Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Storytelling

Marcus lent me a Hassan Muthalib's "From Mouse Deer to Mouse", and it turned out to be quite an engrossing read. It was supposed to be a quick 30 minute read before bedtime, that extended to only crashing at 4am (with work tomorrow!). Then a post-swimming pizza fueled chat with a couple of my colleagues about art and artists not 24 hours after, has only brought me back to the time I had wanted to tell stories.   

How easy it is to be swept away with keeping one's head over water, that the mind forgets that stories used to keep me alive and going. It's good to have some fire reignited.

Revisited my final piece in college. I figured it will be pretty boring to most people, but it still affects me after all these years.
And here it is.

Dear To You from gianne yap on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Running

In the need of endorphins (and a trimmer waistline), I went for a jog. It felt real good. The podcast I was listening to was called "Modern Love" ironically or not.

The rain has ceased not too long ago, and the air was heavy with moisture yet not too unbearable. Lacking sport shoes, Converse sneakers it was. I may steal a pair off my mom.

Running gives you clarity, and untrembles a trembling heart.

I thought about the topics of articles I've been reading, what 'water' am I in, about what I've learnt in past 7 years, and about where I'd like to be. General things to anchor me as a person, for I have a tendency to gelabah and forget. I thought about the little giraffe fixture that holds his toothbrush. A shirt, not mine, uncollected. The double pillows on a single sized bed. The blanket in which I trapped him and tickled him to tears. There's a scene from Eternal Sunshine, when pain wants you to forget, but we rarely want to forget that little moments of sweetness, of tenderness, the times when your walls are all down and it's just you and him.

My muscles will ache tomorrow, but it would only mean growth, and growth is good.

Bankrupt & Heartbreaks

Bankrupt.

Janet said this during one of the extra practices, where we had to create impromptu gestures and rituals, drawn from our experiences. And we fumbled and was blank. Some did better than the others, and some didn't. 

Bankrupt.

That word, eight letters, two syllables, and it fascinated me. Think of it as a kindness, to remind ourselves to not let it reach to that point.

Exchange Theatre is as its name; it's an interactive theatre with the intention to show people conflicted situations that is familiar to them, and to open up discussions about it. And in the end, the actors themselves are being helped by the training process, both in seeing from another's eyes and in expanding our own feelings in order to deal with the improv in schools later. Much gratefulness to Lyn for asking me to audition.

We are currently moving towards not taking our reactions for granted, but to also think and be aware about it, and to work through with it in words and one's body. My teammates are really interesting people, and I love our post-training mamak session. Listening to them, whose world is very different from mine, is a huge delight.

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You can't tell your heart that there is a time and place to collapse completely. Well, you probably did... but it disobeyed, disobeyed, disobeyed. You are the puppet to its strings.

And old feelings, that I had marked "Done" and wounds are all thoroughly sealed, suddenly brandished itself. It had been platonic until then. I had loved and cared for someone fiercely, but I was young and tensed, and eventually gotten over it. Now, wounds that were fused tore slightly, tasting the sting of cold air. A hint of that moment where your heart is breaking slowly into little pieces. It was then that I realised that it isn't done. Never was. It was simply waiting for nourishment.

The reason that it hurts now is that I know that nothing will come out of it. What is a relationship without each other's capacity to understand each other? I will lack.

I must fare the waves. I know from experience that it will ebb. For a drop to dilute into a vastness, I must make my ocean so so big, though I know when that wave comes, I would just want to be in his. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I was promised no illusions

(November 2016)

It was as if someone snapped her fingers. Quick intake of breath, and the turning of the head. The room is dim, quiet and cool, and there was an doorway behind you. You knew it because the light threw itself onto the floor next to you. The only sounds were your breath, and the little thuds of the heart. Air expanded your lungs, but strange, it is... a different sort. Little tingles run through your veins, as blood carries the new air to your ears, your arms, the tips of your toes, in the small of your back... everywhere. You breathe deeply again.

Did the spell break? I was in a daze. It's almost as though there was a blankness between all those years and now. What happened to all those years, I wondered.

So there I was, on the chair. I have nothing more to gain in this space; I was promised no illusions, but there are shadows dancing on the wall in front of me. When I stood up and walked towards the doorway, there were no regrets but a pang and a longing.

The initial excitement of finding a final piece that fits snugly in the jigsaw puzzle of my doubts did not prepare me, when I stepped across the precipice.  

Suddenly, I'm 23 again.

The time traveller who walked in to the future and then was lurched into the past without a segue. I compel my 30 year old self to answer me. Once if we had met, we would be strangers. And suddenly we're not. But in a strange difference of having more experience, maturity and a more quiet sombre disposition. 

If for years, you defined yourself with something, align yourself with a movement (of sorts) and basically, your identity is so intertwined by it.... How is it like to, unexpectedly, lose it?

That cord that anchored you is removed, and you're free spinning in space. Part of you sighs in relief for you are no longer. But like Lot's wife, we keep looking back because we're only human. Part of you wonders what's next. What if the next place is another shadowplay on the wall?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Skin

Kamu Melayu! Jangan lupa. Kulit putih, tapi mata Melayu.

You are Chinese. Do not forget.

Hanyut. The Kid from the Big Apple. Both films are Malaysian made. Both featuring young girls; an adolescent and a child respectively.

Lupa? What is it in their experience to remember? There's a quote from a book on how nations are like an individual, with its childhood, adolescence and maturity (if it manages to reach to that point) – more specifically, it develops as if an individual, remembering trauma and big events, potent enough to live after the deaths of the generation that experienced it. Policies, rhetoric, worldviews are the driven from that very event in the coming decades, and the baton passed onto the next generation and the next. The Holocaust. Slavery. May 13. 

Like the people of a community are simply cells in a cycle of birth and death, but the body and mind remains.

What does being Melayu mean? What does being Chinese mean? Even more so in the context of my country in how it puts the thoughts and ideas that "makes" a person second to the colour of your skin. Ignoring that there isn't any skill to the latter, apart from the timing of one's conception at the copulation of their parents.

Thought processes;

1) Would the same discomfort appear if it said the same for aborigines or black people? The whole spiel about not forgetting your heritage, your roots?

2) Is that discomfort stemming from a personal preference, or that there are other aspects in play (power play, ethnic superiority) of which this combination becomes less acceptable? Eg, remembering Black history to counter a mainstream narrative/prejudice versus one that grants people uncontested loyalty to their race? Or was the example similar in "presenting" people a sense of pride? Belonging? Do you, by the virtue of your birth, deserving of an unearned "pride"? Or was it necessary to survive in the face of other prejudices?

3) Does my distaste for this a justified opinion or is it a good idea to have a default, base identity as a foundation to build upon, lest, we get lost in a vastness? 

4) On Hanyut, is it a reaction to the superiority of Whites during that time, in that dignity and worth isn't a sole ownership of white people? 

5) On The Kid from the Big Apple, is it that there is a longing of a formerly grand civilisation as people move out of China, forming the Chinese diaspora of the present? In the initial strangeness of a new land, new customs, one seeks the familiar, an anchor of an identity... for their sanity, to rid loneliness in order to survive? But two or three generations down the line, this persists, even as partial assimilation happens.

6) In one of the scenes in The Kid from the Big Apple, her grandfather was upset that she didn't seem to know Mandarin. Though he did not punish her for it, he was aghast that a Chinese girl born and bred in NY, could not speak her mother's tongue. When watching, I argued with myself; why is it so important? Okay, perhaps, a language possesses a worldview, the core of communication. It makes it easier to communicate not only in doing things, but in concepts and ideas and behaviour. Would it function as a potent challenge to dominant worldviews, that there isn't only one POV of the world? But that argument is less for that girl who is seemingly not given a choice to what worldview she'd like to adhere to, but glued together to a pre-chosen one on the basis of her skin. 

7) The problem is that skin colour determines what you should think, and not what one as an individual think of, weighed the pros/cons and decide to believe in.

(I'm aware that there are a number of intermixing topics in the questions above, leaking into other things; a muddled process that might have answered itself? Or not.)