Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Are you blind?"

The evening wind was rather chilly there at one of the patio located just a few walks from the main restaurant. The clouds were thick with moisture, signifying that the rain was about to fall any minute then. In my full view was the Clubhouse lake and at somewhere further was the breathtaking views of the bluish mountains. At a closer distance to me was a round table with two plates, each held a salami sandwich and three honey pancakes, and next to them were a full pot of freshly-brewed coffee, a pot of sugar, a pot of fresh milk and two equivalent-looking white porcelain cups. And next to all this was a woman.

"Nazmi," she said. "Tell me, are you?"

I took a look at her, with such indifferent face expression, while my hand was still holding my head with my elbow against the armrest, two of my fingers resting against my cheek and my thumb playing with the surfacing hairs under my chin. She looked delicately gorgeous, especially when the evening wind blew her long, wavy hair along its way across her fair-skinned face. That long nose and stunningly beautiful and moist lips made me anchored my eyes for quite some time. Her hazel eyes and her perfect eyebrows completed it all. In a way, she is something that you get when you put Diana Danielle, Zooey Deschanel and Gloria Estefan together and form another person. My God, I said, look at precisely what Thou have had granted me today, hallowed be Thy name.

"Why did you say so?" I asked her.

She stared at me for a while. A bit uncomfortable from what appear to be completely penetrating stare, I poured some coffee into my cup and sugar and milk followed, and soon I made a proposition to her a cup of coffee too, from which she said no. Strange, just how she invited me for a cup of coffee right after work at the golf resort but hesitated to actually have any of it.

"I can't believe that you are still single," she said. "I mean, there are a lot of people around you, women, see? Women who like you."

It sure did take a while for me to reply.

"Well of course, Farah, yes," I said. "Of course there are women around me, who like me and the likes."

"So what seems to be the problem? Why, you afraid to love again?"

"Not specifically. Why would you say that?"

"Look at you," she said as she leaned back to her chair and crossed her arms. "You have almost everything a guy your age does not."

"Aha," I cut into her speech and raised my eyebrows. "Almost."

"That's not the point," she replied. "I just don't get it why."

"Why would you try so hard to know?"


"That kills the cat?"

"Precisely." She lifted both her hands backward over her shoulders to tie up her hair, showing those bare fair and silky arms pointing directly at me. When at work Farah always wear that jacket that covers everything in between her neck and her waist, and to actually see her in baby-tee like at that moment was always a rarity. Then she reached my hand that was resting on the table and placed her fingers in between mine. They fit.

"Poor you," she said, her concerned eyes poked into mine as she brushed her fingers against mine. "All you need is love."

"Maybe. But I am at the clear at the spur of the moment. Love to me will be the very least of my concern."

I pulled my hand back and placed it on my hip. The warm feeling instantly disappeared, replacing the sensation with the usual coldness.

"And," I continued, "I do not have a specific victim that I significantly have in mind to even begin with if I ever decided to love again."

She cheerfully chuckled to that.

"You are indeed blind, young man."

* * *

And here I am sitting before my monitor trying to fully understand her last (at least the worthy and memorable last) sentence - "You are indeed blind, young man." A few of the very first attempts, all of them actually, had failed to supply me with sufficient information as to decode her quite a challenging message.

And then it suddenly occurred to me.

Blind is when one is not able to see. But I can see. To say that I am blind means that I am spectacularly blind to some certain things that were in my views but somewhat were not fully or at all noticed by my peripheral vision. And one of these things was her.

"God damnit, Farah."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

At times I tend to ponder at things that supposedly are not to be discussed in detail let alone to be examined down to their roots of cause. Quite in my purely-puzzled mind that I started to explore things at their nature and surely enough this will usually had me ended up at a point of no particular return where there I stood in the middle of nowhere from a forgotten somewhere heading pointlessly anywhere.

Take a look at love.

An entirely too many of us were promised not a little long ago, if not too long, that every able man and woman will one day meet the significant others, and it is all just the matter of time. Those who have been through bitter breakups may have understood that there is always at least someone who will walk into their door just to say that, "there is someone better out there for you." This purely vague, cloudy and completely hope-amplifying statement usually bring up the spirit in the broken-hearted, sad and miserable people who more often than enough have sworn not to love anymore prior to the unexpected, and at times expected, departures of loved ones.

But come to think of it, who is this 'someone', literally?

They said the only way to find out is to go out and cannon, sink and plunder every moderate to acceptable targets for what appear to be the most precious treasure in every meaningful relationships - the best fitting other-half. And there go all the singles aiming at every possible victim of love and lure them to drown in ponds of love and have them blanketed in the irresistible clouds of sweet romance and promises. And surely enough once a single anchors his/her love towards someone, there is hardly a point of return. Once in love, forever in love. And perhaps the new person is somewhat spectacularly better than the one who left/got left behind, hence strengthening the fact that "there IS someone better for me out there".

"He's my best lover," she says. "And so is she," he continues. Clearly enough, both of them have found their 'someone'.

So they become a couple.

But over time things start to get awful. The usual anyway. A few arguments here and there leading to spores of cheating that soon grow into ultimate affairs, and for all we know ladies and gents, this kind of relationship won't obviously go far. Give in another one or two blows and everybody will put their money on the fact that it is only a matter of seconds that these guys will split up.

To which they normally do in the end.

And one then shall ponder about all the wasted energy and time and effort but most importantly their wasted heart. Another broken heart needs a mend, ironically enough caused by an effort to cure the previous injury, only to see it gets worst than ever. There sit down both of them in complete wreck and whatnot, separated by only membranes of love but an Atlantic-worth of hatred, looking at each other's way, pacing towards a future where there are no promises, over, over, and over again.

And surely enough there will be someone who says, "relax, there's someone else better for you out there."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hari ini, banyak benda berlaku.

Tapi bagi sesetengah orang, tiada apa pun yang berlaku. Bagi mereka hidup ini sangat kosong, tiada apa hendak dibuat, same shit different days, membosankan dan apa-apa lagi yang mencerminkan betapa kurang menariknya hidup mereka hari ini. Dan tidak mustahil juga bahawa hidup para pembaca - ya kau, kau ya kau - yang sedang membaca ini tergolong dalam kategori hidup bosan pada hari ini.

Waktu berjalan macam biasa. Detik berdetik tiada henti, masa terbuang begitu saja. "Boring-lah," kata kau.

Tapi seriuskah sehingga sebegitu sekali bosannya hidup ini hari ini? Begitu banyak benda yang boleh dibuat di dalam dunia, manakan mungkin hidup ini kosong untuk satu hari?

Bangun tidur selak tudung saji, mencekik apa segala sampai ke tengahari, bukak TV meledoh atas kerusi, mandi pun belum apakan lagi gosok gigi, perut keroncong selak tudung saji lagi, mencekik apa segala sampai ke petang, bukak TV lagi kunyah keropok kentang, hui! Bukan main hidup senang lenang.

Tapi kau kata hidup kau boring. Pasal apa?

Pasal kau tengok apa yang kau tak dapat. Buka TV, oh, ada orang kahwin, dan bila kau ingat kau sorang-sorang kau rasa lain. Ada orang bawa kereta besar, kau alih muka ke kereta kecil buruk tak berbasuh di luar. Ada yang pakai skirt sendat peha putih terhampar, kau tengok peha kau entah apa rupa melebar. Kau tengok model laki-laki dahi licin muka jambu, kau gosok dahi kau rasa parut jerawat menggerutu. Kau tengok rumah orang besar bagai kaya raya, kau tengok rumah kau kecil dompet kosong tiada apa.

Kau rasa tak puas. Kau mau lagi dan lagi. Dan lagi.

Tapi kau cuma nampak apa yang kau mau. Bukan apa yang kau tak mau, bila mana benda-benda yang engkau tak mau inilah yang akan menjadikan engkau lebih matang dan dewasa.

Kau jarang nampak orang mati laki dan orang mati bini, mati kawan dan mati famili. Kau tak nampak orang yang hidupnya melarat nak makan keropok kentang pun tak dapat. Anak-anak ramai penuh satu rumah, rumah pula bagai kejap lagi nak runtuh. Orang yang bekerja kuat cari duit bermandi keringat bermandi peluh. Orang yang tiada duit dalam pelarian dikejar hutang, yang dipepah dek along pecah muka patah tulang. Orang yang tiada TV tiada kerusi apatah lagi menapak ke mana-mana sebab kereta pun tak ada. Orang yang hidupnya terkurung, orang yang hidupnya merengkok di dalam penjara. Oh tidak, kau tidak sekalipun terfikir tentang semua ini.

Itu pasal hidup kau bosan.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Entri hari ini adalah berkisarkan kepada satu penyakit diri yang bukan lagi sesuatu yang kita jarang sekali dengar - lupa asal usul. Untuk pengetahuan pembaca, topik yang akan dibentangkan dalam sedikit masa saja lagi kali ini adalah diusulkan oleh Puan Lina, yang mana beliau juga mengusulkan agar saya selaku penulis untuk bertukar selera dan menulis dalam bahasa Melayu daripada dalam bahasa Inggeris seperti selalu.

Agak kekok pada mulanya untuk menulis semula dalam bahasa ibunda tetapi saya akan berikan yang terbaik untuk tatapan dan pemikiran pembaca sekalian.

Lupa asal-usul adalah sesuatu yang bukan lagi ganjil di dalam masyarakat hari ini, di mana kita secara senang-lenangnya dapat mengangkat jari dan menuding kepada mereka-mereka yang menghidapi masalah ini yang secara hakikinya mudah dikenalpasti hanya dengan melihat kepada perangai sahaja. Secara mudahnya, lupa asal-usul ini adalah apabila seseorang itu mulai melupakan sejarah silamnya; perjalanannya selama ini untuk berada di tempat di mana dia berdiri pada hari ini, selalunya di tempat yang lebih baik, dan berlagak seolah-olah dia tidak pernah melalui perjalanan sedemikian rupa, yang secara am-nya susah-payah dan menderitakan. Selalunya orang-orang sebegini akan bertukar menjadi individu lain yang juga secara am-nya menjelikkan dan menjadi salah satu sebab yang membuatkan orang lain menyampah melihatkan tingkah-laku dan perangainya yang telah berubah dan tidak lagi seperti dulu.

Secara mudahnya, mari kita ambil contoh orang kampung.

Katakan, seorang anak muda yang tidak-tahu apa-apa, belajar pun tidak tinggi mana, yang kerjanya saban hari mengait buah sawit ataupun menoreh di ladang-ladang getah dan makan-minum pun masih di bawah tanggungan mak dan ayah, nak dijadikan cerita tiba-tiba terpilih untuk bertanding di dalam satu pertandingan karaoke tahap nasional di mana dia akan berentap dengan beberapa lagi gandingan mantap penyanyi-penyanyi moden yang dalam kepala mereka hanya ada tujuan yang sama - menang, dan menjadi juara. Dan untuk disambung cerita, menanglah si anak kampung ini lantas dinobatkan sebagai juara pertandingan tersebut setelah menewaskan peserta-peserta lain dengan tiket rezeki. Mulai hari tersebut, hidup baru mula terlakar di depan mata anak kampung itu, dan sepertimana yang para pembaca mula bayangkan, masa depannya paling tidak akan tercalar di sini sana.

Kemudian apa jadi?

Si anak muda baru mula nampak rupa sebenar dunia. Kiri-kanan perempuan melata. Hidup yang mewah dan popular dan penuh sandiwara. Dulu jalan kaki ke mana-mana kini dah ada kereta. Dulu perempuan tak pandang kini dia tak berhenti dipuja. Dulu mahu minum teh tarik pun harapkan kawan-kawan belanja. Kini, hey! apa mau pening kepala? Setakat seringgit dua ringgit segelas, satu kampung dia boleh belanja. Dulu jumpa kawan-kawan makcik-makcik pandai tunduk hormat salam tangan, sekarang apa nama kawan, nama makcik pun sudah lupa. Nampak orang lain pakai compang-camping, ah! Sebelah mata pun tak pandang, konon mereka miskin hina, sedangkan dia dulu pun macam itu, cuma sekarang sudah berubah segala.

Nah, lupa diri, lupa asal-usul di situ.

Persoalan tentang mengapa jadi begitu bukan susah sangat untuk dirungkaikan. Mudah saja. Ini kisah beruk dapat bunga. Manusia ini mudah saja untuk dilihat sejauh mana integritinya - berikan dia kemewahan, berikan dia kuasa, berikan dia perempuan (laki-laki untuk perempuan) dan lihatlah dunia, sejauh mana dia akan berubah dalam sekelip mata. Dulu bila tak ada duit, kita kenalah baik dengan orang, konon ada rezeki dapat ditumpang-tumpang. Dulu bila tak ada kuasa, kenalah baik dengan orang, konon untung-untung dapat pertolongan orang. Dulu bila tak ada perempuan (dan sebaliknya untuk perempuan), kenalah baik dengan orang, konon silap haribulan dapat bakal mak mentua senang dijodohkan.

Tapi sekarang bila dah ada segalanya, apa mahu peduli? Kemewahan, kuasa dan perempuan sekadar pada petikan jari. Apa perlu bergantung pada orang lain bila kini orang bergantung pada kita, untuk kemewahan, untuk kuasa, untuk perempuan? Nah, di situ munculnya satu kuasa gah yang tidak tercerna oleh akal. Dihasut syaitan dan nafsu, segalanya berubah satu demi satu. Sifat sombong, bongkak, riak apa segala mula terlihat. Dan berfoya-foyalah diri ke sana ke mari tanpa rehat.

Hanya pada satu ketika nanti apabila segalanya ditarik balik, barulah kesedaran itu tiba, dan sedihnya, selalunya pada waktu itu segalanya sudah terlambat. Tiada lagi patah balik. Tiada lagi putaran waktu, segalanya sudah berlaku.

Masa itu orang sudah berhenti memuja, dan mula menunjukkan rasa menyampah, rasa meluat, rasa jelik yang sukar dibicarakan. Duit sudah habis terbuang, para pendamping pun sudah cukup makan dan lari bawa badan, kuasa pula sudah dipam habis ke dalam jamban. Dan pada masa itu, sesalan demi sesalan mula menjelma. Apa sudah jadi? Apa yang terjadi? Apa nak jadi? Mana mau letak muka? Rasa segan bertambah-tambah malu. Mana kawan-kawan yang sering membantu? Oh sudah dibuang suatu masa lalu. Mana cinta yang mau hidup semati? Oh dia pergi pada orang lain, dikatakan pada kau suruh pergi mati. Yang penting, macam mana mau cari duit penuhkan tembolok? Perut sudah berkeroncong, nak mencekik duit tak ada, ah sialan, apa agaknya yang akan berlaku?

Apa lagi ditunggu? Baliklah ke kampung toreh getah macam dulu-dulu.

* * *

Berhati-hati dengan rasa bongkak. Riak. Takbur. Itu bahaya. Terutamanya mereka yang berilmu tinggi. Saya cukup berbulu dengan mereka-mereka yang belajarnya sampai ke kaki langit tapi riaknya Ya Rabbi, Tuhan saja tahu. Tak salah merendahkan diri, asal jangan rasa rendah diri. Tak rugi apa-apa, tak luak apa-apa, tak hilang apa-apa. Kau hebat, ada orang hebat lagi. Kau pandai, ada orang pandai lagi. Kau kaya, ada orang kaya lagi. So, apa mau hiruk-pikuk konon kau kekal abadi? Esok lusa disumpah dek orang, mampus kau kena langgar lori.

"Orang paling kayalah yang paling jarang bicara tentang kekayaannya. Orang yang paling miskin pula adalah yang bila dapat rezeki, riuh satu kampung kononnya dia sudah kaya raya, bila pada hakikatnya, dapat duit tiga puluh sen saja."

Faham? Faham-fahamkan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Apparently, the members of The Mutton Curry Gang had quite a rough week last week.

And so, out of the blue and at all the suddenness, we decided to go for a vacation after an ad-hoc meeting the night before. The place we went was Teluk Rubiah, a private beach around 60km away from UTP and around 10km away from Lumut. We were there for two days and a night, and below are the pictures that were taken when we were there.

* * *

Timmy G., me and Bhai

Me and Chubb

The clean private beach

The flower I was attracted to.

The coal drop facility that conveys coal to a nearby coal powerplant

Spectacular cloud show

Some random lines drawn on the sand

The golden reflection

The bonfire I made to warm us up later when the night came

The beach in the morning

Another view of the beach

And another one view too.

Me and Chubb sitting at the entrance to our chalet. I was having myself a pretty nice cigar there.

Timmy G. and Bhai at Lumut Waterfront

Timmy G. and me having our moments before we left Lumut back for UTP

I believe that the readers today are mature men and women; a group of adults who have their own stands and opinions about things around them, everyday events and as well as everything else all cut down to their individual beliefs, cultures and knowledges. Let's move to a more serious stuff.

Let's take a look at the education in Malaysia today.

There are just too many proposed changes these days in order to, doubtfully, enhance the levels of education in the country. The changes cover almost all levels; from early education all the way to higher level. Recently, UPSR and PMR, the first two major examinations for primary and lower secondary school students respectively, were proposed to be abolished as to reduce the level of stress experienced by these group of learners. And then not a little too long ago was this whole hype in Maths and Science to be taught in English.

And then there were a few other plans here and there.

But how much did the education quality change? All along we still do have many of those who can't converse properly in English. Hell, they can't converse properly in Malay even. And yet we would like to introduce Mandarin and Tamil in schools, compulsory to be taken by every student. How do we do this, anyway, when the first two major languages that are widely used in everyday communication could not even be strongly gripped? Linguistic skills are of course very beneficial when it comes to expansion towards other countries that technically use other than Malay and English as their mother tongues, but wouldn't it promise us a bigger trouble when two more completely unrelated languages are to be introduced and learnt along with the two existing ones, both already suffered from weakness in skillful usages?

And then comes this whole total Malay language thing.

I fairly understand that the mother tongue, that the national language that is practiced here is Malay language. And I strongly support the idea that requires every Malaysian to be able to converse in Malay, for that does not only decrease the gap in between the major races but also grouping us up in one strong community, for language is always a unity thing.

But what really grinds my gear is that there are a few groups and individuals who oppose the heavy usage of English as a medium in everyday conversations; from TV commercials to tongue-to-tongue discussions. They yelled out loud telling that Malay language is this and that, and the heavily-used English cannot be tolerated.

To me, we now live in a very unbounded world. New York to Kuala Lumpur only is a phone call away. English, and apparently Mandarin, is the power language of the world today. If one cannot grasp the concepts and the very basic fundamentals needed to converse in these two languages, we could hardly get anywhere. Yes, Malay was once one of the most spoken language in the world, but that was long long ago. The world has changed, and so should us. But this does not mean we need to abandon the purely usage of the Malay language; it is just that we need to make sure most of the people are able to converse in both fluently.

And then lets take a close look at the quality of our scholars.

We have a lot of graduate scholars, like a real lot. But how intellectual are they, actually? How able are they in doing their works specified to each specific fields? How knowledgeable are they in their stuffs? Or are they just good in doing works in a robot sense where input-output is fairly guaranteed? How good are they really in education, in educating themselves?

We gave out hundreds of millions each year as scholarships to these somewhat initially-super-successful straight-A students so that they will be able to continue their studies oversea, only in the end see how they are thrown back overboard from their lack of will and lack of knowledge to push forward. Their abilities are questioned and their worth are in doubts. But why so? Aren't they straight-A students? The common culprits are of course the failure to communicate. But how so? These are not just average students we are currently talking about.

So what really is going on with our entire education system? Reliability is at stake. Science and technology are never anymore interesting to many other than MTV and fashion are. General knowledge level drops down every damn second. The number of those who fail exams increases day to day, purely be blamed on the exam-oriented education system. But if we change the status of exam-oriented to interest-oriented whatsoever, would that anyway change the outcome as well?

Come to think of it, would it really do?

So what's your say, people? Give me some good ones!

It's quite significantly surprising to see just how some men try to obtain the numbers from the ladies they are having their attention at.

Or rather strange, actually.

I have seen some men, grown up men that are, who pulled out a certain number of tricks in order to obtain the phone numbers of their dream ladies, or at least the ladies they wanted to be with. Among the many, I have seen how a man (apparently a friend of mine) sent his best wingman to obtain a lady's number by means of direct approach, how he went through a lot of troubles by asking her friends instead, how he had to sneak around to gather information about her and all the things that are not only tiring but also time-consuming. All these unnecessary acts could be simplified by just going to her and ask for her number personally.

"That's just stupid," he once told me.

But how could it be stupid? I believe in the simplest of manner possible to be executed in almost everything. Why does one need to go around beating the bushes to get to the center of it where the berries are when he could just cut his way in instead? That probably takes him only a few minutes than a horrid full daytime beating around it. Well that is how I see it, anyway.

Picture this; as a woman, what would you feel if out of a sudden your phone rings, indicating an incoming message, only to know that it is from a complete (or in certain cases partially complete) stranger whom you have completely (again, in certain cases partially completeness) no idea who he is? Would that not shock you a little if not a lot? You will start analyzing - Who is this man? How did he get your number? What does he want? - and all these questions will puzzle you down to a point that you start to have certain judgment towards him, often the negative ones. You tell yourself that he might be as dangerous as he is mysterious, and some other stuffs too, but most importantly you will experience the first stimuli that tells you unconsciously that that man is never quite a brave one.

Now that's stupid.

It is stupid because it backfires. Imagine, now that you have painfully obtained the number of a woman without inquiring directly from her, the plan you consider entirely foolproof, but that time when you finally decided to text her up, your text ended up freaking her out, shoving her an even larger distance away from you. Ironic? Ironic indeed.

So if you'd ask me, I think it is better for one, no matter how shy he is, to actually approach the person he is having his full attention at in order to establish a future direct, two-way communication by first asking for her number directly. That will not only save a lot of time, keep a lot of troubles away and at least it shows that he has the guts for it. That his suit fits him and his chin is up all the way, for confidence is always the key to a woman (not to bitches and whores, because these groups of females are just too damaged to even begin with) and with correct measures of self-confidence and integrity, it might just work perfectly than to send out a scout or the best wingman to obtain her number instead like my friend did.

And how did I know all these? Of course I do.

I was the wingman.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The feelings that don't always occur

* * *

Many told me that I am intelligent.

That I am a nerd. A geek. An intellectual being that stands out far beyond the average of the population in terms of education background. The sort of persons from which many have mixed feelings towards. This often occur when they read my blog and soon they cry out loud, "Oh my Lord, this young man is special!"

Talented, gifted, smart, clever, brilliant, masterly phenomenon.

But it is actually worthy to note that I started just like the all of you readers; I was born a clueless baby, I made my way up as a curious kid and somewhere along the line I got lucky and ended up here at exactly where I am now. I don't specifically categorize myself as intelligent; there are still some certain problems I cannot solve, some daily questions I cannot answer and some technical jobs that I cannot carry out, for instance, I cannot solve sometimes the easiest of nursery riddles, nor I can tell you what specifically are the ingredients needed to cook a nice hot pot of rendang, let alone fixing metals parts together by means of arc welding.

Hell I can't even tell what is there in the head of a cockroach when it stares at me in the eyes when both of us cross each other in a series of common ultimatum where we often share both winnings and losses.

We were brought up with the generalization about intelligent people; they don't mix with the crowds much, they spend most of their times in laboratories in their white coats doing experiments or molesting a group of unwilling mice, that all they do all day are reading CPU-thick books and deriving super-complex ten-level mathematical integration calculation on chalkboards, that they wear thick glasses and at times have evil thoughts in their heads about taking over the world. All these things, though at times may be true, may also be untrue at many other events.

I would want to be different than that. I don't want people to start having thoughts in their minds each time I fulfill their inquiries on what I currently am doing. I don't want my students to feel the distance between me and them. I don't want the people I go out with to feel inferior and as a result not to have any discussion with me about anything at all. This of course are not made up, for they have occurred to me in the past. The standard of treatments often are different to us academicians than to other groups of social sapiens, as if we only belong to our kinds with similar level of intelligence.

Come to think of it, I still am just like everybody else.

I play guitar. I play computer games. I tweet and I have a Facebook account and spend a lot of time in them. I listen to a variety of songs; rock, rap, ballad, jazz and instrumental. I still wear shorts and faded t-shirts and some el-cheapo foot sandals wherever I go. I still laugh at myself whenever I make foolish mistakes at times. I still loiter at mamak outlets till early in the morning. Hell, I even smoke tobacco too.

There's nothing much to differ me from others except probably the extensive curiosities towards everything.

And come to think of it again, I didn't continue my postgraduate studies just so that I can make use of my intelligence, that is not even there in the first place. I am no intelligent guy. The reason why I continued my studies was simple - I was curious about this whole biomass mambo-jumbos, apart from to have my clear way of access to UTP library where I can plant myself on the cushy sofas in completely air-conditioned surrounding reading on cookbooks, novels and sometimes kid's bedtime stories every damn daytime. It's a nice place anyway; imagine, so many interesting books on so many interesting subjects - love, romance, psychology, literature, history, men and women, anatomy, drugs, explosive materials, crime, war, diseases, animal societies, photography, music, fictions, science, engineering and many unmentioned others - that sometimes from reading a book about frogs I could end up reading on astrophysics.

It's just like Google and Wikipedia, anyway.

So I hope from here you guys can see how I personally am, with only just one aspect that for years have been digging a gap in between us due to incredible misunderstandings. I still am a human being, and despite this critically-debated status and standards between ordinary commoners and the upper class of academicians, I still behave like a human; I still have feelings and sensations towards everything around me (although at times I really could be the coldest of a bastard) and I believe there is nothing scary about me at all. Therefore, I hope that I can expand my relationship with the many of you without having to go through the usual, "oh you're the smart guy and I am just nobody" kind of thing.

So let's just sit back and relax, and together we seize the moment, for this seconds of time will never return to us anymore. Cherish it, love it, remember it.


I had an epiphany.

I realized that a lifetime is the span of time I have to mostly spend with the people that I love.

And I realized that, as dire chance and fateful cockup would have it, here I am, mid-twenties, and without knowing it I'm gonna spend the rest of my adult life with a rather wonderful company.


And much as it grieves me to say it, it might be the people I love is, in fact, you.

It's a terrible, terrible mistake, ma'am, that you turn out to be the fucking love of my life.

And to be honest, despite all my complaining, we have had a wonderful life.


Friday, June 18, 2010

It's funny just how much information you can gather by just sitting in front of your screen and look at the public timeline in Twitter for a few minutes.

Which is exactly the thing I did today.

So I sat down on my rather relaxing chair accompanied by a pleasing cup of steaming hot coffee and started monitoring the public timeline in my Twitter account.

There was a young lady who went all upside down over her best friend who apparently carried the title of best backstabber ever. She trashed her so bad that even a cockroach will get offended, but in the end apologized over the sensationally exciting drama.

One boy cheering out loud and around over the winning of the team he supported that played an earlier World Cup match. And soon proceeded with over-the-net arguments with the opponent team's supporters.

And then there's this one depressed woman who complained almost about everything; from tissue papers to, according to her, annoying skyscrapers. What fresh hell was this? She just cursed the night wind.

And just another girl of the day letting her inside out within 140 characters limit of each update. Strange just how simplified feelings could get these days. One tweet could easily cover two to three feelings combined.

One man bragging about just how he worked his ass off to buy his brand new car. And then went on and on about it but no one gave a damn about it except for one or two whom he earlier tweeted up.

Some lads posting their blog URLs to catch attention from the Twitter people. Also some advertisements, shared URLs and crappy spam and junks that casually fill in in between tweets.

Some celebrities tweeting each other, showing the world just how wonderful their lives are. They only tweet among themselves even when their fans continuously tweeting them over and about, every single day. A far cry from fan-friendly like they used to tell to tabloids every now and then.

Some young girls cursed and swore over Maxis broadband service, tight dresses, stupid boyfriends and red traffic light. Some cursed because they got fat and then blamed the food.

And there's some of the typical ones gossiping about this and that. As well as showing off about their new Iphones, cars, laptop, and spouses.

And there's some flirting too. Some went on well, some halted in the middle, some did not even have the chance to initiate. Some deeply in love, some horribly heartbroken.

Some thoughtful, romantic, blues and laid-back monologues could also be seen in the most poetic ways, while some were the reverse of them. What a variety of mixed emotions.

All these things; all these plays of often emotionally-driven tweets whether with or without others stepping into the conversation color the everyday canvas of Twitter. Of happiness and sadness, friends and foes, sins and virtues, love and hate, all the crappy things and all that are great.

And then there were my friends, tweeting me up just to say hello.

And then it occurred to me; imagine, just how these wonderful people who have became my long friends since I first stepped into the world of the blue sparrow stayed around all these while. When many of them come and go, these people (and apparently things too) I know - celebrities from the local entertainment industries, professionals from various backgrounds, government workers around the country, teachers from every level of education, students from variety of academias, a lost giraffe, Agent 007 James Bond, a door-to-door cooking gas dealer, Satan, a hardcore pacifier, a sniper, an island, a water bottle and a broken screwdriver - they all made my every day at any time, anywhere.

Ah I love you all, Twiends ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Well I went to the energy research laboratory yesterday to cook some oil palm fronds at 700-900 degree Celsius inside a refractory insulated carbon steel downdraft gasifier to gasify the solid biomass fuel into gas state, known as synthesis gas, mainly consists of hydrogen and carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion inside the gasifier.

So the idea is this: supply atmospheric air into the gasifier unit (the steel, silver-colored metal box you see below) via a plastic tubing from a vortex blower. There is an ongoing combustion inside the gasifier from which it consumes the supplied air but at a controlled rate so that the combustion becomes incomplete, and instead of producing carbon dioxide and water like complete combustion does, it produces mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

This existence of hydrogen in the mixture ables it to be combusted as fuel either in open air or inside internal combustion engines.

So this was what we, me and a colleague named Fish, did yesterday.

* * *

Oil palm frond or OPF was placed inside the gasifier through the top opening and then the compartment was completely sealed. Fire was initiated and the blower was turned on to push atmospheric air into the gasifier. As seen, smoke started to come out from the vertical flare point.

After some time, the smoke became thicker. The grayish smoke signified large amount of produced steam from moisture in the gasifier, best perhaps from the feedstock that was the OPF itself and from the atmospheric air due to high humidity level in the surrounding.

This smoke was actually the end product of gasification process. What you see in the images as smoke was the flammable synthesis gas. If you light the gas, it will burn beautifully.

Wires from thermocouples could be seen in the above picture for temperature monitoring and logging. And of course, me myself trying to act smart figuring out on a few things while slowly was poisoned by carbon monoxides by the seconds.

And here's Fish taking a look at the temperature monitoring unit.

Moments before he yelled, "hearth temperature's dropping! Hearth's temperature dropping!". That means we were losing firepower inside the gasifier. Either the feedstock had all been consumed or the fire died off due to some other reasons.

And that's my baby right there ;)

Look closely enough and you will find one very funny thing in there.

* * *
I desperately need a new wardrobe. It's too full already.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A recent casual chat with dear brother Altimet has led to this particular blog post on what we today, in hype, refer to as alternative energy. Apparently he wanted to hear, or rather read, my views on it.

So here goes.

Alternative energy is essentially a term that is used to describe any source of usable energy that replaces the conventional fuel, usually fossil derivatives, with matching efficiency but lesser the undesired effects. This includes any but petroleum-based and coal; solar energy, biomass, wind energy, tidal wave and hydroelectric. A related term would be renewable energy - a variety of replaceable energy sources in continuous manner without having the worry of depletion, and it is wise to note that most alternative energy sources are also renewable.

The depletion rate of fossil fuel and the concern over energy supply security has increased attention over biomass energy worldwide. This as well affected Malaysia in a way that dependency to fossil fuel has to be carefully monitored and reduced in time so that the nation would not be facing quite a headache when soon the price for fossil fuel hikes again due to fast depletion of the mentioned energy source. Throughout many researches that have been (and some are still, like mine) conducted in many academic institutions and government/private organizations, possible sources of renewable and alternative energy are discovered and thoroughly studied in order to prepare the country for a gradual change towards using other than fossil fuel as to generate everyday power.

Among the alternatives are hydropower; power that is derived from moving water, hence its name (hydro means water). Power is generated by allowing moving water to travel through certain mechanisms, from the classic watermill that utilizes a wheel or more that is rotated by the movement of water to an even more complicated engineering device, like a hydroelectric power plant that utilizes a turbine or more to generate electricity when rotated by flowing water. This has been widely used in Malaysia to generate electricity and has successfully lowered the nation's dependency on coal and gas power plants.

Solar power is another potential renewable and alternative energy source that has been long carried out in Malaysia though only at small capacity for home and small industries, if not for electricity generation, as water heating energy. Though wind and tidal wave energy generation methods are less likely to be applicable in Malaysia, the country receives a great amount of radiant light and heat from the sun along the year, proving the enormous advantage of solar heat engines and photovoltaic apparatuses to be installed and fully utilized as an alternative to electricity and fuel.

A recent development and excitement in the development and future applications of hydrogen, methanol and nuclear energy that are and soon to be introduced in the country have somewhat sparked a new vision for renewable and alternative energy interests, though in this case nuclear energy cannot be classified as renewable but only alternative energy to fossil fuel, for uranium and plutonium that are the main fuel are elements of the earth that deplete over continuous consumptions. Hydrogen fuel is a great way to replace fuel for internal combustion engines while methanol is as well to jet fuel, but both are highly reactive to heat and could as well be sources of great fireball show if not handled carefully.

And here comes biomass and gasification of biomass, that is my current research.

Due to the depletion of fossil fuel and the concern of energy supply security, biomass energy has attracted increasing attentions worldwide as a highly potential alternative energy source as to warily decrease the long-dependency towards conventional hydrocarbons. Biomass is biological material commonly derived from plant matter, structurally composed with cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, extractive and inorganic matter. Chemically, biomass is composed of chains of hydrocarbons; a mixture of organic molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, usually including atoms of oxygen, nitrogen and micro-quantities of other atoms, usually alkali and metals often found in functional molecule groups.

In Malaysia, the most abundance biomass resource is palm oil waste from the byproduct of oil extraction; empty fruit bunch (EFB), exocarp, mesocarp fiber, shell and palm oil mill effluent (POME), and from routine pruning and replanting; oil palm fronds (OPF) and trunks, currently produced at a rate of 9.9 million tons per year with a yearly gradual increment of 5%. Recent interest in oil palm EFB as an alternative energy source has caused further interest in the use of OPF as a biomass fuel feedstock. Even though there have been many studies involving other oil palm components, very little attention has been given to OPF. The scarcity of information on OPF is also a challenge in understanding OPF thoroughly as a possible source of biomass energy. So far, OPF has no widespread commercial value other than being utilized as raw material for wood-based industry and as supplementary ruminant feedstock, if not laid to rot in between rows of oil palm tree in the plantations.

Promising outcomes from previous studies have been convincing on the potential of utilizing OPF as gasification feedstock. However the lack of understanding on the characteristics of OPF and its during gasification have led to the crucial necessity of having a study conducted to establish a clearer picture on how OPF can be thermally manipulated optimally into being valuable biomass energy source for the production of synthesis gas from gasification rather than being worthless residues.

Gasification is a method of extracting energy from organic materials by means of thermo-chemical process that converts carbonaceous matter such as coal, petroleum, biofuel and biomass into end product of synthesis gas, mainly hydrogen and carbon monoxide, through a high temperature reaction with controlled amount of oxygen, usually lower than the stoichiometric amount needed for the matter to fully combusted, hence the overall process made to run in incomplete combustion settings. Synthesis gas or syngas itself is a fuel and can be utilized in internal combustion engines, both spark-ignition and compression types, and also in turbines to generate electricity. Other than syngas, the end products of gasification are generally condensates, tar and ash with sometimes small amounts of chars.

* * *

Blue flame from syngas clean burning. I achieved this at trial #47 after endless rows of sleepless nights, skipped meals, occasional series of depressions and numerous insights into just giving the hell up. Finally, it worthed the efforts.

My view into Malaysians' awareness towards renewable and alternative energy has grown positive over time. Many and many of us have slowly changing into manipulating these sources around us as to lessen our hangs onto petroleum-derivative fuels that day to day increase by the pennies due to reservoir depletion while the demand grows skyrocketing as car manufacturers produce more and more automotive vehicles by the minute. Growing concerns on pollutions have also increased, and sustenance of the environment has now been seen as a critical mandatory as to provide a better, cleaner and greener surrounding for today and the future generation.

As technology and knowledge increase in the minds of the human race, renewable and alternative energy today have been taken very seriously as to replace fossil fuel in the name of the environment, financial effectiveness and energy efficiency. Given enough time and encouragement, it is not impossible for humans in bigger groups to turn their views into utilizing these sources of energies made available around them at an even larger scale.

I dream of a cleaner future. I dream of efficient power generation. I dream of less emission. I dream of many things, and I am on my way into turning them into reality. As I slowly make my way towards it, through many challenges and failures, I will continuously share my experiences with my dear readers, and all I ask for are a bit of support and encouragement, and believe me that one day my team and I will be able to introduce a completely efficient system to produce renewable and alternative fuel with lesser the emission for a better, greener and cleaner days in the future.

That day, I will be the happiest man in the world :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

* * *

...sometimes all you need is just a coffee partner.

I have begun to understand the phrase 'curiosity kills the cat'.

There was a time in the past when we were just some other young alley cats trying to figure out about the neighborhood and its perimeter; the everyday activities that govern the entire neighborhood social system, the different types of living organisms that form a massive complex system of diplomacy and administrations through complicated networks of communication, the works that were done with an aim to expand the entire population and the flaws that both directly and indirectly affecting all the activities from one to another via chains of reaction that soon before everyone knows it change everything.

Many of us learned all this from observations. You can never really tell how much of information you can gather from just sitting at a corner and look around you, harvesting one by one clues and facts that you can see before doing series of analysis in your mind trying to explain and justify every word and action and soon begin to fit them into your own consciousness to whether or not you agree to the acts. And from here you begin to understand and separate bad from good, and with this very primitive foundation of legitimization you start to go for more to gather more knowledge and information for you to justify, from which in the end you use to create your sense of integrity and individual personality that not a little after contributes to the vox populi.

And then you soon begin to understand that by having these information; facts, ideas, thoughts, expressions, stands, wisdoms and arguments you slowly pull your status up higher than the big rest of you, placing you at a higher division; a group of similar individuals who have precisely the same intelligence and wisdom that you agree upon to be the people you belong to, in much or less the social way. But prior to own judgment you begin to give each specific members of the group entirely different classes based from their degrees, to which you specify those who are relatively smarter than you to be in the upper class, you and those at par in the middle class and the rest as the lower caste. Though mostly not many people do admit this - the act of classifying - it is wise to note that we do this everyday; from buying ketchups according to their tastes and brands to selecting spouses according to their value and criteria that fit your list.

And soon you begin to challenge those in the upper class by first challenging yourself to take yet another step up the ladder, matching those on top of you in what we usually refer to as the social struggle for status by means of competing. Aggression gets the best of you. You push your way up and leave those who are not fit enough to stay behind, God be with them you say, while making your way higher by the minutes. You soon to enjoy the good feeling by being relatively intelligent, richer, wiser, even more aggressive, you enjoy the fame and you enjoy the game. You look at the people below you and you feel sorry but somewhat superior, only to know that there is still a group of social animals who are far more superior than you are that you still have the need to challenge.

You keep on pushing your way up anyway from time to time, promoting the survivability of the fittest, and you knock down every opponent that happen to be in your way. Ego gets to you, pride grows in you, and arrogance blanket around you. Bruised with scars from the battle wounds, you get stronger from every strike you get and keep pushing forward. By this time, you are considered to be unstoppable.

But along the way you stop and think:- 'what had happened to me?'. You soon begin to realize that you have been pushing so far, nonstop, towards a goal that redefines and repositions itself each time you fulfill it. It seems that the struggle never stops. You turn around and see that there are so many people far behind you that you have left long ago, and you on the other hand are standing alone by yourself, tired on your worn and weatherbeaten legs. You keep looking at them and you realize that they are having fun, taking their time with each other, laughing and smiling and loving. Why don't that happen to me?, you'd ask.

And then you get back to your own primitive fundamental in judging; finding clearer voices and vices of truth that tell you that things will be alright, you make legit of all your actions, and you come out with pure lies to tell yourself that you did alright, that you are now even more superior than everyone else, that you are stronger and wiser and better, and you make fit of all the flowery judgments to all juxtapositions over and over just so that you will feel better, so that your acts are justified according to your consciousness. You lie to yourself so that you feel better.

But it seems that the people you left behind are far more happier than you are. There are no worries in their faces. Their lives are much simpler and easier. They are far more laid back and relaxed. Their laughters are real, their smiles are genuine. And almost as suddenly you feel the warmth radiating from the group, slowly passing around you for a little while, and you feel the invigorating calmness. You close your eyes and you see you are surrounded by those people; you hear them cheering and laughing. There are people socializing so casually, there are couples holding hands and there are musics in the air. No depressions, no heartaches, no nothing.

But soon as you open your eyes, they are not there. You are still as alone as you are, standing by yourself surrounded by the coldest of wind and the darkest of darkness. You feel the instant distance in your heart; a sudden tick that increases your misery by the seconds; you cannot breath, your vision becomes impaired, everything seems to be so blurry. Your knees bend forward and you fall with gravity and into the grey ashes of your failures and the gold dust of your victory. You bury yourself in them and from only weeping you grow an endless cry of sadness and sorrow that no one could ever heal. Everything flashes back before your eyes; from the day when you roam the back alley till the day you fall in your own glory. Who is there to help? Who is there to hug you, comfort you? Loneliness is a disease you cannot cure. You long for the old days where you were just a young, small alley cat that knew nothing of the world but enjoy most bits of it. But it is too late, it is just far too late, it is already too late. You know this, you always know this.

As you creep into the fetal position hugging your knees, burying your head in it and cry your heart out, you still can hear them laughing cheerfully in the distance, before you die a curious cat.

* * *

"With great knowledge comes great sorrow."