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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bitten.

(And not in the sexy way.)

Today, I just wanted to talk about my day. Because it has truly been one of the weirdest days of my life. And I want to document it so I don't forget any bit of it, because right now it's like the whole incident had never happened.

So lets get to storytime on my crazy afternoon!

I had just come back from college at around noon-ish from a mock test, which I ended up not doing even though I had spent the past week prepping for it. But that's not my point, 'cause all the people sitting around me didn't write anything either and most of the time was spent discussing the questions amongst ourselves. The point was, I was exhausted from a weeklong lack of sleep, and decided to take a much needed nap on the sofa.

I woke up after about one and a half hours in a scratching frenzy. Like, an uncontrollable itch that just wouldn't go away and let me go back to sleep. I just kept scratching and scratching in semi-consciousness, until I couldn't take it anymore and decided to head upstairs to shower and get rid of the itchiness. At this point, I thought it was regular insect bites, because I sometimes got those after sleeping on the sofa.

Once upstairs and more awake though, I realised I wasn't scratching my arms or legs or back, which is where any usual bumps would be. I was scratching where I suppose the most heat would gather (?), being my neck, bra straps, around my bra sides and bottom, and umm the space where your thigh meets your crotch. There were multitudes of bumps in those areas that looked like regular insect bites, but were more itchy than anything I'd ever experienced.

Even after a shower, things refused to get any better. In fact, the bumps and itching kept getting worse and worse. It got harder and harder to resist the urge to scratch, so I finally gave in and decided to go to the clinic.


You should know that I probably haven't visited the doctor in 5-6 years. I hardly fall sick outside of your usual flu or cough, which my cure for is drinking as much water as your body would allow and taking vitamin C, and anyway I hate going to the doctor's. I am terrified of shots, intrusive examinations, and those extremely graphic disease posters clinics love putting up to scare the shit out of you.

But I had never had a bad rash, what more an itchy bad rash, so off to the clinic we go. I even picked out clothes so I could easily show the irritated areas, praying I would get a woman doctor so I would feel less embarrassed.

Once I walked in the consultation room, lo and behold it was a woman doctor. Yay! But I got no chance to take off my clothes, because after saying "I think I have a rash" and showing her my neck, she immediately said "you have allergies" and started prescribing anti-allergens and calamine lotion. Also unsurprisingly, the moment she asked if I wanted a shot, all sensations of itchiness ceased, probably out of pure fear, because while waiting for my medicine the itching kicked in again.

Apparently, I'm not allowed to eat chicken, eggs, beef, small fish, belacan, beans/lentils, brinjals, or shellfish for the next week or so; but I can eat big fishes, pork and beef. Which basically means my meals at home will suck because all I can eat from our regular meals now are green vegetables.

I told her I've never had an allergy all my life, and told her [those areas] had more of insect bite-like bumps instead of a full-out rash, but she waved my concerns away. She merely said that allergies can come later in life, and that I would be feeling very uncomfortable for awhile. And that was that.


This will be the first time I've ever pooh-poohed the advice of a doctor. Even while she was saying it, I knew that after one or two days I would go back to eating chicken and eggs and ignoring any food restrictions, because I refuse to believe an allergic reaction would occur after 20 years over an hour of napping. Plus, all I had today was cereal and fried meehoon (which my maid has been cooking for years), so there is no visible trigger.

The thing was, she was so blasé and unconcerned about the whole thing! She barely looked at me or paid any attention to me, but kept scribbling stuff on her notepad. And I instantly disliked her for it. Aren't doctors supposed to be all intrusive to get the best diagnosis? Here I am trying to show her my affliction, and this dumb woman doesn't give a shit.

So I believe she was wrong wrong wrong. Which is so shocking to me because I've never ever questioned the advice of a medical practitioner before, maybe because I was so much younger the last time I went to a doctor. I've always believed health is important and I should always listen to the experts, but this is just way too far-fetched for me to rely on.

And this is horrible character development. I used to view doctors as miracle workers, but I suppose skepticism has manged to creep into near every aspect of my life now.


Anyway, after I got home, things got better and worse. Better, because the itching had ceased near completely; worse, because the bumps had swollen to about 10 times their earlier size and looked horrifying. So I took my pills (she prescribed 3 kinds) and applied calamine lotion and went about my day. Which is basically watching YouTube videos on the iPhone.

I decided to go check on the bumps about 40 minutes later, and was shocked to see that all the bumps had basically disappeared. There is still some redness at where the worst bumps were, but for the most part, how my body had looked merely 2 hours ago seemed like a bad dream. The whole incident seems so surreal now.

The entire line of events, from waking up covered in bumps, to this point where the bumps are near gone, occurred merely within a span of 3 hours. It feels like the rash thing never happened. It's a good thing my sister was with me the whole time today so I have an eye-witness on what happened, or else I wouldn't believe it myself.

I think I won't be taking any pills tomorrow; thank God she didn't prescribe antibiotics.

And I might just be having chicken later tonight.

__

Ok, I'm now editing this post at 11pm. It's been almost 4 hours since dinner, where I had both chicken and egg, and didn't take my allergy pills. All's good and well so far; I look and feel like nothing had ever happened. I guess maybe the sofa bugs got really horny today or something.

Life's good people! Never trust what anyone may say if your instinct tells you they're wrong!

...well actually you kinda should. Especially when it's your health and life on the line. So you shouldn't take things from me.

No lessons learnt today then!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

This blogger believes noone should mess with papal elections.

Every now and again, some idiot goes and does something so completely moronic, I feel like screaming my head off. Today, I am literally boiling with rage, and I feel as if I am spitting fire while typing this post.

Today, this came out in the newspaper. Apparently, for the final round of the annual Dato' CQ Teo Debate Challenge organised by KDU Debate Association (KDUDA) this year, the motion was "This house believes that the people and not the cardinals should elect the pope." And the winning argument was construed around the stance that "religion does change to suit society, and it is the pope's job to guide this process".

I'll give a moment for that to sink in.


WHAT THE HELL?

So in essence, the church should change itself to suit the whims and fancies and desires of society nowadays? The Catholic church should open its arms to homosexual marriage and contraception and euthanasia and everything else, and leave behind the traditions that we have painstakingly maintained for over 2000 years??

We believe, that the Catholic church was founded by Jesus Christ himself when he made Peter the first leader/pope of the church. The Catholic church is steeped in tradition and symbols and all sorts of rituals that have stood the test of time. Change has occurred, don't get me wrong, but only in light of increasing efficiency (introducing Communion ministers and altar boys), or for safety reasons (Communion in many churches worldwide now do not require the congregation to drink the blood of Christ anymore as many have to share one cup).

Yes, minute changes. Changes that still maintain the true essence and legacy that Christ himself has paved. The church does not "change to suit society" in the revolutionary sense. Matthew 5: 13-14 tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Christians do not conform to the values of society. We stand true to all teachings of the church, no matter what. 

The Catholic church has refused to alter its doctrine throughout the course of history, despite many challenges that "religion should change to suit society". Even to the extent of undergoing the painful process of the separation of the church by those who could no longer believe in its principles. When brother turned against brother and sister against sister, the church still stood firm against the tide.


And the method of our papal election process is not up for debate. And never will it ever be.

Like almost everything about the Catholic church, the electing of the pope has many rituals involved. The true election process has historically been shrouded in secrecy, but we do know that the cardinals sit in a conclave and have their ballot while being guided by the Holy Spirit. However, the winning candidate is not chosen by the cardinals, but chosen by God Himself.

You see, after finding out who has won the vote, the ballots are burnt, and the famous smoke watch will tell us if the church has found a new leader. Black smoke bad, white smoke good. The cardinals have zero control over who gets selected as the pope in the end. Because like how Samuel had to go through all sons of Jesse before God revealed David to be His chosen King, the cardinals will have to go through the candidates until God tells them He has chosen the Pope.

Thus, the very idea that this process should be replaced by simple democracy makes me so furious. Why would anyone even contemplate messing with the discretion of the big guy upstairs to choose a shepherd for His people?

I believe I speak for a hugeass majority of Catholics, when I say that we don't need to have a say in who becomes the new pope. If he's good enough for God, he's more than good enough for us. And this is notion is manifested through Pope Francis himself, who wasn't one of the many frontrunners, but has immediately gained all our love through his many acts of humility. I do not believe he would have won if anyone else but God was in charge of the selecting, and I believe Papa Francisco be an amazing leader.


Despite all the above, I am not writing to nitpick at the winning team's arguments. The debaters clearly had zero knowledge about the papal elections at all (including the apparently Catholic opposition), but it wasn't their fault they got such a motion. 

I am flabbergasted at the sheer audacity of KDUDA to select such a motion for teams to debate on. Whoever authorised this, I can guarantee you that you will be hearing from many youth leaders all around Malaysia. Obviously, that person is not Catholic and had not done any prior research before deciding on such a sensitive topic. All you knew was that Pope Francis was elected, and wanted an immediate hot topic, without even consulting any Catholics on how debatable the issue was in the first place.

Have you no shame at all? Do you honestly believe that the principles of any established religion, not just Catholicism, should really be reformed? And you're allowing uninformed students to debate such a motion?

I have been a participant of the Dato CQ Teo Debate Competition myself 4 years ago. The final debate is held in a large hall, and is watched by all other participants as well as supporters. I am already so outraged by merely reading a short news article about the debate, I cannot imagine how enraged the informed Catholics present must have been. 

To have one of our sacred rituals challenged by people who know nothing about it, is something that no religion should ever have to go through. Off the top of my head, it like saying Muslims and Sikhs cannot wear any form of head covering because weapons may be concealed in there. 

I know those aren't rituals but I really don't know rituals of other religions. But I'm trying to convey that the proposed change affects something dear to the religion, and the change would affect the entire identity of the religion itself. 


So again KDUDA, what the hell?

The level of sheer ignorance and insensitivity you have displayed is unbecoming for an event organiser. Simply by being too lazy and foolish to do a tiny bit of background research, you have now insulted 1.2 million Catholics in the world. You have really goofed up big time, and I hope you plan to make a big apology.

I can't find the link anymore, but I remember that upon going through a plethora of "Habemus papam" posts on the internet at 2.30am once finding out that white smoke had arose from the conclave, there was one anonymous interviewed person, that said he wished he could find out about the papal elections through a tweet instead of through a smoke signal. A TWEET INSTEAD OF A SMOKE SIGNAL.

I hope I have previously explained the papal elections in a way that conveys how Catholics take pride in our traditions, and how truly magnificent and miraculous it is that God Himself declares to the world in such an open manner that a new pope has been chosen. You are literally messing with a miracle here.

The organising committee for the Dato CQ Teo Debate Competition is no different from that anonymous person. No respect for tradition, no respect for the religion and all its people. 


Shame on you!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Winning the break up.

You know, that phrase applies to friendships too. Not just bitter lovers.

We all have had falling outs with friends. And sometimes those fights are serious enough to make you realise that this person is a venomous pain in the arse that needs to be removed for your own wellbeing. So you both don't kiss and make up, but go along your separate paths.

What usually happens is, somewhere down the line, you will hear something about that person through the grapevine. And if your instincts were spot on, that person would usually have fallen to alcohol, drugs, been in a gang fight, failed their final paper, or just gotten really, really fat.

And you wonder if had you still stayed where you were, would you have ended up like them. Or if you could have helped them before they wound up in a downward spiral.

You pity them, of course you do. But whats the point of pity if it doesn't come with anything but a hollow expression of emotion? You don't extend a helping hand beyond saying "things will get better", that annoying sentence that has been uttered in response to any source of grief. That sentence alone would make anyone's anger flare up and tell you to GET LOST, YOU PATRONISING BASTARD.


Chances you'd have found them having changed for the better are slim to none. After all, you did end contact with that person for being an a-hole.

But chances you'll be friends with them again after this?

Nil.

__

'People change so fast', Rhiannon thought as she watched him walk away from her.

Rhiannon had never been the master of keeping in touch. She'd always earnestly promise to call or text, but would then get so caught up with other things that she'd forget all about it. By the time she thought of it, she was usually too shy and embarrassed to initiate any form of conversation after so long.

So she let such friendships die, convinced that it was for the best. 'I mean, if they missed me so much, wouldn't they have tried to contact me too?'

And then there were people who walked back in to her life. These were the rare people she liked enough to have a cup of coffee with to catch up and reminisce.

They'd talk and laugh for a few hours, and would say they missed old times, and they would genuinely mean it. But it doesn't (usually) translate to a renewed friendship where you both become best friends again. More often than not, you'll part with yet another promise to keep in touch, and thus the cycle continues.


Rhiannon wondered about the person he would be now if she hadn't neglected to keep in touch with him. He used to rely on her for everything; she was his sounding device, his therapist, his constant pillar of support.

Until she grew weary of his neverending grouses, and began to pull away from him. Rhiannon felt that every bright spark in her was being snuffed out by his dark, suffocating aura of misery. She wanted not to be dragged down into his pits of misery anymore, and promptly made herself unavailable to him and all his damn issues.

It probably wasn't the kindest thing Rhiannon had ever done, but it'd been months since she felt in control over her own self. She wanted her life and her happiness not to be dictated by his unpredictable mood swings. And selfishly, she thought it would do him good to try to learn to handle things alone for a change.


Oh, but he had.

He turned into an insensitive, unbearable, miserable excuse for a friend. He was so pissed off with her, he refused to act civil the next time they ran into each other.

But who could blame him? She knew she'd hurt him more than she should have, when she'd cut ties with him in that heated argument. She knew he wouldn't be greeting her with screaming bear hugs and exclamations of "HOW ARE YOU I'VE MISSED YOU SO MUCH!" She'd doubted that he'd even smile at her.

She wasn't prepared for the amount of anger and resentment he still had towards her. It was like he was stuck in a quicksand pit of his own negative emotions, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to reach in and help him or just walk away.

After all, she was only being polite when asking after how he had been, family-wise and school-wise and the like. She was completely caught off guard when he departed on an angry tangent by accusing her of being a patronising git. He claimed she had no real interest in anything his answers at all, and wasn't worth being friends with anymore.

Rhiannon silently wondered if he had came a little late to the "end of friendship" party. Clearly, she no longer had any idea of how to talk to this person after their huge separation, and she was threading on eggshells with all her standard questions and answers you would expect with any other distant friend. If she had sounded patronising, she certainly hasn't meant it.


But Rhiannon was enraged by his sudden accusations. After all, she had went way out of her comfort zone by reaching out to him after all this time, and while had not expected him to extend arms of friendship, she hadn't signed up for being called names either.

She decided to bitch about it online or all the world to see, not bothering to censor his name or what he had said. It was probably one of the things she most regretted doing in her life. Rhiannon was an extremely private person and had never before aired her dirty laundry so openly in public.

Needless to say, the fight got worse and worse. Hurtful words were said, tears were shed, and things were horrible all around. A ceasefire was finally called for, and this time, the parting in friendship was a mutual decision.


Rhiannon never admitted it, but she was secretly pleased that she had made the right conclusion about him earlier, before the second big fight. Clearly, they had both moved on with their lives, and no longer needed each other. And Rhiannon wasn't about to start hanging around with people that would bring out the worst in her either.

Very recently, she saw him from a distance, and he passed by without even noticing her. And Rhiannon could not help but feel evilly gleeful at his much apparent weight gain, while she was healthier and happier with life as ever. Though it held no bearing whatsoever on the kind of person he was now, she couldn't help but think that karma had come back to bite him in the ass.


Rhiannon felt she had won the break up.

Because that's what happens when you can look back on all the time that has elapsed since cutting that friend out of your life, and announce with confidence, that "I'm better off without you". No malice is involved, but just a realisation of how that person had been such a negative presence, with a conscious resolution to never be dragged down by him again. Ever.


__

I'm better off without you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Story of A Fat Girl (Episode 2)

(Read Episode 1 here.)


"Hey Julia, why don't you join a gym?" Asks a good friend of mine, with no ill intent; just because a group of college friends have very recently become gym members.

Why indeed.

What reasons could I possibly have to not want to make myself more attractive? I mean, if I'd just take a few hours out of my day to work out, I'd be a hot beach babe in no time, right?

But then again, I really couldn't care less about becoming hot. At least, not right now when my finals are only two months away. I mean sure, it's not like I couldn't spend a little less time on my smartphone and go break a sweat, but I just can't be bothered.

I have never been skinny all my life. And almost every single day I get some idiot poking fun at my weight. It never ever fails to sting, but if it had mattered that much to me, I would've become anorexic or bulimic many years ago.


Right now however, I'm just happy and comfortable with my body. Sure, I have dark days where I consider doing very unhealthy things, but for the most part I'm a plump, carefree person surrounded by family and friends who love me very much. If I had lost my support system, no doubt my focuses in life would have been very different, so I am very blessed and grateful for them.

Losing weight has been a neverending struggle for me for 11 years now. Pictures tell me that my weight fluctuates from year to year, but it has more or less stabilised in the past 2 years. Since I am far from being obese or overweight (according to BMI checks), all my extra weight serves to do is make me less physically appealing to the opposite sex. Females unsurprisingly love me because I never pose a threat in their conquests, and I'm always the ugly hag that tags along and basks in their shimmering wake of beauty.

Another reason would maybe be that losing weight isn't as much an issue for me as staying healthy. I have 2 dance lessons per week, and usually do my own exercises on the other alternate days. Despite my weight problem, fitness has never been an issue for me. I know I'm physically capable of much more than others would perceive, but I suppose my diet is just too unhealthy for my weight to drop, and I'm far too undisciplined when it comes to any sort of dieting.

I can never skip meals, but I can generally control snacking impulses, unless it involves baked goods. My main problem would be that I eat out fairly often, and we all know there's nothing even remotely healthy with Malaysian street food. And I'm also a "live to eat" kind of person, so the desire to indulge usually prevents any sort of weight loss.

I know of some people that willingly starve themselves to lose weight. Especially those that subsist on meal replacement shakes and eat nothing else. I admire their discipline, but I honestly think those people are crazy, and are letting the good things in life pass them by. Life's too short to not enjoy your meals!

Maybe when my finals are over I'll consider making more drastic changes in my life. But for now, I remain a contented slob with my nasi lemaks and maggi gorengs.


But why is the world so crazily fixated with looks? Are good looking people really superior to the less fortunate folk, that they really deserve better jobs and greater opportunities? Have we really reached the shallow point of human existence where plastic surgery has become a normalcy?

This isn't just about maintaining a perfect figure, but also having the perfect facial features. One must have the double eyelids, the small sharp nose, the clear skin, and the complete lack of any scars or disfigurement. The pressure is on for us to all look like Kens and Barbies, and the cruel reality is almost everyone that have unattractive looks will be looked down on.

And I really don't understand why this is. Especially because we're all born with different genes, and it's not anyone's fault if he/she was born ugly; but as long as they're kind-hearted people, why should they be treated as second-class citizens? With fat people, I suppose the ludicrous justification is that we're just too lazy and incapable of taking care of our health, and therefore will not be able to manage any other responsibilities. Whenever someone we know gains weight, we usually view it as her "letting herself go" and "losing her grip", when instead it's just her finding other priorities in life more pressing.

I can't remember the number of times I've been brushed aside conversationally, because some "cool" people that think I'm not attractive enough completely ignore me. It's insulting and demeaning, and makes me want to punch that person. Thanks for making me feel inferior, jerk.

But truth be told, I think we're all guilty of sometimes not wanting to be publicly seen associating with certain people, simply because of how they look or act. We easily feel embarrassed when dealing with such a spectacle in public view, and may tend to be selectively deaf to what that person has to say. So I suppose I'm not as victimised as I initially thought.


We keep being taught that looks are inconclusive, and it's "what's on the inside that counts". However, this ideology, much like all other Hollywood crap, has almost no place in our shallow world today. People are so fixated on looks that anyone who is fat or ugly don't stand a chance in getting ahead in life.

By which I mean, if the pretty and ugly worker had the exact same attitude and skill set, the pretty one would undoubtedly be promoted over the ugly one. The only way the ugly one would be chosen instead would be if she were completely outstanding. And the same thing goes with guys. The less attractive ones never get picked by the hotter guys, because everyone wants an "equal" partner.

The only time one would care to look beneath the surface, is when both candidates are equally attractive. A pretty face will take you so far these days, it doesn't even seem worth it to have a good personality to go with it. Because everyone judges on first impressions, and sad to say, the unattractive people will never get as much attention as those in the figure-hugging pencil skirts on perilously high stilettos.

It's times like this where I think guys have it easy. Guys aren't expected to maintain a perfect figure at any time to succeed. As long as they're not grossly overweight, they are automatically deemed as attractive. Matter of fact, chubby guys are even preferred by some girls, and call them cute and cuddly. And there ain't no right-minded guy that ever had such a preference for chubby girls.


So really now; why don't I want to lose weight again if life sucks so much being fat?

At this point, it's all due to laziness to change my eating habits, and also due to the aforementioned upcoming finals and comfortable social life.

I suppose it's also a matter of self-confidence. Most of the time, I'm pretty confident with how I look despite my weight (nice shoes help), so I feel that all's right with the world. But there are times when it seems as if everyone hates me and is giving me superior stares, and it's these times when I hole myself up and attempt horrible things.

There is a dark side of me that wonders if I enjoy being chubby to be able to continue playing the victim card. Because I'm already smart enough and pretty enough, so if this major unattractive aspect was removed and nothing in my life changed, it would mean there much worse is wrong with me. And it's something I'm not eager to find out about.

So it's back to binge eating we go.
 

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