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Avatar Aftermath: Mission Pandora (Intro Chapter)

Ten hours to go before launch time and as always I am feeling my usual pre-op jitters. But this time it is not about nerves or worry over the trivial. This time it is bigger then most, bigger than the usual mere missions of UN peace keeping operations.

To keep myself together, I try to busy myself with the details, technical pre-op briefs and seeing to the men and women under my command. Fussing over the equipment and armaments, the logistics tail of an interstellar military operation.

I even donned mechanic's overalls and tinkered with my 'Henny'. My AMP II Heinlein Class Titan-suit. Nice to have some physical exercise before the long sleep for the journey ahead.

My 'Henny' is already stowed within the massive double hulls of the interstellar assault carrier UNSV Hera. Joining other Titans of the United Nations Armed Forces (UNAF) 33rd Mobile Armor Battalion which forms the teeth and vanguard of the Pandora Expeditionary Force (PEF)

The newest and deadliest design of the Amplified Mobility Platform (AMP) technology, the Titan was specifically designed for hazardous duty in the unforgiving environs of that far off Alpha Centauri moon.

Bigger, badder and more heavily armed and armored than any military grade AMPs ever. It is the deadliest weapon in the United Nation's(UN) arsenal.

A personification of the Mobile Infantry powered armour, envisioned by Robert A Heinlein for his 'Starship Troopers', earning it the nickname of 'Henny', short for Heinlein's Titan.

There are scarcely a hundred of these deadly robotic behemoths, their construction nearly depleting Earth's remaining Unobtanium supply. Or at the very least, pushing it to near critical levels.

But the need is great and what is at stake is nothing short of the very survival of our species. Humanity itself is at stake. That is why the UN commissioned the PEF.

Our mission, is to retake Pandora.

Pandora...

The moon of legend, the heart to humanity's survival and the birthplace for Earth's struggling recovery effort. The only source in the known universe of the miracle ore, Unobtanium.

Once...

Now it is a hotbed of rebellion. Seat to an uprising by feral natives and a collection of traitor humans. Humans who have forgotten their place and betrayed our species. Those who have 'gone native' and took up arms against humanity's cradle.

It once took six years to travel to Pandora, but we shall get there faster. A new development in Quad-Dimensional Physics have seen the creation of Humanity's first hyper-dimensional drive. Engines that use streams of quasi-dimensional antimatter particles to accelerate to nearly triple the speed of old interstellar engines.

Instead of six, we will get to Pandora in one and a half years... or less. What a shock we shall be to the rebels!

But even one year doesn't seem fast enough. Earth and humanity may only last a decade at most, without new supplies of Unobtanium from Pandora.

The gigantic orbital ark-freighters which houses Earth's surviving forests and the Noah Class zoological ships keeping safe every species of fauna we have managed to save will cease to function.

The massive atmosphere re-claimers will shutdown and Earth's healing process will stop. No more ice shipped from off world to refill once blue oceans. No more explorations of other planets to find new homes for humanity as Earth is allowed to heal.

All for want of Unobtanium... and the selfish wants of feral natives and the ungrateful humans who aids them.

It would usually also take six years for news from Pandora to reach Earth as well, whenever one of RDA's massive commercial vessels make port. But the news of the rebellion in Pandora arrived about two years ago.

Desperate to convey the news of the uprising, the loyal survivors of RDA's mining operations on that far off moon, sacrificed the fuel in their ship's fuel cells and used it to transmit a massive burst of coded sub-space signal to Earth informing of the events on Pandora.

That selfless action was done under emergency executive order by RDA Administrator Parker Selfridge, whilst the ISV Venture Star was en-route to Earth after being evicted from Pandora by the insurgents.

Needless to say the interstellar ship did not survive the ordeal, it's fuel depleted, the ship, it's crew and passengers float lifeless in space. Such sacrifice by humanity's heroes... they will never be forgotten.

Neither would we forget those who betrayed the human race. We... the tooth and claws of the PEF are the just and righteous wrath that shall avenge that betrayal.

It took two years to fast track the Titans and to organize the PEF. But now we are ready. A full third of the expeditionary force will be shuttled to Pandora within the cavernous interior of the UNSV Hera.

Four smaller Pegasus assault landing crafts are piggy backed to the Hera. The largest and most heavily armed combat transport designed for planetfall operations. These will be the workhorse of the PEF. While the Hera maintains orbital beach head and provide fire support and coordination.

The UN Space Vessel (UNSV) Hera is the first in a new class of interstellar assault carriers. The latest in planetary assault technology and equipped with the necessary tools to retake the mining colony or deny Pandora to our enemies.

Bristling with weapon mounts for guns and cannons as well as armament pods for torpedoes, rockets and missiles, the Hera is capable of space to space as well as orbit to surface action.

Not to mention a full third of the PEF complement comprising of aerospace fighters, combat transports, gunships, Dragon II combat command crafts, assorted combat vehicles, ground pounding infantry in tactical armour and not to forget, the 'Hennys'.

In the coming years, sister ships to the Hera, the UNSV Mulan and UNSV Morrigu shall join Hera in the fleet that Earth is sending to reclaim humanity's chance at survival, along with more reinforcements for the PEF.

We will take Pandora back or die trying...

We must do what we must. Unlike those traitors... scientists who have lost their objectivity and went head over heels for the natives. A paraplegic ex-Marine who reveled in his avatar's new found mobility. Avatar drivers who now see through Pandoran eyes, forgetting the roots of their humanity.

They remember not an Earth that lie dying, nor the Great Recovery effort that Unobtanium is fueling.

We shall make them remember and and make them pay!

If all else fail... the Hera or one of it's sister ships will release the ultimate weapon. The experimental Quad-Dimension Physics orbital launched 'BlackHole' bomb. With the power to punch a hole in reality itself, imploding it, to create a blackhole that will destroy Pandora.

If humanity is to be denied Unobtanium and hence it's survival... than so shall Pandora and it's insurgents be denied existence.

"Enough of this musings. I have things to do before I sleep, and millions of miles to go after... the cryo-chamber awaits."

Across The Space

Across the space between us
the gulf between two souls
I brush you with shy gazes
begging for their return

I speak in stuttered phrases
out of tone and out of tune
trying to bridge the spaces
just looking for a turn

Seek me with your answers
to questions that I do yearn
your smiles are tales and fables
the wit I hope to learn

The landscape of false faces
I am happy to leave behind
the task that I must focus
is to ask for just this once

The tips of your fingers
to brush with those of mine
and hope those tingling promises
could say what my tongue can't

My pen won't ever mention
my keyboard refuse to dream
this story that I reckon
my heart doth really feel.

An Ode To Ellyne

Beholding you; A sun
with shine in your pocket
courage, your handmaiden
the battles that you have fought.

Understanding you; A puzzle
I try and tried to fathom
intricate, tiny pieces
making up the Ellyne kingdom

Lo! you stand; A queen
the blush brushed moon of night
whose rosy cheeks alight
with your tender-wonderful heart.

To friend and kin; A beacon
through bright dawns, sleepy twilight
the stalwart Lady who beckons
to the best of what's inside.

The printed words; A layer
to the petals, Ellynita
a lady that deems and holds
the pics de lumière éternelle

These words; A tribute
from seasons lies hidden still
an unworthy homage
to the Lady of rose and steel.

@baronhawk concoction 2009.

The Fourth Estate

Upon the ramparts
the fourth estate
debutantes of truth
handmaiden-ed by facts

walking the beat
step by step
upon sordid streets
honest and contrite

Guided by veterans
been there done that
passing down wisdom
in gentle lively spats

the final bulwark
a last defense
the tinder and spark
to society's conscience.

Words I Cannot Speak

I am what I am
nothing less nothing more
trying to understand
this fear that I wore

hiding in the midst
of hellos hi bonjour
lies a heart that beats
a soul for only you

words I cannot speak
this poison I sow
feelings that I keep
my eyes try to show

so far only this
is my lighthouse glow
hoping that the gist
would follow to you

my heart is a place
all made up for you
this harbour is safe
if only you knew.

A Near-Distant Chagrin...

There is a lark that sits
upon careworn shoulders
recalling the mind to wit
telemetry of past blunders

memory mind past-intersects
details missed connections
itinerary and vignettes
unscheduled heart-collision

dry docked ego's conceit
inundated unclear intention
an un-completed ship
a voyage un-undertaken

"I am as I was" he says "still"
trapped within self-prison walls
"nothing and everything" that fails
when push comes to shove all

but a little voice still sing
when "Little Miss Orchid" skips by
sigh ache wish dream
wistful of a conscious lullaby.

"Mana Setangginya?"

Sebuah puisi jawapan bagi satu pertanyaan mengenai sebuah pementasan berjudul "Mana Setangginya?"


Ellynita Lamin :
meneroka & menanya, "Mana Setangginya?"


Hazlan Zakaria:
"Mana Setangginya?"
Anugerah tuhan pada kita,
setanggi untuk semua,
nyawa nikmat rezeki dunia
berganding ajaran luhur fatwa,
sayang cilik disalah guna,
diolah dendam, rakus, haloba,
hebat manusia tidak ke mana
hanya mainan dunia fana
akhirnya tiada pasca
ajaran untuk manusia alpa.

Bidadari

Dikau bagaikan mimpi
usapan sebuah memori
bayu menyentuh pipi
bak kucup kasih sejati

Bagai si bidadari
sinar dari ufuk suci
bibir membelai sepi
senyum dua sejoli

Munculmu takdir ilahi
di per-simpangan ini
pasrah dua destinasi
antara kata dan hati.

An Ode To Sheena Upon Her Birth Anniversary

As the dew's morning kiss,
the dawn's breezy bliss,
a fertile birthday's wish,
upon thy lovely; ruddy cheeks.

A hope that lies await,
seedlings to en-amour fate,
happiness and God's good grace,
upon thine's; life-escapade.

Random Mutterings (June 9 2009)

"I must admit that my heart still react to any mention of her. That dub-dub dub-dub out of sync rhythm that would accompany each and every living instance and breathing moment of me when sharing the same space with her. It is highly probable that I am still in love with her. Though maybe not in the same way as before. Love never die they say. So while I may not be head over heels in love with her as I was all those years ago, I still reserve a very special place in my heart for her. Ever wistful if not totally missing her as the days go by."

"Waking up recently to a whole new day, I discovered that my current and newer infatuation may be made of more distracting stuff than just a passing fancy. For as I continue my self willed quarantine, to avoid embarrassing failures or troublesome entanglements, my mind turns more and more to thoughts of her well rounded, curvaceous and personable being. Such that thoughts of her even dared to invade into the sanctum of my dream, dancing her way into my most secret mental precincts. The danger here is that more and more I feel like taking her into my arms and giving her a big wet one, the French way."

"I am desperate, there must be something more to this than just common drudgery. I too tired to walk the mile again and chase the grind without some sort of reasonable recompense. I shall put into motion my last ditched effort to find some gain and find my one true aim. That or execute my self destruct sequence one and take the whole world down with me, or as many as I can, as many as I can."

Truth Universal

Self interest
is lingua franca
the tongue
by which
all men (and women!) speak
"us","them","mea culpa"
so long we gain
they lose/die/fry
ends loose
tied up neat.

Whispers From A Smitten Heart

"If you are the moon that bathes the dark with your silvery light, then I am the soft velvet curtain of night. If you are the sun that sings the world its radiance, then I am its unconquerable blue haven. In both and either, a supplicant to your grace, hoping to share what my heart speaks."

~ Words by
Baronhawk (Hazlan Zakaria) with edits by Sheena Baharuddin

The Dance Lesson

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

The answer? Something wonderful. At least that is what I thought it is. As I lose myself fully into the embrace of her arms. Dancing away to the passable music of the dance hall band. It is awkward at best, as my stiff arms and two left feet struggle to keep time with her languorous, seductive and sinewy dancing.

All the while her eyes sought for and engages mine with that reassuring gaze of hers. As my nervous eyes does all it can to look away and look for an excuse to run.

The music thick as the finest malt liquor, drowning me in its beats, caressing me with its melody and intoxicating me within its high. All throughout, I am conscious of her unbelievably delicious hands upon me, her body warm and sensual casually leaning into and against mine as she gyrates gracefully in exquisite dance while I try to clumsily keep time.

It was a stupid move perhaps, bordering on the insane. But considering the circumstance we are in, maybe we tire of the game of which we are unwilling participants in. Inducted since infancy into the opposing sides, myself of the Sanguine Stoics and her to the Clan of Dance.

We are both paragons of our orders. I am the most dedicated of the Steadfast Stoic and she the most unrestrained Sister of The Dance. And yet we find solace in each other, the implacable stoic and the narcissistic queen of dance.

An unmovable object that meets an unstoppable force.

As is only natural orders finally come down from our separate leadership that we both contend with one another so as to prove the true legacy of our race. Both clans asserting its right of philosophical ascendancy.

A fight to the death.

We have contested many times since the orders were cut. Most times resulting in the death of many. Members of my coterie and her entourage. Cut down in countless battles from which we both came out unscathed. For we are evenly matched.

But throughout our battles, a strange relationship blossomed, and in many cases we would meet upon the roof tops of Idea City, firstly to duel privately, so as not to lose lives unnecessarily. Later on to talk and as it turns out to somehow fall into each others' company.

I know not what to call it, love, camaraderie, friendship. But it is something real that grew from our many opposites.

There were ancient rumours of this, of a third option open to our race, not to follow one extreme or the next, but to meet somewhere in between. Something, or perhaps some place, that she and I have found between ourselves.

But this is no longer our choice. Those of us dedicated to the order and made for a life of service. The ever suspicious elders on both sides found out of our dalliance and so here we are today, ordered to a final and fatal confrontation. Under threat of excommunication, we agreed to meet one last time in the Dance Hall that we so often observed from our hiatus on the rooftops.

I remember how she would dance a little ditty as the music drifts to our lofty hideout and explain to me how music and dance is the core of he soul, while I struggle to show her why silence and tranquility is mine.

We made a pact, that someday before the end, we would teach each other of what the other meant. She would take me to a dance hall for a dance lesson while I would attempt to educate her about steadfastness and stoicism.

So here we are dancing to the music of the dance hall band as we stand at the cusps of the final day on earth for one of us. My coterie and her entourage scattered around the dance hall in nervous knots of hardened philosophy war veterans struggling to fit in with the partying crowd of lessers.

Here we are for my 'dance lesson.'

I find myself unable to assemble any logic from this. I find myself overwhelmed by something which I have no experience with. She said its okay, she calls it feelings. I am unsure, how can something feel so good and so painful all at once.

Doubting myself once more I wonder if the Stoic Elders are right. Maybe there is great evil in this.

But all it took is just one look from her dreamy eyes and a slight squeeze of her fingers on my shoulder and waist to reassure me of the reality that is before me. This is not something that I would want see undone.

A buoyant feel seem to fill my senses. A happy warmth that floods my being. I am probably the happiest and most contented that I have ever been. Right there encircled in the arms of the dancing queen.

But life is not always fair, and bound by contradictions. I must now teach her of steadfastness and stoicism. A lesson which she may not like at all, but the only way I can ensure that she and the child within her, my child, survives our forced meeting.

She looks at me quizzically as thoughts pass through my mind and distracted me for a while from the beauty of her eyes. I smile at her and steeling myself, place my lips in a kiss upon her forehead. Then my lips pause by her ear as I tightened my embrace of her and whisper into her ear, "Be well my love, for the end comes soon and your lesson in steadfastness and stoicism with it."

"When, my love?" "My love... I like the sound of that..." she quips caressing the word 'love' exquisitely with her pronunciation of it.

I close my eyes and sigh aloud, trying to keep my newly acquired emotions in check. "Soon my love... soon. After the music ends."

Then, I force myself out of her delicious embrace and stand before her waiting for the music to die down.

No sooner when the music ended that we finally realize that we now have to take our proper places in the scheme of things, not to dance in each others' arms but to fight across the divisions of our clans... that immutable line equivocally drawn between the un-living and those who pursued living to the fullest. My Katana slid out of its scabbard as her twin stilettos emerged from their sheaths.

The tell tale screeching hiss of cruel metal blades resounding throughout the dance hall as my faithful coterie and her loyal entourage did the same. Blades akimbo, we threw ourselves into that deadly dance of death, as musicians and patrons of the club ran pell mell into the dark of night, trying to get away from the quickening onslaught.

We are too evenly matched, so much so that I know neither one of us will prevail against the other in a straight fight. But if none prevails, we both risk death at the hands of the inquisitors of both our orders.

That cannot be... not for my queen of the dance.

Thus I wait until she is caught up in the throes of her death dance, her whirling twin stilettos surging through the air towards my body in lightning fast stabs.

Judging that the moment was right, I deliberately let down my Katana and ignore my guard, surrendering my chest to her stilettos. I can feel the puncture wounds begin and their organ shredding rush as the motorized blades shreds into my exposed and unarmoured chest. I deliberately did not wear my chain mail undershirt for just this moment.

Time seem to stop as a blinding pain courses throughout my body. I feel myself crumple towards the floor and saw the anguish on my dancing queen's face. Everything became a blur compressed into that single moment. I can feel my lifeblood seeping out of my gutted chest, but strangely I no longer feel any pain. Just a cold numbness that slowly spreads all over my body.

I find myself cradled upon my dancing queen's lap. I look up into her eyes and smile at my love. She smile back at me, despite the tears flowing from her eyes and the sobs that threaten to overwhelm her.

"It's the only way my love. And my lesson to you. Be steadfast my love... be stoic", I manage to gurgle out to her in between my gasping intake of breath. "Go to our roof top hideout, there is a package there. Travel papers for you and some cash. Flee to the hinterlands, stay safe.... keep our child safe..."

Afterward there was another blinding flash of pain and then... darkness.

Thus end my lesson for my beloved and my time upon this earth with her.

...
...
...

Or so I thought... but that is another story.

A Friend of Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa

I usually stay away from modern interpretations of classic Malay works after the hack job that to me PGL was. A bloody butchers knife that rips into one several Malay Legends, uncanny of a Jack The Ripper, and then sewing them back together again incongruously like some monstrosity of Frankenstein's, or perhaps the botched job from a script writers mis-inked pen.

I guess being someone that read the Malay Hikayats in their original form, at least the DBP produced versions, I feel some loyalty to the purity of those works. There are licenses for creative reworkings and poetical larceny, but perhaps there are limits that must be observed.

But cautious as I was, when a dear old friend Ellyne invited me to join a group of her friends to watch the play Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa currently playing at Istana Budaya's Lambang Sari, I agreed for it was a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and new acquaintances and of course have a relaxing night off from work.

More so because a couple of her friends with whom I am acquainted with are involved in the production. The graceful Miss B.B. Adam shed her tight leggings and flashy dance moves for this production to put on a more dictatorial mien of Producer, while the lovely Miss Nyza Zaini adorns the play as a member of the cast.

The play is written and directed by former journalist Marina Tan whose professes that her aim is to bring out this engaging classic tale of "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa" into the mainstream and show it for the enjoyable adventure it really is. The tale is based on the hikayat mentioned above.

It was a decision that I am overjoyed to have made.

Contrary to my worries, the play keeps alive the story and message of the original, albeit packaging the tale in humour and a more modern theme.

Opting for a more symbolic bare props approach, the play nonetheless portrays and creates the atmosphere of the setting quite well.

I personally like the use of the shadow play of the backdrop using props and light to set the scene. A lone pillar for Byzantine, a lone bonsai tree for china, a single palm tree for the islands and the various other shadow for other scenes.

It is certainly a whole barrel of fun to watch.

Nyza Zaini steals the show for some part of the play, her depiction of Lao Lao is not only believeable but adds a kind of zest to the story that energizes scenes and at many junctures actually moves the plot along.

I love her "Chinese lesson" bit with Darat and Laut the most, and I bet all in the audience appreciates her role of matchmaker in distracting Darat and Laut and making sure Merong and Dewi Embun got their 'girl meets boy' moment.

But her opening scene soliloquay and constant tussle with the princess' hair is a darling to all as well, I am sure.

Speaking of Darat and Laut, Marina Tan really do know her Shakespeare I suppose, or her Hindi movies. For these two wild and crazy characters are the classic comic relief common to many writing style across cultural boundaries.

Darat and Laut, two country coots that provide innocence and comedy to the play. But on a more symbolic sideline, their fast friendship with Merong may represent the General's affinity over the two elements, Darat being earth and Laut being sea, as opposed to him not wanting mastery of the Sky as Garuda feared.

Princess Ling Ling and Prince Justinian were okay, being what they were written out ot be, two love struck lovers in love. While the actors carried their role well, there is nothing more there, maybe because of the way the script was written.

Same goes for Jentayu and Kakaktua. Both fills out well in their roles but doesn't really stand out. Though Kakaktua does have the potential to be a seneschal characters like in the Disney movies, Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermad for example. Though for some reason I see him settling down in the end with Lao Lao.

As for the villian Garuda, I find him lacking in the evil laughter department, but maybe only because I believe I have an evil-er laugh. But nonetheless, I did leave the theatre wanting to bash Garuda's head in and I suppose the actor did his job well.

Merong Mahawangsa is my favourite of all, though I do find the plays simplistic depiction of this brooding General a tad shallow. There is much to be gleaned of the depths of this man. But I suppose it is fine, given the context of the play.

I guess this is mainly because I personally identify with the General and faced similar difficulties. Ha ha ha. Yes, for me too it is mind instead of heart and like as opposed to love.

But the actor carried the role well, swinging between the candid comedic moments and the stormy seriousness of the man.

I especially like the part near the end where he was trying to deny his attraction to Dewi Embun and his intention to stay with her. Alas, oftimes reality wears a different cloak than this romantic comedy.

Saving the best for last, the paragon of the play is in my humble opinion the fine depiction of Dewi Embun. Descended from Gergasi or no, she is one petite and lovely nymph. It is the fluttering eyelashes and low toned voice that reaches out into many a heart.

I must confess that Merong was not the only 'general' that would have stayed behind with her that day. If I had not had another appointment after the performance, there would be a duel outside in Istana Budaya's parking lot between Merong and yours truly over the ownership of a certain Dewi Embun's heart.

Or maybe there is another queen, also beatuous and fey-born who holds ownership over this general's heart?

All in all, it was a wondrous occasion. Though cut short by an appointment in Putrajaya that I forgot about. I had to rush off after the play, forgoing a chance to mingle with the cast and friends alike. Though sometimes I wonder if I deliberately forgot about the appointment so that I can rush off, and avoid another mingling and socializing with my fellow human beings.

I do tend to be quite the hermit nowadays... a recluse from many things.

Luckily the Salak Expressway was nearby and via its length did I straightly shoot into Putrajaya's fine precints.

A trivia; if it is Salak Expressway, shouldn't it be SEX? ha ha ha.

All in all a jolly fine experience, that craves soo much for a boon. That I would wish you all to go and watch this play for it is a vision that you would and will enjoy. I guarantee it, such that I shall kidnap your pet if you don't! Ha ha ha.

Adieu and adieu my friends, till the winds of fate brings us back together.

YOUR Love (WIP)

There is this little voice
that speaks eloquently
inside my head

telling me this little tale
of a heart that seeks
its counter part

a buoyant touchy feel like
whose only recourse
lies upon a touch

an empty vacant vessel
that lies in wait
for your repast.

Dr. Saeb Erakat on Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC

Press Release
For Immediate Release

May 5th, 2009

Negotiations Affairs Department Palestine Liberation Organization

Dr. Saeb Erakat on Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat today commented on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC, in which Netanyahu called for a ‘fresh approach’ to peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

“Successive Israeli governments have failed to implement their obligations under existing agreements. When Netanyahu speaks of a fresh approach to peace, implementing Israel’s obligations under existing agreements is precisely the fresh approach that Palestinians and the international community expect of his government,” Dr Erakat said.

“This includes an immediate freeze on all settlement activity, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem, and lifting all restrictions on freedom of movement and access for Palestinians both in and out of, as well as within, the occupied Palestinian territory, including an immediate end to the siege on Gaza.”

“And Netanyahu must explicitly endorse the establishment of an independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state, which remains the cornerstone of the two-state solution. Negotiations for their own sake, without a clearly defined end goal, are no substitute for a just and lasting peace.”

“A commitment to past agreements, and implementation of Israel’s existing obligations, will create the environment needed to rebuild the legitimacy and credibility of the peace process, and send a message that the Palestinians have a partner for peace.”

Dr Erakat said that economic prosperity for Palestinians rested on Israel ending its occupation.

“Economic development is a right to which Palestinians are entitled, but which they have been denied as a result of Israel’s occupation,” Dr Erakat said.

“Israel’s regime of checkpoints, road blocks, permits, settlements and the construction of Israel’s Wall, which fragment the occupied Palestinian territory into isolated cantons and strangle all freedom of movement for goods and people, remains the major obstacle to economic development for Palestinians.”

“Without a political settlement, meaning an end to Israel’s occupation and the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state, talk of economic peace will be seen for what it is, namely an attempt to normalize and better manage the occupation.”

The MOON -- Ellyne

effortless you shine
mysterious majestic
complimenting night

The WIND -- Meemaa

soft subtle sly spry,
breathing blowing caressing,
absent yet there still.

Buat Ulangtahun Ke-Enam Azleena & Suami



















Bagai merpati sireh dan pinang
Dua sejoli terbang ke hulu
Allah berkati umur yang panjang
murah rezeki ke anak cucu.

Dua sejoli terbang ke hulu
singgah sarapan di pohon sena
hingga kini darilah dulu
ke masa depan aman bahgia.

Singgah sarapan di pohon sena
buat santapan unggas rimba
Kata ucapan dari hamba
seorang kawan tumpang gembira.

I Am The Tweet-er King!

Well, not really...

but I did turn this:
Hazlan Zakaria commissions an excavation into the fortress ruins. Searching the labyrinthine halls for the soul library and its tome of understanding. Possibilities keeping his brain a-buzz and heart a-racing. He ponders the statue of the armoured figure in the fortress courtyard. How it seems to be smiling. Isn't this the lair of the somber? The last holdout of the sad king?
...into this:
I search the ruin of my soul for understanding. Wondering why I am still smiling. Am I not the somber sad king?

In order to fit it into The Malaysian Poetic Chronicles' tweet.

From 379 to 111 word count, including spaces.

Quite an exercise in editing. As The Chief Chronicler at The Malaysian Poetic Chronicles Leon puts it "Edit! Edit! Cut! Cut!"

It is an eye opener of sorts, now I know better what my Senior Editor Hani always felt, every day actually. As she struggles to make my work better and give it that extra... swell. As only she can.

I guess I do have this tendency to say things in an imaginative if roundabout way. It would do me well to sometimes be more direct.

Snip! Snip! Snip! I am still a long way from becoming a true-blue journalist let alone full-fledged editor.

Haruskah Kunyanyikan

















Haruskah ku nyanyikan
perlukah ku katakan
segala dalam prasaan
hati yang telah tertawan

Hadirmu bagaikan salju
mengubat luka hatiku
suaramu bagaikan bayu
membelai melirik kalbu

Bagaikan mengejar bintang
menunggu bulan mengambang
kisahku terpandang-pandang
terkelu bila kau datang

Matamu memberikanku
harapan curi hatimu
senyummu meminggir ayu
memanggil-manggil diriku

Tapiku tiada kuasa
depanmu ku hilang punca
tuturku menjadi perca
dibuai kelu dan alpa

Bagaimana kan aku
luahkan rasa hatiku
apakah kan kau tahu
cintaku terhadapmu

Perlukah kulaungkan
kepada bintang dan bulan
semoga angin malam
membawa rasa terpendam

Kulampir sebuah lagu
kugubahkannya cintaku
buatmu puteri hatiku
semoga kau akan tahu

Kunyanyi dan kudendangkan
lagu ini berkumandang
aku cinta padamu sayang
sudi kau panggilku abang?

Kata-Kata Buat Fynn

Keramat puisi pujangga minda
srikandi Fynn pelopor budaya
meliuk seni melakar bahasa
mendukung tari irama kata.

Salam selamat ikhlas di tinta
dari saudara setutur sebangsa
moga berjaya di atas persada
aturan pencak rentak dan nada

Lagu Untuk Syamilah

Tiada indah dari dunia
alam hijau ciptaanNya
embun luhur usapan jiwa
bayu halus santapan alpa.

Tiada aman lunak suara
gelak tawa anak gembira
riuh rendah irama sempurna
keluarga indah anugerah dariNya.

Tiada tenang hati dan jiwa
selain tutur ayat kalimahNya
tasbih suci ibadah mulia
mendamai hati mencuci jiwa.

Swan Song


As I type these words, I know that they will probably be my last. The only worthwhile and hopefully lasting legacy, that I have to leave behind.

I have never thought much about it, first as a Corporate Mercenary in the Resource Wars and later on as a Hunter. Death seems to lurk behind every corner. I have thought that for me is a soldier's short life and the inevitable sudden violent end.

It is ironic, that my desperate and accidental stint with the resistance did actually woke within me this need and want for life. This huge capacity for love and an unbridled yearning to savour all that this world have to offer

It is as if I have never been truly alive before.

Never before...

Not before that long cold night in the Bavarian cemetery and subsequent return trip aboard the hovercopter to the Hunter Stronghold in Geneva. When I had my long and fateful talk with the Vampire Ancient Maximilian Tchaikovsy.

Good old Max.

Damn him and his suave words. I never did find out why he did what he did and why he chose me. All Max would tell me is that he saw something in me.

Cryptic to the last, his only comment was that he had a foretelling. That I was the one. The mortal that shall tip the scales of balance. Or was it back into balance? One can never be sure of a Vampire's words. And Max being Max, he was always slightly more obtuse than most, even amongst the Ancients.

Though I have grown fond of old Max, accustomed to his friendship and our long rambling talks.

I am going to miss him.

He came to visit me yesterday. Appearing suddenly out of the fog of night, as is the way of his kind, as I was manning my turn at watch on the ramparts above the bunker.

It was he that told me of the approaching enemy that wil soon extinguish me from this existance. He offered me a way out. Sly as always, he baited me with the fact that death will find me even if I somehow escaped this final trap. He offered me a place in his coterie, everlasting life and escape from my inevitable fate.

Unlife as one of the arisen.

I declined.

I would not want to lie now that the end is near. Yes, I am afraid of what may come, more than a little terrified actually. To pay this price that all living beings must finally succumb. But a distant part of me is intrigued to see what comes next after the end.

Though as the knowledge of my soon to be demise quickens within me, I feel strangely at peace with myself. I have seen much these last few years. Miracles and horrors that defy description. I have done and experienced things that most humans can scarcely even dream of.

I have lived and experienced life. More in these short months than ever before.

Yes I am afraid, but I am also quite content.

So I declined Max and his kind offer.

He told me to reconsider, for Sharna's sake at least, he pleaded.

It was then that I told him the heartbreaking news, that Sharna had already passed beyond the veil the day before. Her blessed life taken by a sniper's bullet as she led the last of the resistance's scouts in an effort to screen our retreat into the coms bunker.

Ironically my beloved was slain by another Sister of Skirmish, one of her own. The fatal bullet fired by one of the recruits that she herself trained when she still fought for Hunter Corp. When she was their best and most heartless assassin.

I know, for it is I who killed her assassin. Arriving in the hovercopter to rescue her and her team only to find their killers in the midst of finishing off the mortally wounded scouts and my Sharna dying.

When I first saw her, she was an assassin sent to kill me, now she lies cold and lifeless, in the medlab, her life given to protect my own. That is perhaps the greater irony.

Though come to think of it, the heavy assault Hunter Squads that will be coming to attack the coms bunker I am in and execute the kill order that is upon my head, will probably be the ones that I trained when I was a Hunter. They always send the best.

Always...

But regardless of who killed my Sharna and is going to kill me, at least she did not die alone, she died in my arms, the arms of her newly wedded husband. We decided to be wedded in the last few moments before the retreat. Dragging Ustaz Rahman out of his tent in the dead of night to sanctify our marital union.

Sealing our matrimony with the strangely unhurried lovemaking that was surprisingly tender and gentle, despite the pre-battle frenzy and our pent-up and close held desire we had for each other for so long.

Husband and wife for scarcely a day and a half. But I guess, in our case, it was a life time.

It was enough.

Though, the memory of her pretty face, sweet smile, soft smooth skin and sultry voice still threatens to unman me with tears every time I am reminded of my darling Sharna.

If he felt anything at all, Max never revealed them to me. But was he perhaps taken aback? Sharna was the only offspring of his great-great-great-great-great grand daughter, from the time before he was turned.

The only progeny he had that were the legacy of his loins than were his fangs.

Vampires are sterile, procreation to them is only through infecting other living beings and embracing them into their fold.

Max took it all in stride, philosophical as always. He said that it is sad that all that is best, good and noble of humanity are the ones that will suffer and perish, while the wicked and the evil ones thrive and survive.

Though maybe he was numbed and devastated by Sharna's passing. Even Vampires Ancients are not immune to emotions. Did I detect a slight tremor in his normally cool and frustratingly dry voice?

Whatever it was, it is something that I will never find out.

We bade our farewells, old Max and me. Punctuating our comradeship with one last long discussion about life and death. And everything else in between those two pivotal moments of a human's lifespan.

In a way, I think he envied me my coming respite, for he is doomed to carry on without the opportunity of that final rest nor the ability to truly savour life upon this sun swept world.

Max left slightly before dawn, vowing to avenge Sharna's death and my upcoming demise.

But now I too must bid my final farewell and end this missive. For I hear the crack of the big artillery guns from afar and the ever closing explosive thumps of the plasma artillery shells as they pound upon the bunker's shields.

It will not be long now before the shield falls and the hunters move in for the final kill.

Not long now...

Attached with this final missive is a data matrix that I and the members of the resistance have fought hard to compile these last few months. In the matrix is all the proof of the conspiracy between WorldGov and Hunter Corp to mislead and make use of the public for their own ends.

Including the statements of reliability and cover-up orders that followed this outrage against humanity.

First and foremost of which is the sealed report on the "Standard Normal Deviation" which has so doomed a percentage of the population of the end users of para-products to their dismal fates.

I am now activatng this data burst transmission to all WorldComs stations. As this bunker is part of the backbone WorldComs grid, this transmission will reach throughout the world and hopefully to all receiving stations.

I... we have done our part, now it is up to you. Brothers and sisters of the armed forces, it is time for you to turn your guns upon Hunter Corp and the corrupt WorldGov. It is they who are the real enemy of humanity.

And to the general populace, now is the time for truth, now is the time for you to know the real story. Raise your voices, raise your hands and correct this wrong that has been done upon you.

I leave you now to better times than mine was. I guess all that is left now is to pick up my rifle and join what's left of the resistance in our final stand. To buy time for this transmission to reach out to all of you.

Farewell... and good luck.

The Lonely Road


The lonely road, calls for me
that same, old sensation
an open door, that beckons he
a heart, afraid to listen

evening breeze, blew away
miles, in the-other direction
upon the asphalt, footsteps lay
hiding, behind the distance

dusty trail, marks the way
broken, hopes and dreams
left behind, from day to day
a road, fate has deemed

so I walk, the lonely road
pain, a bitter memory
far away, from the-one I love
against, what my heart breathe

an empty man, with hollow heart
afraid, to let it heal
a lonely man, with hurt inside
afraid, to once more feel.

Searching (Work In Progress)

I search for you at night
in the dark
when the whole world sleeps

hoping humble starlight
will unlock
the truth only you keep

I borrow from the moon
its seat
patient upon the zenith

scouring the inky loom
for bits
and pieces of faith.

The 'Briar Patch' of Life


I know I have vowed never again to let it happen... but there it is again.

I have been sidetracked of late, by noble causes and less than noble intentions.

Consumed by a battle that is not even mine, and embroiled in a war of which I was not even belligerent in.

Distracted as if by somber beauties from across the crowded dance floor, and derailed by their lilting tell tales of a thousand sleepless nights.

Aye, those are truly sweet nectar, that adrenaline rush of fighting for a cause, that indelible rut of a man enamoured.

But herein lies the causality of much pain, the Briar Patch of life.

Something which is better left untouched unless it is something that a person really wants and is willing to go the distance. Maybe I am all the above, considering the circumstance, but still I digress, for the lessons of previous pains beseech me and courage be damned, I dare not yet step into the lion's den and leave my much favoured sanctuary.

Sensuous, sinewy and sexy lionesses be damned, triply damned and thrice censured.

I must return to the core, to the very center of what and who I am. I must return to what I was. Status quo, without the quo vadis. For I have long ago discovered that the best condition for me is not to have any direction, but to float and hover in that blurry space just outside of mainstream life, yet still close enough to watch it.

For I am above all an observer of things. One who watches and compiles his analysis.

That being said, while I often abandon battlefield engagements before the war's conclusion, such as I am afraid now must be, there are some things that I just cannot leave undone. That I shall oversee until such a time as it is mine to sneak back into the sunset.

Not that it would matter, but principles must count for something, even for one who is detached from life such as me.

But in the end the only thing that matter is that "I am a Fortress, Strong and Impregnable."

I must be... I have no other choice.

I Miss Those Days

I miss the sea
its wavy ripples
sunny glints
and cozy curls

I miss the shore
those sandy walks
warm-cool sand
sinking footsteps

I miss the breeze
its gentle kisses
soft caress
silky breath

I miss the sun
its hopeful rise
elegant rest
soulful warmth

I miss those days
I miss you
I miss me
I miss us.

From This Side of The Kayako


I am handling a crisis remotely from home. A work related crisis. One that requires me to access our service provider's support system. A usual enough experience I suppose for someone whose work involves interacting on the world wide web.

But in my case it also triggered a case of preudo-nostalgia, especially after I realized that the support system I am accessing to handle the issue and its resulting support tickets is SupportSuite by Kayako.

In my previous career incarnation, I was attached to local software house, AzrulStudio (Azrul.com), a unit of Slashes & Dots Sdn. Bhd. One of the things I do there was to handle incoming customers support tickets on our very own customized Kayako support system.

I mainly handled the business development, copy writing, manuals and business correspondence side of things but we all contribute to handling support tickets. It helps us understand our customers more and develop a rapport with them. Something useful where ever you are (software development or business development) as it helps you to be able to deliver what the customers want.

It is strange, being on the customer side of the Kayako-curtain. My mind's eye painting the familiar scene of personnel on the other side frantically answering one tickets as several more 'dings' in on the ticket counter.

My imagination tracing its route as my ticket waits the ticks of the clock for its turn. Trying to understand their busy schedule and hectic situation.

But in the end, I guess being a paying customer on this side of the Kayako, I can't really care less what their issues are. Time is money, especially so if you are operating a business on the net.

Something that was drummed into me by my customers last time, especially the difficult ones from overseas, where the customer is always right, even when they are wrong.

But I do appreciate the care when ever a customer service representative took the extra effort to be proper, correct and pleasant especially since I do know how hectic it can be for them.

My particular tale dealt with the transfer of our hosting and some domain nameserver issues. I had to deal with Glowhost and local firm SKSA Technology. I am happy to say that both companies responded in a timely and pleasant fashion.

There is something to be said about professionalism after all.

I guess being once on the other side of the Kayako, I expect the same level of service that I used to dispense when I am on the customer side of the Kayako interface.

Songs of Hazlan Vol 1

How can I dream the dawn without the sun,
Nor taste the breeze upon those cheeks of thine,
How can I greet the morn without its shine,
Nor feel its vibrant warmth caressing mine.
How can I paint clear sky without thy blue,
a well that runneth dry my soul is too,
How can I live nor die without thine hue,
thou art the reason why my heart beats true.
How can I find my way without thine eyes,
beacons that shine and sway beckoning sighs,
How can I leave nor stay without thine smiles,
lips whose kiss to lay for which I'd die.
To thee my heart I place upon this tray,
Within this craddle of verse and word's play

You and I


I...

am 'as- s'ahraa al-jaaf'
parched for centuries

a 'musafir' who wanders
scarred by journeys

meditating answers
the 'diin' of 'hayati'

rummaging to find
the 'nur' of 'ilahi'


YOU...

are 'wadi al-hub'
my desert spring

the 'bayt' that tugs
a wanderer's heart strings

the 'nur' and 'fael'
of dreams and meaning

the 'istikharah'
to my soul's waiting.


WE...

are the confluence
two 'ruh' that meets

the 'adam' and 'hawa'
this 'jannah' love built

a 'baitullah' that sits
as you and I await

to greet each other
'zawj' to 'zawja' by deed.

Abjuro Ligentia!


We are sons of Rome
whose veins runs thick
with Roman soil

standing stoic to serve
Rome's trumpets
beckons and calls

struggling to preserve
what Rome is
to be and was foretold

shedding bloody rivers
ironed red that seeps
to mingle with the brown

We pay our dues with sweat
the building blocks
of Roman might and strength

the wax that binds and seals
this contract twixt who leads
and ones who follow

but loyalty is not a given
its oath is duly earned
by duty bound returned

when those who lead forget
we who follow shall shed
this yoke freely shouldered

and remember the words of Brutus
who bled his Caesar for Rome
the whole is greater than the one.

Abjuro Ligentia!

The Art of 'Becoming Jane'

`
A Watercolour of Jane Austen By Her Sister Cassandra


I found myself unable to sleep last night, my mind running a thousand million laps around the tableau and dilemmas that has so coloured my life of late. The sequential circuits living and reliving my previous choices, current chosen events and the myriads of pathways that lie ahead, ripe for the picking.

Anyway, attempting to assuage my restless boredom, I turned on the television and found myself looking at the opening credits to 'Becoming Jane', a scrumptious movie based upon the events surrounding the life and times of the great English novelist, Jane Austen.

Truthfully, I have always wanted to watch 'Becoming Jane', ever since I saw its preview on the television. However, given the fact that even my fascination with 'Pride & Prejudice' as well as its author, is something that would normally require the strength of a thousand wild horses to pry from the well of my deepest secretive desires, I never actually took it upon myself to watch it, especially not in the presence of others.

It is not as if I don't openly availed of myself to female authors and their literary offerings. Enid Blyton and Rosemary Sutcliffe, for example, being often prominently amongst those whose books are or were my constant companion.

I grew up to Enid Blyton's tales of life's tales and adventures from The Faraway Tree to the Crabapple Farm, with the Secret Seven to the Famous Five and exploring the familiar hallways of The Malory Towers to the mysteries at the ends of the earth with the Wishing Chair stories. Indeed it would not surprise me if I has read all of her books.

As for Rosemary Sutcliffe, her works regaled a young little me (okay, maybe not so little) with tales of Roman Britain, culminating with the Eagle of The Ninth which evoked in me a love for classical history and an ardent interest in Rome and her legions.

There are also other female authors, amongst the many whose books I have read and liked, ranging from the likes of the madam of mystery Agatha Christie to Dragonlance dame Margerat Weis and Deverry's architect, Katherine Kerr.

But of Pride & Prejudice and Jane Austen, I often dared not confess to my fascination with a certain Ms. Elizabent Bennet and indeed would have not usually tell a soul of my roving mind, which often paints myself into the shoes of the aloof and reserved Mr. Darcy, whose qualities I find admirable and imagined to possess in common.

Most probably because of the connotations one often link with a Jane Austen novel. It being refered to by many as a 'chick-lit' and its attendant 'chick-flick'. One has to preserve one's image, no matter how ephemeral it really is, I suppose.

Though in that inky comfort and cozy cover of the dark camouflage of night, I decided to indulge my fancies and gingerly perused the movie to its ending. Truth be told, I am glad that I did.

Like many have concluded in their review, 'Becoming Jane' puts many things in perspective, about Jane Austen, her live, loves, accomplishments and loss. Opening a window, so to speak, into the tale of this wonderful woman, beyond the footnotes of her works.

I guess it is true that the best, most effective and easiest way to write, is to write what you know. A lesson that many literary venerables has tried to impress upon me in the workshops that I have attended and the times I was fortunate to engage in a conversation with them.

As the story in the movie shows us, Jane Austen's writing mainly draws upon her own life, her own time and her own experience. That is probably why her tales are so vivid. Because she writes what she knows.

The places, the characters and the situations she described most eloquently are written with the quill of her own life and inked with her own experiences. Which is why they become so alive, so real, so honest and so believable.

While the names were changed, characters and descriptions were juxtaposed and scrambled, all of her stories without doubt is her watercolour of her own life. Unable to pursue her own happiness, she lived her life in the only place possible, within the tales told by her books. Filling in the blanks of what ifs and what could be with her fertile imagination. Following perhaps the advice of another novelist, Mrs. Radcliffe that Jane met in the story and who told Jane, "for everything else, that is what your imagination is for."

In many ways, Jane Austen can be likened to Ian Fleming, another more contemporary author whose life is the wellspring from which sprang his tales and stories. As any who read his life's story would know, many of the things James Bond did, Ian Fleming more or less did too, or at least he knew someone who did.

Another point of origin that links them is the fact that both suffered from the loss of love or a loved one. Jane losing her Mr. Lefroy because of circumstance and Fleming, if the movie about his days in British Intelligence is correct, lost a love to a bomb meant for him, planted by Germany's agents.

Based on this convergence of their story, maybe the other so called truth about writing is correct as well. Other then writing what you know, the oft mentioned tale is that in order to truly write, a writer but first be hurt before he or she can lift the pen.

In a way, this is similar to the sayings about how you must first feel the blues to play the blues.

The ways to better prose, write what you know and you must first feel hurt. I find myself agreeing with the former, though I am not that aligned with the latter. But in retrospect, maybe what it implies by 'hurt' is that we must fist experience life before we can write of it.

But beyond the pointers on how to become, like Jane, a good writer, the story also leaves a lesson or two swimming in my noggin. A lessons and tale of the frail and faulty links between affection, love and circumstance.

Affection is all too common, it can stem from many things. From common ground, to common tastes, to a commonality of various likes and purposes. Or just the opposite, it can stem from a difference that clash and draw sparks or an incandescence when two opposites reach out. Like jigsaw pieces fitting in and lining up.

As its myriad origins, so too can affection grow to become many things. From flirtation to friendship, to understanding and care. Or all the way to love and its subtle dare. Or perhaps to naught at all, like two occasioned strangers who shared a moment from across the room and then disappear into the sea of faces. Leaving only faded memories as to that shared affectionate moment.

Though for those that do attain the very paragon, when affection transcends into love, it is not the and all, be all of things. For love dooms as often as it blesses. Sometimes, practicality overrides all and the necessities of life dictates that love is for naught. Sometimes there are other concerns that requires loves sacrifice. Like Lefroy with his impoverished family in Limerick whose livelihood depends upon him sharing his stipend from his uncle. Which in turn disallowed him from marrying his lady love.

Other times, one may find oneself learning of love, not through affection but familiarity, for life deals us cards that we have to live with rather than what we want to live as. As Henry Austen's example who must concede to marry the countess for her money. While they have no affection, their love stems from understanding and acceptance, a no less authentic love but one that many of us may have to accept. Circumstance often overrides emotions.

At times, love can itself be the root of unhappiness, loliness and suffering, as we know all to well of Jane's sadness. Her unrequited and unfulfilled love.

At times, love can even lead to bitterness. As evidenced by a spurned secret suitor of Jane's who sent the letter to Lefroy's uncle and discredited Jane from any marriage to Lefroy.

But maybe above all these tales, love is the key. To life and to writing. For it is love and passion for knowledge and writing that started Jane's journey and love for live and its adventures that kept her going.

I guess the end of becoming Jane, the person or author, shows that one must live ones' life and be immersed in the nitty gritty of it. For only when one has lived and loved, regardless if it is consummated or unrequited, can one be in a position to write of it.

An I.M.P. Upon My Shoulder!

I am Irked, I am Miffed and I am Pissed! This little I.M.P. that has so landed upon my shoulders! A tiny splinter that is a pain and is causing contorted movements of my middle finger.

I have been brought face to face with what I personally consider to be an affront to justice recently and I am barely able to contain myself from exploding from this suffusion of rage and indignation that is engulfing my entire being.

It is a matter of copyright and trademark or what is a generic term and generally accepted nomenclature for a genre in a certain artistic field. A most benign mind share of an event that was made by its founders to be universal but is 'monopolized' by one of its so called 'practitioners' in a certain part of the world via copyright and trademark of that very same general term.

A genre that was supposed to democratize a means of expression, a genre that was supposed to belong to each individual community that practices it, a genre that is supposed to extend the audience of that artistic field.

But herein lies my painfully articulated tale, that of a genre of an artistic field that has been curtailed from general expression and limited to being conducted by they few, they happy few.

But after some thought and the kind advice of kind friends, I have resolved that this indignation does serve a purpose. It has kindled in me this fire, this passion, this unconditional allure for something that was once only a pastime, albeit one that I fancy greatly.

It has indeed opened a door to other possibilities, other means of expression and other ways of achieving the ends that I and my friends envisioned. There is indeed more than one way to skin a cat. No matter how many lives it has.

I decided instead take this indignation as a good thing, to use, re-use and recycle this anger and aggressive energy to pursue other goals and other things. To perhaps supplant the very 'practitioners' that so have denied us our means of free expression or at least proceed in another direction in spite of them. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

As one kind friend was quick to point out, Billy the Bard did say "What's in a name...".

A (tut) (tut) by any other name will still be a (tut) (tut) in practice if not the same.

An empowering thought, and an empowering motivation to give direction to this angrily and wildly charging elephant.

But that being said, I do feel this itch to at least do something to right what I believe is a terrible wrong. Something to ponder perhaps. Something to ponder indeed.

Earth Hour's Vote Earth Initiative

I am probably just being a carrier of the contrarian viewpoint or devil's advocate if you may, though I am far from actually denouncing such a noble attempt such as this.

But I do question the practical logic behind Earth Hour's Vote Earth feat.

Despite the nobility of this endeavour, it does smacks of a celebrity fueled public relations stunt. A once-off menagerie of raised pinkies saluting a noble cause, yet not actually doing anything but undulating one's gyrating blank verse support for it.

It reminds me of the tale of NBC's flirtations with six sigma after it was acquired by GE. According to a story told by an ex-GE officer seconded to NBC, the entirety of NBC's implementation of six sigma was a grand celebratory hoo haa and party with nothing much to show for it afterwards. Except for the big announcement that NBC is now six sigma.

The quid pro quo paid to the six sigma initiative was indeed nothing more than a public relations homage. After which the oganization returned to status quo.

In a way its like a person who attends a "We Are The World" Concert and then considers that he or she has done something to help the starving children of Africa.

In this case, one who turns out his or her light at the stipulated time of night, is deemed to be one in solidarity with the world, as one amongst millions voting to the governments of the world to take the necessary steps to save the earth, as is the wont of their constituencies, the civil society of each nation.

But I fail to see any active ingredient to this feat. Is that all? Turn off your lights and that's it?

Be that as it may, one cannot underestimate the power of positive public support and public relations. Turning the spotlight on the importance of taking care of our environment is in itself a major coup.

What I am questioning is the practicality of turning off one's lights in the middle of the night, with that being the only action. Some people work nights, others travel and yet still more need to see in the dark. Is it not more practical to swap out normal electric lights for LED lights at the moment for example? Which instead of causing only darkness, would perhaps be a real step towards a better relationship with our environment.

Of course I am sure there will be candles and torchlights a plenty that night. Not to mention criminals waiting to pounce and use this one hour of darkness to their benefit.

While I wish the initiative well, I do hope that something significant will come out of this effort, and it does not become just another celebratory footnote in the jaded and highly commercialized history of the world. To paraphrase Shakespeare, I do hope it does not become an event that is full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing.

The Process And The Pain

I think I am a sadist.

An observation culled during my recent re-flirting with my evening and morning walks.

I found out, that while I do enjoy the process of brisk walking once again and the challenge of pitting myself against the distance, time and endurance, what I miss more is not the process of walking but the pain.

I don't know how to explain it but what I like most about my walks is the time where I have to push my body to overcome my physical threshold and force myself to endure beyond the break point limits of my endurance.

It used to take me only a while to feel that biting feeling within my muscles, and that sweetness of the pain. But now as I return more and more into my routine, I am forced to either extend my distance or increase my pace in order to feel the pain.

I once asked a friend of mine whose passion is engaging in marathons and he said that that state of pain-ecstasy is actually the last stage of exhaustion as our stressed muscles, starved for oxygen and tired from exertion starts to excrete a toxic substance.

It is that substance that give birth to the pain and it is that substance that can be as addictive as some active souls find adrenaline to be.

I guess this is my high, my sin and my way of working off the extra aggression from work and sundry.

Anyway I am off to sleep off the pain.

A Little Bit About Poetry

It is my official policy and stance, that poetry is a form of expression. As such, it can be whatever you want it to be. As there are multitudes of ways, means and meanings to expression, so can there be multitudes of styles, shapes, points, languages and types of poetry.

To some, it is an art form, that requires strict tenets and crafting. A thing of beauty that must be shaped and molded with linguistic lilt and artistic preening. To them it is a matter of literary devices and cradling meanings within lingual parameters. It is poetry from the ivory towers.

Others see it as a popular means of communicating issues and concerns. Something with which to reach the masses. Devoid of complicated styling and shaded meanings, they see it as a language of and for the common people. Their motto, keep it simple and keep it real. Poetry for the streets.

Yet more see it as a portal for self expression, divulging personal angst and vocalizing life's unfathomable seasons. Tied not to any higher purpose or calling but just to his or her own mind and feelings. Abandoning both rules and meaning, often these works are at times as abstract and decipherable as the light of stars is to men. You guessed it, we are 'emo.'

Others still, see of it a holier purpose, the poetic discipline as a means of straining the essences of faith in order to search for truth, for reason... for God. Quite literally trying to decipher the philosophy of life. The pathway to enlightenment. A kind of poetic Sufism and evangelistic sermon.

But to me personally poetry is most of all a gift. A gift from the feel to the heart and from the thought to the brain, to the mind to the pen. From the pen to the ink, from the ink to the paper, or in our IT age from the mind to the fingers to the keyboard to the screen.

When spoken it is from the heart to the lungs to the larynx, to the voice to the air, to the ear to the brain, to the mind and back to the heart.

In the end, it is all about thoughts and feelings. Where poetry both begins and ends.

Poetry is ultimately the very manifestation of the poet's thoughts and emotions, and it in turn shall evoke thoughts and emotions in others. Though what was put into a poem may not be the same as what others take out of it.

That is the constant battle between a poet and the audience. That eternal tug of war between rhyme and reason, spiced up with the differences that arise from personal choices and preference.

But while poetry may mean something to audience, it may not have to. Because sometimes, poetry is a greater gift to the poet itself than for any audience. Who knows, maybe poetry is his or her escape from personal demons, a safety valve for self expression or indeed it could just be something to help with thought processes, or maybe even to cure indigestion.

But maybe that is the crux of it. Most of all poetry has to mean something to the poet first. The rest and everything else are just mechanics. People's expectations and perceptions notwithstanding. Regardless of what people say and what they expect.

Some might say this is selfish, but only when poetry means something to a poet can it be of any meaning to the audience at large. Only then can it be of consequence, only then can it be worthy as a gift. Else it will be nothing but an empty soulless husk of arranged words that is being strewn along and bandied about.

On a personal note, I am tired of being told of how my poetry should sound or be like, and then they turn around and say I should stay true to my own voice.

But there's the rub, this is my voice, believe it or not, those who know me personally will vouch that I do use those words and wax lyrical on a regular basis.

I can no further tune myself into another voice then to rip out the soul from within my own body.

Often I am vague and unfixed in my mentions, just as often as sometimes I am so precise so as to celebrate only one grain of sand on a mountain of others.

Indeed some of my poetry is only for a select few and sometimes only one person, my gift to them. At times it encompasses to hug the entire world in its wordy embrace.

I use cliches and flashy language to flesh out my poetry just as much as I use base words and life's banalities.

It is not a science, maybe even not an art. It is a craft that fits the mold that we individually build for it. Just because you are doesn't mean the I have to. Just because I am, you don't necessarily have to be.

And so there we have it. As long as I wear my own face, I shall practice my brand of poetry, the way I see fit. And as long as you wear yours, I shall let you stick to things as you like it. Else we should be bringing sharp knives and start to carve away each other's faces. A kind of pseudo poetical nip and tuck.

René Magritte's Son of Man


My friend, Sheena asked me to share my favourite painting after I commented on her post about her favourite painting. I just thought I'd reciprocate.

I am not an art connoisseur per say, though I do have a modicum of appreciation for it. My fancy for art is seasonal and passing. Mostly I prefer landscapes and cityscapes.

However if there is a painting that would come to mind readily as a favourite, it would be René Magritte's 'Son of Man', featured prominently in the 1999 movie The Thomas Crowne Affair. A remake of the 1968 film of the same name.

Painted in 1964 by the Belgian Surrealist painter, it is a self portrait of himself standing in front of a wall by the seaside. A green apple incongruously hiding his face.

I can try to explain what attracted me to this piece, but perhaps this is a tale best told by the words of its creator himself. As quoted by Wikipedia from a radio interview in 1965, René Magritte has this to say about 'The Son of Man':
At least it hides the face partly. Well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It's something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.
Enough said, I am always fascinated with what is hidden... the mystery that surrounds us, just out of the edge of the visible and beyond the cusps of the known. This painting is the epitome of my personal obsession with the mystery and the dream.

A Stolen Caress

It was a caress
hardly felt
that stayed with me
throughout the night

an over the shoulder look
barely thrown
that has me captivated
unbeknownst

a single smile
on lively lovely ruby reds
that caught my eye
and verily turned my head

the lyrical lingual
twist of voice
which tricked my heart
to dub! dub! dub! dub! dub!

Dibadai Bayangan

"kelu pasrah dirundung angan-angan
terumbang-ambing dibadai bayangan
bagaikan sejoli merpati kayangan
diruntun nasib terpisah haluan"

The Impertinent Heart

It is not by fault
that I do see
glittering stardust
in her eyes

nor by conscience
that I wilt
before the warmness
of her smile

is it fate?
or by default?
a quest that I
am on myself

to unravel out
this escapade
a rebellious heart's
unintended beats

it was not by will
nor by design
I who spurned
tenderness' touch

one who stripped
out all and dared
to cage sentiment
have it expunged

but here I am
in this puddled state
melted and poured
into a mold I hate

that impertinent
sing-song in my smile
that tip top tapping
in my steps

I am an artist
didactically culled
his inspiration
cruelly hijacked

the only picture
I can now paint
is a mirage
I dare not enact

while it does echo
a familiar bliss
it hides a story
that pain still kiss

one drowned by hope
and scarred by dreams
reason's lesson
not to temp fate

perchance I silence
this tall tale
before it returns me
to that painted place.

let it bury
and lie it deep
return to status
'Quo Vadis' my heart?

Amidst The Foam

"I found it once amidst the foam
of the ever confounding waves…
that delicious rumour that breaks the mold
as it clears among our days…
for I am he, the dreamer
who shall ever challenge the dream…
who swims anon, beyond
into the oceans of hope unfazed"

Judgement

It is hard to judge,
but judge I must
the cognizance
of such tests.

It avails not,
ambition and faith
out of touch
and reach.

To reconcile,
get things
back on track
I must leave or act.

Politics & Rule

"Tis' a tale, well nigh entwined
of broken vows, and foretold lies
the politics, of those who rule
devoid of ethics, conscienceless fools."

I Stand Alone

I stand alone
upon my mountain
the mightiest of all
among the one

in armour forged
of sullied metal
blackened bronze
coaled iron rimmed

my hefted sword
of dullard silver
gird with muted
tarnished blade

my shield emblazoned
with cold defiance
a contempt
for love and hate

steadfast and visor'd
my helmet encase
a mind unmoved
by feel nor fate

rooted intentions
shod my feet
plated by impervious
immovable faith

persistence my steed
vengeance my lance
bitterly unresolved
brazenly unsated

my somber banner flaunts
and dour clarion sounds
this fortress stands alone
and love will never bound.

My Favourite New Friends

I mulled over
a pitcher of wine
to wash away
this bucket of tears

And then maybe
I'll look for a pint
good ole lager
to muffle the years

Wise men sayeth
best ye can find
whiskey bottled
Scottish well poured

Dappled beauties
by dozens they come
pick another
have a night on the town.

Jim, Jack and Johnnie
are now my best friends
Bud and Samuel
to chase them all down.

Courtly Love

I took the higher path
the siege perilous
beyond the joyous gard
of a court round tabled

for the love of a queen
bespoken and jaded
jealous of the king
whose treasure I covet

courtly is the dance
that is begged and offered
for the only boon at hand
is a courtesy borrowed

thus shall I remain
her champion well favoured
the fool who retains
this love unrequited.

The Unrequited Years

What is the point of missing
one that still breathes near
what is the point of kissing
lips that pouts for another

what is the point of hoping
when her heart's not yours
what is the point of dancing
when its not with her

what is the point of asking
when nay's the answer
what is the point of holding
hands that won't hold yours

what is the point of wasting
time to chase the lure
what is the point of loving
these unrequited years.

So Be It

If this be end
so be it

for its not in men
to overturn fate

but cities shall burn
stilled bodies trampled

to consecrate the monuments
and legacy of the humbled.

Sebalik Arca

Sebalik arca
lakur sandiwara
tersadai punca
cebis panorama

tuah dan tuju
sandaran kelu
gurauan waktu
ejekan pilu

hati seada
cinta nan fana
menimang alpa
sepi dan luka

terkilan sayu
rentetan sedu
telahan shahdu
gurisan kalbu

apakah daya
takdir damba
unggun cinta
tak sudi nyala.

Memories With Phyllis & The IQ Gang

T'was a moment of respite,
from the lure of days bygone,
those kindred memories shared,
torrid adventures as IQ's wont.

Peculiar tales of faerie creatures,
horrid monsters but mostly friends,
that zips and zaps each other,
tip toeing the poetic YPDC realm.

A case of mixed up cocktail mixers,
a New York trip's virtual stalk,
tell tales of unseen hamsters,
and figures in jumpsuits clothed.

An unusual mix that shelters,
a camaraderie borne with time,
a quid pro quo ensemble,
crossing borders, age and rhyme.

Within which lies the mention,
this tid bit that I hold dear,
those moments spanning distance,
did hold a special allure.

Tis' the memory of a friend
whose extended hands bequeathed
good company and wisdom
to a lonely soul in need.

If I can...

If I can... utter
but one wish
it'll be your name
upon these lips
a plea for time
to stop its tease
to let me find
and feel your kiss.

If I can... hear
but only once
enough for me
to feel the sound
the gentle tingling
of your voice
the lovely tickle
its caress.

If I can... see
but just one dream
it is the beauty
that you paint
the loveliness
in you it sings
to jaded eyes
sweet sigh it brings.

If I can... feel
but only this
the love that fills
my heart with bliss
my time is here
my life complete
you are the reason
that I live.

The Song of Shirin

It is often said that ALLAH
would tests us all with pain
HE'll lay us low as penance
and cleanse our soul of sin.

I cannot claim to fathom
the mysteries of such as HIM
but I do know the rhythm
that life most often sing.

The dips and downs that beckons
at times does slip the bounds
pulling you off your rocker
sending you to the pound.

But I would like to sound
the bell that tolls for thee
the song that SHIRIN sung
a soul that's full of glee.

There is nothing more that I
can remember very well
those life-filled loving eyes
and dreams such ardour filled

I am sure that somewhere lies
those shoes that danced so well
the wardrobe of life's success
that fits you well and still

Until that day does comes
and you are your old self
I pray and bid thy patience
as GOD works out his will.

Democracy Under Siege (The Perak Story)

Water cannon to the right of them,
Tear gas to the left of them,
FRU in front of them
Spray’d and gass’d;
Storm’d at with truncheon shields,
Boldly they marched and well,
To palatial gates,
Voicing their discontent
Marched the Perak thousands.

An adaptation of Tennyson’s
‘Charge of the Light Brigade’
By the pen and mind of the
Poetically licensed author
Of this here piece.

ONE cannot confess to know, the motivation and the goals, BN’s orchestrated turncoats, the takeover of Perak State. But all things considered, BN is tempting the fates, and is quite rather verily, climbing disaster’s chimney.

It may not be by intention, driven perhaps by exuberance, and the glee to consolidate, this once prodigal state. But the sum total of BN’s, impetuous and callous actions, is in effect a tête-à-tête, to putting democracy under siege.

Especially to the eyes, of the awakened electorates, that no longer partakes, regular tales and rhetoric. BN politician speaks; ears closed shut teeth, hypocrisy waxes, truth justice sleeps.

To the discontented masses, the only just recourse, demonstrations in the streets, for democracy is under siege. The hallmark of our time; the reformasi roar and chant, eclipses the BN sun, a tsunami of the rakyat kind.

I am not here to defend, Datuk Seri Nizar nor his supporters actions, which did to my beliefs, contributed to the crisis. But I am here to highlight, BN’s all too contrite, questionable methods, and means ill-considered.

Though I do commit the sin, of absentee judging, that of knowing the man, through reports and second hand. I know enough the gist, to form my disbelief; Nizar’s reactive when provoked, but BN is downright low down rude.

What else is achieved, not given room to breathe, Pushed to the limits, his back against concrete. It’s just only natural, that a cornered individual; shall turn around to face, and stand his ground in place.

Thrown out and locked from office; asked to return car keys; sans dignity and adab, that PR to BN once did give. It is one of Sun Tzu’s law; leave room for the enemy to withdraw, In Datuk Seri Nizar’s case, he was not given that grace.

Revolutions may occur, many places and reason for, but its likelihood increase, when two things co-exist. Alas I have to say, both things we see today, co-mingling in Perak State, fermenting in Malaysia’s rakyat.

The first is empty stomachs, empty wallets uncertain paychecks, economic pressure or nature’s famine; the end result is just the same. Restless tummies idle hands, unsettling hearts heating heads, a quagmire of ill-tempers, a populace on the precipice.

The second is malingering presence, of a valid and festering grievance, the rakyat’s hijacked trust; BN’s calculated callousness. A wound that slowly sickens, therakyat’s short on patience; grounds fertile to unrest, which PR may just yet seize.

We stand on dangerous grounds, war and havoc may yet sound; a terrible toll that may encompass, in the end therakyat loses. I call for BN’s prudence, and PR to rein their judgments, the fate of our nation, by their actions shall be determined.

Give to PR its due time, a breather to test its claim, the courtesy courts and grace, the dignity to vacate in peace. And if proven in due course, let PR acquiesce their loss; then BN can come in, serve the people mind you not do more sin.

But if PR’s suit does stands, then toll the electoral bell, for the State Assembly is hung, both sides stands rung to rung. What is there to lose, but to gain in moral suit, by giving the rakyat that gift, of the true democratic process?

To the Sultan I do plead, upon hands and knees bended, please listen to the rakyat, whose authority is in Your Highness invested. The government is held accountable; by Your Grace are they held in check, but you My Royal Highness, are accountable to us and GOD.

We did not fight MacMicheal, see the Malayan Union repealed, gave up life blood from veins, to reinstate the colonial reign. The rakyat are hereby challenged, not by foreign hands, but brash federal dictates, and shady incongruous deeds.

I stand before the One, standing in front of all, the self appointed mouthpiece, of this time this generation and place. Calling out for sense, the infusion of reason and wit, before it all goes to hell; everything fell out of place.

Whither dear dear BN, if you are serious about serving, do it with our consent, our ballots in your name. Do not give us a reason, another to scorn your name, respect and right to rule, is earned and never stolen.

Wherefore mighty PR, dancing that king kong dance, its not always the case, that a victory by conflict be bound. Please recall the violence, hold your supporters in check, it is after all their interest, to stay safe and unchained.

Most of all His Highness, the Duli Yang Mulia Sultan, our liege and sacred keeper, for Law Unity and Islam. The law is meant to protect, the rights of the rakyat, not as a means to hijack, nor usurp their sovereign right.

Democracy is still not dead, thankfully it’s still alive, for we the rakyat still speak, so listen to this song we sing. Democracy is under siege, curtailed from its true becoming, lift it while we yet still speak, wait not until we start to react.

A Knight's Boon (Act 1: Leave of Absence)

I crave a boon my liege
upon this holy day
on bended knee I pledge
my suit and humble say

I beg thy gracious leave
from thine most famous halls
to find my just reprieve
a knight on errand's call

Upon a quest I ride
to the solace of the roads
to bend a lusty heart
and soothe a savage soul

That I might slay the beast
and return to the land
its most deserved peace
this heavy heart of mine

I Hear Murmurings (Glad Tidings, Sad Rekindlings)

Pause forward
play rewind
I hear the news
so many times
things that was
is and hence.

Happy for some
sad for others
incapable to react
to most
to the rest
inexplicably numb.

I hear it artificial like
far off indistinct
yet too afraid
to find out
from your mouth
full on straight.

I am happy
you found new dreams
but sad
there's no intersecting
yours and mine
no in between

All the best
to you and him
God grant you both
the best everything
my fondest wish
your happy tidings.

Intruding Upon My Fancies

I begin to count backwards to ten, holding my breath all the time. And yet after that was over, I am still as nervous as hell and jittery down to a tee. I have thought myself beyond these childish fancies. These unsolicited raw emotive moments. But I am still its victim, just as I was those days in kindergarten. This is not the way I hoped to be reminded of how it was like to be young!

I tried to shift my vision, tried hard. But my eyes continue to tail that visage, consciously in life, unconsciously in dreams, subconsciously in mind and surreptitiously upon these pages of facebook. Trapped in this merry-go-round of constant peekings, clickings, surfings and involuntary thinking. Sighing and pining away what is good to go primo and productive time line, into fast footed and flighty fancies of the mind.

I am 32, soon to be 33 this year, yet I am already jaded way beyond my time. Cynical to the core, a frustrated and in-congruent man. Encased within the encapsulated morose memories and bitter reminders of life's many frailties. Enough to burn away though the cheerfulness of a thousand lifetimes. And yet this pixie somehow got though, in too near and is dancing and running her way all through my mind. Leaving tasty footprints and wistful smiles upon these lips of mine.

I refuse to believe in hope. This is just one of those tease. The under influence moments that will lead you astray only to leave you high and dry, come the sobering moments that always dawns upon reality's morning. Begone foul spirit, take thee along thy beautiful body, keen intellect, attractive visage and hauntingly 3D surround sound. Thy voice which seeks to drown me in the memory of thine eyes. Thy titillatingly tingly proposal of a life without worldly wiles, a life of only you and I... away with thee! Away with thee... away with thee?

Let me be, let me be, alone and bereft, to atone. Let me be, let me drown in the sins that yesteryear has borne. Let me be, let me be, the one, the mountain and the stone. Let me be, let me be, a fortress impregnable and strong.

Let me be ...or maybe should I hunt,track down and kill this annoying pixie?
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