Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Sigma 10-20mm

The next target of acquisition will definitely be the Sigma 10-20mm HSM lens, which I have tried at dSLR just now It has been rated above average, being awarded the TIPA award for best consumer lens. Putting that aside, it was the sharpness of the lens and the afford ability of it that touched the button of hope and wanting. Nikon lens would cost double the price and it will be a detrimental and visible dent on my wealth level if I purchase a Nikon lens instead of the Sigma. The right price must be below the emotional level of wanting. If not, the spirit is susceptible and vulnerable to regrets.

I know I can be exceptionally creative with the lens, especially on landscapes but also on making interesting viewpoints from mundane objects. DSLR put a price of RM 2, 400 but Yamiya has offered it at RM 2,095. Whatever the price, the cash is not immediately available, (though I could surreptitiously go to the bank and withdraw). No, I would rather have it with new money. That should be the game, I am telling myself that.

If the ambition is strong enough, sufficient enough, I must be creative to look for new funds, new sources. The new must be matched with the new. Only then, can I be happy in not utilising the current resources. The mind must be frantic enough, something has to happen to make this purchase happen. Soon. This Sigma lens must be mine.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Surgery

Saturday, 27 September 2008 1:12am

It has been four days since I have been away, tucked on a hospital bed, recuperating with the pains of surgeries done on my body. The invoice read the procedures with abbreviationslike "banding", "anaes", "stretch", "excision of lesion", and "excision of fissure". I can live for a long time in a small space, equipped with a small television set with inaudible sounds emanating from a damaged speaker and some hospital food. Because the sounds were just hisses and hints of words being said, I tended to read the Malay subtitles instead and thus lose seeing the movies. I could just live and breathe and move a little and sleep and wake up to eat and then breathe and move a little and then sleep. It can go on and on. There is a passive acceptance to the fact that I have just had a surgery, except for the unconsciousness. How it went on the surgery table, I would not want to venture to guess, perhaps darkly but the reality has happened. I managed the dissemination of information really well, taking care of informing only those who needed to know under conditional confidentiality and so, few came to visit. My brothers Sam and Kamal came with their wives and children. Nizam came on the last day and we went on and on conversing about religion and the perception of religion and of Shites and Sunnis. And then some office mates came but I did not mention the reason for the surgery.

The metaphysical question that now bears in my conscience is that, is God angry with me? Perhaps, He has tired of my lamentations, my invocations at the same earthy material things. Now I cannot now stand on the prayer mat to pray. This must then separate myself away from Him. So for the rest of the Ramadhan days, I will be distanced, unheard, quiet. The Universe will be quiet of the ranting of a man who can never be satisfied with his lot. Perhaps, then, God can push me away. Of course, this can be pure conjecture. It could be the opposite. Or it could be a matter of fate. Or a matter of an incident that has to happen to just about anybody. The question does cross my mind though. It could be His unhappiness.

In all those days, I passed in between dreams, awaking from sleep and dropping off to sleep, as a child would from going into one pond and into the next, in glee. The mind closed, drifting off, without caring to wander about what has happened, but accepting, like accepting that the hand has been chopped off and that is that. There were no rationalisations. It was only when I have returned home that the mind returned, to rationalise the possibilities.

There was only the window, through which I could see the construction below. That the hospital is constructing a new four-storey car park. And there were the construction noises, the piling works, working until late at night, disregarding the irritating sounds that have seeped through the walls and windows to disturb patients, a patient like me, who slept and woke at unconventional times. I settled the temperature in the room just about right, for me to feel cold enough to hibernate but not warm enough to sweat. There was simply many hours of sleep, as the round clock on the wall opposite the bed was big enough to show me the numbers that have gone by. There was a lot of peace, interspersed by the busyness of the nurses, who were to change the bed sheets, the blanket and the pillow cases, the housekeeping who came to mop the floor, the housekeeping who brought the meals on plastic trays and the nurses who came to measure the body temperature from the armpit or from the mouth, the blood pressure and the pulse rate. And there was a patient next door, who would buzz the nurse repeatedly, as if the button was a bell. A single buzz would do, as the warning light would come on and the nurse would come.
There were minimal comedic or theatrical shows to visiting friends, because there were not any, except for Nizam and the office mates. I cannot tolerate the possible repetition of explanations to the malady. Sometimes, people can ask too much of the patient. Questions remain the same, answers are repetitive, advice freely given, advice to be taken as if gifts from high heaven with nodding of head as if I have not come across the solutions in the books before, smiles through the pains, playing host to visitors. Indeed, recuperation does not need inquisitive visitors. I am better off alone.

With much fervent hope, this malady will go away and never return. The kite has to be unleashed from its tether and fly away, taken by the wind, to some unknown place. Through the pains, there was relief, that this episode has finally ended. The episode commenced seven years ago, when I had the first experience and that was a nerve wrecking experience, at which time, I asked God to grant me death because I could no longer tolerate the incessant searing pain that pulsated like a heart of its own. This revisit, I hope, will be its last.

Of dreams, I did not dream of unearthly dreams of meeting God or Angels or such. There were just dreams of meeting people, colourless dreams, in grey and black and some tainted yellow. I could not remember any. I just drifted in and out, spurred by the calmness that came from the liquid painkiller administered with a needle into the buttock every day. My request for a jab was never argued with, but I was always yearning for the calmness and happiness it brought each time.

I can recall the time, when I was wheeled on a bed to the waiting room, just before the operating theatre. First the nurse gave me a Roche pill which I gulped down with a cup of water, thus ending my fast. Two other patients were also there and then they were wheeled away. Then after some minutes, when the wife could no longer be seen as the door closed in front of her, the anaesthetist , small eyes under metal-rimmed glasses, gave me a jab. The whole place seemed to roll up and down and the doctor asked questions, in order to determine my state of vulnerability to the dosage, perhaps. I answered first coherently but then, staggered and waned at the last answers. I sat up, hand drawn to the head, feverishly trying to put the words together. Questions being asked, and answers that needed to be given. Now, I cannot remember his questions, nor my answers. I cannot remember what happened after that either. I must have dropped into unconsciousness the moment I lowered my head to the pillow again. This is the third time that I have been to the operating theatre. The first time was in 2002, to operate on the left knee. The second time was a life-saving surgery to remove the appendicitis in 2004 and now, four years later, to do this surgery. Every thing seems to be below the waist. There is no equation here. The pain can obliterate the thinking, the rational mind. Its sickness, can render a man prostrated, uncivilised with uncontrolled irritability and anger and bitterness without any rational nudge or motivation. With its sickness, everything around becomes small, the Earth, the entire Universe becomes small and constricted and puny and valueless. Nothing could stop its decision. Thus the surgery.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


There is hope after all, in this dearly beloved country. For years I have planned to move on, to migrate so that my children can have a better future but the election results have now shown that there can be change after all. With that, I have to uncloak myself of this defeatist attitude, and embrace this country again, because the people have awaken, albeit many years in the taking, to vote for change, to vote for an improvement, to mitigate the onslaught of cronyism, the omnipresent corruption, the manipulation of the country’s wealth to the chosen few. Over the years, the cancer has flowed even to the smaller veins and capillaries, even in the GLCs, so that capabilities and experiences do not matter but who one knows. We are tired of working for those appointed drones and their cronies, people who cannot think but depend on those dominant party people for directions.

It is with fervent hope that the Opposition will unite and work towards the betterment of this country, to return this place to a democracy that can be perceived, by reinstating that balance of power that this country sorely needs. The dominant political party needs to reassess and rethink towards a common good and not fall back again to deceit and retaliation at a cost to all Malaysians. This country belongs to everybody, not to just the members and families and friends of one political group. The scope of attention needs to move away from endless and expensive infrastructure programs to those that contribute towards the current and future welfare and livelihood of all Malaysians and the development of services and products that the global market needs.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


A young man and a young woman, walked together slowly on the pavement, oblivious to my observing eyes. I looked at the young man, and I could tell he would not have much of an income but that the woman was still there with him, walking with him. It would not have mattered if they were a brother and a sister, or related or simply by coincidence, happened to walk together. What mattered was the feeling I felt when I saw them, of envy. I was envious of the man, because, he had yet to feel wealth. I was envious of the child who has not tasted of the responsibility of living with the onset of maturity. I was envious of the rock who would not have any nerves and nerve endings, to feel pain or misery, without heart and probably without soul. I was envious of the bird with the wings which it could use to fly to anywhere and at anytime. At that time, I was envious of the poor man, because then, he was not burdened by greed, or envy or avarice, he was not burdened by false pretences and friendships, he was not burdened by expectations and of the desires for worldly goods. All that would have mattered to him, would be the food on the table and a shelter under which, he could sleep. I was envious of the child who has only eyes to see, ears to hear, feet to run with, hands to touch and feel, and of a heart that does not know envy and greed. As we grow older, we have grown further from that child and with a certainty, there is no turning back, no returning to what was once a home. As we grow older, we live to expectations, other people’s expectations and the expectations of the world.

When you are able to see your future in the palm of your hand and it is short of expectations, it is better not to know. When you have been able to feel the luxury of travelling in comfort and transiting at airports and being able to see different people of different races and seemingly on important journeys, and now that luxury is not there anymore, it is better not to know. When you know that your name is on the list of the proposed names for a promotion and the event has passed without you being in it, it is better not to know, for hope is like a self-inflating balloon, which drifts and floats and rises even higher with each passing day, only to fall when reality sets in. With hope, there is a price and hope is not something that comes out of a will, but of its own volition, inflating itself without needing the full conscience of the self. When you are able to know the salaries of those colleagues and you know you have fallen behind, it is better not to know. When the doctor tells you that you do not have much time to live, given the disease within you, it is better not to know, because, at times, knowledge of such a certainty will not allow for miracles to happen.