much to my chagrin.

going out for a couple of dreams

drama

“Music is made up of tiny moments of drama.  Everything has its own gravitational pull.  A chord will want to go to another chord, a melody will yearn to go up or down, a rhythmic figure will want to change.  Part of being a composer is learning to listen for those tiny pockets of drama.  A note is like a single word in a poem—pregnant with meaning for those who know how to hear it.”

-   Christopher Tin, composer of Calling All Dawns.

 2011 served for a time that gave me more drama than I could have ever imagined. I’ve hit a point, where I just cannot shed any more tears, cannot hurl out any more toxins, cannot force out any smiles.

I forget what it’s like to effortlessly let the words roll out, weaving themselves into a lovely knit of a phrase. I’ve used words in sentences, just four months ago which I struggle to define and explain now. I’ve managed to get so caught up in the drama, so self-absorbed in suppressing how it made me feel, that I’ve lost the ability to comprehend what this frustrationangerrage is that I’m feeling.

 

i’m tired

I’m not quite sure where my waning attitude is coming from. It’s not like life has taken me on this crazy rollercoaster of a ride lately where I’ve had no handlebars to grip and no air to scream.

I’ve had a lot of time to myself, but yet I still feel completely exhausted and I’m not quite sure what I can attribute this weariness to.

I like that nothing’s changed in that I’ve got a 3000 word paper to write and instead I choose to channel my words and shoot them out of my fingertips on my blog instead.

Taking this as baby steps. I’m pretty sure in the next coming couple of months, I’m going to be without a job, or without anything to do and I’m going to feel like I’m wasting my time and constantly hating myself for it. What with timing and everything too, I just need to find a way to make some dough.

If only the Pillsbury Man could come in handy at times like these.

from what i gathered

With a little over two months to the end of this year, I have to admit that I’ve revisited this blog, time and again, to read what I’ve said before. It’s a little ghastly that, throughout the year, this blog would’ve only had about.. three entries, and yet, it’s the year where life has felt so… full. I suppose I was too busy living to write about it, but I’ve felt more than ever to want to document these “happiness-es”. I just have not been able to find the time to encapsulate these feelings into words and do it justice.

Bouncing back from heartbreak proved to be a little difficult feat and was no longer made of myths and stories I’ve heard, but something I’ve lived through.

I feel like the universe is finally throwing me a good card because I’m finally in my element, doing what I’m so sure I was meant to do in this life.

I might have come close to experiencing unequivocal happiness, but I’m not sure.

Finally managed to get some journalistic experience under my belt and while I’m here, I can look back and say it feels damn good.

Everyone around me is getting engaged and married.

I wish that was all, but give me a moment to get my groove back.

And when I mean groove, I mean the courage to be scathingly honest to myself, here, once again.

an open letter to all the generations before me

(edited: changed some words, cleaned it up a little. Wrote this initially when I was half-asleep – the message is still the same though)

Dear Baby Boomers & Generation X-ers,

Look, I get it. We’re a bunch of lazy fucks. We’re unappreciative and we’re just all about having a good time. We want to do what we want without working hard for it. We want to make a quick buck, and all we think about is ourselves.

We’ve never claimed to be that way, and yet that is the common misconception you seem to make of us.

“Ah, you Gen-Ys…” – If  I had to hear you speak of us dismissively one more time… well, I’ve had it, and maybe it’s time you get off your proverbial high horse and see what the hell it is you’re shitting all over.

It’s this constant chip on your shoulder that you seem to have: a massive discontent that we’re not following in your footsteps and you think, if that’s something that’s worked for you to get you where you are now, then, BY GOD it should work for us too. You’ve got the amazing advantage of hindsight, while we swim in our own crap and then you go ahead and heap more of yours onto us too. What is that? Do you force us to look up to you, by putting us down? Do you feel like we haven’t got any humility that you’ve got to strip us of our self-esteem? Is the condescension in your voice meant to give us a quick swift kick in the butt to motivate us?

I think you’ve got to start realising that we are not stupid and that we just do things differently. It seems practically impossible for you to start getting with the times, so let me just spell it out for you – to why it’s so important for us to be happy and content – with our lives, what we’re doing with it, and how often we get to laugh.

As much as you’d like to remind us constantly that you had a hard time when you first started, does not mean that you need to make it hard for us too. Yeah, you had to use notepads and typewriters when writing and a mobile phone was completely unheard of but what we face now is a completely different type of adversity. Note it, swallow it and fucking accept that we are not living in the 70s and times have changed and moved forward. You either move with it, or get stuck where you are. Why the fuck should we degenerate ourselves, when we are given the speed and opportunities?

I think it’s a hard thing for you to realise that, yes, we Gen-Ys, we flit about. We hardly ever settle and the majority of us are light beings. If you treat us badly, of course we’re going to leave because there will always be another option for us. The attitudes of generations past: where employees stayed loyal to a company for their entire career (my Dad was one of them), are no longer what we subscribe to in this decade anymore. It’s no longer expected and neither is is justified to making you a better or a worse person/worker. Again, with the times, they’ve moved forward.

But my biggest and largest point to why we need to run free, be happy and understand the importance of stopping just to smell the roses once in a while: it’s because life has become so short and fragile around us that we’re noticing that it can be taken away from an instant. We are refusing to reach the point of disenchantment that we take for granted of the life that we have. Kind of where you are now, staring at us in all your jealousy, that we have all the opportunity and idealism that you once had but squandered away.

Terrorist attacks, people blowing themselves up, natural disasters, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, war, revolutions in the Middle East, car accidents, planes going missing, ships sinking, premonitions of the world ending.

What with the barrage of reminders that our days are numbered, all we want to do is just not waste time kissing the ground you walk on and looking for you to teach us the ways of the world. The future is ours to see and our world is our oyster, but we’ve got that nagging feeling at the back of our head that, shit, this oyster could be fucking destroyed tomorrow.

Lives can be taken away in an instant and the past incidences that’s got the world and Mother Nature roaring has just been the case of anyone being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m sure they were great and amazing people. They had a lot to say, a lot to contribute and I know for a fact that in whatever they did, they had worked hard. But they never got a chance to make sure all of that happened. And that could happen to any of us.

Maybe you’ve had the glorious chance of seeing a future ahead of you. When you were our age, the cold war was ending, you were starting a career, Wall Street was booming, the world wasn’t fucked up yet. Maybe try consider that we do not have that luxury now.

Because it’s fucked up.

Now that you’re about to hand it off to us, maybe you should ask yourself why is it, that we don’t want to take it.

Accept that you fucked it up and we’ll clean it up for you; you just don’t have to make it seem like we’re destroying it any further. There shouldn’t be an entitlement either that we need to kowtow to your greats just because of how much you can see you’ve established from where you are sitting. We can fix things, without animosity, without expectations that you would equate to yourselves and definitely without the lack of respect.

Respect is a two way street, and I’m telling you right now, that your lack of respect for us, albeit us being young and new and the next generation, is unnecessary.

So you can run along and go fuck yourselves. You’ve fucked the world right up already, as it is.

Best,

M.

heritage propaganda

The New Shaolin Temple

(from Google Images)

Whenever I go to the movies with my parents we’re always and only watching Chinese movies – mostly historical dramas, or some action film,  but mostly historical stuff.

Curse of the Golden Flower, Red Cliff, Hero (which for some reason I don’t remember the story, verdict on having actually watched this is still debatable), Ip-Man, most Jackie Chan movies (even his Hollywood stuff).

We rarely catch the Hollywood movies unless, again, it’s some epic drama action film, that is not cheesy like Pearl Harbour or Australia. My father’s a pretty traditional Chinaman, and a damn proud one.

So it wasn’t at all surprising that Mom BBM-ed me at work on Wednesday to ask if I wanted to watch Shaolin with them the next day. Yeah, my parents are the sort that buy tickets the day before, but as I was doing the listings for the paper that day and I knew it what it was about otherwise I probably would’ve declined the offer. We were the few that managed to catch the first day screening of it.

In the Oriental world, releasing movies just before Chinese New Year is probably at it’s most optimum. I don’t know if it’s just me (probably is, or most Westernized Chinese), but I think they’ve worked it in a way to strike the heads and hearts of Chinese folk strewn all around the world at a time when they feel closest to their heritage. It does for me at least.

I’ve never regretted being Chinese, or Asian for that matter. Sure, I may hate on my eyes a little bit, and wish I were a little taller, but I’m really proud of my morals and where I come from. Sometimes I wonder if that’s where my conservatism comes in but I think this is a universal factor, not much a racial thing. I love the traditions we observe and the importance we place on the generations before us. I’ve come to notice that mostly all the Asian films we watch always hits that nerve with me. Where I become acutely aware of what my culture is made of.

Shaolin was no different in this respect, but after a while, I’ve come to realize so much about what I take as entertainment.

I’m attesting it to the fact that the religious undertones of the Shaolin temple and it’s teachings stirred some childlike emotion of remembering Ah Tai when she used to wake up at 5 am to pray. Watching the movie was like looking through the lens of a ViewMaster and I felt like I was four years old again. I remember helping her button her QiPao and mirroring her prayers. Listening to her meditate with prayer beads and watching her read from right to left, top to bottom and open books from left to right.

I think Mom felt it too.

But I digress.

And so I wonder, am I watching these movies and feeling this way because of how often I watch Hollywood movies  that when I watch a Chinese movie, being reminded of my culture is an external feeling I don’t expect from watching a movie?

OR

Do I feel this way because the Chinese films I happen to catch are of the historical sort? The sort that revels in the once thriving countryland China once was. My grandmother never fails to remind me of how amazing the Chinese are, what with our chopsticks, abacus, gunpowder, paper and possibly the world’s most difficult language. I somewhat get the same feeling when I watch these movies set in a time before China closed their doors.

(Mind, I’m perfectly aware that there are rom-coms set in modern day and are just about as quirky and have their own flavour, but those set of movies carry a whole different cultural mindset that I once again wince and struggle to comprehend.)

OR

The Chinese film industry is just pretty much propaganda? The last two films I’ve watched, Ip Man 2 and The New Shaolin Temple had white men as the bad guy. (Ip Man had the Japanese then and lawd, I don’t have to be reminded of my grandfather speaking ill of the Japanese.) They would always be projecting an evil laugh, while the Chinese villagers wail to the heavens. And it always ends with the white guy vomitting blood.

The propaganda is just laughable, I mean seriously. It just bothers me that 1.3 billion people in China buy that shit. And it bugs me because the biggest race in the world are just being pushed to become even bigger xenophobic fools.

So, for the sake of other than just pure argument, I’m aware that most films are used as propagandist tools.

And now I’m so annoyed that I can’t just watch a movie for pure entertainment; I’m bothered by the blatant deliberate propaganda in Chinese movies and now I feel brainwashed.

frustrations

I hate it when words don’t do their job and when I read things like : “Life is too short to be taken seriously” doesn’t mean anything until I experience loss and grief, or when I can actually see death.

I hate that when I’m frustrated, I get morbid.

I hate that I’m a control freak that worries about the outcome of my decisions.

I hate that I let the opinions of others validate me as a person.

And I abhor, detest and loathe more than anything in the world that I know these are my problems and yet I can’t not let them get to me. It was better when I was just happy to be afraid of what other people thought and just lived my life the way I wanted other people to just see on the outside and assume the better and correct side of things. And I believed that I was still making my own decisions, but was really letting other people make it for me. You know, trick yourself into really thinking that you’re doing it for yourself.

to wrap up 2010

It’s ironic, I actually signed up to do Reverb10 which was meant to prompt me each day for the month of December, random, insightful and introspective questions about my year. Basically it’s meant to push me to re-evaluate reflect on the year.

I’ve obviously managed to avoid doing that, and I think it’s because I’ve done enough reflecting THROUGHOUT the year, enough to showcase how much I’ve managed to figure out the little details of life, as well as, the gracefulness I’ve managed to show when it comes to accepting the bigger decisions.

And that people, I think comes with growing up.

I still love doing some things I think I’m too old to do – like drink a little too much, indulge a little too much, lose my inhibitions a little too easily – but I’m thinking that there is no better time than now. Because now, I can still get away with it.

I’m happy with the way I came to decide some biglifedecisions, how I dealt with some jerks that did not deserve to be in my life and how I easily disposed of them, and bounced back from it.

I normally do a year meme too of how I feel about life and what I’m currently making of it, but strangely I feel like 2010 doesn’t need it. Too much has happened, that a meme would be good to keep track of things, but for the first time, with the myriad of shit that’s been scattered all over the place, I’m feeling actually content.

And the best part of it all? Is realizing that you can’t control the circumstances that will make you feel happy, but purely just accepting it for all that it is.

I’ve let go. And it feels damn good.

About – circa 2009

(Wrote this around early 2009 when I first started this blog. I’ve rewritten the About page because I realize a lot of what I’ve written below does not fully apply anymore. It’s still nice to see what I thought of myself back in 2009, so I’m archiving it as one of my posts.)

me!

Well, what can I say? I’m a twenty-something trying to scrape through university and teetering at the cusp of adulthood. (May I interject, please; as I am still in the early beginnings of my twenties, if and when I screw up, there is a perfectly valid reason for it and I am downright blaming my rose-tinted glasses and malleable mind).

I didn’t get the cookie cutter experience of university. I’ve studied at 3 different universities, lived in 4 different cities (hometown included) in 3 different continents but there is still so much of the world I want to see. I broke out of my comfort zone desperately searching for something to make of myself, only to find that what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become was right back within the vicinity of my little globe of familiarity: with words, literature and beauty.

Which, I sometimes feel, lovingly wraps me in cozy prose while I hug a cup of calming poetry and devour a plate of appetizing novel.

I’ve been meaning to jump on the blogging bandwagon for a while now. I tend to over-analyze everything, which I think makes for good blogging material and I very rarely lose my inhibitions. But when I do, I tend to indulge in nefarious debauchery more than I should but I think it’s only natural to milk this opportunity that’s expected of me while I’m still in my university years.

I love random moments, impulsive decisions and conversations that last for hours. I love hardcover books and M&Ms. When I get my own home, I will make space for a library. I’m still in search of my all-time favourite book. If and when I do find the inspiration, I want to name my children after characters from a short story, novel or poem.

I love dancing in the rain. I have a tendency to cook and bake for those I love dearly. I love food, but am not comfortable with my weight and/or body size. People who drag their feet when they walk, chew loudly and eat with their mouths open really annoy me.

Families and family love tug on my heartstrings the most but I think it’s because they are the only unconditional love I’ve ever known. What can I say? I’m a big believer. I’m a really proud sister and a big family person. (Even if they sometimes hurt me)

I cry easily, but I never acquiesce if I don’t believe in the reasons to. I am forever curious and hauntingly observant. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I’m semi-quirky and definitely full of contradictions.

(and since we’re going with the theme of being self-indulgent here: these are 25 things about me.)

(And because that wasn’t enough, here’s another 25 more.)

watching the seconds tick by

All the events that’s dropped in – expectedly and unexpectedly – in the past year has left my last two months of 2010 with a wide, gaping abyss. Relatively. While I watch the dust slowly settle down from being kicked up, the fog is slowly clearing, albeit getting some sand in my eyes.

I forget how easy it is to fall into ruts like these. I’m fighting to get out of a hazy year. A year, where I feel like I witnessed and partook in all of its shenanigans, but at the same time, haven’t fully grasped the gravity of my situation.

I’m not used to this self-reflection again. Where suddenly my brain is a part of my decisions, it makes up dreams and ideals that I believe I want, but I never actually have the full conviction to carry through.

This “Bored Housewife Syndrome” (I made that up. Not sure if that’s an actual problem but it seems to be prevalent in the cultural stereotypes. Like “Desperate Housewives”, and was even highlighted in modern American literature in “The Awakening”. But I digress) – has not only managed to make me take life seriously again, but it’s made me miss that window of time where I loved myself and life whole-heartedly. Now everything seems to feel like it’s half-done. Indifference has surpassed the importance of pure joy.

I’m grappling with being home, where I once had accepted to being back here and the universe decided to throw a spannar into the works. But here I am again, and I’m only reminded that life never quite started for me here, and it probably never will. I’ve never been the quintessential local citizen of this country. My views have never fit, I’ve never enjoyed the mundane rinse-and-repeat, I’ve never understood the mindset and the motivation that spins the hamster wheel my compatriots so willingly jump on.

I was answering some comments on Facebook before, and I was a little taken aback to realize some of them were only posted less than 24 hours ago. It felt like DAYS when I last saw them. Suddenly time is ticking by, and I’m watching the seconds go by before my very eyes and it’s no longer instilling the insipid fear I have that used to kick my ass into gear.

I could never do well with idleness. Droning on by, just existing. That’s always a given. I guess this realization has me to understand that I’ve got to stop whining, lest I fall into the pit of disenchantment that will eventually spiral into the chasm of futility, indifference and nonchalance.

cinnamon candles and seashells

I’m a little disappointed in the upkeep of this site. There was a good point in time where I managed to churn out some pseudo-intellectual drivel that kept me happy with the exercise of my creative juices.

And that seems to have fallen flat over the past few months.

Funny that, because I proclaimed that I was struggling to find some semblance of inspiration to write again. To maybe find my centre and balance again.

But with the failed attempt to conquer a mountain, an impromptu trip home away from home, my first interview that shook the gravity of my situation and the numerous surprises I’ve encountered from people and life has given me enough to not want to sit and contemplate.

But I still need to write.

So I’m going to actively try generate a way to write honestly, without having to involve my thoughts, but just a social commentary and reviews. Thoughts will be there, but I guess when life gets a little filled to the brim, all I want to do is not overanalyze.

Besides, I did say in a few posts ago, that I needed to switch off my brain a little. And I’ve come to find that not over thinking things is generally how everyone makes things happen.

Just gotta release my chokehold on the control button for now. But, hey, I’m a woman, I can guarantee you it won’t be easy, but baby steps, right?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.