Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Read at your own risk

I am drunk. I had too many glasses at wine and boy oh boy, life feels so good.

I swear I don't do this very often - and by "this" I mean writing while I am drunk. I got drunk on a pretty regular basis, I just don't write when that happens you see. Why? Because I am always too busy doing something else with someone else.

BUT as it turns out today, I got drunk and I am now all by myself and I get to sit down and write all of these things, which I am going to write only because I am drunk.

So. The explanation of my previous entry.

The person who wrote to me as having forgiven me was my ex. Ex boyfriend, ex friend, whatever, I don't give a shit about the label any more. He claimed to have loved me, yadidadida bla bla bla, all the hu-ha. Then he claimed that I broke his heart and all the hu-ha.

I am going to say it here: to the extent that I was responsible for the whole thing, yes, I was to blame and I was at fault. HOWEVER. I am not the only person at fault here.

It takes two to tango baby. Don't you remember that? Or has tango always been an activity that you do on   your own all this time long that you actually forget that it needs to be done with a partner? As much as you'd like to blame your heart break on me, sweet heart, remember this: you are the one who fell in love with me. I did not ask you to do that. I certainly did not actively encourage that.

If I write the next few lines, I am pretty sure that a lot of people are going to write to me and tell me that I am arrogant. Then so be it. So here goes. There are a lot of people who are in love with me, and they fall into a few categories. ONE: they just don't tell me that. TWO: they tell me that they do and they list all the reasons why they do and we got to know each other and we become close friends. THREE: they tell me that they do and they want to have a romantic relationship with me and they expect me to feel the same way with them.

As y'all have figured out by now, I am not single. I have a boyfriend who loves me with all his heart and whom I love with all my heart. This does not mean that I do not love anyone else, this just means I am not available for romantic relationship stuff. This does mean that people that fall into the third category are basically dead to me. We have no further business to discuss and I do not wish to know you.

Why? Because I do not want to have a romantic relationship with more than one person. I do not want to have a romantic love with more than one person. This is very important to me because I would like to respect the boundaries of this relationship that I willingly enter in and I'd like to make sure that I have given it all the efforts that it deserves to succeed. I refuse to waste my time on things that I deem as unnecessary in my life. So if you are not this guy - tough luck.

Now, my ex used to be some one who belonged to the second category before for one reason or another he moved to the third category. It is fine for people to move between categories, insofar as they explain the reasons for the move. In this case, as you might have guessed, he did not explain the reason. In fact, it was quite a surprise to me to learn that he has joined the third category. That was when hell begun.

They say that people are often most honest when they are drunk. Well, I am drunk, so read at your own risk.

I did not love you, I have never loved you and I do not love you the way that you wanted to be loved. Our breakup was imminent because our relationship was never a meant-to-be to begin with. I know that this is a lot to swallow, but it is what it is.

Whatever love that I used to feel for you, I do not feel for you any more as a result of the things that you did post our break-up. Remember that time you called me a whore? Remember that time one of your friends said that I was only with you to further my career. Well guess what - I got to where I am today without your help. If anything, all that you did ever since was just to make sure that I could not obtain a stable job. Most reasonable people in this planet could see through you and your desperation. Your obsession was not flattering, it was annoying. The fact that you think you were flattering is just... well, desperate at best.

So you could still access my profile through the messages that we used to send - like I care. I am happy now. I am happy with someone else, who gives me love like I want it and more importantly love me especially when I am at my worst - when I am insecure and irresponsible, lazy and whiny. He loves me through all of that. Does that break your heart to know that I am happy with someone else? Good. Let your heart be broken for the remainder of your life.

You know, I used to consider you as one of my friends. I don't have that many people that I actually call my friends, so this is a pretty big deal to me. It turns out I am wrong - I was wrong. I subsequently find out that you were never my friend to begin with.

My theory in life is that we, as human beings, are only nice to other people when it is convenient for us, when it is easy for us, when it takes no effort on our part. This is because we are all selfish - it is a modern time survival instinct. I admit that I fall into this category a lot of the time. A lot of things in life that takes me very little effort often mean so much to other people because they either lack the understanding or the skill or the time or all of the above.

I don't want to know whether you did in fact love me or not - that knowledge is irrelevant to me now. I know that you were nice to me because it was convenient to you and because you expected a much bigger reward, which you did not get and you became bitter as a consequence of the fact.

Yes, sweetheart, I may be a whole 18 years younger than you, but I am not that dumb. I could see through you. Yes, you may tell yourself that you were sincere. Lie to yourself all you want, because action speaks louder than words.

The litmus test of whether an ex did love me or not (or actually, a decent human being or not) is his conduct post-break up. I have not had a single ex who proved himself to be a decent human being, quite unfortunately, so I am happy that all of those relationships did not work out. Imagine spending the rest of your life with a non-decent human being. My head hurts just thinking about that.

So, all of your harassment towards my boyfriend, my family and myself will all come back to haunt you. Karma can be a bitch, so remember that.

Of course I don't forgive you. Trust me; you are not the only person who remembers.

The lies you continuously tell yourself

So you've forgiven me eh?

Get this through your thick skull: I don't need your forgiveness.

So you won't forget what I did?

Ok, here are a list of things for you to remember.

Remember that time when you called me a whore? Yeah, I bet you conveniently forget that. Or even if you remember, you would just say that you were upset, it was the heat of the moment bla bla bla. Whatever excuses you may have up your arsenal, it doesn't change the fact that you did it.

Remember that time when you said you would always love me - that you would always be there. Where is the love now?

You were never there.

Now stop lying to yourself.

Don't ask for my forgiveness, because I don't want to give it to you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A wedding and a contemplation on quarter life crisis


I went to a wedding today, just thought I would share that. BEFORE that, I came across this piece. I found that to be extremely useful for someone like me. I am currently in a long-term relationship (defined as anything over 12 months) and have been pressured by my parents to get married soon. I chose to listen to myself and told them that I'd like to wait. The last thing I want to do is to be unsure of this particular decision that has the potential of either making me the happiest woman alive or the most miserable woman alive (or at least one of them). Marriage, or the decision to get married, cannot be rushed. I have three parents and out of those three, one of them has the best parenting skill, and we are not even related by blood. But if I can choose who my parents would be, I would definitely choose her.

I am very vocal when it comes to my opinions on weddings. I understand the bit about spending the rest of your lives together with this other person. I loathe the too overly commercialised side of the whole thing. Today's wedding was one of those weddings that I actually like - it was small, it was intimate and it was personal. My kind of wedding. :)

I get that for some people declaring their love in public is important - making an announcement to your close friends that from this point on words, we are going to be stuck together through thick and thin. To be part of this event is a privilege, and I am thankful for being a part of it. The worst part of a wedding is when you are invited out of obligation. Of course that you would never be able to find out whether this is the real case, ever. I have the feeling that sometimes, it happens - you are invited out of obligation. It sucks, yes, because declining an invite is hard - at least for me anyway. Yet I do decline such invitations because I'd rather stay true to the ones that I do attend: being a part of a significantly defining moment in two people's lives.

Those people that got married - they got lucky. A lot of them have been waiting for a long time for the one special person to enter their lives and when this person does, they jump at the chance of happily ever after. At this point in time, I don't think they are thinking about divorce at all. Yet I understand that we all change, just like everything else in life changes and consequently, they might outgrow each other and subsequently becomes unsuitable for each other. It happens, and it is fine. It does mean that those two people now need to decide what the fuck are they going to do now, given this new development. They either spice up the relationship or they separate. You either choose to grow together, or you grow separately. Staying together while being stagnant is not a real option because this will slowly and surely kill you. Or if it doesn't kill you, it will hinder the growth of those around you. Or both.

One of the things that I have been regretting as of late is that there was a period of time whereby I did not write much. Admittedly it was because I did not know how to articulate what I was feeling. I am referring to my version of quarter life crisis. I am very thankful that my life right now is very good, but it has not always been this way. This is my story.

I was 24 when I received the news that my dissertation was been granted the status of "pass without further examination", which is the best news that anyone can ask for. It was exactly what I aimed to achieve, and as such, to receive such news was incredibly satisfying. I have been working hard in the past 3 years of my life for that degree, and it was all for that one moment in time. Dare I say that it was a lot more satisfying than graduation.

At that time I thought it was the conclusion of such a massive goal plus the break down of a relationship plus living back with my family that triggered what I subsequently knew as quarter life crisis. For me, it was more about a lack of goals - a lack of next big things. A lot of my friends were busy with weddings and getting pregnant, so none of them could relate to this. Either that, or because I am friends with people waaayyy older than me, they just thought I was being juvenile and refused to grow up.

Growing up. That is such a big deal in my life because I just have a slower pace compared to everyone else. Schooling for example, I just had to do the extra 3 years for the doctorate before I was satisfied that yep, I don't want to do school for a while. My friends, on the other hand, could not wait to escape as soon as they finish their bachelor degrees. A handful returned to school to do their masters - most did not. Then there is this marriage thing - because most people that I know make this decision at about the 24 months mark (or earlier). We have been together for waaayyy longer than that and are still yet to tie the knot.

I mean, seriously, I am slow. Don't use me as a benchmark because, oh well, I am more like the outlier.

I get that a lot of people told me to grow up because of that. I think they somewhat mean that as "conform with what people your age are doing". I don't mind conforming insofar as it is something I'd like to do. However most of the time, it was just so far away with what I'd like to do that it took more effort for me to convince myself that it was the right thing to do rather than just doing whatever it was I wanted to do.

My QLC materialised in me not knowing what the fuck it was I wanted to do. Or maybe it was because I did not want to admit it to myself. Maybe I knew it all along, and I just didn't realise that. Because I was too busy listening to what everyone else has got to say. I think this is why I get more self-assured as I get older. Self-assured is the wrong word, I was thinking of an Indonesian word with no English equivalent and self-assured was as close as I could fine right now.

I believe in listening to my own voice and to follow that through most of the time. I say most of the time because there are times in which that voice is too emotional - like when I am angry for example. I am human, I do have emotions and one of those emotions is anger. I have a tendency to become irrational when I am angry, just like any other human being who is angry. In the end, following my own voice got me out of the issue, although in a lot of ways, I am still battling similar issues, just better equipped with experience.

Anyone who is going through QLC would say that they are questioning where they are in their lives, why they are doing what they are doing, and why they are not doing what they have always wanted to do all along. In some ways, it was like that for me. I was questioning why I was living at home instead of living in my own apartment (answer: not enough moolah). Why was I doing what I was doing (answer: for moolah - need this to survive, because even when I was staying at home, I still had to pay rent!!). Why was I not doing what I had always wanted to do - hang on, what was it I had always wanted to do? I forgot.

There were a few things that I knew then - I knew, for example, that I did not want to return to my old relationship, especially during the times whereby the desire to return to something familiar was very high. I wished (irrationally) that he would be a supportive friend (because he was once upon a time, the closest person in my life), but he wasn't. That was quite a lot of truth to swallow, but I learned those painful lessons. Just because he said he was going to be there does not mean he is going to be there. In fact, he was partly the reason why I felt so miserable (and this is not about me blaming him for the things that were wrong in my life) because he deliberately wanted me to fail in everything that I did. This is going to be another story another time.

To be honest, I feel that it is somewhat corny when people say I will do X when Y happens. It is like - seriously? If you want to do X, then why don't you just do it right now. Why do you have to wait till Y happens? What if Y never happens, then you would forever not do X? Especially if you have no control over when and how Y is going to happen?

I don't understand people. There we go, I said it. I did not understand people and I still don't understand people. And for guys out there (and girls too, I suppose) - if you can't be friends with your ex, that's fine, just don't say that you are going to remain friends when you know that you can't be fucked to put in any effort in the friendship. I know that I don't wish to remain friends with any of my exes san weak moments where I want to return to the old and familiar, but I still said yes if they ever asked "are we going to remain friends?" all while knowing that I was not friends with any of my exes at the time. It is like, seriously dude, action speaks louder than words. Yes, ok, I lied to you out of convenient, but surely, you could tell that I was lying out of convenient. Unless of course, you chose not to see that.

Career-wise, it is always hard to transition from one path to a different path - because our society does not actively promote such transitions. The only somewhat forgiveable transition is when you take parental leave, and even then, you were expected to pick up where you left off. We frown upon people whom in our eyes suddenly want to do something different. Most of the time these people have to start from the bottom. Very few can start from the middle, but this is not the norm. The success stories of people we know often involve them specialising in one thing since a very young age - Steve Jobs and computers, Bill Gates and computers, etc etc etc.

But what if, just what if, you know instinctively that this is not the path that you are meant to be in? Therefore, in order to stay true to yourself (and in my case, be able to sleep well at night), you have no choice but to take on this tough journey and just toughen it up until you make it. You are going to fall down, bleed, get tired, all the works. Each and every time, you have to get up, toughen up and try again and again and again.

I wish  I can put that in a different way. A lot of times, I run out of courage. That is annoying, but the upside is that I learn to replenish my courage. I also run out of energy and patience. Oh my gawd, patience.

The problem with listening to other people's advice is that they can only say the lessons that worked for them, which may not work for you. This is why back when I was teaching I was reluctant to answer questions that effectively disguises itself as "what should I do with my life". One of those questions was this "out of the investment bankers and auditors, who are the least miserable?". The person who asked me this is a honours student who is about to embark on some job interviews and probably got a few offers. How could you be basing your decision on whether other people are happy or not with their choices? Those were not your choice to make. You have no choice other than choosing the one that is most suitable with who you are and what you want. You owe to yourself because no one else can make this decision for you.

Case in point - every time I speak to an academic, he would always say, do an academic job. Of course he will say this because it is his job and to him it is the best job. It does not mean it is the best for me. A variation of this is when he advised to take a job that is of non-academic nature in a university because it is a stable job. Again, same reasoning - it is his environment, he knows it best and to him it is the best. It does not mean it is the best for me. Change the words "an academic" to other professions within a certain industry and you would get similar answers most of the time. People have their own agendas and motives, you need to be aware of this when you ask your questions. The best of these people would be upfront about their agendas and motives, such as for example, my boss, who openly admitted that his opinion would be biased because he has his own agendas. I admire people like this and I make a mental note to be someone like this when the time comes.

It is very difficult to stay on your journey especially when you are still finding out your destination and you have a million people giving you opinions disguised as advices as to what you should do with your life. This is a part of the journey, you see. There will be people who are truly supportive of your choices, there will be people who say encouraging things and somehow gives you the strength to keep on going. There will also be people who want to bring you down, for whatever reason. You must learn to believe in yourself, especially when the going gets tough.


Okay, this got incredibly long and I am in no mood for editing. Sorry! I am still exercising my writing muscles, and I run out of steam.

Have a great weekend! x



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Some things are not a meant-to-be...

Just in case you don't know, I have a penchant for shopping. Finding something I like for a reduced price gives me at least double satisfaction. Everybody with money to spend has no excuse for looking bad. Those who can look good at a fraction of a price - those people are my best friends.

In the next few hours Shopbop is having extra 20% off their 50% and 70% reduced items. I browsed the 50% and 70% sale items and could not find anything that I'd like to purchase. So I am going to pass on this offer. This is huge because usually I manage to score the craziest deals this way. I always have items on my wish list - jeans, dresses, shoes, bags, books (yes, I am yet to purchase an e-reader). In the case of my Shopbop wishlist, they are all sold out before I could take advantage of the extra 20% discount. Oh well. I guess when it is not a meant to be, it is not a meant to be.

It is a nice problem to have - the problem of not knowing what to buy. My wardrobe currently is at a point whereby I have ticked everything - well, almost everything - that I'd like to wear. In case you are wondering, no, it is not streamlined. In fact, it is borderline of what most people call trendy. My response to that is this: I wear them. I think they suit my age and I can spend the rest of my life being classic and timeless. But right now, I'd like to be trendy while I still can.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

What we were

My mind reverted to the days we used to spend together. Or specifically, the weekends.

Weekends have always been, for me, my sanctuary. I get to spend it with whoever I want to and whatever I want to, with the rare exceptions of doing the things that I don't like doing (i.e. those things I do somewhat out of obligation).

Back in those days, I am pretty sure I wanted to spend it with you. We used to hang out at a random cafe, drank too much coffee, ate too much greasy food and all the hu-ha. Some days, we talked about the thesis. Most of the time, we didn't. We just... chilled.

Right now, I am regretting spending those days with you. I reckon this is partially because right now I am feeling tremendous hatred towards you. This feeling will soon be replaced with indifference and all would resume as per normal. However for now, I am going to dwell on this temporary lapse of indifference and cite all the reasons as to why I hate you.

I hate that you lie to me. I hate everyone who lies to me, and you are no exception. I found out far too late that you lied to me, but I guess it is better late than never.

I hate that you were (and still are) so argumentative. Seriously. I work in an office full of people who have to argue for a living and even these people are not argumentative in their quasi-professional life (i.e. down time at work). Some people are just argumentative by nature and I dislike these people very much. You, I hate, because you were argumentative and you said you were not. You were the worst of them all. Still are.

I hate that you were so controlling. I did not realise this at the time, but right now I do. I couldn't be bothered to argue (see previous point), so I rolled along with it. Now I realise how miserable I really was and I cooked up all these I-should-have moments in my head. I should have spoken up for myself and just said, no, thank you, I don't want to do that. End of story.

I hate that we argued about money. I hate that you made me feel guilty for the fact that I come from a relatively-well-to-do family. This is not my fault, it is my blessing. It is not my problem that you could not come to terms with this. While my family might have been blessed materially, I did not have unlimited spending. In fact, I had to work for a living and given that I was studying at the same time, that simply meant, I hardly had the spare cash to burn on excessive eating out and the like.

The weird thing is this - I had lots of guys who wanted to hang out with me and these guys always paid when we do. You were the only exception to this - because you refused to do this. It is fine, really, had you not insisted that you were my boyfriend. Get this: my boyfriends (now mostly ex) paid for our dates/non-dates/basically-everything. I don't date stingy guys.

I mean, seriously, guys, if you are ever in a relationship, please do yourselves a favour and make the decision to be remembered as the loving, generous boyfriend, instead of the abusive, stingy boyfriend.

Most of all, I hate myself for spending so much time with you. What a wasted effort. We couldn't be lovers and we couldn't be friends.

What were we?

Strangers in passing.

Friday, August 17, 2012

When old age is catching up

Man, I am old. 

I swear I drank like a glass of red wine last night, plus half glass of excessively sugary cocktail that I could not stomach, plus a few sips of a second glass of red that I abandoned, and today I woke up with a hangover. What's up with that? 

I am old. How can anyone possibly wake up with a hangover after like 1 and a half drink?

Don't ask. 

It is definitely a distant memory now, those days in which I used to party till the wee-hours in the morning, even when there was really no 'party' per say. It was just full on clubbing. Getting drunk, getting high, getting absolutely crazy. Woke up the next day and got ready for another round. And then resume life as per normal as if nothing happened. That was how I used to spend every weekend. It's like for a while I didn't even know how else to spend my weekend because I did not know any other way. 

Then I found another way. I started on my doctorate studies in my early twenties and spent a lot of time studying and is usually exhausted by the time it's the weekend. I used to go to church on Sunday - the service started at 12pm and lasted till about... 2pm. Usually post service, there will be a bunch of people who asked me to join them for lunch, which I declined because I wanted to go home and sleep before waking up at 7pm and resumed studying. 

As is always the case with Indonesians living abroad, there is always that one annoying person who just had to lecture me on how I should sleep at night and not spend the day sleeping. I wanted to retort back, then I thought some loser like this could never understand the challenge of my life then that is the phd, so I just ignored him. I never liked him anyway. ha! 

The good thing about doing a phd when you were so young is that you had plenty of energy to sustain you - of course excessive caffeine consumption also assisted. I honestly cannot imagine those people who have to raise children plus doing a phd. Hats off. 

All those days are slowly and surely becoming a distant memory. 

One of the worst things in life, I think, is to have this desire to be with someone, and still find yourself single after all the effort that you put in to find that special someone. I am fast approaching my 30s and I am so glad that I have someone who loves me (more than I love him). My theory is that this has got everything to do with this thing called luck, defined as when preparation meets opportunity. 

So according to another one of my yet-to-proven-theory, in order to get lucky, one should focus on two things: one is to prepare oneself, i.e. getting ready when that time comes that you are going to meet the special someone and two is to create as many opportunities as possible to increase your chances of meeting the said person. 

A lot of people focus on the latter but not so much the former. The former entails learning from your previous relationships, and also from other people's relationships. This admittedly takes a lot of effort, perhaps a lot more than the latter element. Meeting people is easy, getting laid is easy. Making a relationship successful is the hard work that everyone still continuously learn how to do. 

The hardest thing is not so much that it takes continuous effort to please your significant other, this is pretty much a given thing (and you do this because it gives you tremendous pleasure and satisfaction despite all the effort). It is more about the fact that there is no right and wrong to do so. Plus the fact that one thing that used to be right once upon a time can be so wrong all of a sudden because, oh well, people change. People changing is a normal phenomenon, really, how else are they meant to grow? 

Therefore there is no right or wrong, no rules that you can keep on going back to all the time (well, ok, maybe there is such rules, but the majority of the so-called rules keep changing, depending on the relationship itself). The remedy to this - oh this is so cliche - is firstly communicating, followed by compromising. 

The thing that surprises me quite a lot is how someone can be so able in his/her professional capacity and so hopeless at his/her personal relationship. I have somewhat made peace with this by the virtue of "no one is perfect". However, I still believe that there are a lot of similarities between one's professional behaviour and one's behaviour at all other times, and it boils down to this thing called respect. Respect for others and most importantly, respect for yourself. 

This entry is going to abruptly end here because it is getting too long. So, to be continued. 

Have a nice weekend! Meanwhile, I am still trying to overcome this hangover. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

The many sides of people

Some years back. 

My ex crucified me for allegedly having multiple sides of personality. 

He said that I was a liar, not honest with who I really am, and present different sides to different people. I thought long and hard about this.

Just like any other human being, I am complex. We can all say that we are simple, but really, deep down, we are complex. We are complex because there are multiple sides in each and everyone of us that often different people get to witness. 

For example. For the longest time, I cannot comprehend how someone who is so able professionally and intellectually can be such a retard when it comes to personal/romantic relationships. I can understand if someone is a general fuck-up in all areas of his/her life, but if you are so capable in one, how can you not at least be somewhat competent in other areas? 

Answer: because they are like that. Just because they are good in one area does not automatically mean they are good in others. Just because they've got one bit worked out does not mean they can get everything sorted. No one is perfect. We all have weaknesses. 

So. I am complex. I might be really good at one thing, and completely hopeless at others. In the areas that I am completely hopeless, I learn, I take up new skills. Like driving. I would not say that I am a fantastic driver yet, but I am getting there. I practise so that I can perfect this skill, or at least attain something close to perfection. 

Given that I am complex and there is only limited time in the world, it is natural that I only get to show the bits of me that is relevant to the issue at hand. This is why, my boss and my colleagues get to see the office side of me, the professional side that is. My friends, who have never worked with me, have never seen this side. Some even told me that they have difficulties imagining what I am like at the office. Back in PhD days, there were people that I come across in life who have never studied with me or watch me study. They have difficulties imagining me doing a dissertation. They do not understand how I am able to stay still in front of the computer, reading and writing and doing number crunching. 

My family gets to see the family-side of me. I don't show this side unless I am with them. My sister asked if I am as talkative in the office as I am at home. Of course not. In the office, I present a professional side. I am still very much me, just a much toned-down version. I consciously do this of course, not so much to fit in, but more out of respect for everyone else. My family gets the best of me most of the time, because I can just most of the things that I want without having to unnecessarily restrain myself out of fear of unintentionally offending someone. My family gets offended very easily - it is the Asian in them that tends to get out in the most unexpected moments. I am still learning. 

For anyone to be able to confidently say that they know me is complete bullshit. It is not possible unless you've spent 24/7 with me for at least 4 years. I have been with my (current) boyfriend for 4 years and counting now and even he says that he does not know all of me. This is an honest statement. It is not necessary for us to know each other thoroughly and completely. I prefer to keep a bit of mystery. Plus it keeps us away from assuming things. 

Coming back to the alleged multiple personality crucifixion by the ex. It is totally uncalled for. It is a reflection of his insecurities of his inability to control me. He wanted to predict every single thing that I do, and he wanted to be the one who knew me so well. When what he saw was not what he predicted, he got angry and accused me of having a multiple personality disorder. Charming. 

For the longest time, I wonder if the breakdown of our relationship was my fault. Partially, yes. It has nothing to do, however, with my alleged multiple personality disorder. It has everything to do with me and the fact that I did not want to be with him. 

When there is no will, there is no way. 


I miss writing. Incredibly badly. It is not that I want to save the world through the words that I write - fat chance of that happening. I am not that altruistically driven. I am in fact very much materialistic. I never openly admit this because I don't think I am that materialistically different than the average urban professional faced with the pressures of looking good; yet someone just called me materialistic the other day and told me that it was a compliment. Right. I don't see what is so nice about that label.

Is it bad to want something more than what I currently have? It seems to be the recurring theme of my life that I always want something better. I always want a better thing, a shinier thing, it is almost as if I am perpetually working on the next big thing in my life. I don't compare myself to anybody, believe me, I don't play that game because I think it is pointless to me. I compare myself to, well, myself. I know that if I have made it this far, then surely I can do much better today. So when it seems to me that my life is rather slow, I have this itch to get out and do something profoundly breath-taking. I am ambitious that way. I think this is a good trait, so I am ok with it. 

I blog in this blog because I want to write and I have deliberately kept it anonymous because I do not want anyone in my life to read this blog and find out that I have been writing about them. I share my thoughts with these people and I am pretty sure that some of them would have guessed that this is me if they come across the blog. I wonder if they appreciate that this is an outlet for my thoughts and my thoughts do evolve with time. I change them all the time, and I know that it is alright to do that. The world is a place that is constantly evolving, and accordingly, I want my thoughts to dance with it. This is what living is all about to me - to be able to think and put that down in writing, because there is nothing permanent about the thought itself. The next day, I could be thinking about the same subject that have different thoughts altogether. 

But the internet is permanent.And people forget that thoughts are temporary. And that makes writing hard.  

I have never dreamed about being a writer. Kind of the way I have never dreamed of being a doctor, and it happened. It appeared effortless, but there is nothing effortless about it. I guess I must have wanted it badly enough, subconsciously.

Just like I want to be a writer now. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I am thinking about Toby. 

Sometime ago, in 2007, I think, we took about an hour out of our crazy schedules and had lunch somewhere in the university grounds. I kept him waiting for 10 minutes because I could not get out of the PhD centre without having people stopping me and wanting to have a chat with me. 

I did not remember this until I came across a piece of writing about this particular moment in time. I wanted to remember it, obviously, but I cannot remember what was it we talked about in detail. All that I wrote is that we are very lucky people. I honestly do not think he had any other ulterior motive than friendship, I mean, surely, he was not attracted to me that way. 

What I did not write about was that, later that year, we had dinner together. I finished my doctorate, started my foot prints outside academia and made the trip back to see him. It was just a friendly catch up and was also the last time that I saw him. He was always a positive person, and I sort of miss him right now. 

I wonder how he is doing. I wonder where he is and I wonder what is it that he is studying right now. He said that once he finished his doctorate, he wanted to study a new field, because he just could not live without studying anything. Hehe - so typical. I wanted to study law but never pulled the trigger. Laziness, I suppose. Plus I'd like to experience life some other way. 

Anyway, I am thinking of looking him up on Google. Ok, confession time, I just did. 

Something is stopping me from logging into my email and writing him a short email. And that something is the fact that he was/is friends with my ex. 

This is a chapter in my life that I do not wish to revisit or discuss ever. Yet at the same time I find it some what stupid that I am basing my decision on this fact because I am letting it control me that much. 

I shall think about this and take an appropriate course of action. 

Meanwhile, happy weekend! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stand by your opinion, he said


Word got out that Multiply is closing down its platform. I guess Facebook has indirectly (or directly) killed it. Prior to Facebook, I was blogging at Multiply. I am now in the process of making a copy of everything I've written on Multiply. I didn't realise that I have written so much.

Has this ever happen to anyone? Not so much the blogging platform decides to close down (it happened with my other blog at vox), but the bit about not realising how much you've written? This takes me by surprise because I never keep track as to how much I've written. I just wrote and I still write. I just never put my name on any of them.

Because the last thing I want to have is to have my family reading whatever it is that I have written. I am pretty sure that one of them is going to take whatever I have written personally and then all hell breaks loose. My family is a typical Asian family whereby bluntness and honesty are put on the back burner in the name of being polite. Seriously, if I have to pretend to be polite to another person in the family, I think I might just loose it (I did, actually). I get that we need to appreciate the shit that other people have done for us, and I am of the school of thought that says that to fully appreciate, one must be able to give honest feedback.

I don't really care about the rest of other people/acquaintances who want to take what I've written personally. To me, this is an indication of their self-absorbness (yea, just invented that word) and I don't care about self-absorbed people. They are too difficult to be friends witih. This is of course because I am the most self-absorbed person in this planet, so I know what it really feels to deal with someone who is self-absorbed on daily basis. And I only have energy for one person and that is me.


Today I had lunch with one of my friends/mentors who told me to put my name on this blog and on everything else that I have written. Stand by your opinions, he said. I don't have a problem standing by my opinion. The problem (or potential problem) would happen when someone tries to censor me.

Believe it or not, I actually tell my boyfriend that whatever it is that I have written that he may or may not come across one day, he needs to know that whatever that I have written is exactly that - a piece of writing. It is not an indication of my feelings towards him and how much love (or lack thereof) exists between us in our relationship, which I do not really want to share with the world. When I say the world, I literally mean the world. There are a few, privileged people in this planet who get to share this with me, but these people are rare and all of them have been sworn to secrecy.

I have made a decision that I will not allow anyone to censor me. I will not take my freedom of speech for granted. And for now, I prefer to write without my name plastered all over this blog.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The power of average

I think one of the most abused statistical metrix since the beginning of time is this thing called the mean, also known as the average. Everybody wants to know what the average performance is, and whether they are above average. If they are above average, everything is surely fine. We are above average afterall. If they are under average, they can be driven to feeling absolutely guilty for being under average. It is interpreted as a sure sign that they are not putting in enough effort. How can you not perform on average?

I don't know what gives average so much power. I get that there is an inherent need in human being to constantly compare itself to the majority and if they are slightly better than the majority, then that's great because it means they are not that much different,thus they fit in; but they are not so ordinary, because they are above average.

I do admit to have succumbed to the opportunity of making a lot of people feel really guilty when they perform below average. So in this respect, as much as I personally do not feel good (and think that it is silly to derive satisfaction) from being above average, I do feel bad (and can make others feel bad) for being below average.

Of course all of these are silly, and irrational at best. Just because everyone else is performing at 75% does not mean that you have to perform that 75% minimum. Afterall, the way the average score is calculated, you would understand that it is just an indication of middle score and nothing else.

But it is so common that it has become acceptable with very little, if any, questions. The average tells us basically almost nothing. Take for example, the performance of a student across his subjects in a given semester. He performs at 90% in one, 80% in another, 70% and 60% in the rest. This gives him an average of 75%, which is interpreted to indicate that he is likely to score 75% in his subsequent subjects, but in no way explain the spread in his performance in the semester just passed. Change the student performance to company performance or personal savings goal and you get the drift.

The point is that deviation from the average is an acceptable, given fact that almost always happens in every context imaginable. It makes predictions more challenging, but also more interesting all the same.

I am currently thinking of a business issue that has got nothing to do with averages computations, but for some reason, I started thinking about averages and how it is often used in modelling and the plethora of people who caution against relying too heavily on it. I just need to get this off my head.

On a totally different note, does anyone know that the multiply platform is going to be closed down permanently on 1 Dec 2012? I used to write in that platform, I guess I must start moving my pieces. I find this exercise rather annoying, but it is also one of the reasons why I use a platform like google, which is highly unlikely to close down permanently.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A character building exercise

I did not pass my driving test on my first go. My sister, the perfect daughter, passed it on her first go and set the standard for the rest of us (only me, actually). I passed it on my third attempt. This is somewhat typical of me – I fail and then I try again. Then I fail, again and then I try, again. And again and again, until I get what I seek out to achieve. It is for this reason that persistence is my middle name.

In my previous life, I was a young teenager who was eager to drive, so much so that I managed to get my parents to send me to a driving school. This is partially because I was desperate to grow up and living in a place with terrible public transport (the kind that is so terrible that my parents forbid me from getting into it). I have always viewed myself as a free spirit. I was born to fly – maybe not so literally – but I want to set my own destinations, my own route and well, you guessed it, my own vehicle.

Ah, to be so young and to be so idealistic. I am pretty sure a lot have changed since then, but deep down, these are the things that I still dream about. These are the elements of life that I seek out to have in everything that I do: my own list of things to do, my own way of achieving them, my own tunes, my own rhythm; my dance of life. I am never one to blend with the crowd, but I never try to stand out either, at least not deliberately anyway. I just like staying true to myself and if there is anything in my life that I do well, then that would need to be one of those things.

I was (and in some days, still am) an impatient driver. I am aware of this and I try so so hard to be patient, not just when driving, but when living life in general. I admit that patience is far away from becoming one of my forte, and I am starting to realize that it is a skill worth acquiring, thus the extra effort to be patient. I know that my definition of patient is no where near the real definition of patient; baby steps, alright. One step at a time.

There is something about failing. It builds character. I know that whenever I fail at something, my first reaction is that I am angry with myself. I am always hard on myself and I set a personal standard that is up to my liking, and this is often higher than the average standard. I do not consider it a success, for example, if I manage to pass a subject back in college. I have to get a minimum of A. I do not consider it a success if I manage to just graduate, I want to graduate summa cum laude. And I only managed to graduate magna cum laude. To me, aiming is comparable to shooting for the stars: the higher, the better. At times I get to where I want to be, the rest of the times, close to it. Before I get there, I hit many brick walls. I have to find ways around them, including learning to jump higher.

When I am desperate enough for something, I end up surprising myself a lot more than I surprise the people around me. Somehow, I got lucky this way – I always have someone who believes in me, in the moments that I have doubts in my own abilities. I always have someone who willingly offers a helping hand so that I can be that much better, so that I can run that much faster, and jump that much higher. I have these teachers in my life who do not even consider themselves as teachers, but are the ones who end up teaching me so much about myself that I do not even know before. When you have someone who brings out the best in you, being your best becomes a natural extension of life. There is nothing else to do other than being your best. It becomes your character.