the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Monthly Archives: June 2009

Running for my life

As recently as last night, I was ready to bail. I figured the RM50 registration fee really wasn’t that big a deal, and I was terrified of making a complete fool of myself, not having done something like this in quite a while. But in the end I did it anyway, clocking in an estimated 1 hour and 20 minutes, which was 10 minutes longer than I would have liked, but I suppose I couldn’t expect much more from my first long-distance run back in this country

Yes, I ran the Standard Chartered KL Marathon — all 10KM of it — and emerged in one piece (although my knees and ankles feel a bit shattered).


Fortunately the weather was really very decent — cloudy and quite cool — and despite the masses I was running amidst, I was able to spot Sophia with her pink iPod, running at a steady pace for all she was worth. I managed to meet up with Chad, Jon and Yuchun after too, as well as one of Sophia’s colleagues, whom I went to high school with and knew as Wei Yi, although she now goes by the name Sherelyn (Chinese people and their affinity for self-bestowed Western names will always be a source of amusement for me).

All in all, not a bad run, considering I was running up hill and down dale, praying my ankles wouldn’t give out and I wouldn’t expire in a heap — or worse, collapse into someone — at the finish line. Running this race reminded me of why I used to do it twice a year: the energy, the motivation airborne amongst the runners, the feel of accomplishing something, and the knowledge that however insignificant, everyone there was running for a cause.

So today, I ran for Michael Jackson, God rest his soul, and all the misunderstood people who were shunned by an individuallistically-challenged society for being what they were: different.

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Of course, this also means I will be semi-paralyzed from the waist down and will therefore not be going to the gym for the next week.


The Passing of a King

Michael Jackson (1958 — 2009)

The Peter Pan who had to go before he got a chance to grow up

I don’t remember the first time I heard his music. I don’t remember the first time I watched one of his videos. All I remember is that I spent my life completely entranced by his music, fascinated by his dancing, and terribly sorry for his very publicly troubled life. And I remember laughing at my brother who, when he was as young as five, stole our mother’s surgical gloves and walked around with one on, insisting that the maid feed him at mealtimes so that he wouldn’t dirty the glove.

For all the drama and the controversy that surrounded his life, nothing can take away the fact that he was the most consummate entertainer in the business, and he was the driving force behind everything that made pop music what it is today.

Be in peace, Michael. You truly are the King.

michael jackson

For the Big Man in Town

Something Eza and I found at Memory Lane Pavilion today, which we plan to give to our Group Managing Director when he leaves on June 30:

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Heresy of indiscretion

'The Fall of the Rebel Angels' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

'The Fall of the Rebel Angels' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Looking back now, I find it hard to believe that a whole year has passed. It seems like a moment ago that I received the call telling me that I was about to embark on a new phase of my life, a phase that I desperately needed to start in order to take myself away from the disappointment I had just faced barely two weeks prior, to pull myself out of the slump coming back to this country had put me in. This Phase was to be my salvation, my way of proving to myself that if I wasn’t good enough for somebody, I could learn to be good enough for myself, and for others in the big picture.

I remember being so excited about it: my first job, back in this country, where I didn’t think I would ever be able to do anything or be of any good to anyone. I started out with a good feeling; I had a good boss, who thought along the same wavelength as I did — a rare commodity in this country — a handful (literally, as I could only count them on one hand) of colleagues I got along with, and a job scope I knew I could do relatively well in.

Everything started off so well. I was able to learn more than I ever imagined I could, and the fast pace of it challenged me to do the best I could and more. Though not without its obstacles — extremely large ones at that — I was fueled by the knowledge that there would always be a way for me to overcome them and come out higher every time. It didn’t matter that there were people I couldn’t bear and couldn’t trust any further than I could throw with an anvil tied on besides; I learned to shut out all the undesirable aspects of my job, and threw myself completely into what I had to do.

But then, as the rose-colored tint began to fade, I saw what had been there all along and I hadn’t wanted to acknowledge: the Basilisk that was the politics, rearing its great head, ready and eager to consume anyone who was foolhardy, greedy and ambitious enough to wander into its lair. The politics by which Corporate Malaysia — and indeed, this entire country — is run, putting money, race and titles above all else, in a bloodthirsty bid for absolute supremacy. The politics which are the cause of all the groveling, haggling and social-climbing that I witnessed around me every day and couldn’t learn to respect. The same politics that now have me questioning my own self-worth, wondering why nothing I do is ever good enough, and why I seem to keep selling myself short for a job I now like purely for the workload.

And now here I am — exactly one year into my job, and more convinced than ever that the corporate world was never meant for me, or that I wasn’t meant for it, at least not in this country. The bitterness and cynicism that has been my lifeline for as long as I can remember has forbidden me from adopting, and chosen instead to scorn, the demoralizing patience and blatant, unadulterated insincerity needed for this profession.

Do I plan to do this in the long term? No. Do I plan to stay it in long enough to learn everything I can that will help me escape and survive life outside the corporate world? Yes. For after breaking my spirit and selling my soul to Satan in order to do what I’ve done, I owe it to myself.

For Maddi

Wednesday, June 17, 2009:
[11:07] sublime056: do you KNOW
[11:07] sublime056: how MUCH
[11:07] sublime056: ive been thinking about YOU LATELY??
[11:07] yeuxhonnetes: haha REALLY? and how come?
[11:07] sublime056: bc ive been listening to you SING!
[11:07] sublime056: and it makes me happy

For all the hours we spent going pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-paaaa until we turned blue in the face.

For all the speeding tickets acquired on our Pitches roadtrips across New York State and Pennsylvania for gigs.

For all the McDonalds coffee and chicken nuggets we consumed before, during and after those roadtrips.

For all the Duffs wings we ate (blazing hot for me, mild for you), dinners at Papaya and Kebab & Curry, and bottles of Carlo Russo wine we indulged ourselves in (Shame I never got around to bringing you to the Chocolate Bar, though).

For all the hours we spent in my car and your apartment trying to figure out where our lives were going.

For the days I hope to spend with you again, some time not too far in the future, in the other home I call New York.

I miss you Boo.

Good before heartbreak

“It’s like whatever happens, there’s an expiration date. It’s expiration dating.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex & the City



Sometimes it amazes me how we get to where we are. We flit in and around our emotional labyrinth for what seems like an eternity, desperately trying to find a way to either stop so that we could hang on to what little lifeĀ  we have left, or reach the center so that our efforts would not have been in vain. And then suddenly, out of the blue — or in some cases, literally appearing out of the corner of our eye — along comes a force so great that it sweeps us out of the labyrinth altogether, and into a bed of roses.

But, as is with all roses, this one would not be without its thorns, and when all the cuts we know we will get from them have been weighed and considered, is there any point in keeping this rose? What would be the use of doing something that we know we have to stop, because it could end up having an undesirable effect on others? What is the point of being promised forever when forever ends at the knifepoint of the circumstances of our own lives that cannot be altered, of choices that we ourselves made years ago?

It was never supposed to be Paris. But I wouldn’t be anywhere else for the world right now.

“I really could love you forever more.” – Afham, listening to Tevin Campbell’s I’m Ready amidst a haze of alcohol

Wash it all away

“And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.” – The Flood of Noah


John Dee drew closer. “And could you see into the princess’s heart?” he asked gently. “Could you tell if she was sincere in her oath for keeping the true faith? Do you believe she will be a Catholic queen?”

“I don’t know,” I said simply. “I shall pray for guidance on the way home.”

Robert would have said something but John Dee put a hand on his arm. “Hannah will say the right thing to the queen,” he said. “She knows that it is not one queen or another that matters, it is not one name of God or another, what matters most is to bring peace to this country so that a man or woman in danger of cruelty or persecution can come here and be certain of a fair hearing.” He paused, and I thought of my father and I, coming to this England and hoping for a safe haven.

“What matters is that a man or woman can believe what they wish, and worship how they wish, to a God whom they name as they wish. What matters is that we make a strong country here which can be a force for good in the world, where men and women can question and learn freely. This country’s destiny is to be a place where men and woman can know that they are free.”

– Philippa Gregory, The Queen’s Fool

It makes me want to laugh. It makes me think of the freedom that never was, the freedom that will never be. Not in this company, nor this country, nor this world. It appears that the only thing that can help us all start over is the next Great Flood — and I pray there will be a next.


If you want to, I can save you
I can take you away from here
So lonely inside, so busy out there
And all you wanted was somebody who cares

Michelle Branch, All You Wanted

Why is it that no matter how much we try to avoid it, our lives somehow revolve around other people? We feel happy when we see the people we care about being happy, and we feel miserable when we see them being miserable too. And the feeling is greatly worsened when we know there’s almost nothing we can do about it.

That said, this excludes periods of self-inflicted melodrama.