With the heavy rain that is now falling on my rooftop - and has been, for the last four hours or so, I guess it’s safe to say that summer’s over. All things considered, it’s been great. Not necessarily productive, future career-wise. I didn’t do an internship whatsoever. It was a bit lonely, but I’ve made lots of interesting friends over the summer. So, perhaps socially speaking, summer was constructive (can you actually describe ‘making friends’ as ‘socially constructive’? It sounds a bit odd.)
In the last few weeks I’ve developed an (unhealthy) obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch. HAHA. But seriously, with that jawline, cheekbones, and that voice, (THAT VOICE!) that guy is just…unf. Not only that he can act, but he’s also a smart cookie! Hell yes, brainy is sexy!
Anyway, apart from Cumberbitching, I’ve spent the holidays indulging myself in house cleaning. I love to mop the kitchen floor and cleaning the bathroom - making all the taps look scarily shiny. I’d say cleaning the entire house is a productive way to kill the boredom, I’m not even sorry (for myself). I mean, why should I? I enjoy doing that.
I can say this summer was pretty much the summer of being alone and I’ve noticed there are two types of aloneness.There is solitude, when you’re alone and you enjoy it. It’s when I clean the entire house while my flatmates were working in their offices. It’s when I walk around the narrow, historic streets in town, unbounded by time and precise destination. And then there’s loneliness, when you’re alone and you don’t enjoy it. For me it’s when I’m at a great restaurant or cafe with no one to share the food with or when I’m at a museum looking at something awesome/painfully ugly and no one’s there to share the awe (or ew).
That aside, with the income I got from student ambassador (staying in London has made me a dedicated Goldsmiths drudge - not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s a fun job, really) I was able to devote myself to secondhand/vintage-shopping in London, from Brick Lane to Bethnal Green to Whitechapel - I guess I can now proclaim myself as a pro in the London Vintage area. Now I need to explore Brighton.
I didn’t manage to do lots of things. Like, going to Glastonbury for crop circles. Apparently, you need to sign up for a New Age Symposium in order to visit the area(s). Meh. I’m not there (yet?). Also in the end, I still can’t do jump ropes smoothly. I think physical activities that requires equipment simply just don’t work with me haha. I didn’t finish the scripts that I was planning on writing over the summer. Too lazy, I guess. Instead I’ve rediscovered my interest in crafts and DIY - I suppose it made up for the unfinished writings.
There’s one thing that I’ve realised over this couple of months: I am not and can never be a ‘corporate slave’ so to say. I came to this realisation after I ditched a media summit simply because I couldn’t find a reason for me to attend the event, except for “to put it on the CV and expand professional network.” I was pretty surprised at my-workaholic-self actually, upon taking the decision, how so un-neoliberal-like! I know it was a great opportunity, likely to be beneficial too, and that probably, I’ve made a stupid decision for not going. But I can’t help but think how pathetic it is, to do something merely for the sake of putting it on the CV. Life is more than just a two-paper summary of activities, me thinks. A great, well-lived life can make a great CV, but a great CV doesn’t necessarily mean a great life. But well, maybe it’s just me, a bohemian twenty-year old idealist, let’s see how it goes when later on I become a capital A Adult with capital R Responsibility. Hm.
On an unrelated topic, I’ve gained four kilos. FUCK. Never thought I’d start my term with a low carb diet.
The Curse of Being Young, Broke and Foreign.
I just came across two intriguing articles related to being young. The first one is an inspiring piece about the golden generation of young Indonesians - MY GENERATION. FUCKYEA, written by a 20-year-old IR student, Afu (she’s a smart cookie. I’d like to meet her someday.)
The second article is a rather thought-provoking piece, if not thoughtcatalog-esque, about the Singaporean society from the perspective of a 20-year-old Singaporean living in London. On the latter, you need to read the comments as well - some are condescending, but nonetheless interesting - I think that piece does not exclusively apply to Singapore, surely a lot of twenty-somethings can relate to the article.
Okay, so where should I begin?
Right, I think the author is romanticising the London bit. Granted, the city is alive and you can pretty much find any sort of people here from creepy Jehovah Witnesses to rather-blasphemous Jesus-themed rave party, we have it here in London. It’s fun to be young in London, the city has so much to offer for the sake of exploring one’s true identity, gay, nerd, stylish, sluttish - oh crikey, London’s the place to be!
But still, this is the London of twenty-something students /early thirthies yuppies - the one side of London that I know of. Having worked as student ambassador (it’s like a social worker, only you promote universities - and if you’re familiar with the state of tuition fees in the UK today, it’s not a easy job to convince people to go get a degree), I’ve also been exposed to another side of London: the not-so glamorous life of the East/Southeast Londoners, the uninformed teenagers (one time at work a student asked me if there is a magic course - the one with card tricks ‘magic’ - in university), the Cockney cabbies who think immigrants and foreigners take away their culture (but then again most people hate foreigners… *le sigh* - more on this later), mindless office drones and the likes. So, bottom line is: London/Londoners isn’t all about Shoreditch hipsters, posh West-Enders and “cool Britania”,
just like hot girls, we have problems too you know.
Oh and not to mention, usually things are nicer when it’s not in your own home, just saying - probably why eating takeaways tastes different from eating the same food in the actual restaurant.
Regardless, I have to agree with Zing’s point about resisting defeatism and banality. Yes, I get it, it’s hard to think about ‘self-actualisation’ and ‘personal enlightenment’ when you have mouth(s) to feed and bills to pay, but… are jobs and financial security everything our life will come down to?
Of course, it’s easier to afford living, when you have money. But in the long run, it doesn’t really solve anybody’s problem, it complicates it (Europe, I’m specifically talking to you). How many times a friendship is broken because of money? How many family feuds have happened out of things mentioned/unmentioned in the will? Whilst money can be a direct indicator of living standard, it doesn’t necessarily correlate positively with Living quality - yes it’s Living with a capital L.
In the name of surviving and securing, money become the only thing that matters - so the ‘sad but true’ argument goes. True? Says who?
Think about this, what do you want to tell your grandchildren someday?
The one story about you working long hours, non-stop, for years, just to afford the house that’s now too big for you to enjoy, or that one story about your 3-month adventure in South America?
Not that I blame, despise, and look down those who will work their ass off just so that they can put their money neatly in a stacks. No, I don’t (just kidding, I secretly do. HA! okay, no, seriously, I don’t. Ain’t worth it to judge). I think everyone is entitled to have their own purpose of living, and if theirs is “having ridiculous amount of money - whatever it takes” then, by all means.
I just really wish that you’re happy.
Now moving on to another stuff that I kinda take on a personal level, is being a foreigner. Seems like now we’re the Jews of the globalisation era. Immigrants, foreigners, the outsiders who take on jobs. The step children with exotic experiences that the government seems to love more, the reason for the marginalization of unemployed locals… or just put it simply, “the maddafakkas who don’t belong here.”
It saddens me, really, to think that in this ever-global world, people are (still) segregated based on geographic origins. The way that “I’m not from here, excuse me, please” has become both helpful and repelling excuse, for both parties.
But at least, it’s not as bad when you’re just a temporary foreigner. Like being an international students or contract-based workers. Yes, I’m shamelessly talking about myself, as someone who has spent half of her life fleeting around, being somewhat too foreign for my native land and not local enough for my foreign land(s).
Come whatever, I’ll manage.
I remember on my 20th birthday, a friend said to me not to get bagged down by any sense of depression because 20 is still incredibly young.
Well you know what?
All things considered, by far, young-adulthood has been a very pleasant journey - which I’m endlessly grateful for. And I’ve also come to a realisation that being a grown-up is actually fun and it doesn’t have to be miserable.
Sure high school days and college life was/is fun but I wouldn’t want to go back and do it forever. It’s just a great experience. Working life (I haven’t had that much experience in this one, but regardless I know what I’m talking about) doesn’t have to be so bad either.
Okay so it’s time-consuming, it’s monotonous, you don’t like your colleagues, and your boss is kinda stupid. But think about it, isn’t school is also time-consuming, tedious, with nerve-wracking classmates and some pervy teachers? Not to mention, you actually pay for your education. At least a job gives you an income, and some times, a decent health benefit.
And if you still hate your job so much but you can’t quit, then maybe you should consider going to a support group for people who hate their job. Usually they gather every day. At the bar. HAHA.
Whatever happens to the “30, flirty and thriving” dreams?
Perhaps our entire life we’ve been setting a very high expectation of adulthood. A way of thinking that “someday, every little thing is going to be perfect”, but then BAM! the next thing you know you’re working on weekends - definitely not your ideal way to spend the weekend. So… you’re pissed, you’re disappointed, and you turn bitter - all because you are working on the weekend, some thing that you can probably avoid if you have a better time management.
Now forgive me if I’m being so blunt about this, but I think being excessively busy does not necessarily commensurate with greatness. It’s a high enthusiasm in working, unaccompanied by efficient time management and self-appreciation (thank you Reza Gunawan for this wonderful piece of advice).
As an adult, your life gets more complex. But isn’t it supposed to be that way? Going through hard things always gives you some lessons to learn, or a memory to say the least. Something easy is just… easy.
When it comes to choosing a seat in a bus, my favourite spot is the first seat next to the exit door. Not too far behind, less chance to get stabbed/mugged without anyone noticing (yes, I might just be paranoid - I blame this on the short movie, N25). It’s also not right in the front, therefore it is less likely for me to have to give up my seats to elderly/pregnant people. And, and… if the bus is pretty empty, I’d like to sit by myself, thank you very much.
Yes, I am that selfish and anti-social. Ha!
Judge all you want, I admit to having that selfish-ness of wanting to sit down for the entire trip. Well, it’s not a big deal, really - I don’t mind giving up my seat (and I will - out of necessity and politeness) and standing. It’s just,… I know that by choosing the third/fourth seat on the row (instead of the first two) in the tube increases my chance of sitting still, so that’s what I will do.
Reserved seatings are kind of funny, I think. In a way, it makes you less guilty, it makes you feel less obligated to give up your seats. I mean, let’s take my ‘third seat’ example. If I was sitting on the third seat and I saw an elderly person walked in, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t feel the pressure to give up my seat. Instead, I might glance at the people sitting at the first two seat and if they didn’t show any sign of moving, then I would just have to stand up and give mine - while probably looking at the people on those two seats, especially if they weren’t old/pregnant/with children/with lots of bags to carry.
Surely things will be different, if there are no reserved seatings. I wouldn’t have to be so calculating and picky. I would probably give my seat genuinely out of respect rather than because I am obliged to by law.
I don’t know if other people - you - feel this too about reserved seatings in public transportations. Maybe it’s just me and my idiosyncrasy.
Anyway, speaking of public transports, I still don’t get the people who get pissed off over a seat or over a ticket or over another person in the vehicle. There are always people who simply lose it when they get into the bus with no-credit Oyster card and then asked by the driver to get off when they don’t have cash to buy a ticket. I get it if they are pissed, but I seriously don’t see why they need to vent their anger to the bus driver AND everybody in the bus!
I mean, CHILL AND GET OVER IT! Seriously, there is no need for you to turn all racist just because of this. Besides, to be perfectly honest, it is your fault not to top up your Oyster card so don’t be irritating and make others can’t travel just because you can’t, you selfish mannerless human! When the driver tells you to get off, you should get off, don’t just stand there, doing a 10 minute-soliloquy!
Good night, good people.
Hatred is Never Holy
Last night I watched The Merchant of Venice performed in Hebrew by Israel’s Habimah Theatre at The Shakespeare Globe. The performance was great! The music was very lively and I love the scene with the princes and the way they acted the gondola rides. Simply hilarious. I was glad I decided to watch it. It was really an experience.
It’s not only because it was a really well-performed show, but also because of the security checks we had to go through and the incidents that happened during the performance. As you might have guessed, everything Israeli is always controversial and cannot be separated from the issue of….Palestine.
There were lots of ‘Free Palestine’ protesters outside the Globe when Matt and I got there at 7 (the play itself started at 7.30 but audiences had been advised to come as early as 6 for a security check - fyi, they don’t normally do this). Some protesters are giving out flyers about ‘Israeli apartheid’ and human rights violations. There were also the pro-Israel activists, handing out flyers about how boycotting art isn’t the way to go and that segregating people by nationality is not an expression of solidarity, etc. I didn’t know how many police officers were outside, but there were many.
Shit just got serious.
After we passed the security check at the entrance (it was the kind of procedure they have in airports, with metal detectors and guards saying “please take everything out of your pockets, oh and the watch too”, “no liquid”), we had to wait for a bit until the doors to the stage were opened. It was a full house (unlike the time when we went for Titus Andronicus in Cantonese).
Then the play started. Within the first few minutes, there were already people/protesters on the second-floor terrace who started being irritating by taking out ‘Free Palestine’ posters, Palestinian flags and shouting. Of course within seconds, they got arrested by the securities. Some of them are holding onto the railings which made it hard for the securities to get them - one woman had to be carried by four big security dudes because of this.
Shit just got more serious.
The actors continued on acting though (I really admire how professionals they are) and I wished I understand Hebrew because I thought some of them were actually making jokes about those protesters, but I’m not sure. Some people continued on protesting, this time they stood up and put a duct tape on their mouth (silent protest?), which were okay since they’re not distracting the whole show or anything.
A few minutes after the second act (it was Shylock’s trial scene), once again someone was being infuriating, shouting “IF YOU PRICK US, DO WE NOT BLEED?” - the original Shylock’s speech, but in this case of course he was referring to the Palestinians.
If you’re being so rude, do we not get pissed?
Once again, I really admire those Habima actors, I bet they get those kinds of unapologetic discrimination a lot. So, without a doubt, this performance of The Merchant of Venice was the most intense show I’ve ever watched so far. And I’m really grateful to be able to experience it.
I don’t really have anything to say when it comes to the actual political conflict between Israel and Palestine. I don’t know, personally I think it’s way too complex, it’s not a black or white thing. But I think boycotting art, sabotaging performances, attempting to make them feel unwelcome, is not and never right. Not to mention pointless, because these people are artists, not policy makers in those country.
This reminds of the recent ban on Lady Gaga in Indonesia. It’s pretty much the same thing, except that she is banned on religious basis rather than political (although I’m still questioning the relationship between one’s morality and wearing bras-panties - covering yourself completely does not make you any more religious and morally superior than standing in a garage makes you a car).
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ― Albert Einstein
[DISCLAIMER: Nindy, the writer of this article, is a 20-year-old second year Media Communications student who has finally come to terms with being uncool. Yet, she still has high hopes that someday or in another life, she will finally be cool.]
Thick-rimed vintage glasses? Yep.
M83, Foster the People, Kings of Convenience, Bat for Lashes, Sigur Rós on my iPod? Checked.
My granny’s summer dress, leather oxfords, electric blue nail polish? Yes. Yes. Yes.
My favourite book? Certainly “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac.
Sipping organic green tea latte while tumblr-ing on my Mac? Sounds like a perfect day to me.
Uhm, pardon me for being so stereotypical, but I’m sure that if we think those statements above are inaccurate descriptions of ourselves, at least we know one person who actually fits the portrayal. And considering I’m at Goldsmiths, knowing only one person with such attitude and lifestyle is quite impossible.
Anyway, what is it about these hipsters –yes, I just used the ‘H’ word– that make them look so distinctive?
What is it about those indie darlings that make other people strive to become just like them?
How important is it to become ‘cool’?
Speaking of cool, maybe it’s the only explanation why many people have chosen to embarrass themselves by wearing glasses with no lens on (yes people, you DO look ridiculous on that, but if it makes you feel any better, you’re slightly smarter than that Matthew guy who tattooed a pair of sunglasses onto his face –go on, google it).
Furthermore, just admit it, even when you act like you don’t care whether you’re cool or not (exhibit A, yours truly here), I bet deep inside your head –or heart, whichever drives you more– there is still that silent wish of being seen as ‘cool’ by others with your “I-can’t-be-bothered” attitude. No?
Perhaps cool is the reason behind every Apple product that you and I own (oops ;p), which gets me to my next point. Although the main tenet of the so-called “hipster philosophy” is resistance to the manipulative capitalism’s mass culture (I’m sure Adorno and Horkheimer would be proud), but by being as ‘original’ and as ‘indie’ as possible, aren’t we actually practicing a culture of ‘niche consumerism’? That being said, then the only difference between ‘the masses’ and us is that we buy our clothes in Rocket or Urban Outfitters and not in TK Maxx or Marks and Spencer.
I guess that should leave you all with something to think about. After all, being witty and intelligent are another ‘cool’ requirements, eh?
So, think about it and be cool.
(this is the original draft of my article that was posted on the November 2011 issue of Goldsmiths’ The Leopard newspaper. only minor differences in the opening paragraph, but the content remains the same)
I’m one of those weird perfectionists who dedicate too much contemplation on the first sentence of every writing piece because I always believe that first sentences determine everything that follows. Simply by reading your first sentence, for example, people might get twice excited to read the whole piece or vice versa, they might quickly decide not to go on to your next sentence. First sentence is like first impression, it lingers. It matters.
Nevertheless, this is not a literary article about the importance of first sentences, nor is this an article about relationship. Oh, actually come to think of it, this is indeed an article about relationship. But it is not about the romantic relationship. This is an article about the relationship between local and international students.
Being an international student has always been familiar to me because I have experienced it since I was very young. One thing I have been noticing from these experiences is that there is always this ‘invisible’ gap between the local and international students. In other words, there is some kind of marginalization of the international students.
Of course it all comes back to the individual whether s/he feels marginalized as an international student or not but generally speaking, based on my experiences and observations, to a certain extent, international students have always been discriminated against. This discrimination can take up in many forms, from racial discrimination (although less likely to happen now, but still occurs some time) to a sense of alienation in which international students cannot fit in with the society.
Regarding the latter, I would like to say that it is a matter of prejudice. Ignorance is caused by lacks of knowledge. This goes both ways for local and international students. After all, it takes two to tango, am I right?
It seems to me that there is this widespread assumption among local students that international students do not want to blend in, that they prefer to be with the people from their own country. Whilst this assumption is somewhat true, then there lies a bigger issue: why does it happen? Why do international students stick together with the people from their own country or with another international students? Is it them who do not want to mingle or is it the local students who are not really keen on socializing with international students?
I believe this has to do with cultural differences. I am not going to elaborate on the possibility of lifestyle differences and contradicting values; something as simple as language barrier, for example, can already create a gap. Whereas different English language skills obviously create miscommunications, often, different accents can already create gaps and certain prejudices. Language skills can really make someone feels superior or inferior to others but to tell the truth, it is not something to fuss about.
Now for my fellow international students, we cannot always blame the local students and/or the school if we feel like we are being discriminated. Tell me, how are you supposed to make friends with the local students if you are always in your own comfort zone? True, it is hard enough to settle in a new country, learn other culture and maintain good grades at the same time. Yet going to school abroad is not only about the academic achievement, but also the life experiences, how you manage to overcome your fear of unfamiliarity.
Another possibility why there is a gap between the local and international student is that perhaps, none of us feel like we have to interact with each other. Since it is unlikely that we will end up in the same work environment, as most international students will come back to their home country after graduation, why bother making connections? Well, although it can be said that university is a stepping-stone for your future career (in which it would be great if you start networking with the people you might end up working with), but you go to university to make friends with everybody! Moreover, who knows, this could be our last chance to learn about other culture considering we might end up in a homogenized work environment in our native countries.
Lastly, referring back to my opening sentences, I think the same tenets cannot always be applied for this circumstance. Most of the time, our first sentence –first thought or first impression– I should say, does not establish the things that follow. It is inclined to be inaccurate. Thus I would like to finish this article with a food for thought, using quote from Mark Twain, “The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”
Now go out and make friends.
Nindy is from Indonesia, with prior school experiences in Australia and Canada.
(beeforbunga, this is your answer in regards to #OccupyWallStreet)
to begin with, i gotta tell you that i haven’t really followed this issue on the news and to be honest i don’t find this protest movement that interesting (duuuh, ngapain sih pake occupy wall street? occupy my heart aja deh! #eaaaa #apeu #abaikan), so everything in this post will be based solely on my opinion and limited knowledge abouit it. i might be wrong, feel free to disagree.
nonetheless, let’s begin.
what i like about this protest is that, occupy wall street is a peaceful demonstration. from what i’ve heard/read so far, there’s no violence involved in this movement. protesters camp in the provided area, so that it wouldn’t disturb the public. that is good. as for the issue they are protesting, hmm what is it that they actually fuss about?
honestly, i think they started out pretty well in terms of addressing the economic inequality, adding tax for the rich people and stuff….but after a while, it’s not clear what it is they’re protesting, is it a protest about the economy? or the ideology? or politics? or other stuff? and it seems to me now they’re just bunch of people wearing guy fawkes mask (i doubt they all know who guy fawkes is, actually)
moreover, these people protest about the failure of capitalism, liberalism, free-market economy which has created the big gap between the rich (the 1%) and the “poor” (the 99%). okay, i got that, and i understand why they think free-market economy isn’t good (because: not everyone has the same resources to start with, resulting in a different ability to acquire goods, therefore the rich getting richer and the poor? who knows.) BUT…would they agree on socialism? so they say ‘the people rule’, and i guess by “the people” they refer it to “the 99%”, to them. good, now that they claim they’re the ruler, do they have a solution? have they thought about a system that would work better?
it appears that most of these protesters are suggesting some left-leaning solutions to this problem. well, there’s nothing wrong about egalitarian society, in fact i support the idea. but honestly, i don’t think, economically speaking, that it’d be possible to achieve such utopian idea. at least as long as the concept of money and wealth exist.
and in regards to 1% vs. 99%. well, i don’t think the rationalization is that simple. between the 99% itself, some have more than the others. it’s not like it’s king vs. peasants and serf anymore. our society is divided in such complex hierarchy: middle class, upper middle class, lower middle class, working class, underclass, etc etc. so, to divide it into just 2 ratios is, in my opinion, not doing it justice.
i also don’t like the way they blame everything on the government. don’t blame the government (and banks) if you’re in loads of debts because you spend all of your loans on shopping and pay everything in credit cards. be a better money manager.
okay, that’s it. i rest my case.
So I guess the music trend in America nowadays is to have pre-pubescent kids singing about first love (which can be somewhat sweet, to a certain point), Friday and the rest of “how to count days in a week” tutorial, and jeans (yes, you got it right, JEANS as in denim trousers). And so since they are kids, I can’t really blame them if the songs/videos came up crappy.
Oh well, if those songs I mentioned earlier was kinda funny or crappy-ly catchy, well this one is..whorish.
This O.M.G song is borderline child pornography. (start to wonder if O.M.G stands for Oh My Gross?!) For starters, the first part where it shows “Jenna Rose as the Teen Boom-Boom Doll”?
What the fuck?
How could you put ‘teen’, ‘boom-boom’ and ‘doll’ all in the same sentence?
And then the lyrics go “just take a picture, baby. look at what I’m wearing.” SHE’S 13 and exposed to vanity already. And then “no need the staring, you know that you want to. you know that you need to. it’ll last longer for you”. Hmm, need to what? what will last longer?
Perhaps my mind is just so dirty, but seriously, together with the provocative dances, the lyrics just emphasize the slutty-ness of the song. And she’s only 13! (to put in a Rebecca Black’s math: last year she was 12, this year she is 13, next year she’ll be 14 and 15 comes afterwards —> although, even if she was 15, I’d still consider this song and video as whorish)
And I know this is out of my place to say this, but what kind of bastard parents let their daughter do this?
I’m not the most morally correct person, but sorry, I think Jenna Rose’s songs and videos are plain horrible (and I blame her parents for it).
As for the declining trend of popular music in America nowadays, I admit to having deep concerns about my future as music journalist. Hahaha. Perhaps should really do consider being a fashion journalist or lifestyle writer (getting paid to review a spa and eat in fancy restaurants? what more can a girl ask for?)