Saturday, December 31, 2016

#NOFILTER

It's the final day of 2016, and while I'm really old enough to know that nothing is gonna magically change the vibes from one year to the next and that the only main difference will be one singular digit that we write on dates and in calendars, it still feels nice to be able to have a bookend to the mess (beautiful as it was) that was my 2016, and begin another mess in approximately twelve hours.

I don't actually have a point or any linearity to this post, it's going to be a stream of consciousness, the last time I'll be able to indulge in one this year and the last time you're able to indulge me this year, provided i) you want to, and ii) you read this before the new year.

Yesterday, I watched La La Land for the second time, this time with Shahida. Because I'd already watched it before and I knew how it would end, this time, the entire movie was tinged with sadness and I began crying even earlier than I did at my first viewing.

After the movie, Shahida and I discussed our thoughts about the film. She thought it was bittersweet, not a sad wreck like I felt it was. This is because both protagonists pretty much achieve their professional dreams, and they both succeed, in no uncertain terms. Unfortunately, their opportunity cost (or mostly his) are the lives they could have had with each other.

It killed me, more than it did for Shahida, because at no surprise to anyone, I live for love. Don't get me wrong, I deeply respect and admire career-driven people.

When I was in LA, I met both types: people who worked themselves to the ground in whatever industry they're in, but then would sound wistful when they say: "I don't really have time to date, it's a little sad and I wish I had more time to balance both" or people, both men and women, who literally could give no less of a fuck about love, or dating or relationships: they live to focus on work and their passions and dreams. Love is not even something to aspire to, it's almost like they view feelings as a waste.

Sometimes, I wish I was like either group, because I'm an avid dreamer (both the abstract kind and the I-can't-sleep-'cos-these-dreams-are-too-vivid kind) and I do have dreams of writing and publishing a great book, I want to be an accomplished writer. And of course you can and should try to achieve both, if you want to, but, like the movie, if presented with a choice between professional success and a lasting happiness in love, I would sacrifice my work in a heartbeat. I just cannot fathom a lifetime of success with no one to share it with.

I think La La Land is my favourite film of 2016. It's most definitely personal, because I am the filmmaker's dream audience, I immerse myself in a movie and inject and project all my own experiences into it and leave with a wholly different experience than anyone else. But I would say, even for anyone who doesn't have any ~history~ with Los Angeles, cinema capital of the world, it would probably still be very enjoyable as well.

Sometime in the past week, one of the last seven days of 2016, I recalled reading somewhere, multiple times in multiple articles, that more intelligent people were more faithful and much less likely to cheat. They apparently are able to calculate risks and envision the potential fallouts of their actions, so they don't cheat as a way to maintain their happiness, or whatever.

I don't remember what I was doing when I had this recollection or why I thought it, it just happened. I remember when I first read it, I felt more assured and happy.

I don't know whether everybody has a natural assumption that they are an intelligent individual, but I certainly believed it about myself. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy, so to speak, that I believed intelligent people don't cheat, and as a self-professed intelligent person, I wouldn't cheat. I also became aware I tend to date only smarter men.

I have no clue whether I was also trying to find someone whom I thought wouldn't cheat on me, but the fact goes I had a preference for only people who were either well-educated or open enough to thinking and talking about things instead of accepting them at face value. Enlightened as some people seem to think I am, I actually obviously have very obvious biases and preferences. I'm very human.

Then, this time, the time in the last week of 2016, I just realised that my father was quite well-educated, he is one of the most intellectual people I know, and although he's inconsistent at a lot of things, one thing he's been consistent about in his character, ever since I was a young kid up to last year, is his cheating in romantic relationships. And that's only of the times I've been made aware of.

Once my father was established to not be such a reliable person, I suppose as a kid, I had to take someone else as an exemplary male role model, So I took the next man I admired most, I think most of my family members would agree that he's one of if not the smartest person in my maternal-grandparents-descended family. He was the first person in our family to get a degree and he would always help in our math or science assignments up to our respective undergraduate education.

Then within the past five years, I learned that he also cheated. By that time, I was already not too close with him, so it didn't really bother me and I didn't think about it, because I'd already formed the impression that he was also, again, only human, so there was no reason why he should be emulated beyond my own father.

And then, I met and dated a man whom I must say was possibly the smartest man I'd known so far. I spent a lot of time talking with him and learned so much about him and his life. He was politically and socially enlightened, he spoke of geopolitical situations, he knew what went on in Congress, he was a character worthy enough to have had his own reddit ask-me-anything sessions, because he travels and recruits students for a rather prestigious American university, so students are always admiring him and seeking advice.

What he conveniently forgot to tell me was that he was engaged. He also conveniently forgot to tell his fiancΓ©e about me, so I told her, of course. Everything he said to and did with me. Because I think honesty is a virtue. In any and every situation.

As I thought about these three men, I realised that despite being the most intelligent/smartest/well-educated/however you want to put it, they were still cheats. And then I wondered whether the articles/studies had an agenda. The people who conducted the studies, while not necessarily possessing malicious intent, might have had a self-serving bias, if they were themselves intelligent. I mean, everything written, said, published, expressed, has to be sieved through the mindset and background of the writer. Maybe they wanted to find the results that they found, making it skewed and less accurate.

On the converse note, there is another maybe more well-known study, whose results are that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be unhappy. Whilst the previous study I mentioned has been rather incongruous with my own real-life experiences, this one, sadly, has been quite applicable.

I must say there are many things that make me happy. Movies make me happy, books make me happy, ice-cream makes me happy, sushi makes me happy, colouring makes me happy, wearing fancy clothes makes me happy, etc etc. I know how to make myself happy.

But there are also many things that keep me dissatisfied, like sexism and racism and classism, etc. I don't understand how some people can take things as they are and ignore everything else in the world, because "that's just how it is". People who exploit their positions in society, because they can.

When people make tautological arguments like "it was written in the Book, and the Book was written by God's prophet" without wanting to verify facts, the history of it, the mythology of it, without wanting to verify the perspectives of who actually wrote down what words, and the vested interests and selfish political agenda each of them might have had. People who want to apply blanket rules and principles across history without considering ever-changing contexts and sociopolitical landscapes.

I'm not saying there are no smart people who consider all these and can still be happy. There probably are, but it's not easy for me. Every time anyone cracks a racist or sexist joke or makes a microaggressive remark about me because I'm female/Malay/Muslim/whatever, I have a deep-rooted uneasiness that makes me want to change the way the world runs.

I'm stuck in a country that doesn't exactly promote personal liberties and freedom of thought, I was raised in a family that went from somewhat liberal to quite religious, so I'm halfway here and there, and I'm trying to figure my own values out.

I was watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls with my sister Lyssa, and I was telling her when I'm a mother, I would probably be like Lorelai and allow my daughter to do anything she wants, make her own mistakes. Then I said my daughter would probably turn out to be Rory, and be a meek, decent, rule-abiding daughter, who doesn't even need a mother like me who allows her to be independent, and Lyssa says given how life goes, that might be likely.

I don't know where I'm going with this anymore. I'm tired. It's half a day to a new year. In 2017, I have plans to i) not fuck my life up, which can be taken quite literally, I'm gonna commit to myself until I'm financially self-sufficient and steady career-wise, ii) go to a place I've dreamed about for a long time, iii) love as if my life depends on it, which sometimes I feel it does.

Have a good one, always and forever. Wishing you all the best in everything you do.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A NON-DENOMINATIONAL HOLIDAY NON-LOVE LETTER

When I was staying at Bill's house, he asked me about the trip I'd had so far and although I had experienced so much prior to meeting you, I could not stop gushing about you. Bill said "you really actually love him, that's amazing. I've never had that, and that's so rare to see."

I knew that I was and am inherently different from Angelenos, where everybody is busy working and carving a career for themselves to put too much care into love: heck, even in Singapore, I'm the girl who feels too much. So I say, tone it down and check yourself, lest he be wary of you and all your emotions.

I don't love you when I tell you my life story and cry and you say "I would want to run away if that was happening to me", I don't love you when you call me at 3am as I'm asleep somewhere in Tahoe and I'm groggy and I ask who you are although of course I know who you are, of course my heart knows your voice, and you say, offended: "what? it's Joey!" I don't love you when I'm reading beside you while you are working on your car in the garage and Ti'aan teases that you are always thinking about me when you're drunk, which Ti'aan says is a good thing because a person loses his inhibitions when drunk and what you say is what you really want to say.

I don't love you as you tell me about the smart kids who get school trips to SpaceX, and their really intelligent questions, and I don't love you as I wish I'd been passionate enough to ask something that you would deem intelligent. I don't love you as I see you playing the keyboard and I want so much to hug you but I feel you would be overwhelmed, that you would know of how much I don't love you, so I hold myself back and watch you through the mirror.

I honestly don't love you when you ask me what my favourite movie was as we're eating sushi, on the day we went to Thousand Oaks to get your Triumph, and I got really pissy because you'd already asked me for my favourite film, and you didn't remember.

I don't love you during my last weekend that we spent in Hermosa, when you gripped my hand tight to lead me back to safety, all the while I needed to pee and would not stop bugging you about it. I don't love you as we reached your place, and finding that Russ was also concussed there, and you take care of him and put him to bed.

I especially don't love you when we were at Hermosa and I stop myself from running my fingers through your newly-cut hair, and while I was in your embrace, you say "I'm gonna miss you" but you refuse to say it again when I pretend that I missed it, either because you are so loath to express your feelings thanks to a culture of toxic/fragile masculinity or because you don't want to legitimise it because I'm leaving soon. I don't love you at all.

I don't love you as I'm showing you a bootleg of Hamilton and you fall asleep, then defensively say "it's muffled! I can't really hear what they're singing!" although of course you can - if I can make out what they're singing, surely any American worth their salt can make it out.

I don't love you as I tremble in my bedroom, finding out life-changing information, wondering how we could have done something that would eventually change my life and me as a person, while simultaneously thanking God that if such a thing was happening, it was with you, because I'd never felt safer in my life.

Happy holidays. I don't love you, and I always will.

Monday, December 19, 2016

WOULDN'T WANT THEM TO

(music: Nobody - Selena Gomez)

About two weeks ago, I met Azimah, Srija and Huda to celebrate the latter's 25th birthday.









The three of them were talking about their teacherly duties, and syntax and phonemes and whatnot, and Huda and Srija kept bursting into songs from Hamilton, being that they are all students/teachers of music and language, so I had hearts in my eyes for them throughout.

These are the friends I'd love to have made if I'd been able to go to university.







We presented Huda with her copy of Hamiltome (the official book to the Hamilton musical) as well as the original Ron Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the musical. I also have a copy each, because Huda has made me unabashed Hamiltrash.



We were all coincidentally wearing white!

*

Two Thursdays back, I flew to Luang Prabang, courtesy of one of my best friends (I mean, it didn't cost her anything, but she sort of made it happen).







I brought my copies of both Hamiltome and the Hamilton biography. I aim to finish reading, perusing, experiencing both by the end of January. I also will probably be watching the Hamilton musical live in 2017 (cut me some slack, 2016 has aged me a decade, so imma treat maself next year).

Wanna hear a story about this cap? No? Good, 'cos I wanted to know, and I'm gonna tell it anyway. πŸ€— This was one of maybe three non-food items I purchased during my second visit to LA (three items over two months, I WIN! \o/) so I really liked it, but I left it in Joey's garage on the second last day I was in LA, and it was a work day so Joey couldn't drive to send it to me. Bill then drove me to SpaceX (the wifi password at SpaceX is "falconhaslanded" I dunno why I'm including this information but tbh there is no point to any of this anyway) to get it from Joey before sending me to the airport. I passed Joey his favourite caramel ice-cream, he passed me my cap, Joey and I kissed and Bill said "I thought it would be more dramatic." The end. Goodbye. Also: the tuktuk drivers here keep greeting me with "sawadee" and it is really confusing me. Is this because I look Thai to them or do people in Laos actually also speak Thai or a similar language? I am very, very confused. #selfie #gpoy #laos #luangprabang #sarahnadetheworld #travel #MACliptensity #ambrosial
A photo posted by Sarah Mei Lyana (@misspinkalot) on

Shahida joined me on Sunday, and we started her trip at L'Etranger. It's a cafe opened by a lady from Quebec, Canada whose children are filmmakers from Los Angeles. Every night, the cafe screens a film on a flat-screen TV, and it serves somewhat local-ish cuisine, so you get to sit/lie/lounge around in a wooden hut setting, eating Mekong river fish or tom yum or green curry while watching a Hollywood movie.

That night, Shahida and I got to catch Miles Ahead, a documentary (not 100% accurate, but then again, is anything?) about Miles Davis, and it was enjoyable enough. After Shahida had left Luang Prabang, I returned to L'Etranger and watched The Invitation and liked it a lot.

I had expected a feel-good movie (I tend to not read or find out anything before I watch a movie; I like surprises) but it was a mindfuck if there ever was one. I was there with some girls from Germany and Holland, a nice middle-aged lady from Philadelphia, US and a man from Ireland, and we were all like, ....dafuq was that???

I really liked the ending though, I liked it that it creeped me out so much I couldn't sleep that night.

Yesterday, Joey apologised for the poor framing of a photo he had taken while camping (old Highway 101). It was the first time someone had ever said such a thing to me. I had a boyfriend who studied media, he taught me about composition and the rule of thirds (he also taught me to measure the current of a moving body of water by looking for a floating item, "marking" it and following how fast it moves downstream and I employed this technique today) but he never apologised because his photos were his, in what way would it affect me, amirite? Joey's apology made me think: if he was being sarcastic because it's just what I would have done (ie. apologise for poor framing - yes I'm anal about stupid shit and that was an inadvertent innuendo and That was an accidental alliteration) I love him. If he wasn't being sarcastic because it's just what he would have done, I love him. All this to say: it's very hard to frame a photo of a moving object and this took multiple attempts. #laos #luangprabang #sarahnadetheworld #sarahnadetheworld #instastory #travel #bicycle
A photo posted by Sarah Mei Lyana (@misspinkalot) on

A photo posted by Sarah Mei Lyana (@misspinkalot) on

On one of the afternoons, we cycled around Luang Prabang because it's really a charming quaint town that's really nice to explore by yourself or with company. Shahida and I discovered the best coconut ice-cream we'd ever had, it's at 3Nagas by Sofitel. I'm certain it's the best coconut ice-cream in the world, and as a self-professed ice-cream connoisseur, I must be right. ;)

If my photos look like I was there solo, it's because I'd actually posted a couple of myself and Shahida but apparently her mum is a mum like my mum, and parents will be parents (at least until I become one, which is not soon) so I decided I'd better not post anymore to keep all the people I know out of trouble.

The next morning, we woke up early to go to Kuang Si Waterfalls. If you're ever in Laos/Luang Prabang, this is a no-brainer must-do.







It's a gorgeous and serene waterfall. It's a little cold (I get cold easily so if it's only slightly cold to me, chances are it really isn't cold at all) but once you're in, it's so fresh and rejuvenating you're like what worries? what is a worry? I do not know what worry means!

And not gonna lie, the photo opps are e n d l e s s !!!!!!!!!!

I sent Joey photos at the waterfall and this is called: Joey and Sarah mintak kena terajang ;P


Also: Luang Prabang is a place where tuktuk drivers try eagerly to tout their taxi services, which reminded me of when Joey and his friends were in Japan. They couldn't get an Uber or cab, so he sent me their location to call a cab. While they were in Japan. And I was in Singapore.



Yup, this man.



He likes to use gifs and invisible ink and who-knows-what for iMessages, so it got me started as well. I think Joey and I are really immature because for one, we're usually insulting each other, and for two, for two rather intelligent people, we did something quite, quite stupid.

That night, after a long day, Shahida and I went for a massage. I like massages, especially Thai massages, the ones where you really feel your body being stretched and pulled and kneaded and I usually enjoy the pain, but this Laotian one was on another scale. I dunno if it's 'cos I'd just recovered from possibly the biggest physical, physiological and mental stresses in my life, but goddamn, the massage hurt while it was happening.

I appreciated it though, I think most of the tensions in my body were relieved.


I had a chat with the owner of the massage parlour while Shahida was still in her session. She told me about the places she'd travelled to. She says that in the south of Laos, people are not as strong as the northerners. Northerners work tirelessly but they don't get "comfortable" or "lazy", and apparently they eat a lot of chili which helps them, unlike people who can't take spicy food.

Basically I think she means if you sheltered, you weak bro. ;)

Early the next morning, Shahida left to fly back to Singapore. I spent my last full day in Luang Prabang reading at Indigo Cafe. I thought I would be alone, but it turns out I had company for the entire day.






Not gonna lie, the cat liked my lap so much I actually had a thought "this could be Joey", except that entire sentence was much more explicit than that.





She spent six hours on my lap. Fam, if there ever was a manja cat in the world, she was it.

Anyway, all things considered, I definitely recommend Luang Prabang as an R&R destination. It's really cheap, speaking of which, this time while I was travelling, I really kept bearing in mind Jemma's advice from this post.

You know, sometimes, we think in terms of the currency of developing countries in the hundreds or thousands like Baht and Vietnamese Dong and so on and so forth, so it sounds like you're saving a lot of money if you push the prices down by 200 or 2000 when in reality, you just saved yourself a couple of US Dollars.

And, sure, you might be charged slightly more than maybe a local would be there, but look at where we mostly come from. We live in Singapore, we have the highest levels of sanitation and education and comfort et cetera et cetera et many many cetera.

I realised if I save a few dollars from buying an item at one of their night markets, it just means those few dollars go towards maybe my next exorbitant meal or flight out to somewhere else "exotic". For them, those few dollars can be stretched to so much more 'cos given their standards of living, every single dollar is a dollar more to cover their daily life.

*

This is most likely going to be my last post of the year. I met Pamela a few days ago for dinner, and we got to the topic of my blogposts. I told her that I'd deleted my blog archives all the way up to only 2015, and her reaction was just as shocked as when I'd told Shahida, Hazwani and Lyssa.

I deleted pretty much ten years' worth of my posts, and Pamela was slightly upset (I could tell by her tone of voice as well as what she offered next). She kept asking me to email Blogger and say I'd made a mistake and meant to archive them in private, and for them to retrieve the posts, etc etc.

I was a little awed and touched but I told her she'd eventually let it go.

What happened in October, it changed me. The amount of time I even knew about it, was so very temporary. The entire month preceding that, every time I couldn't sleep or I felt tired or out of sorts, I kept thinking it was the longest period of jet lag ever known to mankind. Lololol hindsight changes everything.

It took a heck lot of ups and downs and around and around but I've learned to let things go. Hazwani, Lyssa, Shahida and Pamela were all upset too (maybe still are), which makes me feel slightly glad, perversely.

It means the things I wrote meant something to other people besides myself, whether I wrote about my trip to New Zealand with Hazwani and her lovely friends, or about God, or about politics and feminism, or all the family inside jokes with Lyssa, or one of my favourite concert experiences of Jason Mraz with Shahida, all the social media escapades with Pamela, or the musical sessions I was fortunate enough to have sat through in Huda's house, or when Khalis taught me to drum, or even my entire friendship with Syafiqin long gone and past, or the musicals I watched and wrote about (especially the one I wrote about Spring Awakening and got invited to meet the cast 'cos of my review!!!).

It all meant so much to me, everything still means so much to me. But it all goes away. Everything passes in time. I'm a different person now, entering a different stage of my life, I'll make new memories, better memories, more stable ones.

While deleting my posts (a decade's worth), I read some of them and didn't even like myself much. I have grown and come along far from the person I used to be, and I'm still learning and growing, always.

This year, I got very involved in a private feminist group, and got exposed to the terms intersectional feminism and intersectionality. I learned about privilege and witnessed it firsthand, either having it or lacking it.

Privilege is something that needs to and should be talked about, in all its forms. As a Malay in Singapore, I definitely am not part of the privileged majority race (last week in Luang Prabang, I showed the American lady and the Irish man my identity card: Singapore lists race, and like everyone else I've met outside of Singapore, they were pretty much affronted by this fact).


I don't know how to put across the idea of privilege to people who enjoy it, because they don't see that they enjoy it.

A very silly analogy I have is that I used to sort of not have the best impression of anyone who would go for plastic surgery or liposuction or diet or anything that a person feels would "improve" their physical appearance.

I would say outright that looks didn't matter, it's what's inside that's important, and while I do actually believe in that, it was also very easy for me to say looks don't matter, because I have it.

I mean, I wake up to my face every day and I'm like agh what is this, but for people who don't see my face every day, they think I'm pleasant enough to look at, I have conventionally attractive features of big eyes, clear skin, nice lips, wavy hair (okay even I think my curly hair is cool). I have good genes because both my parents are runners so I have never had to work much to keep slim, and I'm tall.

I used to think I was only tall for an Asian but even when I went to the US, I was taller than many Caucasian girls and they said I'm definitely tall. So I'm tall, slim and pretty (I say this by conventional standards but I think a lot of people are beautiful even when they don't think so). Without even trying.

After many, many times of asking my best friends or whoever it is who want to diet or do this and that to themselves, I realised there is nothing I can contribute because I don't understand what they're going through. Of course I would say there is no need for plastic surgery or dieting, but I also cannot deny there are perks I enjoy from being tall, slim and pretty (with makeup), and these may be things that are denied to people who are not conventionally attractive.

I have what is called the skinny privilege. I shop for clothes easily, everything is made in sizes for me, whereas anyone of bigger sizes feels like they don't fit in (I'm truly sorry for this pun, it literally just happened). People think I'm healthy, nobody looks at me and instantly thinks "oh she's overweight 'cos she's lazy to exercise" even though I literally never exercise.

When people look at me, they don't think "girl with a dad complex/abandonment issues and seven younger siblings", they think "that girl is pretty, she probably has it easy in life" and that's it, lol. I don't know if it makes sense to consider it as a parallel, but what I'm trying to say is it's very easy to be "blind" to the privileges that society affords you.

I'm fortunate enough I have some brains along with my looks: I might not be studying critical race or gender theory but I try to practise it in life. Even that is a privilege. If I really tried, life could work well with me. I just tend to fuck it up because I think about my issues instead of the privilege I was born with.

I really am looking forward to 2017. I think I've learned enough this year, time to start living properly and using the brains I have been gifted with. ;)

Thank you for this year. I suppose even if you factor in the two worst months of my life, this year is still my favourite so far. I have loved and laughed and lived. I went to places that will live in my heart, always. I met the most amazing people whom I fell in love with, whether romantically or platonically. And I am privileged to have done that.

Friday, November 18, 2016

MY DEAREST, ANGELICA

Today I was looking for a notebook to pen my thoughts in, because I had some inspiration for my writing (if you just stumbled here from an alternate universe, I'm writing a novel) and I opened my travel journal, the one that says "get lost" on its cover.

I came across the pages of "people I've met along the way" and read the little snippets that I'd written about some of the people I'd met earlier on my journeys in LA. I stopped writing down these notes when I met Joey, which is a real pity, because I should've written something about Annie! And Sam, and James! And William! And Bill! I mean I did write about them online, but I wish I had something on paper.




I knew if I wrote about Joey, I'd run out of space in the "people I've met" section, so I wrote about him in the later, unlined pages. I type out these paragraphs later so you don't have to decipher my penmanship.





It makes me feel.... a very weird surreal nostalgic feeling reading all of this, just three months down the road. It makes me feel like, despite all the changes, all the discoveries and bitterness that's been introduced in my life, I remember all these things and I still feel them, and I'm somewhat still the same person. Somewhat? I think that's a good thing? A little bit, slightly.

This is what I wrote about Joey, if you care to read. I honestly, really, unabashedly feel exactly the same as the last time I saw him, which was about two and a half months ago.

People I've Met Along The Way: (sidenote --- I feel this would make a good title for a novel)

Joey: first name Joseph like my celebrity crush Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Goes by Joey 'cos that's what his mum calls him. Has an older brother. Joey's father is not game enough to order spicy food, but apparently likes food that is spicy, according to Joey. Has an older neighbour/friend Russ, who seems to treat Joey like a son, and whom Joey regards as a bit of a dad figure. I love observing their relationship. According to Russ, they share the same birthdate: July 13 but I haven't found out if this is true, not even sure that's Joey's birthday.

He has previously dated a Chinese lady, and an Indian lady, and some of my ex-colleagues used to joke that I "only date white guys", so I'm not sure what that means about both Joey and myself: do we fetishise each other? O.O

Joey presently works as a structures engineer for SpaceX. For one of our "dates" he gave me a tour of the SpaceX facility. I have never had such workplace envy, not least because it was/has always been my best friend's ambition to be an astronaut. I wish Han had gone for the SpaceX tour, or that she could meet Joey. He seems to be stretched thin by SpaceX, even his housemates know he spends too much time at work. When we were at SpaceX, though, I saw rockets that had been outside the Earth's atmosphere, that were blackened and waiting to be repainted and re-launched and Joey was explaining the parts to me, I knew that unlike many people, he is privileged enough to be involved in the future of all humankind, should Mars prove to be a viable situation for us.

He likes fast cars and bikes. I don't think the words "slow" and "regular resting heart rate" exist in his dictionary. He raced in the canyons, with me, both in his Mazda and on his Triumph. One night, while we were driving back from Malibu, I was admiring the stars actually twinkling in the black sky above the sea, and although we were going really fast, Joey let me hold his hand on the gear stick and I drifted off to sleep. That's when I knew I felt safe with him, regardless where we were, what vehicle we were on, and the mph of said automobile. I trusted Joey, and "fast" became my new "resting heart rate".

He plays piano and violin and he also has a turntable. I asked what he wouldn't be able to live without, and he answered "making music". The first time I met Russ, Joey was scratching Taylor Swift's Love Story for me.

Despite my ramblings, Joey is a pretty unassuming guy. The day I met him, I was making my way to his house from the Dodger Stadium after my first live baseball game (that I clearly still don't understand). I remember Joey said it would be expensive to catch an Uber from DTLA to his place in Manhattan Beach, but I sent him a screenshot gloating about the low fare I'd been offered and accepted. Even when I first laid eyes on him, he was the decent, quiet one among a house of partygoers. I thought he would be harmless. Unlike Taylor Swift, I still didn't know he was trouble, but it's the quiet, unassuming ones you have to be on the watch for, because even when they're stealing your heart, they don't seem to know it, but then, nor do you.

Friday, November 11, 2016

THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

(music: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story - Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton)


I pray God or whatever forces there be grants me patience, grace and strength to approach this post with civility.

So two nights ago, I published my opinion on Trump's presidential win on Facebook and I ended it with the fact that the presidency, like everything else, is temporary and for the Americans to keep their hope and faith.

Yesterday morning, there was a long comment from a distant aunt about how our own ordinary citizens' lives are also temporary, and that for society to be a better place, everybody should play their part to be better people, and for me to start being a better daughter/granddaughter, in my own life, etc.

She ended the comment with "sorry not sorry" and I was groggy and too lazy to deal with shit, so I deleted it within possibly twenty minutes of it being posted, I think. On hindsight, I should have left it there so other people could and would have understood how tactless this woman is.

I'm not sure how old she is, I haven't seen her for years, we're not even friends on Facebook ('cos I'm not interested in her or her life), she just used to follow me (I finally blocked her yesterday) but truly, she and her mother are the most typical Malay women you can find.

They just love to "jaga tepi kain orang" (poke their noses in other people's business) and they have this holier-than-thou attitude that irks me so much. I mean, do you not receive enough fulfilment in your own lives that you have to keep tabs on other people?

My grandma, who is the most patient and understanding angel alive, has tolerated the commenter and her mother for years, but she made the mistake of crossing me on the wrong day. I am not my grandmother, I am not my mum. You best be sure of that.

This is when I wish I had left the comment there, because my response is about to be a long one, and it's warranted, I assure you.

People like her are the precise reason the system is flawed. She thinks that politics are a "distraction" from real life, that everybody is able to have a fine-and-dandy life if they were just "good people" living "good lives", because she's been able to live a life of privilege so far, she's a Muslim woman who doesn't live in the US.

The reality for non-deluded people is that Trump has been blatantly racist and sexist, especially Islamophobic. If you're just really, really close-minded as to only care about what happens to "your own kind", there is empirical evidence that Muslim women wearing hijabs are already being harassed, leading up from his candidacy all the way through now, that he's won.

They are your "Muslim sisters" and they're unable to lead the same kind of life as yours, do you care more now? Do you have more empathy than apathy?

Beyond just Muslims, black Americans and Latinos, Asian-Americans, basically every person of colour is less safe in the US now, because Trump is racist and promotes racism. I'm not making this up, you can do a quick Google search to see the reports of people making disgusting remarks like "shouldn't you be sitting at the back of the bus today?"

I'm not just targeting this ridiculously ignorant aunt from now, but it's just my general thought flow.

As a decent, average human being, I feel appalled at Trump's win, but as a woman, I feel discounted. Hillary Clinton has had much more political experience, but because she's a woman, any mistakes she's made have been piled atop and pitted against her whereas Trump, who has had absolutely zero experience, just waddles up and is instantly given more credibility. Have you seen his speeches? He doesn't have any solid sense of direction on policy, he barely even makes humanly sense. Why would anyone trust him to lead a country? Oh, that's right, because he has a penis.

Ever since Trump's win, some sort of voter's remorse has turned up and people are making all sorts of excuses for it, or maybe they're just really desperate to cling to some hope (in which case, I understand, y'all get a free pass #sarahcasm).

Apparently, the explanation is majority who voted for Trump are working-class citizens dissatisfied with the status quo, and looking for a change (I actually just scoffed at this ludicrous idea, I admit). Okay, so the voter demographics have been released, right.

People who voted for Trump were majority white people, whereas Clinton voters were exceedingly African-American, Latino, Asian, etc, people of colour. So, here goes, right, if white people are dissatisfied with whatever has been going on in Democratic-run America, then shouldn't people of colour be even more dissatisfied?

Or has the situation changed so drastically since I've been there, that somehow people of colour have gotten better jobs than white people, they're earning more, there is no such thing as racial discrimination, blacks are living in better and safer neighbourhoods, that they're really, really satisfied, and therefore are voting for Clinton to preserve the status quo?

Or wait one second.... Could it be.... that Trump voters are actually *gasp* misogynistic racists, looking for any way, any way at all, to keep the edge that they already inherently and systemically enjoy over people of colour, and they're using "dissatisfied working-class" bullshit as an excuse for their vote? No way! That's too much a stretch of my imagination. Overwhelmingly white voters voting for Trump? Coincidence!

Even if there is some dissatisfaction with Democratic-run Congress, people from the grassroots who want a change and voted for Trump? Trump, who has suffered multiple bankruptcies and been bailed out by loans of "only $1 million" from his daddy, who is as far removed from ground zero as you could think of. If people are voting for Trump thinking that he understands their working-class problems, then, I mean, like, I can't even string together a coherent sentence to express my sentiment, I'm basically Trump making a speech at a rally. The excuses just get more ludicrous.

If we concede that the above working-class demographic exists, then say what you want, but these people are definite selfish racists and/or sexists. You cannot vote for Trump to "change status quo" (I call bullshit, but for the sake of discourse, we'll go with it), without accepting the disgusting hate-filled, mean-spirited, discriminatory remarks he's made about pretty much anybody who's not a white male.

And if you've accepted that your leader whom you want to change working-class conditions, is a racist, misogynist bigot, then chances are, so are you. You can pretend you're "closing an eye" but let's just be real and honest, you probably wholeheartedly agree with Trump's sentiments.

I'm not saying I'm surprised that majority of white America are ignorant bigots, but I'm saying if you are, then stop hiding behind the thin veil of "dissatisfaction with the status quo". The only status quo you're dissatisfied with is that America is not white enough for your liking.

*

So, since the Great Meltdown of My Life, all I've been doing is colouring. I've had my colouring book for ages, but I've only started using it recently to pull myself out of depression.

When I found out that I lost it, I was really disturbed so I removed Joey from all my social media and blocked him, and immediately regretted it (borderline bipolar), because he'd been there for me every step of the way and I missed him.

I'm a little too proud to add him again, especially because I'd already blocked him before and re-added him again all the way a while ago (I call borderline bipolarity), so if I do it again, he must be like "oh, this girl, what am I to do with this girl".

But then we talked again (this is the last time in this post I will mention it but: borderline bipolar), and it was about the trip to Japan that he's taking with his friends/colleagues that I met while I was in LA. I was gonna go, and I was really excited (especially because I've never been to Japan), but neither my parental nor financial units agree, so. I guess not.

Joey and I were thinking about the..... problem that led to the meltdown, and we were wondering how to avoid it, so we thought of the same thing at the same time, and I was incredibly amused that he was one step ahead and was going to go through, it was so funny!!!! Unfortunately I'm not going anymore so I don't know what happened, I just know when he said what he did I burst out laughing.

Anyway, I wanted to ask Joey whether he voted, and whom he voted for, but he seems apathetic about politics, because he's a white male, and either way, the results wouldn't really affect him. I also knew that Cali was a surefire Dem vote, because: California, and Cali is one of the most progressive places in the world.

I thought about it but then I realised Trump denies climate change (lol gud luk America yur prez no beliv in climate change!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and Joey is scientifically anal, if anything. I hope that means there is no way Joey would have voted Trump. He can be such a condescending, mean piece of shit; one time, I was reading something and he was on Facebook on his laptop beside me, and some friend of his made a stupid comment about a SpaceX failed launch video, and he was gonna make a snarky remark about it. Joey also loves to patronise me, what a piece of shit.

.....I say he is a condescending piece of shit in the most affectionate of ways, because I can be a condescending piece of shit myself. I remember last week Shahida said Islamophobia isn't racism because Islam isn't a race, and I think I might have rolled my eyes and actually retorted "you've got to be kidding me!" but then I told myself "stop it, Sarah, she doesn't read the same things you do, she has other areas of interest, don't be an asshole" and also for future reference to all who don't know: Islamophobia definitely counts as racism, but that's another tangent for another day, if you're interested.


One of the first things we did together was colour at a Wurstkuche restaurant while waiting for our food. That was the day we had ice-cream together, and he said "what's up cutie" at the beach and I remember giggling and thinking "this douche, how do I like him so much".

That day we were squeezing in a car, and he was gonna show his colleagues/friends a photo of his housemate's car wrecked by an angry ex-girlfriend, but he was scrolling through his camera roll, and I saw a photo of me from Instagram, it was from years ago, when nothing had happened to me yet, when I was still a kid ---- I hadn't been used or cheated on, I hadn't lost a life, I hadn't grown up at all, and I loved that photo, and I liked that he saved it, it has a purple background, which always makes me wonder what he sees it as, sometimes he thinks purple is blue.

I miss Joey so much. He has an older neighbour/friend Russ, who apparently hangs out with Joey, 'cos he lost his son when his son was Joey's age, and he reminds Russ of him. I think it says a lot that Joey has so many housemates, but Joey's the one who spends time with Russ.

The first time I met Russ, Joey was scratching Taylor Swift's Love Story on his turntable. Russ entered the room, and the first thing Russ said to me was "Joey's a good guy"... then last week, Joey told me Russ took him to a hockey game and that "Russ is a good guy" and I absolutely adore their pseudo-father-son relationship.

Russ is hilarious, one time he texted me asking where his keys were, and then found them in his fridge. ????? I think it's superbly adorable that Joey takes care of him, one night Russ was wasted and was in Joey's room, Joey put him to bed. And when I was a little bit too far gone, I kept telling Joey I needed to go to the toilet, and he asked me to pee in the bushes, but I refused, and I insisted I needed to pee, the poor man was like "what will I do with this girl????"

Joey has a bit of a "carer" vibe, I think, I mean I guess that's why he took me in and practically babysat me for a month. Like everyone, he also needs to be taken care of, though. I don't mean in the cook-him-food or iron-his-clothes sense (because for one, he was the one feeding my hungry stomach all the time and for two, his house has no iron --- apparently they don't believe in ironing their clothes, what a bachelor's pad indeed).

It's funny, my mum said I don't know what love is, at 26. Clearly I don't know shit, but she knew what love was when she had me at 18. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯









One of the first few things I asked Joey was what animal he'd choose if he could turn into an animal, and he said "an owl, 'cos they can turn their heads all the way round" what priorities????

So like i) you can tell I like rainbows and ii) colouring truly proves therapeutic for me, it just keeps me in the moment. I would have written my novel, but I was very unstable and disturbed for a very long time, and I didn't want it to seep unconsciously into my words and writing.

I'm truly grateful to everyone who's been incredibly supportive in all your diverse ways. I don't think I can name names, because my mum's all about, like "keeping up appearances" (do we live for God or other people, really?) but, thank you all.

As it is, on any given normal day, if my emotional range could be compared to the size of a living creature, it would be a whale, but when.... this happens, add in all the hormonal fluctuations and suddenly my emotions are the whale's mother. I feel everything.

I was looking through my US photos and got to when I read Joey's thesis, for lack of reading material.


See, when you love words, you read pretty much anything.

Some nights are harder than others. My thoughts drift to whether it was my fault, whether it was stress from what happened in my family, whether it was because I was eating nonsense food before I found out, is it because I'm always cold? will it happen again? where is it now? and it goes on and on but then I ground myself to Joey.

He doesn't know about it, he doesn't even have to be thinking of me, but he's my anchor. He's like the Tengo to my Aomame (although I didn't even much enjoy/like 1Q84 for the read, I just appreciate a few principles in it).

I just pray for his safety and for his peace of mind, yadda yadda yadda, and then it gives me peace of mind. I think, in the next year ahead, I really am going to take a break (or give my heart a break), I'm gonna go back to my plans of learning to drive, and cut out all other distractions.