When Sergiu texted to tell me that he was going to be about 15 mins late, it was already 7PM — our initial rendezvous — and I’d just finished moving half of the stuff into my new room. I sighed. Relieved, I jumped in the shower.
When I got out, I saw Sergiu’s missed call; he was there already. I texted that I would be late, and he told me about MyTeki’s Chinese New Year promotion: If you type #huat in the app, you get RM10 off.
It’s completely mind-boggling arriving at your destination, but instead of you paying the driver, the driver pays you. He just hands you RM2 — cold hard cash in two RM1 notes — because your fare is only RM8.
Sergiu and I started shooting at around 9PM, and by midnight, we wrapped. I got back home around 1AM, immediately after which I continued moving my stuff into the new room.
Around 4AM, after I was done moving, I took up the phone to message Sergiu, and right there on Facebook, posted by MUBI, was a picture of Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the caption: The Master has left us.
I watched Ex-Drummer close to six years ago, and one of the things that stuck with me to this day was —
"What did you think when you heard that King Boudewijn had died? What were you thinking, l mean, l’d like to know where you were"
It’s something I think about every time someone important dies. I’m not saying that one human life is more valuable than another, but when people start making a fuss on Facebook/Twitter about how one human life is NOT more valuable than another, then you know that person triggering that reaction — whoever he/she is — is important.
I remember when Paul Walker died, there were all these people posting pictures and stories about Roger Rodas — the driver of the car, the “other guy” — in an attempt to point out that his life was just as valuable as Paul Walker’s.
Earlier today, I saw this thing on Facebook; it read something like — RIP to all the other drug addicts who died today and never got an obituary.
Would (as many) people know Roger Rodas had he not died next to Paul Walker? Would the post about the “other drug addicts” have existed had Phillip Seymour Hoffman not overdosed?
I was in bed, on Facebook — on my phone — when I found out that The Master had left us, and the first thing I thought of was that final scene from Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. Him, sitting on the bench, and just when he got an idea on how to do the Play, Dianne Wiest tells him to die and the film fades to black.
Assumptions. You meet someone new and immediately, you start painting an image of them in your head. Every word they utter, every facial expression — every gesture is another brush stroke.
Like that time I met this one guy who I immediately felt off about. It might’ve been his gesture or mannerisms or maybe even the way he was dressed — I don’t remember — but I do remember having a vaguely negative image of him in my head. Then he opened his mouth and the first sentence out of it was sexist and mildly misogynistic.
It feels good to be right, but it feels even better to pleasantly surprised; to be proven wrong.
Like every time I see Kafayat here perform in front of a new audience, they all make these assumptions about her — I know I did, the first time I saw her — but the minute she starts playing, the moment she opens her mouth and the words come out, everyone simultaneously goes Whoaaaaaaa. It’s a thing of beauty. You can literally feel the whole energy of the room change at an instant.
A sight to behold.
The worst thing is when your good assumptions turn out to be wrong. When someone you painted as wise and respectful turns out to be gross. It’s a lot like being betrayed by a close-friend but in this case, it’s a one-sided friendship and it only takes place in your head.
The psychology is all wrong, you say. This doesn’t make any goddamn sense. Every painting you’ve ever painted comes into question, and you vow never again…
But you do anyway because life often doesn’t make sense, shit happens, and for the most part, we learn nothing.
Ever had one of those nightmares where you know for sure that you’re dreaming — you’re absolutely certain — yet, in the dream, you’re not any less terrified?
You’re breathing heavily and sweating; your heart is beating faster. Faster. Someone, say your girlfriend’s father (or maybe it’s her older brother?), is shouting — accusing you of all sorts of unspeakable things.
Now it’s your own father. He’s staring right at you, not saying anything — just looking; his face is full of sadness. He’s disappointed; something inside him is broken.
Turn left, and there’s a random stranger scolding you for reasons that are not immediately clear to you.
This whole time you’re thinking — “It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream. I’m going to wake up and it’s just a dream”.
But you don’t.
Sometimes you have to do something you don’t want to do right now because you know the future version of you will be glad you did. Not eating that cake because it’s not “cheat day” despite it being your favorite. Forcing yourself to go to the gym after work when you’d rather lay on a beanbag and watch Thug Notes on Youtube.
Mustering every ounce of your energy to write this micro blog post at one in the morning when you’d rather be in bed dreaming of…
"The audience doesn’t know what it wants. It’s the artist’s job to tell them. Or more accurately show them."
"This might not work" is my new favorite aphorism.
You know how back in kindergarten you could just walk up to someone and ask “would you like to be my friend?” and if they said yes — just like that — you’d get yourself a new friend? Me, I don’t really know. I never did. For as long as I remember, making friends was an ordeal.
The first friend I remember making was this kid from my class (this was back when I was 3 or 4) who tried to beat me up. And by “tried to beat me up”, I mean straight-up beat the shit out of me. We were forced to reconcile; we did the whole handshaking thing and whatnot, but then in a bizarre turn, his mother brought him over to my place one weekend for what I believe is now called a play date. And then me to his place a few weeks after. And then him to my place. And me to his place. My place. His place.
For all intents and purposes, my first friendship was arranged, and for a long time, it shaped my view of what I think friendship should be.
- - -
Recently at a gig, a friend of a friend asked how I came to know our mutual friend (who is not my friend from kindergarten). That was the first time it occurred to me that making new friends wasn’t as excruciating as it used to be, because becoming friends with my friend — our mutual friend — did not feel like a chore at all.
I don’t particularly know why it’s become easier for me to make friends, but my best guess is that over the years, I’ve became better at identifying my people.
- - -
Right now, over twenty years later, my friend from kindergarten and I are still friends. Well, friendly, I don’t know if I’ll call him my people.
- - -
My people are easy to talk to, easy to be around, easy to like; because for the most part, my people are me.
It’s been a while since I’ve written on here, so this post is intended as a comeback, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, if you will (the camel, in this case, being my blogging dormancy). Not that I’m particularly superstitious, but I don’t want my first post of the year to be a rant or something negative, which is why I’ve decided to post something incredibly rare, something beautiful…
— something that makes me very happy.