Wednesday, June 16, 2004
…Finally, their eyes met. Mother became very quite. As the little girl
reached the head of the line…"
I think I am very lucky. I can't handle the sight of blood. Especially
in large quantity. It might be my curse and I have been this way as long as I can remember. I shiver every time I listen to bloody tales of wars or horrifying accidents. Once, when I was watching 'Resident Evil' with my friends, I nearly fainted in the cinema's toilet. As I was watching the movie, I felt cold sweats stating to appears all over my face. It was a scene with solders trapped in a hallway. Lasers slowly scanned through it and diced the poor solders to small pieces.
My lips were bloodless. My head was so light, it can be anywhere but attached to my neck. I know it was a mistake, but it was just a movie. It wasn't even real. I was legless all the way to the toilet and sat on the toilet bowl and stayed there for a while. It was dumb and I'd already missed a quarter of the movie when I came back. Din kambing think I was weird. "Hek eleh, kau ni lembik la." I do, sometime forget about this problem I had and that day I spend the rest of the day watching the movie with my baseball cap covering my eyes, peeking through scenes. It was my worse movie experience ever.
I'd first noticed about this when I was in primary school. It was Saturday and I was on my way for a football practice. I was quite active back then, the top fullback in Zone Tiram. Even made captain of the team. I don't have any special technique or have I ever think I am a good footballer. I think I was made captain because the other stars of the team are not even Malaysian. Majority of our players were Cambodian immigrants. The secret to be a good defender was a brutal, wholesome tackle. Of course back then harsh tackle doesn't mean an
automatic booking or a red card. And don't ever passed the ball back to fellow team mates 5 feet away from you, just sent it into the other's team penalty box. Don't worry about where it going to end-up, just let the striker do the running. It was no small feat and I still think that was the height of my football carrier. I could not bend the ball as beautiful as in 1990, though. Well, I have to take a taxi from Taman Bikut Tiram to school and as I was walking from my house to wait for taxi, a sudden pain made me checked my foot and found a thick piece of broken glass stuck to my right feet. A piece from the green Kikapo bottle. Blood was turning black and my left slipper was soaking wet. I took the glass out and realized that suddenly I wasn't feeling
too well. I laid on the backseat of the taxi and spend another half an hour lying on the wooden bench inside the small office at the taxi stand.
"Kau ni dah kenapa? Nampak macam demam. Dah pergi klinik Govind?"
"Tak tau la bang. Tadi okay je. Tak pasal-pasal macam nak pitam." I
still had my hand on my face. My cheek was so cold, my lips were numb.
"Kaki kau pulak ni apahal? Kau tak boleh tenguk darah kot."
Since then, everything was never the same again. My mother and my wife love to tease me and show even the smallest wound they had to me first before treating it. Just to see my reaction. I'm not afraid of blood. I can look at it but I know in a minute or so I will feel drowsy and
light headed. It is kind of stupid and silly. But I don't know what cause this and how to control this feeling.
But there were also time when the sight of goriness and blood doesn't have the slightest impact on me. My late father had to be hospitalized for nearly a year because of his serious illness. We had been to various kinds of hospitals around town and Melaka and I never had a problem hanging out with other patients even though they had tubes coming out from every hole on their body. I knew this uncle that was involved in an automobile accident. His condition was bad with broken bones and nasty scars. Physically, he was a mess. He was admitted to the hospital with little hopes of fully recovered or ever walked again. Wheelchair-bound, he'd refused to put give up and in a couple of months, he was back on his feet. Hospital, to me a place of many miracles, with good doctors plus some crappy ones that really give the occupation a bad name. And there was this time during hari raya korban that I took pictures of a cow being slaughtered and cut all the way to the last piece. Only after we had finished distribute the meat to everyone that I remembered I never ever seen a cow being slaughtered before. I couldn't not handle it.
There are downsides being this way but there are also many advantages. Media, such as newspapers and television often carry gruesome news about wars from all over the world. Some with horrid details, it just unbearable to watch. The cost of a human life doesn't look that expensive or important at some places, like Iraq and Afghanistan. To live is just a matter survival and perseverance. Luck and fate. Lives are so disposable, nobody even cries for it anymore. The image of children and women, lying hopeless with wound that will never heals.
Love one lost and lives divided by different believes and ideology. It sometime hard to believe in a where everything is possible, it is still impossible to stop wars, that can easily be avoided with
tolerance and understanding.
We can only imagine what it would be like to live in thee time of war. My late grandfather, the great storyteller has many tall and heroic tales about the wars. Brothers and sisters and mothers were parted during this time. He heard and seen friends lost their family member
in the most horrible way. Rice was a luxury. Khaki shorts and dirty boots. Anyone that were found to be defiance to the Japanese will have their head cut-off. Until today, the spirit of the Japanese solders that died during the war roams the wooden Islamic school, in front of
my grandfather's house. I don't know if this is true or not but it did feel scary whoever I looked out the front window in the middle of black, moonless night. I would sat in front of him with mouth wide open. Green and red. The teal and turquoise of that day. Pail looking Japanese men with small eyes and carefully trimmed hair rounding up town on foot or bicycle. No one even dare to stare back through their cold eyes and answer everything with 'hait' and a small and quick bow.
Majority of the time, wars were started by crazy leaders with personal vendettas and greed, rather than anything else. It is wrong, no matter how you look at it.
"Finally, their eyes met. Mother became very quite. As the little girl reached the head of the line, she look at the plate, the food and in a flash broke out of the line and rushed into Mother's arms.
"The need for affection, to be held by the arms of this mysterious woman, had surpassed, for that short moment, her need for survival."
That was lines from Audrey Hepburn's new book by his son Sean Hepburn Ferrer. I think I am very lucky, I may never be a doctor and save lives but I rather see red as the color of the beautiful roses then the color of meaningless bloodbath.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Seeing Battle Of Disarm live in Taman University is like watching Minor Threat in action in DC or The Ramones in CBGB. It is that important to some people. No wonder that day, when Battle Of Disarm toured South East Asia, many from as far away as Australia, America and Europe come here to Malaysia or Singapore to watch them perform.
When the first time Fizi said to me that BOD would be coming to Malaysia, I just brushed it off like hungry mosquito on a feeding frenzy. You go camping one day and forget to bring mosquito repellent and by morning time, bite marks are all over you. Anyway, only after the last confirmation from Masaki-san and the official flyers was released, the dream was just something that is waiting to be realized. The Malaysia gig was originally slated to be played in the multi purpose hall at Larkin. Dewan Dato Onn. A legendary venue, no less to the local kids, the situation suddenly changes when national election was announced to be on the same day of the gig. The time then was less than two month and when Fizi thinks everything was running smoothly according to schedule, things like this happens. Fizi had to act fast and finally decided to change the venue from JB to KL.
I personally was very disappointed. Even though BOD will be playing in Singapore the day before they play in Malaysia, I think the JB gig will be no less explosive. The gig took place in 3 countries in 3 days. How punk rock was that! I went to Singapore to meet the guys from Voco Protesta, Power Of idea that will touring with Battle Of Disarm. Oliver from Cluster Bomb Unit tagged along and will be playing with Power Of Idea. They arrive later than expected, nearly two in the morning. For the majority of them, that was their first time coming to Singapore. I think Masaki and Naoki was the only person that had been to Singapore and Malaysia.
It was a busy week for me and I opted not to go to Jakarta along with them. Fadh was all okay about it but being a little mellow and not so keen to travel that far in a short time, not to mention the short time frame. So I just have to make do with the tall tales Fizi being telling me on how they were mobbed in Jakarta and the venue was so packed and chaotic that police have to come in and stop the gig. The crowds were estimated around 3000 people, easy. Maybe more.
The Singapore show was a more relax affair with less-Jakarta like atmosphere. They played in Singapore Expo in which have plenty of hall for every occasion. The hall was air conditioned, really cozy for a punk rock show. Some kids that were hoping to watch Disney On Ice found themselves in a hall full with sweaty kids jumping around like crazy.
This is very silly. I don’t even went to any of the gigs and here I am trying to describe the excitement in full detail. Well, I can’t. I didn’t went to the KL show because have to pick up my mother at the Stulang Feri Terminal. I’d had witness a great storm while we were eating in Larking Bus Terminal. It starts with ordinary drizzle before a thunderous storm ripped apart many trees around larking, leaving two or three cars crashed at the terminal’s parking lot. I do witness that first hand. I’m not making that up.
The KL show was okay but what was really disappointing that someone stole the band’s banner. Darn, what a stupid thing to do..
Note: more in sireh & cengkeh zine #1
He is one of columnist in HeartattaCk, one of my favorite punk hardcore fanzine. i have been thinking of emailing ravi some questions but only recently did i am able to do it. I’m really glades that he finally answer the questions.
He have strong views in certain issues and have been writing for quite some time for punk hardcore/DIY fanzine and alternative Publishing such as Clamor.
sireh// I am a big follower of your writing, especially in HeartattaCk. Which other publications have you write for?
Ravi//i don’t really remember everything I’ve written for because I’ve been writing since 1995. I’d say my more recent articles have been printed in Clamormagazine, an Asian American zine out Univ. of Berkeley called Hardboiled, AsianAmerican Revolutionary Zine, Trinicenter.com, Maximum Rocknroll, and a whole bunch of smaller circulation zines back in the 90’s.
Sireh// What do you think, being a minority in US punk community, in a sense the understanding between different cultures etc.etc?
ravi// The American hc scene is a smaller reflection of “mainstream” US’ attitudes and their perception of cultures – regardless of how many white American punks try to emphasize how “different” they are from the “mainstream.” Several times foreign cultures have been turned into trends in hc, such as the Hare Krishna fad (ripping off Hindu culture from India), the ska/rude boy scene (taking from Caribbean culture), etc. Not to mention when bands use pictures of oppressed 3rd world inhabitants on their covers to sell records and make themselves look political. I think most (not all) US punks are only willing to look at these cultures when it is in the context of music or talked about in a song. There is rarely an effort to actually study these cultures further or to criticize people who turn something cultural into a trend.
Also what I’ve noticed is that American punks will only talk to someone from another culture if that person is directly involved in the punk scene. An example of this is in Profance Existence #38 where a white American columnist states “The fact is that as punks we have more in common with other punk kids in Argentina, South Korea or Norway than we do with mainstream citizens of our own countries.” This statement is sad to me because it shows the attitude of some misguided American punks: they won’t talk to someone who lives in their community because they don’t share similar interests, but they’ll talk to a Korean simply because that person listens to the same music as they do!
sireh// What do you think about the war against terror? Is it a winning battle? I guess not and what do you think the initial reaction from the US public about this. Is it really worth it?
ravi// I think a lot of the US public support the War on Terror only because they are being fed misinformation on a regular basis. For instance a lot of Americans failed to understand why most of the world opposed the War in Iraq. But then when Americans who supported the war were asked their reasons for backing an attack on Iraq, a lot of them said things like “Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.” We all know al-Qaida was behind the attacks but somehow the enemy was switched from bin Laden to Hussein. That’s directly because of the Bush administration distorting the information it was giving to the public.
The War on Terror can only be won in the long term through international cooperation and bettering the living conditions for people around the world. This includes the first world taking responsibility for the fact that they are directly at fault for horrendous poverty around the globe, whether through past
Colonial occupation or today through corporate exploitation. The first world needs to immediately start paying reparations to Third world nations, and developing nations need to unite and form alliances to decrease dependence on rich countries.
sireh// What are some of the projects you are doing now? Have you ever/ plans to go and tour South East Asia by yourself or with a band? Have you been to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia or The Philippines? Do people in US have good exposure to our scene in Malaysia? Just to inform you, Rambo, Power Of Idea (Japan) and Battle Of Disarm will be playing here this month.
ravi// I’m about to put out a South Asian zine called Vidya (which means “knowledge” in Sanskrit or Hindi). Also I will start writing a book on South Asian history and how it has been distorted by white historians. Particularly how Indian history has been falsified and rewritten by archaeologists to make it look as if Europeans had a hand in helping start up advanced civilizations in ancient Asia.
I have traveled throughout parts of Asia with my family. Specifically I’ve been to South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, India, and Nepal (these last 2 countries is where my relatives live). I lived in the Philippines for 2 years, attended International School’s junior high/middle school there, and my little sister was actually born in Manila. I would like to be able to visit both Malaysia and Indonesia the next time I visit Asia which will hopefully be next year or two years from now.
I am not involved in the scene that much anymore but when I was I don’t think too many people were aware of any Malaysian bands. This might have changed recently but I really wouldn’t know.
sireh// Okay, something lighter. How about influences in your life. Who have the most impact on you? And music wise, what is your favorite band right now?
ravi// Hm, that’s a good question, I’m not sure how to answer this. I’d have to say my travel experiences and meeting people from all walks of life has been very influential on me. My perspective on the world and on people has been largely shaped because of the fact that I’ve lived everywhere and because I have met people from every continent. I also think a lot of the negative people I’ve met in my life were very influential on me. For instance, my experiences with racism has shaped how I think I should treat people on a personal level; the fact that I have friends or family who are in much worse situations than me has made me acknowledge privileges on different levels causing me to stop worrying about trivial things.My favorite music? I have a diverse taste in music, but at the moment I listen to a lot of hip hop and Indian music.
sireh// You seem to be involved in many voluntary works and your view on politicis. Very interesting. I think coming this election, Bush should go or the killing will just go on and on and on. From you point of view, will be a good candidate to be UP president? It might sound silly and too idealistic, but I just want you view. I vote for Jello Biaffra any time!
ravi//I think Kerry is very corrupt and tied in greatly with big corporations. He is definitely the lesser evil if it comes down to him and Bush. I would say Nader or any other Green Party candidate is the best candidate but I know they Unfortunately have no chance of winning
sireh// I love Al Burian. What do you think about the guy and his writings?
ravi// He’s always got some interesting stories to hare.
sireh// have you ever have any problem with the government? I don’t know, during protest run or direct action activities?
ravi// I’ve actually been very lucky so far. Never been arrested or anything, the Worse that has happened to me is being racially profiled by police officers so I am fortunate in regards to political work
sireh// About the romantic side of you. Do you like to read literature, or you just read political stuff?
ravi// People assume I only listen to political music and read political literature. The truth is I’m into everything and read a diverse range of stuff. Lately I have been reading a lot of science fiction
Note: from s&c terpilih zine issue 1
He is the man behind tokrimau.tk and has been active in writing his own blog for some time now. A level headed guy with so many stories to tell, he also headed one of Malaysia largest blogging community, Geng Jurnal. Interviewed around middle of 2004
SIREH: I’m in a process of making a (fan)zine. It very much about life, people music and art. And right I’m in the process of compiling the stuff for our maiden issue. You can also read more about it here, in sireh.org latter on.
TOKRIMAU.TK: Suggestion: include sample blog entries with the interviews. Where can I buy your zine?
SIREH: how long have you been writing your own blog?
TOKRIMAU.TK: My first blog entry was written on January 11, 2001. Before that, for 2 years, I spammed mailing list with series of political jokes known as Lawak Tanpa Permit. The thrill faded off then I started blogging. Malaysian political scenario is funny, so does my own life. Expert’s advice: write about what you know best thus I write about me. Ever heard of the phrase, one day you’ll look at this event and laugh? I’m not waiting for that one day, I want to laugh now.
SIREH: can you tell us more about yourself. Your background, interest, interest, etc
TOKRIMAU.TK: Son of a retired army cum taxi driver. I was brought up in army quarters around Malaysia, Bukit Chagar Ghetto (one room flat, JB and Setanggi Squatter Village, JB.) Being not filthy rich and was slightly at low middle class then, I am cynical by nature. No regret though, I am thankful of the informal education I got from the neighborhood. Now, I am an academician. I love reading books and watching movies. One of these days, I will write my own books and make my own movies.
SIREH: what motivate you to write? Is it more like a hobby, or the thought of sharing your story with everyone else?
TOKRIMAU.TK: I write because they are people who read. If nobody is reading then I will stop blogging. What do I get out of it? Well, blogging sharpens my creativity and by writing and interpreting events make me learn a thing or two about life.
SIREH: do you think bloggers are mainly made of nerds? You know, the silent majority? People that are not that out spoken in nature and choose to write to convey or share their feeling and thoughts?
TOKRIMAU.TK: We can’t put bloggers any label. There are so many different kinds of people out there. There are sick bloggers, funny bloggers, jiwang karat bloggers, arty bloggers, techie bloggers and also geeky bloggers. Just mentioning a few. One thing similar about them is that, they love to write. Very opinionated. I would say, weblog is a good medium ifself expression.
SIREH: What do you think about the future? It is estimate that in the future, there will be less personal space. People will find comfort in technology, like hooking up to internet or put on a walkman – to escape the real world. Is this a bad thing?
TOKRIMAU.TK: The future will stay at it is now if nobody is doing any effort to shape it. Nevertheless, there are people who build things and others who take advantage of them. Technology is the real thing; those who try to run away from it or fail to keep up with it are out of tune with the real world.
SIREH: do you think majority of the bloggers out there are honest? All the events that they wrote, is it true or they make it up. Not saying there is such thing as true and false in blogging, but what the moral stand here should be here?
TOKRIMAU.TK: All media is serving the interest of its owner. Most blogs are based on true stories twisted to serve the owner interest. If everybody is doing the same thing then, that is the standard. We have to accept, some facts are better let unknown. Even Berita Bernama is being selective of the facts they want to deliver.
SIREH: how often do you blog?
TOKRIMAU.TK: Between 4 to 7 times a week. That is if I have the Internet access.
SIREH: can you suggest some spanking hot blog site out there?
TOKRIMAU.TK: I like blogs that poke fun at life:-http://www.drliew.net/http://jongkang.blogspot.com/ http://members.tripod.com/encikkhairul/khairul/khairul2.htm
SIREH: blogging is virtually new, as Pyra, the company that commercialized it all released blogger.com in 1999. Will it died eventually? What do you think?
TOKRIMAU.TK: It won’t die. It will just evolve. The future promise video blog, audio blog and mobile blog at the hand of the masses.
SIREH: thanks. Any last words?
TOKRIMAU.TK: It’s good that people promote Reading Culture but I strongly feel, it’s time for Writing Culture too. If you need content for your zine, just take any of my entries. Don’t forget to gimme credit to.
Note: from sireh dan cengkeh terpilih #1