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Friday, April 19, 2013

And why you should never forgive a bad judge

Life is really weird.

Just when you thought that everything is going to be okay, that life has become much easier, a tornado hits again. And you sat there thinking what did I do to deserve this?

But I am sick of asking myself what did I do to deserve this. As much as I hate to be burdened by problems, I find that life would be better if we don't ask questions.

For example, God has granted us the victory in our case. But the happiness did not last long. We are living in the world where it's people who make the rules instead. Imagine if you're in my place. You have been cheated by a company that uses the religion for worldly gain. You bought something from them and it turns out that they are managing their company on faux pas. Illegal. So you turned to the judicial system - the place where the rules are kept. You followed the law because you want to start your business the right way.

So then you went on trial for three days. Witnesses were called. The defendants were so bad, and heck, if you can see how shit they are on the stand, you would laugh and would not send your kids to their pre-school. They were hypocrites of the acutest kind. They deny everything. We won because we told the truth. It took three days for the judge, a female judge if I may say, to understand the case.

But they were not satisfied. When we refused to take the RM20,000 bribe (they call it 'settle outside court', I'll call it bribe... kepala hotak kau dah kalah baru nak try settle outside court), they went to the Court of Appeal. They debated the case for two hours in front of three judges. Two of the judges think that we were right. But the head judge failed to listen. Despite our lawyer's many evidences, he kept on turning to just one act in the agreement. Act 13.8. Instead, he blamed the ministry man (who told us earlier that we should not continue operating our business because the parent company is operating illegally) , saying that the ministry guy gave us the wrong facts. It's as if he's saying that "You're screwed for following the law". Yes. A judge. A head judge. And so the other two just followed suit. Heck, who would go against the head judge, eyh?

The Court of Appeal went on for two hours. Imagine. Only two hours, not three days, like it was the first time. And in those two hours, the three abominable judges ruled that the other party won. The other party won, despite the fact that they were operating a business illegally, the fact that they did not have any proof against us, the fact that we have won a case that have been on trial for three days, the fact that none of the questions our lawyer asked them were answered truthfully and they were lying under oath. Two hours. Only two hours to take it all away.

And it took me only an hour to not trust the judicial system anymore, at least not the judges. I will never forgive them. They will be hold accountable, in the court of Allah. Not just for me, but for the injustice they have burdened upon my friend Nadiah and her two growing kids, to my friend Munira who has been working non-stop just to support the case, to my friend Fatimah who just recently gave birth and needed money more than ever, and to my old parents. I should have been the daughter who took care of them and yet I couldn't give them as much as they deserved because the three judges could not take more time to understand deeply what they were presented with and because a company cheated our money and felt that they will never be held accountable for anything.

But in spite of all that, I think the whole experience has taught me to be harder, colder, tougher, more than ever towards human being in general. It taught me that in my life, I am my only captain in the rough sea in my journey to the Afterlife.

But it also taught me that I will never be able to put my trust in anything other than God (especially not to a judge). And I believe that He is the best of judge. My predicament may be smaller than others. I mean, this is nothing compared to what my fellow Palestinians and Syrians face each day. Not a day gone by that I don't give thanks for the peace that I have, the dreams that were realised, the problems that made me realise how small I am in this world. And I am thankful that I am always reminded of who I am when too many of us forget easily.

And I pray for a stronger self. A good health. A peace of mind. And that one day when I'm gone, I will not leave my burden of debt behind, to myself, to my parents, to my society and to Him.

God is Great.

My life has never been simple. If it is, it's not mine.

"I had no idea that a court of appeal can reverse a judgment by completely ignoring the evidence and findings of the High Court. What kind of an appeal process is this exactly - when all it does is ignores the facts? If it practices ignorance, then it's quite obvious that it's going to come to a different conclusion." - Daniel Collin Lazaroo

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Of writing love

The older you get, the more you want to write about the reality of things, the "what is" rather than "what could/should be". And with rom-com being the choice of many readers nowadays, one cannot shed one's writing from trying the same type of plotline - berjumpa, bergaduh, jatuh cinta.

Bertemu-bergaduh-jatuh cinta is the easiest thing there is for anybody to write. I can create ten books in a year if that's the only thing I have to write. Tapi kalau aku kembali ke realiti sebenar kehidupan: You will never want to be with someone you fight and hate.

Have you heard the theory about a stalker and a romantic?

If a guy you kinda like calls you all the time, sends you messages, follows you around - you call them a romantic.
If a guy you hate calls you all the time, sends you messages, follows you around - you call them a stalker.

But if you shed away your feelings of love and hatred, the acts are the same. It's not what the guy does. it's what you feel in the first place that gave them the label.

That is the rule. But there is an exception to the rule - If you somehow falls in love after loathing that person.

But after 6 years of being a novelist, I find writing such scenes tedious. It's like writer's death. In my real life, I am not an exception to the rule. I find that I am still not interested with the guy who has been trying to approach me for five years now. And guys I fight with? I seriously hate them. There is no that gaduh2 manja kind of thing. When I fight, I fight hard and we all hate each other for it. The kind of man I like are usually the ones that I have known for such a long time, and even that is rare.

(And when I said "kind of man I like", this does not mean they like me back, because my life is not that damn easy. Hahaha)

In my books, I wanted to write a little piece of me. But it's hard to write stories of my life, because the stories of my life have no hero to save the day, no huge success to call my own, no a-ha moment where you feel like, "Shit, I frikken love my life!". It has its ups and downs, but mediocre at its best.

But people would not want to read a story where there is no hero to save the day. I mean, you can write those kind of books in the UK or US, where feminism calls for women to stand up on their two feet. Living in Malaysia, I find that women love the notion of being saved. It doesn't matter if they save their life themselves - without a hero, people would not like to read it.

I wrote a little piece of me in Zulaikha - a studious Political Science student. I could have made her like me totally, but nobody would want to read a book about a Political Science student who spends all her time studying and sleeping.

I wrote a little piece of me in Balkis - Sarcastic chubby girl with no style who finds that she has nothing great. I still have that feeling of being that girl sometimes, especially after eating after 10pm.

I wrote a little piece of me in Safiah - A novelist who spends her time listening to other people's problems. However, in my real life, I usually remove and block stalking guys ala Roul.

I wrote a piece of me in Mariyyah - someone who can't get over things as quickly as everybody else. A lot of people hated Mariyyah for not being able to move on for three years. Well, I was that kind of person, if you want to know.

I wrote a piece of me in Wulan - a woman who finds that she can live her life on her own. But of course, in this country, women find that other women who can live on their own (doesn't mean she hates men, just that actually living alone as a choice, not as some kind of feminism disease) to be sad people that have no love life.

Here are the realities of things, readers. Sometimes you are alone because you have no luck in love, but sometimes you are alone because you chose to be. Sometimes you're married because of love and sometimes you are married because you're scared that you'll be too old and alone. Sometimes you chose a man because of his traits, sometimes because of his looks, sometimes because you just fell inexplicably in love with them and sometimes because you were just being spiteful to another man who rejected you. Sometimes you marry early and stays with each other forever, and sometimes divorce happen. Sometimes you sacrifice for love but love doesn't come your way and sometimes you cheated on love but it keeps on coming for you.

What you think now, what you aspire about love and relationship now may change in few years time. I was a girl who used to find love annoying when I was a kid. Then I saw it as something inspiring when I was a teenager. In my early 20s, I find love to be selective. In my mid 20s, I find love to be political. In my working era, love is ridiculous. And in my late 20s, love to be something so precious that it does not knock on your heart as easily at the sight of the most perfect man you've ever met.

I hope to be able to write these for my readers, so that as the definition of love grows and varies for me, it grows and varies for others too. And that while there are happily ever afters, we all learn that it comes in many forms - and that everybody can learn to cherish the many forms of love God has given us.