Time, and other illusions

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Remember what Walski said in his post early this year, about wanting to post more, better time management, etc.?

Well, while he didn’t outright lie about his intentions at that point, time had other ideas. And what Walski had intended didn’t come to pass. On that count, Walski apologizes. Profusely.

The reality, though, is that what’s happening in Malaysia today – and how it gets reported in the news and on social media – means that there are too many issues and too much stuff going on to comment on every single thing that irks him. Unless he’s willing to be stuck behind the computer screen indefinitely, which he doesn’t.

To summarize 2023 thus far, Malaysian Islamists seem to be winning the narrative game. And it doesn’t help that the government seems to be bending – or at least acquiescing – to what they want. Granted, PM X has Islamic (and some argue Islamist) credentials. But is the current governmental stance going to help in the long run?

Flashback some 3-plus decades past: Dr. M the then PM, as a response to PAS’s growing influence opened the Islamist floodgates by making the government more “Islamic”, albeit in a moderate manner. Walski won’t rehash what’s transpired since, but the moral of the story: once the Islamic genie has been unleashed from its bottle, there’s no way to rein it back in.

When it comes to the current government, Walski can think of two possible thinking modes why the strategy is what it is: one, being friendly with the Islamists and acquiescing to what they want is to prevent losing in the upcoming state elections; or two, the idea that the Madani government can manage it better than Dr. M.

That’s Walski’s guess anyway.

On other fronts, UMNO wants Najib to be pardoned, and UMNO’s president (who’s also Deputy PM) wants the charges against him dropped.

It is Walski’s ardent hope that neither comes to pass.

And that’s all he can do – hope.

Because if there’s one thing Walski’s realized and come to terms with after all these years: just like time, citizen empowerment in Malaysia is an illusion. There may be the occasional small wins, but almost negligible compared to the major losses that have come in tandem. About the only saving grace: the current government is serious about institutional reforms.

Whether or not it will be allowed to realize those reforms, without too much compromise (that would make those ‘reforms’ pointless), is left to be seen.

In any case, Walski really wanted to post more here since the aforementioned January post, but had to give in to other more pressing matters. There’s only so much headspace in his advancing years, and priorities had to be made.

The ugly truth is that keeping this blog alive with content (that folks wanna read) has become a chore. And frankly, compared to the other stuff he has to do, myAsylum is of low priority. Walski realizes that he doesn’t have the luxury of time like he used to, particularly since with every passing day time is slowly but surely running out.

Be that as it may, Walski will return once in a while to populate this blog with his thoughts. Hopefully thoughts that matter and not simply barking like a rabid dog against a deluge he cannot stop, and for a cause that is, for all practical purposes, lost.

And that lost cause? Malaysia.

Walski, on this tenth day of April 2023 is one dejected son of a bitch… and that, dear reader, is the honest truth.

But he sincerely hopes you’re having a better day. And an even better tomorrow.

p.s. – before Walski forgets, his real-world alter ego decided to start writing on Substack recently. While there’s nothing much of interest posted there – yet – Walski thought you might be interested to know. Reportedly, it is supposed to be less ranty. Good luck with that…

Till death do us part…

Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom’s a junkie
Strung out in heaven’s high
Hitting an all-time low

Ashes to Ashes“, David Bowie (1947 – 2016)

If there’s one thing that’s been important in Walski’s life, apart from visual art, it’s music. He feels blessed that he was introduced to music at a very young age, primarily through his late dad. Never mind if that music came in the form of what dad liked: Andy Williams, the Ray Conniff Singers, Bing Crosby… these became important touchstones that would be the seeds germinating to become Walski’s own eclectic music sensibility.

One thing about Walski’s dad, when it came to music, while he liked what he liked, dad never tried to impose his likes onto Walski. Apart from introducing stuff (that he liked) for Walski to listen to; but to impose what could or couldn’t be listened to, not ever. At least that’s how Walski remembers it.

Walski’s not entirely sure why he’s penning this, to be absolutely honest. Maybe it’s because of the visit to see mom yesterday (we talked about dad for a spell). Or that it’s approaching the end of another year. Or maybe the news of Terry Hall‘s death today, reminding Walski of the many music icons in his life that have passed on, particularly in the past decade.

2012 was the year that Andy Williams died, the same year that saw the passing of Robin Gibb, Whitney Houston, Ravi Shankar, and Donna Summer, to name a few personalities from the music world, all of whom died that year. And in the years following, more and more personalities from the music world that played a part in shaping Walski’s musical spectrum began dropping out.

This year alone, in addition to Terry Hall: Angelo Badalamenti (composer), Julee Cruise (singer of “Falling”, the iconic Twin Peaks theme song, composed by Badalamenti), Anton Fier (musician and producer), Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Keith Levene (The Clash, Public Image Ltd.), Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac), Meat Loaf (actor/singer), D. H. Peligro (Dead Kennedys, and briefly with Red Hot Chili Peppers), Pharoah Sanders (jazz saxophonist), Vangelis (composer), Don Wilson (The Ventures)… and many more, all inducted into the ever-growing Choir Invisible this year.

Gone, but certainly not forgotten. Certainly never to be forgotten is the biggest demise of 2016, David Bowie… by any measure a tremendous loss to popular music. That passing still lingers on Walski’s mind even over six years later.

But Walski reckons that’s what happens when we grow older… one by one our “heroes” fade permanently into the sunset. Each and everyone leaving a mark in the world of music they helped shape.

Which brings him to this thought: when the day comes, how will Walski, the undisputed self-proclaimed Maestro of Abandoned Dreams, be remembered?

Or, the more realistic question, will anyone even bat an eye?

Breaking Radio Silence

I don’t even know why I’m saying this in an interview situation, but I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.

Trent Reznor

Walski can truly identify with what Trent told the New York Times back in 2008. It’s these constant feelings of inadequacy, of not being good enough (for anything), and constantly wondering if the world would have been a better place if he’d never existed.

Is Walski feeling suicidal? No, he’s too chickenshit to think along those lines (see? more inadequacies). No big loss if he were, but no such luck. Sorry.

So what’s up with Walski? Couldn’t tell you even if he wanted to. It’s just that it feels like everything he touches these days seem to go to pot. Even when he “accomplishes” something, it just feels like what he did just wasn’t good enough.

If you think it sounds utterly depressing being Walski, you’re probably right.

Sure, he can act as if everything’s hunky dory A-OK. Sometimes quite well. But not well enough to win an Oscar any time soon (more creeping inadequacy… just par for the course).

But it is what it is.

Walski just wanted to pen these thoughts for a couple of reasons. One, it so happens that he’s not written anything here since May! Gosh… one whole quarter of not writing anything for this blog. Time flies when you’re running in circles, ya know?

Second, he just wanted to get this shitty feeling off his chest.

Well, a lot has happened around Walski since May.

For one, Najib Razak finaly got put away. But that mofo is still behaving like the fucking world owes him a comfortable living. Ironically, being an MP with one of the absolute WORST attendance records in Parliament, just days ago he sought approval from the Prisons Department to be able to attend sessions in Parliament. And to visit his constituents in Pekan every now and again.

That idiotic request was, quite fortunately, DENIED. Seriously, what a thick-skinned shameless asswipe mofo of a human being…

But you know what? Walski could sure use some of that same hyper-confidence shown by the erstwhile Crime Prime Minister. Exactly how does one cultivate that sort of can’t-do-any-wrong persona? Quinoa on steroids? What?

Who knows… and frankly, who cares? Walski thinks he is the way he is for a reason. Hopefully a good reason, whatever that might be.

That’s all Walski really wanted to say today. But he’ll add one thing: this post has been somewhat cathartic. Just getting stuff off his chest. Definitely cheaper than therapy, that’s for sure.

Ah, well… guess he’s stuck being the inadequate human being that nature intended him to be. Walski will certainly try to make the best of that inadequacy. Not that he has any other recourse.

Until next time…

Thought Experiment #58

Sourced from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/115897390384173691/

Death smells like birthday cake.

Maggie Stiefvater

Just over a week ago – Friday, April 15, to be precise – something happened. For the first time in his life, Walski got to experience what being 58 years old was like. Strangely enough, it felt exactly like being 57.

There was no fanfare, no ticker tape parade… just another Friday in an increasingly decrepit Malaysia suffering the ravages of a pandemic without a known cure: performative piety. The more outwardly moral we pretend to be, and in the process force everyone to adhere, the worse off we seem to become.

As Walski once upon a time said, “In Malaysia, Islam is more than just a way of life, it’s an institution; and the last thing Walski wants is to live in an institution” (with apologies to Groucho Marx).

But, enough about this hellhole called Malaysia that’s becoming more of Hell as we get Hole-ier… the country’s getting uglier with every holier-than-thou asshole getting his 15 minutes (and it’s almost invariably a he).

So what’s this about a thought experiment?

In a wave of depression and feeling less than worthy, about two years ago, Walski thought up an experiment to prove once and for all just how forgettable a person he really is. The experiment he devised was simple:

  • Turn off the visibility to Walski’s birthday on Facebook (he forgot to do this for LinkedIn, so maybe next year)
  • Disallow anyone to post anything to his personal page on Facebook (Messaging remained allowed)
  • Sit back, and enjoy the depressive melancholy as more and more people Walski thought he knew be oblivious to to him celebrating another trip around Sol.

Did anyone remember? Well, only close family members (the Mrs, parent, an uncle, a cousin, his sibs, a niece, etc.), and two friends; one in Brazil and another in Pakistan. Okay, to be fair, a handful of people did wish him happy birthday on LinkedIn, but only because Walski forgot to turn it off there. Plus there was Walski’s WhatsApp group of old school friends, but only because they completely forgot last year until the following day.

And what did this thought experiment prove? Two things:

  1. We have become too reliant on technology to remind us of important dates. Not that Walski or his birthday are important to any degree… but you get the drift
  2. Walski’s existence doesn’t really matter. He could keel over dead tomorrow and most people wouldn’t even notice it. But in reality, that’s how much importance an ordinary Joe like yours truly really has in this world, big-picture speaking.

Truth be told, Walski does use calendar and scheduling apps to remind him to do stuff, too. And it would be safe to say he’d lose track if it weren’t for these apps, both online or on-phone. A long time and in another lifetime we’d have used a diary, but that era is long behind us.

More importantly, Walski is now convinced how inconsequential he is in the bigger, medium sized, and small scale of things. Maybe come Thought Experiment #59 he’ll disappear altogether. The world will probably not even notice… and who knows, the world might even be better for it.

Have a good life, and see you in the next post… whenever that might be.

Happy New Year 2022

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.

Anne Frank

Ok, so Walski is a day late. But still, with another 364 days to go until the next cycle around the sun, it’s not too late to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

From all of us here at myAsylum, a very happy, prosperous, joyous, and productive New Year…

The year we’ve just left behind, 2021, was a tough year for many. For Walski, it was a rather topsy-turvy kind of year, that brought with it measures of good, of bad, but fortunately just a smidgeon of ugly.

From a work perspective, suffice to say there was a lot to do. Mostly online, however, since Malaysia was subject to a variety of Movement Control Orders (MCO) for most of the year. That said there were a few collaborative projects with entities outside of Malaysia, primarily in the Philippines and Taiwan.

As for life in general, being confined to the home with one’s significant other can be taxing on each others’ nerves. But we persevered, nonetheless.

So yeah, as Walski mentioned, a bit topsy and a bit turvy…

Unlike the eve of 2021, there is greater optimism for 2022 on Walski’s part. Provided, of course, the Omicron variant doesn’t wreak havoc in the country. Fingers crossed… Walski has a feeling that this will be a better year, something everyone could use after close to two years being held captive by this horrid COVID19 pandemic.

There is one thing that Walski hopes to see happen, sooner rather than later, and that’s being able to travel beyond the country’s borders without hassle. From an average of ten trips abroad annually to zero is a big pill to swallow. But Walski thinks we’ll get there, eventually.

Before we end this post, Walski thought he would share this awesome thought, in pictorial form, from one of his favorite writers, Neil Gaiman. This image is courtesy of the Mrs, by the way:

And on that note, hope that y’all have a wacky awesome year ahead…

Happy New Year 2022!

Silently Decaying Inside

It is through suppression that hells are formed in us

Susan Glaspell

When you have lots to say, but you’re told time and again that what you think doesn’t matter, that in the scheme of things you’re as significant as that last crumb of toast that got left behind in the toaster, your confidence as a human being will slowly erode. Crumb by miserable crumb.

Perhaps it was foolish of Walski to even think he mattered half as much.

Decay is so underrated. But when decay consumes someone so insignificant, giving it any kind of rating consideration would be a futile waste of resources.

If Walski dropped dead in the woods without making a sound, would it have mattered if he even ever existed?

Once upon a pandemic…

“In one hundred meters, make a U-turn…”

something most Waze users hear with some regularity

Greetings sports fans!

So, by now you’ve kind of figured out that this is Walski’s new blog, a sort of second lease of live for the old myAsylum blog that’s pretty much been abandoned since February 2014. Just over seven year ago.

For those of you who know him personally, Walski hasn’t been in the wilderness per se, as far as an online presence goes. He’s been busy doing other things in real life and pretty much didn’t have time to write as much as he used to. In the meantime, myAsylum has been posting sporadically via Facebook, and of course, Walski’s other venting channel, Twitter.

And he’s done his fair share of writing, albeit about things completely non-political and non-socio related (i.e. work)… long story short, things have been relatively good in Walski’s life. It’s just that there are only 24 hours in a day, and sometimes real life has to take priority.

Be that as it may, Walski’s decided to blog again. And what better time to start when we’re right smack in the first pandemic mankind has seen in close to a century, right?

The COVID-19 situation, as of June 12, 2021

As Walski writes this, we’re almost at the end of MCO 3.0 – aka Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) – which come June 15 will be extended by an additional 14 days until June 28, 2021. The FMCO is almost like the original recipe MCO instituted last year beginning March 2020, with a few tweaks here and there, and the allowance of manufacturing and other “essential” businesses to operate.

And as we have been seeing with some regularity, the SOPs associated with this round of MCO were once again subjected to some U-turns. But that’s been the story of SOPs for the past year – implement, then retract. Walski does not want, however, to get into the nitty gritty of the countless U-turns we’ve seen. Simply because it’s TIRING.

Be that as it may, here we are… COVID-19 has been with us for over 18 months, and thus far, like the houseguest who’s overstayed their welcome, isn’t showing any signs of leaving. In fact, the death toll to-date for 2021 has just breached 1,000 today – and that’s just over 6 months into the year, making it 3,884 casualties in total.

On the political front, the Sheraton Coup Government is still in charge, but this week the YDPA called all the party heads for a pow-wow, to be followed by a Conference of Rulers meeting this coming Wednesday, June 16. In theory, the current Administrative Emergency (read: No Parliament) will end in August, so Walski reckons this big time meet will decide whether or not there will be an extension once the Emergency order expires.

Perhaps the biggest news that’s emerged from this week is Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Malaysia’s two-time heavyweight political champion former Prime Minister, proposing the institution of an NOC (National Operations Council) to govern instead of the Cabinet. And no surprise has proposed his own good self to lead it. You can read more about it here (via The Malay Mail). The NOC proposed would be similar to the one that ran the nation back in 1969 post-May 13. The latest news on this today is that Dr. M is proposing an alternative name for it: National Rehabilitation Council (via The Malay Mail).

So, Walski reckons after the Council of Rulers meeting next week we’ll know what to look forward to next…

In the meantime, Walski still hasn’t gotten his vaccination date yet. He tried to sign up for the Astra Zaneca jab when it was offered on a first-come first-serve basis the second time around, but the massive glitch experienced on the registration site meant that “computer said, NO“. So, it’s back to the regular waiting list… which seems to not be moving fast enough for his liking. Incidentally, Walski registered on May 6, just over a month ago – and as of a minute ago, still no appointment set yet. And so we wait… some more.

And so there you have it… stuck at home for the most part. The only saving grace is that the Internet works and there’s a lot to read online, and a lot of other online work to do – not just this new blog, but also working on the business website. In other words, Walski is keeping himself occupied.

He wishes that the art business is what’s keeping him occupied more, but with the overall business environment really sucky at the moment, there’s not a lot to look forward to on that front. The good news is that we no longer run a physical gallery space, meaning no monthly rental to worry about; which is a good thing. The bad news is that business is excruciatingly slow, and selling online isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Too bad Walski isn’t selling tudung or other articles of typical consumer wants. But that’s another story for another posting.

Hope you folks take good care, and stay safe always…

Bye for now.