Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ayam Fared & Pada Sebuah Ketentuan

Today I am highlighting  an interview I did  Ayam Fared in 2011 and the story appeared in the sun newspaper on June 1, 2011 
Here is the article 

Headline: Voice Of Dissent  
By Bissme S 

Ayam Fared is not one to keep his thoughts to himself. In his second book, Pada Sebuah Ketentuan (It is Fated), he lashes out his anger and pours out his sadness and disappointment about the society he lives in.    
“Many of us prefer to close our eyes to the wrongdoings that take place in our society,” says the author, who is also a theatre artiste and an activist and prefers to be known by his assumed name, Ayam Fared.
“We don’t want to stick our necks out and jeopardise our comfortable life to right a wrong. We’re constantly living in fear. We’re selfish and we only think about ourselves.
“But what is the meaning of life if we don’t take risks and try to make the society that we live in a better place?” 
Pada Sebuah Ketentuan covers a series of poems and short notes, with some witty and sarcastic recollections. It follows in the same vein of his first book, Stabil, where he also sounds out his thoughts about life and society.
But in Pada Sebuah Ketentuan, Ayam gets more personal and inward-looking. He questions about the roads he has chosen to take in life.
He finds himself asking the question: “Should I stay in this line and continue with what I am doing. Or should I just quit.”
He adds: “I have still not found the answer to that question. But writing this book has given me some kind of motivation to stay stronger.”
In a lighter note, Ayam also lets loose with some humour in the book.
One of the gems in Pada Sebuah Ketentuan centres on a conversation he has with a pirate DVD seller who, surprisingly, prefers to watch movies in the cinemas.
Another anecdote tells of two girls who want to borrow Ayam’s clothes for a TV shoot. It turns out that they are playing beggars and his clothes, according to them, are just right! 
Another classic gem involves an incident that takes place at Ayam’s cousin’s wedding.
An uncle pesters him to get married, and Ayam tells his uncle that since he is dead against the monarchy system, he has no intentions of becoming ‘king for a day’ (the groom in a Malay wedding is often called ‘raja sehari’).
Despite these amusing anecdotes, Ayam has pulled no punches in the bold statements he makes in the book about life and society in general.
He openly writes about experimenting with weed and whisky. Such episodes have been included in the book because he wanted to show that not all who smoke weed and drink whisky are bad people.
“I don’t want to be a hypocrite and paint a false picture of my life,” he says, adding that life is not always black and white.
“It’s very narrow-minded when people judge you bad just because you consume alcohol. There are worse things in the work.
“Life is not that simple. People who divide their lives into black and white are wasting their lives away. I want people to realise this and celebrate the multi-colours that exist in our lives.”
Yet, he points out that society tends to stereotype artistes like him with the notion that they cannot write if they are sober.
“Well they are wrong,” he states. “I wrote this book when I was sober.”
However, not everyone can digest the frankness in Pada Sebuah Ketentuan and some may accuse Ayam of courting controvery.
“I write not because I want to become famous,” says Ayam. “I write because I want to express my emotions and vent out my frustrations.
“Even if nobody wants to publish my books, I’ll still write and I’ll find other ways to get my work read. Perhaps, I’ll resort to Facebook.”
Going against the mainstream seems to be in his nature. Even the cover of this book smacks of controversy. It has a picture of him in the nude looking up.
He explains: “I am just looking up at the sky and waiting for God to come down and make everything okay.”
Despite the labels he has been given, Ayam insists: “I’ve never called myself an artiste, activist or an author. Those words are just labels to me.  Maybe, it’s fated that I walk this line (being an artiste).
“My intuition always tells me that if you follow the road that the majority has chosen, then the risk of being on the wrong road is very high.
“The majority always has the power and ultimately, we know power corrupts. I would rather be standing on the outside.” 

The cover of Ayam's Book 

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