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Of Boxes and Pigeons

Driving back home from an impromptu exploration in Kuala Lumpur got me wanting to write this piece immediately before that light bulb dims. On my way on the public highway, I saw a string of cars with a certain red political party flag blazing through the traffic jam. Maybe there was some kind of gathering nearby but every time I pass by one vehicle with the flag, I cringe.

To say that I have lack of pride for Malaysia is the total opposite.

I just think for a nation with diverse races and ethnics, it’s time for all of us to take a bigger step and embrace the differences as a whole instead of pigeon hole everything. After 58 years of independence, I would think that we’ve advanced in accepting who we are. I suppose, given the powers that be, in order to stay in power for as long as one dreams, rather than making decisions for the nation, the decisions are based on what goes into one’s pocket. Hence the need to still fill up forms acknowledging you’re either Malay, Chinese, Indian or Other for official documents.

Back then, I get the need for such system, but we’re in the 21st century and the society have evolved from being identified as just one race. Today, more than anything, we’re made of many religions, heritage and bloodline. So how is this still relevant today?

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Since I was young, I had a difficult time figure this out. I always wondered to myself – how could I possibly tick only one box? If anything, I could tick all of the above and “Other” as well since I am made of all that. Wouldn’t be unfair to only acknowledge one and not the others, right?

Apparently, it’s wrong.

The moment you have Malay blood, it automatically takes helm in everything because of the Bumiputera status. Not that I think the value of one race is of much higher value than the rest, because how would I measure myself as Malay, Chinese, Indian and French since it’s all in me.

That’s why, when a certain minister best not mentioned, made the most ludicrous statement last election about asking the Chinese Malaysians to go back to mainland China out of spite, I questioned the state of affairs in Malaysian minds. How can this be accepted at any level? That would mean, I too have to be sent away then because I’m not Malay “enough”.

Again, the unfortunate thing that has been happening in Malaysia is that, the minority monkeys do not represent the nation. They happen to get the spotlight because the powers that be holds the rights to shine upon whoever whenever whatever according to their instruction. To our dismay, it’s these idiotic manners that’s been picked up internationally and one way or the other have painted a bad picture for the rest of us.

Oh how I weep inside for the turnaround of events that made us look foolish. Yet, I keep reminding myself, they do not reflect me or many of the amazing Malaysians in this country and therefore, I hope the fire keeps burning to help rebuild this nation into a better society. A better mindset.

Of course, being the overambitious idiot that I am, such drastic changes will take dog years to have an impact but that doesn’t mean it should deter you, me or other people to keep working on making Malaysia a better country.

It may seem baby steps, most of the time, it doesn’t even have that big of an imprint but longterm wise, every tiny decision we make to rebuild this country means we’re doing one thing better in that given time.

So, coming back to that particular flag incident, I’ve always thought that some parties have become irrelevant because it doesn’t represent Malaysia as a whole. It can force itself to be THE face of a particular type of mentality and race but it will not justify the decades of heritage Malaysians have helped brewed in this country. I wonder, how many of us come from pure blood lineage, anyway? Why can’t we be who we are without dividing based on our race?

As a country and nation, we are indeed a walking contradiction. We pride in being courteous, warm and harmonious but are these only verbally mentioned but not virtues we lived by?

Actually, take away all the material things, when you do explore Malaysia on your own, whether in the back alleys of the city or rural areas, you will find that soul that makes Malaysia, Malaysia. That essence that binds us together. We don’t need flashy neon lights labels to verify what we’re about. More of often than not, the harder we try to “sell” ourselves, the less authentic or genuine we become.

So all these political statements are just that, words. And it’s ashamed considering how much money they pump in to make campaigns out of it to only be mentioned at official functions when it’s an empty message at best.

If Malaysians allow themselves to be Malaysians, I reckon, we’d be a much more cultured, mindful and tolerant of each other. There’s a certain tenderness this society is slowly losing it’s grasp on and it saddens me more now than ever.

Coming back to Malaysia hasn’t been the smoothest transition physically, mentally and spiritually but I’ve slowly gone into a self recovery mode, doing the things I love and enjoy in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. I’ve slowly come to realise why I have the need to be back and do impactful things for the community, for myself.

Yeah, I’ve been told by many of my decision to come back instead of settling elsewhere – apparently the grass is greener elsewhere but seriously, is it really that bad here when if you were to take a moment to observe, Malaysia is the best place to experiment and build foundations. If we stop looking at other countries, other people and their lifestyle, perhaps then we can start watering our own grass for once.

Many Malaysians always say, there’s nothing for me in Malaysia. Yeah, how much have you don’t for Malaysia to come to that conclusion?

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Freedom to Feel

The teachers in our lives have one thing in common – that is to have an impact in the way we do, see or feel. It doesn’t matter if said teacher is an object, a living insect or new born baby. There is always something for us to learn about ourselves and the others if we look at life from their point of view. Take a page from their experience and be in that space, embrace the gift of feeling.

I’ve been bouncing from one wall to the other feeling from one extreme to the other. Happiness and sadness exist on the same spectrum, perhaps even on the same degree to make us realise what it’s like to be alive. It’s purpose is to reawaken the sleeping giant in all of us, to be a reminder that we have arrive, we have made it.

I’ll always have to justify the things I do, the feelings I stumble upon and the thoughts I’ve created. More for myself, just so I have a grasp of reality even though I’ve come to terms that reality is subjective. What is reality to you may not be the same case for me. Yet, the society I’ve been brought up to have somehow distilled the perception that how I feel is second to how the others are feeling (in question or in power) because as an individual, the concept does not conform to the norm. As an individual, one does not matter. Well almost, unless one is asked for an opinion.

This belief about individualism is almost so foreign to this society because it is made to (also) belief that being individualistic will create chaos. It’s as if by design, we’ve been taught to fear doing things unconventionally, to find our own understanding and journey regarding politics, religion and/or idea. Or maybe that’s just how I’ve been feeling as a Malaysian. We were once harmonious in the way we live – different yet respect each other’s space and time. The progressive thinking back in the day after our forefathers fought for independence were so valuable to making the nation a forward-thinking factory. It was that essence that made the country innovative back in the 70s and 80s. Always curious, always experimenting, just always looking to do something better – yeah that spirit somehow gave way to passive, spoon fed energy, almost as if people of today resigned to fate. What fate are they resigning to is another question altogether because if you don’t work for something (consistently, persistently, diligently), what is fate then?

No sense of pride in the work we do might give us a hint why the social ideology and moral have shifted so much in two decades. How do we fix this? There are too many causes to point out, not enough soldiers to fight for the betterment of the nation. I say this because, too often, majority have been whining and wailing about the condition of Malaysia – that giving up on the country is the best excuse to come up with a solution to get things moving forward. As if the country owes us all everything when most of us hardly to anything for the country.

The simple question to ask ourselves is (or the lack of asking), “What have we contributed to Malaysia?”

Maybe we have forgotten the infamous quote from John F. Kennedy that still rings truth to this day.

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

This notion of being entitled (without working hard for it) is such a destructive ethos to live by, it’s becoming a crutch to this country as we speak. And even if one do work hard for it, chances are entitlement is not even part of the quality adopted. Or I’m just being mighty idealistic. The latter sounds about just right too.

Being disruptive doesn’t necessarily mean negative destruction. The act of asking why also creates curiosity, one that we’ve been succumb to not do since young. If you do, you’re seen as a trouble maker because the why’s tend to make people dig deeper, know further and be more invovled. Therefore, to say in power in whatever position, never question. Assume all is for the best, accept that there’s nothing anyone can do and believe that we have nothing to do with it. Wash hands and stay away. What a dismissive practice for a country that has so many things to offer.

Oh well, despite feeling the way I do being here, there’s always something to do that sparks fire. So, it’s all good, just that need to spread that fire even further to reach out to the others to join the fun. I think 2015, albeit being a mindfcking year thus far, the potential growth I’m forcing myself to do where career and life cross path together is monumental. So many things happening, projects taking place.. I’m looking forward to the graves I’m digging.

Oh yeah! And..to also finalise my thesis most importantly. Heh.

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Be Autistic

So I wrote “at some point I will dedicate a whole blog for my Industry Research Project” turned out to be last Sunday. That’s where a whole chunk of my data hoarding will be unloaded – be-autistic.com and all because I went on 3 hours of digital detox when I wrote The Future of Autism below.

Yet, I foresee I’ll come to a point when danywhere.com and be-autistic.com will meet in the middle personally. But I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. Right now, as a surprisingly overachiever and overambitious alien, I’m running two blogs at the same time. Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas to me!

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A Matter of Perspective

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Everyone has their own expectations and outcomes from things they want to learn. I came to Hyper Island with no clue what I got myself into.

But everyday, I learn something new, from different people, same people, other people or just myself.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m living in the moment, paying as much attention to the little things that my perspective might be somewhat different when I hear what others thought about their experience being here so far.

Maybe because for all my life, I’ve always been that kid who had to figure out how to do things alone. Have to build a pathway so others can see clearer. Pretty much self-learning since I could remember because that’s how I’ve been brought up.

Working with Tourism Selangor, at a time when digital media was the biggest mystery to Malaysia cemented the fact that with a lot of reading, determination, passion and awareness, I manage to make the most of what I didn’t know I had. I spent countless hours to get my head wrapped around this responsibility that could’ve destroyed my career given the politics that surrounded it.

I even remember YB Elizabeth Wong, then one of Selangor’s Exco who kept telling Fazly, my then manager to ask me to not “work too hard” but for a couple of years, I kept at it because there’s so much I needed to learn and it excites me when I found a breakthrough (some experiments didn’t go as we planned but that’s why it’s called lessons).

So being in Hyper Island is no different to me, except that experience is amplified by infinity more. To me, self-learning is the only way I know best. So when people ask if I had learned anything from a particular module even when it’s so vague and abstract, I would say I have.

Different people have different expectations and outcomes.

To me, it might not be something obvious that we can use but I know in the future I will go back and apply it. I wouldn’t say I know everything, because I don’t. Pushing myself to dig deeper is still something new. A better way of doing things.

I’ve written about this for my Design Thinking Critique paper – using my past experience as a case study. It’s just about looking at things from another point of view, another window to see how I can do better in the future.

Business Transformation begins today. Just the thought of going through a whole new group for the third time does scare me a little. Although, I’m very excited how this module takes off from the last module Digital Technology, which happens to be my favourite.

Life is a work-in-progress when it comes to learning. Altering the way we think can do wonders to ourselves.

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A Stubborn Malaysian Wanted

I did this for an entirely different reason and part of me still wants to keep it hidden, unknown and well as private as the online world allows me to be. But alas, as with many things I do, this is one I wouldn’t mind being laughed at or made fun of.

Took me six hours to do a 40 seconds video for my application to Hyper Island which I honestly have no idea what the outcome would look like (all I did was arranging photos and videos I wanted and the rest just naturally took shape on it’s own).

I think in a lot of ways, it’s a nice recap of my entire 28 years into one. Of what I tried so hard to understand, adapt, run and submit but in that process of self discovery and what not, I went into all kinds of emotions – anger, disappointment, joy, sad. You can name any of it and it’s most certainly part of the journey somewhere.

Then there’s that feeling where I’ve made peace with the universe, myself and Him.

When all of these elements are aligned together, you get this sense of belonging without having the need to belong to anywhere. You just are. And so this is me.

I’ve adopted a new philosophy a few months back, one I’m only certain that I’m ready to commit when the time calls for it. If I have to go anywhere, anytime to help a country, a place, a nation or a community, I would pick Malaysia. I know it’s fcked up. That’s all the more reason why I choose Malaysia.

Weird? I think so too.

There’s this epidemic going on here, more so now than before – it’s called brain drain. It’s when all the good brains choose to move out and away from Malaysia and do superb things elsewhere. I understand why they do it, not so much because that’s what they want to do. It’s more about what they need to do and that’s to feed their soul to be better. So of course, it’s no brainer to not accept an offer other people are giving everywhere but Malaysia. Because really, why not?

But then, what will become of Malaysia when all the good people move away?

“So what? Tried and nothing happened”. “It’s not like I didn’t do my part, Malaysia is just not ready.”

True. Although, it’s not Malaysia that’s not ready or does not want to embrace it’s awesomeness, it’s the parasites that’s been occupying her heart. Disabling her to be the potential everyone has been talking about for ions. If anything, she’s pretty much screaming her lung out – my take on landslides, floods and haze.

It is kinda scary to think about it if you have to leave this country to incapable hands. When that happens (or has been happening), it becomes a responsibility for each and everyone to help this country to get rid of the nonsense that has been infesting for donkey years. It is sad to know that so many choose to ignore or be blasé about the future. Seriously, it’s as much as your future as it is mine yet all you think about is only the here and now. Not tomorrow or next month. Just right now.

I know, it takes too much effort. Too much emotions and time to do it. But if you’re not gonna right the wrong for yourself, no one else should be doing it for you.

Understandably, I wouldn’t want to live here anymore, don’t want to waste any more of my brain cells to help yet in the past 3 years, I’ve got to know so many people who make a difference and are constantly finding ways to do so because it’s what they love to do. It’s inbred in them. They feed upon the idea of being able to do something good. That alone shows the kind of spirit you’ll need to have when you live in Malaysia.

You need to have thick skin when facing rejections, cold heart when so many atrocities are thrown at you and be as stubborn as a mule to get your vision across. From what I’ve experienced and seen, people will bring you down until you break and if you have a strong will, you will rise far better than anyone will ever expect you to be.

So that’s Malaysia in a nutshell for those who wants to make a difference. It’s not a joke, those who champion campaigns for the betterment of Malaysia are heroes in their own rights. Even if they did shatter, they’ll comeback even more motivated and determined.

No one likes drastic changes, but it’s only drastic when you leave it to desperate hour.

Am I ready for that kind of thing? I’ll go with the flow.

In the meantime, I hope more people will fight to do the good stuff in Malaysia because God knows, we freaking need it!

And I am truly grateful to be surrounded by incredible spirits to help me be a fraction of who they become.

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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twenty one pilots: Holding On To You

If there’s something I’m well known for is to constantly take hold of the direction I’m heading. Often times, it’s not always the way you and I see it but most of the time, it’s always how He wants it.

So what do you do? What do I do?

Take the ride and make it our own.

I think if there’s anything that I can take from all the trips I’ve made – whether on my own or with strangers, it would probably be that just being there, observing, be part of life, His creations, our doings..it’s probably the most alive thing I would ever experience in my existence.

I don’t exactly have a bucket list of places I want to go. I just go. It doesn’t have to be places no one else has been or the number one I have to be. In that moment, where time and space meets, I take it. I make it a part of my chapter, my life..just simply my own thing.

So right after #TSBreakAway ended, I’ve been bombarded with “What’s next?”. Like do I have to know what to answer? I’ve only just started breathing. Ask me next month maybe?

But that’s the thing with me and I don’t know what everyone might think..I don’t plan out in detail but I do somehow know where I should end up in. How I’m getting there, that part I leave it to the Guy Upstairs to write for me. I am after all his character to play with.

I know that if I’m lost, I’ll find my way back. I go back to basic, to where I know best.

This song, twenty one pilot’s Holding On To You best describes how I feel the whole year. Last year, I might struggle finding sanity, this year it’s finding my faith where faith may seem to disappear.

#TSBreakAway is a sum of that, of my miseries, my frustrations, my joy and my passion for the things I do and love, for the wants and needs and for what I want to change. I’m thankful that many share the same vision as I am in making it happen, to an extend, giving me their hand to lift me up when I’m in darkness and for all that has happened, that madness I put myself into, I only have them to thank for.

I don’t know what I can do best. I don’t know if I’ll be doing the next big thing or if I can come up with anything. I do know that when it’s something so dear to me is at the brink of extinction, I become protective..yet powerless at the sight of seeing it dying.

A lot like our earth really. That urge to hurl at the sight of a balding Earth is unbearable.

Still, I do wonder why He created me. I probably annoy more people than I can count but at the end of the day, if you do what you know is best – everyone else can talk about you, of what they know about you and it doesn’t exactly matter. It could be good, it could be bad. Just keep doing what matters to you. What makes you feel better being alive. The rest will be taken care of eventually.

I think I know where this post is heading or why I ended up writing it (my fingers, it’s all their doings really). That I’ve grown up since young being called with all sorts of names, some hurt me more than others but today, knowing why I do what I do, and do it well with the help of others – it doesn’t kill me anymore. It doesn’t kill me to think that “You know what, you can’t please everyone. You can’t make everyone like you”.

That, they can believe whatever version of you and that’s ok.

Sasha gave me possibly the book that changed my life at 25 and this was part of what I’ve been carrying myself with,

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

So yeah, I’ve accepted that I am weird and it’s no easy task to fit in in a society that thrives in normalcy or whatever it means. I am ok being on my own. Ok that I only have friends I can count with my fingers who knows me. If you’re not part of that, I am fine by it too.

Just that, I’ve had too many complications in the past, where it blinded me too many times so as of late, I’m only invested in what is worth my mind and soul.

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Leaving the Field

Leaving the Field

Been away every two weeks the past 3 months and it’s kinda wearing me out again. Travelling does that to you sometimes and that’s ok. It just means that you’ll have to be more attentive about what your body needs than what you want out of something.

A familiar territory I’ve been threading way too often this year.

I was looking at the photos from my memory card and this just stood out from one of my many solo wanderings in Melbourne two weeks ago.

I like being invisible, it’s kinda like a comfort zone mode for me. Walking makes me feel therapeutic especially when my mind is tangled in a million knots.

That’s also probably why i feel like I’m “trapped” while I’m in KL, then whenever I do feel like I need to take a walk, I can’t. It’s just not safe. Kids don’t go out and play anymore, which makes us lose that bit of humanity deep down. It’s sad and no one’s doing anything about it..at least not yet.

You know, I could rant about the epidemic that is Malaysia forever but I shall not.

Too much sadness in Danywhere, I’m turning it into a downer.

While I was walking along Flinder’s Lane looking at the graffiti, I met a few artists working on their tagging. I thought it was pretty cool that they were unfazed by my presence despite my worry they’d be kicking me out from their territory. So while I was watching them painting, I realised that these alleys are actually dump area but due to the amount of spay painting these people have been doing, the foul smell were non-existent and replaced by aerosol. It’s interesting tho, to see how they’ve (indirectly in the beginning) converted an alley no one would go to one of the number one spot people want to check out.

Of course, there’s always the never ending debate about vandalism vs art when it comes to graffiti but when you make a space, a public gallery to encourage their creativity to flow and send out a message from their mind, it could easily be a positive outcome. Eventually, it becomes a tourist attraction.

Yes, as much as underground despise the idea of selling-out, as long as your message is sent out, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Just a bit of ego is being compromised but otherwise, I think it’s a good source of inspiration for others.

See that’s the thing about art. You just never know who you’ll be touching and making a change. Just the fact that you’re about to reach out to just one person makes what you do go to the next level. And that will not happen until the day you decide to put yourself out there.

So, in the end it all goes back to the very core – why are you doing what you are doing?

When you’re able to identify that part, your ego will step back and motivation takes over.

It’s just too bad that I wasn’t able to see Banksy’s work in Melbourne. Shall talk about that next time.