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Sunday, December 30, 2012

What women want.

Everything.

We want everything. And because these things sometimes contradict, many say we do not know what we want at all.

We want to be given equal opportunities and to be treated equally as our male counterparts. We want to prove that anything a man can do, women can do as well, and sometimes we can do it better. We want the world to know that we are a force to be reckoned with; that we should not be looked down upon or cast aside.

But yet, every single woman still wants to be treated like a precious, helpless damsel by a man. We want men to protect us, open doors for us, carry bags for us, and pay for us. We want to be treated as if we're the most delicate, fragile and precious treasure in existence.

We want to be Wonder Woman. But at the same time, we want to be Superman's Lois Lane. (But never Mary Jane; because noone in their right mind thinks an icky spider is sexy.)


We champion for the glass ceiling to be demolished, and cite pioneers from Amelia Earhart to Aung San Suu Kyi as our inspiration. We lament how women are portrayed as (sexy) secretaries and nurses, instead of company directors and doctors.

We hate the phrase "get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich" more than anything.

We claim that all males are chauvinist pigs, that believe women should be less smart and successful than their partners, and are only good for keeping house and making babies. We say that they feel threatened (emasculated) by powerful women that they cannot control or predict.

We say "I don't need a man". But then again, we don't see a great amount of women taking it upon themselves to unclog pipes, clean air-conditioner filters, tune car engines, or fix broken appliances and devices. If anything breaks or breaks down, we say that it's a man's duty to fix it.


So what exactly do women want then?

I have no clue. And I dare to say that no woman knows exactly what she wants either, in the neverending battle for gender equality.

But every single woman in the world wants to be respected, and to be treated as an individual with rights and dignity. We want to be treated as contributing members of society, and not viewed as belonging to a lower social class.


We do not want to be raped.

Recently, in the South African country of Swaziland, women have been banned from wearing revealing clothing, which includes (but is not limited to) miniskirts, midriff-baring tops, and low-rise jeans. Offenders can be arrested, and may face a maximum 6 month jail term.

This is in line with the repressive, archaic school of thought, that believe that women that dress sexily and/or act flirtatiously are responsible for any sexual assault, or even rape that happens to them. Some may even go further, to say that such women deserve to be raped, for deliberately tantalising men.

Most of us girls, have been endlessly lectured by our parents for our "overly revealing" choices of clothing. We are given a lecture every time we step out of our rooms wearing anything they consider too short, too tight, or too sheer. And while this is annoying and frustrating, I understand their worries, because they subscribe to this school of thought too.


But I wholeheartedly disagree. And so do many women all over the world, that regularly organise "slut-walks" in protest of this antiquated assumption.

Because no woman "is asking for it", or "deserves it", or "should have known better" when it comes to rape. Not a single woman alive wants to have a dick thrust inside her against her will.

Not the girl wearing short and tight clothing. Not the girl wearing a bikini. Not even a completely naked girl running in the streets. None of these girls should ever be held responsible if they are raped.

They didn't ask for non-consensual sex. They didn't ask to be kidnapped and forced upon and to be sexually abused. They didn't ask for all their self-worth to be taken away, the psychological trauma that will never fully heal, and all the other physical and mental scars that come with it. If they did ask, then it wouldn't even be reported as a rape case. (Assuming this doesn't involve minors below the age of consent.)


So why then, you argue, do women dress sexily? Isn't it to gain sexual attention from men?

To this I must concur. Women dress sexily for many reasons: to feel confident, to show off their assets, to rebel against clothing restrictions, etc. But yes, above all, we dress sexy to make an impression, to turn heads, and to attract attention from men. (Unless you swing in the other direction.)

I agree that dressing sexily may be inappropriate, and I accept that the way you dress will be how others form their opinions on you. Women that dress sexily may be labelled as sluts, may be considered to have loose morales, and may be frowned upon for the way they dress.

But I think this is fair. Society is perfectly entitled to have its own opinion on the personality and moral code of a woman based on how she dresses, and we are all guilty of putting labels on everyone else based on some superficial characteristic. Remember teasing the "nerd", the "crybaby", or the "teacher's pet" back when we were kids?

The labels of "bimbo"/"slut"/"whore" etc, are so commonplace nowadays anyway, that sometimes they don't even sting. And either way, such perceptions can be proven wrong, or failing that, can even be ignored. As long as we have people that love us for who we are instead of how we dress, what others say don't matter, right?


But rape is a crime, not something that can be ignored.

In dressing sexily, women accept that they will be judged for it. But it is not in any way justifiable or acceptable that women should be raped for how they dress.

So what if it causes sexual attention from men? Does it mean that men are incapable of rational thought or self-control? Is it not still the decision of the man whether or not to forcibly stick his dick in a woman?

"But wait! Sex is a primitive urge that man has no control over!" you cry.

To this I say, BULLSHIT. The majority of men in the civilised world have not committed rape towards a woman they are sexually attracted to. They either ignore it, start pursuing her, or in desperate cases, engage the services of a prostitute. To think that raping to satisfy sexual interest is justifiable in any way, I say that there is something very wrong with you.

Based on your logic, if someone drove around in a Porsche or wears a Rolex, they are flaunting their wealth and deserve to be robbed. Both presumptions are equally ridiculous, and hold no ground in any possible manner.


I reiterate, women want to be respected. No woman deserves to be ambushed on a public bus, gang-raped, beaten up, stripped naked, and then thrown off the bus, left with multiple serious physical injuries and inconceivable emotional trauma. The victim has since passed away after many hours of fighting for her life, bless her soul.

The case happened in India, where it is sad to say that rape, slavery, and "honour killings" are everyday occurrence in the country that has abhorable protection for the rights of women. The sheer brutality of this case has struck a cord with many Indian nationals, and countless people around the globe. Regardless of how this woman may have been dressing or acting, the crimes acted upon her were unconscionable and unjustifiable.


The only way rape cases will be reduced is by making men respect women and their right to their bodies. If there is no such respect, even if all the women in the world wore burkas and full-face veils, rape would still be rampant everywhere.

No sane woman ever stepped out of her house wanting to be raped. And it is time for the whole world to catch up with this.


Women want many things. Diamonds, Dior, and Dolce&Gabbana; Gold, Gucci, and GiorgioArmani; a dashing badboy with a heart of gold, perhaps may be demands a tad too extravagant.

But the right to dress how we see fit and not to be sexually forced upon, is not too much to ask for.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mindless drivel at post-midnight.

(Update: Nah I'm not gonna blog about my Taiwan trip. Just felt like writing something at the time! Sorry!)

A quick update, because I haven't for so long:

I type this from a hotel room in Taipei, at the crazy time of 2am. I'm dead tired from a whole day of sightseeing, and really should be getting some rest, 'cause I'll need to be up and about for another full day tomorrow.

But it's just another one of those days where every limb of your body has been zapped of energy, but your mind just refuses to slow down and relax. So here I am, for the first time ever, blogging from a foreign country. It's only the end of day two here, but I've already reached my conclusion on Taipei.


Random points from a Malaysian tourist point of view:

1. The locals here are all bundled up in winter parkas and boots with faux fur and whatnot, while I'm literally strolling around in shorts and a t-shirt. The weather is 21 degrees, so I think they're nuts. And I'm ecstatic because normally I'm the first one to freeze up amongst anyone I know, so it's nice to not be the least cold-intolerant for once.

2. Almost every local guy is HOT. I'm incredibly impressed with the level of eye candy here! I don't know how they do it, but keep it up Taipei!

3. EVERYONE. BLOODY. SMOKES. The maddening volume of second hand smoke in the air is enough to make me to never want to return here. There's nothing cool about smoking, you eedjits.

4. In line with point 1, there is NO SHOPPING to be done for the tropical climate citizen, because every article of clothing on sale here is either a jacket, a sweater, is of outrageous design, or any combination of the above. Guess we just might be headed home empty handed.

5. Food is overall pretty good! Especially enjoyed DinTaiFung, which is miles higher quality than our pathetic Malaysian branch. Night market food was not particularly outstanding, but nothing fell below average either.

6. The WORST people in the world are tourists from China. They're rude, pushy, and come in multiple big groups that resemble a charging, impatient stampede of bulls. Stupid chinks.

(While being aware that by insulting Chinese idiots, I may seem to be attacking myself and my own culture; feel safely assured that I am only Chinese, and not an idiot at all.)


This post will probably be updated tomorrow, which will be the day Daddy drives us to the more outskirt towns to visit! Am expecting us to get hopelessly lost, and then struggle to obtain directions with our lousy Mandarin.

Until then, here's a picture of me from Taipei 101! Good night!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

You win some, you lose some.

I haven't written in a while. And I suppose I'd better explain why.

Writing is my escape; my safe haven from the big, scary world out there that I'm just unable to fit into. I write the most, when I become a social recluse and shut everyone and everything else out. And this just hasn't been happening lately.

The last few weeks have been a blur of events. Late night "yumcha" sessions with the usual bunch have also dramatically increased in frequency from 1-2 times a month to 2-3 times a week. I've been in zombie mode during classes, and whenever I have some alone time I'm usually too tired to be thinking of anything remotely blog-worthy.

Figures that while my normally barren social life begins to thrive, that my blog would suffer a massive hit. Can't be narky and angsty when I'm so darn happy all the time.

The only big issues that have been occupying my mind all revolve around my non-existent love life and how I'm tragically doomed to fall for unsuitable guys; my new crush is oh-so-yummy and devastatingly gorgeous, but lacks any form of ambition or drive. While a guy doesn't always have to be successful to be attractive, there is nothing that turns me off like an unmotivated flake. I don't foresee my crush lasting very much longer, which is a shame because he is just so good looking.

But then again, I've talked about my travesty of a love life in all my recent posts, and even I am sick of writing about it. Which leaves me nothing to write about.


But wait, you say, what about that issue about gender segregation in Kelantan? Female hairdressers not being allowed to cut the hair of male hairdressers and vice-versa, because it will lead to immoral activities in hair salons that have become the new brothels? Why haven't I written a longsss post on that?

Well it's because I don't like getting into politics on my blog. It's not only highly sensitive, but also literally dangerous to publish on a public network.

Most people are repeatedly harping on how the segregation ruling advocates a great unfairness towards non-Muslims. To me however, the whole thing is just yet another issue blown out of proportion to gain political mileage. I'm honestly annoyed that its been getting so much coverage to begin with.

I mean, the "biggest offender" supposedly got 10-11 summonses over the past 10 years, which means on average 1 summons per year? And yes, there is a clear violation of rights, which shouldn't be discounted even though cases are few and far between, and even one case is too many. Nevertheless, if this "grave injustice" has been going on for so many years, my big question is: why has noone ever spoken out about it before, be it when the Bill was gazetted in the first place, or during the past 2 general elections?

Probably because noone even gave a damn about the ruling anyway. It's annoying and demeaning when mass media attempts to completely brainwash us this way.

Again, I'm not in any way approving of the ruling, which clearly has the potential of causing much unnecessary hardship. My opinion is that because its hardly even enforced, this whole thing has been blown far, far out of proportion. It should be protested and repealed ASAP before any more trouble is caused.


And there's my two cents on the whole controversial ruling. Maybe I'd be more emotional if I lived in Kelantan, or if anyone I knew personally was affected by it. But as neither apply, I'm feeling extremely meh about it.

The biggest problem in my life right now is how I'm going to manage to even finish, let alone ace my law assignments that I haven't even started on, that will be due very soon. Since this has a direct and very real impact on my own future, I suppose the selfish part of me finds it a smidgen difficult to give more than just a passing glance of pity towards the struggles of other strangers right now.

I really should be hitting the books. But instead, I start going out more often, getting myself involved in more events, making plans to collaborate with someone on a music project, and well anything really to give myself an excuse not to study. Even if I have to blog when I don't really have anything to write about. (Sorry, dear reader.)

I'll have to get to work eventually. At which point I'll be completely rushing everything and hating my submission and complaining to anyone who will listen, like I do every single time. You'd think I'd have learnt not to procrastinate by now, but well I've just wasted 3 weeks doing making absolutely zero academic progress. Fantastic.

...And I've just made plans to head out shopping tomorrow. Whoops. Better luck next week.


But I shall not despair. For all good things come to an end, and I know that very soon I won't be inundated with invitations to hang out every other night, and will then be back to being a lifeless nobody. Then I will blog more and be forced to do my work out of sheer boredom.

D'oh.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Seven days of self-discovery.

(Note: This post is extremely long, best enjoyed with a coffee and pastry, and is basically me just talking about what's been happening in my life all week. I do hope you enjoy reading monologues.)

I've been having a weeklong Deepavali break, and now that it's ending, I've realised that I have made absolutely zero progress with all the goals that I've set. Namely, I didn't touch any of my textbooks or conduct any legal research. It should be noted that I have assignments due in a few weeks, and my whole future is riding on this.

Whoops.


But then again, life has a funny way of teaching us things, especially whenever we least expect it.

I may not have made much academic leeway, but I've certainly grown up a lot this week. In the past few days, certain series of events have led me to experience mini epiphanies. They may not be hugely dramatic, but they helped illuminate aspects of my life that I hadn't even known needed a guiding light.

Thus, I've decided to detail them here for personal reference. Hopefully, I manage to inspire someone out there too.


1. Spiritual aspect



Image source: Sean Beh

This personal account comes a little late, but I've decided to write about it anyway.

About a week ago, an image formed on a window panel at the Sime Darby Medical Centre (SDMC) in Subang Jaya. Many believe this image to be an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and believers and curious onlookers alike have flocked to the site to take a closer look at this image.

Now, being admittedly not the most pious Catholic around, I didn't jump at the news and rush to SDMC, despite living not too far away from it. I had been busy with other events the past weekend, and didn't give the apparition a second thought. Besides feeling tired most of the time, I was also highly skeptical about this whole thing, and didn't want to get any hopes up until the church had issued a statement.

However, that was the weekend.

Once Monday rolled around, I had seen enough pictures in print and on Facebook to sufficiently piqué my interest to take a gander at the apparition. Through a series of unforeseen events however, I only managed to visit SDMC on Tuesday, when mommy and I braved the crowds and headed to SDMC, to be good Catholics and gaze reverently at the supposed image of Mother Mary.

One thing you cannot tell from online images is that the window pane is pretty damn high off the ground, I'm estimating at least 5 storeys high. This means that without binoculars or zoom lens or any similar gadget, you don't exactly get the best view.


Image source: Sean Beh

Don't get me wrong though, you will still be able to make out Mother Mary's image without any trouble. At first glance, it is truly a sight to behold. You really feel like there is an ethereal, calming aura that emanates from the apparition, and makes you feel spiritual, like you should say a prayer or sing a hymm.

But then again, this feeling didn't last long for me. When I looked upon the supposed apparition, I sometimes only saw dirt on the window instead of the Blessed Virgin. Somehow, I just wasn't as awestruck or dumbfounded as I'd expected to be, and it was quite a disappointment.

This however, doesn't mean that the apparition isn't authentic, as church officials have yet to certify anything. It just means that I didn't have a moving spiritual experience when I saw the window pane; but I do know a few others who have been truly moved after visiting SDMC, and they wholeheartedly believe that Mother Mary is there gazing down upon them.

Maybe my faith just isn't strong enough. Guess I need to stop falling asleep during Mass.


Nonetheless, it shouldn't be said that I didn't have a spiritual experience at all at the site though. Although the apparition didn't move mountains for me, the people that were gathered there were the ones that inspired me to deepen my faith.

It was Deepavali on Tuesday, yet the majority of people we saw at SDMC were Indian, most of which were in traditional garb or other fancy wear. Clearly, most of them were on their way to dinner, and had stopped by to visit the apparition site beforehand. Everywhere you turned, you would see an Indian family either praying or chatting excitedly. 

I can't speak for everyone, but if you asked me to go to SDMC on Chinese New Year, I'd probably have laughed in your face and told you that the day was about celebrating and having fun. These people however, have made me feel ashamed of myself. Clearly, I need to re-evaluate my life, and reorganise my priorities. 


Thus to me, it doesn't matter whether the apparition is real or not, because it still resulted in a call to return to the faith. And that's the most important miracle of all.


2. Romantic aspect


I've learnt that sometimes it doesn't matter what your head knows; as your heart has a mind of its own, that cannot be influenced by anything as unimportant as hard facts and cold evidence.

Sometimes, you fall for a jerk. Sometimes, the person is not just a jerk, but also a jerk that won't even give you the time of day. To make matters worse, the jerk that won't give you the time of day, may also be unattractive to you in every possible conceivable way.

You know the only reason you want his affection, is because it has been suddenly and inexplicably taken away from you, and your ego has taken such a massive hit, that the only thing you feel will get yourself back on track is to win him back. Even while you pine day and night for him to throw a glance your way, you are very much aware that you will never be happy or fulfilled if you ever got together with this guy.

Despite this, he has permeated every aspect of your life, and has made it impossible for you to do anything else but think of him whenever you're alone. This guy has single-handedly brought out all of your worse aspects. You have become jealous, insecure, and clingy; every guy's worse nightmare.

You know that it is less about him, but more about the love of being The One. You've been so influenced by all the romantic schmantics Hollywood has fed you, that you yearn to be the person that's so influential and central to someone else's life, that they change their ways and become a Good Guy. You want to "save" the good you see in this person and eliminate the rest.

But that isn't how love works.


It's naïve to think that you could ever change a person that has no intention of changing himself, and foolish to think that you should hang around because you believe that person is bound to change eventually. It's also incredibly selfish to think that a person should have to change in order for you to be able to fully accept him.

Perhaps it's a rite of passage, that we have to fall for at least one person that is monumentally unsuitable for us in every way. Maybe it is through these episodes that we find out what's really important to us.

Because I now know what I'm not willing to compromise on in a future relationship. To name a few, mutual respect and understanding, intellectual stimulation, and the shallow but all-important physical attraction. The very fact that I had fleetingly thought of discarding my principles for this guy, jolted me into realising how far I'd been sinking.

You'd think that with all the minus points for this guy, that I would've had no trouble moving onwards and upwards. But nope Chuck Testa, it hasn't worked out at all, and I blame the part of me that is still holding on to the slim hope that he would change. I've discovered that despite knowing how manifestly unsuitable someone is for you, your heart can't always immediately let go of him.

So for the most part, I've been drifting along the days. I alternate between hoping to hear from him, and hating myself for hoping to hear from him. The feelings become more unbearable and pathetic when it gets later at night, and whenever I'm alone and unoccupied.


But I think that's all going to change today.

Because someone very dear to me received a rose today. Some guy went over to her house and gave it to her as a present, and this guy wasn't even her boyfriend, or someone that she'd in any way indicated to that she was interested. He did it just to surprise her, and to make a bid for her affections.

And that was when I really, really sat down and compared our situations, and I finally decided to accept the cruel truth that he just wasn't into me, and I would never receive any romantic gestures from him. It really hit me that I was deluding myself and wasting my time, and that I deserve a lot more than what I was hanging around hoping to get.

I am an amazing person, that deserves to be wanted by some other amazing person, instead of being someone's fallback choice. I deserve to be happy in a relationship and feel bright and beautiful and loved, instead of feeling paranoid and neglected all the time. I deserve someone much better than you.

Someday, I will be strong enough to leave you in the past where you belong. Then the Ice Queen will be back in business, and won't be melting until her own version of the year's most eligible bachelor sweeps her off her feet.


3. Career/Aspiration aspect


I have written far too many posts on my worries about my future in the past. I've always struggled with a lack of interest in my legal studies; despite being a good student and enjoying the extra knowledge, I can't shake the feeling that this isn't what I want to dedicate my life to. Period.

Previously, I wondered if I should instead pursue writing as a career. But then I arrived at another dilemma, which was what would I write? Could I actually be a novelist or journalist or any form of columnist?

I write my best, when I'm chronicling my own thoughts and opinions; arguing it out with myself until I'm able to convince myself of what my stance is on an issue. The urge to write hits strongest when I'm upset or at crossroads, which is why most of my posts are on personal problems, where I resort to writing as a form of therapy.

While it works well as therapy, I doubt anyone would be interested in reading the going-ons in the life of an unglamorous teenager, that is not and will never be a popular It Girl. Which is why I had decided to leave writing as a hobby, and a personal indulgence.


Until I received word from a party that's interested in advertising on my blog! SQUEAL!!!

Fingers crossed that this actually happens according to plan and is not a huge scam. For those out there that have repeatedly visited my blog (and didn't accidentally do so when searching for nude photos and misunderstood my link), I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me get one step closer to my dreams.

I don't suffer from delusions of grandeur and believe that I will be able to live off blogging anytime soon, but this means that I'm at least on someone's radar, and that people are actually liking the random jumbled up thoughts I put out. Happy Jules is so very happy!

But that's not all!

This week, I also discovered that I have an eye from meticulous planning and nagging people. I have always considered myself organised and responsible, but it wasn't until I involved myself in a certain event that I realised how much it irked me when insufficient attention was given to every single detail. This feeling has stayed with me for so long now, I'm considering also doing a Business Management degree after my LLB.

Funnily enough, I was initially offered a full scholarship at the University of Nottingham in Semenyih for a Business Management degree, but I turned them down because I was so focused on scoring well on my current course. The world works in strange ways, yes it does.


Also, I conducted a crash dance lesson a few days back to train some dancers for an upcoming event. I've never been in a teaching position before, so I was thoroughly terrified that I would screw everything up and embarrass myself in front of everyone.

But to noone's greater surprise than my own, the class turned out well! In fact, I was told by my dance teacher that I should consider one day becoming a dance instructor myself. (!!!)

My love of dance may be burgeoning, but it has not reached the point where I want to transform it from a hobby into a lifelong career. Nonetheless, her vote of confidence has made me feel like the world is my oyster, and I can and should take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way. I shouldn't be limiting myself career-wise at such a young age anyway, right?

This one aspect of my life has been working out fantastically, which shows that when God closes a door on my love life, he opens one for my future dreamjob. And I'm clinging tightly onto that hope of a bright future ahead, while trying not to think that I'll end up a successful single person with a dozen cats.


/end monologue



Decided rather uncharacteristically to throw in a random picture, because this post has become far longer than anticipated, and I wanted something to break the monotony of words. Don't get used to this though, because I have yet to reach the level of shamelessness where I want my face to appear in every post.

Lookie, I'm at the KL Tower! Sub-par food for the price, but the babysis chose the place for her birthday lunch, so wokays then. The atmosphere was really enjoyable though, at least before the place fills up with big families and screaming kids.


It's been an amazing, relaxing holiday week, filled with fun excursions, dance rehearsals, and even a spontaneous sleepover at a cockroach-ridden location. When I am forced back into college and reality on Monday, I'm hoping to still be able to hold on to everything that I've learnt this week, and become a better person.

Because the best kind of learning just never happens in school.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Picture this.

It has now been, give or take, 48 hours since I was asked by someone for lewd pictures of myself, for the first time ever.

(I made my stance on lewd material once here. You may call me a prude, but I choose to say I just have too much self-respect and common sense to know when something isn't a good idea.)


The guy was a relatively new acquaintance, someone I'd just recently been getting to know these past few weeks. I can't say for sure if it was a fully platonic kinship, as there was mild flirting involved during our regular chats. However, should he even dip a toe into the conversational territory of anything overtly sexual, I always changed the topic, and told him sex was off limits.

Until it happened, I never knew how truly sheltered my life was. I went through a myriad of emotions in trying to make sense of the matter, and even till now I have yet to decide if I should kick him out of my life and move on, or demand an apology. And yes, I am aware of how pathetic this sounds, because why would I want such a person in my life anyway?

It honestly shouldn't even be a complicated matter. But bear with me now, as I try as best as possible to detail my emotional journey throughout this unpleasant episode.


It started at Shock, then Anger and Self-Righteousness.

Obviously, I was surprised when he brought the question up, completely out of the blue. We had been chatting about mundane things like cartoons and the results of the US presidential election earlier, and there had been no prior talk about anything remotely risqué.

Once it sunk in that one, I wasn't dreaming; two, he wasn't kidding; and three, that he actually possessed the bare-faced cheek to brazenly ask for such a thing, I practically exploded in rage. I cursed him with every swear word I knew (not out loud though), and felt so pissed off I just wanted to tear him apart from limb to limb. I wanted to scream at him until I lost my voice, and watch him squirm in shame and discomfort.

I hate to admit it, but I had a mini infatuation with this guy at the time. To know that I had allowed myself to even have the remotest feelings for a dirty, slimy pervert made me feel like a complete idiot. I used to think I had a good "jerk" radar, but I suppose it has grown extremely rusty. Needless to say, those feelings have evaporated, and will never ever return.

I felt horribly self-maligned. I used to think such things would only happen to girls that regularly flaunted their assets in clingy, skimpy outfits and spoke suggestively in every sentence; while instead I practically live in tees and shorts, and I have been told many times that my style of speech can be mean and intimidating to the uninitiated. It felt so cruelly unfair that anyone would even think I would comply with such a request.

Eventually though, I decided to give him the benefit of doubt.

I decided that if I was in any way important to him, he would apologise and vow to never repeat the same mistake ever again. I wasn't even sure if and how we could ever go back to being friends after he apologised, but I just wanted to know that he actually did care for me.

But of course, an apology hasn't happened. In fact, since I didn't respond to his request, he hasn't made any attempt at all to contact me, even though we used to chat pretty regularly.


The emotional train stops at Nonchalance.

The very next day after the request, I woke up to a phone with no apology message. I had been so desperate to believe that he cared about me, that I actually dreamt that he had sent one over. Pathetic, I know.

I decided to put everything behind me, because I didn't want to relive the unpleasant emotions of the previous night. And because I was having a full day of lecture classes, I managed pretty well to distract myself from thinking about this whole thing, and felt completely nothing over what had happened.

Or at least I did, until sometime past midday.


Oh hi there, Pain, where were you?

As much effort as it took to numb myself to the anger I felt, nothing could soothe the hurt and betrayal that made a late appearance in the day. He wasn't just someone I recently developed feelings for, but before that we were actually friends.

We got along well together, and the few times we actually hung out, I found myself having a lot of fun. (Hence, the feelings begun.) But more than that, he had actually told me once that he cared about me. We could chat about pretty much anything, and we were laidback and comfortable with each other.

When I realised I had feelings for him, I actually thought of smothering them, because I thought then that it would suck to lose him as a friend if anything bad happened. He was far from being one of my closest friends, but he made me laugh and I enjoyed nitpicking at him and watching him attempt put-downs.

In short, this was a guy that I thought had found a good place in my life. And in one second, he completely betrayed my trust and showed me how little he actually respected me.

He thought I was someone who wouldn't mind showing a little thing or two to him, which shows how little he thinks of me. Literally, I have never felt so worthless in my life. I feel like that innocent girl in the American teenage movie that has all her darkest secrets revealed to every student in school, by her best friend that took her trust and ripped it to shreds.

Is this how he treats all of his friends? I highly doubt so, which means that he never thought of me as a friend in the first place. And again, this bloody hurts like a bitch.


I don't trust many people fully, so hardly anyone knows of my darkest secrets, but that's not the point because he's not one of those people. Nonetheless, he was one of the people I was willingly allowing regular interaction with, and I trust these people to always have my best interests at heart.

Call me a naïve little cotton-picker if you must, but trust is one of the dearest things to me. The hurt that I felt when I realised he had betrayed my trust, was the feeling that lasted the longest. I'm still feeling hurt about this now, and likely will for the next few days too.


We now arrive at Bitter Acceptance, oh no wait Blind Denial, oh no wait...

This brings us back to the present, of how I've been feeling today as I'm sitting here typing this, and trying to make sense of the whole emotional rollercoaster.

It's become blindingly obvious that he doesn't give a crap about me, and that everything he has said and done prior to this occurred with an agenda in mind. Since the attempt was fruitless, he now tosses the useless rag to the side, and moves on to the next target. I should just try to learn from this experience, and just move on with my life.

But then again, at some points when I remember a previous happy moment shared with him, I can't help but wonder if this is just a huge misunderstanding. I mean, someone that was so sweet to me before couldn't just suddenly morph into a lecherous monster within the next second, right?


I sometimes forget that the fact remains that he asked me for lewd pictures, and any self-respecting individual would know better to keep her distance from now on. But there is still a small, insistent part of me that hopes things will somehow revert back to normal.

What the hell is wrong with me? Have I gone mad with wishful thinking? Someone intends to use me for titillation purposes, and all I do is hope for an apology, instead of wiping every trace of him from my past?

But I suppose that's just part of who I am: someone that needs closure. I've never been good at leaving things as they lie without picking them up and making sure they're lying correctly. (And I suppose either meaning of "lie" could be utilised here.)


I just need to keep reminding myself that he's a misogynist a-hole, and I deserve to keep much better company. I sincerely hope I don't crumble from pretending to be strong about this, especially if I ever run into him again.

It just stinks that I'm so torn up, and he's not in the least affected at all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Three steps forward, two steps back.

Author's note: Story discontinued; will try again next time for a better romantic interest for Rhiannon.

Rhiannon sighed with happiness, reliving the moment when

Rhiannon sunk her head into her knees, bitterly regretting

Devon grabbed Rhiannon's hand as she rose to leave the park bench they had been sitting on. Once again, he had attempted to force masked emotions out into the open, and once again, she chose to leave the scene rather than answer his burning questions. But Devon wanted answers this time, and Rhiannon could not just leave him hanging yet again.

"WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF LETTING ME BE CLOSER TO YOU?", Devon angrily blurted, unaware that his grip had painfully tightened on Rhiannon's wrist in his rage.

Rhiannon glanced back, and Devon was shocked to see the tears in her eyes. Concern for her washed over him and instantly wiped out every trace of other emotions, and he gently moved her back to sitting on the bench. He had upset her, which was not the reaction he had initially been aiming for when he asked for them to spend more time together alone.

__

I can't write about this shit, because I can't even finish writing before the whole landscape changes, and anything I previously wrote has no bearing on the current scene anymore. I feel like I'm in some bloody Twilight Zone (which is unrelated to any form of glittery vampires), and have no idea what is going on anymore.

One minute its a happy romantic story, the next it's sad, but now it's a warzone. We already started out treading on eggshells today, but now he's dropped another nuclear bomb which sent me scuttling to the confines of my emergency underground shelter. I don't know if I can deal with this emotional rollercoaster for much longer.

But the thing is, I'm not sure I want to walk away from him, at least not just yet.


And this makes zero sense, because he is literally the opposite of what I look for in a guy. I don't mean this in the whole "opposites attract" way in romantic comedies where Katherine Heigl falls in love with some drop dead gorgeous man (I have a huge weakness for James Marsden and Gerard Butler), after realising she's not suited for the less hot guy she'd been pining for throughout the first half of the movie.

I mean the type where we both literally have nothing in common. I'm not attracted to his looks, or conversational skills, and that's basically all I know about him thus far. I do like how I genuinely believe he cares for me in every possible way, but would that make me someone that only likes the attention he's giving?

I have a mental list of attributes I find attractive in the opposite sex, and perhaps he scores points for being focused/determined, and generally good-natured/even-tempered. However, he has dangerously douchéy tendencies that set off the warning bells in my head.

But then again, if I was only attracted to something as ancillary as his attentiveness, he wouldn't have the power to hurt me. He doesn't have the ability to break my heart yet, but as of now he is capable of causing unpleasant fractures.

Because despite myself, I know I am attracted to him. I just don't know why, because he's not tall or sexy or has good English. What I do know is that in the past few days all I've been looking forward to is the time we spend chatting. He doesn't make me giddy or giggly or any of those gawky, goofy words that start with a G, but my mood does noticeably lift whenever his incoming text lights up my phone screen.


But he wants far more than what I am willing to give, and I'm not sure I'm willing to give him anything at all just yet. After all, what more can he expect from a previously casual acquaintance he's only started being close to a few weeks ago?

__

Rhiannon dried her eyes and peeked sideways at Devon, who was frustratedly pinching his glabella (which means the area between your eyebrows, for any uneducated pervs out there). She had always known that she couldn't avoid answering him forever, but she knew she couldn't give him the answer he wanted to hear.

"I like you, Devon. I like talking to you, even though most of the time we misunderstand what the other is saying. I like knowing that you care about me. I like that I can be my silly self with you, and you still laugh at all my horrible jokes and compliment me afterwards. But right now, all I want for us is to get to know each other better, and to continue being great friends."

Rhiannon finally straightened and looked meekly across at Devon, wary of his reaction to her voiced decision to remain platonic. She just could not be sure if he would be calm and accepting, or if the angry monster within him would be unleashed yet again.

But even then, her fingers snaked across the short distance to Devon's hand, and intertwined with his. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What I think about making porn.

 I'VE HAD ENOUGH.

After a whole week of having every newspaper providing extensive daily coverage on "porn stars" Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee, which never fails to infuriate me over my morning toasted oats, I've decided it's time for me to speak out.

Note: The following post is purely my own personal opinion, unless when quoting news articles as cited. 


Let me give you some background details, if you live under a rock and have not picked up a newspaper in the past 7 days. The "porn stars" are a couple that met through Facebook, and had been uploading nude pics and sex videos on Facebook itself until continuous flagging led to their content being removed. Unperturbed, they set up a blog to continue uploading their sexploits.

More background info: Alvin is a 24 year old ASEAN scholar studying in NUS, and is in his final year to complete his law degree. Vivian is 23, and recently graduated her business degree from Universiti Malaya. As far as I can tell, both are mentally sane, and are consenting adults.

These two people clearly crave attention, and would do anything to get more and more of it, with complete disregard for any morals, decency, or self-worth. They've even spoken out against their critics, telling us to back off, and claimed they were unapologetic, and would still continue uploading their pictures and videos in the future.


It truly baffles me about how short-sighted some people can be. We hear so many cases regarding angry males using an ex-girlfriend's naked photos or sex videos to threaten the poor unsuspecting girl for money or sex. The girl is always fearful for her reputation, and always regrets having taken those pictures or videos in the first place, unless of course they were taken against her will.

However, in this case, it was reportedly Vivian who initiated the risqué activities in the first place. She has no regrets in making her sex life an open book, but I say that she will come to regret her actions very soon. Sex videos may always work in the favour of our glamorous Hollywood stars, but sad to say the world regards non-starlets who attempt such feats in a much different light.

After all, she's already been given an ultimatum to either move out of the family home or marry Alvin; and since she has stated she will not marry Alvin as they are not monogamous (shall refrain from slanderous comments, but I wonder if she has other porn blogs with other boyfriends), I suppose she has decided to choose taking naked pictures over the person that gave birth to her. Although I am certain that a mother's love lasts forever, I do question the rationale behind leaving her family to move in with her six-month casual boyfriend.


And then of course, there is the sexist factor.

We've all questioned why when a guy brags about his conquests, he's hailed as a hero; but if a girl does the same, she is immediately labelled a slut. Yes, gender bias is not fair; but neither are genetic diseases or poverty, and the big unfair world will not change overnight.

As a business graduate, Vivian will face much difficulty in securing any form of permanent employment, because noone wants the "slut" to poison their company's image. I also question the ability of their relationship to endure all the negativity directed their way if they resolutely continue along this path; and if they break up, Vivian will be left both homeless and penniless. I hope that your 15 minutes of fame was worth it dearie, because they are fast running out.

While Alvin should not be spared as he also suffers from the same lack of morals as his casual girlfriend, I hate to admit that his future has not been completely tarnished. Even if he gets expelled from NUS for inappropriate conduct, he is still very bright, rich enough to support himself and Vivian, and regrettably males will not be ostracised for making their sex life public.


This couple has thrown all moral codes, family values, and the Asian conservative culture out the window, which is a steep price to pay for all the infamy they've gained. Be careful what you wish for when you claim you want "Alvin and Vivian to be a household name as an openly sexual duo".

My advice is to pull up your pants, turn off your camera; and have a serious conversation about where this road will take you in 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. Because when the world turns its attention towards the next big scandal and you become fish and chip paper (or to be more Malaysian-appropriate, pet poop paper), and the world as you know it crumble down around your ears, you will have noone to blame but your attention-seeking selves.


The story on the couple alone would already have made every hair on my body stand on end, but there was one particular issue that the newspaper repeatedly chose to highlight which greatly annoyed me, that is the generational gap between the "parent" generation that is outraged over the whole incident, and the "pro choice" youth that are completely blasé and accepting of the couple's personal decision to run a sex blog.

I am a youth of today, and I have chosen to lambast their actions. As a Christian, I also have a personal stance against pre-marital sex, but I will not impose my personal beliefs on others; abstinence is an uphill battle in today's sex-charged world, and it is my cross that I choose to carry.

However, I (try to) keep an open mind with others who do not share my beliefs. I am accepting of others choosing to get laid. I am even accepting of those that take pornographic pictures and videos of themselves for personal titillation, even if I think they are playing with fire.

But I cannot and refuse to accept a couple that takes pornographic material and then chooses to distribute it; to intentionally invite the whole world into their bedroom, all simply in the name of fun. And if they are willingly alienating themselves from their families in pursuit of such illicit fun, it adds more to my distaste. It is not as if they are leaving abusive families, or typical old-fashioned families that who refuse to allow them to be anything but doctors, but they are crossing their frustrated parents who are obviously now doubting their capability to educate their own children.

Most of my friends also readily agree that what Alvin and Vivian did was not by any means "ok". And to be fair, this pool of friends also include those that admit to regularly watching porn. Perhaps the youth of today may be more accepting of couples being sexual, but we do draw the line at being completely open about it, be it by reason of family values, Asian roots, or good ol' common sense.

The youth of today are not stupid, you know.

Religion and morals have admittedly have taken a backseat to the "I want, I get" mentality of the fast food generation, but we are nothing if not arrogant bastards. We hold our reputation near and dear, because we know its value in a world that keeps getting smaller and smaller. Most of us will never, ever choose to smugly distribute pornographic material that feature ourselves to the world at large, because we are too smart to do so.

They are called private parts for a reason, you know. And I think this couple should start keeping their private affairs to themselves.


*breathe in, breathe out.

I apologise for being so uncharacteristically scathing. It has been awhile since something has angered me this much. But these thoughts have been zipping about in my head every single time I read about the couple in the newspaper, so I decided to have a good long rant about it.

If anything, hats off to Alvin and Vivian for never wavering in their enthusiasm for carrying out their activities in the face of harsh criticism, but only if they aren't simply too proud to face a tirade of "I told you so"s. I do hope for an eventual change of heart for them though, hopefully before any more damage is done. A public apology made within the next few days may well be their only shot at salvaging the remains of their tattered reputations.

But of course whether that happens or not, the spotlight on them is still fast fading. Good luck to you both (you'll need it), and good riddance to the unwelcome extensive coverage.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Miss Not-So-Independent

Recently, I made an appointment to remove my braces on the 23rd of November, which is slightly over a month away. I'm still a little rattled at how quickly the past one and a half year has gone by, although I can't say I'll miss having braces on.

What is bugging me the most - and this may seem incredibly shallow - is this: I have not kissed a guy since I've had my braces on. And the odds of me kissing one before I get them off are slim to none.

I remember being mortified at the prospect of having to lock lips with someone with a mouth full of metal gear. I felt self-conscious and unattractive, and honestly felt that I would be rated a lousy kisser by my next beau. Obviously, I hadn't at all foreseen that I would still be single at the end of 2012, and it seems that I needn't have worried myself at all.


I hate to admit it, but I feel lonely. And as I've written not too long ago about being happily single, this realisation was both painful and embarrassing to come to. Part of it may be having to do with my closest friends being too busy these past few weeks to hang out with me, which has led to me feeling somewhat deprived of meaningful social interaction.

But for the most part, I guess I just miss being intimate. And for all perverts out there, this to me means having a shoulder to lean on and arms to hold me, and having someone to talk to all the time and be completely comfortable with. I miss being somebody's special someone, and being showered with love and attention.

I miss the giddy sensation of being in love. Of tumbling head-over-heels, of having butterflies in my tummy, of being swept off my feet, and of being every cliche imaginable of an unsuspecting wanderer struck by Cupid's arrow.


Instead, all I've had the past one and a half years are fruitless crushes, that start out as a mad, consuming obsession and within days fizzle out to nary a spark. I haven't been writing lately, because these thoughts that have been floating around in my head clamouring to be heard, make me sound like a crazy desperate person. Which I'm not, because I still refuse to compromise my standards just because I'm feeling a tad sick of having being single for so, so long.

One of those crazy crushes over a virtual stranger actually led to me beginning to write a love story, hoping to turn it into a novel. After the crush inevitably fizzled out days later however, I found no interest in continuing this story, period.

But the draft, which has only been read by two other people, still remains with me. And despite everything, I am still very proud of my rashly written, poorly planned first attempt at becoming a novelist.

The reason I haven't published this earlier is because the story is embarrassingly transparent, as I was at the peak of my crush, and as such lacked the foresight to disguise more facts and make things more fictional. However, it also shows the type of relationship I'm dying to be in: love at first sight, with constant happy surprises, with someone tall, smart and sexy.


And so, without further ado because I have been rambling on so much already, I present my discontinued love story between Rhiannon and Damien.

_

Chapter One: Struck by Lightning

Rhiannon was dumbstruck by Damien the second she saw him. Tall, well built, and undeniably good looking, he would indeed have caught any girl's fancy. But it was something more that drew Rhiannon's attention, and that was the aura of compassion and kindness that surrounded him.

She could tell that this was not a guy who would smoke, or do drugs, or enjoy getting drunk. He would not deliberately hurt her or mess with her feelings. In short, he just seemed like a Good Guy; and lately, he was the only specimen she had seen where the Good Guy and the Good Looking Guy characteristics coincided.

She wondered if he felt something too when their eyes met for that one precious second, now forever etched in her memories. That sudden jolt of want and familiarity, coming together to make all her pheromones stand to attention and made her heartpace quicken. "Please," she silently prayed, "Please let him be straight."


Indeed, it was not the ideal situation to be distracted by an attractive member of the opposite sex. You see, Rhiannon and Damien were not two random people passing each other in a crowded street, but were both in an exam hall. She was taking her all-important finals, and he was one of the invigilators.

Although she was unprepared for her exams, Rhiannon could not take her mind off Damien, and couldn't wait for her next few papers. She spent hours imagining a world where they were together in a happy relationship, even though at this point she didn't know anything about him, not even his name. All her romantic soul could think about was The Connection that she had felt, and that was all the information she needed to know.

Perhaps she was out of her mind in actually hoping for a future with him, but what did she have to lose? She'd never been in a serious relationship, having just got out of her last toxic one over a year ago.

All she wanted was a fantasy. A fairytale; a Cinderella story if you pardon the cliche, where for once the handsome prince would fall in love with the plain peasant girl and they would ride off into the sunset in each others arms on a noble steed. Having not being attracted to anyone on campus thus far, she was genuinely surprised about the intensity of her feelings for Damien upon first sight.


Rhiannon managed to snoop around (not that it was too difficult, given the wonderful stalking tool of Facebook), and managed to find out Damien was a sophomore, one year above her, and although the limited evidence pointed to him being very much single and available, there remained one sour pickle in Rhiannon's fairytale fantasy: Damien was leaving to the UK to study within the next month.

She was distraught. Scrunching her face in frustration, she cursed her bad luck in her love life, and resolved to get over him, and focus all her energies on her ongoing exam, instead of wasting hours daydreaming and doodling Damien's name in flowery cursive writing.

Things didn't go to plan though. Rhiannon couldn't stop thinking about Damien no matter how she tried. It was as if he had burrowed into her skin the first time they locked gazes, and he had happily nestled himself right beneath her surface, so that she regularly caught herself still thinking and dreaming about being with him.

"This is ridiculous!" Rhiannon lamented in exasperation, after the wall clock chimes told her that she had spent twenty minutes fantasising about a relationship with Damien, instead of studying for her final paper in two days, which was likely the last she would ever see of him. "He's leaving in a matter of weeks Riri," she mumbled to herself, using the nickname that everyone else called her. "Get over him, and get back to work."

And get back to work she did. She still caught herself dreaming about Damien, but through the sheer force of steely will managed to push herself to finish preparations for her final paper.

In the exam hall though, she could not help but feel his presence whenever he was near her, even though she kept her head down to focus on her paper. At the end of the paper, she gathered the courage to finally stare directly at Damien; being of shy character, Rhiannon usually only ever allowed herself sideway glances of someone she fancied, too worried about any embarrassment about being caught out.

But this boy seemed special. Rhiannon couldn't believe that until this point, she still had hopes about being with him, despite knowing that he would be gone very soon.

Suddenly, as if he became aware of her stare, Damien momentarily stiffened and turned towards her. Their eyes met, and Rhiannon's heart caught in her throat. "He literally makes me lose my breath," Rhiannon realised, as she noticed that she was holding her breath in anticipation.

And then, in a surreal moment that Rhiannon thought she had dreamed, Damien smiled and winked at her, all the while holding her gaze.

She dropped her head immediately to hide her furious blushing. Alarm bells clamoured loudly in her mind and fought for attention with her wildly beating heart. "What," she thought unbelievingly, "was THAT?"


Like a flick of a light switch, suddenly Rhiannon felt ridiculous. "I can't believe I fell for yet another playboy," she angrily thought as she gritted her teeth, "He's just another heartless flirt."

Settled in her state of self-righteous, maligned annoyance, Rhiannon made her way to the exit, mentally planning to meet up with her friends Faye and Collin to tell them all about this adorable guy she met, and how looks were oh so deceiving. She was looking forward to a long happy session of catching up and shooting the breeze, having alienated herself from them in preparation for her finals, which were now over.


Not looking where she was going, Rhiannon came to a sudden instinctive stop when she realised there was someone in front of her blocking her way. Refocusing her sight, she realised she was staring at a pair of hands, holding out a slip of folded paper towards her.

Lifting her gaze, she saw Damien's shy, somewhat apologetic smile. He looked down towards the slip of paper, and moved it closer to her. In a dazed, puzzled state, Rhiannon took it and left the exam hall, as there was already a small crowd behind her eager to exit to celebrate the end of exam season.

As she turned back, Damien had already disappeared from the spot he was standing in mere seconds ago. Finally, her attention was drawn to the piece of paper. A million questions racing in her mind, she gently unfolded the slightly crumpled slip.


It was a small piece of paper hastily torn off a notepad, judging from the uneven jagged edges. But Rhiannon did not notice anything but the words written in black ink that jumped out at her the instant she stretched the piece of paper flat.

"Damien
7246749
Call me maybe? ;)"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shake your booty!

I am by many definitions a coward. I'm scared of being alone (in social situations, not relationship status), I'm scared of the dark, of insects of any size, of heights, of rollercoasters and most theme park rides... And so the list goes on to near infinity.

I'm not the type of person who has "bungy jumping" or "sky diving" on my bucket list. I love having my feet firmly on the ground so much, you'd be lucky to get me to even go paragliding. This of course means going to any theme park for me is a complete waste of money, as I do nothing but sit on a bench and wait for others that go on adrenaline-spiking rides that I'm too chicken to go on.

As a result, I'm never regarded as the "fun" friend. I'm rarely contacted for spontaneous, crazy outings; but am instead everyone's emotional rock and mood booster. Not that I'm complaining about this though, as it suits my introverted self just peachy.


But then again, this means my reckless side comes out in other ways.

As I'm too religious and have too much common sense, thankfully this doesn't mean I drink/smoke/take drugs/club. (Whoops, any remaining dregs of coolness just evaporated into thin air.) Instead, I choose to be reckless and to a certain degree controversial with my choice of dance lessons.

I have always loved dancing. I'm blessed with an impeccable sense of musicality and decent flexibility, so despite not being the most coordinated, I can definitely bust a move. Thus far, I've taken 5 different dance classes: Girl style hip hop (choreography based ala MTV), popping, Latin, and the controversial pole dancing and belly dancing.

I gave up both styles of hip hop as it just wasn't the right fit for me. Pole dancing was amazing, but since my beloved instructor migrated I have yet to find a replacement, but fully intend to after I graduate. Which leaves us with Latin and belly dancing, which I still take weekly lessons for.

Initially, only a very select few knew about my dirty little secret; as society's perspective towards the more exotic dances meant I would probably be labelled a slut. (I blame Hollywood, because all I see are not sex promoters but artistic individuals.) On a side note, I probably have the coolest, most open parents in the world that fully supported me in every single one of my reckless decisions.

However, I recently decided to accept my dance instructor's offer of joining her belly dance group, Odyssey, to compete in the Malaysian Dance Open Festival (MODF - we won 3rd place!). I met and immediately liked all my other troupe members, which of course led to adding them on Facebook, which in turn led to them tagging me in pictures we took at the festival.

Obviously, my Facebook friends saw the tagged pictures of me in my belly dance costume, bearing my far-from-perfect physique for all to see. My secret was irrevocably out, and I immediately feared society's retribution towards us "sluts".

It was probably all in my head, but I felt it was ridiculous that a hardworking dancer should be belittled as one with loose morales. I loved belly dancing, and I wasn't planning to give it up as long as I was able, along with pole dancing of course. So, with a firm determination to get my message of "SCREW YOUR SHALLOW-MINDED OPINIONS" to all who may harbour them, I then uploaded the following picture to my Facebook wall:


The caption reads: "Secret's out now that my teammates tagged me in fb pics. Yes, I'm a bellydancer. No, I'm not ashamed of my fats. Yes, my mama and papa approves!" (Btw this was taken from an extremely flattering angle.)

To no one's greater surprise than mine, the picture has gained 84 likes (period), which is probably more than the amount of people that viewed my Facebook profile since it was made. I suppose it also shows that maybe the world isn't such a bad place after all.

So here's the current Odyssey, with our much beloved troupe director Emily:


Honest to goodness, these people were all genuinely friendly, generous, and fun! I had expected there to be a clique system going on with me feeling completely excluded, but I'm glad to have eventually been proven wrong.


Two weeks after MODF, I followed the troupe to Taiping for another competition, where I entered my very first solo category. I suppose I was riding on a high after the last contest, because it wasn't something I would've easily agreed to in normal circumstances. I had disproportionately high hopes for someone that had only trained for 10 days, and it served as a bitter remembrance that pride comes before a fall.

I made it to the final round of my intermediate tabla (drums) category, but wound up dead last in the finals. I was disappointed and ashamed, as my goal had been to not wind up last. Even though I had already beaten out 8 other people to be in the finals, it still felt like a failure to little Asian-minded me.

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I cried in public after getting the results, and I felt very bad doing so because it was right after Emily asked how I was feeling. Emily was also one of the judges, and I would hate for her to think for one second that I doubted her decision.

But hey, it's just my first competition, and I'll work harder the next time. Because mark my words, there will be a next time; and hopefully I will have more time to train for that next time. On a much happier note, our troupe got second place!


Sorry, but this was the best picture I could find. We're the troupe in yellow; and our win surprised me because we were literally half the size of other troupes! We also screwed up one formation, but still came away individually rm64 richer!

Anyone who has ever competed in a dance competition however would know the exorbitant costs involved with it. The bulk of the cost is the costume (rm400 upwards), but other costs like registration fees, make up, and renting studios for practice can really add up. I managed to borrow a costume for my Taiping solo contest, but still have wound up over rm1k poorer over these two competitions!

So this is why you will never see anyone poor in the world of competitive dancing, because even I am struggling to justify spending so much money on belly dancing, regardless that I enjoy so much. Again, another example of how crazy supportive my parents are!


Venturing into competitive dancing has opened up my social confines and allowed me to meet dozens of new people. Granted, I'm half everyone's age so we're not gonna become shopping buddies anytime soon; but you never know, they might have cute sons my age!

(Digressing, I am completely flabbergasted that there are literally zero cute guys in my new semester. There were none in my foundation or year one class either, and I seriously think I'm going crazy with the lack of eye candy in this college, ever since the departure of one very handsome exam invigilator. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MEET ANY GUYS LIKE THIS?)



So there you have it, my little secret let completely out of the bag. I'm a fledgling belly dancer, who has no intention of stopping until my body can no longer handle it. And I fully encourage everyone to take up new things one might be interested in, because you only live once!

Now in the meantime, I shall start digging around for an outfit to wear and dance in for my first ever dance party at Emily's birthday this weekend, where Odyssey is giving a little tribute. I'm expecting booze (which I don't drink), conversations in Cantonese (which I don't understand), and feeling bored and out of place, due to being much younger than everyone around; but am also hoping to be yet again proven wrong.

Here's to an exciting venture into the world of belly dancing beyond the classroom!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Endeared.

Rhiannon had already pondered the what-ifs in all scenarios involving Callum. They all usually ended up at the same resolution: they had missed their window of opportunity, and it was unlikely to ever come around again. Rhiannon believed she had long relinquished hold of the naive hope that persistently suggested a passionate reunion between two starcrossed lovers.

We wouldn't have worked out anyway, she thought to herself, as she remembered the numerous gaping differences between them. Differences that made them incompatible, and would inevitably lead to disagreements and dissatisfaction for both of them.

So why the feeling of loss when Callum was leaving to pursue further education? The noticeable dip in her mood whenever she thought about his departure?


Rhiannon chalked it down to this: you never forget your first love.

Callum was not her first relationship, but she had never fallen for anyone like she had fallen for him. Her infatuation with him had taken up a whole quarter of her life thus far; but she did not see it as wasted time, as she had truly believed at that time that he was The One. For all those years of mostly unrequited infatuation, Callum had occupied the role of her knight in shining armour in all Rhiannon's fantasies.

She had loved him in a way she had yet to love another. It was such a shame that his intensity did not match hers, but it did nothing to dampen her feelings for him.


But now, Callum was leaving. They parted with promises to keep in touch, which she knew they would keep. But she also knew that the Callum she once knew and loved would never be the same again, because going abroad permanently changes oneself; and Rhiannon hoped that the Callum she would meet in the future would have evolved into a man she would be proud of having once loved.

Callum had been her dream guy once, and Rhiannon was unprepared for the shock reverberating through her as she realised she still, despite everything, held on to the tiniest spark of "what if?" for a reconciliation. His departure had such momentous finality, it put an irreversible strain on the spark. She keenly felt the loss of a love once had, and marvelled at how it affected her despite all the time that had passed.

It could be compared to losing one's leg, and then feeling the loss of becoming a prima ballerina, even though one hadn't danced for 10 years. Rhiannon wondered if she would even be having these thoughts and feelings, had there not been a ticking clock on the time Callum had remaining on native soil. The shared memories of what had been fleeted through her mind's eye like a Rolodex, leaving her uncharacteristically sentimental and wistful.

Rhiannon sighed, and resigned herself to always holding a soft spot for the only person she had truly given her heart to (nevermind that he practically trampled on it). With the benefit of hindsight however, she resolved to not let history repeat itself, and only give her heart away again to someone that would reciprocate in kind.


As she waved to Callum's departing figure as he entered the boarding zone, Rhiannon smiled, and lifted a silent prayer for her friend's safe flight and happiness abroad. Callum would go on to encounter new experiences and new lovers, and she was genuinely excited for him.

Because it was better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Idiot box.

Forgive me if I seem a little flippant. I have crammed the entire first season of Gossip Girl (18 episodes, 45 mins each) within the last 48 hours, and my inner voice still sounds like Kristen Bell.

Prior to this, I had a similar obsession with Jane by Design. Of which was cancelled after one season, and I was very distressed about it because I loved it very much, and also because I have a soft spot for Brits and wanted to see Jeremy with Jane; but I digress.


What draws us to watch these soaps? What fuels our somewhat manic desire to stuff our faces with the scandalous lives of fictitious people, and get hooked onto these characters?

The answer is simple enough: an escape from reality.

These soaps draw us into the world of impossibly good looking people. Every single person is flawless and clearly too old to pass off as teenagers; and after watching so many episodes my self esteem has taken a nosedive. There are never any ugly people in the main cast, which only makes us more attracted to these superior people and their glamorous lives.

They draw us into a world where impossible things happen. A world where a high school teenager can actually succeed in a demanding full-time job in high fashion, and where a high status girl like Serena van der Woodsen would actually fall in love with a lower caste member; but of course things like this would never take place in real life.

They show us stories of mean girls. Of horrible, scheming, selfish bitches who plot heinous schemes against our beloved protagonists, and how they are eventually felled. We've all faced our fair share of assholes that could not care less about trampling on others to reach the top, but more often than not, never receive any form of come-uppance. We live vicariously through our hero/heroine's triumphs, hoping one day justice will actually be served.

Of course, they show us drama. Deceit, lust, jealousy and the lot. We are hooked onto the craziness of these people's lives, because they are such a welcome break from the monotony of our mediocre lives. We feel like we're standing right beside them through all that happens; we cry and laugh with them, and we enjoy the emotional rollercoaster ride we are taken on.


Good scriptwriting clearly plays a strong part too, as everyone needs a plucky heroine to root for, and a beautiful, manipulative bitch with hints of softness to fall in love with. (I'm currently hooked on Chuck Bass, the beautiful bad boy.)

Gossip Girl will probably be my sole companion through many, many nights from now onwards, until I'm done with all six seasons. I suppose I was trying to justify my obsession with it, because I am completely neglecting certain other important responsibilities. Like rehearsing for my dance competition in 8 days.

But then again, season 2 is calling my name. Xoxo.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An amatuer case analysis by a frustrated Malaysian.

(Read my first post on this case here.)

The full judgement for Noor Afizal Azizan's case has now been released and is available here. You are welcome!

I am now going to completely contradict my previous stance. I side with the statement made by the Court of Appeal, in particular where they stated in Para 22 that "if the order of the suspended prison sentence has the effect of rehabilitating him, then public interest has indeed been served and best served."

The reasons for the court's decision in basically letting him off (his conviction is still recorded, but who are we kidding; do we really think he is in any way being punished?) were that Afizal was not much older than his victim, that the sex was consensual, that he had shown remorse and pleaded guilty, was a first time offender, and gave a guarantee that he would not repeat his actions. Oh, then there's the whole "bright future" thing, but my previous post has went into detail about my thoughts on that  ludicrous notion already, so no need to repeat myself.

However, the argument that completely swung me was Para 17 and 18, where the objective of sentencing was considered. The court claimed that by imposing a custodial (prison) sentence, public interest would still not be served because it would not serve as an effective deterrent towards future consensual statutory rape cases, because "the safeguard towards such cases lies at home, through parental disciplining and religious knowledge, and at school through sex education about the consequences of pre-marital sex."

This is a rape case; it is completely irreversible and should not be taken lightly. This was not theft or burglary, where any losses could be monetarily compensated. He had sex with a minor, which I'm sure he was aware was against the law, and last I heard breaking the law should come with dire consequences.

Having said that, I take a step back, and agree that jailing Azizan would not discourage underage sex. I personally know numerous people who had sex while they were underage, and I am pretty sure nothing would have discouraged them from doing so at the time, even the prospect of facing possible jailtime.

In good conscience, I cannot say that I believe these people should be put in jail, even if not all of them can rightfully be said to have a "bright future". Horny teenagers will always be horny teenagers, and noone ever thinks that they will get caught; in Para 7 it was recorded that the victim made no complaint, and the sex romp was discovered after her father read her diary, which leads us to a whole new issue of privacy and parental boundaries, but I digress.


I readily admit that the whole "bright future" issue shouldn't even have been brought up as such a big mitigation factor, and the fact that it was probably fueled many netizen's angry insistence that he should be jailed. I still believe that noone should escape criminal liability by sole virtue of being young and highly gifted. However, the whole issue is two horny teenagers having sex, which is so common that most people wouldn't have batted an eyelid at if noone went to jail, had the "bright future" thing not have been discussed.

Although I risk going into complete moral decay, I conclude by saying I believe that sans the whole "bright future" issue, the right decision was made by not sending Azizan to jail.


Nevertheless, I cannot say the same for this 22 year old who had sex with his 12 year old girlfriend and walked away free. He was sentenced to a RM25,000 three year good behaviour bond instead of jailtime, and yet again that stupid "bright future" issue was considered, because he dropped out of school at 14 and just managed to get a fixed job.

With Azizan, both parties had checked into a hotel (very extravagant for first-timers), and it was clear that they intended to have sex. However, Chuah Guan Jiu had "coaxed the girl into skipping school and following him back to his flat on the pretext of him being sick, and despite her asking him many times to take her to school, he still said he felt unwell and took her to his home."

It seems to me a clear-cut case of a grown man taking advantage of his very young girlfriend's naivete and the same arguments regarding consent in support of Azizan's case cannot and should not apply for him. I can't say much for the victim's taste in guys, but if she had indeed repeatedly asked to be taken to school, I dare to speculate that she had not intended to have sex with him, at least not right then.

One issue brought up in Azizan's case was age difference. There was a rough 6 year gap in Azizan's case as she was 13 and he was 19, but in Chuah's case he was 21 and she was 12.

Call me biased, but when there is near 10 years of an age gap, and the victim is only 12, I doubt there is true sexual consent. Which primary school student has sufficient capacity to give consent to sex? More pressingly, what kind of adult would want to have sex with a primary school student??

The kind of adult that should be put in jail is what I think. The material facts of both cases are completely different, and the objectives of sentencing in Chuah's case should be giving more weight towards retribution, rather than deterrence and rehabilitation. When you're a legal adult, I don't think the law should afford any leniency towards sex with a minor, because there is just that much more likelihood of taking advantage of the immature horny minor.


What next, Malaysia? A 30 year old having sex with a 15 year old and also not going to jail for it? Honestly, it wouldn't even surprise me at this point.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Murphy's law.

You wait hours for a bus, then three come at once.

You rush like crazy to catch the usually late train because you have an important arrangement, and it comes early for once.

You cannot find something when you need it the most.


And so the list goes on. Time and time again, life screws us over by refusing to give us things when we feel we need them the most. It's the most frustrating feeling where you feel like screaming your head off and hitting something, but unfortunately your predicament does not change.

I am currently enjoying a one month semester break. And it is getting depressing how little I am accomplishing.

During the stress-filled weeks leading up to the finals, I was hell-bent on making sure my holidays would be when I did things that I had to deprive myself of during those long, painful two and a half months. Movies, outings, getaways, writing, actual exercise etc.

It's been two weeks into my break now, and I've done nought but relax my head off. And I've accomplished all my movie, tv, and storybook goals, but not much else.


The one that bugs me the most though, is that I have yet to write anything. I aimed to write at least once every other day, but so far have only done so once excluding this post. Inspiration just does not strike when I am the most available to act on it, and this has really been getting on my nerves.

It's not that I haven't been trying to get it to strike, but that eponymous writer's block still holds firm. I've become one of those people I hate, because I've always believed that writer's block was just a lousy cop-out from getting down to work.

But that's just how it is right now. And it's exceedingly disheartening for someone who aspires to one of those people who can never run out of things to talk about.

I do want to write more, but nothing has been inspiring a spur of thoughts so far. And I dislike writing short posts about basically nothing, like this useless one right here.

So, what do I do for the rest of the month now then?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

#BrightFutureRapeOK

Note: Viewer discretion advised; PG-13 material in the next few paragraphs. Skip ahead to [24 hours later] to avoid this.

"Come on, let's do it."

In the midst of their passionate embrace, Maryann froze momentarily in Richard's arms. They had been kissing on his bed; his parents were out and they had the house to themselves for hours. She came over to watch a movie, but they'd ended up here instead.

Maryann loved Richard; he was a mini celebrity in their little town, as he was an amazingly talented tennis player, that many predicted would one day be famous worldwide. Even though he was sought after by many, Richard had instead chosen to be with her. Everytime they went on a date, she always felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

She also did not want Richard to think she was an inexperienced prude. After all, he was 5 years older than her, and while it made her feel safe and protected, she knew that she had to compete with girls that were older, smarter, sexier, and more capable of giving Richard what he wanted.


Richard groaned, a deep guttural sound that broke Maryann's reverie. His lips were on her neck, his hands were under her shirt, cupping her small breasts that had only formed last year when she turned 12. Maryann became very aware of Richard's very erect member, grinding and pulsating against her inner thigh; sexual energy sparked the whole room alive, and Maryann felt her body responding to his in a way she could not understand. 

She knew having sex was wrong; her parents had told her so, and so had multiple sex education classes. But all Maryann could think of was her sore, throbbing womanhood; blood flooded her head and all she wanted was Richard in her.

"But wait! Are you sure you're ready for this??!" her mind yelled.

For a moment, worry clouded Maryann's thoughts. Should she stop this before it goes beyond the point of no return? But then Richard's deft fingers found their way down her jeans and started stroking her deep inside, and all the fight went out of her.

"Oh baby," she breathed throatily, "don't stop."

_

[24 hours later]

Maryann was curled up tightly in a ball at the foot of her bed, where she had been for most of the day. She was sore from the frantic, awkward love-making that happened last night; she was worried that someone might find out what she did; but mostly, she was feeling embarrassed, resentful, and guilty for her rash decision the previous afternoon.

She had been fine when Richard dropped her off yesterday, but hours later she was horrified at the enormity of what she had just done, and could never take back. She spent hours in the bathroom, scrubbing at her skin with a loofah until it was red and raw, but she still felt used and unclean all over. She slept horrible that night, repeatedly jerking awake and lying there in revulsion.

What had seemed like such an amazing idea, what had felt so right and natural yesterday, now seemed like a foolish and rash decision made to satisfy a temporal itch. Never in her life had Maryann felt so remorseful, and she knew without a doubt that given the chance, she wouldn't have said yes to Richard.


But Richard was an amazing guy, right? Older, handsome, smart, funny, athletic...the list went on and she believed she would not be able to ever finish describing his good qualities. She was sure he would understand her reservations towards any repeat of last afternoon, but instead be kind and caring, and be willing to comfort her until the dark clouds filling the sky in her life cleared.

Right on cue, her phone buzzed with a text from Richard. 

Her heart leapt with joy, and the first smile in 24 hours stretched across Maryann's face, anticipating a declaration of love from her lovely, sensitive boyfriend after his tennis training session. She chided herself for being so silly to have gotten all upset, because Richard was of course the perfect guy for her, who would now make everything better.

"Hey babe, hv d hse all 2 myself again this evening. Pick u up in 1 hr k? ;)"

Momentary disbelief flitted across Maryann's face. Surely she was not the only one who had been drowning in a deep pool of regret and self-loathing? 

But she quickly recollected herself, remembering that Richard was perfect. Perfect. He would understand her feelings once she told him how she felt towards having sex again.

"ILY, but m nt rdy to do "it" again. Could we go 4 movie n pizza instead? x"

"I tot u loved me but guess im wrong. M thru with u. Bb."



Caroline was pounding on the bathroom door; she had been annoyed when Maryann had been in there for 10 minutes, but it had now been 40 minutes and she hadn't heard the sound of water running, and all she felt now was a cold chill of fear.

"Open this door right now missy, or I'll have to knock it down and ground you for the rest of your life!"

The bathroom door clicked and swung open, and Caroline was shocked by the state of her daughter's face. It was not just the red splotichiness; not just her swollen, red-rimmed eyes; not just her tear-and-mucus-soaked face and neck; it was her eyes. Maryann's eyes were looking at her, but Caroline instinctively knew that Maryann was lost in a dark, scary world, and she needed to bring her beloved daughter back to her regular cheerful self.

After 2 hours of holding her precious baby close, wiping away her tears and softly uttering reassuring words of love and comfort, Caroline felt Maryann finally re-emerge from her disorientated state. Maryann realised had to tell someone what had happened, or she would eventually kill herself in her state of despair.

"Mom, I had sex with Richard. I regret it, I'm so sorry. So, so sorry."

*

The story above is purely fictional, but the issues are real, and very prevalent today.

Statutory rape (sex with anyone under 16) is a crime, even when it is consensual. The reason for this is simple; because a minor would not be able to handle the extremely emotional consequences of having sex. No matter how mature a minor seems to be, I believe they would still be greatly affected by the disconcerting nature of a giant, irreversible decision.

Maryann's story is what I believe I would have felt if I had given up my virginity at 13. (Incidentally, I was dating an 18 year old when I was 14 so I can understand the attraction.) But what I believe everyone would agree to, and indeed many people have shown to feel this way, is that Richard should not get away scot-free for his actions towards Maryann.


Noor Afizal Azizan did. He pleaded guilty to raping a 13 year old when he was 18 (now he's 21), and today walks away a free man, simply because he is a national bowler "with a bright future". He claims the sex was consensual, but as I have already discussed, this should not negate rape, especially as he was much older and should have been much more reasonable.

Bite-sized bits of information for the uninformed: The case was first heard in the Sessions Court that bound him over a 5 year good behaviour bond because the judge felt he had a "bright future". The High Court reversed this and imposed a 5 year jail sentence; but the Court of Appeal just one week ago on 8th August restored the Sessions Court decision, which means our rapist (he pleaded guilty) is happily walking along the streets today.

There is much outrage going on in the online world, mostly under the hash tag #BrightFutureRapeOK, and this outrage is rightfully felt.

Ask any sane, reasonable person, and they will tell you that noone should escape criminal liability for rape, and there should not be an exception for anyone, even for a talented sportsman.

The very thought that a precedent has been set that anyone who can prove he has much potential to contribute towards the country's growth, can now walk away freely after committing rape, fills me with anger towards our justice system, and shame for our country. Now everyone in the whole world will have no doubt that we run kangaroo courts.


What if the girl he raped was a star athlete too? Would he have walked away free?
What if the girl he raped was a bright talent? Would he have walked away free?
What if the girl he raped was mentally retarded? Even then should he walk away free?

Courts were originally established to dispense justice and uphold individual rights. Although justice is arguably a subjective concept, I dare to venture that there has been a grave miscarriage of justice here. It makes you wonder about the value system that our judges practise in other cases that have not raised much attention, and even in their own families.

Noor Afizal Azizan should go to jail. There should not have been any doubt in the first place. Even if he was a better athlete than Lee Chong Wei and had won 5 gold medals in the Olympics, I fail to see how this should make anyone more sympathetic towards him.

With the current uproar however, I am confident that there will be a re-trial, and the decision will be in public interests' true favour, rather than the ridiculous notion the judges have put forth that "public interest would not be best served if this bowler with a bright future is sent to jail." Honestly, I cannot wait for the judgements to be released so I can laugh at their ludicrous justifications for their decision.


But while the world is raging at the courts, my heart also goes out to the 15 year old girl, that is in a state of disbelief that her rapist is freely walking about the streets. The monster in all her nightmares, the reason for many long months of depression and dejection, was not made to pay for what he had did do her when she was young and foolish and vulnerable. Our desolate fallen angel.

God bless you sweetie, and let's all hope our justice system will come through in the end.
 

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