Saturday, April 14, 2012

Of Philosophy and the Millennium Falcon....

It has been a while since I permitted by philosophical thoughts to permeate through my fingers and type them out. For some reason tonight, as my lids weigh heavily upon my eyes, my synapses are firing away hard enough forcing me to type my thoughts out. It's weird how inspiration works. It hits at odd hours, and refuses to co-operate with the rest of your body parts. My eyes are insisting that I go to bed but my head wants to spill out thoughts that I doubt anything will appear coherent. In some ways, I'm beginning to sound like Edgar Allan Poe, going in circles before I finally reach my point. If there is a point to arrive at anyway. But then again, I guess a roundabout rambling is due on this blog, after all the common sense I've been trying to advocate in my last few postings. I think I deserve to ramble aimlessly for a bit.

At this point, I'm not entirely sure what my brain wants to deliver. Initially I was thinking about fear. But as my introduction pretty much sounded like Han Solo taking his Millennium Falcon out for a spin with no destination in mind, I'm beginning to stray from what I wanted to type out when I started.

It's been a rather tiring day, and as I lie down in bed at 3am, with Sheldon Cooper radiating from my tv screen, I just feel like typing. I've been writing ever since I could remember. My Dad has always been my biggest fan. And as of the past 5 years, I gained another big fan. My other half. I've always felt great knowing that they enjoy my writing. Although I myself think that more often than not I sound like a bumbling idiot. As the saying goes, "The artiste in me creates, while the critique in me destroys it." The number of unfinished writings in my computer will bear testament to that.

I've had this blog for about 3 years now, and for the most part, I've always had a small and steady stream of readers, mostly made up of my close friends. And even that was enough to make me a happy writer. But recent events have opened up my blog to a wider audience and the compliments I've received since leaves me amazingly flattered. It feels good to know that some people find my writings easy to comprehend and my spontaneity hits the mark right on the nose. Truly, I am humbled. All I am is just a girl who has always turned to writing to express herself. When I was about 12, I wrote my first short story. For the life of me I can't remember what it was called. Since then, I have always enjoyed writing. Whether fiction or simply expressing my frustration in the things around me, writing has always been my best friend.

However you do have to bear with me for I tend to stray a lot. I started out this post mumbling something about being philosophical, then I said I was gonna write about fear, and suddenly I'm regaling my life story. My apologies if you came here looking for another article hitting out at something else I find annoying. I promise the next one I'll get back to my sarcastic, spontaneous side. For this one, I just wish to ramble. Sometimes the mind needs to ramble. It allows the juices to flow and frees up some space for more intellectual ideas.

This is a nonsensical post. Nothing in here makes sense unless you can comprehend the internal workings of my mind, something even I have trouble understanding sometimes. Alright, for the sake of you, my readers, I shall make a point right now. I wanted to talk about fear. And how some people misuse it. For the most part, those in positions of power resort to fear in hopes of achieving longevity. Power has the ability to consume a person causing him or her to fear losing it. In fearing that, they then invoke fear in others to fear them so that they can remain in power for as long as they possibly can. Am I making sense? This post actually is related to my last few posts. I am not going to spell it out but if you can read between the lines, you'll be able to get my drift. If one is truly a great leader, then there is no need to rule with fear. The public can decide for themselves. If one has to resort to fear to exercise one's authority, then maybe one should take a long hard look at one's self and wonder if one has the makings of a great leader. A good leader rules with a good head on his or her shoulders. Not with emotions and fear. And a good leader does not feed on compliments. I have to admit that compliments make you feel great, I myself have been enjoying the amount of compliments I've been getting these past few weeks. Yet I still refuse to let it get to my head. The critique in me still insists that I suck at writing. This post should bear testimony to that. I've been rambling on for quite a few paragraphs in hopes of sounding philosophical but I think all I have been doing is vociferously going around in circles. Writing is not a plebeian task. Although to me I think it is, because I consider myself as a normal person subjected to the normalcies in life. But the truth is that, it is not. It is a task as grand as discovering penicillin. Or Radium. For lack of a better example at this hour. Curie gave her life to it. Picasso cut off his ear. Hemingway found comfort in alcohol. And the list goes on. Writing is a daunting task. Sometimes you achieve what you set out to express, sometimes you just run around in circles hoping to reach a point. Einstein describes insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But more often than not a little bit of insanity is needed to make sense in a world that seems to be going crazier by the minute.

As I was saying earlier, fear is not the way to go. As a Muslim, the only One we should fear is Allah. There is absolutely no sense in placing fear in some other mortal being. No matter how powerful they are, truth remains, they're as mortal as you and I. One day, someone else will come along, replace them, and the cycle of life continues. Misplaced fear and adulation are the worst kinds of things to misplace. It takes you farther away from the great journey of life. While I'm on the subject, what baffles me even more than those who rule with fear is those who idolize them blindly. Paving their path with compliments after compliments, defending their ways as though they were defense attorneys. That is something I wouldn't do even if it was a paid job. It is fine to favor a celebrity or a public figure or a leader, but to fight tooth and nail with others to defend the things they do is just sheer and utter madness. And showering them with nonsensical compliments day in and day out. What is the point? If our public figures are apt in handling compliments, then fine, but the way I see it, just a couple of compliments seem enough to kick their feet permanently off the ground. And to think that they get a constant barrage of these compliments, I'm pretty sure their feet won't be coming back to earth anytime soon. Maturity is something that no amount of power or money can buy. You need maturity to combat being 'perasan'. Unfortunately for most of our public figures, maturity is a myth. Something they read about in books, but have yet to experience for themselves. So when you hand them butt loads of compliments, and they have no maturity to counter it, that's when you get them behaving like children when someone has the sense to point out their flaws.

All I can say is, after rambling on for quite a bit now, is instead of surgically attaching themselves to technology to feed on compliments, what they should do is detach themselves for a while, and pick up a book. Perhaps Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. Or Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. Or if those are too heavy, even Enid Blyton would do the trick. Heck I picked up a lot of common sense and intellect hidden between the pages of Amelia Jane, The Enchanted Tree and The Naughtiest Girl in School. Try it. Trust me it will do you more good than feeding on compliments thus filling up the space between your ears with more air.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Price of Fame....

The other day I heard that Persatuan Seniman was trying to get authorities to approve dark tinted car windows for artistes. I find this rather disturbing considering there are bigger issues that Seniman should look into. Lobbying for tinted windows is somewhat of a pointless venture especially since it's being done already anyway, regardless of what the law says. Not just artistes, but any Tom, Dick or Harriet are sporting tinted car windows beyond the limit permitted by JPJ. My guess is whether it gets legalised for them or not, they're going to do it anyway. The difference is just in paying the fine. As for my opinion, no valid reason warrants you to champion the cause of getting darker tints legalised.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. I would like to propose for Persatuan Seniman to start conducting courses on How to Behave in Cyberspace for celebrities, particularly the new ones. In this modern day of high-tech gadgets and the world wide web, we are no longer guarded by gatekeepers. Back then, if a public figure has something to say, the only way to do that would be to go through a reporter, or a tv host in a talk show on tv or radio. The producers, journalists, editors would then act as the gatekeeper. If artiste A says something foul about artiste B, the reporter would omit the bad language and what reaches the public would be devoid of outbursts. Of course there are still gossips and sensationalization but they would not be coming out straight from the horse's mouth. Hence, the role of the gatekeeper keeps the public somewhat safe from idiotic outbursts from our public figures.

Thanks to technology, the role of the gatekeeper has now been rendered obsolete. With social networking, public figures are now able to interact directly with their fans with nothing to act as middlemen except for their brain cells. Unfortunately, despite the fact that technology seems to be advancing at a million miles per hour, common sense and brain cells seem to be depleting at an alarming rate.

It is truly amazing to note how many celebrities today falter at the hands of technology. What should be used as a means to reach out to their fans, instead is being utilized to mock other celebrities, pass judgment, and sindir-menyindir. What do they hope to achieve by this? My deduction is that they enjoy the support given by their fans. Unfortunately their die-hard fans fail to see that they are being used by these irresponsible celebrities to satisfy their need for validation. To me, this is where the fabric of society begins to tear and idiocy spreads at a rate more alarming than the drop of Greece's credit rating.

I noticed that our new breed of celebrities have taken to Twitter to make fun of their fellow celebrity mates, saying bad things as well as using foul language to express their rage. And after that, they cower and hide behind statements like “Saya juga manusia biasa” or “Saya tak sindir, kalau orang nak terasa itu bukan masalah saya” or “I'm just being myself” or “Saya bukan hipokrit.”

In one of the online forums I visited, I chanced upon a very intelligent observation by a forumer. This person said that in attempting to not become a hypocrite, that doesn't mean you end up compromising good values. If you were meeting your future mother in law for the first time, do you eat like a glutton, pick your nose etc etc, all in the name of not being a hypocrite? No, you exercise proper behaviour, because if you had been raised well, surely your parents would have taught you how to behave properly in front of other people. (credit: forum cari).

Now I think this is a very wise statement. You can be yourself but does that entail you behaving like an idiot? If it does, then I guess you were poorly raised. This sindir-menyindir behaviour among celebs on Twitter is fast becoming a disease. Do you realize how foolish you look? Just because a few thousand seem to support you ,that doesn't mean what you're doing is right. Why can't you be the bigger person and keep your personal feelings to yourself? Why must you unload on your fans and make yourself look stupid? I would like to use Neelofa as an example of good Twitter behaviour here. Despite the chaos that was brought on by the 'virginity' tweet last week, Neelofa has choosen to remain silent on the matter, and did not resort to any blatant sindir-menyindir on her Twitter account. I noticed that she has been entertaining her fans on Twitter regarding other matters completely and has yet to say anything bad about the whole debacle. Now I don't know Neelofa personally. But assuming that outside Twitter, she is as bad as some people seem to think she is, she is still looking good here. Because she did not choose to lash out on a public platform. Remember that when you are a celebrity, you are no longer accorded such luxuries as being able to say whatever you want in public. You wanted fame, now pay the price. If Neelofa is reading this, I just want to say, kudos girl. Your silence has proven that you have more brains than most of the other celebs on Twitter. I don't know what you do outside, but you have choosen to take the high road and that is already a plus point for you. I hope that you will continue to take the high road, and not succumb to lashing out at other people on Twitter.

The simple conclusion that can be drawn here is that celebrities must realize that technology is not meant to cater to their every whim and fancy. Even normal people seem to behave better on a public platform compared to some of our celebs. Please, for the love of God, stop using Twitter to gain validation for your insecurities and childish outbursts. Kalau tak puas hati dengan sesiapa, silalah hantar private e-mail kat orang tu, and luah lah perasaan anda sepuas-puasnya. When you are a celebrity, you have fans, and some of your fans hang on to your every word. Do you really want to use that power to spread hate and idiocy? I can't stress it enough, take the high road, please! It pisses me off to no end seeing the blind support you're getting from your die-hard fans who do not know any better.

Kalau you want validation, kalau you perlukan approval from your fans, just stick to the normal things. Let them puji your looks, your fashion sense, your talent, your career etc. Tak perlu lah nak tarik peminat di dalam ketidakpuasan hati anda dengan rakan artis lain. Industri hiburan Malaysia tak besar mana. Sindir on Twitter, lepas tu bila reporter TV or majalah or paper tanya, bagi statement denial yang sangat menyakitkan hati. Our celebrities are truly good at hiding behind nonsensical denial statements. Do you really think we're that stupid? Maybe you are, but most of us out here are just laughing away at your idiocy.

Saya juga orang industri. Saya menulis artikel ini bukan untuk mengutuk anda semua tanpa sebab. Saya tak ada masa nak menghentam membabi-buta. Tujuan saya menulis adalah untuk menyedarkan anda bahawa apa yang anda lakukan di Twitter memberi gambaran buruk terhadap industri hiburan di Malaysia. Tidak cukup dengan kualiti filem-filem kita semakin menurun, anda pula nak menambah keburukan industri dengan membuat perangai tak senonoh di laman sosial. Saya sayang industri hiburan Malaysia. Saya sayang dengan perjuangan Allahyarham Tan Sri Dr. P. Ramlee. Saya mahu industri ini terus maju, tapi kalau macam ini lah perangai anda di Twitter, it's a sign that our industry is heading straight for the dumps.

Saya faham masa kita sekolah dulu, tidak diajar cara-cara untuk mengendalikan diri di laman sosial. Jadi mungkin sebab itu anda seperti kera mendapat bunga apabila berhadapan dengan Twitter. Tapi ingatlah satu benda, common sense adakalanya tak perlu diajar. Kalau anda mempunyai akal, anda dapat tafsir sendiri, yang mana baik, yang mana buruk. Masalah dengan kebanyakan artis kita, ialah mereka tidak boleh ditegur. Kebanyakan mereka dah masuk category bodoh sombong. Bila kita tegur, dilabelnya kita sebagai 'haters' yang dengki akan kejayaan yang mereka kecapi. Let me put it to you this way, although I can't speak for the rest of the 'haters', I can speak for myself, and this is what I have to say: I am in no way jealous of your stupidity. Why should I when it is so obvious that I am so much smarter than you. Ini bukan cakap sombong, tapi ini untuk menyedarkan anda, saya tak mahu jadi anda. Saya tak dengki dengan kecantikan, kejayaan, kemewahan anda. My boyfriend says that I'm the most beautiful woman he's ever seen and to me that means more than winning the title of Miss Universe, my success is rooted in my ability to exercise common sense whenever needed as well as in my ability to write, for that is where my ambition lies, and even if I had a million bucks, I still would not waste it on Loubotin or LV or Prada or whatever other nonsensical designer brands yang tak lawa langsung pada pendapat saya. I would rather buy 10 handbags kat Sungai Wang, than spend 3000 bucks on one bag from Coach. Even if I had 3000 bucks to blow, I would rather spend it on benda lain, like books or going on a vacation. So I'm sorry, I do not measure my success by the number of designer handbags I can afford. That brings me back to the fact that I measure my success by my intellect and not by how big my closet is. Kesimpulannya, I am not jealous of you and you are definitely not my hero, not by any definition of the word. So get that through your thick skull and start to see the good points I'm making in my articles. Use my advice and you will be a much better person and ultimately reflect better on the entertainment industry as a whole.

What is even more upsetting is how they jump and flip out when crap gets flung back in their faces. How is it that they are free to say whatever the heck they want, but when people retaliate and give it back to them, they jump and scream bloody murder?! May I say, you asked for it! So deal with it like a grown-up lah! Instead of running around, crying that people hurt you and demanding for action against those people whom you claim have 'wronged' you. Sekarang ni bila dah keluar rumours atau cerita yang bukan-bukan, terima lah dengan hati terbuka. Dah awak tadah diri, letak bullseye target kat dahi terang-terang, jangan bising bila orang bash awak balik. Bila orang dah hilang hormat dengan awak, maka sampai ke lubang cacing lah mereka akan cari kesalahan awak. Walaupun kesalahan tu sangat kecil atau mungkin juga sekadar salah faham. All I can say is, look beyond the rumors and ask yourselves, why is this happening? Kalau tak nak baju kotor, jangan main lumpur. Tapi awak nak main jugak, bila baju kotor, awak lari nangis-nangis marah orang yang kotorkan baju awak. Boleh ka macam tu? Kalau orang biasa berperangai macam tu, ada maaf lah jugak. Tapi awak celebrity, takkan nak perangai macam anak kecil lagi kot? Rasanya pelakon kecil Mia Sara Nasuha tu pun tak buat perangai macam tu.

Tak semua orang ada Twitter, when you bising kat mainstream that you have been wronged, those without Twitter will immediately take your side without knowing the whole story. Now how is that fair? They too need to know what brought the mess on. Tapi ada ka media mainstream yang nak carry the whole truth, without any cover-ups?

I think I've rambled on long enough for now. I know that some would say that this issue is too petty for me to harp on. Some would say that there are children dying because of hunger, war is raging in some parts of the world, Malaysia is going through a political turmoil, etc etc, and I choose to highlight this small issue instead. Let me just say that this 'small' issue will be the thing that will break our society in the future. If everyone is focused on writing political stuff, who's going to highlight the little things? If you don't combat the little things when it is still little, it will grow and start to become a disease that one day may be too late to cure. And the lack of common sense is truly a terrible disease. Maybe I'm not doing my part in fighting for world peace or combatting famine in Africa, but what I'm doing here is trying to make you see that advocating common sense can be just as important. If we allow these celebrities to continue behaving in an improper manner on a public platform, all we're doing is contributing towards the downfall of our own society. Stop giving them validation and maybe they will change.

Kepada Persatuan Seniman, harap-harap dapatlah dianjurkan kelas mandatori untuk mendidik artis-artis Malaysia tentang perlakuan terbaik ketika menggunakan laman sosial. Ini adalah kerana perlakuan buruk mereka memberikan gambaran buruk terhadap industri hiburan negara. Sebagai contoh, Ali merupakan seorang yang berjawatan tinggi di Kementerian Pertahanan. Ali juga mempunyai akaun Twitter yang terbuka kepada public. Ali menghentam Kementerian Pertahanan di dalam Twitternya. Sudah pasti Kementerian Pertahanan akan mengambil tindakan terhadap Ali kerana perlakuan Ali memberi gambaran buruk terhadap Kementerian yang beliau wakili. Same goes for our celebrities. Their bad behaviour on Twitter is a reflection on the entertainment industry because as actors/actresses/singers etc they are representing the industry.

Like I've said before, kalau nak jugak mengamuk kat Twitter, create a private account, add your friends, and mengamuk lah sampai terbakar blackberry/iphone/tab etc tu. 

Live Long and Prosper. If you still choose to behave like idiots, all I can say is suka hati hang lah labu, orang kalau dah nasihat, tak nak dengar jugak nak buat macam mana. There's nothing more repulsive than an arrogant fool.