LOVE

I speak feelings, not thoughts.


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More often than not I am one to suppress my feelings deep within. I rarely burst when I am angry, or cry when I am upset. Regardless of how I feel, I try my best to put a smile on my face.

Despite that I still possess something that every other human being has too; that is, a threshold. 

I am the kind of person who would often do my best to empathise and understand, whenever someone slips up. So much so that at times, others feel as though I am making up excuses for another when in actual fact, I try my best to put my feet in their shoes.

However when I run out of tolerance, I end up blurting the things without much thought, and that is only because much of it comes passionately from the depths of my heart, not my mind.

So if I were to ever send a lengthy text to anyone, it only means I care passionately enough to be writing all of it. Be it a text to call someone out on something that is unacceptable, or an advice. It just means I care. I care for you, for me, and whatever form of relationship that exists between us.

If I don’t, trust that I would not even bother to type a ‘K’.

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Don’t rain on our Poképarade


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“Look at all these people walking around like zombies with their eyes glued to their phone screens, trying to catch imaginary creatures. I hope they fall into that pond.”

“I don’t get the point of this game. All you do is just throw around balls and be totally oblivious to your surroundings.”

“I am never going to play this game.”

For all you Pokémon GO players out there, I am pretty sure you have encountered these snide remarks when passing by someone or even while browsing through your Facebook news feed. I understand it can be rather frustrating, when you are just trying to have a little fun.

All I can say is, go on with your little adventure but always be aware of your surroundings. I play the game myself; however, I try not be overly obsessive and would only turn on the app while I am waiting for someone, or while riding the train to work. Basically, I play whenever I am in a safe area that does not impose any form of danger or obstruction to myself or the people around me.

Also, turn off your AR when you are in a crowded place, for goodness sake. Not only does it save your battery, it also prevents you from looking like a fool trying to catch your critter at some random angle. Plus, it is easier to catch Pokémon that way.

On the other hand, for those who do not understand the logic behind the game, all you need to do is to just respect the interests of another, regardless of what it is.

You do not like the game? Don’t play it and keep mum about it.

Everyone has their own hobbies and interests; it just so happens that a vast majority of the world’s population appreciate the existence of Pokémon since our childhood years, and we are just reliving the fun of it all. If you do not belong to this group of people, no one is going to hate you – unless you start igniting a flame by hurling hateful comments and acting on your horrid impulses. Instead of venting your anger and feelings of disdain on Facebook, Twitter or any form of social media platform, why not channel that energy into doing something that makes you happy? Write poems, sing a song, dance to your favorite music, play your kind of game. If these are the things that interest you, do it.

A Pokémon GO player is blocking your way? Excuse yourself nicely and move along

Most of us would probably move aside. Yes, maybe there would be some players who would not be apologetic and be totally oblivious, but don’t use your bad encounter to generalize and categorize the entire makeup of Pokémon GO players. We do not need a longer list of labels to create any more divisive communities. I think this world has had enough of stereotyping and shootings, thank you.

I must say, the positive impact of this game has been incredible. It has reunited a dog with its foster owner, broke barriers and improve strained relationships, and even helped with the mental health of many.

Without a doubt, the game is disruptive for non-players as it may have caused cases of trespassing or obtrusion, but it also serves as a welcome distraction for those who are looking for an outlet to relieve all sorts of things that go through their mind. Let us have our fun, and we will let you have yours. Just don’t rain on our parade.

Oh and to those who think that I ditched the “man card” for playing this game, here is what I’ll say to you: Manners maketh man.

LIFE, LOVE

If I Don’t Accept You, Who Will?


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I was only ten when I made the discovery about my sexuality.

For a kid that age, I must say I was pretty well-acquainted with technology; at that point of time, browsing the internet was based on a dial-up connection. I would often do searches on MSN and — I had no idea how — I ended up searching for terms like “naked men” or “men in uniform”.

I felt a strange excitement as I scrolled through the websites and images.

For a long time, I had no adult supervision with my internet activity, until one fine day, my sister discovered my browsing history (not so savvy after all, huh?) and I went through a series of nagging from Mom.

It finally ended when an aunt of mine consoled her by saying that I probably did those searches due to my ambition of becoming a doctor, and that I was just studying the anatomy of men.

Thank goodness.

From then on, I vowed to stay on the “right” path and remain straight.

By fifteen, I already had a total of four failed relationships with girls. I felt awkward with them and when there were attempts to be intimate, I felt uncomfortable. Eventually, I came to a conclusion that there was no way I could feel attracted to girls OR women.

It was also during this point of time, that I came out to my one and only straight male friend; not wanting to sound too extreme, I admitted to him that I was “bisexual”. I was really afraid of possibly losing the only close male friend I had, but heaved a sigh of relief when he put his arm around my shoulders and said these exact words:

“If I don’t accept you, then who will?”

I felt free and gratified. I could be myself, keep my best friend, and not worry about telling anyone else. Yes, that included my family; I never had the intention of coming out to my family, for the fear of being disowned.

I was sixteen when I had my first relationship.

He was nine years older than me. We shared the same birthday and a love for music (he was a saxophonist). Our time together was spent innocently with visits to the zoo, the swimming pool, and the nightlife in town. My parents still had no idea about my sexuality and thought that he was merely my “best friend”. I never brought him home, for I was too young and still afraid of being found out.

We had a year of pure, non-sexual love with each other…until it ended abruptly. I never got proper closure and was pretty much left to pick up the broken pieces on my own. Though eventually, I did find out that partly it was because I was too clingy and possessive.

Ew, Azzy.

A year on, I met a man who soon became my boyfriend for the next 5 years of my life.

I was brazen enough to bring this one home to stay over. It initially started out with him not having a place to stay, as his house was getting crowded. Hence, I offered him to stay over, introducing him as “my best friend” to Mom and Dad.

We would sleep in the living room, as both my married sisters were still occupying the two out of three rooms in the house. Obviously, there was no hanky-panky involved, as we were in plain sight and anyone could have walked in on us if we did. DUH!

He stayed over frequently, and I was enjoying the company.

Then came the unfortunate day when my mom’s jewelry went “missing”. My brother-in-law, whom my second sister is married to, gathered the whole family together with my (then) partner, and requested for all our particulars to be “submitted to the police”.

Unbeknownst to me, it was actually sort of a ploy to expose me in front of the family. 

“Are you gay?” my brother-in-law asked.

Yes. 

He pointed to my (then) partner. “Is he your boyfriend?”

Yes.

I was at a loss for words. Backed up against the wall, there was no way I could lie. Tears flowed, drama ensued. My (then) partner and I? Stoical.

To support his exposé, the same brother-in-law and his wife went on with a series of slander, describing how my (then) partner and I was hugging, kissing and petting each other in the living room. All of these, without any form of evidence. 

As I mentioned earlier, there was NO WAY we could have done any of the above; it was too risky.

Eventually, my (then) partner got chased out of the house. I was not.

Being a naive eighteen year old who was full of love, I packed my bags, brought a tent, and followed behind. He asked me to head back home. I defiantly refused. I could not bear to see him suffer alone outside while I lived in the comfort of my own home. Then again, “comfort” was subjective, after all that happened.

We pitched the tent at the beach near the restaurant we worked at, and spent at least one month there. Apart from being financially tight, we also had to shower in the toilet of the restaurant before work, and if we were lucky, sneaked some meals back to our tent at the end of our shifts (which lasted between 5pm till 1am). On Saturday nights when our shift ended at 3am, we were allowed to sleep in the restaurant to prepare for Sunday Brunch at 9am.

It was a really trying period for us, but thankfully we stood by each other, despite getting on each other’s nerves during work. We get TOO professional with each other at times.

After my second sister moved out, things started to get better again.

I occupied her room and my parents allowed my (then) partner to stay over again, once in a while. My parents began treating him like their own son and would often call him up, if they needed help around the house. Even up till now.

I believe my parents have come to terms with my sexuality. Though coming from a conservative Malay-Muslim family, it has been swept under the carpet. They don’t want to acknowledge it or find out any further, and I respect that.

Also, partly thanks to the struggle my (then) partner and I went through, we have managed to remain amicable with each other up till today.

As for my brother-in-law? I forgave him. In fact, thanks to him, I do not have to live a lie anymore; my parents know that I will never be with a woman, and that is good enough for me.

Just as long as I am not deprived of the love I deserve.

The End.

 

 

 

 

LIFE

Before You Share That Post, STOP!


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We live in an age where information can be consumed in bite-sized portions found on Facebook, and a host of other social media platforms.

When we resonate with a particular story, article, picture or video, all it takes is just a touch of the “Share” button; it then immediately becomes displayed on our timeline, and other people’s newsfeed.

But hold on a minute. Do we actually realize what we are sharing, and how it could possibly affect ourselves, together with the people around us?

Facebook has an algorithm which takes note of the things you share, and feeds you with even more of the related topics, with the assumption that you are interested in it.

So you see something that makes you angry. To express your anger, you decided to share with the world about how angry you are about it. Very soon, you will realise that your newsfeed is plagued with more of those things that made you angry. It is a simple concept, you attract more of whatever you exude; just like the Universe, Facebook’s algorithms work the same way.

Now watch this video that has already garnered 5,400 views (and counting) on Facebook. The man in this video, Mike Chesworth, a filmmaker, explains in greater detail, “The Most Important Rule of Facebook”.

So what can you do the next time you see a post that makes you angry? Well, if they are just posts about a certain topic you dislike, you can choose to see less of it. However, if you find that the poster perpetually uploads topics that irks you, then unfollow them. See the picture below on how to do it; you’ll be on your way to a perfect looking newsfeed, just the way you like it.

facebookhidepost

LOVE

Orlando Shooting: Understanding That Hate Is Not The Way


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My heart goes out to all who suffered the tragedy of the Orlando mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, be it those in mourning or those who escaped to tell the traumatic tale.

I am Asian, I am gay and I am Muslim.

I may not be an American, active in the LGBT scene nor the most exemplary Muslim out there, but one thing for sure is that I condemn the killing of any human being, regardless who or what they may be. The Orlando shooting made me feel things on different perspectives.

As a gay man, I feel deeply saddened by the tragic fate of those who lost their lives, and of those who had to suffer the trauma of either mourning the loss of loved ones or escaping the scene, having to witness the whole thing and feeling helpless about it.

As someone who was born and raised a Muslim, I am deeply saddened by the backlash Islam is receiving from the terror attack. The attack has nothing got to do with any Islamic agenda; no religion encourages the execution of another’s life. Even if it did, it should be obsolete in the world we are living in today. If anything, the life of a person should not fall under the hands of another human being. Instead, death should come as naturally as birth itself, and not forcefully taken away by a person who objects the views or lifestyle of another.

As an Asian, my voice is probably unheard, especially coming from an even more minority group, as a Malay. That’s right. “Who is this dude trying to spread a message about love – what does HE know?” Regardless, I shall voice my opinion, even if it’s at the lowest volume, it can still be audible rather than not at all.

There is one thing that the whole of humanity needs to understand; hate is powerful, and so is love. So why is it that we use hate as an emotion to fuel our actions, when all it induces is nastiness in the world? Hate begets hate, love begets love.

There is no reason for the LGBT community nor anyone for that matter, at this already tumultuous moment, to be idealising Islamophobia. It might result in deep-seated hate in the receiving party, which might then result to a back and forth game of unnecessary hatred. So take this time, stand up together, love each other and support one another. Love is a magical thing.

Of course, people might think that love and peace for humanity only exists in a perfect world. If that’s the case, stop thinking about it, start believing in it and begin creating it.

 

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I Am Not Related To Muhammad Ali


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In light of Muhammad Ali’s passing, I am reminded of my solo trip to Phoenix, Arizona back in February. It was my birthday month, so I thought, what better way than to celebrate it by taking a long break from work? It was my very first time travelling alone, and also the first time I stepped foot into United States; thank goodness I had someone to bring me around while I was there. It was exciting, yet a little nerve-wrecking (after all, it was not long after Donald Trump suggested the ban of Muslims from entering the country).

Upon reaching the airport in San Diego, I was one of the first few in line to have my immigration cleared. Unfortunately, during my turn, I was asked to head back to the end of the queue as I did not fill up the Customs Declaration Form (that was given out while I was asleep on the plane). So I filled it up, and obviously ended up last in line. The queue was pretty long, the officers were taking their time doing the clearance, and I was getting a little worried about missing my connecting flight.

Eventually, I reached the front of the counter; the area was empty by then, with just the immigration officer and me left. He was pretty friendly, but as he was checking the records on the system, his confused expression raised alarm bells. He then asked me to reconfirm my name, in sequence.

“Mohammad Azryl, first name. Ali, last name,” I said.

“Sir, your name is not showing up on the records properly,” he replied.

I panicked a little, because I somehow felt that I was going to be detained. True enough, I was held back for them to run a detailed background check on me. I acceded to their request, and was made to fill up my recent travel information. After which, I patiently and calmly waited for the outcome, outside their office.

By this point, I was worried of two possibilities — that I will miss my flight, OR get deported back home. The latter did not make sense, as I obviously did nothing wrong. So I just held on to my composure (which I am really good at) and wished for the best. All I kept thinking of was, “THIS TRIP IS GOING TO BE FUN!”.

Voila! The thought began to manifest, because right after, I was called back to the counter and the officer did a second round of clearing.

He probably felt my worry wafting through the air, and attempted to joke about my name.

“So, are you related to Muhammad Ali?” and chuckled.

I ended up smiling, as I found it amusing that he really thought that my surname was Ali.

You see, my full name is Mohammad Azryl bin Ali. Ali is NOT my surname; it is my father’s name. The “bin”, when translated from Arabic, means “son of”. Another variation of this is “ibn”.

Therefore, this is where I find that the name fields when filling out forms, are flawed in a way. After all, not everyone in this world has a surname, and it does not apply only to Muslims or Malays. Even for Indians, they would have the abbreviations, “s/o” or “d/o”, which actually means “son of” and “daughter of” respectively.

However, considering that we are a racial minority in most places that we go, and that these name fields are of a “universal” standard, there is nothing that can really be done about it. All we can afford to do is just conform with the majority.

I am not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, but if we could just have a single field called “Full Name (underline Surname)”, I believe there would be less complications.

Though, I wouldn’t have minded at all, if I was related to Muhammad Ali; since he lived in Phoenix, I could have moved over. I fell in love with the city (and with someone as well) while I was there.

Or, I could just play along, and be the other Mohammad Ali.

LIFE, Uncategorized

From The Cradle


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A quick summary of my origin, using a poem.

Presented to foster family,
at month three;
apparently one,
wasn’t enough for me.

Parents out to earn,
to fund my education;
first 6 years in primary school,
my bully named me “Baby Alien”

Late nights, wee mornings,
busy studying,
religiously praying,
fosters prevented me from straying.

Got As and Bs for ‘O’ Levels.
Sixteen and a rebel,
deprived of a social world.

Electrical and Electronics Engineering?
Dropped out at eighteen,
Coffee making –
far more interesting.

The nation beckons,
at nineteen;
I’m suited up in green.
For a marksmanship badge,
“Hell yeah, I’m keen!”
Though it was never seen.

Twenty one,
work was fun;
of coffee grounds, stock runs,
dressed in leather jackets,
under the sun.

Now twenty four,
I look for open doors.
Though closed ones,
I’ve knocked so much more.

What is rejection?
It’s just an illusion,
for failure to gain traction.
Watch, as I let it burn;
my mind has had immunisation.

LOVE

More Than Just A Lover, I Want To Give You All That I Can Offer


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When I make someone my partner, I do not want to just be a lover. There are many different ways to show a person you love them; by just being a lover, it only means I am restricted to just holding your hand, giving morning kisses and cuddling you when you sleep.

Don’t get me wrong; I want all of that, but also, I want you to have more than that.

I want to add value to your life; by helping you be the best version of yourself, and be better individuals together.

I want to be your consistent cheerleader; supporting you in what you choose to do in life and whatever decision you make.

I want to be your sneaky sidekick; doing little acts of service without your knowledge, that makes you smile when you find out.

I want to be your naggy nurse; making a fuss when you refuse to take your medication, but only because I want you to be lively again.

I want to be your travel tote; exploring the ends of the Earth with you, having an adventure while learning different cultures.

I want to be your sultry singer; because you are the music to my soul.

I want to be your best friend; sharing every little secret and be silly in our own separate world.

I want to be your passionate protector; guarding you from hurt and catching the metaphorical malicious bullet, when the need arises.

Because, if we ever stopped being lovers (which I hope won’t happen), I want to be able to pick one of these roles, and still be there for you.