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!”


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.


An endless pit of eternal oblivion.

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

“My beginning of my end.”