Saturday, January 17, 2009


Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure. - Ravenclaw proverb


Yesterday I was poring over the public transportation system to plan my way to work. There's a RapidKL bus that passes through my area to my workplace but I wasn't sure exactly where it made stops. I decided to post my question on the trusty Yahoo! Answers webpage.

An hour later, this is the answer I received.

jimmy: If it is rapid, it goes straight through, so it does not and really should not stop, as otherwise, how can it be rapid?

Half. Baked. Wit. This is the most polite term I can use to describe this indescribably inane answer.

Why do people like to post nonsensical rubbish on forums and other interactive sites on the Internet? I consider that to be a form of spamming. And the stuff they churn out isn't even close to being mildly entertaining. Sharp wit is one thing; stupidity is a whole other ball game. People ask serious questions hoping for clarification to their dilemmas, but what they get is idiocy. Talk about abusing technology (and intellect, at that).

Sadly, jimmy is not the only kind of his species. Another idiot who clearly has a sad life has been spamming the Yahoo! Answers Malaysia forum with 'intelligent' queries on life such as:

If alien meet ghost, who would run away. Can alien technology kill ghost?
Why wouldn't you eat on your toilet seat despite having less amount of germs compare to your desk?

What happened to the admins? Why aren't they filtering the forum's contents? To make things worse, people actually take the time to answer these questions. Dude. If your wit is going to be so half-baked and half-assed, you should at least make an effort not to advertise it to the whole world.

I couldn't resist putting in a snarky response to his toilet seat question. I'm sure he'll respond as all lame spammers do - insult me back by calling me stupid. I'm way ahead of you in the sarcasm department, bub.

On the bright side, someone else was kind enough to tell me where the bus stops (right in front of my house, as it turns out). Thanks, foongwk140804!

To all spammers: you can go suck it!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rezeki and Other Random Updates

Alhamdulillah. Melimpah-limpah rezeki yang Tuhan kurniakan kepada saya baru-baru ni.

That's the first thing that comes to mind when I reflect back on this past week. And boy, what a crazy, interesting week it has been.

1) Employment
Last Sunday, I applied for the post of editorial assistant at a company called Setia Emas. You may know them from your school days as they produce academic titles (revision/work/text books/teaching aids) and student-oriented fiction. On Tuesday, I got a call from them asking me to come to an interview sometime after Chinese New Year. On Wednesday, they called again to reschedule the interview to the next day. Thursday was the interview, which I think went quite alright for a first interview. Friday, I got the blessed call informing me I'd nailed the post. Next Monday, I start work. :)

2) Freelance Work
A while ago when I was still a complete bum and feeling like a freeloader in my own home, I posted up ads online for translation/proofreading/editing services on various Malaysian community forums. No replies. I was quite disappointed. However, this week I agreed to do some writing for the next issue of TNB's Tenaga Link magazine. And this morning someone responded to my ads requesting translation services. I'm hoping this does not end in a case of biting off more than I can chew.

3) Personal Pursuits
This week I had the extremely rare opportunity of meeting Significant Other twice as opposed to the usual once-a-week meeting. I won't be able to see him as often as I'd like to after starting work next week, so I'm very grateful to have had him to myself twice this week.

4) Blasts From The Past
A letter from UIA arrived informing me I graduated among the top 5 students in my course. What? This one came out of the blue. If they've made a mistake, I won't rat myself out. Haha.

Being a natural pessimist, I'm pleasantly surprised that this week has turned out so beautifully. Then again, you know what they say about being pessimistic - you're constantly being pleasantly surprised. Thank you Almighty for answering the prayers I have so fervently been sending You, especially in recent times. May next week be as blessed as this week.

A friendly warning to all the effeminately-inclined: please keep your eyes on those Gucci totes and hair rebonding products you love so much, and away from Significant Other. He is quite happily taken.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Fortune in Misfortune

Last year, amidst the hustle and bustle of my final year and numerous goings-on, a string of words kept appearing in the back of my mind until finally it settled down as a personal mantra that I still keep to this day:

Things will usually get a lot worse before they get a lot better.

I lost count of how many times I applied this advice to friends in need. Some were cynical; others latched on to it like it was their last thread of hope. Regardless of the scale of their problems, I always fed them this line with full belief, because it's true: He does not give us life and everything encompassing it in this world without making us truly appreciate the enormity of it all.

Lately though, I'm the one who's in need of reminding of this mantra. 2009 began with me making a pig-headed decision, which resulted in an even bigger pig-headed mistake, which I will be forced to do penance for for the next few months. It's a grave ticket to adulthood, and I certainly never imagined this being the way I'd start the year.

Nonetheless, some good has come out of it, as most negative situations have a habit of doing. As the old cliche puts it, it's in these kind of situations that you find out who your friends really are - and mine have completely overwhelmed me with their unceasing support. Significant Other, who never fails to amaze me with his love and selflessness, has also gone to great lengths to protect me.

The greatest thing I learned from all of this though, is that there is fortune in misfortune. We don't experience tough times without taking pieces of them with us when it's time to move on because it's not forgetting that makes us learn - it's remembering. And every time we think we can get out of a tight spot all by ourselves, He will show you otherwise if you remember Him. I didn't quite forget, but I didn't quite make it known that I remembered.

Things are looking up now, very slightly. Still, I really want the next few months to be over and my life to return to normal, whatever that is. I've caused enough suffering, I've done enough damage, I've witnessed the savage outcome of recklessness.

I want redemption in my book now. So I'll keep reminding myself: Things usually get a lot worse before they get a lot better. And things will get better.

What's In A Name

Names are interesting entities in their own right. They provide identity and individuality for the alive and inanimate. But by far the most interesting feature of a name is its origin and meaning. It’s almost always nearly fun to discover that your name traces back to, say, a famous ancient Mesopotamian weaver, or Gengis Khan’s personal boot polisher (almost because you don’t want to end up like this poor kid). And in a world where the global population keeps bursting beyond the 6 billion estimate, it must be pleasant to know that you’ve got unexpected namesakes that bond you together regardless of whether you’re destined to meet in this life.

Without further ado (a.k.a. I can’t sleep although I feel like it, I’m bored as my grandmother is asleep but likes me to accompany her in the same room, I can’t think of anything else to blog about tonight and because what I say must go sometime, damnit), I present to you today’s trivia: the meaning of my name (as far as I understand) and some of my interesting namesakes.

The first part of my name, Nur, is a common Arabic word meaning ‘light’. Ilyanna is a bit trickier to dissect, as there doesn’t seem to be a direct match for this name in Arabic. To keep to an Arabic context, I assume that Yanna (also a Russian name that is pronounced the same way but spelled as Janna) is a derivation of Liyana. Both generally mean ‘soft/gentle/slender in character’. When separated from the second half of the name, ‘Il-’ becomes a prefix meaning something like ‘such/amat (in Malay)’. Hence, Nur Ilyanna loosely translates to: ‘Such slender light/Cahaya yang amat lembut’.

All credit goes to my dad for giving me a pretty name, although I don’t seem to be living up to its expectations. :/

Fun namesakes I’ve discovered over the years (please take note, Yanni jokes are ANCIENT and out-of-date):

• In Buffy: Jenny Calendar @ Giles’ lady love @ sexy librarian @ well-intentioned Romanian gypsy was in reality named Janna, pronounced Yanna.
• In the Marvel universe: Illyana Rasputin is the real name of superhero and X-Men member Magik, who unfortunately was killed off in the comics years ago. She had the power to teleport herself and others through time and space by creating special “stepping discs”.

• In Star Wars: Yanna is a planet famous for being a commercial and trading port.

Honorary mentions:
I’m also a Canadian theatre actress, a number of Russian athletes, a French cabaret singer/actress, and...a boot? *sweatdrop*

Folks, do send in your own name meanings as well. If you’re not sure about it, I highly recommend that you do some research. Not only is it a bit of light in dark times, but it also gives you clues about yourself, given that you take the time to analyze it well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lain Kali

Lain kali, jangan nak berlagak pandai.

Lain kali, fikir la dulu pasal orang lain yang terlibat sekali. Nyawa ni bukannya bahan permainan. Tak boleh dikecai dan diperbaiki semula dengan super glue.

Lain kali, jangan cuba menipu. Nak fikir pasal menipu pun haram. Kalau ada orang yang baik hati dan sudi nak cover untuk kau, ok. Kau antara orang yang bernasib baik. Tapi kau la juga antara orang yang takkan belajar sampai bila-bila macam mana nak hidup sendiri, macam mana nak merdeka.

Lain kali, jangan nak menyusahkan orang lain. Walaupun dia memang berniat untuk menolong, kau la yang bertanggungjawab kalau ada apa-apa yang terjadi kepada dia nanti. Kau tanya, kalau aku tak ada pilihan? Kalau benda tu dah terjadi? Aku akan jawab, sila rujuk ke ayat pertama dalam entri ni. Guna biji mata kau, baca betul2.

Antara kau dan aku, tak banyak beza kan?

Sebab tu la aku nak pesan kat kau buat kali terakhir:

Lain kali, pastikan tak wujudnya lain kali.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Right now, I am feeling:


The enormity of adulthood
The kindness of strangers
The weight of being loved and
loving in return.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009: A List

Some things I’m looking forward to in 2009:

1) Watchmen

I’m not a comic fanatic, although I might have been if I’d had access to more comics when I was a kid. I did love X-Men and read other affiliates like Cable, X-Factor and Elektra whenever I could get my hands on a copy (they always seemed like rare finds to me. It never occurred to me that there were specialized stores for comics. Duh). Earlier this year I discovered Watchmen, and after reading it I now understand why it’s been hailed as the best graphic novel in existence, plotwise. The politics, the ambiguity of good and evil, playing God, the gloomy backdrop – all of it lent the most realistic air to the superhero universe that I’ve ever read. Reading Watchmen, you’ll start to think that it’s not impossible for superheroes to exist among us. Now, if only Warner could come out on tops in their battle against Fox, 03.06.09 is going to be THE day to look forward to.

2) President Barack Obama
For now he’s still the President-elect, and the afterglow of the election results are still present. But Obama will definitely bring interesting changes to the U.S. of A in 2009, for better or for worse. So far, he’s off to a good start with lauded choices of the important posts for his team, but he’s got a steep journey uphill with the recession and leftovers of the previous administration. After the horrendously poor leadership of Bush what’s-his-face for the last few years, though, the next year should be a refreshing change.

3) Employment
While we’ve been saying it since the dawn of time, the phrase “life gets harder” only really resonates when you find yourself in a survival-of-the-fittest situation. I hope to end this phase of job-hunting soon and settle down in (hopefully) a job I enjoy that pays my bills (and that Harajuku jacket I saw at Sunway today *drools*).

4) Convocation
Since I still visit campus to see Significant Other regularly, it still hasn’t really sunk in that I won’t get to see my old classmates and friends as much as I used to. I even miss the people I never really knew but saw and smiled at in classes and frequently bumped into around campus. The convo will probably be the last chance for us all to gather in one big group...the way it used to be.

5) Caribbean Blue Myvi
Refer to this post. Am still shopping around for a name for my future sweet blue treasure *Grinch-like indulgent grin*

6) Preservation of Enlightenment
I don’t pretend to be any more religious than I am. But I never forget my Maker in everything I see and do every day, and in the people surrounding me. I’ve strayed further than You like, but I’m grateful for the fact that for all its other shortcomings, UIA did serve as a sort of safe bubble of knowledge and reminders. I’ve been getting a taste of the real world in the past month since graduating, and I don’t want to forget everything I learned from You just because I’m on my own now. I’ll try to keep reading the signs.

7) Music
2008 was the mother of all years when it came to assignments and extra-curricular activities, to the extent that I rarely kept up with new music this year unless it was something Significant Other recommended. Some new bands I did discover and other older ones with new releases coming in 2009 that I do look forward to:

Handsome Furs – Face Control (10th March 2009)

The Artificial Sea – Their Myspace page says a new album is coming “soon-ish”; since their last album was out in 2006, I hope “soon-ish” means 2009.

Trespassers William – The Natural Order of Things

Poe – Egh. I add this to my list every year hoping that she’ll resurface from wherever she disappeared to. Even Chinese Democracy has come out after aeons of waiting, so why can’t you, Poe?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Woes of Watchmen: Why, Fox, Why??

As most comic aficionados know by now, the already murky future of the Watchmen film looks set to be in for even more trouble. Last week a US federal judge ruled that Warner Bros, the studio backing the film has violated 20th Century Fox’s copyright in the film. Fox had the original rights to the film way back in 1986, but after they decided not to go through with production producer Lawrence Gordon shopped it around to other studios and eventually settled with Warner. Now Fox is alleging that they never completely lost their rights over the film and that by rights (are you getting tired of that word? I sure am), they are responsible for at least the distribution of the film. With the case officially being heard in court in January, many are worried that this will mean a delay of the film’s 3rd March 2009 release date.

Personally, I lost my love for Fox a long time ago. This studio has been responsible for butchering movies that would have probably been brilliant in other hands. Let’s take a look at Fox’s track record in recent years: Jumper, X-Men: The Last Stand, May Payne, Alien Vs Predators: Requiem, X-Files 2, The Happening, Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer. I think this list speaks for itself, critically and commercially. Fox also cancelled some of my all-time favourite quality shows like Wonderfalls, Serenity and Dark Angel. Oh, and the Wolverine trailer has all the excitement of a dead duck too.

One question, Fox: why bring up all the chaos now, when production has already wrapped up on the film? I’ve read that Fox did send Warner a warning that they were infringing on Fox’s copyrights before production began, but Zack Snyder says that nobody interfered with the actual production of the film. Plus, Fox made it absolutely clear that they weren’t interested in producing the film when they had the chance.

According to Wall Street Journal, Fox’s operating income fell by 31% in recent months thanks to the fact that their releases have sucked really badly and failed to net any real profit. Surprised, anyone? It figures that they’d want to get their hands on a film that actually looks like it’s going to be great. Being buruk siku is not going to win you any faith back, Fox.

I really hope Warner wins their case against Fox; at this point, I don’t care if the release date is delayed, I just don’t want a movie that looks this amazing and this faithful to the comic to be unreleased forever. Because if there’s one film that looks like it’s going to live up to the original comic (short-listed in Time’s 100 Greatest Literature of the 20th century and generally agreed to be the most renowned graphic novel ever), it’s Watchmen.

Hey, Fox? Go lick your penniless wounds elsewhere. I’ve already wasted close to RM100 over the years from going to watch your stupid films in the cinema. Please don’t ruin Watchmen for us all.

Duino Elegies: An Excerpt

Who, if I cried, would hear me among the angelic
orders? And even if one of them suddenly
pressed me against his heart, I would fade
in the strength of his stronger existence.
For Beauty's nothing but the beginning of Terror
we're still able to hear and why we adore it so is
because it serenely disdains to destroy us.
Every angel is terrifying.

~Rainier Maria Rilke