Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Over at WordPress


I've just hopped over to WordPress for a bit, testing it out to see if I want to migrate over. All this thanks to Ben when he mentioned WordPress and his upcoming Mohjo website (more info about this later when he actually sets it up).

So, go on over to The Flea Writes on WordPress. See you there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TED 2023?

If TED talks are to still exist 20 years on, and if it looks like how the Prometheus producers imagined it to be in this promo video for the movie, I'd be ecstatic. :)

Won't it be cool to quote the end of Peter Weyland's speech in future conferences? My name is *insert-name-here*, and if you'll indulge me, I'd like to change the world.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Alone in the midst of people

Remember when I blogged about being emotionally out of whack roughly a month ago? I was reading Thought Catalogue last night when I came across this article by Molly Gard which accurately describes part of what I felt (and am probably still feeling):

You’re alone all the time.

That’s the well-kept secret. When they talk about living independently for the first time, it’s not about doing your own laundry or waking yourself up in the morning or paying your own utilities. Independent is a fancy word for alone, and that’s why so many capable people struggle. People who thought that they were prepared, that they would flourish under this new system because they had been functioning at such a high level for such a long time. Nobody mentioned that the challenge isn’t functioning. The challenge is doing anything other than functioning. The challenge is to transcend being and start living again.

And maybe it sounds easy because all your basic needs are still being met, and many elements of your former life are still around in one form or another. Look, there’s a soccer game over there, here’s a band you can play in, here’s where you can drink coffee, here’s a camera you can use. It’s all the same, really. What do you mean there’s nothing to take pictures of? There’s buildings and trees and people. Just point and shoot.

So you arrive, after months of waiting and longing, arrive thinking that your new life will be your old life but better, knowing that specifics from your past won’t transfer but hoping that all the important things carry over. And maybe you get lucky. Maybe some do. But maybe nothing feels like home. And that brings us back to the thesis:

You’re alone all the time. At first it’s unbearable and agonizing and physically painful, the sense that you no matter what you do, you will do it in solitude. At first you die a little more every hour on the hour, you cringe whenever something reminds you of the past, which of course happens every moment. But slowly, you adjust. Soon, it’s only the mornings that hurt, when you wake up and realize you’re still alone, and the evenings when you’re tired and you spent all day winding yourself up and you don’t have any more energy to cope. And then, soon enough, the mornings and evenings are bearable too. You learn to use any human interaction as energy to get you through the day, or you learn to survive in isolation, maybe even embrace it. You become more and more comfortable spending hours or entire days without speaking to anyone. Sometimes, when you absolutely cannot take it anymore, you call your mother, or chat with someone who suddenly means more to you than they ever did before. But you function. You make it through. You have good days and bad days, like any other person. Sometimes you laugh at a joke, and then immediately marvel at the miracle of someone making you laugh, of someone else bringing you joy again. Every once in a while, someone might hug you, and it’s the best thing, even if you don’t know why.

So that’s the plateau. Where you’re fine. Where you smile through the good days and wade your way through the bad. And sometimes you feel great, and you chastise yourself for feeling over-dramatic earlier, and your confidence in your new life swells. And sometimes you break, and you consider flying or driving home right that second because you cannot handle another hour of the emptiness gnawing inside you. Gradually, your highs get a little bit higher, and your lows get less frequent, and you start describing life as “good” instead of “fine” and you generally mean it. You’re doing well. Sometimes you even feel alive.

But then your sister comes to visit, or your boyfriend, or some pal from high school. And you remember what it’s like to not just know people but understand them, to know their habits and their preferences, to recognize their shirts, to touch them without thinking about it. You remember how good it feels not being alone, and you try to soak up every moment and absorb enough energy to last the long winter. Often it’s awkward because you have nothing in common but memories and mutual affection, so you spend a lot of time staring at each other and wishing you could think of something more interesting to do, some way to better appreciate your visitors, to better make use of your time. You don’t want to waste this. But maybe you do.

And then they leave, and you break again, and your “good” drops to “fine” and then to “okay, I guess.” But soon enough you trick yourself into forgetting how it feels to see love in someone’s eyes, and you adjust back to solitude.

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m assuming it gets better. I keep reading the same Bukowski poem, the one that goes:

"There are worse things than being alone but it often takes decades to realize this and most often when you do it’s too late and there’s nothing worse than too late."

I try to believe him, but it’s hard when you’re alone all the time.

Although I'm not living in a big city apart from my family, it's still very lonely. Friends I've grown up with have moved away, pursuing their dreams in big cities or faraway lands. Friends from my undergraduate days have, like me, mostly moved back to their hometown all over Malaysia. There will be seasons when childhood friends come back for a visit or when I fly off to the other end of Borneo/the peninsular for brief meet-ups...but sometimes it feels like it's not enough. I may have my family with me, but it's entirely possible to feel lonely without the friends who have been my support system when I was away. But I remembered missing my family like crazy during my "independent" days (which I admit to have enjoyed). I don't get it. It's like having cake and not being able to eat it.

And now I can't wait for the day when I can get away from home again, with the knowledge that I'll probably feel very lonely in that foreign place unless and until I find friends who can fill in those gaps in my life. It's a vicious cycle, really.

But like Molly wrote, I believe it does get better. It just HAS to. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

So you want to know more about the oceans?

I almost forgot that World Ocean's Day falls on June 8th so I was wondering why my Facebook was flooded with this particular picture:

The picture (ad?) is going viral on my news feed with most of my marine friends sharing it again and again which is pretty good I reckon, because plastic is a horrible pollutant which sticks around for a very long time, endangering many marine creatures and making our oceans a very ugly place to swim, snorkel or dive in. Heck, it even looks bad on tourism brochures. So here's how you can take action to prevent plastic from harming ocean life:

Reduce plastic use. Help stop plastic pollution at its source! As consumers, we each have the power to reduce demand. And if you encourage family and friends to do the same, the more the more good we can do to keep the ocean clean and safe. Here are a few disposable plastic products everyone can reduce in our daily lives:

Plastic water bottles. Invest in a reusable water bottle, and filter water if necessary. Help the ocean and save money; it’s a win-win for you and the blue. Let’s turn the tide against wasteful plastic consumption.

Plastic bags. People use nearly 1 trillion plastic bags each year, and unfortunately, many of those end up ingested by sea turtles that mistake plastic for jellyfish. Remember to bring a reusable bag for food (including vegetables) and other shopping and save a life!

Straws, cups to-go, food containers, and utensils. Bring your own reusable products like mugs when you get coffee and take a pass on the plastic utensils when you get take-out food.

Be aware of packaging. Pay attention to how much incidental plastic that comes with what you buy - your candy, headphones, pens, etc., all come in plastic packaging. Strive to cut down on your daily plastic consumption and reward corporations that package responsibly!

Another marine-related PSA which I thought was more fun was a parody of Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know by One World One Ocean:

Sporting lyrics such as, "Vibrant murals of coral reefs, joyful creatures embracing the living sea, humpback whales hum soothing symphonies, dreaming of the ocean that we want to know," I can imagine this short animation to be an outreach/awareness tool geared towards secondary school kids (because I know that I would pay attention if this was played during a biology class back in school!). The YouTube page for this video also has fun facts about ocean-related matters from all around the world.

Then there's also this video from Conservation International about how much we owe to the oceans and seas, and why we must act to save them before its too late:

I hope whoever actually comes around here enjoy the videos because I definitely did! And in line with what I've been harping for the past two weeks (in real life), conservation without awareness is nothing. So make do make use of the social media to let more people know why the oceans is important and to stop polluting them with our rubbish.

Happy World Ocean's Day! :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A bit of BERSIH, a lot more of other stuff


I was going to write a long post about my participation in the BERSIH 3.0 rally in Kuching last week, but halfway through I just ran out of things to say. I mean, it was for a good cause and all, and I do have strong opinions about it and how the KL rally turned out, but I've already said what I wanted to say on Facebook. I'm still angry with the mainstream media and the people that walk the corridors of power (VERY angry), but if I were to rant, it'll just be angry and depressing all the way. No point.

But just for the heck of it, here's proof of me at the sit-down protest, which was very peaceful in Kuching:

Getting yellow balloons from the person I voted into the State Assembly = fawesome!

I'm sorry for not really updating the blog. School's been rather crazy as my molecular work seem to be working out really well lately (yay!), though that also means that I've a bunch of data (double yay!) to analyse and a responsibility to churn out papers on them if possible. Compared to the final year students who did some pretty similar stuff, my sample size is so HUGE that the work got rather dreary after a while and procrastination started setting in. And then, I started losing focus.

Or maybe it's pre-/post-menstrual syndrome making my emotions go out of whack. But it's been nearly a month. *Insert look of horror here*

I a chicken. A bird with wings, which one would automatically assume, logically speaking, that it could fly. But it can't. For some weird reason, chickens are just confined to the ground, pecking at the dirt, laying eggs everyday, and they can't fly. Yeap, that's how I feel.

A friend who listened to me when I told her that said I'm probably more suited as a penguin. Same concept really, only penguins dive, don't lay eggs everyday and are separated from their partners nearly half the year.

However, in the midst of all this, it was still nice to know that the same three people I normally sent SOS signals out to still respond and although they're all far away, they can still make time to listen to me rant and wail while letting me know that I'm loved and dearly missed.

Well, I'm not sure what's the point of this post, but it felt good letting it out. I just may delete this later on, but here you go. Hopefully it'll be better by a week, haha. *Insert fake smile here*