Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How Far Would You Take Your Chances?

I have an admittedly insane idea, but if I don't ask you this, it's just....
It's gonna haunt me the rest of my life.


I want to keep talking to you.
I have no idea what your situation is...
but I feel like we have some kind of connection. Right?

Yeah, me too.

Great! Listen, here's the deal. This is what we should do.
Get off with me here in Vienna and come check out the Town.

What? (chuckled)

Come on. It'll be fun.

What would we do?

I don't know. All I know is I have to catch an Austrian Airlines flight...
I don't have much money for a hotel... so I was just gonna walk around, and it'd be more fun if you came with me.

And if I turn out to be some kind of psycho, you just get on the next train!
All right. Think of it like this. Jump ahead 10, 20 years, okay? And you're married.

Only your marriage doesn't have the same energy that it used to have.
You start to blame your husband. You think about all those guys you've met in your life...
and what might have happened if you'd picked up with one of them. I'm one of those guys.
So think of this as time travel.... from then till now to find out what you've been missing out on.

what this really could be is a gigantic favour to you and your future husband to find out that you're not missing out on anything.

I am just as big a loser as he is, totally unmotivated, boring.
And you made the right choice, and you're happy.

Let me get my bag.
What's your name?

Jesse. Your's?


Now, finally, the picture is complete once you watch Before Sunrise before Before Sunset.

What is life without twisted things. As politically incorrect as I may sound, I just wish people are more courageous and adventureous when it comes to bringing yourself in proximity to someone that sparks chemistry.... no matter what our own situation is and do it no matter what it takes.

I've been in a loooong relationship and I've had my inbetweens. I looked back and I know I have regretted absolutely nothing. Been happy just getting 4-5 hours of sleep a day just to stretch stuff really thin in my effort to see everything, everyone, from many different angles. Maybe it is easier for me to do this as I am not married.

Jesse (Before Sunrise) would have just walked out of the train and wondered into nothingness if he hadn't walk back to Celine and seize the day just to find out why they have met.

Ain't trying to advocate disloyalty. But... what is more divine than getting at least a chance to be in proximity to a sign of hope?!

People say, "Ajal dan Jodoh di tangan Tuhan." Hey! Wake up! "Men needs to choose, not to just accept his destiny". The reason why God gave us intelligence is to differentiate the human from the animals. Do not misunderstood "Jodoh di tangan Tuhan", to mean we don't need to work on finding the last piece of the puzzle. And believe in the power of prayers and see what it is is in His hands.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Would You Deal With The Problem?

After my own which took years to end, I have heard too many broken courtships, many of which, when heard from both sides, are caused by bad judgments instead of the existence of a third party.

I mind counted the gossips I heard, I think there were 5 divorces that took place among those married in their early 20s which I heard through my friends. Most either marry their high-school sweetheart or uni housemates. I'm not trying to stereotype, I'm just repeating what I heard as the pattern is rather clear.

It's human's most popular dark secret which always rather be swept under the carpet.

Goss 1.
I had a friend who got married hurry-burrily with his uni days housemate. That's as a sign that he gave up with this world after being dumped by his real heart throb, this really gorgeous and intelligent swan.

Two weeks after his marriage, he woke up to reality and thought, "What the hell am I doing here?".

Coz once they're back in Malaysia, the real world, where there's no preplanned activities, uni-social parties, sports meet, boring white people that forces our people to flock together, they found no means of connection. He hates her style of fashion, she loves the kind of money he makes although she thinks his job isn't glamourous.

His Solution?
He thinks the comfort gained from years of being housemates can grow into something stronger after having kids, after seeing the joy and pride he would give his parents. But, ummm...... he ended up living two lives, one at home, another, the real him. He thought he could pull the charade forever, now it is draining him. He's now so established and on the look out all the time.

Goss 2.
The girlfriend - a psycho through the stories I heard, was said to have locked him at home to stop him from going to work as his colleagues seemed over friendly with him - nothing unusual as he's such a looker, to top it all, a kind hearted creature.

He changed jobs coz she's jealous -- either there's too many young women in skimpy outfits or too many pub going male colleagues. What happens when he fiercely asked for a breakup? She worked her way to get impregnated by him. That forces their engagement.

His Solution?
Suicide.... instead of hearing her blackmail to kill his baby. This iiiiss bizarre.

Goss 3.
Allison, married her beau after 1 1/2 years of courtship, she's an outdoor go-getter late bloomer talkative type, he's mummy's boy computer game 30 y'old boys-will-be-boys type. After they got married, life turned into a routine eat with mom-in-law, she watches Chinese movie while he sleeps, he plays computer games while she washes and irons.

French kisses turned to quick pecks, love making turned to wham-bam-sleep. After just 1 year, the small blank grew into a big communication gap. She chose to come back to her.... to her.

His solution?
He wants to make up and propose to have a baby as soon as possible to bring back the sparks.

Her solution?
She proposed that they'd list out the things they could compromise about regarding their differences. It turned out into a typhoon instead. She opted out.

Goss 4.
A cute, chirpy, witty young lady has been bored to the core because all her friends are already looking after their own family; therefore coldly accepted someone's proposal. She said it is time she gets onto a new phase in life. Her face beams with pride when she explained the shopping, size of 'hantaran' and party part of the event. She said she knows what love is, but she's not in one. She thinks kids would serve as marriage glue.

Things would've been fine if she doesn't continue to make herself available albeit the marriage preparations. She found her soulmate, her bestfriend, the one who has the same objective in life, THE ONE.

Her Solution?
She doesn't want any complications such as cancellations of event venues, two families get into huge feud, the fight with an eloquent boy, she decided to drop the soulmate and apply the 'First come First served' rule.

Goss 5.
A handsome, romantic, tall, hardworking man in his mid 30's. In his early 20's women threw themselves at his feet for his looks, sterling smile, contageous energy. Love affair didn't strike a chord as much as money making back then. For coming over and help him wash his clothes, iron and sex once in awhile were good enough reasons for marriage.

Two kids later is when he realised his life is empty. Sex is only when they need to have babies. Effort after effort to get it ends with no avail. Weekends are spent just being alone in front of the TV or do what's she passionate about, window shopping. Intense conversation is when a new asset is needed.

No matter how many times he said he's gonna pay to obtain satisfaction, it never happened. He said it is not worth jeopardizing what he had built the past 14 years.

Her recent birthday, he planned for the kids to be with their grandparents. She sprained her ankle, so private dinner turned out to be a visit to the reflexology, then to sleep.

The recent Valentine's Day, he bought her a set of diamond bracelet. She said, "Oh, so old fashioned." That would kill any man's hard-on for 5 years.

His Solution?
Life is again funny, he met his soulmate. He decided to keep her as a mistress till death do them part.

A good friend once said, "Once the lust is over, it is important that you both have so much in common". He also said, "Marry your bestfriend". He is the same person who dealt with the problem head-on, just like Allison.

He said, "No doubt you will hurt some people in the process. Isn't that better than living in a lie for the rest of your life? Remember, it's not about justifying it to anyone, not to the kids, not to the parents, not to the society, but to yourself!

Another good friend said, "After all we only have this one lifetime to be honestly in love or be honest to myself. I will be cruel to be kind just to have true love."

Friday, April 07, 2006


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Apo Kono Eh Jang? Ujang 2006

It is hard to believe that 20 years had passed. We finally had the chance to pick the brains of this genius as dinner stretched well to more than three hours in two venues.

If you had follow the Aku Budak Minang, Aca series in the late 80s, a lot of the characters had passed on. Atuk, Ujang’s Father, his Kak Ngah had all passed away. I felt that it was only yesterday that I discovered Ujang’s works. The fact that it was more than 20 years ago but is still fresh in my mind shows how powerful the storylines were.

However, what surprised us most when I asked him about his beloved mentally challenged brother, Aca:

Poncho : So how’s Aca?. How old is he now?

Ujang : (looks at me calmly)..Oh, Aca dah meninggal…..dia meninggal dua raya lepas. Motor dia kena langgar dari belakang dengan Lori Tangki.

But what was more heartbreaking was this:

Aca, who at that time expecting his first child (yes, he had married!) was in coma for twelve days in GHKL before passing. When the first person came to his aid in the accident, he managed to tell the good Samaritan to tell his family to name his child ‘Nasrullah’ before falling unconscious.

And so, his son who was born a week after his demise was named ‘Nasrullah’ by his widow. And the name means ‘pertolongan dari Allah’ (help from God).

It is true that a true artist lives for his art. He would have no interest in making big bucks nor is the lure of ‘selling out’. As what Ujang told us that night ‘Betul ke kartun aku ni ada effect yang mendalam? Aku cuma nak melukis je. Aku tak tau pun kartun-kartun aku ni ada message’.

After leaving Creative Enterprise to join another publishing company, the world was at his feet.

However, all that did not last.

It’s the typical Malaysia Corporate ‘Kena Kapur’ story. He ventured in a publication business with a partner in the early 90s to launch a Comic under his name. The sales of this comic went up the roof with more than 300,000 copies sold a month. Being a simple man that he is, he signed a agreement without reading it (although the draft was read by him and he assumed that the final copy was similar – but it wasn’t). After some aggressive coup by the other partners, he decided to bail out and that was when his troubles started.

He only realized that he had signed off all his rights of his cartoons when he was served an injunction for publishing his new cartoons.

As a result, he has been served injunction after injunction (up to eigthteen at the last count) to stop him from ever publishing his caricatures in print. Tired of all the legal wrangle, he had come to point of giving up drawing but I guess that once a cartoonist, always a cartoonist. We told him what happened for the past twenty years in his life warrants a new cartoon series and he is musing over it. To him age is definitely not just a number and how many people truly lived their lives at the age of 41?

Ujang, married with four kids now runs a boathouse in Tasik Kenyir and spends most of his time doing one of things that he loves most – fishing. Besides that, he also mans his stall doing live sketches for theme parties, private functions and trade show and he can be contacted at:

U7, Ground Floor, Central Market

Email :

Oh, and Grand Brilliance Production is going to produce a movie based on his novel Jibam”. So things are starting to look up again.

While going separate ways after dinner, we asked him if he had seen the movie “Cinderella Man”. He replied negatively. So we told him to watch it.

We know that not many people get a second chance in life. But he is definitely our Cinderella man.

Words of the Ponchoman

Monday, April 03, 2006


Nineteen years ago, In 1987, as usual I would do my annual pilgrimage to the Pesta Buku Malaysia in PWTC (Now, its called the KL International Book Fair).

Being in school and with very limited money, I would only have a budget to buy just one book at the festival and the rest of my time would be spent browsing and wishing for the day when I would be able to earn my own money to buy books to my heart’s content.

In that year, after browsing and making all sorts of cost benefit analysis, I finally decided to buy the Limited Edition of Ujang’s Aku Budak Minang. It had a special poster of Ujang and Atuk on a Racing Bike with the caption ‘ ingat jang, racing tu sodap, jatuh tu sakit’. That poster was later stuck on proudly in the wardrobe of my room.

Why would you ask of all the books that were available at the bookfair, did I get this particular one? Well, if you grew up in that era you would know what I mean. Any comic reader worth his salt in those days would swear by Ujang’s Aku Budak Minang series. See archives of "The Melayu in Ponchoman" and "The Melayu in Me" in this blog.

Based on his true life story, so powerful was the storyline that I have never met anyone who felt nonchalant after reading it. One kept wondering if it wasn’t made up as it was too sad to be true. His rejection by his mother, his love hate relation between his slightly retarded brother, Aca and his decision to run away to Kuala Lumpur to escape the mental and physical torture of life.

All these questions remained unanswered as Ujang later disappeared from the scene. There were all sorts of stories circulating on his disappearance, from quitting the scene to do soul searching to being in a legal copyright wrangle. But whatever it was, we sure did miss him. How I wish I could sit down and talk to him and ask him all my unanswered questions.

Until nineteen years later……..last Friday.

I was with Maine at the KL Book fair browsing through the stalls when I got a call from Maine.

Maine : Oh, my God. I’m at the Creative Enterprise Booth and guess who’s here?

Poncho : Who?

Maine : Ujang!!!

Poncho : Are you sure? Mebbe its some pseudo-neo-Ujang-wannabe trying to capitalize on his glory.

Maine : No! Its him! He’s sitting at a table alone and I saw Hardback copies of Aku Budak Minang’s beside him. After looking at the caricature of him on the cover and him, It looks too similar. So I asked him “ excuse me are you Ujang? And he replied ‘ Yes,….why….don’t you believe me?

Poncho : ……………….You stay right there! I’m coming now!

  • To be continued.
Words of the Ponchoman

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