15 Things I would Tell 15 year old me

 

  1. Being impulsive is NOT a character quirk. It just means making bad decisions and disguising it as virtue.
  2. Having dreams and ideas are great, but anyone can have ideas. Now execution – that’s the thing you need to work on, and that takes time and work. Don’t be afraid to put in the work. The sacrifices are worth it.
  3. That whole long, straightened hair, eyeliner,  tank top, tie, cargo pants, Avril Lavigne look does NOT work for you.
  4. You spent too much money on Topshop. You should have spent it investing in your hobbies – like better guitar pedals and camera lenses.
  5. You will waste less time if you remained true to yourself.
  6. For the last time, you are not fat.
  7. You will definitely do and experience a lot, but still, you could have done more and been “more”.
  8. Go to more gigs and concerts you fool.
  9. The only person you need to compete with is yourself.
  10. Spending more time living outwardly and giving to others will make you happy and fill your life with greater purpose and meaning. Do that more.
  11. The risks are always worth it. Take more of them.
  12. Get out of your self-importance. It’s not about you.
  13. Take yourself less seriously. Maybe you could have been a Tina Fey / Amy Poehler in-the-making.
  14. Validation and attention is nice, but it’s not worth it if its not the right person. Spend less time thinking about boys and what they thought of you.
  15. Forgive your mistakes. It’s not the end of the world.

and two more for a bonus:

16. Do not let your laziness define what you thought you can or cannot do. Maybe you could have been great at Math if you gave yourself a chance. You defined yourself way too much. You could have been anything if you stopped drawing your own boundaries.

17. You should have published more when you had the time, energy, and lack-of-shame.

Unagi Drama-Rama

 

Succulent flesh, glistening in the warm glow of light.

Sesame seeds resting atop a glaze of syrupy-sweet sauce.

Six perfectly-grilled pieces arranged in a row, slightly angled

– like well-disciplined soldiers awaiting their next order.

 

He sat there alone, peering into his iPhone. Those same perfect pieces untouched.

Suddenly, something base and virile raged in me. I heard the voice of demons yell– “ GET IN ME!” I glowered at the man-boy, ” You bespectacled nerd. You fiend! Don’t you know that when perfection calls, you answer? Don’t wait another second. You devour with fervour. Take in every last drip, every mouthful!”

 

I wanted him to share it. With me. If I can’t have all of it, at least lure him with my womanly charms to get some. Accost him to offer it to me as some sort of trade for my attention. He looked like easy prey. I could do it too. I can be charming. I can be whatever unagi called me to be. I furtively glanced back and forth from my empty table to his roll of unagi. How far was I willing to go for unagi? To talk to a stranger? An unattractive stranger? I contemplated the cost. I looked at his face.

 

That bastard.

 

I glanced at my table. I had not noticed seven pink, perfect pieces of fatty salmon on a plate. They wobbled as I gingerly picked it up with my chopsticks. I waited as it melted in my mouth. It was good. So good. But still, unagi silently screamed from across the table.

 

Then, it all happened so quickly. The man-boy sat up straight, thumped his phone down on the table with Hitler’s determination, and proceeded to jab his chopsticks into a piece. It was like the swiftness of ninjas. I could not bear to watch. He violently dunked that same piece into shoyu sauce (YOU’RE RUINING IT! – I heard demons yell), jammed it into his mouth, wolfed it down in seconds, and without even waiting to swallow, speared at the next piece, and the next, and the next. He was Pol Pot incarnate.

 

I looked on in horror, mouth agape.

The torture seemed like eons (forty seconds).

Then, silence.

A call for the cheque. A chug of tea.

Then, they were gone.

We never had a chance.

 

I looked at the empty table where unagi once sat as I slurped at my Cha Soba. I genuinely tried to experience its texture. The emptiness bothered me though. It was cold. Maybe it was because I ordered cold noodles. I thought about how he mixed unagi and pickled ginger all in one mouthful. I shuddered. I chewed on lunch slowly, dissatisfied.

Then, I decided.

I reached for the menu.

I looked at the order, looked at the price, mentally calculated what I had in my savings account, and uttered an inaudible c’est la vie! C’EST LA VIE I SAID!

Time stopped.

No, you’ve  had enough. It was a perfect lunch. You could not have asked for anything more.”

I called the waiter.

“ You’ve worked so hard at HiiTs. Don’t ruin it with more rice and calories! People with abs don’t over-order!”

I heard myself say “One stamina Roll please.

I could still cancel.

I didn’t.

The plate came within minutes.

 

I picked up a piece.

The journey from chopstick to mouth seemed like The Odyssee.

But just like the prose of epics, I came home.

 

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image via link

 

I was one. 

I was whole.

I was complete. 

I was unagi.

Of unfinished coffee, movies and relationships

I was having my morning coffee today when I realised my heart rate was going up. I had to stop. I was hesitant to leave the unfinished cup because I had that nagging feeling of not wanting to waste food.

Then I remembered, I had already paid for the cup of coffee. Whether or not I finished it should not matter, because the exchange has already been made – money for coffee.  I owed nothing and therefore would gain nothing by forcing heart palpitation on myself for the sake of some sound value meant to teach us gratitude.

It’s like that famed economic example of buying tickets for a movie. As the example goes, you suddenly have a family emergency – either your house caught on fire or your cat Pablo’s giving birth, so you’re forced to forego your movie to attend to the matter and “waste” the ticket. But because you already bought the ticket, the investment was made. You have simply weighed your options and made your decision to attend to the emergency based on what you value – possible life and death versus entertainment at the movies.

Just like love. Many people stay in relationships way past it’s due because they’ve invested. To break up, would be a waste, because one has not gotten their ROI. But remember that you’ve already paid for it – with your time, love, affections, attention… least of all money. The issue of “wasted” isn’t the issue. All you have to do now is to weigh it with what you value and which is the greater matter to attend to – whether you think it’s about leaving because you think there is someone else better for you, or staying because you want your returns, a situation that may take years depending whether or not you’ve made the right investment, and sometimes, it only depreciates.

 

Hope this helps.

 

If Linny, Jowee and Ea formed a band: A list of band names & Re-living the past

In 2009, Zaleha, Linny and I formed a band and entered a talent competition. We came in second place. At the time we called ourselves ” Something for Now” because we needed a band name, just something for the moment … and that is why we have the totally appropriate and totally lame-sounding, ” Something For Now”.

Now a few years later, and older and wiser, together with our newly acquired “band manager”, we managed to come up with a list of 40 awesome names to choose from and their accompanying genres. Viva La Band!

  1. Lola – Pop Rock
  2. Unjustified Notes – Singer- songwriter
  3. Rebel Causes – HXC
  4. Mrs. Big – Malay
  5. El Totoro – HXC, Pop- Rock
  6. Influx- HXC
  7. Autumn Rangers- Dream pop
  8. The Hairsprays – 60s
  9. Canning Park – Malay
  10. The TZL Experiment – Jazz
  11. Red Buttons – Brit Pop
  12. Zaleha Learns to Rock  – * (Like Michael) pop-rock
  13. Ea Learns to Rock – * ( In case Zaleha is too long, we’ll have it shortened) pop Rock
  14. Gold & Wine – Folk
  15. Tukar Kaki – * ( Like Switchfoot) Christian Rock
  16. Wink 182 – Punk
  17. AC/ Tee Jowee
  18. Time Stood Still Before Me & I’m Not Afraid To Die – HXC
  19. Lipstick
  20. ya ya yas!
  21. KL Police Club
  22. RTM BAND: Keroncong Malaysia
  23. Cheras Bicycle Club
  24. Tame Tapir
  25. My Boyfriend is Stupid – Punk
  26. Fingertips – Punk
  27. Slow Hands – Contemporary/ Indie Alternative
  28. Sediments – Some form of rock
  29. Experiments
  30. Righteous – Old School Rock
  31. Ahelaz * ( Is Zaleha spelt backwards)
  32. Her & Her
  33. She & Her
  34. Tiga Kolar T – Shirt
  35. Flying Pebbles
  36. Humming
  37. The Truth Seekers
  38. The OK-Las
  39. The boleh Jugak
  40. Rage Against the Tapirs

 

New Year’s Resolutions : 2014

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Good morning world,

It’s the first day of 2014. I have always loved new beginnings, wiping the slate clean, and having a fresh start to everything. So, it’s the perfect time to start making plans!

SO, here is my ” How to be a better person” battle plan. The projected timeline, as always, is towards the end of 2014. So by December 2014, if I am not a “successful” 24 year old then I would have been at least better off than if I had not made a plan. You know, it’s the whole “shoot-for- the- moon- land- on- the- stars” idea?

Career Goals:

  • Tutor in University. Consequently, be the best tutor ever; having an excellent in-depth knowledge of the material, on the ball, professional with excellent delivery.
  • Engage in RA work
  • Write at night (Consequently, to stop taking blogging as “writing”. It is not the same type of writing.)
  • Get over fear of publishing
  • Start earning money through my writing
  • Pursue PHD ( have ideas and paperwork underway)
  • Save RM 10,800 by the end of 2013

Health Goals:

  • Flat, lean, trim perut (Go for Core Ex classes at the gym!)
  • Go to the gym at least two times a week. This is more financial than health actually. The way I figure, if I go for their classes at least twice I would have spent my money’s worth. Classes for consideration: Yoga, Core Exercises, Cardio.
  • Be a full-on Pescetarian (fish and eggs acceptable). It’s my stepping stone towards a full-on vegan diet.
  • Futsal Team every Thursday (oh yeah!). Also: improve my Futsal skills. Be a midfield magician (heh heh).

Family Goals:

  • Earn enough to give family RMXXX a month
  • Help mother in ways I can (like groceries)
  • Help sister with ways I can (like baby keith)
  • always ask if they need help ( like tapau food)

Relationship Goals: 

  • Make 10 new friends, good friends.
  • Text all existing friends at least once a week (busy can not be an excuse, ever)

Self-improvement goals:

  • Always drive under or at the speed limit ( No more driving like an inconsiderate Malaysian)
  • no more cursing
  • no more drinking (It is really not good for your health, I’m starting to feel it)
  • pick up the bass
  • write music
  • make art
  • attend a show (music) I really want to, alone.
  • Attend good shows (music) around the region
  • figure out where my musical tastes truly lie
  • Reply all texts and e-mails within the day  ( Being responsible and responsive and professional)
  • Further enhance with reading many types of texts and material, news and current affairs, novels etc.
  • Finish my duo lingo French course online
  • Finish my Coursera courses
  • Finish reading all my books from Big Bad Wolf
  • Stop complaining about what I do
  • Execute dumb ideas beautifully

Personal projects:

  • Release at least 12 episodes of the Daryl and Jowee Music show. This will be a monthly podcast of sorts. The purpose and aims of this show is: 1) To be a representation of my gender in the media environment. 2) To enhance my music knowledge. 3) To create and enhance my editing skills. 4) To engage in a positive hobby with my Daryl.
  • Release at least 12 episodes of the Jowee and Zaleha Variety show. As above 1) To be a representation of my gender in the media space, to make our voice louder. 2) To enhance my video editing skills 3) To create 4) To laugh
  • 50’s fashion (or rock). Time to shop vintage. Dark red lips, curls, eyelashes. The aims for this is to just have fun, it is an interest. It keeps me thinking, inspired and creative. Also, it’s just a chance at self-expression. 
  • Social Media project  This is slightly related to #3 above. This is just taking a stab at enhancing my social media self -representation, for sustaining said inspiration.

By the way guys, it’s the year of the horse this year. My year. It’s quite significant to experience the second cycle. I have a feeling things are going to be good. OPTIMISM! #cautiousOPTIMISM!

Being Grateful for 2013: A List

Here are some of the things I want to remember about 2013:

1. Got a full scholarship for my Honour’s year.

Consequently met some of the best people ever, cohorts, supervisors, academic staff and all.

2. Wrote a Thesis and completed my Honour’s year  

I can never thank my supervisor, family and friends enough for this one. Their support was immeasurable.

3. Fractured my finger playing Futsal

How have I lived 23 years without a sport-related injury? Well, try never playing a sport ever. Which leads to…

4. Played Futsal

Now, I have a “team”- loosely formed.

I wanted to try something new. I wanted to do the kind of thing that I wasn’t necessarily good at, but was passionate about. Because how often are we only passionate about the things we’re good at? and afraid to do things because we’re bad at it?

Oh trust me, I’m bad at this.

5. Found 5 puppies thrown away at the side of the road

This was significant because I fulfilled a childhood dream of mine- Save animals. I had always wanted to pick up strays as a child, but no one would let me of course. It wasn’t pretty, nothing about the entire process was. But found them all homes in 2 days, and realized that there are such good people around.

6. Made 8 new, good friends (and all my old friends still love me) 

I love these people.

7. Lost a friend 

Prior to this, I had never broken up with any “friend” before. Sure people fall in and out of touch in our lives, but we’re still “friends”. This is the first time I ever forthrightly told someone I did not want to be their friend.

You see, friendship is one of the most important “ships” in my life, and almost everything  can be solvable and salvageable to me. BUT, this year I learned what was not okay and I am a better, wiser person for it.

8. My baby nephew was born 

I am lost for words at the miracle of life.

9. Went to Singapore for Two Door Cinema Club, Bloc Party, Urbanscapes with Tegan and Sara, Franz Ferdinand, Mew and Explosions in the Sky, 65 Days of Static… 

I am very happy with where the music industry is going. The local scene is booming, and many old/new bands are coming in. I am a very happy music-lover.

10. Had the opportunity of being part of roughly 200 young lives 

It was a privilege I will not take lightly. This was where I learned your heart can open to be X200 times larger than what it is.

11. Had the opportunity to teach 14 teenagers a little something

I had always been afraid of teenagers. This experience opened my eyes. I love these kids.

12. Had a post go viral

I had always been wrought with self-doubt about my chosen field- writing, and I had always wanted a larger audience. So first, this experience gave me some form of confirmation that what I am doing can be called “good”, and secondly I no longer desire “fame”. To have a lack of control was NOT fun.

13. Voted for the first time 

Consequently, it was also one of the more significant elections of our time.

14. Changed my relationship with food

Decided to become a vegetarian for various, and perhaps “all” reasons- health, environmental, ethics- everything. I am not a vegetarian yet, I still succumb to meat some days. It is more accurate to say I am a pescetarian. But more importantly, I eat because I am hungry and have to eat, not because I am bored, or greedy, or just because I want to eat. I am a lot more careful and make more conscious choices and efforts to think about what I am putting in my body, and the kind of effects it would have on the world/earth. Even more significant is how much better my relationship with food is now compared to when I was a teenager. Did you know I used to be afraid to eat? This is a victory if I ever saw one.

In the following days, and the next post I am going to write about my New Year’s resolutions. It is a long, extensive list I have not gotten around to writing yet. But I need to write it down, I need an audience to help me be accountable.

Anyway, I am signing off now. Until next time…

Five things I learnt this year

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REVELATIONS:

1. Quality time is a privilege 

I had mentioned that this year was a “bad” year for me. It was one marked by stress and a full timetable of running from school to school, from doing my research, to teaching in two schools that I hardly had time for anything else. I missed the privilege of quality time with my friends and family and the people that make “life”. I didn’t have time for any of my interests and hobbies or myself anymore, and I was so drained each day.

2. I am bad at many things 

Things that used to come so naturally to me, or things I used to think I was good at seemed to be overturned by all these people who were so much better, or all these situations where I failed, and failed to produce good work. I was made aware of all my weaknesses and areas where I fell short. However, I take some sort of comfort in knowing that having to struggle and fail is an essential part of knowing that we are growing. This was a profound experience for me.

3. I am good at many things ( I didn’t know I was good at)

Life is also a paradox, because while it felt like I was losing certain things, like “quality time” and the things I “used to be” good at, I was also beginning to gain and fall in love with many things, like education; like the idea that life isn’t about me; like the idea of offering a contribution to the world, not as if I could “save the world” as I once naively thought I could, but just in doing what I can to try. This is by far one of the more freeing ideas of life.

4. It is okay to not be okay 

More importantly, I learned in numerous times and numerous occassions that it is okay to not be okay, and that it is okay to feel completely alone. There is a lot of comfort in knowing you are not the only one, and everyone is almost, just like that. I also learned,  you don’t have to “feel inspired” to work. Heck you don’t have to feel at all sometimes. To be inspired is a privilege. To learn is a privilege not afforded to many. To live is a privilege not afforded to many.

5. Finally being able to be grateful 

It was only during this last month where I finally stopped complaining and griping (goodness it took me twelve months to be grateful), which made me all the more aware that I need to enjoy each and every moment, stop and just breathe. I was finally able to appreciate my year for what it was- colorful,  filled with all the experiences of growing up, and the kind of learning that would not have happened if I had not truly been living. I think sometimes we expect life to bring us greatness, with all the great expectations that comes with hope, that we often bypass all the little, quiet, unremembered days that makes life all the more significant.

Maybe more importantly I learned how I am going to be better next year. I’m so excited! Are you?

 

p.s.// I also discovered I have something called a Mild Thoracic Scoliosis. I had never known it was there for 23 years of my life. This was definitely something.

A Harrowing Reminder to stick to what is important

“You’re still young and healthy. Maybe that’s why you don’t understand what I am saying. Let me give you an example. Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a comb losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations. Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or, then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away. Some announce their departure before they leave, while others just disappear all of a sudden without warning one day. And once you lose them you can never get them back. Your search for replacements never goes well. It’s all very painful—as painful as actually being cut with a knife. You will be turning thirty soon, Mr. Kawana, which means that, from now on, you will gradually enter that twilight portion of life—you will be getting older. You are probably beginning to grasp that painful sense that you are losing something, are you not?”

— Haruki Murakami – 1Q84

 

He said it, not I.

A Follow-Up to the Capital FM piece

First of all, I would like to thank everyone that took the time to leave their thoughts, comments, opinions and passions about the state of women, men and Malaysians in this country. I read every one of them and was honored by your thoughts. Yes, even the bad and negative ones, because they have every right to say it too- although I will never agree with it. Especially the guy that said “why don’t you make me a sandwich?”- you my friend, is exactly the reason why we need to push for a greater change in our mentalities about other genders.

I was extremely overwhelmed and terrified by the sudden virility of the post. I had written it seven months ago from today, and it obviously left me wondering “what the heck happened?!” from all that time until now to warrant such a response.

For this I have to acknowledge Patrick Teoh, Noelle Lim, Sharaad Kuttan, Juwita Suwito, Ivy Josiah and Marina Mahathir- as some of the people that shared it. These are all people who I truly respect and admire as opinion leaders in this society. For that reason alone, this episode in my life has left me flattered for the privilege of being read by them.

I was also left conflicted. Conflicted because there was too much of a focus on what was said about the public personalities and DJs in the piece and not enough about the larger questions- mainly how are we going to bring about change for the people most affected by marginalization and discrimination because of their gender? And also, how much discussion has to be done before actual, purposeful, concerted action will take place?

I need to take responsibility for some of the things I said, and offer some clarity. First, liking a radio personality is different from respect. I do not have to like everyone, but I do respect the radio personality that is- Xandria and Joanne, and the station as well. My hope is that people would stop flaming them. Secondly, I hope Malaysians exercise some maturity in realizing that a “public personality” is distinct, and separate from who that “person” is in their daily lives. I am absolutely sure there are people that love Joanne and Xandria- their families, friends and colleagues- they would not be where they are today if they did not have these people.  What I know about these “personalities” is what was conveyed to me through their presentation on air. So we need to keep the two separate so that a more “reasoned” discussion can take place in order to focus on the real issue here.

Malaysian society needs to tackle some very important questions that might not be solved in this generation. What are the responsibilities and actions we- the individual- can take to alleviate some of our problems? Problems that are so multi-layered and complex? How can we bring an end to children of rape, forced into marrying their rapist? How can we stop the woman who takes the endless beatings from her husband, because she is dependent on him for her family?

Feminism is not about “hating men”, it is about making gender matter less. A woman’s issue is a man’s issue, because what is meant by “equality” is that we both suffer equally when one gender is allowed to live as “less”. A man is not defined by being different from a woman. A man is defined by being different from a boy. This means taking responsibility for what our actions have done.

What can we, the people reading this- the people with access to education, the Internet and the privilege of discussing “other people’s” affairs from the comfort of our own homes do to help? The people that have it the worst are the people that are not reading this. Are we going to help them?

I would like the focus and attention to be turned towards these things, and not on me or the radio station. I am just someone who wrote something. I do not want to be put on a pedestal for the work I did not do. Spreading an idea is very different from actually doing the work required to affect change. We need to take action, after all the “talk” is done.

We need to stop talking and just “do”.

Sincerely,

CLICK HERE to Read The Open Letter

2014: A Brand New Year

The other day I made this dramatic, extensive list of goals I had planned for 2014.

I think perhaps a big part of why I make these lists is because it allows me to re-imagine a better, more successful “me”. In desperate attempts to rid myself of the filth and gutter, the bad habits and mistakes I have accumulated in 2013, the projection of a Jowee 4.0 is an exciting thing. Perhaps it is a form of escape. Should I achieve it, perhaps I would really be pleased with myself.

The list is truly epic, spanning five pages, with dot points and outlines, and sub-sections. I grabbed my favorite pen- the inky, flow-y, silky, “make you write inspirational” things pen, and with almost military-like precision, I quickly adopted what seemed to be a fool-proof methodology. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it, complete with suggestions and first steps and supplementary aid to make sure my 2014 is a success, UNLIKE my 2013, which was a total failure as far as life- years go.

MY 2013 was a terrible, sorry state if I have ever had one. My only plans were to “support myself” and “stay alive”. It was vague, I aimed low, I was unhappy, but at least I succeeded. In fact I think that was it, I was the most unhappy, internally, I had ever been this year. I was deeply dissatisfied with where my plans- or lack of plans took me. I was busy all the time, I did nothing meaningful it seemed. I am not exactly bemoaning this as a bad thing. In fact I think it is a very good thing, it makes me want to challenge it and take on life, and change it, right now.

In the following blog posts I am going to be sharing some parts of this “extensive” list. It is extensive because I have meticulously wrote things like, ” Stray away from using contractions in my writing”.

I think I can make it into four blog posts.

ONWARD FRIENDS! TO A BETTER ME! A BETTER YOU! TO A BETTER YEAR!

HIP HIP!