Thursday, February 18, 2021


I'm having a major-ass headache. I don't normally have headaches, so perhaps I'm not the best judge of whether it's even a major-ass headache. It could even be a tiny headache, for all I know. Our neighbour in the apartment upstairs is knocking stuff together, I'm not sure what kinda renovations they're doing, but I cannot concentrate on my lecture recording, and so I have given up. In the grand scheme of things, I'm just having a headache, and headaches will go away. My first 25%-weighted assignment is due on Monday, it's for the Eastern Philosophy mod. The following are the topics I have to choose from:
i. Both the Tao Te Ching and the Analects can be read as political treatises. The former advocates the cultivation of te in the practice of wu wei, while the latter argues that the best way to rule a people is through ren (jen) which is based on the "rectification of names" and the enforcement of li. Write a critical essay comparing and contrasting these two political ideals. Provide an argument defending one political view over the other. Is any (or are both) of these views relevant to our modern political world?

ii. Both Confucianism and Taoism embrace the principle of the Tao, yet are diametrically opposed on points of government, education, virtue, propriety and others. For example, a central teaching of Taoism is that while existence makes things useful, emptiness makes them work. While emptiness, passivity in the practice of wu wei are key to Taoist thought, Confucianism values virtues and the rectification of names. Compare and contrast both philosophies. Provide an argument for or against the claim that as in the principle of yin-yang (as represented in the Taijitu symbol) the opposing forces of Taoism and Confucianism work in co-dependent creative harmony for the health of both individual lives and the collective social community.

iii. According to Confucius ren (jen) is the highest virtue that one can attain. The path to the attainment of ren is found through the practice of li. This relationship of ren and li to jun zi (chun-tsu) or the “gentleman” is key to Confucius' thought. In contrast, according to the Tao Te Ching, the superior person aligns him or herself with the Tao in living in accord with wu wei. In Chapter 8, water is used to illustrate this point. Compare and contrast the Confucian notion of the “gentleman” and the Taoist sage or “superior person”. You will want to show how the two are similar and how they are different. Next, provide an argument for supporting one view over the other, or supporting a combined view of the superior person. Finally, provide an argument as to whether one, neither or both is a better manner of living for our modern world.
I'm really not in the mood to start, I haven't chosen which one to write on, so I'm gonna hold it off till tomorrow. I've gotten pretty decent grades for all three of my mods for last minute submissions, so perhaps I do better when I'm coming in clutch. I'll do the essay tomorrow.

A couple of days ago, I went bouldering with the lululemon bunch. We had mala after the session, and Jaysen taught me more about chess. He played a lousy game just to teach me basic strategies by allowing me to make some moves, and to encourage me. I've also downloaded an app on which I can do mini-puzzles, so I don't have to play full games, and I've been doing the puzzles. 

I met Noran for dinner last night. I love meeting her, we used to have a 'mother-daughter' relationship when we worked at the same place, but now it feels so nice to have proper adult conversations about, I don't know, adult things. It's great to see her moving on in life, to see her really go for what she wants, and be happy on her own terms. 

We went to Kinokuniya, where I was looking for the first book in the Wheel of Time series. I remember people reading it when we were in high school, and for some reason, I think I might have recently seen something about it on Instagram, like a reddit thread or something, and something mentioned in the thread made me want to start reading it, although I really cannot recall what. I saw other books by the same author in his different pen names, but they didn't have any books from the series.

Actually, I might just look for the e-books to download for reading on my phone, it's better for the environment, anyway. I do have to admit I'm one of those people who just prefers reading from paper than off a screen. You can say all you want but it definitely feels different. 

I recently finished watching The Legend of Korra for the first time. I definitely much prefer Avatar: The Last Airbender. Watching Korra only served to highlight how superior ATLA is lol. I went on a spree of downloading contemporary fan art of the characters, and now the two above are my phone's lock screen and home screen, respectively. It is slightly ironic because if you watched the show you'd know that Katara and Zuko do not end up together, but then again writers make mistakes with character pairings all the time, anyway. 

While procrastinating starting on my paper today, I was trying to do a stock take of my life. I think I'm kind of happy, while also being kind of stressed. I think some of the stress actually comes from the fact that I'm not all that happy, despite all that I have in life. I have all the basic necessities I could need. I'm in school, and I'm faring well in school, but it makes me question how much better I could be doing if I were settled into the same timezone as the rest of the school, instead of taking naps halfway and being half-zonked out during some of my classes. 

Putting aside the bank loan I took out for my tuition (I'm very disdainful of the interest I'm paying back, I hate doing anything that profits capitalist institutions but alas, it's more expensive to have been born poor and I cannot change that), I made sure to have some savings that would allow me to pay for rent for about a year or so in Canada, if I needed the buffer time before looking for a part-time job while studying. I tried to be an adult about all the things, and still, the visa circumstance hasn't changed for three months or so. I have shelter over my head, but this is also the same household in which I was depressed for a couple of years, because of the premarital miscarriage I had and the ensuing fallout with my mother. I am 30 and I have not yet learned the full extent of who I am and who I want to be and could be. 

I broke up with a man I loved as a person and as a friend, and it might have taken a little longer than it should have, but it's still a step above what I would have been capable of five years ago. There are men I like in my immediate vicinity of Singapore, but they are not the type of men who would do casual dating (the conversations have been had), and I don't want to hurt yet another person the way I did my most recent ex. The men I know here who would do casual dating, I have no interest in. I have friends from lululemon and beyond, who are constantly taking care of me and looking out for me, monetarily and otherwise. This fills my heart with so much joy and love, knowing that some parts of the void in my heart and soul are truly being filled with community, friendships and platonic relationships more than solely pure romance.

I'm stressed, because I don't know if the person I think I love, will be someone I can get together with again. I don't quite know if I can say I love him, I think I did, but I also didn't know him long enough to be able to say for sure. I know I liked him very much, everything that I know and remember of him, I like. The anecdotes about his parents' names starting with the same letter, and then his and his brother's names as well, the disdain for his former school being like Gossip Girl, the laidback self-assured charm he had (I don't think it was an arrogant charm, it was more like a comfortable-being-by-himself kind of charm), the cooking and baking, the path to being sustainable by growing his own vegetables, his politics and telling me about the police and how they're all bastards. Even physically, I liked holding his hand sometimes, walking next to him, being in bed with him, enjoying his warmth and everything else we did in bed. I love his tattoo and how nerdy it is. I was very fond of him, and to be honest, if I had to say it aloud, I think I'm at the point of my life where if I don't get with him (barring someone else who makes me feel as comfortable as he does), I think I'd rather just be by myself. 

And that's the other thing, I've dated enough in life, I dated people when I was travelling in LA (and fell in love once, there), I dated long-distance between Singapore and New York before I got to New York and realized, meh, Adam's a really good guy but this ain't it, chief. I've been in relationships in Singapore, I was with another really good man here, but I really don't think we were all that compatible, in retrospect. I don't know if it's going to be at all easy to find someone with the level of comfort I once had. It also sounds insane, because this is a man I haven't spoken to for two years. I mean, is he dating? I don't know where he is in life, I think he might have moved back in with his parents during the pandemic, I happened to watch an Instagram story where it looked like that was the case. Does he remember me? Did he feel as comfortable with me as I did with him? Does he remember the 109382 things I said to him or is it all just in my head? 

Is everything just happening in my head? Of course it is happening inside my head, but perhaps that doesn't have to mean that it's not real?

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