2013 has been a pretty horrid year so far. WIth a brief respite that in hindsight, was a mere ascent to the top of a roller coaster ride before concluding in a deep dark rush toward the abyss and rut I’m currently in right now, even my normally cherubic and positive character can’t quite find much to be positive about.
I’ve never understood those who drown themselves in intoxicating substances and whorish behaviour [though some would allege I do that on the regular anyway, without need for external catalyst nor inception] when upset. I recall that a little more than a year ago, when I had finished my tenure as half of a couple, I just cooped myself at home for 6 weeks. Not even due to depression, but due to the academic pressures that contributed to our conclusion in the first place. I didn’t even realize it till the semester was over and I found myself on an Asia bound plane.
It’s been much the same this time round; though it must be said that I’ve been drinking quite a lot lately. I’ve literally drunk more wine in the past fortnight than the entire sum of my life put together. I surmise that it’s due to the fact that I’ve only recently discovered it [which is a whole travesty by itself] and this is similar to my single malt phase of 2008. Either way, it’s come to a head and that’s been that.
I conclude my examinations on the 24th of June and am keen to see what the future holds for me after that. The next 6 months will arguably be the most defining and important of my life thus far and major decisions need to be made. I’m always leaning and championing towards moving to the more dynamic Asia, where a young single professional may either form the nameless, faceless detritus that lines the offices and corridors of the CBD or rise like a dragon through the murk and achieve greatness. And yet some part of me has always been anchored toward moving back to Melbourne, finally realising and being a part of those nearest and dearest to me.
Whilst Singapore and Melbourne have always been the top two contenders, perhaps that’s exactly what’s wrong with me. Always remaining in my comfort zone and unwilling to push the boundaries and push myself further. Perhaps that’s exactly what I need, to throw myself into the great yonder and learn to swim in life as I did in the pool. Where I either drowned or forced myself to float and finally represent schools in the water.
I should really never write at 5.30am after being an insomniac for the past month or so.
Still looking for it after this long.
Still holding out and waiting.
Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion—these are the two things that govern us. And yet, I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream—I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of medievalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal—to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.
—Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
In the interests of plotting where we are and how we’re proceeding, I’ve always found it interesting that the older I grow, the more I find a man’s standing is challenged. With all the turbulence and upheaval given in the last century regarding gender equality and feminism, ranging from legislation prohibiting discriminatory practices to seeking change in social mindsets, it’s quite difficult to figure out where a man should be.
Women want to be treated with chivalry, respect and yet want to be admired and respected for being able to do all the things a man can. It’s pretty confusing sometimes. I’ll admit there’ve been times when I’d be consoling a female friend and I’m not sure whether to reach out and hug her in the interest of pacifying her emotional needs or if I should’ve instead kicked her in the ass and motivated her the way you would a fellow male.
In the interests of that, here’s a short and nowhere near comprehensive list of things that I feel that every man, no matter how much the world changes around us, should be able to do.
- Take care of yourself. We all love a drink now and then or to play sport. Avoid injury, don’t become a liability and don’t create a you where someone has to take care of you. Don’t be a burden. Sometimes it’s better to just walk away from a shitty situation.
- Be able to cook for yourself. No one’s expecting you to be giving Heston Blumenthal a run for his money. But if you can’t cook at least something edible, you need to check yourself. And if you can’t cook, don’t be a food critic. Even if you have a personal chef to prepare all your meals; at least be able to make a steak and eggs combo.
- Household and garage maintenance. I’m being a bit of a hypocrite with this; I’m able to fulfil everything around the house from resetting a fuse box in the event of a black out to basic electrical wiring and lightbulb changing. But I’d be pretty hopeless at maintaining an automobile. Same rules apply with regards to hired help as in 2.
- Always always always try to be positive. It’s pretty fuckin’ hard at times and again, I fall short of this all the time too. But my father once told me that if I had nothing to say that would uplift someone, I shouldn’t say it at all. Wish I practiced that more.
- Compartmentalise your life. Keep things separate when they have to be. Different facets of life do tend to spill over into others at times, but you should always be able to handle your business without fear of compromise from another portion. Even if you’re heartbroken and stressed out, don’t let it affect your work. And even when you’re super successful at work, don’t let it take you away from your family.
More to come.
Fuck being a gold digger. Be a goal getter.
I’m sure I’ve done this before but recently I figured that now I’ve passed a quarter century of life, I’d like to document what I’ve learned thus far. With the digital record keeping ability of the internet and it’s frustrating tendency to never let you forget what you’ve written in the past [believe me I hope none of you ever discover my previous blogs], I hope that this will keep and that I’ll one day re-visit these to see if I’ve developed further as a person… or devolved into more of a simplistic barbarian. It’s inspired simply because I feel that since my optimistic and idealistic teenage years, I’ve actually become more of a brute force neanderthal. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve learned to care less or if it’s because I just don’t have those higher brain functions anymore.
But anyway, today I want to talk to you about a lesson I’ve learned. With 99% of the problems/dilemmas/conundrums we face today, it almost always boils down to a duel between one’s brain, or utilising the mind to find the most logical, safest and ‘wisest’ decision versus going with one’s heart to find the most emotionally satisfying but almost always, the trade off is that it has a higher risk factor. Almost always, we’d consult our peers, our mentors or whatever figures of authority we feel would grant us insight and advice. Occasionally we actually use this advice whilst I’d suggest that for most of us, we simply want our choices validated. We may not always voice out the decisions we make, but deep in our minds eye [that neutral ground between heart and brain], we’ve already figured out which path to walk.
Whilst I’m not nearly as arrogant to suggest amending your preferred option, I’d like to place the following into consideration. Let’s consider those people who’ve become wildly successful. This article may help to stress my point.
Bill Gates decided to write code for an operating system for machinery that didn’t exist yet and focused on it by dropping out of the world’s foremost technology of institute. Anyone in that time or today even, regardless of the Oracles and Facebook’s and Googles out there, would’ve told him what a foolish idea it was. Amancio Ortega decided to get into tailoring, an industry notorious for its long literal sweatshop hours and low profit margins. They picked to go with their hearts over their brains.
There’s a veritable list of actors who decided to forgo much safer and potentially lucrative careers in other fields and to go into the performing arts. Yet, they stuck it through and whether they became Trump or thespian, billionaire or Bono, they achieved success in their fields.
My point is this, if you want something hard enough, go with it. To simplify it to an everyday example, day in day out, despite the societal pressures imposed on many of my peers and I to discover an industry which we want to be in and achieve similar levels of sky reaching success, we spend an inordinate amount of time chasing that elusive L word.
Be it whether to decide to go for a girl, to stay with one, or whether to leave one, complications always arise. And yet, I put forth the supposition that it all boils down to one thing. You don’t want it enough.
Fundamentally, it all comes down to your passion for something. If you wanted something badly enough, you would strive and overcome all the road blocks in your way. Whether it’s sewing clothes, selling pork buns or finally winning the heart of your love; it all comes down to that.
That’s not to belittle the fact that more often than not, complications do arise. I’m by no means deriding the fact that every one of us face very real world problems that impede us from our hearts desire. But what I’m saying is that given enough motivation, we’d be able to overcome it. And that’s what divides us isn’t it? Because here’s the thing. At some point, you won’t be able to lie about it anymore. You can’t genuinely hold onto something you don’t actually want, regardless of your tolerance and determination. Whether it’s ensuring the success of your milk tea outlet or finally producing a music album. You would pursue and endeavour as hard as possible to finally achieve it.
So what I’m saying is this. I’ve found that with myself, I go with my heart, tempered with my brain. I know what I want, but use my brain to identify the risks and potholes and figure out ways to circumvent them. EVERYTHING can be worked out. Sometimes, the things we think matter… Don’t. It’s for you to figure out what is worth it and what isn’t. No one I’ve ever spoken to, regardless of failure, bankruptcy or heartbreak, has ever looked back and said “I regret trying”. Unless they didn’t want it enough in the first place.
I have found love. Now I just need to get my dick wet.
— A poet
I recall that growing up, Jude Law was a particular idol of mine. I’d always liked his sense of style, the way he carried himself and in many ways, I tried to envision myself as an Asian and overweight version of him. Don’t think I managed to pull off it too well though, as evidenced by the lack of an acting contract or pending blockbusters. Or hordes of women at my door.
Anyway, this post-teenage fascination with him led me to watch the movie, “The Holiday”. A typical feel good romantic comedy [my favorite genre of movies, if we must be honest]. And yet despite the intriguing-I’m-sure storyline and plot, what I really took away from the movie was the concept of the ‘meet cute’. Here, I’ll let Elli Wallach’s character explain it better.
“Say a man and a woman both need something to sleep in and both go to the same men’s pajama department. The man says to the salesman, “I just need bottoms,” and the woman says, “I just need a top.” They look at each other and that’s the ‘meet cute.’
It’s curious that he uses the analogy of department store shopping to explain the meet cute. I suppose the point of it is to exemplify and portray that these things are meant to be fated. No on-screen romance ever came about because they were set up by their friends or went on a blind date. Attraction isn’t a choice is it?
We’re tiny specks in a vast and uncaring universe. I tried to count them all and to make sense of it, but all I felt was the weight of infinity on my shoulders.
Then I realised that I’m just a vibrating clump of atoms that happened to come together in a random manner and that this impossibly unique combination will one day be dismantled and reduced to its component parts. And then I’ll be gone too, in a place where sadness can’t exist.
And yet I just feel like all I’ll do is remember you.