Malaysia!

Finally a considerable amount of data network to do some blogging!

I’ve spent about a week here in Ipoh, Malaysia. Mom’s birthplace. I’ve not seen my grandma and grandpa, uncles and aunts, as well as the new cousins for 10 years now. They speak so much Cantonese that sometimes, watching them talk feels like watching a Hong Kong drama series. I understand alittle bit but I can’t speak the dialect in full sentences. I’m the only one who can’t speak the local dialect there and at times, it makes me feel guilty to have others to translate it just for me. And dining table conversations… Awkward.

But I’m glad that I’m starting to familiarize myself with the new cousins. There is a huge age gap though, about 5 years and more. Continue reading

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Papa Loves Mambo

Daily Prompt posts: What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?

Back when bulky music players were used (not forgetting the pair of cassette decks that were attached to that sturdy, tough-looking machine!) and the majority of us still do buy music in physical forms of CDs…

There were a couple of CDs that Mom will always play in the house, for as long as I can remember. All of them are mixtapes. We don’t usually buy new music whenever it’s out, so it’s the same few ones that we listened to. 70’s, 80’s and 90’s disco hits, Texas-Cowboy kind of old school music and love songs. Recently, I was also helping Dad to download such music that he’d want to listen to and sing to while he’s on the road, as well as mixtapes to listen to during work. How can you not love the dancey beat of these chart-toppers (as claimed by him) during that time?

Mom and Dad pretty much have the same music taste. One thing I know for sure: They listen to Air Supply, alot. For the male duo achieve such an overwhelming success in mainly the love songs that we listen to, it’s really impressive! I love them too! A favorite of mine is Bread and Blood.

I do not think that my present music taste have any resemblance to theirs since they’re not fans of really melancholy and ‘depressive’ kind of songs (which is what they’ll call it). However, I do like their kind of dancey songs which I’ve listened to when I was much younger and those certainly still do strike a chord when I come across a familiar tune or lyric of the songs somewhere else. Sometimes, I still do go back to YouTube or my every day playlist to listen to some of the songs I loved since I was a kid.

Check out the playlist I’ve compiled some of the songs that were listened to, by my parents, still significant in my memory!

Stephen King’s description of ‘Muse’

I came across an interesting excerpt in a book I just recently started reading, On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft, written by Stephen King. The title was first introduced to me by a fellow blogger, Willow (and you can check out her interesting write-ups here!)

Stephen King in his home office, 1980’s
Photo courtesy of: npr.org

In the book, Stephen King shared about the bits and pieces of his experience with writing while he was growing up (and growing old). Some of them I couldn’t really understand but I have a general idea of what’s told in the book. There were also plenty of tips he provided the readers with, even though he did indirectly imply that there will be some kind of harsh truth. Also, the way he describes… stuff is really entertaining to read. About writing and about the people/things in his life. And I really love this particular description of the term, muse, he spins up with:

 

“There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist (what I get out of mine is mostly surly grunts, unless he’s on duty), but he’s got the inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the midnight oil, because the guy with the cigar and little wings got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life.”

The way King twisted the idea of muse, or maybe his idea of muse – that muse isn’t just all fairy-dust. It gives a new perspective to something that has always been perceived as god/angel-sent and coincidental luck. In fact, it seems to be the contrary, I thought. It turns out to be a man, instead of a goddess or a lady. He isn’t much of a socialite, doesn’t talk much and has a pretty bad attitude. You will have to “descend to his level” and put up with the “grunt labor” he’ll get you to do before you can reach your hand down into his bag of magic dust. It is like, muse is all hard work and tolerance. There seems to be also this assurance and certainty (promised by King) that all the tough work you undertake will eventually pay off, to the extent that it will turn your life around and muse isn’t simply just a chance-thing.

Personal thoughts on Poor Thing.

Cass and I caught a local play, titled Poor Thing, on Sunday, yesterday. The production was presented by The Necessary Stage, a theatre company located in Singapore. The playwright of this production is Haresh Sharma (who is the writer of the play I studied for Literature subject I took in school a few years back!) and the director is Alvin Tan. The production is rated R18 – for mature theme and coarse language (just plenty of those).

Out of the many Singaporean-based theatrical plays/musicals we’ve googled, we have decided on this one! There weren’t much information revealed in the synopsis of this play and the sequence of events/scenes that follows. But it certainly did turn out to be more interesting than what I’ve expected. The audience were shown a prologue video before they enter the setting of the play.

Synopsis 
The road rage incident spans across an one-hour scene, involving 4 characters, namely – Alisha, Jevon, Jerome and Sharifah. Jerome and Alisha – as the rich couple who were on their way back home after the company’s dinner and dance. It was a remote and dark road, so Jevon was driving the car at a really slow speed. The car behind them was driven by Sharifah, who just recently got her driving license. She was driving Jerome back to his camp.

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Hypothetical Hope.

If you could have one thing to bring along with you when you know that you’re gonna die on the following day, what would it be? It could a person, something, a value, or anything at all.

This question provided me with some interesting food for thought. There were plenty of things that came into my mind, that I want to bring with me if I leave the Earth the next day. I thought of a journal and a pen, maybe my laptop as well, and one person that I thought of was my Mom – but coming to think about it now, I didn’t consider why I would want her to follow me into such an unfortunate situation. Probably having the company of a close family member, or even the whole family, a best friend, or anyone else, makes one feel safe wherever they’re at.

For sure I couldn’t answer it instantly! There was just one thing you could bring. The question came off too sudden and I never really considered about hypothetical stuff like these. Reality doesn’t allow for such concessions (or does it?). If you weren’t given time to think, what would be your first response?

Death, I’m still not sure whether it’s a scary thing that I would fear. It could hurt, or it could feel like one of any other times when you wake up from your sleep – the only difference being that, you’re awake but you clearly see that you’re still lying in bed with your eyelids shut tight and it probably feels like a dream. I think the most horrifying thing that we fear about death is what really happens after it. I used to imagine the kind of situation that each one of us may go through when we transit from death to afterlife: I thought it might feel like being in a court hearing with a judge and a row of jury, while waiting for your sentence to be announced.

If everything else dies in me as I die on the following day, I think the value I would want to have is hope. I don’t mean I have plenty of hope instilled within me and that it stays with me as long as it is. Hope comes and goes so quickly. It can fill you up to the brim and can also be drained until a single drop isn’t left on the surface. It’s surely difficult to depend on one’s willpower to sustain so much hope within a single (literally lifeless) soul for any longer time, especially after death.

In reality, I thought that either we can pray hard and wish that it will miraculously come to us – through an ordeal or a “life-changing event”, or maybe remind ourselves over again and again of what’s lacking and once we’re all conscious of it, we struggle alittle and hope that it becomes a part of us in time to come.

Writer’s block, TV series and twisted fairy tales.

I thought I should start writing about something again before I stop doing it completely, but I don’t know where to start. I’ve tried returning back to the Daily Prompts as the starting point, but always ended up deleting the posts halfway through writing. This happens so frequently.

I have been thinking about a quote I came across on Twitter a few days ago,

Saving your good writing for a book is like saving your good running for the marathon: if it’s not a habit now, it won’t be there later.

I don’t imply I can write a book… Also, it seems impossible at all – like how do the ideas of writers come about? But I do relate to this quote as to ‘practice makes perfect’! Surely there’s alot of practice to do.

Today I’ll blog about a TV series I’ve immersed myself in, Once Upon A Time. The show started airing a few years back, but I was recently introduced to it by a friend. The brief synopsis provided by my friend sounded quite appealing and intriguing, which triggered me to download the episodes online. It’s a fairy tale drama series. It’s my first attempt on these sort of fantasy / mythical TV shows; the American ones I’m referring to.

Generally, I’m not good at deciphering the plot and what’s-going-on with the characters in such TV series. How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory and Glee puzzle me, mostly due to the laughter tracks thrown into random scenes in the show. So far, I’ve only been exposed to comedy TV series like New Girl and 2 Broke Girls, with forms of simple humor I can understand. You get hooked on it once the humor gets you the first instance. There aren’t many episodes in each season and every episode runs so quickly, that it becomes a pain to wait for the next one a week or subsequent few weeks later.

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Catastrophizing adulthood.

In every change, the transition phase is the worst. The horrifying part of every hated change. One moment, it feels like waking up from a dream and then another, it feels like the first day of slipping into a dream.

Yesterday while I was doing my last paper (which I almost had no time to finish it), a funny feeling struck me – not in a literal way which tickled my senses, but it just felt different from the other times when I used to sit for my final exams, a couple of them, right in this same place. If I remember correctly, my exams for every semester usually end in this place. Most of them. Now and then, I tell others, “It’s the last one! Can you believe it?“. I was expecting them to react the same way as I do – overwhelming, stark, raving mad behavior, because all of us went through the same thing. But it will take a very long time for me to digest in all that.

It’s unreal to think that this marks a giant footstep to the near end of tertiary education and going to work like adults do (soon). It doesn’t merely mean an end to this education phase. It feels like a metamorphosis, like a caterpillar metamorphosis. You exit from being a kid to becoming an adult. As a kid, school has always been my second home. Any school I’ve been to, they all felt like a second home to me, even if I dislike it. Most of my time are spent going to school, studying at home, or having the time on my own to rest, go out, play and have fun as kids do. Probably it’s the same as it is when we become adults. Just that our school becomes the workforce now.

Source: Tumblr

Some of us don’t think we’re all grown up yet. They say there’s a difference between ‘growing up’ and ‘growing old’. I feel I’m growing old, but not the latter. At times, I want to grow up as quickly as possible so that I can fulfill the dream of an independent life. Growing up would mean getting over the drama revolving around one’s teenage life. Doing the things people, as working adults do, in the movies we watch.

I like to think what kind of a 30-year-old will I become in the future. Will I still be here? It’ll be nice to stay in a different country for a couple of years, then to another country; so on and so forth and then return back here again. I will always return back here. One doesn’t simply forsake his/her home. At the age of 30, will I be staring into blank space, thinking about this moment, with a pile of undone work on the office desk? Or will I be an unemployed cooping myself at home – watching teevee and petting kitties in a dark living room, lit by the only sunlight streaming in the gaps between the drawn curtains? Or ideally, will I be already earning enough and doing humanitarian work?

But having that kind of expectations about adulthood scare me so much now. They’re so far away. Those expectations feel as far as it is, ever since I was 14, 16, 18 and even now. Sometimes, I never want to leave home at all. I don’t want to confront my problems. I don’t want to meet new people – at work, social functions for adults (which purpose is to compete to build up one’s networks), meetups with friends and dates which you’re expected to watch your behavior, conversation etiquette and act all grown-up. These things probably do not matter as much when you’re a kid, a teenager. All these while, I could always associate (or use a good excuse for) my negative emotions, eccentric perspectives and disturbing thoughts with what everyone’s experiencing as part of growing up. They say, “It’s all good.“… until you grow out of that phase but you’re still going through the same things. Do you then consider those as abnormal, fetishes, or mental disorders?