We Are One, From the Same Stream of Life

Everything will change tomorrow, if you want change. Everything will become better tomorrow, if you allow it to be better. Everything will be everything you ever wanted, if you want it.

Everyday I see people distinguishing other people for their differences. Differences are attacked and similarities are sheathed. It is in our nature to tribalised ourselves because for centuries, it is how we know how to survive. But what if I tell you that we were wrong and that we are 'one'? Cliche. I know. Got it from Lion King. Go figure.

As you're reading this note from your computer from a first person perspective, be duly noted that everybody else around you looks upon the world the same way. We all see the world as you do so how are we not 'one'. We do not see our own faces from this perspective, we do not see the color of our skin or our lopsided smile. What we see are other people and their skin, and their lopsided smiles.

The people around us are our true reflection, they share our conditions, concerns and virtues. You can argue that the mirror will show your reflection but the backside of the mirror is dark of nothingness. Are you dark of nothingness? You are a source of light and your reflection is also a source of light. But everyday we get dimmer and dimmer so the sun shines brighter and brighter.

Like the sun, our burst of energy is unpredictable. We shine brighter than others at different times. During chrismas, or raya, or diwali or chinese new year, our light shines the brightest but these celebrations are celebrated at different times by different groups of people.

At midnight tonight, we will all shine. We will all shine our brightest light ever, at the same time. We will all become One. Our collective light will resonate through everything and everyone, and through time too. We'll wake up next year with a lingering feeling of being connected by everything and everyone, everytime.

Because we are one, from the same stream of life.

Have a Bright New Year!

From yours truly,

Afiq Deen.

Stream of Life

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day

runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth

in numberless blades of grass

and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth

and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.

And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

-Rabindranath Tagore


2009 was a good year. Here's recap of the 10 most important things that happened to me throughout 2009.

1. I tasted my first foie gras Yeah I know ducks were choked and stuffed to death but it is worth the(ir) suffering. It tasted orgasmic and I wouldn't mind having more of these unnaturally inflated duck liver in the near future.

2. I gained a record breaking 85kg and worked my way slowly to return back to my comfortable weight of 75kg. (All credit goes to Auntie Tijah)

3. I won several awards thay had my face printed on several newspapers and internet news portal. It is also my second time to be on TV for an achievement. This time around, they spelled my name right. Last year when I was on newspaper during raya they printed Dun instead of Deen.

4. My uncle who is a TV show producer let me loiter around a TV drama set he was working on. I was given a free pass to ask anyone about anything about production of the TV drama. And I did, much to the annoyance of the lighting guy.

5. I sent dozens of internship application to various ad agencies and got only one positive reply. I aced the interview but because of a conflict of interest, I was rejected 2 hours after getting the job. I cried for a good 2 hours.

6. I attended Shout award and got a VVIP seat. I was seated in front of Miss Malaysia and was behind Jac Victor. It was also a bit surreal to be peeing beside Afdlin Shauki.

7. I got my own hi-def hybrid videocam. It is currently my most priced possession.

8. I studied advertising like I was going to sit an exam for it. RM500 worth of books later, I got a gist of advertising without the degree.

9. Yasmin Ahmad died 5 days before my interview with her. It was one of the most devastating thing that happened to me because I wanted to work for her in Leo Burnett so very bad. It took me a week to recover and be able to smile again.

10. I decide to go rogue and open up my own studio. All I need left to start this studio is an iMac and a sleek glass to put my pencils in. I need your help here. If there's anyone you know who are getting married, tell them that I do wedding videos. Or visit http://afiqdeenevent.blogspot.com/
Gimme a mac and I'll rule the world!

I hope 2010 is going to be more meaningful and eventful for me and the people around me. Bring it on man! Bring on 2010!

How To Write a New Year Resolution

10 years ago, I remembered gazing upon fireworks that lasted for an hour. It was the the day when MPKK became DBKK. I remembered writing down my new year resolution.
Even though at times I won't admit it, I am a list freak. You would know what I mean if you like to make lists concerning every aspect of life. This habit was brought by my mother, who was also a list freak. So it is to no surprise that I've written new year resolutions for the past 10 years without fail. That makes me a pro at writing resolutions. Here are the things you should adhere to when writing your new year resolution.
1. Do not start your resolution with anything that has to do with losing weight or diet or bulking up. 'I want to lose 5kg' maybe on top of your mind but it shouldn't be on top of your resolution. It should be at the near bottom because it is not THAT important. Because you're not THAT fat.
2. Make a draft before you write your resolution. Like any important piece of inspiring document, it needs to be retouched and repositioned, like Rosmah's portrait.
3. Although it is good to be specific, you don't want to be too specific especially when your resolution has something to do with a second or third party. You want your father to buy you a brand new Prius? You want your boyfriend to rent Sunway Pyramid's ice rink at night so you and him can axcel like a perfect lovebird? You want your mother to stop nagging? Step out from your couch and switch off your TV. Now open the door. What is that sensation you ask? It's reality.
4. No -er s, okay? Never ever use superlatives like better, thinner, greater, manlier or anything like that because the relativity of those words to your future condition is unquantifiable. For example you want to be thinner, so you'd lost 0.1 kg. Congratulation! Now go back to the sea and join the nearby school of dugongs. Be specific about what you want. I want to be 67 kg. Good. I want to be featured in the Star newspaper. Better. I want to date Afiq Deen. What?
5. KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. One to two sentence should suffice. More than two and your resolution will be a bore, even to the future you.
6. Use images. You want a new house? Print your dream house and paste it on your resolution. Images works more wonders than words because it is more direct and doesn't require much imagination.
7. Do not blog about it. Do not tell you friends. Most of the time, friends are blobs of envy smirking at your achievements behind your back. Their envy generates negative energy and it will indirectly affect you because you're always with them. Keep your resolution to yourself. I know they love you and all, but let's face it, friends are fiends without the r. Arrr.
8. How many you ask? 10 tops. 5 minimum. Imagine the David Letterman Show if they have a top 25 list instead of the usual 10. David would've died 25 years ago.
9. So where to keep it if your friends aren't allowed to read your resolution? Anywhere accessible to you and only you. If you're a type of person who likes to check new words in the dictionary, put it in the dictionary. If you draw in your sketchbook a lot, paste it there. If you're Anwar Ibrahim, tag it to your dildo.
10. Lastly, when? Now.

Booking for 2010 is Now Open

Here's a sample video of a wedding video I shot and produced a few months ago. I'm saving up to buy an iMac (for AfiqDeen Studio) so spread the word that I make quality hi-def event videos.

I don't only make wedding videos. I cater to any personal or community event. So book now!

2nd Generation Malaysian Malay

When I got in UIA, I applied for PTPTN because my parents can't afford to pay for my subsidised uni fees. I'm not alone though. Almost everyone lined up to fill in their particulars for the loan application.
My chinese neighbours, who has the same number of cars and lives the same standard of living as us sent all three of their children to Australia to study. Because I studied in a private school during my highschool years (because I didn't sit for UPSR), almost all my classmates are non-malays. Most of them studied overseas.
I never wanted to settle for less. It was all circumstantial. But when I realised that my parents can't even afford my university fees, I was devastated. "You never planned for me to go to college is it???" is a question I never ask. Strangely enough, malay parents do have a rather rigorous saving habit. They save up for their children's marriage.
Everytime I see a new machine/device/furniture in my parents's homes, a permanently placed air bubble that says "That money could've been well spent on my education" looms.
Now that I'm almost going to graduate, a new problem presents itself: life after uni! Having to pay PTPTN diligently right after graduation, there is very little money to be spent on daily logistics. This is why malays graduates flock flats and apartments and eat at unhygenic food stalls. I talked about this with my dad and he said "Biasalah bang hidup bujang."
"You want me live like you when you were young? If I were you, I would want my son to have a better shot at life. I want to give my son all the advantages in life so he could better utilise his youth in becoming something of a success." is something left unsaid.
I'm frustrated, yes. Dissapointed, slightly.
But how can I be? They raised me up remember? They woke up in the middle of the night to give me milk remember? How can I deny them their material happiness when they reach their golden age when they diligently fed me milk and rice and put me to school and taught me how to pray and be a good person?
This is what all parents who had fail to provide their children education or a shot of a bright future thinks. For them, it's only logic. For me, it's wishful thinking. That logic only worked 30 years ago. Today, I see things in a different light. Everything becomes more relative, untempered with sentiments.
I hope all parents of 2nd Generation Malaysian Malays realise this and make up for their past unwise spendings. If your children graduated already, help them out by financing their home or new businesses, not your second home. If your children is still studying, ask them to stop their PTPTN and pay the fees yourself.
You're not spoiling your kids. You might think so but you're only laying a foundation to enable them to go further in life. But don't give them too much, because then you'll cripple them from having ambitions.
Whatever it is, stop planting flowers on your deathbed and start planting veggies and fruits for your children.

AfiqDeen Studio in the Making

I've decided. Hear hear. I've decided to work independently.

I planned to intern for a big time ad agency last year but after a few months of applying and several close calls, I've decided to work independently. I think I have it in me to take matters in my own hands. This decision is not made out of whim because I reflected several qualities in me that will ensure my success in the near future.

Personally, I have a flare for business. If there is something in need, I will supply it out of my own iniatives. I sold my first product when I was 6. I had to stop making and selling flip-flops made out of manila cardboard when my customers' parents questioned the safety aspect of the flip-flops. I cannot remember not selling anything during my childhood. From raya cards to artistic sketched pornography, nobody in my family knew my favourite past time is business. My parents saw me drawing and making models at home but what happened in school is a mystery to them. They just thought all the chocolates and ice-cream I bought was from my savings.
I stopped doing business in highschool. My self esteem was at its very low and I was too preoccupied with angst to do anything productive. The only thing I sold was a variety of desktop softwares and games that I made. I started seriously selling again when I was 16.

During post-SPM break, I worked at my father's cafe as a waiter. The cafe had the usual mamak food and an array of western food, you know, the usual western menu but like any other malay restaurants, they had no entree or dessert, just the main dish. I wasted no time and used a small space in the kitchen to set up my own stall that sells soup, garlic bread and a dozen selection of ice-creams. It was an instant success. Aida Cafe is the only roadside gerai in Alor Setar that has a 3 course western meal.

In UIA, my projects were endless. Mobile butter & tracing paper stalls, meals in wheels, second hand books and films booth, bowling competitions, personality reading stall, hand made cards, decorative boxes, presentation CD covers, bookmarks, mobile teh tarik and breakfast booth etc. Not to mention all the commisioned design jobs that included book covers, catalogues, posters and other prints. Come to think of it, did I really studied architecture??? Did I study at all???

I don't know where I got this from but my passion for creating and selling comes naturally to me. My only weakness is I never stick to one thing. I just enjoyed creating something from my imagination and selling it if I think it appeals to other people but I didn't have an inclusive skill until two years ago.
Two years ago I made my first video. I showed the video to my friends and they couldn't believe that that was my first video. The following year, I won 4 awards for some of the videos I made and this year I was featured in newspapers and was on TV a few times for my videos. Surely this shows something.

I think I have everthing in perspective now and it is somehow inevitable that I take this path. What I need now is a small capital to buy a descent iMac and several office equipments like a scanner, a webcam to communicate with my future clients and collaborators, a microphone for my videocam and a kick ass whiteboard. Unlike the businesses I conducted for the past 16 years, this one will probably be pivotal in my life. I want to open up a Studio.

I decided to call it AfiqDeen Studio because I am Afiq Deen and it is my studio. AfiqDeen studio will start off its business making corporate, event, wedding and misc. videos as well as designing and producing prints to the masses and also the online community. Most importantly, AfiqDeen Studio has the capability to make effective and affordable video and print ads for average and small businesses. I will not hire workers in the near future but will instead use collaborators to work on commisioned projects. I will also sell short films, novels, comic books and music videos as side projects. Fun!
I unconsciously equipped myself with business know how these past few years with business and management books and although I know that's not enough, I intend to fill my cup with actual business experience. I'll learn faster that way.

It will start off small but trust me, AfiqDeen Studio will be a media giant to be reckoned with. Here's to you my readers, family and friends, with RM65 in my pocket, this will be a voyage like no other.
To AfiqDeen Studio!

Heterolisation of Gay Men

After a whole day of constructing a paper city for an upcoming ad for Sony, I decided to take a break and lepak on the bed. I found a few Cleo magazines (probably my stepmother's) lying around and noticed an interesting article about tips to detect whether or not your boyfriend is gay entitled 'How Good is Your Gaydar?'
In the article, women are warned to not be deceived by smart good looking men who wants to get it on with them, only to realise later that their spouses are gay and got married to them to lead a conventional life approved by society. And to get babies.
Coincidentally, I was chatting with a distant friend about a sticky situation he's in. Let's just call him Najib. Najib had a gay past. After a while, he resolved to put an end to his homosexuality and started to date a girl. Apparently, the girl was already in love with him and all he had to do is to 'declare' their relationship. Relationship bliss commenced until Najib had a crush with his classmate who happens to be a guy. As time passed by, Najib's feelings towards his classmate grew deeper, to a point that they are comfortable cuddling with eachother like lovebirds.
Afiq: So your gf now is a cover up lah?
Najib: Maybe. But i really love her.
Afiq: I love eggs. Can you imagine yourself with her in the future?
Najib: I donno anymore!!!! I don't want to break her feelings... Arghhhh!
The moment I realised that he carried on with the relationship with his girlfriend because he didn't want to hurt her feelings, I knew for a fact that the relationship is one sided. She is in love with him and Najib accepted her love, hoping that this turn of events is meant to aide his heterolisation (there is no such word) process. Sure it's not 'true' love but Najib thought that he will learn to love her as time goes by.
Maybe it's a good thing that Najib decided to become straight and proceed with the one sided relationship. This will not only stop Najib from committing acts of homosexuality, he will also have his lifestyle approved by his family and the society. But what if an old flame resurface and a Brokeback Mountain situation arises?
I've never condone homosexuality but I do however condemn people making decisions for the sake of conventions.
If Najib got into the relationship with his girlfriend because he wants to, I see no foreseeable trouble. But if Najib got in the ride because he wants to test-drive it and see how far it can go with his supply of petrol, I will feel pity for the car and detest the heartless driver for not committing to buy the damn car.
This is worldview by Afiq Deen, who is against homosexuality but according to Cleo, dating gay men is a big No-No so they provided a long list of the things you want to watch out for like condition of current/potential boyfriend's hair, facial hair, socks, shirts, jeans, music and TV shows. Yeah, I know, whatever.
Should women be worried if their boyfriends had a gay past? If they get married to their straightened boyfriends, will his gay flame be under wraps, only to combust in the future?
Okay it's my turn to "Arghhhhh!"

Salam Maal Hijrah

Sometimes, Allah breaks our spirit to save our souls. He breaks our hearts to make it whole. He sends us pain so we can be stronger. He sends failure so we can be humble. He sends us illnesses so we can take care of ourselves.
Sometimes Allah takes everything away from use so we can learn the value of everything He gave us. Allah is great.
-Dina Zaman
And here's a television commercial I made that was aired on TV1 last year. (I know, who watch TV1 nowadays??? orang asli?)

Annoying Malaysian Drivers

1. Makcik. Anyone can be a Makcik. Yes, even you, you 40 something old man! Makcik is a driver who hesitates everytime he/she makes a turn or changes lane. It seems like a simple right turn to Lorong Perda is consequential to the Makcik's upcoming future. "Will I find Mr Right along this lorong or will I fall into a larger than life manhole and die? Think think think..."

2. Tailgater. I was driving a Kancil on the left lane when a lorry appeared from the highway. The traffic light was red so I stopped but the lorry kept nudging forward and got so damn close to the Kancil. I'm on the left lane lah macha... Wadehel! (assuming the lorry driver is indian. I know. So damn racist) When I got closer to the traffic light, the lorry accelerated and braked when it is a few centimeters away from the Kancil. Ba alif ba ya punya tailgater!

3. Akak. Akak has something in common with Makcik. Both of them are big time hesitators but Akak hesitates because he/she is either on the phone or texting 'abg, hunny lupa beli kerret so abg belikn kt kedai ahseng tu ; p' Akak is more dangerous than Makcik because they are easily frightened. Once they realise that a lorry is beside them after they finished sms-ing, they will lose control for a few seconds before regaining their composure. What if you're in the car on the other lane? Tak ke mampos tu?

4. Anak Datuk. Young teenagers in expensive cars who thinks their bapak owns the road. Know your anak Datuk: They are equipped with cool shades, wears un-ironed designer T-shirts and RM1280.99 flip flops. It's hard to detect them because they look like any other scruffy teenagers wearing RM10 pasar malam flip flops. They are the ones that mysteriously appear from behind when you're trying to overtake a vehicle. They will flash their lights and when you rush to the left lane, they will do something that makes you boil like a pot of cooked maggie; they will smirk.

5. Keling. You don't have to be indian to be a Keling, really. Keling is a term used to describe a driver who drives a small car but drive as though they're driving a merc or a lorry. They will tekan minyak their tiara/kancil/kenari/whathaveyou as if they're chasing after a villain (you can see their cars trembling like mad) They are also very dramatic in their car. If you're too slow to give way, they'll glare at you like you'd just slept with their wife. The only thing missing when a Keling is driving are claps of thunder.

6. Lebai. Lebai are drivers who wears an attire that makes them look religious like serban, jubah etc but drive like satans.

7. Chris and RiRi. Fighting couples are not only dangerous drivers, they are also potentially fatal. The root of their problems could be anything, from smell of new perfume to a rolling gossip. If you're driving behind them, you will see RiRi doing all the shouting and Chris will appear stoned with his hands surgically attached to the steering wheel. RiRi will quiet down and say something final in a sarcastic whisper that pierces through Chris's heart like "You're small down under anyway.." or "At least he rocked my boat till it sinks.." At this moment, you might want to find an excuse to park beside the road because an accident will soon commence.

8. Frat Party. You know how it is when a group of undergrads takes on the road. With their amounting egos at stake, even an innocent overtaking can trigger a mentos-coke reaction. It is best to smile at them or better, give them a 'best' gesture. These simple gestures will have a reverse effect on them (if you ignore them, they will think they've won over you.) and they will think of their mothers or their upcoming exams.

9. Ah Long. Aeroback spoiler: check. Dragon sticker: check. Spiky blonde hair: check. Shades with sharp edges: check. An Ah Long is driving. Give the shark some space to roam. Oh look a police car! Sharks becomes anchovies (ikan bilis).

10. Penangites. They are the embodiment of all the mentioned types of drivers. Their kiasu attitude and impatience is strictly a Penang thing. Pay them no heed because they don't give a rat's ass anyway. It's their way of life. You can't force a malay to work harder or a chinese to take a shower in the morning or an indian to stop embellishing. It's how they are, that's all.

Life is Good. Is That Good?

I have my life fig

The Great Outdoors

Aaah, the great outdoors. Nothing can clear your mind better than co-existing with nature and surviving the obvious.
I slept outside covered with a kelambu for a good 5 hours before it rained. When the alarm was sound, I crashed into my brother's tent Atlantis. I named it Atlantis because the tent is just so much cooler with a mythical/galactical name.
At night, as the adults spent their time reminiscing their yesteryears, and the teenagers emo-ed by the sandy beach, I lied down on the sand and gazed upon hundreds of stars, and that annoying satelite and ooooh look, a plane! I played Enigma songs on my iPod and imagined the stars to move according to the rythm's whims. Aaaah, bliss... oh look, another plane!
Tanjung Bungah is not exactly an ideal place to camp but because there were kids, we had to compromise. The fact that our apartment is just a minute away is also a supporting factor of this concensus. It's not exactly camping but it felt pretty much like the real thing. Better this than the last time I camped with UIA folks. Praying 8 to 11 with additional tazkirah in the middle of the jungle is NOT camping. Baik duduk asrama!
True camping aside, one thing is evident after two night of sleeping by the beach: I have a renewed appreciation for orthopedic specialist approved mattresses and pillows.

Anak Ikan

Anak ikan is term used by malaysian gay men to describe teenage boys who are in their pubescent period. They can be from 12 to 18 years of age, as long as they retain their boyish features and charms.

I first stumbled on the word anak ikan when a gay friend told me that his friend has an endless supply of boytoys in his rather large and extravagant abode. "Anak ikan, dia ramai betul anak ikan. Mentang-mentanglah mak bapak dia kaya raya, selamba gajah je dia bela."

"Anak ikan? Apasal panggil dorang anak ikan?"

"Kalau you letak tangan you dalam aquarium mesti ikan-ikan follow kan? Kalau you ade roti lagilah.. Lebih kurang macam tu lah."

I asked him in detail how his metaphore applies in real life and as soon as he finished, I was taken aback. His explaination was quite harmless, that anak ikan are cute growing teens who hangs out with older men but the unsaid extended to a whole new level of grotesque.

Because teenage boys are extremely curious, gay men who courted them took advantage of this by giving them options to explore their sexuality.

For example, Zaki is a 15 year old highschool student who lives in a flat. He has a striking face, a body of a lingering youth and popeye-ish sexual drive. We were all Zaki at some point so you should what I mean. But Zaki comes from a relatively poor family who can't afford to provide Zaki what they consider an extravagant lifestyle. So this is where Wenkty comes into the story. Wenkty is an open gay man who is priveledged enough to buy a Fendi once a week.

In a day-to-day swirl of circumstances, Wenkty met Zaki. Wenkty introduced Zaki to his world, where the Sky Bar is as easily accessible as McDonald's and a Nike shoe is bought with small change. There is no said contract. Zaki wants a piece of Wenkty lifestyle, Wenkty wants a pubescent companion that he can take care of. It's a done deal.

No harm there right? When you put a mature gay man and a curious teenager in a same hotel room, what do you think would happen?
A rather distant friend disclosed to me that he and his anak ikan's night activities are acts of innocent homoeroticism. Solah, a successful sales executives who happens to be gay told me that what he enjoyed most of having anak ikan around is that that they are easily persuaded.
"Once, I told him that nudism is a normal thing in my household and he should respect that." Solah said enthusiastically, as if telling a first part of a joke. "I had him stark naked for one whole week in my house. Seronok! Especially when I flirted with him, I like them anak ikan steamed!" He guffowed, pouncing on the kedai mamak's signature metallic table. I was disgusted but laughed anyway, out of courtesy.
"What else do you do with your anak ikan?"

"Everything else I can of course. I gave him what he wants but God knows I'm the one who had all the fun!"
"I gave them handjobs, blowjobs,.."
"And sex?"
"Oh no, not sex! Never sex. They are anak ikan for goodness sake, not my hubby. I just, you know, have fun with them. Are you planning to make a movie about anak ikan now Afiq? Nah try this blog." Solah keyed in something in his blackberry and passed it to me.
The blog was about a transexual who blogged about her sexual escapades and in her latest entry, she posted pictures of her anak ikan group masturbating to straight porn.
"Ni extra co-curricular activitieslah ni! Hahaha!" Solah let out his infamous laugh once again.
In some coutries, you can get arrested and put in jail for commiting ANY sexual act with minors, with or without the minor's consent. And I'm surprised, surprised at how people seems to be okay with this. Just this morning I read a status from one of my facebook friends:

What if you're the parents of this anak ikan? What would you do to people who'd taken advantage of your pubescent child's youth? What if you were the anak ikan in question in retrospect? When you've gotten married with children, how would you react to memories of you being an anak ikan?

Remember, we were all Zaki once.

Anak Ikan