Monday, May 21, 2007

Organised Chaos.

It was my first experience seeing Air Asia super punctual.
I took 10 sachets of Chilly Sauce from the departure hall cafe with me. I know Lina and Poncho will appreciate it later.
All the controversial stories about Suvarna Bhumi Airport killed my curiosity. But the name is so beautiful - The Land of Gold.
From the moment I landed, the feeling is just the same as my trip to Yangon and Phuket. I reached a place that magnifies their belief, one will instantly acknowledge who their ruler and what their official religion is.
Least that I knew, all of us would get on a hi every minute we were there. Not on their non stop porn - but many other things which are more naked.
I love the morning scenes, everyone's on their feet, everyone's with their own purpose of life
.... pushing their 'Som Tam' cart, then frying the fish, chicken and cut up the veges, just to sell Som Tam day in, day out.
.... frying grasshoppers, ciccadas and queen termites, inhale their rokok daun the whole day
.... pouncing and doughing their customers feet and body non-stop sometimes from 9am to 11pm
.... driving the cab and tuk-tuk on high traffic areas without a hint of angst
.... it's a pious Buddhist country, but mosques are also prominent structures
Everything I whine about in my blog all these months are answered ....
.... we were served with real plates and fork and spoon in the fast food restaurant. They'd still wash the plates.
.... they don't serve soft drinks in plastic bottles, good old days seeing restaurateurs cracking bottle caps off Coke bottles. They'd reduce wastes.
.... no kapchai on the road! You can make a U-Turn in the middle of the busy highway and it is not against the law. And no one would even stare cock at you.
.... everyone tries to differentiate their businesses. Visit Chatuchak and you know what I mean. They'll differentiate by making the things they sell themselves. One young man was juggling and balancing football under the rain with a donation can that says, "I am a talented footballer, help me buy better boots and eat nutritious food so I can contribute back to my country". It doesn't matter if it's not for real, but for doing that the whole day, it's too much lying for a few measly cents.
Poncho's friend, Mr. Prasanth, who is 52 years old waited at our hotel at 8am on our second day to take us out to do all the touristy things -- to walk 5 hours in the hot sun with us so that we see all of the palace, the temple, the Chulalongkorn's teak palace.
.... if he comes to Malaysia, where do I bring him???? Our Petaling Street doesn't denote my country's official religion and everything in it are not made in Malaysia, all the fruits are from Thailand. We only have our mosques to show our religion, maybe Putrajaya's. But it doesn't show our ethinicity. Oh.... please don't mention The Beach, The Beach, The Beach again! No, not the smelly, dark, empty muzium. Do I have to go to the extent of driving him to Melaka, to see Portuguese stuff without going to Portugal? Or do I have to fly together with him to Sarawak to show him Orang Iban or bring him to Perhentian to see half dead corals to compensate it all? Oh, no. I'm not going to bring him to Mid Valley, One Utama, Sunway Piramid, there's nothing in there!

I think...... I better find out more about Kelantan and Trengganu from Saiful Nang, so I can be a better informer about my country and its identity. Tell me I'm wrong!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Legendary Jaafar Taib and his Mentee

A year ago I put in a post about this talented individual.

And boy, how time flies!

We were at the KL International Book Fair again last weekend. From a distance we observed him and the body signals that he was sending was totally different than last year. What was evident was his renewed self-confidence.

Exactly a year ago we met him, he was initially very reserved, wearing a cap pulled way down and seemed very uncomfortable to be in the public. This was consistent with his recluse behaviour for all these years with all the problems of the world resting heavily on his shoulders. But now he was happily chatting with his fans and even dancing while being photographed.

With a movie in the pipeline, animated cartoon series in production and a reprint of past works in demand, you have certainly got your groove back, Ujang!

Jaafar Taib

What was really interesting was that we finally meet his guru- the legendary Jaafar Taib. This is the man who I would I say had pioneered the cartoon industry in Malaysia and had single handedly held the fort for the past thirty years. He is the only Malaysian artist/cartoonist versatile and consistent enough to produce both lifelike paintings and cartoons for such an incredible time span.

He was totally the opposite of what we had envisioned him to be as an artist- deep in thought, recluse and an introvert. On the contrary, he had an air of a very distinguished and learned gentleman and reminded me those post colonial malays, not unlike Kam Raslan’s ficticious Dato’ Abdul Hamid.

I told him that I first discovered his works when I bought my first Gila-Gila magazine waaaaaaaay back in November 1979. I was only seven years old then but I vividly remembered his painting on the cover - a man sleeping under a coconut tree with his goat eating the grass around him to the shape of the GG logo. So you can imagine that interviewing the man after reading and admiring his works after that fateful day, twenty eight years ago is so surreal!

Painting and drawing to Jaafar Taib has always a labour of love. In the span of thirty years he has painted on numerous subjects. For example, his Sang Kancil series took him five years to complete. And that consisted of five hundred paintings (that’s about 2 paintings a week for five years, wow!) on top of managing Creative Enterprise (CESB). In addition, he is also discussing with parties to do animation series on past GG works and plans to exhibit his paintings on Malaysian birds in the near future.

Jaafar Taib with Ujang in the background

Not many individuals are lucky enough to do what they love for a living. These are individuals with character that has stood the test of time. Only if we look and seek hard enough, these gems are still abundant, steadfast, as always.

In our screwed up world of reality SMS TV, Chicken Coop Parliament and Pyongyang styled media, shallow icons and worse still, brainless followers with their herd mentality, it is very reassuring to note that there is still some hope for Malaysia.

The funny thing was when I came back later to the booth to take more photos, Ujang told him that I was actually Poncho and he was like:

“ Laaa……you ke Poncho? Yes, yes…. I read about the blog”

I told him that Maine Ideas was actually Maine (who at that moment was at another booth). What was really funny was when he then said:

“So Maine is your younger sister?”

“Errr…..nooo….she’s my wife and she’s actually 32 years old”

Hai….kembang ler Mrs. Maine……

Life is getting more and more interesting every day.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thank You Pok Ku!

I came back from a long escapade and among the first few things Poncho did was to check the blog. Mentang-mentanglah ada N73.

Truthfully, MI readership only goes up to a max of 150 per day on weekdays. To stand out in Pok Ku's eyes and the very few commentors and at times, impart opinions towards nothingness is more than rewarding. The highest hit I can remember was 400 readers a day for 2 weeks after Saiful Nang linked his fp to mine. See, nowhere compared to TV Smith - 14000 hits a day?

Even discovering blogging itself has brought so much magical things. Yes darling Poncho? We got married because we met in tblog (whatever happened to TheRoadie?) and went through many crazy things and met many interesting people and seen many different places.

My first blog was named Maineframes, it was not started by me, but created and branded by the late legendary blogger - Joe Blogs. If any one still remember the Supandi Saga (the Melayu who conned so many Melayus who got caught red handed by bloggers) and the funds to save the unfortunate baby who's born with her brains outside her skull - late Mariam Mia.

Back then, blogging was a tool to discharge my frustrations about the society. Later I realised, like late Johan Ismail, one can make many small contributions through blogging.

Thanks to Poncho's patience and encouragement, I got to do a few small time 'Pay It Forward' projects. To name one, providing English part time classes towards kids from the lower middle income bracket families.

One could complaint till the cows come home about the society, but yeah, talk and blog are the cheapest ways to show that we care.... everyone loves to sound like a great society's psychoanalyst.

Poncho and I hope to be able to share the experiences we gain from the things we try to contribute towards others with whatever cents, five senses and sticks that we have through this means.
Pok Ku will always be the all time Thinking Blogger award winner. I liked what Stingray wrote about self analysis, except this American Idol mumbo jumbos but he stopped after he found his other half... sheesshhh! Awang Goneng makes me think and worry if I forget my office assignments, but I appreciate his research work on history very very much.
Amir Hafizi is an intelligent and hillarious pemaki hamun, that's why nobody bother to saman him. I hate to read about politics but at least I know some stuff through his mind. Fazu, for his talent in intertranslating and jazzifying Bahasa and English poems and sajak. I thought it is stuff capable only by the retirees!
I hope photoblogs are also accepted, the message sent through Saiful Nang's photos got me closer and closer towards the rural part of this country, thinking harder on how to embrace the colours. How he runs his business is a good inspiration; sharing experiences even with his competitors!
Thank you Pok Ku and thank you readers!

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