Down south to OZ

Is it just me or the last few prompt has been sad? Empty, would I want to be optimistic about this?

It could just be my current mood I guess, also because I’m listening to Damien Rice. That beautiful bastard has a heck of a collection when it comes to sad song. (hint: check out his song “The Greatest Bastard“)

I’ve moved to Melbourne just a couple of months ago and had been wanting to write about the experience about it, but I was probably too empty to make out anything until now. But somehow when I start to write, all I can think about is the past.

I guess I’ll list 10 things about melbourne that I love so far to convince myself that this is a great decision.

Currency

The money is here worth much more than the previous countries I’ve been (Malaysia and Indonesia). The tax can be crazy, but it’s still a pretty good deal. So earning Australian Dollar means more buying power and also I will have more saving to travel especially around SEA where most of my friends and family are.

Weather

I wouldn’t say I loooove the weather, but I’ve started at the wrong time. When I first got here on mid April, it was getting very cold. There were nights as cold as 8 degree Celcius. And colder nights are ahead of me. But it’s great when the sun in shining and when spring comes, it’s will just fine.

Swing Dancing

I’ve started swing dancing last year in KL and have been hooked since. It’s a type of Jazz dance and it’s a lot of fun. Compared with Salsa which is much more popular, I find Salsa is too intimate and I can’t really handle that in public.

KL has like 2 social dance event a week. So I mostly dance once a week and maybe go to classes sometimes. In Melbourne, there are at least 1 event everyday. It’s like heaven.

Service

The service here is much more expensive but it’s much better. I’m so surprised on how easy things are done here. People are very friendly and they understand that they are paid to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. And it’s probably by law that customers are protected in the best way possible.

Arts

It’s amazing how much lively this city can be. Again it sucks because it’s winter,but when the warmer and dryer wheaters come, the city will be alive with live performances on the street, painting, art shows. It’s beautiful.

Ramen

I love Ramen, and it was pretty expensive back then in KL (compared to local food). I can eat Ramen every day in here and it won’t really break my bank account. I’m spending the same amount of money for other types of food anyway.

Coffee!

It’s amazing how much coffee they drink over here. It’s pretty normal to go for coffee break a couple of times a day. I’m not a coffee addict but I do love a good cup of coffee once in awhile. Living in Melbourne means that you’ll always find a coffee shop wherever you are.

Water

You can drink from the tap, which is a luxury back home.

Bicycle

I grew up riding bikes. Having the chance of bringing that back to my life brings back tons of childhood memories. It’s a flood of nostalgia and a couple of near death moments with my bike. Can’t wait to buy a bike and explore the city with it.

Meetup

Meetup here is huge, just like Swing Dancing, there are more options and bigger community. Even though the people can be a bit colder and harder to befriend with, the fact that there are more options makes it a better chance to find friends.

I’m feeling better now. It’s true how setting our mind into positive things can bring us into better mood. But I’m addicted to sadness, what can I say.

More on the KL to Melbourne move stories to come. Let me know what you’d like to read more about. If you are in reading this in Melbourne, tell me what you like the most about this city.

First Dentist Experience

I grew up in a small town where most of the people I know have fake teeth. Often I followed some of these people to the dentist and indirectly interacted with the dentists. I remember how distinctive the smell of every single dentist office I’ve been to. In my family itself, 5 out of 6 of my sisters have detachable teeth. My mother often carry her teeth in a plastic pouch filled with water. Yet, in my 27 years of life, I’ve never been the patient until today.

My dental plaque had been accumulated since the early development of my adult sets of teeth and recently has been getting extra attention after a friend of mine mentioned it. It’s hard to find a dentist in where I live until recently. So I’ve made up my mind a few weeks ago to get the plaques cleaned. Still, I was battling with busy schedule and work.

When I finally find the time to do it, it was today. As I walked into the dental clinic, the awkward encounter begins.

The first awkward encounter is the question “How can I help you?” question. I answered with “removing my plaques”. The nurses (or whatever you call them) didn’t seem to understand me but requested my details anyway for registration. I gave them my IC and waited for a while. A few minutes later, a nurse called me into the room and I couldn’t help but grinned at the idea of me lying on the dentist bed. I smiled when the dentist lowered the chair and started asking questions.

“What do you want to do?” asked the dentist.

I tried my best not to laugh, thinking about the jokes about dentist loving to talk to their patient despite their mouth being occupied with the dentist equipments. “I want to remove my plaques” I said.

Yet, the dentist still look confused, so I flashed out my teeth and point to the bottom gum where the plaques are most visible.

“Oh, scaling” confirmed the dentist. Apparently that’s what it’s called.

The procedure was very uncomfortable. Squeaky and hushing sounds of the equipments in my mouth and the effort to keep my jaw dropped for almost half an hour, with some occasional pain when the plaque is in the deeper part. And the most annoying of all is the constant flow of water sprayed to my mouth in the process where I felt like I’m drowning and trying to control my breathing from my nose only. I choked a few times and had to ask the nice dentist to give me a break.

“It’s just water” said the dentist every time I felt choked and try to clear my throat.

During the entire process, there were moments where I couldn’t do anything but lay there with a tensed up body like I was being tied to a bed and tortured. And I couldn’t help but look around emptily, trying to relax, stare funnily at the dentist and nurses, and making sure I remember to breath from my nose. I wonder, what would you do?

I saw my past passed through the window.

i’m at Starbucks right now and I’m seated quite far from any window. But I have the window to my soul opened up and I’m seated just right next to it.

So I glanced through this window and I saw the future, the future that I’m excited about, the future that I want to talk about. But none of this make sense because it might or might not happen. So I glanced to the other side, to the past. I saw my past replayed in front of me. Every single memory that pushed me to where I am now, and all the others that are pushing me to keep moving, and to fight for the future that I wish I have.

But they aren’t pleasant memories. There are hatreds, pains, and regrets. There are chains and unfortunate coincidences that bound me to where I am now, that keep telling me that I should not go anywhere but here, my duty as a human being is to stay, to serve the bigger purpose that I am born into, that I am created for.

In the other hand, these memories push the rebellious part of me to fight for freedom. Though I’m afraid, useless and unworthy because the whole world seems to be against me, I’m willing to take my chance in screaming the hell out of my breath in the middle of nowhere wishing that somebody for some insane coincident will hear my voice and raise me up to the altar of dreams.

Suddenly the future flashed by again and all the guilts came back to me. It reminded me that I will be that cruel heartless human being that abandoned everything to pursue the selfish happiness. The guy who cares nothing else but himself. The one man that left his duty as a son. The betrayer of trust, the cold hearted man.

So what? I will be happy by then. Though I know that kind of happiness is temporary, I’m willing to pursue that. Though it will only last for a short time of my existence, I’m willing to be that jerk and fulfil my humanly dream. Because that’s what life is, to pursue that temporary little joys over and over again until Death find us. Then, there will be pure joy, and there will be nothingness, there will be no pain left to suffer.

The trending problem

We recently have a new addition to our already too big family. Actually it’s not too new, he is almost 3 years old.

The problem is, most of my siblings are already in their late 30s to 40s. Naturally a lot of my family members are pretty grown-up, including my nephews and nieces.

This 3 years old boy was surrounded by grown-ups who gave so much attention to him alone. He tuned out to be a total badass in the family. One of his special rights was biting and pinching the grown-ups playfully and getting away with it. One day, this pampered little gem was brought to visit his grown-up relatives who live a few countries away. The boy was very welcomed by everybody. But being such a naughty boy he was, the grown-up couldn’t help but to comment on his naughtiness. So erupted a trending problem that has been retold over and over again for the past few days. And it goes something like this:

Grandma: “I’m so disappointed at my grown-up grandson for commenting that we are being such a bad parents.”

(The boy lives very near to his grandma)

Mother: “I know right, he is just a little boy. Furthermore, he thought they were just playing.”

Grandpa: “Bob (The grown-up grandson) threatened to cut off baby boy’s hands if he didn’t stop pinching people. Bob’s sister was even worst, she was the one who started the pinching game. Baby boy didn’t know how to control his strength yet, he didn’t know that he was hurting his cousins”

Mother’s brother: *too lazy to contribute in the conversation but couldn’t stop himself from writing about it*

The whole drama made me think of the basic of parenting. My parents weren’t really kind to my siblings to start with. Surely they love their children, but the stories my siblings told were not always the cheerful ones. Perhaps they were too busy working and surviving. But when they are taking care of their grandchildren, they turned so protective of them, even against their own children and grandchildren.

Also when drama involves parents and their children because of their grandchildrens, it’s awkward.

And for me, it’s just another reason not to reproduce.

Delusion

Jane sat in her bed, alone, trying not to care too much of what people had been so happy about, the news, about something, somewhere out there, far away.

Jane sat there because she understood. Her friends, her family members, some random strangers, they all were celebrating for something that didn’t matter, or will ever. While some were complaining, cursing the air.

Earlier in the morning, the news had broken out that the World’s Wealthiest Country Association had approved the use of EE24 to give their citizens a higher chance in surviving the coming global extinction phase.

EE24, shorts for Evolution Enhancer 24, was the 24th generation and the first “stable” version of the EE technologies developed by world top scientists in preparation of the predicted catastrophe triggered by the historical Global Earthquake that had turned the world upside down.

The Earthquake had moved the Earth so much from the original form. Mountains were broken into islands, new lands formed out of the sea, and most importantly, the Earthquake had broken some major Methane deposits on Earth, slowly releasing these Methanes to the air. The air was slowly thickened in Methane and Carbon Dioxide. It’s only a matter of time when the air become completed unbreathable.

However, the uses and development of EE had been always on controversial debates. Some believed that to be unethical to play God, and some believed that it was the reason God sent the Earthquake and will wipe out Human Race if we didn’t stop. Some believed that evolution shouldn’t be artificially interfered. But for those who believed it to be the only chance of surviving the next catastrophe continued in supporting the cause.

EE24 had been proven over and over again both on animal testing and human to be effective in transforming our biology to be able to survive in Methane concentrated environments.

Jane sat on her bed with her oxygen mask on, dreaming that she would be able to take it off. Her friends’ thought bubbles float around her overhead display projected from her mobile that was attached to her glasses. “Finally, we will survive” say her neighbour, few houses away from her, not rationalizing the fact the it was never legal in where they are residing, and never would be in the near future. “Shame on you people, God’s wrath is over your sins”, said another friend.

“So what, my friends? so what?” thought Jane to herself. “We are doomed to death and suffering”

Melbourne’s Winter

Are you dreaming of a White Christmas? You can’t, because you’re in Melbourne, Australia. And Christmas is in Summer where the heat wave rolls and the temperature shoot up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Not only that Christmas fall on Summer, their Winter will not get too cold anyway. But somehow this year has been a very cold winter when I was there.

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It was the last week of Autumn when I landed in Melbourne. The weather was great, windy with a bit of rain now and then. The rain was never too much, just drizzling I’ll say. But it’s always great to walk in a cool late Autumn than a hot never ending summer of Kuala Lumpur.

Melbourne was as lively as usual in the day with people, performances, and musics on the streets. Especially on the city area. With the backdrop of Autumn, the lively people looks even more cheerful.

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A week pass by and I could see the season changed in front of my eyes. The drier Melbourne suddenly rained for days and night. The temperature shot down to 5 degrees Celsius and the rain was constant. I could hear the dripping rain all night long when I slept. But the good thing about the rain in Melbourne is that it didn’t get too wet. My jacket got wet for a while and when I got back to the room somehow the jacket is dried back.

Unfortunately, I’ve picked the worst time to visit the Twelve Apostles. The journey on the Great Ocean Road is so gloomy and wet and freezing. But there was a point where we reached Apollo Bay where it was sunny. Then there was this joke that Melbourne people like to tell, “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait for 10 minutes”. It described how the weather can change from hot sunny day to a cold rainy winter.

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And then, it started to rain again. And it rained the whole time I was near the Twelve Apostles. Imaging the cold 5 degree Celsius with the strong wind of the Southern and Indian oceans.

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Despite its cold and and wet weather, I would have to say that it was an amazing experience.

So long, Melbourne. Till my next visit if I ever visit you again.

The Incomplete One

I am wishing that what I’m going to write now is going to be the truth of what is going to be created soon. If you’ve remembered that I’ve attempted to write a book called One Way Ticket to Mars. I have the idea, I have the start of the story, I have the end of the story, but I’ve never yet to figure out how to link the start to the end.

But if it were to be published one day, here will be the summary.

Julian knows what he wants. But not many people agree with his way of life. When he first saw the news about sending people on a mission to explore Mars, he applied straight away. But he then realised that getting accepted is the easier part of his journey.

The harder parts came after the acceptance letter. When he have to say goodbye to all the people close to him, being lectured and begged to stay, to walk the Earth for the last time, and counting the days that remains.

Yet, the hardest part is when someone right came into his life, someone he has been needing in his entire life. Will he change his mind? or will he go ahead and leave Earth for good?

The logic behind sympathy

Let’s start with a simple story.

Anne went to the market one day to buy some fish. She love her husband so much that she thought she would cook a great dinner for her husband. On her way to the market, Anne stumbled upon a couple who were fighting outside their house. Anne couldn’t help but overheard that the husband cheated on his wife. Anne being a typical good lady approached the couple and started to confirm the wife. Her name was Isabelle.

Anne realised that Isabelle was the girl to whom her high school boyfriend cheated on with. Though she was filled with raging memory of her past, she decided to put that rage away and comforted her.

The husband, seeing that now her wife had a supporter, decided to run away from the fight, stating that it’s pointless to continue the conversation until the wife’s emotion is cooled down.

A few days later, Isabelle came to Anne’s house bringing a bad news. Her husband just died from an accident. And now both ladies were embracing in tears, saddened by the news.

Think of that one time where you decided to let your anger subdued because somebody is having a bad day. I can’t grab the concept of being nicer to someone when they are their somebody close just died. Well, his mother just died, be nice to him. Even though he is still an asshole.

But it still is amazing to think that I would not be able to be mean to some jackass whose parent just pass away. So, What do you think is the logic behind sympathy?

The affordability of risk taking.

I’m not a risk taker. I’ve never really been one. Unless I’m in a video game world, or interviewing for a new job, or trying a new food.

This morning I was put in a situation where taking risk is to be considered. I was driving with my friends out for lunch where we were stuck in the parking lot waiting for the next car to take its right turn while it was also waiting for the car in front of it which was waiting for a driver to load his groceries so he could drive away so it can park.

You probably got confused there, but it isn’t very important.

The important part is that I was happily waiting while my friend who was in the passenger seat asked me to overtake the car in front of me. There was a gap between the car in front of me and the wall on my left that was wide enough for my car to go through. I didn’t want to take the risk even though I was pretty confident that I could pass. But my friend assured me that it has enough space.

What’s happening in my mind is this calculations of the “what ifs”. If I didn’t got though, my car will get damaged and probably the car in front of my will be damaged as well and I can’t afford to pay for the repairs. Even though I have insurance, but it still cost some form of money.

By the way, we made it through that, it was quite a big space after all.

I was thinking about this whole incident when I was driving home from work today and start thinking about all the risks that I avoided in my life. There are opportunities out there but they all cost a lot and the risk of failing is expensive. And that is also why I avoided them.

Think back about risk taking, we often say words like “You are a risk taker” or “You are not a risk taker” and it kind of become a type of personality. But today I realize that it’s not as simple as that. It’s also about the affordability. It’s not just about your tendency of taking risk. It’s about affording to live with the consequences if it goes south. If you lose all your money, what then? lose your friends, what then? lose your life?

Retrovitrarcer

Retrovitrarcer (Retro-vitr-arcer)

retro – behind

vitrum – glass

carcer – jail

This word describe the feeling of being locked behind a glass wall with the world of possibilities behind it.

Imagine that you can see the things that you want but it’s behind this glass wall. You know exactly what you want but unable to reach it. Leaving you angry, hopeless and sad. And you ended up sitting there with your head tilted to the left, listening and watching as it moves around, wishing that you can touch it, smiling as you listen its voice.

And you let it consume you, wishing that it notices you, look at you, call your name. But that thing behind this thin glass doesn’t know you, cannot see you, nor care about you. And you come back here every day, repeating what you’ve done until you get bored, and forgot about it, and find another thing behind that wall to fall in love with.