There were days when the unexpected happened.
Today is one of them.
Recently, I found out about Genovasi Connected Community Challenge in the internet while browsing the increasingly-boring Facebook page of mine. There was an advertisement on this in between endless stream of pictures of overfed babies and Herbalife commercials. I browsed through the webpage for some brief information, only to know that there will be 10 finalists to be selected, in which the prizes for the winners range from RM 5,000 to RM 100,000.
Not bad, I said to myself.
The challenge was easy enough -- find a neighborhood with existing problems and propose a way to solve them and make it a better place for the residents. Well, I thought, what the hell, might as well I send off some of my ideas for the judges' evaluation and responses. I've got nothing to lose anyway.
They needed a team so I elected Azalia Rahman and Yushasnor Rahman as my team members. I met them both though an abandoned project I designed sometime last year for a remote community deep in the jungle of Borneo. Both are qualified geologists and are very well educated in technical works. That ruled out unnecessary drama whatsoever that could jeopardize the unity of the group. I added up the bio for each of us here as attached in the proposal:
At first, we proposed an agricultural economy project at Felda Teloi Kanan, home of Azalia. It took us nearly a month to come out with a proper proposal. I myself went through a series of brain breakdowns in the process. The proposal required less than 800 words, and I am not someone who writes that less to explain my thoughts. In fact, this blog entry so far could have reached 800 words already and I am not even halfway to the end of the story.
A night before the submission was due, we prepared our agro-economic report and compiled everything together and submitted hours earlier before the dateline was closed, just in case. And then something occurred to me -- what if we didn't get selected? Do we even have any backup project? Can we (read: I) handle the situation where the project gets rejected?
That was when I thought that we needed more than just one submission.
One thing about me is that I work best under pressure. Don't ask me why, for I don't know why. Maybe it is due to the existence of some messed up motivational department in my head. Anyway, since we were only a few hours from submission (and all of us were already letting out sighs of relief), secretly I worked on my own to come out with more proposals to increase the chance of us getting through. I was remotely under a lot of pressure. But it wasn't the money that I was going after. It was something else.
In a way or another, I was battling a personal war in myself.
At times, I have been labeled as useless, stupid, an idiot, a moron, remarkably dumb and other dehumanizing remarks by some people who mostly didn't have anything better to do than to mock others' credibility. There is no point battling these people verbally or physically (although the latter normally solves a lot of pending problems in lawless territories) just to prove that their claims are wrong, because the problem is not the argument but in their own selves.
Talking does nothing; acting does everything. So I acted. I wanted to prove them wrong, my own way. I shall prove that I my mind is useful and never useless.
I submitted three additional proposals on my own terms with the help of the two teammates. So by then we have four submissions. I didn't have the time to write them properly. I just slammed on the keyboard and transferred my thoughts in a written form. They are:
I did the three proposals in three straight hours assisted by a few jugs of coffee and a box of cigarette. Azalia was already going out of her mind, for she thought that I was going out of my mind. All difficulties through and through, I completed all three and my teammates assisted with the submission.
And today the result came out and it happened that we were among the top 10 shortlisted candidates entitled for the final presentation, out of more than 500 project submissions from all over Malaysia. I didn't believe it at first, and so did my teammates. In fact Azalia lost her mind again.
On and all, I'd like to [cynically] thank my critics. If not because of you all who labelled me as described previously, I wouldn't have pushed myself this far just to prove that you're wrong. I am satisfied enough for getting this far so far, and I thank God, all my teammates, friends, associates and other known allies for their supports and faiths in me all these while.
And of course, what I thank next is none other than my own useless mind.