Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Determined Soul

Everything considered, a determined soul will always manage.

Albert Camus.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stress Stress Stress

Lately I am feeling very deflated. In fact, almost picturesquely so since my posture has also gotten a lot worse.

Most of it has to do with my bad habit of skipping classes and then having to cram right before tests (which I am doing now) - academic pressure I suppose. On the other hand though, it's also small things - stuff like not being able to get the rhythm right on a song I'm trying to play, not eating right, sleeping right or not having saved as much money as I would have hoped by this stage. Also, I got an appalling grade for a recent assignment.

Little unrelated things that all work together to sort of drag you down further and further. Until something comes along and you nearly explode at it.

Like the leather passport wallet I bought for the end of the year, which came in the mail today, and isn't leather at all.

I was really looking forward to it too. : (

So what to do? I called a friend and ranted and raged for a bit. Of course, it solved none of my problems.

But things always work out in the end.
Do all that you can, and accept the things you can't change - I paraphrase the sermon.

Also I am told, that it helps if you imagine yourself five years from now - all your current troubles will fall away.

Tomorrow I will take my assignment to my tutor and do exercises for the tests that I have coming up, hopefully I'll also get a reply from the place I bought the leather wallet from.
As for now, I think I'll read some Kirkegaard.

Photo credit:
Arimura Ryutaro for Gadget Grow

[Because I know the majority of people who stumble across this place only stop by for the pictures ^^]

Monday, September 12, 2011


I grow weary of a certain example of how not to live.

By what sensibility should one call oneself a Christian and go to church to console oneself about lack of control, to learn to live sensibly and to gain entry through heaven's gates? As if church were some pity party where people who are hard on their luck go, as if it were some kind of after-life insurance policy. As if this life were some kind of ticket booth where we get in line to buy tickets for heaven by going to church.

It doesn't make any sense at all.
One should go to church because one is Christian and one believes in God.
It's not supposed to be a social gathering, even if it looks, smells, sounds, feels and tastes like one.

But I am not Christian, so what the hell do I know.

He tells me that people who don't go to church will go to hell.

Well, that may be true, but I think there's a worse hell for people who pretend to go to church in order to buy heaven insurance.

On the other side, I have found a near stranger who's life is a better example.

Who has worked in many countries, and quit his high-paying job on moral grounds. Who has accepted positions in France and Germany on the condition that "my wife gets a job too". Who has played in social soccer clubs, bred dogs, and raised plants, lived on a farm, and now lives in a waterfront apartment. Who has been offered a "boy's vacation" but brings his wife because "it wouldn't be any fun without my best friend". Who has decided to work again because "I thought it was probably about time I left the house". Who looks like he has fun every day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Fake Memory

A fake memory that only you believe in.

A wish that you make come true - even though it's just a little white lie you tell yourself.

That with this, you're a little closer to your dreams (whispers: not really).

A burning live house, throbbing bass.
Waves of energy rolling from the seats.
I gaze at a benign god.
He gazes at me.
We don't need words.
This time, I can breathe.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Isn't it interesting that men would live and die for an idea?

That every invention is the result of an idea.

That until they are realised, our dreams are just ideas.

That we want to manipulate other's ideas, but can never really control our own.

That we can delude ourselves, free ourselves, enslave ourselves, fix ourselves and break ourselves with just an idea.

You Only Have This One Life To Reach Your Dreams

Sometimes I wonder how true it is that I can never become truly great at something that I'm utterly talentless in.

Don't you sometimes wonder, what would happen if you really did sing non-stop for years and years? Surely with so much practise, you'd be at least better than where you are now? Maybe not world-class, maybe not famous, maybe not enough to win a reality show, but what if? Maybe if you worked hard enough, for long enough, really want it enough - maybe natural talent isn't as important as you think.

Ah, but then you also sometimes get those people that say "even if you believe it, it's not possible".

I don't know. Maybe because I was born with an inborn hatred of advice and should do this, should do that, don't do this, can't do that. But it really irks me to hear that.

Yes, so maybe belief isn't what makes it work. But hours and hours of work and sweat and effort and heart have got to mean something. Don't you think it would be impossible to practice for hours without getting slightly better? How about years? Have you ever heard of someone who sings with all their heart for years and is still no good??

Just refuse it. Your life is down to you anyway. If you want to believe in something, damn well do it and forget whether you should or not, or whether it will yield results. After all, if you believe it hard enough, work hard enough, I think you'll hear a difference in how you sound - even if no one else does. And while that might not be enough to win a show, isn't that enough to secure a little happiness for yourself?

If you think about it, I think the believing that it's possible is also a form of believing in yourself.
A unbridled sense of the world is mine and I can be me.

So yes, I'll probably keep ruining the neighbours lives with my late-afternoon impromptu piano recitals. Probably keep strumming on my guitar and singing in my room even though I know I have the rhythm of a half-tranqed deer.

I don't really want to be a musician.
But sometimes it's nice to just believe that I can.

I like to think that thus far, I've been able to hold on to the wide open expanses of "I can be whatever I want when I'm old" that belongs almost exclusively to children.
So many people grow up and realise that their dreams have fences and insurmountable walls.

But you don't.
Even if its a wild idea with nothing tangible to back it up, just try. Dream a little bit.
Don't worry anymore about it being pointless or impossible.

For all you know, you only have this one life to reach your dreams.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Normality And Living Quietly - And Why It Shouldn't Be Attempted At All

I'm sure its quite clear, from my purple (and blonde-streaked) hair and taste in music and clothes and my interests and my tendency to do things on an impulse, that I am not quite normal.

But only in that I'm a straight-A over-achieving asian business student.
With purple (and blonde-streaked) hair.
And not-normal tastes in music and clothes and interests.
Who's impulsive.

I'm not quite the stereotypical teenager who parties and drinks.
I'm not quite the rebelling teenager who has safety pins in their ears.
And I'm not quite the asian kid either.

The thing is, for the most part of my life, my dad has been trying to get me to conform to this idea of normality. Just yesterday, he came and told me that I shouldn't have dyed my hair blonde (funny he never noticed when it was purple).
"You should live quietly, don't stand out and be a target. Live peacefully and without drawing attention, don't dress strangely and just do what you are supposed to."

There's something so disturbingly wrong about that advice.
Not only is it just ludicrous, almost telling your child not to excel in any way - just to live quietly.
What does that even mean?

I'm hoping he doesn't mean a cute little quiet bambi-esque tottering fool of a stereotypical asian girl who posts a bajillion pictures of desserts and themselves on facebook, gets good grades, has a boringly unexciting part time job until they graduate from their degree as fast as possible (with no exchanges, honors or worthwhile experiences). After which they'll work at a bank or mid-sized accounting firm until they find a nice asian boy who will marry her and look after her while she stays home and has children and looks after the children.

However, I have irrefutable proof that at the very least, he means a docile asian girl who gets good grades and etc etc etc.

I don't really know what the best way to respond to this is.
I mean, there are so many glaringly obvious stupid things in what he wants.
And I'll leave docile to the end.
  • Get good grades
  • I get good grades because I have pride in my actions and myself as a person, not because it's something that I should do. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it well - no half measures. You should get good grades because you want them, not because it's something you ought to do. Similarly, you should do things because you want to, not because you ought to.

  • Have a boringly unexciting part time job
  • I do have a part-time job. I work in a mid-high end jewellery shop on the main street next to Louis Vuitton and Gucci. That is not a boringly unexciting part time job. When I was 18 or so, he started nagging me to get a job. He suggested McDonalds and Foodtown, even local takeaways. And when I refused, he told me I was stubborn and that I should take any opportunities I had. Two weeks or so later, I broke a chain and ended up with this job. I made my own opportunities. Don't settle. Make your own opportunities.

  • Graduate from a degree as fast as possible (with no exchanges, honors or worthwhile experiences)
  • He doesn't know this, but I'm doing a conjoint degree with four majors. I'm hopefully going on a one-month exchange to Tokyo University in summer, and after that, a one year exchange to Keio University. And even with all of this, I will graduate at the same time as my peers because I take 5 papers a semester and I do summer school. I have made new friends and I have made old friends again. I have had revelations, admirations, epiphanies (and epiphones!) and I have worked my ass off for all of it. Do as much as you can.

  • Work at a bank or mid-sized accounting firm:
  • Fuck it. Every time I hear a person say that they've worked the same job for more than 4 years, some part of me shudders with horror. They don't love it. They spend their lives doing it. And much more often than not, it's for the benefit of someone else - a corporation, a boss, a manager. I want to work for myself - not in a self-owned business way, but in a "fulfilling my dreams" kind of way. What if we never have another chance at this? What if this one life is all you have? I refuse to spend it in any way other than exactly how I want.

  • Find a nice asian boy 
  • How about find someone who is engaging and honest? Someone whos' company makes you happy and whos' jokes makes you smile? He doesn't have to be cookie-cutter nice. I don't care if he has tattoos or long hair or is a total dead-beat artist on the street - as long as he is a genuinely decent person who has a nice personality, and tries to look after you, that's more than enough. And no, I don't care if he is asian. And nor should you.

  • Get married and be looked after, stay home, have children and look after them.
  • This is just stupid, and sadly not in the least exaggerated. What century do you live in? I don't mind getting married, or being looked after - but come on. Marriage is not the only thing that girls aim for. When we get married, it doesn't mean that we are suddenly completely content with everything. Marriage changes nothing in terms of aspirations - at least for me. And even if I had children, I will have insatiable goals my entire life. 

And finally, being docile, being unexceptional, living quietly.

I'm afraid the greatest counter-argument to this is possibly an ad-hominem. I do not want to be unexceptional because you are unexceptional. You have nothing to live for and you pass your days in quiet acceptance that somewhere along the way, your dreams collapsed like a house of cards and it's too late to rebuild it all again.

But I like standing out. I like being myself. I like it when my middle-aged japanese teacher (who comes from a country where the unspoken motto is "the nail that sticks up will get hammered down") tells me that she likes my hair and asks if I do it myself.

I am not ashamed of myself. I am not afraid to stand out. If anyone truly judges me for what I look like or how I dress, then they are not worth  meeting - and yet, if we are given the chance to meet. I am sure that I can change their opinion of me. I have nothing to hide. I am unashamedly myself, and it is unbelievably sad if you cannot say the same.

Where are your dreams? Where are your ambitions?
I will not give up on what I believe in. And I will never stop trying, never stop encouraging everyone around me to try, please try, to be exactly who you want to be.

And if, by some chance, my purple hair and eccentric tastes can encourage others to live LOUDLY and without any HESITATION, then that is worth more to me than any approval you could ever give me.

So no, I will not dye my hair black.
I will not live quietly.
I will stand out and be a target.
I will not live peacefully.
I will draw attention.
I will dress however the hell I want.
And I will do whatever the fuck I want - whether I am supposed to or not.