Saturday, December 27, 2008

Standing Still

It's been awhile since a movie can surprise me and watching how The Earth Stood Still today did just that tonight. The irony of watching an environmental themed movie at The Gardens? Priceless.

For starters, almost everybody in the world who's seen this movie are giving it a bad review. Rightly so:
1) Bad writing
2) Poor acting from the stars
3) Choppy flow
4) Weak continuity
5) Weak chemistry between actors
6) The final scene depiction of the "standing still" time lacked impact

Do I really care? No. There're too many movies being made lately for the sake of cashflow, publicity to launch an actor's career, bad propaganda, politics, and the list just goes on. But I had a good feeling about this movie tonight. I think Scott Derrickson and his team did a good job to deliver the theme to the world that is too arrogant to care.

If the Earth dies, you die. If the human race dies, the Earth survives.

Can you dispute this statement? I can't. If you've seen An Inconvenient Truth, you'd get my meaning. We are just too complacent. We are just too ignorant. We will not care until we feel the threat itself.

I think the movie is about a message to the audience. When David Scarpa wrote the screenplay, he didn't have any Oscar in mind. I think he's a believer of Earth, and Derrickson his disciple. Both wanted to remind the human race that we are very fragile and if we don't stand still and start realizing, we will never change. So what better way to get the message through than using the most powerful tool in the world? Media. Movie. The Silver Screen.

The scene that captivated me the most was the one at Professor Barnhardt's house. I will try my best to re-construct the conversation that took place to the best of my memory:

Barnhardt: You have to give us a chance, we will change.

Klaatu: The decision is made. It is too late.

Helen: You gotta give us a chance.

Klaatu: We have, for a very long time now.

Barnhardt: You just have to give us more time. At the brink of destruction, at the edge of existence, only will we change...tell me, how did you get to where you are?

Klaatu: Our circumstances were different. Our sun was dying. We had to evolve.

Barnhardt: Exactly. You were at the precipice. Therefore, you changed. We are at ours now, do not take that chance away from us. We will change. Give us the time.

Klaatu: [stares at Helen] Your professor is right. At the precipice, we change.

There is your revelation. I realized that in almost everything we do daily, we tend to stick to our norms. Rarely do we really sit back, sit still and reflect on our actions and consequences. We simply do not have the will, as a human race. But when pushed to the edge and tested, we will overcome. When taunted, we will rise. When we reach our "precipice", we change.

Klaatu: I will try to stop it. But it will change things around here forever.

Klaatu's words just before he activated The Sphere and disabled the mechanical bugs and just about everything that is machine or electronic on Earth. That's when you get your the world stood still climax scene. I thought it was beautifully done. I was beginning to wonder how does the title relate to the movie. Well, save the best for last.

I'm not saying this is a really good movie. I'm just saying that this movie isn't that bad until it deserves getting criticized by almost everybody who's seen it. You're missing the point. Then again, who really cares?

By the way, this movie is a remake of Edmund H. North's 1951 screenplay. It was based on a nuclear destruction theme. During that time, nuclear threat was the world's most visible threat. As you can see 5 decades on, we have changed. WE are the biggest and most visible threat to the world now. Hence, the environmental theme. Isn't that relevant? But no, movie critiques had to shoot Derrickson and his team down for changing the theme. Please see the irony he's trying to communicate to us.

I believe we have to start asking ourselves serious questions about our way of life. It may be hard. It may be over-reaction. But isn't it inevitable? Will we allow ourselves to be the fore-fathers of our children and children's childrens' sufferings? Have we been standing still and idling? What's stopping us from acting now, little by little? When will we reach our respective precipices? When I do, will I act?

I challange you all to act. Most of you will fail.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Of Saucers, Pencils and Shots

This year's Operations Annual Conference was a totally different experience for me. I did not have to organize it. I did not have to worry about everything and prepare for all possible scenarios and come up with BCPs. I did not have to work harder than I should be playing. I did not miss out all the fun team-building and bonding activities. I did not have to worry if someone is missing or the agenda is off-track. I did not have to ensure everybody is happy, as long as I am. I did not have to be the last to leave and made sure the place we left behind was in order. I did not have to worry if I could wake up the next day as long as I enjoyed the night before and went crazy.

The business portion of the trip was absolutely cracking. The involvement was twice much more than last year. The time-keeping was impeccably spot on. The senior leaders worked very hard on the workshop pre-work. They were flawless in executing the Conference's agenda and for that, the meeting ended on time and earlier than last year. We had more fun and time enjoying and playing this year than last year. Maybe it is just me feeling the huge difference.

There were great learnings. There were interesting observations. Plans went awry but nothing that is ever planned is perfect. We just have to pat ourselves in the back, close one eye if others didn't realize and rectify it internally. I was caught off-guard and given a surprise and I'm glad I managed to overcome the occasion and expectation and for that, I've learned and become wiser. I'm thankful for the opportunity given, the trust bestowed and the experience gained.

I saw some things that I knew would come sooner or later but didn't expect it to be so soon. But at the same time, I learned more about them all than I ever did in the last 12 months put together. I discovered what it takes to be there, to walk that path and to sustain the route taken.


I learned that wisdom is earned, not given.

I realized that wise men speak because they have something to say and fools speak because they have to say something.

I recognized that I never worry about the height of things to come, only the width.

And finally...
I discerned that if age imparted wisdom, then there wouldn't be any old fools.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Yesterday I learned that:

When life knocks you down to your knees, it is the perfect position to pray

Thank you for showing me the way and asking me questions that made me see clearer.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stead of Virtue

God gave us friends for a reason.
It is not something seasonal, it is tangible.
They are the siblings I never have.

Among the reasons I treasure most is the fact how these special people in my life will often guide me back onto the true path when I go astray in actions, words, thoughts and spirit.

They act as a funnel to my improbabilities.
They become the filter to my naivete.
They are my life buoy when I drown in the ocean of self disparagements.

It's their honesty that captivates me.
It's their loyalty that enthralls me.
It's their candor that reminds me.
It's their sincerity that ensnares me.

I am adjudicator to nothing save my own ineptness. The stead of virtue is the inaction of denunciation itself. For this I am grateful to God that I was humbled.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Embers of Faith

It feels like nothing as you are ingenuously unimportant.
It feels like empowerment.
You share with them your point of view and tell them it is for them to decide.
It feels like perfidy, forsaken on a derelict starship in the coldness of the cosmos.
You start to envisage what would have been expressed; the possible and alternate ending.
When all your hopes and dreams are shattered with a double-edged word.
You start by realizing that your reality is very much discernible from truth than it is distorted.
By first writing the lyrics of compassion.
By trumping the temptation card.
It is like having penitence for breakfast, knowing you will not get atonement for dinner later.
Up above where I know the Lord will hear all my prayers.
It feels like lying to my soul.
When you feel the subtle sharp prod in your heart.
It feels like mocking the other in a satirically jesting demeanor.
Belief, religion, upbringing and a proving ground.
When hypocrisy dictates the better part of you.

It feels like takes everything you're made look to yourself...when the candlewick of devotion is all but burnt...

I realized that having only the conclusion to my questions in trial did not suffice enough to placate my anxious soul. It did not garner me the intended closure I wished to seek. Thus, I forced myself to think deep these last few nights. Now, these answers harvested from my forced reflection has endowed me with greater clarity on how best to tread next. In time, I will learn how to flame the embers of faith from the ashes of departed devotion...

Friday, December 5, 2008

An Inconvenient Apology

How does it feel when you are indifferent?
How does it feel when you are callous?
What do you do when someone is ignorant?
How does it feel when you are left out cold?
What do you see when all you see is an empty screen?
How do you know when you are being stood up?
How can you learn if you can’t realize?
How must we sing the songs of forgiveness?
What other ways can you play the friendship card?
How does it feel when guilt has been served?
Where do you look when all you want to see is forward?
How does it feel when you look the other way in denial?
How do you know you have wronged someone?
How does it feel to patronize a friend?
What does it take to seek acknowledgement and responsibility?
When do you decide to play along in silent mockery?

How does it feel…what does it take…where do you look…when do you decide…?

Questions that kept flashing through my mind these last few days in snapshots of perpetuity and anonymity. I had no answers for these questions in trial. I searched deep within the recesses of my heart, I found no conclusion…till last night. Closure is what I seek to reminisce, to be at peace. When all was said and done, I could finally see that it was an inconvenient apology served…

Monday, December 1, 2008


It's a marvel that our country never fail to enthrall the condescending attention of contemptuous cynics from overseas. How do we always never fail to zip in on paltry and trifling concerns while the entire nation and the world is beleaguered with issues of immense proportions? It is sad to see that our Administration and its league of hypocritical and duplicitous Confederates live in their own tiny little world, chasing their own tails around on a daily basis.

The Muslim community is being restricted and suppressed as each day passes by. Not by the Chinese, or the Indians, or the Jews, or the Christians. But by their fellow Muslims/Malays themselves.

After the fatwa prohibition of yoga, the upcoming fatwa-fatwa coming to your nearest theatres in town are as follow:

December 2008
Muslims are forbidden to swim in public swimming pools. At these public pools, non-Muslims wearing brief swimwears that exposes the aurat will be present. This can deteriorate the faith of the Muslims. The best way would be to prohibit Muslims from these public pools.

January 2009
Muslims are forbidden to go to Penang Island. The Chief Minister of Penang Island is a non-Muslim and the majority of Penang Island residents are non-Muslims. When a Muslim is in Penang Island, he/she may inadvertently inhale the smell of char kuey teow that is cooked by a non-Muslim and this may destroy our faith. The best way would be for us to ban Muslims from visiting Penang Island. Muslims who are currently living there will be given relocation allowance up to MYR3,000 to assist them in moving to neighbouring states. Relocation to Kelantan and Terengganu is most encouraged.

February 2009

Muslims are forbidden from drinking root beer. Although root beers do not contain alcohol, its namesake "beer" may arouse lust and indecent behaviour among Muslims. With the ban of root beers, Muslims can drink all other soft drinks without worry. Ginger beer will also be banned.

March 2009
Muslims are forbidden to dine at mamak stalls. Although most mamak folks are Muslims, their true origin are Indians and there may be elements of Indian culture in their businesses like speaking in Tamil and wearing Indian-made clothes. To avoid any suspicion, Muslims are banned from eating at mamak stalls effective 1st March 2009 (except Tun Mahathir for he is first class mamak).

April 2009
Muslims are banned from playing ping pong or table tennis. Ping pong originates from China and because of that, may contain elements of Buddhism or Confucianism in their ping pong game. Muslims who play too much of ping pong will have their faith eroded. As an alternative solution, Muslims are encouraged to play sepak raga (however, the raga ball must be Malaysian-made, not from Thailand).

May 2009
Muslims who work with the government are banned from taking their respective salary. This is because a large portion of the government's revenue are income taxes paid by various non-Muslim companies. Muslims are encouraged to beg for alms from their fellow Muslims. To ease this process, alms hopefuls are encouraged to squat in front of the UMNO building.

June 2009
Muslims are prohibited from leaving the country. There are too many temptations that can erode the moral and faith of Muslims. This matter has been thoroughly researched as a result from the educational visit to Bangkok by the National Fatwa Council recently. Therefore, Muslims are requested to return their respective passport to the immigration department as soon as possible. Trips overseas are only possible for ministers and influential UMNO figures, provided they are escorted by members of the National Fatwa Council.

July 2009
Muslims are not allowed to think during the daytime. Most crimes and vices exist because the unemployed likes to think nonsense. To curb these crimes and vices, as of 1st July 2009, Muslims are not allowed to delve in thoughts during daytime. Their thinking freedom will be proscribed by the National Fatwa Council to a group of specially trained monkeys.

Please do not laugh. Many of the above will become a reality if we do nothing. The rational thinking Muslims in this country are simply not doing anything, or not doing enough. We let a very small minority of narrow-minded idiots control our lives. We are obssesed with the little, little things and are fast becoming a laughing stock worldwide.

When there are so many important things remain to be done, why must the Fatwa folks spend their time on little things...tomboys, yoga, etc. Why don't we ever hear anything from the Fatwa folks for social justice, eradicating corruption and poverty, protecting single mothers, helping the poor, educating the ummah, protecting the environment or ensuring fairness in society?

If you are a rational, forward-thinking Muslim, please speak up. If you choose to remain silent, it only means that you agree with whatever is happening. And do not blame the non-Muslims.