14 November 2019

2020: Kopihangtuah Blogs No More After 10 Years

kopihangtuah.blogspot.com reaches the end of 2019 soon and this milestone marks the 10 years of my blogging. I am tired of blogging. The sheer lethargy will suffice as a reason to stop blogging. In addition, 10 years is enough (2010 to 2019). I made a point to write 24 articles a year and this sums up to 240 articles cumulatively including this Good Bye note. I hope my readers have benefited a lot. I also hope that even though I have stopped blogging (effective from this post), there will be many more readers in the future to read the 240 posts. It has been a pleasure writing for all of you who don't mind reading about Art, Book Reviews, Culture, Documentary Reviews, Economics, Fiction, Health, History, Interviews, Literature, Greetings, Poems, Politics, Religion, Saving the Planet, Science, Short Stories, Technology, Travelling, my Memoirs as well as Random Thoughts; in both English and Malay. Let us all hope that 2020 onward, we will all live in peace and harmony and of course, this had to be said: You'll Never Walk Alone, Insha-Allah, Amin :)

14 November 2019
12.45 am
Shah Alam

I Am Happy at 44

44 is my age. Yes, I am Gen X. I am Optimus Prime. I am McGyver. If that is not bad enough, if being old is bad, I am also Six Million Dollar Man and Remington Steel. My point is, at 44, there have been many signs from God that we need to be reminded of the finite nature of life. Recently I was reminded by my insurance agent that my life insurance that commenced in the year 2000 will mature soon given that it is a 20-year plan. Blimmey, I honestly felt that it was only yesterday that I signed up for the plan. Not just that, I also feel that it was only yesterday that I answered my SPM papers; it was only yesterday that I uttered "Aku terima nikahnya.... " when I got married; it was only yesterday that I saw my first born son being pulled out from the tummy by a doctor named Jonathan Butler of Queen Charlotte's Hospital. And when I stare down at my tummy, it is a confirmation that time has past. Time has passed, quite significantly.

Last weekend a friend from my alma mater died from an accident with a lorry while he was cycling at Jalan Genting Sempah. During Ramadhan this year, a dear friend from university days died of all sorts of cancer. There are many more cases of whom I know have gone back to their Maker at the age of 40'ish. Closer to home, my wife, also in her 40's, had just done an operation to remove her gal bladder. My maid, also in her 40's, had an appendicitis operation last year. Meanwhile, my doctor has been hassling me to cut down on my sugar intake. It seems that I am too sweet, my blood that is. My cholesterol too (high). Nowadays, the milk in my cappuccino (just realised that there are 2 P's and 2 C's in the spelling of cappuccino) and the regular Tumeric pills, Vitamin C and B Complex supply the nutrition for a breakfast; and the usual caesar salad fills my tummy for lunch. For dinner, whatever 'lauk' in the kitchen is consumed without rice. Exercise seems impossible with this 'keparat' corporate life but hey, I try my best to jog 4km at least 2 days in a week. Even that is made possible because of 7 years worth of no smoking healthy lungs.

During the haze of Sumatra and Kalimantan in the skies of Malaysia, I suddenly realised that I missed the blue sky. I actually consciously felt the agony of waiting - waiting for the sky to be clear from the haze. In my mind, it (the blue sky) is a simple pleasure of life that we should not be deprived of. It was at that moment that I began to really understand what 'Appreciating Life' means. A good 7 hours of sleep starting from before midnight now seems more desirable than a few episodes of Games of Throne. Replacing coffee, juices and other processed drinks with a simple H2O suddenly brings joy. Being able to pee and shit properly give that satisfaction you never thought you'd get when bowel and bladder complications have begun its saga. Enough of on-line thrash, I may start picking up the dozens of books on my shelve bought years ago but unread til today - and I suddenly remember that I have not yet completed reading Lolita as recommended by my name sake Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar. And of course, I find myself holding the daily printed The New Straits Times rather than reading Malaysia Kini on-line.

During my free time, I try to write articles, poems, songs, short stories or books. There are many things to write about after 44 years of living. I have written a novel, Makhluk, about an alien that landed on Planet Earth who feels compelled to conclude that human beings are pathetic (their behaviours that is). I have written over 100 poems, both Malay and English, for which, can be published when I have the money for printing. I am writing 2 non-fictional books concurrently: Fuelling the Kreativ Malaysia and Tx'ing the J-Curve. The former is about the Malaysian Creative Industry landscape circa 2012 to 2017 and the latter is a continuous attempt of an autobiography specifically about saving a Television Network. I have written almost 240 articles in my blog during the space of 10 years (2010 to 2019) and I intend to stop by the end of this year - because of lethargy. Every now and then, when I have some weird short story ideas, I'd write them down at spanapurba.blogspot.com. To date, I have over 30 short stories. These can also be published into a book when it reaches 100. Last but not least, songs - these are 'syiok sendiri' stuff (like my other writings as well), of which, only 1 has been published by a record label by producers Audi Mok and Izham Omar for a new artist, Ika Mustafa. It is entitled Damaikanlah. A very sad song :(

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist. I had once told Uncle Ibrahim in the 80's, "Kalau setakat line macam ni, senang je nak buat!" Of course, later in life, when I started painting myself, it was almost impossible to emulate Datuk Ibrahim Hussein. Nevertheless, I am happy that I have managed to do 2 solo art shows (Ikhlas:20 and Caricreatures) and 1 dual art show (Buana) with The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad (Galeri Prima). I sold everything. The proceeds were used to pay of my Petronas study loan with the balance being donated to TV3 Bersamamu charity fund. Art and writing aren't the only passion I have. Music cannot be missed. I used to be able to jam with friends but everybody is busy with their individual lives. Hence, I find myself doing lone-jams with my Gibson Les Paul or my Fender Telecaster only to feed my ego on my You Tube account. Whilst the world is overwhelmed by music streaming apps such as Spotify, Joox and many more, I find myself pulling out boxes from the store room that are marked with the label "CDs from Melbourne and Perth". What a joy to go down the memory lane when listening to Search, Wings, M.Nasir, Kopratasa, Alleycats, Kembara, Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Pearl Jam, U2, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Sting, Tesla, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yngwie J Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and surpise, surprise, Shakira and Sheila Majid.

I am happy career wise. From a kitchen hand, to an auditor, to a finance manager, a university lecturer and now, a CEO, I could'nt be more satisfied. Neither rich nor poor. Home loan and car loan seem to shrink slowly but with no worries. Credit card balances need a bit more servicing but I am hoping that that soon-to-mature life insurance would be ample for this. Monthly deductions to Amanah Saham Bumiputra and education insurance will do the trick for kid's tertiary education, I hope. Occasional trips with the wife to close-by beaches or Mount Kinabalu would suffice for some breaks to the monotonous stressful work life. If all these seem adequate, what more in life am I looking for? Perhaps that answer is, "to be closer to God". As we age, with it comes the proximity of the finite life. I find myself looking at the sky at night with 1001 questions: About life, about the past, the future and the present. I find myself appreciating life (more than ever relatively, or just in absolute terms if I never had), as mentioned earlier. Hence, appreciating God and His creations seem natural - and for this He will somehow give you the comfort that You'll Never Walk Alone.

It is funny that when one thinks about death, he or she should feel fearsome, but in my case, I feel liberated. The sweet thought of freedom flows through my veins like an arpeggio of notes to a song. Unlike the Chinese, who do not like the number 4 as it means death or bad luck, I feel thankful to God that I am still alive, and that is why I started this article with, "44 is my age".