INT. KIRK’S PARENTS’ HOUSE – DAY

The family is about to have a movie session. Kirk and Marnie is discussing about their relationship in the next room.

MARNIE
I love you-

KIRK
Marnie, I love you too-

MARNIE
Umm, let me finish… I love you like I love… TV. I love you like I love pizza.

KIRK
Oh!

Kirk wished that he had a gun to blow his brains out.


Credit to Sean Anders & John Morris

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As he was closing his eyes for the last time, a slight smirk was carved on his lips; an innate gesture of absolute satisfaction of his extremely ordinary and insignificant life.

The cigarette bud in the wooden ashtray was still spewing its last gasp of thin line of blue smoke, murking the lifeless, dim room.

After a lengthy vacation, it was always a pain in the ass to drag yourself up for work on the first day. Jetlagged, drowsy and disheartened, I just had to force myself to go to work. The usual 45 minutes drive seemed like hours. On a cloudy Monday morning, it would appear that it was going to be a bad and grumpy day.

Upon arriving, I just realized that I don’t have enough coins to pay for my parking at the “coins only” parking payment machine. In my coin box, there were only 70 cents. See, I told you that it was going to be a bad day.

Well, fuck it.  If I only have 70 cents, then 70 cents was what I was going to pay. I’m not in the mood to change for coins at the nearby shops. 70 cents will buy me about an hour and a half of parking time and I really hope that DBKL was lazy enough to do their job that day, or at least acknowledge my effort to even bother to (under) pay for my parking (unlike other “inconsiderate” people in TTDI).

I parked my car and went to the nearest parking payment machine. I keyed in my car number and slotted in a 20 cents coin. Nothing happened. Then I realized, at the receipt dispenser slot, crumpled receipt paper were half way hanging from its mouth. Darn! The machine was probably broken. If it swallowed my 20 cents, I only have exactly one hour of valid parking. I tried pulling the hanging piece of paper from the machine. It was stuck. Confirmed broken piece of junk machine!

I pressed the “cancel” button. And hey, like hitting jackpot at a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino, coins began raining through the balance dispenser. I had to put my hands below the dispenser to accommodate the overflowing flow of coins.

A lady was driving slowly, passing by the machine. She witnessed me struggling to keep the coins from falling to the ground. I looked at her and assumed that she was jealous of me. Maybe in reality she was thinking that I looked like a silly, pathetic man.

I ended up with RM8.40 worth of coins, on top of my previous 70 cents. I went to the next working parking payment machine and paid my parking fee, valid until the end of the day.

It was a good start to my day after all.

It was approximately a week ago when I was walking from the South Kensington tube station towards my sister’s flat in the nearby Glendower Place. It was around 10:30 pm and I just got back from Paris via the Eurostar. It was a short and stingy trip due to my voluntarily tight budget. Still, in my pocket were a piece of €50 note and a piece of £50 note. I guess it’s enough for me to spend in the next two or three days before I go back home.

Although it was a short walk to Glendower Place, it was cold and dark. There was a light drizzle that made the coldness even more chilling. I can’t wait to get to my warm room in the basement of Jerome House and make myself a cup of hot coffee. Suddenly, from the darkness in front of me, came a huge man, hauling a huge suit luggage behind him.

“Excuse me. Could you please spare me a few pounds? I just got robbed, I’ve lost everything”, the man dejectedly showed his torn side pocket of his trousers. Seemed like it was slit by a thin razor, which was a normal method used by many European pick-pockets. He spoke sorrowfully in a North American accent, a tourist maybe. The pale streetlight shone on his eyes, red and watered, like he had just finished crying shortly before he met me.

Treasuring the cash that I have, even though I felt sorry for that person, I shun away. I’d given him some cash if I had small change. But it was not his day. I felt bad. Uttering, “I’m sorry” repeatedly to him as I walked away made it even more depressing.

After a few steps, I could still hear him begging, “Please”. I continued walking.

*****

It was approximately a week later and I had just finished work at a client’s office somewhere in KL Sentral. It was 10:30 pm and I was walking towards the entrance of Plaza Sentral’s basement car park. Then a woman approached me. “Sir, can you help us? My husband and I had just arrived from JB this evening and we were robbed. My husband was badly beaten. Could you spare us a few Ringgit?” Her husband then appeared, hauling a huge suit luggage behind him. I looked at the man’s face under the pale streetlight and I could see a fresh gash on his lower lip, slightly bloodied. “Yes sir, please help us. Just a few Ringgit so that we could find a way to return home”, the husband spoke with a lisp, probably because of the gash on his mouth.

Ah, the same scenario within a week! I stood there analyzing the two characters in front of me. My mind reminded me to the event in London a week before. If it wasn’t because of the previous event, I would’ve walked away without hesitation. But I stood there considering the whole thing. In my pocket was a single piece of RM50 note (Yes, I don’t carry much cash with me. I’m stingy, even towards myself).

“Tuhan saja boleh balas jasa baik encik kalau encik tolong kami”

I stopped analyzing and said, “I’m going down the basement to pay for my parking. If I decided by then to help you guys, I’ll come back”. I walked away, still indecisive. In my mind I pictured the couple’s sorry faces, and also the pitiful North American guy.

I paid RM4.00 for my parking. The parking attendant returned to me two RM20 notes, an RM5 note and an RM1 note. Now, if I were to help the couple, which note should I give away? I walked past my car. I slowly dragged my legs up the stairs and soon after, I was in front of the couple once again.

“Here’s RM20. Please take care”

There were words of commendation and gratefulness uttered by the couple. Also, a subsequent discussion about giving my bank account number to them for a return payment but it was swiftly dropped.

“Tuhan saja boleh balas jasa baik encik sebab tolong kami”

Well, if it was a scam, then it’s a scam. As simple as that. If not, hopefully they’re alright. I also hope that the North American guy is doing alright too.

“Why are you so nice to her?” a friend asked. “She’s treating you like shit. I know she’s your landlady and lives on the top floor of your apartment and all, but come on, you’re not her slave!”

I kept quiet. Yes, I’ve been doing stuff for Rosmah, the fat, grumpy old lady whom I called my landlady. I cleaned her house, carried up her groceries, washed her car, trimmed her bushes (in her outdoor garden, mind you!) and even cooked for her sometimes. I started doing all that after her husband ran away with a younger woman recently. But Rosmah was not a kind person, not now nor when her husband was still around. Her voice was like a needle piercing my eardrums. Her slit eyes reminded me of a female version of Muammar Gaddafi. She never said thank you. She uses her irritating voice to command more chores out of me. Other tenants shun away, minding their own business, at least until the end of each month. But I obliged, like an evil spell has been casted upon me, shackling my free will.

“So, what do you have to say for yourself? Aren’t you gonna stand up for yourself?” the friend skeptically questioning me. He grew frustrated with the recent lack of time spent on our bromance liveliness.

“The younger woman that Rosmah’s husband ran away with, well, I introduced her to him!”

I wonder if evil Rosmah had already knew.

EXT. CHARLESTOWN COMMUNITY GARDENS – DAY

The sun shines across the garden. We see the New Town projects behind Doug across the water and a soccer field populated by immigrants mid-game behind Claire.

She digs in the dirt as Doug watches her, sitting on a wood beam.

*****

“This sound woke me up. At first I didn’t know what it was. Sounded like an animal that got trapped. I’d never heard a man cry before. I came downstairs in my underwear. I see my father in the kitchen. First thing I remember was the ashtray. Must have been a hundred cigarettes in there. Ash like a little mountain. He stopped crying and was just sitting there watching TV on our little black and white. No sound. I think he just didn’t know what else to do.”

“He looked at me standing there in the doorway in my Underoos. He said, ‘Your mother left. She’s not coming back.’ Just like that. Smoking cigarettes and eating a TV dinner at six in the morning.”

(beat)

“We lost our dog the year before. I wanted to make these posters in case my mother was lost, someone could call us like the guy who found our dog. To this day my father will tell you he helped me make those posters. But he didn’t. He sat in the kitchen, drank a case of beer and I went out by myself on School Street asking people if they’d seen my mother.”

(beat)

“Her name is Doris. My grandmother had a place that’s a restaurant in Tangerine, Florida. So I used to imagine maybe that was where she went. Then I came to terms with the fact that… doesn’t really matter, you know? Wherever she went, she had a good reason to leave here. She didn’t want to be my mother anymore and she wasn’t coming back.”

 She has stopped gardening and has been listening to him.

 “And now you know a little bit about my family but I’m still not showing you my apartment.”

 Claire laughs. Tension released.


Credit to Peter Craig, revision by Chuck Hogan, Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard

With all the babbles about the economy, welfare and all that is wrong in this country, I forcefully kept myself muted. Moan all you want, but it won’t change a thing. After all, we’re all at the mercy of the imbeciles. Yes, I am a pessimist. “I am blessed because I expect nothing. Therefore, I shall never be disappointed”. No, I didn’t come out with that captivating statement. Alexander Pope did.

In spite of everything, I’m only 32. I have another sixteen years to relish every single drop of cynicism in this world.

A few weeks back, I was confident and extremely convinced that I had everything that I needed in this world. I was solitary, I was free and I was happy. Then a good friend of mine who called himself Morpheus came to me with a proposition. He offered me a red pill of uncertain extreme pleasure. The probability for it to last a lifetime was fifty-fifty. It took me five seconds to decide to take the red pill. What do I have to lose? Absolutely nothing! Or so I thought.

I gulped the red pill and waited for the aftereffects. The effect was quick, pleasant and filled with rainbows and unicorns. But it didn’t last long. After approximately a week, my life was dull, even murkier than before I took the red pill. Funny thing was, I didn’t lose anything from before.

“Yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong masih ada”

I am fucking miserable but I still have everything that I need.

What is this devilry??!!

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Come to think about it, as far as I’m concerned, Sikhs that I encountered in my lifetime are all good people. Hell, I can safely say that they’re the most successful people in this country. Career wise, they are your doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, national hockey players, tv newscasters, etcetera and etcetera. You name it, they’re in it, and doing a bloody good job at it. Basically, they are excelling in every profession that your mom and dad told you to be when you are small. Although, back in the day, mom and dad have a very limited vocabulary when it comes to future professions for their children.

The Sikh youths are in no way contributing to the social malfunction of our society. They don’t do drugs. They don’t dump babies. They don’t involve themselves in gangs. They don’t gang-rape school girls. Have you ever seen a Sikh teenager skipping school and loafing around shopping malls, being an insolent nuisance?

When you read the papers, Sikhs don’t swindle money. They’re not involved in corporate or political scandals (none as far as I can remember, I don’t read the newspaper that much though). You can never see a Sikh hobo/drifter/beggar. They are just nice, hardworking people. P. Ramlee acknowledged my point in his movie, Seniman Bujang Lapok (1961). Mr. Singh the film studio security guard was an honest, polite human being with a high level of integrity. The Sikh character acts as a proponent, or a bond in a multiracial civilization.

But wait, I’m talking about the turban wearing Sikhs. The moment they disregard their turban and neglecting their Kesh, Kanga and Kara, they are just as impudent as the rest of us.

*Somebody eventually asked me about the relevance between the title and the content of this entry. She said that I was just trying to have an eye catching, lame pun. Well, in a way yes, but truthfully, Sikhs are low profile people. They seldom expose themselves in the limelight, hiding away from the sinful mainstream. Maybe it’s because of them being a minority or maybe not. It’s just what they do best, lay low and be a Sikh!

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Don’t tell me about the answer because then another one will come along soon. I don’t believe you have the answer, I’ve got ideas too. But if you’ve got enough naiveté, and you’ve got conviction, then the answer is perfect for you.

 

Credit to Encik Greg Graffin