Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tsunami

In the shadows

I think I have always been a dancer.

There’s this photo of me as a toddler wearing this cutesy white bell bottomed pajamas and grinning away into the screen with my super curly locks framing my face. I look like I was dancing and posing for the camera.

Dance is like a meditation for me only instead of sitting in one place, I’m moving to the energy of the music and dance.

In prayer



Somewhere mid of the year, I had been toying with the idea of choreographing a dance piece when I was inspired by the moody music of a dance showcase at an open stage performance. A thought formed into my head and it slowly grew at first as a solo only to grow in size as I put in my imaginary dancers into their place in my vision.

By then I knew the piece was too big for the stage it had been initially conceived in and so I looked at my options at showcasing it. I had two ready places – one a festival I was initially excited about but was slowly hating and the other at my favourite place in KL, KLPAC. With time and persuasion (or more of blackmail from the director) the piece found its home as I submitted my paper and got accepted.

Hehehe I went for the first meeting and asked so does this mean we’re in? And I got the answer I would think so which was followed by that golden email which meant I had to find the music and choreograph the dance. Yes I need to have an end before I can begin.


Then came the frantic search for the song to fit the mood I wanted. I spent two days trying to find the song. I knew what I wanted but didn’t know if it existed, my heart said it did and so I dashed to my favourite music person Aravind, who within hours sent me the song that has now successfully haunted 5 women to do crazy stuff on stage. I’m not sure if the kid knows how vital the song is to the choreography and with his magic editing it became even more amazing. I owe you a treat! ;p

Music in hand you would think the choreography would be easy right? No it doesn’t work like that. Music, art, choreography all needs inspiration, you can’t just start like that it takes time and in dance you need to know your dancers and work according to their skills. By the time the choreography emerged, the vision in my head had changed so many times it’s become something totally different from the first spark.

But it was only when I met everyone at the first rehearsal that it fell into place. Every week that we meet, it gets stronger and more beautiful and each person has their own strength.

Ah but first I must tell you how I found my dancers. I posted my requirements on FB and was looking around when 3 of my friends separately asked me about it (and probably regretted the very next moment as) and I immediately said yes to all three. The third was the funniest coz all she did was ask and I said yes you can join and jumped in my chair gleefully. I had my five dancers! ;p

Two of my dancers have never performed on stage and I’m so impressed with them. The first time one of them did the second half, I was stunned with disbelief at the energy and what they were doing till I had to tell them pace yourself don’t get injured. ;p The other two are seasoned dancers so it’s not surprising to see them do well. But I love the combination of the group as everyone works together to help the other, practices (even though I bully some about it) diligently, are constantly thinking of it and most importantly everyone is excited.

It’s been such a wonderful time watching all of them dance and dancing as well. The truth is at the beginning of the choreography I was telling myself and another friend that this might be my last performance as a dancer and maybe I should retire as building my stamina every few years once is super tiring and not to mention the lack of time on my side at this point. But thanks to the gals and the whole dance itself, I’m back to enjoying myself and I’m raring for the next even though we’ve not even performed this one! ;p 

Last Sunday we gave each other names okay wait we got given names – so there’s psycho, cute, sexy, dirty and mama.     

It’s a dark, dark dance, if you must know. A total opposite of what we performed in 2009. But the best part is the team at KLPAC remember us from 2009 and are pretty excited to see what we have in store this time. Oh and we get disco balls ;p hehehe

Dancing is quite an interesting experience, at first you’re honing the steps and you go on repeating the dance in a pretty mechanical way. Only after the 10th full dancing session will you be able to fully bring out the emotions as you’re no longer wondering what the next step is.

There we were at the foyer of klpac as the haunting humm resonated through the halls. I walked into the centre of the stage and the music took over. As I sat there on the dias waiting for the drama and reacting to the actions on stage, my heart could feel the emotions of the scene taking place in front of me though I had my eyes closed with just enough open for an idea of the cues. Each time I reacted to those cues, the anger in me built up and the hair on my arms started tingling as I got goosebumps.

When I got up to wake the chaos in my dancers I could feel the vibrations of the anger as we transformed into beings waiting to destroy and as fast as it started it ended and we were done. And so my vision is complete and is awaiting its staging as we hone our skills and work into the magic of the haunting music.

While we’re taking part in a festival which is also a competition, I told the gals from day 1 enter this only coz you want to dance and not coz you want to win. I don’t care if we win or go to the finals, this will be an experience you will not forget as you will dance your heart out there.

So this will be my offering for Devi for Navarathri this year. We are evoking Kali ma in one of her forms as Mother Earth. May god bless us and let us dance our hearts out each night, without fail and let fatigue only brush us with its long fingers while the goddess vibrates in us.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Anang Malaysia sebaka tebu

I never got the fuss about Merdeka (Independence Day) and Malaysia day.


That’s because from the day I was born till today I’ve only known Malaysia as my country where we have 14 states. Never have I seen myself as better or more superior just coz I lived in the peninsular away from the Eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak. To me we were 14 unique states with our own slangs, traditions, culture and people united by one country.

Perhaps being born and having lived all my life in the capital of Malaysia has helped as 90 percent of the people I know are from another state and apparently mostly from Perak! ;p

I used to have a theory that if I threw a stone it would drop on an Ipoh person, recently upon doing a survey on my Facebook Profile I realised I’d need to change that to Perak since everyone seemed to be from some town in Perak without counting their respective spouses!

Now that I have successfully diverted the article to something else as usual let’s go back. ;p

Yes I count myself lucky to be in the capital as I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people from all our states and learnt bits and pieces of their culture. Yes we’re a tiny country but each state is unique let alone the towns. I am determined to put a foot into each town in Malaysia by the end of my lifetime. The problem is I keep finding favourites and returning to them.

The thought of a barrier of states has never occurred to me. To put it in a corny way, every Malaysian is a brother or sister to me regardless of race or religion.

But I understand why it’s a fuss. We just celebrated the 54th Merdeka and in a few days we will be celebrating the 48th year of the formation of Malaysia. The truth is for people like me Sabah and Sarawak may have gotten a latter independence but they have always been a part of us right from the start so how can we separate them from us when they have always been us?

I was inspired to read about Temenggung Jugah @ Tun Jugah the other day by my big boss. Now my big boss is super inspiring, well both of them are. He’s been telling me about wanting to send this message out for over a month now because he is so passionate and positive about being a Malaysian. He even knows this legendary man and his family personally. They now run the Tun Jugah Foundation which educates people about the Ibans. The other day he walks in and tells me what he wants me to write and research. This man’s knowledge is just outstanding, ask him about anything and he would probably know and here we are complaining of not having time!


Now I vaguely knew Temenggung Jugah from my days of reading history at school. I’m a history buff and I remember I loved this part of our history as we were finally rid of the sultans who were all named Mohamed 1 to million! Imagine trying to remember which Mohamed given I have a bad history of not remembering names that’s getting worse? Plus it made more sense to me as this was our history.

Anyway while researching for a quote by him, I found two that I absolutely love. There is very little information about him actually which is really sad. The man refused to wear a suit in all his meetings with the last of the British Governors who ruled Sarawak and was always seen in his traditional clothes.

idup ka nyawa dulu. Udah urat tegap, baru kitai ulih bejakuTemenggung Jugah
Give life to yourself first. Once your foundation is solid, then you can talk and act.’ – Tun Temenggung Jugah

“Anang Malaysia sebaka tebu, manis di pohon, tawal di hujung” - Tun Jugah @ Temenggung Jugah

Malaysia should not be like the sugar cane, sweet at the head and getting less and less sweet towards the end -
Tun Jugah @ Temenggung Jugah

For Tun Jugah @ Temenggung Jugah, the man who was key to Sarawak joining Malaysia, he wanted to ensure the formation was not like the sugar cane. I believe Malaysia has seen its fair share of up and downs but the sugar cane remains sweet just like Malaysia.
I went on a merry-go-round looking for his autobiography and a few others. There’s also Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min who sadly just passed away in July 2011. He’s another man I would love to read.

Guess what it’s available on Amazon but not in the book stores here and the distributor is ignoring my emails. Bah! I’m sure I can get it at the National Library but I really want to own these books and read each book on our history from the eyes of these leaders.

Whatever anyone wants to say, groan or complain take it somewhere else, I love this country and years ago while in a long distance relationship I knew then that I would never leave for good, I may travel, work for short stints elsewhere but this is home, this is where I will live and protect till the day I die.

To all my fellow Malaysians, let’s continue keeping the sugar cane sweet as we are all Malaysians and no matter what happens, we are ONE nation.

Happy Malaysia Day everyone.

Ps: Anyone knows where I can buy these books in Malaysia?



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Monday, September 12, 2011

Yesterday was 9/11.


I wanted to write something but my Facebook Feed was filled with mixed messages, the usual racists buggers spewing hatred and the usual ones posting memorial messages.

Yes I have racists buggers as friends. Definitely not my close friends, it’s just I haven’t come to the point of telling them off. I’m legendary with the people I tell off and no I’ve not regretted it. Life’s really peaceful nowadays after being liberated from them.

It’s been 10 years but I know the pain is unbearable for many, the memories unforgettable.

Here I am, a so called non affected person but I can remember every single thing I did in those two days. I can remember watching that man fall to his death, I can remember watching the building fall, I can remember feeling the pain of sensing the death of so many. I can remember looking through every single image the media spewed.

I don’t care which side you are on, I don’t care who you support, I don’t care of the politics behind it, people lost their lives both on that day and the war that commenced in retaliation.

Why is this 10 years relevant? Coz life has not been the same since. The airport securities, the reverse hatred, generations who grew up hating another religion just coz they placed their emotions above rational, a generation of Muslim children grew up being taunted by people, families were displaced, a decade of sadness for many, the fact that nearly every country in the world had lost a citizen that day.
The Star ran a story about Muslim children who grew up in the wrong decade.

We lost three Malaysians that day. Who could forget the story of Vijayashanker who could have escaped had he not returned to help his boss.

I have friends whose parents were supposed to have been on one of the doomed flights. That day thought us that life is not about rushing through, life is to be lived and if you’re late or you miss a flight it’s not the end of the world it could have just been a blessing in disguise.

But it’s today that personally affects me. I used to work next to the Petronas twin towers. One of the most beautiful sights in KL, I never get sick of looking at it or photographing it. Imagine not having it in our skyline anymore, today 10 years ago it could have happened.

The next day after watching a repeat of the nights events I headed to the office solemn and still in disbelief of the events that had unfolded.

Sometime later we noticed people walking out of the twin towers towards us. It took us sometime to realise that there was a bomb scare at the Petronas twin Towers. We looked at each other, not a word was spoken and we continued staring at the PC. I knew no one was working as everyone was scared of what might happen. I remembered smsing my then bf and telling him to come online. That’s when I told him what was happening and that I was scared.

He was the only one who knew how scared I was. I called home just to talk but never said a thing. Everyone was still in shock at home from yesterday. I sat there praying and hoping today wouldn’t be my last day and it would just be a bomb scare.

Thank god it had been just that. Did life go back to normal?

Not really, 10 years down the road my heart still beats frantically for what could have been.

So imagine what those who were there on 9/11 feel today.

No matter where we were, it affected all of us.

God bless the souls that were lost and the families who are still at lost. 



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