The Husband

Most men genuinely believe that they are a perfect husband to their wife. Or the king of some sort. Unfortunately, the husbands that I’ve been observing over the years including my next of kin are the complete opposite.

Most of the irresponsible pieces of shit often think they are superior and try in any way possible to make their wives feel inferior. And to me, this is a classic case of low self-esteem. It’s also a classic domestic abuse which so many men get away with. You don’t see the scar on the skin, but they are eating them slowly from inside.

The traditionalistic school of thought believe that husbands have authority over their wives. It is a highly ingrained belief. Today, I personally do not think so. It’s a practice that should stay in the past. I find it downright ridiculous to ask for a husband’s permission to pay your family a visit or shave your armpit. Even if he forbids it in the most gentle way, it does not make any sense. It’s just domineering.

In my opinion, it only makes sense to ask for permission to buy a new car knowing maybe the husband will have to pay for the monthly instalment. But if you are forking out your own money to pay for it, by all means, go ahead and there is no need to ask for permission. It’s fine to discuss before making the decision, however, and if there is a budget, stick to it.

But if you got a job offer and you want to work, and you happen to have a husband who constantly makes a condescending remark or acts as though he is the smartest person in the universe, fucking grab the opportunity by the balls before you both (and your kids) starve to death. We all know that some men have a very bad track record when it comes to monetary and family management. Not trying to be sexist here; just stating a fact.

You see, marriage is founded on the principle of mutuality. It’s a partnership, not a private fiefdom for dominant husbands. I do however understand that men need to feel respected by their wives. Especially around their friends and extended family. They need their ego stroked.

Newsflash dickheads, the keyword here is RESPECT. And women need to feel respected and loved by their husbands too. Not to boss them around, humiliate them and mute them. There is only to a certain extent that a wife can give in and show admiration. And while they can still and want to do so, a good husband should know not to cross the line.

While I disagree with how other religion views this matter, I would like to share a quote. Believe me, I don’t want to use a quote from the Bible as a reference because it will look like I’m biased but it’s so good, I can’t resist.

Proverbs 31:23-26

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

You see there will never be gender or marriage equality. But I do believe a change can be made if men (and women) just leave the old practice in the past. After all, behind every great man is a great woman. And in Proverbs 31, it’s stated that the support of the wife has helped to elevate her husband. He didn’t go up there by himself.

We have all heard jokes about “who wears the pants in the family.” Yet leadership in the home is no laughing matter. And one of the primary roles of a husband which I believe is to lead. That leadership simply means influence. A husband should not dictate or demands total obedience to his every wish and command.

But have I seen this leadership though? No, unfortunately, I haven’t. I’ve only seen pathetic submission and marriages on the verge of failing.

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Photography Chat With Lance Vun

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

Photography is a powerful form of storytelling. It encapsulates time and preserves memory. Other than that, it is also a means to express and reflect one’s feelings. However, apart from personal uses, photography can also document formal occasions and events one would like to look back to. Graduation concerts and weddings, for example.

Today, with good smartphone cameras and a mobile photo-sharing application called Instagram, everyone – young and old – have turned into photographers. And whether it is important or insignificant, (or selfies), we capture and share everything on Instagram. It is relatively simple and fun. However, not everyone has the eye.

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Lance Vun is a photographer born and raised in Kuching. He has been shooting professionally for over eight years. He first started as a photojournalist who then chose to make a living off of weddings. As a wedding photographer, he has had the opportunities to photograph countless weddings across the state. Other than that, he is also a passionate street photographer who has taken photos not only in the gritty streets of Kuching and some other parts of Malaysia but also in the brassy streets of Australia.

Prompted by a friend, Lance, along with a group of photographers have decided to organise a photo exhibition called Streets of Kuching. The exhibition is now live at Art Space, ChinaHouse, Kuching.

Here, the young lad talked about his passion and journey as a photographer.

How long have you been a photographer?
I was 19 when I first dabbled with DSLRs. I’m 28 right now so this year would be my ninth year doing photography. But I feel like I’ve not done enough. I know people who have been around for a shorter period and they’re doing pretty well. They’ve done more than me. I feel like I could’ve done more but everyone has got their own pace. I need to push myself because I feel that my photos are still nowhere near the top. But I dare say that my standard is above average.

What or who got you started in photography?
I was not into photography in the beginning. It was my friends who kickstarted the transition. I was in the middle of my diploma that I got influenced by them. I tried my hands on it and not too long after that, I found interest in capturing images. I was studying business in Swinburne at that time. So after I was done with that, I took another diploma in photography. I started building my career from there.

Who are some of you favourite photographers who has influenced your work? And how do they inspire you?
You see, inspiration is all around. It could be from the books I read to the films I watch. But my main source of inspiration would be Joe McNally – a New York-based photographer who used to shoot for LIFE Magazine. Right after 9/11, he did this huge project called ‘Faces of Ground Zero’. I was truly inspired by that. And the other one is Zack Arias – he’s an Atlanta-based photographer.

What sort of work do you specialise in?
I’m a wedding photographer by profession and I photograph mainly weddings and event coverage. That’s what I’ve been doing most. Because I’m very much into stories. So weddings and events can give you that. Sometimes I do basic portraits. I used to do press work. I used to work as a photojournalist for United Daily News and took photos for the newspapers. Now, I also run a studio under PhotoBorneo as part of the community project called HAUS.

What intrigued you most about your subjects?
Emotions… And moments that you can’t stage and don’t get to capture twice. Moments where you just have to be there because you don’t want to miss the emotions.

Exactly what do you want to say with your photos, and how do you actually get them to do that?
Well, I like to tell stories through my photos. I want to express how I feel about what I see at that time. But specifically, in weddings, I want to capture priceless moments. Moments that can’t be staged. There is something special about photographing couples who are crazy in love. But it’s not just about two people, it’s also about the people around them who are there to celebrate that special day with them. And every wedding is different. Every wedding is an exciting adventure. So, you’ll see a lot of different things happening at the wedding. Many that you can’t replay.

Like candids?
Not really. Some, maybe. But these are the stories, and kind of a life history that you want to share with people. There are so many opportunities for beautiful photos throughout a wedding day. And for me, those photos carry more weights because those are the photos which the future generation who were not there can see. So, I’m honoured to be hired as a wedding photographer. And I have been very fortunate in undertaking multiple weddings since after my initial work was well received.

Right. So what do you think makes you different from the other photographers that you know?
I think I see things on a deeper level. I photograph the essence of the soul, of the subject. My style is quite documentary with a focus on real moments and emotion. I don’t stage my photos. I watch events unfold naturally. It’s not just about the visual aesthetics but it’s more about the life. 

Why do you like street photography?
See, for me, photos that really stand out are the one where a street moment is captured to show a unique story. With street photography, you get more freedom. You don’t have to give instructions to your subjects or annoy them. Anything from candid shots to perhaps portraits, none of them is staged. I also like the challenge. People don’t usually realise that they are being photographed. You need to have an eye for detail and finding something worth telling through the photos you take.

What are the other challenges of street photography?
Well, unlike wedding photography, one thing that will always hold me back is the fear of shooting strangers. If I publish it, I might get in trouble. You will need their permission. But street photography is my passion. It’s probably the best way to show my way of viewing things and I’m determined to keep developing my eye for street photography.

I can say that you’re enjoying a pretty stellar career as a photographer now. What are the best and worst experiences you have ever had to go through to get the shots you deemed as perfect?
There are many. But I can’t pinpoint one at the moment. However, I would say it’s probably the one that got me the Kenyalang Press Awards. It was a random photo that I took from the bridge but I was fortunate enough to win that award. It’s not my greatest photographic accomplishment, but it kind of motivates me. I still have a long way to go.

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Of course. Now, comparing where you are at the moment, with where you were when you first started, what do you think you could have done differently to get to where you are sooner?
I don’t know. But nothing, maybe. I may have screwed up many times. Many of my photos didn’t work. But I won’t say that I regret them. I learn from them. That’s how we learn and polish our skills. Only from mistakes and flaws will I know what to focus on in the future. That’s how we progress. Making better, more compelling art is addictive. So I guess, I wouldn’t change anything. In fact, I still have more to learn.

Do you create personal work often?
If you’re talking about street photography, I do it here and there, every now and then. Whenever I have the time and opportunity, I’d take my camera around and start taking photos. I do it mainly in Kenyalang. It’s a place that is close to my heart. And I like to do it alone and take my time to blend into the street scene.

Do you want viewers to recognise the symbols or messages in your photos and be subconsciously affected?
Of course. Not subconsciously. I want my photos to affect people. That’s what it’s all about. Especially the scenes of urban life through my street photos. This photo of these two uncles for example. They may look like they are only two old men having drinks. But it’s more than that. I want to show our culture here on Sunday mornings.

Sunday Morningsmaller

Of course. Let’s get to the technical part. What cameras and lighting gear did you start with and what are you currently using?
I started with Canon 1000D that my dad bought for me. At the moment I’m using two Canon 5D MKIII. And I mainly shoot with a 16-35mm lens, 50mm, 100mm, and a few lights here and there. But I rely on natural light as a preference, though. It’s the best.

And if you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
At the moment I guess it’s the 16-25mm because I like wide stuff. With a wider angle, you get more drama in. But with wide angle, you need to also handle the distortions. So, I kind of have this love-hate relationship with that lens. You have to be able to master that characteristic of a wide angle lens.

What technology or software do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?
It depends on the tasks or the photos. I use 70% Photoshop Lightroom, 30% Photoshop CS6.

How much time do you spend taking photos, versus retouching photos?
Two-third of the time, shooting. One-third, editing. Not to say editing, but processing and delivering what’s best for my clients.

More and more iPhone photographers are coming out of their boxes now. They take good photos too. Soon, people may not need professional photographers anymore. What motivates you to continue taking photos?
Well, everyone can take good photos. No doubt. But many do it for fun. They don’t plan to become a professional photographer. And there’s no versatility. Versatility is important to photographers. And photographers are compelled to push themselves further in the pursuit of creative excellence. So, adding creativity to compositions and looking to achieve something different is something I am constantly striving to achieve in my work.

For your commercial work, how important is your website or social media accounts? Do you bother making a hard copy portfolio?
Well, yes. It’s very important. Otherwise, how would people reach me? Everything is through social media nowadays. And yes, I do make a hard copy. I need to bring something to show my clients to convince them.

As for this exhibition, is this your first or have you had many prior to this?
I have participated in a few but this is the first one with me being one of the organisers. It was a friend’s idea. And it was just a matter of realising it. Most photo exhibitions here focuses on landscapes and vibrant photos. So, I thought why not do something different this time.

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What are you trying to achieve from this exhibition and why?
As organisers and speakers for this exhibition, we hope to educate, guide and motivate people. We want to give them tips on street photography, of course. Other than that, we want to provide a platform for other photographers to exhibit their work. As far as I know, in Kuching, we don’t have exhibitions for street photography. So this is the first and we have a lot of participants. Some of the participants are relatively new in this field. But I can tell you that the level of skill from the newcomers is astonishing. So we kind of want to set up a community where photographers – old and new – can learn from each other. This is the chance for everyone to learn and evolve.

Are you planning to make this is a yearly thing?
Well, we’ll see how it goes. I mean, I received good comments and positive feedbacks. They did suggest to me to do it a yearly thing, but you know, we need the budget as well. If need be, I don’t see why not.

Which photo in this exhibition are you currently most proud of?
The boat. I was at Waterfront. I saw the boat coming towards me. Something about it intrigued me so I took the photo from the top. I thought it was going to stop there. But it went to the corner. I went to take a look and saw the uncle counting his money. It wouldn’t be appropriate to take a photo of that. So, I left.

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You’re born and raised in Kuching and spent some time in Australia. What is home to you?
Home is where I can just be myself. Without having the fear of how other people would think of me. Without anyone judging me. Home is where I feel joy naturally. When I’m home, at the dining table, I’d automatically lift up one of my legs on the chair. But that never happened when I was in Australia. I don’t feel comfortable doing that anywhere else. And when I do street photography in Kuching, I feel more of myself. When I do it in Australia, it didn’t feel like home.

If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet, where would you build your dream home?
I have not travelled and seen enough. So, at the moment, I can’t really say where I would want to build this so-called dream home.

Check out Lance Vun’s photos here!

PS: All photos are courtesy of Lance Vun.

Stigmatised Solitude

“Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.” – Buddha

I had a very interesting conversation with a Grab Car driver over the weekend. The nice Chinese gentleman in his mid-40s was very concern with the fact that I am 29, single and living alone, far away from my family. And he did not mean this in an offensive way. In fact, I was cool with his thoughts and opinions.

How it started was he began talking about school holidays and asking what my children are doing. So, I told him I am single. It was an interesting 20 minutes conversation.

He also said something very interesting, though.

“Walaupun lu punya hati banyak besar, lu jangan kasi harapan kepada semua orang. Jangan kongsi sama ramai orang. Hati lu cuma untuk satu orang yang lu sayang. Bunga ada banyak, kumbang pun ada banyak. Tetapi satu untuk satu. Kalau mahu main-main, jangan cari pasangan untuk lu kahwin. Suami cari duit untuk jaga isteri dan anak. Suami bertanggungjawab buat mereka gembira. Kalau lu mahu cari suami, jangan cari yang main-main sahaja. Mesti ada kerja. Gaji kurang dari lu punya pun tidak apa. Sama-sama lu usaha. Saya punya isteri dan anak banyak gembira. Saya dulu ada girlfriend. Dia kerja shampoo girl. Dia cantik oh. Saya banyak sayang sama dia. Tetapi dia main-main sahaja. Lagi pula dia ada banyak tattoo oh. Macam gangster. Ini isteri saya, mula-mula saya tidak sayang dia. Ini kawan punya mak yang kasi kenal sama saya. Orang putih cakap ‘arranged marriage’. Tetapi lama-lama, saya sangat sayang sama dia. Dia kerja office, pandai masak dan jaga anak. Nanti bila anak sudah besar sikit, saya bawa mereka pergi Kuching lah jumpa lu.”

As we age, our priorities shift. Our wants and our needs change. Not only that, our social contacts tend to decrease too. Due to that, many would rather move to the city for better opportunities. Or to live alone in a relatively new environment.

I moved to the Peninsula mainly for educational attainment, meeting my life expectancy, and securing median earnings. Along with that, I also crave for inspirations to write and enrich my intelligence.

Whenever I go home for a short break, people would ask me when am I moving back to Kuching for good. And I used to tell them, “I have no idea. I can’t see it now.”

They have many assumptions as to why I have not planned on moving back. Many assume I enjoy the nightlife, the social life, and the money. They thought I earn double their salaries and am having the best time of my life. Unfortunately, financially, that is not the case. In fact, I am losing more than what I make due to the cost of living and that I am responsible for all of my own bills.

Well, I am going to skip the impressive attributes of this very city. Despite the traffic congestion, I love it here. But I love it because I am happy living alone. I don’t actually live in the heart of the city but, I would not want to live any other way. Because to me, living alone is a collective achievement.

I am a compulsive thinker and I cherish individualism. On a prosaic level, I am self-centred. I prefer to make my own decision although, for certain occasions, I would consult my friends. Be that as it may, I do not like people telling me what to do or what they think I should do. Like roommates or a typical Chinese landlady who pretend she fucking care about my wellbeing.

When you live alone, you are free from the distractions and judgments of others. You can truly be yourself, 24/7, indulging wonderful habits like just being lazy and walk around the house naked.

And living alone is not necessarily an entirely solitary experience. Though many would say that an isolation like this is depressing and horrific. WRONG. Living alone encourages productivity and creativity. Trust me, I know this very well.

It is hard to write or compose something when people are arguing very loudly in the next room. But when you are alone, the calm is glorious and brilliance can strike just like that. You have the time and freedom to explore and work on your passions, to create your magnum opus. And it gives you the ultimate freedom to wind down and relax, helping you to recover from your busy and intense work days.

Yes, sometimes I do feel lonely. Back home I have my parents and four younger sisters. It’s a very noisy house and don’t get me wrong, I love being around my parents and sisters. We could be the next Kardashians if people were to film us. But half the time, I prefer to be by myself. I just value my privacy and solitude over traditional family and societal structures.

But anyways, it is not only being alone that make someone lonely. Many people I know who are not alone feels trapped by feelings of solitude. By lonely in my case, I mean when I am sick, there is no one to look out for me, make soup for me.

Yes, we do have a favourable male-to-female ratio here. But the chances of meeting a life partner or be in a steady relationship is very thin. Instead of being one of the best cities for dating, the big bustling Kuala Lumpur is just another place for hook-ups. Thank you, Tinder. You are one of the perks for urban dwellers and I am guilty of reaping the benefit for a few times.

Women living alone is a trend that is catching fire in our society. And this is spreading all throughout the world, even in Asia. Whether by choice or chance, the number of women living alone is increasing. I personally, find having roommates makes me feel less of an adult. And this leads me to talk about the notion of the ‘singularist’ and the right to have and make that choice.

In a society where marriage is common and has been held up as the ideal, married people misunderstand how singletons experience living alone. When they look at the singletons, they think that there is a sense of failure or that there is something wrong with them. That they are some kind of a loser. Or that maybe they are gay. And they will also tell you to your face that you are going to die a sad spinster.

FAILURE? LOSER? GAY? SPINSTER? Frankly speaking, that is just ridiculous.

Since the last decade, people have been opting if not, happily living the single life, realising that the marriage or partnerships they formed are failing. And today, not only just based on statistics, but based on my observation, a large number of women – career women, specifically – has made the single life a much more attractive option than matrimony with an unsatisfactory partner.

This is not a failure. This is the right thing to do. There is a limit to making sacrifices and trying to work things out. Even being married or in a relationship, you get lonely too. And loneliness is not tied to relationship status. Because emotional intimacy takes work. To assume that marriage or cohabitation is the solution is illogical. If your relationship is on the rocks, you are likely to be less happy than people who are unmarried or divorced.

My best friends since my college days are married. In fact, two are mums now. And one has other priorities she needs to look into for now. They and other people are married are happy in their own terms. What happiness is to them is different than was it is to the singletons. And in my opinion, happiness is subjective because it comes differently for everyone. There are things in life that can make you happy that are subjective. A bottle of Coke, for example, makes me happy while my best friend’s husband prefers Pepsi.

Everyone seeks happiness in their own way. And we all long for meaningful relationships and social connections. Being single and living alone is a form of emotional armour. Being single, one does not have to deal with the anxiety associated with relationships.

But whatever the decision one made – whether to be single or married, to live alone or have roommates, none of us has the right to judge and tell them what is best for them. The ultimate thing to do as human beings is to be happy.

Despite having a bad track record in the man-woman relationship department, as much as I put myself out there, I also stood many people up. I never feel bad about it although it would be nice to have different people to have a cup of coffee with. My love affair with my friends has formed the cornerstone of my life. They matter more to me after my parents and sisters.

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I will not actually bail on domestic life and I do not have a disinclination to settle down. It is just not now to live in and it is not healthy to believe in marriage as the ultimate turnpike to happiness.

At the moment, I am happy living alone without the pairing colour to my monochrome.

Time and the Ambitious Project

No, I’m not talking about my music and poems.

I’ve experienced the convulsion of dealing with my unspoken love for someone and a few doomed love stories but I’ve never experienced a dark adventure of a thrilling ride into the world of terrorism nor fighting for my life in a tsunami attack.

I’ve lost friends (and cut contact with them) due to the different path of lives we all chose to take but I’ve never experienced losing and witnessing the loss of my loved ones to tragic death.

I often go through extreme sadness that would lead me to shut myself from the world for a period of time but I never suffered from multiple personality disorder that will take me over that leads to hurting someone I never meant to.

One’s life to some other people may look interesting and stocked with a riot of laughter. But the truth for some of us is that the life that we live can be eye-grabbing and terrifying at times.

We don’t know what the people around us go through. No surprise that we may not even know what’s going on in the life of someone who is close to us.

When I look at the people around me and get to know them better, I find each and every one of them very interesting. For some, I sympathise, and for the rest, I draw my inspirations from them – mainly for my poems.

Sometimes when I want things to change for the better, I’d hope to get a call from someone who’d help me sort things out. Like telling me what to do, step by step till I achieve something. This rather sounds like a mental delusion, though.

And sometimes when I feel like my life is falling apart and I want to start over, I’d imagine myself living in the era of civilisation that dates back to maybe 2600 BC. No idea why but it somehow calms me down.

Sometimes I’d hope so badly that this is just a movie I’m in based on a novel for some good reasons. And I’m just brought on board to replace someone else who was supposed to be essaying this prominent role of mine.

To many, good things are being delayed for all sorts of reasons. And of course, after having to go through one hurdle after another, we’d all hope that happiness will eventually see the light of day sometime soon.

Whoever that is directing this movie I’m in, we truly have a lot of creative differences.

But life was never meant to be easy for some people. In fact, some of us are meant to deal with the constant worrying nexus between what’s wrong and what’s right in life every now and then.

And people often tell me that God will only give the toughest test to His toughest soldier.

If it was up to me, this movie will come with a template that boasts flamboyant colours – because as important as ‘sadness’, ‘annoyed’ and ‘anger’ is to us as human beings, ‘happy’ needs to come for a visit quite often.

Finding happiness is everyone’s ambitious project. Feel-good quotient in movies is either contrived or excessive. In reality, one need to strike the right note. And to do this, it is very important to surround ourselves with positive people who carry with them positive vibes and who cares about you.

Some of us don’t have much time to live. One’s vivacity and positive outlook in life are very important. To the readers, a person who doesn’t care about you is not as a matter of course a bad person. It’s just that they are not attached to you like you are to them and that’s something we cannot force.

Investing in your time is investing in your life. Do not invest in those who does not care enough about you to invest in you. A person who cares about you will take time for you and he/she will not make you feel bad for taking up said time.

The English Weather

I was having dinner with my friend last night at this Malay seafood restaurant less than 10 minutes drive from my house and her workplace. It was a pretty good dinner, we talked about a few interesting topics, and we saw a badminton match! We were there for a good two hours, just catching up.

We sat pretty far from the TV, so we couldn’t really see things clearly but the ambiance was so lively and everyone cheered when our badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei won the match. I must say, sports really brings people and the whole nation together.

The whole time we were there, I was entranced by this really adorable sight I see in front of me. An old couple, in their early 60s maybe, sitting so close next to each other, having dinner. They were probably on a date and were both so into the match as well.

I couldn’t help but observe their every move, every glance they gave to each other, every smile and everything they say to each other that I can catch. The cutest sight was when he shook her shoulder during the second set of the match where everyone almost loses hope on our badminton player. Mrs Wife just put her hand on Mr Husband’s lap. She probably said ‘calm down, he will be fine’.

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I don’t see this very often in my life. Perhaps in movies, but not in real life. And unfortunately for me, a lot of things took a tragic turn in my life that shaped my mind differently on the three vital things in our lives as human beings – love, sex, and marriage.

But seeing this last night did bring little tears to my eyes.

LOVE. SEX. MARRIAGE.

These are God’s most complicated gifts to mankind – at least for me. They are there. They always are. Always were. Always will be. And none can remain unaffected by them. And they are also in some such way something we just never really talk about.

And we, out of curiosity, when we were young, get our information from all the wrong sources. Some, in a debauched form – like learning about sex from porn movies and believing that is how it should be.

What is love? How does true love or romantic love feel like? It is different from loving your family and friends but how different is it suppose to be?

Shakespeare said, “Love is blind and lovers cannot see.”

He got that right.

What is sex? Who created sex? Why is sex so important and why do we have this desire? Why do we crave for this intimacy? This touch that can be as dirty as the blood stain on the devil’s hand.

And what is marriage? Why do we give so much importance to this arrangement? Is this an ultimatum? Who ordained it?

Love is like a weather. We can’t force it, forget demand for it, or take it away from someone else. Like we can’t change the English weather or control our farts. It’s really an ecological and biological balance we have no control of.

Once I tried not to fart during an interview, the gas went back in and I can hear an explosion inside my stomach. And naturally, it came out as a burp. The most disgusting burp ever. It made me sick, I almost puked.

In the same manner, we can flirt with someone and seduce him later but what I found out from all my failed relationship is that in some such way, they are all a result of infatuation, resulting more to lust than romantic love. But of course that was not all there was. It takes a few other reasons for one relationship to fail.

Although I do believe I loved my first boyfriend very much. I like our date nights, our evening drives, our walks at the park and the fact that he prefers KFC’s original recipe than the spicy ones. But the funny story is, I did not like him at all in the beginning. High school was a bitch. Before I met him in person, there were so many rumours about him that annoyed the hell out of me.

However, till today, I never fully understood what true love is, how romantic love is supposed to feel like and how am I supposed to know that I have it and even more so, how do I keep it and keep up with it. But love, they say, will make you do strange things. And that it is normal to lose control, lose yourself in the early stage.

But hey, it really means so many different things to different people. And it is so complicated that I realised lust and sex is a lot easier to comprehend and practice. And perhaps for one obvious reason – because it’s technical. But it is also a desire that some of us have no control of. After all, you can have sex with someone you are not in love with.

To feel the hands of another on our skin is a basic human need. And sex is a desire that is as normal as the desire for food, coffee and cigarettes. Be it men or women, we all have that sex instinct and wants. They may not be of the same lustiness of course. Many have said that the sexual urge is stronger and more aggressive in men than in women. But they do fudge together a powerful steam in us for at least until we’re in our 60s or so.

I remember my conversation with one of the guys I sort of dated. He said that men in their 20s can masturbate at least 6 times a day. I don’t know how true this is but I would take what he said as a fact judging from our physical reactions towards each other.

And in high school, words were going around that the guys must indulge in masturbation, else their penis will be of no use in the future like a broken car engine – for some reason. And that masturbation can help their sex life since that is how they learn what they like during sex. I guess that is true.

I guess it also really depends on your own self-pleasuring habits. Maybe you just need it to help you sleep better and you don’t have to wait until someone else is in the mood. To each their own. And you can do it solo. Unlike marriage.

Aristotle said, “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” And this attachment must lead to marriage?

I do not mean to offend anyone who is married in this blog – yes, this is a disclaimer. I have nothing against it, but it is just something I don’t truly believe in. At least not just yet.

There is something within all of us that makes us long for the company, friendship, and admiration of the opposite sex and we want to be with that person for the rest of our lives. But I grew up in a certain environment watching certain incidences that shaped my heart and mind the way they are now. My opinion on marriage may offend the people I truly care about who are married.

I grew up understanding that a good teammate does not necessarily make a good partner. And I witnessed many sad events. This is as far as I can go on this topic for now.

But on a separate note, a friend told me that I should never give up on love. That we as human beings were built to fall in love. That we will always crave for a specific person.

I do know that I have a very strong desire for emotional union with another person. But as the Malay saying goes, ‘jodoh itu di tangan Tuhan’.

What will be, will be. It can’t be forced. As Kabir, the Indian poet put it: “The lane of love is narrow; there is room for only one.”

There may be ‘the one’ out there. Just maybe.