Thursday, August 23, 2007

Just One Of Those Days

Some days I just feel like being random -- and speak in tidbits instead of coherent sentences. I hate these days when I'm right smacked at the bottom of the wheel.

I. Keep Moving

Everyone has bad days right? And every once in a while we get slammed.


Today was a pothole down my road... more like a giant manhole infested with maggots the size of big macs. I don't know why I constantly let trivial things get to me like the pettiness of people, for instance. I know I'm entirely above that but why does it still bother me? Why do I let it bother me?

I know better than to trust people. It's something that I've picked up along the way -- mostly from smart people who give me sound advice. It makes sense; it's the wise thing to do. Sometimes I slip though. I feel that I'm naturally trusting... or perhaps just too naive. There are atypically atrocious people crawling the earth. And it's beyond me why I insist on getting burnt multiple times.

Another thing that bothers me is the obscene amount of self-absorbent people out there. When did the vexed ship from Planet Selfish sail over to Earth to bring all these immigrants in? And why do they procreate in exponential rates?

People who are true and sincere listeners are a rare commodity. But when I seemingly find someone like that, I get scared... I get scared that they would think I'm self-absorbent. I don't like being the epitome of my own worst enemy.

Sadly, I think it's getting there. I'm becoming my own worst enemy. I need to listen to myself more.

Before, during my hey days (or so-called ones), when I was upset I would reach for a cigarette and a glass of soda+vodka. I would tell myself that it'll make me feel better. And it did. The only problem was, once my lungs could no longer tolerate the killer smoke, the problems come back. It's like they were put on hold while I finished taking in my toxins and then would come back to bite me even harder in the behind. After I flick the last butt, I realize that I'm back to square one... again.

II. Need...More...Sleep...

Sometimes it feels like trudging through mud and glue. So exhausting -- both physically and mentally. As as we get older, it seems like responsibilities and obligations just keep on piling up. Never running out of things to do. I pray that life won't lose its meaning... and for everyone I care about to never stray. It's only at the end that you realize what is most important. Through the everyday dealings, they seem rather trivial -- often we take for granted the presence of our reasons for living.

Every moment that I get where I don't have to deal with worldly things, I just wish to sleep. If only I can sleep forever and never have to open my eyes again. I feel drained, I feel tired. And I especially feel lost. And scared. What if the feelings of dread never stop???

I like the musical laughters that I hear and the smiling eyes that I see. It keeps me grounded... it gives me hope. Perhaps at the end of this long tunnel, there is a light after all. It's just something we all have to go through. But why? What for? Is the light worth seeing and working hard towards?

Having to hurt some people on your way over, will they heal? Will they forgive? Will they understand? And getting hurt by the people most important to you... they're just going through the tunnel as well. You can't blame them now, can you?

I'm tired. I just want to sleep. Because in my dreams, there are no tunnels. All just light.

III. Doh!

I have learned that there are things that are better left unknown. I know someone who always told me: "Remember in the play Oedipus? When the chorus would always go 'You don't want to know' over and over? Well, most of the time, they have a point."

Stupid chorus. Stupid Oedipus. Stupid me!

Ignorance is bliss -- I semi-agree with this... but the left part of my brain knows that this is not good enough for me. Why must I have the need to know everything? Why do I always need to know what the score is?

To get ahead of the game... that's why.


Post Script:

I will be taking another wee break, possibly my last one for a while. It's been getting too crazy in my life -- what little I have of it lately. I've been consumed by too many insignificant things. It's quite suffocating. I feel the need to take a step back, to regroup, and to regain a little bit of perspective. From a city with crap weather (at present, at least) to another city with even crappier weather, I'm off to London for the next nine days. God, how I miss that fair city. I will drop by to scribble a few times perhaps, but I cannot promise anything.

Nonetheless, I'm hoping to be back here rejuvenated, recharged and ready once again. And perhaps bringing back a few extra trinkets of thoughts and sentiments to share with everyone. That I'm looking forward to.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Love Affair

My love affair with books only began at the impressionable age of nine years old. Prior to that, I only had but mere attraction towards it. The colorful pictures, the glossy pages and the beautiful covers were enough for me to get drawn to it. However, it was only when I graduated on to young adult paperbacks that I decided I wanted books to be my Roman spring.

I've always treaded carefully with my parents when it comes to getting them to buy me books. It's not like they discouraged me from it. As a matter of fact, they urged me to get lost in it -- as long as they are appropriate. Coming from a slightly conservative family, I didn't want my mother telling me that something was "too grown up" for me to read. It was insulting and I felt discredited. I couldn't keep on reading books about happy rose petals dancing in gardens and singing whilst baking nectar cookies forever. I badly wanted to get my hands on those books without pictures -- just oceans and oceans of words that I can drown in. Every other book I had left me hungry for more. It wasn't satisfactory, it wasn't filling me up.

One day, when I discovered that I earned high enough marks in school to prod my mother to indulge me for it, I took advantage of it and took her to the bookstore. Normally, children my age would have asked for the latest toys, gadgets, gizmos, whatnot. Not I. I wanted my books, my kind of books. I was nine years old and led her to the aisle where the teen books were sitting. She bought me three of them -- Sweet Valley Twins, as I recall -- and I finished reading them before the weekend ended. Knowing the precious value of money in those days, I knew I couldn't ask for more. Surely those new books was expected to last me for a couple of weeks. Instead, I attacked our library at home and found my older sister's beloved Nancy Drew books. The hard bound matte covers deeply enchanted me -- and there were volumes of them! And the rest is history. That was when my life began. Books became my currency.

I could never imagine my life without books. I have read numerous genres -- some I liked more than others -- and truth be told, it is through reading that I learned most from. I have read about historical figures, different cultures, global landmarks, significant events, human emotions, everything. It's all there -- in every style there is. It is like getting lifted into another world without having to budge and go anywhere. And what I like most about books is that they will never run out. There will always be something to read. May they be good reads or bad reads, still something to read.

As I got older, life took a turn and started taking over more rudely. My love affair with books would hit some stale phases. It would get bumped off by relatively inane things such as movies, socializing, worldly matters -- both important and otherwise -- and traveling. However, just like a lost lamb finding Jesus again, I would eventually get found and get sucked right back in. I would remember the feeling quite vividly. It's like being famished and devouring your favorite homecooked meal. It's like not being able to get enough of it and repeatedly asking myself, "What was I thinking?"

I still go through these wild love-hate phases with books, but I know deep inside that I will always come running back. No other vice of mine -- either past or present -- could ever assuage me like they do.

Books are good. It offers me a chance to step out of my life and see the world through another set of eyes. It makes me feel less lonely and at the same time, it makes the world that much bigger. And upon coming back to my own world, I would gain a little bit every single time. And I would feel that much smarter.

To say the least, that is.

As William Ennergy Channeling has once put it so eloquently, "It is chiefly through books that we enjoy the intercourse with superior minds." Touche!

It never made sense to me why bookworms and so-called nerds were the ones who were made fun of. We should be the ones making fun of the others simply because they don't know what they're missing. Raging bastards! *twinkling eyes*

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ten For Starters

If I do become a grandma one day, I will probably not have a trust fund for any of my grandchildren. For starters, I will never win the lottery because I am never bothered to buy a ticket. And secondly, if I do have that much money to burn, rest assured, I will find a way to spend every nickel of it. Nonetheless, I do have some nuggets of wisdom that I would like to share with them. And I will counter their accusatory thoughts of being a cheap grandma by saying that I wish someone told me these things earlier on in my life -- as it would have made a world of difference.

Ten things I wish I learned a long time ago:

1) Weight and dress sizes are just numbers, just like age

2) When it really hurts, it's okay to cry -- even in public

3) Moisturize every night before going to bed

4) To avoid road rage, imagine that it's Grandpa driving the car in front of me

5) Never take what is not mine -- no matter how badly I want it

6) To clean up after my own mess and that it doesn't kill to say "I'm sorry"

7) Use a fountain pen to instantly make my penmanship look better

8) There is no better time than the present

9) Try first before complaining

10) Waking up early on Saturdays make the weekend seem much longer

[ 11) It might not hurt to buy a lottery ticket from time to time ]

Life isn't very complicated, really. We make it complicated because it seems a bit suspicious when it's all too simple. And besides, it's easier to make something more complicated than to make it simpler.

What about you? What will you tell your grandchildren?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Mightiest Sword

Being the bigger person and turning the other cheek are ideologies that are easier said than done. Surely the respect that goes with it stems from Robert Frost's popular line about taking the road less traveled by. It is no big secret that forgiving others is truly a divine and supernhuman thing to do given the mere difficulty in bringing ourselves to do it. Vengeance and redemption seem to be more satisfactory and fulfilling alternatives at the height of passion in most cases.

In order for forgiveness to actually take place, at least one party must be able to understand the concept of letting go. This is made more arduous if stronger emotions get in the way -- such as love, respect, anger and hatred. These are usually coupled by pride and self-preservation. It truly does take a big person to take the high road. The ability to forgive is reserved for those people who possess qualities which show a certain degree of intelligence and maturity. If forgiveness is something excessively easy to part with, Lucifer will probably not have half as many of his crew down there in Abaddon.

However, there is more to forgiveness than meets the eye. Forgiveness doesn't end in forgiving the person who carried out the sin or fault. It requires far more than that which is even harder to do -- forgetting. Forgiveness is completely executed if we agree to forget that the fault was carried out at all, and if we give that person who wronged us a clean slate. Achieving that would perhaps be more divine than it is superhuman.

Being raised in a predominantly Catholic society, I was given a pretty good run down on the stories of Jesus and his lessons of forgiveness. Somehow, it sounds so much simpler on text than it is applied in real life. Admittedly, I have forgiven numerous people in my life -- and that, I'm very proud of. However, I would have to confess that my relationships with most, if not all, of those people have changed. Either the frequence of my correspondence with them have dramatically been reduced or been cut off painstakingly. I dare not forget any wrongdoings slapped against me. Sure, I have never resorted to violence or low-level compromises against anyone who have wronged me. I have learned to let go and accept consequences -- but I have never forgotten. Ever. Perhaps I'm not as big a person as I'd like to think I am.

I am generally a very trusting person, perhaps even to a fault, despite my attested cynicsm towards people. Everyone that I meet is given a perfect score and as I get to know him or her, the scores change. Every fault or negative aspect would render a demerit. And usually, that demerit is permanent and nothing could ever make up for it.

I know many people, but I don't have a lot of friends. Those few that I regard as friends have already gone through the test of time and its difficulties. However, I will have no remorse cutting anyone off if he or she has seriously done something to damage the friendship. I will probably forgive him or her for doing it, but I probably will never forget that it happened for as long as I live. In essence, as a defense mechanism and as a guard to keep it from happening again, I will consciously allow the relationship to dwindle and eventually die a natural death. Again, I leave it up to time to heal all wounds and perhaps, if happenstance agrees with us, the friendship might again get resuscitated.

I'd like to believe that I'm a very fair person and that I give everyone a fair chance to kindle friendship with me. I'm genuine in saying that anyone can be my friend as long as sincerity is present. However, most people just get a maximum of two chances with me -- depending on the degree of the first sin. I can forgive for the first time, but rarely the second time. And neither times do I ever forget.

I am only human. Being divine and superhuman requires greatness -- and it may take a while before I get there. Maybe even never. I'm still working on it though and I'll keep at it. For now, I'm still trying to muster up taking the road less traveled by because I know, I know deep inside me, that it will make all the difference.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

In A Material World

We all work, or have at least worked once in our lives, for a variety of reasons -- some more profound than others. However, it would be safe to say that most of us work for that paycheck that we receive during the month-end period, no? Otherwise, congratulations on being passionate and noble. We need more people like you in this world.

Material wealth and money have become the convoluted indicator of success in our times. This stems from the human mentality of wanting more than what we really need to survive. It is the desire and the yearning for more. We like having the capacity to earn more so that we may be able to own whatever we fancy -- regardless of whether or not we need it. It's not wrong to want pretty things, is it? And neither is it wrong to want more, right?

However, it is when materialism is grossly mistaken for ambition that it becomes unhealthy. A quick trip to led me to learn that Materialism is the "preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values." Whilst reading those very lines, I could come up with a handful of people from the top of my head that will fit that description to a T. Being materialistic does not, by any means, make them evil or nasty people. They simply have a knack for driving away those that they have engaged in conversation by constantly talking about money and anything remotely related to it. Admittedly, it can be quite annoying and not to mention yawn-inducing.

Nonetheless, I cannot help but see the humor in materialistic people. I find it quite fascinating how they can put a price tag to literally anything and everything. From the coffee that they drink in the morning to the pens they use to jot down notes to the cars they drive and the shoes they walk on. Everything for them would have to be some status of sorts. Do they not realize how ridiculous they're being? In all honesty, tea tastes the same to me whether or it's served in a Royal Doulton tea cup or a styrofoam tumbler.

I have met numerous people whose lives are controlled by money and brand names. One of them, as a matter of fact, openly admits to only agreeing to marriage if the guy can produce a two-carat diamond ring as an engagement present. Or if he holds a certain job position that pays x-amount of money. And I thought girls like those only exists in movies -- and they usually die at the end or end up in some mud hole depending on the movie's genre. I have also had my fair share of meeting people who are so in love with designer brands that one would expect them to have Christian Dior or Louis Vuitton tattooed onto their buttocks. Even some of these people's children have to go to certain schools in order to be accepted into social circles.

My recent trip to Hong Kong has re-ignited my cynicism towards materialism. I go to Hong Kong every couple of months usually for weekend getaways -- it's the big city syndrome curse, really -- as I'm rarely the type to trek to the mountains or go camping. Shopping relaxes me and I enjoy having dinner whilst getting bathed in the city's lights. However, Hong Kong is likened to a drug where it must be taken in moderation. Overdosing in Hong Kong is a tough one because it involves a mix between a culture focused on monetary gains and working excessively hard for them. I reckon that the reason why Hong Kong is such a happening place is that people work ultimately hard -- and they play equally hard. This is true among the circles that I move around in, that is. There is a balance that must be respected. Most people in Hong Kong get caught up in the glitz and glamor of life. Having said that, they are usually beautifully packaged, ooze with poise and immaculately dressed. The thing is, beauty usually comes with a price -- and a hefty one at that. It is a shame to wear anything worth less than a few hundred dollars. It is no wonder that Hong Kong's economy is constantly booming.

As much as I love Hong Kong, I cannot live there and expose myself to that kind of life. I have never met anyone who has left Hong Kong unjaded. The experience makes you stronger and wiser, but a lot less happy. The stress and competition are too much to keep up with -- be it at work or not -- as they are constants in the city's life. Everyone works for money to be spent for ephemeral fulfillment and satisfaction.

Nowadays, whenever I meet people who have love affairs with worldly goods, I feel more pity than aggravation towards them. It's like they have a void that they're trying to fill. And from first hand experience, fulfillment obtained from material wealth is fleeting. As I said, like a drug, the high wears off and leaves you wanting more -- and more, and more, until it could no longer satisfy. At the end of the day, what is it really that they're pining for?

"There is something perverse about more than enough. When we have more, it is never enough. It is always somewhere out there, just out of reach. The more we acquire, the more elusive enough becomes" - Unknown

It's a vicious cycle, isn't it?

Post Script:

In my defense, I felt the need to post something up first before you guys totally forget about me before proceeding on to the comment replies *sheepish grin* Sigh... it's my head in the soup today, isn't it?

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Singapore was recently hit by a tragedy called a booming real estate market and unfortunately for most people (read: those who don't own property), it's here to stay for quite a while. The rented apartments that people never used to bat an eyelash on have suddenly become hot property and everyone's clamoring for it. It's become a seller's market -- and there is definitely no mistaking who the kings and queens are. Because of this phenomenon, people who were looking to upgrade to a nicer apartment have suddenly changed their gears and are now fighting to keep their current apartments. What could have paid for a nice two-bedroom apartment in a skyrise building within walking distance to the city central shopping malls can now pay for a two-bedroom apartment within arm's length of Malaysia -- if you're lucky.

Practically overnight, people who were looking for changes had to struggle just to keep anything from changing. One would have to put up a fight in order to keep a present apartment for the same rate. Some would concede to topping up their rent with a few more hundred dollars a month as long as they get to keep the roof over their heads whilst others are left with no choice but to head Malaysia-bound (or ocean-bound if they fancy going the other direction) in order to stretch their dollars.

We generally tend to take many things for granted until something extraordinary hits us that threatens the peace and order of our lives. The classic saying of "you don't know what you got 'til it's gone" particularly comes to mind.

I find it quite funny because numerous times, I consciously put myself out there to look for changes. When I get bored and time seems to be standing still, I look for something in my life that I can change -- maybe my hair color, my laptop's operating system, my mobile phone, my travel plans, my diet, my doctors, etc. I seek and struggle to force changes to take place. However, when change comes barging on our doors completely unexpected and uninvited, that's when the real struggle happens. I learned the hard way that struggling to keep things the way they are is actually more frustrating and more difficult than struggling to change the way things are (did you get that?). At least with changes, there are various options that we can consider. After all, as long as it involves some kind of change, it's an option. Whereas with preventing changes, we limit ourselves to a single outcome and practically zero choices because we want things to remain the same -- no more, no less.

I remember my first job. I graduated in probably one of the worst years to finish school -- the year after 9/11. The economy was crap so naturally, the labor market was pretty ugly. I was lucky to bag a job within three months upon graduating. Unfortunately, it wasn't a terribly glamorous job and was quite low-paying. Then again, aside from Ivanka Trump, who has a high-paying and high-flying first job? It was enough to pay for my rent and newly-acquired car, however. I kept on complaining and moaning about my job and how I thought I deserved a better one. I felt seriously underemployed. I kept my eyes peeled and constantly scoured Monster and Careerbuilder for new opportunities. The bad economy coupled with my lack of experience (and availability of more experienced desperate people out there) were totally going against me. Then one day, the ax fell. I got called into the death chambers of the Human Resources Department and got told that my unit was going to be made redundant. Actually, not all of us will get laid off, just a few of us and I was first in line because I was the newest. You know, LIFO -- last in, first out. Dumb methodology -- at least that's what I thought that time.

How I managed to persuade them to give me a promotion instead and move me diagonally in the organization is saved for another time. Miracles still do happen -- have faith. The whole experience was perhaps the most humbling one that I have ever gone through. I found myself praying hard to be able to keep the same job that I was condemning for being beneath me just a day prior. I was borderline desperate that I was willing to work extra hours with no pay. Thank goodness for divine interventions. Since that day forward, I have been tremendously grateful for having a job -- full stop.

Changes -- no matter how good they generally are in life, there are some that we'd rather not go through. Fighting changes is possible, but it's truly an exhausting battle. When we think we've won, we receive a rude awakening later on because in truth, we can never keep changes from taking place. We simply delay them from happening. Whether we like it or not, changes will always be there like wrinkles on our faces (no matter how hard we try to get rid of them).

"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry, it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry, it'll change." - John A. Simone

Tough shit, right?


Post Script:

Nipping out of town for a long weekend -- from one city to another -- as I visit some loved ones in Hong Kong. I will be back early next week and will be looking forward to reading your posts :)

To CrashDummie, you are so incredibly sweet! It's an honor to be considered one schmoozing blogger! :) Thank you!

As for everyone else, I know I'm horrible at replying to comments, but I will give the extra push to do so starting next week. I swear! If not, you can cut my head off and boil it for supper. Thank you so much for all the love... this princess can definitely feel it :) And totally enjoying the warm fuzzy feelings that I get inside. You guys really know how to make a girl smile. Like, a lot!