what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ~ william shakespeare

one of the magazines i write for maintains an air of exclusivity. not that i’m complaining. i can see how the magazine easily reaches a few hundred thousand readers every month. it’s just that for the rest of the masses, there are only certain places where you can get that magazine.

honestly, i actually like it that way. J and i had an argument yesterday about how i actually like to remain simply a faceless name, fade into the background, and watch the world go by. he, on the other hand, feels that the pseudo-celebrity status that comes with the name, deserves to be flaunted.

we were at one of the places where the magazine is available yesterday. since my photo is on the contributors list this month, i insisted in being as covert as possible. he relented, but only because he planned to sneak out the copy and did not want to attract the attention. or did he? while waiting for the waiter to bring the bill, he opens the magazine to the editorial glory page and sprawls it on the table with the intention of letting the outlet’s management knows just who’s eating there.

my coincidental savior was JS who skipped in just moments before the waiter came back. she picks up the magazine. attention diverted, J starts taking to her and i am saved from being recognised by another stranger. instead, J and JS together stole the magazine and went to show others we later met up with. J proudly proceeded to pour out all the other magazines i write for – three magazines this month alone! all features. wow!

i don’t recall particularly doing well in the physical limelight. i get all awkward. the several broadcast auditions i have attended never received callbacks. i am an automatic wallflower in most parties so i do not choose to attend many, if any at all. my definition of feeling loved comes from serenity. intimacy of friends. genuine joy.

when my first scientific nature article came out – it was about tree frogs and a mutated plant fungus that were killing amphibians – the zoology curator told me that of all the people that have written about the fungus, i was the only one to get all the facts right. i met him later that evening. he was showing his beloved frogs to everyone at the gym.

the picture of a few kids i photographed a few months ago recently came out in a magazine. their faces glowed when they saw it and they crowded around the eldest among them – a nine-year-old – as she slowly reads to them what the article said. every time one of their names were mentioned, they would squeal and giggle. a week later, i received two scrawny handwritten letters from them, thanking me for the article – one of them, by that nine-year-old, on behalf of her five-year-old, and three-year-old sisters.

that my friends, is genuine appreciation. the kind i aspire for. i am not saying that blatant glam is not meaningful. i just feel that it is unnecessary to be different. the best of my stories have always been about ordinary-ness. god knows that the alter egos of past phases in life have attracted sufficiently enough of a legacy (just the other day AI told me that a junior debater kirim salam, and i have no idea who she is). i learnt that if you push the glam-factor, it gets old after awhile.

tell me you have read and enjoyed my writings if you want to (on a flight back from kuching a few weeks back, some lad recognised me and did just that). that’s fine. all are welcome. tapi tak payah la nak go around and announce to everyone who i am.


One thought on “what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ~ william shakespeare

  1. Just sharing pieces of my old fashioned thoughts here. Glamour = tempting = temporary. It can be quite tempting at times to show off a bit, how long ppl will take notice of us. Question is whether ur works has actually touched people heart or change somebody life at one point or another. Trust me, enriching somebody’s life & creating happiness for them with small piece of our actions are way better & more satisfying. Living in moderation might not be the “in” thing but could be meaningful if we believe in wat we’re doing. Think of the old Malays saying “Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama”

    way to go gal…

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