Mothers, and their worries

"Eh, you know your dad has a friend..."

"Uh huh..."

"Her daughter also works in advertising around [area], doing quite well..."

"Uh huh...?"

"30. Not seeing anyone..."

I knew where this is going!

"... (took me a while) and then...?"

"Maybe can intro her to you!"

I just ignored and continue staring at the TV, then into blank space.

Mother! I'm not that old. Most importantly, I am a guy.

Just because I was admiring the beauties in "Take Me Out Malaysia"?

Okay, okay... my bad...

Happy new year, people.


Most likely abused


A powerful gesture since Facebook. But of late, I've noticed people who abused the term. Given the same scenario, what if I would to put a line-breaker in between my posts?

"Like this to continue reading."?

Yup. I heard someone's yelling, "Bullshit!" on the other end. That's exactly my reaction when I encountered these websites.

What fuck now? Are you forcing us to "like" it to continue? What you gained from all the "Likes"? So what if the first half of the tease is interesting? That's not how it works. Let us read it first. Then we decide.

I'll "Like", if I liked it.

So, to those admin/moderators of such sites,


Hat Yai mix

No, it's not a drink.


Crowd at the temple.

Lovebirds overseeing the horizon, near the bottom of the temple.

Laem Samila beach, Songkhla.

Near dusk at the Floating Market.

Back. With mixed feeling.


Rare sighting

It's been a while since we stroll to the other side for lunch.

This is what we saw on the way to the food court.

With an empty display like this, it better comes with an explanation,


Not sure what's going on, but I guess it's some kind of a Stand-a-Chance-to-Win-All-These-If-You-Spent-More-Than-RM-[Insert Amount Here] promo that they did recently?

How often retailers would actually be bold enough not to have anything up at their display? Not too many.
Definitely an eye-catcher.

But what kinda name is that? Candle!?

She's into wax-dripping?


Mobile shrine

Life-threatening closer shot. *shiver*

Another league of drivers which I'm not into.

It looked like a portal into a shrine somewhere deep in the forest of an unknown location in Japan. I can almost feel its sucking force. So intense, I'm seeing a kimono-clad lady waving one side of her geta, whispering itadakimasu. Soft, and yet, passionately husky. I dare not venture any closer.

But can it withstand a tsunami or an atomic bomb like these below?

Alpha Press

National Archives and Records Administration

And I'm just being sarcastic.


I kern do this

Even I... didn't get a perfect score...

First try, no cheat.

That's embarrassing.

With marks like that, typographers would choke in their saliva laughing.

Kerning is the adjustment of space between individual letters. Though most programs that deal with fonts come with auto-kerning, I still rebelliously adjust them manually. This is to achieve a better... okay, okay... I'm just anal... result. Especially to headlines.

There is only 1 formula for kerning. Your eyes.

No, I'm serious.

Give it a try. A good practice for the future if you are making a self promo ad, and the like. Coincidentally, you can also hire a freelance* designer to do it for you.

So, kern you?

*freelance does not mean free



Late, heavy lunch. Skipped dinner. Came home after midnight. Was hungry. Mother cooked. Kitchen smelt funny. So is the char kuey teow. Spat on my first bite. Kerang turned bad. Lost me appetite.

And no, there's nothing wrong with the title.

I'm hungry. I'm angry.


It was unplanned for


When's the last time we spoke?

When's the last time we seen each other?

Two, three years? Yeah, it was that long ago.

It started like any other chat in MSN. One thing led to another, and we are on a trip coming mid December. Same room, different bed. Only to be separated by a feet-wide lamp table.

With who you asked?

My ex.

Not gonna explain.

I'll leave the imagination to you.


Driving in Malaysia #432

You'll be getting constant high beams for driving anything more than a paper thick behind any vehicle.

Kiss the car in front if you may.


Gnawed socks

Some months ago, Zoky asked if I wanna tag along her trip back to the hometown. I've never been to Ipoh. Why not? She offered her room. Why not!

Nothing happen, really.

Defendant 1, Ah Wong.

What's a trip without going around town and devouring the local food?

The other time was spent at her house. What interests me the most are her two dogs. They are not "special" breed, but well-groomed and clean. They smells good too. I spent hours playing with them while she's doing her housework. On both days.

Later in the evening, as we were about to leave for jalan-jalan, my socks were missing. Eh? Is that a piece of cloth at the gate? Where this soggy thing came from? It wasn't there when we arrived.

I went for a closer inspection...

Defendant 2, Yoyo.

It was one side of my socks! I looked around and found the other. As soggy. As dirty. She forgot to warn me of her dogs' habit of "attacking" strangers' footwear. Tell lah earlier!

In the case of Birthmark v. Ah Wong and Yoyo, I find the defendants, not guilty.

How can you be mad at the two siblings? Look at those innocent eyes! Especially Yoyo's. One less pair of socks, and a missing Adidas label later, I came home with a big smile.

I miss massaging Yoyo's face. She wouldn't let me stop. She would paw me when I did.

Yeah. I really miss them.


Popping the cherry

"Come here..."


"Help me poke..."

"Poke what!?"

"It's too tight! I can't get it in. Please?..."

Yup. I'm starting to be... a little naughty...

"Don't tell me you've never... tried before?"

"(Giving me the stare)... faster lah!"

"Okay, okay. Here... look
... shove it in and out a few times *muka geram expression*... it'll get loose after a while... HAhAhAhhAhAhAhahahAH!"

Everyone burst out laughing the same time.

"(Controlling laugh) What you two poking about?"

"It's her lah! She never poke before!"

Diam-Diam just bought a new phone then.

She can't get the USB cable in.


Close call

"Oh, shit!"

After a game last night, we passed a road block.

I wind down my side windscreens even from cars away; we got... nothing to hide... *Yeah, right!*


"Selamat pagi... assalamualaikum. Dari mane ke mane ni?"

"Sukan, 'cik."

"Sukan? Futsal ke bola jaring?"


"Futsal kat mane ni?"

"'kat Selayang Mall...

"Okay... (gesture to move on)"

"Terima kasih!"

Couple hundreds of meters later,

"Lucky they didn't stop and check the boot!"

"Yeah wei! I almost wanted to say paintball just now... lucky for the sweaty towel around my neck."

"And what the fuck with bola jaring lah!? That's a woman's sport wei!"

"I think he meant basketball lah..."

Paintball marker is categorized as a firearm.

It is illegal to possess one without a license. With the gaining popularity of the game, support from certain government sectors and even the royals,
the law of owning one is getting... blur.

Till then...


Will you now?

Will you date me?, continued.

As promised.

Blacks apply to me. Greys, my thoughts.

There are billions of them in the world, like colors on the screen of your computer
Seriously!? This figure can almost made us the most populated nation. There are also billions of Chinese. Indians. Christians. Muslims. What's the deal here?

They will analyze conversations in layers
Just looking for double meanings. Reading between the lines.

You will spend the day assembling furniture from IKEA
The Pair shifted recently. I was there to help out. While Fun Size is doing the cleaning, Since Primary Two and me were fixing the canvas shoe rack. Give me anything with a step-by-step diagram, I would fix it. Furniture. Toys. Scale models. Anything.

When I was a kid, I used to dismantle perfectly functioning toys, only to fit them back in the end. Everyone thought I will be an engineer one day...

They hate each other
Really!? Should I be worried now? Or should I play politic, first?

They fuck up all the tables with their cutters
Just being lazy to lay something below. We have cutting mats in the office - I rarely cut things on my own desk. My home desk, is fuck up-ed.

They rather study the paisley pattern on your outfit than listen to what you have to say
Not really. Not in real life. But on screen, I focus more on the background than the main object in front. Extras earn more viewings from me.

They make collages with your photos
No! Collages are lame, okay!

They do not know how to add and subtract, they just understand letters
Bullshit. We do scaling for our works. If a designer can't do simple math, they don't deserve to be in the industry.

They idolize people who nobody knows and speak of them as if they were his colleagues
Does Yasmin Ahmad rings a bell? Most people have heard of her, right? Of her local films and commercials fame.

They take pictures almost daily and all are cut in weird shapes
Take pictures, yes. Daily, no. You think I'm that free? Weird shapes, what!? How many of you would actually print photos out? And cut them shapes? How old is this list?

They hate Comic Sans with the same passion they love Helvetica
I've used unimaginable amount of fonts. I used Helvetica a lot. But that's a big difference with being passionate.

I did a commission work for a group of specialist doctors before. It's a paediatric handbook for medical students. Their requirements: Comic Sans for the headings, Arial for the body text. I can live with Arial. I almost shit my pants when they mentioned Comic Sans! Why!? Because they look like colons? "Children" does not means fancy, immature font. This book isn't for parents and children. But for young, budding doctors who are one day be treating me!

doc, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. True story.

But it's good money, though.

They use iPhone for everything, because everyone has one
Because everyone has one, I'm turning the other direction. And I don't fancy techs.

You can not decorate the house without consulting them
I think this apply to most people?

They steal street signs
I have some signs taken from fire stairwells, lifts, car emblems, et cetera. Wonder where are they now. Road signs? No. Not yet.

Always carry their hands painted with something
Just ink from my Artlines lah. I scribble and scamp a lot.

They buy dolls unfinished for them to paint
No, but scale model of cars. I still have one unfinished Tamiya 1/24 Ford GT40 in the box. If it's figurine, I prefer to buy them complete.

They hate Excel
Word sucks too.

They read comics
In newspapers. Sometimes on web.

You will spend the day brainstorming
And night.

On vacation they will take you to countries that you do not know exist and have no beach
I don't know about this. But don't you think places like Tibet, Nepal, Prague, South America interesting? Or the surroundings of Mediterranean. Oh, there are beaches. Anyway, I have not been there, but would love to scale them one day. Who's coming along?

They know more positions than the Kamasutra
Even a sexually active person don't memorize them! I termed this as spontaneous mutual exploration, just like everyone else.

They can’t go to a restaurant without secretly critiquing the menu design
What if the badly taken pictures are all over the place?

They can’t cook a normal dish, they always have to experiment with new ingredients
Instant tom yam noodle with chicken floss and mayonnaise. Freshly peeled banana, dip with icy cold kaya. Milo ais kau with slices of Häagen-Dazs...

They see ordinary objects and laugh
Once in high school, Since Primary Two, Pilot 4+2, me and another friend passed a padang with a lone baby papaya tree. Very short. With only one huge fruit dangling at the top. We laughed at that! And not all of us are artistic. It's the crowd you mixed with lah.

You wake up in the middle of the night hearing them screaming “When is the deadline?”
Mine was more of a "Fuck, it's due!"

They see CMYK and RGB like Neo sees the Matrix
Not to that extend. But it's a requirement by all designers. The colour space are different. Never be mix.

They dream of the day nobody will make a single change to their designs
It came true! The Cinema gave us two jobs, back to back. The ideas and concepts were the same throughout! We were the lucky few, really. I don't count revisions as changes.

They are always sleepy because they work 24/7
No lah! I still have a life! But I am sleepy now.

So? Will you?

Who came up with this list anyway?


How eye see it

Shortsighted, me.

No. Not that kind of shortsighted. I wear glasses.

I take them out when I sleep, bathe, and during intimate moments with my girls. I will spare the details on the intimacies. It's not that I know how to swim, but I take them out in the pool. But I wear them with my race helmet on. I wear them with my paintball mask.

The last I checked, my left was -5.xx, nearly a -6.00. My right, a mid -1.xx.

My better right overlaps the left.

The closest replication of my vision.

It wasn't that bad, really.

I have a feet of perfect vision without my specs on. I still can see the small little things I dropped with my eyes squint and bending over. I can see any objects, moving or stationary, but not the details. Driving? I do wipe / blow them while flooring the accel.

There's this one time, Once a Turbo playfully flicked water to my face. I told him off, and gave him a deadly stare. After that many years of wearing one, they are a part of me. They are my eyes.

Don't mess with it.


Image from Getty Images

These are what really pisses me off.

Glasses without lenses, or power. What are those? Some kinda fashion statement? Which is? Yeah, you look cute. Stupid at the same time. You are like wearing a mask, not a glasses. Are you hiding some kind of a birth defect? Or boosting your low self esteem?

It is not fun to wear them at all. A drop of water, you'll need to clean it. Same goes to
dust. Steam. Fog. Fingerprints. Grease. Sauce. Oil. And it's tedious.

Take a look at the same model without it.
Do you think she need one?

Image from Getty Images

One of the sweetest girl I've seen!

Shortsighted is a form of handicapped.

I was fortunate enough to have a slight blurred vision. To some, their power is so high, it would be termed as visually impaired. If you have Photoshop, open an image, go to Filter, select Gaussian Blur, drag the slider to 100. That's how they see the world. Respect that.

Before you wear them again, think.


Neither here nor there

It was a long, tiring day.

When people asked what I do, some were surprised, even to an extend, shocked at the word "director" that came with it. As literal as it may sound, I direct art. No, serious. You can close your mouth now. 
Ad people generally has the most misunderstood job scopes.

The Village Restaurant at Pullman, Putrajaya Lakeside.

When I started with this agency, we are required to open an account. The officer who is handling my details, signaled his supervisor to join. I was then shown with all kinds of investment prospects, until they realized my pay is missing a couple of 0's.

They were embarrassed. I was blushing.

Compound near the reception lobby.

I give art directions in executions. Treatments. Styling. Colours. Layouts. Fonts. Et cetera. These whole lot come after the ideation stage.

Being a creative, specifically, just an art director, we are involved at all corners of work. We were there in every meetings. You'll see us in every briefings. We raise voice in all brainstormings. We have the privilege to go out for recces. Presos. Shoots. Recordings. Offline. Online. Blah, blah, blah.


And best of all, we are not the lowest life form in the creative food chain. Let's put it, we are somewhere at the higher bottom half. Neither here nor there. Because of this, we do everything.

You see why I put that title now?

The weather was better during the recce.

The agency is in the midst of rebranding. Yours truly, yes, is involved. I designed and executed the hall deco all alone from scratch for the regional conference. I dare not ask my designers to help, as I've given them tons to do. I'm not a slave-driver you know.

Couple of intense weeks later, after many going in-and-out the office, hell lots of emailing and conference calls between the Mumbai, Hong Kong, and the Singapore office, uncountable caffs and nicks, and juggling between ongoing bread-and-butters, we pulled a job well done.

That's just part of it.

The fountain at the back of the halls.

We were at the conference for the setup, dry runs of softwares and presos. I was there since midday with our executive PA. The production manager was there earlier.

At times like these, free meals aren't that tempting anymore. But it's nice to be invited for coffee by the executive PA of the Hong Kong office.

Later that day, the regional big shots dropped by the hall. Shook some hands. Strike a conversation to shout my presence. And to claim credits. Though I was mentioned at their dinner, I'm not looking for a praise, but expecting something along the line without the "p".

Is 50% too much?

At The Village.

All these hard work, is nothing compare to driving your bosses back to the office. Two are Indians - satu local, satu import, both a little drunk. And one soon-to-be lady boss. Imagine 3 talk shows running at the same time. Crickets moment was only for a short while. But it was a very muhibbah scene.

Day 1. And I'm not required on Day 2 and 3. One less job to worry now.

Since our bosses will be at the conference for the week, we beerly!

Beer early lah. Cheers!


If Facebook a human

It would be an indecisive, dramatic mood swing bitch.

Changes are good. Only when they come with improvement.


Will you date me?

I stumbled a list, of why one shouldn't date a designer.

50 of it!? Are we that bad!? Well, I'm an art director - this list still apply.

  1. They are very weird people.
  2. There are billions of them in the world, like colors on the screen of your computer.
  3. They will analyse conversations in layers.
  4. You will spend the day assembling furniture from IKEA.
  5. They drink and eat all kinds of weird shit just because they like the packaging.
  6. They hate each other.
  7. You’ll come out the last out of the movies because you have to see the full list of credits.
  8. They cant change a light bulb or without making a sketch.
  9. They fuck up all the tables with their cutters.
  10. They rather study the paisley pattern on your outfit than listen to what you have to say.
  11. They will fill your house with magazines and whatever is out there that has drawings.
  12. You never know if it is really an original or a copy.
  13. They make collages with your photos.
  14. They do not know how to add and subtract, they just understand letters.
  15. They idolize people who nobody knows and speak of them as if they were his colleagues.
  16. They take pictures almost daily and all are cut in weird shapes.
  17. They ask your opinion about everything but they do whatever they want.
  18. Everything is left justified, right or center unless they arrive late.
  19. They hate Comic Sans with the same passion they love Helvetica.
  20. They use iPhone for everything, because everyone has one.
  21. You can not decorate the house without consulting them.
  22. They steal street signs.
  23. Always carry their hands painted with something.
  24. They buy dolls unfinished for them to paint.
  25. Everything becomes something other than what it really is: cards as tickets, cards as…
  26. When arguing, you will be nicknamed like the OSX spinning wheel (not affectionately)
  27. Do not know how to dress without consulting the Pantone book.
  28. They hate Excel.
  29. They read comics.
  30. They want to save the world only with a poster.
  31. You will spend the day brainstorming.
  32. On vacation they will take you to countries that you do not know exist and have no beach.
  33. Museums are their second home.
  34. They know more positions than the Kamasutra.
  35. They can’t go to a restaurant without secretly critiquing the menu design.
  36. They listen to music you have never heard of.
  37. They cant cook a normal dish, they always have to experiment with new ingredients.
  38. They read rare books: stories of children, Semiotics…
  39. When you are going to tell you something, everyone has read it in their facebook and twitter.
  40. They have own iPods before you knew they existed.
  41. The orgasm they remember is when they heard that Adobe was acquiring Macromedia.
  42. They have their own shops just for them and there are the most expensive in the city.
  43. They want to spend all the money in the Apple Store.
  44. You will never understand their gifts.
  45. They see ordinary objects and laugh.
  46. You wake up in the middle of the night hearing them screaming “When is the deadline?”
  47. They see CMYK and RGB like Neo sees the Matrix.
  48. They dream of the day nobody will make a single change to their designs.
  49. They rather pay for a font than for a special birthday gift.
  50. They are always sleepy because they work 24/7.

Wait! Before you run away, stay for a while.

I'll explain...



My new way of saying I'm out.

Battled for paintball. Since Primary Two shot me on the pubic. Was too painful to raise my hand. Instead, I held on my pubic shouting that. Emphasizing on the "T". And yes! It's still functioning, okay!? I had morning wood. Duh.

It was a night game yesterday at an unused car park made into a paintball field. We have the whole field to ourselves. Nice, eh?


The first day of work

"Why it's a Monday after a Sunday?", wrote Hitam Manis.


The most feared day of the week. The blues crept in. The inactive, hibernating period during the first half of the day. Maybe week. The dozing off, or some say, the fishing. The day when you are so reluctant to get up. But there are works to be done, money to be made, to put bread on the table.
As much as you hated it, you have no choice, but to get up.

What Mondays had to do with you who are self-employed, or doing businesses? Or house-husband / wife? Do you feel the same getting up on Mondays? You still... sigh?

But do tell me about it.

My blues, apply to "every day".

I work through the weekends at times. Mondays do not give me any feelings at all. What I'm worry about, is my "first day of work" after a break.

Though my off days are given, it's a luxury to even fill the leave form. Key in, since we've been updated to the online leave application system recently. My breaks are usually a long one. My last break was early of the year, and during Chinese new year. That was three quarters ago.

I may start work any day of the week. So that's a blue tick on Mondays. Tuesdays. Wednesdays, and all the remaining days of the week.

I've hibernated for the past Raya's and independence day's week. That's nine days break including both the weekends with only two off days used. Nine days - you can imagine my "first day of work". And I still have over ten days left before the end of the year!

Guess I'll have more blues for the coming new year.


Berita hangat

No. Not hot news.

But reading news articles in a warm room.

Fuck the weather, really. It changes so fast that fixing a shower head in the bedroom would be irrelevant. It was so cold, we were shivering while having some drinks last night at the mamak.

What happened lah?


Shoes on air


Closer shot.

Shot this during lunch the other day.

The newspaper was pasted on the glass, as if the shoes was floating with it. Clever, eh? From what I've gathered, CLIMACOOL® was about ventilation. Being light, is adding another layer of idea to it - which is enough to impress the end users.

As a creative, I would go back to the drawing board and stick to "ventilation". For now.


We got lucky

We were invited for The Cinema's anniversary party.

As I'm the creative who did the anniversary video and other collateral, I got an invitation too.

What else you expect from a party like these? Buffet. Alcohols. Well, they are a cinema chain, premiere screening, of course. And lucky draw.

Of all the media / business partners that were invited that night, we were really lucky. As much as I wished, it's not scoring-a-night-with-the-lady-you've-been-eyeing-the-whole-night kinda lucky.

We were the only company that got picked more than once in the lucky draw. The suit that deals directly with this client was one. Nothing too great. Just gold class tix of any movie for two. And I'm sure you know who's the other lucky one.

I have till end of November to claim them.

What's nice coming up?



I prefer my drinks and food to be of heavier, stronger taste.

If instant coffee is the only choice, it never taste any better with just a 3-in-1.

Can I say I'm a man of taste? Haha...


He made my day




Stop right there.

Him! Ab... Abroko?

How can you not laugh at that Beatles' trim? That squinted, high-on-weeds eyes? And that matching goatee back in the late 90s? He made a spot there recently. A very good morning booster, I must admit.

And sorry to disappoint. This is not a straight-guy-turn-bent post.


Dumbstruck silly

This is just another one of those I-can't get-myself-to-sleep-and-my-mind-started-to-wander-off-to-recent-happenings post.

My producer showed me something she bought... I think I should rephrase this... was pestered by her kids to get the other day.

Two packs of it. 20-odd bucks each.

What the fuck are those!? Parents! Can shed me some lights here?

It's just coloured rubber bands! With angles! Well, okay... the only cool thing about this rubber is that it goes back to the original shape when it's taken off from the wrist, or any other body parts in that matter. But what warrants them for selling it that much? Raw latex as a commodity are traded fairly in the market. How much R&D is involved? And it's not even a rare material. Like, like, I don't know... uranium? Plutonium? Hope these words don't bring the FBIs / CIAs at my doorway in the morning.

What is even more ridiculous is the pack that comes with a Marvel's, yes, the comic giant brand stamp, is more expensive by another 2 freaking bucks!

These people are seriously making money from children.

Yes. She's pissed too.



Got a call from The Hexagon today, trying to sell their credit cards.

If I remember, Lizzy wrote something similar before. Are you here? Hello?... Anyway, how do you handle them? The telemarketers? But whatever your way is, be gentle to them if they are not rude. They are merely doing their job.

My replies to them revolves around these variance,

Being nice,

"I'm not interested."

Being annoyed. If they're too persistent pushy,

"I'm. Not. Interested."

A half-lie,

"One of your colleague called me [insert period of date / time] ago. Please refer to him / her."

The truth,

"I'm not comfy in doing any sales through the phone. If I'm interested, I'll walk straight to the counter myself."

And, an experience,

"Wait, wait, wait. Before you go any further, I want you to know I was once in telesales before. I know how all these work... I'm not interested. But thanks for the effort."

Yes. I was one before.

More to come.


We, darlings

"Eh, you know Fun Size is angry every time you call me "darling" ar? Fucking dumb, man!"

HAhAhAhAhAhA... She don't understand how bros are we lah. If she don't like, I'll cut it off lor."

"Not in front of her lah. Some people don't understand the love between buddies. Some more, it's coming from you wei... not a girl!"

"If it's from a girl even worst, right?"

"If girls straight kena fuck 'dy. HHAhAHAh. Yay! Girl fight, girl fight! HAhAHAhAhAhA. Anyway, sending my daughter home. Catch ya later, darling!"

We lost count.

Unless we do some math. 23 years, and counting. Twenty three effing years. I knew Since Primary Two since primary two... duh!
That explains the name.

I'm not gonna repeat what others had said. If a buddy never gone through things with you, you still have a long, long way to brave. But just to let you have some concepts to grasp of how bros are we - we call each other that. Not in a gay way, but... yeah. Up to a point it annoys you-know-who.

For another 23 years to come.

If we have that long to live.

I love you, darling.


You know you're old when...

Was strolling along the mall blankly, pacing my way to the office, I bumped into Since Primary Two with the daughter and ex-wife...


"Eh? Oh... hey..."

"Shopping ar? (Looking at my tag) Oh... work..."

"Yea lah..."

"Goin' off 'dy?"

"Nah lah. I just reached."

"Serious ar!?"

"Yea lah... (while pinching the cheek of his little daughter)... Hi Miniature SPT!"

"(Looking at the daughter) Call uncle Birthmark..."

"Don't call me uncle! Call me koko..."

Yeah. "Uncle" triggers me.

When your buddies tied their knots one by one, having children, or are expecting, you know it's time.


Corporate clown

There's one in all of us.

In any offices,
since the beginning of time.

It's not the ass-licking-apple-polishers. Backstabbing ones? No.

I found faeces at the neck of the water hose in the public toilet.

First, a big yuck. Then I choked myself fighting back tears so damn hard, that I almost throw up my lunch, yesterday's dinner, last week's supper, last month's breakfast. I felt it at the top of my throat.

Second, I sincerely pity the guy. His public self-enema must have gone terribly wrong, he left the gents' with metal residues engraving deep into his anus wall. Maybe rust that even tetanus jab won't help. Failed Iron Man in the making.

I felt most for the shit. What destined to be a reincarnation in the waste plant, never seen the light of day.

Just when I thought I've seen worst. Makes people that squats on toilet seats less retarded.

You felt it? Of course you do.

If you are one of them.


The blue moon

The very few times we drink together.

He went down to meet the rest, as I'm stuck with the suits on The Other Infant Milk. I joined not long after.

More Than a Cycle is asthmatic. He quits smoking years ago, and not many have seen him drink ever since. But he gulps a pint or two occasionally. We had a few recently due to work stress and the negative auras surrounding the office.

He only had two this time, enough to make him fly. I'm not that sober too, my last meal was at lunch. We had enough when we find middle-aged women getting younger.

We jumped over next door for a late dinner. After reminiscing the year, we strolled back to the office. Scouting girls along our way, giving each other signals on directions to look. We lepak for a while and call it a day after midnight. He waited at the drop-off to passed me the season pass, which I stacked together with his other tags.

We parted with a brotherly handshake.

What was the occasion?

It was his last day.

Why do all writers I can click with left so soon? Remember Buddy?

Think I'll switch to be a writer. And leave my art directors frowning in the corner.


July, year 3

Mother held me in one arm.

Holding a small air tight jar in another.

I looked on to her. Then the jar.

I heard clicks.

The sudden blast of lights blinded my eyes.

I was barely two. That's the closest
my memory could bring.
We appeared on what seems to be a product shot in a photo printout, or an A5 flyer. We were the talents for the Brand's Essence of Chicken.

You want to see it, don't you?

I grew up looking at it. Every day, every year. Mother pasted it on Father's cupboard in the storeroom (it's my room now). I never knew the "importance" of it. I'm a talent even before I know what's advertising. That's a valuable piece, at least for me.

Paper breaks apart when its exposed to the environment for years. We did a major spring cleaning and threw the leftover bits away. What's left is the now-antiqued mahogany cupboard, and unpeelable weathered stickers from the late-hippies era, deeply engraved into the wood grains.

Few years ago, it came
back into my mind. It was during Mother's Day and her birthday. It could be a very special gift to her. I emailed Brand's regarding the flyer. Hoping for just a single word from them.

But to no avail.

Mother's birthday is coming near. I've drafted the email to be sent to Brand's again. And hopefully, I could hear from them this time. I also sent out my message to some people in the industry. Hoping that few would know the ad veterans back then.

Thirty years is a very long time. The agency that handles the account might have closed shop. The printer might have disposed the materials already. Maybe not even the printing plates or negatives.

I will keep trying.

To many, it's a no biggie appearing in a piece of paper. But to me, it means a whole lot more. It's a reminiscence of Mother and me. Something that can't be bought by money and time.

Something, that can't be replaced.

This will the third year in the searching.


Mail sent. No words. Guess I should make a stroll at the factory.

Edited 15.8.11, 3:56am


Even I'm falling

Off the chair.

Have you seen the new Axe (Lynx) Provoke (Excite) TV commercial recently?

It showcased girls falling from the sky one after another. It peaks when these fallen girls are going towards a young man, who apparently uses the deodorant. The message that this spot is shouting,
"Makes it rain girls". What shown on the Malaysian TV is an edited version.

Below, is the original by BBH London.

This is a :30 spot. There are 1:00 and 1:30.

What is so wrong with fallen angels? They are sensitive? Oh! Satan is a fallen angel. Come on! It's just a metaphor of the product's benefit. By removing the wings and halos are better suited for the Malaysian audience?

Which agency handles the Axe account in Malaysia? Good work to you guys! "Makes it rain girls" does make sense to me.

But fuck the Censor Board.


Blood for air

Due to my carelessness and lack of concentration, I sliced my finger.

I was rushing for the preso boards. Yours truly, stupidly rest his fore finger over the cutter's track. The sharp pain has already crept in before I could pull back.

The same level of stupidity happened to me twice.

The first was back when I'm doing graphic in college. The difference is, I didn't black out this time. Guessed I'm much fitter after my recent outdoor activities of paintball, paintball, and paintball. Though it was almost meat deep, but fortunately, the cut was light.

A tip for cutting mounting boards, or thick papers - never use one, hard cut. Instead, few, light ones. Make a light groove. Repeat until both sides are separated. Quantity over quality applies here. You saved more energy, and less hazardous.

As for a reminder - never manhandle dangerous tools when you knocked off at 5 plus in the morning, and only have less than 4 hours of slumber. And definitely not when you are rushing time.

On a separate note, the clients decided to give a one-month leniency in finishing the corporate video. At least we have more breathing space now. I high-fived under the conference table with my partner when we heard that.

"Well... the squirted pint of blood are worth it!"

Said I on the way back after the preso.

But typing these out was not pleasant at all.


"It's one of those things."

This goes back in a span of three, four years.

My posting at this agency wasn't through Shades, per se.

I've always keep myself updated of the people in the ad scene - who is doing what in which shop. That is where I heard of Almost Blind. After some efforts of googling him, I found his works. Award-winnings. Both local and international. I also found out he has a bad reputation too.

I have mixed feelings at first.

The CDs I've worked with before does not teach me anything. What I have learned is through my own initiatives, self-studies and research. I was desperately looking for a mentor. In the end I contacted him. With just half-polished and unpublished works, I was called. But my details were passed to Shades - it was him that chat with me, and offered a freelancing post with them. But I was more incline of a secured position.

As much as I wanted a spot there, I reluctantly turned down the offer.

Two years passed. I took a short course, and reunited with Almost Blind as a tutor-student gig. Under his guidance, I earned myself a top honour and a gold pencil.

By then, I was in my third year at the ex-agency, and a total experience of nearly six. Heard some bad news towards the end. I rang Almost Blind. And once again, Shades spoke to me.

The desperation was even greater than before. I would even take up a freelancing or contract now. Even without an offer letter, I would tender. Instead, he offered me a permanent post! What else could I ask for!?

I've never contacted Shades for that two rounds. I've even turned him down once. At times that my ex-agency are going down the drain, it was Shades who gave me the big break. You see the irony here? Sometimes I felt guilty thinking about it.

After a year, I look at Almost Blind differently. What once I thought a great creative was nothing more than an executioner. Without idea present in his works. What happened to the creative juice? What about the course I had with him? He was once a great creative.

Hierarchically, Shades is second-in-command. The works he produced wasn't award-winning, but much better in creativity. They're real works that sell and wins the clients and consumers. Not just merely unpublished works for the purpose of award shows. I'm glad to work under this team.

Shades always encourages us to look beyond what the most boring briefs had asked for. Though most the time they never got published, but it's a keeper. Over this short year, I have built portfolio that I never have being mentored under him.

He never once yell at us. Never once give nasty remarks even on the worst of tasks that we made. Instead, motivates us to keep pushing and thinking. I'm proud to say, is an envy for the other team.

All these good tales will end soon. Shades will be leaving to pursue his own interests. Everyone have a dream. Claimed he's getting old (he's just 40s), and it's about time. Like his forever famous quote, "It's one of those things.".

Last Friday, we have dinner and couple of pints. The least I could do for all that he has taught me is to buy dinner. But we were fighting for the bill, drunk. He paid. Said Monday is his last day. Duh!

We will no longer be under his shade.


An early night

"You're early."

"Wha...? It's after 12!"

"Isn't that early for you?"


I just gave him a hint of smile.

What Father said was true. It was early for the past weeks.

Not good, not good.



The pantry at my ex agency is tiny.

So small, you couldn't even stretch your arm. But I must say, it was rather complete. Each drink mix are kept in its own jar. And of course, the big Milo tin. Some colleagues are lazy to refill an empty one. They'll just leave the unsealed pack on the cabinet unattended overnight.

One morning, I went in and make my drink. My version of mocha - one third full of Milo, with a teaspoon of Nescafé. No milk,
no sugar, no creamer.

I know, I know, it's Neslo kosong. Leave me alone!

You can imagine how "kau" the... okay, okay... Neslo!... is with that ratio.

The Milo is empty. There's a pack of refill at the side. About a quarter left. I poured them in. And continue to make my drink. Went back to my desk. And enjoy the first morning sip from the foamy top.

There is an unusually big chunk of Milo in it. I took a bite. It was somewhat crunchy. Something similar to prawn, with softer shell. Milo is not like this, I thought.

Took my bin. Spat it out. And looked at it.

I have only half a baby roach left in the bin.

Don't ask where the other half went. And don't ask how it tasted. The Neslo is too "kau" to make a difference.

From then on, every time there's an unfinished refill left if I was pouring it, I'll roll the top tightly, and wrap it with half a roll of cellophane tape. Crisscrossed. Every now and then, I could hear colleagues at the back complain about the top-notch security seal.

I'll just grin at the front.

My other roach encounter.


More than a cycle

This past week was hell, really.

Deadlines were crazy. The loads was more than we could handle, even with Diam-Diam and studio to backup. I snapped at the suits. More Than a Cycle snapped at the clients. Diam-Diam snapped at us. We were angry. We were emotionally distressed.

I seldom came home to see my family awake. I missed Mother's half-boiled eggs. I missed Father's mumbling of me not padding the extra lock. Of course, I remember. Just that I did that on purpose. Why? Come to me. Scold me. Let me hear your voice. And when's the last time I had a bottle of Hoegaarden with Bro? I really missed them.

Young Albert Einstein once said, there will never be lights without the existence of darkness. And how can we not agree with that? We strive better when we were challenged. We managed to pull it through after a long week. Came Friday, me and my partner caught up on things.

Though we still have a lot to rush, we chucked all those aside. I'm much relaxed after talking with him. After an hour slacking off work, we decided to call it a day. No point doing so much when we can't focus any more. After all, we're tired and it's Friday. I'll be going in on the weekend anyway after a day rest. I'll enjoy my leave and Wesak later then.

More Than a Cycle. 13 years my senior.

Was from the client-side for a decade before engulfing the pleasure of writing.

Having to partner with him for nearly a year, we created a bond as a team. As friends. As someone I take as a big brother. Despite being in his 40s, he's young at heart. A big child, I must say. He don't even look 40s. And no, this is not a compliment.

We are very neutral on our part as a team. We have similar liking on things. Similar thoughts. I've lost count on the amount of jokes we choked our saliva on. Advices we shared. And not to forget, the girls we stalk stare admire aesthetically around the mall every meals.

He's more than a cycle of experience. More than a cycle wiser. More than just a cycle of a Chinese calendar.

He's more.

Well, knocking off in 5 for a pint or two.

I'll see you when I see you.


Love, hate, love-hate

One of the most excited time in months.

I have a date with Hitam Manis! Not a set up, but a date!

Having mixed feeling of excitements jumbled up into one lump on the way to her place. Of happiness and hope. Uncertainties and worries. Our first official date! She must have a slight interest to go out with me. Ada chance, ada chance.

Will it turn out well? How do I look? Have I forgot to bring anything? Must remember to open the door for her! Be myself. Don't forget to say hi. And don't screw this up, Birthmark!

She wasn't there when I reached. Okay, okay. Girls being late is normal. I can wait. But I can't wait. Wow, when's the last time I had this feeling? Reminiscing the time with my ex. It was that long ago. That explains it. Shit! Sweaty palm! Not at this time! Where's the pack of tissue I bought the other day!?

Okay. Last minute... no, final checklist.

Things are gonna be fine. You are a confident lad, Birthmark. Look at the stuffs you produced at work. Look at how you nailed concepts. Look at how you bring yourself to people. You'll do just great!

I know! But when it comes to girl I like, I shy away. Argh!

I think I'm in love.

After a while I'm starting to get worry. Where is she lah? I scout around. She's no where in sight. I drove around the area. Oh, come on. Don't tell me it's just a prank. She's not that kind that would trick a guy like this. Not that I've heard of.

Just then, my phone rang.

"Birthmark! Hitam Manis is in the police station!"

What. The. Fuck!? What happened!?

Cut the story short.

Crime-solving rate in that area is extremely low. Police are looking for people to admit on crimes they did not commit! They are looking for scapegoats! Fuck them! Seriously! This is one of the reason why I never trust the force. I'm so fucking pissed and angry up to a point I almost snap and cry.

Got to call some people from the legal department, big shots, and "good" police from other units & branches. To sort things out. After much hoohas and picket outside the balai, she was released. Untouched, but noticeably shaken and worn out.

We parted home soon after.

I can't recall if we've have actually spoken to each other that much during the whole thing. Too tired to even remember.

I sent her a text later.

"I'm very worried about you. Hope you're fine. Don't worry about our date. We can still plan for other time. Will call you later. Sleep well and take care."

If there is even a "next time". Maybe she think I'm a jinx. There goes another chance. Like I've expected, I've screwed.

I looked at the time on my phone.

8:58 am.

I laughed out loud after gaining my consciousness.

What a relief! I'm glad that nothing actually happen to her. On the other hand, I am as pissed as ever. I've brought with me the emotions from my slumber. There were no date after all. The corrupted force. And the whole context of dreams.

I seldom dream. Makes me exhausted and moody the next day even I have adequate amount of sleep. Even how sweet a dream was. I am! For the whole day I'm in a semi-high mode. Piss-y. A little hot-tempered.

Aside from from these, I got job reqs on top of other job reqs. Urgencies on top of emergencies. Made things worst.

Zoky texted me somewhere mid day.

"Birthmark, I'm in a relationship again. I need to tell you this. You are the second one to know after my mum. I will not forget about you. I will always be there when you need me as you stand a place in my life..."

One after another...



Title says it all.

May contain graphic images. Viewers discretion is advised.

Left forearm. Reflection on the mirror.

Right elbow.

Upper shoulder.

Left rib.

Right above the underwear line on the left.

In between the right knee and thigh. Even Ghostface is shocked.

Pinky should be pink. Look at the bulge at the skin crease. This is with gloves on.

10-, 15-feet range shot. Not a finale.

There are many more unmarked ones, but I can feel it under the skin.

My third game. Scarred with my bros.

At least I battled for 5 games in a row and didn't black out.