Notisbod notis:

Pembelian karya-karya Nurul Syahida kini boleh didapati secara online melalui ejen Mohamed Feroz atau melalui Karangkraf Mall. Setiap pembelian membolehkan anda mendapat tandatangan dan ucapan khas penulis.

Whatsapp/Hubungi: 019-2254910 (Abg Long)
Berikan (nama)(alamat)(nombor telefon)(kuantiti buku)

Friday, May 19, 2017

THE SELF-OBSESSED TRIVIA: Things you should know about...



Macam dah lama tak buat trivia ni kan? Haha. For the rest, you can just Google the word THE SELF-OBSESSED TRIVIA (and nama buku), and you can find all trivias about my previous books.

1. Tajuk asal yang aku bagi pada editor was "SAYANG KAT", which is a play on the word "Kat" since Khadijah was called Kat and she love cats. It is also the last thing she would always write in her emails and letters to Lokman.

Selain SAYANG KAT, aku bagi sembilan lagi tajuk lain, including AWAK SUNGGUH PURR-FECT, yang ada kaitan dengan bahagian akhir cerita. Tapi SAYANG KAT tak diterima editor (I think probably because ada novel lain bertajuk SAYANGKU COMBI... sila jangan tanya apa kaitannya... ahahah). Pilihan AWAK SUNGGUH PERFECT tu dibuat oleh editor, tapi PURRfect jadi PERFECT sebab editor kata "Purr-fact" is not proper english. Dulu aku rajinlah nak defend tajuk and negotiate dengan editor. Sekarang ni zaman ai malas.
So in case anda ada soalan mengenai "Apa signifikannya Awak Sungguh Perfect dengan jalan cerita....", inilah penjelasannya.

2. Kisah Faiz sebenarnya inspired by this one kid I knew in school (darjah dua kot... aku pun tak ingat). His name is Faiz, dan mak dia dah tak ada. Aku bukan daripada keluarga yang kaya dan sempurna, tapi aku ada mak dan ayah, so at that tender age, he was the first person I met in my life who lost a parent.
At eight, I learned for the first time that death and loss can happen any time to anybody, even to a kid. Aku dah tak ingat lagi rupa dia, but he sat behind me in school. One day, he brought his baby sister to school, and showed her my nails (sebab aku pakai inai at the time) and adiknya sangat takjub tengok inai. That was the only memory I had of him.

3. Semua nama kucing dalam AWAK SUNGGUH PERFECT adalah nama kucing yang aku pernah bela:
i. Chippy, my first cat ever (cuma the real Chippy berwarna kelabu).
ii. Maria Clara is this white kitty yang berbulu lebat with a tinge of grey on her face and tails, aku bela zaman belajar U. Aku namakan dia not based on Jose Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere", but based on the name of character daripada telenovela bodoh bertajuk "Secreto de Amor. Don't get me wrong, I hate that telenovela, but I think the lady who plays Maria Clara is so pretty. And the cat was so pretty to me, like a Maria Clara. But one day, kakak aku hantar mesej kata Maria Clara mati kena serang anjing liar.
Mugabe, A'a, Kimon, in memory
iii. Seru adalah kucing yang adik aku paling sayang dan reason nama dia Seru sama dengan reason yang diberi dalam novel. It went missing.
iv. Kabu dan Koyon sebenarnya adalah dua kucing berbeza. Kabu is this cat yang aku bela in my last year of studies. I loved him so much, but dia mati kena langgar kereta back in 2008. I actually cried and couldn't help myself. I went to work and to the editorial weekly meeting with my eyes all red and bengkak, I think my boss might have thought I had a breakup or something. Koyon was actually this one cat spesis Burmilla yang tiba-tiba muncul depan rumah kitorang. Masa tu kucing aku Phibun baru seminggu mati, and I was deeply affected by it because I wasn't home when he breathed his last. It was as if this cat knew, and he decided to come into our life for a bit. I mean, after a year, he decided not to stay anymore, as if he knew I was okay. You may think I might a bit romantic about the cats in my life, and you think right.
v. Phibun. Just like Kabu, his death really affected me because he's the first cat that was with me all the time (I was home every day sebab aku dah start kerja). He had jaundice sebab dia suka minum air kotor. And the day he died was the same day my best friend got engaged, so I was at her house and couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't even show how upset I was because I didn't want to ruin her happy day. Balik daripada majlis, I realised that nobody actually buried Phibun because he was still inside this plastic bag. In anger, aku amik cangkul dan korek tanah then and there in the rain walaupun my dad halang. I buried him in the rain. That sounds really tragic, yes.
vi. Other cats named in the book belongs to someone or was in my life one way or another. Mika is my neighbour's cat, Blue the stray cat, Wu Ming, Gadang, Ghali, all of em were part of my life in the past.
I wanted to promote ASP by taking my cats Mugabe, A'a, and Kimon everywhere with me, since I was inspired to write a book about cats because of them. But in the course of that two years buku tu dalam editing process, Mugabe died of FIP, while A'a and Kimon went missing.

4. I didn't intend for Atirah to be a pseudo-model. I didn't want to give in to the cliche since most of my model friends (what la 'most model friends. There are only two of them!) are really nice people. I didn't know how it happened. Aku rasa, memang betulla kata Stephen King, that a writer is no 'God', but just a 'secretary' who is reporting on what she sees. Somehow, as the story progresses, I see her getting taller, slender, and beautiful. She was never a pretty girl in school because of her height and now her height suddenly becomes something of a power for her. And suddenly the story happened by itself.

5. I have no similarity to Khadijah except for my love of cats. I have low tolerance on mean people and I don't see myself waiting for a man that long. Haha.

6. Karakter Nurin is based on my junior yang bernama Nurin. Actually, aku nak guna nama Nurin tu daripada time tulis cerita Wulan dalam 3 Hati lagi, tapi aku terlampau suka nama Wulan, aku takleh tunggu sampai novel lain. Ahahahahahahaha.


7. "Successful Story of  A Bright Girl" adalah 'drama pengenalan', the first Korean drama that I watched. Ever. Orang asik rekemen kat aku cerita WINTER SONATA, tapi lepas lima minit pergerakan yang sangat slow dan melancholy yang berlebihan, aku cam.... noppppe. Why are you trying to make me watch sad things? But at the time, kalau kau tak tengok drama Korea, kau macam tak cool, so aku start dgn SSABG. Sebab tu dalam ASP, Khadijah tengok cerita tu. And sebab tu jugak sampai sekarang aku ada soft spot for Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk, even though aku dah tak berapa layan cerita Korea.
(trivia: aku berjaya mempengaruhi roommate aku si Iza (Mahallah Halimah, represent!) untuk tengok SSABG, dia tengok all 13 episodes in a matter of two days.)


8. I partly wrote this book because I actually spent a lot of time watching cat's behaviour. I am not saying I am an expert. no. What I mean to say is I spent a lot of time watching cat's behaviour because I spend more time with cats than with human what with me working freelance from home.

9.  Aku rasa aku manusia pertama yang dedicate novel kepada vets. Ahahaha. But that is because vets played a huge role in my life. Dr Shida from Klinik Haiwan Seksyen 6 rajin tolong lekatkan poster untuk aku bila kucing aku hilang, dan selalu bagi kucing aku benda free, cam loceng for collar atau bola loceng, atau kira sapsapsoi je. Dr Zul's team (or that guy you would recognise from NASI LEMAK KOPI O) gave me a quick feedback when I asked for their help in notifying me if a good samaritan somehow found my cat and sent him to their clinic.

10.Hurayrah in Khadijah Hurayrah's name bermaksud kucing (or anak kucing), bersempena nama sahabat nabi, Abu Hurairah, who was called Abu Hurairah BECAUSE he loved cats so much. I think his real name was Abdul Rahman or something.

11. REMINISCING ABOUT THE '90s
If you read it from start to finish, you will realise I wrote a lot of early 90s and early noughties' things dalam ASP. Contohnya:


JEM adalah kartun favourite aku masa kecik-kecik dulu, and one of the most popular cartoons from my childhood. I wrote this book before that damnation of a movie came out. I also thought about making Khadijah watch SAVED BY THE BELL (because Zach Morris was everybody's crush), but lagu tema SBTB tak best macam JEM.


Ini adalah Mrs Pepperpot the cartoon.
"She’s a queen, an angel in the sky a lovely flower in her little world-and she can talk to the animals she is their friend they call her Mrs Spooooooon.." (see, aku ingat lagunya)


Dhaus dipanggil Ushida Uryuu sebab masa kat UIA, BLEACH adalah anime yang paling popular. I stopped after episod 70-something sebab banyak sangat karakter, aku dah konpius. Confusing characters is also the reason why I stop reading CONAN.

13. Yes, Khadijah bekerja di Digital Life, a company belonging to Zaniel (of PLAIN JANE, and AKU KELIRU). But this is not the first time aku masukkan karakter buku lama ke dalam buku baru. I have been doing it since day one:
- Mak Balkis ajak dia pergi kenduri kahwin Pyan and Zulaikha (SOALNYA HATI) in PLAIN JANE
- Safiah saw a girl in a wheelchair tengah bergaduh dengan seorang lelaki dekat dengan taman KLCC masa tunggu Helmi nak pergi PC Fair in AKU KAN NOVELIS. She was indeed, looking at Balkis and Zaniel from PLAIN JANE.
- Soraya bercakap tentang watak "Safiah" from "Aku Kan Novelis" dlam monolognya about Mariyyah in VALENTINA NERVOSA
- Soraya yang Bee mention dalam KAMPUS as one of the lecturers yang ajak dia shopping adalah the same SORAYA in VALENTINA NERVOSA, who sometimes chat with her lecturer friend "Rabi".
Ada banyak lagi, but I can't remember them all.

14. AWAK SUNGGUH PERFECT is the reverse-version of SOALNYA HATI when it comes to the idea of betraying one's friendship. in SH, it was Zulaikha, the protagonist, who betrayed her friend.


15. Khadijah, Atirah dan Lokman belajar di SMKAX, or SMAX, the same haunted school of which the events of my teen horror series, SEKOLAH BANYAK PENUNGGU ditempatkan. Aku ada terfikir nak buat scene Khadijah nampak hantu dan diselamatkan Lokman, but was like, "Mehhhh..."

Untuk pembelian, sila Whatsapp Abang Long di 019-2254910 (sertakan nama, alamat, kuantiti). Setiap pembelian disertai dengan button magnet/bottle opener free dan tandatangan penulis.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

KAMPUS (and why it's quite weird to return to that story at 33)

Today, as I surfed the web ("surfed" the web, how '90s of me...), I realised that I have left this blog to die, like I did with my previous blog (I guess leaving things to die is my thing. Like, my rosemary garden, my kitchen cabinet project, my career as a novelist...).

So in the spirit of trying not to have my tombstone read "Here lies Nurul Syahida, that lazy biatch" (but then again, no Muslim has speeches on their tombstone), let's just try to get this thing alive again by sharing with you about my new book.

Why do you have a new book when you already have a book released last September, you ask? Beats me. I don't even know why. I just got a call, and there it is. New book.

RM27. How awkward it is, to put the price here!

Okay, so it's not exactly a full Nurul Syahida book. It's an anthology, or an omnibus, if you will (I am just using a different term because I am pretentious).

So how did this happen?

Back in January, while I decided not to write anything because I just don't have anything in my head or anything new to bring to the table, my editor sent me a message on Facebook asking me if I could spend some time writing a story, just an itsy bitsy teeny weeny one, for a project that they are trying. I asked what project. She said it's a love anthology revolving around  the life in a campus.

Yes, so I did make my debut with a campus story ten years ago (SOALNYA HATI, everyone?), but I was like, "You know, I am not in my early 20s anymore. I can't be doing cutesy love story like Zulaikha and Pyan and get away with it. It would be awkward. Can I do adult stuff?"
"How adult are we talking?"
"Adult like the age group, not the 50-Shades-of-Grey adult."
"Yeah, sure."

Okay, I lied, The above interaction never happened. In truth, my editor asked me for a quick story, I said yes because I am overconfident that way, then I got panicked two weeks in because... who am I kidding? I am bad at deadlines! Then I remembered my friend Rabi, who is a lecturer, so I was like, "Rabi, help me, pleaaaseeee..." and she was like, "Sure!", and I went back to my editor and was like, "Hey, I am going to write a story about a lecturer instead of a student. Cash me ousside, how bow dah?", and she was like, "Your calll, dude...", and I was like, "Mmmkay!"

and then I sat down in front of my laptop, two hands static on the keyboard, and me, going, "Shiiiizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..."
Cuz, let's be real. I got nothing.

But anyway, as I was sitting around not doing anything because I got no idea, suddenly I remembered something Rabi said back when she just finished her studies and was waiting for the greenlight to come home to Malaysia. It was something about the university making a slip up concerning her ticket home, and she was stranded for a a while overseas. As she shared about how she was arguing on the phone with the person who was supposed to help purchase the ticket, an image of a woman starting to take shape in my mind, and a man, who pretended to listen on the other line while he was actually playing a game on his smartphone.

Then she told me about the time the university forgot to prepare her a room as she returns to work, and one scene over the other began to pour - a nosy mother, a laidback old friend, a room smeared with squirrel's blood, a table by the window with books all over the place.

Then I started to call her Bee, like the insect that never once stopped to smell the flowers.

And that's how the story began.

However, need I remind that this is not like 3 HATI where the stories are both related and unrelated. This time, it's just three writers, sharing three different stories about life in campus.

To order for now, you can either:
1. Whatsapp my agent Abang Long at 019-2254910 (bagi kuantiti buku, your name, address, phone number)
2. buy it online through Karangkraf Mall
3. Wait until Pesta Buku Selangor, which will be held at the SACC Convention Centre from 30 March to 9 April

Till then, nerds!

Monday, September 19, 2016

AWAK SUNGGUH PERFECT - the novel that caused it all...

Oh my God, guys. I am so sorry for forgetting about the blog. I had been busy with work (ada projek translation 30 episod yang telah menyebabkan aku tak bercuti raya dengan aman dan cam, "What? Dah September?"). As soon as I was able to take a breather, I was told that buku baru dah masuk (dan keluar) printer.

Soooo....


Panjang cerita kelahiran buku ni. Asalnya aku nak tarik balik sebab aku nak start projek baru dan aku tak nak ada something looming inside my mind. So I wrote my editor an email untuk officially take the manuscript back, but then Encik Ali email me back saying "permohonan awak untuk tarik balik ditolak."

I was like, What? How can you reject me taking back my manuscript???? But then I decided, o well, let's just see the editor to explain the situation, because he was of the idea that I was trying to send it to other publishers.

(here's the thing, sending my book to another publisher is never something that I had thought about. I would have done that ages ago when I was approached by some of the newer publishers during my PLAIN JANE years. the truth is, I am so comfortable with Karangkraf since I've started with them that changing my publisher is not ideal).

So I explain to him that I plan to stop writing for now sebab aku dah kehabisan idea (at least idea yang publishable. Idea yang merapu dan tak publishable memang banyak) dan the book industry is at its low sekarang since GST and kebanjiran novel dan publisher baru. I wanted my mss back sebab kalau tak dapat publish tahun ni, banyak yang I have to change since there are dates, songs based on those dates, dan event backdrop yang berkaitan the dates. I thought that if diorang taknak publish, then it's better that I take it back so that I can start anew with my project.

Ramai sangka aku merajuk, except my former AKU KAN NOVELIS editor Ecah, who totally understood where I was coming from. She was like, "Yelah, mestilah nak tarik balik kalau nak berhenti kan, supaya tak ada benda tu dalam fikiran". Oh my God, I thank You for Ecah.

So anyway, they decided to put my book in the schedule dan keluarkan tahun ni bulan Julai. And then somehow, tak jadi and delay sampai Oktober. Me being the pessimist who would think worse, decided untuk tak promote langsung before September, sebab aside from busy dengan kerja, I thought it would get delayed again. Tup-tup in early September ALAF keluar gamba kata dah print.

I was like, "What? But I haven't done anything!!!" and cecepat study camna nak guna photoshop (sebab akak yang dah tua ni dah malas nak belajar teknologi zaman sekarang).

So, for now, here's the details: the book is called AWAK SUNGGUH PERFECT, dan dipublish under banner ALAF 21 (kenapa? Sebab skrg Buku Prima fokus only on seram dan thriller.. or something like that). Untuk pembelian, mohon berikan maklumat seperti dibawah bagi urusan pos:
1. Nama Penuh.
2. Alamat Lengkap dan Poskod.
3. Nombor hp.
4. Nama yang mahu dicatitkan dalam buku.
Harga: RM27 + RM6 Kos POS LAJU.
Pembayaran melalui Maybank atas nama: Mohamad Feroz Bin Mohammad Zaini.
Nombor akaun - 112045101747.
Boleh kirimkan maklumat diatas samada melalui PM, sms atau whatsApp ke nombor 019 2254910 (Abang Long)

Setiap pembelian (for now) akan dapat:

sementara stok masih ada


Friday, May 13, 2016

Butterflies and Hurricanes

Today, I took back my manuscript from the publisher. And there had been speculations about why I did it. Some insinuated that I 'merajuk'. Some said that I got an offer from someplace else. Some even think that it has anything to do with royalty and publishing politics.

Sigh. People and speculations. 

So here's why.

I sent my manuscript on 11 April 2015. It was inspired by my (then still alive) cats, Mugabe, A'a, and Kimon (that's all I can say). In January 2016, I asked my editor about it, and he said that they have slotted in for April (as in for editing, not for release). April came and gone. By 11 May 2016, I asked him again, and then he told me.

There were some changes. Big changes. Not sure my manuscript will get to be released this year. So I asked him if I can take it back. He referred me to another editor. 

The second editor asked me why, and if I didn't want to write with Buku Prima again. I said that wasn't the case at all. It wasn't about money, about who gets what slot, merajuk and all that. Okay, so partly it is about the money, since I am 33. Let's be real. I am not writing for the fun of it. I write so I can eat and pay my bills. If I die today, I have nothing except for some cash in the bank, THAT's how dirt poor I am. So, it would be hypocritical for me to say that I am writing for the love of it. That shit ain't real. Girl gotta live.

Glad that's over with (I just get sick and tired with people trying to beautify the reality of life as a writer with words such as 'dream', 'passion', 'money don't matter' bladibla.... yeah, if you're 20. Try being a single woman at 33 working freelance. You got no time for that fable anymore).

Anyway. If you read my blog dated February, you would have already knew that I am burnt out as a writer. (Read the rest of the post because I am done talking about it and explaining it). It felt like I am doing the same thing over and over again. And I am Nurul Syahida. I don't do the same things over and over again. I used to quit my job with no plan at all. I invest in a business that goes nowhere, and then got entangled in a long court battle. That's how I roll (or Roul, if you catch my drift). I took a leap of faith, and more often than not, I failed. But failure, as much as success, is intoxicating. It even gets me closer to the Maker. 

But right now, I am at a point of my life that I am neither successful nor failed. I am at a static place, a place of comfort, where dreams die and passion goes to hell. I used to think at 30 I will migrate to Australia, selling karipap or kites at the beach. Living life. But where I am right now? At home, doing God knows what.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have what people called 'the writer's dream'. I don't dream of having my book on the bestseller's list for the rest of eternity. I don't dream of seeing it on the big screen (or the small screen for that matter). I don't dream about socialising with celebrities, becoming popular, becoming stinking rich that I can own my own island. My dream is simple. My dream is to become better. Better doesn't come with wealth and fame (having enough money to die and not worry about the family is enough). Better comes with growth.

When my editor told me about the big change in the company, I took it as a sign. The industry is at its balanced best/worst situation, people are getting skeptical about books, I keep on defending writers and books from naysayers than actually writing. I am already burned out from writing the same old thing. And here's my editor, telling me in a nutshell that the sales of my previous books are not putting me in the VIP section. I am a pariah, waiting for some accident in the schedules for my book to squeeze into. 

These are all signs. These are all reasons for me to try that leap of faith again. To do the things I always wanted to do but too afraid to do it for fear of losing what I already have. Now that I am losing what I already have, I have become scared. But it's a good scared. It's crazy "Shai is doing things with no Plan B" scared.

In short, I just want 60 year-old me (if I was still alive, that is. God knows who is holding the red button to the nuclear bombs right now, or if I am even alive next month) to know that I've tried. I want her to know that I took that leap, and that at the age of 60 (or 70 or whatever), I knew that the younger me didn't waste her time living in a comfort zone. That she tried. Succeeding or failing are not the measure here, but the mere fact that she wanted something and she tried getting it.

I owe that much to myself. 

So, what 'leap of faith' am I talking about? Pfft, like I'm gonna tell you that.

And for that manuscript, I don't know. I am still thinking about it. I may do some editing to suit the dates (it was written with the idea that everything ended in 2015 because it was the date I sent it, but now I have to change everything. And I mean everything!). I may publish it into a book, or I may just publish the content into my blog. I can't be selfish. I have readers, even if there isn't a lot of them.

But right now, I am high on that leaping energy. I am gonna go berserk for the rest of the year (questioning why am I doing this stupid crazy thing when I have something good going on, hitting my head on the table going "This is shit! This is shit!", and lie on the floor thinking about the purpose of life... oh yes, I am expecting all those things), but right now, that's all I want.
  
The randomness.


I am Frogger, the scaredy-cat amphibian who jumps across the busy street. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Caring too much emotionally, and couldn't care less physically. Otherwise known as emotional laziness.

I think I am having a middle-age crisis at 32 (going on 33 in a month. Yay!).

So if you're having that crisis at age 32, can you call it middle-age crisis? Or should it have its own name? Like, semi-middle age crisis, or post-20s crisis, or stupid-shit-women-in-their-30s-have-after-annoying-people-with-their-problem-when-they-were-in-their-20s?

Or should I just call it "The Inexplicable Syndrome of Annoyance Exclusively Facing Nurul Syahida Kamarudin and The People Who Think Like Her"?

Here are my symptoms:
1. Being annoyed with the situation of the situation around her but not being able to say anything about it because the situation involves people who may be her friends and/or colleagues.
2. Being annoyed by the helplessness of her aforementioned situation and yet doesn't even have any desire to change it.
3. Annoyed with her apparent laziness in trying to make any effort to change a thing she hopes can change, and being all, "Why should I change it? Why can't I just express my annoyance with it and let other people do something about it instead?"
4. Wanting to make an effort to save herself from the quicksand that is slowly engulfing her soul, and at the same time just wanting someone to come save her because she is sick of saving herself.
5. Hating the thought of being the kind of woman she hates, when she said she wants to be saved.
6. Understanding that her actual issue stems from the fact that she cares too much both emotionally and mentally, and yet couldn't care less physically. Like for example, "I care about my friend A and I would like to talk to her sometimes. And yet, I am too lazy to pick up the phone."
7. Bored by the status-quo and yet not interested to move forward.

I think the root of this issue is the fact that I am not able to express the anger I have with it publicly, to say what I really want to say. I think that's the same issue some politicians have. They may start wide-eyed and ambitious, looking at the system through the lens of justice, and then finding themselves slowly being dragged into the dirt by other politicians, who, ironically, started off as a wide-eyed ambitious person who wants to do good in the world as well.

Like a faeces-infested circle of life.

It's the feeling of being trapped inside this stupidity, the kind of stupidity where you just kinda point at it while talking to your friend and asked them "Can't you see how stupid this is?" and your friend said, "Not that I can see", and you're like, "Oh my God this is so stupid. I can't express it with direct words and yet nobody seemed to understand metaphors, so how am I supposed to do this?", and finally realising that I can't get away from it unless I break free, and yet I am too lazy to do it.

Is this because I am Malay? Or because I am an introvert? Or because I was never wired to be a person who can uphold social justice? Or is it just because I am just too lazy?

I think it's the last one.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Burnt

Mungkin agaknya sudah penat.

Atau mungkin sebab aku rasa tak fresh lagi.





Aku ada niat nak berhenti menulis buat seketika. Insya-Allah lepas ini, lepas buku baru aku keluar (tatau la bila, tapi dalam tahun ni la, kata editor), aku nak berhenti menulis sekejap. Sekejap tu aku tak tahu sampai bila. Mungkin dua tiga tahun. Mungkin lebih cepat, atau mungkin lebih lama.

Bukan sebab aku kering idea. Dalam otak aku ada banyak idea. Macam-macam. Inside, outside, tepi, tengah, belakang, bawah box sume ada.

Tapi sebab aku rasa tak fresh. Dulu bila menulis, aku rasa seronok. Aku seronok share idea, aku seronok do all those "jengjengjeng...TWIST!" kind of thing. Tapi sejak akhir-akhir ni, twist feels stale. The industry itself feels stale to me. It was the same thing. Tulis. Edit. Publish. Jual. Sign buku. Baca review. Somehow amid all that, aku dah lupa keseronokannya.

Mungkin sebab dulu, masa aku menulis, aku fikir nak bagi orang terhibur dengan apa yang aku tulis, to make them feel that they're not alone in whatever it is they are going through. There was no need to compete, to make sure buku tu terjual dengan banyak, there was no need to worry about the economy, about TV adaptations, what else I should do to sell my craft. But the more you grow, the older you get, writing a book is no longer just for the sake of writing stories. It's about sales, it's about survival, it's about entering a world where there is competition all around. And in order to survive, you have to wear white in the sea of white.

Somehow, cita-cita aku yang dulunya "penulis novel yang ada kerja sampingan lain" dah bertukar. Kerja sampingan yang lain tu dah jadi kerja tetap, dan menulis novel dah jadi sampingan sebab I need to live and writing a book just doesn't cut it. It doesn't pay the bills. I used to not care about the money, and cherish the excitement of telling stories. But even telling stories doesn't excite me anymore.

I will find my way. I will make my return. Maybe sooner than anybody expected. But for now, aku nak berenti sekejap. Aku dah 32 tahun. Aku perlu ada hala tuju. I am sick of the same love story. Kalau tak, aku akan continue spewing the same thing over and over again because the market is like that, and my readers will just say, "She's burnt out".

Aku berborak dengan seorang fellow writer yang juga dah mula rasa bosan menulis, yang nak tulis sesuatu yang lebih daripada apa yang dia biasa tulis. Tapi katanya it's like trying to do a stand-up comedy dalam Maharaja Lawak. You can make the funniest commentary about the socio-political situation of the world, but in the end orang gelak gila tengok pelawak yang pakai baju perempuan.

Hmmm....

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Portrait of a Cat that Once Lived

2012 to 15 November 2015
(this post is dedicated to my CAT DIARY readers on Facebook. If you're not one of em, feel free to follow me at fb/nsyahidakamarudin.)

Thank you guys for your kind words about Mugabe's passing. Some people might say, "Oh, it's just a cat. Grow up!", but of course, people who say that doesn't have cats/pets, so they don't understand the bond.

Some asked me why I decided not to euthanise Mugabe when he was suffering. That's because I didn't want him to die at an unfamiliar place, a place that he hated so much when he was alive. And although a lot of articles about euthanasia mentioned that cats do not have human emotion and would not understand anything except pleasure and pain (and thus dying at any place won't matter to them), seeing him breathing his last fresh air under the tree with squirrels running around and birds chirping was a picture that I would be happy to remember him by. I am not against people who decided to euthanise their cats, because any choice you have to make for your pet is hard and people do it in the best of intention. Nobody wants to hurt their loved ones. But this was a decision that I made because it felt right. In the end of the day, YOU know your cat. Not the vet, and not other people.

And after a week of force feeding, peeing on the bed pad, needing people to clean him with wipes, spending time watching videos of birds on YouTube, being carried everywhere he needed to go, I think he is all okay now, in his own castle in kitty paradise, boasting around other kitty souls about how he was the prince of darkness in his previous life. That darn cat might be bitching about me being an asshole owner, for all I know.

Of all the cats that I had before, I am more at peace with how Mugabe went. He caught six musk shrews the week before his condition went worse, and he decided to sleep on my bed for the two days before he died. He chose the tree when he knew his time was coming, and he passed away a few seconds before the rain started to pour. He didn't live long, but I am glad he lived a full life. He was the king of the neighbourhood outside, but was an obedient pet at home.

He had always been a sick cat, and I suspected that he had always carried the virus with him since day one (before the vets even knew about it), because he never seemed to be able to get well as quickly as the others. A lot of cats carry coronavirus, but only a percent of them get FIP, and sadly, he was the one percent. Only one percent of an FIP-infected cat survived, and sadly, he wasn't one of them.

Am I not angry at the vets for not detecting it soon enough? No. The disease is not easily detectable, and even when a vet diagnosed it, it's not a "Yes, this is it" kind of thing, but more of a "We have ruled out everything, so this is the only thing left" kind of thing. And unless you did a blood test, an x-ray, a few visit to several different veterinary clinic, chances are, you won't know them too.

Isn't it a waste of money to go to several vets to get their opinion just to have your cat died in the end? No. Because now I know that his death is inevitable, and that I have tried almost everything, and ensure everything before deciding on what to do with his life.

The only thing that I regretted is that I had plans with Mugabe for my new book. I wanted to promote the new novel with him being front and centre. He will be on the free gifts that will come with the book. But he left before it even get to be realised.

I will re-start Cat's Diary soon. Thanks again, guys.

Bye bye, buddy. See you when I see you.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ants Ants Ants

I champion black ants.

Not the thick one usually found on rambutan or mangosteen trees, but the normal domestic black ants, also known as common house ants.

I hate it when people kill those ants.

My mum is often annoyed that I wouldn't let her wash them away whenever they gathered inside a plate and steal leftovers. I'm like, "Mum, all you have to do is tap your hands on the table or the plate and they will go away in seconds!"

And why do you ask, that I like them so much?

Because they're friendlier than what comes next when they left their colony or being exterminated by pest control. You have the odorous ants, commonly known as 'semut busuk'or 'semut mayat', that don't care if you tapped the plate or the table, and will leave the terrible odour if you wipe them off the table. And they like to make nests in things that don't make any sense. Like in the cover of my favourite DVD, or my water bottle. Or God forbid, my books!

Then there's another species of ants, which is much much smaller than the odorous ants.

I hate them.

They're slow, they don't care and won't budge no matter how many times you shake the plate. And they bite. And they are so small, that sometimes you won't see them roaming around inside the carpet. Sometimes they bite you while you're asleep and all you see are red marks or bumps on your skin the next day. And they gather everywhere.

Of course, the best thing to have is no ants at all. But that is almost impossible, since we're living in a old terrace house, where there are cracks everywhere.

The existence of black ants helps minimise these other pesky ants.

A friend of mine tried exterminating all the black ants despite my telling her that she should't do so. What happens now? She has fire ants now.

Fire-friggen-ants!

Love your black ants, people!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Workin on my night cheese.... (title unrelated to the post)

"You keep talking about work. What have you been doing exactly?"

Why, let me introduce you to the things that I have been translating for the past two months.

Disclaimer though... when a translator gets transcripts, it doesn't mean they'll get the whole thing. So, sometimes I did only five out of 35 episodes, or 20 out of 25 episodes, or sometimes even only one out of 100 episodes. The work given to me is quite random and varying. Sometimes they even get like, episodes 1-5 of drama A, then something else, then suddenly episodes 8-20 of drama A again.

I have to make that disclaimer because...... reasons....

1. BABY STEPS 2


A Japanese anime about one tennis prodigy named Maruo Eiichirou who takes notes of other player's game plan and aims to go pro.

Yes, that's the premise.

It's different from my previous work, because I have to do it not just for subtitles but also for dubbing purposes, so it's quite fun and annoying at the same time. Fun, because I have to imagine how a voice actor should sound (you don't want them to sound too formal), at the same time making sure the sentences are still up to TV standard.

2. KIRAZ MEVSIMI



Or translated to English as CHERRY SEASON, a Turkish rom-com series about an aspiring fashion designer who falls in love with her childhood friend and being romanced by her idol's hunky son, while her best friend is a backstabbing bitch who just wants the world to burn.

Okay, that was a bit over the top. But that's the whole premise. I don't really like the whole "Oh my God, I am a cutesy helpless girl who needs these two architects (and a photographer mesmerised by my inner beauty) helping me in everything" storyline, but it has quite a tongue-in-cheek dialogues that I enjoy translating in Bahasa Melayu. When a drama has a witty script, you kinda want to get creative with it.

And Istanbul looks sooo beautiful in this series, I feel like packing my bags and go there. But I'm poor. Help me, I'm poor.

3. KAMBAL SIRENA



I get that she has to play the shirtless mermaid,
but why are you unbuttoning your shirt, man?
Or FOOTSTEPS OF A MERMAID in English.... or loosely translated as "Mermaid Twins". This is a difficult one to explain. A woman marrying a merman (that's male version of a mermaid, for those who don't know), ended up being pregnant with twins.... one, turned out to be a mermaid, complete with scaly fish tails, and the other a normal girl, who has fins behind her ears. Then something happened, the mum thinks her mermaid girl died, so she moved away from the island with her normal daughter, the mermaid girl was adopted by her mermaid grandmother, they grew up, fell in love with the same man without knowing it, and I don't know the rest of the story because it's still on air.

It's quite difficult for me to translate, not because the language is hard, but because I am not much a fan of these fantastical series. Filipinos have quite a lot of them. They have Indio, Kambal Sirena, Dyesebel, Amaya, Adarna... some of them I translated, some not.

And I know for a fact they try to keep the women's attention by finding reasons for Aljur Abrenica to show of his six pack. I mean, why are you shirtless on the corridor of your workplace? That doesn't make any sense. And what's with this dream sequence where you're brooding in the ocean? Whose wet dream is this???? (I suspect the scriptwriter).

4. ADARNA



Another one of those Filipino fantastical series (I know, I keep getting them. I don't mind though, as long as I am getting paid for it). This one tells the story about this one girl, Adarna, who has a huge hump in her back that causes all the pain and suffering from all the lame mockery from people, that includes the corny "She's the Hunchback of Notre Dame", to the is-this-a-diss? chant of "Hump! Hump! Hump!"

She lives with a stepmother and stepsister who act like any stepmothers and stepsisters in fiction of yesteryears, and somehow caught the eye of a famous basketball player of whom she once healed when they were kids, because... she... has... healing... powers... from... her... hump...? (I don't know. I never saw the first few episodes). Oh, and she talks to birds.

I decline to make further comments.

5. AMAYA



How can someone be this flawless? I don't get it!
Yes, I have been translating a lot of Filipino series. This one stars Marian Rivera, also known as ugly women's worst nightmare (seriously, how can someone be that gorgeous AND have that sexy hoarse voice at the same time? It's almost ridiculous). She plays the titular character, a woman who was prophesied to kill the strongest king called Raja Mangubat.

For those of you who watches dramas for the eye candy rather than the actual storyline, well.... voila. Gorgeous women and men (who seemed unrealistic for an epic costume drama supposedly occurred before the Spanish invasion... seriously, if Marian Rivera lives in that period of time, she will not have milky white skin and flawless hair... and Pan-Asian look). The men all wear cawat and show off their bods, so I guess the gymnasiums all over Manila got quite rich during production.  And that includes Aljur Abrenica.

Man, that dude is shirtless in everything.

6. CRAZY FOR YOU



An old Filipino rom-com (not that old though, It was a hit in the Philippines in 2006) that tells a story of an FWO (Filipino Working Overseas) named Janice who works in Spain as a maid, who later works in this one Filipino guy's apartment. They kinda keep writing notes to each other without ever meeting in person, and later he fell in love with her without knowing she is his maid.

I love translating it because of its cutesy witty dialogue. Like I said, it makes a translator wants to be creative when you get creative scripts. Sadly, I was only given two of these. I would love to translate more of this show.

7. INDIO



The story takes place after AMAYA, which means during the Spanish Invasion. It tells the story of a guy who has Herculean strength who didn't know that he has been working with the evil Spanish conquistador who killed his parents ....................................... yeah, that's it.

Weirdly enough, the people in this drama looks more like what people might look like in those days than in AMAYA. Oh and Aljur Abrenica is in it again. And get this, shirtless!

Ah, Aljur. You never fail to entertain.

Thank you. I'm glad that my shirtlessness entertains people.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Breaking a Promise

Yeah, I have broke my promise not once, but three days in a row. I will be back. I promise.

Aku berjanji dengan sapa dia tah....