Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to be a good person and be yourself

Sometimes I wish there was an instruction manual on "How to be a good person". We grow up influenced by things like the Disney movies, pop songs, children's fiction and all this other stuff telling us how we should behave, what's moral, what's good and what's not. I suppose our parents (or I guess those who are fortunate enough to still have them around) are also meant to raise us to we understand the values of kindness, generosity, compassion, courage... even empathy and forgiveness. 

But. Now that we've grown up we question ourselves a lot. Or I do anyway. Maybe it's an indication of the failure of my up bringing. I can't say my parents are bad parents though, of course not. Maybe, like Shakespeare said, "good wombs can born bad sons". We're not our parents, so perhaps there is such thing as someone who's born as a bad person? I don't really believe that, surely if you raise a murder's son to be a kind priest, he will undoubtedly become a kind priest?

According to yin and yan there is a bit of good and bad in all of us. But sometimes I feel like I am  actually such a terrible person in so many ways. I'm not religious in any way, I don't think I can ever believe. But when I decided to look up the Seven Deadly Sins I felt almost every single on applied to me, and to be honest a lot of kids born in the new millennium. We're spoiled to indulge in excess, become over-confident and lazy to do work, become extremely horny hormone-driven teenagers, often rage a lot as teenagers too, and most of us desire things like money and status (whether that be popularity and the latest iphone or a long term goal of being a billionaire).

So are these bad things to want? Because I sure as hell am pretty much guilty of all 7. Does that make me an awful person? My biggest faults as a person, I've concluded, are:
1. Vanity
2. Profanity LOL JK fortunately. It just rhymed too nicely.
2. Gluttony/ over indulging in excess

3. Categorising people before I really know them
4. Fear or inability to show how much I care to those I'm close to
5. Over confidence in my own abilities
6. Being a know-it-all and being unable to shut up about something I know about
7. Being defensive about anything (even if I don't side with it)
8. Inability to not start an argument when I disagree..
9. Inability to shake off this sense of superiority sometimes
10. And at the same time, being unable to shake of a sense of insecurity and worry about how other people see me. And feeling like I want to run off and hide under my duvet in bed when someone says something that I find hurtful.

Wow I really hope no one reads this blog.....

I just feel like such a horrible person sometimes. Selfish. Yeah oops I guess I forgot about that trait as well. I try, but maybe you can't change who you are. Honestly it's a matter of opinion and perspective isn't it? Pride can be considered a powerful trait. Greed for power and money can be translated forcibly into really, really big ambition. And ambition is good. Vanity is necessary among a lot of professions and places these days, like modelling say, or being a celebrity. Working in the fashion industry.

We're also taught to be ourselves. Not be affected by others. But what if being yourself means having bad traits? Being proud, vain, greedy? What's right and what's wrong? Can anything turly even influence who we are? Can we really decide what sort of person to be?? 

Why are humans so complex. Why can't be just be like rabbits and screw all the time...


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

LOL @ Meyer

I was just wiki-ing Twilight (since I hadn't done it before) and I found this AMAZING quote regarding the reception of Breaking Dawn. Apparently a reviewer from Washington Post didn't think too highly of it and said:

"Meyer has put a stake through the heart of her own beloved creation," and "Breaking Dawn has a childbirth sequence that may promote lifelong abstinence in sensitive types."

LOL.That sums up BD perfectly. It really did bring the legacy of Twilight down by several (hundred) notches and the fact that Bella gave birth is actually not as bad as Jacob imprinting on the baby of his once love-interest. I think I raged for several days when I read that. Wow I sound like such a no-life Twihard. I promise I'm not (anymore).

She goes on to describe how "Twilight is really all about unrequited female erotic yearning" and how Edward acts more like an obsessive fatherly figure to Bella rather than a 17-year-old boyfriend, how Bella is also frail, weak, hurt, needing to be carried/rescued and pretty much resembles a helpless child.

"It gets worse: Breaking Dawn has a childbirth sequence that may promote lifelong abstinence in sensitive types. And it becomes downright surreal when the lovelorn lycanthrope Jacob gets romantically imprinted on Bella's newborn daughter, Renesmee, a blood-slurping newborn nicknamed Nessie (for the Loch Ness monster). This imprinting is a werewolf thing: Jacob's 14-year-old friend earlier imprinted on a toddler, with the implication that she will eventually become his mate.

Reader, I hurled."

And for some reason the fire and passion of Edward and Bella's love has kinda died out on me. Whenever I think of them together now it's like they're brother and sister or something. Ouch. I mean, ew. This is gonna be painful sitting through Breaking Dawn next year, esp. in that scene when they start having sex in the ocean under the moonlight. Yeah I hope they keep that in the film. It's gonna be so awkward for all the little 12-year-old tweens in the cinema who should really be watching Bieber making out with another 12-year-old.

Read the full review here:

Time to stop and get more vamp action. Ooooh yeah.

Vampire obsession; YOU CAN'T ESCAPE IT

That's right, YOU CAN'T ESCAPE IT. Vampires are everywhere. Ever since I read the last book of Twilight and felt like ripping it in half and throwing it across the room at its utter nonsense and ridiculousness and bad writing and crazy 14-year-old girl fanfiction style, I've stopped raving about Twilight like plenty of other teenage girls are (unfortunately) still raving about. I honestly don't see how anyone can honestly think that Breaking Dawn was honestly a good book. Seriously wtf S. Meyer, you kinda ruined your own masterpiece :'[

Since the whole Twilight craze though, vampires have been emerging through every crevice of media, targeting at the raving, lunatic, insecure and horny mob of teenage/tweenage girls who are now thirsty (LOL no pun intended) for more.

And see, even though I like to say I escaped the onslaught of Twilight fever and becoming a no-brainer Twihard, (mainly cos they started comparing Twilight to Harry Potter. WHAO WHAT. You do not ever compare such a mediocre teenage romance series to the likes of the legendary, life-changingness and moralistic adventures of Harry Potter. HP taught a whole new generation adventure, courage and how to stand up to evil wizards. Twilight taught a mob of fangirls/ insecure housewives how to never settle for a guy until he stalks her at night and commits suicide for her.) even though I escaped Twilight I'm finding it hard to escape all the other sexy vampires jumping out at me (not literally ofc).

I've just finished marathoning the first season of The Vampire Diaries and it's SO FREAKING GOOD. The drama, the romance, the hot, hot guys and the supernatural spooky stuff is just so addictive. It was really bad acting at first and the human heroine Elena started off annoyingly even more annoying than Bella in her ignorance and infuriatingly-trying-to-do-good-all-the-time trait, but Elena proved to have much more courage and depth than Bella, as did her relationship with (hot) 145 year old vamp BF, Stefan Salvatore. Plus, the thriller/gore side of The Vampire Diaries makes the horror-movie side of me satiated.

What's interesting though is that The Vampire Diaries was a book series written and published in 1992 (?!). That's a good 13 years before Twilight was published, so why is Twilight so popular yet The VD only gained extreme popularity after Twilight?

Another vamp trap I couldn't resist falling into is The Vampire Academy series. The concept is really different from T and VD, which are both human girl in small, secluded American town falls in love with hot vampire and then meets werewolves, almost dies etc. etc. The Vampire Academy brings in a whole, elaborate invention of different vampires, 'good' ones, 'evil' ones and half blooded vampire-human hybrids. The Academy itself has this crazy (well not so crazy) social/ backstabbing/ popularity system among the young vampires/half vampires training for battle against the evil vampires (yeah I'm simplifying things a bit...). Overall it reminds me of a fusion of Twilight and Gossip girl. I like. (Although I can't say the writing is better than S.Meyer's, at least the main heroine has got a hell of a lot of spunk and witty sarcasm. The same is hard to say about Bella who just really irks me now...)

Has anyone noticed how when one book or movie makes it big time and becomes the latest obsession for millions worldwide, there follows a period of time after this obsession in which you see so many other books/movies popping up that are kinda just copying it?

For example, after Chinese Cinderella I started to see all these books written by American Chinese telling their tragic/touching/extremely deprived childhood etc. After Alex Rider I started to see all these spy/James Bond 007 style books pop up. And after Twilight you get like a billion vampires popping out.

What if vampires existed but they were actually evil? Worse, what if they were ugly? Wow what would all the fans do then? But hey, I know I'd be a bit disappointed too, the idea of a hot vampire watching me sleep every night, hell yeah turns me on.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Childhood Dreams

Tonight is the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Excuse me while I take a moment to be hysterical.


It's surreal that the Harry Potter legacy is finally coming to an end. Sure, it's not the last movie, but it's the beginning of the end. This ending kind of means something a bit more to me too. It's as if they timed the finale of this wonderful, wonderful series, with the ending of my childhood. I grew up with Harry. It was the first ever book I dug my head into, and at the naive age of around 10, unknowingly, J.K. Rowling had changed my life like she'd done with millions of other little 10 and 11 year old kids around the world. It was so exciting. We were taken on a truly magical adventure of a lifetime. J.K. Rowling's writing, at the age of 10, was the first to make me laugh at its brilliance, at her wit and the character's wit. I was enthralled by the dopey, clumsy kindness of Hagrid, of Dobby, and the line that I remember most vividly is of course, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when the golden trio first formed. Harry had said, at the end of that particular chapter (using third person restricted narrative I now know thanks to NCEA English):

"There were some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll was one of them."

From then on, Hermione Granger became their friend. And thus we have the historical creation of the Golden Trio.

I can't believe it's really been 7 years already since I first waited, bursting with impatience and barely controlled anticipation, at my first edition copy of HP and the Order of the Pheonix in 2003. It was the first book release I experienced after getting into Harry Potter, and I remember diving into it as soon as I got home and read, without stopping, all 768 pages of it. It was TOTALLY AWESOME. The Order of the Pheonix became my favourite book of the series, simply because I had over-read the second and the fourth books, never felt the first book had enough shizazz as the rest (I read Chamber before Stone so never formed a strong sentimental attachment to Stone), and the fifth book for me filled out all the juicy plot, all the romance, all the dear, dear heart-warming details of Hogwarts life.

As I wrote that I noticed a red squiggly line underneath Hogwarts. THIS IS OUTRAGE. WHY ISN'T HOGWARTS AN OFFICIAL WORD YET. RAGE.

See the Order of the Phoenix bookmark? That was from 2003 when I first reserved my copy of OOTP. It shall become a family heirloom :p
My one regret growing up and loving Harry Potter, was that I didn't buy the Philosopher's Stone in time to catch the original cover. They released this cover as each movie was released, so what I bummer. I hate this shiny starry stuff on the front >:c
But anyways the point of this blog is, I realised that it's been 7 years down the road from my first HP experience, so to speak. I've felt like I've journeyed through Harry, Ron and Hermione's 7 years as well; 7 years filled with laughter, friends, the pain of growing up, losing things, losing innocence, becoming an adult, facing ordeals that life throw at you..

Of course I haven't experience deaths of friends, perilous battles against the most dark and evil wizard of all time, neither have I destroyed a horcrux or travelled back in time to save my innocent animagus godfather who was wrongly persecuted for 12 years in Azkaban as well as a hippogriff wrongly persecuted for death because it attacked a vile and wimpy ferret boy who had connections in the Death Eater world. Nop, I'm still just a little girl safely couped up in her Muggle World and shallow little everyday dramas.

But today, looking back on my 7 years of growing out of childhood, I realised how much I really changed. And I became so nostalgic (Probably a given after all this fanatic HP reminiscing) of the dreams I had for when I grew up. Because you see, I have grown up, and I've gone in a completely different direction to that of my wild, fantastical childhood imaginings.

It's alright, because I'd glad I became who I am today. Sure there were things I had to give up. But I also realised some things, no matter how much you change, sort of come back to you. Yesterday I just sat my scholarship English exam for NCEA. Studying for it made me realise how much I actually like it. Not neccessarily English, but writing. It feels like I've come around into a full circle. 7 years prior, when I first got into Harry Potter, I became obsessed with reading and creating my own amazing adventures in a magical world. I used to just sit there and imagine, hours on end, what happens next in my stories. It's kinda scary now that I think about it, not just because it sounds a little creepy, just sitting there daydreaming as an actual hobby, but it's scary because it feels like my 11 year old self had more mental capacity for imagination than I do. Wow.

My childhood collection of fantasical worlds... Spot any you know? :3

Anyways as I was saying, a full circle. Because of course a few years ago I gave up that dream of becoming a child prodigy and publish some amazing, best-seller children's fantasy book. It wasn't going to happen to me, although I have come across a few fantasy-adventure novels written by 15, 16 year olds recently, so at least it's happened to someone. But, now, my fantasies are coming back. My desire to create and write. I don't want to become a child prodigy any more (for one I'm not exactly a child..), I just want that feeling back. The feeling of creation and adventure.. the feeling of an endless, boundless and unhindered expanse of possibilities, all sitting in your hand inside that little skinny ball point pen. Whatever you want to happen, it will. Love will come, magic will come, your perfect dreams of living in a sanctuary, a far away kingdom of fairies hidden behind an old mirror buried deep within the woods (yes that was actually one of the stories I wrote); everything was possible. It's amazing.

But as the wise and brilliant Shakespeare himself said,

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

All the "revels" of our imaginary characters, when it ends and when the "pageant" fades, well it was all just a dream. They shall all dissolve. Similarly as humans, all our silly worries, drama, the ambitious work of man in our lives while we still walk this earth - however important and significant they may appear, when the day ends and the sun sets - essentially when we die and fall into the dreamless sleep that is death, it would be like our whole life was nothing but a dream. Our silly follies will melt and dissolve. We are after all, only mortal. (Unless you got bitten by a vampire of course - in that case you'll live through eternity wishing you were dead. Yeah I'm obsessed with Vampire Diaries atm, which I have to point out was first published 15 YEARS before Twilight)

How did this end up turning into an essay anyway... ah. This is what I get for not revising for my exam on Friday like I should be.

Oh on the note of Twilight, I guess what Stephenie Meyer is doing, is exactly what I described I wanted to do. She poured her heart out onto the page, Twilight is no doubt a fantasy from the depths of her imagination that she had to create because the lure of making your greatest dreams become reality (or as real it can be anyway - because average joe-annas like us don't have the money or skill to turn our silly fantasies into a motion picture. Writing it out seems like a more practical and accessible option), that lure was too great to ignore. And so someone decided she should publish it, and voila, millions of girls around the world get their fantasies reproduced on paper, the thrill of entering one's fantasy as an ordinary girl who caught the heart of a sparkling vampire, well from the popularity of Twilight, that thrill is pretty damn addictive.

I just realised how many run on, multi-claused sentences I must have used in this blog. I really need to change my writing style to less.. flowing all over the place all the time. Write like a man. GRR.

Anyways, I will not give up my dream of writing. Sometime in the future, I will write something for someone, or for myself, and it will be published. I want to pay it forward, and change or at least impact the lives of 10, 11 year olds all over the world too. Most of all, I selfishly want my dreams to become as real as it can get, ie. on paper. It will happen, just you wait.

Isn't it beautiful? Imagination, that is :]
Which presents me with a difficult choice at the crossroads I'm now approaching: What to study in uni. Science and Arts conjoint, alright. But what should I major in for arts? I'm stuck between Philosophy or Writing Studies. Philosophy is so fascinating I jizzed just reading all the course paper names. On the other hand Writing Studies would be beneficial for creative writing etc. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. And then there's my dad's suggestion of just doing Computer sci so I come out with my degree in 3 years, then I can get a job quick or go to Design school to pursue 3D animation (another fancy I had after watching the beautiful, breathtaking world of Pandora right in front of my eyes. After all, it's still recreating figments of the imagination into reality, only less productively but much, much more effectively. Hmmm)

I don't know. I only know that I'm too damn ambitious for my own good. I feel like Esther Greenwood under that bloody fig tree, I want it all, to "shoot of in all directions" like fireworks. Cos baby you're a firework / Come on show 'em what you're worth / Make 'em go "Ohh ohh ohh" / As you shoot across the sky-y-y

I really get sidetracked. But yeah. I want too much, that's my problem. I want adventure, travel, visit all those foreign places in foreign countries.. I want to help people. See what it's like to live another's life, I've always been so nosy and so curious about stuff like that. But I also want success, not having to worry about finance, a good job, and to make money doing what I want - 3D animation, commercial design, writing as a journalist, writing as a paid blogger, writing as (extremely distant and unlikely) a published author! Heck, I want that. Those things. I also want happiness. Simple happiness, the sort that only comes from a happy family in a 50s housewife-propaganda poster: A loving, amazing husband who I feel so lucky just to wake up next to every morning, a nice house with a green lawn and white picket fence (I KNOW it sounds so brainlessly conformist..), two little darling children, a boy and a girl (or maybe three, two girls wouldn't be bad) and hot sunny days when the whole family can just be together as a happy, rowdy family.

I think I just built my own personal fig tree. Now let's hope I won't do an Esther and watch those juicy fag figs go plop-plop! and fall down one by one. I will make my decision. But hey c'mon. This is the 21st century. A woman has much more freedom than back in the 1950s when Esther lived. Who says I can't have it all?

Cos baby you're a firework
Come on let your colours burst
Make 'em go "Ohh ohh ohh"
You're gonna leave them falling down-own-own

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look at us, all living little superficial lives

Today for the first time I asked myself a question: why did I not choose to become a doctor? I am a perfectly capable young adult, just at the point of my life where I can choose what to do for the rest of my life. What I'm going to do with the rest of my life. I've always ruled off being a doctor because tbh, it scares me. I'm not strong enough to deal with the responsibility of having so many lives dependent on me. But now I realised how stupid that is. Stupid and naive, as always ignorant.

I was researching for my design brief today, and stumbled across this album of photos taken from the Sichuan earthquake in China, 2008. 70 000 killed and more missing, injured, and god knows what else.

I've never seen anything that's shocked me more. Just looking at it makes me feel horrible. Makes me feel so, so sad. And some photos make me feel like I'm feeling the pain... yet I know I can't even begin to comprehend the scale of their pain, not even a little.

I feel like this is what the apocalypse would be like if it ever happened, this sort of pain escalating all over the world simultaneously. Then I realised how stupid I was. Again, how naive and ignorant, sheltered, selfish, horrid and horrible. This sort of death and disaster is happening all over the world, all the time. Every second of every minute, and every minute of every hour. Out there is someone suffering such an unfair, unjustly delivered pain. 

It's amazing how stupid we can all be. Living in our ignorant and superficial, oh so superficial lives. Everything seems shallow and extravagant. The chicken there I had for dinner? What? Why am I forcing myself to eat fried chicken that I don't even want to eat because I'm already full? Why?? There are people out there with no food, for whom starvation is a cruelly prolonged suffering they endure till death. Perhaps as I bit into that piece of juicy chicken, a child just died somewhere in the world from lack of any food. Oh the cruel irony. I feel sick. Sick at myself and the lives everyone around me lives in. Because I know. We know. Everyone in this developed, safe little nation knows there are people less fortunate in other parts of the world. Of course. It's common knowledge, too common perhaps. People don't feel it. It's not their business to care, it doesn't affect them. Most of all, they only feel the apathy, sometimes a little sympathy perhaps, but certainly not the empathy.

Even those who are doing things to fight for these causes, a lot are doing it without real feeling. Sure, they put up a passionate and compassionate affront, spreading awareness, running charities, events, the whole shizzaz. But when it comes down to it all, who can really truly understand emotionally, their suffering and need? No one but those who've been there, seeing these atrocities live in front of their very own eyes, the death, illness and suffering perhaps only an arm's width away. They could reach out and touch it with their very own hands. Then, everything would be all too real. 

Everyone sits in their own little houses. I am right now. Junk on the kitchen bench. At least 5 electrical devices in a 5 meter radius of me, all ranging over 1000 probably. There's a huge amount of unwanted food lying around. I feel bloated from dinner. I feel sick.

I know what the counter argument is. There isn't that much we can do. We can't give up everything in our own lives. But can't we give up a few of the many and exponentially accumulating, unneeded and sometimes unwanted junk that's just sitting around in our everyday lives, simply adding to our richness and spoilt, superficial lifestyle?

And most importantly, the point that started this debate in my head, there is something we can do. Well I can do. And most people can do too. And that is, do something with my life to make a difference. Whether it be become a doctor to treat people, people who are dying, injured, suffering and are in need of any sort of relief, no matter how small; or to become an engineer, builder, build new homes and new lives for people who've lost everything; or perhaps most influentially a political figure, a leader, a CEO, a boss, someone who will have the power, money and resources to make a difference in all the suffering.

So many of my friends want to become doctors. Perhaps half do it for the money. But they're all doing it. And they will all save lives. A small comfort, but one nevertheless.

My friend once asked me a while back, perhaps only a year ago (although it feels like half of my life for some reason) - she asked me, "Omg Jeannie you're smart I don't get it, why do you want to do art? Why don't you become a doctor or something and help other people!"

I've always denied her logic. My reasoning was that I was helping people, I was going to entertain them. Give interest and creativity to their boring lives, give them something to think about. But now I can see how completely superficial that is. Why do I want to learn things like philosophy? An investment for myself, but all it does is produce intellectual profit for me, I don't give anything, and I won't be able to give anything out.

Right now I'm looking at my design folio on an earthquake fundraiser. Then I look back at these photos.

I feel like I'm going to cry again. I feel like my heart is being strangled. It can't breathe anymore, and I want to invent a new meaning for the word 'sad'.

I look back at my earthquake designs where I tried to communicate the feeling of disaster and sorrow. They look pathetic and naive and utterly shallow and superficial.

I hate the fact that now I feel like the naive, ignorant, and stupid little girl that I am of course, talking about big things she has no idea about, things she can't even begin to understand, and still, just knowingly spewing up big words of a depth she doesn't know or will ever live up to.