Something from my roots

I am a pure Kayan, one of many races who called Sarawak home from God knows hundreds years ago.

When I was handed the assignment to interview this American anthropologist who actually really going out there and put all Kayan epics into writing, I thought the job was going to be easy.

But as I went into my research, I learnt more about my culture and ancestors.

It was familiar; all about it. The stories faces, names, places everything was so familiar.

The familiarity smelled like Christmas. I remember years back when I sat in the kitchen with my mum baking Christmas cookies, she told me some legends of my ancestors.

In one way, I was impressed by the anthropologist. I was impressed by her work and dedication into it.

I was also inspired by her. I want to do what she does.

But can I? I have so many things in my hands now. Well, not exactly. I pretty much have a lot free times.

I don’t know. Maybe one day. One day, I just pack my bag, go to a random Kayan longhouse and start to write their stories.

Here is the article on Stef Morgan and her work in writing down Kayan epics. Click this link.

Professionalism, a rare trait

Mention professionalism; it is almost sounds like a rare species nowadays.

It is so hard to maintain professionalism in the media world especially because most people think they could wrap you around their fingers.

I could not blame them for thinking like that. We do have this swarm of journalists who do not possess any principles in their bones.

Integrity? Professionalism? Ethics? What are those to these people?

With a wave of cash nowadays, your face could be the center of a front page news.

Although that is what we called advertisement, many still confused it with journalism.

Is journalism so easily being bought these days? So journalists please uphold your professionalism.

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I never told you

There is something about ‘I never told you’ by Colbie Caillat that every time I listen to it, it always brought me to tears.

I just wish and pray that I have the chance to say what I wanted all along before it is too late.

“I Never Told You”

I miss those blue eyes
How you kiss me at night
I miss the way we sleep
Like there’s no sunrise
Like the taste of your smile
I miss the way we breathe

But I never told you
What I should have said
No, I never told you
I just held it in

And now I miss everything about you
I can’t believe it, I still want you
After all the things we’ve been through
I miss everything about you
Without you, whoa…

I see your blue eyes
Every time I close mine
You make it hard to see
Where I belong to
When I’m not around you
It’s like I’m not with me

But I never told you
What I should have said
No, I never told you
I just held it in

And now I miss everything about you (still you’re gone)
I can’t believe it, I still want you (And I’m lovin’ you, I never should have walked away)
After all the things we’ve been through (I know it’s never gonna come again)
I miss everything about you
Without you, whoa…

But I never told you
What I should have said
No I never told you
I just held it in

And now I miss everything about you (still you’re gone)
Can’t believe it, I still want you (And I’m lovin’ you, I never should have walked away)
After all the things we’ve been through (I know it’s never gonna come again)
I miss everything about you
Without you, whoa, no, no…

I read in public, in Malaysia. So what?

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I currently live in Kuching. My poor time management and non-existent of washing machine used to draw me to one of those 24-hours laundry service.

While waiting for 40 minutes wash and 30 minutes drying session, books became my constant companion.

One time I brought along one of Lauren Willig’s and my brother to my laundry session.

“Stop laughing, people are looking at you”, my poor little brother told me.

Then I realised once again Willig managed to crack me up through her witty characters.

But I thought it was not just the fact I burst out laughing in public grabbed people’s attention, also the fact I had a book in between my hands caught their eyes.

Here in Malaysia, it is hard to see people read in public. When coffee shops in some countries are known for the place to read and drink coffee, but here no matter how trendy the cafes are, it has been turning into kopitiam. Loud conversation buzzed through the atmosphere.

In a laundry shop where the sound of the machines were almost inaudible (sometimes), I thought it would make a perfect place to read.

Nonetheless, I like to read in public. Sometimes it is the only way to disconnected myself from my surroundings, be it from the sounds of chatty atmosphere or tumbling dirty laundries.

KL-Working Trip

Last month I was fortunate enough to be given an assignment outside of Sarawak. The trip happened in a rush. We spent one night in Kuala Lumpur. The best thing came out from the trip I think was the chance to get to know other media representatives. At night, we roamed around Mutiara Damansara absorbing the KL buzz.

“When he worked, he really worked. But when he played, he really PLAYED.”
― Dr. Suess

Here are some photos I took off-duty.

DSC_0119 DSC_0121 DSC_0129 DSC_0130 DSC_0140The trip bear two articles; Terbaik Dari Langit: A little film with big ambition and Astro launches radio and music streaming app. 

I Don’t Feel Like I’m Working

You know what my problem is? My problem is I do not feel like I’m working.

A famous quote from Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

I’m a living example of this quote because I seriously do not feel like working at all.

I love my job. Not to the extend that I’m married to my job. I do have life outside my job.

The thing is, I strongly believe our lives are too precious to stuck in a bad job. I don’t see the purpose of working your ass off for one year just to take that one week to enjoy your life.

Life is of course meant to be more than that.

I recently had a conversation with my boss.

Knowing that I never really travel outside Malaysia before, he advised me that I should go out the country more often.

“Save for a year and travel. Do it alternately”, he said.

I thought his advise was reasonable. I had plans before, to travel within this year. Perhaps to Thailand or Philippines because it is affordable to my budget.

But I thought to myself, if I were to travel might as well make it far right?

So I’m going to head out there. Most probably in 2017. And Nepal is on top of the list.

For now, I think I need to find a job. Not my current job of course. This is not consider as ‘working’ for me. Maybe a business at the sideline.

I need that job to pay for my extravagant, faraway travelling.

And I also I need that job because now, I don’t feel like I’m working at all.

Describing Food

Occasionally, I was given assignments to write about food and beverages promotion. And sometimes, I went for food reviews.

Few weeks ago, I went for a food review all the way in Bau (40 to 45 minutes drive from Kuching).

The victim of my review was a pork burger.

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When comes to writing about food, I always try my best to let the readers taste the food through my writing.

It was not an easy job for me, I admit. More than once I found myself struggling to find the right word to describe the taste.

Nevertheless, writing food review could be exciting.

You taste the food, describe the food in honesty, politeness and accuracy. In the end you just hope that you give a fair description for both readers and food provider.

Here are some ways I used to describe this Pork Burger.

The time the patties spent on the grills was favourable because it concealed the taste of the pork and allowed the meat to marinate in its own juices without losing its tenderness.

In the end, the mildly tangy but not over-powering black pepper sauce was what sealed the deal making these pork burgers really worth driving out to Bau for.

Read the article here A blast of flavour.

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I Suddenly Know How to Speak Indonesian

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”. 

Nelson Mandela

Last Wednesday, I tagged along a group of composers, musicians from The Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur on a trip to Sarawak Cultural Village.

There, I decided to interview an Indonesian composer Yohanes Subowo.

To my own surprise, I found myself conversing with him in broken Indonesian Malay. For your information, there are differences between Indonesian and Malaysian Malay such as in accents, verbs and vocabulary.

I was bumped that I couldn’t speak fluently with him and beat myself for at least equip myself with a bit of Indonesian vocabulary beforehand.

But thankfully the interview went well and I pretty much got what I want from him.

Pak Bowo, Terima Kasih bapak!

Check out the article how well I translated his Indonesian into this English article.

Note to self: Learn to speak more languages from now.

Affirmation as Motivator

After working day in and out, it is good to be affirmed of your writings.

More than a month ago, I met a German lady who stayed in Kuching and selling organic soaps.

I thought it was a good story so I wrote a feature on her.

Here is the link to the article.

Then she sent me an email thanking for the job well done.

I really appreciate it.

As a journalist, most readers are ready to shoot you down for any mistakes rather than build you up.

Affirmation

In a different angle

Every time I sit down to write something especially in my current line of work, the first question I ask myself “What is my angle?”

In fact, I asked that question on my way to every event I was assigned to.

Being an online journalist at a youth-based website gives me the freedom to be creative in determining my angle. In the same time, it is terrifying.

Terrifying in the sense that the angle would not be the right angle to draw readers’ attentions.

A week ago, I accompanied Danielle to her interview, her assignment was to write a personality piece on Scottish photographer Gerry Fox who is currently based in Kuching.

His photos were in completely a different angle from any photographers in Kuching I have seen so far.

They were all blunt, unadorned. But they stop you at your track, pull a trigger on your forehead and shoot you a question; do you know all of these are in your backyard?

I want my articles to be like that. Something that stop your brain from churning and squeeze a question or two to make you rethink your view.

Read more about Gerry Fox’s interview with The Borneo Post SEEDS here.