Hello world!

The original post was timestamped on January 3rd, 2008 13:30:50 PST. But on the evening of July 4th, 2016, I begin writing a new post. This is part of a larger effort to break away from my past, and some of the things I’ve done wrong.

What originally started as a simply life logue, will now transfer into a completely new thing. This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, but I hope by doing this, it’ll be a step in the right direction. I’m not sure what the final image of this website will be, but it will be more streamlined. I will not remove some old posts, but the type of posts I’ll make will be very much streamlined to a specific set of topics that are culturally-related.

The past random rants of rage will be taken down for the most part, except for a couple of thoughts that I think are still profound to me. So it’s not a complete departure, but a nice trimming and grooming of the blog. I used to identify myself by my job, but that’s now a distant past, and in between have held a different job. So then: What am I? WHO am I? It doesn’t matter, because it’s time I broke with my past self:

And I can’t do it kindly. I have to look at my relations with myself, my past, and other people, and can’t be kind.

“At the end of relationships, it’s the one who’s not in love who makes the tender speeches” –Marcel Proust

This phrase is actually interesting in two different ways. I’ll have to tell myself how to part with my past, and examine a lot of things. But also, I’ve been on both ends of this issue in relationships before, and it reminds me of a song.

Overcoming

I want to apologise for my last post. It’s not in good taste, nor in good standing with the Chinese New Year holidays, where you shouldn’t mention anything negative –because negativity begets negativity and malfortune. So let me leave everybody with this:

If you don’t like this video, or don’t agree with it. That’s your problem and prerogative, not mine. For me, this was awesome.

Coming Up With a Story

One of the things I’ve been working on, is how “to tell my life story”, and “to start from the end”. I’m using this as a chance to flesh out and define what I want out of life, and how I want it to end. Because, I sure as hell don’t want anyone else doing that for me. So how do I write a great story?

One of the things the speaker said really struck me, especially lately, about how as he’s trying to find out about other people, he is still trying to find out about himself still.

“Il Cielo in Una Stanza” -Impressions

The other day, someone was kind enough to introduce me to an Italian song: Il Cielo in una Stanza. It’s a nice song. The person then reminded me of Leonardo da Vinci’s Sala delle Asse, which is a room that recreates an outdoor setting with a blue sky and trees in a pergola. Funny how the literal title of the song can be connected with a visual representation of a great work of art and architecture, but veers away from the inspiration for the song.

I very much like this song, because as simple as the lyrics are, it’s a very visual song. The allegories aren’t just meant to skirt around censorship restrictions, but also a very visual representation of a certain feeling of euphoria. The song starts slowly with a repeating melody, as if you’re taking a slow path into the journey of the lyricist’s mind, and then the beat drops, and the singer describes his situation and what he sees: First, the woman he’s with, and the surrounding they are in, as if he’s slowly taking in all the details, an open sky, as if there’s nothing else but him and this girl, where the music becomes light as it reveals the open sky and their outside surroundings, but rather than succumbing to this fear of being out in the open, it becomes a beautiful scenery made just for them.

Song Translations and Appropriations

After having been shown a song, which you can listen to here, this person then showed me different versions of the songs, and even a french translation —the latter version seems to be more renown internationally.

This is always a question for people like me, who manage to find different versions of songs that have been “translated”. Now, when I say translated, I don’t mean that they actually translate word-for-word, and then spit it back out in a different language. That only works with European languages like the one above, because of the largely shared history, and much borrowing from Latin, which creates many cognates. That doesn’t work for translating European to Asian languages, or even amongst Asian languages, which means lyrics and original song meaning are thrown out the window in favor of matching the words of the new language to this foreign song. It’s more appropriate to call it a “new language appropriation” rather than a translation, really. Which is why I much prefer the original versions of most songs, because there’s a certain aesthetic to them. However, in rare cases, I think there are certain appropriations I think are acceptable. Like 玉置浩二’s 行かないで vs 張學友’s 李香蘭, which the Japanese original was a them song a documentary about 李香蘭 (aka 山口淑子/Shirley Yamaguchi).

I thought since the person that introduced me to the song likes the French and Italian version, they could appreciate a song like this in two different languages. But then the reaction was simply “Great. . . two songs in languages I don’t understand.” Simply giving up without simply listening to the music and enjoying it for what it is. I guess in such a situation, it would have been much easier to have the lyrics out there and ready, but in the videos of each, the lyrics were either embedded in the video, or in the details section, and weren’t hard to find. Yet, once it was in a language they didn’t understand, they simply just gave up.

When this person simply just dropped it, I was a little shocked. I mean, when I was in high school, I didn’t mind watching movies and TV series in languages that I didn’t understand, like Pure Soul~君が僕を忘れても, which was a Japanese TV series about a young 30-year-old woman who gets alzheimer’s. Despite not knowing the language, I guessed enough out of the show to get a general understanding of the drama —there were no subtitles. I liked it so much, when I found out there was a VCD and a DVD of the show, I bought them both. It made me realised how singled out I am in that aspect, and can honestly only think of two friends that are open to new things. Not necessarily for the sense of novelty, where things are merely regarded as objects and then soon disregarded in a matter of time, but actually accepting of something for the value it provides. I’m glad I can think of at least three people in my immediate circles, but it’s too bad they’re not around me on a day-to-day basis. I mess you guys!

For someone who took the time to learn another language, it’s troubling when you introduce another language they don’t know, and then get a rejection.

In any case, it’s an interesting point to ponder over, but no one probably cares for that. So here’s the comparison of 玉置浩二’s 行かないで vs 張學友’s 李香蘭: 張學友 “李香蘭” 對 玉置浩二 “唔好走”

Needing to Know Full-Well, Vs Going in Heads First

If a polyglot was able to appreciate and learn a foreign language, why, when presented a song in another foreign language would they reject it simply for being foreign? The more I thought about this, the more I realised this problem wasn’t specific to that one person. It happened much more often than I’d like to admit. On the flip side, someone might ask me: “How can you really like something, if you don’t understand it?”

That actually took some time to think about. Yes, there is a problem with only officially understanding something without knowing the contents and what’s beneath. However, truly understanding takes time, and an understanding of a lot of context, but even then, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t universals between humans that you can’t find common ground to appreciate. Like, if I was shown a song, and didn’t know the language, how could I appreciate it?

Well, deaf people can appreciate music. And while we’re at it, blind people can draw art as well

Because there’s a certain amount of things that are universal.

兒童夢

I was asked this question recently: “What did you want to grow up to be as a kid, and why?”

  1. A taxi-driver
  2. A gambler

I remember before these two, we had a career fair. I wanted to be an electrician, until we tried to use an electrician’s tool to bend a pipe. Didn’t work out. -_-, Before that though, I thought, “Wow, you get to be outdoors! And play around with my hands!” Good thing it didn’t work. Now, I wouldn’t want to be out in the sun all day. Plus, I’d probably electrocute myself or get arthritis by the age of 35. So it worked out…

As far as the taxi thing goes. I just thought, “What?! People pay you to drive? Easy money, easy day!” As an adult, I still think they have it easy, but i know I don’t like driving. Think of driving people to and from LAX. Screw that shit!

Being a gambler? If only I’d known where to start. Used to watch a TV series that took a 武俠(Chinese Martial Arts Genre) approach to gambling. I thought it was SO COOL! Throwing cards, working hard to learn the ins and outs of a trade, and becoming an expert at something you know so well, that you could win at it. From an adult’s perspective though, looking back at everything I’ve seen in movies and TV series as a kid, that sort of life was never really stable. HOWEVER, it doesn’t mean that you can’t win, or even work towards “the craft”. After all, it’s all about risk management and knowing probability…

To add on top of that, there are rules to every gambling game. Rules which you can lose, but also rules in place that allow you to win.

So if I were to chase childhood dreams of gambling, it’d either be like that person above, or maybe become a stock trader:

Reflection on Surroundings and Mentality

Met a person yesterday, who has experience abroad. I admire that person’s experience and boldness to do such a thing. I wanted to live abroad for extended periods of time before, and would have given an arm and a leg. Now, I’d have to look to see if the conditions are all right.

However, just because I haven’t lived abroad for an extended period of time, doesn’t mean I’ve always stayed where I was born. I’ve travelled, and I’ve been away from my hometown for at least 12 years. Coming back is quite an adjustment. Before I came back, I was home sick for the variety of things we had back home, that I’d try to find similar enclaves elsewhere that were similar to what I found back home. Even though I found it, there was always something different about it. So while some areas had the variety in terms of original creations, I was still missing that sense of “authenticity” when it came with the food. Some would say this is ridiculous, and I would agree only to a certain degree. I mean, I like original creations, but don’t force me to go to PF Chang’s or something. I know street food that costs less, and tastes way better than that. Maybe if they called it something else other than “Chinese food”, like, “Hey, it’s something” I might be like, “Hey, it’s something, let’s try it!” OK, I probably wouldn’t bother with them anyways… So yeah, I’m missing the flavours I grew up with, got a little home sick, and decided to move back home after being away for more than a decade. Well, I’m not going into every issue, but I forgot one thing that made me stay away from this place in the first place: The people.

The people weren’t always like this. They seem much angrier today. Granted, violent crimes has gone down over the years –Somewhat– compared to when I was growing up, but I’ve noticed there are more and more people that are angrier than before. I would like to contribute that to a certain group of people from a particular country coming into the area, but identifying people by race is not it. It’s the sheer number of people that have created an explosion in the population, that’s overcrowding the area, and when you put so many people in a pot, the pressure is enough to make some nasty-tasting beef stew. So it’s time to leave!

However, comparing my thoughts to this person’s he thought this place was FANTASTIC! It reminded him of being abroad again, but without the pollution and the skyscrapers. Funny. He liked this place because it was similar enough to where the wanted to live, but without the bad stuff. While I on the other hand, was missing the place I had frequented, and now miss, because it was like my hometown, but without the bad elements. But this guy had lived in that place too, and doesn’t like it as much as this place. Hm…

Fight or flight. Should I tackle this negative mentality of mine that I have of this place, or should I take the flight and leave for another place?

Words and Influence

I know someone who said “It doesn’t matter what words you use, the message is still the same!” OK, yeah, no argument from there, I suppose. But the friend wasn’t listening to me, about the delivery of the message, in which word choice is part of the message delivery. But there’s also the timing and the way way things are brought up. But back to the idea that words don’t matter…

The ultimate message is the same, there’s a man conveying his physical disability to the world, but people are apathetic. So one individual found a way to help by altering the same message in a way that touched their hearts, because those words had impact, from simply “I’m blind” to “Today’s a perfect day, and I can’t see it.”

Words may not change the underlying message, but the way they are said, the way it’s delivered can have a dramatic impact on the person receiving those words. But then, this person said that by suggesting they do this, I was essentially trying to change their personality, and change them as a person, and in essence being a manipulative person.

I don’t know, maybe I get enough verbal abuse from other people, that I’d like to not have to deal with anymore of that from those in my immediate circle. But OK, giving advice is now being manipulative. Got it.

That was an argument many months ago. Two days ago, this person said that “for my sake”, they had been adjusting the way they think, because they knew I didn’t agree with them. When all this time, they said that they “learned a lot” from me, but it turns out they really meant, “I’m saying anything to appease you, because it’ll make you happy.” but in essence, what they’re really saying is, “I’d rather not deal with you on this subject”. Look, if you and I disagree on something, then we could agree to disagree, and not talk about the subject. Everybody could be cordial, right? I mean, if you have a liberal atheist husband and a conservative religious-wing-nut wife who disagree about religion and politics, does it mean they should get divorce because of these differences? If they are that important to your everyday life, I suppose so. But I know of these arrangements, and they usually sidestep the issue, because they have more pressing matters at hand: How they treat each other.

So… My stance is this: I’m not some manipulative tyrant who tries to control every little facet of other peoples’ lives. No one likes to hear what I have to say, that’s fine, I’ll stop. Or, I’ll just write out my views on his blog. It’s what it’s for.

But then, this person says that “being cordial is a leash upon their freedom to say whatever they want”. I would normally come up with a snarky comment like, “Right on! Fight for your right to be obnoxious, rude and offensive!” But then, this person brought up another issue where they thought I was “challenging their authority”. So here’s the issue:

School’s about to start next week, and I didn’t buy my books yet.
Said person was surprised of me not buying books.
I said, it’s nothing to worry about.
They expressed their concern again.
I reminded them it’s only the first day of class, where introductions will probably take up most of the class time.
They were unswayed and still concerned.

I thought that was that. But apparently, my explaining the situation was a “challenge”. I was surprised to hear that, so I thought maybe I should explain the issue of how books are expensive in the US, and that this has been going on for a while, but that merely enforced the cultural gap between the two of us. While I agree that cultural misunderstandings can happen, I felt this was more of a logistics issue. This would normally make my points against this culturalist explanation, but I’ll let “The Korean” do that for me instead…

I’m going to end it here for now.

Home: Intentions Vs Use.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with difficult neighbours. First time I could remember having to deal with them, was in my childhood neighbourhood on the other side of the railroad tracks –literally. Kids two houses over thought it would be nice to come into our back yard and steal our lemons, because it was a family of four brothers, and they outnumbered me. Then, there was the crazy kid next door who would maniacally laugh at us, because he knew there wasn’t much that could be done when he would shovel dirt from his side, and fling it over to us.

Over the years, I’ve lived in “dorms”, had roommates, and while things have been great, and others not so much, they eventually worked out, but I still preferred to live on my own. Nothing like the freedom to do whatever you want, right? Then, there are the neighbours….

So as much as I’d love to live the “dream” and own a home, it’s unaffordable at the moment, and what if I deal with more shitty neighbours? So if I’m going to lead a semi-nomadic life of moving from affordable rent to affordable rent, how can I make this easier on me? What should I take with me, what should I throw away, and should I keep things in storage?

Then I started thinking: “Home: What it’s intended for, vs what we use it for?” I still don’t have an answer on that one. Even after reading this article on home preferences around the world. I mean, OK, yeah, I get it, we all prefer single-family homes, which simply means we’re all living in overcrowded areas. But really, what is a home intended for, and how does it differ from the way we use it?

Well, a home is supposed to be a shelter to the individual and his family. Whether it’s protecting against man-eating predators, the elements, or whatever. So it’s a little part of the world that you can control inside, while it protects you from the outside. Nothing wrong with that unless you live in an area that restricts what sort of modifications you have in your area, in which case, you’d be breaking the law.

So how does it differ from how we use it? As an investment property. We buy houses, because we know OTHERS also have that need for basic shelter, then sell it at a higher price, or rent it out. Or, we take a section that we illegally modify, and rent that out at an exorbitant price. Is there something wrong with this? I can’t say, honestly.

Just some more unfinished thoughts, is all…