Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why I am put off parenting

FOUR years ago I was sitting in a similar space, in fact, the space exactly downstairs from where I am right now, fiercely fighting for a happy life. It was a difficult battle. I was coming out of a rocky relationship, wrapped up a doctorate and was back to living with my family. The last bit turned out to be the hardest one of all.

It was not so much that I was taking a step back by moving back home, it was more like living with their expectations of me. It was (and still is) a lot of expectations. They expected me to dance to their rhythm without exactly telling me how to dance to that rhythm. Prior to that I have been dancing my own dance in my own life and had not involved them in much of it, so you get the idea.

That arrangement, thankfully, did not last very long. I got over the relationship, embraced change, and got back to dancing my own steps, with my own rhythm.

That said, it was a difficult time of my life.

The hardest bit of it was the fact that I had to hide it from my own family - because I tried telling them once and instead of getting a compassionate ear, I got laughter and ridicule. It sucks being the youngest kid in the family. I blame my parents because they think if it works for one kid, it should work for the other. Needless to say, they are not big on the idea of individuality. Then again, we are Asian, so that probably explains the attitude, or at least partially.

My parents would be the first people in this planet who kicked and screamed every time I told them that their parenting style is full-on Asian, although not so much tiger, parenting. They are able to successfully use guilt to get everything that they want. This puts me off having children, which when I told them about, they conveniently blame on the fact that I was a sub-standard human being to start off with, to which the solution is to get over it and get better.

They are so lucky I do not turn out to be drug-addict junkie who is slowly fading away in a dark alley somewhere.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On happiness

Winter is really getting to me. I don't function very well in the cold. I know that it is unfair to blame my general lack of joie de vivre on the weather (or rather, the temperature). I am feeling flat. There we go, I said it.

My cure to this is being productive - not necessarily busy (as in cramming activities in my schedule), but more like getting the things on my to do list ticked off. Usually, I would feel better because I quite literally say to myself: now I can just laze around and do nothing, without worrying about all of these things that I have to do.
Today I have been productive! I was productive at the office, I was productive at home. I was even willing to do things in the name of experimentation (the result of which is not very successful). And here I am at the end of the day - still feeling flat.

Le sigh.

It is in days like this, isn't it, that the battle of keeping oneself happy has to be won. It is during these times that the battle is harder than usual that the fighter has to persist on the end goal, no matter how temporary the victory can be.

The older I am, the more I realise that being happy is a daily battle. Just because you are happy today does not automatically mean you will be happy tomorrow. Because we can only be happy at this point in time (duh). I wake up everyday choosing to be happy, especially on the days that the choice is harder to make.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Discrimination between various income groups

We live in a society where our government discriminates against various income groups. This discrimination often favours the lower end of this scale - at least that's what it is in Australia right now.

Some days, this fact depresses me more than others, although in general, I try not to "feel" it so much. I think this is because I have not been largely on the receiving end of this discrimination, so it is quite unfortunately annoying to see that I have to support various things that the government thinks I should support.

I don't mind sharing what I've got - but I would like to have a say in how much I share these things and where/to whom I am sharing them with. I am a big proponent for education, especially for young people, so I'd like to see my tax contributions go towards schooling and any other programs that encourage children to go to school. Don't ask me why, deep down, I believe that education is one of the tickets to success. At the very minimal, it gives you something to do so that you stay out of trouble. Yes, I get that most of life lessons are learnt outside the classroom, but it really does not negate the value of the lessons taught within the classrooms.

Another area is the elderlies and the disabled. This is rooted in my belief that in a relatively advanced society that we live in, our level of advancement is judged by how well we treat those who are less fortunate than ourselves. If we go to a third world country, the chance of a disabled person surviving is a lot lower than if he/she wins the geographical lottery of being born in Australia. Sorry, there is no other way of putting this. 

I get that there are other things that is required to make our society the way it is right now, so my tax contribution needs to be spread amongst those things, yet it still annoys me when I can't have a say in terms of where I'd like my contribution to go to. Surely there are other people who feel strongly towards other things, why can't their money goes towards those things.

The answer to that is that it is too hard to manage. In an ideal society, we can just allocate our contribution into the various pools of funds designated for specific purposes. We are a long long way from that.

In every society, there are always those who want to rot the system. This is incredibly unfortunate because these people are denying those who are in genuine need off the assistance that was theirs to begin with. I don't know how these people sleep at night knowing that they have stolen something from those who are in need.

Human nature though is somewhat rather weird. I have not met anyone who wants to pay more taxes, for example. I think deep down we are built to maximise our individual marginal utility.

I guess back in 2007, a lot of people think that voting for Kevin 07 would mean that they would be better off. I'd like to know if they still feel the same way right now.

The wage earners and the those in the top marginal tax bracket contributes the majority of tax revenue in this country. It is just ironic that they are also the ones most discriminated against.

Anyway, I am writing this so that I can stop thinking about this. I need to think about other things, and also think about nothing at all for maybe 10 seconds.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

All that hoo haa on weddings

I don’t normally think about these things let alone write about them.
But in the light of so many of my friends getting married, there are a few things that do bug me.
There is nothing wrong with finding love per se – deep down, we all want to love and to be loved in return. Those who are single would know who much we all want this, even when we are only willing to acknowledge it privately. Viewed from this angle, those who found love are lucky. Weddings are a celebration of love (supposedly) and so I get that we celebrate weddings.
What I don’t get are the things surrounding the weddings itself, starting from the hen’s/buck’s night. So far, I have somehow managed to dodge this one and I have every intention do so for as long as I can. If we spend so much time and agony trying to find love, why do we have to mourn the last night of being single and have to resort to things like strippers? I am sorry, I find this particular event simply revolting. If I am getting married to the love of my life, I am going to be so happy that I don’t mind not being single anymore. This is because I know that I can only marry a man who does not restrict my freedom. If I want to go to a strip club, I will just ask him to come along with me and I am pretty sure he will agree to it. That said, I don’t want to go to one and I do not want to see a stripper anyway, really seriously. The real thing, aka making love, is way better than that. So no, I don’t see why I should spend a few hours and ridiculous amount of money to entertain my friend with strippers and penis-shaped balloons and blown condoms.
I get that we want to spend time together with our friends and family as a single person, and I am more than willing to participate in things that actually involve some real bonding activities – like a good meal, or some other event that does not involve degradation of human interaction like strippers.
Now onto the wedding itself. For once, I do not get how people successfully manage to put themselves into high five digits debt in the name of a wedding celebration. I would honestly put that money as a down payment of my house or investment property. What? That’s the logical thing to do. Life, or rather, my life, is challenging enough already, and I do not wish to put myself and my significant other through such kind of financial burden when we have barely started our lives together. How do you move forward when you have to fork out a handsome sum every week to pay for an event that is already in the past?
In the same line of logic, I do not see why a groom-to-be has to put himself through debt to buy the engagement ring. In the chance that my future husband is reading this, honey, please don’t buy me a ring that you cannot afford. I do not view the price as the ring as an indication of your love to me. And please DON’T buy me diamond. I think that stone is so overly overrated I can’t even begin to say why I don’t want it as my engagement ring.
Another thing I don’t get is couples who plan a wedding that requires their guests to travel. As a person who gets invited to events like this, let me just say this out loud: if there are two weddings at the same time that I am invited to, the one that is in Sydney gets higher priority. Why? It is less hassle for me to attend, I obviously receive invites for both weddings, so both sets of couples presumably want me to be there, and as such, I do not need to justify why I pick the one that is less hassle for me. Furthermore, the couple with the off-site wedding should not be offended if I decline to attend. Like really, surely you would know that the chance of people attending is somewhat lower if they are required to take time off and then travel just to attend your wedding. I don’t even want to start talking about those couples who demand so much out of their friends and family when it comes to their weddings. I get that this is a very important event in your lives, but really, it does not give you the pass to be jerks in the months leading up to the big day.
I don't think I need to say that weddings are highly commercialised these days - just like any event in life really. But I also believe that we have a choice in these things, something I'd like to call personal responsibility. And part of growing up is to be able to make decisions which consequences we can bear.
I guess I am just different. I prefer to enjoy my life some other way.