Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Fantasy Kingdom Inside My Coat. It wasn‘t 2001: Space Odyssey that first portrays touch devices. It was the fairytale Evil Queen.

Little Riding Hood

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The Fame King
A foreign reporter once asked me to describe my country.

Who am I to answer this question since I'm only a jobless artiste trying to eke out a living, if there's even any. I was surprised by her question and simply replied humbly:

"I'm only a peasant in a little fairyland"

Upon hearing my reply, she gave out a hearty laughter implying as though I was joking. But I wasn't. She must have assumed I'm rich and successful by my clothing. But in this modern age, my detractors may argue - what fairyland?

Yet, how much of it has become the age where the lines separating fantasy and reality become ever increasingly and blurringly indistinguishable. As a poor but credible artiste in this fairyland called Malaysia, it becomes clearer to me of how much of my life resembles a fairytale. Firstly, I come from nothing and able to build myself into an artiste. But the journey of an artiste is full of unexpected twists and turns, more often left by the side of the road to rot and die. More often, we're purposely being stopped dead in our tracks by an evil sorcerer. The evil sorcerer would conjure up a spell that my image is wrong, distasteful and unfit to deceive the public. Truly, there's an evil force at work currently dividing our small village into a fantasy hierarchy of peasants, maidens, knights, princes and kings. Now, only princes and kings get to become artistes that's able to earn a living.

Forests of Lost Dreams
In this fairy unfair kingdom, many of its citizens are lost. Some are lost in the magic forests of unfulfilled dreams. Others are lost in their pursuit of fame and grandeur. But all are under the spell that they're either being shortchanged or extremely deserving of privileges. Fairy kingdom exists on the fuel created by this extreme polarization. The friction it made further enhances the magic fumes inhaled by its citizens on a daily basis that falls under that evil spell. All this fairytale chaos has caused its citizens to forget about the importance of appreciating the universal beauty of humanity regardless of who you are, thus depriving true artistes its livelihood. Its citizens no longer speak to each other in humanly terms of equality, but abandons each other in fear or only engages when to fulfill their selfish needs. Each house is kept in locks and keys for fear of the goblins, trolls and orcs. I used to cruised through this magical forests by wearing anything I want. But now I'm cloaked in my magical black coat for protection against evil. There used to be singing elves, dancing hobbits and merry fairies whom I greeted without fear of offense. But now there are no singing and dancing of spontaneous joy. Only the loud thumping drums of propaganda, lies and fear resounding daily throughout this magic kingdom.

Fantasy Mirrors Life
Escapism is the magic pill everyone in fairyland takes constantly. Reality in fairyland is not made of dreams. It is steeped with lies, betrayal, political ties and deception. If you are Sleeping Beauty, you never want to wake up. Snow White is being held captive, raped, tortured and enslaved by the Seven Dwarves. The Evil Queen is multi-touching her magic mirror with wifi connection. Strangely, nearly all village peasants now owns a magic mirror themselves to create and conjure a fantasy of their own while emailing their desperate requests to the Evil Queen. (in which she immediately marks as spam.) For a long while, the villagers felt abandoned and decided to channel their anger towards anyone who seemed differrent. They began to delve deeper into the fairytale of their own-making through their magic mirrors of various sizes ranging from tiny 4-inch smartphones to 18-inch mega tablets. Reality is harder to swallow than fantasy. Magic mirrors seem like the only way out and are becoming less and less expensive, thus enabling almost everyone the opportunity to realise, create and conjure a fantasy of their own making - opening a ray of light into this fairytale kingdom of darkness.

The Evil Queen
Life is a Journey
A true artiste is never recognised and given a career in his own fairy village. Instead, the villagers would worship the false artistes as mandated by the Evil Queen as deserving and true. So real and talented artistes have no voice and expression of their own. Either conform or die. Many are forced to flee from their village before the vulnerable villagers are put under a spell and transformed into an angry and murderous mob. The life and journey of an artiste being abandoned and demonised by his own village is a tumultous one. Like a hobbit on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy the ring of fire where it was forged - the artiste, therefore must become a forger himself in the face of tremendous adversity in order to survive. Forging îmages to persuade the moves of knights and pawns in this chess of magical life. But what characteristics of a fairytale that convinces the artiste that he must delves into the mystics of forgery?

The Little Mermaid
Good versus Evil
If you're a credible artiste surviving in a Third World village, never will you witness how much evil is at work.  Or to experience the transformation of your fellow friends and family into goblins, orcs, trolls and witches of evil. The fairytales you read in your childhood are all real. Witness how your friends' worldview becomes smaller and narrower once they commit and willingly enslave themselves into the institution of marriage, work, corporate world and systemized religious institutions. All are deceived to believe that where they are living now are the real worlds. They are all under the spell that their worlds are true and yours are not. It's all turned upside down. Evil is regarded as good and vice versa.

Dangers Everywhere
Your friends, family and loved ones would warn you against stepping outside of your village and they retold their own version of the fairytale to themselves for fear of falling into dangers. Witness the vast and diverse array of negatively perceived societal labels we put on ourselves in the tiny village we live in. Straights. Gays. Tranny. Bisex. The gays and trannys are evil, so stay away from them! Being a tiny village, small-mindedness reigns supreme. To further compound an insignificant issue, our self-appointed knights, princes and dukes gather to issue a mandate throughout this fantasy kingdom to systematically divide its people into racial categories. Thinking they are doing their kingdom a service but not knowing that evil is born this way.

Orcs, trolls and goblins are constantly unleashed and released to the wild. They are always on the hunt for the innocent villagers - how they dress, what they do, what they say to their magic mirrors, whether or not they follow the rules and traditions. If anything is not told in the right and proper way, capture the culprit and lock them in the dungeon! The reason why these orcs, trolls and goblins become as powerful as they are now is because the villagers paid too much attention to them. Devoid of independent thought, these villagers conform to groupthink and some, thinking they're cleverer than the rest, enforce even more ludicrous dresscode and fear-based traditions of their own - thus deepening the swirl of their own bull. Unfortunately, most of the other villagers either do nothing, sit on their mushroom stools or conform whole-heartedly for fear of repeat invasions of these vicious goblins and orcs.

Villagers in this fairyland desperately wants to feel safe and secure. Sensing their building insecurities, the head of the village with the secret help of witches and demons concocted a powerful delusion of superiority in the minds of these villagers. This powerful spell of know-all and I-deserve-everything-by-my-status was achieved at the expense of depriving other smaller villagers that does not meet the head villager's fantasy colour code map. This way the head villager doesn't have to do anything at all yet gaining the favour of the majority of the villagers.

To separate a troll from a fairy is no longer based solely on outward appearances in this modern age. A goblin lookalike may surprise you with his heart of gold. So can a prince in shining armor that makes you feel despicable with his evil scheming. The wise will take to heart to see things beyond just mere appearances.

Sleeping Beauty
Fantasy in Reality
We all started in life believing a fairytale - one form or another. Children are born being made to believe that their parents are the kings and queens. When lovers meet, they project their own fairytale vision upon their partners. When in marriage, husbands and wives would build their own "little kingdom" by having children. Children and babies by themselves seem so magical on their own that many couples would do anything to have one. But unknowing to many, the magic stops once the babies start to cry. On a macro level, advertising are concocted spells to make you feel that you're the one when you buy the product. Young people are like little elves, vulnerable to the spells of advertising. I was an elf once and believed in the PM's vision of 1Malaysia.

I have good Malay friends from high school whom are extremely friendly, kind and sporting - at least to me. But as one matures from an elf into a beautiful prince, one realizes not everyone is the same in this fantasyland. I persevered onto this belief we can all be 1Malaysia, so I bought an apartment in a Malay-majority neighborhoood. I even rented out the rooms to anyone regardless of their race, creature status or magical affiliations. But this fairytale in my head was soon crushed when I approached this neighbor whom I never knew before, to inform them to restrain their grandchild from vandalising the walls of my castle door. The kopiah-headed Malay man, whom I presumed to be a responsible man came storming out after me like a man gone amok. I noticed his wardrobe: kopiah, long white robe and thought him to be a religious and patient man. But his actions communicated otherwise. His animal screamings woke up nearly the entire village where most came out from their hobbit holes to see what the fireworks was about. If you put another Chinese guy in this fairyland context, he would immediately assume all Malays behave like that. Many do.

To me, it's not about race and religion. But in fairyland, everyone falls captive to the superficial and artificial. The truth no one dares to admit is it's all about human greed. I have Chinese Christian godparents from young, and thought of them highly. The magical powers surrounding me as a child has served me well in gaining their favours in living in their giant castle and always travelling in golden carriages. Whenever I went back to my evil mother, she would violently pull me down from the dream of a magic child out from her rage and jealousy.  The constant pulling in and out from fantasy soon began to take a toll - blurring the lines of what's real and false. The magical powers surrounding me as the magic child slowly vanished when my rich godparents have children of their own. I willingly become the Cinderella - taking care of their golden children while forfeiting my own growth's sake, thinking my sacrifice would be reciprocated. Soon, when my skills are no longer needed, this Cinderella was cruelly banished into the magical forest without her glass slippers and a pitiful few hundred ringgit as compensation.

Prince Charming
Downside in Fairyland
Such are the devious, narrow and limiting natures of fairytales. It tears you sideways and inwardly by altering your view of the world. It may fill you with hope, but it does not drive you to take actions to vanquish the screaming creature or take notice of the abandonment. You are stuck where you are without knowing. It slowly turns you to become secretive, vindictive and malicious. You began to treat everyone in a class-like system. The peasants you ignored, based on their looks and short stature. The dukes and datuks you worship. You'll become suddenly energized when approaching a muscular guy or model-like gal but easily irritated by even the smallest issue. You think you own the Ring, but in truth it owns you!

After all that magical experience, I realised something about this type of fairytale monsters. Firstly, they crave attention even when they claim they don't. Secondly, you cannot communicate to them like normal human beings do. And finally, they'll come to you only when you have something they want. Such a goblin is incapable of experiencing joy because they're too used to thinking of what they deserve, too suspicious of other non-goblins and proud with delusions of the grandest show of superiority through charity. So how does one protect themselves from such evil-fantasy creatures of violent tempers and insidious nature? Not by shield or sword. Simply, by the discipline of the mind - don't pay them any attention. And all illusions of their fierceness and all-powerfulness vanished just like that - at the whiff of the wind, finally revealing them the goblins they truly are.

In fairyland, its citizens are classified according to its outward appearances, status and affiliation to the brotherhood of deserving privileges. There is no equality and social progress in fairyland society. This is because everyone are too vain and busy trying to look "perfect" in front of their magic mirrors while snapping a selfie too. Perfection is prized above equal rights for all humanity. Especially perfection in religion, race and outward appearances. Couples get married to show off that they are now mature, hence distancing themselves from their single friends. Their own problems become magically bigger than everyone else's. Wives manipulated husbands to get children. Husbands manipulated wives so they can get the castle and keep the harem.

This manic chase of a fairytale perfection has rendered its citizens incapable of thinking, reasoning and communicating beyond the concept of morality - everything from sexuality to the exposure of your skin are either good or bad. All fairyland citizens are under this chasing-after-perfection spell and thus, delusional and ultimately lost in the dark forests of their own small-mindedness. They think everything lasts forever - from their pride of how stylish their clothing may be to the status of being the privileged one at the expense of belittling other citizens' equal rights to be too. They are showy, temperamental and believes that all material wealth they've hoarded, inherited and stole will lasts forever. With their pride as great as their ego, these fairyland denizens waste their time and energy demonizing other minorities, while taking everything for granted.

Last Words in Spell
Therefore, we must all be aware of the fairytales we're told in the movies, TV dramas, serials and news. Some are real. Some are not. You will find trolls underneath any religiously dressed man. Or be enlightened to uncover a true king even in the worst beggar's clothing. Never judge a man or woman merely by outward appearances. Detach yourself from everything. Most importantly, treat everyone the same and with dignity. These 3 principles are all you need to follow in this journey of life. Not a mountain of traditions, complex spells of beliefs, potions and regulations created by your elders, parents or leaders. Complexity is an evil harness meant to blind and enslave you to do their biddings.

As I begged for excuse from the foreign reporter who queried me earlier, she kindly corrected me, "No, you're not a peasant. You're a genius!".

To me, that probably means I'm crazy.