Untitled Journal

What's the story, morning glory?

Category: Random Thoughts

What Happened Inside Job

During my half way of watching this documentary which was narrated by Matt Damon, filled with too many financial or economic terms that I did not understand, I said to Fakhrul on my way to the toilet, “Does Matt Damon even understand what he was talking about? I mean, he’s just an actor. I’m a university graduate and still struggling to understand it!”

“Matt Damon is a genius, you know..” he sillily replied.

“You know he’s not the real Good Will Hunting right?”

“No. He’s the Talented Mr. Ripley”.

Well, just to open this post with a conversation with Fakhrul which I found funny. Sorry if you don’t get it but I was still idiotically grinning after flushing the toilet, thinking how stupidly funny it was. And only later I found out that Matt Damon might be a genius after all. He was accepted to Harvard and wrote Good Will Hunting for his English class. Dropped out however, but not for nothing I guess. And after watching this important film (believe me, its a lot more crucially important than Breaking Dawn. Even if you’re not interested of what happened), I have grown respect and admirations to people who majors in finance or economics or anything like that. It seems bloody hard! It’s not like architects with our easy words of windows, walls or doors.

By the way, at the end of it, I did get it. The documentary was so unbelievable it made my blood boil. It basically gave me an understanding of why the recession in 2008 happened. In a layman’s words like myself, it actually went like this: the big investment banks in U.S did some risky trades that resulted the collapse of AIG and Lehman Brother’s bankruptcy, the stock market went crashing, the U.S government used their taxpayers’ money like 700 billion USD or something to bail them out, the CEOs or individuals responsible for this still walked away with their fortune intact, people around the world hit by recessions and unemployment and the Obama administration apparently isn’t doing much at the moment to recover the situation either, instead he hired people who made bad decisions in previous terms as his current advisors. There you go. Some serious shit happened in the real world I’d never thought I’d knew.

Truthfully speaking, I was one of the many people affected by the 2008 financial crisis. I was working in this architectural firm with offices around UK, which I joined after resigning from another a practice also based in Oxford. I was there only for over a year and a half when the project I was working on became one of the many government projects selected to get a big budget cut. Ultimately they had to put the project off and consequently, I and some others unlucky ones were made redundant as they couldn’t put us on any other project at that time.

I was not so shocked when it happened, I kind of knew it was coming. Most of our Malaysian friends had left months before and setting up nicely back home due to the same thing. I didn’t cry or wail or stare at the ceiling, instead I took a flight back to Malaysia the next day. The timing for them to drop the bomb couldn’t have been better, I left for 3 weeks break and never came back to the office.  I also felt that it was some sort of “call” that my time in UK was up. 6 years – if I had stayed any longer, I would probably ended up like one of those people who doesn’t want to leave or waiting for the right reason to. Fakhrul on the other hand was surprisingly doing great in this small practice he joined about the same time as I did. But we felt like we didn’t want to push our luck any further; plus at that time we just found out that we were expecting Daisy.

I had made great friends at work (one was Grainne) and actually enjoyed a little bit of those luxury shopping without breaking the bank. But truthfully speaking I despised my work. I was a CAD monkey who doesn’t have any ownership to any projects, stuck to boring tasks like preparing door or window schedules for months, calling up suppliers and organizing CPDs for the office, like blergh! And my life became like a routine which was so dauntingly and discouragingly boring! But I only have myself to blame. If I had been more interested and proactive, people would’ve probably noticed. You know all this office politics or politic of any kind – I’m plainly bad at it.

There were just so many reasons to go back, and like those people, I was actually waiting for a reason to. And I guess Allah had it all planned out for me, turned out it was the best plan after all. Grainne couldn’t stop saying how being laid off was actually the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I agree. The situation back in UK has not really improving, all of office gang who were saved in 2008 eventually made redundant last year (there were rounds of redundancy if things aren’t improving) and Grainne is the only one left standing. Even that, they just started a 10% salary cut last month and she’s eyeing on other countries to relocate and kept making joke if I would hire her.

For awhile I was quite bitter about it, it’s always a sad thought to leave the country where you studied and landed your first job. I kept answering, “It was time..” when people asked why I was leaving UK. And how convenient that I was also pregnant then. But you know what, it actually was time. And soon enough I accepted that redundancy was not about performance or anything you’ve done wrong, it is not as if you’re freaking fired. And come on, I’m not going to waste your time telling how much I have been enjoying both my life and career more since coming back. Even if Daisy hadn’t happened, I still feel I’m happier here on my own soil.

So in a way, although Inside Job did make me feel pissed at a lot of people, I can’t also help but feel that it was a blessing in disguise. It was one of those things that was meant to be and luckily for me, it was for the best. I can only hope it’s the same to others affected as well.

That was 2008, which I have put it way behind my back. It’s 2 more days to 2012. I think I shall look forward to that instead.

Reviving Memories

Do you miss it? I do too!

Recently since writing Photography Lately I have a sudden phobia or fear that Fotopages might suddenly close for good and I’ll lose all of my memories in it. I also have to acknowledge that ever since I decided to “close” it, there have been countless of enquiries, requests, emails, messages and mentions about opening it back. But if you have a Fotopages account, you’ll know that what I did was unpublishing every single entry. And being a user for years, can you imagine how many clicks I have to do to re-open it again? Yes, lazy is one of my many famous qualities among my friends.

It’s not that I’m unconsidering what other people are feeling, the impact it had and the images that stuck in their minds until now. It’s just that I refused to acknowledge what I was to them, because I’d thought it will be a bit, for the lack of English words, poyo to acknowledge and ultimately do something about it. Or maybe because I left photography a long time ago or my life now is totally different than what it was, I wanted to leave it as it is and keep it as personal memories. But then again, my life wasn’t exactly totally private was it? And because I’ve decided to share it with the world before, why wouldn’t I want to share the memories now? Maybe it’s not so poyo to re-share after all?

And again, it has been years. And it would be fun to see them again, no?

Since I’m very erratic with what I write here, I’m thinking of re-posting an entry from Fotopages a week in this blog. Just to fill the gap while I write/compose the next proper entry. But I’m also unsure whether it’s a good or terrible idea because if I have haters, they are probably nice people because they don’t write to me about hating me. I really want to do it, but I don’t want to be or feel, again, for the lack of English words, syok sendiri or so full of myself! Therefore, I will appreciate very much your opinion and also because secretly, I’ve been wanting to do poll for ages. Had blog for years but never once made a poll! I know that there are over 350 people visiting this blog every day, each of you don’t exactly make your mark at every entry by commenting. So in honour of my first poll ever, do let me know if I’m being considerate to my supporters (yes, still refuse to use the word “fan”) or I’m being so poyo, syok sendiri or full of myself!

Thank you!

Thanks to those who voted. I’ll start looking through my FP and start posting the first one soon! 

The Ground Beneath My Feet

I gotta say, last week was definitely the most exhausting, knackering week of the entire year.

You see, other than the fact that my friend Grainne (by the way, its pronounced as Groin-ya. Its an Irish thing) and Osama were here for 2 weeks, soon after they left, the architect we’re collaborating with also from UK came the next day. Ultimately, I had a whole one week meeting-marathon continuously, consisting of consultant team meeting, site visit, clinical users meeting, facade specialist meeting that by Thursday, I swear I almost vomited in my car on my way back from home around 7pm. I honestly can’t remember the last time I use my brain this much. Yes, I don’t really do much thinking in my life.

(Sorry, I have no other boring picture to show you but this typically lined up consultants on site)

Naturally I had a lot of “English” conversations with them, and it sort of made me think about my times back in UK.

I thought a lot about my life there, the friends I made, the people I’ve worked with, studied with, the things I learned and the things that changed my perceptions… and I realized what a different person I have become. And how humbling, especially humbling, most of those experiences are.

But I’m also becoming very, very annoyed of people who think so highly of themselves out of their fortunateness. I have friends who after 2 years coming back from UK, still can’t bloody stop whining and complaining about how things are in Malaysia. How crap the Malaysians are, how the Brits are better and all that bullshit arrogant talk. Its puzzling really, because if there’s one thing I learn about the citizens of the developed world, is that they are rarely arrogant, mostly humble and keep their intelligences to themselves. I might be wrong and if I do, I must had been socializing with the wrong crowd. And hopefully I didn’t.

Sometimes I really do run out of polite words to say that condemning doesn’t help (note that condemning and constructive criticizing  are different things), that to those who are being so whiny about it doesn’t improve much of themselves either. Sure enough, Malaysians aren’t perfect. There are too many assholes on the road, too many local dramas and bad titled movies portraying the stereotype Malay culture, too much fabrications in the local news, too many trying to be someone they’re not or faking their accent, but isn’t this your root? Aren’t you one of them? Isn’t that your mother, father, brother or sister? Is it not where you came from? Like give me a break. If there’s anything more second class or backward, it is that – condemn.

We should know that not everybody is lucky enough being sent abroad, get all the exposures and have the advancement of mentality. Even that, I don’t really pity them because truthfully speaking, they are not that bad at all. They are as smart as other foreigners I met, except that they are more comfortable communicating in their mother tongue and that you can see they have been living in their comfort zone too long, its hard for them to cast certain habits away.

I might be shallow or short sighted in my observations, I might be too soon to judge or conclude, but I find hard to tolerate people who despise their own race. I’m not being so overwhelmingly patriotic or anything, I just find it funny when they do that. Makes me want to hand out a brand new shiny mirror, assuming the one they already have is not reflective enough.

Photography Lately

There seems to be few experiences associated with photography lately;

Experience no. 1

Don’t know if you’d noticed, but my Photography Works list to your right is now longer than before. I’ve added pictures from my past travels in Italy, Japan & Bali and also some recollection of past life under Memories. Not forgetting Kedah, a place that has grown into me even before I married someone originated from there. I don’t think they’re brilliant, but worth sharing.

Experience no. 2

Had an interesting experience recently at Shareena’s wedding. During her akad which was held in masjid, obviously there were photography sessions and this photographer she hired asked a group picture with her family, her husband’s family, her husband’s friends and finally with the three of us. The earlier groups had one formal pose, as if they were lining up for some corporate photo, and then to ‘twist’ the second pose a little bit, the photographer asked them to wave bye-bye. He was like, “OK everybody, say bye-byeeee” with his one hand lifted up, and everybody happily obliged. I was like geeeez… really?!

Just before I approached Shareena for our turn, I told the photographer, get a candid photo. But still he instructed us to do that second crappy pose of waving bye-bye. Of course there was no way even in heaven I would do that. So I kept my smile and he snapped once. Once! For a digital picture. As if he only had some sad 3MB CF card on! I mean, my crappy handphone can take more picture than that! Eurgh!

I wasn’t going to say anything if it was someone else’s wedding, but since I know my best friend paid some good money to him, I approached him. Of course with a smile to begin with, mind you, he is quite big like a sumo wrestler, I don’t wanna die on my best friend’s wedding day.

“You ni, apa la amik gamba satu snap je? Patu suruh babai babai pulak. Macam tepape je.. amik la candid sikit, capture moments” As if there weren’t enough famous wedding photographers in Malaysia that he could learn from.

“Ala… makcik-makcik ni kalau you cakap candid diorang bukannya faham sangat.” Lame excuse no. 1.

“You tau tak candid tu tak payah cakap. You just amik je moments tu. Ia bukan sejenis pose.” Education no. 1.

“Ala.. lagi pun kat masjid kan. Nampak tak kena pulak.” Lame excuse no. 2. Who the hell did he think he was kidding?

Later afterward when we went back to her house and hang around her room, I asked her niece to snap a picture of us on the bed, supposedly admiring her lace using a phone camera. It was a good picture, if not great. I’m sure better than waving-bye picture:

I then showed this off to the photographer and said, “Ambik macam ni laa…” He took a shot (one shot, again!) of us in the same position, just not looking at the camera this time and then previewed it to me with his proud face, as if he just bloody invented it, totally disregarding the fact that I was the one who gave him the idea. OK, whatever.

I mean no offense to anybody and I do get it. Not everybody is a great photographer, and not everybody can afford great photographers. But at least for you who take up the job, do it with decency and a little honesty. Having a digital camera doesn’t make you a wedding photographer, you know. Make an effort to at least learn how to take good picture, initiate a good mood with your subjects and for the love of your latest-model camera and super long lens, snap more than once! It’s the digital age, you’re not limited to only 36 exposures-a-roll anymore.

Experience no. 3

Yesterday was one of Fakhrul’s high school friend’s wedding. You know, it was eleven, eleven, eleven and it happens only once ever in the universe or lifetime or whatever, just like all dates really, if you really think about it. There’s a joke in Facebook that Tok Kadi must be having trouble breathing today to perform so many solemnizations. But again, no offense to those who got married on that date – congratulations from me.

So naturally Fakhrul had a mini gathering with his friends and I was so surprised that when he came home and told me that some of them are still talking about my ‘photographic era’. I mean it’s a surprise enough that they know me and what I used to do last time, what I was ‘famous’ for I guess. I thought they’re gonna at least associate me with something that I actually do currently, like blogging or architect-ing. Even whenever I meet his friends, which really rarely, one of the earliest question before starting a conversation is whether if I still photographing. Their question comes complete with a hands gesture of holding a camera, clicking the shutter.

It’s flattering to hear things like that as always, but I’m not that anymore so it kinda makes me feel a little .. expired? Oh well, but at least coincidently right after feeling ‘expired’ I got a random text from my cousin, saying “Sara, Mar just nak bagi tau yang Mar suka sangat baca WordPress Sara. Sara sebenarnya bagi Mar inspiration untuk start tulis kat Blogspot. I love your words and your writing. Keep writing ya Sara.”

Thanks Mar. I guess I just did.

To You Who Sent This

Dear Stranger,

This arrived today. Its always a great feeling when my receptionist came knocking on my door with a parcel of goodies. Especially when the goodies are free.  I was only expecting one, but there are two instead. I’m touched by your support to make me read more and to benefit my spare times at things worthier of it.

My eternal thanks to you. You know who you are.

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