Letting Go of a Hobby

Hey, remember those piano lessons you took when you were 6, then stopped after 3 years? Remember how passionate you were about it at that time, how much you wanted your fingers to dance across the keys just like the pianist you saw on stage? Or perhaps you were a swimmer, spending 4-5 hours every week in the pool. Over the years, the few hours were reduced to just 2 hours a week and eventually none at all. I’m sure this situation is relatable to many of you. We have all, at some point in our lives, quit doing what we have always been doing, breaking the regularity that had bound us down.

The sad truth is conventional wisdom has it that our greatest weakness lies in giving up, that we should never quit but instead persevere because of the benefits we will reap in the future. However, there are many reasons as to why one will give up a hobby, some of these reasons can disprove the claim that giving up is always negative.

One reason you picked up that hobby might be due to pressure from your parents or it may be due to impulse. Subsequently, you realised that it is not the thing for you, the initial excitement and passion cool off, the constant repetition has become a bore and you’re just continuing it for the sake of it. At this point, these signs should serve as warning for what is about to come. Perhaps it would be best to give it up and pursue something else you would be happier doing, an activity that you truly find delight in. In this case, quitting is a necessary first step to rebooting and redefining your goals and knowing what you want from life.

After years of learning and practice, you may feel that you have fulfilled yourself and no longer want to maintain the hobby. Perhaps you have achieved a diploma for piano, you can converse in Japanese, you you’ve received three stars in kayaking. Depending on the individual, we each have a different goal in mind, some may be more ambitious and others may be more realistic, either way, once we have reached a certain level, we will evaluate the option of further developing our skills. Of course, there is no harm in sharpening and refining our current skills if we are sure of our interests, however, there is also nothing wrong with remaining at the same level. Suppose all we wanted was to learn a basic skill, it is alright to stop and pick up another interest after reaching our goal. Who knows, you may go back to it a few years down the road, reviving the passion you once had.

The harsh reality is, our society stigmatizes people who give up. Quitting is seen as weak, as a lack of passion or as personal failure. In my opinion, cultivating the ability to quit frees us from the hopeless pursuit of the unattainable, and gives us the opportunity to commit to new, satisfying goals. No, I am not encouraging you to give up your current hobbies, but it is always good to stop and reflect on what we truly want, whether we see ourselves still enjoying the same activity ten, twenty years down the road. There should be zero shame in giving up a fight you can’t win or in dropping a goal that no longer applies to you. I truly hope that you will occasionally reevaluate what you’re doing, know why you do what you do and most importantly, follow your heart when deciding the next step.

SJWs of the Internet Age

The acronym SJW would probably elicit a reaction of poorly masked confusion followed by a pretentious response of ‘Hmm, I’ve heard it before.’ and then procedure to go on Urban Dictionary to find the meaning of this elusive slang. Or perhaps you are true to yourself and admit that you have never heard of such a thing and then ask what it’s supposed to mean!

Some may contend that the definition of the label is a matter of age and perspective, but to avid users of Tumblr, Twitter and Reddit, SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) is a derogatory term for bigoted and ostentatious activists on social media. As the name suggests, such internet users argue in the name of upholding social justice in a ‘politically correct’ manner.

SJWs are generally young, ignorant internet users who are freshly exposed to the vast ocean of opinions revolving around complex world issues, and in a haze of severe confusion and self-righteousness, proceed to assert their opinions based on what they deem as the ‘general’ consensus. Of course, such ideas tend to end up convoluted and ridiculous, as they fail to fully grasp and process the concept. However, SJWs continue to push their beliefs on everyone else, and proceed to put down all who disagree. Such a phenomenon is only present in the 21st century, corresponding to the rise of the internet as a platform where the ‘minority’ is entitled to express their ‘unpopular’ opinions and find large numbers of people who think the same way (woefully). *DISCLAIMER* Now now, I am not dissing the internet (the double edged sword and all that mumbo jumbo), but this is an article that will be focusing on the idiocy that reveals itself as shamelessly and inevitably as a pimple on a pubescent teenager as a result of the pore (of logic, I believe) clogging effect the internet has on such users.

sgvhaii

The most rampant kind are those that hide behind the safety blanket of feminism. Another disclaimer (because as aforementioned, people get offended by most things), feminism itself as an ideology is not dangerous, it is actually meant to be empowering, but you know humans, creating drama and chaos whenever and wherever… Oftentimes, such SJWs literally act like warriors defending the attacks on their oh-so-noble cause by avidly monitoring internet platforms with a hawk eye for anyone who even dares let out a peep of anything vaguely anti-feminist. The worst thing is, the people they select to attack are hardly condemning women’s rights!

For example, Fred would comment sincerely on a girl’s Instagram post that he thought she looked nicer in a skirt than in pants, and Julie, a wild SJW feminist patrolling the social media, hones in on that comment (how she found it remains a mystery) and proceeds to gather her whole colony of fellow SJW feminists to attack poor, innocent, harmless Fred with a barrage of sexist (ooh, ironic) comments, and a history lesson on how females in the 1900s had to fight for their rights to wear trousers as it was regarded by the patriarchal society as inappropriate and promiscuous. Kudos to feminism, but such open and pointless hostility implies that they are perhaps missing the point completely. Feminism is meant to be the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes, with first, second and third waves- it is rather complex, not to mention rapidly evolving as the divide between first world and third world widens. The boundaries of feminism have been pushed to heavy subjectivity, hence some may not ascribe to the same ideals of feminism others do, and that is perfectly fine. However, SJWs do not understand the concept of agreeing to disagree, rather they try to shove their personal beliefs up your nasal cavity and down your throat, if you, a. Do not subscribe to the idea of feminism in the first place for whatever reason; b. Disapprove of that particular person’s interpretation of the ideology.

There are countless other examples of social justice warrior bigotry; those who call culture appropriation without awareness of the line between appreciation and appropriation, those who deem everything racist when the actual problem has nothing to do with race (rather it is set in a context of race), the list goes on.

The hypocrisy in SJWs lies in the core issue that they advocate against, because in believing that minorities are perpetually oppressed and marginalised – by not even acknowledging the progress their movement has made – they are spreading the plague of hatred amongst more open minded and logical beings, not to mention that such a belief is incredibly degrading and utterly useless in promoting their originally empowering ideologies! They attach hateful labels to those do not think in the same way as they do and their actions communicate the exact opposite of what they claim to stand for. Do these people really care about putting an end to discrimination? I think not!

“Liberals promote their peace, love and equality with violence, vandalism, intolerance and rage. And you wonder why it is so hard to take them seriously?”~ a succinct internet user

A third disclaimer, this article is merely a product of the experiences and opinions of yours truly. It does not imply that whatever written is fact and respectful disagreements are always welcome. It also does not imply that attacking people and dismissing them as SJWs automatically puts you on a pedestal above them. That is simply hypocritical and we are not about hypocrisy here. Now, this article is not meant to put down whatever you believe in, rather, it is an opportunity for introspection. Are you being overzealous and hence irrational in your noble mission to promote what you believe is right? Are you hurling accusations at your peers and being hypersensitive to what people do and say? Are you promoting hostility while claiming to do otherwise? If you are, please reflect on what you are espousing, why you are doing so, and if your actions are analogous and beneficial to your cause. If not, carry on with your lives and spread the vibes you want to spread! Goodbye! 😉  

Who am i ?

How much of me is me?

Who am i really.

There comes a time when we truly ask ourselves, do i really know who i am?

Am i me? Or am i simply playing a character?

As I quote Shakespeare

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.”

(As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7)

We encounter many social interactions in our lifetime. We enter and exit many people’s lives as they do likewise, each encounter with a different response. [This is described as by sociologist Erving Goffman (1959) as a dramaturgical approach, whereby the way we behave is determined by the place, time and setting.]

I could be kind and forgiving to a stranger but hold a 5 year grudge because my brother ate my sandwich.

In school I am prim and proper, dressed well, with manners and values. However as soon as I reach home, I change into my lup sup (rubbish) pants and oversized shirt, lie on the couch with legs wide open.

Here you can see that we when we are in school we play our role of a student. We don our stage costume (uniform) enter the stage (school) and perform for the audience (peers and teachers). Our home is akin to the backstage of the set play, where we are able to remove our masks.

But why do we don a mask? A possible reason is that we behave a certain way in a certain setting to survive. We all have an instinct to survive. We take on roles such as the nice guy. From experience we know that when you are nice, people are less likely to target you and others are more willing to help you. This in a sense aids us in our survival in society as we turn potential enemies into allies.

Another reason is to maintain social order. We play out the roles given to us and we continue to do so in that setting, as in doing so we maintain social order. Imagine one day you as a student stopped behaving like a student but instead, a teacher. You call them by their names and ask them about work related documents. It disrupts the order of things. People are taken aback and find it difficult to respond as the cycle has been broken. You are essentially a character who has gone rogue, diverging from the script and confusing the rest of the actors, instilling panic on the stage.

Back to the question: Is it (my roles) in my personality?

That really depends. For some it is innate; for others the role changes us. There are times when the roles we play shape our personality. Such roles can even change the way we think, feel and perceive the world around us. Specific roles require us to have a certain type of personality. Maybe being a psychologist requires you to be patient while being a police officer requires you to be authoritative. Such individuals may not possess such traits in the beginning but they could very well grow to fit the shape of the mask. Previously his first response to danger would be to run. However being a police officer has somehow etched a huge sense of responsibility towards others into his personality. He helps others to flee while himself staying behind to control the situation. That responsibility for others that he feels has changed the decisions he made and will make.

We act out the roles allocated to us by society. One which we follow to survive and maintain social order. Some require us to adapt to fit the bill, others inadvertently shape the way we think and feel, slowly making its way into our personality. So for your next social encounter, ask yourselves what mask am I wearing today?

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Book Thief is a story about the life of Liesel Merminger, an orphan living in Germany during World War 2. As I presume you all know, Germany is infamous for the Holocaust, where millions of Jews were persecuted and killed. In a dramatic twist of events, Liesel and her adopted family finds a Jewish man on their doorstep, whom they cared for as he lived under the basement. Liesel scratches out a meagre existence for herself by stealing something that she can’t resist — books. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with the Jewish man and her neighbours.

As we progress through the book, Liesel comes to understand the power of words, as being able to read not only empowers her, but it also empowers others. The book is also full of visually strong moments: the literal “whitewashing” of a bad book (Mein Kampf) into a good one, the young Jew’s fantasy boxing fight with Hitler. And if that does not convince you to read the book, the interesting thing is: the whole story is narrated by and told in the point of view of Death.

In summary, this is an unforgettable story of the ability of books to feed the soul.

The Girl

*WARNING DISCLAIMER* This post is a creative piece hence contains some perturbing content. Read at your own discretion.

The girl found herself in her room. What she was doing there in the first place, she did not know. However what she did remember was a sudden blinding flash of light as the car hit her at full force. She must be dead.

Her room was the same as usual: simple furniture from Ikea, a desk drowning in piles of school stuff, posters taped to the pink walls and her beloved photographs lined up side by side in the glass cabinet. Her breathing ceased when her eyes rest upon a dark presence at the corner in front of her bathroom door. Draped in a pitch-black cloak from head to toe, the Grim Reaper seemed to be waiting for her arrival.

“Who are you? Where am I?” the girl rubbed her arms frantically back and forth to keep warm in the freezing temperature.

“The Grim Reaper. You are here and nowhere; a place in between life and death,” while the Grim Reaper’s lips remain unmoving, she could hear his voice clearly, as though it’s whispering into her ear.

Frightened out of her wits, the girl squeaked, “Why are you here?”

“I’ve come here to prepare you,” the Grim Reaper’s unblinking eyes flooded her soul with dread.

A pause. “For?”

“Your beginning of your end.”

“My beginning… my end…?” The girl’s mind was a complicated mess of whirling thoughts; unable to comprehend the oxymoron. She was dead; that’s for sure. However, the Grim Reaper’s presence and his unfathomable words did not make any sense whatsoever.

Don’t the dead end up in Heaven? Why was she stuck in this transition between ‘here and nowhere’ instead?

“Are you preparing me for my afterlife?”

“No,” its voice drifted eerily across the room, “I am preparing you for eternal oblivion.”

The girl’s blood ran cold.

Voice trembling, she choked out, “There is nothing after death? No Heaven, no Hell? No God?”

“No. There is only you and me,” the Grim Reaper gazed at her coolly.

“You liar!” the girl screamed, dropping to her knees as her feet gave way, “You liar! G- god will save me; God loves me; he will bring me there to live among angels!”

Silence.

It only seemed to grow and grow; its shadows unfurling in tentacles about the room.

Desperate, the girl crawled over to the Grim Reaper, tugging at the ends of its cloak. “What can I do? What should I do? I need to go back; I need to set things right. I need to say goodbye…”

The Grim Reaper cast its empty eyes at her. Pointing its shrivelled, decaying finger at the photos behind the glass door, he said, “Remember while you can.”

The girl immediately flung open the glass door and hugged the precious photos to her chest; cradling them as she collapsed onto the floor. Her vision blurring, she took a long, last, good look at her family and friends. She could have said goodbye. She could have thanked them. She could have utter those three words- I love you- to them when it was possible to. She should have cherished those memories when she was alive.

Now she could not.

“I’m ready,” she finally stood up after a long silence.

The Grim Reaper turned to the closed door behind him, which, on a normal day when she was alive, leads straight to the bathroom. With a slight push, the plastic door folded in, revealing what lies beyond.

No light, no darkness, no white, no black, just nothing.

Nothing.

An endless pit of eternal oblivion.

With tears streaming down her face, the girl took the first step.

“My beginning of my end.”