Monday, 20 October 2014

A good disclaimer!

This was on my friend's blog. Really illustrates what I mentioned in the previous post (completed a few minutes ago). Really respect him as a devout Muslim who is well-read but continues to think and re-think everything he knows.

His blog: eupho-stick.blogspot.com


With regards to several images and videos, unless mentioned otherwise, they are not my creations and I do not claim to own them. Come on, this blog is maintained gratis! So, I will try to credit the respective sources where possible.

Every reference to sources beyond this blog and hyperlink does not denote my endorsement of views found there.

Readers and myself are expected to uphold professionalism in discussing issues, regardless triviality or touchiness. Let's learn to respect each other's point of view, as long as they are backed by sound reason. If readers are too overwhelmed, press the "Alt" and "F4" keys simulatenously. (Unfortunately, I do not have the privilege of doing so!)

Zaki today may be totally different from Zaki two years back, why even yesterday. The Uranium you bought may not have the same purity as it had a week ago. Chocolate may be tasty then, but your taste may change, or the chocolate may decay, or the circuity between your tongue and brain altered. You can never step on the same river twice.

Random analogies aside, be aware that I am a dynamic individual like everyone else, so, bear in mind that my opinions may change and old posts may be obsolete over time. Readers are reminded to bear some sense of sensibility.

God knows best.

Don't Fear Questioning

God is not Great

I'm currently reading Hitchen's anti-religious book, which has awakened once again my thoughts on the subject.

About a couple of years ago I decided to sweep away the topic, disillusioned by the church but also finding the opposite end to be somewhat arrogant. I decided that I was in no position to think for myself such a difficult question and contented to remain agnostic. However, there are things that I do have a clear stand on and which irks me.

1. Claims without being well-read
I am truly uncomfortable when I meet either a religious or non-religious man who claims, or takes a stand on the issue without being well-read in the subject. The underlying cause is that such a subject is meant to breed loudmouths. The religious (at least for the more evangelical sorts) are encouraged to proclaim, shout out, exalt their faith. Meanwhile, the non-religious (especially those who de-converted after being disillusioned) get very emotional and hardy with their beliefs as they feel betrayed. Both are natural of course, it is the nature of the subject.

However, just as I would find it uncomfortable having a conversation on foreign policy with someone who doesn't know the capital of China, I find it equally discomfiting to talk to an evangelizing Christian who doesn't know about the Thirty Years War, or worse, the crusades. It is not that I take such evidence to be definitive - that it surely means religion is wrong - it is just that I believe that to make such sweeping claims on an important subject, one must take the time to absorb the context of it all. Plainly speaking, I believe one must endeavor to research, to learn before concluding. Not necessarily be an expert, but at least know the fundamentals. To be fair, I am equally irked by self-proclaimed atheists who think religion is wrong based on their own experience in say, city harvest church because it shows that they did not stop to think that maybe a religion cannot be exemplified on one church and there are better examples.

2. Usage of extremes without disclaiming
Many anti-religious folk like to point to terrorism and crusades at the mention of the topic. While I have no issue with using the example per se (because one can reasonably argue that religion in some way has played a part in their cause), I believe the arguer should make an effort to temper his statements. A nuanced speaker would use the example but also concede that terrorism for example, is a result of fringe versions of the various religions (yes, all religions have gave birth to such organizations). I would go as far as to say groups such as Al-Qaeda were born in some political context (they were funded by the U.S against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) and as such, are not entirely religious. On the flip side are the religious folk who would perhaps use the godless, genocidal communists as an example of atheist brutality. Eesh. Where do I begin on how retarded that argument is without context.

3. Disrespect for people who don't agree
I am very glad to be born in Singapore, where I was brought up to be tolerant, and in fact harmonious with the numerous races that live together on an island so small it would be accurately represented in Civ 5 as one hex on a huge map. As a result of this luck of birth, I have both religious and non-religious friends who are probably smarter and more hardworking than me. I give them all due respect because a person should not be characterized by his one belief in one subject. To each his own. I am reminded of the Peace of Westphalia here, where culturally different European states settled on a balance of power that established peace after the Thirty Years War. What was special was that the peace did not determine whose state was better run or which was the correct religion, etc. but understood that the common quest for peace outweighed their differences. Non-interference in each other's affairs was borne out of respect of rivals.

Reza Aslan, Hitchens, C.S Lewis, I have respect for all these writers because they are more well-read, nuanced and respectful than most and which is why I read each of their works with gusto. It is perfectly natural to disagree even if given the same source material. Respect the peace!

Monday, 13 October 2014

A Chilled House

Yesterday, my family had a big fight.

My family always had fights before, and the temper usually flares with my mother first. Now yes, I know what you're thinking, what a biased thing to say right? How can it always be my mother's fault? I'm not sure about other families, but in mine, the boys (and there are 4 of us, my dad and three sons) are bulwarks of silent neutrality. Often it's my mum shouting at my housekeeper for incompetence, or (last time) my younger brother for lack of discipline and sometimes recently, my elder brother for machine-gun vulgarities. I would like to say that I haven't invoked her wrath before, but that isn't true. I'm guilty of saying some pretty hurtful things, usually in response to her wrath, which probably only incites it further. I'm no Jesus, my rebukes ain't going to cure no one's soul. It's usually me venting my frustration at her constant shouting (which is ironic) when I'm just trying to have some peace or sleep at home. This fight however, puts more pronounced blame on me.

A man came to install a new modem that would allow us to use the new optic-fibre network while I was playing Civ V. (And so was my brother) My mother is as usual pandering to guests like a true businesswoman. After he leaves, the usual call for tech support from none other than me is made.
For reasons not entirely known to me, I felt a deep inclination to let my dad and younger brother handle the wiring as my mother begged me to help them. Maybe I reached my breaking point of annoyance that my mom refuses to learn anything technical on the basis that she can't (this to me, is a huge cop-out/show of laziness) nor her acknowledgement that anyone other than me is able to fix anything with electricity in the house. I was vindicated in this whim when eventually, my father and younger brother hooked up the wires without my help. If you want to know what they did, it was basically, and I am not exaggerating, putting Ethernet cables into the ports in the modem. I REALLY cannot fathom how difficult this task is and in fact, whenever I do it, my father would decide to re-arrange the cables anyway to make it neater. My mother's so called technological helplessness irked me further.

Soon, begging became sarcastic remarks, shouting, nostril flaring and I made the mistake of doing the natural thing when my mom starts getting angry - I do my best to ignore her. It usually works because I am not the person the anger is directed at but in this case, it was. Also, may I refer you to the Big Bang Theory episode where Penny gets addicted to video games? It is a natural escape, including for domestic problems people don't want to deal with. My mom usually then calms down and normal relations resume. So yes, I was the un-filial son who ignored my family's non-existent need for my help. Worse, I decided to let myself go and spout a few vulgarities about PMS-ing. To say I regret doing so would be lying because unfortunately for me, I am endowed with a tendency for justice and to a degree, vengeance. Petty? Let's just say I would not stand by if I see someone get bullied as much as I would not stand by if I was the wrong-ed party. Later I would know through my father that my mother was having an existential angst that her kids were just going to ignore her pleas when they were older and more helpless.

Usually when such a breakdown happens and I am partially to blame, I would summon the courage to say I was sorry, out of pragmatism and humility. However, I knew very well in my heart that for this situation, apologizing would just feed my mother's vindication in her absolute correct-ness in everything. I know this because I have her genes. The problem is that I often disagree with what I believe is her flawed thinking.

So what am I left with?

Drama serials and children's shows would likely point me into the direction of guilt admission and apologies, followed by "I've learnt my lesson and will choose to be a dutiful and grateful son who forever repays his infinite debt to his all-loving parents." Fucking. Rubbish. The Asian stereotype and portrayal of parents is misunderstood, stern but loving tiger moms and dads who 'know best'. I am logically inclined to be grateful for what my parents have given me because my brain tells me so. Is it wrong though, that I don't feel it in my heart? Is it wrong that all I remember about my childhood are parents who have focused on giving me independence while (mom) shouting at my other brothers, or the maid, or me (back in the day)? I have sworn not to abandon my parents out of a sense of duty and honour rather than something I 'feel' I should do. In other words, if I didn't do it, I wouldn't feel sorry. At least for my mother.

Pride is the greatest sin.

I feel like I could go on. Or maybe I couldn't. I feel like the stereotypical hormonally charged teen (who is no longer a teen) who feels misunderstood by his/her parents. And how can I not really? When they don't know my girlfriend's name or that we broke up or that inside I feel pretty fucked up and that's probably why I listen to so much rock. (because pop is like synthesized happy bullshit)
Need to write some poetry again.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014



Friend commented "Largely applies to independent guys as well."
I concur. And I'm pretty independent. Just saying. Maybe she was too.

#93 Instrumental Music
My old friend and budding (visual) artist sayeth
this is part of my campaign to make post rock the new world order
There's something ephemeral about the quality.
We think in words, i.e in our primary language, but when I think of instrumentals, I can only hear music, and see the title, like an indie music video on youtube. It's like that simple title is all that's needed.

Monday, 6 October 2014


I usually blog in quiet nowadays.
At 2AM, or 7AM or on a work day. But I've waited for a long time to no avail of such an opportunity.

In pursuit of my future (at last), I've decided to take time off, from everything, to read. I've got five books and I'm currently halfway into the fourth at the end of the third week or so. Somewhere in my head a voice screams that my attempt is vain - no, there isn't any way to get my writing score up in time to get into a good US college.

Perhaps, but I'll still try. Regardless, the seclusion has affected my everyday experience significantly.
ENFJ. I once read that such people should not be left alone, because they tend to harbor dark thoughts despite their strange nature to be both an extrovert but good at introspection. I have found this to be true in my experience. I often tend to go through month long cycles of social activity (I'm such a nerd, eesh) and then step back and kind of just do my own thing for an equally long period. Often, I get tired out by one of the other and hence switch to the other.

For a few months now, I've been going out every day of the weekend with different groups of friends. It was nice to feel busy, to feel involved, going somewhere. Where I was really going, I'm not sure, but I knew it would end. Finally one day I realized that NS was ending, and I had to think long and hard, of what to do next, and how to prepare for it. Suddenly, my friends were heading overseas and my fellow officers were disappearing from the battalion through offs and leave, I had an understudy and no longer was I needed so much in branch; suddenly, I was alone but free.

I've always known my contradictory outlook of life - I hate unnecessary drama, but often in my own head I'm creating a whole lot of it. To put it into an analogy, take this blog. A person who doesn't know me personally and who reads it will likely think I probably like drama flicks, am emotionally attached and acute, am the touchy cry-ey type, etc. If you DO know me, you'll know I'm quite the opposite, and I rather think such types are weak and insecure. 

Ah, I've made the cardinal problem with my essays thus far - digressing and going nowhere.

I was beating around the bush.

Last week, I broke up with Melissa. Why? I'm certain it was for a few reasons. One, is my current state of wanting to be by myself and just reading a little. Two, it was not lost on me how different our personalities and outlook were, this probably being the strongest point. Three... well I can't think of any but three's apparently the minimum number of points to give in an essay so three - I had a nudge, a feeling it wasn't right to wait any longer. 

She said "I really like you, you're a nice guy." That's not going to cut it... because I know there are plenty of nice guys out there, so what makes me special? Do I really make her happy? Am I happy? The whole thing was a little too polite. I'm not looking for drama, I think it's stupid and unnecessary. But I felt nothing. I wasn't lying what I wrote in her card, or told her, that she's lovely, a listening ear and pretty. And even now, I feel nothing. 

I feel terrible because I don't want to hurt her, but I also knew somehow it was now or worse later. I also know perhaps I was expecting too much. I wouldn't know. 

I asked myself a few times already these days - am I depressed? Maybe. Couldn't care less though, am not suicidal and life goes on right? Recently I've not been able to stir any excitement in me (aside from learning about all the Gods in American Gods, which I had recently finished). What excitement? That excitement, of the weekend trip you're looking forward to, of that album you can't wait for, of discovering something cool. Enough excitement that I would want to wake up early. 

Coffee has been an artificial sweetener to my life. I'm probably addicted to the stuff.

Right now, I need someone to talk to. Someone that listens to indie rock, reads widely and wouldn't mind a good beer or coffee. At the moment, that person doesn't exist. I'd settle for a person who can help me do college apps though...

That's going to suffice for now.

This is really good... and not just to describe my feelings melodiously.