Sunday, October 24, 2010

End of an Era


I've learnt a tremendous lot over these past 6 months... About life, love, loss and legen-wait for it-daryness.

I'd initially wanted to update more, but its getting late and I probably should exercise more discipline in observing proper rest and all. Will update more real soon, I promise. 2 months is way too long to not blog, especially since I'm using this blog as a tool for retrospection in the future.

Sleep well my bros and babes who actually do check here from time to time... <3

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poolside chilling

Always enjoyed it, always will.

Backup plan: Hennessy.

I guess I wanted to write a bit more about how this year is a little bit different for me, but I'm not sure if what's going to be said has already been repeated ad infinitum. Oh well, lets see if I can make it concise.


Ramadan: Special this year for me because it comes at a time when I really am at the crossroads of my life. I really am a happy go lucky person... Taking things as they come, and so far, its all been pretty good. Maybe I've made most of my own luck, but I cannot deny that my life has been blessed all this while, and it still is. Its just that this year I've seen more challenges being thrown my way... Challenges that will define who I am for the next decade or so. Or maybe 5 years, given how the rate of change of things has accelerated so quickly in recent times.

It's supposed to be a holy month. The month where Muslims around the world show their devotion to Allah: by means of prayer, fasting, the attempt to live a more righteous life. And I think its good--I am attempting to fast as well, though not from sunrise to sundown, but still--at least for me, I see this as a challenge to master my body's urges, from satisfying its basic needs (food and water) to other more carnal desires, and of course the desire for not so fresh air. For me, this attempt to control my hunger could possibly if not probably grow the discipline in myself to quit a vice I've succumbed to for quite awhile, and all for the better. There really isn't a good argument in continuing it, because we all know of the associated risks involved with this activity.


I'm finding my way through this uncertainty
No comforts I've received should be granted unto me
For what I do not deserve, I should not take
And love should no longer feed the lazy

Excellence is desired, revered, an end state
Mediocrity is tolerated, but nevertheless lame
If I should be so talented,
Is my life then nothing but a shame?

It may seem too late to change my ways
Of sloth, nonchalance, and the unwillingness to be
But hard work is the price I must pay
If I should ever want to be free.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Time For Contemplation

I had a good time up in KL this long national day weekend. For photo updates, just check my fb page, I'm now called Fa Kinster Powers on FB, by the way. Had a good catchup with cuz becs, and chilled out with my homies, you know who you are. What I did regret about the trip though, was the time to really think about things in solitude. As much as some things should be thought out with the counsel of friends, there are other things that need to be thought out in solitude, hence the desire to vanish... Or at least be in partial isolation from my comforts (especially people).

There were a lot of good takeaways from the trip. Amongst them include a nice pair of Adidas shoes, some nice massages... Heh no seriously, I think it was good to realise that between this trip and the last, rather important was that I was far less emo this time around. Moving on is always a good thing where there no longer exists a reality worth looking back at. I also did find good company (I always do from this group of people) and share a good number of jokes... (Brain erections, anyone?)

But more importantly, I unearthed the desire to make more of myself than I was.

I thought about who I am as an individual and who I am in a group setting. What is it about me that makes my presence welcome? What is it that I contribute? To my dismay I realised that I don't contribute enough for myself to value my own presence. Will I do anything about it? I don't know yet, but I sure hope that my company is welcome and appreciated. Hence I shall strive to be a better person as a whole... That I may contribute more where I can.

Since leaving school, I've consciously endeavoured to enrich the lives of those I interact with. Whether by making them laugh and entertaining them or to offer a different perspective on a variety of issues, important or otherwise, I believe still, that time spent in the company of others should be productive, whether in a physical or emotional sense. That does seem to satisfy the purpose of meeting up, doesn't it?

I've discovered about myself the fact that I don't relish planning. I think of myself as a spontaneous individual... Doing things because I can or because I feel like it. Of course, I've also come to know that planning is vital for a smoother journey through life, but it doesn't change my desire to not be involved in planning. Unfortunately, planning is part of contribution especially in group activities, such as that group trip to KL. How else can I contribute then?

Or maybe I just need time away from large group settings. I've found myself becoming more reticent these days. Perhaps its that I no longer have the need to be occupied from emo thoughts. Or perhaps its that I really need some time alone to contemplate what it is from life that I want. Good company is always appreciated, but not always needed, or wanted for that matter.

I think I've figured out what I want from life. Unfortunately this purpose that I've found isn't one that can be forced or dictated on my terms. It comes when it does, and there's only so much I can do to achieve that directly. More importantly, I should be focusing my time and effort on the things that I need in place when this purpose arrives in my life. I need to improve my lifeskills: managing my personal finances well, managing my health well, interacting with friends and more importantly family, managing my time well, finding the motivation to get all the facets of my life straight. Perhaps right now it's not so much finding the things to do that give me purpose, but also finding purpose in the things I am doing. Why am I doing this? Why am I doing that? What purpose do I find in these things I do? Is there a point in continuing to spend time and effort and money on these things?

I've always appreciated the people in my life. Signposts toward life with a bigger purpose... life with more meaning? Hmm I don't quite know how to put this point across (I blame my degenerating brain), but in essence I don't think I thank these people enough. Well for the shy me, I just want to shout out here that I thank YOU. Don't talk to me about this if you meet me, just know that I feel gratitude towards you, and let that be enough.

Ok, well besides this trip, what else is new? Oh not much, just...

hmm. I don't really want to write anymore now. Its quite about time I went to bed. We'll see what comes next, I think I need to update more. Or at least attempt to verbalise my thoughts, whether in print or prose.

Goodnight, fickle world.
(and maybe the world is fickle only because I am)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cat Physics

iphone users, go download cat physics, an iphone game that's free! I find it more fun than most games around... and there's a good puzzle factor. Only problem is that its only 50 levels.

So here's something I found about Cat Physics.

Those of us in association with cats know that cats are excellent demonstration sof physics, although some laws of cats physics apply ONLY to cats.

Law of Cat Inertia
A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force – such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.

Law of Cat Motion
A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.

Law of Cat Magnetism
All dark clothing attracts cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric and lightness of the cat.

Law of Cat Thermodynamics
Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.

Law of Cat Stretching
A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.

Law of Cat Sleeping
All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved, and as comfortable as possible for the cat.

Law of Cat Elongation
A cat can make her body long enough to reach just about any counter top that has anything remotely interesting on it.

Law of Cat Obstruction
A cat must lay on the floor in such a position to obstruct the maximum amount of human foot traffic.

Law of Cat Acceleration
A cat will accelerate at a constant rate, until he gets good and ready to stop.

Law of Dinner Table Attendance
Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.

Law of Rug Configuration
No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.

Law of Obedience Resistance
A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.

First Law of Energy Conservation
Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.

Second Law of Energy Conservation
Cats also know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.

Law of Refrigerator Observation
If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.

Law of Electric Blanket Attraction
Turn on an electric blanket and a cat will jump into bed at the speed of light.

Law of Random Comfort Seeking
A cat will always seek, and usually take over, the most comfortable spot in any given room.

Law of Bag/Box Occupancy
All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

Law of Cat Embarrassment
A cat’s irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.

Law of Milk Consumption
A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.

Law of Furniture Replacement
A cat’s desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

Law of Cat Landing
A cat will always land in the softest place possible; often the mid- section of an unsuspecting, reclining human.

Law of Fluid Displacement
A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.

Law of Cat Disinterest
A cat’s interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.

Law of Pill Rejection
Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.

Law of Cat Composition
A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn’t Matter

Stolen From who stole it from


Monday, July 26, 2010

It's been such a long time

Think I should be going
And time doesn't wait for me, it keeps on rollin....

Boston - Long Time/Foreplay

So it's been years since I last blogged proper, really. But in the interest of maintaining my sanity, reflective ability, and just to keep a log of the person I am today, I've decided to carry on like a wayward son till I lay my weary head to rest.

I don't even really know what to talk about or how to blog anymore. Blogging seems like such an ancient art. I mean, today web-art falls mainly in 2 categories: Short statuses/tweets, or youtube videos like Peter Chao. Where does blogging stand in the scheme of things? Nobody has the time or the patience to wade through long ramblings of a weak mind trying to solve an endless puzzle. I shall however attempt to rediscover the lost art of blogging. At least what passes for blogging on this webpage, at the very least.

No pictures needed here anymore because Facebook has all of them. I was considering tracking my life blogging through the "notes" function on Facebook instead of coming back to this old site, but then I am after all, a sentimental fool. Perhaps I'll add one or two just to make the post appear less verbose =D

So... If you should somehow be on this page, whether you know me or not, this is how I used to look.

And below is a picture of how I look now.

Haha ok rather that's how I'm going to look, more or less, come end october. HUSKAR ftw! That also pretty much explains why I have a mohawk in the first place.

On a more serious note, I think I really am in the midst of fighting a crisis... the famous new quarter life crisis. It almost feels like I'm living in limbo. Things don't seem real but they feel real. Or was it the other way around? Well either way time seems to have slowed down... I can almost savour every moment as it passes... Especially when music and company coincide. However, it all rushes by. It's like being in a dream in a dream looking back at reality and seeing how slowly time moves... When in fact it passes so fast it's like a lifetime in limbo passing in a few hours of sleep. Yeah, Inception was a good movie.

Granted, I've got a good life. That I cannot deny. But the biggest enemy of a great life is a good life, and that's what makes me dissatisfied. When you have a good life you lose the drive and motivation to get a great life.

Last night we had a conversation at Arab about motivating forces... Fear and Self Actualisation... And I realised my brain hasn't been used for way too long. Hence, I'm blogging again... to be able to find the words I want to use when I want to use them, to analyse and dissect arguments, or perhaps present them in different light. Be twisty.

Okay this has been long enough I think since I started writing this about half an hour ago I think. Woohoo blogging during work time =D Cheers folks, lets see how long I can keep this up =D

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Starry Nights

The stormy weather was a nuisance to everyone. Patience wore thin in my apartment, tested by the whispering wind that whistled through the cracks in the building structure. The heater was down, and the only thing keeping the apartment toasty was an assortment of hot tempers and a can of coffee powder, the aroma of which permeated each room of my cold abode. The coffee kept my nerves twisted at the ends, zapping each synapse in my brain with an excessive charge for every thought that came to mind, the feeling of which was comparable to sitting on an electric chair with faulty wiring—an initial jolt of pain, followed by a heightened state of self-consciousness. It was coffee that kept me alive in college, that kept me company in obscene hours late at night, and that uncompromisingly worked its way into my life in the same way the internet had. For all its advantages, the downside to it was simply negligible in comparison. The coffee kept my eyes open in class, but sedated every cell that constituted my brain. I hated coffee. It was essentially a superficial drug, a miracle drug that extended working capacity (or the looks of it), for the sake of working more, doing more, and being more. Yet, it was and still is an integral part of my college life, as it fuels the energy to satisfy my need to be more than myself. It was coffee that gave my roommates and me the strength to look charming, think quick, react fast, and carry ourselves well. We consumed coffee like a designer drug and used it like mascara and foundation, to highlight the beautiful side of ourselves. We needed it to be beautiful in our own right. We still do.
Humans are social beings. We look for trends in fashion, buy magazines to check out the latest styles, work out at the gym for the ever elusive abdominal six-pack , and spend countless hours on personal grooming, all just to look good in the eyes of other people. We spend billions of dollars annually on cosmetic surgery, diet formulas, spa treatments and beauty products, all in the name of looking good, sometimes for the love of our lives, and sometimes for total strangers on the streets. Teenagers aspire to be as sexy as Angelina Jolie and as timeless as Audrey Hepburn, as slim as Kate Moss and as radiant as Beyonce, all in the name of beauty.
But why the need for beauty? Alice Walker in her essay Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self recollects the story of her ugly past, where the loss of sight in one eye to an unfortunate accident paints a clear picture of the need for beauty in individuals. It was not being blind in one eye that was her grievance, but rather the hideous imprint of white scar tissue on it that served as a haunting reminder of her lack of physical beauty. One night after her cousin visits, she verbalizes her thoughts of her disability with “I do not pray for sight. I pray for beauty (Walker, Encounters pg 621).” It was shocking at first, the seeming lack of depth in her thinking. What in the world was this shallow girl thinking? To desire image more than functionality; it was tantamount to owning a Ferrari that didn’t work, as long as it served its purpose by looking magnificent in the garage.
Society however, has conditioned every one of us to be self-conscious. In our early childhood, we are conditioned to believe girls should look like princesses and Barbie dolls, while boys should be strong and macho like Prince Charming or G.I. Joe. “Don’t cry,” my mother told me, “or you won’t look handsome, and no one will want you.” I grew up with these words in mind, taking care not to fall into the trap of looking ugly in front of others lest I become a pariah, just like Walker did in school. Her eye brought her more than taunts and troubled stares. It brought her an ‘F’ in confidence, after which other aspects of her life tumbled down like falling dominoes. These repercussions in the mental and emotional states of individuals exhibiting physical disfigurement have not occurred by chance. It is primarily the inability to fit in with the social norm of being healthy, full-bodied individuals that has plagued them with a strong sense of discontentment and even self-hatred. The breaking down of self-worth in these individuals is thus a direct result of not just being different, but being ugly.
Schools worldwide are innocent vectors of society’s unjust expectations of beauty from each individual. Students from Tokyo to Tuscaloosa are invariably classified as ‘Cheerleaders and Jocks’ or ‘Nerds and Geeks’ among countless other labels in an insidious attempt to promote the beautiful, the cool and the successful as objects of public admiration and emulation. These social divisions carry on in each individual’s psyche after graduation, perpetuating well into their working lives. Corporations look out for the suave and the sassy as the face of their companies, just as in the movie American Beauty two competing real estate agents believe that to succeed they must live by the maxim: “One must portray an image of success at all times.” Millions of working class people embrace the effects of coffee in an effort to beautify their image as organizational assets by prolonging their ability to remain productive when otherwise ineffective. The ability of coffee to rejuvenate the tired body has found its way in the drive for beauty in personal perfection, where it functions as another tool to propagate the image of success.
The curse of a lack of beauty can be overturned when the individual is able to surmount the stigma of his own physical imperfection. The movie Gattaca concludes with the implicit definition of beauty stemming not from the physical perfection of the ‘genetically optimized’ humans, but from the triumph of ordinary humans in overcoming their personal imperfections, seen when the lead character Vincent, swam faster than his genetically perfected companion despite being of ‘inferior’ genes. There is not one successful Paralympian that did not suffer mocking insults from the man in the street, but we see the beauty in their triumph, the triumph of the human spirit over physical disability and disfigurement. It is most unfortunate that many of the disabled do not possess hearts brave enough for the struggle to find truth in their own beauty, instead faltering like falling stars in the paths of their lives, succumbing to their disabilities as victims of societal abuse.

The extent of this beautiful disease has its roots owing to the innate desire to procreate. The laws of natural selection wired the human brain to desire traits in the opposite sex exhibiting fertility and health or the ability to provide, in order to ensure the survival of the family line. Well proportioned men with larger frames and muscular structure exhibited the ability to protect the familial unit and hunt for food, whilst women with shapely hips and well groomed features like shiny hair and clean features subconsciously spelt fertility and health, and the ability to care for the family. These subconscious definitions of beauty have found their way into modern society, albeit a little modified by thousands of years of cultural influences.
Although the social notions of a desirable partner have progressed with the advent of technology, certain desirable traits like a lean body or long healthy hair have remained despite their loss of relevance in providing for the family. Ladies continue to prefer relatively well built guys with washboard abdominals despite the lack of relevance of these characteristics in bread winning or territorial possession in the age of computers and paper warfare. Similarly, the disabled and the disfigured have continued to be seen as the ‘shame’ of human civilization. Hitler tried to administer large scale euthanasia for the physically and mentally disabled during the Third Reich, as they were far from being ‘perfect humans’ and held no beauty in his eyes. In Biblical times as portrayed in the movie Ben Hur, lepers were exiled as they were too ‘dangerous’ to be helped, and the loss of their appendages was too ugly to bear in a society that has continued to value physical beauty over mental ingenuity. With all these in mind, people have come to regard beauty as a trait as important as intelligence and character in the selection of a partner.
This social poison has benefited the cosmetics and accessories industries at the expense of our personal health. With many people willing to bear with self-inflicted torture for the sake of ‘style’ or beauty, manifesting itself in the form of corsets in Europe and bound feet in China, or high-heeled shoes (which upsets the natural balance of the body and exerts excessive stress on the calves and lower back) as a latter-day example, it is glaringly frightening how physical beauty has become an unspoken evil that has influenced everyone in their judgment of anything and everything. Many people have been tortured indirectly by the quest for acceptance by becoming beautiful, as seen in the swelling numbers of people affected by anorexia nervosa and bulimia; these are people who feel the overwhelming desire to be slim so as to look more attractive and thus feel more accepted by society.

Amy Tan analyzes the role of society and its judgments on the individual in her essay Mother Tongue, which initially criticizes her mother’s non-conforming, unbeautiful, fragmented, ‘broken’ English. Yet, upon careful consideration and retrospect, Tan came to see the beauty in the imperfect English that her mother spoke, and has successfully incorporated elements of her ‘mother tongue’ into award-winning pieces of literature as seen in The Joy Luck Club. Similarly, the role of society in determining what is beautiful today is overwhelming; yet we must try to exercise to the furthest extent the opinion of love and reason as the judge of beauty. There is beauty in the imperfect, especially in the perfection of their efforts to explore and expose their inner beauty. Helen Keller is one such individual who, guided by the love of her family and her teacher Sullivan, became the best that she could be. Just like Walker, Keller was distraught at the loss of her senses and beauty at a young age. Yet she was able to overcome the obstacles of being both blind and deaf with the help of patience and love. Such is the beauty that is in her.
Thus it is evident the role love and family plays in every individual’s definition of beauty. In American Beauty, Jane, the very ordinary daughter in a dysfunctional family experiences conflict in her perceived definition of beauty. The movie starts out with her believing in the words of her ‘beautiful’ friend, Angela: “There is nothing worse than being ordinary” and goes on to reveal her desire to be more beautiful when she explores the option of external beautification by the process of breast augmentation, despite her evidently ample bosom. It is evident how the lack of closeness within her family shows the lack of support necessary for her to come to terms with her ‘ordinary’ body as perceived by society and be beautiful in her own way, whereas in Beauty, Walker has the benefit of her family’s encouragement in the repeated assurances of “You did not change” (Walker, Encounters pg 621), and eventually betters her position after coming to terms with her own beauty after an eye operation.

The role of beauty in society does not limit itself to the individual: the advent of modern technology in genetic engineering and medical advancement has opened many a Pandora’s Box as to the morality of life. Should we be allowed to play God with our offspring, selecting physical and perceived behavioral traits within each embryo to our desired configuration and notion of beauty? Should parents be given the power to decide the fate of an unborn child should the child be afflicted with physical or mental disfiguration? The role of society in the fate of every individual can exact a massive amount of pressure on parents-to-be in decision making for their unborn children. Is it ethically sound for parents to decide on the separation of conjoined twins for reasons of beautification, additionally so if the separation of the twins results in a higher chance for life threatening complications to occur? The decision to take the risk may at first glance seem purely superficial, yet we seldom recognize that possessing a more beautiful appearance could be the ticket to a better life for the child, as compared to a life full of rude stares, pointing fingers and rejection.
Similarly, is it acceptable for us all to take for granted the works of beauty spawning from the talents of artists suffering from various mental maladies such as manic depression? Masterpieces of art in every form have come from mentally ‘unbeautiful’ persons, but should we expect them to pay the price for society’s appreciation of beauty? For much of the 16th to 19th centuries, depressed artists and musicians suffered under the pressures of conformist society, due to a lack of research and understanding of depression and other mental illnesses. Yet, their works of expression represent beauty in its raw form; unbridled, passionate, and magical, like a shooting star singing in the midst of a symphony of a starry starry night. This duality serves to accentuate the hypocrisy of shallow beauty against the purity of experiencing genuine beauty. Ultimately, the choice for pursuit of genuine beauty belongs to the artist, but in the words of Kay Redfield Jamison, a victim and researcher of bi-polar disorder: “I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and have been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters…” We are thus led to understand better another role of beauty in society in a novel way, by the dedication of the imperfect in seeking genuine beauty.
Ultimately where beauty is contrived, shallow beauty does serve to set an easier standard for living by convincing society that beauty is but a target defined by changing trends in general perception, whereas the strife for genuine beauty and meaning has been known to be the cause of death for some of those in its pursuit. Don McLean could not have been more succinct when he sang in Starry Starry Night, “but I could have told you Vincent, this world was never made for one as beautiful as you.”

Tuesday, April 07, 2009