Friday, October 30, 2009

Frustration Duplication

I'm writing this from my mobile at the bus stop waiting for the bus. The sun overcast by the dark looming clouds. On days like these, try as you might, the dark clouds win. Gentle drops of rain tapping on my exposed skin. The smell of rain brings my memory back to home, giving me a sense of familiarity. The slow gush of wind caressing my skin leaving me with a sense of serenity.

I grew up with the rain. Or maybe the rain grew up with me.

As calm as it seems on the outside, the invisible storm could be brewing inside. Like the seemingly calm surface of the lake unbeknownst to us the depth of it. Illuminating the chaos attracts more than a visible storm.

Sometimes I question my own sanity for accepting things without putting much thought into my capabilities. Although up until now, I've impressed myself for pulling everything off but I wonder how much more before I hit a brickwall. I don't see and definitely don't understand the undeserving (at times I felt, patronising) compliments and trust everyone throws on me.

Today, I feel a bubble of overwhelmingness wraps around me. A very familiar feeling of loneliness I have not felt in a very long time. A sense of redundantness.

The rain's stopped but the clouds still loom. Maybe the rain was a temporary comfort, like all things, never permanent. A convincing deception just like everything else in this world. What makes you think you deserve it in the first place.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Matthew Shepard Act

There is a reason I believe in Obama - its more than his captivating, mind-blowing, awesome speeches.

And there is a reason I believe that the spirit of Matthew Shepard is very much alive in a lot of us, including Obama.

A week ago, Obama addressed the Gay Rights Group at the Human Rights Campaign dinner. In his speech, he very clearly said that: "None of us want to be defined by just one part of what makes us whole"


It was a moving speech that reassured Americans, especially the LGBTs, that he'll do everything he can to ensure an equal rights for every Americans.

"You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman."

"Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let's say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he's held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it's time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us -- on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.

I believe the future is bright for that young person. For while there will be setbacks and bumps along the road, the truth is that our common ideals are a force far stronger than any division that some might sow. These ideals, when voiced by generations of citizens, are what made it possible for me to stand here today. (Applause.) These ideals are what made it possible for the people in this room to live freely and openly when for most of history that would have been inconceivable. That's the promise of America, HRC. That's the promise we're called to fulfill. (Applause.) Day by day, law by law, changing mind by mind, that is the promise we are fulfilling."


For a President to be able to relate, to understand the struggle of a young gay man in silence, in the closet means the President is not ignorant at all.

And on Wednesday, 28th of October, he fulfilled his promise. After 8 years, being introduced in the Congress for 5 times, failed and died 6, the Matthew Shepard Act was passed on 22nd of October. Less than a year after being the President, and less than a week after the bill was passed, President Obama signed the Act.

He didn't just signed it, he made it public, he made sure that all Americans understand their freedom from violence regardless of their actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

It's the first law in American history to includes transgender in legal protections.

With the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. behind him, he delivered his remarks.



"At root, this isn’t just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another – whether we embrace our differences, rather than allowing them to become a source of animus. It’s hard for any of us to imagine the mind-set of someone who would kidnap a young man and beat him to within an inch of his life, tie him to a fence, and leave him for dead. It’s hard for any of us to imagine the twisted mentality of those who’d offer a neighbor a ride home, attack him, chain him to the back of a truck, and drag him for miles until he finally died.

But we sense where such cruelty begins: the moment we fail to see in another our common humanity — the very moment when we fail to recognize in a person the same fears and hopes, the same passions and imperfections, the same dreams that we all share." -- President Obama

"The problem wasn't ignorance, it was preconceived ideas"

This post is by guest blogger, Kayess.

In Economics class today, my lovely teacher decided to slack off and show us a video about the 'third world' and the misconceptions held by the Western World towards them. It was a fairly interesting (and humorous) video clip (with plenty of statistics to back up) so I didn't mind too much.

The clip's 20 minutes long but well worth watching if you have the time (even if it's just to laugh at his funny ?Swedish accent).


There's one quote, "the problem wasn't ignorance, it was preconceived ideas", that stood out to me the most due to its relevance to not just the idea of how 'we' view developing nations, but could be used to explain some issues facing homosexuality as well. In essence, the man argues that there is a huge disparity between nations within a region that policies aimed at developing nations need to be comprehensive and contextual (as opposed to a blanket policy).

In other news, spirit week has been ongoing for the past week in the lovely school of mine and I have to say, my school is really lacking in its show of high school spirit. It seems that my grade (the seniors) has participated the most in the event and it has led to some interesting results! On my part at least, I've determined this week thus far that:
i) Pyjamas are really comfortable to wear into school
ii) I look terrible in a pink, floral skirt and a relatively tight shirt; I guess I will not grow up to be a tranny
iii) The length of my hair exceeds the capabilities of hair gel.

And to end...
Trivial information from watching my beloved CNN from today:
- The American porn industry, once thought to be recession-proof, has now been hit hard by the recession. This is compounded by the rise in Internet piracy.
- The use of social networking sites during work has created a productivity loss to firms at a calculated (if I remember correctly) USD2 billion.

Cheerio mes amours <3

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

POLL: Is my blog confusing?

Ethan flagged something very important that I have completely been ignorant about - its hard to follow my blog and I can be way too random. I don't even know where to start how valuable feedback and comment like that is, so I've started a poll on the sidebar - Go vote or go die. Please be honest.

Otherwise, any form of feedback is greatly appreciated. Leave comments and criticise me like how you'd criticise Obama!

***

So, from my previous post, you can tell I added Kayess as a guest blogger because that hyperactive kid has been asking me at least a million two hundred and twenty three thousand seven hundred and fifty five questions every time we chat, so I let him babble all he wants on here.

Sorry if that confused anyone of you.

***

For those whose new, I am a pretty new blogger myself - have only been blogging for a month, and if you want to know where to start, read this post and it should give you a general idea. You can skip the rest of my rambles.

What do I do?

***

Torchyboy is so hitting on me. I tweeted yesterday that one of my contact lens fell out while I was rubbing my eye. This was how the conversation went:
@torchyboy: hard, soft or chewy? i'm talking about the contact lenses. honest! :P

@beautifoolchaos: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! sure, i believe u. :P its soft. oh god! even writing that made me laugh.

@torchyboy: soft? me too. but if I take it out, it gets rock hard :P

@beautifoolchaos: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

@beautifoolchaos: u're terrible.. terribly funny! im glad im all by myself in my room... while i laughed my arse off...

@beautifoolchaos: im sensing another pervy comment from you in reply to my previous sentence. lol.

@torchyboy: all alone in your room doing what with your arse? :P happy times :D
Tell me how to take this guy seriously?!

And then later in the evening:
@torchyboy: YOU are my inspiration! I just bought a Big Issue :)

@beautifoolchaos: OMG!!!!!!! I'M SOOOOOOOOOO PROUD OF U!!!!! I love you twice more than before now!

@torchyboy: I've passed him loads of times - old guy looking pretty rough. thanks Aaron :)

@beautifoolchaos: HHAHAHAHA! i knew u'd say something about that! (in response to the previous pervy comment about arse) :P and u get me very very excited! no, not WHAT U'RE THINKING! lol. Big Issue!!

@torchyboy: you keep getting that excited and you'll have your own big issue :P

@beautifoolchaos: hahahahahaha. i dunno how to take u torchy! lol! are u flirting with me?!

@torchyboy: of course :D but don't worry - I think 10000 miles makes it fairly safe! :)

@beautifoolchaos: lol! i'll take that as a compliment! lol! at least someone wants to flirt with me. :P and u walk past a lot of bridges don't u?!

@torchyboy: you're so hot I'm surprised guys aren't just throwing themselves at you :)

@torchyboy: oops

@beautifoolchaos: LIES! lol.
***

LonelyBoy just tweeted that his good mood didn't last so go give him a hug. Don't be selfish.

If you don't like reading my blog, chat to me. I am way more fun when I'm chatting - at least I'd like to think so (DO NOT tell me otherwise! *evil glares*). My msn is beautifoolchaos@gmail.com but no money back guarantee and I am only online once in a purple moon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Guest Blogger?

"Apparently one of them is my stalker - Brett's told me I have an online stalker who admires my achievements but I thought he was lying. I'm scared."

Who am I? I'm Kayess and I'm the COOLEST guy you'll ever know ;) I kid, I kid...that's Aaron's line.

Aaron has invited his "online stalker" to guest blog for him and I figured I might as well give it a go and see how it goes. I've tried blogging before and failed desperately in my attempts.

Unlike Aaron, I'm still in my teens and in high school as a Senior in a developing country somewhere in the beautiful region of South East Asia!

I'm not very much a prolific writer, so don't expect too much from this guest blogger; I'm still not quite sure what yet to write about and elaborate upon, but hopefully I'll decide upon something soon. The gay blogosphere has provided interesting opinions, friends and support over the past year that I've been following it and hopefully I'll be able to make a worthwhile contribution to the community :)

Haha I've a feeling that I might just end up talking about everyday life or providing comments on any issue that interests me. I've a lack of accomplishment and grew up in a highly deifferent background so in literary terms, I'm very much the antithesis of Aaron. LOL! Hopefully this will have a positive effect on the blog and make it slightly more interesting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Sick Puppy and Weekend

The poor, stubborn Davy is very, very sick at the moment and is quite dead in bed so please go over and spoil him with lots and lots of hugs and positive thoughts - or you could comment on this post and I'll force him to read it. He's really very sick, so some positive words might help! :)

I spoke to torchy yesterday on msn for the first time and he is a top guy! Just very down-to-Earth and friendly! I also had a chat with James and Brett who then introduced me to his creepy friends. Apparently one of them is my stalker - Brett's told me I have an online stalker who admires my achievements but I thought he was lying. I'm scared.

It's only been a month and I've got 20 clueless followers! I don't know if its a good thing or a bad thing. I'm constantly worried someone I know will find me.

Aussie slang of the day: arvo = afternoon

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Americans Are Dumb; and Australians Are Nutcases

I hope you take this with a good dollop of sense of humour. Hehe!

I don't watch a lot of TVs but I do watch clips on YouTube from time to time.

Why are Americans' dumb - that's what the title says!


From Chaser's War on Everything.

Ok, the next clip you really need to have a strong heart to watch it - it is rather offensive and I do not condone the act at all. But its jaw-dropping and I thought I should share it.

Why are Australians nutcases?


From John Safran's new show - I don't know what it's called but its on ABC.

So wrong on so many levels.

***


On my way to the speaking gig on Thursday evening, I bought a copy of The Big Issue.

For those who don't know, The Big Issue is a magazine that is sold by street vendors who are mostly homeless, disabled (intellectually or physically) and/or those whose struggling with addiciton.

For every copy sold (AUD$5), the vendor gets half of it, so AUD$2.50. I absolutely love the idea - it trains them to work for a living, and its a sustainable way to address to larger issue of homelessness and unemployment.

So everytime I walk past one, I'd buy a copy - but I almost never read them. Why I buy them instead of just giving them the money? Because I think its a great way to train the vendors to work for a living, and I think it cultivates good values for the vendors.

This time, I got a note in it.



It says: "A little note from Grant the polite guy, Thankyou for buying this magazine from me, Every little bit helps. I don't make a lot from selling The Big Issue so I've also started showing people my Amway catalogue of which I get commission from sales as well. You can take it with you and look through it at home and bring it back if you wish. I'm just trying to get on my feet again. I wasn't always like this I'm just down on my luck at the moment. I hope something nice comes or happens to you today. I work near the Commonwealth bank (On the corner of Albert and Adelaide street) everyday. Even if you didn't buy a magazine it would be great if people could wave or say "hi Grant" that way I don't feel so alone. Thankyou again.
P.S If I ask you all the time I'm sorry it's just hard to remember all the people at once but as I get better I hope to remember everyone. Thanks again and have a good day. Grant"

It immediately warmed my heart and who cares if Madonna is looking incredibly scary on the front page. :P

So, if you're in Australia, try get a copy of The Big Issue whenever you can - I am sure AUD$5 is less than 10% of what you earn a month.

***

Random fact: I have a piercing on my left ear. Got it when I was 21. I wore a black stud for a year, then got sick of it and never wore anything since.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Excitedly Tiring Much

I was invited to the advanced screening of Michael Moore's new movie Capitalism: A Love Story last night.



I must say that it can be an incredibly powerful film. I must admit that as with other of his film, its very biased and there were parts where I do not agree with him, but most parts, I am quite convinced for the time being. If someone can convince me otherwise, I would then change my mind.

I laughed, I had tears in my eyes, I sat on the edge of my seat and I didn't want the movie to end. Extreme poverty will not end and equal rights will never be achieved if we continue to operate the way we do. I think its a huge wake-up call for many and I would highly recommend everyone to watch it, but watch it with a critical mind. It does make me look at America in a slightly different light - especially the past presidents between Roosevelt and Obama.

Capitalism: A Love Story comes out in cinema across Australia on 4th November 2009

***


I was given my own room at my office last Friday and a new computer connected to two 24" (1290x1200) flat panel screen. Of course I was excited. And then I found out on Monday my supervisor hired a Research Assistant, but she hasn't got any job for her so for the time being, she's my Assistant! So she's been doing analysis for me all week while I attend meetings and design a few more research methodologies.

Another good news came shortly after. I will be going back to uni to do my postgraduate study next year, so I will be working part-time. However, today was offered a promotion - that explains the assistant and my new office space.

My Admin Assistant calls my room my dungeon.

The 68-pages long ethics application I very, very painfully put together all week six weeks ago have finally been approved, so now I can start harassing people ethically running my focus groups, interviews, surveys and publishing. Exciting much.

***

I will be presenting at an event tonight to a group of volunteers who are just about to leave for South Africa to manage some schools over there under an education scheme. My topic this time is about Inspirational Leadership - how to develop and teaching inspiring leaders of tomorrow. I am quite looking forward to that although I pretty much drained my brain over the weekend putting together the slides.

***


My friend texted me this morning, "Catch up this Saturday, 7.30pm @ Verve. RSVP by Fri or I'll be shaken, not stirred". Funny.

I have been group emailing with two of my colleagues, and they're currently talking about "vagina cupcakes". Umm.. thanks, but no thanks. I stopped replying. I'm very disturbed.

I was eating lunch in the tearoom - beef burger with beetroot, Swiss cheese, salad, tomato, BBQ sauce and caramelised onion; with chips - very inelegantly with sauce dripping everywhere. My Associate Director kept making me laugh which didn't help at all. And she says I'm 10 times cuter having sauce all over my fingers and some around my lips. My kid-ish T-shirt from Threadless.com didn't help either. Finance Manager said I looked like a 5 year old boy eating a burger too big for himself.

Two coffees and I'm still sleepy. I'm about to fall asleep but I need to plow (or plough)through all these qualitative data before the end of this week!

***


Tell Dave that his new template rocks your socks and that I have good taste - quite evidently.

Seth, you're quite an inspiration and I hope you know that. All the medication and psych changes will be tiring and frustrating but hang in there, mate! The mad ride will level off.

Mirrorboy, you are stronger than you think you are, if I can be really honest with you. You've been beaten down over, and over, and over again, and each time after all the tears and pain you manage to come back up, stronger than you were before. :) Sending you lots of positive thoughts and everything comforting that I can think of!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

For Me, For My Love Ones, For the World

I must be a really weird person because I do not understand people with their obsession for comments yet they don't make the effort to have conversations. I am not pointing finger at anyone specifically, nor am I expecting you to reply to my comments - I seldom go back to an old posts to read your reply to my comment. I know I cannot afford to have conversations and I don't expect people to leave a comment but I read them all and can I just say kudos and thank you very much for all the very in-depth, deeply inspiring and top quality comments I've received so far. I really appreciate the thoughts and effort you have put in. Thank you!

***

Fer and Dave, my thoughts are with you both through this tough time caring for your sick family members. Remember to care for yourself too, and please give yourself two and a half pats on the back for yourself from me.

Also Fer, congrats on 50th post!

***

Today is a sad day - OK, I'm exaggerating a little. I wrote a difficult email to reject an invitation to the world conference in Perth on child neglect and abuse - its one of the most important conferences on the issue, and its their first time in Australia. Most of all, children holds a very special place in my heart. After all those time spent writing the application, I had to decline after being selected.

I have another conference in Melbourne on the last day of the 4 day above mentioned conference which I have agreed to present earlier. The 6-7 hours flight to Perth will kill me I'm sure.

***

I feel incredibly lucky to wake up to a baby bear cub who wish me good morning almost everyday and accompany me through the last few hours of my work - and sometimes sneakily sends me emails that make me laugh so hard my colleagues think I'm mad. Even though its only through online, to this very special person, here's a shout out to you - you're a superstar!

***

What have I done this week for myself, for my love ones and for the world?

For myself
I treated myself with an unhealthy lunch - lots of very nice creamy chicken + cherry tomatoes pizza and Coke. I watched... a very terrible TV show but I loved it.

For My Love Ones
I made cheap attempts to make people's day better by sending them an email. Brought Erika to her favourite restaurant on her last night of her trip. I called my mum and we spoke for an hour mainly about all her travels for the past 2 months - that's how long I haven't spoken to her.

For the World
I bought a random stranger, Lindon and Lucy, dinner. I inspired 4 high school students at the conference I presented on Saturday to organise a campaign to end extreme poverty in their school and I have since been mentoring them through emails. I taught two of my colleagues to buy products from social enterprise e.g. buy groceries that you know goes to support charity or marginalised communities such as buy fair trade coffee and chocolate and Mount Franklin water with pink caps for Breast Cancer Foundation.

Photo credit: Cayusa

Tell me, what have you done for yourself, for your love ones and for the world.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interesting Encounters

My housemate, whom I'll call Maree, and I knew each other before we moved in together. One of our friends, Erika, from Sydney, came a-visiting earlier this week but because my housemate studies and I work, we took turn to bring her around. So on her last night, I thought I'd bring her to her favourite restaurant in Brisbane, Sizzler, which is a buffet with ala-carte style restaurant. It's pretty expensive, but its always packed full of people.

We were, obviously, in the long queue which is not something I enjoy doing when I am hungry. Erika is an incredibly bubbly person who will not stop talking! So as she was going on and on about joining the cops next year while I nodded diligently, a young guy in front of us kept looking at me while a girl she was with kept rambling on and on about something. After a few times catching him looking at me, I gave him a smile and a nod as if to tell him that I understood how he's feeling - in a queue and stuck with a woman who wouldn't stop talking.

The girl she was with was about 4'8" and looked less than 15 years old. She was cross-eyed, incredibly thin and it was obvious that her fingers were deformed.

It could be miracle but both girls stopped talking for a brief moment and in that moment of awkward silence, he said 'hi'. So I said hi back and we all introduced each other - his name was Lindon and the girl he was with was his cousin, Lucy. He's 18, in high school, and she's 15, in middle school. All four of us started talking, or more like both the girls started chattering away. I later found out that he has just got his driver's license. Lucy was born with bone deformities where her bones do not grow properly. She showed me her feet which was as big as my palm.

She's been admitted into the hospital all her life and gone through numerous operations. He came to her house that night at 6.00pm and picked her up without explaining to her where they were going and brought her to Sizzler, her favourite restaurant. Of course, she was beaming with excitement and thus, explained her hyperactiveness that night.

Lindon is a shy boy. A mix Australia-Spanish, curly brown hair, long eye-lashes with beautiful brown eyes. He wants to be an electrician when he grows up and he's the typical Aussie surfer - the way he talks and the way he dressed; in a boardshorts and a Billabong T-shirt. Through the chat, I also found out that Lucy is due for another, this time, a much bigger, operation that weekend - which was yesterday. To show his support and to "bring her spirit up" (his words), Lindon decided to give her a surprise and took her there. At this point, Erika and I were feeling flabbergasted so I could only looked him in the eyes as he kept his head slightly low and smiled subtly but shyly. I gave him a nod and smiled which he returned with a bigger smile.

It came to our turn to place our orders and there were two counters - so we paid but at the very last minute, after paying for ours, I thought this wasn't right and I walked over to their counter and paid their meals as well. Money, I have enough but people like him, we do not have enough. They thanked me profusely and I invited them to join us at our table and we all chatted all night. At one point, we were both at the salad bar and he came up to me to say thanks. I later found out that he's saved three weeks of his pocket money (roughly A$80) to bring Lucy there that night which just impressed me even more. I patted him on the shoulder and told him, "Good boy."

After a good meal and an inspiring night, we bid good-byes, exchanged hugs and left. He whispered another thank you into my ear as we hugged which I whispered back, "don't thank me at all. Thank YOU."

***

Australia is small.

I love photography and adore good photographsers. I have adored this Brisbane photographer for about 2 years before I moved to Brisbane. So when I moved here, one of my friends told me I needed to meet one of her very talented friends, and guess who it was? Surprise surprise, the photographer. And I just got home from one of my colleagues' birthday picnic and guess who was there? Surprise surprise, the photographer and my colleague are friends too! He dropped me home just moments ago.

Why I brought this topic up?

I had a chat with Brett on msn today and it turned out that we have a mutual friend. The most awkward thing is, this friend of mine he knows is quite a close friend of mine. And I knew I am giving out too much information on this blog, because without even a second guess, Brett went onto our friend's facebook profile and knew who I was. So, now I know who Brett is and he knows who I am.

Awkward much.

Here's hoping that I do not have a mutual friend with bold - which actually, come to think of it, I don't really mind.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What do I do?

This post was started a few days ago, and so the incident below happened quite a few days ago.

***

The blogosphere can be a dangerous place.

Mirrorboy cyber-raped me and Dave cyber-abused me... he wants to give me purple nipples.

No, not what you are thinking, you dirty dirty mind! He wants to nipple twist me.

Oh, all these cyber bullies!

***

Thanks to Seth for thinking of me and my finger in one of his comments! Yes, my finger has kind of healed - at least it doesn't hurt anymore and I just cut off the skin the other day so now it has a hole to it.

***

So the poll has ended and 3 people said they want to know what I do - I wonder who voted?

Well, to be honest, this might come as a surprise but I am a muthaflippin' rockstar! A punkrocker with purple-dyed mohawk donned in a leather, sleeveless suit with black mascara and nail polish. When time gets tough I say smoke some weed and live high.

Photo credit: Chris Weisberg

I wish.

Drugs are bad, kids.

When I was young, I've always wanted to be a doctor because I get to probe people in the ... can save lives. For that very reason I volunteered with the ambulance and then the blood bank when I was in high school, but that dream never happened.

Photo credit: The Doctr
I swear this is why Aek did Medicine.

Well, I did start and got half way there - I enrolled myself in Medical Science and I graduated with a degree in that. I even overloaded my workload and did a double major in Neuroscience and Physiology; and Pharmacology and Toxicology. Overloading my credits and doing a double major than the ordinary one (the only person in my program who did a double major) was a pretty stupid decision. Stressed my arse off. I actually did pretty well too, and I could have gone on another four tortorous year to get a MBBS and probe people save lives.

Anyway, let's travel back to the beginning when I was still waddling through my mum's .... well, a bit too far. Let's travel way back to when I was about 7 - I think it was around that age. I got sick of working in the fowl farm so I found a job at a coffee shop - way too young to work but hey, we need the money. I started working from 4am to 6pm everyday except when I had to go to school, serving drinks, toasts and making drinks sometimes. It's hard to explain but coffee shop in my home country at that time is very, very different from what the Westerners term as 'coffee shop'.

After doing that for several years, as my family's financial status got a little bit better - we are talking about when I was something like 14 or 15 years old - I stopped working and spent my days scratching my balls. I concentrated at school although I was quite a slow student and was once even called stupid because my English was terrible! Who knows 10 years later English would be my first language.

After finishing school, I worked as a crew member in a movie production. The pay was shit and it was hard work, but for the three weeks of travelling, mindblowing experience and all the awesome people I met, it was well worth it. I later stayed in the filming industry working with a production house as a Props Manager and later a producer, producing a short film that won an award in Korea.

Photo credit: Tom Brogan

I am starting to think that this blog is not very anonymous anymore. If any of my friend finds this, they'd know straight away who this blog belongs to.

I went to college after that and worked at a restaurant part-time. Being the cute, lovable and skinny little boy I was, the owner of the restaurant fell in love with me in a non-sexual way and treated me like her own son. It was a very small, cosy restaurant and she cooks all the food herself and my job was really easy. I just have to open the shop at 10am, sit behind the counter, make sure the staff were doing their job, eat, mind the cashier, eat some more and eat again.

Then I got obese and joined The Biggest Loser. No, I did not.

I then moved to a different city where I did not work. I then moved to Australia where I started working as a housekeeping attendant for about a year. After getting my bonus on Christmas, I stopped my job and got offered another job that's twice the pay. My lecturer hired me to run tutorials for first year students. Everyone knows I love people, especially people who are inspired. I love educating and teaching as much as I can to the "kids" although at that time, many were just about my age. I tutored all through my second and third year of university - and was voted 'Most Humorous Tutor', 'Most Interesting Tutor' and 'Friendliest Tutor'.

When I finished my Medical Science degree, I thought that spending time in the lab looking at rat colon, dissecting cadavers or finding cures for Alzheimers or schizophrenia weren't exactly what I found exciting, so I took a month break and traveled across Australia until I went broke and sold my bum - you wish! I got back to South Australia and was offered a job as an Education researcher at one of South Australia's leading research institution for 3 months. I did my job, co-published a paper and wrote a report for a $220,000 grant.

Photo credit: jenn l.

Once that's done, I packed all my belongings, chucked heaps of stuff away, kissed my friends goodbye and moved to Queensland where I am now. I spent 3 months freelancing building websites and doing consulting work. I got really interested in social innovation, social entrepreneurship, community engagement and activism. So, I attended a number of events, networked, started a few projects with a friend, impressed the city council, got a pretty big sum of money and traveled across Australia attending conferences. All within three months. Due to the nature of the projects we started, I get invites to cool events in town like award ceremonies, movie premieres and screenings on a weekly basis - which I have learned to decline for reason I will describe later.

My current supervisor picked up the paper I published, was mega impressed, sent me an email and offered me a full time job at Australia's top 3 university - top 50 in the world - as an Education researcher working on projects in supporting and rewarding teaching excellence. I am still working here now, and to skip all the boring details, my job involves conducting research and evaluation on existing program, and implementing new innovative educational programs in the institution. I lecture from time to time.

Before I got the job, I was also invited to run a small workshop which impressed one of the attendees from a fairly big corporation, who invited me to run a larger workshop. One thing led to another and since then (about 4 months ago) I have ran at least 23 workshops, presented at about 10 conferences and sat in as 'expert' (a term I disagree associating it to myself) panel for a couple of events.

Speaking of which, I just reached home from a national conference on leadership and activism for a youth aid organisation, sitting as a panel expert with a PhD in community activism, an international relation expert, I'll call him Graham who was born in California but grew up in Los Angeles, and a full-on, pretty intense politician. That was intimidating considering they were all at least twice my age and obviously experts in their own rights. The good sign was when it ended, Graham told me how inspired he was by my answer and invited me to present at a conference he's organising up north. During our conversation, a group of kids came up to me and told me how inspired they were and would like to talk to me. No one went to the other two experts so they left. By this time, a crowd of about 12 attendees was gathered around me and Graham. Graham and I continued chatting to these kids and answered all their questions, feeding their curious, hungry mind. It is something that inspires me to no end - seeing kids 16-25 years old feeling empowered and inspired to change the world. Hmm.. Maybe I should blog about the conversation and discussion from this conference? What say you?

I have been running workshops, presenting at conferences almost on a weekly basis which took a toll on my health nearly a month ago. I was diagnosed with psychologically stressed - I was perfectly mentally and emotionally fine but I was down with a viral infection that wouldn't go off. Doctor's only prescription was a recommendation to cut down my workload, so now I try to spend at least a day in a week just to myself to let my body rest and restore itself and I have avoided attending events as well unless I have to. Or I get my friend to save my arse - e.g. I was supposed to be at a cocktail party last night, but I got my friend to attend it for me and tell me when the organiser, whose one of my clients, start her speech and what she said roughly. I then text the organiser saying that I was there at the event for a short while, heard her speech and thought (insert a certain phrase or topic from her speech) was (insert adjective). However, I had to leave early and so did not get to say hi. It works all the time - I know I risk sounding like insincere, but for my own arse, I'll guard it with what I can.

A sideline of those workshops are I get people hiring me to do consultative work as well, so I am sitting as board members or advisory member for 5 organisations. When they want to implement a strategy, policy or program they will send all the briefing or consultative documents to me. I will review it, provide my take on it and offer recommendations. This usually takes up my weekends as well.

So another thing I did not mention is, in the last 4 years, I also volunteer for an international youth mental health organisation. I have done basic counselling course, and have spent 2 years doing 'online counselling' a term I use loosely because I try to avoid counselling but rather provide a safe and comfortable setting for people to come have a chat with me. We get all sorts of people from those who are physically and sexually abused to those who suffers from depression, eating disorders and body image issues. There were also lots of young people who battle with their sexuality and their everyday life with parents and schools and what nots. There were also the occasional ADHD, OCD and those who got pregnant due to unprotected sex.

I stopped doing that after my workload in my daily life increased and only do it whenever I get the time but the program proved to be unsustainable because we get more people than we have volunteers so we decided scrape the program.

So due to my illness nearly a month back, I have cut down a lot of what I do and cancelled all workshops until February. I don't mind sitting as a panellist or do presentations that I have done before but otherwise, usually its stressful for me to come out with fresh, new, inspirational content and by the end of it, I usually just feel mentally exhausted and dead.

Photo credit: partie traumatic

Having said that, above all, I am still the lil boy who dream to be someone influential one day, changing the world one person at a time. I believe that I am successful already - I am being significant, whether in a well-known way or not, in my passion. I am living my social responsibility.

I am still the poor filthy boy and my family back in Asia, my past living with almost nothing keeps my heart warm and head cool.

Beyond all the formalities of what I do, I am still a boy on this blogosphere making friends; learning from you and teaching you; and learning to accept that I can be less than perfect. I am just another sand on the beach, a fish in the ocean and a friend in your rich, uniquely significant life.

:)

If you are wondering, my full-time work pays me more than three times my monthly living expenses so all the money I earn from the workshops I've done, conferences I have spoken at and consultative work, goes back to a local charity. I do pro-bono if the organiser is a worthy and financially-limited organisation. Why don't I do everything pro-bono? Because I believe that the only way to ensure the work of awesome charities is to keep the economic flow, so if anyone wants to hire me for their work and they have the budget for it, I believe that I should take the money and put it somewhere else where the money is needed - that way, we germinate growth.

Sorry for the long post and have a good weekend! Keep commenting and ask what you want to know.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How do you know..



... what's true and what's false?

... if you trusted the right person or not?

Photo credit: joiseyshowaa

I was supposed to be at a cocktail party tonight for a charity I supported pro-bono, yet I found myself lying on the couch, dead to the world, watching Angels and Devils with my housemate whose sitting on the next couch cuddling with her new boyfriend - I know them both pretty well. Both shy initially, sitting with a gap between each other, but as the movie progressed, they got closer which was good - to see them getting comfortable with each other. As they lie on each other's shoulder, a transparent trust is established, an invisible conversation of love and happiness is agreed and an aura of truth, honesty and simplicity can be felt. Two teenagers, in love. Simple and beautiful.

And moments later, here I am, the supposedly perfect person, reflecting upon my own life as small gusts of cold wind travels through the gap in the blinds and brush my skin. In my quest to make this world a better place, make myself a better person and make my friends extra special, I get exhausted as my brain comes to a brickwall. I could climb over it or hammer it down like I usually do, yet this time I'd rather just sit here and weep as failure overcomes me.

Photo credit: MorBCN

It's hard to walk the lonely road. Not so much the difficulty of dragging both your feet off the ground against gravity to move yourself ahead, but the knowledge that as you walk the lonely street, people are looking, they are watching, somewhere, somehow, and you cannot see them.

How do you know if what someone says can be trusted?

How do you know you deserve something good in your life after being convinced that things too good cannot be true?

Photo credit: Khalid Almasoud

This lonely walk gets tiring sometimes. And along the way, I meet wonderful strangers, incredible, loving people who would give me a tap on the shoulder, give me a hug and the spirit to carry on. Yet, how do we know if these are sincere acts?

How do we know...

Interesting News / Links

Today, Brisbane Times reported that:
"Ten times more sexually active Year 10 schoolboys have had their most recent sexual experience with another male compared to rates reported six years ago, a national survey has shown.

Figures from the fourth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students presented in Brisbane revealed that the percentage of boys who said their previous sexual partner was male had escalated from 0.7 per cent in 2006 to 7.4 per cent in 2008.

Five per cent of all sexually active teenagers among the 3000 Year 10 and 12 students surveyed reported the last person they had sex with was of the same sex.

Only one percent of students said they were attracted exclusively to people of the same sex."
It blew my mind to read that statistics to be honest. I am wondering if its actually true that kids youth these days experiment more with their friends of the same sex or if its because they are more comfortable to "come out". This is a national study, so encompasses the whole of Australia, and includes public, Catholic and private schools.

Very interesting report - go read it.

I hope that this reports also highlight the need for more anti-homophobia effort in Australia. Suicide rate amongst same-sex attracted people are between 3-14% of the total death by suicide in Australia and although the rate of youth suicide has decreased more than half in the last 10 years, it remained the top causes of death amongst young people alongside road traffic accident.

The large percentage means that there is an uncertainty of the reported cases of youth suicide, which highlights another area that Australia needs to urgently address; also, because most people remain in the closet, I believe the figure is a lot higher.

***

Speaking of which, I found a really cute art project / human rights campaign in Australia, promoting inclusiveness amongst the Australian community calling for respect for the LGBTs.


I love all the people who've put their face to make a stand against anti-homophobia and also all the messages that I've read so far have been pretty impactful. Love it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Matthew Shepard Alive

I didn't plan to blog today. It's 10.53pm and I am absolutely smashed. My day started at 7.15am and my only break was when I was on the bus - even while munching on lunch, I was on the computer, talking to Dave and trying to do some work. My day ended at 9.50pm. However, Dave brought to my attention that today's the 11th year Matthew Shepard died.

Funny enough, I was talking with a few of my colleagues about Matthew Shepard today - we brought up the conversation because I was watching Obama's address to the Gay Rights Group at the Human Rights Campaign dinner. I shed a tear as I hear Obama delivered his speech, admitting that the progress has been slow and encouraging the Gay Rights Group to continue to campaign to pressure the government, and to remind him of his work for the LGBT community.

His speech can be summed up in a sentence, "None of us want to be defined by just one part of what makes us whole" - Barack Obama.



That's Part 1 of 3 of Obama's promise to the American's LGBT Community. If you cannot be bothered watching, the transcript is available here but if you get the time, the video is worth watching. He also mentioned the Stonewall Protest and Matthew Shepard.

Those who don't know Matthew Shepard, he was a young boy who died of inhumane torture. He was lured by two guys to trusting them, and later they tied him to a pole and repeatedly bashed him and left him to die. I don't know where to begin, to imagine Matthew being tied on the fence, counting his way to death.

"My son Matthew did not look like a winner. After all, he was small for his age-weighing, at the most, 110 pounds, and standing only 5'2" tall. He was rather uncoordinated and wore braces from the age of 13 until the day he died. However, in his all too brief life, he proved that he was a winner. My son-a gentle, caring soul-proved that he was as tough as, if not tougher than, anyone I have ever heard of or known." - Dennis Shepard, Matthew's Father

I decided to write about Matthew today, because to me, he's very much alive, in me, in you and many people who have come to know him whether directly or indirectly. I watched Prayers for Bobby and Milk, and in both movie, I cried my heart and lungs out - I literally poured. And through the wonders of Wikipedia, I learned more about these two American icons. No, these two international, world icons - not just to the lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgenders and intersexuals, but every human being who walk the surface of this earth. Through their stories, I found out about Matthew Shepard, but don't remember his name until a conversation with David a while ago.


I hurt so bad I cried while I read more and more about Matthew Shepard. I look at his photos and nothing tells me that he deserves any of those pain. Yet, he died. He was tied on his hands, helpless, hopeless and beaten to death. Beaten to death.

His death has got to do with you and me, because his death is an indirect causation of our ignorance, lack of compassion and understanding. The murderers who killed Matthew are everywhere - they are your brother, your sister, your parents and your closest friends. They are these people who scream insult and mumble threats at those different to them.

Matthew Shepard is not alone either, there are many more Matthew Shepard out there who cry themselves to sleep, who lives in fear of who they are, who constantly think about taking their own lives. And there are the murderers who dream of getting rid of the homos, who insult and beat the crap out of these otherwise innocent people trying to live their life. And these murderers could be one of our closest relative and friends. Their lack of understanding and their ignorance has got to do with us, because we can change that!

The stigma and stereotype related to lesbian, gay, intersex, transgender and bisexual are not going to go away until people start taking action - people spread the message. Nothing will change unless we change the status quo - that is life. If you're going to sit alone in your bedroom and whine about how much your life sucks, guess what, your life will continue to suck! Bad!

The beauty is, you have that choice to change. There are hundreds of different countries, billions of people in this world and you have a thousand, if not million choice you could make to change the 'ordinary'. Understanding, tolerance and compassion starts with you.

Yes, Matthew Shepard should not die - fuck, he should not even have to go through any shit in the first place for who he is, but he's dead. He is as dead as he can be. As much hurt and tears we shed for him, nothing is going to change.

"It's hard to put into words how much Matt meant to family and friends and how much they meant to him. Everyone wanted him to succeed because he tried so hard. The spark that he provided to people had to be experienced. He simply made everyone feel better about themselves. Family and friends were his focus. He knew that he always had their support for anything that he wanted to try." - Dennis Shepard.

Photo credit: occam

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to sit down with a well-respected movie maker who have earlier emailed me asking for help. She wanted me to travel down south to help a group of kids to mourn and nothing breaks my heart more than hearing that kids need to learn to mourn and to grieve. What happened was, a few months back, a harmless 15 year old boy was beaten up because of a stupid table, and the entire community was shaken by his death. His friends, classmates and schoolmates were all left scarred for life. I held back my tears with all my might with failure, listening to their stories. Breaking my heart over and over again, I listen to these kids recount their stories.

A kid said, "Jai's dead and nothing is going to change that. And we need these whole media bullshit to end. We want people to stop shoving microphone in our face and keep talking about his death. We want to know that there is hope - we want to move on. We want to learn to move on!"

Move on. Hope.

How true is that? I sat there and that's when it came to me.

Matthew is dead, that's true but he continues to live in each and everyone of us who knew his story and share his pain. We share his feelings, his thoughts, his motivations, his love and most of all, we share a common side of him - he's gay.

It's a shame Matthew died, and it hurts me everytime I read his news again, but it hurts me even more to imagine the amount of Matthews out there who live in fear, who continue to get the mocking. I am challenging you, my friend, to feel Matthew's pain in the last few hours of his death. Remember those pain, because using those pain, I challenge you to think what you could do with limits to your circumstances. How can you create understanding, tolerance and compassion amongst your loved ones?

Photo credit: wolfsoul

I am not asking you to come out, nor am I asking you to start advocating for LGBT although these people gets the most and highest respect from me. I am asking you to change the status quo - when someone make an offensive remarks on LGBT, how can you sneakily neutralise it?

For example, the term 'gay' as derogatory, e.g. "that shirt is so gay!" - and often I would laugh with them and say, "gay is so yesterday, I reckon that shirt is so (insert cool insulting word like fucktard)". Or "look at that faggot" and I'll go, "oh come on, sometimes you're one yourself!". As little as it is, every change has a value to it. Every time we make a small change, we create a tiny bit of understanding and tolerance.

Reach out to bloggers, to your friends, your family or even stranger you know who are struggling or feels alone and lonely. Don't sympathise them, empathise them. Don't patronise, show them genuine love and care - get to know them.

And learn how to communicate and listen - refer your friends to websites, helpline or someone you know would be of help to them when they feel crap. If you think someone's in danger of harming someone or themselves, seek help.

"Matt's gift was people. He loved being with people, helping people, and making others feel good. The hope of a better world free of harassment and discrimination because a person was different kept him motivated. All his life he felt the stabs of discrimination. Because of that he was sensitive to other people's feelings. He was naive to the extent that, regardless of the wrongs people did to him, he still had faith that they would change and become "nice." Matt trusted people, perhaps too much" - Dennis Shepard.

Photo credit: nyki_m

I believe that every human are compassionate and kind. It is only if they are threatened, or when they feel vulnerable that they hurt someone else.

As Matthew hung on the fence feeling hopeless and helpless, I am sure there is a small part of him that feels hopeful - that his death will speak aloud to the nation, to the world what ignorance and intolerance could do to a harmless people like you and me, your children, nephews and nieces, your friend and all your loved ones.

I am sure that as he hung on the fence, coping the pain, crying the last drop of tears left in his body, he never thought he was God nor was he more superior than anyone of us. I am sure he did not want us to give thanks to him nor does he want us to grieve for him - I am sure he wanted us to grow in him.

"Matt loved people and he trusted them. He could never understand how one person could hurt another, physically or verbally. They would hurt him, and he would give them another chance. This quality of seeing only good gave him friends around the world. He didn't see size, race, intelligence, sex, religion, or the hundred other things that people use to make choices about people. All he saw was the person. All he wanted was to make another person his friend. All he wanted was to make another person feel good. All he wanted was to be accepted as an equal." - Dennis Shepard.

And if you are one of the Matthew Shepard reading this blog - fearful, scared, alone, lonely and hurting sometimes or all the time - you are not alone.

You are not lonely. Because I am speaking about this and many more others are talking about this. You are loved, because if you open up your heart and put forward your honest feelings, you'll feel the love pouring in. Most of the time we feel lonely because we select who we want to love us; we pick and choose, with hope and expectations we hope certain people will love us back and when they don't, we feel useless and loveless; yet sitting on a chair in his study room, lying on the bed in his bedroom, and blogging from his kitchen table are ordinary citizen of the world, ready to offer you their love and compassion, their time, energy and effort - themselves just to make your day slightly better.

Don't be fearful. It is going to take a long time to change this world, but work is on its way. We are seeing changes already - the Aboriginals, the African-American coped with it for a very, very long time and they fought with tears, sweats and lots of blood, integrity and pride before they arrive at what they have today.

Don't be hurting, reach out and as corny as this sound - at least half the world is listening and waiting for you to reach out to them.

Sometimes its OK to feel vulnerable. Right now, somewhere there is a boy, a girl, a transgender, an intersex, a lesbian, a bisexual and a straight person, feeling just like what you are feeling right now - fearful, scared, lonely and alone.

Love doesn't discriminate whatever they try to convince you and make you believe.

"Every time you celebrate Christmas, a birthday, or the Fourth of July, remember that Matt isn't. Every time that you wake up in that prison cell, remember that you had the opportunity and the ability to stop your actions that night. Every time that you see your cell mate, remember that you had a choice, and now you are living that choice. You robbed me of something very precious, and I will never forgive you for that. Mr. McKinney, I give you life in the memory of one who no longer lives. May you have a long life, and may you thank Matthew every day for it." - Dennis Shepard.

I have lots of love to give and its hard to love all of you without knowing you, but I am posting this because I know someone would be able to connect to it, someone would find this helpful or inspiring, someone would feel slightly less alone and if so, if you are one of them, this is my love to you.

***

If you are affected by this incident and you find it hard to cope, it is very important for you to speak to someone. Sometimes, having someone to talk to even just for once, can be of tremendous help:
Australians:
Reach Out - is a web-based youth suicide program that offers resources and support of issues that all young people face.
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 - free and anonymous (the number will not show up on your bill) if you call from a landline or Optus mobile
Lifeline 13 11 14 - Calls to Lifeline are the cost of just a local call, however additional charges may apply for calls from pay phones, mobiles or some home phone plans.

Americans:
YellowRibbon
1-866-4-U-TREVOR - Gay and Lesbian Helpline (1-888) 340-4528 - toll free
GLBT National Help Centre

Canada:
Kids Help Phone, Canada: 1-800-668-6868

UK:
C.A.L.M. - being silent isn't strong

These are the few that I know of through my work. There are more if you search, and I'm trained in basic counselling, so if you think you just need to vent or just want some reassurance, then email me - beautifoolchaos (at) gmail.com

***

Random fact: I live by a simple motto - I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.

Happy Birthday Bryan

Today is Bryan's 25th birthday.

Bryan's my best friend. He was more than a best friend to me, he was my brother. I didn't have any brothers and most of my cousins were females. When you were young, that is difficult because they were all playing girly games whilst I was more interested in climbing trees and catching tadpoles. I always wanted (still do) want an older brother. I met Bryan when I was 13. We were both volunteering for the same organisation and he was my leader. He was 15 then.

Bryan, Albert, Donny, Joseph and I used to hang out all the time. Everyday after school, we'd hit the basketball court. Saturday mornings, it was always basketball for 2 hours straight. Lunch. Then meeting. And hung out for a bit and then home. For 4 years we all did that. We literally grew up together.

Bryan was the eldest amongst all of us and he was training us as well. About 5' 6", short spiky hair, tanned and he was always regarded as the cool guy. He was a great leader as well. Always smiling and cracking jokes. He was full of compassion and a brother or best friend anyone could have.

Bryan was a brother figure to me. He was the first person I turn to when I was in doubt and he was almost the only person I would ask for advices at that time. You know, me being a teenager at that time, hating the entire world and rebelling against my parents, he had to cope with quite a lot of shit from me. Poor dude but he never complained. Always offering me his ears and advices. If he doesn't have any advice, he'd listen to me rant and then we'd go get food - everyone close to me knows that nothing makes me happier than good food, good coffee, good sleep or good friends. Better if all combined.

No, he knew nothing about my sexuality. We never talked about that. He had a long-term girlfriend at that time who I was very close to as well. We talked about everything and anything under the sun except that; and no, we never had any sexual experience - we were blokes (one straight and the other straight acting - me) being the best of mates.

Aaah. The good old teenage days.

7 years ago, Bryan turned 18 and we had a small celebration at school after class was over. We bought him a cake and a group of us hung out after school and made a scene of him turning the big one-eight. The cake was more of a joke - cake on your birthday in an all-boys school was a bit lame and uncool. You know what I mean. We were kool kids back then and we were pretty popular at school as well, so even if we do the lamest, most uncool and pretty ridiculous stuff, they were still considered as cool.

We never got to eat the cake because we ended up chucking the cake at each other after he blew the candle. Back in those days, we never bothered buying the best cake, we bought the one with the most and with the thickest icing on them. Ha!

We also threw him into the fountain. After a while, one by one, we all got in as well. The fountain was covered with icing by the end of it. Good fun.

That was also Bryan's last birthday.

One month and a day after his birthday, he went swimming and drowned. He died on the day itself. I died with him. If I did not die then, I would be a very, very different person now - I don't think I would even be here, trying to be successful and significant in my passion.

Photo credit: Onkel_wart

His death was an extremely painful journey that took me months to heal. That is a blog entry altogether. It was so painful at one point, I did not want to live anymore. But since that incident, I swore to myself that no one deserves to go through this pain.

Bryan did not choose to die - he had to die. For that reason, youth suicide is a very personal thing to me, because I not only believe that no one deserves to go through the grief especially being teenagers, but choosing death is wrong in every sense. People choose death because of their circumstances and if people are choosing death, it means as a society, as human being, we are failing our own people.

Since Bryan's 18th birthday, birthdays become a whole lot more significant to me. I never celebrated my birthday when I was young mainly because we were poor but later, we were just never used to it. My first birthday party was when I was 17, almost a year after Bryan's death. I figured it could be my last one too.

So today, I honour my best friend.

Photo credit: jakescreations

Happy birthday Bryan.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mummy, Where Did Babies Come From?

This is too good not to post!

The stork is dead! The Germans finally decided they needed to educate their children where babies truly come from. I can't believe this is real.

***

Random Fact: I love big, cuddly and thick towels.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Happy

Tonight I was told a story. The story goes that a mum told his little boy that the key to life is happiness. So, when he was old enough to go to school, the teacher asked them to write down what they wanted to be when they grow up. He wrote, "... to be happy". They said he didn't understand the assignment. He said, they didn't understand life.

Photo credit: conorwithonen

That is quite the very true of my life right now. I traded scalpel, latex gloves and microscopes for computers and documents. And then went into a whole new sphere called social entrepreneurship, and later social innovation which no one understood. In the end, no one understood what I'm doing with my life. But that's OK.

I am happy.

One day, I'll elaborate on what I do.

***

A wise owl sent some of you here so welcome to the love shack my humble little crib. Grab a seat, make yourself comfortable while I get ready some dingo meat for tea - well, according to David we Aussies hunt down dingoes apparently.

By the way, we ride emus to work and use kangaroos to pull our carts too.

Thanks Octavius and bold for the comments and follow!

***

I don't reply to comments because I know quite often, I ask a question in comment(s) and I don't go back to check for the reply, so in case that happens, I thought rather than wasting my intelligence effort and time to reply in comments, I'll randomly pick a question or theme from comments of the previous entry as an inspiration of my new entry. Remember in my first post, I said this blog will form a part of my identity and I invited you guys to become part of this identity of mine, so this is how you guys contribute!

So I picked 'expectations' to write about because mrgagaa asks about my family's expectations of me. To answer your question, mrgagaa, my family never tell me about how they feel about me living so far away. They don't oppose to it nor do they support it I reckon. My mum once told me that as long as I know where my roots are, however big, strong, mighty and majestic I grow on the surface, she's happy for me.

My parents do not really have any expectations for me, really. Well, not anymore, anyway. They used to have advices and suggestions but when I reached puberty, they soon realised that I was different from other kids - instead of giving me the direction, I'd rather run on my own, take the roads least or most taken and do things the way I think it should be done. My parents are well aware that I don't do risky business, I do calculated risks. I am lucky in that way.

***

Now onto a more broader, general theme of 'expectations'.

I was having a conversation this morning with another blogger who, I am not sure if he feels comfortable for me to link/identify who he is.

We eventually started talking about our physical appearance and he commented about him being fat, labelled himself as a "giant" and spoke about every imperfection he has.

I understand that its quite common for many of us to do that and I have to admit even in my everyday life, I do give a 2 seconds judgements of someone's appearance but before it even registers in my mind, I'd brush off those thoughts.

Its not uncommon for us to have insecurities, because we're brought up in an era where we try our hardest to live up to the expectations of our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends, people around us and far away from us, and most of all, the media. You know, we want to have the ideal skin, the ideal height, the ideal figure and the ideal *cough* penis size. If we don't have Zac Efron's hair, Brad Pitt's eyes, a six-pack, muscular attributes and 8 inch cock, we're not "hot".

Maybe not 8 inch cock but you know what I'm saying.

I, on the other hand, has a weird obsession for really minor imperfections (e.g. an eye brow that's higher than the other, an ear that sticks out just a little bit).

Ok, not that it's relevant but you know, just for your information. :P

I do have my imperfections as well. Speak to Dave and he'll tell you all the imperfections I see on me - too thin, no body hair except pubics, I have one tooth that's slightly crooked, acne scar, Asian eyes, dry skin, I'm pretty short and skinny. That's the condensed version of it. Hehe.

Talking to this blogger today, I understand where he's coming from, because like him, I have my own personal insecurities and imperfections too. However, I also do realised that I am more than what's on the surface. I acknowledge the fact that I am compassionate and I embrace humanity for what they are. I respect and honour our individual differences and similarities. I don't know my height to the dot, I know I'm about 5'6", I don't know my actual weight, I never measured my penis size and as much as I hate my dry skin, I am still too lazy to apply any form of lotion. I believe most of my imperfections were brought on by myself.

Yes, its easy for us to judge a person on their looks and to love someone on their looks. Some of us might think that its shallow, but hey, you know, this is what many of us do. Many of us go for someone we barely know based on their looks and the surface personality that they show us. The sparkly gently rippling surface, disillusioning our judgments, yet we happily sail on the surface until our boat eventually sink.

It's also easy for us to not love ourselves for how we look or how we think we are perceived as. Where we perceive we stand in the society's expectations of good looking people.

I know I am a bit weird and not one of those 'normal' guys. In my post, "Love What Is", I spoke about how I am one who'd rather get to know someone first and fall in love later. Whatever comes with them, comes in the package I signed up for - this includes the gender, the size, shape, colour and... all those detailed perfections and imperfections. Regardless of how someone looks, that person is still capable of loving. I know I am not perfect, nor am I anywhere near - besides, I am a major minority in this country. I do not measure the amount of people I have dated as my ability to love.

I know I have the ability to love. My ability to love, to understand and to accept extend beyond what's on my skin and the amount of fat (or lack thereof) underneath it.

Think of the amount of times you doubted yourself because you think you lack something, or if you're not "one of them" - how much did it frustrates you being not one of those stereotypically attractive, good-looking, popular person? And if we want to eradicate this stereotyping, we ourselves need to embrace ourselves as we are and look at people beyond their looks.

Expectations are aplenty and they're everywhere, but if we stick to expectations, the world will never change. We need people to create the ripple and change, going against the status quo. Expectations can be good but with expectations, there either come celebrations or disappointments. I don't know where I'm going with this but I'm going to stop here.

Love yourself. Take out some lube and tissue and ... no, actually, not that kind of self-love but appreciate the person you see on the mirror. He's the only one, who, at the end of the day, is going to stick around and allow you to function.

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Random fact: I wear an anklet. I've had one for about a year - this is my second one. The first one broke.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Family of Five

Last night while cutting potatoes, I slipped and sliced off quite a significantly big piece of my skin / flesh. I have a pretty high pain threshold but this one hurts quite madly and the blood wouldn't stop so I had to elevate it. I changed the bandage just now and when I opened the bandage, it started bleeding slowly again. Dammit!

It's not so much the pain I am bothered about, its the limitation having a bandaged finger has on everything I do, like typing!

***

I had a shit day at work - probably because I didn't have enough sleep the night before, and during my meeting, I had to take lead and I was just totally not in the zone. I had to call the meeting off early. Even after 2 mugs of coffee, I still felt cloudy in my head and heavy on every parts of my body so I left work and came home.

It was a wise decision. A certain owl talked to me for a while and made my day a bit better. Then he dozed off, I must have been too boring for him.

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Thanks for the follows, Fer, Davey and James!

Thank you for the comments, mrgagaa and pathetic prophet! Very enlightening and good to know someone's reading my blog. Pathetic prophet, you brought up a really interesting point and I actually got really geekily excited reading your comment!

***

So, I've talked about my love life I thought now its time for me to talk about my family.

Photo credit: Sami Taipale

I haven't spoken to my family for a month. During that time, I had a viral infection and got quite sick and called my mum but no one picked up. They were probably on vacation somewhere - I don't know where though because they did not inform me.

I grew up in a pretty conservative, loving Asian family. There were 5 of us, mum and dad and two sisters - an elder and a younger. We were never affectionate as long as I can remember. I didn't hug my mum through my teenage years until when I was about 18 and I left my hometown. We never said 'I love you's until when I was about 19 when I left my country to live in a foreign country all by my own, 3000 miles away from home. From a developing nation to a first world, using English as my third language to becoming my first language. It was pretty daunting but here I am, in one piece, unscathed.

I've been brought up to be a very independent person. I was the only male in the family and I was 'trained' to be the head of the family. I was made independent at a very young age and taught to make wise decisions. Add to the fact that I have been through quite a few sudden deaths when I was young, those traumatic events have taught me to be responsible and strategic for every decision that I make. The best advice my mum ever told me was, "your life is a sum of all your choices" and with a luggage in my hand and a backpack on my back, I left my 'home' behind. I still hold on to a lot of my cultural values and my family's values - however, my parents and I have also come to a compromise that I can never live up to their expectations of me. I go home from time to time and they have visited me once in the past 4 years and we had a great family vacation travelling around Australia.

However, other than that, I don't speak to my family much - probably about once a month, sometimes longer. It's not so much because we are not close but because we don't have much to talk about. They do not understand a lot of things I do, such as social innovation and education research. I struggled to explain them to my friends, what more to say to my parents who never attended high school. So most of our conversations revolve around what I do in my daily life outside work - which is mostly attending events, eating, sleeping, eating, events, sleeping, meeting with friends, meet some more friends and have I mentioned sleeping? I love my sleep.

It's hard sometimes, and many a times, I do feel like an orphan. I feel as I though I'm the forgotten one in the family, which is not something I am not used to. It's either they don't give a shit about my life or because they know whatever happens to me, I would survive so they never give a shit. Whatever it is, I do miss knowing the fact that I have a family who loves me unconditionally.

Aah. Maybe I should call my mum.

***

Random fact: I hate olives. Unless they're on pizzas in small pieces or something like that.
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