In which the bunny finds tea

Yea, I’m just bad with titles.

Actually, my brain forgot what I wanted to write about the moment I clicked on the title button.

Oh okay I just retraced my mental steps and remembered.

Gamify your life app.

SOMEONE OUT THERE, STEAL THIS IDEA AND DO IT, I MEANT IT, DO IT!

We are no in the era of high demands, of others, of the world and of ourselves.

I don’t know, to me there’s something a little iffy about that.

Yes, technically, you CAN, with the power of technology, finish say…6 tasks a day.

But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

We keep inventing new tools to help us do more in a day.

I always thought the objective of new tools was to help us finish the same amount of work, FASTER, aka DO LESS.

I get it, improving productivity is a great thing, I love it too, but there comes a point whereby IT’S JUST FUCKING RIDICULOUS THAT YOU’RE STUFFING YOUR DAY FULL OF THINGS TO DO THAT WILL EVER END.

So where was I going with this again?

Oh right, gamification.

We are basically a generation of extremely demanding people, and to add salt to the wound, WE AREN’T GETTING REWARDED FOR MEETING DEMANDS.

That’s pretty shitty of us isn’t it, bad enough we already have that attitude to others when they do something nice, but even to ourselves!?

Yes all you self-demanding people, I’m looking at you.

Honestly, work should be like food,you shouldn’t work till you’re stuffed, leaving some breathing space in your daily life is actually a good thing.

BUT I AM DIGRESSING AGAIN. Dammit brain, and you just STAY FOCUSED.

Ahem.

Anyways, I think  there should be an app to gamify your life.

It’ll be amazing for busy, self-demanding, stressed and depressed people.

You have no idea (or maybe you do) how much of an achievement it is for a depressed person to just make it out of the house and back without some kind of mental breakdown. Or for a workaholic to keep to a work-life balanced lifestyle.

And now, while I am the sort that believes in the masochistic ways to self-discipline, I don’t see why these people shouldn’t be awarded for doing good.

Why is our reward for people doing well to GIVE THEM MORE THINGS TO DO.

So yes, a gamification app, allow the person to input daily quests and missions, and for accomplishing it, assign EXP.

Once the person hits a certain EXP/levels, they unlock rewards.

Now here comes the awesome part, WORK WITH REAL LIFE COMPANIES/SHOPS/RESTAURANTS.

We can work on the calculation of redemption of points and rewards and level-up system another time, but basically, imagine, you receive a silly 20% discount voucher at the grocery store you usually shop from just for being disciplined enough to do your daily exercises! Or for finishing your essay on-time you get a free testing kit of facial products? And amp it up, whenever someone levels up, send them a curated box! For really awesome achievements, free gifts are in order, like say you finished 10000 missions, you win 2 free movie tickets.

Stuff like that.

You can even get your user to customize and input what they like and normally use/interests etc. (there’s a word for all this..oh right, PROFILE), and the app can tailor rewards around the person’s profile.

For the sponsors/advertisers/reward providers, they now can get their products/services out there (trial leads to action?) and discount vouchers lead to increased sale which isn’t a bad trade-off. For the users, now they’re being rewarded realistically (small savings in daily life adds up k!) and…well…it’ll make you happy and your day less shitty? You have more motivation to do stuff?

I don’t know, you don’t always need big things to make you happy.

Sometimes small things are enough.

Pardon my language

Pardon my language but, what the fuck am I supposed to do?

I am putting myself in a situation that is not contributing towards my life goals AT ALL, is not only stressing me out but burning me out and giving me depression.

I can find no solution.

I cannot even emo in peace because I end up having to comfort others.

Currently, the only thing I know how to do is to self-destruct.

As usual, and pardon goddamn dramatics, I have no one to go to (oh trust me I have tried), no one can help me and I just want to blow up the world, or myself.

I think I’m just trying to numb myself enough so I can somehow survive this entire ordeal.

Because in all honesty, I don’t want to take shit from life anymore.

I don’t want to be mature, or understanding or accepting or zen or ANYTHING.

I have done so, continuously, just hung on, kept going.

I AM SO DONE TAKING SHIT.

I just want to be happy.

Why do I even need to explain myself to anyone.

Now pardon me while I find ways to make it happen.

Education, you don’t get what you pay for

In a consumerist society, the idea that you not getting what you pay for seems preposterous.

But that’s the case with education.

How in the world of nine hells is this acceptable?

Lets put qualification aside, the idea that you need to be qualifying and deserving of good education is already ridiculous on it’s own.

But yes, nearly all universities have the same tuition, more or less, but do they offer the same quality of education?

Nope.

Not at all.

Of course we can’t expect all teachers to be equally good because…different teachers are suited for different students. There’s too much human error in this situation to allow schools to standardize education anyways.

But then there’s even a bigger problem, see we are PAYING for our education.

We basically customers.

Do you buy dresses to large for you?

No.

Do you pay for shoes that are too big for you?

No.

So why on earth is it acceptable that we are paying for education unsuitable for us?

Here we are, paying hundreds and thousands of dollars to pay to get pissed off, upset and learn nothing?

We pay to be educated, to be taught, to learn things.

Instead we pay to get our futures risked, it’s a gamble.

You don’t know if you’ll draw a good professor or not, but you pay either way, and the worst part is.

You can return an oversized dress.

You can’t get refund on your education.

You can’t walk out of your class, drop it and take something else.

So you’re basically paying someone to fuck you over.

How is this acceptable?

The one

We all have a million and one things that we would like to do, want to do.

But how do we know that it’s the ONE?

In fact, how do we know that the person we are with is THE one?

The answer to both questions is unsurprisingly, one and the same.

Remember when I wrote (some undefined amount of time ago that even I can’t remember) that true freedom is being able to choose your bindings?

That is how you know.

By asking yourself ‘are you willing to bind yourself to this?’

If it truly is your dream, your passion, you’d be willing to. Even if it means giving some things up, because it’s worth it and it’s a sacrifice you’re happy to make.

In fact, can it really be called a binding if you enjoy being bound to it?

(Of course, with marriage comes divorce, should you find that one day, you don’t want to be bound by what you’ve chosen…well it’s not like it’s set in stone. Feel free to break free and move onto greener pastures. Don’t stress about finding THE ONE anything, please.)

Personal rant ahead , you’ve been warned.

I’m one of those people who has many things she’d like to do, but I guess I do have a bit if a commitment problem.

I refuse to do anything that’ll tie me down in the long term.

I was almost worried, does this mean I can’t commit at all? Then I realized, themed entertainment, my true passion, is something I really don’t mind being tied down to.

Same with kids, I don’t mind being bound to my kid, to parenthood.

I do however mind being bound to another person, to marriage. Perhaps one day someone will come along and offer enough freedom that being bound to them is enjoyable. Maybe.

Everyone’s preferred bindings are different.

What makes everyone happy is different.

It’s important to remember that when giving advice to people.

Hey, it’s me, your future mom again

Hey my future kid, it’s me, your mom again.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m writing this letter (provided that I somehow managed to dig this out from my blog years from now and letting you read it; PS it’s currently 7th May 2015. Yea I think ahead).

Well you have Mr Ken Robinson for that. (Google him please)

If all goes according to plan, you should be a pretty quirky kid because you have a quirky mom who believes in a somewhat liberal parenting method (please tell me I do, if I don’t, show this to myself so that past me can tell future me how horribly disappointed she is in this exceptionally un-unicornish/wise cactusish behavior).

Where was I going with this? Oh right, your education.

So Mr Ken Robinson was going on about how schools are only encouraged to find out about what children can do across a very narrow spectrum…and I immediately thought of how, as a parent, I’ll make sure to not put you through that, because god knows what you’d be good at.

Hopefully, the schools 20 years in the future are a bit more liberal about subjects and areas of expertise than they are now. Somehow, I doubt it, but hey all this TED talk should be influencing SOMETHING right? Nevertheless, in which case the education is still stupid as hell, chances are I had you homeschooled or put through some pretty unique education, one that would greatly please my INFJ-ness and probably gave you a really weird childhood that made it incredibly hard to relate to other kids. It’s okay, you’ll thank me one day. (What, did you really think I was going to apologize for being awesome?)

Anyways, I want you to know that everyone’s good at something. Granted, there’s always going to be someone better at your something than you are, but that’s how the world works, but no one is exactly like you, you’re special (whether that’s a good special or a bad special….that’s a toss-up).

I hope that as your parent, I remembered to look at you for who you are and unearthed the things you are good at and helped you hone them. Hopefully you like doing what you’re good at, because your mom is very good at paperwork and she does not like it. I chose to do something I love rather than what I’m good at, I’m sure I managed to work my strengths into whatever I chose to do, but yea, hone your skills but follow your passion. (Yes, roll your eyes because I probably gave you this follow your passion speech a gazillion times knowing me…)

You know, mom had many friends who were brilliant at things that weren’t part of the education system? To be fair that can’t turn EVERYTHING into a subject, they can try but some obscure thing will always elude them. I mean, ‘randomness’ is sort of a hard subject to teach, so is ‘dramatic flair’ and I guess other more normal stuff like human observation, bartending, cooking, sewing etc. (Yes, I know home ec is a subject, but it’s not a subject subject).

Basically what I’m getting at is that lots of people are good at stuff outside of academics, and the world needs all sorts of people. I like to watch Man at Arms:REFORGED and be amazed by blacksmith. They sure as hell don’t teach that in school. Who knows, maybe you will be talented in blacksmithing…but you also may never find out if you’ve never been exposed to it.

I hope (and this part is really more for me than you) that I have exposed you to as many things as humanly possible so that you’d have had the chance to find your strengths and talents and hone them to help you achieve your dream in life.

This however is not a free pass for you to not try and learn more things or work hard on things you’re bad at, there’s no such thing as useless skills or knowledge. You don’t have to be good at everything but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know about as many things as possible.

There’s nothing worse than ignorance, not only because it makes you a bigoted idiot but because in hinders your ability to enjoy life.

The world is a big place. It’s filled with so many different things, some good, some bad. As far as I know, you only live once, you only get one chance to explore this world. Ignorance makes exploring this world hard. It may feel safe sometimes, but dammit you came to this world to experience life, and that’s what you’re going to do even if you fall down and see some bad things along the way. Trust me, they’ll help you appreciate the good more. I know you’re strong enough to do that. I gave birth to you.

And I guess I’ll be signing off here.

Stay awesome.

Love
Mum.

Lisbon Adventure Day 2+3

So as you may have noticed, I missed a day of blogging.

I HAVE A VALID EXCUSE.

The after party ended around 2am. And you don’t want me to blog while I’m borderline drunk.

So where should I start, lets start with the bad, because I like to end things on a high note.

I’m experiencing the post-conference withdrawal now.

It’s a combination of being alone and having no one to share all this *gestures at the air*, this being the whole lisbon conference experience, with, suddenly being denied (good) human contact after like an intensive socializing session and having spent all HP.

I want to leave but I don’t want to leave. Well I want to go home but I don’t want to return to a country that’s full of people whom I can”t really talk to. But to be honest staying won’t change anything either because it’s not LISBON people I miss, it’s the people at the conference, and they are from all over the world.

This leads to my mild bout of self-kicking because, yes I’m a venus Libra, but I can only manage Ms. Social-butterfly in flashes. Once my HP draws blank…well it’s back to being the socially awkward introvert. It honestly doesn’t help that my INFJ ‘I think I’ve shared too much’ anxiety is flaring up. Rationally I know that I probably did not embarrass myself in any way and left a pretty good impression, I’m just not a social person, I suck at keeping in contact with people and networking and all that. I’m a great conversationalist, I can talk to anyone and have a good time doing so, but actually establishing a relationship? That part is awkward as hell to me. So here I am, being upset at myself for this dimension of social awkwardness, though to be fair, I think I did very well already. And now the wise cactus in me is coming out to counsel the silly emo me.

If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be, granted maybe if I tried harder or did something else I might have established more networks and friendships, but LETS FACE IT, I am a moon bottle, these bonds are always loose on us. And the likelihood of finding some kind of actual friendship at an international conference that lasted a grand total of 1 day is slim to none. So really, all this lingering sadness is more of a sad resignation towards the fact that potential friendships have slipped away. (And the cynical chocomon would like to point out that chances are if you spent more time with all these people you’d start not liking them so much, cause, introvert corn.) So, focus on the good, you’ve had great conversations, met lots of people, had your eyes opened to more of the world, collected more stories…all that is above and beyond the objectives you set you achieve! (Not to mention priceless) If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, you’ll meet all the right people again some day, some time. You’ve tried. Now it’s time to go back to your hermit cave and use all those inspiration you just got!

…That and, you already know you’re a weird person (case in point you’re talking to yourself in third person right now), anyone who doesn’t find that weirdness endearing are not meant to be friends, end of story.

Phew, I feel so much better after playing my own shrink.

So moving on, THE CONFERENCE.

It is money well-spent. Like, more than well-spent.

Where do I start? I don’t really want go into details of the content because I have separate notes and reflections for that. So I guess I’ll start with why the whole thing was so worth it.

First is definitely the people. I kind of feel like I got put into my place, but at the same time it’s so eye-opening. The world is so big. There are all sorts of people. Makes you want to aim higher, also makes you feel like the world is full of amazing stories and people. Coming from Asia, I’ve opened my eyes to so much more of European way of life now, whether or not it’s my cup of tea is another story. But that’s the point, step out of your comfort zone and see what’s out there. All these people, I would never have the chance to meet them normally, not putting myself down, I’m just not at a station where I would normally encounter these people, and a lot of them are better than me in many ways (not saying that I don’t have my own awesomeness), and decidedly more successful. So being given a chance to meet all these people, talk to them and be treated like an equal is amazing. A little intimidating, but amazing.

Second is the indirect things I’ve learnt. I have so many ideas for the TEDxSentosa Conference now and even more ideas for the company. More than that, I’m more certain about what I want to do now. At first I thought I would like to work for Monocle, but seeing them in person, I realize I don’t. They want to inspire doers, they won’t actually do anything despite all their bright ideas, they want someone to take those ideas and do it. And guess what, I’m a doer. I want to do things. Of course, they’re looking at more influential people, bigger figures than me. But hey, inspiration is free domain, even if what I can do is TINY, there are no rules saying I can’t do it. In my book, small change is better than no change. So yea, I’m going to take all the ideas I’ve learnt and come up with and slowly realize them!

The third thing isn’t really related to the conference, not directly. But this trip has allowed me to do so much soul searching. I’ve come to realize how insanely multi-dimensional I am. Like seriously, I am like a positive advocate/activist, gamer, foodie, otaku who speaks 5 languages, likes music, dance and singing, does photogrpahy and videography and is interested in health, urban planning and themed entertainment. Oh and is also a writer. Yea…talk about jack of all trades master of none. But yea, that’s not the main soul-searching. The main soul-searching is really just bonding with myself. Experiencing my human condition, of loneliness, fear, excitement etc. Finding out where the edges of me end and the rest of the world starts. I’ve come to accept more of my flaws, improved some of them and appreciate myself that much more. And that is priceless. I’d like to think that I have a very good relationship with myself, which is very important for hyper self-aware people such as myself.

I have also come to realize I don’t know what to do when faced with interest from the opposite sex. On one hand flirting is fun, on the other hand I don’t want to lead people on…I don”t quite know what to do when it’s not clear-cut. I get on fine if I know the exact intentions, but when the intentions are vague…I either over-read or under-read it and…either way it ends up awkward. I guess I’m confined to gender neutral interactions forever.

Moving on! SIGHTS AND SOUNDS!

I walked 10km today. Walked from Cafe Lisboa to the beach and walked all along the beach until the art museum and all the way up back to the hotel. I know it’s short, really short, just 3 hours, but I feel like I’ve seen more of Lisbon and felt more of it than people sightseeing, visiting attractions and eating the foods. Honestly, I don’t want to do those things because I want to share those experiences with someone and there is no one at the moment. So instead I chose to ‘sight-see’ in a way that only I can do when I’m alone. Walk. Getting lost in a foreign city, watching its stones disappear under your feet really helps you get a feel for the place. I see where all the neighbourhoods connect and transit into each other. From the tourist areas to the everyday residential district, to the more up-class residential areas and back to the tourist area. I see how their people live, the types of people that lives in the folds of this city, I’ve seen the city beyond its gloss, and it’s inspiring. So much of Lisbon isn’t perfect but it’s still so charming, so real. And so different. It’s refreshing. I won’t live here, but I wouldn’t mind visiting for a few days and experiencing the city and its people again. I feel like I understand Europe more now, after that 3 hours. I think this level of understanding and experiencing beats visiting ancient castles and eating tarts. I mean the attractions and food will always be there, the Lisbon that I saw today will not. The people will change, the city will change. It’s also a very fruitful day given how many photos I have taken. =D sadly Tweddy didn’t get to have a photoshoot because Lisbon isn’t very clean and I have my concerns putting Tweddy down at places where he’ll get dirty. But Tweddy experienced Lisbon with me, felt it with me, I’d like to think he grew with me as a seasoned traveler.

So what am I going to do when I go back? I don’t know. I feel like making film, taking photos, writing, singing, dancing, organizing event and starting projects all at the same time. Obviously I can’t do that. So i’ll need to sit on it.

So yea!

The final note?

I had fun.

I genuinely had fun.

I can’t remember when’s the last time I actually truly enjoyed myself. I think that’s really why I’m a little sad. Because I had fun, I enjoyed and now that moment has ended, so of course it’ll be a bit sad. It’s kind of like leaving Disneyland. Except with Japan, I know I will miss it, so I manage my expectations in advance. I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy this experience so much, the unexpected joy and fun resulted in unmanaged expectations when the whole experience came to an end. Well hence I am hammering away on this keyboard to manage my newfound sadness.

But yea, it’s just been amazing.

My life from here on out will have been shaped considerably by this experience.

VERDICT ON MY UBER SHORT LISBON ADVENTURE: PRICELESS

Lisbon adventure day 1

Hello my dear blog, it’s been a while.

You’ll be glad to know that I’m not writing to bitch today.

I’M IN LISBON!

Yes, it’s yet another one of those crazy chocomon escapades whereby this chocomon sees something she wants to do and then goes out of her way to achieve it.

Basically, I flew all the way to Lisbon for the Monocle Better Living Conference.

Anyways, this is going to be a long post, I will try my best  to structure it but it’ll probably just come out as one undigested rant.

It’s 8+pm here, I’ve been on the plane for most of the day, and I’ve been awake for almost 20 hours now, thankfully I’m not jetlagged cause:
-I’m basically nocturnal
-My bioclock is capable of suspending itself in limbo while I’m in transit

Back to the topic,,,where should I start?

I guess I’ll start small, with myself.

After walking around Lisbon all by myself today (mind you, by chocomon standards, I hardly did any research on the place), I’ve come to feel quite proud of myself. Here I am, this small asian girl in this European country that she knows nothing about and doesn’t speak the language of and getting around, seeing things, meeting people and experiencing life! And also getting lost in a sea of connecting flights in Swizterland, all by my lonesome.

It reminds me that I am an independent person who is perfectly capable of doing well outside her comfort zone. And I think I deserve to be proud of myself for that, how many other people can say, truly say that they’ve gone travelling solo to all these places?

Of course, the downside of being a lonewolf is that you don’t have someone to share the magic with, Taking photos, texting friends, it helps. But the INFJ in me just really wants someone with a deep connection to share all these wonderful experiences with.

Which leads me into, WHAT WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES DID I COME ACROSS TODAY!

Looking at the people of Lisbon makes me wonder, what are we doing wrong.

In my short few hours here (most of which were spent at the park), I’ve seen same sex parents who are happily with their child, more fathers than mothers taking their kids out, playing with their children and making playdates with other dads and kids (albeit, wine in hand), children who play ball and hold serious discussions simultaneously regardless of gender, random college students practicing tight-rope walking in the park and a arts and craft fair/bazaar thing.

These aren’t things I looked up to hunt down and see, these things are just part of Lisbon’s everyday life.

So I ask again, what are we doing wrong?

Weather and architecture aside, I believe we are capable of cultivating a fulfilling culture much like theirs where there is more to life than objects and grades.

The only silver lining I can think of in this situation is that because Singapore lacks all these little things, you appreciate all these moments that much more when you do encounter them in Singapore.

But back to the experience.

I love people watching, to me travelling isn’t just eating the food or taking photos or visiting attractions, It’s watching the people and getting a feel of how they live their life. To see the world from a range of perspectives, from high above in the plane, to in-person.

Strolling down the cobbled-streets of Lisbon, it made me think about all the theme parks I want to make that draws inspiration from all these places I’ve been, and watch people live and make memories in them. It’s funny, when people think theme parks, they think attractions. When I think theme parks, I think of a mini-city.

Travelling always opens up my soul, so much so that it makes me really want to DO something. But as always I don’t know WHAT to do. Thankfully this time around I have the TEDx event to pour this energy into. I just hope that this flame won’t die the moment I return to SIngapore.

I almost feel bad that I feel more alive and at home, despite the lack of familiarity, here in a foreign country that I know nothing about. It’s exciting, the unknown and uncertainty, I know for fact that next time I come back, I won’t have this same excitement, it’ll be a different sort of excitement, kind of like watching a sequel to movie rather than the first movie in a franchise. But I digress, What I really wanted to say is that I feel so bad that I don’t speak the language of the people here.

I don’t know why, I always feel bad, borderline guilt in fact, when I visit a country and don’t speak their language. Because I shouldn’t visit their country and expect them to speak my language…I think that’s why I ended up multi-lingual,.

FYI, when spoken, Portuguese and Spanish are nothing alike.

Speaking of which I ran into a solo female traveler like myself, in the park, from Spain. We conversed a little in Spanish, well she did all the talking, I just said Si a lot, but OMG I ACTUALLY UNDERSTOOD HER.  All that hard work feels so worth it in little moments like this.

And that’s kind of the end of today’s rant,

Because complimentary hotel Wi-Fi is slow everywhere except in South Korea, I’ll only be able to edit and upload photos when I’m back in Singapore.

I’m sort of, just a teeny weeny little bit dreading going back now.

It’s weird, despite it’s complete lack of Asianess, Europe seems to sit pretty well with me.

這裡人的素質真的在某種程度上有差

I also realized, rather amusedly, that certain parts of Japan actually has a rather European look to it, hence my sense of comfort, except in Japan, there’s that Japanese vibe everywhere you go.

OH and one last thing, I feel like if someone imported Taiwanese aboriginal things here, it’d be a huge hit. Tribal things seems to be quite popular here.

And that is all from the Chocmon today! I shall go crash now…after I brush my teeth and wash my face.

To think that I wanted to finish a chapter of my iron man fic today. *conks out*