Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Goodness of your Heart can’t buy you Peanuts

A good heart doesn't get you very far these days. It won't get you a job. It won't make anyone become any nicer to you. And it won't take you very far in terms of ambition and success. The only people who will benefit from the goodness of your heart are probably you and your pets, if you have any.

You can be sincere, you can be trustworthy and you can do everything in your power to make the surroundings pleasant but that's as far as you can go. The world today is not looking for anything remotely close to that. You either have to have the fighting spirit of a Lion or the determination of a lemming before you are recognized. If your name is not attached to a list of credentials longer than your lifeline you can forget being a part of the fast paced existence. 

The trend is to find a ruthless, brutal, overzealous soldier who will do anything to make it in this ostentatious world. If you are peaceful, calm and affectionate you will be trampled over and forgotten even if you actually helped someone out of your goodness.

Everyone is at war today. Everyone is fighting a battle to outdo the other to proof to everyone else that they are better and bigger and stronger. If you don't fight the fight you are better off dead or exiled in an uncharted terrain. But if you still want to live among the feral human species you will be cheated, robbed, abused, mistreated and blamed. No one will help you because everyone is looking out for themselves and there is just no room for weaklings like you.

So if you find yourself ostracized for not taking sides, joining camps or warring with your enemies you are all alone. But maybe, just maybe, there is someone who is very much like you among the millions who know nothing but the concept of being number one.

But if you still believe in this goodness you may still find a niche group of people who actually don’t need to lie or cheat or create chaos to get by but all of you would most probably be ignored by the world’s standards anyway.  

Surviving Taiping

I haven’t had the use of internet for almost 2 weeks and I couldn’t believe I survived. When I am back in PJ I get nervous when I have been away from checking my emails and Facebook. But now, to my surprise, I am free from the addiction! So how did I rehabilitate myself? Through peace and quiet and the nature that surrounds me.

My dad and I were sitting on the swing to cool off in one the evenings when we saw a horn bill perching on our neighbor's gate. It was an amazing sight observing the humongous bird feeling so homely among the trees in my neighborhood. I love these little surprises whenever I come back to my hometown and witness all the magnificent creatures around the vicinity of my home.

I also caught sight of a huge beetle, about 3 inches, which is rare these days, clutching on a leave. And on another day I saw a chameleon displaying its frills and colors as though readying itself for a showdown with something in the garden.

It had been really hot in Taiping for the Chinese New Year this year and after my dad waters the plants the babblers, bulbuls and sparrows would come to take their showers in the little catchments on the leaves.

After dark there is a regular nightjar goes clucking as though trying to reveal a secret message. Last night I kept hearing its sequential Morse code that I decided to write down to see if there is some kind of a pattern to it. But what I’ve got is only part of its long and endless content and it goes like this:-

4-4-3-3-4-3-3-1-4-3-3-3-5-4-3-3-2-3-3-2-2-3-3-3-3-3-2-5-3-3-3-4-3-3-2-2-2-2-3-4-3-2

And this is not even one hundredth of it. I remember back in those days the sound that the nightjar made frightened me because of the old wives tales about the evil that is lurking outside the darkness. Perhaps it is a signal of some kind that someone might be able to decipher one day.

Use to be's

I have seen my Chinese New Year tradition shedding it's skin year after year as I grow older. I have never liked festivities even when I was a kid. I find designated celebrations stifling especially when there are conditions and conventions. It's not my kind of thing.

I remember back then the mad rush, the massive cook up, the extreme weather and price hike are still the norm today. Strangely, the price hike in food during this mad season of joyful diversion is accepted by everyone whether we like it or not. Last year we had our recurring Lion dance at the house but the performers did it so halfheartedly we decided not to have them back again. These days a hundred dollars dance is frowned upon but a thousand dollar one might still have the sensational acts and artistic moves.

More and more people I know, though not many, have come to a realization and adapted to the change in what we used to know as tradition. Some of them refuse to join in the insanity of going back to their hometowns on the same day as thousands of other celebrants but stagger their before and after visits. Some just choose to hole up in quiet and unassuming places with their small knit families to spend quality time.

Celebrations are a wonderful thing but I fail to see the reason for doing them only on specified times other than following a set of rules our forefathers laid out in a time when transportation and telecommunication were non existent. I love the idea of having a get together whenever there's an opportunity to do so with families and friends. No need to wait for a season when commercials remind us of them or the price hikes or sales goad us into believing that it's the norm, because ultimately we are the ones who have the power to be happy with the ones we love anytime of the year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When are they going to wake up? When they lose everything?

There's this son, he's old enough to start his own path in life, in fact he is already too old but his parents want him back. His father laments to the entire clan about how his only son doesn't want to come home. But he is blind to the fact that the house is not a home when he and his wife are not on speaking terms. When his alpha male despotism is the only rule to consider.  When he and his wife had never taken care of the son when he was growing up at an impressionable age. When he listens to no one and does what he thinks is best for everyone. When he blames everyone else for his own faults and weaknesses. He is destroying his son's life by tying him to the chain of guilt. When is he going to wake up? When he loses everything?

This woman hangs on to her husband like he's the life support system she could never be unplugged from. She is stifling him with her needs for attention, for affection, for passion and she goes wild with envy when she sees him with another woman. Every woman is a competition to her and she cuts in his conversation, she plans his days and she controls his life. She doesn't hear his loneliness, she doesn't see his drudgery and she will never let him go. When is she going to wake up? When she loses everything?

He's a brat for the want of a word to describe what he is. He doesn't take orders. He does what he wants. He says everyone has no right to tell him what to do. He spirals down into a mess he creates for himself but he justifies it with his logic that goes as far as rebelling without a cause. He takes what he wants because he has no respect for anyone, no consideration for the person next to him and he takes no responsibility for the chaos he leaves behind. When is he going to wake up? When he loses everything?

She is the one who lets her son get away with murder and justifies it with spiritual experience. She is ignorant to the fact that life is made up of everything and all kinds of people. She denies everything she considers bad for her soul because she only wants the good, the beautiful and the magical. Yet, beneath all that her home is a wreck, her son's life is heading for disaster and everything around her is falling apart. When is she going to wake up? When she loses everything?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm back home

I'm a homely person.

I'm sooo homely I can stay in for weeks without having to go anywhere, as long as I have my laptop and of course the internet. When I was staying in the Bukit Jalil apartment once I literally didn't come down to the ground for a few days since there was no reason to.

Now that I am back in Taiping I kind of miss my new place in Sec19, which I have grown accustomed to. Although it's not the best apartment in the world, it's home to me. With the occasional incident that involves the police, petty thieving, and a recent blackout it's still a nice place to go back to.

But I also love to be home with mom & dad and the 2 overly active dogs and the sound of nature all day and night long. Just goes to show home is really where you want it.