Pictures: rwp wellington, eindhoven, kuala lumpur, melbourne, singapore

August 25, 2008

.wellington Alastair Smith

In Civic Square, Wellington. Photo by Alastair Smith



Read while Waiting Project

“To think that it was just an idea you had some 3 months ago to where it is now. You’ve done so much, am proud of you.”
- Miss Not Ascertainable

RWP first crossed my mind in early May 2008. While I was pushing my bike on the highway after it ran out of petrol. It was one of the best times of my life.

I’ve been a law graduate since December 2007, and could be earning perhaps RM2000 a month for an employer silly enough to pay me that kind of money. But I’m not.

Instead I’m a self-employed unpaid pseudo activist doing what I feel like doing and persuading as many people as I can reach, convincing them why they should listen to this madman.

Whether you commend or criticise the Read while Waiting Project, but henceforth at some point in your life, it has (even) subconsciously moved you to read as oppose to not doing anything productive with that time, I then, have achieved what I set out to do.

RWP Pay It Forward Bookmarks

*All pictures you see here are also available on Facebook.




“I just left the place. Although tak ramai, I’m really happy with it. Ada dalam 6, 7 orang, and they are all totally strangers, grouped together to read books. Best douh. Thanks a lot bro. You taught me something there and I felt it.”
- Izhar Moslim

To promote the participation and awareness of RWP, RA has done 3 things (1st video, 2nd video & 23rd August flashmob) and have 1 more remaining. That is, the BookCrossing gathering.

It is where people, strangers and friends, would meet up to either loan or give away books. This gathering will be done in a few months time.

Below are pictures from Melbourne. It was coordinated by Izhar Moslim, who arranged for 400 RWP Pay It Forward Bookmarks to be delivered to Melbourne at the last minute via Afiah Hafiz.




“P.S. = it was .. niceeee !!!”
- Chiara Mafucci

RWP has 2 main objectives
1. To see more people reading (any form of literature) whenever they wait
2. To make people more conscious of whenever they are about to go somewhere and know that some waiting will be involved, then bring something to rea

Below are pictures from Eindhoven. It was coordinated by Chiara Mafucci. Chiara is from the south of Italy and works in Eindhoven. Zain HD had dinner with her in when he was in Eindhoven for one night (November 2007).




“’s raining here.”
- Sofiah Jamil

The reason why RA picked the ‘waiting’ element is because of the baby steps approach.

Don’t try to get someone who does not even read to start the habit, buying literature and/or set an over optimistic goal.

Below are pictures from Singapore. It was coordinated by Sofiah Jamil. She is researcher at the NTU Rajaratnam School of International Studies and co-founder of Itchy Traveller.



Kuala Lumpur

“Zain, great fun meeting you yesterday. Enjoyed the RWP. Let’s think of something fun for World AIDS Day please!”
- Marina Mahathir

The idea was to get a person comfortable with the idea of reading in the first place, and then what that person does subsequently, is up to them.

And the simplest way to do it, is to get them to not allocate a time of the day specially for reading, but to fill it in between things they already are doing.

Below are pictures from Kuala Lumpur (taken by Joshua Ong). It was coordinated by Zain HD of RA. He needs a break.

RWP also got picked up in New Zealand by two influential bloggers. Social commentator Paul Reynolds and former managing director & publisher of Penguin NZ, Graham Beattie. With the help from Paul, RWP was promoted on the Christchurch City Council Library Official Blog and the National Radio of New Zealand.



Random Attire

RWP is one of RA’s pro bono projects. Support our projects by donning these t-shirts.

Breakfast show interview

August 22, 2008

*I might be on air Fly FM later. Not confirmed yet. Sometime around 5-8pm.

Right. So the NTV7 Breakfast Show interview for RWP was this morning. It went well, I suppose. Can’t really tell. I didn’t get a chance to watch it.

JulesThe makeup ladies spent 3 times longer doing Jules than me. I suppose it was imperative that the audience had at least 1 good element to look it. Hah. If Joyce was there, they’d proably make me sit behind the sofa.

In my bid trying to not be rude by interrupting the flow of the interview by saying anything and everything I wanted to say when it did cross my mind, I noticed that I probably came off being timid, shy, passive and…a jackass. Thus I must thank Jules for stepping up and taking charge.

It was too bad that Joyce got into some unexpected traffic issues. By the time she got to the studio, it was our call to be in the studio because another interviewee came late, so RWP’s slot got moved forward. When it finished, we met Joyce in the makeup room. I say,

Nememain, next time.

Cake Crumbs Jules Tang & Joyce Wong @ Kinky Blye Fairy

Thanks many many to Jules & Joyce for their support and participation. A brunch at the mamak was all I could offer in return. :)


PS. I might be on air Fly FM later. Not confirmed yet. Sometime around 5-8pm.

Pictures from msls

August 13, 2008

DanielZain.comOn Monday 28 July I spoke at one of MPF‘s talks at the KGPA (opposite Eastin Hotel) which was open for anyone and everyone. I thought I couldn’t make it on time but I gave it shot and did. Don’t have pictures from there. The response was brilliant and I have Azra Banu to thank for that slot.

Keeping in mind that just a day and 2 days prior (Saturday 26 & Sunday 27), I spoke at three diff events (Readings @ Seksan, Farish Noor’s Book Launch & Doppelganger). That three day stretch was brilliant for RWP, and/but exhausting for me.

The RWP video was meant to be played at the UKEC’s Second MSLS (2 & 3 August). They had already been helpful enough to arrange for two RWP Pay It Forward Bookmarks to be in each of their 600 ‘goodie bags’.

When I finally got the time to make it to the Summit at lunch on Sunday, I was told that the sound for the video was ‘distorted’. Chris Tock was there and we both suggested the same thing thinking we were talking about two different things.

Play the video on mute, and I to go on stage and ‘do’ the audio as the video is being played. As I got on the rostrum on stage, people were leaving for tea break, and remarkably, they all stopped in their path to give me the few minutes I asked for. even saw Jacqueline Ann Surin (who was also at Farish’s book launch), somewhat sitting on the floor in front of the rostrum to get a good angle for the photo on the left.

As for RWP at MSLS, it went super. Impactful.

For this, I have Amanda Sabri, Alia Ishak, Shahril Hamdan, Chris Tock & (especially) Alia Sidek to thank.

After I got off the stage, I met a number of people who were interested about the project. One, was Tasnim Abdul Hadi who was rather annoyed that she would be tied up with a debate competition on 23rd August. I explained to her that RWP is not just about that day and she asked if there’s any other way she could help/participate.

Few hours ago, I had a rendezvou with Tasnim. She asked for 400 of the RWP Pay It Forward Bookmarks to distribute it to places and people she know and don’t know. Brilliant.

I’m no Donald Trump going around hiring people, but these are the kind of individuals I look forward working with. Tock Yap

RWP weekend with pictures

July 28, 2008

Typo: stay tuned*

I wrote a few days ago about the hectic weekend of campaining RWP. Below are pictures from all 3 events.

  • Thursday : I received confirmation from the 3 hosts that I’ve been given a spot to talk about RWP at their events.
  • Friday : Ezra (Farish’s publisher) calls and suggest to screen the RWP video at the Book Launch. He’ll sort out the projector if I can sort out the CD. Immediately made calls to 2 friends of RA when it comes to videos, Vini & Altimet. Got it sorted and met Farish & Ezra that night for the first time to pass them the CD.
  • Saturday : Woke up and went to 4 hours of lecture. Rush off to print the RWP ‘poster’, then to Bangsar for Readings @ Seksan. At 4.50 I spoke, and at 4.54 I was on the road rushing to Taman Tun for the Book Launch.
  • Sunday : Doppelganger at Marketplace. Brilliant. Love the concept of the open mic. Anything and everything.


Readings @ Seksan

Dr Siong Toong SiongRobert Raymeramir muhammad

  • Poster by Shahril Nizam. I came across his book once. His illustrations are quite nice. Looks nothing like the poster.
  • Dr. Shih Toong Siong. Old school. Said some pretty interesting things about his book.
  • Robert Raymer. I had trouble following what he was reading, with the mic probs and the roadwork noises. His book has gotten good reviews though. He also teaches Creative Writing in Sarawak.
  • Kathleen Choo of Poetry Underground. Catchy stuff she had. Sharon taking a picture of her.
  • Sharon Bakar (the MC), introduced this guy as ‘the revolutionary’. Since I’m writing it, to be fair, I’ll quote from what she said in her blog, “This is Zain who is trying to rope us all in to take part in his wacky Read While Waiting project. I have a feeling we might just succumb to his charm!
  • The brownies that I did not see. Apparently, someone placed it there and it was from Amir Muhammad.

Thanks Sharon for letting me speak at again, another one of your events. AND for telling me to keep it short this time. I think it’s better that way too. :)


Book Launch : Di Balik Malaysia by Dr. Farish Noor

Guests watching the RWP videoDr. Farish A. NoorZaid Ibrahim

  • After the intro by the MC, I opened by talking briefly about RWP before the video screening.
  • The video screening. People watching. ( …. )
  • Dr. Farish A. Noor.
  • Zaid Ibrahim.
  • Some peoples checking outs the RWP Pay It Forward Bookmarks.
  • Some more peoples checking outs the RWP Pay It Forward Bookmarks.

I met a ton of people here and I thank them for the support. Besides the obvious, they were namely, Datin Suliana Shamsuddin, Jacqueline Ann Surin (, Jason (Editor Off The Edge), Malik Imtiaz, Juana Jaafar (Peace Malaysia), Carol (UNHCR), Daphne Lee (Dram Projects), Michelle Gunaselan.

Hope all this name dropping will nudge some of you readers to actually be part of this project, and not just talk about it. Seriously.


Doppelganger at Marketplace

Jaz Doppelganger

  • Madman speaking again.
  • Jaz, founder of the monthly Doppelganger and a superb host. On and off the stage.
  • RWP Pay It Forward Bookmarks on the registration counter.
  • Registration counter.
  • Inside of Marketplace.
  • What came off Madonna’s chest. Refurbished, of course. :)


Tomorrow (Monday) night, I might be speaking at a talk at KGPA. And in the midst of speaking with organisers of other events.

As Ghandi said, be the change you want to see in the world.

The change I want to see is to have more people reading while they wait.

And all this is what I’m doing to make that change.

It would be nice to see you do something. For anything.

RWP bookmark

July 20, 2008

“You’re a workaholic. And if you’re not careful, it’s something that will always be. xxx”

For the moment:
The Ultimate (Live)- The Roots

*This post was originally written on 28 June.

RWP BookmarkIf you are visiting this website today, because you received the RWP bookmark, then you have made RA and it’s efforts happy. And a step closer to making RWP a success.

Read the main posting on RWP, that explains the whole project, here.

Join RWP on Facebook.

*If you really support and believe in this project, then take those bookmarks, pass it to someone you know. Leave it on your colleagues desk, in your classmates pencil box or next to your relative’s jamban. Whatever. As long as it gets the message around and delivered. Baby steps.

*If you want some more bookmarks/cards, let us know. We’ll meet up and pass it to you. We distributed more than 750 at KLue Urbanscapes and will be printing more.

One of the main basis of RWP is that it carries the Pay It Forward approach. So what we have done is that to make bookmarks that look like this.

We ordered 1000 of it.

And decided that we should distributed in batches of 3 so that the recipient can share it to more than 1 person.

Last night it arrived at my house and I sat down alone for almost 4 full hours, wrapping 999 RWP bookmarks with 333 black rubber bands.

Multiplies of 3 will get you 333 batches with one extra odd card out. The blue dot on the W, is that extra 1.

Because I’m just that gatal, I decided to use more rubber bands to put everything together.

The quote above, was an sms from someone who knows me only too well. My first time being told so. Something I didn’t notice for myself. Something I needed to hear for myself.

Again, if you are visiting this website today, because you received the RWP bookmark, then you have made RA and it’s efforts happy. And a step closer to making RWP a success.

Thank you. :)

RandomAttire goes live

July 7, 2008

Heart Series by RandomAlphabets

On Tuesday, 8.7.8 RandomAttire, will go live. Urban fashion with a conscience, goes on sale.

There are two designs available. Only 180 pieces available per design. You will know what number is yours upon purchase. Whether its 38 of 180, 97 of 180, or 154 of 180. What you won’t see is, 183 of 180, OR another person owning the same number t-shirt as you. That, is our word. We mean it when we say, limited.

T-shirts are sold online at our Shop, at occasional bazaars and markets RA choose to participate in. From time to time, we will announce a certain location, date and time as to where we’ll be.

This Thursday night at 10pm, we will be at Moonshine which is at the Apartment, the Curve. If you’d like to meet us and purchase a t-shirt, email us prior the design and size you are interested in. We’ll bring the goodies and you meet us there. RandomAttire [at] RandomAlphabets [dot] com

20% of your thoughtful purchase will go to EcoKnights and PRIDE Foundation. They have enthusiastically participated in the Heart Series with us. T-shirts are sold at RM47 each.

Details on sizes here.

Snapshots for rwwp

May 13, 2008


Frankfurt Airport


This post goes out mainly to the members of the group RandomActs. Because they’re fabulous. That’s right. Except unlike Sam Jones, instead of martini they go for teh tarik. And also because I know they can help. You can too if you’re interested. Wherever you are in the world right now. To understand better, read this post.

Open to all photographers (professional, semi-pro, amateur or virgin). From handphone cameras, to disposable ones, to super gempakz ones like what Adam King use.


Task: Take pictures of people at train stations.

  • Be it at the gates, platform or in the train itself. In and out of Malaysia.

  • Very young, young, kinda young and not so young people. Boboy or girlgirl.

  • As long as they’re human beings.


Picture Criteria: People waiting doing nothing.

  • Snap photos of people waiting for something. A companion. A train. A destination. Please don’t simply snap a frame of anyone or everyone. Only those you see who are standing, sitting, squatting idly waiting.

  • Angle can be from the side, diagonal, back, front, top, bottom (anything goes).

  • It is up to you whether or not it shows their face. Both would be good. I need both. When the photos are publicised, I will decide on whether there’s a need to blur their faces for respect of privacy.

  • Please do not do one of those SLR focus on a persons nose and blur the background shot. RWWP does not need a cheap trick pseudo cool shot. You can, but don’t get carried away till you’re gone with the wind.

  • Don’t get the whole place and leave the subject(a person) so small in it. The idea is not to capture the surrounding, but the person and his/her act (of waiting) in that surrounding. Examples here.


Submission: by Tuesday 20th May

  • Send a maximum 10 of your best shots. Email them to

  • Quality doesn’t have to be super high resolution 30 megapixel 2 megabyte per file picture. A size that is conveniently downloadable. A resolution not too great till I can count the bulu on their jari.


Thank you. Thank you all.

RWWP intro & teaser

May 13, 2008


London Heathrow Airport


In November 2006, during the same month I started ‘blogging’ and a year before that blog was moved to, I had a notion/inspiration to do something. A project or somesort. It came to me when I was on the way to class for a 5 week intensive foreign language course*. At that point, I’ve not the slightest idea that it can happen, let alone how to make it happen.

This post is a vague introduction and teaser about that project.

*The relevance of that statement and the picture above, will be made known when the time comes. Read about what you can do to help here.


I finally found a way to do it last night when I was enroute to meet Germ (RA’s graphic designer). It came to me while I was pushing my bike after it ran out of petrol near the Subang Jaya NKVE exit. It was not long before another bike came to push mine to the nearest petrol pump. A simple random act from a stranger to another, without expecting anything back. A common gesture between bikers that goes a long way. Something I’ll remember for a very long time.

Going back, as Germ was the first person I had contact with after I got the idea, when I jumping around excitedly telling him that I got it while pushing my bike on the highway exit, he interrupted with ‘THAT WAS YOU?!!’

And then we both laughed, not LOL.


Anyway, due to the nature of this project, a certain degree of the surprise element must be present. So I can’t tell you what it is yet. Even the RA Team do not know about it (I’ll table it to them when we meet tomorrow). However I assure you, once it’s ready to be publicised, you’ll be the first find out.

This project will be huge. Something so simple, yet so profound. That’s the best part about it. That’s what I love so much about it. My heart is in this one. Not KLFU, not the upcoming KLX. This one.

If that sincere teaser was enough to nudge you to want to help and be part of it, then read this..

Zain HD

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