Sunday, April 24, 2011

Valued by money

Perhaps the commercialised world in which we live demands that we use pecuniary means to measure our values. Or perhaps it is out of convenience - after all it is a comprehensible and common unit for measurement.

But can the amount of money that different people are willing to fork out truly reflect their relative concern for the issue at hand? I think not.

Let us take away the background differences - let's say we have two people in a similar financial position, from the same cultural upbringing, etc, but A is a lot more willing than B to put in the dollars for a certain cause.

This might suggest that A cares more about the cause, but surely this is non-conclusive. A might be a more generous person to begin with, or simply hold a lower value for money. B might being extremely concerned about the cause at hand, but hold money at an evern higher regard.

All this proves is that A values money less, and B more, than the cause. Willingness to pay doesn't reflect absolute level of concern

So basically, we gotta be careful before we box people as caring and not caring enough.

Thursday, July 15, 2010










Monday, May 10, 2010

To be different

謝安琪 <節外生枝>

Perhaps it's because I strive to be different that this song once greatly appealed.

捨平凡  愛動盪  人人其實有個願望
~ 知回頭  會是岸  仍昂然投入去這巨浪 ~
我所愛  我不改  千夫所責也不放
不愛看的不要看  也許我已厭了直航

既沒有網 在四方  就恨沒勇氣闖闖
~ 我這半世  未算趕  何妨迷路看風光 ~

~ I know the shore is just behind me, but I still dive into the huge waves ~
~ My life is not a rush -- why not lose my way and enjoy the view ~


Yet, when one grows up, attitudes change. Things happen that forces one to reflect on the past and re-assess whether the path which lays ahead is in fact desired.

A quote has caught my attention as of late.

'Do not choose to be wrong for the sake of being different'
-- Lord Samuel

I'm not sure who this Lord Samuel guy is/was, but he was onto something.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Selective memory

I used to be proud of my inability to hold onto bad memories. I considered myself to be so lucky for being able to think back to a person, an incident or a relationship, and only remember the good in them. After all, it's better than being forever tortured by painful memories, right?

I never thought that one day I would hate myself for that. I never envisaged a day where everything would be easier, if I had only stored the frowns instead of the smiles. I never expected to be searching desperately for the sad memories, but in vain.

I guess you just can't half everything in life.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Through Blair

[WARNING: Here be spoilers!]

Gossip Girl Season III Episode 19

After 17 episodes of being the sweetest couple of the season, Chuck and Blair were too good to last. Breaking up became inevitable, and Blair was determined to leave the past behind her.

Despite Dorota's observation that "Miss Blair not yet grieve properly", Blair invited "a dozen of Manhattan's most eligible bachelors" to brunch, so "world can know Miss Blair single again and Chuck Bass thing of past". She also asked Dorota to toss out the "box of junk", containing the memories of her relationship with Chuck.

Unfortunately, none of the bachelors turned up. Blair assumed that Chuck had put a dating fatwa on her, but soon found out that no one on the Upper East Side thought they could measure up to what Chuck and Blair had. Blair then turned to a party in Brooklyn to find an unknowing guy to kiss. The idea was to get the photo splashed across Gossip Girl to break Chuck's fatwa.

And Chuck followed her. Blair did find a "sacrificial lamb", a Cameron from Columbia, and he was more than willing to help make Chuck jealous. But at the last minute, she decided not to go through with it.

'I suddenly realised that, the way to get over you wasn't by hooking up with some random guy, or pretending like we didn't happen. You and I loved each other, and then you broke my heart. I've been doing everything possible not to face that fact. I'm gonna kiss somebody someday. And when I do, it'll be for me. Goodbye Chuck.'

And when Dorota went to throw away the box of junk, she took it back.

'It's no use to deny the past. Chuck is a part of me. He'll always be. It just hurts so much.'

Then, one by one, she took out the items, bringing back their memories from the past.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A burst bubble

[WARNING: Here be spoilers!]

"Imagine if you suddenly learned that the people, the places, the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead, but worse, had never been. What kind of hell would that be?"

Halfway through the film, the audience finds out that it has been living in the "reality" of Nash's mind. Key players were merely figments of his imagination, and all his time and efforts had been spent on a secret mission he had formulated himself. Nash was lucky to be able to recognise his own condition, and the end of the film shows him humorously checking that others can see a stranger before talking to him.

This led me to wonder if any part of my life was imagined reality. I applied the measure that Nash had learned to use, and was initially relieved that everyone I knew was recognised by someone else.

Then, another thought crossed my mind - what if both the recogniser and the recognised were part of my fantasies? What if I had created an entire network of people around me, so as to assure myself that everything was real? How could I be sure that my entire life thus far had actually occurred?

I soon realised that I couldn't be sure. But that doesn't matter. What is reality anyway? Nash's mental reality was unacceptable because they conflicted with the dominant reality, on which the wider part of his life was based. If the two didn't contradict, would it be such a problem?

Perhaps I'm not advocating the best attitude towards the condition of schizophrenia. But if I'm currently living in the first half of my life film, I hope the bubble never bursts.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Public transport

I appreciate the efforts of MyZone in improving our public transport system, and I'm glad to hear that it's off to a good start. But for a revolutionary change to occur at this stage of transporting technology, only to reduce fare zones and incorporate private bus companies, is disappointing.

Not only is it expensive to commute in Sydney, but it frustratingly inflexible. Once you've purchased your ticket, your plans are locked in for you, unless you travel enough to warrant a MyMulti. Even then, you are restricted to travelling within that particular zone.

The only advantage I can come up with of retaining our printed paper tickets is that transit officers can come up to you on the trains, stop the song you're listening to or the paragraph you're reading, and demand to see your ticket (and possibly concession card). But hey, if we actually had functioning ticket barriers at every station, we wouldn't need the officers in the first place. (There may be the issue of giving them something to do, but surely the police can find other matters to expend time and effort on.)

Is it that hard to adopt a system like London's Oyster card or Hong Kong's Octopus card?

What amazed me the most in my recent visit to Hong Kong was the convenience brought about by their Octopus card. It was accepted on almost every domestic mode of transport (I had to pay for a separate ticket to Macau), and it worked as a debit card at vending machines, 7-Elevens, supermarket, etc. And it wasn't like you had to take it out of your wallet, or even your bag. The magnetic reader takes care of that.

And perhaps the most amazing thing about the Octopus card is that it was up and running in 1997. That's 13 years ago.

I sure hope the Tcard makes it through to conception this time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The changing seasons

Spring was the beginning of life. The sound of chirping birds and the faint aroma of flora lifted my spirtis. The shy sun peeped over the clouds, its warmth inspiring within me hope.

Summer came. The heat was not blistering; rather, I was gradually accustomed to its intensity. It was a comfortable feeling, to be able to open up to the surroundings and bask in the smell of sunshine. The flowers were in full bloom, standing proudly and showing off their beauty to all who paid attention.

The dreamy side in me began to imagine that this would last forever.

I was too deeply engrossed to notice Autumn creep into the scene. The telltale signs - crisp leaves falling, the dry air, the sun holding back its generosity - I either missed or ignored. I tried to carry on my old ways in oblivion, only to be punished by the unforgiving elements.

And now Winter is here. Cold, dark, unwelcome Winter. The flowers are gone, the birds are in hiding. It was no use escaping anymore. There was no choice but to acknowledge the inevitable change. It was time to accept that things are different. So I seek the comfort of the familiar and once again learn to protect myself.

And await the next Spring.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A surprising billboard

The church may be right in saying that there isn't anything explicit in this billboard...

... but I was still shocked to see it.

Dreaded silence

I have always been frustrated by my lack of self-control when studying. Even when I do manage to open my book and concentrate on the pages, I can't help but to have something playing in the background, whether it be music or video, especially when I am alone.

Needless to say, it is distracting. I try to refrain, but I can never last long before I press the "Play" button.

Lately, I think I have found the root of my problem. I dread silence. I cannot stand it when it is deathly quiet. When there is someone else around to make a bit of noise, I'm alright. But when I'm the only one around, I have to to make my own.

Finally, I have worked out why I can't stay in a library for long. Unfotunately, knowing this bit about myself doesn't help me much at all.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" Aerosmith

The same song, heard at different times, can evoke different feelings. Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" is by no means a new song. Yet when I heard it last week, it inspired a new meaning, and through that, helped me make a decision I was struggling with.

But a misfortunate accident tipped the scales the other way, and now I am stuck with the cards that Chance has dealt me. I ponder the wisdom of the words:
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport
One of my favourite Shakespearean quotes. Admittedly, my situation is significantly less dire than Gloucester's when he made that comment. And perhaps it could be argued that I brought the situation upon myself. But that does not deaden the pain. At any rate, it gives me an excuse to use the quote.

Back to the point at hand (the song, remember?). When I heard the ballad again yesterday, its effect on me had once again changed. I was overwhelmed with emotions of guilt and regret. Perhaps I had associated the song with my previous decision, which didn't end up playing out.

One of my less desirable characteristics is that I tend to immerse in self-pity whenever I encounter a hurdle I cannot overcome. Eventually, though, I know I will have to stand up tall and brave the situation.


I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Well, every moment spent with you
Is a moment I treasure

I don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing
'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

Lying close to you
Feeling your heart beating
And I'm wondering what you're dreaming
Wondering if it's me you're seeing
Then I kiss your eyes and thank God we're together
And I just wanna stay with you
In this moment forever, forever and ever

I don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing
'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

I don't wanna miss one smile
I don't wanna miss one kiss
Well, I just wanna be with you
Right here with you, just like this
I just wanna hold you close
Feel your heart so close to mine
And just stay here in this moment
For all the rest of time

Don't wanna close my eyes
Don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing
'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
'Cause I'd still miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

I don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing
'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you, babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

Don't wanna close my eyes
Don't wanna fall asleep, yeah
I don't wanna miss a thing


PS You can so see the family remsemblance between the Tylers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A welcome joke

I was unexpectedly met with a laugh today whilst reading The Economist. In an article reporting the declining number of films actually shot in Hollywood, a screenshot of Avatar had an accompanying caption:

Some have left Earth altogether
My kind of humour.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Love is in the air (Now Showing)

Courtesy of Shek, who provided this picture of a scene I failed to capture.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Love is in the air

This morning, my sister called me over to watch a pair of flies mating. Unfortunately, my dog scared them away before I could grab a camera, thus spoiling my voyeuristic plight. They were allegedly still at it whilst in flight. What talent!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A gambling problem

I always walk in hopeful. Anticipation of excitement and success overwhelm my thoughts, blinding me from the possibility of defeat. This time, I'll hit the Jackpot, get that Royal Flush, win a Straight Up Bet. I ignore the whispers of advice, persuading me to take it easy, to take it slow. Even closed doors are no barrier -- I charge them down mercilessly.

Once inside, I am forced to face reality. There are ups, yes, but also downs. And sometimes, it just spirals downwards like a vortex of doom. But do I realise? No. Past experiences suggests that I should just leave and cut my losses. But do I learn? No. I keep telling myself I'll win it back. I keep telling myself that victory is in the next hand.

Eventually, I do leave. When everything I came with is gone, when I have nothing more to lose, I leave.

This is why I should never gamble.

Friday, February 12, 2010

He suits me, he suits me not

Over the summer, I started to realise that people can choose their potentials, and hence partners, in two main methods. Some would first sort out those who are suitable, and then pick the one he/she likes best, while others would choose the most suitable out of the ones he/she likes.

Unfortunately, and quite inconveniently, 'like' and 'suitable' often don't coincide. She might want to try him out for the yearned-for teenage puppy love relationship he can offer. He may simply be interested in her because her aspiration for the future aligns with his.

Mr. Wrong might be absolutely charming, but not someone you'd be serious with. Yet while Mr. Right checks all the boxes, it somehow just doesn't click.

I suppose the method you adopt depends on whether your rational side or your emotional side is stronger. My rationality often struggles to keep up with my emotions. I'm not too sure I like that.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

<搜神記> 容祖兒

當初膚淺 得你恩寵似升仙 天有眼
當真糊塗 未曾發覺我該俯瞰南極快沒有冰山
當初專心 等你燭光晚餐 從沒有認識蠟燭怎樣消散
當你的光環 暗過世間火柴何用困在五指山

~ 而神跡失靈才知天大地大轉得快 ~
怪得誰 ~ 要敬拜你便沒視力靜觀世態 ~

忘掉誰是你 記住我亦有自己見地
無論你幾高 身價亦低過青花瓷器
評核我自己 只顧投資於愛情

回味誰是你 往日有甚麼品味
只要敢遠飛 亦能自創我的搜神記
~ 磨練我自己 做人目光高過聚散分離 ~
就憑你 相愛大不了提升演技當做戲

從前只懂情人的感動力量 最珍貴
昂起頭 看遍世界我也會有我的氣勢 

忘掉誰是你 記住我亦有自己見地
無論你幾高 身價亦低過青花瓷器
評核我自己 只顧投資於愛情
~ 困在你小宇宙損失對大世界的好奇 ~

回味誰是你 往日有甚麼品味
只要敢遠飛 亦能自創我的搜神記
磨練我自己 做人目光高過聚散分離
就憑你 相愛大不了提升演技當做戲

拋開你先識去審美 往後我便有自己見地
無論愛幾高 身價亦低過青花瓷器
評核我自己 只顧投資於愛情

回味誰是你 往日有甚麼品味
只要敢遠飛 亦能自創我的煙花記
仇視我自己 若然目光高過聚散分離
~ 奉承你 因往日雙眼無珠不停放大你 ~
想快樂不靠神跡 才懂創世紀 


~ Only when the miracle ended did I realise that the world was so big and eventful ~

~ In admiring you, I lost the chance to carefully view the world ~

~ Training myself to see beyond relationships and separation ~

~ Stuck in your tiny universe, I lost my curiosity for the outside world ~

~ I worshipped you because you were continually accentuated in my eyes ~


I always have the urge to translate entire songs from Chinese into English, but I never get past the first few lines. Cantonese lyrics are too succinct for my English translations to give them justice.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Going away

About to travel overseas for the first time in three or four years, I have mixed feelings towards my upcoming trip. When I was younger, I had always yearned to travel back to Hong Kong, and given that, I'm definitely not looking forward to going there as much as I should be.

I used to look forward to the street food and the milk tea and the wonton noodle soup. Not, not so much. I used to look forward to seeing my cousins. Now, most of them have moved away from Hong Kong.

Perhaps it's the sloth in me, unwilling to travel far from home. Perhaps it's the fear of the unfamiliar.

But, I seem to recall that stepping outside my comfort bubble was my new year's resolution. Seeing as it's only half a month into the new year, I should keep that in mind, and brave what comes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

From preference to love

A relationship, threatening to blossom out, is always awkward and uncertain.

"We can all begin freely - a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement."

Thus observed Charlotte to Lizzie in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. She then continued:

"In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels."

Charlotte's advice was given in an era when women were expected to play the passive role. The only way that a lady's romantic fantasy could become reality was if the object of her affections not only felt the same way, but also decided to take a step forward. Are Charlotte's words of wisdom still applicable?

It would be untrue to say that women today must still let themselves be the object of pursuit. Hopefully, the struggle for gender equality has at least ensured that.

Coming from a Chinese background, my views may be more conservative and traditional. I still think the male should make the first move. Yet knowing that not many would step forward without encouragement can be rather frustrating.

The girl's role is then to at least hint at her partiality. Perhaps a bit of differential treatment is all it takes to nudge him in the right direction.

Friday, January 1, 2010


So begins a new year and a new decade. The noughties have flown past -- the fear of the Y2K bug still lives fresh in my memory.

This past decade will probably be the most influential one in my entire lifetime. I spent them whilst being between the ages of 11 and 20. I grew from a child to an adult, and learned many lessons along the way.

No doubt the 2000s will play a big role in shaping the person that I am and will be. But it won't be the only decade. Hopefully, I'll continue to develop and improve in the 2010s, the 2020s and beyond.

As for my new year's resolution, I don't usually have one, but perhaps it would be good to come up with at least a rough idea. For 2010, I resolve to muster the courage to try new things and to, when appropriate, step outside my comfort bubble. Yes, it's vague, but it's a start!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I heart me(n)

A shirt which reminded me of a friend so much that I had to capture it.

I wonder who that friend is.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

O come, O come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
I’m missing you
I’m waiting for your spell
Without you, my heart will fade
I’ll wither if your love is delayed

Come now, come on, Emmanuel
I’m waiting for your hypnotizing spell
Come now, come on, Emmanuel
I’m waiting for your hypnotizing spell

O come, O come, Adonai
I’m dreaming of your supernatural high
The thought of you is making me shine
Come fill in me with love divine

//Repeat chorus 3x


I have been totally enraptured by this mystic remix of the biblical hymn. It's used as one of the theme song in Born Rich, and plays in the scenes of forbidden love between Marcus and Angie.

It's interesting (and some may argue, inappropriate) that a piece about a religious prophesy could be modified thus, so as to fittingly complement the story of an extra-marital love affair.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

To forgive and forget

I used to like asking what-if questions. Now, I like to ponder about them. One such question has been: What if you found out that your partner cheated on you? Instant bye-bye?

As with most things, it depends. This time, however, there's a factor which doesn't usually come to play. It depends on whether others also know about the affair.

If it is a private issue, just between you and your partner, it is much easier to forgive and forget. However, when the word spreads, things start getting complicated.

There are those who argue that a relationship is just between two people, that external opinions shouldn't play any part in decisions. I tend to believe that, although a relationship is indeed centred around two individuals, they are not the only ones affected.

At any rate, relatively widespread knowledge of such an incident could only aggravate the situation. It attracts opinions from people who, though undoubtedly thinking in your best interests, may not fully comprehend your stance.

Suddenly, your decision is also under scrutiny and judgement.

Recent reports claim that Elin Nordegren had always known about Tiger Woods' mistresses, but chose to remain in the marriage. I hope she can still stay true to herself after the media's given their two cents.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Love and loyalty

In the TVB drama Born Rich, Connie expressed an interesting idea in reply to her cheating husband Marcus' assurances of love. She said:
which roughly translates as: "For a woman, love is interlocked with loyalty."

This notion bounced around in my head for a while, as I wondered the degree of truth it held. Was it just another flowery statement to spice up the story? Or was it a concept which could generally be applied the reality?

Loyalty is certainly valued as a virtue. The media's current excitement in revealing a new side of Tiger Woods proves that it is considered a big issue (or, admittedly, simply that the media likes to sensationalise).

Infidelity is by no means laudable, but does it automatically deny the feelings of one who has fallen into temptation?

Like most things, this is not a question answerable in absolute terms. "Cheating" is a broad term which encompasses a wide range of circumstances. Many other factors also contribute. Did it occur once, or often? In what state was the existing relationship? Was there any remorse felt? What are the feelings towards the third party/ies?

Unfaithfulness doesn't necessarily mean a loss of feelings. And by the same argument, strong affection might not ensure fidelity.

Though related, love and loyalty are separate ideas. It is quite possible that they do not co-exist.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Twilight "Saga"

My weekend sisterly-bonding activity was spent watching the second instalment in the Twilight Saga, "New Moon". The word 'saga' gives me the impression of some epic tale of heroic deeds. I struggle to understand how this story fits the description.

I tried my best to enjoy what I had paid for with no previous bias, but I can't help but conclude that it was an excruciatingly dull way of spending two hours. My sister shared my sentiments.

There is an abundance of Twilight-bashers out there (some more creative than others), and that usually is enough incentive for me to grow fond of something. Quite helpfully, this saga has proven that my strive to be different doesn't entirely impair my judgement and opinions.

I don't intend to offend anyone who does enjoy Ms Meyer's works of fiction. I do know people who find appeal in the story (or at least, in one of its products *cough*E.Cullen*cough*). I respect their tastes. Or perhaps I'm simply too shallow to see the double meaning hidden between the lines.

All I can say is that this is definitely not my first choice of entertainment.