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Our Investment, Our Statement, Our Everything

Our Investment, Our Statement, Our Everything

Let’s talk about investment, shall we?

Ah, yes. I can see you groaning, your yawn and disinterested look you are trying so hard to conceal right now.

What puts you off? The word ‘investment’ itself? Count me in. I did not even fake interest when I heard the word for the first time being shoved on to me. Really. I just left the word immediately, and never wanted to return. Until now.

Now when I feel at least half of my life has passed. Come to think of it. We have lived in the world more than half of our possible lifetime in the world, right? Or maybe not half yet. But we are definitely inching closer to that half-point mark.

And at times like these, I could not help wondering, what have I invested?

If you ask if I questioned ourselves about financial-related investment, the answer is both “yes” and “no”.

“Yes”, because what and how much we save is always more important than what and how much we earn in life.

“No”, because investment also applies to how we live our life.

Do we invest our time in doing the work that makes us happy?
Do we invest our expenses in what we need, rather than what we want?
Do we invest our brain to knowledge, instead of aimless pleasure?
Do we invest our tastebud to culinary, and not snacking?
Do we invest our love to the right people?
Do we invest our life to the right causes?

Do we invest our time well?

Well, who knows?

I cannot answer that for you. And that sucks. It does. You don’t feel pleasant whenever you are forced to look back at the past, only to realize so much, or too much has gone to waste, leaving you at whatever state you are in right now.

I have gained. I have lost. I have earned. I have lost. I have loved. I have lost. I have lived. And will do so until the luxury is taken away from me.

It does not hurt to spare so you can make investment. I cannot say it in a more subdued or subtle manner. Put aside extra time, money, effort, attention, what have you, to invest. See how your investments grow over time.

Or maybe by the time they grow, you won’t be able to see. That’s okay. Others will see, leaving memory of your presence intact. See, investment is preserving yourself. To be immortal. To be lived and remembered forever.

Be afraid not of making bad investments. For you can always do over.

And that’s my birthday note this year to you, dear.

Let’s put some imagination in our investment, shall we?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 04/11/2017 in Blog, English, Personal

 

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Brief Chance

Brief Chance

“I am sorry.”

I put my head down.

“For everything.”

I only nod quietly.

“I truly do.”

I smile.

“Uh … Am.”

“What?”

“I truly am. You said “I truly do”, while it’s supposed to be “I truly am”, because earlier you had said “I am so…rry”, which were you exact words, so …”

A chuckle follows. “You’re still a grammar police after all these years.”

A polite small laughter ensues. “Old habit dies hard.”

“I can see that.”

“What can you see? The way I dress? Well, this is kind of emergency and may not be to your liking …”

“No, no. I don’t mean that. Please.”

“… but I am only kidding.”

“Ha! Yeah. You got me there.”

“Well. Yeah. I got you. There.”

How can a second of awkward silence feels like a century of a lifetime?

“I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“I was on my way …”

“Oh, that direction?”

“Yeah. You headed to the other side?”

“Yes. They’re waiting for me by now.”

“Oh, if you must go then, I …”

“I think I must.”

And to think how many times I play possible scenarios of how we will meet again, in a different time, in a different place, in different clothes, in different shoes, in different hair, and in different manners. Where’s the angry glance? Where’s the cynical smirk? Where are the tears waiting to fall?

“Yeap. That announcement is my cue.”

“So. Goodbye for now?”

“Yes. Bye.”

We wave. We turn our back. We walk.

I hold my breath. I let it out. I put both hands on my jacket.

Should I turn around? Should I run again? Should I chase just to say everything I’ve wanted to say but I couldn’t?

I keep on walking. I keep on thinking. I reach my phone.

I stop walking. I look ahead.

“Thank you. For everything.”

I smile.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on 01/17/2017 in Blog, English, Personal

 

Another Birthday Note Again

Another Birthday Note Again

If only we knew all along that getting older is fun. Especially if we realized many benefits that come with ageing. And until now, I still find it hard to believe.

One of those many benefits lies in forgiving. Or could it be ignorance?

Things that seem to bother us in the past, they do not seem to matter anymore at present time. Certainly not in the future.

Things that bug us so much until we lose sleep over them, they do not bug us anymore right now. Hopefully not in the future.

Things that disturb our peace in the past, we already make peace with them.

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As we grow older, we only grow kinder with time. We accept the fact that time has been kind to us. 

Time finally allows us to look back with smile, that whatever happened in the past, they only make us able to live well in the moment, at the present time. And that is the greatest gift our advancing age has ever taught us.

Heartbreaks will be forgotten, heartbreakers will be forgiven.

Love will be rekindled, repeated, or revealed in any ways to keep us alive.

On each birthday, we may not realize that we keep adding the list of things and people that we secretly forgive and forget, because the issues they used to bring, those do not matter anymore.

Thus, I look forward to birthdays.

Because you get to celebrate yourself in overcoming the odds.

Have a happy one.

 

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4 Comments

Posted by on 04/11/2016 in English, Personal

 

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How Do You Deal With Death?

The answer to the question in the title is probably the same as the opposite: how do you deal with living?
You don’t deal with it.
You just do. Read the rest of this entry »

 
5 Comments

Posted by on 03/27/2016 in Blog, English, Personal, Uncategorized

 

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On a Cold Rainy Night

“Are you ready?”

“Ready?”

“This is how it goes …”

“Wait. Ready for what?”

“This. This is what will happen. We meet. Meet cute, maybe. But we meet. We exchange names. We invent nicknames for each other. We text each other every day. We look forward to each of our “morning” and “nitey nite” greetings. We make time to type those messages. We ask each other what we have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, and all meals in between. We ask each other what we do, where we go, what we read, what we watch, what we listen to. Then we finally meet. We see eye to eye. Over lunch. Followed by coffee. Over dinner. Followed by movie. The first lunch. The first coffee. The first movie together. Then comes the night when we part. We have to part. We live in our own house. We say good night. In the next few hours, we say good morning. We make plans. We plan our getaway. Our holiday. We cannot get enough of each other. We are crazy about each other. We think of each other every time. We think of ways to seek help from each other. We think of ways to make each other feel needed and wanted. We try and try … Until we’re tired. We start getting bored of each other. We start questioning our decision to meet and like each other. We make excuses not to meet. We prioritise our work and other activities above each other. We start skipping the greetings. No more “morning” or “nitey nite”. We start asking each other, why you have not asked me things I do. Food I eat. Music I listen to. We take each other for granted. We take each other as a routine. Then strangers come to our lives. Strangers that tickle our excitement. Strangers who ask us the questions we used to ask to each other. Strangers we cannot get enough of. Strangers we wish to spend our time with, instead of being with each other. Strangers, that make us … strangers for each other.”

“Are you done?”

“I’m not. Because I want to ask you, if you’re ever ready …”

“I’m taken.”

“… ready to invite this stranger to try?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

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7 Comments

Posted by on 01/31/2016 in English, Personal

 

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You Say Goodbye To What You Love The Most

We do say goodbye to things we love the most, don’t we?

No matter how long we have been attached to things we love the most, eventually they’ll be taken away from us in one way or another … Right?

I am struggling to convince myself over the above statements today. I am struggling to believe that you only part with the physicality of things.
You never say goodbye to memories they bring.

Last night, my iPod Classic died. For good.
Attempts of resurrection showed no signs of success. At all.
Even if we could replace the hard disk inside the iPod with a new one, it’ll be a new, blank, clean, empty hard disk. The old dying one, that caused the hardware to stop functioning, cannot be brought back to life.

After 8 years, my companion is no longer able to accompany me anymore.

Yes.
This iPod of mine is a life companion.

Inside the 120gb disk space are not only songs, videos and photos accumulated over years. But more than that, those songs, videos and photos mark special milestones in my life.

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Songs are compiled into playlists for running, so I can endure the exercise.
Songs I listen to whenever I have a crush on someone, when relationships end, and when romance starts to blossoms, are compiled into playlists.
There are playlists for wedding of friends, relatives, rainy days, holidays, and sometimes moments I need to celebrate quietly.

I always brought my iPod wherever I go. Be it to office, to gym, traveling overseas, other cities in the country, there was always my iPod present. In short, it never left out of sight everyday in the past 8 years.

When you have something with you for considerable amount of time, your subconsciousness forms a sort of attachment. So I read somewhere.
I never understand that, until now.

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People have different ways to claim ownership or attach themselves over other people and things. Some form undying attention to their pets, others dot on their children. Some become too protective, some can be carefree.
I spent most of life on my own. The past 8 years saw a fair share of some romantic relationships, but for the largest bulk of time, I’m on my own. Thus, to fill the emptiness of dead air, I listen to music. I pay attention to them. My mind wanders as I press the button, click the wheel, put songs on shuffle, and let whatever songs played to fill the mood of the moment.
From what is a usual “press play” activity, it further develops as the extension of your feeling.

It may sound too much. That’s fine. After all, each one of us is wired differently.
When I lament the passing of this iPod to my friends, some immediately offer their consolation in understanding. Some went through the same. Some offer their confusion, to my absolute and definite understanding, as they don’t form similar attachment the way I do. And that’s fine by me.

After all, music speaks differently to each and everyone of us.

Soon enough, I’ll get a new portable music player. Or I may just get a new hard disk to be installed in the old iPod. I have not decided which route I’ll take.
Regardless, they mean the same thing. I may get majority of old songs and albums back, thanks to iTunes store and other outlets. I may be able to create similar playlists to the old ones.
But I never get the old memory back. I will never be able to recreate the exact mood while making the playlists.

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Consider this is goodbye. Consider this is a farewell letter to the past 8 years of my life as marked on songs of life.
I often smile in tears upon realizing how we mark moments in our life by songs. Songs we listen to while we think of someone with love. How we are angry at the same person weeks or months or years later. Songs we listen to when we graduate. Songs we listen to as we travel in foreign lands.

I used to be able just to switch on the old iPod, scroll through playlists to figure out the songs that mark those special moments. Now, I won’t be able to do that anymore. I may remember all of a sudden whenever I hear the same songs in mall, as I stroll along foreign lands I am yet to visit, or in any given occasions later.

I will remember, because memory never escapes and fails us.

We say goodbye to things.
But we will remember the historic memory they lovingly create.

Here’s to new memories ahead.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on 01/05/2016 in English, Personal

 

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Top 10 TV Shows of 2015

Welcome to, not just golden age, but the platinum age of scripted American TV programs. Gone are the days of accusation that watching too much TV is not good for our well being. The concern instead is that there are too many good TV shows that one is impossible to watch the all. Thus, you may find some other critically-acclaimed shows are not listed here, because 1) this is a personal list, and 2) I have no time yet to watch those shows yet.
Mind you, there are other shows that do not make the cut in the top 10 list below, yet I still watch them because you cannot just watch 10 TV shows in a year. There are simply too many good TV programs out there. But thank you, TV! You show us that good story and good storytelling are found in TV these days.

Alright, the list, in alphabetical order, starts with:

1. THE AFFAIR

The Affair

The Affair

I started watching the entire first season earlier this year, and boy, was I hooked from the start. The series takes a hardly original approach of telling an illicit extra marital affair from both he-said and she-said perspectives, but what unravels in further episodes take us by surprise. Noah Solloway may be the most complex, despicable and well-written family man character in television right now, yet we can not just say otherwise to Alison Lockhart with her doe eyed soulful persona. It is possible to have a series that leaves you devastated week after week.

2. THE AMERICANS

The Americans

The Americans

Not many series get better each season, but The Americans does get better, if not more thrilling. Each season brings the tension closer and more gripping, and season 3 of The Americans may be its best yet. Paige finally learns the true profession of her parents. This brings many opportunities of future developments, as the storyline progresses to the peak of Cold War in mid 1980s. The terror is getting more subdued, and feels real. It’s a crime that the series is still overlooked by the Emmys so far.

3. BLACK-ISH

Black-ish

Black-ish

I put it simply: it is possible for a TV show to laugh at itself (and its presumably core audience), be genuinely funny, and be heartwarming in almost every week. What an achievement, indeed.

4. CATASTROPHE

Catastrophe

Catastrophe

The set-up wins: an American guy impregnates a British girl during their one night stand. What follows is nothing but hilarity that ranges from chaos to madness. I cannot get enough of the short season, as it packs more rom-com moments than any other series attempting the same.

5. EMPIRE

Empire

Empire

Anywhere you turn, you can never escape the Lyons, especially the cracking wits of Cookie Lyon, played with feisty persona by the great Taraji P. Henson. The show grows its audience week after week until it becomes a cultural phenomenon. It has been described as Dynasty for R&B and hip-hop millenials, which worries me the most for being excessive in style in future seasons. But as long as Cookie’s in the house, the matriarch shall balance the entire kingdom. Bring the kidnaps, murders, and music then.

6. DAREDEVIL

Daredevil

Daredevil

Perhaps the series has the most serious treatment among other superhero series right now. In fact, I am torn between choosing this over other noteworthy entries, i.e. Agent Carter and The Flash. Yet, for what it is worth, Daredevil gives us, pun intended, justice. The series equals straight-forward action scenes with multi layered characters and muted, often heavy dramatic moments that bring the entire serious feel almost like a work of art. For real. The last four episodes of the season will put you on the edge of your couch.

7. MAD MEN

Mad Men

Mad Men

We say goodbye to Don Draper and co., with the last scene that easily goes down as one of the finest in TV history. But if you watch carefully, it is the women of Mad Men that soar in this last season. Joan Harris, Peggy Olsen, Betty Francis, and even Sally Draper, each one of them are given prominence in their roles that we can only daydream how great it will be if there’s a spin-off among them. As the show stops before the feminism era, we imagine that their imaginary prominence will play pivotal role should there be a continuation. Alas, the show ends on a high note, and as a fan, I cannot be more satisfied than that.

8. UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I dare you not singing, or at least humming, its theme song after binge-ing the series even for just after 3 episodes. The theme song is indeed addictive, and so is Titus Andromeda’s Pinot Noir. Don’t Google or Youtube that. Oh, you just did? Well then. Good luck!

9. UNREAL

Unreal

Unreal

The most surprising new drama of last year airs in Lifetime channel, associated with its female-centric tearjerker shows. UnReal is still female-centric, but tearjerker it ain’t. It offers a fictionalized behind-the-scene look of a reality program a la The Bachelor, where dramatic moments are unfold as staged by the deceptive, manipulative, ruthless characters played with excellence by both Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer. You can feel the female bromance between the two against their love-hate bantering and wits. You root for them each week as they keep showing their flaws, and still hold their heads high among the seas of men as their objects of frustration. Perhaps it is the most daring program of last season, and no one notices yet.

10. VEEP

Veep

Veep

I have no idea how they do it. How can a show get more hilarious every season? Just when I thought the season 3 is the funniest yet, the presidential campaign in season 4 pushes the funny envelope further, with a welcome addition from Hugh Laurie and his surprisingly acute comic timing. Julia Louis-Dreyfus could not be funnier than in this season. As we anxiously await the result of the presidential election in the series, here’s a cheers for Armando Ianucci as the creator of the series. Thank you for the wonderful 4 seasons you have helmed. Even without your presence as the show-runner in subsequent seasons, we always have the entire wacky, incapable team of Susan Meyer to humor us. The Emmy for Best Comedy Series is justified.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 12/22/2015 in Blog, English

 

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