.

God blesses us in so many ways to think, but we just use, use, use.

Friday, August 22, 2008

In Memory of Lost Things

I read John Connolly's "The Book of Lost Things" last week. Some of my friends say it's incredibly dark and gruesome, but I just think it's an incredibly sad tale, and that feeling's still with me now. Reading the story made me think of my own childhood, and all the innocence I unknowingly lost over the years during random encounters with the perverse and the warped, the evil and the heartless. It makes me sad that when children grow up, they must lose themselves along the way, when there is no guarantee that every one of them will emerge as whole adults. It's necessary, but it's too sad to watch especially in these times, when mindless violence and death are considered entertainment.

Then I think about how much thicker the shadows fall over this world with each year, one for each child. How parents cannot let children out of their sight for even a second for fear that they will be taken away, how those with the kindest faces wear the most terrible of masks, how those with the most honeyed of words commit the worst of sins. What a beautiful heartache it must be to be a parent, to love and protect your child from the Loups and the cowardly kings, the hunters and the Crooked Men of this world.

To the little girl that I once was, I'm sorry that I lost you. I would like to say that I miss you, but the truth is that I no longer remember what it was like being you. We are too separate from each other now, two distinct beings. All the same, I'm sorry for everything I did that killed you and turned you into me.

*Thank you to creativematrix for the picture: The Place of Lost Things

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who Broke Your Spirit?

Half of the time, I manage to overlook the negatives and remember that it is my duty as a human being to love and obey you, no matter what. But each time I try to, the other half comes rushing back, the half where I remember why I despise my situation so much.

After all these years, I should know better. I should just keep my mouth shut, and not say anything more than is necessary. But I do it anyway, because I keep hoping I will get to know you, and that we can be closer.

But we never reach that mark. Not even close. Instead we push ourselves further away from each other. Like ice sweating furiously under the onslaught of fire. But never willing to melt.

Someone asked me the other day how I went from being a bubbly, tune-loving kid to the quietest of souls. "What broke your spirit?" she asked. She was joking, but I thought of you.

Did someone break your spirit the way you broke mine? Was it him?

That makes two of us.

There is too much fire underneath this dormant exterior. Even then I think it isn't enough. No matter what I do or say, I'm never good enough for you. I guess I never will be.

You'll never read these words or know how I feel. After all, you already know everything.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The problem with Malaysians is...

...that we’re always in a rush to get things to done. We have grand plans and ambitions for the country’s development, but we’re also constantly pitting the measure of our success to that of other developing countries. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – it’s always good to have other countries to draw examples and inspiration from. But for crying out loud, why are we so sadly desperate about our image? Why are we so caught up in looking good to other nations that the actual development of the country becomes stunted?

I was reading the Star paper today and Najib was quoted as saying about some program or another: “We must go step by step. Don’t run before we can walk.” Sorry, but we’ve been overrunning our steps since independence. There are just too many instances of projects being planned and then scrapped last minute, or done half-way and never finished. Bring down black metal. Bring down snatch thieves. Provide better administration service. Provide better roads. Reduce poverty, better the education system. Stop politicking, start to actually do something for the country for once. Kiss my cynical ass (though they probably won’t follow through with that either).

It seems to be that nowadays, image is taking top priority over everything else. So the substance is gone, and all we’re left with is delusions of grandeur every time we achieve just one thing. All the hoo-haa about sending a Malaysian into the space, with the merchandising, endless celebrations and hype was really unnecessary, unless he was going to bring the dead back to life or do something truly remarkable in his time in all that vacuum.

What is it that they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? Just ask us. The government aimed to –and still do – become a developed country to create better lifestyles and opportunities for its people. But on the way their attitudes changed, and suddenly other countries’ perceptions of us took the top slot over the people’s better interests. How many more shopping malls do we need to attract tourists? They don’t want to come here to shop for things that they can already get in their native homelands. How many attractions do we need? Eye on Malaysia is doing much less well than anticipated. Does it matter that we sent a man into space when we could have used the money to breathe some life into the flaccid education system that has produced even more flaccid graduates for years? Or use it to accelerate the reduction of poverty rates? Those are things that would truly make other countries look up to us.

The clothes don’t always make the man, guys. And having other countries think we’re all that when we’re actually far from it is the act of an insecure administration that enjoys instant success without the ability to think beyond and correctly estimate long-term effects. With all the conflict that is happening between our own leaders these days, the dream of a focused, cohesive Malaysia seems to be hovering uncertainly somewhere between “Sell” and “Shelve”. So come on and buck up at least a little.

I’m too damn young to be feeling this damn cynical.