Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Before there was you there was everything

Contrary to many beliefs, I discovered the most wonderful time of my life is when I am on my own. Alone. No one to turn to , no one to talk to, nothing to cling on to but emptiness. A blank. It is like I am a lost soul in a big world. How sad the thought of such.

Surprisingly, I also pondered. What if I were a moon. All alone up there in the dark sky. All by my own. And suddenly, there were stars all over me, though far they may be. Somehow their lights shine one me, giving me the light of my own, that I am now adored by the living down the earth. The stars help me to find my way, to gain man's affection. The inhabitants of the earth look upon me, welcoming me to brighten up their nights. Lighten up their spirits.

There I was - a lonely moon up the sky - glowing in the dark, brighten up their hearts.

That was before there was you. There was everything. What if now there's you? Would there still be everything? Or would I lose a part of everything? For now, I am sharing my everything with you? Perhaps I should leave the answers to the universe, for the moon, the stars, and the sky intertwine with one another...

Friday, October 15, 2021

Back to black

The burning enthusiasm which has carved out my head... And my mind flickers like a scratched print of an old movie over the days ahead. The same old slog, searching for a hint of the future.

All has left me. In this place lay plains of boredom and perpetual cynical tiredness, or even sadness. All that is left is an echo, of exchanged conversations, interesting as they seemed to be. I did warn myself. I have read over and over, that passion is like a shy flower that takes time to blossom, but passion dies too over time.

Are we not but an instrument of life and its game? To understand fully the sequence of events which led to this is to go back two years, when these eyes caught the glance of that shadow. Now that very shadow follows me forever, the harder I try to rid of it, the closer it gets. The shadow that blinks the light from inside. Funny. Or maybe it is I who is not seeing. Perhaps it is I who is blind, or blinded.

"Go when you please."

"I am going."

Then, it was a dark night, without moon or stars but in fleeting moments when the wind ripped apart the cloud covering to let through a brief gleam of moonlight.

Now, the night is dark again. No wind. Nothing. And I am back to black.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The beating of my heart

The government’s order on restricted movement has brought many a Malaysian into self isolation, and aloness that feels forced upon you, like a punishment. Yet during such unprecedented time like this, solitude should be the aloness you choose and embrace, for great things may come out of solitude, out of being in a place where all is quiet except perhaps the beating of your heart.

At the time of writing, perhaps the Malaysian government is not as authoritative as those in some other countries that choose complete lockdown. We here are strongly urged to stay at home for the next few weeks. Although, with each passing day, the "strong" bit of that becomes increasingly emphasised.

Most work places have pretty much shut down their offices and we are all told to work from home, since 18 March, until further notice, I suppose. This is pretty much what most of the enterprises here are doing.

So we are all working from home here in Malaysia now; those of us who are able to, and who still have jobs.

My heart goes out to those working in gig economy, on zero-hour contracts, freelancers, and especially to those who are at the front serving the people, right from the healthcare workers and the police and army to the cleaners. And certainly, if this all goes on for long enough, more and more people will be affected.

This global pandemic thing fits well as a scenario that would make an interesting sci-fi, dystopian (or utopian for some). It feels like a naturalistic, universal, "reset"/"pause" button has been activated: and about time too... and hopefully many will take this time to reflect and revalue what life really means to us, and what life really is worthy of.

The shops do have several completely empty shelves. But by and large there are still food and supplies available. Just not as much as usual. I witness the empty streets in KL , and the weekend that’s just gone, and it felt surreal. Whilst not yet apocalyptic, the streets without hordes of people milling around certainly was rather strange.

I read, as I follow the progress of the situation, the several “clever” Malaysians passing remarks about what the government should and should not be doing. I read on social media, Facebook included, the some of us happily posting the food they cook and eat, the leisure time they are spending at home. And I thought to myself, the lucky ones are taking advantage of the situation at the expense of several others who have to fight tirelessly to ensure we continue living our comfortable lives. That too much self-centred attitude is not something that excites me.

The whole value of solitude may be a sanctuary or a prison, a heaven of repose or a place for punishment, as we ourselves make it.

And as I sit and hear the beating of my heart, I pray that in spite of everything, in spite of adversity and the bitter moments, again we shall rise.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Light in The Heart

The Spirit Lives On - part 4

Many a time love does not know its own depth until the hour of separation. As many a time also when we feel the sorrow in the heart, we realise that we are in fact weeping for that which has been our delight. And then we see beauty, which is not in the face, but a light in the heart.

So angels are remembered for their fidelity. When mountains turn to dust, do I still stand upright when my bones are so delicate? Do I worry people would judge what’s on my face without seeing what’s in my heart?

Do I break all ties and free myself from old bonds when there are chances that I could reach the hills and the mountains? But do I not also see that a quail running amidst the grass always comes running back to its nest?

Do I live in the past and build a fortress that avert me from all disasters? If truly times have changed, do I not bring down my fort and melt the stone and steel, and raise a new fort?

And I contemplate that there is no greater loss than wasting every second thinking of the past, for this life is transient, while death is not bound by age. But I am a man who possesses only love. Yet, in between the evil and I, we can be so close, as with the heat and fire.

I hear the words of the forefathers who said that the greatest is none other than the birth- place. Words as eclectic as the meaning of knowledge. There was the place you were born, and then there was the place where you played, learned, and perhaps even become a hero. Perhaps there is such a place where there’s wind blowing in your ear and there’s a river flowing in your soul. The place where you carve the stones of wisdom into a million steps, where we become the sculptor of life.

Every now and then, we were told to appreciate that knowledge must be like the concubine - always attractive. Each night we would hope to be awaken by passionate dreams of the maiden. We would wish to relish the tradition and revel in the pride.

1984 - It was the time of the interim, when adolescence knocks - when beauty was very much mesmerising and enjoyed by many, when many rushed to pluck a rose, for those who hasted and conceited would be pricked. Little did we realise then that it’s not what’s in the finger but what’s in the heart. Endless were our desires. The cravings and the yearnings were almost our second nature. Enwrapped were we in excitements and enthusiasms.

The majestic Big School was suddenly our abode. The central Overfloor our sojourn for the year before we moved on to the east and the west wings during the later years that would follow. The real presence of the coleq spirit filled us. The lava of our souls overflowed us. Now we were “the” Collegians. Ready to take on the real roles and trials to not let a drop of pride nor a drip of tradition turn to rust. Yes, we were young, very young, but the passion has much grown within us, amidst the green leaves and grass of the big tree and the big field, and the blue water of the pool.

Though a few of us who stayed on living at the New Hostel did not have the chance to be at the Overfloor of The Big School, we still were very much together. Never did the morning greet us with jealousy for the love was in our company. As third formers of The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), we were sort of being in the balance. Juniors greeted us “Assalamualaikum, bang...” when we also offered the same greeting to our seniors. A greeting that could be misheard as “…kum, bang…” which literally means beetle.

While it was the time for celebrating the status of “full-fledged” collegians, it was also the year that would be the first real test to us, academically. We were to sit for the Sijil Rendah Pelajaran (SRP) examination. Some of us even went beyond the usual papers by opting to sit for Arabic language paper included in the SRP exam. By now we had undergone foreign language subjects – Arabic and Japanese - as additional subjects in our syllabus.

There was also Japanese Language Society led by our Japanese language teacher, who was, a Japanese. I can still vividly recall how nice she was and how thrilled we were every time the Japanese teacher was with us.

Personally, I like foreign languages and because of that, I enrolled in an Arabic class and became a member of the Japanese Language Society just so that I could take advantage of both opportunities. The activities included learning things “Japanese” – the hiragana and katakana types of writing, the art of origami, the food of onigiri, the songs like Akai Hana – among those I can remember.

The Scouts, Cadet, Red Crescents, Military Band were among the popular uniformed bodies, along with other clubs and societies such as the Cinema Club, Cooperative Club, Debating Team, and so forth. As a matter of fact, Perak’s first Scout troop started in the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in 1919. There were organised trips including camping and campfire that we got involved with.

And while we enjoyed the performance of the Military Band, some of us had the privilege to play in the Band during the school’s official events such as the Speech Day and Sports Day.

Sports was equally important as examinations. Rugby, football, athletics, hockey - sports was not just an extra activity but very much a part of school life. Inter-school matches were very important to us, and indirectly instilled a strong coleq spirit among us.

Truth is, much has been said and written about life in MCKK, but our own personal history has given us a different record. Nonetheless, countless are in agreement that many have fallen under the spell of life’s treasure where wisdom could emanate upon going through such experience of living together, maturing together, at a place where our hearts united in sorrow and joy, bonds woven in sadness and happiness.

And as one remembers life’s sweetness, the sorrow enveloping the heart is thus removed like polish scraped by the craftsman. That life may be momentary and might have seeped along with the passing of time, but the memory remains. Some things don’t change with the time that goes by.

The duck will never sing like the bird, and the eagle will always fly higher than the parrot. So in my sleep and when I wake, do I yearn not for the new, or do I desire not for the same? Do I long not for the light in the heart from the fire to remain, or do I wish not to settle for just the flame? be continued

Blowing In The Wind

The Spirit Lives On - Part 3
Kahlil Gibran wrote: “If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.”
Thus I shall not fault anyone if he shared with others the stories I here recollect. After all, the whole purpose of this is for sharing the moments we have led in this borrowed life. While we know not what shall be on the morrow, we forget not what has been in the past. Even if it was a vapour that appeared for a short time, in our hearts and minds we let it remain, just so that it does not vanish away.
There have been times when I was in solitude, I thought how lovely and how strange the wind is. The wind is the wind, always there, and yet the air flowing through it is never the same air. At times too, the wind blows hard among the trees, toward the beginning of an endless past.
The leaves on the trees applaud when the wind rustles them, as if welcoming me to tell a tale of the past. And I find myself stepping back in time, to when we were 14. Having ended our first year at The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) and our primary boarding life at Prep School, we moved on to stay at another building called New Hostel. As the name implies, the New Hostel is a new building block which was opened in 1972 to house the Form Two boarders.
I may not be the only one who felt then that we were going through a new experience of coleq life – the first taste of staying with the seniors, the Form 3 students, albeit only three or four of them in each of the ten dormitories. I come to think that they were there to take care of us while at the same time, giving us the first exposure of sharing the life with fellow collegians in the years to come. As with the Prep School, there were also the prefects assigned to look after us all at the New Hostel. The tradition of official lunch and dinner meals and the “High Table” at the dining hall continued.
After one year of being “prepped” at the Prep School, we have become more adaptable for such a life. The ringing of the bell alerting us of our next agenda for the day – rise, breakfast, parade to class, back from class, games hours, dinner, and lights out when we had to be in bed.

Perhaps the more challenging part was to walk past the Big Tree and the Big School to go to the classroom block. Not so much for the longer walk, as the New Hostel is located furthest from the classroom and school administration blocks, but for having to pass the seniors at the Big School. Because the Form 1 students are totally separated, the Form 2 students are considered the most junior among all and thus, are subject to being teased sometimes. The seniors, in a friendly naughty way, would either call your name if they knew your name, or simply just by whistling, from their dorms or the senior common room at the main section of the Big School called the “Overfloor".

By now we were already introduced to the tagline “Study Hard, Pray Hard, Play Hard”. Other than study, which is the main purpose of anyone being in school, was the games. Each and every one of us was required to play at least one sport. Of all the sports, rugby remains the one that every collegian is most passionate about, ever since it was first introduced in 1956 by then headmaster N.J. Ryan. I can still recall how from the beginning we were made to memorise the lyrics of the cheering songs which we would all sing while cheering for the team on the battlefield. There would be one cheer leader from among the seniors, who would lead us in cheering for the team. Whenever we scored or achieved victory, we would cry out loud at the top of our lungs - “Bung Wak Bung Wek Wek, Bung Kak Bung Kek Kek, who are we, Malay College, can’t you see… yeahhh!”
We were so full of spirit. Even after all these long years, I could feel my spirits rise and soar like the wind as I’m writing, and whenever such melody of Bung Wak rings.
Boarding school life was not easy and was not difficult either. But it was beautiful. The clouds might have come floating into my life in the years that followed, but I realise today that they did not really carry rain or usher storm, but instead, they added colour to my sky. 

to be continued

Monday, May 23, 2016

Jauhnya Lambaian Itu (2007)


I first wrote this in early 2007, two years after my script BILUT was sucessfully turned into a feature film. While BILUT was a big budget movie, Jauhnya Lambaian Itu was a made-for-television. Nevertheless I personally loved Jauhnya Lambaian Itu much more than Bilut and several of my others, simply because Jauhnya Lambaian Itu was rather personal to me.

Originally Jauhnya Lambaian Itu was titled 4336 Batu Dari Lambaian Itu. The 4,336 miles is the distance between Kuala Lumpur and the Holy City Mekah. It was to represent how far we Muslims in Malaysia, or specifically Kuala Lumpur are from Lambaian Kaabah - the time when Muslims go for pilgrimage to fulfill their religious duty.

Within this premise of obligattory fulfillment, I wanted to tell a more personal story of the fulfillment of love and devotion between two people - a grandmother and her grandson; as well as the few other characters in this story. 

As it turned out, the producer and director had come to a conclusion to simplify the title to Jauhnya Lambaian Itu which I was OK with. To me, most importantly, Jauhnya Lambaian Itu became a reality and could somehow offer something to its viewers. 

Finding this on youtube and watching again Jauhnya Lambaian Itu only made me realise that I must continue writing simple yet meaningful stories such as Jauhnya Lambaian Itu.

The River That Flows
Form 1 in 1982 (Arietans) in front of the Prep School
Form 1 in 1982 (Arietans) in front of the Prep School
It's a familiar but funny feeling, this thing called ‘nostalgia'. So this nostalgic feeling swept over me on this day. It was a cool, typical afternoon in the cozy atmosphere surrounded by magnificent old trees on the streets of Kuala Kangsar.
The town is different than how it was back in 1982 yet I could still feel the serenity of such peace. It’s as if I could hear the pretty leaves rustling in the breeze, whispering words to welcome me back to the place where I left my heart. It ticked me that if there was a road made just for us, that road would be right there in my heart. And if we could endure it through, I should put all of my soul into trusting it.
And if there was a river that flows in us, would my heart swim back to where it used to be? It strike me how the years have rushed by, flowing along both small and vast changes. And how I have also been part of these changes. As a small boy, I was small - in size and in ideas.
As a big boy, my size has well developed. And the ideas? I have always hoped that they also grow big. However, I am but a human, with limited powers and capabilities. I come to realise that one of the means to cross this limitation is through unlimited resources of knowledge. The thought intrigued me. It was as if I could have a vivid flashback of the past years right before my eyes.
How life and the way life was led was different, how peaceful. Then I tend to ponder on this peace that I felt during those past years. Was it because of my immaturity for I might have been less sensitive to what was happening around me? One thing though, I felt somewhat a kind of self-satisfaction, for I can now respond better to the surroundings, for I can now use my brain and not just my head, for I can now distinguish black and white and not get stuck in the grey at all times. So we look back again to all those yardsticks and milestones in life. Personal and professional. Past and present. Relationships. Successes. And of course, failures too. I found out that I could remember a lot.
And the feeling was so strong; it was as if I could see the people, hear their voices, even taste and smell the memories. And it's hard not to get overcome by the deep embedded emotions. After all, it's about walking down memory lane. Of realising (and admitting) our mistakes. Of things we should or should not have said or done. Of people whom we took for granted and have since lost before we even realise their importance. And of all the list of "What ifs' which could make one go crazy. Somehow this place is very special to me.
It was not hard to understand why it is so. The reason is simple. This is where I discovered the true meaning of life – emptiness and togetherness, neglect and respect, hate and love – such was the dichotomy. Such is the law of nature. We do not push that away. We embrace it. But above and beyond this, this place taught me one very valuable essence of life – the true meaning of friendship, camaraderie, brotherhood. It was the year 1982 when I first came to this place after being selected to be here. The state of mind was of mixed feelings. Happy to have been the chosen one. Miserable to have been the lonely one.

It was as if I was experiencing a total eclipse. A boy of 12 going on 13, lost in the strangeness of other boys and a handful of seniors called prefects, at an old yet dignified building called the preparatory school or in short, “Prep School”.

Since its completion in 1913, Prep School has been the starting point of coleq life.

Little did I realise that it was soon to become a place filled with happiness where the true meaning of friendship, and eventually brotherhood, crosses boundaries and the little differences. Truly, there's no combination of words I could put on paper, no song that I could sing to accurately describe it.

But, I can affirm that our dreams are made out of real things, like a shoebox of photographs with sepia tone loving. So we take time to open that shoebox, and allow ourselves to be immersed in the life we lived some 35 years back when we first set foot on the soil of The Malay College Kuala Kangsar. It was a distinct experience, partly due to the distinct style we had, to begin with.

The all- white shirts and shorts, with long white socks and black shoes. That was how we were as the first formers of MCKK. We were introduced to doing things together – slept in dormitories, bathed in shared bathrooms, ate in a dining hall. Together only among us, yet separated from the rest of the seniors. The Prep School was exclusively for us the Form 1 students. It was some sort of the place where we got orientated with the MCKK culture and tradition. The school building is solely for Form 1 classes. No mixing with the elders. No mingling with the seniors. We were truly protected, until we were ready to move on to the next level of "colleq" life.

Apart from the wardens and teachers, we were being prepped for “coleq” life by the five prefects who were the fifth formers who took care of us and our well-being in Prep School. Each one of them was responsible for each of us in each of the five dormitories, simply named Dorm A, Dorm B, Dorm C, Dorm D and Dorm E.

Once a week during weekends we were allowed a day out around the town of Kuala Kangsar, to areas I would now assume to be anywhere within the radius of five or six miles from the school. No straying to the “out-of-bound” places or you would receive punishment in the form of a confinement or a more severe one which was the DC, short form for detention class. There was no television provided, but the dismissal of such “fun” was compensated by a weekly movie night on Saturdays at the famed Hargreaves Hall.

We had six meals a day with the main breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the in-betweens we called “snack time” and one supper. Each of us was allowed one ration of meal, and the popular term of ‘double ration’ when some of us got from others who might not like or want the food or even absent from the session. Lunch and dinner were the proper and official ones with the duty prefect reciting prayer or “doa” before we started.

Before it was recited in Arabic when we entered our senior years in coleq, the “doa” was recited in Bahasa Melayu which went like this:-
“Segala puji bagi Allah tuhan segala alam, selawat dan salam atas junjunganNya, berilah kami rezeki yang halal, ilmu yang berguna, sesungguhnya Kau amat pemurah dan amat mengasihani.”

Then there was the “High Table” where special food was being served, complemented with dessert and ice cream. How I recall us looking forward for our turns for dinner at the High Table. Then came the more bitter part of our life at Prep School. Among which was the fire drill after midnight hours when the misfortunates among us were not saved by the bell that was rung by the prefects to wake us up so that we could ‘run for our lives’. It was during these fire drill sessions that we were asked to do things which we loathed then, but only to enjoy recalling them now.

Among the impossible “missions” we were made to do but were never accomplished was to blow the fan in the common room that was switched off so that it would move… and many other incidents that would resurface whenever the lot of us get together over teh tarik and such. I know that all of those moments would be gone, for when the morning light sings, the new bell rings. There would be times though, that we would be somewhere between the then and now when we sit under a big tree and a gust of wind blows with it memories from yester years.

We hear some say that we should not put our feet in the past in order to step in to the future. I say that sometimes we need to go backward before we can move forward. It’s like attempting at a high jump when you move backwards for contraction in order for you to shoot forward. Perhaps the one reminder unto ourselves is that we do not revisit our past for the bad memories, but instead for the good ones.

We write the bad things that befell us in the sand just so that they can be easily erased from our memory, and engrave the good ones in marble so that they remain immortalised in our minds. And so even after such a long period of 30 years, the memories of my time with my dear brothers are still fresh in my mind.

The days of being foolish, of being funny, naughty, loving, caring - all combined to make life whole. Now I understand that MCKK is not just any boarding school. It isn’t just a place where you study and play during the day and sleep for the night. It’s a place where you learn about life. And what is the best education one learns in life but education about life itself? 

"And if really there is a river that flows in us, would we not follow that river to find the sea?"
to be continued

Monday, April 18, 2016

The spirit lives on - Part 1

The Class of 1986 (Arietans) gathered to celebrate 30-year anniversary. photo Tengku Adrian Ismail
The Class of 1986 (Arietans) gathered to celebrate 30-year anniversary. 
Then I realised that it is not totally true. That we can actually go back to where we have left.     
That we can turn back to find that things can still be the same. That seasons might have changed but people can still be the same. Perhaps not physically, but emotionally.

So we take time to look back. To remember where we met our best of friends. To see that many of those friendships emerged in the context of doing something interesting or even silly, together. We went to school together.

Some of us learned in the same class, belonged to the same house, took part in the same club, played the same sports.

We might have been in the same and different sub-groups, but we were and still are members of the same brotherhood.

So we tied the connections in the good year of 1982, and some of us broke the connections, not by intention that’s for sure, when we left school after the SPM examination in 1986.

The Big School, from 1905 has been the integral part of The Malay College Kuala Kangsar

The 123 of us went our ways to further our lives. Thirty years passed, and thanks to some of us who took the efforts to trace some others and reunite us all, and thanks also to technology like the social media – Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram – we did get together.

At the moment, 105 of us are in the Telegram group, everyday sharing news, stories, pictures. Personally to me, this is one social media group that has the most number of messages daily of an average 300 messages, or maybe more, I lose count.

The Malay College Kuala Kangsar or better known as MCKK where I spent five years growing up and being educated, has taught me a lot.

Not only for the quality education upon the backdrop of long tradition and extended accomplishments, but more than that, for showing me the true meaning of camaraderie and brotherhood. Being an all-male boarding school, we had closer bonds for having been with each other 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 5 years.

I have come to learn and understand the true meaning of good fellowship - the love among brothers. This to me, is the main reason that despite being away and separated after all these years, we got together again, reunited with the same kind of feeling for one another, and the same love towards the alma mater.

The year 2016 marks thirty years since I left coleq in 1986 – the fond name we call our college, aptly pronounced the local way. Although it has been three decades since, the love and affection never fade but only become stronger.

Indeed I have seen many kinds of relationship between men. I have learned through the passage of time that what we want and expect from relationships may change throughout our lives, making it all the harder to figure out in the best of situations. No doubt, along the way, there may exist some degree of fear and denial.

The fear that maybe our choices are not the same. The denial that maybe our adoptions are not equivalent. Then we contemplated that perhaps we need not look to past lives for answers. Perhaps we need to consider looking to this lifetime and what lies before our eyes.

The answers are numerous. Uncertainty and fear, unconsciously lie within human, are inevitable. And for that, there would exist an expectation of an indifferent reception. And because not everyone enjoys that perfect life, some sense of pessimism could surface.

But what is perfect in this world? As we mature, we realise that its definition varies, only to arrive at a conclusion that what matters most is the passion within us. This to me, is what is unique about MCKK.

The pride, passion, and tradition that we share – all intertwined like vines on a big oak tree. So why do we ever think of the ways to end what we started, or to restart what we ended, when nothing has ever ended.

And so it has been said that we may be far, separated by distance, but we see the same sun. I knew then and I know better now that the bond that binds us never breaks because the spirit lives on.
To be continued...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where do we go from here?

I remember there was once a young man who dreamed of making it big. Big in the things he had wanted to do. He held on to his belief that no thing is impossible. That all it takes to make it is determination, faith, and perseverance and hard work. He wanted to taste fame. He yearned to breathe in success. Fame and success became his motives as he continued on with his life.

He studied hard. He graduated with a Diploma. Got himself a steady job at 20 going on 21. Started a life independently from his parents as a grown working adult. Met someone whom he regarded as special. His life was almost complete for what it was back then.

Four years on, he pursued his study, all for a guarantee of a better and improved life. Two years he took a break from work to be a full time student. The sacrifice, in a way, for a scroll called Degree, Upon completion, he continued working with the same employer for some two years. Then he left to join another employer. For a better pay. Life must evolve, so he told himself. 

He was doing something totally new when he started at the new company. Something he never did before. Something that was not what he studied for his Degree. Yet he still took the job because that was what he asked for. He just realised then that that was what he wanted to do. The career he wanted to pursue. A job that was of his interest. He was ready to learn along the way. From the tasks he was assigned to do, and the abundance of books he could read. 

Nothing is impossible, he said.

Years passed and he improved his knowledge and skills at doing what he was doing. True enough, anything is possible. Determination and courage. Those are the keys. He was enjoying the friends he made, the company of people around him, the kind of high profile job he had. He might not be a celebrity, but he was known to many because of the nature of his job. In the midst of all those, he slipped away from his early intention to make it big. He was basking in own version of happiness. Friends, good times, enjoyment, some money, some recognition. 

Thirteen years seemed short. And by then, he already passed his prime having lived in this world for almost four decades. And then there was a calling. He looked back at all those years he left behind and thought if he really ever achieved anything. He started comparing himself with his former college mates, school mates, people in his life. 

It did not take long for him to realise that there was something he forgot to remember all those years. That he could have done so much more. So much more. Life is not just about having many people around you. Not only about being known to many people. Not merely about events and ceremonies. Life is about living. And living is not about people. It is about you and only you.

He left the company after 13 years not because he hated it, but because he wanted to explore the opportunities that lie before him. To see whether the grass is truly greener on the other side. 

It could be said that he left for a slightly better position and a slightly better pay. That was not wrong. But more than that, he wanted to do something he believed he was worth of doing. That self confidence was never deleted from his soul. Indeed, he did prove he was the right man for the job at the new organisation. Yet, he did not enjoy being there as much as he enjoyed being with the previous company. Was it because of the friends he has made for over 10 years there? Was it because it was more colourful life before? Or was it because by that time he was 20 years older than when he first started? All those possibilities are better be left alone.

Because he understands that one must lead a happy life. When the heart's not in it, there is no happiness. That he knows for sure. His tenure was therefore short lived. He moved out to move on.

Today, as he was looking out from the balcony of his tall apartment, he saw from atop the bustling road and thought that people must be busy with their lives. Just like him, they must all have dreams. He was not sure if they would hold on to their dream to make it a reality, or they would somehow forget about it along the way, just like him.

And as he was closing the door of his balcony, he reminded himself ~ No Regrets ~ for no one can turn back time. Instead, he found a consolation to himself that happiness is not about having the most, but it's about wanting the least, for happiness, is what matters.

Move forward and no looking back. The question is not of where did we not go then, but, where do we go from here.