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What's My Age Again?

I don’t think much of birthdays.

There comes a tepid unease with celebrating myself for merely existing; even more so when others do it for me. Thank you very much, I think to myself, but the real heroes here are my average regard for personal health and safety, along with this lottery of birth that has led me to live in relatively stable countries where healthcare is abundant. Those are the secrets to staying alive where mortality rates in more developed countries are higher than they’ve ever been in the entirety of human history. But again, thank you. 

It all just feels rather hollow. A supposedly special day comes and goes, with nothing to impart apart from a general reminder to everyone that I’m still alive and a gentle reminder to myself that I have now lost the potential to be remembered for doing something special at the age of __. The only saviour of such shallow celebrations are the gifts I receive, and even those number few thanks to my unenviable but hardly unreliable talent in losing friends and alienating strangers. 

I was eight years old when I last had a birthday party; a movie, then a meal at McDonald’s. Though it sounds like a cheap date, I still remember the elation of seeing my friends arrive at the cinema, one after the other, bringing with them smiles, presents, cards, myrrh, frankincense, etc. After the movie (Pokemon, if you must know), we headed to the nearest McDonald’s where garish peach and turquoise colour schemes accented stained cream walls. Luckily, they readied balloons around our little designated party area to distract us from the horrendous d├ęcor. The hunger pangs of children began calling out to the staff in the form of whiny pre-pubescent voices, and they satisfied us by bringing our food. We feasted on burgers and French fries, the smell of reused oil and floor cleaner wafting among us, perfuming our happiness. It was probably the last time a birthday had mattered as it should.

And so, we come, to the twenty first of these trivial celebrations. I turn twenty one in barely a fortnight, and in spite of my previous apathy to the date, a feeling - slight, but enough to irritate - has been nagging at me in recent months. I’m not sure what to make of it. 

Perhaps it's the fact that even though this date has meant so little for so long, it feels as if I might actually be looking forward to it for once (if only to escape being categorised in the 16-20 age group when filling out forms). There’s a certain resonance with dates that I’ve grown accustomed to ignoring, and though I’m sure the day will come and pass like all others do, this arbitrary age for adulthood feels somewhat monumental. I might not celebrate it, but it's quite nice to know that my heart isn't entirely made of stone. An odd sensation, this optimism. It's just as if I was turning eight all over again. 

Also, work marriage family death taxes.   

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Check out ariefhamizan.tumblr.com
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Short+Sweet Festival 2013

This is a confession.

I've manipulated my morals, given up goodwill, and surrendered my soul to temptation. This post is proof of my prostitution. The words you are about to read are nothing more than a publicity stunt, an artificial article written in exchange for my materialistic whims.  

I have sold out.

And what better thing to sell out for than free tickets to KLpac's Short+Sweet Festival 2013! No, really. The arts scene is something I feel very strongly for, and it needs all the help it can get. Sadly, it feels as if the hard work and effort that people put into producing stage magic just doesn't receive the exposure it really deserves. Like an erotic dancer playing hide and seek, great entertainment exists, if only you could find it. This post shall be the middle man.

The festival is divided into weekly categories; comedy, musical, and two weeks for dance and theatre. For four nights each week, audiences are entertained by ten different productions, and at the end of it all they vote for their favourites. As explained by the name, those productions are "short and sweet"; limiting themselves to around ten minutes of stage time to win your heart and vote. 

As an introduction to the theatre scene in Kuala Lumpur, there's nothing more welcoming than this festival. It's far better experienced than read, and I sincerely urge you to for yourselves.

Details so you can experience the wonders of Short+Sweet Theatre
Theatre Week 1: 16-19 Oct @ 8.30pm
Theatre Week 2: 23-26 Oct @ 8.30pm
Gala Night: 27 Oct @ 8.30pm

Tickets: RM28 (adult), RM23 (students, disabled, and TAS card members)
Gala: RM43 (adult), RM38 (students, disabled, and TAS card members)
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The Streets, A Serenade

Romeo died for Juliet. The most I've done for any of the girls I've dated is pay for a meal at a medium to high end restaurant. Though the comparison may seem a little imbalanced, it should be noted that Romeo never had to work part time just to scrape enough money together to pay for weekly and ultimately pointless excursions to shopping malls only for Juliet to tell him to be more like Mercutio. The essence, however, is the same.

For centuries, men have been accused of not caring enough, of forgetting important dates, and of being commitment-phobes. It all started when Adam gave up a rib for Eve only to immediately regret it once she started nagging him about how much of a mess Eden was. Apparently, we were just never that great at relationships. Then, suddenly, along comes this play which puts into words feelings that we men have always wanted/never had the courage to say. Romeo symbolised the "in love" type of love for us. The proper love; the taste of toxic perfume that poisons our hearts and makes us do crazy things like suicide and drunk texting an ex at 4am tot tell them that we still love them Romeo was us; he was the man we always found it hard to show ourselves to be. Some guy just desperately, hopelessly in love.

The first time I read the script for this play, all I could hear was me, in my head, agreeing with Romeo. The truth is, I would die for the one I love, and I'm sure any man who has been in love would do the same. The only thing stopping us is the fact that it's wholly impractical and that we wouldn't be of much use to our loved ones as a lifeless corpse.

I forget anniversaries, Romeo forgets to check Juliet's pulse. We're all the same really. 

Deadline day article written to promote Romeo and Juliet, an upcoming play I'll be acting in. And no, I won't be playing Juliet. I'm as disappointed as you are.

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Grace, Saved

"God" read the word scrawled out unevenly on white in blunt penciled writing. "My nem is Ahmad" it continued. His fingers were barely large enough to even grasp a pencil properly. "I wud like to mit you".

His teacher moved from child to child with a waltz-like grace as she tended each innocent mind with an encouraging smile. Her pupils called her Miss Grace. She was young and hopeful, though she never really knew what she hoped for.

Ahmad waited for his turn. As a final touch, he added an ineligible scribble at the foot of his letter, mimicking the scribbles he'd seen adults do to pay for food at restaurants and clothes and things like that. His teacher looked busy.

Miss Grace loved her job. She was doing her kids a favour, saving them from the future, letting them grow like plants under her watchful eye. She talked to her plants often.

Ahmad looked up. Miss Grace stood over him, smiling - have you finished? Good -  then crouched beside him. She asked him to read his letter. He read it.

"Oh, sweetheart, that's a lovely letter, but I don't think you will ever meet God. You can't even see him!" She smiled carefully. "Maybe you should write to someone who isn't so hard to find."
Ahmad had just turned forty. He felt old. The young and hopeful days were far behind him, and he'd already forgotten what he used to hope for. He hadn't yet met God, but then again he'd never really tried looking.