15.12.06

Friends

“I don’t use social networking sites,” I say, haughtily. My friend shakes her head vehemently. “Why are you so snobby about them anyway?” she asks. I try to explain that it’s not snobbery; it’s more like a neurosis. My friend has accounts on hi5 and myspace and regularly converses with people through MSN. Now there’s nothing wrong with this but she cannot understand why I cannot and do not regard people I ‘met’ over the internet as ‘friends’. I tell her that it’s about trust or lack thereof. I say internet contact is missing that trust you build with a person when you meet them face to face. She challenges me by asking, “What if you have spoken to them over a webcam? That’s face to face contact. Would that be good enough for you?” I shake my head, unconvinced. I’m not quite sure how to articulate my reservations about this.

I know it’s the 21st century. People meet over the internet every day and establish lasting friendships and relationships but I can’t help but feel that making friends the traditional way is better and, well, real. Some argue that internet friendships are real; you exist and they exist and just because the space you meet in doesn’t really exist, it doesn’t nullify the relationship but it is this space that my neurosis stems from. After all, I didn’t have a problem with Meg Ryan falling in love with Tom Hanks without meeting him face-to-face in Sleepless in Seattle and yet, when the same thing happened in You’ve Got Mail, I rolled my eyes and stuck two fingers down my throat (metaphorically speaking of course). I do wonder how I came to this opinion. After all, I have grown up around computers and studied the field in-depth. I, of all people, should be comfortable with virtual activity but it leaves me feeling cold.

I asked a question to my friend who has always maintained that an internet friend can be just as real and good as a “real” friend. I asked her if she would trust an internet friend to look after her children at which point she stalled and instantly realised my point. See, if I had children, a friend would be someone that I would trust to look after them and I could never leave my children with someone I never met face-to-face no matter how many times I spoke to them online or over a webcam or in a chatroom because that personal touch is missing. 

I guess it all boils down to what you call a friend. To some, a friend is someone they met a few days ago. To me, a friend is someone I truly trust. Everyone else is just secondary.

14.12.06

Either want to be with her or be her


A friend of mine recently made a mildly-derogatory remark about Natalie Portman. He soon regretted this as I launched into a tirade about how she is far better than your average two-cent actress or singer. I don’t know why but I have always been a massive (massive) fan of Natalie Portman. People bang on about her style, grace and elegance (which she has in abundance) but I respect her for different reasons. Of course she is beautiful and talented but it’s her belief that intelligence is more important than any of those things that makes her stand out. She uses her smarts instead of her sexiness. She put studying ahead of acting, she speaks multiple languages and is more content expanding her mind than falling out of a club with Hilton & Co. In short, she’s the woman I want to be.

11.12.06

*Yawn*

I think 70% of this weekend was spent underneath a duvet. As unglamorous as it may be to admit this, it’s true. I ate so much chocolate, I think I’ve got RSI from unwrapping the endless arrays of Blue Ribands. I ate, read and watched TV all from the comfort of my duvet and generally indulged in self-loathing for not having Saba Douglas-Hamilton’s life. I was even reduced to watching Deal or No Deal, which is kind of like watching a tooth get extracted but just drawn out over an hour.
And yet, when I told myself ‘You need a bigger bag’ as I stepped out this morning, I replied with:
No, I need a smaller life.

Why is it that even when I spent a weekend just resting, this sentiment rang true? Endless surveys tell us ‘young professionals’ that we work too hard, play too hard and that we will burn ourselves out before we reach 30. I’m beginning to wonder if what they say is true. Don’t get me wrong, I think of myself as a relatively well-balanced individual... Ok, scratch that. I don’t think I’m a whole lot more screwed up than the average person; I have plenty of drive, ambition, determination and all those wonderful and amazing things that make the iPod generation, the iPod generation but at times I wonder if we should just step on the brakes once in a while, just to stop ourselves from spinning.

6.12.06

Educated fleas

A friend of mine is going through the arranged marriage process and experiencing all the trials and tribulations I went through when searching for a suitable boy. I empathised with her as I know how difficult it is. I also joked that hopefully she would be untouched by the bad luck that I and others I know have had with regards to arranged marriage. That’s when I realised that I don’t know one girl who went to university and is in a happy arranged marriage. Granted, I don’t know a great many that had an arranged marriage (most of them either had a love marriage or are going through the hunting process right now) but those who have are either unhappy, dissatisfied or (and) regretful. How this didn’t register with me before, I don’t know. 

I am not a fan of arranged marriage per se but I have always respected it as one of our cultural traditions and believe that, done in the right way, it can be helpful to those who didn’t pair up at college/university. Despite my personal bad experience, I still believe that arranged marriage can work but why is it failing for so many of us? 

There has been a long-held belief by the “elders” that sending your daughters to university turns them into heathens. Is this true? Is it our fault that we’re not satisfied? Is gaining an education propelling our expectations to unreachable heights, so far beyond anything realistic that we simply cannot find someone we’re happy with? Would cutting off our education at 16 or 18 been sufficient enough to match us up and facilitate happily-ever-after? Have I polluted my mind simply by expanding it?

iPod & Apple

It’s official. My iPod is numbing my brain. I was fiddling with it, skipping over Missy’s ‘One Minute Man’ (too graphic first thing in the morning… yes, even for me) and I walked straight out of the house without my bag, which contains my phone, keys and purse. This meant that I couldn’t buy my usual chocolate brownie on the way to work, which means I’m in a bad mood and I’m starving (more than usual). I may even be forced to ingest the apple that’s been festering in a Tesco bag on my desk since Monday morning. Bah!

1.12.06

2006 will be a GOOD year

That was my mantra at the beginning of this year. 2005 had been so inconsequential; it seemed that the whole year could be cut out of my life and still leave me in the same place and same position so I was determined to get things done in 2006. Turns out it became a crazy, messy year with sweeping highs and equal lows but here I am, intact and content. 

The lows included stuff that most of you already know about. The highs included holding my debut novel in my hands for the first time (which was amazing), travelling (which I love) and gaining my independence.

Overall, it has been a good year. Or, at the very least, a year for new things. Along with getting my novel published, I managed to avoid the dentist for another year (I do have pretty teeth though, honest), I learnt to cook (sort of) and one of my best friend’s got engaged. I discovered Outlandish, improved my navigation skills (but only marginally) and received hate mail for the first time (but some fan mail too :). I pierced my ears and let the holes close again as a small act of rebellion against the Asian Woman Extraordinaire that everyone was trying to mould me into. But most importantly, I questioned myself and my decisions. I asked myself how I could write a book judging a character too cowardly to stand up for herself and yet indulge in the same cowardice. I questioned how I could write about becoming a “tall woman” and yet bow to the expectations of everyone around me, spurning my own in the process. And finally, I decided to make myself happy. Yes, it was selfish and yes, it broke a few hearts but here I am: intact and content. 

2007 will be a BETTER year.

Smile

A few days ago, a young Asian girl smiled at me; just a passing smile that you may shoot at a stranger who you make eye contact with. I was so taken aback that I looked at her in a half smile, half stunned-duck kind of way. Why was I taken aback? Because I can truly say that no young Asian female stranger has ever, ever smiled at me. Conversely, I don’t think I have ever smiled at one either. Why am I highlighting this? To show that Asian girls are just so damned bitchy. I know that’s generalising but the vast majority of them (us) are.

Members of the poker-straight-hair, jeans-tucked-in-boots brigade are readily equipped with dirty looks that could floor each other if they had physical force. When I walk down the street with my 16-year-old sister, I can see her assessing every single Asian girl that walks by and they engage in some sort of evil stare-out. Why are we all such cows? It’s not like we’re out to steal each other’s boyfriends/jobs/friends/cred so what’s with all the mascara-caked evil eyes? Smile for Christ’s sake. I promise I’ll smile back without a trace of my stunned-duck expression. Now let’s all hold hands and sing. 

Kumbaya, m’lord. Kumbaya.