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 (, 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


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'


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.


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

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"


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.
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