... in which I kill time by the hour ...

Dec 11, 2016

Poetry: "Pole Star"

We have certain people in our lives - the human equivalent of the Pole Star - that we look to for guidance on the path of life, religion or what have you. And perhaps some, like me, accept but fear the day they lose that person. This poem was inspired by the pole stars in my life: my parents.

"POLE STAR"


Your light hails from the stars,
Piercing the evil upon this world,
Protecting me from demons, sound, 
Nudging me towards Salvation.

Your light hails from the stars,
And I dread the day you burn out,
Forsaking me to demons, befouled,
Fighting to escape Downfall.


Written on 07/11/2016

Dec 10, 2016

Fantastic Beasts: "Credence Barebone Needs a Hug"

Fantastic Beasts rant starts here. This ain't a spoiler free zone, so shoo! This gonna be long as heck, too, and I don't apologise. Starting with one of two topics I have the most thoughts on...

So, the entire fandom is like "Credence Barebone Needs a Hug". It's an actual tag on AO3 (and tumblr too, it seems). But you know what the real stab to the heart here is? It is true in the literal sense. That boy was in psychological need of not only emotional but physical love - and that's the tragedy of his story and I'm so not over it.

During my second time seeing the film, I compared the Fantastic Beasts script with the actors' portrayal of their roles and I was stunned by their body language. They got across so many details through action and expression alone.. A hefty chunk of my admiration goes to Ezra Miller, who delivered Credence's unspoken words so well that they were tangible!
(Credit: http://crevvt.co.vu/)
At first glance, freedom from his abusive mother and desire to join the Wizarding World seemed the most prominent objectives of his liaison with Percival Graves, but a closer look revealed Credence' subtler but infinitely greater need underlying all that - the need for someone who not only looked on him with affectionate eyes but showed that love physically as well. And effin Graves knew that. He knew it and he staged his every action around Credence accordingly to become that person, that hero, for Credence. Using an abused soul's desperate desire for love and kindness - it was the cruelest manipulation.

You can see it in the way Credence reacts to everything Graves does around him. The way he cautiously lights up whenever he sees his "hero" - look at the GIF below, look how the bone-deep despair and misery he carries everyday lift immediately, look how magnetically he is drawn to Graves - is only the tip of it.
How his face changes when he sees Graves across the street... T_T (Credit: http://crevvt.co.vu/)
What really gives it away, though, is how he responds to Graves' invasion of his personal space every time they meet.

Of course, for Graves it was merely a calculated act of false affection to gain Credence' trust. But can you just imagine how Credence would've perceived it? He had known nothing but pain and fear from his mother, the only adult figure in his life who only ever touched him to punish him. But with Graves, here was a person who not only seemed not repulsed by Credence, but actually initiated intimacy with him and, above all, did not hurt him. Can you imagine how important that must have been to Credence? He tenses reflexively every time Graves draws close, but when Graves doesn't beat him as his mother does, and speaks almost tenderly to him - Credence stays, never backing away. Graves was probably the first person he felt "safe" with.
(Credit to GIF owner)
Credence' need for "a hug" as fandom crudely puts it is even more obvious in the scenes where Graves, impatient for results, resorts to becoming the physically affectionate adult figure Credence never had - and Credence' reactions to that, oh god his reactions are heartbreaking. His awe of magic when Graves heals his bloodied cuts with Graves' own hands is equally matched with his emotional reaction to someone's touch that. is. not. hurting. him. He's never known that before.
This was hard to watch, the pain of Credence' sheer need for physical affection in the face of Graves' cruel manipulation was just downright horrible to watch. (Credit: http://crevvt.co.vu/)
And Credence's reaction when Graves goes all out with cupping his face and forcing an embrace on him - the way he tenses up and then relaxes, how he closes his eyes and finally clings to Graves is even more horrifying in its manipulation, because this scenes takes place directly after another beating by his mother. After that pain, he needed someone to give him love in both words and action, he craved that physical affection so desperately you can see how holds on and leans towards Graves, eyes still closed, when Graves breaks off the hug abruptly.
Immediately after Graves pulls away from the hug where Credence is still leaning towards him, eyes closed, wanting it to last longer ... ohgod T_T (Credit: http://crevvt.co.vu/)
And his plea to Graves "Please help me" after his mother's death - all he needed right then was someone to tell him it wasn't his fault, someone to hold him and make him feel safe.

So when Graves finally dropped the act at the end, when Credence was betrayed by whom he'd thought would give him not only freedom but affection, when he was slapped by the one person he thought would. never. hurt. him - it is little wonder that he completely shattered inside. Credence Barebone was a boy fighting with an Obscurus that was borne of the very abuse he was desperate to escape, and what he desired above all was someone who'd heed his silent cries and show him the kindness he'd never known at Second Salem.

And to think that that could've been his deliverance! He could've controlled the Obscurus with proper and loving guidance. This was hinted at when he calmed down for Newt, and then again Tina, who was the only one aside from Graves that had ever shown him kindness before.
That pivotal moment when he calms down and actually listens to Tina, showing that Newt could've saved him given the time :'( (Credit to GIF owner)
In an ideal world, Newt would've removed the Obscurus and Credence would've never had to go back to Second Salem. There is so much potential here as to how Credence could've had a better life. I can see Newt taking Credence with him, both to help his recovery and also because Newt'd truly care (with an underlying guilt over the Sudanese Obscurial he lost). Or I can even see the Goldsteins taking him in and they'd of course shower him with magic and love (the physical affection mostly courtesy of Queenie, no doubt) and he'd become Credence Goldstein instead, finally experiencing the loving childhood he should've had. (An ideal world would also involve Uncle Jacob teaching him to make pastries and dropping by with baked goodies all the time; but let's not get into that because Jacob Kowalski is another rant)

So "Credence Barebone Needs a Hug"? That's the true tragedy of it right there because that - that. is. literally. what. could. have. saved. him. /cue heartbreak/
Some Colin Farrell & Ezra Miller fluff to make up for all this depressing shit

Oct 5, 2016

Poetry: "Dear Teachers, beloved"

Written off the top of my head for a cousin, who requested some waxing poetic for World Teachers' Day. I want to document it since I'm quite proud of it, considering I belted this out in like five minutes.

"DEAR TEACHERS, BELOVED"


For the knowledge you've imparted
And the wisdom you've bestowed
For the lost souls you've guided
And the deep faith you've instilled

For the long hours you've forfeited
And the silent tears you've concealed
For the smiles you've put on children
And the dreams you've helped conceive

All the gratitude and all the love
Of this world are never enough
To appreciate you, teachers beloved
For the bright futures you've carved


I miss teaching, to be honest.

Though it was always my second choice, and I'm closer to my first choice now, I miss the wonder on students' faces when I'm able to impart a piece of knowledge previously unknown to them, their awe when they draw their own conclusions and understand things that baffled them before, and seeing their smiles and laughing with them and those priceless moments when they tell me they love me. 

I'll always, always miss them and nothing can take away those good times and memories and what it taught me. 

(I'd still be a teacher, working at that same school I so fell in love with when I went there for my final practicum, if I could. I absolutely adored those students and most of my colleagues were amazing. If things hadn't gone downhill due to reasons I don't want to talk about, I would still be there making new memories and learning new things about people, especially youngsters, that I couldn't in any other way.

I quit that job due to an amount of stress I couldn't handle, when I started crying everyday after I came home, when I woke up with an incessant headache and went to sleep with an incessant headache that didn't go away for three months, when everything finally began to border on a disorder - that's when I quit. It took me over a month - nearly two - of resting and doing nothing to heal, and I can't say I regret my choice. 

But I will always miss the better days, the teaching experience itself (because that had nothing to do with my problems; the stress was caused by something else entirely), and my brats.)

Salute to the teachers - not those half-assing their jobs but the true ones giving it their all - who dedicate their lives all day everyday for the education and upbringing of children. It's a job unlike any other, one that consumes you whole even off the school premises, and they certainly need all the love, appreciation and, yes, even financial remuneration, for all they do. No one else can ever understand the life of a teacher. 

Sep 30, 2016

Review: "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"

I got mine delivered from White Heron Books which had the loveliest packaging ever (not shown here though)

I’m gonna stop procrastinating and deal with my mixed feelings about the Cursed Child. Be warned, this is NOT a spoiler-free zone! LONG RANT AHEAD.

Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the script. It had a number of engaging plot twists, and great moments of humour that made me laugh out loud, much like the HP books. 
(Albus trying to block Hermione from entering her Ministry office, anyone? XD That scene was so wrong but so hilarious! I enjoyed reading that part more than I should’ve, forgive me I have sinned XD).

And, of course, Scorpius Malfoy - the best thing about the entire play! I love that he wasn’t simply a mini-Draco, but his own person completely different from his father (which ties in with JKR’s canon of Astoria Greengrass and Draco raising Scorpius to be better and more tolerant than Lucius/Narcissa approved of) and a whopping dORK at that. I’d adopt that kid. Screw that, I’d date that kid.

Other good points include exploring the strained relationship between Harry and Albus (with some brutally honest dialogue that genuinely brought tears to my eyes), the distinction that Hogwarts was heaven for Harry but hell for Albus, the intimate friendship between Albus and Scorpius (blatantly pandering to their shippers; who did the writer think he was kidding?!) and – most of all – the look at improved relations between the trio and Malfoy. The use of first names when Harry & Co and Draco spoke with each other was heartening, because it’s nice to see them grown out of their adolescent animosity and establish civility and respect over twenty years after the War. How they reached out for each other and offered assistance in their common goal to find their children was love :’)

But like I said, I’ve mixed feelings abt Cursed Child. My expectations were very low as this wasn’t written by JKR despite her aid with its plot. But still, the play had some heavy blows for me. 
For instance, there were several dialogues hard to digest simply because they were so out-of-character. Some bits said by Harry and Draco actually gave me pause because the people they had become by the end of Deathly Hallows would not have said those lines. In greasy fanfiction, maybe, but canon HP? I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is not how JKR would’ve portrayed this person or that person’ or ‘JKR would’ve written this line differently’ several times.

One of the biggest disappointments was Ron’s character. Anyone who really knows me will know I will defend Ron Weasley, brilliant and absolutely flawed that he is, to my grave. It always irks me when people, especially writers for HP canon (movie screenwriter I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU STEVE KLOVES) who undermine how important and essential he is to both Harry and Hermione and keeping their friendship together. Cursed Child made wan attempts to bring across Ron’s sense of humour, but failed at making him anything more substantial than one-dimensional useless comic relief. 
I get it, writing Harry and Hermione is easy because, for the narrow-minded, you have the simple labels of “the hero with issues” and “the intelligent one with all the answers”. But my true respect is for a writer who can recognise and actually show a character like Ron, a flawed character with true heart and hidden strength, for what he truly is. That’s why I love and respect JKR – she introduced Ron as a foil character to Harry but brilliantly showed his development, his complexities and his significance. And that’s why I lost so much of my respect for Steve Kloves and now, to an extent, Jack Thorne.

Included among disappointing characters is Rose Granger-Weasley, because I’m certain those who understand Hermione and Ron’s characters would know they would raise their children better. 
For eg: Ron (and by extent, all the Weasleys) is a person with a kind heart whose childhood was spent in a toxic community with bone-driven prejudices – against Slytherins, werewolves, half-breeds etc. But the books illustrated how people who’re exposed to society’s prejudices like Ron grow past that – he learned that Lupin’s werewolf status and Hagrid having Giant blood didn’t make them bad people etc; he loved and defended them fiercely. And Hermione has always advocated against all sorts of discrimination. Those two would’ve raised better kids (and I’m certain they would’ve, like Harry, tried to alleviate their kids’ apprehensions about Slytherin’s dark reputation). 
But look at how CC portrayed Rose – I just find it hard to stomach because the entire character development of her parents in the HP books indicate they would’ve raised her better! Not someone who would’ve alienated Scorpius without giving him the benefit of the doubt (despite the rumours of his heritage). 
Though that is just my opinion about a little-known character at the end of the day :/

I did get a laugh out of Scorpius hitting on Rose every chance he got though, but that also did come across more as an offhand attempt to appease the Scorpius-Rose shippers. Actually, the entire next-generation bits felt like 98 percent appealing to Scorpius-Albus shippers and a 2 percent nod at Scorpius-Rose shippers XD

I really did enjoy the adventure Albus and Scorpius, and in parallel, Harry & Co and Draco, went on in Cursed Child. It was fun and even exhilarating some of the things they encountered. But that did not blind me to how farfetched certain plot points were; where they seemed just downright fanfiction-esque. Perhaps the apex of fanfiction was Delphi, the Auguray, and her being the daughter of … well, you know XD I might’ve laughed at that part while trying to suspend my disbelief.

That said, I do understand this was merely a script trying to depict a huge journey without the descriptive advantages of a novel. So, I can suspend my disbelief further regarding the implausible things that happened over its course, because I know certain things come across better on stage with all the necessary visuals than in a cryptic script. 
So, I’m still hoping for a Cursed Child DVD so we can see how all this played out in the theatre. It will give me a deeper perspective of the story, in any case.

TLDR: The Cursed Child was an enjoyable ride, fast paced with quite some good humour, emotional drama and plot twists. Read it without any expectations, keeping in mind that JKR is not the writer though she helped with the plot, and suspend your disbelief. Because CC is flawed – so very much – and if you go in expecting the same brilliance as the HP books, especially if you’re an analyser like myself, this script will read like nothing but fanfiction. 

Aug 3, 2016

Poetry: "Chrysalis"

A poem inspired very loosely by a person I met.


"CHRYSALIS"


You watch her chip away
Piece by piece, bit by bit
At the frigid walls erected
Around your wounded heart

You listen as she whispers
With patience infinite
For you to let her in
To your shattered heart

You feel it when her soul
Reaches and embraces
Washing like tender waves
Over your exhausted heart

And you await her surrender
Because she came too late
Too late to crack the chrysalis 
Protecting your broken heart

Space Cadet adventures

I want to come back to blogging. I'm sure I have many a pointless issue to rant about, but for now let me put a life lesson here:

Don't be a space cadet.



I was born a space cadet. Ask my dad and he will tell you a thousand tales of how I space out while he's giving me a ride to here and there, and the many realities that pass me by without my noticing because my head owns permanent residency in the clouds and I like it that way.

But don't be the space cadet that forgets to add the egg to her brownie dough because she was too distracted talking to her mother, because an incomplete brownie is a sad brownie.

Also don't be the space cadet that doesn't notice the blatant I-have-gone-bad-don't-eat-me smell her red rice is giving off and chows down an entire plate of rotting rice and still doesn't notice even when the nausea hits.

Because I, being the innate space cadet that I am, did both of that in the space of three hours or less today and it was not nice.

Space cadets, I stand in solidarity with you all. I know what it is like to have your thoughts and fantasies always ruling your mind, which is just lovely. Until it's not. So, be careful. It doesn't hurt to be a little more aware of the world around us, fugly though it can be sometimes.

Feb 24, 2016

Tumbleweed

I'm not happy with my life. It's been dawning on me for sometime now.

Not miserable or depressed like I was early last year when I was stressing at Kangaroo Land due to inhumane workload and was on the line of actually developing a disorder, no. But I'm not happy. That's not something I easily acknowledge, because most of the time, I consider myself well-adjusted and I like it that way.

The good thing is, I know why - my life is an utter mess. Not the tip of the iceberg you see to use the cliched analogy, but the effing mountain stretching on for miles beneath the surface.

The bad thing is, this mess has taken twenty years in the making - my small, everyday life choices for the duration of my existence have led me to this point.

And the ugly thing is, it's going to take a heck of a long time to actually sort this mess out and see results and earn back happiness - and I'm not confident whether I have the will power to see the necessary changes through. Because I've always given up halfway through all my major get-life-together endeavours before. I attribute that to a horrid mixture of laziness and over indulgence. 

But I'll be 25 this year, I'm at what should be my peak, and I (think I) am ready to enter certain phases of adulthood I've shied away from before, so ... I can't stress how important it is to assemble my life together into a puzzle that makes some semblance of sense.

So, a summary of daily life choice goals starting now in no particular order:

Sleep 

Crashing at ungodly hours ever since my late teens has affected my health, weight and even my emotional stability. Trust me, it plays a huge part. 

So, target now is to go to bed latest by 11 and wake up at dawn. (I already do for prayers, but I mean not going back to sleep after and being an actual early bird. It's actually one of my dreams.)

Chores 

I need to do more for my mother. I've always been aware that I don't do enough, but since my mother isn't the sort to push, I end up giving into lazy feels. And that's horrible of me.

New goals include being that bright early bird to help Mum cook in the morning before we both go to work. Add on more cleaning chores, especially on weekends. I'd add laundry to the list, but ever since Dad retired, he's been happily doing it before I come home from work, and he insists he wants to do it. So ...

Food

My soulmate and worst enemy in one. It's become literally mandatory for me to make healthier choices. This is where overindulgence comes in. The more I indulge my cravings, the more cravings I get. Terrible vicious cycle.

Obvious goals here. I already eat fruits and vegetables, but need to up the latter. I've cut down carbs a bit, but need to slash more when it comes to rice - a huge weakness of mine. Proteins are OK, but I realise lately I've been binge eating fatty stuff more than I used to in my teens. So, gotta cut out sausages, pastries, ice creams and cake a lot. Turn to healthier nuts and dark chocolate (and that, too, in rations).

I'm satisfied with oatmeal in the morning. Two huge mugs (basically four cups) of green tea at work everyday. Lunch I gotta stabilise according to above. Dinner I gotta cut down a bit and have before seven. I eat a lot of fruit at night, thanks to Mum. Maybe a handful of nuts if I'm hungry.

Exercise

This has been going on-and-off for over a decade now. I gotta start, which is easy, and continue for the rest of my life, which is hard - because laziness is my biggest enemy here. The irrational dislike of feeling tired, too. My reasons for not exercising are ridiculous, but that's how it is.

So, plans - do it at home. Most of the gyms have become ridiculously expensive or their timings are inconvenient for my work or Japanese classes. But ten years of aerobics, body combat and personal gym training at Sheri and Heat means I know my shit. I have videos of Zumba Fitness and Les Mills Body Combat, and a treadmill. Alternate the three every day straight after work, with sides and abs afterwards. Only weekends off.

Body

Sleep, food and exercise aside, I haven't cared enough for my body all my life. I have extremely sensitive skin, not to mention hair problems. As a teen, I constantly insisted I don't care about my looks and I'm not interested in a man who'd like me for my face or body. While that stands true, what I failed to realise then was it's not just about physical appearance. It's part of your health, too. And it's about cherishing and treasuring yourself, regardless whether others find your beautiful or not. I'm paying for that negligence now - and it's literally a high price.

I've already begun regular treatments for my hair and face, and made adjustments to my skincare and hair care routines at home. I'm trying to make the most natural and economical choices possible. Though a bit time consuming, the changes are necessary and, like exercise, I gotta keep at it constantly. That's gonna need a lot of effort.

Work

It's not my dream job, but it's freaking close and I need to express greater satisfaction for it. It's writing! Not creative writing, but so darn close and not as stressful as my Kangaroo job. Plus, it offers free time during work hours, too, and I have a really cool, easygoing boss-colleague duo. 

I know change of office location from a really great setting to a bit of a dismal attic - at a building where I don't the rest of the people - really took my mood and enthusiasm down. The first four months of work were brilliant in comparison. But, there are bright sides aside from the location, so I need to focus my energy and enthusiasm on that.

An easy goal - smile on my way to office. I haven't really been smiling much lately when I'm by myself or working, which I think is an effect of the mounting subtle unhappiness of my life. But there's no greater therapy than smiling, and it's also a good start to my day. 

Interests

I've accepted that I won't be publishing a novel anytime soon. I need to slowly get into it - create characters, atmospheres, outlines. Above all, I need to figure out what kind of story I want to tell the world, because my writing style and interests vary over time. So I'll handle that slowly.

But currently, I'm stressing on a number of fanfics for different fandoms I'm juggling, which ultimately puts me off from writing any of them and thus leading to sporadic updates. I hate that. I'm busy working six days a week, but I want to establish a serious writing time, to keep at something I love doing and keep my talent and creative juices flowing. 

So goals: write a little bit everyday. Even if only for ten minutes, as Eoin Colfer said. Even if I'm out of inspiration and everything I write that day is crap, just ... write a little bit everyday. Experiment. Sort out my fics so I have a schedule to dedicate to each of them. That way, even if slow, I can be assured that I'm making progress for all of them.

And poetry! Now that it's back, I want to hold on to it forever.

Travel

Even if only once a year, travel out of the Male region, including Villigili and Hulhumale. I can't afford going overseas every year, I wasn't born an okanemochi. But I've already saved up enough for my planned Japan trip (now waiting for all those on board to finish up), and I've finalised a plan to go to Fuvahmulah and Addu later this year, too - which will be a dream come true.

I want to keep at it. If possible, I want to go abroad, but at the least, I want to visit and explore the islands of Maldives away from the congested holed up capital. Once a year, at the least.

Spirituality

This is actually the most important one. I know with every fibre of my being that I need to do more. I already do all the obligatory ones, but I need to do more for a deeper and happier spiritual connection.

At the forefront of my plan is to up my supplications and recitations. I want to add on more Sunnah to this, too, but yes, increase my supplications and recitations. I know myself I need to dedicate more time to this. Now I want to go out there and actually do it.



I think there are more to be sorted in my life, but these are the ones off the top of my head. Just writing this blog alone has set back my sleep schedule to 11.45, but that's still earlier than my usual crashes. And I'm glad I got this off my chest and put it in some order, though it's messy. 

Now that I've actually expressed what I want to achieve in order to become content and peaceful in my life, I feel like I'd have the will power to hold on to it more.

Jan 15, 2016

Poetry: "Fiery as the Stars"

My blog is turning into a full-on poetry blog ... 
Why am I saying it like it's a bad thing; it's really not. I'm actually ecstatic that my brain, even sporadically, is rekindling this passion of mine after so many years.


FIERY AS THE STARS

You look at him
And your eyes question
“Have you ever known
How my heart for you
Had raged and burned
Fiery as the stars above”

He looks at you
And his silence responds
“Even stars, incandescent
Are destined for death
Like my heart for you
When the warmth faded”


This first post of 2016 you can wholly blame on Star Wars - and no, it has nothing to do with The Force Awakens (which I loved).
As it turns out, much as I am Star Wars trash, I'm also ultimate trash for Obi-Wan and Anakin and their doomed relationship - platonic, romantic, who cares, it was love - and thanks to tumblr, I've been exposed to unhealthy amounts of Matthew Stover's "Revenge of the Sith" novelisation snippets which, apart from making ObiKin ultimate canon (which it always was), had absolutely beautiful prose that reduced me to a maudlin wreck.

This particular poem was inspired by the unassuming phrase "Eventually, even stars burn out." which is part of a couple of gorgeous paragraphs that I fell in love with despite them breaking my heart to pieces.

Weirdly, that phrase brought into existence this poem, which is a nod to people who apparently fall in and out of love for no reason. Not only is it a topic that has nothing to do with those paragraphs which talks about the warring Dark and Light of the Force, but it is also a topic I'm not well-versed in (but then again, I'm also way too realist for my own good, I'm the type who calls bullshit on the love-at-first-sight sort of thing, but the words refused to leave me alone and who, really, am I to ever deny words?

The other paragraph in that quote that continues to resonate with me is this:
The dark is generous and it is patient and it always wins – but in the heart of its strength lies its weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back.
Love is more than a candle.
Love can ignite the stars.
Love can ignite the stars. Uh, OTP feels, anyone?