Random Thoughts


In the movie Before Sunset, Jesse told Celine a research conducted by some American sociologist.  Their finding?  Old habit die hard.  Or in Jesse’s words: if you are a happy, jovial person, you will still be a happy jovial person, 6 months after you lost your legs in a car accident; if you are a bitter, obnoxious person, you will still be as bitter and obnoxious as ever even if you won a lottery. 

The point is, after you have taken in the changes in the enviornment or circumstances that life has thrown upon you, you are pretty much back to the same old you.  So much for sudden enlightenment.

Yet we often hear the stories of people who were forever transformed by their experience.  The experience that shook their core, and changed the way they look at and  live their life completely.   

We were told that we could be whoever and whatever we want.  We were told that the society we live in make us what we are.  We were told that life is a subsequence of compromises.  We were told asking “What I want” is the most responsible way to live.  We live in contradictions and opposites.

I guess what I am saying is, I would really like to change the way I live my life.  But the older we get, the harder to change.  We lose our free spirits to old habits.

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The first time I heard about, or rather read about “German Expressionism” was from one of Kurt Vonnegut’s books.  I believe it was “Blue Beard”.  So yea, you can say that I am not very “art-savvy” if this is a correct expression.  But Bob Dylan’s paintings got me interested in this art form.  Again, I apologize for my cultural ignorance.  I cannot drop big names for I don’t know any.  So bear with me: Bob Dylan got me interested in German Expressionism.

And hooray to the almighty google!  I found a good introduction to German Expressionism.  Read this: German Expressionism is perhaps the most complex, diverse and saddest movement ever to be included in the history of Modern Art.  What contributed to its sadness however, the author didn’t elaborate.  Something in the German air, I suppose.  

Remember the Monty Python skid on the funniest joke in the world?  During WWII,  the British came up with a joke that was so funny that it literally killed.  The Germans tried to come up with their killer joke, but realized they just didn’t have the funny bone. 

I suspect that Kurt Vonnegut was influenced by German Expressionism.  All of his works have an air of sadness, his jokes have a bitter after taste.  This is a man suffered for years from depression while writing the most brilliant satires on life, people and the universe.  Like Bob Dylan, he wasn’t at ease with his time.  Who can blame him? 

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Ping Pang has become what basketball is to African Americans athletes for Chinese players, especially those born in the mainland.  It’s their social and economic ladder, it’s their passport to the world.  

“At last year’s women’s World Cup in Chengdu , 13 of the 16 players competing were Chinese, representing the mainland, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, Australia, Austria, the United States, the Dominican Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the current World Championships in Guangzhou, 19 of the 48 teams featured mainland-born players,” reported South China Morning Post.   

But now The International Table Tennis Federation is banning those who switched countries from major events they organize.  Their rationale obvious: to keep the top players in their origin countries, and make sure they think twice before switching countries.  Hmmm, I wonder which country would benefit the most from this?  Which country has the most talented players? 

When the world (China particularly) seems increasingly embracing the idea of free market which entails the free flow of people, capital and goods, you hear news like this and couldn’t help but wondering: “huh?”     

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These postcards are proudly displayed by a professor at The University of Hong Kong, on one of her office windows.  I had the urge of knocking on the door many times, but sadly never did.  

I just wanted to ask her how I can get my hands on some of them.  Better get a feminist friend first or a sexist friend first?  Which one of them would derive more pleasure in sending these postcards to me? 

I’ve been listening to Nina Simone for several years now.  Still, her music never ceases to amaze me.  No matter how I feel at a particular moment, there is always a song of hers that suits my mood.  Right now, the song would be “Just In Time”.  I love the scene in “Before Sunset” where Jesse met Celine nine years later after their first chance encounter in Vienna, with Nina’s soulful voice in the background.

Nine years ago, both of them were young and full of hope; nine years later, one was unhappily married, the other lost ability to love.  Is this the second chance?  Just in time?

It gives me hope and sends a chill up my spine at the same time, this little movie.  The promising aspect is that many years have passed, they still could not forget about each other, and their 24 hours in Vienna.  It scares me at the same time because it shows that love – no matter how strong it is – is never enough.  We settle not for the best, but the most convenient.  How many human relationships are genuine, and how many are there simply because “they are there”?  And how many survived not because they actually stood the test of time, but because they were convenient? 

How many are “just in time”?    

Another friend is leaving Hong Kong.  The pool of people whom I can have a decent conversation with is shrinking.  Not helping for someone who is ready to leave but has to stay for a little while. 

It keeps raining.  Day and night.  The people in the market continue to go about their life, their work, in this coldness.  You cannot not respect them.  A lot can be learnt from these hard-working people, especially for someone born in the 1980s – the spoiled generation.  I am trying. 

But sometimes you realize that it is not good enough.  What do you do at this point?  Accept it as it is – you’ve tried your best after-all?  Or go the extra miles to make it better?  I know the answer.  Everyone does.  But there is this moment when you think “what if I am not good enough?”, there is this moment you have self-doubt.  How do you deal with these moments?  How do you regain your self-confidence when someone just told you in your face that you are just not good enough? 

We all think we are great.  But at which point in our life do we realize that maybe we are just average?  We all like to think we are someone special, but is that ever true?  What makes us special anyway?  Where does this self-confidence come from? How could we know where we stand?  Folks who claim they have all the answers, please help out, your sister is lost here.

For the rest of us, I guess we just have to deal.  We will get through this, whatever it is.           

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When you really wanna slap – rather – bitch slap this jerk, but can’t, what would you do? 

Would you ask him to shut the fuck (yes, no more self-censorship) up and quit acting like a snobby asshole?  Would you tell him that you don’t want to look at him for he makes you sick?  

I wish there is this “delete” button, so you can just erase jerks like him out of your life.  I bet it works way better than therapy.  Or better yet, press the “disappear” button, and you are out of this world, this dimension, this universe. 

I am fucking sick of all these crap here.

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