Sunday, 16 May 2010

Wading Through Time

The request came out of the blue. I'd sent samples of my writing to The Star, including something about time and an old clock. The editor of Starmag felt it was good enough for publication in the Heart & Soul section.

The 'immortal' clock
And so it was published - on Teacher's Day, no less. I can tell you that I owe my current mastery of the English language to my folks and not a few teachers. I suppose this can count as a kind-of thank-you to them.

I'd been feeling down after reading about some writers who'd become authors (one of whom had her first book pulped due to plagiarism), and that piece was the result. Making writing a viable career feels like a long hard slog, but like a shovel that keeps working, maybe I'll reach China someday if I keep at it long enough.

Time takes no sides
first published in The Star, 16 May 2010

There's a clock that sits on my multi-shelved, self-assembled computer table. It came with me when I migrated to Kuala Lumpur. Mum bought it for me, along with other things, at Gama Supermarket in Penang.

It's an alarm clock but it has been mute for a very long time. The shop assistant who looked at it thought it could have been the continued use of full alkaline batteries.

For telling the time, however, it's still very useful. I have another alarm clock now, but its presence is calming, reassuring. It's been with me through a lot. College, mostly. But I think, sadly, that it became silent before I started working for a living.

The day I first started college should have been the day a boy became a man. Layers of dust and numerous batteries came and went, but the clock kept ticking. The boy, however, never really grew up. He probably spent too much time enjoying being a boy, or lamenting the passing of time – a strange irony – and not enough of it finding his way in life and preparing for it.

Mum's a lot older now, and in light of this the clock she bought me has taken on another kind of significance. Our time will be up someday, like the clock. The springs and whatnot will wear out eventually, even if they outlast us both, mother and son. And as I stare into the wake of those who have gone far ahead of me, is it too late?

"Time is on our side," goes an old song. Like those who sang it, that axiom is old, perhaps a romantic notion used to sell songs. Time takes no sides. It goes along its merry way regardless of who we are and what we strive for and accomplish.

So why should I be bothered about other people's accomplishments? Time to make tracks of my own.

In the infinite realm of possibilities, even time itself may end one day. Like the old clock in my room, that thought is strangely comforting.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Thunkin New

I did not supply the heading to this article, perhaps one of the best pieces I've done prior to my departure from The Edge.

"Thunkin New", Off The Edge, May 2010

I still consider Ms Clare Wigfall one of my best interviewees, and the replies she supplied here to be among the most interesting I've ever read. As a writer, I have some vested interest things such as the advent of the short story genre, Internet-driven changes in language and shrinking reader attention spans.

It took two days to research and craft the questions. Though some bits were trimmed, the final results are still good food for thought. I regret not having the time to read her short story collection yet, but I'm sure it'll be just as interesting.