For Devotees and Disciples of JOM!

Let's take things in order

1) Getting up in public and saying how much you hate it when people tell you they liked your work, especially in a situation where people have (possibly because they meant it, possibly because of social politeness) just been telling you they liked your work, is rude, barbaric and uncivilized. And it's foolish. The action of telling a writer or artist or creative people you liked their work is a way of trying to give something back for the pleasure they gave you -- it's like clapping or cheering at the end of a performance. If you, as a ‘karyawan’, can't truly cope with, or dislike and have to say so, being told by people they enjoyed something you did, you shouldn't put yourself in situations where it's likely to happen.


It's useful to bear in mind that only someone with no social skills of any kind would go up to an author and say,

"Hey. You write at JOM!, right?"

"Er, yes."

"It sucked, man. Sucked so bad I couldn't understand it. Crappy review, daft column , it's just bullshit. I could write better stuff than that out of my ass, man."

So why is it a writer would expect people to say anything other than "I like your work," or even "I've never read your work, but I have a friend who loves it," or "I'd never heard of you but after hearing you talk I'm looking forward to reading something you've written,". I can't imagine otherwise.

2) Yes, personally I like it when people tell me they enjoyed something I made, and no I don't get tired of it. This is because a) I'm human and b) writing is a solitary sort of thing to do and until I get some feedback, I have no idea of whether or not something worked.

Having said that, there are gradations of being told that people enjoyed my work that move in and out of my own comfort zone. Let me demonstrate:

"Oh man, I love JOM!"

"I'm pleased. Thank you. It was absolutely nothing" (Well within my comfort zone)

"No, I'm telling you man, it was the most amazing piece of comic literature here in Malaysian ever written by anyone. You are a genuine freakin' genius."

"Er, thanks. I enjoyed writing it. Always been a passion to write comics" (Slightly beyond my comfort zone, but as long as they feel that way, I'm not going to argue)

"I tell you, when, like the Earth is about to blow up, if like aliens came by and they could only save one person, man, I think it should be you, you're so wonderful. I mean, you're the best writer there has ever been or will ever be since I don't know who You should go to Marvel or DC or somewhere else but here, man!”

"You're …um much too kind. Er." (Way out beyond the edges of my comfort zone and heading for Alpha Centauri – and that’s nearest star system I can think of!)

But mostly saying thank you, and meaning it, gets a writer through almost all of those situations. *Ni bukan aku cakap ek, orang yang cakap kat aku.

I've written a lot of things, and they've gone on to have lives of their own(some of it never got to see the light of day), and nobody's meant to like everything I've written. (I don't like everything I've written: I never set out to write something that's not going to work, but sometimes there's a bigger gulf between what you hoped to make and what you ended up making than at other times. It's like me making Bacaria or Bintang Kecil at Karangkraf.) I don't expect anyone's tastes to be the same as mine.

I don't think I do have a favourite fictional character, which is probably why I didn't answer when some of you asked me. Sandman? He’s just pure inspiration. Superman? He’s just a symbol. When I was first introduced to mainstream American comic books when I was about six, and decided then and there that that was what I was going to do when I grew up, because I couldn't think of a single thing cooler than being in comics, and that probably being fulfilled until I arrive here.

I remain very fond of fans and fanatics. I think I enjoyed writing their dreams and fantasy in JOM! as much as anything I've written before and after, and would love to go to them anyday, maybe from another direction… so they’d be astonished by the surprises I’ve got in store.