In the course of my writing journey, I have produced hundreds of blog articles, opined more than a few dozen letter-to-editor pieces, written three non-fiction books, contributed thought-pieces in public forums, produced academic book chapters, conceptualised economic reports, and even wrote close to fifty short stories and essays for my students to read.
Even before I reached 21 years old, I wrote an economic manifesto 100,000 words long – I decided not to publish the work.
For this I am asked multiple times why I write so much. Truth is, writing is a means for me to cope up with a hyperactive mind. I cannot help it but to turn to writing otherwise all the ideas in my mind will soon stress me, overwhelming and immobilising me in the process.
I do not know how the average mind works but I can roughly sketch mine.
Imagine having thousands of ideas and projects running through your idea at a given time, making you constantly worried about the future and making you lose sleep. You even create all the worst case scenarios in your head – 50%-70% of which turned out to be true.
Worst of all, these predictions you cannot even communicate properly with someone.
Why? 1. You are communicating something that has not happen yet, hence there is no strong evidence to back your assertion that would resonate with society, and 2. People are biased! They are happy with the status quo, preferring to enjoy the utopias of today instead of the harsh realities that will soon come.
When faced with a lack of hard evidence and a biased audience, people soon treat you as a conspiracy nut no matter how ‘true’ your predictions or intuitions are. It only makes sense you would withdraw from society.
But my mind cannot allow it. Through my writing I intend to communicate the truth.
The act of writing becomes both a curse and a blessing to me.
On one hand, it is a curse because I tend to get attacked or have others gossip about me as an arrogant know-it-all type.
On the other hand, it is a blessing because the ideas I shared may have positively impacted certain policies, and I have probably contributed more to our national literature than 10,000 haters combined.
Whether the effects made by me were for bad or good does not matter.
For I am neither aiming for fame nor money. Rather I want to capitalise my writing skills to contribute positive ideas to the nation.
If I were to pursue popularity like certain influencers in our society, I would be lying through my teeth everyday through my writing, championing the status quo as if we are living in a perfect utopia.
If I were aiming for money, I would have already be rich selling articles upon articles with feel good but useless content or ‘intellectual junk’ in Brunei’s marketplace of ideas, befuddling people with bad ideas in the name of making money.
Yet, the fact I wrote extremely unpopular but necessary posts and have never even gotten a cent for my content-packed writings on Borneo Bulletin, for example, demonstrates my seriousness in carrying out my writing exercise as my civic duty.
Then again what am I kidding. No one would actually read my work anyway but a tiny minority of our national literati. If any my writing just disappear into the ether soon after publication.
There are the positive and negative responses by the masses elicited after reading my works but those become irrelevant soon after two to three days.
Nevertheless, I do love writing. Yes, it keeps me from my troubled thoughts but writing has been an enjoyable process from beginning to end. The peace of mind in the writing process gives me solace and deep reflection in my life. It a sort of meditation that allows me to concentrate and contribute ideas in the world.
Personally, I do not know the far reaching influence my writings may get, but if you turn out to be a writer someday, may you be guided by the light of truth to write something useful for society.