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Friday, May 26, 2006
Legend In The Making

~ The Scientist, Coldplay

I know I am blessed.
As Boss Stewie has mentioned in the comments,
my readers have been absolute darlings,
supporting and encouraging me on my way to becoming a professional writer.

It has been a 100% support from you and for that, I am truly in debt.

It is to you that I apologize for the lack of juice in the pass few weeks
while I sort out my annual migration to the UK.


Today is Friday and I can officially say that I survived the week, post MENJ and post Penguin vs Tiger. I am tired beyond repair and I realised that I am never going to London unless I just pack and go.

And that I did.

It is the same routine each time. I do my ticket shopping, asking for the price from a few travel agencies, feel totally disgusted that it is not as it used to be (as compared to say, 1994 and pre-Bush vs Sadamm), storm out of the place and go home defeated and dejected. This will of course, go on for weeks to the point where my boyfriends (started with Swedish Love and graduated to Alex) will literally abandon me in the hope that it will make me go there sooner.

And there is the thing about work. I mean, how am I suppose to leave everything for a few months without really trying all the knots that have a knack for untying itself? So it is the same routine every year until I am fed up of trying to finish my work and tired of shopping for a bloody ticket at the cheapest possible price. And at that point in time, I’d just run into the nearest travel agent and say, “Just give me the cheapest ticket you have to London,”.

Yesterday was such a time. I have the date fixed on the 1st June and that is just that. No more delaying. No more trying to tie the knots. It is me flying on the 1st June and now everything else has to revolve around this fact.

I think my writing suffered during this whole period of shopping for a ticket at the cheapest price and trying to arrange my business events for the next three months in advance. I know it did and Ian did not disagree with me, so I have double confirmed that I did (am fishing for the L word from Ian - hahahaha). And now I am sat in my portable office (bedroom) writing an article about writing.

Decided that this will be a relevant topic because I know some other blog writers will agree with what I have to say next. Plus I really want to tell you guys this anyway, so stick with me for a while.

I have been meaning to tell you that the whole process of writing reflects on the writer. Ya, ya, sure you knew this already. But do you really understand the magnitude of what I just said. I am saying that whatever you read often reflects on the thoughts of the writers and despite the myth that some writers are gods in the making, we are in actual fact, quite human.

All writers suffer from stress, like you do. We have busy days, just like you. Sometimes we are ecstatic and you feel our excitement through our words. Other times we too, feel down and out. You will know that too, won’t you? Like all other things in life, we have spurts of growth and then there are moments when we are stunted or heaven forbid, we regress!

Some readers have high (and unreasonable) expectations, without realising that we are just human. In the pass week or so, I have read at least two blogs where the writer(s) have specifically mentioned that writing was not an easy task to perform, especially on a consistent and daily basis. And definitely not to the high expectation set for them. I empathise truly.

Some days we cry and we are sad and you cannot expect us to turn straw into gold, like Rumpelstiltskin. What I have realised a year ago when I started reading blogs and what I am merely suggesting to you right now, is to understand and perhaps even appreciate what the writers are going through – the ups and downs of life, which is then reflected in their writing.

Whilst improving our writing skills are crucial for our growth, I sincerely hope that readers out there be a little more understanding to the plight of the creative, who more often than not suffer from one form of depression or another (I will explain why this is so at the end of this post). If Kenny and Lengmou would kindly oblige (well tough luck now, since I have already mentioned you both) they will serve as a good illustration of what I am saying here. If you do not already know, then I shall inform you that writing funny stuff is not easy. It SEEMS easy but trust me, you will grow old trying to figure something funny to say.

Now humour is a tough one. Tough because it is often moulded by personal taste, is highly subjective and is tied to its cultural surrounding. Take Phua Chu Kang as an example. Alex does not find Ah Chu, Rosie, Maggie or her husband funny. Not so much so that the characters are not funny, but for the fact that Alex is not from around here and thus, does not understand what’s so funny about Ah Chu being kiasu (trans: keeping up with the joneses).

Now to the comments, which for these two blogs come in by the dozens and sometimes the hundreds. I don’t know how they are able to keep up with the who’s who in the comments section and patiently reply to most. Nothing quite fucks me up than reading a “eh that’s no funny. Try harder” in their comments. I mean, come on, what do you expect Kenny to do? Make you laugh everyday? I know he is famous for his coconuts and perhaps a soon to be more famous big bird, but can you expect that man to keep writing FUNNY POSTS every freaking day?

Or the two bosses to be funny during their exam week?

And for this simple reason, I don’t do funny.

(Please a moment to digest what I have said thus far. Spend a few seconds to think about it again before proceeding to the next paragraph.)

Perhaps we should be a little more appreciative (read: appreciate Otto, Lengmou, Kenny and the burnt out writers) of the little efforts each of these writers (read: everyone who blogs consistently, which includes the infamous MENJ) put into their respective blogs each and every day. We are trying our very best. Some days are just best-ER than the rest and that is how life is.

Now for a more personal perspective of the writing process, I shall talk about writing About Nude Not Naked and the book project. One of the reasons why I am feeling quite relaxed these days is because I have discovered the secret of the universe – how to be happy even when I am sad.

I am the sort of person who takes myself rather seriously. So serious I take myself that my comments in funny blogs are serious. How serious can you get? Anyway, being the thinker that I am and the serious person that I am, I cannot help but to revisit my past. I probably do it a million times each day! I analyse what happened, right up to the very words used, dissected for secret information and subconscious behaviour through body language blah blah blah.

I suffer from over-analysing myself and pushing myself too hard. I am tough on myself. I am my worst critic. Okay, I love myself but I know when I should be honest with myself. And I was often sad because I feel that I have failed myself badly. On my life scorecard, I gave myself Ds and Fs. Not really nice results, huh? Then one day, I realised the truth about life and living. I might not understand everything about life but I know that in life, everything beautiful is born out of pain.

Stories all over the world have a specific format and the secret to being happy whenever I am sad lies within it. You see, a story becomes a story when it has three parts.

  • Introduction of key character.

  • Key character faces problem.

  • Key character overcomes problem.

And what we commonly know as a “story” is in actual fact, an account of how a key character (the hero, if you must) overcame his problems. There is a always a good side and a bad side, a black and a white, a Darth and a Jedi.

There is no story if there is no problem and there are no storybooks to read if there are no heroes who suffered some form of trouble. Now knowing this frees me from the perception inlaid by my parents, which is to be perfect, to be the best, to be the THE in everything.

My logic simply flowed that I would have no story to tell, if indeed my life was perfect and that I was blissfully happy. Now again, my trusted readers, do not take my word for it. Analyze what I have just said. List down 5 books that you can think about. Done? Okay, now go through the basic premise of each story. Got it? Now tell me if you have found a book that was not about overcoming something and often that “something” was in fact, a form of pain (be it emotional, mental, spiritual, physical etc).

How many hours did Michaelangelo poured into the Statue of David before it was complete? The answer is a little over three years. How much blood and tears were shed? I don’t know but I can imagine quite a few drops.

What about the Mona Lisa? It was stipulated that the famous painting of a lady with a secret and faint smile took four years to complete. There are tonnes of examples and I could go on and on but I think you get what I am trying to say here. All things beautiful is born of pain and a story is only a story when the hero encounters and overcomes his/her trouble.

Consequently I no longer sweat the small things. I realised that these were the very things that helped me to write. Inspirations came from being broken and from sadness, tears, frustrations and fears. The whole world celebrates pain, if you really think about it. Most perception of beauty involves sacrificing comfort – lengthening of the neck among the Karen hilltribes is a good example.

Now that you have spent more than five minutes reading this post. I guess I will have to conclude within the next 330 characters (equivalent to 80 words). Ready? Here goes...

All that I am trying to say is perhaps all that you read, both the good and the bad forms a premise for the story of the lives of many people. From the funny ones to the drama ones to the sick in the head ones, each day you visit a blog and partake of the writer’s life stories. Celebrate the happiness and empathise with the sadness, for these are the very things that separate the legends and the forgotten.

Small Talk
This article is written to celebrate and appreciate fellow writers/bloggers who faithfully update their blogs and poured their tears and sweat into their blogs.

I shall be arriving in London on 2nd June at 0555 hrs. I would like roast duck later that day. What say you, Boss Stewie, if you are not too busy?


p/s: Due to a technical error (read: Otto clicked on delete button!) hence loosing 2 comments that was originally found along with the deleted post. So I have taken the liberty to copy & paste from my email (the copy of comment sent) Boss Stewie's and Kuek's comments.... since Boss Stewie's comment was quoted. TQ.

2nd p/s: Anyone knows how to DESIGNATE what address we want each post to be?



You're absolutely spot-on. It is difficult to come up with stuff to blog about, especially having to manage the real work I get paid for.

Inspiration, for me, comes in many varied ways. It could be as simple as driving in Bangsar and spotting a sign. Or finding one of those loan-shark flyers/namecards stuck to your car windscreen. Or just sitting at home, staring at boxes, preparing for a house-move.

And I don't write for a living. For me writing is a sort of therapy in some ways - a chance to let loose those tangled thoughts I have so many of.

So, Otto - Walski appreciates your blog!

And on that note, have a safe, enjoyable - make that wonderful - trip to the UK.


1:03 pm  

a copy of Boss Stewie's comment
otto... ur readers love u... you seem to get non-stop supportive comments from each and every one of them ... i've almost never seen this in other blogs (except for those that are frequented by the blogger's own click).

i guess that to us bloggers, negative comments are like what the paparazzi are to celebrities... it is just something u have to learn to accept and move on.

its such a pity that you're coming to london the day before i leave. tsk tsk tsk

1:13 pm  

a copy of Kuek's comment, previously deleted by accident
Dear Otto,

Well, I don't know about others, but your blog means something to me. There's a reason why i seldom update my blog or write in chinese nowsaday. it's partly because of your blog. Because by reading your blog, i feel your emotion in the words. i know i am not suppose to compare, but whatever i wrote seems so...shallow, comparing to you. That's why i write in chinese more, it's only then i can truly express what and how i feel at the particular time.

my blog may not have as many readers as you, but people around me tell me, "hei, Kuek, your blog is nice, it's very lively, and it's close to your life, i understand you more after reading it..." isn't that what blogging and writing is all about? writing about how you feel, your life, and people around you? so don't feel discourage by what some people said. there's always people who like it, and people who don't, you can't satisfy everyone. you don't have to justify why you write something. at the end of the day, it's still YOUR BLOG (i know, it's sounds like XX when i said that, but maybe we should learn from her sometimes...hehe). like you said, you are only human like us.

Lots of love,

1:16 pm  

I get lots of inspiration from listening to lyrics of songs, which explains why there is almost a song accompanying each post. Previously the song played in my head as I write each post and now I am able to share what goes on in my head with all you guys =)

I am yet to reach the level of writing for a living. Currently I write with the hope that I will be able to just write what I feel and have readers come read them... and one day, readers will buy a book of a shelf and it's called NUDE, NOT NAKED and this time with my REAL name next to it.

Boss Stewie
So I've booked to fly on the 1st and arriving on 2nd June 0555 hrs. I wonder if it's crazy to run down for a bite with ya and the other Boss (and Mae and Nicholas) sometime towards late afternoon or something?

You know what, Kuek? You are a very sweet person =) am so appreciative of what you write here.

The post was not only about me. It was about you and others like you and me.. who spent hours writing and updating their blogs. We try out best and perhaps it is time to recognize our efforts.

"I don't do humor" is a recognition that each of us have talent and a specialized field. We will do well in whatever we know and have a natural talent for. So continue to write in Mandarin, if it helps you vocalize your thoughts.

You are the only Mandarin blog that I have come across, so I take it that Mandarin blogs are rare and should be encouraged too!!!

2:13 pm  

Dear Otto,

Yesterday, one of the members of a local band added me on MSN and he read my blog post about them. When he asked me why I didn't go up to them to tell them that I love their music, I had no answer. A little shy, maybe. He added that they would appreciate the encouragement, and I realised that we all would.

I've read the book project blog (yes, I went through the entire archives) and if I'm not mistaken, this one as well. It goes without saying that I would've stopped reading if I didn't like your works. :)

So this is me letting you know that I do appreciate your time and effort, blood, sweat and tears. I can't wait for your book to hit the stores. :)


4:44 pm  

well if you like we could do dinner on 2nd june night or lunch on 3rd june...

how does that sound?

how can i give u my msn or email or something

4:53 pm  

Hey there! Thanks for commenting. I do remember your comments =) as for reading the whole archive, actually I "paisay" lah...... I am quite embarrassed by some of the earlier posts because... well, as I have said, words reflect the author...

I felt that my earlier attempts were somewhat childlike. The more recent posts (pre-visa/migration) are more refined and I much prefer them over any of those written last year.

But hey! Thanks for your word of encouragement. Really appreciate it. Now all I need to do is start a "blog fairy" campaign. No, it isn't the KinkyBlueFairy but just basically readers who go about commenting constructive comments in everyone else's blogs... haha!

Boss Stewie
Eh? I thought I sent you an email earlier today?? I must have sent it to the wrong address then...

Anyway I did give you my MSN there and hoped to exchange phone numbers so we could arrange it =)

I don't stay IN London. I need to take a train from Charring Cross, platform 5 and ride it for slightly more than 30 mins, then take a cab or drive myself home (which takes another 10). Basically it means I much prefer a lunch =)

You realised how HUGE those Brits female teenagers are?! It's me saying me scared!

Nyway I'll try emailing you again... right?

5:39 pm  

I love your blog. I can't explain why I do and I seriously don't think it needs a reason. Staying positive is a way to keep a blog going but I think being YOU is what kept you going. Write what you want, you don't have to explain to anyone why you wrote this and that or whatever. Just be yourself and being responsible to you yourself is more than enough. You write and blog because of YOU. Because of YOU being you yourself. Life is too short to care too much about what others think about you and most of the time, their negative. Why give a damn when it only slows you down.? I know ignorance is bliss and accepting negative comments can promise a different perspective but just don't let them occuppied you too much. It's not worth it and you know you're much better than that.

I really like the way you write and and NO i'm not trying to flatter you nor am I licking your shoes. I'm just me being me and really do honestly love your work. =)

6:23 pm  

yeah i just checked my email. got it

wait wiat.. i'm confused now.. so you CAN make it for lunch?

6:43 pm  

I am already salivating!

12:36 am  

Hi, Otto!

YAY!! Exams are over.

I love the stuff you write Otto, and just so you know that most of your readers should understand that you are just like any other human being trying to convey their life experiences to other individuals and human beings, looking for maybe comfort or sense of ... understanding what they feel they've lost? I don't know what I'm talking about.

I just hope that you don't feel like you need to always write something to "please" your readers. I think it's sweet that you keep us in mind but it is after all your life, you call the shots.

As for London, YAY!! I'm turning 19 in June :) BUT, I won't be in London when you arrive. :( I'm leaving to New York tomorrow! How nows!!

Love! Mae.

P.S: Charing Cross is damn near to where I stay. Haha.

P.P.S: I still haven't had Four Seasons for possibly 2 months now. Sacrilege!

2:01 am  

Hey there! Thanks for your words of comfort. I guess everyone has their ups and downs, eh?

It has been some time since I wrote something about writing, hence what I wrote last evening. I wonder if you have ever felt like me too?

Hey hey! Can you please email me, so I can pass you my MSN and we'll arrange a huge getogether.... okay, no pressure ok if you can't make it for 2nd June because it is just the first of MANY to come...

I love duck rice in London =) can someone tell me why the duck in Msia isn't as tasty?

You are turning 19 in June. Happy happy birthday ahead!! Makes me feel old lorrrrrrrrrrrr...

No worries abt the 1st duck rice session. I am obsessed with shopping and love duck rice, 2 very good reasons to go into London often. We will meet each other some other time then... just the girls session, minus all the boys - so we can GOSSIP about them.. hahahaha.. (kiddin Boss).

Enjoy NY, babe!

2:28 am  

hey there,

i dont blog, but i enjoy reading your blog.A LOT.and no, im not a stalker either :p
keep on blogging n i promise to be your avid reader.


3:34 am  

I guess this "writer" feeling is kinda mutual. Hehe...Perhaps its easier for readers who are also bloggers themselves to understand our limits and efforts in trying to blog as often as we can. Unlike non blogger-readers who just drop by, read and fart and move on but hardly leaves a commment but complained when you're neglecting your blog or didn't write up to their expectations. But then, who are they to complain about you being you.? =)

9:58 am  

1st of june thats great! Your going to have a good time girl... Just going at it is usually the best way in my opinion. Forces you to do things. I did the same with my flight to singa. Though i am getting stress now, MUAH!

On a note to the storyline part:
1 character
2 problem
3 overcome problem

There are variations to this and there does not always have to be a problem. Though you know probably more about this than me, I just felt like pointing that out. But its much harder to keep people entertained if there is no problem in a story. People just got used to the above pattern so sometimes if you deviate from it they may dislike your story.... Orrr they are totally suprised and love it.

1:43 am  

Haha... I guess my comment's been fashionably late. But Oh well, I had a great weekend (ending up in contracting a near-serious case of flu due to the lack of sleep and immense mahjong - darn).

The rest of the commentors have pretty much said what I wanted to shout out to you. Counting the days you have yet to depart for the UK sorta made me feel a little remorsed, I dunno why. You better make sure you have MSN and frequent your inbox when you get there. (Argh, the time difference! Can't chat with you at night anymore!)

Have a nice trip and I hope to meet up with you back in Malaysia by the ed of this year. FINGERS CROSSED... All the best, babes...

10:03 am  

Happy journey and hope you enjoy your stay in London

3:25 am  

Very sweet of you to drop a word. Appreciate your support greatly. Do drop me a line whenever and we can chat, babe.

Not so much of complaining than it is appreciating all the bloggers out there who are writing stuff on a Saturday night =)

The only movie/story that I can think abt at the moment that did not present a PROBLEM was Malena. I loved the show and what it portrayed society to be. How a woman can be abused and used by society and how she can be rejected and accepted based on the fact that she had a man or not.

Keep in touch via email, babe. I'm packing 3 mths worth of shoes *hehehe*

You bet I will enjoy myself in London. I am looking forward to the extra cash (yes, there is work to be done in London) and the new shoes/bags that I will acquire as a result...

Looking forward to duck rice *mmmmmm*

And am definitely excited about playing the semi-housewife role again... and having the time in the world to write my stories and write in ANNN proper.

Thanks, babe.

6:46 am  

as the proverbial advise goes, just be yourself.

some people may not like you as yourself. if they are people whom you don't care about, just bitch slap them and everything would be all right.

1:25 pm  

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