Wednesday, January 31, 2007

King of the World

Digging around the Treasure Box of memories... from exactly 365 days ago:

Two thousand four hundred square feet of room space, five movers cum packers, two maids, my sister and me... and so far, there were one hundred seventy eight boxes between us all. I had no idea how my sister could’ve accumulated such a vast amount of stuff within the past two years that she was here in Singapore. And now we have to move all her possessions to Hong Kong. I had a pen and notebook in hand where I was listing down all the boxes that have been stowed and I was monitoring packing activities in the kitchen and living room. My sister was minding the activities in the bedrooms.
“Excuse me, miss?” an oldish guy tapped me on the shoulder. He pointed to a box on the floor, “All shoes.”

“Okay,” I smiled appreciatively as I wrote down SHOES on my list. “Thanks for that.”

Usually, the routine was: the packer would build a box, fill it with stuff, seal up the box then label it. And then I would copy down the label onto my list so that I’d have a record of all the boxes that have been packed. This guy, however, skipped the last step. I thought maybe he didn’t have a marker with thim and that he’d do it later on.

He filled up a second box full of shoes. And he still skipped the labelling bit. Then he proceeded to pack a third box of shoes. Still no label. The head packer happened to stop over to ask what were in the boxes. The guy told him what were inside and the head packer bent down to write SHOES in big bold letters on all the boxes... then he walked away to check on the rest of his people. After the guy packed the fourth box filled with shoes, he took out a blue marker from his pocket and wrote down SHOES on the box.

Weird... he did have a marker, so how come he didn’t write it down earlier?

After he finished packing up the shoes, he packed up the rest of the kitchen. He asked one of his colleagues to label a box BASKETS AND LINENS. At this point, I was convinced that he was illiterate or something. But it can’t be... he knows how to write. After all, he wrote the word SHOES, didn’t he?

I only realized what the problem was after he packed the vacuum cleaner. There was a scrap piece of cardboard on the floor with the words VACUUM CLEANER written on it. It was handwritten so I reckon his colleague wrote it out. After he sealed the box, he picked up that cardboard piece and copied what was written on it onto the box.

Then it hit me. The guy couldn’t spell. His command of English was poor to zero; thus, he was having difficulty spelling words out.

Seeing him copy the words onto the box made my heart melt. I always have compassion for helpless people who help themselves. This guy isn’t obviously one of the most learned people I’ve met but he totally doesn’t sorry for himself nor does he let it get in the way of making a living. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t feel ashamed to ask for help from other people. And in truth, he was really good at his job -- he’s very thorough, cautious, efficient and neat with his work.

“Miss, finished this one,” he told me gesturing towards a box right next to him. “What to write?”

“Oh that’s the Christmas tree,” I said. “You can just put XMAS TREE on the box.”

“How to spell?”

“X-M-A-S-T-R-E-E,” I spelled out. He wrote down the letters as i said it out loud.

He beamed. “Thank you.”

He’s very humble, that’s what he is. And it’s very refreshing to see people like this. It’s been a while, honestly, since I’ve last seen a meek soul like his. Lately, it seems like everyone I meet is either very arrogant or more arrogant than that. I wish they’d just put a cork on it.

To be simple is to be humble... and there is some sort of happiness that the less materially and less intellectually gifted understand that the opposite don’t. It’s the simplicity of life. Everyone knows about it but people just refuse to acknowledge it.

Leave it to people to take such a simple thing as life and turn it into complex knots of problems and frustrations.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

R.I.P - Rest In Pandemonium

Ever feel that there are just way too many potholes on your road -- where it takes a massive amount of energy and effort to get out of it? And the worst part is, after you get out of it, you ask yourself "Now what?" I'm not sure if that can be classified as a crisis (quarter-life, mid-life, whatever, you decide) or just a horrid joke played on you by the gods.

Not that I'm anything close to being emo or gothic, but the other day, I found myself mulling about tombstones. It's an aftermath of falling into a gigantic pothole that would bring the Grand Canyon shame. It made me think about my life -- or whatever I can scrape off of it. So yes, tombstones. They're just one of those things that you know you will have... but have completely no control over. And the funny thing is, it will be planted there forever in your memory (in theory, at least). Does one include in a will what he/she wants in his/her tombstone? I mean, who decides? Is there some sort of template that these tombstone companies have? Like, is there a person employed full-time to think of cheesy blurbs to be engraved on one's tombstone? I would think, however, that if I were dying, thinking of what to write on my tombstone would be the last thing on my mind. After all, don't I have to figure out how to bloody get to the light at the end of the tunnel? Do I get a map or some equipment at least? Flashlight?

Anywayyyyyyy... off in a tangent again.

Tombstones, yes. I was thinking "What on earth will my family put on my tombsone?" The thing is, I don't think I'm particularly good at anything. And I'm not exaggerating, either -- I mean it! Sure, I was ace in school and academics and all that... because I was expected to be (Asian parents, remember?). Then school finished, thank God! Got a decent job -- the type that you aren't embarrassed to talk about during a party -- and pretty much sold my life to it in the name of financial independence and self-support (paving the way for less parental naggings, though it doesn't eliminate it completely; nothing does!). Ironically though, I'm still uncertain whether or not I like what I do. It's simply to pay the bills, what else? Oh, and it's also something to do -- keeps you busy! That's what jobs are for, no? There are people who like being identified with what they do. "I'm a financial analyst" or "I'm a neuro-surgeon" or "I'm a network administrator." I don't even know what I am... and when I find out, I'm not exactly sure if I want to be pegged down as that. It makes everything sound so, I'm not sure... certain? Permanent? Grown up?

As for talent, not exactly sure I possess that either. I've a disgruntled feeling God must've left me out when He sprinkled talent in heaven before He sent us all babies-to-be to earth. Or perhaps I was in the shower or fixing my hair, and the freaking cherub who was supposed to let me know was busy SMS-ing her boyfriend on her mobile phone. I can't sing (I only do so in the shower where I can delude myself into thinking that the good acoustics mask my tuneless singing), I don't dance (without being intoxicated), I can't act (I tried, believe me), I can't draw (my art extends to stick figures), I'm a horrible public speaker (though no incidents of tomato-throwing yet)... and well, you get the idea. Certainly the Jill of No Trades. Pretty pathetic, huh?

Good traits and attributes? Man, I would really need to not piss my immediate family off before I die or else they will only think of the devious crimes I've done in the past -- like stealing my sister's precious Barbie dolls when I was younger, or completely destroying my brother's action figures by jumping on it with much gusto. Or that day in 4th grade where I lied to my parents about my grades. The list is endless, I tell you, and they really do have enough ammo against me to ward off any man from marrying me. I'd like to think that I was a loving daughter/sister/wife (wishful thinking) at least once in my life. Then again, it's one of those things that I would have to leave in the hands of my loved ones. Would it be mighty narcisstic of me to leave instructions to my family that my tombstone ought to say "To an unprecedented daughter/sister/wife whose death makes us lose the meaning of our own lives?" Yeah, I think so too. I should spend the next years of my life buttering them up... after antagonizing them for the past 25 years!

That brings us back to square one -- my blank tombstone. Apart from my name, it would probably be left blank, indeed. I sure hope they spell it correctly, at least. Then again, good to have some mystery, right? Hmmm, not if one's dead, I reckon. That would come off as something utterly peculiar like I was the Grinch or Scrooge or something.

With regards to the potholes of the notorious Twenties Road, how many more to go before we get elevated to the speed bumps of the Thirties Avenue? Can I still make it? Who knows, maybe I'm going through my mid-life crisis already -- and that I will die when I'm fifty. Hmmm.

Well then... BRING IT ON!!!

(Quite some banter today really. I apologize for the incoherence... but was fun!!!)

Wonderful Tonight

Every night while I drink my tea, I look out my balcony to watch life unfold in front of me. It's the closest that I get to feeling like deity watching over my creation. Only nothing is my creation. I'm a mere observer.

When I look down from the 10th floor, I see people the size of my pinky running for the bus while yelling in a foreign language (and yet somehow I know they're not-so-nice words), parents trying to keep their children from chasing stray cats, hawkers making an honest living and the like. When I look up, far and beyond, I see the buildings scraping the heavens -- the Singapore skyline. Through the colorful lights that glimmer from these structures, I can almost see overworked and tired executive trying to meet deadlines and targets. I can hear them sigh all the way from my little Chinatown abode.

Opposite spectrums of life and yet the same frustrations in life. Everyone goes through the same things... no matter how much you earn, whether or not you have a leather seat at work or what mode of transportation you take on the way home. We are all here to pass the same trials and obstacles. It's just that we're given different environments to work on.

That's life. And it's beautiful even amidst its ugliest moments because we know we'll get through it one day. In flying colors too. And one day, we'll be up there on some great balcony watching people going through everyday activities just like we once did... and we'll be sipping equally great tea.

Until that happens, I'll settle for my balcony on the 10th floor. Tonight though... tonight is a wonderful night to watch life yet again. With my apple crumble tea.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


The ability to achieve peace and balance between spending time with one's partner and friends is undoubtedly attainable.

Hogwash, I tell you.

No such thing.

One party is bound to suffer; may it be the latter or the former. The main fundamental in (seemingly) healthy relationships is understanding... again, by either parties. And respect. Either the circle of friends or the partner would have to understand and respect a person's decision to allocate his or her own time.

It's like the bollocks of the cliche "We have a 50-50 relationship, we give and take."

Though I believe in give-and-take relationships, I don't reckon that it's ever 50-50. Once, I had a conversation with a 70-year-old widow who spoke the most beautiful words:

"My husband and I," she started as I noticed that she still sported her fading gold wedding band on the third finger of her left hand. It gave life to her bony and shaky hands. "Our relationship worked out because our relationship wasn't 50-50. There were times when it was 90-10 and there were times when it was 10-90. Never 50-50. The key to it was that we took turns in making sacrifices for each other. And the sacrifices made were never equal... some small, some big, some significant and some not. But we never thought anything of it. Because we understood."

I adopt the same idea with regards to dividing one's time between a partner and friends. It's never 50-50. The only reason how it can work out is if a) the partner understands the value of personal space and b) the friends understand the intimacy between the couple and their need to be alone together. And alternately, these two elements would bounce off each other thus producing a smooth and tranquil life for the person involved (assuming that he or she is doing a good job of being fair).

In real life, however, the abovementioned idea is rarely consummated. It's one thing to put the theory on paper but it's entirely another to execute it. It is when element A decides that he or she deserves the bigger piece of the pie or when element B decides the same. And more often than we'd like to admit, the case usually falls on one of those (again, assuming that the person involved is not practicing neglect on any level).

Everyone has expectations and everyone has demands... I don't think it's anyone's obligation to make everyone happy. It is one's duty, nonetheless, to be responsible for fulfilling promises. If elements A and B are masters of mutual hostility but are perfectly implementing the rules, one must not abuse this. Be thankful for it is a miracle. There is a call for respect and understanding from this side as well. Don't force issues and always be fair. Don't deliberately attempt to mix two bad chemicals together. Allocate one's time exclusively for one party... and let it stay that way.

Juggling reality is tough. But the ability to achieve excellence in it is undoubtedly attainable.

It's just that not a lot has attained it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Following the Yellow Brick Road

How true is it that to a certain degree, each one of us is yearning to leave where we came from (and no, I'm not talking about your mother's womb)? Not necessarily anything drastic like packing up everything and hopping onto the Greyhound to the land of far far away. Just simply possessing that small voice nagging at the back of our heads wondering what is out there beyond the four walls of comfort.

Could it be our natural curiousity for the unknown? Or perhaps it's the longing for something different. Boredom, maybe? Or even frustrations and the desire to leave bad memories behind. Where do we all go though? Somewhere safe... somewhere far away. A place where it is okay to start all over again; where you know no one and no one knows you. Like perhaps cities -- which are essentially an amalgamation of every different thing in the world. Impersonal, yet never lonely. Dark, yet always filled with celebrations of light.

We're all off to take our own journeys down the yellow brick road, one time or another -- with our own versions of the tin man, the lion and the scarecrow accompanying us. But when do we click our heels thrice and wish to be home again?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Passionately Yours

Passion -- I hear that word all the time used in various contexts. It's an easy word to say too. Passion. Pa-shun. Pas-yun. Pashon. Pah-shin. Passion. Passion Everywhere we see it, we hear it. It's on perfume, for crying out loud! And a fruit is named after it too. And it sounds incredibly similar to something close to women's hearts: fashion. It's one of those words that we spit out liberally because it sounds goodin life. Real passion for. Passionately done. Extremely passionate.
Do we know what it really is though?

I work ridiculous hours. Something to the tune of 10 to 11 hours a day (on average). I don't mind my job; it's pays the bills after all. And I know for a fact that working long hours (beyond comprehension) is something common. I know of people who practically sleep in the office and go home simply to shower and to catch a few hours in the land of nod. Can you, however, say that all of us have passion in what we do? I think not. Some people do it simply because they have no choice; they have to do it. Others do it because it's what everyone else does. A variety of reasons, really.

Where does passion fit in though?

On a personal note, passion is when you look forward to something. This is not to be confused with something you don't mind doing. You actually have to really cherish this particular something (or someone). It's more than refuge, it's more than relief. And neither is it an obsession. It's something that you want to enrich and learn more from/about. And here's the clincher: it's something that you may possibly not have any kind of return from.

Big names like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Britney Spears -- I'm sure at one point they were all passionate about singing. And they probably still are. Money, however, is part of the equation now though. I'm willing to bet my left arm that the passion has gone down even the slightest notch. Money has the reputation of ruining certain concepts for people. It blinds us, it distracts us. Doing something for money, in theory, makes that thing a job. And a job can only be so fun... up until a certain point.

I had a colleague a few years back who used to play golf professionally. He loved the game; absolutely adored it. After a year of playing pro though, he quit... he reckons that playing for money ruined the game for him. It became a job. It started to drag. And he wanted to save his passion for it... by not playing it for a living.

It's very rare that I meet people who are very passionate about their jobs. Some are passionate about working hard... but it doesn't necessarily equate to loving what they do. And others are, of course, passionate about making money. And this leads us to think that they're passionate about their job but there's really an underlying cause to that seemingly painted picture. See the difference? There's a strand of hair splitting these ideas apart. And more often than not, people can't see it.

Passion is when you do something because you want to. Not because you'll get something out of it... besides 100% pure satisfaction and fulfillment. A mother who works two shifts in order to feed three mouths, and doesn't complain about it... that's passion. A husband who still finds the time in helping his tired wife to keep house after a long day at work... that's passion. A grandmother who will lend her grandson her last few hundred dollars so he that he can buy that car he's always wanted... that's passion.

Passion is unconditional love. Towards someone or towards something.

Passion is when you write your most sincere thoughts even though you know no one is going to read it. It is like creating art even though no one is there to view it. Similar to sports, it becomes passion when you give it your all every single time although no one is watching.
And passion is when you love someone as if you're not capable of getting hurt.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Speak No Evil

Neutrality is perfectly possible. But is it synonymous to indifference? I'm not quite sure.

I have my own beliefs and philosophies, yes, but I'm rather accepting and tolerating when it comes to other people's views. The reason? Respect. I'm a devout Catholic but it doesn't mean I can't indulge in a relationship with a non-Catholic. Or, being pro-life doesn't stop me from being best friends with someone pro-choice. Or, the fact that I marry for love won't hinder me from having coffee with someone who marries for money.

Mutual respect. That's what everything is about. Unless of course, one commits a deed perfectly sinful and immoral... like molesting children (for one). Then we're painting an absolutely different picture here.

A few weeks ago, I was getting dinner takeaway from one of the food courts near my flat. There was this old Chinese man standing in the middle of the food court, perhaps deciding what to buy, and he was wearing a bright yellow dress adorned with lovely bright flowers. And he was sporting oversized and trendy glasses. He didn't seem femininely kept though. His hair still shaped in a manly fashion, short and cropped, and his legs still were still covered with curly hair. It was as if he had no intentions of passing himself as a lady at all. Odd? Yes, terribly. Wrong? Not at all. I told you, I respect everyone's philosophies -- and this includes self-expression.

I spotted a few kids nearby sniggering at the sight. The old man remained untouched and stolid. He was probably used to it. A handful of men were talking about him in Mandarin ("Hen qi guai de lao ren")... I knew enough words to actually decipher it. And some people were calling him gay.

This is where I think people got it horribly wrong.

Gay or homosexual people are people who are attracted to their own gender. They have no qualms about being a particular gender though. Transexuals are people who feel very strongly about being the opposite gender (just being trapped in the wrong body). Their issue isn't about gender orientation (not always anyway)... but it's more of an internal conflict. An identity crisis, if you may. The old Chinese man in a yellow dress is a cross dresser; there's no assurance that he's gay or not. He may or may not like men; he simply enjoys wearing women's clothes. He gets a natural high from it... the same way that I get a natural high from wearing gorgeous stiletto knee high leather boots.

I've been to Bangkok a few times -- the transexuals capital of the world. This is how scary it is: there are some women whom you wouldn't think were men once. It wouldn't even occur to you! They've gotten the process down to a science over there. Some of them even look better than real women, for chrissakes! I noticed, however, that not all of them were attracted to men. Not all of them were even looking for male partners (of course, there are the quintessential cases where they go through the operation so that they can earn money with their bodies). It's more of a self-fulfillment thing. They feel happier, they feel more confident. And they should! They're eff-ing gorgeous

Anyway, my point is, instead of judging people for who they are, learn about them a bit. Maybe you'd understand better. The human mind can be quite feeble... especially the unexposed ones. What if people started making fun of you because you were a straight male wearing the proverbial jeans and t-shirt? Who's to say what's normal or not? Because it's not something that everyone does? Pssh, if that's the case then why don't we all just work 9-5 jobs trapped inside cubicles and watch our lives waste away? People are different. And that's what makes people interesting.

There will always be people contesting your judgments, opinions, beliefs and mentalities. It's called debate and argument. It doesn't have to be the unfriendly yelling type nor the microwave-throwing/hair-pulling kind. It's an exchange of ideas. It gets your mind rolling... it's good for you. I just despise it when people shove their opinions down my throat. So what if I think of the Bible as mere literature? Does it hurt you in any way? So what if I believe in spanking my future kids as a form of discipline? Unless you're my husband, then don't tell me what to do.

Respect. If you want it for yourself, you've to learn to give it.

Coming back to my question, maybe neutrality isn't very easy to accomplish. Neutrality towards an issue, that is. One can be indifferent towards something; when there's disinterest... but neutrality is difficult to achieve. As long as there's passion (as long you take some kind of side), neutrality is an impossibility. It is, however, possible to be fair despite your own strong beliefs.

And it's by being respectful of others.

Slash and Burn

As I get older, it becomes more and more evident that you can trust no one -- at all! You get burned once, you get burned twice, three times, then four, then maybe five, trust me, it will be endless. Trusting someone is like waiting to win the lottery: useless and disappointing.

It's no wonder that people get more cynical and bitter as time goes by... is there any reason why they shouldn't? Naiveity is a gift. It's a gift that we all lose at one point in our lives. And what I don't get is, why were we all in such a rush to lose it when we were younger? In hindsight, I would've held onto it as long as I could've because I grew to learn that it will never come back. Sure, you're smarter, more mature, more learned... but what good is that when your outlook in life is more gray and drab than it isn't? Realistic? Isn't that dangerously similar to pessimistic?

It's marvelous to be able to trust someone -- until he/she turns around and wave the biggest piece of blade you've ever seen in your life and started slashing and stabbing you like crazy. Love it, love it when that happens. Isn't it too tempting to pick yourself up all bloody and gutted, dust yourself off... and go somewhere where people don't exist because at that point, it seems like everyone is the same piece of scum anyway.

I don't like having a point of view this skewed. It's borderline depressing. What can you do though? You've accepted that life isn't a bed of roses... but it doesn't mean you've to lay on a bed of thorns.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Friendster or Flingster?

In yesterday's edition of The Straits Times (January 15, 2007), I chanced upon an article written by a certain Jeremy Au Yong entitled "Just Friends? Oh yeah, right."

As I flipped through the pages, my eyes caught the overplayed-yet-still-interesting headline fully expecting another verbose rant about how heartbroken people refuse to give in to their heartbreaker's request of maintaining some sort of friendship while he/she runs off to another bitch/asshole. How I feel towards this subject will be saved for another day... but the fact that I proceeded to read the article must say something about me.

I digress.

As I pored over the article, I can feel my eyebrows furrowing to statements with the likes of:

"Men don't actually think that such a [platonic] relationship is possible."

Oh-kay... not quite what I expected. A very strong statement, don't you reckon? But it's okay, let's keep reading, shall we?

"For any good heterosexual friendship to blossom, guys need a little romantic spark to get it off the ground."

Hmm. Now I'm interested. Regardless it's true or not, I would certainly love to see the argument behind this.

"While that may be taking male shallowness to another level, it's still in the same building."

No big revelation right there, no?

"To a lesser extent, a man's friendship with a woman needs attraction like a car engine needs a spark plug. Once the friendship is going, it doesn't really matter."

And then...

"Yes, men are incapable of having a meaningful friendship with any woman they are not attracted to... at some stage through the years you've known her, you held a torch for her."

And the kicker...

"(Echoing the thoughts of the author's friend)'I don't think I could ever become very good friends with a woman I did not want to sleep with.'"

I don't know if it's me or, was this guy just awarded the "Guy with most sweeping statements ever" plaque? I can just imagine the emails in his inbox hitting an all-time high in terms of volume from girls and guys alike. Admittedly, that took some courage to write... the same kind of courage I never would have.

My instant reaction to the article was a big resounding "Oh no way! That canNOT be for real." Think about it, however. Why not? I'm sure we've watched enough chick flicks to witness the played-to-the-ground plot of the guy best friend blooming into a James Dean incarnate and running after her girl best friend whom he has always been in love with. And because he wasn't up to par to her standards, he settled for her friendship instead.

And maybe it's true that this is possibly man's best kept secret (which the author has painfully revealed to mankind -- or at least to Singapore) because if I were a guy, there is absolutely no way I would admit to a good female friend that I ever liked her, especially if she has a boyfriend that resembles Big Moose. More over, what do I know? After all, men are from Mars and women never really could fathom how the wheels in their brains work. Granted it is 100% true, will guys actually affirm it?

And who knows? Perhaps the concept also applies to women in a more subconscious level. Don't we tend to befriend people whom we have have a general attraction to (may it be from either genders)? Attraction doesn't necessarily equate to physical attributes, right? Stemming from the theory that people tend to attract other who see something special about them (oh I don't know, go back to your Psychology 101 notes or something), in a skewed roundabout way, the article does shed light on a truth that we never really paid any thought to. It's just that it was just tipped to a different angle...

...An angle that never saw before.

I folded the newspaper in such a way that the article would be on top. I grabbed my nearest male colleague and went, "Are you busy?" Without even waiting for an answer, I shoved the paper to his face and demanded, "Read this. I want to know what you think."

Five minutes pass. He sports a cheeky smile and says, "Well, I'm not sure. I think it's more true than it is not."


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bathroom Literature

"Watch out, Dawn! Dave is mine!"

I remember blinking a few times as I reread the hostile words written in bright red lipstick on the mirror in the public bathroom of the Los Angeles mall I was in. I was 8 years old back then, routinarily washing my hands as I finished doing my girly business in the stall.

"Bite me!"

Those two words were angrily streaked underneath the previous sentence, this time in blue (and what seemed like) permanent markers. As I rubbed the soap into a celebration of bubbles in my hands, I couldn't help but thinking, "These 2 girls totally have communication problems." Then again, these pre-date the lascent of instant messengers and texting.

Vandalism -- or bathroom literature, if you may -- is forever present in restrooms worldwide. They're so abundant that I've actually come to enjoy reading them. It's like people take out their frustrations on bathroom walls, hoping against hope that someone else out there would hear their cry. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, some people just probably enjoy spurring malice and are just out their for a laugh -- whether it be on someone's expense or not. Regardless, I always imagine that there will always be some story behind each graffitti.

In the communal bathrooms of my freshman dorms back in university, I remember the RA slapping on something called "The Bathroom Companion" at the back of every bathroom door so that the residents would have something to read while you-know-what. Very clever, I thought! Each piece of paper would contain useless but entertaining trivia articles for the residents to read while you-know-what-ing. And every week, she would change it to something equally interesting. A few weeks later, I understood why the whole production was stopped. Such a pity as I truly enjoyed reading the bits and pieces. Apparently, students felt compelled to put their feedback regarding the content and actually wrote their opinions on the door itself, courtesy of multi-colored Sharpees. Smart! Several more weeks after that, the bathroom doors of my hall got a fresh coat of dull gray paint.

I heard from good male friends that the guys' bathrooms are not a place for a girl... not only because of the obvious, but also because some of the stuff written on the walls can be obscenely sick, sometimes even described as short-forms of erotica or even porn (as there are obviously gifted artists out there). And hey, feeling lonely on a Saturday night? Pick a number from the many advertised ones on the bathroom walls!

However, there was one coffee shop I used to frequent in Harvard Square where artsy people hung out (I was only there for their tea and the fact that you can smoke inside). It was very impressive how the bathroom walls of the cafe were adorned with hand-written balladry and verses. And every time I would come visit the place, there would at least be one new addition to the collection. Very unique, indeed.

Bathroom literature can be seen from 2 polar angles -- either as art or graffitti. Unfortunately, most of us would classify them as graffitti, especially establishment-owners who are responsible for maintaining clean facilities. However, it does give character to certain places, which lures us to read the little scribbles on the walls.

Then again, it could just be us being naturally nosy human beings.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Words are all I have

"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world." - Buddha

Words perhaps are the most dangerous and powerful tools one could possess. It's just that most of us don't realize it. We say things everyday, regardless whether or not it's good. We just don't think much of the fact that when we release a string of words, we can never take it back. We may be aware of it but mostly, it is taken for granted. And that is what gives us the power to affect someone else's life without us necessarily knowing it.

Mothers -- they have this uncanny ability to slice and dice even the strongest person in existence (even Hitler had a mother, I bet). Mine sure does, and she doesn't waste time using it as ammo against me. I love my mum to death... consequently, I allow her to affect my psyche more than I'd like her to. Why I do this is beyond me, but I do know enough that she is the only person I know who can take me down within milliseconds and stomp on my soul mercilessly. Funny enough, I'm not quite sure whether or not she realizes this.

Nevertheless, it all melts away after some time. How much time, I can't exactly tell. The same is applied to friends and loved ones. Once hurtful words are let go of, nothing is the same anymore after that. The burn is there even though apologies fly.

How much burns do we need to have to completely lose it mentally?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

People Person

If anyone gave me a penny -- no, half a penny! -- for every time I hear that statement "I'm a people person," no doubt I would not have to slave over a 12-hour job that pays peanut shells (yes, not even peanuts). Let's get serious. By saying that, does it automatically bring you one caliber up the coolness ladder? Sure, that kind of bollocks works for interviews and such... or so we think. I'm sure that employers/interviewers have a little part on their wall where they mark every time a candidate says "I'm a people person!" And after every 10 marks or so, they stab themselves repeatedly for 2 minutes... and then the cycle goes on. I have to admit, perhaps there is a reason why HR people always look so disgruntled.

So, how does being a "people person" make one supposedly better? I mean, sure, you like people. Like you have a choice? They're bloody everywhere! Even if you hate people (*ahem* like me, especially in the mornings where I still haven't had caffeine), there is just no beating them at the game. After all, there's just one of you. And those upbeat uber-perky people that just ooze with cheerfulness when they meet other people... they're scary. How can they be "people persons" if all the other people are scared of them?

Sarcasm aside though, of course I do have a (vague) concept of what a "people person" really is. They are those cool people who just happen to get along with anyone you pair them up with. I've met that rare breed... those that never get mad, frustrated or angry even when they're with the most annoying people on earth. Then again, I wouldn't think they're "people persons." I would think more along the lines of martyrs and masochists (saints too). I think it takes a lot to be able to get along with people from different walks of life. It actually takes effort. Been with a person where it's like pulling teeth when having a conversation with them? Yeah well, I usually give up on people like that -- that's what iPods are for. However, I've actually seen people who effortlessly manage to bring out the animation of people like that. Miracle workers, no?

I wish I can be like that. Sure, I can get along with a lot of other people. It's just that my condition is: they have to put in the same effort that I put with them. There's no way I'm travelling down that one way street. No way, compadre. Life's too short to antagonize yourself like that. I do realize though that I need more patience when dealing with people... as I do know I'm not exactly the most lovable person to be with at certain times (*ahem* PMS *ahem*). I don't want to be a sad git without friends.

People persons -- can we just stop calling it that? What's wrong with plain old friendly and approachable? Does everything have to be so, I don't know, corporate-ized? I bet you that whomever coined that phrase is someone from some sort of psychological field. Labels, they love that. It's kind of hard to reverse it though. It's like a plague... everyone has it already, everyone's using it already. So perhaps I should just give it up and just enjoy these so-called "people persons."

Where do they all hang out? Hmmm.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Retail Therapy

Aaah, two magical words known to the female species. Extremely familiar, yet magical with no fail. Retail Therapy.

It often boggles me how such a simple activity as shopping can miraculously tweak one's mood. It consists of a lot of observation, some walking, an exchange of goods and an absolutely tickled soul. Sort of like a drug, the ephemeral high is something we all chase after... and we often say silent prayers for it to last longer than the last time.

With the power of technology, it has become possible to indulge in this without stepping out of our homes. Regardless whether or not this is a bad thing, it still causes smiles to spread in our eager faces. For instance, a simple 5-letter word re-injected color into my angst-ridden Friday earlier: Chloe. Thank you to the geniuses behind net-a-porter and Federal Express. Even though I will most likely be nourishing myself with cans of tuna and instant noodles for the next several weeks, I now know how it feels to have died and gone to heaven... and then feast on Prozac while I am over there. Please. Don't kill the buzz. Let me enjoy my moments of fleeting joy.

I'll worry about my state of broke-ness later on.

Retail therapy is good for mankind. It fuels the economies of the world. It gives more power to the already powerful nations, it boosts private consumption, it provides cash inflow into the system... but most importantly, it lessens the blow of a femme's PMS. Can't argue with that. Imagine the nightmare if women don't have shopping to turn to during an uber-bad day? Shall spare you the details.

So yes, new tote bag, new debt. Instant happiness, highly possible regret to follow. Must everything be a trade-off? I better enjoy my super short honeymoon period. After all, I probably just gave up eating for the next month or so.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ground Hog New Year

I'm a generally optimistic person only peppered with a certain sense of realism so pardon me if this comes out as a tad bit cynical. New Year's Day -- something that occurs a little too frequently, don't you reckon? Every year we have it, and every year, we try to make the same changes that could have been made last year, or even the year before that. Funny, isn't it, that we usually wait for some kind of milestone before we are coerced to rethink our lives. Then again, even with this method, I somehow still end up being more or less the same person that I was last year. Subconsciously, at least.

Let's try to make this year different, shall we? Humor me on this one.

I love lists, I'm a list-y person. I find satisfaction on being able to cross out items on my list (or in my to-do lists, pushing it off to the next day). So voila, my attempt at a New Year's Resolution List for 2007:

1) Travel

As often as you can, as tired as you can get. Sure, they may be that little tiny baby glitch that one calls "money" but seriously, if not now, when? You can save for other more substantial things (ie. a condo, a car, pension, whatever!) later on because one thing I can say: all these other things will stay put, but time won't.

2) Balance

Easier said than done really. Finding the ultimate balance between one's personal life and work can be a tall order especially for me. I seriously put in about 12 hours of my daily life to work (though I wish I was exaggerating)... when exactly can I enjoy the rest of my life? Perhaps I can find a way to still look gorgeous and fresh with only 2 hours of sleep trailing behind me, then I will be all set!

3) Read

Going to Borders and Kinokuniya, and stocking up on books DO NOT count as reading. Dig through the pile and get lost in the world you once thoroughly enjoyed. Refer to #2 on the list.

4) Food Adventures

Eat more new things, try out more cuisines that you've never tried before. The more exotic, the better -- puffer fish (Japanese), cow lungs (Malaysian), blood sausages (English)... And try not to wash it down with too much water this time. Oh, and try to do something about that anti-spicy food tongue you've got.

5) Write

Never stop, keep on writing! You can never write too much...

Hmmm, whaddya say about that? Not too shabby for a first and seemingly simple too. However, it all boils down to: Can I really fulfill all those? I would think that a hit rate of 1 out of 5 isn't too bad, right? Well, I do have 365 days to do it. We'll find out.