Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flowers

I don't have a particular topic to talk about today; there're so many things going through my mind right now that I wouldn't consider thoughts of my own, they're more like list of things that I need to get done. And because I have problem concentrating on one task at a time, even at this moment as I'm typing this out, I'd stop every couple of minutes to do something else as the tasks pops into my mind. I should really try meditation to calm my mind down, because if this goes on, I might never be able to focus properly on anything anymore.

But anyway, to reiterate, as you can see from this entry's title, it's going to be about flowers. It's not going to be a long essay like previous posts because I don't know much about flowers, nor do I appreciate them much. Nevertheless, as I watch a show that I'm currently following on the interweb, I couldn't help but find myself constantly distracted by the flowers in the setting of the show. And then I realized that hey, I do have a preference when it comes to flowers. It made me feel just a little bit more feminine (which is actually quite a rare thing to happen).

I find that I like flowers of a particular characteristic, rather than colors or scents; I like flowers that look like the sun. Not the bright, blinding one in real life, but more like the sun in cartoons. Kind of like sunflowers, but not sunflowers. I don't really like sunflowers that much because of their freakishly tall and big flowers. I do like their seeds though.

 like small flowers that screams "Hi!" when you look at them, maybe not the exciting "HIIIIII!!!!", but a gentle, cheerful "hello!". Maybe it's just a personal feeling rather than a common trait, perhaps you won't understand what I'm trying to say here. Nevertheless, flowers like cosmos and daisies gave me that impression when I look at them. Small, colorful, happy. I'm not sure if they smell nice or not, I've never really been able to detect any special scent that flowers have (except for lavenders, those purple thingies have scents so strong I get dizzy from smelling them. So hateful.) The best thing about them is that they can grow anywhere: in a cute little pot, or a bush in a garden, or even by the roadside. It's like they're saying that beautiful things can be anywhere, it doesn't matter whether it's an expensive piece of land, or an unwanted handful of dirt. It serves as a reminder to me that no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, it doesn't hurt to make the extra effort to be better as a person, because circumstances don't make who you are on the inside, you yourself do. And when you're good/nice/kind/beautiful from the inside, it positive vibe will influence your whole surrounding and turn it into a better/happier place for everyone in it. Now ain't that awesome.

Or maybe I only like small, cute flowers because it's everything that I'm not, but wished to be. 

Hmm.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Importance of Being Polite

OK, so I'm not one of the nicest people on the planet, but I don't care, I need to talk about this.

We've all gone through the stage where our emotions run our lives, where our heart dangles by the tip of our tongues, where there is nothing more important than to express our feelings. Not your family, not your friends, not even your pet dog. YOU are the most important being in the world, and you must be heard.

Well that stage shouldn't last past your 18th birthday, because you should be mature enough to hold your tongue and watch your language, right? I mean, technically you should be responsible enough since you're old enough to drink, drive, and move out and be your own person (note: do not do all three at once, not even two at once). TECHNICALLY. LOGICALLY. THEORETICALLY.

Fact is, I think the opposite is actually happening as we grow older: because we felt adult-like, so we somehow think that our opinions have become even more significant/important even if it's just as childish (if not more) as the thoughts we've had when we're teenagers. And because we are old enough to behave ourselves and shape our identities, we feel even more compelled to speak our minds without really thinking it through beforehand, and uses lame excuses like "I'm just being myself", or "I'm being real" as a shield to protect our useless ego.

I don't like people who uses their identity/personality as an excuse to be mean to others, because it doesn't make sense. Yes, you can be brutally truthful and blunt, but it doesn't mean that the words coming out of your mouth shouldn't be polite. If you want to be honest, go ahead, but don't make people feel like you're above them and they're not worthy of your care and sincerity.

I don't mean to be too specific, but unfortunately I don't have the liberty to be surrounded by many people every other day, and unfortunately of the few that I actually interact with, about half of them are a few different versions of 'mean people'. 

It's not my place to judge anybody, as I've said, I'm not very nice myself to begin with. So when even I want to talk about this issue, you know something is wrong here. Of course, I can't deny that sometimes it's hard to pretend everything is fine when it's 7 levels of hell in your head. Nevertheless, at the very least, I keep my emotions out of assignments and tasks. I've got issues to deal with, but when it comes to projects, I always remind myself to be neutral and be patient, because everyone has their opinions when it comes to group work. I don't necessarily have the best ideas or the best ways to do some things, so it's important to keep a cool head and look at things from a bird's eye view. And if things doesn't work out smoothly, always be patient and discuss with each other with a positive attitude. Be kind. Most importantly, always be polite in the words that is coming out of your mouth/fingertips.

I'm one of those who are deeply appeciative of the geniuses that created keyboards and e-mails and SMS and other social networking sites (SNS) that practically eliminates the need to speak. I'm shy and messed up like that. But it's not completely on my low self-esteem; I realized that sometimes when we speak, particularly when we're stressed or angry and all wrapped up in our feeling-bubble, we tend to say the wrong things that usually makes matters worse and hurt other people. So I preferred typing out my thoughts rather than speaking them; it gives me enough time to process and rationalize my ideas and sentences and sufficient time to remove my emotions from clouding up the real message that I meant to convey to the recipient on the other end.

It's a great invention, the keyboard and SMS. It's just unfortunate that not many knows the benefits of the extra miliseconds we've been given to think properly of the words we chose to use in our sentences. Which is why I'm so frustrated by people who is mean, especially through SNS and e-mails, and those who simply do not know how to communicate properly and politely. It' sad that letters (and e-mails) are what we're taught to write properly back in primany school days, but few actually cared enough to remember and practice writing properly, respectfully, sincerely, and most importantly, politely. 

You don't need to be highly educated or score excellent results in order to be polite in your writing; all you need is Google. The formats are there to provide structure, there are vocabulary lists all over the internet if you don't know how to type properly, and if you're THAT lazy to be polite, at least Google up some samples and copy from there, because at the end of the day, we're all busy people with different priorities. Just because you're having a bad day, doesn't mean that you have to give others a bad time as well. C'mon guys, spread happiness, not hatred. Be polite when you type.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

SAD

It’s one of those days when I woke up and thought, “Wow. I’ve been going nowhere but down deeper and deeper into the heart of the emo vortex. WTF happened.” I knew I wasn’t the most optimistic of any human alive, but constantly getting myself into feeling like a piece of shit isn’t the best thing to do with my short life.

There’s always a risk of depression when you get yourself coup up at home most of your days. It’s not what I want to do on a daily basis, of course, but somehow it ended up to be what I do every day; because it’s so easy to not talk to anybody and not do anything that requires a huge amount of effort.
I’m the chairperson of an upcoming conference for young chemists. Not only that, I’ve also founded a start-up that specializes on customized+handpainted caps with a friend. Twice a week I’ll teach English to students in Form1, 3 and 6. I do volunteer work in temples on Sundays and just got myself enrolled into a company involving skincare to not only help my skin get better, but also potentially earn some side-income.

It’s kind of ironic when I look at what I’m doing at this stage of my life, to how I actually am. I like research work, but two years into doing experiments in the lab makes me wonder for what do I actually do this for. It’s one thing doing something different than what most of your peers do, it’s another when you think about why and how does what you do affects your health and your career, and if I’m feeling altruistic, the community as well. People easily feel empathetic to those who are working office hours, or working in the manufacturing, business and finance sector; most people gone through that phase/these fields of work. It’s harder to explain the obstacles you face in the lab and convince people that what you do may affect them in a very big way someday; because not everybody understands how the scientific process works and what stages a discovery goes through that eventually be announced to the public. I cannot deny that I’m actually avoiding school and the topic of research and postgrad life in general; not because I don’t like it anymore, but I’m increasingly afraid it accepting that my decision to get an MSc in science is, honestly, a mistake. It’s an even bigger mistake for me to settle for research-mode study rather than a mixed-mode or a coursework-mode study. I’m not dissing research people or the type of study itself, I just fail to see how it can benefit me with this piece of certificate, other than getting a sllliiigggghhtly better salary as a fresh-grad MSc, but also working the same 9-5 slot of the day. Why am I wasting an additional 3 years of my life got a meagre couple of hundreds extra on my paycheck every month? Beats me.

Art has been a big part of my life, not in the academics sense, but more on my lifestyle. I love the imperfections of life itself; I love the differences that stimulate uniqueness. I also love how behind every major piece of anything at all, are simple starting points; a simple stroke of the brush, a line on a piece of paper, a groove that fits to other parts of an object just nicely. Unique, I like that word. But being unique doesn’t sell. Effective marketing sells. Advertisement sells. Socializing and networking sells. You can’t just advertise a page on social networks and expect customers to come flooding into your inbox; you have to go out, meet people, and talk to them about your product in order to actually raise interest on the things that you’re selling. Having good products are useless if you can’t convince others that the need to buy the goods for themselves. To me, that is my biggest hurdle to pass through.

The more I stayed home, the more I isolate myself from people, the more socially anxious I’ve become. Just the other day I lied to my student that my phone credit expired, just because I was afraid to call up another student who supposedly signed up for my class but failed to turn up that night. I could remember how embarrassed I was right after telling that white lie, but also the terror I felt should I just be honest and called the boy myself. Meeting people is becoming more of a challenge and a fear that is getting harder for me to control. Even talking on the phone is terrifying to me, so I tend to not answer calls whenever possible; I’ll wait a while after the phone stops ringing, then sends a message to the caller apologizing for missing their call and asks them to let me know what they need via message/ whatsapp because I’m busy (when sometimes I’m not), because it’s easier this way. Some days, I just wish I can move out to a place of my own and just hide and never have to talk to anyone and go anywhere. I look at society as a big scary monster that can massacre and tear me into pieces and eats me up as I die from fear and embarrassment. There are probably not many embarrassing memories other people have of myself, but even making a purchase from a fast food restaurant can potentially make me feel embarrassed and make me want to dig a hole and bury myself in it. I don’t know what it is, but there’s always a feeling of awkwardness that I have no matter Where I go or what I do, like I’m not doing things right like everybody else. I feel nervous when I’m outside in general, more so if the place is crowded. I don’t even know how am I going control myself when I have to make a speech in the conference next month. If I can have it my way, I’d move up to the mountain today and disappear from the society. I suppose this is a sign of Social Anxiety Disorder.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to just go up to anybody and admit that there’s something bigger that I fear that is bigger than ghosts and spiders; I don’t like myself being weak. Plus, what would they tell you? “You just got to go out more”, “It’s all in your head”, “Don’t worry so much, just relax”? It’s like telling a crazy person that they’re not crazy, and telling the nutcase to ‘stop thinking that you’re crazy and you will be normal again’. It’s ridiculous. Bonkers. So rather than confessing, or continuing to hide under my blanket of lies that I tell people, I had to try to beat the disorder myself. Go to the best psychiatrist and still he/she also will tell you to try to put some effort into socializing more, after issuing some drugs I guess…

So I’m working on socializing with people. I took up the English tutoring part-time when I stopped getting income from being a research assistant (stupid grant shortage issues), and I thanked my good karma for that; at least I’m not completely cut off from everybody and at least I have some side income for pocket money, and now it helps me to get back some of the confidence I’ve lost while my research failed me. Having some experience from tutoring now, I’m also considering giving private tutoring focusing on speaking and writing; I’ll see how it goes. Kids don’t judge you as much as adults. Children are generally kinder compared to full-grown human. I’ve got to surround myself with adults too, so like I’ve said in the beginning of this post, I’m taking classes on skincare; socialize while learning to take better care of my skin and how to help others do that too. Meanwhile, I’ll also continue to volunteer in temples, just because I like volunteering and at least I get to talk to people a bit while working.
Hopefully I’ll be able to be less afraid of talking to other people soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Simple Life

Sometimes I envy people who lived in the past: my parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. It's not that I don't know how hard life was compared to present time, nor that I'm unappreciative of how comfortable our life is today as compared to the past. I envy them because despite the lack of technology, they've got enough time to live and grow normally.

In the past, all you need to survive is to be persistent and hardworking. Your parents taught you to be self-sufficient from young; taking care of your siblings, doing house chores, running errands, learning basic things that you need to know so you won't die if God forbid something happens to all your loved ones and you're left all alone and have to fend for yourself. Life wasn't easy, but you can always find work and earn some money to support yourself. Just follow these simples steps and eventually you'll save enough money to buy yourself a house, maybe even be financially stable enough to be your own boss, and start your own family. Work hard, and life will take care of itself. Just like that.

Life is still hard today, because it's too easy. It's too easy to stay at home and rely on your parents to support you, because having gone through the hardship themselves they wouldn't want their precious children to go through the same process. It's too easy to slack off at home and be a student as an excuse to not work, because who wouldn't want to keep studying? Life as a student is great as compared to working life. There's always scholarship out there somewhere that you can apply for. Free money AND you don't have to go to work 9-5pm every weekday. It's also too easy to start something, and move on to something else when your original plan doesn't work out, because you don't need much money to venture into anything: if it's too expensive, just do something that doesn't require so much fund first. You dont' necessarily need modal to start a business anyway; just go online and you'll find infinite ways to make money using no money.

In the past, we might need a whole day or maybe even up to a week to prepare and send out our resumes for job applications. Today, we can apply for up to hundreds of positions of many different fields and sectors, all just by sitting in front of the computer for a couple of hours. There's no paperwork to certify, no forms to fill up, no running to the photocopier to make copies of your documents and no standing in line to post them to potential employers. You don't even need to lock yourself at home for the fear of missing their calls for interviews; that smartphone of yours will take care of your calls and emails for you. Pay your bills, order food, shop for groceries and everything else that you need online; we really don't have much purpose to step out of our houses other than to get to work. And speaking of smartphones, it's so easy to have thousands of friends that you've never even met, simply because there are social media that connects you to strangers that just so happens to share your interests. This also makes it so easy to 'fall in love' with somebody without ever meeting each other, all thanks to the internet and all that fancy programming that created apps that we take for granted, and because you've never really met each other in the first place, there's no problem in breaking up and never speaking to each other again. 

If it's so easy, then why is it hard? Because convenience messes with our heads, that's why. There was a purpose to live back then: to innovate, to achieve success, to be rich, to love, to protect, to nurture. There were so many possibilites and so many things to do. Today, there's barely anything left that we imagined that hasn't been invented by some scientist. In fact, even things we don't need are being invented and being promoted so convincingly that we will eventually hypnotize ourselves into owning them because we think we might need them someday (which we usually never will). We have gradually stun our brains from not thinking creatively and settle for the life of lambs and sheep: wherever the trend goes, we go. It's a simple life in a different way: it was simple back then because people are encouraged to work hard and they will succeed, it's simple life today because everything is already done for you even before you needed it to be done that we don't have to do much except to click on a few buttons and to make sure we continue breathing from one day to another. 

It's hard because it's comfortable; not doing anything/keep doing the same thing every day is such a luxury because we don't have to think. If we don't ask for too much then there's no harm living such a live. Hey, less is more, right? Religion have always taught us to not be greedy anyway. So screw those people that kept persuading us to get out of the 'rat race'. 

I speak from my own experience of being unemployed and being the one who listens to the stories that my friends told me about the working life. Some are doing well, some aren't. All wants me to be successful, all have different ideas and suggestions. So here's MY story:

All I want is to life a simple life, except, my simple is actually not so simple when I break it down to parts. I want to live in a cottage on a piece of land of my own on a hill/somewhere quiet and not too warm, where I can plant my own fruits and vegetables and have a pack of dogs, a couple of cows, goats and chickens. I want to spend my days reading, taking pictures, sketching and exploring nearby forests. I like to be by myself. 

It's bloody simple, but bloody expensive. Land doesn't cost as little as a pack of economy rice. And to buy a piece of land suitable for crops and animals and has a view, you can't do that with minimum wage. Keeping animals as pets do not come cheap as well; there must be a vet nearby, and caretakers must be hired to feed them and keep their places clean. Crops don't grow well without proper care as well. Living up in secluded areas means there must be a special place set up to provide electricity and clean water. Building your own cottage also requires quite a big budget to get it done just the ay I want it to. By the time it's done, I would be way into my 50s and waiting to die on my bed, which would also require money to hire physicians to take care of my sick self at my cottage. Considering how much this place spends, it must at least getting it's own income to compensate for the expenditure, so I might need to build some more cottages or chalets and hire a management team to run some fun family programmes and promote the place. It will not be only me living there by then. 

What a stupid dream.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Of Living Things

Are there times when you suddenly think to yourself, "Can you believe something like this exists?" Something living; plants, animals, insects. Soething that breathes and eats and sleeps, but not human. 

I'm suddenly gripped by this revelation this morning as I watched my 3 year-old poodle scratching herself. It's not the most glamourous thing to see when you had a eureka moment, I know, but you can't pick and choose when you realize things. 

So there I was, just sitting and staring at my little fur-ball minding her own business, as she does every morning after an episode of Good Morning Khawlin where she would bounce around panting and trying to lick me everywhere. How amazing is this, I thought. A ball of fluff that has almost no other purpose in its life other than making your existense and your happiness their priority. Who would've thought something like this exists in the world. It's times like this that makes we wonder if there's really a God that creates everything we have in our lives.

I love animals, and I especially love dogs because I've had dogs on different stages in my life. Having 3 dogs at home right now, I couldn't imagine how life would be without them, which is devastating when I remembered the time my two older dogs died 3years ago and 3months ago respectively, and the terror I felt knowing that I'll have to live through that same devastation for three more times, provided My family doesn't get another dog (or two) in the future. We always say we wouldn't take in another, but sometimes we do, because who can resist kanine charms, with their puppy eyes and warm-friendliness.

I've had dogs since childhood, and to me, there's more to dogs than their breed and size. To me, getting dogs means getting a Happiness Machine for your home. They just have this kind of in-your-face attitude that just blocks out all sadness and make you concentrate just on them: "Look at me! Look at me! I'm chasing me tail! Look Look! I can roll over! Scratch my tummy! Scratch it! Scratch it! I'll lick you if you don't!...I'll lick you if you do!", they'd say.  It really helps to reprogram my mood, considering how susceptible I am to being emo and depressed.

They don't know if they're big or small, hunting breed or toy breed or dangerous breeds. They know only a few things: they stay with you, you feed them, you bathe them, you play with them, so they love you. They love you so much they'd want to protect you, and watch over you even if you're only leaving your desktop to go to the toilet. They're two steps behind you as you walk around your house, cleaning, or just walking around because you have nothing else to do. And when you finally reached for the leash and collar they'd become so ecstatic that they'd jump around and whimper and brush their noses against your legs, because they know that you know that they love to go outside too, even if it's only for a short 15 minutes stroll around the block. 

That's what they do; that's how they show their love for you.

What I don't understand is why some people does not care enough to consider the work involved and the fact that a dog is like a child, before going through with the trouble to get the dog. What I don't understand is why after the trouble of getting a dog, they could neglect the dog to a point that one day it either sneaks out of the house, got lost and became a stray, or throw it out into the streets to fend for itself, or euthanize it because it has become a burden in their lives. We claimed ourselves to be the smarter species of animals on the planet, so how on earth did we become so heartless? What's the difference between us and the other animals in the wild? besides the fact that we don't rip them apart with our own teeth and hands and eat them (I can't say the same for people that do).

It breaks my heart especially when I see dogs still being loyal and loving to their terrible dog owners. What does that say about us and about dogs? We say we are compasionate, that we love our family members, but resolved to violent so easily and would hurt them in the name of love. I've never seen dogs hurt their owners on purpose because they love their owners. To be honest, I don't think any animal would do that as well; humans seemed to be the only species that has this specific trait. 

We claim that we are the better species simply because we are advanced enough in the area of communication to SAY that we are, and to speculate that we are capable of doing good. Some of us do strive for a better tomorrow of course, but the fact is we are only as strong as our weakest link, and our weakest link is pretty weak and rotten.