Archive for May, 2011


The above is the published letter to the editors in The Star by one of our authors, Benjamin Yau on 30 May 2011, which is edited to suit the norm of the readers.

The original letter looks like this:

Dear editor,

The recent fiasco on Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships may end in another few days after the Prime Minister promise to probe into the issue, but this doesn’t mean that it can solve the same problem that have been recurring for years once and for all.

Whether the people in the PSD who are in charge to award the deserving applicants their scholarships are having double standards or otherwise, they would know best.

But what I would like to shine the light on is the number of applicants who apply for Overseas Degree Program Scholarships (PILN) that is greater than those who apply for Local Degree Program Scholarships (PIDN). When the results of the scholarships distribution are announced, many amongst the PILN applicants were disappointed and disheartened by the decision of getting a PIDN scholarship instead of the PILN scholarship they apply.

There are several good points about studying locally. But why were they sad?

The reason lies in the lack of confidence towards local universities. How are we going to convince the applicants that studying in local universities is as good as studying abroad, when the rankings of our local universities that indicates the reputation and competitiveness of the universities (Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia are ranked 207, 263 and 309 respectively by QS World University Rankings in 2010) are in such a deplorable and embarrassing state?

Therefore, there is a necessity to revamp and to improve the quality of the universities in order to be at least on par with other universities in the region (Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia are ranked 39 and 53 in the QS Asian University Rankings 2011) and attract scholars to opt for local universities when furthering their higher education.

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By BENJAMIN YAU

At a certain point in our lives, there lived a moment where we would endure a moment of joy, an ecstatic joy, an inexplicable elation, a moment where words lose its significance to those escalating emotions, a moment where we have been awaiting for. For me, that moment of ecstasy is where I take my last breath and sight before falling into eternal slumber.

My heavy eyelids took like an eternity to be raised, and another eternity to accustom to the blinding morning rays that penetrated through the windows of my room. Fresh and invigorating crisp air couldn’t be instantly scent, as my deteriorating sense of smell, like my other senses, was failing me as each numbered days gone by. But soon, the boisterous chirping of the myna bird lured me to throw a blurry stare to the ever-magnificent view of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range. Instead of gasping in awe, I led out some hacking coughs that throw my lungs out, indicating the little time I could still tolerate with life’s last challenge.

A couple of knocking sound was heard from the door. With nearly all my strength, I spoke the commonest words “Come in” with a distorted tone and a weak voice. The door screeched open to reveal the visitor, which happens to be my personal caretaker and the person that I have devoted my sincere love since more than half a century ago and still kept to the devotion, and vowed to keep it until my last breath, which was going to take place soon. This person is none other than my loving wife, and she came in with a tray of scrumptious looking breakfast along with some medications. She sat on my side, slowly inserting spoons of warm and aromatic congee into my dry mouth. I looked at her occasionally, and she still looked ever-gorgeous and gracious, despite the cruelty of time and age had built countless crates and valleys on her once youthful face. Knowing that this might be our last rendezvous, I whispered to her in an undertone, to ask her consent to re-enact those loving and intimate moments that we did since half a century ago. She agreed and held her lips to meet mine. Passionately, we had our final kiss, and strangely, that kiss had as though gave me some energy as I felt more awake than the last few days I were on the same bed.

They say that the final few moments of one’s life would be exceptionally awake and energetic, and so I wondered: is that the premonition that is happening to me? Has the countdown timer started? Not long after she left, a phantasmagoria of mirage presented before my eyes. It looked familiar, it looked surreal, it looked rather recognisable. It was scenes of my past re-enacting before my death bed! All of those joyous moments, from childhood to teenage life, from being successful in career to having a family of myself and even carrying my first grandchild, all of those unspoken happiness, performed in a panorama of sepia images. Water gradually gushed out from my pair of old eyes, with each drop expressing gratefulness to the Lord and telling indescribable happiness.

All of a sudden, a strong gush of wind blew into the room swiftly, and took away the mirage and disapparated it in thin air. I looked towards the mountain range. It was a picture of the magnificent ball of fire firing its remaining rays while approaching the horizon, bringing this part of the world towards nightfall. A twilight scene at my twilight moments, I thought. Another series of knocking was faintly heard. With my rather drenched energy due to reliving the joy and excitation moments, I welcomed in. It was a delegation of my family members, heralded by my first son that came to visit me. They approached and surrounded my bed, looking solemn and lugubrious. Probably because of the grim and sad air filling the room, my youngest grandson broke into tears. I caressed his hair with my rough wrinkled hand, telling him that it’s nature’s law to have everything that begun to end. After pausing a few moments, I expressed, “You should know that I am proud of you for what you are today. Thank God I have lived to see this day, with no regrets,” Shortly, I led out a few more lengthy breaths.

Silence lurked in my room, but in my head, some familiar hymns were sounded. One of them was something like “This is the day the Lord hath made” which was used in a blissful ceremony to tie the knot with my beloved wife, and the last tune was a choir singing melodiously, signifying my last moment on Earth. It was “Amazing Grace”, beautifying all the gifts bestowed from the Lord above, praising the Lord above for His blessing to me throughout my 78 years of life. Finally, happiness took dominion over my body, and with bliss I led out my last breath and having my eyelids closed, for eternity. The moment I have been waiting for had arrived.

Fortitude

Fortitude
By : Lim Li Anne
Author’s note :
This was actually a prologue of a story written at a dark night many, many months ago. Since the previous post was related to war, hence, I found this fitting. Enjoy.

“I’m not afraid of death. It’s the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life.”
 – Jean Giraudoux Prelude

“Just what would you do to prove your determination?
To stand upright and whip out dictations,
As the rest gaze at you with admiration,
While you try to dish out everything with perfection.

Just what would you do to correct your wrongs?
To end the hypocrisy that has been there for too long,
As you endure the mockeries that resemble hurtful songs,
While struggling to erase mistakes carved on that statue of bronze.

Just what would you do to live life to the fullest?
|To take chances and attempt to soar to the highest,
As obstacles hurl themselves with their toughest,
While you join the rest and together shine the brightest.

Just what would you do to show your love for others?
Respect for your parents, affection for your brothers,
As arguments escalate and force apart the set of lovers,
While you try to fill up the cracks with sand and withered roses…”

My fists balled up tightly, crushing the bloodstained piece of paper tightly in the palm of my hand. I closed my eyes and tried to stop the pounding in the base of my skull, the regret that coursed through my veins like a live fire.

The truth was, I would have done anything.

All I needed was to try, to attempt, to at least make a simple effort.

 I could not even do that.

Brushing away the hair that was obstructing my vision, I knelt down. The cold, hard granite was rough and uncomfortable on my knees, and it especially stung at the scar that would permanently be there. I shook my head. It would be a reminder of what a fool I was. It was a reminder that you were once alive but was gone for good. It was a reminder that I had caused this. A reminder. A reminder. A damn reminder that I was never good enough.

Your initials were carelessly scratched at the bottom of the headstone, where I knew you were resting, somewhere below. And that was where I silently placed the small bunch of flowers I had picked at the valley side. I remember what you loved most – carnations. Should I initiate a prayer? Perhaps. I did not cry, for I knew you hated it the most when I did.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally found the strength to stand up. It was dusk, and your resting place was overlooking the seas of Rothna. Seagulls were soaring in the sky, not knowing or caring about the incident that took place just a few hours ago. Everything was dyed red, the rippling waters, the flurry of sand, the swaying palm trees, young children that were running to their mothers. Many people were shaken, but life still had to go on. Dinner and sleep would come. And dawn would arrive the next day, erasing any evidence of a violent battle that took place the day before.

I was taught to grieve, to mourn, but not to let it hold me back forever. Losing lives in a battlefield was a common occurrence – I needed to tell myself that this was just another unfortunate case, a case that was no special than any other lost life.

 The wind blew.

Grass tickled my ankles, water drops from strong waves sprayed onto my face.

I unfolded my palm, and allowed the wind to carry the piece of crumpled paper away.

 

Carry on.

 

 I would find the strength. Somehow.

thefourlobes is glad and proud to received it’s first work from a contributing writer! Without further ado, thefourlobes presents, The Poem for Tonight by anon.

The Poem for Tonight

Under the dark curtains of the night
Where the mundane children of the light
Were tired and filled with appetite
But the haunting children of the night
Through the darkened sky had taken flight

Under the stygian cloak of the night
Slumber fluttered gracefully light
Careful to avoid candles so bright
Whispered to children deep in sleep quite
Reciting the poem for tonight

Under the deathly veils of the night
Hypnos flows subtlely into sight
Meadows of flowers dance in delight
A malevolent horse full of fright
Dreams are but dreams of an abstract site

Under the somber wings of the night
The children drifts on in Nyx’s might
As Age continues his solemn plight
And man continues their futile fight
Under the heartless gaze of twilight

The second work published, “Love’s Reminder” received some positive response, which marks a good sign for this site.

For the next few days, thefourlobes will present to you the first published publication of thefourlobes subscription, which is the “The Moment I Have Been Waiting For” series. Enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                

By LIM ZI SHAN

Wearing my pristine white dress, a glass of wine in my hand, I closed my eyes, savouring all that is happening and revolving around me. My heart was content. All the years of sweat and tears finally paid off. Being in this very simple room, around the crowd of people, I was filled with joy that I myself could not comprehend. Notwithstanding the fact that I was once shunned, rejected, criticise or made a fool of, I finally made it. Together with my crew, I manage to clime the ladder of success.

All of a sudden, the lights dimmed. Intakes of breath could be heard, it was time. The time the truth will finally be unveiled. Looking at the creamy yellow envelope in the long hands of the master of ceremony. My heart started pounding. As he slowly opened the envelope, sweat tickled down my forehead. His careful and snail-like movement raised anticipation, excitement as well as trepidation in every single one of us. When the results finally emerged, silence fell. The sudden pitch made by the microphone reverberated throughout the room. I swallowed hard as the emcee slowly reached for the microphone. I closed my eyes again, silently praying to God.

As if God had answered my prayers, the emcee announced my name. I could not believe my ears. Tears swelled in my eyes. The spotlights are on me now. It’s my time to shine. My have finally been discovered. I am no longer the amateur that most regarded me as, fearful, timid. Now I stand before them, tall and proud. A woman who is filled with pride and joy of her work. I  am no longer the amateur that most regarded me as, fearful, timid. Now, I stand before them, tall and proud. A woman is filled with pride and joy of her work. I placed my glass on the table. Slowly, with my hands and legs slightly trembling, I stood up. I gave a bent to the audience. “Please, Miss Lim. The stage is yours,” said the host for tonight. I gave a slight nod of comprehension. Clutching tightly on the hem, I took a deep breath. With careful and precise movement, I walked towards the stage.

Feeling all eyes on me, I smiled. There was nothing to be afraid of, I have earned it. Elated, I went towards the emcee with slow strides. Clutching the award in my hands, I pondered for a brief moment. I had no clue in what to say. Images of my past flashed through my mind. My parents, my friends, my rivals, my companions… these are the people who made me who I am today. I had so much to say, I wanted to pour out till my heart is content. Yet, I know better to do so.

Sniffing and blinking back tears, I tried to control my overwhelming emotions. Control, that was what he taught me. Never let your feelings cloud your judgements, he always say. How could I ever forget? Thanks to him, I made it here. Reaching out my hand for the microphone, I gave the audience a brilliant smile. I will thank them later, I will do it personally. I will give them what they should deserve, a real thanks. The emcee broke the silence, “Is there anything you wish to say?” I focused on the audience, gave a ninety degree bow and said “thank you”.

Silence continue enveloping me, panicked began to rise. Standing here, on this stage, I felt lost. I looked down at my feet, my good mood rapidly deteriorated. I wanted to cry, hide in a hole. Without any warning, one stood and clapped. Slowly as if the audience have followed his pace, another stood and clapped. Soon, the audience gave me a standing ovation.

Yes, this is it. All I have ever dreamt of. All my fantasies becoming a reality. I looked up. My heart filled with the upmost joy. This is it. This is the moment I have been waiting for.

Love’s Reminder
By : Lim Li Anne

To them, you were the gentle moon that caressed the land
With its silvery glow glinting off the sand
To them, you were the majestic sun that hung in the sky
That casted shining rays and brought things to life.

To me, you were nothing but a mere apparition
Or a twisted smother of fiction
Sent from hell to torment, to lie, to send palpable waves of despair
I told myself, strictly, firmly, to beware.

But then you began to show me the world
With you being staggeringly bold
Resistance was futile ; previously I would have run
But now I admit that was how it humbly begun.

A lost being would always be lost without one’s guidance
And it takes more than willpower to break the lost one’s resistance
You led me out of the dark, and I realized I had misjudged you
For you were more than what I expected, a being who was never a fool.

The seasons flew, the stars blinked their last
Reality struck me, a pole that swung too fast
The barrier had been shattered, the last secrets revealed
How exquisite you were, a being I could never deceive!

Looking back at the beginning, I realized that they had misjudged you too
For you were much more than just the sun and the moon
You were the never-ending music that flowed in my veins
Strength that never yielded,  courage that never faded.

Gestures of affection, though exchanged
Led only to efforts that were in vain
Your love for everything was just too great
What person would I be if I were to deny you your fate?

The answer is clear, it matters not now
The things I can love are unlimited, and with that I shall not frown
You were the light that guided me, and out of treacherous roads
You taught me how to fill the world, with resplendent rainbows.

My life is spread out before me, a shining plane of brilliance
As you inspired me, I too shall inspire others
And with my hopes, my dreams, I shall walk the path I desire
And though you would walk differently, I would always remember

The person who made a difference, the person who cared
Perhaps we would be together someday, snuggled in a lair
However, for now, let me give you a toast
To one of the most inspiring person I have ever met, a true friend I can boast.

Now, before going into the work, let me explain about the categories:

Frontal Lobe: Posts regarding emotions and feelings
Parietal Lobe: Posts regarding observations and opinions
Occipital Lobe: Fictional posts/Posts about future
Temporal Lobe:  Posts regarding past events
Cerebellum: Posts by readers

This post, I would classify it as both Frontal Lobe and Parietal Lobe. Enjoy.

(An untitled piece about love)
-by Lionel Lee Chia Pu 

I saw your face,
absorbing in all the features,
the minute details that other people just couldn’t care,
slowly, gently,
my affections for you grow steadily,
like a train of hope heading to your heart,
hoping to reach the station of desire,
my timid, small heart fills up with love,
rapidly overflowing past the brim
pounding with excitement in an intensity unrecorded,
blessing me courage to go to the distance,
to win your golden heart,
to be mine forever.

Love,
is vast and omnipresent,
giving people untold joy,
from the small, faint heartbeat of an ant,
to the majestic, steady heartbeat of a whale,
each have emitted light of unparallel radiance,
to that special someone,
bringing more happiness to this extraordinary world,
giving more purpose to live to the fullest everyday.

You,
took my breath away,
leaving me dumbfounded,
like the only sunflower swaying in the gentle wind,
among the common plains,
shining in my time of darkness,
always there when I am down in the doldrums,
lifeting me up to reality,
guiding me, nurturing me,
to be more than someone,
I am starstruck,
what a friend you are,
never knowing my feelings to you,
slowly,
pangs of doubt and fear gnawed at my heart,
will you only be my friend through eternity, or
that special soulmate,
my heart is torn into two,
but I know for sure
I LOVE YOU

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death. – John F. Kennedy

(They use the word Howdy to greet us in WordPress.)

Howdy! Behold, the new online publication, consisting writings of various young authors on various topic and subject, be it literature works, or factual essays.

Now, you may wonder: why thefourlobes? Why not something else?

Here’s how the term “thefourlobes” got inspired:

It was Fourth of May that the first ever printed publication of a series of compositions by four people was published. (Well, to be honest, it’s just photocopies of the essays handed in as an English assignment.) There were four photocopies, with three of them given to subscribers. It cost four ringgit and fourty cents to photocopy (with my sister’s geography textbook photocopy). So yeah, the four comes from here. (Besides, it sounded like the word ‘fore’.)

And yes, the brain has four lobes (excluding the cerebellum, which also have lobes too).

Okay, be serious. Why lobes, why not four seasons, four noble truths, four heavenly kings, four great elements etc.?

Well, my explanation: The brain is the central nervous system, the brain governs our conscious actions, the brain interprets senses and produces nerve impulses to enable response. (So much for the biology I studied.)

We have feelings and emotions, and at the same time we have senses to conduct observations on the surroundings, and deduce reactions or thoughts. The brain is where both parts meet, where both situations can be produced, and where we can convert these thoughts and feelings or emotions into words.

(For your information, the frontal lobe governs conscious thought (which means  to differentiate between good and bad and so on); the parietal lobe integrates sensory informations; the occipital lobe contains the primary visual cortex and is where dreams come from; the temporal lobe involved in auditory perception and forms long-term memory.)

Our tagline is: Celebrating Ideas, Exploring Perspectives, and we strive (or try) to achieve that through the articles and compositions.

Unfortunately, this is not a periodical online publication, which means articles will be post if there are articles to post. But do subscribe to our feed or put our website into a reader to follow up to any post.

Last words… enjoy reading!

Regards,
Benjamin aka blue sky

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