A Slutty Kind of FUN


The weird thing about writing this post is having Madonna, Christina and Britney singing Like A Virgin+Hollywood mash-up on my Music playlist.

Okay, let’s snap out of that visual and frame of thought. (despite the music still playing)

Last Saturday, our poetry+art+technology collective called SERONOK performed at Paradiso, Publika for the #word Cooler Lumpur Festival 2013 happening throughout the whole weekend at Publika.

That was our third performance, which started way back its debut at Urbanscapes 2012 at KL and an exclusive Indonesian premiere at dia.lo.gue in January 2013.

If you haven’t heard about and what it is, SERONOK is a group of four female poets, Khairani Barokka, Elaine Foster, Illya Sumanto and myself, performing our poems to the live music and music scores with musicians and assisted visually by the ever-so-talented visual artist, Fairuz Sulaiman. In the first 2 instalments, our music were scored and designed by Ardi Kuhn from Jogjakarta and assisted by drummer/percussionist Cory Rogers, also from Jogjakarta. For the recent third show, due to conflicting schedules, we resorted to collaborating with new musicians, an ambience sound designer, Sudar Kumar, a percussionist on tabla, Krishna Kumar, and a sexy saxaphonist, Jeffny Kamar. And of course, we have the talented Faiz Akhbar who designed our posters for us. (see how I work with the people I love).

The poems performed goes around the differences and similarities of culture within the Malay archipelago, where all of us originated from, either by bloodlines or sense of belonging.

The show is choreographed and directed on a theme that consist of the sarong, a piece of cloth that have been an integral part of the Asian culture. Throughout the show, audience even gets to see the different ways of tying the sarong.

This is not a review of the show. That would be ridiculously biased. Of course I would say we were fucking brilliant.

What I wanted to write about was more of the journey I have taken as a stage performer.

I have only started gracing the stage three years ago. I have no training whatsoever. I did it because according to popular beliefs, saya muka tak malu.

What I find amusing is how I am very critical yet positive of myself. Alongside Seronok, I have done a few dragking shows (I kid you not) on stage and countless poetry readings and storytelling in public.

I think an onstage persona is conquered with utter confidence, which I think comes to every performer by chance and luck. When I say ‘chance’, I’m refering to the great energy given by the audience, and ‘luck’ meaning that you don’t slip and make tangible obvious mistakes.

But never, never work alone.

A stage performer only succeed with the support system assisting them. Be it a manager, a PA, a partner, a troupe, you need someone to hold your hands before and after the show.

And for that, I am truly blessed by the company of my fellow SERONOK comrades, who throughout the entire process, have made this journey to be something I am so proud of in my life.

Oh, and the slutty part?

I get to hug a lot of people before and after the show, in ways you could only can try to imagine.

15 minutes of fame… starting from now

I don’t deal with fame very well. As friendly as a person that I am, I am very well aware of the space that requires privacy. One that is very very fragile to intrusion and would react severely when it is trespassed.

Having said that, I am very open to sharing. But not so much. Just to those I would choose to share themselves with me.

In that sense, I’m picky. I am very very selective of my circle and audience.

Then again, I am known for my very short attention span. If you don’t interest or intrigue me, I won’t be able to remember you.

Fame, is a tricky business. You need a lot to deal with the attention that is thrown your way, and you must be able to attend to it because that’s all that you’ve ever wanted.

Fame, however is also a song. Sang by Irene Cara. For the movie/TV series titled “Fame” as well. In which she sang,

“I see it coming together,

People will see me and cry.”ย 

That’s just crazy. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is FAME.

Rendang tak berbuah tu I lah


4:06 PM

Again and again, John Coltrane’s “Naima” does not deserve a skip in the shuffle playlist. ๐Ÿ™‚


4:30 PM

@idanerina: @abbylatif skivving off work. Eee!!! pic.twitter.com/73P3nMKHNO
Me: Best nyer skiving pergi beli ikan solomon (that’s what my Mama calls it).
@idanerina: pun utk mtg mlm ni… Weii- I tertinggal my colours in your car. Bawak plis later. Tq I lupch ewe
Me: ai lupch ewe tu. Oraity.


5:03 PM

Karma. Believe.


5:15 PM

Me: It’s 5.15pm on a Monday. Listen to Michael Galasso’s Angkor Wat Theme III and cry now. Go cry. Because it is beautifully heartwrenching.
@faizakhbar: That’s the song they used in In The Mood for Love right?
Me: Yeap! The final Angkor Wat scene.


5:26 PM

La Casa del Ritmo’s Mala Idea. If I’m in love, this song is my soundtrack. IF.


5.21 PM

Me: Today, I introduced @idanerina to the sound of @WeAreSOG and she’s loving it. I only promote the best. ๐Ÿ™‚ @rajanazrinshah
@rajanazrinshah: are you serious? Woowwwwwwwwww!!!!! Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€ thanks a lot!
Me: Can you DM me your number? We want to use some music for our short film. We need to discuss rights etc.
@rajanazrinshah: done. Check your DM ๐Ÿ™‚
Me: Got it! ๐Ÿ™‚


6.24 PM
@puteriezra: Super tired almost entered my neighbors apartment unit! Not funnehhh!
Me: HAHAHAHAHA. Kalau neighbour handsome, single, available and kaya, aku tahu tired tu excuse paling lame. ;-P
@puteriezra: hahahaha! Masalahnya none of the above abby! I miss the geng wei! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


Lost in Translation


Another feel good Sunday spent with @faizakhbar over projects, chats on films and dinner. Now I know the history of Babel.


So, I was telling him how I wanted to write a story about Jentayu and we were talking magical realism, then we talked about Deepa Mehta’s Midnight Children and then it went to Babel. First, I didn’t know that Babel was the third installment of a trilogy byย Alejandro Gonzรกlez Iรฑรกrritu after Amores Perros and 21 grams. 21 grams is of course my favourite.

Faiz was telling me the underlying link for all the stories in Babel is misscommunication. And then he goes on telling me the history of Babel. I looked it up as well and became fascinated that how the tale of the Tower of Babel talks about how human race was divided and languages were created from this historical event.

Whether it happens or not, that is beside the point. The point it how it was interpreted in the film.

I kind of like the movie, Babel. I had to watch it 2 times because apparently I’m not so smart (as I thought/appear to be).

But what intrigued me most is that how can we interpret an ancient story into modern lives. Which is what I wanted to do with Jentayu.

I’ll take my time writing it. After all, I’ll only die when I reach 40. That’s 9 years for me to create this magic.

“I rather go to the bus stop than go to the cinema.” – Vivienne Westwood

512819485_a5149bc827_o12:40 AM

@HanisZalikha: Tired but playing the what ifs on my mind.
Me: Hit the STOP button. ๐Ÿ™‚
@HanisZalikha: Cari butang
Me: Tekan. Tekan. Kalau tekan laju-laju dia macam ‘What if’

10:23 AM

Me: @mysararamlan @FYRALARRA Salaam. Please check email and revert a.s.a.p.
@FYRALARRA: abby, line are not so good. Erm 11am we gonna have meeting,then fyra update ya ๐Ÿ˜‰
10:34 AM

Me: Waiting in a meeting, no sleep last night, no food this morning..โ€ฆ. Thou shalt not cross me for my wrath will filleth the earth, wind, fire.
@melorhidayah: good morning my VOR. sending love to you.

5:09 PM

Me: Duration = durasi. Audience = audiens. Why are these people talking BETTER Malay than me? I thought it was ‘tempoh’ and ‘penonton’?
@rejaie: budak-budak nauades?
Me: Budak-budak zaman sekarang….

5:11 PM

@tiarajacquelina: Wish i was at the office and not at the hospital ๐Ÿ˜ฅ RT @chedd @tiarajacquelina u r missing the fun at Enfiniti’s … http://tmi.me/Y0Har
Me: At the hospital? Get well soon, Mam. ๐Ÿ™‚
@tiarajacquelina: Thanks abby ๐Ÿ™‚
5:18 PM

@e11yne: This is what happens to men with medals! ๐Ÿ˜‰ @YayasanInovasi @ngaiyuen @ninidaing @huehying @abbylatif pic.twitter.com/h2PMgdBEeF
Me: Eyh, macam mana you pulak dapat gambar tu?
@e11yne: Hehe, my superpower remains my secret ๐Ÿ˜‰ Muahahhahahaha!!

5:55 PM

@LeyshaSenyum: I feel the need to go home but I am at home. Maybe it’s just my lack of sleep messing with my emotions.
Me: #homeception
@LeyshaSenyum: Hahah! That would be my bed.

7:43 PM

@__fozz: ok thanks for the balloons babes
Me: Shit. Did I blew a surprise. #dies
@__fozz: report la kat rish.

7:45 PM
@khairolin: Really, really want to watch @Ikal_Mayang #tellingwomenstories films. But how?
@kay_nie: me too! How can we watch the stories? @Ikal_Mayang
@khairolin: #tellingwomenstories abt how @kay_nie and i want to watch @Ikal_Mayang films #sobad but we r not uni kids. Work / Homeworked moms. Pls.
@kay_nie: beb, apa kena mengena uni kids ni? They screen at uni ke?
@khairolin: yup. If uni, they can request for it to be screened. @ngaiyuen spoke at a conf i attended, lg rasa nak watch. Tu yg tweet..
@ngaiyuen: request kat @abbylatif? ๐Ÿ™‚ we screen at work spaces too! #tellingwomenstories @Ikal_Mayang
Me: Yes please, email me? abby@garangpictures.com
@khairolin: yeay! Will def do. Tq @ngaiyuen. Will update u @kay_nie. @Ikal_Mayang
@kay_nie: thanks all. Klynn,tlg arrange, moga i dpt tumpang sekaki. Looking fwd to watching the stories

“What is the sense of journalism if it doesn’t benefit society? My kind of journalism is the product of my society.” – Anas Aremeyaw

297902316_8d73d38700_o11:56 AM

Catching up on emails with TED talks happening in my extended screen. Anas Aremeyaw seems to be a very interesting journalist.

12:37 PM

@elainedaly: Replacing milk entirely with soy. Let’s see what happens.
Me: Does that work if you are used to drinking coffee with milk? Coffee with soy?
@elainedaly: yes trying now. Not bad. Quite yummy too!
Me: Interesting. Makes me miss Jenny Hong’s soy bean. ๐Ÿ™‚
@elainedaly: haha ada saja you ni. JH tu siapa?
Me: Jenny Hong!!!!! Makcik van soya kat Taman TTDI!!!!! Gila ketagih okay! After run can finish one bottle at one go.

2:04 PM

@Megat_Sharizal: How can an acedemic be so uneducated?!
Me: Too much textbook, lack experience and reality. ๐Ÿ™‚

7:31 PM

Go to Calendar -> Add Event -> Date: 22 June 2013 -> Time: 5.30-7.30 PM -> Venue: Paradiso, Publika -> Subject: #Seronok2point0 at #word

9:45 PM

Me: Itโ€™s amazing how some people can brand themselves effortlessly, and some just appear to try too hard. Persona, does not belong to everyone.
@crazeemunky: macam ni? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Urpawmr44M โ€ฆ huhuhuhuhu #trolling
Me: Dude, thatโ€™s so cray cray!!!

When You Know Nothing At All…

481262065_f11ad1fea5_oPlease sing that using the tune from Ronan Keating’s “When you say nothing at all…” I’m sure you sound like one of those drunken Chinese uncles at an open bar karaoke parlour. Stereotyping, is the 8th deadly sin. In Malaysia.

So say you have experiences. What kind of experiences and how long did you take to gain those experiences? 2 years? 5 years? 8 years? 25 years and 8 months?

If you come from a Corporate world, years of experiences and qualifications matter. Let’s just say, in the mainstream world, this matters. Put aside if you’re just at the desk folding cheque envelopes. If you sit at that desk for 5 years, you’re a senior. That’s 5 years of experiences.

I was jobless in 2010 to 2011. I come from a conventional corporate background, where freelancing is taboo (I was a corporate analyst, what the fuck is freelancing, right?!). Then I quit my job. Without any savings. To ‘pursue’ writing. At that point, I got a gig writing animation series. I have NO EXPERIENCE in writing scripts, let alone animation. But I was treated like a professional, and I learned through the process. Today, I am not a scriptwriter. The 10 episodes that I’ve written, does not entail me to call myself a qualified scriptwriter. I didn’t go to scriptwriting school. What I had was confidence to convince people that I can do it, and learn through the process. But that’s not enough. I don’t have a degree in script writing.

Come June 2011, I almost had a breakdown. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. My dad took me out for coffee and had this pep talk about life. He said “There are two fundamentals in life. Qada’ dan Qadar’. Your fate and your destiny. Your circumstances will change, but not these two things. Because that talk was so powderful, I took his advice and went to an interview at a public university which I shall not name because my dad is a part time lecturer at that universiti pertahanan nasional malaysia. I interviewed for the position of an online editor. I got the job (6 months later). My pay, will go back to square one, like when I started working in 2006. The university is about 1 hour drive from home (excluding traffic). I took another offer, which pays twice of what the university was offering, and is just 30 minutes drive from home. My mother was devastated that I didn’t take that offer. She said if I work for 8 years, I could be a Pengarah Jabatan, which would grant me the same salary of what the other job offer that I took was offering me. I told my mother, I didn’t have the patience to wait and work for 8 years to finally earn what I could be earning right now. With that I also forgo the chances of furthering my Masters which could be fully subsidised by the university.

At that same time, I have become a performance poet. I didn’t study poetry nor literature. I acted like a professional while struggling to learn what spoken word was. The only thing I knew and was certain, that it was in me. I was lucky enough to be included into a collective and was paid to perform at a festival and also got the chance to perform in Jakarta as well. But when my other 3 brilliant poets have been doing spoken word for years, I have only started for 1.5 years. But this time around I enjoy so much performing on stage that I do want to call myself a performance poet. But not when I am shaking on stage. I still have stage frights.

In 2012, I accepted an offer to be a dubbing manager. I don’t have any experience in dubbing. What I was fortunate enough to have, was the confidence of bosses from Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong to give me the chance and build the studio. We built the dubbing studio. It was built on Disney and international dubbing requirements. During one year of managing the dubbing studio, I learned the technicalities, the system, the creative process, translating and writing dubbing scripts, directing dubbing artists and I was living my life in full dolby surround system that even my ears now will catch the sound of lightbulb in a fully insulated room. I am not, a dubbing director nor a dubbing producer. I cannot say one year is enough to make me someone from the dubbing industry. But I can do crowd noise and adlibs for free.

My first job upon graduation is at an NGO. I was lucky, the NGO I applied for is owned by a former Prime Minister. I get to do amazing events. I get to be involved in the 2007 Perdana Global Peace Forum. I got to see how art is valued by the late Dato’ Syed Ahmad Jamal, when we were organising the Merdeka 50 Art Exhibition. I got to do research at all the past prime ministers memorials. That was a fun day trip.

Then I left the Foundation and joined a CSR consulting firm. I get to be among the few trained Socially Responsible Investment analysts in the region. I get to help organise the International CSR Conference for two years, where I get to meet people from the UNPRI, ILO and many Venture Capitals and Green Fund Banks.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to go for a meeting about an upcoming conference. The Conference Organiser personnel look at me as if I have no idea how to run a conference. Organising 3 international conferences doesn’t buy you credibility. Because you don’t have years of experience and a Public Relations degree.

Life is amazing, because when it throws you chances, you say, “HOI! Stop throwing those lemons la, Badigol! Sakit tau!!!”

Today, another slap was thrown on my face. I have no experiences in TV aside than watching it. Maybe carrying it. And sometimes slapping it when the bulb tries to be funky.

What I need now is faith.

Because chances are, when you know nothing at all, maybe you’re actually born for it.

“You have to go faster than the system.” – Vivienne Westwood

461223618_cbdd19284d_o10:13 AM

@juanajaafar: “Yes, I am a tomboy,” Charice said Sunday, when asked if she was gay. (AFP) I was x aware tht being “tomboy” necessarily meant you’re gay
Me: Sad news for all the femmes now.
@juanajaafar: Why sad?
Me: Sebab they’re not considered gay if they’re not tomboy? ;-P
@juanajaafar: Ahahahaha … Hmmm …

2:01 PM

@ELMIELMO: Jeremy Little, Christina Suzanne & Jason Lo. Semua nama macam bukan Islam. Padahal tiga-tiga orang Islam.
Me: Kenapa ya? I mean is it a serious issue for you that their names are not Islamic?
@ELMIELMO: no. I bagitau je sebab ramai tak tau dorang Islam. Mak okay je noks.
Me: Hahahaha. Sound so serious. Macam penceramah forum perdana uols.

2:29 PM

Sex crimes terrify us all. Makes us feel that we are never safe anywhere, not even in our homes.

Time after Time

04059-000019I always believe in the power of time. And how timely the universe map out our destiny for us. This afternoon, I realised my iTunes playlist that was shuffling all music, went through a couple of Chet Bakers. One that really hit hard on this shattered heart is, of course, “Time After Time”.

I used to be in love. Funnily, I wanted someone I can never comprehend why. Maybe it’s one of my brilliant theories of compatibility, and relationships. This person I wanted was the unattainable. Just because of how we are so different from each other, traits, behaviours, tastes, interests and also circumstances. But I always thought you need someone, the opposite of who you are, to complement you.

I promised myself the weirdest thing, that this person will eventually come to realise that she is for me. I don’t know what made me think that. We discussed how she is not interested in me and we should remain friends. I tried over and over again to convince myself that not by any realities that this partnership will work. And my subconscious dreamt of her, over and over again, for the past two years.

But I told the universe I wanted her. And the universe (sort of) told her that she needed me. For the weirdest favours, in the oddest circumstances.

For example, after 2 years plus, I asked again for a second chance, for a date on a particular day. And she said, we have agreed to be friends and this cannot be led on anymore. The day came and she needed me for a favour and we end up meeting and spending the evening with friends.

But love, love is painful. In an ideal world, we can never be together.

What I need to do is to tell myself, this is not love. This can’t be love. How can you fall for someone who doesn’t have feelings for you, who you don’t really know, who might not love you as much as you love them, who might not be a great supporting partner for the person that you aspire to be?

This is not love.

Time after Time, I shall remind myself of that.

And please help remind myself too. So universe can send me someone else.

Do not mistaken humility for low-self esteem

10:46 AM

“185 essays, 185 popquizes, 185 final exams. Macam-macam tulisan. Pening dah abah tengok.” Abah on lecturing 22 year olds.

12:36 PM

Compliments don’t come by easy But I like this one. ” Good. I trust your tastes in ‘kawans'”
12:49 PM

Bumped into Afzan this morning and he said I’ve gotten thinner. Getting that a lot lately. Hurmmm…. thinner like sick-looking??

2:12 PM

@ngaiyuen: Random is the universe’s way of leaving clues…. #brainonoverdrivemode
Me: Rawak.
@ngaiyuen: u bkn tgh latihan? Hehe!
Me: tengah latihan boleh tweet. Hahahaha…
8:05 PM

Me: Mama found out she can watch movies on YouTube via her iPad. I pity Abah…… No more peace when sleeping in the same bed. Haha.
@kinkywildcat: get her a headphone
Me: That is a CRAZY idea! She’ll get tangled! Hahaha.
@kinkywildcat: LOL! Kesian Abah you..hahaha
@lainie: you should download TED app for her, and you can add bookmarks to steaming websites on her home screen if she knows what to click and get your Abah earplugs ๐Ÿ˜›
Me: My dad is already deaf (half at least). It’s the lights from the screen that’ll bother him. And Mama’s laughter. Haha @kinkywildcat
@lainie: alamak I’m so amused imagining that it’s hard to kesian your Abah also.
Me: Hahahahaha…. More things for them to banter about. ;-P
8:12 PM

Me: #scarymoment Mama was quite browsing her iPad. Suddenly she giggled, looked up and said, “Mama share gambar adik kat wall Mama.”
@kinkywildcat: Hahahahahah! Parents with gadgets ni bahaya siot
Me: #truedat
8:34 PM

Whoever is doing the male voice over in TV3 surely sounds like he just stepped out of the Qur’an recital. Ain, nun mati, dengung semua cukup
10:24 PM

Me: Just watched #PintuHarmonika .. Really like “Piano” directed by Sigi Wimala. First saw her in “Tentang Dia”… Nicely done, @sigiwimala ๐Ÿ™‚
@sigiwimala: thx abby.
Me: Pleasure was all mine.
10:40 PM

Got back my ground. Re-launching – https://thecosmicabyss.com/ …. ๐Ÿ™‚