Monday, February 23, 2009

Drawings of the Samurai

And just like every other thing neil owns, these come with their own story.

It was one of the regular baazars held in the university. We loved bazaars of any kind, as they were one of the very few extraordinary treats in our otherwise routine and mundane campus life. There were people selling food, clothes, things, things and more things. One stall that stood out amongst the rest was the one set up by this young man, an artist. Spread out before him were countless colour sketches of sorts - including characters from popular Japanese animes of the time.

One drawing that caught my eyes particularly was that of Kenshin, the "wandering samurai" of the anime that I was, at that time, obsessed with. It was sketched in ink, on plain, A4-sized paper, perhaps not remarkable to many - but my eyes it caught! The drawings were selling for RM3 each. That amount may not even be enough to buy you a decent lunch these days, but in those days, for a student not yet earning her own keep, it was quite something.

Perhaps it was that that kept me quiet when approached by the young artist. Seeing that I was somewhat interested, yet reluctant to make the purchase, he offered to draw me another piece, something I would like better, maybe?

Ah well - why not? It was going to take some time, he said, so why don't I walk around a little while he got started? And I did - I went away for several minutes, but then decided I would much rather watch him at work. It's always interesting to watch others do what I myself couldn't - and so I went back. To my horror, the artist had drawn a complete pencil outline of a silly, grinning Kenshin, sitting down, with his sword idling at his side!

I didn't want that! The guy looked at me, shrugged, nonchalantly crumpled and threw away that sketch. I gasped! He didn't have to do that! It's cool, he said, he'd just draw me another one. But, he could had sold the silly, grinning Kenshin as well! It's ok, he said, so in which pose would I like my Kenshin? Oh well, I told him then - serious, no grinning, in the ready-to-attack stance. And he went to work.

It was great watching him work - the faint pencil outlines, the filling in of colours, the shading, the final touches - and being told that it would be his last Kenshin drawing then, for he had ran out of red ink. Just before putting down his signature, he asked for my name, and added a personal To neil. It could had been a tactic to make sure that I buy that piece, but I found it a sweet gesture all the same.

And these are the drawings:

You noticed I have 2 drawings. Well, I felt bad that he had to throw away a draft just because I didn't like it, so I offered to buy the first drawing that caught my attention as well as the one he personalised for me. Still, I suppose the bad feeling wasn't a strong one, because I had the cheek to bargain with him and got both drawings for RM5.

But hey - I really treasure them! :)

A gracious reader provided the link to the artist's blog:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

On Dying

Sometime ago, late at night, while lazying at home, watching tv, I felt that familiar dull pain in my chest. From goodness knows where, I had the sudden notion that, perhaps, just perhaps, I might die! And the first thought that came into my head with that was - I haven't taken my bath! I am sweaty and smelly, and I'm going to die sweaty and smelly! I don't want to die dirty :"(
(That got my lazy butt off the couch and straight into the shower)

A little while ago, while taking a ride in a KTM commuter train, I once again felt the same damn pain. And once again, the same crazy notion that I might die - right there, right then! And my first thought was - I don't want to die, amongst strangers, alone and forlorn! I want to die in the comfort of my own home, with the people who I love, who love me! Not in public, not like this :"(

And that got me thinking - somewhere in the (hopefully distant) future - if I do get the overwhelming sense of impending death, I'd probably refuse to go anywhere. I'd probably simply just stay at home and take a shower every other hour!


Saturday, February 14, 2009


Too often professed, I do not know if there is a universal definition for this word, nor if those who claim to love know what characterizes being in love, but I do think - when I find myself constantly yearning to be in his company, and to want to talk, just talk, to him; when I want to tell him every little detail of my boring, mundane day, and to listen, and truly enjoy listening to the accounts of every small, insignificant events of his day; when I delight in his nearness, the very sight, the very sound, the very smell of him; when I crave nothing more than to share his thoughts, his dreams, his aspirations, and to share mine with him; when I feel my troubles would melt away when he is with me, and I would never be alone even if the whole world turned against me; when I find myself indulged in observing his fingers, his hands, his every feature, and finding the imperfection intoxicating, and the little flaws endearing; when I simply couldn't see why he isn't the most brilliant, talented person I know; when I find myself letting out involuntary giggles thinking of little things such as the way he writes, or eats, or yawns, or frowns, all the little gestures; when I could cast all my burdens and worries aside, go to sleep, and know that when I woke, he would still be there, and brave all with me, never to forsake me - then, I do know, I am in love.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Being silly a couple of years ago:

Being silly recently:

I guess it's just really fun being silly. Owner of the 3-eyed alien, unable to stand the roomees' obsession with it, said she's going make sure it's kept out of sight during their next visit.

Coincidentally, it's the 15th day of the first lunar month today. Happy Chap Goh Mei! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Discovering Jason Mraz

"I'm Yours"
It was aired on the radio so often. I heard it so many times. The first things I registered were the strumming of the guitar and the squeaking of fingers sliding on the strings. Then, there were the light and breezy male vocals, and the torrents of words stumbling forth, almost tripping over each other. I didn't know who sang the song, nor what it is called - could hardly even catch any of the lyrics sung. I simply knew I liked it. Finding out comprised of asking friends and of course, the Internet. I'm Yours, by Jason Mraz. How do I pronounce that last name? Then, I stumbled upon a page in Facebook, where someone posted the official video. I loved it so much I watched it over and over again. At times, I'd just let it play in the background, repeatedly, while I worked. Then, after I Googled out the lyrics, I finally knew what he was singing about, and I loved it even more - it is my cheer-up and feel-good song.

Another single - a duet! I love duets, and I simply love this one. Just do. It's simple, sweet, lovely, no high notes... and because at the time, the official video for this song wasn't anywhere on YouTube yet, I fed on the fan-recorded live performances videos. And what I saw amazed me incredibly.

Playing and Singing Live
I do not profess to be knowledgeable in the fine arts, nor possess much talent in music, but I believe I can very well recognize talent when I saw it. He is talent personified. It's not just the singing, but the being one with his music. It is the being able to play and sing as naturally as one walks or talks, and the complete enjoyment he evidently feels doing that. It is the passionate way he makes love with his guitar, the way he makes it seem like the instrument is an extension of his limbs - a part of him as much as his voice and his heart are.

Live in Malaysia
It happens in about a month from now, on a Wednesday evening. I am not a concert-going person, but I know if I do not take this opportunity to catch this extraordinary, extremely talented guy live, I will regret it.

So then - see you soon :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

From Beijing

I've got more mail!

Polar Bear read the post about me asking Bee Ree for a posted postcard from Athens, and he offered to send one while in Beijing. It took some time to come, due to the 7-day CNY holiday in China and all I suppose - but I finally found it in my mailbox yesterday. A little crumpled at the edges, but very pretty all the same!

Thank you, Bear!