Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Dari Hulu Kelang ke Walham Green
They say,
We are going to watch Chelsea playing tonight.

My say,

I'm going to watch Malaysia playing tonight.

They say,

It's a rare opportunity for us to witness one of EPL's
Big Four in action before
the official EPL season starts next month! C’mon,
Petr Cech , Michael Ballack,
Deco, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Frank
Lampard are all here in KL!
Save for the last four which were nowhere to be found in Austria & Switzerland a month ago.

My say,

It’s a rare opportunity for you people to be in the stadium when our national team plays.

My RM53 will only be worth it when Chelsea board our own MAS home shamefully losing – and Jose Felipe Scolari seriously considers to buy Shukor Adan over Kaka.

Anway, to John Terry and co, welcome to Stadium Shah Alam.

Ah yes, to you too. Welcome to Malaysian football.

Sumpah gambar ini tiada kena mengena dengan mana-mana parti politik. Sumpah. Tak baik tuduh-tuduh.

P.S. Blues sudah tiba, Reds bila lagi? Oh ya, aku dengar tambang MAS mahal.

posted by Izham Ismail at 4:15 pm | Permalink | 5 comments
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.
- Mitch Hedberg

Jangan ambil mudah. Ingat senang ke bercinta.
posted by Izham Ismail at 9:04 pm | Permalink | 4 comments
Monday, July 21, 2008
I don’t usually like the idea of writing a tribute - over someone’s achievement or important dates. Maybe it is just me who just can’t agree on anything un-boyish. But I think I have to make an exception for this one, because today is the birthday of a person who very few I consider a good friend.

I don’t expect him to read and cry over this entry, but since I couldn’t spend the whole midnight hanging out with him, I think a Quiksilver shirt and a sweet entry will do.

He is the first of many thoroughbreds (the term – hence the respect - ‘awarded’ the people who enter Malay College from Form 1) who happens to be in the running of being my best man, from the moment he greeted me the day I walked in Dorm 3 in the evening of 26th January 2004 up until today. When everybody was busy sketching plans and childish antics of ‘welcoming’ the newcomers, he kept his cool and offered his hands as a friend rather than a person who get 5As in UPSR. He is one of the very few people who get a hold of my respect not because who he was, but how he earned it – at least for the short two years of my being there.

An avid supporter of Newcastle United (for some weird reason of course – who the hell would want to root for other than the top fours?), he has a jaw-dropping catholic grasp of football knowledge. He can recognize a player just from the way the player walk. He even knows what colour of underwear players wear on matchdays. Okay, I may exaggerate on that bit. But his football encyclopedia is just awe-inspiring – at least for those who care about football.

Love life? I shall not go into that, but I think I share something similar with him – he believes in childhood love. Enough said.

But he is my friend for what he is, not because how similar he is to me.

And no matter what it is, no matter what happens – even if it involves girls, I just hope our friendship will last forever. Good luck in your life, man – and as agreed, you deserve someone better to complete your life.

Happy 20th birthday, Aliff Adha.

With my brother standing by
I said brother, you know you know
It's a long road we've been walking on

- Alexi Murdoch
posted by Izham Ismail at 1:42 am | Permalink | 1 comments
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Asah Siasah Sebelum Belasah
It was an unfamiliar ambiance in the air of NZ Curry House tonight. I felt no particular sense of delight in the presence of hundreds other football enthusiasts looking for some footie action live, or delayed telecast. Everything seems to be gloomy and the setting was dead serious – even the mamaks were working way out of tune by making awful mixture of national drink teh tarik, and soggy tauhu bakar added to the night’s weird disorder.

The crowd was way too strange for me, as if I was in the wrong place. The place I called home turned out to be somewhere too uncanny and unfamiliar to me. My idea of sitting next to a group of people wearing the colour of their team, chanting in unison of their favorite star and jeering of any unsportsmanlike behavior shown on the pitch were crashed to pieces.

Not until I realized that the place was contaminated – by a LCD projected screen featuring live telecast of an open debate between two prominent Malaysian politicians, thrashed each others out over a so called central issue in Malaysia’s rickety economic development. My abode of live football has now been contaminated by an ugly yet important force of politics, in the form of a live political debate telecast. There were actually no football enthusiasts tonight.

I am not going to take on the debated issue – at least for now – but more towards the attitude of our people, which is quick in resembling a bone of contention to my eyes.

There were still cheering, chanting and jeering all over the place – and most of them were sadly misplaced. They cheered for something they themselves couldn’t even clarify and they jeered for some unclear, cheap and blurry details.

At any rate, however, there seem to be people in the world who like to judge who has the right to complain - or really, to speak at all - and who does not. So what makes a person eligible for those privileges? My say, audacity to stand behind their words or in simple English, responsible of what they have said.

It is patent that improvements start with complaints. Just because things could be worse sometimes doesn't mean they couldn't be better – and that is why solutions should be clipped together with it. It happened to me all the time, when I often cross over heated discussions between some friends of mine, whom bother to grumble more about their hitches than taking proper labors to get to the bottom of it.

I am not going to wrap this post saying that showing your eagerness towards keeping yourself updated with interesting current Malaysian politics is superfluous and act of futility – as a matter of fact, it is good to be politically aware in this crucial state of time. But eagerness should come with knowledge and understanding of the matter – and there is no point of shooting without any targets and don’t have any idea of what your bullet is made of.

That is why supporting your football team is an easier deal - it only takes 90 minutes to settle any argument.

I hope NZ will recover this coming August, as the real deal is coming home. EPL will be back to mamak stalls nationwide. Check your local listing.

Ah politics, please don’t get me started.

Gambar masa itu hari aku berlagak macam Dato' drive around Putrajaya. Sekali buka wallet duit sepuluh ringgit ada dua keping je.

posted by Izham Ismail at 1:48 am | Permalink | 2 comments
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Nota Padang Pasir
Lu balik nanti contact gua. Gua nak open table, mana
tau dapat berkat.

Aku delete mesej yang sudah sebelas hari tertinggal di dalam handphone burukku. Hiatus lagi? Cukup cukuplah.

Arab Saudi aku jengah, buat kali kedua – selepas 10 tahun. Terus terang aku takut hendak menjejakkan kaki ke Tanah Haram kali ini. Takut apa? Macam macam cerita aku dengar. Literally kaki aku goyang. Tengok Selangor main kat Shah Alam pun tak berdebar macam ini. Nasib baik tambang free, kalau tak, lama dah aku divert ke NZ Curry House.

Jiwa kosong mesti diubati. Mungkin di sana ada jawapan.

Samar samar aku ingat kata-kata Ustaz yang bagi ceramah semasa kursus dua minggu sebelumnya. Loghat utaranya membuatkan mesejnya lebih menangkap. Mungkin sebab aku dah biasa dengar mak aku berleter. Aku terlena sepanjang perjalanan – terlepas peluang mengintai pramugari berbangsa Arab (yang sememang muhrim dan boleh dikahwini). Bumi Arab tidak seperti dulu – at least untuk 10 tahun yang dulu. Macam orang kampung masuk One Utama jadinya aku.

Keliling aku meriah orang berjual beli, pekik lolong dan mungkin maki hamun – thanks to skil Bahasa Arab level tingkatan tigaku yang semakin berkarat, cukup sekadar pekik lolong dan maki hamun yang aku faham. Kebanyakan mereka pakai jubah, jika tidak kesemuanya – dan mungkin aku seorang sahaja yang berlagak cool memakai t-shirt Padini dan yakin mengenakan jeans Levi’s – tanda sokongan aku pada pembangunan lahiriah negara-negara Arab. Tapi aku silap. Berbekalkan 60 riyal, aku beli jubah pertama aku – yang jangan diharap akan dipakai di bumi Melayu.

Bangunan tinggi mencakar langit. Hotel-hotel mewah di sana-sini. Lobby mengalahkan Balairung Seri istana-istana negeri Melayu. Kalau aku tidak tertipu, chandelier dan lampu bertatahkan emas dan berlian ibarat perkara wajib di setiap hotel. Aku keluar mencari kepastian. Aku di New York kah? 45 darjah celcius walaupun di waktu malam keras menampar kulit Melayuku, yang kononnya sensitif dengan cuaca panas.

Trafik sesak, lebih sesak dari trafik di Shah Alam di waktu Selangor ‘ter’tumbang di tangan Kedah pada final Piala FA beberapa minggu lalu. Kereta yang lalu bukan calang-calang. Semuanya kereta idaman aku. Oh, nak bayar duit jubah pun berpeluh. Nantilah aku beli. Seingat aku, dulu ramai orang berniaga rempah di tepi jalan dan meminta sedekah mencari nafkah. Kini mereka sukar dijumpai. Yang ada hanya kedai-kedai jam tangan ekslusif (yang aku tahu Uptown Danau Kota pun ada), perfume-perfume authentic, hanookah yang real lagi menangkap dan kurma-kurma yang dibalut di dalam kotak, tak ubah seperti kotak Playstation 3. Senang cerita, aku kagum dengan pembangunan negara pengeluar minyak ini. Oh ya, ini negara Islam – lagi lah aku kagum.

Tertanya aku sambil meneguk 7-Up sambil berdiri – agak agak Kuala Lumpur boleh jadi macam ini tak? Ah aku patriotik, mana boleh dibandingkan kota lain dengan Kuala Lumpur. Kita paling hebat!Mungkin aku terlalu sentimental, membuatkan perkara sekecil semut diperbesarkan, tapi dah adat orang over-romantik, nak buat macam mana.

Tapi ini memang buat aku betul-betul jadi gila. Keimananku bergoyang, kelelakianku menjerit, duniaku pusing, hidupku tak tentu arah – perempuan Melayu dilupakan, bila perempuan Arab melintas di hadapanku. Ada sesuatu tentang mereka, yang mungkin perempuan Melayu perlu take note. Mereka graceful, mereka elegant, mereka ahh segalanya. Dan yang paling penting, mereka tidak malu menjadi diri sendiri. Kalau tidak adanya hukum hudud, mahu sahaja di ajak minum di lobby hotel (sambil minum satu lagi 7-Up). Kebetulan aku ke Jabal Rahmah, tempat Adam dan Hawa bertemu buat kali pertama sejak di usir dari syurga. Ustaz aku kata, itulah Paris bagi umat Islam. Kubu cinta mereka bergelar muslim – dan tempat paling sesuai berdoa mendapatkan jodoh. Aku pantas mengambil peluang, harap harap jodoh aku yang iras-iras Gisele Bundchen dan Jessica Alba akan meninggalkan mesej bila aku pulang ke Malaysia nanti. Biasalah aku, orang Melayu, taste mesti tinggi.

Ustaz yang menjadi teman aku di sana namanya Indra, berasal dari Medan. Ilmu agamanya tip top. Tokoh ilmuwan Islam diketahuinya macam aku tahu pemain bolasepak. Tempat-tempat bersejarah di Tanah Haram ibarat shopping complex baginya. Peristiwa penting sejarah Islam begitu penting baginya, hingga dia betul-betul lupa tarikh harijadinya. Kenapa aku Tanya tarikh hari jadinya? Sebab dia lahir pada 1988. Aku sebaya dengannya. Ok, sebenarnya aku lagi tua daripadanya. Dan dia sebenarnya lagi ‘tua’ daripadaku. Aku malu. Tapi aku control sahaja.

Arab bumi Islam, dan sesiapa yang bergelar Muslim halal untuk berada di sana. Aku ambil kesempatan berkenalan dengan mereka yang selama ini berkongsi kiblat denganku. Bahasa kadang-kadang menjadi pembatas tapi niat murni penjalinan ukhuwah ibarat membenarkan aku berbahasa dengan mereka. Setiap waktu solat aku cuba mendekatkan diri dengan mereka, walaupun bau badan mereka tak seindah kaum wanita mereka. Dari Yaman, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria – itu yang aku ingat. Tapi yang pasti, mereka tidak ada Facebook. Dan mereka tak tahu apa itu Facebook, dan mereka tak malu untuk kata mereka tak tahu apa itu Facebook. Aku pun malu sebab pasal Facebook di dalam masjid suci. Tapi mereka tahu siapa itu Mahathir Mohamad. Mereka kata itu Perdana Menteri Malaysia sekarang. Besar mesej itu.

10 hari terasa terlalu sekejap buatku. Alhamdulilah tiada apa-apa yang buruk terjadi kepadaku – selain terlepas peluang mengintai kecantikan pramugari Arab akibat tertidur. Aku terpesona dengan keindahan yang ada di tanah Arab, yang aku sendiri tak tahu yang mana satu. Kuala Lumpur tak akan boleh bagi aku pengalaman ini. Mungkin sebab Kuala Lumpur ada caranya tersendiri. Allah Maha Mengetahui. Aku dapat sahabat baru, pengalaman baru dan mungkin, semangat baru.

Nah gambar sikit sebagai bukti.

Sumpah lepas bergambar aku sembahyang.

Guard dah usha tajam. Nasib baik aku pakai jubah.

Buat aku tambah sayang pada saudara Muslimku.

Oh ya, beberapa malam sebelum bertolak. Syabas Kedah buat kali ini. Syabas Selangor selamanya. (Maaf gambar ini mengganggu - ia terdesak cari waktu siaran)

Jiwa kosong mesti diubati. Mungkin di sana ada

Ustaz tu mesti tersenyum. Okey ustaz, kau menang.

Ada orang nak open table malam ini. Aku mesti imarah, mesti memenuhi jemputan. Makan free memang laju.

Ceh, aku ingat mesej dari jodoh. Tak mengapa, mungkin lain kali.

Over-romantik – biasalah, 10 hari di perantauan.
posted by Izham Ismail at 7:12 pm | Permalink | 6 comments