My Anthem

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

MERDEKA: Travelling Back In Time

DESIDERATA was surfing through his own archives to lift out of the cobwebs something PERSONAL for me to reflect on as Merdeka approaches. I find my second anniversary of Desi's Place struck a chord and I don't know the exact reason why I reprised this today. Maybe some happenings don't need a reason. Being alive and kicking now is reason enough.

___________ REPRISE OF POST March 15, 2007 ______________


I was working at an online newspaper for a year not that long ago and so was well exposed to electronic sources of news and debate, mainly from foreign sources, and I felt most at home with the American and British scenes. Having worked some time with the Aussie diplomatic mission, I also had a soft sport for Down Under people and happenings.

Being of Chinoserie ancestry -- but first and foremost a Malaysian, I stress! -- and knowing a smattering of Mandarin so I can comfortably see annd enjoy a movie like The Banquet without the need to staray to the subtitles, emerging China as a political and economic juggernaut also naturally was my radar-scape.

But being born and bred in NegaraKu, I feel very at home whether in a kampong/ new village or town/ bandar or the city of Kuala Lumpur (though I have never trusted local KL-ites compleatly! hence I describe the capital as B'g, B'd Wolfish Koala Lumpuh!), Desi would never allow any blardy idiot to question my loyalty as a Malaysian.

I mostly enjoy Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines seven days a week, but make an exception to have a CON BF (continental breakfast) on a Sunday, my capitalist indulgence as I am an out-of-the-closet Socialist (In the league of the current French Sigolene Royale, someone I tease mGf based in London who is quite introvert plus sensitive/ble? > hence "sensintrovert")

Chapter 1

As a freelance journalist taking up blogging chiefly influenced by JeffOoi exactly two years ago, I was happy to be able to connect with a core group of fellow/fella (Fella is defined as the female counterpart as fellow is always considered male) bloggers. I must also thank those readers who don't blog but visit often enough to engage in conversations.

There is yet a more connected group who progressed to join Desi's EMAIL LIST, numbering about 12-15 gathered over 24 months. (YOU know who you are if you have exchanged thoughts in intimate detail with Desi. This is mainly jesting -- most ly talking shop on political matters that are not safe to go public; well a small percentage of mayhaps five percent do venture into personal territory, but that's reserved for spinning my fictional novels later, with Hollywood blockbustier in mind. Rest assured I'd do it a 30% to the protagonist-blogger who has opened up his/her/gender-neutral soul to Desi.)

Most of all, I must thank these various categories of EsteemedReaders ("ER") who take the time and trouble to comment on my "writes", more formal as in a serious Essay following all the rules of Intro, Body and Conclusion; 'rites as in recording Malaysiana titbits and snippets that are eye-catching and define our local culture and politics; and lastly, more lustily perhaps than the earlier two, my writHings. In this category I lend my pretty frank thoughts on Malaysian goings-in which concern or trouble or amuse me as a Malysian citizen. The "H" implies that Desi does a lot of gymnastics, sometimes using the much maligned DDC ("Da Desi Code" methinks first gifted by the hoRst of; the R in host arose from an actual event narrated to Desi about how a Guest speaker was pronouncing this word with the R sound consistently -- neigh, neigh!)

Back to my stated Objectives as revealed in my first three Posts from March 15, 2005, to date they are, in gist:


I shall be touching on subjects broadly categorised as desiderata.english; desiderata.civilsociety; desiderata.truth -- generally with the ultimate objective of promoting the love and appreciation of outstanding writings in English; the cultivation and promotion of human traits and endeavours to build a civil Malaysian society, and finally, if possible, embark with fellow travellers in this journey called Life in the pursuit of Truth, that undefinable yet essential and desiderable, in my opinion, ingredient in the civilization process so that the human race continues to uplift itself beyond and above the banal, the demeaning and the destructive actvities that now pervade, and in some societies, even dominate human activities worldwide.


I believe I am by nature and nurture an organiser and team leader (RESUME hilites include Student Union's office-bearer; Press Training Programme Director; Chairman of LES Committee Chairman at AHC), so it was a natural course I organised what I termed as G7 meetings among Bloggers, mostly KL-based. Numbering half a dozen such meets, with quorum ranging from 2 to SE7EN. These meets gave the participants to see the person behind the anonymous masks of the cyber-writer, and I think all of us ranked these as a peak in our journeys. What say you, mates, Yes?

I believe in a non-profit adventure that is my type of blogging, it's the constant Hi's with very few Lo's (when combined, Hi-Los are still pleasing!) that makes Blogging a happy and learning adventure. The blogging experience spans a wide age range, non-discriminatory of sex, colour and race. Religion and partisan politics take up little space in our discourse; mostly it has been friendly banter and trading of jokes, satire, allowing for caustic soda in-the-face barb trading with an occasional "stranger". Few and in-betwen, such hostile encounters were easily terminated by one party just calling TIME-OUT, erase all traces of animosity and there's no legacy of enmity to bequeath. I can only off-hand record two such episodes.

Chapter 2

Today I arrive at a sort of crossroads. This Second Anniversary on the Ides of March ushers in what I think is the second chapter as I spent some time the past few weeks of where I am, and the journey I had traveled thus far. Much waters has flowed under the cyber-bridge. I have gained much, didn't lose any, perhaps made a few enemies I term as Agents Provocateur (APs), so I count my journey positive, productive and most important in my mind, "enjoyable".

I have reviewed my Three Original Objectives, and today announce that I have retained
the three objectives, viz:

* Civil Society;
** Promotion of the English language, especially using Poetry as a Special Medium;
*** Truth-seeking.

But to be added a fourth, namely:

**** Nation-building,
which I think is timely and must enjoy priority as Malaysia approaches its 50th anniversary of birth.

I would think Nation-building would encompass Politics, whether Partisan or Non-partisan. I have decided that a citizen has every right to involve himself/herself in partisan politics, and this would not detract from the role of any Blogger in contributing to the community.

I borrow the words of a media fraternity member: "One cannot remain neutral in a moving train." -- Jacqueline Ann Surin, whose writings have caused much and spirited debates in blogosphere, and mGf Howsy holds her in higher esteem than Desi (YOU, Time's Person of the Year 2006, can interpret this statement any way YOU like, Desi, as you know, tries to practise democracy even in all his discusioins, especially when media is the open field. Blogsworld members aspire and want to be treated with respect as the Fifth Estate. So let's start by adhering to the same exacting and high standards demanded of the Fourth Estate.

At the personal level,

I penned the following over the past 48 hours.

Inside the head resides the rational mind,
In the heart dwells one's soul seeking its home.

But to my mind, at journey's end it's all fruitless
If a seeker finds he has gained much of worldly treasures
but can't feel the warmth in his/her heart at night
to feel the comfort of a person at peace with his soul

The ultimate treasure
resides within the individual's heart
even as soon his life's journey began
except many did not feel their own heartbeats
until it's too late, the heart has stopped chanting.

Follow That Dream

by Elvis Presley

When your heart gets restless, time to move along
When your heart gets weary, time to sing a song
But when a dream is calling you,
There's just one thing that you can do

Well, you gotta follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
You gotta follow that dream to find the love you need

AS the song comes over the airwaves, my thoughts often go back to some lonesome travel by an Andalusian shepherd boy who one night dreamt of a distant treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. This shepherd boy broke out of the comfort zone of his father's Andalusian farm in Spain to set out for Morocco, then towards Egypt seeking "the soul of the world". When he bade farewell, his father's only advice was: "Travel the world until you see that our castle is the greatest, and our women the most beautiful".

His journey through desert storms, narrow escapades from theives and marauding robbers, and from other life-threatening situations, being left penniless, and betrayed by a companion -- these werre challenges in an answer to a call to follow his dream that a youth could not ignore or resist, even with a sacrifice of leaving behind his sweetheart. To seek out his destiny he must, or else his heart would not let him rest, for he would be trapped with an unquenched thirst. Even his sweetheart understood his longing, so wished him well on his journey. She too sought the peace within even as her sweetheart sought his far away in a strange and foreign land.

My dear ER, if you have the time, try to read

The Alchemist


Paulo Coelho

The Brazilian story-teller only suggests.
He hints. He asks thee to listen to your heart.

As Santiago the shepherd boy travelled on his journey, he found that was "a language that doesn't depend on words". He realised: "If I can learn to understand this language without words, I can learn to understand the world."

So each of us have to define our dreams, then follow these dreams, because to find the Truth at the end of such a quest on Earth is the way to find "God", which could mean happiness, fulfilment, and understanding the ultimate purpose intended by an Almighty perhaps, of individual Man's transient journey on this good earth.

The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. After listening to "the signs" the boy learns of various intangibles on a terrestrial trip, alike in spirit Jonathan Livingstone Seagull's adventures on air, guided by a few stranger-friends and "omens" that cropped up.His search for a hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt would end...YOU find out yourself, for Desi's a practising democrazee and wouldn't want to serve thee false "madsin" forced down the throat.

I know I must write first true to my heart's desire.
The desiderata of happiness is to seek the Truth within one's soul
to be able to separate the precious from the banal
to discern the right from wrong
to find meaning and tranquility in the dance of life
While we may stumble, even fall,
we learn the language of overcoming the tests
So we won't lose the rhyme, nor the rhythm
As a quest can end in failure
because of corruption of the soul
by discordant notes and unsound distractions

I just completed the first and second years' movements.
I am still composing the symphony of Life.
The third movement has just begun.
Do be one of my travelling companions
to be entranced by this common dance of life.


Anak Merdeka said...

"I must first write true to my heart's desire"

Our hearts' desires are many, waxing and waning with the flow of information flung our way. Sometimes, it burns fiercely and the pen could not keep up with the thoughts. Other times, the spirit dries up and left our thoughts scattered like autumn leaves blown away by the cold wind.

And the search begins, anew, to find a purpose to make the ink flow again in a coherent and purposeful manner. To regain a sense of credibility within oneself amidst the continued desire to hide behind the veil of anonymity.

Writing shouldn't be so hard on the soul, should it?

Helen said...

I have nothing to add..:-)

THis year, the 31st does feel different.. and it 's not because it is 50 yrs old. ;-(

Twisted Heels said...

Wow. After reading AM's comment, I'm lost for words.

To be honest with you, I have felt foreign to home in a way. I wonder if I've been here too long that I prefer this lifestyle or actually the situation at home is not encouraging any of us hoping to go back.

desiderata said...

anak merdeka:

WoW, in less than 100 words, this MIA-4-A-w'ile captures pretty well in prose poetry a Blogger's journey's breaking trip at R n R Bay.

AM:"..oneself amidst the continued desire to hide behind the veil of anonymity." Stillll? In the steallll of the night?:)

desiderata said...

helen: Have you collected enuf fun-D to fix that leaking roof? Desi is not keen to stand in that korner until...

Happy Merdeka ipohLANGlingLONG...I'll send some FR siew pau-pau to go with thy past&PRESENTries:) ... plus Haridas tehtarik off course-- butt does DHL deliver on FRidae ah?:(

desiderata said...


You stumble o'er a basket... too fruity eh?

Nah mind, as long the twistedheels is walking tall (5 ft SE7EN eh, you TOWER o'er FuroooongNite Desi at 5 ...nah mind2!:)

Come bak to NegaraKu, bring back loads of British pounds:) Fair XXchange...

Let's us all stand up and all together now:

NegaraKu Tanah tumpahnya darahku...