For unknown reason, I watched Buletin Utama just now and felt like vomiting.

People with sane mind will quickly recognize who is Jamal the Red Shirt, and who is behind the movement.

He claims himself as an apolitical entity but supports the government. I don't understand what he is trying to prove by the statement. To hide UMNO involvement, perhaps?

Obviously, they are UMNO.

In my opinion, to raise an idiot is not a good move to win back the people. To absorb another liability when your current reputation is bad, is an inadequate act and worsen the account.

We don't need people like Jamal. We don't need the Red Shirt. We don't need a trouble maker. We don't need another joker one after another.

We need answers --- because we love our country.

Sometimes, I wonder what is going on with my country. The government seems not interested to clarify all the issues. They give us more and more confusion. They leave us in questions.

The pressure is getting high.

Duhh, I should stop writing about this kind of thing.

No, this is not a plea for change.

We live in chaotic time. Even everything looks pretty good, the reality always tells otherwise.

For the last ten years, the country was managed and ran by a bunch of idiots. They did not speak for the people. The great Malaysia -- once adored and envied by so many countries and nations -- are now becoming one of the most corrupted country in the world. Our past glorious achievements are overshadowed by our poor governance and mismanagement.

In the streets, people are whining about the hardship to make a living. The price of goods and services are cutting their necks. The value of money depreciates drastically and horrrifyingly.

They blame the law-makers and the leaders.

I just nod.

Honestly, I don't really understand what is going on with the Prime Minister. He should be able to ease and calm the conflict down. He should be able to turn around the table.

But he is not. I don't see the mind of intellect in him. His answers and explanations about the economic, about the promises he made during past election, about racial issues, about many many things, always contradict with the fact. His actions against the critics are also not convincing enough.

Even now, I am still wondering how he acquired RM 2.6 billions in his single private account. A donation from the demise prince of Saudi for his contribution in promoting Islam to the West is a joke of the century.

When the retired old man aged at 92 speaks about his weak leadership and wrongdoings, he accuses him of planning to bring down the elected goverment and raise the son to the top post. This is another joke of the century. Instead of giving a proper reaction, he retaliates in inappropriate manner -- by humiliation and character assasination, as a distraction to silent him.

Now, there is a war against his predesessor.

All of his cabinet ministers are the ones who possess a great art of deceit. Statements made by them are half-true -- they fail to divulge the whole story, the truth.

I don't know. But I do feel something is wrong, something is not right with the current government. Too much cover-ups and too much treacheries are happening before my eyes. The trust is breached. The trust has broken.

Unless there are radical changes in the regime, the ruling party, I suppose, will suffer the most humiliate defeat in the next GE. Three millions registered members are not a guaranteed support. The love is bleached now -- by their own ignorance and arrogance.

And for now, you can write me off. Only a man who has a brain the size of a peanut will hold to this insanity.

No, this is a cry for change.

Permanent Head Damage

The reason I don't go to motivational program or seminar or what ever your mother calls it is because I am a negative person.

I don't need to pay for someone to tell me the things I have already knew.

My problem, I don't believe in many things. I have massive doubt on so-called facts. History for me is a big lie, medicine never cures, and I hate people who talk about business, money, and well-known and famous figures.

This kind of things, they just insult my intelligence.

So, if you ask me about this person who deceives thousands of wealth-hunger about his educational background, I don't lift a finger.

Welcome to the world, I would say.

If you put your priority on things like that, don't blame others if you slip, because that is how the reality works. There are always  bigots who build empires on other's hardwork, blood, and tears.

Success is not measured by how long digit in your personal bank account, it is what you carry in your mind, in your brain, and in your reaction.

So, serve you right, for believing and submitting him. And for those who admire him, go read about the definition of life or enjoy a day or two in remote and secluded island.

Please, Please

By Paranoia Semalam (September 11, 2016)




People with delusion of grandeur are distressingly pathetic. What makes them worse is, they actually knew it.

Ignorance and arrogance -- these two characters are the least to describe them.

Besides of big mouth and all big talks, there is nothing ever produced or proved. It is very hard to converse, let alone to convince and to criticize this type of people, because they would only listen to themselves, they would only believe in themselves, and for them, other people are inferiorly low and liabilities.

I must admit, listening to their tall stories and views about living life amuses me a lot -- not because of some sort of amazement and endearment, but it is more for the sake of disputation and argumentation. Most of time, they hate it, but for them, winning is when your enemies stop confronting.

It is double the fun when you know they are talking craps rather than the truth and the best part is, when their tongues sliply agree with you and they are basically elaborating your ideas and points, but then, still, they refuse to admit it.

They will never submit to any one. And they will never let it happens.

Being apologetic, accepting other's opinion, are a big no. They are condoning themselves, even to their own mistakes, errors or faults.

I don't blame them. This type of people are a slow learner. They have to endure more struggle and pain in getting the prize.

They are typically stubborn, logger-head, and short-tempered person. Listening to other people is not their best skill. They are full of themselves. They oftenly talk a lot. Their patience are for show-off. How would you learn or even to move forward if you open your mouth bigger than your heart?

I am taught to have respect for everyone. Whatever shits you have been gone through are not making you holier or better than any one else. Being humble is not disgracing you or anyone like being snob. And acting like you know nothing, is more pleasantful to know rather than listening to your fairy-tale-lands adventure.

Well, I should have not be fretted. Like my late father said, "Son, the blind and the deaf will pay the higher price!"

A real man should keep and bite his tongue from unnecessary and only present his mind under certain circumstances. Or else, he will be known as what he is now for the rest of his life -- not as what as he tried to potray he is.

Ode Untuk Negara-Ku

By Paranoia Semalam (September 10, 2016)

Merdeka-kah, jika harap, taat dan hajat, masih di-panjat pada selain-Nya? Atau barangkali ia cuma sebentuk kata untuk perdaya dan tipudaya sang pemerintah membodohi jelata?

Merdeka itu bebas. Bebas itu kemuncak. Kemuncak itu gila. Gila itu tidak tertakluk.

Akhir-nya, ter-akur-lah, kita hanya hamba -- yang selamanya harus diam, takut dan gentar.

Tergenggam dalam cinta dan murka-Nya, yang bisa saja terbinasa dalam angkuh-Nya.

Oh!

By Paranoia Semalam (August 23, 2016)



1. Ia membanggakan untuk mengetahui pencapaian negara kita di dalam Sukan Olimpik kali ini adalah yang terbaik. Ucapan tahniah mungkin tidak cukup untuk menggambarkan betapa rakyat Malaysia amat berterima kasih di atas kejayaan yang manis ini.

2. Walaubagaimanapun, bilamana kejayaan ini tiba-tiba dirampas oleh satu pihak yang berkepentingan politik, dan segala-gala usaha dan penat lelah para atlet dikreditkan dan dipusatkan kepada satu individu, ada rasa jelek yang maha dahsyat mulai muncul. Secara tidak sengaja, ia membawa ingatan kepada peristiwa bagaimana putar-belit dan rompakan yang dilakukan oleh pihak yang sama ketika 'perjuangan' menuntut kemerdekaan.

3. Hanya kerana mahu 'dia' terus hidup di dalam nadi rakyat, tidak kira apa sahaja jalan dan muslihat, biarpun terlihat jalang dan terdesak, jasa 'dia' harus dilampulimpahkan dan dicanang dengan tersirat di dalam setiap kejadian-kejadian besar yang mengharumkan negara.

4. Perbuatan lebih kuat dari kata-kata. Rakyat tidak bodoh. Mereka melihat, mendengar, merasa, membaca dan membuat keputusan. Hapak bangkai tidak mungkin terhapus dengan semburan haruman. Yang bodoh adalah si dungu dan si otak udang, yang bermati-matian mahu menikmati hasil daripada perniagaan dedak yang jijik. Maksud daripada peribahasa ini hanya akan dapat difahami oleh orang yang waras dan sempurna sifat akal, bukan si pentaksub sejarah yang bohong, bukan si pendusta yang bermata billionan, bukan juga si pengampu dan penjilat yang hanya tahu memburu nikmat material.

5. Mengambil kesempatan, seperti juga pukul curi, adalah perbuatan licik yang hina. Ketakutan dan kebencian biasa membuat pertimbangan menjadi   songsang, seterusnya secara beransur-ansur, tertelanjang aib diri sendiri.

6. Barangkali, isi di dalam kantung lebih memikat dan lumayan daripada isi diri dengan maruah.

7. Heh, steady juga menulis pakai nombor. Terasa seperti golongan tersohor!    ;p

Look Before You Leap. Listen Before You Speak

By Paranoia Semalam (August 5, 2016)



Our ass-polisher politicians are great. They have very thick skins. They only believe what they wanted to believe. They have no regret. They can spin the truth. They can fabricate lies and get away neither feeling guilty nor sorry. They can make things look devastating. They also can make things look excellent too.

They are magician.

I read the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh and Moses story when I was a little boy. I remember the story quite vividly on how widespread the practise of mysterious and supernatural forces, magnificent witchcraft, and amazing sorceries, in keeping the pharaoh supremacy.

Unlike the pharaohs, my MalaysiaOfficer #1, base on my judgment, is more powerful. He is more dominion than the Egyptian kings. No offense, in my observation, he does not involve conspicuosly in the use of mystical assistance in his governance. Somehow, he  controls bigger crowds than the pharaohs himself. He even fights bigger enemies. He survives all the attempts to discharge (all major newspapers and electronic medias write: overthrow) him from the post from four corners of the world.

Nobody argues that the biggest achievement in his premiership is how he manages to acquire at least 2.6 billions Malaysia Ringgit in his single bank account. My three-job-in-a-day neighbour makes a depressing note on this matter.

Thanks to all the magicians around him. They are doing very well job in covering, backing, conferencing, legalising, blackmailing, and manipulating almost every sensitive issues. People forget faster than we thought they are. As usual, the 3C Rule is deployed excessively and blatantly to turn around the table -- Convincing, Confusing, Cheating.

Until now, many people are left in the dark when it comes to 1MDB scandal. They do not fully comprehend the importance of the tragedy and have no idea on how it will bring catastrophy to the nation. They do not get the right picture. There are too much explanations. There are too much informations. There are too much stories and versions.

Our ears ache severely. And our hearts bleed.

Once again, thanks again to all the magicians around him. Their magic sticks have been really-really effective and efficient in silencing the mischief.

Some say, it is either Mr. MalaysiaOfficer #1 a brilliant man or the people are fool. Well, I say, nay, they are not fool, they are caught up in the monetary-based commitments which have made them contentedly-dumb.

Like it or not, the most hated person in our beloved land now becomes more stronger. How can you suggest that our innocent MalaysiaOfficer #1 has weak support chains and failure propaganda systems? Even the dead can write prayers for his safety in his Facebook account.

Anyhow, the Pharaoh and Moses story also gives us an insight about what will happen when absolute power crumbles. The use of corruptions, treacheries and deceits shall never hold the weight of truth. History always punishes ignorant.

Once the dam of lies breaks and collapses, it wipe off everything in its way.

Let's hope our MalaysiaOfficer #1 could be able to swim and save his reservoir of wealth from the disaster.

And keep all his magicians in his pocket safely.

Or else, he could be drowning altogether, just like what had happened to the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.

A Bouquet of Flower from the North, and a Postcard Reads, 'Kleptocracy'

By Paranoia Semalam (July 31, 2016)


"I am tired of this kind of life!"
"O God! I have no time!"
"My monthly commitments are worth more than your average wages!"
"I can't sleep. The people are outrage!"

Amuse me, mammals, the joke is on you.

You -- for trying hard in making people laugh, agree and love you. You -- for trying hard in fattening the wallet and consolidating influence and celestial position.

I am sorry. I have stopped doing that. I don't need any approval nor acceptance from people like you. In fact, I need no blessing from other people.

A disgrace -- when your life is built on that sort of establishment. A disaster -- when your life is motivated by earthly gains.

What are you busying for? Then, what are you should be seeking of? A monumental achievement in wealth searching? An astounding acquisition in power?

You are answerable for all your conducts. You only have one live to spare, to discharge the trials, to submit to the truth, to build an everlasting happiness in heaven. Let's pray, for all the possessions obtained, for all the seconds spent, for all the pleasures and enjoyment you had and wasted, they will not betray and go against you when asked before The Almighty.

And please do not fucked up in the process. Do not ever fucked up -- for His wrath is beyond imaginable.

There is a business trend, perhaps a strategy, to use religion as a marketing tool.

Yassinated raisins, honey, dates, all kind of drinks and juices with Quranic verses recited upon it, goat's milk which had been instilled with all kind of prays, black-magic repellant soap, and it seems the lists will never stop.

This product Islamization is getting wilder, idiotic and I even heard there are people who 'stereofied' certain surah to their herds and livestocks!

Oh God, forgive me for I have sinned! I have eaten so so many kafir chicken in my life!

And most of their miraculous claims are ridiculous and absurd too. It feels sinful enough even to write it down here.

I wonder, how all of these rubbish sell? Don't they feel guilty for innovation?

Islamizing the goods and products doesn't make you become holier, stronger or healthier, neither using nor consuming them. It is you who take shahadah, not them, it is you who have to undergo the process!

This materialistic race really makes people go nuts. Faith is not for trading.

Perhaps, this is my most uncivilised rant.

Some friends would still like to insist, even in this day and age, that we must not blame others for our woes and focus on fixing our own house first.

Or maybe these selfish ignorant bastard are too busy dreaming about Disney-lands and treasure-hunts to worry about the criticality of the time upon us.

The sooner we become wiser about this larger conflict outside the well, the better it would be for all of us.

But, most of us are too lazy to read, let alone to analyze. They take things for granted -- as everything happens because the universe told so.

If we free our mind and spend some time to dig out the history and study on what are on the predators' mind, then we will definitely see. The truth is always not as it seems to be.

Thinking back, regarding the recent terror in France and Turkey, who the hell are the culprits behind the curtain? Who are orchestrating and manipulating the plays? What are the plans? Why France? Why Turkey?

How are they mobilising the tools -- the people, the arms and arsenals, the funds, the plots, etc, etc -- without ever being noticed by intelligents, isn't it something really weird and disturbing going on here?

What are they inciting?

And immediately, the finger starts pointing. It is IS? ISIS? Daesh? Al-Qaeda? Jihadist groups? to blame. Who are these created monstrous puppet? Why not some other powerful hand with agenda? Could it be it was just an inside job to speed up and justify something bigger?

Can't we clearly see it?

No matter how bad we don't want war to happen, there are people who enjoy it as much as we hate it.

Why war? Because the earth is scattered with six billions lives, the most efficient way to control this big world is, by depopulation dan shrink it into a small piece as possible.

The Third World War hasn’t started yet. Each party are taunting each other and there will be another act of terror one after another. Perhaps, they are expecting (read: targeting) someone to cut a ribbon to formally launch it.

Mark my words.

Ia kelihatan seperti penulisan tidak pernah meninggalkan aku. Ah, ke mana dan di mana menghilang penulis-penulis agung lain?

Atau mereka sebenarnya cuma kaya dengan angan-angan, tidak dengan kekuatan.

Atau, heh, wujud barangkali kerana tempiasan budaya dan ikutan serta perasaan mahu-jadi.

(Akhir-nya, yang kekal tinggal, hanya yang benar-benar di tempatnya).

Bukan mudah untuk menjadi apa yang dicanang dan kental mentaati perjuangan. Yah, bercakap adalah seni yang murah. Dan perihal murah ini akan tidak akan menjadi kekal.

Nah, mulut siapa dulunya yang bicara lebih daripada akalnya?

Masa memberitahu, bukan?

-- Macam mana Najib?

Hampir saja mulut aku yang penuh dengan batang buruk terhambur keluar.

"Kenapa Najib?" aku soal setelah menenangkan diri aku dengan beberapa tegukan sirap selasih. Sisa-sisa kuih masih bergumpal melekat di celah-celahan gigi buat aku kurang selesa untuk memberi kata balas.

"Dia macam mana?" aku disoal lagi.

Tanpa ada jawapan, ada diam menyelinap di antara kami. Masa terhenti, kami berdua seolah berpakat untuk berpandangan sesama sendiri, dan seperti interaksi telepati, ada dengus panjang yang tegang dan jujur keluar dari kerongkong kami, hampir serentak.

"Kecewa, bukan?" aku kata.

**

-- Parti baru tu, OK?

"Aku kurang," balas aku.

-- Kenapa?

"Oren dekat Myanmar sembelih orang Islam, oren dekat sini bunuh ulama."

-- Ulama ke?

"At least, mereka yang aku kenal dalam tu takutkan Tuhan, berilmu dan beramal lebih dari aku."

"Kiblat ketua pun masih Kaabah, bukan Karbala!"

**

"Kau tak perlu pandai sangat dekat Malaysia," aku kata. "The best way to reach the top, even if you have no education is to be politicians."

"Orang sekarang pandang harta dan possesi, bukan idea, bukan visi, bukan apa yang kau heret, genggam, perjuang dalam diri kau."

"It is the battle of who is the loudest, not the smartest."

"Dan kalau leader kau tak cerdik, kau hanya perlu angguk dan sokong untuk selamat. Be like, yes sir! Saya yang menerima arahan!"

"Ingat tak cerita Hang Nadim, Singapura Dilanggar Todak?"

"It is easier to manage a bunch of idiot than a single brainer!"

-- Tak hairan-lah level SPM pun boleh jadi MB, kan?

"Itu, bukan aku yang cakap, ya!"

**

-- Tun OK?

"Tun OK."

"Aku masih menyanjung orang yang membaca dan menulis."

**

-- Kau macam mana, OK?

**

Hari Raya, ia sentiasa menjadi lapang sasar menembak kecenderungan. Peluru terenak pastinya berkisar kisah kepolitikkan, serta bagaimana-cara-atau-perniagaan-menambah-isi-kantung-kewangan-sebanyak-banyaknya-untuk-hidup-1000-tahun.

"Bila nak kahwin?"

Dan juga tentang hal kebujangan aku.

Ada waktu-nya aku diperingat tentang sesuatu oleh bau-bauan. Sebentar tadi, setelah sekian lama, aku disanggah oleh satu aroma, yang segera saja diterjemah sebagai memori yang eksklusif, yang langsung terus menuntun rasa-rasa lampau ke dalam denyut darah.

Tergesa oleh kombinasi-kombinasi perasaan yang bercampur-baur, timbul ghairah ingin tahu daripada mana punca wangian. Ada-kah ia masih terbit daripada tubuh pemilik yang telah tidak lagi menjadi puja? Ada-kah dia di sini? Mengapa dia ada di sini?

Ia tidak semerbak, tetapi cukup dan tepat untuk mengherot kewarasan dan mengakis kekuatan.

Yah, barangkali aku yang terburu-buru membina taakulan. Bagaimana mungkin hal di dalam imaginasi aku terjadi nyata. Kelakar bila fikiran kita menjadi seolah-olah begitu dungu, mudah diperdaya oleh keinginan-keinginan yang runtun.

Bila terjerumus jatuh ke dalam, terlintas juga di fikiran, masih-kah aku menjadi walau secubit kerinduan? Atau aku hanya sebentuk daki daripada bahagian-bahagian ingatan yang tidak di-rai, yang sedang melalui proses saringan dan enyahan?

Atau hanya aku yang terlalu ketara gagal menyelindung desahan pura-pura, dan masih terpesona dan rapuh dengan bisik-bisik halus di hujung-hujung hati?

Malam yang kian memekat dengan kesunyian, tubuh yang makin melesu dengan kepenatan, dan hati yang perlahan-lahan larut dalam hangat kerinduan, Happiness di sebelah-ku, dalam dakapan-ku, di atas lengan kiri-ku, tersenyum, aku di sebelah-nya, menilik raut-nya, tangan kanan-ku memeluk tubuhnya, dan lengan kiri-ku dipinjamkan sebagai alas kepalanya.

Aku lepas-kan nafas yang kian memberat. Fikiran-ku sarat belayar dengan seribu satu beban withdrawal. Sangkar rusuk-ku penuh dengan bidikan-bidikan asmara cinta sang cupid.

‘I love you’ – dia bilang sebelum mata-nya terkatup rapat.

I rasa terbenam. Aku rasa hidup kembali. Sempurna. Mutlak. Terlepas.

Terbebas.

Oh, kalau wujud masa-masa yang indah, ini adalah salah satu yang terindah.

‘Rest, honey, rest’ – aku kata dalam hati, dan aku hadiah-kan satu ciuman lembut di pipi-nya.

Perempuan, tiada apa yang aku sangat kesal-kan dalam hidup; kecuali terlewat mengenal diri kau.

Selamat Hari Lahir, Hati.

A Diamond in the Shadow

The war is around the corner. The time draws closer and quicker. The angel of death now comes nearer. Fire will catch both sober and stoner.

O dear! When life gets sour and bitter, when life turns disaster and uglier, shall we meet again in laughter?

Shall we cherish the moment and fill it with tender?

Shall we sing and drink and pretend it is never over?

Or we just find the very reason to surrender?

There's an ocean on my left side, on my right side and on my back side. I am in the middle. The shore seems so close yet so far.

This is the journey. The destination is  always not the best thing, it is all about how we reach there and be there.

And how we see and how we perceive. And how we react.

Would you like to take a leap?

"Why with the sad face?" I asked a friend of mine one day at a mamak stall.

He did not respond immediately, instead he took some time to answer.

"I don't know where my life is heading," he said. His breath consisted a big frustration.

"I have no possession. My salary is just enough. I drive my parent's car. I still live in that hut ---"

"Now, I am a father of three. Next year, the oldest one starts schooling. My wife is not working ---"

I listened to him with patience. He looked older than his age. He was depressed, I thought.

He was not a failure. He was a bright bloke. He excelled in studies and I always envy his achievement back then. If fate had not slipped, he might be in well position in big jaw-dropping company.

Obviously, I was not a perfect person to ask for a fortune cookie. In fact, I was worse than him -- physically, spiritually, financially, or even in planning my future.

I lived in debts and the universe was against me whenever I started something. Somehow, I found that I had no grudge since I stopped doing anything.

He was drooling waiting for my reply.

"What is your biggest fear?" I asked him after awhile.

He pulled out another cigarette and hanged it between his lips. There was no more expensive nicotine pack on the table. It seemed like everyone is switching to contra-band brand and pretending to smoke the best tobacco on earth.

"I am not living my life as I should. I am screwed up ---"

"I have no saving. I don't own a house. My car is a wreck ---"

"My kids are growing up and start demanding. If anything happens to me, they will surely suffer more ---"

"What if I die...?"

He started to whine and compare with our peer group. His life has turned bitter, he said. He wanted to be like others. He wished he could join the race.

He fancied the idea of being a real man -- law abiding citizen, good job and steady income, big clean house with maid and yard, comfortable vehicles to move around, mortgage, insurance, health plan and health care, abroad vacation, smooth and swift life path, retirement scheme, investment in real estate, low cholesterol, tax payer, first class of education, full of love, etc etc -- a picture of normal in most people imagination, or television, or commercial advertisement.

To say that I understood and felt all his worries and anxieties was not an honest answer. To say that I endured the same thing was also not an absolute truth. Apparently, we were on the same boat going to the same destination, it just, he had brought another four extra baggages.

"If this is His plan, I hope He had a better plan ---," he whispered.

"My friend," I said, "God has saved you!"

He rolled his eyes and said, "I don't get it."

"Do you think God is wrong, and He is not listening to you?" I asked.

"I would like very much to agree, but it is a matter of faith," he replied, giggled.

"My dear friend, God is saving you!"

"I really don't get it!"

"If you think much deeper, it is really-really great to have nothing in this world, in this system," I said.

"I really-really don't get it. Are you drunk or on something?"

**

It is not surprising to realize how far we had been misguided. The life as we knew and went for, is not the life which God has established.

"To acquire most of the things you ever dream of, you must get involved in one of major sins."

"Nowadays, many people don't give a damn about our monetary and banking system. They embrace them as norm, standard, and acceptable. But it is not."

"To finance the car, the house, the loan, the business, banks usually practice riba', usury or interest. That is how they make profit. That is how they survive."

"Allah has declared war on those who give, take, or even the one who write interest."

"Qur'an deals with riba' in 12 verses, the word appearing eight times in total. God treats riba with severe punishment, with enourmous rage, not like any other sins after shirk. Can you imagine that?"

"Are you suggesting we are all going to hell? How can I own a property without the system?" asked my friend.

"It is not for me to answer, it is not for you to decide, but when you have a strong faith, what is wrong is wrong. Buy with cash!"

"How about the Islamic banking system?"

"Would you like Allah, The Almighty, to wage war against you after He has made it abundantly clear that riba' is haram?"

"But isn't it more transparent in Islamic banking, I mean, we have everything in details -- where the money goes, where they invest and all?"

"You cannot simply change the name and put an Islamic name to it to make it halal. A pig is still a pig even it wears a cow's outfit. And it is not about where the money, or the fund goes, it is the riba'! It is the interest, the system!"

"And remember, the devil always in the details."

**

It was quite a tensed session. There was too many questions and too much arguments. We did not share the same view and understanding and I was happy because it reminded me of the past.

"I am not going to be religious or something. But I thanked God because He has saved me from this heinous and poisonous system, and excluded me from His wrath."

"That is why I said, you should be grateful earlier. Can't you see how much He loves you?"

"Everytime, God knows better, He is The Most Graceful, and it is not because of you cannot afford to commit the repayment schedule, but, He chooses you and picks you out from this great, great sin, this evil temptation."

"How does it feel to be the chosen one?"

"You are always good with words!"

"And you are always good in arguing!"

As time passes, as new memory grows, as the whole picture changes, as childhood imaginations collapse, you have come to acknowledge something strange -- something that had been shaking off your balance and gravity from the day you were able to think.

"Why am I not truly a happy person?"

There are a lot of geniuses tried to define and decode the meaning of happiness. There are also many pseudo-intellects out there make fortune by telling people what happiness is all about. The sad truth is, all of them provide no absolute answer, or they are just hitting around the bush, and some of them even living in miserable life.

Some of us do not care about what is what -- I am not that interested in such 'philosophical' discussion as you, they say. I just live and live and I am good, add them.

I never blamed them. Obviously, they survived. For most of them, wealth is the key. Money is the root of all. In a way, I found a reason why I am not on top of the list of their friends.

For me, I an always intrigued by a real and thoughful discussion. If someone raise a question about what happiness is, surely I will not answering like Mr-Knows-All. I will sit and listen to his or her version first and present mine. How in the hell I know if I never had tasted it?

Perhaps, happiness is just a statement, built in mind games. You know it by heart, but it is nowhere to reach.

In my thousands of days of existence, I do not see Happiness is coming. What I do see, there is, more and more headache growing and brewing one after another and there is no way of escaping. Exactly like Buddha once said, life is ongoing suffering and constant struggling.

Wait, again, what is happiness? How does it feel or look like?

Or maybe I have given a wrong interpretation on Happiness. I have put a wrong definition and most probably, I have carelessly and mistakenly associated it with Freedom.

But, how possible can we achieve Happiness when we are not in Freedom?

And if there is no Happiness, why are we not living in Freedom?

And yeah. Well, the easiest way to answer is, say la vie -- that was what the Frenchmen said in Kapas last time in our three and half hours of talking about culture, food, war, religion and life.

So, "Say la vie!"

How I wish I could choose and stay, freeze the moment from goes astray, kiss you and hug you until we both grow old and grey, and be the one who listens to your final say.

 


"How many special people change? How many lives are living strange?"

"Where were you when we were getting high?"

Hey senja yang muram, bergembira-lah!

Kerana malam sedang menjemput-mu hilang!

P. Kapas, 30 Mei 2016

Ia sesuatu yang menggelikan hati dan kadangkala menjelekkan, bilamana seseorang cuba menyerang pendirian dan pemahaman kamu, dengan cara yang tidak cekap dan cermat.

Menggunakan kata-kata bijaksana orang lain dan menampal atau mengongsinya di dalam aplikasi-aplikasi sosial, tidak semestinya mencerminkan pemikiran, orientasi, mahupun intelektualiti kamu. Selain memenuhkan storan simpanan memori telefon bimbit dan menghakis jangka hayat bateri, tiada apa suntikan kewarasan yang dapat dikekalkan mahupun diekstrak ke dalam diri.

Di dalam musim setiap orang terdorong untuk menjadi orang pertama tahu itu ini, atau musim-setiap-orang-terinspirasi-mahu-jadi-inspirasi-kepada-setiap-orang, aku cuma mampu geleng kepala. Kebanyakannya, hanya jari yang pantas berbicara dan berkata-kata, selebihnya sebagai cubaan menduga reaksi orang lain, dan jika ada yang ter-umpan untuk turut serta menyambung kata, maka konversasi seterusnya pasti tidak berpunca -- hanya seloka, lawak jenaka dan gelak ketawa; masing-masing bertungkus-lumus hendak memanjang gurau dan senda.

Dan paling menyenak-kan, ada  yang lanjut sehingga berpagian!

Seperti Momus, semua mahu kekal dalam kelongsong fikir manusia-manusia lain walau dengan sejuta kejalangan!

Jadinya, jangan salahkan aku jika aku memilih keluar dari set perkumpulan-perkumpulan di dalam aplikasi talian bimbit dan media sosial. Ya, ia satu penghormatan untuk diterima-masuk menjadi ahli, tetapi mungkin kerana aku seorang yang gagal memahami, lantas terus saja bersifat mencemburui kefanatikan sebahagian kamu dalam berdiskusi.

Mungkin juga aku yang tidak terkini dalam menilai istilah sebentuk modernisasi kemesraan dan langsung terasa asing di dalam merayakan kaedah tata-bicara sosial terbaharu dunia.

Tidak, aku hanya mahu kita lebih terghairah menjadi cerdik, dan bertanggungjawab dalam menterjemah teknologi ke dalam kehidupan, bukan terhamba merayu mengejar dambaan pengagum!

Oh ya, dan satu lagi, jangan hina kepintaran aku dengan solusi-solusi dangkal dari pelacur-pelacur perhatian di dalam facebook. Hidup kita bukan di-tentu oleh orang yang tercandu untuk memandu.

Dalam aruhan khayal intoksikasi minimal, di parking lot di sebuah rumah kelab kawasan perumahan separa elit di pinggir ibukota, aku kata-kan pada dia: “I’m trying to define what I feel about you now.”

Dia pandang aku, tersenyum, dan menyalakan Marlboro Light duti percuma; sambil menunggu aku untuk menghabis-kan kata-kata.

Aku tarik dalam-dalam puntung nikotin yang tersemat di antara jari telunjuk dan jari tengah dan muntah-kan asapnya ke depan. Air tin minuman genius yang berbaki suku aku sudah-kan dalam satu tegukan.

“Dear--” aku kata, separuh berbisik, “I really can’t get you out of my mind. See, I think about you all the time when I’m sober, and now, I still think about you--.”

Dia masih senyum, diam sejenak, tarik asap nikotin, buat-buat muka disbelief, dan kata, “You are drunk!” dan kembali senyum.

“Suka merepek!” dia sambung lagi sambil mencubit isi lengan aku.

Aku turut senyum. Mata-ku tekun memerhati gerak-geri-nya. Dan momen itu telah buat aku tersedar satu lagi perkara berharga tentang dirinya.

She’s lovelier when she smile.

Deru enjin yang menderum lima jam tanpa henti, memudik di tengah-tengah hamparan luas dada tasik yang kehijauan, saujana mata, dan menggerunkan, di bawah bahang terik matahari yang seolah-olah sedang ingin melempias kemarahan terpendam, bersama kelompok-kelompok pertemanan yang berlainan akal, pengalaman, serta tatacara menangani kehidupan; terselit aku yang mahu menduga nikmat rasa dan mengintai kebenaran.

Malam di persimpangan Cacing dan Terenggan, mencerap jutaan bintang yang bertebar di langit terang -- antara pertempuran mahu terus kekal bejat dalam huru-hara atau waras dalam celaru -- ada satu bisik, cermat menuntun dengung dalam memberitahu --

"Setiap kita telah tertulis atur, kadar, dan edar-nya. Siapa kita untuk membida secupak hikmah ketentuan-Nya?"

Rebah, bangkit, aku tidak mahu meminjam bicara bijaksana yang membuai dari sang penglipur lara. Aku tak mahu terpedaya dengan magis pesona kata-kata sang hamba.

Aku tak mahu Jibrail membentang sayapnya untuk aku menyingkap tabir rahsia ke syurga.

Cinta, seperti mana juga kebodohan, tak perlu di war-war. Ia, semulajadi bingit dan membingit-kan.

Salah-kah untuk aku jatuh, dan diam untuk alam?

Kenyir, April 11, 2016


You had a fine day, you went out, you met friends, you spent the day with your loved one, you ate, you watched movie, you talked, you laughed, you tired, you went home, you cleaned up yourself, and you smiled on your bed.

Then you slept. Then you woke up.

It was a serene and peaceful morning. You were alone. No one at home. You listened to an annoying sound from birds you once adored.

You sat on your butt. You started to think.

You tried to remember what yesterday was all about. You asked yourself. You questioned yourself.

You figured out many things. You became aware about many things.

You saw the truth.

You shook off your head. You denied. You refused. You pretended.

You cursed.

You took a bathe. You sang a song by your favorite singer. You stopped when you found out that the song related with you.

You felt cold. And the sad swallowed you.

You dressed up yourself. You took the car key. You drove. You had no destination. You had no intention. You followed your intuition.

You wandered around. You wondered why.

You felt like crying. You fought. You bit your lower lip. You contained your anger inside your fist.

Your heart bled.

You closed your eyes. You took a deep breathe. You gave your conscious a moment to decide.

You waited for the light. You waited for the wind. You waited for the answer.

You heard voices.

Then you realized, you had been living a lie since you had lost your mind.

You never got rid of your past. You never got rid of the affection.

Then, again, you chose to ignore.

You chose to put the blame on someone. 

You chose to hate someone.

You chose to run from someone.

But then, again and again, no matter how far you go, no matter how hard you try to escape, your mind, your body, your heart, and your soul, always bring you down here.

Because, they believed in something. They trusted in something. They had faith in something.

They had found a reason. They had locked the key.

They had discovered a perfect way to freedom.

But you won't be convinced.

You rather be allowing your ego to hold you hostage than pursuing the words of your honest self.

You waited. You wished. You perished.

Jalan Jalang

Satu hentian di antara gelora yang menggila di ulas-ulas jiwa.

Dan satu ingat yang selalu selinap, yang menggugah pasak waras dan derita.


We are very fond of our religion. Anything which has Islam in it, even a slight, we take it as a huge sacred thing and simply can't be questioned.

Our knee suddenly knocked down -- losing an ability and sanity to stand.

Being Islamic is not necessarily Islam. Something that labeled and looked Islamic, is not necessarily Islam too. By the way, what and how is the picture of Islamic?

The understanding of Islam is vary. Some say it lies on the cloth, the attire, the devotion, the beard, the prays, the sacrifice, the hijab, the participance in a group or party, the setting up an Islamic state, the doing and being Arab. I think it is a wrong perception. All of the above are a stereotyping by medias whenever they mention Islam.

Islam is a religion. It is in you, in the heart and blood. It is all about systems to live accordingly -- how to adapt with manners, and submit to God at the same time. Appearance comes third or fourth or fifth or later or last, long after faith.

God creates human being with colours and He knows. The ability to perceive things also differ, so why some of these Ustaz feel so great about themselves, like they are sinless? And I wonder, what happened to all the teachings -- kind-hearted, soft spoken, good thought, and etcetera?

The reason why I have a cold relationship with most so-called Ustaz is simply because of the language they are using, the face they are wearing, and the rumours they are spreading, whenever they jump into conclusions and decisions -- and even their sons are condemning others who are in contrary with their opinions. Oh, I can see a burning fire inside their eyes!

I remember a story about a thief in the time of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A companion came upon him and complained about another companion who is in the habit of stealing.

The prophet did not angry, instead he asked the companion, "Does he pray?"

The companion replied, "He prays five times a day."

The prophet smiled. Then he said, "One day, the prayer will stop him from stealing."

And yes, later on, the thief companion stopped. Did the prophet asked the first companion to chop off the thief's hand? Did he used bad language? Or did he upset?

I agree that it is not wrong to call a pot, a pot, it just, again, I wonder, what happened to all the teachings -- kind-hearted, soft spoken, good thought, and etcetera?

For me, whispering is better than shouting. Condemning and humiliating make thing worse -- burning the bridge between good and evil.

Heaven and hell are not in the hands of human though. Punishment is God's. It is secret.

It is confidential.

Furthermore, life is short, I don't need to waste more energy to hate others by listening to something confusing and hurting. It is heart breaking to hear words from people that supposedly unite us.

We enter the paradise with God's permission and His bless, not on how hard we try to appear more Islamic than Tom and judging Jerry's fault. Be kind and nice and pleasing to people. Have you read the story about a prostitute and a dog, Juraij and his mother, and a saint who prayed for hundreds years from Israelite that turned astray?

Do not fall for the wrong depiction of Islam. There are so many people who are asking for a donation by selling Yassin-ated raisins out there.

Scorching Malaisie

Dear Mr. PM,

With all due respect, sir, I believe you have underestimated the gravity of the situation. There is no benefit for you to stay in charge anymore unless you think it is an honour to have someone peeing on your grave and talking shit about your premiership.

I meet a lot of people in every walks of life. Eventhough they live in different cultures and religions, eventhough they whine and thankful, all of them agree upon the idea of not having you as their leader.

Many of them despise you. A seven year old boy in school calls you by names.

The hatred is mounting. Respect has gone.

I have no idea why are your ministers keep saying contradict statements. From my humble opinion, it is either they are blind, or idiot, or plain stupid. People dislike you, sir. Hearing your name is a pain in the chest. Please meet and feel them.

They love their country. That is one of the reason they do not march on streets demanding your removal. They want a peaceful transition.

Water has a boiling point. I am afraid you have reached the limit.

Last night, I saw you on the news, smiling widely and waving hand like there was nothing happened.

Let's hope that your happiness is not deceived by cheats.

Or else your life is built on lies.

Terdetik untuk menulis kerana terpesona dengan betapa jelak hujah Keruak (bukan Jack Kerouac) yang begitu komited mempertahan. Barangkali, dia terlupa, betapa seekor anjing jika diperhias dengan emas permata bernilai 2.6 bilion, tetap juga berkejaran ke tempat sampah.

Ini tulisan berharum politik dari seorang yang tidak punyai cita-cita menakluk dunia.

Pada aku, aku memandang ia sebagai satu cerita berkenaan dengan sebuah keazaman dan kebenaran, bukan menjaga tenggorokan.

Seseorang yang berusia hampir satu abad -- kurang lebih satu dekad untuk seratus tahun -- mengemudi sebuah negara dunia ketiga sehingga mencapai pertumbuhan yang dramatik selama 22 tahun -- untuk menuduh beliau bercita-cita merampas takhta dan kembali memegang daulat, adalah sesuatu yang tidak masuk akal.

Sememangnya ia tidak masuk akal, walau aku sedaya-upaya mengiyakan kata-kata daripada hulubalang-hulubalang pemerintah dan pembenci.

Dan, bagi aku, untuk seseorang yang telah memiliki hampir segala-gala -- zuriat yang berjaya, harta yang tidak mungkin kehabisan, pasangan yang setia, kesihatan yang baik, fikiran yang masih cerdas -- ia sesuatu yang lazimnya akan kelihatan seperti sebentuk kedunguan yang maha besar untuk mempercayai bahawa ini semua adalah beragenda peribadi.

Bagi manusia bernama Mahathir Mohamad, ada perjuangan yang harus diteruskan. Di sebalik segala kemewahan dan kesenangan, beliau tidak terlumpuh untuk terus bersuara memuntahkan pandangan, buah fikiran, gagasan, idea, kritikan, teguran mahupun serangan. Beliau tidak sesekali terbuai hanyut leka dalam kenikmatan.

Beliau, adalah prinsip. Beliau peduli. Boleh jadi, terlampau peduli. Alif tetap dinyatakan Alif. Satu tetap dilaung satu. Jika yang hak itu pahit dan pedih, maka itulah yang harus ditelan dan diharung.

Bukan memukul di sekitaran semak, saling menyalak dan berdolak.

Segelintir kamu akan mentertawakan pernyataan aku. Pada kamu, "Ah, seorang lagi penyimpati si tua nyanyuk!"

Yah, mungkin benar, dan aku tidak berasa berdosa untuk mengakuinya. Bahkan, mungkin aku lebih berasa ternama!

Jika kita menelaah dan menelusuri sejarah, kita akan temui satu corak. Ia secara tidak langsung memudahkan kita meramal atau memprediksi apa yang bakal berlaku.

Sejarah memberitahu kita pengasas UMNO, Onn Jaafar menongkah arus meninggalkan parti yang didirikannya. Seperti satu kutukan dari takdir, setiap presiden UMNO secara peratusnya berakhir di luar parti.

Begitu juga dengan dua mantan perdana menteri, Tunku Abdurrahman dan Tun Hussein Onn.

Puncanya? Mahathir Mohamad -- lelaki yang sentiasa punyai misi dan visi yang bertentangan dengan ketajaman fikiran semua aristokrat yang memegang tampuk kekuasaan.

Sejarah, ia berulang. Kini Mahathir kelihatan sedang memijak di atas jalan yang sama -- kali ini, juga tidak menyetujui cara pimpinan dari golongan aristokrat. Mengikut-kan logikal akal, berdasar umur, masa untuk beliau untuk memeluk UMNO kembali sudah benar-benar mustahil.

Dan sekarang, warga emas ini sedang memimpin satu koalisi yang menghimpun (baca: tanpa sogokan!) hampir seluruh bekas penghina dan pencacinya! Nah, betapa dahsyat pengorbanan beliau lantaran memastikan negara di dalam aturan?!

Apa yang lelaki ini hasratkan? Mengapa semua harus dipacu dan disepakati mengikut kelulusan beliau? Di mana pejuang-pejuang agama, bangsa, dan negara yang lantang mahu membela? Mengapa tandus akal dan lesu tindakan? Adakah kerana bimbang kehilangan sumber kewangan untuk menjelas ansuran-ansuran bulanan?

Pada aku, aku memandang ia sebagai satu cerita berkenaan dengan sebuah keazaman dan kebenaran, bukan menjaga tenggorokan.

Yah, bagaimana kebenaran itu ditafsir? Apakah kebenaran itu terlalu sulit sehingga negara menjadi cagaran?

Dan bilamana berbicara perihal keazaman, hanya pahlawan sejati sahaja yang akan terus berjuang sehingga titisan darah terakhir. Pastinya, bukan seperti pahlawan Bugis yang berdegar-degar mengangkuh diri, sedang diri bergelumang tahi.

Bukan pahlawan-pahlawan yang merajakan wang tunai di dalam merayu ketaatan dan kesetiaan.

Bukan juga pahlawan-pahlawan yang menggadai jiwa demi kelenangan.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, di sebalik segala nesta dan cerca yang mereka cuba tanamsuburkan, aku tahu, di dalam darah mu tertanam cinta yang agung terhadap tanahair!

Yah, aku tahu, kerana aku juga cintakan Malaysia!

#CintaMalaysiaBukanNajib


You're a master of disguise when it comes to your feeling -- tuduh Si Perempuan, lagi.

Aku tersenyum-senyum. Bukan kali pertama aku di-label dengan sesuatu yang aku fikir aku bukan.

I don't want to be repetitive -- aku jawab, mengulang kembali pernyataan aku.

-- I take the blame for being so in love.

Ah! But you are killing yourself! -- Si Perempuan menuduh lagi. Dari suara-nya, aku andai-kan ada unsur ketidakpuasan hati dengan jawapan aku.

I survived anyway -- aku kata, mempertahan diri.

Si Perempuan mencebik. Barangkali sedang menahan kemarahan ekoran kekerasan aku terhadap anjuran-nya. Terlalu banyak karektor yang hidup dalam tubuh perempuan ini yang gagal aku tafsir.

-- No, you are not. You're lost. You're fucking lost!

Just give her a call! -- sambung Si Perempuan.

Hari semakin menggelap. Ada hawa-hawa air dalam udara. Ada tanda-tanda ribut akan menghentam bumi.

Ia satu hari yang banyak membuah fikiran. Kehidupan, cinta, hubungan, manusia, harta, sumpah-setia, sebenar-nya tidak pernah berjanji untuk memberi kebebasan.

Ah, kita semua terkial-kial mencari bahagia, sedang bahagia itu entah bagaimana.

**

Imbas dua jam sebelum itu.

Kami di dalam perjalanan entah ke mana. Hujung minggu, pusat membeli-belah bukan-lah pilihan yang terbaik untuk membunuh masa.

Aku buat keputusan untuk menghirup kopi di sebuah kafe di Bangsar -- bukan tempat hipster bercumbu, atau tempat budak-budak berpakaian corak tribal, atau tempat perempuan-perempuan tudung lilit-lilit bersuara lantang dan berseluar legging, atau tempat perkumpulan Yuna wannabe, mahupun tempat golongan-golongan yang bangga menayang telefon mahupun peranti pintar Samsung mereka kepada umum.

Ia bukan satu janji temu. Si Perempuan, berkaca mata gelap, sedang putus cinta. Dia mahu berjumpa, barangkali mengharap-kan aku bersedia memukul dia dengan kewarasan kehidupan.

You okay? -- aku memula-kan perbualan. Nikotin pertama aku nyala-kan dengan tertib sesudah satu tegukan kafein.

Said dah berhenti last time?! -- Si Perempuan jawab, tidak menepati soalan. Dia memuncung.

I was -- aku kata.

-- And I failed.

How are you? You serabut! -- aku tanya, pantas. Aku tidak mahu menjadi topik utama perbualan.

Huh-- I miss my boyfriend. My ex -- dia jawab, lemah. Ketika menyebut my ex, dia membuat gesture untuk inverted comma.

Aku diam, menunggu tumpahan perasaan seterus-nya. Mata Si Perempuan yang lesu bertentang dengan mata aku, tapi aku tahu, pandangan sebenar dia merentasi dimensi yang terpapar.

I bet he doesn't miss me -- Si Perempuan kata, perlahan dan berbau kecewa yang kuat. Dia sisip kopi latte dengan cuai. Ada kesan buih di birai bibir.

Aku hulur-kan tisu kepada-nya. Dia sambut, kesat dan hulur-kan kembali kepada aku.

Aku kehilangan kepintaran untuk menenang gelora. Benar, aku tidak mahu meminjam kebijaksanaan kata-kata orang lain untuk kelihatan bijaksana. Jadi-nya, aku mengunci lidah -- menunggu Si Perempuan menghurai kekusutan.

Sebetul-nya, aku juga terbidas dan terpukul dengan kenyataan dia.

How did you do it? -- tanya Si Perempuan, tiba-tiba ketika aku sedang menghirup minuman.

-- Buat apa?

-- Stop thinking about her.

Hampir saja kopi aku tersembur dari mulut. Muka aku kebas terbeku. Banyak ilham bohong yang berpusu-pusu menjengah di dalam kotak fikir -- sesak bertelagah mahu dipilih sebagai pilihan -- tetapi yang termuntah keluar dari gigi aku ada-lah: I don't stop. I just live.

**

I don't want to talk about myself -- aku kata. Nikotin aku tarik dengan dalam.

Si Perempuan pula membisu. Dia melepas nafas yang mengandung rungsing. Sekali lagi dia merenung mata aku.

You tak nak kahwin? -- soal Si Perempuan. Aku tersenyum. Membetul-kan posisi duduk, aku berdehem perlahan, melonggar-kan peti suara yang tersumbat. Kafe ini kecil, aku tidak mahu bunyi aku menjadi tumpuan.

I used to think about this. I even made up my mind. I even gave my little dowry -- aku jawab, seolah-olah berbisik.

-- I never be so certain about this until I met her.

But thing did not work out -- aku sambung.

Si Perempuan mengangguk.

I think semua yang berlaku ada hikmah -- aku kata, mencuri penyelesaian emak bilamana sesuatu yang dirancang berakhir dengan kegagalan.

Again, hikmah -- jawab Si Perempuan, menghembus keluhan. Mulut dia menjuih.

I believe in it now -- aku balas.

-- Belum sampai masa.

**

How's your ex? -- tanya Si Perempuan.

Soalan-soalan Si Perempuan semakin lama semakin menjurus ke arah peribadi. Entah mengapa, konversasi yang aku imagin-kan akan berkisar tentang dia, secara sedikit-sedikit berubah menjadi perihal aku.

Aku teragak-agak untuk memberikan balasan. Ada tembok besar menjadi penghadang jujur. Cuma senyum tawar mengganti-kan jawapan-jawapan serta reaksi-reaksi palsu aku.

You still miss her tak? -- tanya Si Perempuan lagi. Berpura-pura tidak dengar, aku biarkan soalan Si Perempuan meluru hilang bersama angin. Aku lemas dengan sikap interogatif seperti ini. Aku tahu, satu kesilapan dalam kata-kata aku bakal mengundang pedih yang kekal. Aku tak perlukan simpati, atau dorongan, atau pandangan-pandangan sayu terhadap susur hidup aku.

Menyala-kan sebatang lagi nikotin, aku kata -- I thought we are going to talk about you.

-- Ala~

Si Perempuan tersengih-sengih dengan tindakbalas aku, barangkali dia fikir dia sudah berjaya mencungkil apa yang dia mahu dari soalan-soalannya.

I don't know how to start -- dia kata.

Nikotin aku di-curi dan di-gantung di bibir-nya.

**

Si Perempuan betah memerinci setiap kenangan dia bersama bekas teman lelaki. Mendengar dengan tekun, aku sesekali mencelah dengan membina kesimpulan yang lucu dan er, lucah -- dengan harapan jenaka dapat melentur sedikit tekanan.

You tak jawab! -- marah Si Perempuan seketika kami secara tiba-tiba sahaja berhenti berbual. Kata orang tua-tua, ada malaikat lalu -- metafora yang aku gagal hubungkait-kan dengan tepat dan cermat berdasar ilmu pengetahuan aku.

Terkejut, aku tanya dia, selepas menghirup baki minuman -- About what?

-- Your ex, you miss her, don't you?

Aku senyum.

-- You still love her, kan?

Aku senyum.

See, you tak jawab! -- teriak Si Perempuan. Ada api dalam bola mata-nya.

-- You are good when advising me, tapi you sendiri?

Aku hidup-kan sebatang lagi nikotin. Asapnya aku hembus ke tepi.

Mine is different. And I don't want to be repetitive -- aku jawab.

It is perfect -- aku kata, sebelum sambung -- if it just stays in me.

**

I really think he's an asshole -- Si Perempuan luah setelah lelah bercerita panjang.

I really think you should not call him an asshole -- aku balas.

Kenapa you bela dia? -- marah Si Perempuan. Mata dia membulat. Keningnya bercantum.

No, I am not. Just look at you. Most probably, he's happy now. You? Asshole tak happy -- aku jawab.

-- Just take it and leave it. Live it. Easier said than done, but maybe you should take it as macam menstrual pain. Sooner or later, the pain goes, and you akan kembali segar.

It just a phase. A period -- aku sambung.

Are you okay now? -- tanya Si Perempuan.

-- Aren't you?

**

I don't mind if you balik dengan dia. I don't see any problem -- aku kata bilamana Si Perempuan berteka-teki dengan pilihan keputusannya.

But things tak akan sama lagi! -- Si Perempuan jawab, laju.

No, the bond will be stronger! -- aku balas, juga laju.

-- Yes, offcourse la it's different, but, it is better!

What if it turns otherwise? -- tanya Si Perempuan. Kening-nya sedikit terangkat.

Then it means both of you are not meant together -- aku jawab.

-- But it worth trying. Love is not like seating for exam. You tak ada jawapan untuk rasa-rasa yang berdengung dalam hati you.

-- Dan hidup ni singkat sangat untuk you tak try dapatkan apa yang you betul-betul mahu.

**

Masa bergerak pantas. Kami tidak lagi terfokus untuk membicara-kan kesedihan kami, maksud aku, berkenaan dengan kegagalan dalam hubungan. Si Perempuan, walaupun kelihatan sugul, masih menawan bilamana melempar senyum.

Aku pernah, secara berseloroh, beritahu dia yang aku mahu jadi-kan dia sebagai teman wanita. Ketika itu aku masih ber-angka 2 di depan.

Aku meminta izin untuk menunai-kan solat Asar. Ada masjid berdekatan, berjarak satu balingan batu, dan aku keberatan untuk meninggalkan Si Perempuan sendirian.

Pray for me -- kata Si Perempuan.

-- I will.

**

You are hypocrite! -- Si Perempuan tuduh.

Why? -- aku tanya. Si Perempuan kelihatan begitu selesa menembak ketenangan aku.

-- You said I should try for one more time. You love her but you tak kejar dia. You tak beritahu dia how much you love her, how much you need her!

You should call her! -- marah Si Perempuan. Dia menghentak telefon bimbitnya ke atas meja.

I am not. Sorry. I believe love goes by destiny. For me, as a typical Malay guy as I am, heh, I'd rather be dying than merayu. If she is my jodoh, my other half, then she is. I'm not searching for a substitute lagi pun -- aku terang.

-- But you should call her! Tell her! You love her, don't you?!

Call her, call her, call her! -- Si Perempuan berkeras, menghentak-hentak telefon bimbit ke atas meja, lagaknya seperti watak Begbie dalam Trainspotting.

-- I can't. I just can't.

Why?! -- Tanya Si Perempuan.

-- Because she's not.

The Minus Side of Positivity

When you drive, put your mind on the road, do not texting, slow down the stereo, beware of what is coming from front and behind, be careful with pedestrians.

I might be crossing.

The Watch for You to Stay in Time

It was Sunday -- a lazy day. There was no one at home.

The smell of curry invaded the street. Lately, the spice was getting thicker. It must be coming from my Indian neighbor, I thought.

I heard barking from stray dogs. Lately, the howl was getting louder. They must be having a party or feasting, I thought.

The sunrise illuminated my room with its lustrous radiant. Lately, I enjoyed my room to be showered with light. It was a good way to start a day, I thought.

I was on the bed, still. Lately, I spent more time on my bed. I must be tired, I thought.

Then, I woke up. I went to the window and looked at the street. Then, I felt sad, very sad.

There was a big hole inside my heart. It was deep and I slipped in it. This time, I couldn't relate myself. There was a vast hollow on my thought and it sunk me.

O dear. Would you lend me yours?

“Wah, pasang jambang? Misai pun?”

Sometimes, silence explains better than words itself.

Aku hanya senyum. Ya lah, bak satira Harith Iskandar, selain stating the obvious, apa lagi yang Melayu pandai?

Berada di atas kerusi di sebuah restoran separa eksklusif di ibukota, dikelilingi kumpulan teman yang sudah lama di-anaktiri, mungkin bukan dalam kawalan kewarasan aku. Banyak perkara tertinggal, banyak peristiwa perlu disingkap, banyak kenangan yang perlu digali -- hampir semuanya tidak berlabel, bertabur berciciran, dan tidak tersusun rapi di dalam laci memori -- aku jadi ralat mengatur kata, cerita, dan reaksi, semata-mata atas satu niat murni; courtesy.

Tindakan mengambil sikap untuk memencil diri, prejudis, buruk sangka, dan tidak peduli terhadap kelompok orang lain yang berlainan arah dan tujuan -- arrogance dan ignorance -- akhir-nya telah memakan diri sendiri.

Bot-bot mereka telah berlayar jauh. Sejauh ini. Sejauh ini (depa-kan tangan).

A sudah hampir sepuluh tahun berumah-tangga, B sudah punyai anak yang menginjak alam pra-persekolahan, C sekarang hanya perlu memberi arahan, D baru sahaja menimang cahaya mata ketiga, E, heh, masih kekal berseloroh tentang kehebatan sistem pacuan kenderaannya.

Hanya aku yang masih terkial-kial, berkira-kira mahu membuat satu lompatan nun di pesisiran pantai.

“Buku macam mana? Kau menulis, kan?” tanya D memecah mood, selepas sesi hey-apa-khabar-lama-tak-jumpa-what’s-up? -- sesi menyelindung kepura-puraan -- antara kami berenam.

Gugup dan agak keliru, dan mungkin tampak sedikit teragak-agak, aku jawab soalan dengan soalan, “Buku? Random gila! Buku apa?”

B, yang sedang enak mengunyah kentang goreng menyampuk, “Ha'ah, mana buku kau?” tanpa mempamer sebarang riak terkejut.

A, C, dan E masing-masing memaku mata pada aku. Aku tiba-tiba jadi lemas; darah membuak-buak menyerbu daerah muka.

Aku benci menjadi subjek dalam perbualan apabila tidak berada di zon selamat aku.

“Merepek lah. Siapa kata aku tulis buku?” aku tepis, mempertahan-kan diri, dan cuba berlagak bersahaja. Kopi panas disisip perlahan, sedang otak aku cuba memintas apa yang sedang mereka fikirkan. Atau rancang.

Binatang! What the hell is going on?!

“Come on. Kau kan suka menulis? Takkan tak ada blog?” D menembak aku lagi. Matanya liar cuba mencari mata aku. Aku tidak pasti entah sejak bila D mengambil tahu hal kewujudan aku.

Tidak puas hati, aku balas, “Bullshit! Mana ada aku blogging?” dalam nada paling naïf dan mungkin berbaur sedikit ugutan.

Tiada siapa yang tahu aku menulis. Er, hanya 5 orang yang aku beritahu, itupun sebab aku tahu they are not going to read them. Dan 5 orang itupun, aku klasifikasikan sebagai teman rapat, dan tiada langsung perkaitan dengan kelima-lima mereka.

Dan set-set teman libur seperti ini, there’s no way of telling them. No fucking way.

No, not them.

“Apa nama blog kau?” tanya A tiba-tiba sambil tersenyum mengeluarkan Iphone-nya. “Aku dengar kau ada followers?”

“The fuck? Apsal korang ni?” aku meluah kata-kata yang terpendam di dalamnya sebuah ketidakselesaan. Ada peluh sejuk merecik keluar.

“Letak la gambar. Sure ada sangkut. Kau pun single lagi! Dah umur dah!” D bersuara, sambil diiyakan oleh A. E kekal memerhati aku dengan senyum misteri.

“Jangan letak gambar C sudah!” D menyambung lagi seperti menahan satu kelakar yang tak terluah. Setiap perkataan yang keluar dari mulut D membuatkan suasana menjadi tegang dalam diri aku.

“Fuck you lah!” aku balas, tegas. Aku hidupkan tembakau bercengkih aku.

To my surprise, mereka berhamburan ketawa. Oh my god, what crack they are on? Kenapa aku berada di zoo ini?

Didesak dari kiri kanan, dengan D mengetuai serangan provokatif, aku kata lagi, bercampur sedikit ketegasan dan kemeluatan, dengan harapan dapat melonggarkan keingin-tahuan mereka dan membunuh topik: “I DON’T FUCKING BLOGGING!”

Ia berhasil, dan konversasi kembali memburu tajuk normal -- perkahwinan, perempuan, buah dada, tetek, bontot, politik, Najib, dan bagaimana cara-cara menggandakan wang di dalam saku dengan kaedah paling menguntungkan.

Duh.

Aku mengharung malam dalam rasukan keanehan suasana membencikan -- cubaan memalsu kemesraan untuk menjadi lebih bertanggungjawab, lebih pop, lebih dewasa, tidak judgmental, atau sarkastik dan sinis, semakin kalut dan berkecamuk dalam diri yang bukan diri. Celaka, aku terpaksa tipu-tipu ketawa dengan lawak jenaka mereka!

Banyak ketika, aku terasa seperti mahu muntah dengan tahap 'kesucian' dan rentak lengguk perbualan mereka. Banyak ketika, aku berasa kepintaran aku terhina dengan idea, gagasan dan pandangan mereka tentang erti sebentuk kehidupan. Banyak ketika, aku menahan diri dari tergiur mencetus konfrontasi.

Ada sesuatu yang menyekat kerongkong aku daripada berbijaksana meluncur keluar patah-patah kata dengan gembira.

Gambaran mudahnya, ia lebih teruk dari menyedut 8 syot submarine sekaligus.

Ya, atas nama; courtesy.

Apa pun, perjumpaan ini buat aku sedar, aku tidak perlu belayar sejauh mereka. Untuk aku terbius dalam kehuruharaan pencarian harta adalah sesuatu yang bakal membawa malapetaka kepada hidup aku kerana pada pandangan aku, sebuah kebebasan jiwa itu lebih bermakna daripada terjerumus ke dalam kemahuan kebebasan berkewangan yang pastinya penuh dengan kos -- helah, pedaya, jerat, dan perangkap.

Ketika semua bersalaman mahu pulang ke kandang masing-masing, aku sempat bisikkan di telinga D, “Picasso doesn’t really write. No wonder we see things differently,” dan aku palingkan satu senyum dan kenyitan rindu penuh makna.

Sepanjang jalan pulang, hati aku puas berkeras mengkhianati apa yang aku mahu percaya: “He didn’t buy it. He didn’t buy it.”

Whistling and Blowing

Again, it's Sunday, and I have no plan of going out.

I conjure myself to have a little walk -- a wisdom walk -- a moment to reconcile things inside my head.

The sky looks so bright. The weather looks so bright. The breeze feels so right.

Everyone I meet greets me in delight.

I keep on walking and walking -- entertaining the random thoughts that crossing -- until I finally realize:
The dogs stop barking. The streets stop honking. The wind stops breathing. The cooking stops smelling. The people stop rushing.

Everything seems smiling. Everything seems welcoming.  Everything seems loving. Everything seems glowing.

Everything seems resembling.

I light up my tobacco. I don't give a damn about the freaking warning. I don't give a shit about the threatening. Or global warming. Or whatsoever hell that coming.

Perhaps, I, too, should stop the missing. Perhaps, I, too, should halt the chasing.

Perhaps, I, too, should quit the pretending.

Perhaps, I, too, should give up the searching.

I walk home. I take the shortest way.

I guess, I should not be wandering wildly in the morning.

Suddenly, I hear loud yellings. They come from the birds -- the same birds who always remind me of something.

I shake my head. I wonder why the birds stay at the same place, when they can fly freely anywhere on earth. And why are they keep chirping, singing, and harassing.

Then I ask myself the same question.

Of all the reasons I find, I say, "I wish you too, were remembering."

That, is not just a fucking sweet talking.

Where's my elf on the shelf? Where's my mind to mind? What if my solace lies in disgrace?

I heard intense yellings from mocking birds. My nose caught smells of roasting coffee beans.

Even so, still, my body was nailed to the bed peacefully.

Then suddenly, I felt burnt.

Something had bitten my cheek. 

I woke myself up. The trunk of sunlight was beating me right on my face. Seeking refuge, I moved on to the edge of my bedframe, paused my brain from adrift, sat on it, and I lit up a cigarette.

I smoked like it was my last butt.

Indeed, it was never my last butt.

There was a weird feeling immersed. It felt like I just come out from a coffin, or trapped in a confined space, or held in a box. The word claustrophobia crossed my mind for several times.

I coughed. I did not finish the rolled nicotine. It tasted like depression.

I rose up, and I stretched up my tight muscles. Then I went to the window. I looked outside randomly for any strange thing on the street, but, there was nothing oblivious that could capture my wild imagination.

Then, I realized. I did it for almost everyday. It was routine behaviour. It was like I am waiting for something to take control, to devastate, to break, to dictate. Perhaps it became some kind of a ritual -- we do something on regular basis for the rest of our life without having an apparent purpose for doing it.

Maybe I was scared of the unknown. Well, fear makes people either smarter, or dumber.

My heart insisted that I was the first option.

"It's Thursday, Thursday's people," I murmured as I drew myself back to the bed.

Indeed, it was the last time I wished I ever said that.

I hummed a song by Padi. Then I stopped at its bridge. I closed my eyes and let loose my rusted intellectual faculty from unnecessary thoughts.

My heart was full and heavy. I whiled away the time by faking the recovery, by lies, by hopes, by prayers, but the truth was, in every breathe I took, I went deeper and deeper in painful memories.

I pulled the blanket and I dived in it. Only God knew how much love had been wasted. The weight of my words, her words, his words, our words, their words, were left unlifted in my head.

I felt truly ugly and stink. And abandoned. I felt like unattended washroom.

I felt useless.

The blue smokes from the unfinished cigarette in the ashtray, curled and lingered around in my room, and they slowly subsided, along with the yells of mocking birds, and with a bottle grasped in my left hand, it seemed a perfect way to end a miserable day, if I ever had one more shot, to kick in all over again.

It all started when our hands touched each other.

Do you remember how our heart beat and resonated at the same frequency? Do you remember how the rush of blood flooded our faces? Do you remember how the warmth tickled beneath our skins?

Do you remember how beautiful the butterfly danced in our stomach?

Do you remember the smiles, the giggles, the high on feeling, the off of ground, the night calls, the flying world, the upside down, the kisses, the stories, the us, the favorite writer, the book we planned to collaborate, the coffee and cake, the insanity, and all the the we used to share?

It all started when our hands touched each other.

I'm not bugged by the promises we made and had. Promises meant to be broken. People pledge stupid things when they are in love.

I'm not disturbed by the failure of our story too. Failure means I'm all aware what success is all about.

Success is not always sweet. Sometimes, things have to be broken to engage at its perfect place.

It all started when our hands touched each other.

And just like everything in life, it ended when you stopped believing.

Do we really stop?

If one day, we discover that our hearts are still attached to each other -- embedded in very fine particle in us, in very secretive form -- would we be brave enough to say it out loud?

Let say, if we keep it and lock it inside the deepest place in our heart, would we walk the days in freedom? Or would we prefer to breathe in slavery?

Let say, what if, it is real? If it is not real, then why in the world we are still missing us? Why are we crossing our minds so often?

Why are you reading me? And now, why are you angry?

Lying is easy. To continuously living in the lie, is a complete disaster.

"Tak ada orang cinta sama Bos ya?" tanya Wak Juri ketika menyenduk nasi ke dalam pinggan. Aku langsung tidak terkejut dengan soalan dia, sebalik-nya aku lebih terganggu dengan jumlah kuantiti makanan yang dia kaut dan bakal habis-kan.

"Biar betul, Wak?" aku kata, hampir terbeliak melihat bukit nasi di dalam pinggan.

"Iya la Bos, tak ada orang yang cinta sama Bos?" tanya Wak Juri lagi. Wajahnya seolah-olah berseringai melihat hidangan yang terhidang.

"Banyak tu Wak!" aku tegur.

"Terus, mengapa belum kahwin?"

"Larat tak tu, Wak?"

Wak Juri memilih lantai yang selesa untuk dia bersila menikmati hidangan-nya. Dia menyapu-nyapu kotor dan menepuk-nepuk debu dengan tangan kiri, sementara tangan kanannya kemas menopang pinggan. Kali ini, kedudukan dia menghadap setentang -- tidak lagi membelakangi aku.

"Terus, mengapa Bos?" soal Wak Juri lagi, mengulang dalam lengguk Indonesia yang pekat. Mata dia terkebil-kebil menanti jawapan aku, sedang mulut dia kini penuh dengan kunyahan suapan pertama.

Aku hanya senyum. Aku biar-kan pertanyaan Wak Juri meng-hapus sambil aku mencuri masa mengamati susuk Wak Juri dengan lebih terperinci -- raut wajah yang kelelahan, kulit yang kasar, urat-urat yang tersembul keluar, rambut yang masai dengan habuk, kuku yang serpih-serpih. Umur-nya hanya sepuluh tahun di depan aku, beban dan norma kerja telah menjadi-kan dia kelihatan lebih tua dan berusia.

"Kenapa Bos?" Wak Juri bersuara, "Mengapa masih bujang?"

Wak Juri, sambil-sambil menyuap, seperti tidak pernah mahu berputus asa. Ketidakpedulian aku dengan persoalan yang dilontar, diingkari dengan pengulangan yang bertubi-tubi yang membosankan. Sejak hari pertama memula-kan kerja, dia asyik menembak aku dengan persoalan yang sama, setidak-tidak mirip ke arah itu. Jawapan yang aku anjur minggu sudah, nampak gaya gagal memuas hati-nya.

"Perlu ke saya kahwin, Wak?" aku tanya, setelah pandangan Wak Juri menghiris tajam ketidakhirauan aku.

"Bos tak punya teman perempuan?" Wak Juri menjawab soalan aku dengan soalan. Ada senyum lebar keluar dari muka-nya. Mungkin dalam kiraannya, dia berjaya juga membuat aku meluah jawapan.

"Atau bos yang tak dapat melupa-kan yang dulu?" teka Wak Juri lagi. Dia mengunyah dengan lahap.

Makin lama makin ada rasa terbeban yang timbul kesan dorongan persoalan Wak Juri. Mata aku cuba membaca apa ketersiratan maksud yang cuba di-cungkil keluar dari bahasa tubuh dan sengih sinis Wak Juri.

Untuk seorang yang asing -- hanya berputik kenal selama dua minggu -- ber-laku terlalu jujur adalah kesalahan yang aku selalu elak-kan. Oh, tentang peribadi, ia ada-lah perkara yang terakhir untuk aku kongsi-kan.

**

"Mustahil Bos!" jerit Wak Juri, "Mustahil!"

"Saya tak percaya, Bos!" sambung Wak Juri.

Pinggan yang menimbun sebentar tadi sudah melicin. Wak Juri mengetuk-mengetuk jari ke pinggan dan menjilat-jilat alur-alur jari-nya. Dia benar-benar menikmati makanan yang di-saji.

"Saya tak percaya, Bos. Betul saya tak percaya!"

Wak Juri bangkit dan bergegas ke pili air. Cara dia berjalan seolah-olah terpijak paku. Dia ada mengata-kan sesuatu, tetapi telinga aku tidak begitu tangkas menangkap pelat-nya yang meluncur laju.

"Betul, Wak. Saya lelaki yang pegang kata-kata saya!" aku kata.

**

"Macam mana ini, Bos. Nanti sudah empat puluh, masih sorang-sorang. Boleh gila, Bos!" bebel Wak Juri. Dia merenung dalam-dalam mata aku, macam cuba menghurai kusut-ribut yang tak sepatut-nya dia terlibat. Hidung-nya kembang-kempis dengan asap beraroma cengkih yang bergulung-gulung keluar.

"Saya okay lah, Wak. Ini semua rancangan Tuhan, Wak. Saya cuma jalan-kan saja," aku kata. Aku lempar-kan senyum.

"Iya Bos. Betul, Bos. Saya tahu. Ini semua Tuhan punya kuasa. Saya cuma pelik sama Bos. Mana mungkin tak ada perempuan yang mahu sama bos. Gila betul."

**

Kerja-kerja pengubahsuaian sudah berada di peringkat akhir. Ada nafas berat yang telah beransur keluar, tapi kini berganti pula dengan kapasiti debar-gusar yang dahsyat-nya buat aku tidak dapat nyenyak dengan sempurna.

Carpé diém! Ah, Insya-Allah, Insya-Allah!

Untuk Wak Juri, perkenalan singkat ini buat aku celik tentang dunia yang berbeza. Kita be-reaksi dan bertindakbalas dengan hal-hal yang berlaku, mengikut bagaimana jalan pemikiran kita di-besar-kan. Sesuatu yang besar untuk seseorang, barangkali hanya hal yang enteng dan remeh untuk seseorang yang lain. Vice-versa.

Dan seperti orang banyak, kesibukan dan kerja hanya-lah satu alasan untuk terus terapung dari terlalu memikiri hal-hal yang sebenarnya meracik hati.

Budi, Assan, Anto, dan Sayang, terima kasih. Aku tahu, suatu masa nanti, kalian pasti kangen sama keletah dan cerewet aku!

Serta makan besar kita!

Terima kasih!

Menemani teman lama -- kini bergelar penolong pengurus ladang di negeri di bawah bayu -- bertukar-tukar pengalaman dan bersiar-siar di celahan hiruk-pikuk Kota Durjana, membangkit-kan, mengejut-kan, dan menyedar-kan aku tentang sesuatu yang tertinggal.

I am not even making a single effort to hook up with a girl.

Dengan hampir kesemua kelompok sosial kini telah sibuk menukar lampin dan bangga mempamer komitmen ke sana sini, teman lama, MS, tidak mahu terkebelakang dalam perlumbaan. Ditanya bila-kah masa dia akan datang, dia menjawab, dalam telo Kelantan yang pekat, “Tok lamo doh! Tok lamo doh. Démo?”

Sarkastik seperti selalu, aku usik dia, “Gillo! Naté apo nikoh! Bayar mahal-mahal gelli dengé soré jah!”

MS, berbadan besar, berat tubuhnya menjangkau 100kg atau mungkin lebih, optimis dengan caturannya. Turutnya, kehidupan yang sedang dia lalui ketika ini walaupun miliki kemewahan, seperti tidak cukup lengkap, dan egonya memanggil-manggil untuk punyai permaisuri di sisi -- yang diandaikan-nya mampu mengisi ruang kosong -- berkongsi dan mengimbangi rasa pada saat-saat bahagia dan huru-hara.

“Masaaloh-nyo, buké takdok oghé nok, tapi gak, ho, rama pulok hok dok kenné (kenan) dengé pilihé aku!” kata MS semasa menunggu hidangan makan malam. Oleh kerana suasana agak hingar, aku berusaha tangkap setiap butir cakapnya dengan berhati-hati.

“Sebab?” aku tanya, cuba-cuba memahami apa yang menahan kemahuannya. Atas sebab-sebab tertentu, aku selalu menjadi medan luahan bila jiwa ralat dengan emosi.

“Oghé-oghé tuo lah. Saing-saing lagi. Macé-macé hok dok keno-nyo!” luah MS sambil menghambur asap nikotin ke langit. Pandangan MS seperti mengandung seribu kesal.

“Apa yang tak kena-nya?” aku tanya MS lagi. Kali ini, aku pula yang membalas hamburan asap ke langit.

“Dio oghé Saboh. Mung tahu la, mentaliti oghé sano, dok serupo oghé semenanjung—” jawab MS, berhenti sejenak untuk menyedut nikotin, dan sambung, “Budayo lagi. Jadi-nyo, mendo-mendo gini la jadi buak masaaloh-nyo!”

“Problemo, problemo!” rungut MS lagi. Mata-nya meninjau reaksi aku. Di seberang meja, ada orang buta menjaja tisu simpati, dikemudi oleh entah siapa, yang mahu turut sama menumpang rezeki.

Tidak mahu dituduh banyak tanya, walau aku masih kurang pasti apa yang merumit-kan tentang menjadi Sabahan, aku mendengus panjang. MS menunggu cadangan aku dengan puntung nikotin tergantung dibibir.

“Aku rasa mu tak payah kisah pasal apa orang lain kata lah,” aku mula membuka mulut setelah perasan ada sunyi menyelinap antara kami.

“Apa yang orang-orang kata tu, sebab untuk memenuhi ciri-ciri orang-orang tu, bukan sebab perempuan tu tak memenuhi ciri-ciri mu.”

“Aku rasa, orang-orang tu tak kenal pun perempuan tu macam mu kenal, tapi buat andaian-andaian yang buat mu fikir bukan-bukan. Tak kan mu nak give up sebab perempuan tu tak memenuhi kriteria orang-orang lain?”

“Contoh, macam baju mu paling suka pakai, aku mungkin kata tak sesuai, tak lawa, sebab citarasa aku lain. Tapi mu kata cantik, kemas, sebab kena dengan taste mu. Tak kan mu nak buang baju ni and pakai baju aku suka semata-mata nak puas-kan hati aku?”

“Mu hok nok nikoh, buké oghé laing!”

MS diam sejenak. Aku pula, meneguk minuman, dan berharap yang aku meneka perkara yang betul, dan difaham dengan betul.

“Tapi oghé-oghé ni betul jugok. Aku buleh napok, aku buleh napok—” balas MS dengan sayu sambil mengangguk-angguk. Apa yang disaksi dengan jelas oleh MS di dalam minda-nya aku kurang pasti, yang nyata-nya, aku tahu ia sesuatu yang berkuasa dan berkesan -- memuktamadkan keputusannya.

“Mu laing, mu mémé laing—” kata MS lagi, menembak terus perasaan ingin tahu aku.

Selesai menikmati makanan dengan lahap, aku bawa MS meronda-ronda dengan kereta buruk aku. Dalam perjalanan, MS tiba-tiba mencuit peha aku sambil tersengih-sengih.

“Cari aku cikgu, aku beri komisyen seribu!”

Sebelum menghantar pulang, aku menemani MS untuk satu sesi khas minuman genius berserta B2B, er, bukan, maksud aku urutan refleksologi, heh, dengan harap, dia dapat meringan-kan dan melonggar-kan sedikit urat-urat kusut, tegang, dan kejung, yang lama berlingkar mencengkam kewarasan-nya.

Yang sebenar, ada sedikit niat nakal tersirat -- MS pulang ke Sabah minggu ini dengan senyum simpul yang tak terlekang dari bibir, atau sekurang-kurangnya, sempat teringat-kan aku, ketika mana dia menggeleng-gelengkan kepalanya mengenang, “Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur...”

The Absence of Heartbeat and Breathing

One day, when you drive, or walk, or wait, or bath, or read, or eat, or do nothing, then you hear a song, or a voice, or a sound, or a whisper, it is so powerful, and without your consent, it makes your heart grieves in despair -- melancholy, sad, sombre, broken, and desolate.

There are invisible tears in your eyelids. You hold them with care -- you want to stop them from running down.

You know it is wrong. You know it is wrong to have that kind of feeling. You know you should not be having that feeling. But you are just too tired to ignore the message anymore.

That day, that moment, that precise second, you come to realize, you are missing someone so dearly and so desperately -- the fact you hate to embrace.

Someone who once means the world (and most probably still is).

One Day of Yesterday(s)

Setelah lebih satu tahun tidak menjejak kaki di HRC, atas ajakan LA dan pelawaan Perempuan Eurasian, aku luang-kan masa beriadah dengan teman-teman-dahulunya-rapat-dan-mesra (TeDaRaMes). Salah-kan takdir hitam yang selalu mencuri ruang untuk perselisihan dan pertelagahan mempertahan sifat egosentrik -- perkara yang selalu menghancur-kan keharmonian sesebuah kontrak hubungan sosial.

Untuk berlagak normal dan tidak terbawa-bawa dalam situasi janggal dan kekok, bukan-lah kemahiran utama aku. Jadi-nya, untuk permainan selamat, dan mengelak-kan tercetusnya kecelakaan, aku usaha-kan diri aku untuk telan kepahitan-kepahitan masa lampau dengan pukulan-pukulan eskapisme -- cuba mengusir keluar elemen-elemen prasangka serta cas-cas negatif malapetaka, dan humban jauh-jauh sentimen-sentimen yang kurang menyenangkan dan tidak membantu menjernih-kan.

Dalam kata lain, aku harus berada dalam ekstra kawalan, atau paling pun tidak, sekurang-kurang mabuk empat tiang.

Ia tidak berlaku. Mereka bagus dan tidak seprejudis aku barangkali. Life is short and our days are numbered, bukan? Make it grand, make it worth, make it wise. Macam pepatah Inggeris kata, let bygones and be bygones. Hirup udara baru. Pesan LA, "We are adults, we are grown up, so act like one!"

Hujung minggu dalam atmosfera HRC -- yang sememangnya aku tahu ketandusan gadis-gadis muda, menggiurkan, dan hingusan -- penuh dengan perempuan tua (28 tahun hingga 35 tahun) dan nenek-nenek dahaga hiburan (36 tahun ke atas). Semua kelihatan bertenaga, energetik, dan sensual -- memperaga-kan tubuh dalam bungkusan pakaian yang merayu perhatian dan godaan dari jantan-jantan libertin.

Perempuan-perempuan tua dengan sex-appeal ini, tilik aku, seperti membawa satu label bayangan di dahi mereka, "Nice to see, nice to hold, once broken, considered sold," -- macam pantun peringatan yang banyak tertulis di kedai-kedai cenderamata.

Memerhati mereka seperti bersetuju untuk gelengan kepala. Aku tak mahu membeli beg yang penuh dengan isi.

Dari ruang interior, set pentas hingga-lah penjaga tandas yang menjual gula-gula dan getah kunyah, tiada apa yang berubah, HRC kekal statik dan monotonus. Mungkin hanya untuk golongan glamorus dan geraskofobia.

Wahyu, vokalis band yang sedang beraksi, duduk sebelah aku setelah dipanggil oleh Brother Edi. Lahir di Thailand dan membesar di Indonesia, dia kelihatan begitu teruja bila aku sebut band Burgerkill dan Naif. Antara dengar dan tidak, aku cuba menangkap kata-kata yang keluar dari mulut dia.

LA menguis kaki aku bila konversasi aku jadi panjang dengan Wahyu. Dia kata, "Ha, kacip dah tu!" Apa-apapun, aku jadi jijik bila Wahyu meneguk minuman kami terus dari botol -- aksi yang aku kira sangat-sangat menjengkelkan.

He got laid, then.

Ada beberapa perkara yang buat aku tersenyum sendiri ketika merempuh jalan pulang. Bila difikir-fikir, satu masa akan datang nanti, aku akan kembali duduk sendiri, atau, jika dalam keadaan yang lebih baik -- seperti masih bersama dengan set kumpulan teman-teman ini menyorot semula detik-detik yang telah berlalu itu -- dan jika takdir tidak merampas atau memporak-perandakan masa akan datang itu nanti, aku akan kata, dalam nada yang paling mengenangkan, dan dalam senyum kesipuan dan kerinduan, "Those were the days."

Bila sahaja detik masa itu menjengah nanti, mereka semua sedang sibuk mengurus lampin dan merungut tentang harga susu formula.