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Where are these voices coming from?

I hear it but I cannot identify where it’s coming from.

Is it from your heart?

Is it from my heart?

Is it from my fear?

Is it my subconscious?

I write words.

Words that does not have any importance in the virtual realm.

But in this realm where my soul exist,

these words carry the weight of a lot of heart breaks.

I scroll timelines and watch stories of people around me

And nothing answers anything.

How do you mute a voice that is not even there?

How do you silent a calling that does not call you?

We live in a monochrome of speeding lights

each one piercing through our senses

Our being become this penetrable form that doesn’t confine substance.

But here we are looking left right above and below

Trying to find where these voices are coming from.

This is not a diluted Brownian finding purpose.

In this empty abyss, all I hear is voices.

And that is all that is in my mind.

But in my heart, is a different voice.

Telling me to keep loving you.


Then how?

First of all, I want to warn you that this post could sound a bit arrogantly narcissistic but it is not, or it’s not meant to.

Because one, I really don’t think I am that smart (because if not, I would’ve been making RM 15,000 to RM 25,000 a month in a senior management position right about now)

and two, I am very worried of the subtle ignorance of people which I think should not be there in the first place.

Here’s the thing. People of today’s world are not alert and observant when they want to do things. And I’m not even being specific about certain age groups whether it is the millennials or anything, I think it’s more of the world that is feeding the people of today. People choose to be aloof and blur thinking maybe that’s how creativity works. I’m not so sure if that’s how the world is built but during my days as I was growing up, being alert and fast allow me to be ahead of others. And I’m always, to this very day, aspired to be ahead of others.

The world has been leading people to be lazy in how they think and act because of what is available to them.

There’s Waze and Google Maps so that you don’t have to practice your navigation memory or the art and bravery of asking for directions.

There’s smartphones so that you don’t have to remember anyone’s phone numbers.

There’s flexible office hours at the office so that you don’t have to wake up early in the morning to go to work.

There’s the internet and ebooks so you don’t have to read normal physical books anymore.

There’s social media so you don’t have to build interpersonal skills to interact with people in physical life.

And of course there’s autocorrect so you don’t have to pay attention or be careful when you’re writing.

The worst part is, the world is championing and supporting all these advancement thus feeding the people until they don’t become resourceful, observant, alert and careful people with good interpersonal skills.

It’s not that I oppose any of these help. I too, am guilty for taking advantage of most of it.

But what kind of people will the world have now?

Keyboard warriors who are mostly dependent on the cloud and harddrive memories; do not have proper manners in real-life interaction and conversations; can’t write without using a spell-checker; have no navigation skills and wear glasses since they’re small?

I live and work among these people. My habits are slowly changing to fit in as well.

But then I look at myself. Am I being a smart-ass when I pointed out the smallest and simplest thing that one can do with one’s brain and not the help of technology?

I am not a smart person, if not I’d be rich by now.

But I really don’t want to be one of these people because I want to be ahead of them.

She is love

Before this, I live my life everyday with a lot of ‘what if’s.

That’s why the movie Sliding Doors really intrigued me. I like the fact that there are two possibilities. That there are two realms that possibly exist side by side.

Today, only one realm exist, and for now, I cannot for the life of me imagine it to be without her.

They say many things about love.

I have written many things about love.

But I have written those things in longing for love.

And now I am starting to believe that they too, wrote it, in longing for love.

The ideal love that they have envisioned to be when they finally get it.

Sometimes we assume things when we don’t know.

And that was what they wrote.

Love is this, love is that.

Love is seas, love is sack.

But when you meet the right one, everything you read, everything you said, could be crap.

Sometimes, I go through verses and verses of love poems from my favourite poets and still can’t find the right thing to describe her.

If love is magical, then maybe it could be a trick too.

For once in my life, I can’t write what love is.

Because it’s too complicated but feels so true in nature.

It is uncertain, I cannot say forever at all.

It is by the moment but you live life vicariously on a thread.

And the thing is, it is so real and yet surreal.

I no longer have ‘what if’s. I don’t know if it is a good thing or not but I realise that it is my life now.

And if anything that could define what love is,

I know for sure I can’t imagine anyone else than her.

So who do you look up and listen to?

Well, to be honest, it’s more like who do you look up and read.

But yeah, that’s the thing.

Social media… so many topics and angles we can write about the pros and cons of social media. But there’s one thing that have been bothering my mind of late.

That credibility of opinions now is based on how many likes and how often a person talk about an issue, rather than experience and real case studies.

I was born in 1982. Meaning I am an 80’s child that grew up in the 90’s and stepped into the world when the world stepped into the millennium. I was that generation that was introduced to MTV, E! News, cable TVs, software engineering, hand-phones and computers. We were the Gen X border-lining with Gen Y, if the Gen terms are involved.

So growing up, I read the stories of my culture and social issues discussed, written and told by the likes of scholars such as Karim Raslan, Farish Noor, Amir Muhammad, Kam Raslan, Rehman Rashid. I read the Malay poetry emoted by Salleh ben Joned, A. Samad Said, Amir Hamzah, Usman Awang and slowly (really slowly) reading the archipelago literature works of Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Hamka.

We didn’t have social media back then.

And the works of these amazing authors, writers, artisans, social philosophers and anthropologists allowed us to view and reflect on our culture, roots and opinions on where we are heading or should head next. These people who on ground and experience life during times of war, reformation, and regeneration. It gives me great pride to be able to read their works, especially when it received accolades locally and internationally supported by grants from international bodies.

The youths of today does not read these works now, nor do they know or recognise these names. They read timelines. Twitter timelines. Tumblr timelines. Instagram timelines. Facebook timelines. These timelines are fed by words and opinions of their peers. So eventually they don’t really have to look out for credible sources of information. What people post on their social media has become a legit source of information, enough for them. Some will have the tendency to cross-check the legitimacy, only when they have doubts and slightly disagreement with that particular opinion.

The youths today read timelines.

It’s suffice to say that the youths today look no further than their own peers and timelines to have opinions thus validate each other’s credibility.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Peer influence is an amazing thing to explore, it’s comforting when one feel relate-able to a certain opinion or thoughts posed by another person within the same age range or school of thought (which usually are also from the same age range).

Does peer validation gives credibility?

Only through social media, it does. People don’t care anymore about how many degrees you have or how many years of experience you have in a subject matter. What people see is how many Retweets or Likes you have on your posts. This is an instant validation to what you have to say, regardless whether you are qualified or experience enough to say it.

I learned that I should not talk about things I know nothing of or I have yet to experience. So for me, I either quote someone (which means I really have to read a lot) or I have to experience it to give my point of view in it. Not through other people’s opinions that I feed off from my timeline.

In the wise words of one of the best female comics in history, Amy Poehler,

Try to keep your mind open to possibilities and your mouth closed on matters you don’t know about. – Amy Poehler

The Things We Talk About

As , my recent blogging/articles platform refuse to load its page on my Chrome browser, I started to jot down what I wanted to write on my notepad, then got sidetracked to googling my previous articles online which then led me to my wordpress which is actually still pretty much alive.

So that’s the backstory to what I’m about to write, about.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile, but more often than not, I wasn’t in a situation conducive enough to sit down and get it out of my head.

Excuse the rambling. It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. We’ll get there. Eventually.

So right now I’m approaching my seventh month in a pretty stable relationship, and probably, if I am not mistaken, my first ever solid relationship. We’re crazy about each other, we’re very much in love with each other and to cut the story short, our lovey dovey dopeness could make a lot of people vomit (don’t get me started on the number of “I love you”s in a day – okay I won’t, my maths is still pretty bad).

But as I go through this relationship, I started observing other relationships around me. And what I like most is the things we talk about when there’s just the two of us.

Everyday, I look forward to those times where we get to sit down and talk about our day which eventually turn into a discussion on many other things. And if our day goes by without us having the chance to meet each other (since we don’t live together, yet), I feel quite hollow inside despite the fact the unsaid things get bottled up.

I observe the people around me, and how they communicate in their relationships. A few days ago, I overheard a conversation between a middle-aged teacher with her husband and she was telling him everything that has been happening at school so far (it was only lunchtime) and addressed everyone by their first name when she was telling the story (me included, as I was the facilitator for the workshop we conducted in her school). And when she ended the phone call, she told me that due to their different working schedule, phone calls have been the main medium of communications. But for me, to see a couple in their 13th or 14th year of marriage to still be able to make sure that they keep each other updated, is already amazing, especially when the type of conversation they had over the phone was almost similar to my conversation with my girlfriend.

Then of course, there are couples who don’t really have the need to talk to each other everyday. My birthfriend can go on for a few days not talking to her boyfriend and she’s fine with that.

My parents, who are in their 39th year of marriage, talk about matters from TV dramas to their friends and also the news headlines (more like just a touch on the surface rather than in-depth discussions).

As I mentioned earlier, this is my first solid relationship. I have never been with anyone that I could have conversations as in-depth in issues, or deep in spiritual, or stupid in nature. I find it intriguing and I really starting to pay attention to these conversations that will take place at random times in our lives, hopefully more in numbers although random in nature.

It’s amazing how we can share so many things between just two people and there’s never scarcity of things to talk about.

But the thing is… it can get to a point where I keep on repeating or recycling my stories to her, and she’ll listen until it’s finished then say, “You’ve told me this one already.” Well, I guess aside from love is blind, love should just play deaf too. Alang-alang.

Clocking in Space

A lot of drafts have been made,

most of them left… redundant.

A lot of dreams have been dreamed,

they say sleep is for the weak.

Ideas smideas. Such pompous pursuit.

When we sell our soul to the devil,

we didn’t ask for any discount.

And then we claim back the good deeds to redeem ourselves,

and those deeds remain unacknowledged.

They say,

“Abby, write something which is not about love.

You need to change your style of writing.”

I say,


We live in this loud crowded world in silence.

We don’t project our needs.

Wanting something which is not yours,

how do you earn its worth?

You don’t.

Go on living.

Tomorrow we might die.

Puisi lepas ini aku mencarut dalam bahasa aku.

Di dalam diam. 

In The Midst of Busyness

I am not a person who plan things. Weirdly, an anal as I am, I am not.

I like things to be organic. I like that in the weirdest moments on my desk, I get to write the most beautiful stuff (which is why I have always hated when someone discusses the ‘meaning’ behind a poem).

To me, everything is timely and happens for a reason.

Next week, will be one of the toughest weeks in my life. And toughness shall escalate gracefully from then on. But life should always escalate, no matter what.

I realised, no matter how good we are with someone, we don’t necessarily work brilliantly with them. Work chemistry is something very crucial. I am one who absorbs someone’s energy. I am an extrovert. It’s almost vampire-ish, y’know. Like I suck blood to continue living. Some people gives me nervous energy, some people doesn’t know that they themselves exude nervous energy out. I can’t blame them. These are self-made extroverts, not natural extroverts. That’s my psycho analysis bullshit for tonight.

Good night.

This one for the Hommies #TheDermaProject



Bag lady, you gonna hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you


One day all them bags gonna get in your way
One day all them bags gonna get in your way
I said one day all them bags gonna get in your way
One Day all them bags gonna get in your way


So pack light


Life is tough for most of us. Sometimes it is a test, and sometimes it is our own doing. Because we chose not to make things easy by not doing the right things.

Last night, a group of friends gathered a bunch of kind souls to execute #TheDermaProject . This all happened when some fashionista, stylist and photographer friends of mine recce-ed places to shoot and they came across homeless people who lives under the bridge by the sewer. They decided to do something. To help, at least. So some random mass whatsapp messages were circulated and voila, we all gathered at Old Klang bus station to walk down the bridge and give some stuff to the hommies.

I figured, things given must be practical things. What would a homeless person need? I’d be shivering to death if I were to sleep on cold concrete with only my clothes to keep me warm. So I bought some blankets. Fleece blankets are nice although they’re easily wet. But it keeps people warm. 

I shouted out to my colleagues a week before if they have anything to contribute. Someone gave towels, and another gave some hangers and even a first aid kit. Bless them. A call out for donations a week before paycheque comes in, is not easy. Some of us lives by the paycheque. But for me, nothing beats the power of giving. Even 10 cents. Even your time and effort. When you give, everything counts.

Since my fellow colleagues couldn’t go for the donation drive, I took their stuff with me and went ahead. 

At the bus station, my friend Idan, who organised #TheDermaProject (bless his heart and soul) were already waiting with some friends. It’s nicer and easier to make friends with good souls, so we all kind of kick it off nicely. Already where we were sitting, a homeless uncle already settled down for his spot for the night. We gave him a plastic bag of necessities. Some of the other things brought were toothbrushes and toothpastes (Shahir did a great job packaging them nicely), biscuits, cans of sardines, tuna and mackerels, clothes, soaps and shampoos, and even kuih raya!

After the next group confirmed that they’ll be coming much later, the first group head down towards the bridge. Once we got there, we parked ourselves nicely by the middle pillar. A few ‘tenants’ who were walking ‘home’ stopped by and we asked if they could call their friends to come get stuff from us. 

It was dark, down the bridges. We didn’t see anyone with any lights. But slowly, from afar we see figures walking towards us. 

We managed to chat with a few.

“Jadi korang mandi macam mana?”

(So how do you guys shower?)

“Dari paip air yang simbah keluar tu.”

(From the sewage pipe coming from the road drainage)

“Berak macam mana pula?”

(So how do you poop?)

“Duduk dekat bucu longkang tu, pegang la tiang mana-mana. Berak masuk dalam sungai tu la.”

(We sit by the edge of the river, hold on to any pillars close by. And the poop will go into the river)

These living conditions are really devastating. Our hearts were breaking when we heard all these. Although we can argue that these are the circumstances that they choose to live in, we cannot discriminate them by not helping.

When they were asking for more and more stuff, on our walk back a friend explained, “They were not greedy, they were desperate. They need to survive.”

Survival skills, I bet, are these people’s forte. We can’t say although they are homeless, they are hopeless. They actually look pretty decent, and have day jobs. Some even are good looking.

Whatever it is, despite the help we contributed, I came home feeling helpless. I wish I could do more. And there’s more to be done.

We would blame the government, why aren’t these people taken care of, or what are the government’s plans to eradicate poverty or tend to the homelessness issue.

But the point is, stop asking what the government can do because the government is a system administered by politicians who serves their own interest.

And just, DO.


I have yet to post a poem here despite being a poet. I try best to write in my notebooks because I love handwritten poems and I try to keep it offline so people will not steal the poems without quoting me.

But today I am smashing my own barriers.

Because it’s like this,

It is still raining,

and you should not be up too early.

It is still cold,

and you should not be in my arms.

It is getting warm,

and you should not be blowing kisses.

It is getting late,

and you should not still be loving me.


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.