Monday, January 26, 2009

Hi! part 3

It’s another 3 days ahead of us (Kak Nora, Aida and me) to come back to Malaysia, but we’ve been already excitingly talking about it since last week. To tell the truth, I’m homesick... a lot! I know that some people out there especially in Malaysia really missing my presence at this time since the first day I’ve been here. Among them that I really missed is obviously my wife and my family in Kota Tinggi. Previously, Leila and I have already made promise with them to come back and celebrate Alif, my little nephew’s 1st birthday but things went upside down after I’ve been given an immediate task to be here in Lesotho.

As mentioned by Leila, yes this indeed a great opportunity or might be one and only chance to be able travel abroad extremely far away from Malaysia since last December I was in Thailand. But things would be better if she was here. It’s Lesotho anyway, a neighbour of South Africa; in fact it’s located inside of it and of course millions mile away from Malaysia that took us exactly 18 hours to pass through.

There are difficulties concerning to phone connection, internet, ATM cards, halal food, weather, bills etc. But things must go on as we’re already here. It’s like semi-survivor series, where you have to fit in the certain situation within limited times and the important part is: To survive. But, for us it’s not only to survive, we also have to complete related tasks that what made us here. The real task, not something that being made up and clearly no cameras follow us to documenting what ever happened during our ‘visit’.

We took a lot of pictures like nobody business and I even make friends with some of the locals. It was always a good experience in having random conversations with them, no matter whoever they are, be it shopkeepers, security guards, passersby, beggars, sex workers, direct sellers, waiter/waitress, homeless, intellectuals and even drug addicts. The experiences and stories that differ among others are what I always wanted to know and forever a good reference for me to be able to understand about their lives and culture.

Thanks a bunch to Leila though, because no matter how hard she has to admit that I have to go, she is actually the one who prepared my luggage, loaded it with clothes, food supplies, medicines and anything that might be useful while I’m here. Therefore I’m plainly well prepared since the first day I was here and well equipped with stuffs that I always needed. If it wasn’t her that prepares it for me, I guess things would be messy by now.

It’s another 3 days and at the moment I wrote this it’s already 5:30 in the afternoon. I’ll be going back to hotel in anytime and plan to soak myself in bath tub while listening to “Imagine” by the late John Lennon.

To Leila, I miss you.

Thank you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hi! part 2

Hello, we meet again. But, I'll not take long time to babble here as I'm rushing myself burst into library to get internet connection. I didn't bring my lappy over here. As requested and advised by Leila, she did not recommend me to bring it here. Why? For safety purpose, she said. I agreed without further complaint. What I can conclude after 5 days roaming around Lesotho is this country actually still developing of which portrays Malaysia circa 1940's. I don't exactly know about Malaysia 68 years ago as I was born in the late 1970's. But judging to the infrastructure and its architecture based on my collected memories about Malaysia in the past that I've got from television, literatures, photo collection of my grandfather etc it does resemblance the same very well. The development is obviously doesn’t align with the rapid changing of world as a whole. On the lighter note, some of the things over here are quite better comparing to anywhere else I've been at previously. Okay, I put in sequence about it here:

1. The weather is brilliant. The breeze is really cold. It's hard to be sweating even though the sun is very hot. It’s summer anyway. Sometimes we can’t breathe properly due to the clash between hot sunny day and cold breeze. Please be sure to bring inhaler if you have serious asthma. Make it two or three at least.

2. The food is healthier. Most of the food is grilled and they love barbeque a lot. But it's hard to find Halal food around.

3. We can simply drink directly from the water tap. The water is crystal clear comparing to what we have in Malaysia.

4. They have a lot of mountains. So we can see how beautiful the scenery when it's sunset and sunrise. And it’s very cold when you’re at this mountainside.

5. The fruits are fresher and cheap. A good sign for fruit lovers like me.

6. The crystals are beautiful and radically cheap. You can buy it from kids who live at the mountainside all way to Mohale Dam. They can be seen religiously waiting alongside the road for any passerby especially tourist to sell the crystals they have. The price is rather out of mind, of which you can bargain the crystal at 5 Maloti (more or less RM2.50) each by the size of an adult clenched fist. But please be aware about the difference between crystal and diamond, they might as well said that they're selling diamond instead of crystal they're actually offered. Or else you'll end up buying crystal by the price of diamond which is can be reached up until 500 Maloti (do the math by your own) for a size of your thumb!

7. I’m not sure about this whether it’s good or not; they like to dance. Believe it or not they’re able to dance in anytime. Just drive your car slowly with loud audio of any tunes (wasn’t sure if it’s Grind or Sludge, Top 40 is highly suggested though) down the streets and stop at any hangout spots, then you’ll know what I mean.

8. The percentage of pollution is below 10%. The only sources (perhaps) that contribute to such hazard are from vehicles and factories, but in a very little involvement by far.

9. In result of below 10% of pollution, their rivers are so clean (and cold), especially the rivers at the mountainside.

10. The sky is so bright and clear, so the clouds are almost alike cotton candies, and we can even notice the sea of stars in the wide open sky at night.

Alright, as we know that not all is always good and rainbows all the way down the road. Here we go:

1. The Basotho (yes, they called themselves by this) moves very slow and they're so laid back until I have to wait for almost about an hour to get my meal ready. I can smell that they're actually shocked with how we work. Just imagine, comparing to the momentum of how they walk, I could be the fastest walker in here. This is ridiculous since I thought that I’m the laziest human being ever existed.

2. Lesotho also has a long day and the night is very short. We can see the sun is rising as early as 4:30 am in the morning and we'll have vehicles honking loudly along the streets starting approximately around 5:00 am onwards as if they haven't seen the horns before. Thus I often lack of sleep because normally I'll sleep at around 11:30 pm onwards.

3. Based upon my observations, the only music that they've been listening are Hip Hop, Techno/Electro (which is popular among teenagers), Gospel, Reggae, Traditional (which is popular among eldest ones) and anything that is equivalent to the music mentioned previously. There is no way for Rock. Indie? I haven't heard any. And to have teens wearing skinny jeans is 100% absurd, of which not a single chance to see any. Punks? Metalheads? Not even in your dream! So, it’s your chance to be Punk or Metal godfather/mother if you’re the one who exposed them with this kind of genre. Bands out there, how about touring Lesotho? It will take only 18 hours by flights from Malaysia to South Africa, anyway. Why not?!

4. No disco. Haha. So, if you're a clubber back in Malaysia, probably Lesotho is not a place for you. But they have this one tiny pub called Good Time that I think a quite cool place to hangout for Lesotho youths. And there are also have events organized by them locating normally at fields. The entrance fee is as low as 20 Maloti, same with the normal price of DIY hardcore/punk gigs in Malaysia. I wasn’t sure if it’s all ages though. During Saturday night they will have this massive street party at the parking lot nearby the hotel that I live in currently.

5. The sex workers are almost all underage. And this is saddened for the most part of it. Some of them are not very lucky thus have to sell their body in order to gain some money. They can be seen standing at the corner of the road everywhere especially in Maseru from 8:00 pm onwards. This is actually resulted from poverty, high unemployment and drugs problem. The obligation to pay their own school fees (high school and above) which is considered high, made them choosing to be prostitute. This is also because the pay is higher (income depends on whether they’re active or not) than working at the textile factory which offers them 800 Maloti a month (okay, do your math). You can see there are signs or billboards educating about HIV/Aids all over the place indicating this situation.

6. Please do not talk anything about work with them if it’s 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm because their mind is already at home. They’re capable to empty their office in a split second as fast as lightning strike. It’s a miracle since that’s the only time they can move very fast (even faster than us!).

7. Shops normally closed at 7:00 pm. The only shop that opens at night is gas station and luckily it has its own convenience store. BUT the selection is quite limited though.

8. If you’re graffiti, stickers, stencils, wheatpasting vandals, err… artists, you’re probably would be the pioneer because there is none of it can be seen here. But sorry, I’ve already made mine.

9. The internet connection is extremely slow and unstable. It took me about nearly 3 hours to upload/update this entry.

10. I’m not sure either this is convenient or not, but they have this prepaid system to pay electricity and water bill. That means if the amount of the prepaid is finished, the supply will be cut off immediately. So, they have to reload the prepaid again just like us in Malaysia have to reload our phone in order to make calls.

11. They (no matter man or woman) will take a piss anywhere they like regardless people passing by or looking at them. So, it’s normal to smell stench of pissing everywhere. You think I’m kidding? I’ve seen a girl around 17 – 20 years of age during 10:00 o’clock at night, pulled down her trousers/panties, half naked, squatting and pissing in front of everybody. Normal for them, but it’s a shocking truth, well at least for me. I supposed this contributed to the 5% of the pollution here. :)

I'll continue and edit on this one later, by the meantime you can read the raw and unedited post first. I might be unable to upload the photos I’ve taken right now due to some difficulties. But, I'll sort it out soon. Thank you.

Important reminder: Please read this entry while listening to “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Guess what? Now I'm at the Changi Airport, waiting for about an hour to transit to Johannesburg before heading to Maseru. This week I'll be in Lesotho due to my job regulation. It'll take me 2 weeks roaming around the 'kingdom in the sky' in order to complete the whole task. On the brighter side, I can't deny that this would be an exciting journey. But it would be thousand million times better if Leila could be here with me by this time. I already miss her so much. Hope that two weeks would elapse faster than usual until the moment I reached Malaysia again.

Expect more posts about this trip to be put in here soon. Take care.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Peaceful Demonstration Against The Gaza Massacre, Kuala Lumpur.

A–2–6, Plaza Damas, 60, jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas, 50480, Kuala Lumpur

It is now over two weeks since the savage bombardment of the Gaza strip. Now reinforced with a full-fledged ground invasion, the Israeli forces continue their invasion of this already fragile and helpless land – one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, home to over a million people – despite international outrage and in defiance of all international humanitarian laws.

COMPLETE, a coalition of concerned NGOs was founded on the 5th of January as a direct consequence of this monstrosity.

Standing in solidarity against this barbarity, COMPLETE will be holding a peaceful demonstration and handing over of memorandum to the US Embassy.

Date: Friday, 9th January
Time: 2 pm
* Assembly outside Tabung Haji Complex. Jln Tun Razak
* Walk to US Embassy
* Address by COMPLETE representatives
* Hand over of memorandum to US Embassy representative
Contact: Azra 016 209 4500
Attire: Dress in black, white or red colours and any other Palestinian symbols (badges, scarves, t-shirts)

Please bring along relevant placards/banners/posters.

The time has come for us, as citizens of the world, as brothers and sisters in the human family, as conscientious individuals, to link hands across the divides of race, religion, and nationality, and to stand together against the tide of injustice and speak on behalf of the voiceless. It is our duty, our sacred responsibility, not only to humanity, but to ourselves.


- Text taken from: Ricecooker.

Okay, ethnic cleansing is not nice anyway and never was. So, fellow concern citizens of Malaysia, the time has come for you to show angst about what has happened in Gaza instead of only boycotting products that have been already over polluting the every part of minds (and souls!) in this continent since the very first day we were born. While government wants us to boycott the products, US is actually their second house. It’s nil aka nothing. Our effort wasted into their hypocritical drainage. My fellow comrades and I used to spread leaflet about things that were equivalent to this cause some years ago circa late of 90’s until early of 2000’s. It was intriguing to face upon matters of ignorance shown by the so-called Malaysian at that time. The reflection towards our action was varied by different type of people we’ve encountered. Some said that we’re helping them to understand about things that they’re not yet exposed, even some of them said they’re thanking us so much for let them know about things that have been covered from their awareness, little of them even being my friends until this day and to our surprise quite few of them even spitted and tear off the leaflets that have been handed out. Then throw it anywhere they like at their own will. Today right after received SMSes from quite numbers of unsuspected persons forwarding awareness about such products that needs to be boycotted, I drew myself smiling lips. I wonder is it always has to take millions to die first, so after big mess and horrid occurred; only sooner after that people will start to realize? Part of myself, loathing to the ignorance of fellow Malaysians, the other half can’t help to cry out loud for the poor Palestinians.

Act now or never!

Thus in conjunction with what has happened, I’d like to share the thought and feeling towards it thru the clip down here, “Man In Black” performed by Johnny Cash. Well, black is still a colour of my choice. In colour study, black is often considered as a value instead of colour, and it’s an absent of white (of which opposite the shade of black) or any existing colours. You may always find me wearing black no matter what I do. Either I’m at home or at the office, wearing black is somewhat compulsory and a must for me. I find myself lucky because during day job, my colleagues and I are required to wear this somber tone looking outfit. It might be unlucky for others but I find it’s rather beneficial to me though.

Click here for the lyrics if you wonder why I choose this song at this moment and also do click here for further information about black.

Before I forgot, as a replacement for the clip of J. Cash above, I think there is another one song that’s not supposed to be left out. Although it’s not mentioning about wearing black or anything related to that, but the content of the song is outspokenly directed to the current situation in Gaza, even though the song was actually surfaced in 1998 thru the “Where Quantity is Job #1” album (which contains old, out of print, hard to find, unreleased, live demo etc songs) by Propagandhi. It was 10 years ago, so now we know (especially to those who still daze about Gaza and Palestine history line) that what has happened at the moment is actually a continuation from the classic theatrical tragedy that has been already occurred since long time ago.

Alright, do read the lyrics of “Hallie Does Hebron” here. Warning: Lyrics contain very offensive subject. Effects may vary from different background of belief :).

And read about Propagandhi over here.