It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side

Batman said in one of those Dark Knight films that I don't watch, "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain..." Let me change that a bit, "You either quit a job happily, or you work long enough to see yourself hate the job that you used to love..."

Alright, I admit, that doesn't really make sense. Of course when you find something that you love, you're more likely to find yourself to also love it in the next few years, possibly until you retire. 

I love studying, while people can't wait to get into the working environment, I love attending classes and call myself a student. But lately I have this feeling as if the usual working environment suddenly looks more appealing than what I'm doing now. But I also remembered a few years back when I worked at a call center, I couldn't wait to quit the job and do my masters. So, what happens? Why am I always bored with my current livelihood? Why is it that the grass is always greener on the other side?

Then, I thought long and deep about this. I realize the answer doesn't lie on the nature of what we do, it's the quality the nature of what we do offers us. I remember when I did my bachelor and masters, I attended classes and had assignments where required me to have social interactions. I remember in my bachelor that I used to have infatuations with a few people and I had ups and downs with my friends. But now, I'm doing my PhD by research and of course all those things aren't really part of my routine anymore because all I do each day is sit in front of my laptop and think about what to do to improve my proposal/thesis. I sometimes go to an office here but the social interaction is not the same. The office mates are much older than me so we're bound to have a gap, no matter how friendly we all are, especially when there are only less than five people working in the same office.

I'm an introvert, combined with extreme shyness, so it makes it even harder to make friends, especially that this is a relatively new environment for me, living in another state and in another university. 

Rant aside, my point is, when you find something you love, try to contemplate about the qualities of the things that you love. Then, you get the idea and you could be more grateful and know how to beat the routine sickness if you remember this. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Moving Forward

Friendship is a funny thing in life. It is so because I have observed especially lately in my life that for some people, for some unfortunate people, friendships are just a phase. I mean, rather than being a fulfilling relationship in one's life, it becomes only an event at one point of life. And then, the friends just move forward, or the unfortunate people move forward pass one another.

I have seen a lot of other people who have stable friendships for as long as they live, and it's a good thing. But for the other ones, friends come and go. No matter how much "you're my best friend" that has been declared, or how many outings that have been planned and done, they are still a phase. Some of those unfortunate people might be OK with it, maybe because they could easily find friends everywhere they go. But for some other unfortunate people, they suffer through it.

I don't know, I have been asking for those unfortunate people, what makes them fall into this pit? Shyness? Introversion? Maybe if they are good people, they might be chronically shy, so it kinda thwarts the likelihood of making new friends. If they are bad people, well, then, it's because of their "badness."

But I'm talking about the unfortunate good people who experience having phased friendships. People rarely notice them, and people rarely acknowledge that what they are going through as a crisis. But they do go through this, and they do suffer through it. And I'm sure those out there who committed suicide belonged to this group of people.

So, I'd like to call out this group of people and wish them the best in life. I hope that they find what they are looking for and never ever give up in the midst of the dark tunnel. I wish they are granted the one, at least one, friend who could offer support whereever they go.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Songs to Listen to When You Are Feeling Melancholic

So, I have made an entry for songs that motivate and inspire me. This time, I would like to list down a few songs that I usually listen to when I am feeling melancholic or just blue. I consider these songs melancholic (I don't want to call them "depressing" because it sounds negative) because of the lyrics that are either cynical about the world or self, critical, and have a deep meaning in relation to how screwed up the world could be. So, here they are.

1) Gary Jules - Mad World

This is absolutely melancholic for me because it talks about how this world is like a a place that is filled with robots that exist without a purpose. We all do things that we do everyday, sometimes for just the cause of it.

2) U2 - One

OK, this song might not be totally melancholic, but it was written when the band was on the brink of breaking up. But this song brought them back together. One of the most powerful piece of lyrics of this song is, "You asked for me to enter, but then you made me crawl..."

3) John Grant - Marz

The official video of this song shows a girl who committed suicide and went to a place filled with childhood dream and desires. The official video also shows that while the desires sound good in the beginning, but it might "drown" you down at the end. This song is actually a connotation of a personal tragedy of the singer who had a past life involving drugs, messed up family situation and also suicidal thoughts.

So, here for now, three songs that I classified as melancholic. Marz has been the most melancholic for me as it deals with suicide and self-acceptance. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Home Sweet Home

So, I went to Bangkok last Wednesday using International Express which was a 22-hour ride. Remind me not to use the train again, it was a torture. But, that's not what I want to talk about. I'd really not like for this entry to sound like a rant, but for the first time of my life, I cut a trip short just because I really couldn't adjust to the environment of the place that I was visiting.

Don't get me wrong, Bangkok is a nice city. In fact, it looks a lot like Kuala Lumpur, and I LOVE Kuala Lumpur. But when one of your missions of travelling was also to try out new foods, that's when you started to have issues. Bangkok seems to be filled with nice foods and they had a lot of street hawkers that sell many kinds of snacks, fruit cuts, and even main dishes like fried chicken and other stuffs. But too bad their halal status is almost always unknown. Whenever I was interested in a food that looked so delicious, I would just ask, "Muslim?" since they didn't understand anything I said, and I could say that 99% of the shops/restaurants/hawkers that I went to said no. On the first day I arrived, being as naive as I was, I walked around Saphan Khwai BTS station area which was filled with tasty-looking foods. After searching for almost an hour, I resorted to eating a dry garlic bread just because everything was not halal there.

I searched for the information on halal food in Bangkok and many experiencers reported that they needed to take a train to a mall that has only one halal food stall in one whole food court. I might also go to Nana BTS station and I went there once. Nana was like a little Middle Eastern, and there were a lot of halal places, but the station was quite far from my hotel. I wouldn't take a train everytime I wanted to eat.

On the second day, things became unnecessarily difficult. I was always OK with language barrier. I visited Istanbul twice before and I could say not so many people could speak in English but the trip was very enjoyable. However, in Bangkok, when you couldn't find halal food, and you couldn't communicate almost at all with the local people, my patience started to wear thin. The frustration was added by the fact that it was also quite hard to find a place to perform your prayers and the only place I could go was, of course, my hotel room.

I don't want to sound like a spoiled traveler who needs to have everything nice in his trip, but these aspects are important to me when traveling. So, because of the difficulties, I cut my trip short and from the original 5-day plan, it became 2-day. I did not care about money at all and I just want to get out of there, so I changed the flight date.

When I reached Penang, suddenly my home here is not just a home, it's a home sweet home.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that Bangkok is a terrible city, it is actually quite nice for me. But language barrier, food barrier, and religious performance for me are things that I need to observe when traveling. However, the difficulties might be contributed by the fact that I was not familiar with the place. So, I'm sure a lot of you out there have gone to Bangkok and enjoyed it. But not for me though. This might be the first and the last time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolution

It's a tradition - you will list down a whole new set of resolutions you would like to achieve in 2013, even if you might miss the ones for last year and the year before and the year before. I don't deny, I am one of those who set their minds to accomplish certain things in the new year, but I also don't deny that the probability that we would achieve them - 50%. Well, might be higher.

So, why would we have a new set when we have not even seen the lights for our past sets? Maybe I have written something about it, but I'll write again about it anyways. It's about intention. Turns out intentions are not so simple. Researchers have categorized intentions into goal intentions and implementation intentions. I first learned about the categories of intentions in Health Psychology class about how only some people who intend to lose weight are able to achieve their objective. The concept is this: Goal intentions are general intentions, "I want to lose weight." While, implementation intentions are specific, "I want to lose 10 pounds in 3 months."

Why specificity of our intentions are better indicators of intention achievements? It is because people are more than likely to act on their intentions when they see clearly what they have to do and pursue. When you already set the details, it's one step done, but when you're not clear about what to do, then that's what slows down the process of achieving the goals.

This highlights the importance of operationalization. I still remember how our professors in our Psychology department kept stressing on operationalizations in research but it turns out to also be a significant factor in behavior changes. Operationalizations are defining things in practical terms - it is the opposite of conceptualization. Defining hunger as the feelings of wanting food is conceptual, but defining hunger as the craving of food after 5 hours of not eating, then it's operational. Wanting to read more books is conceptual, but wanting to read at least one book per month, then it is operational.

So, set your hearts out to want to achieve new things for the betterment of your new year. But try to make it less complicated and make it clear. Make it a goal that you can see you can achieve. Well, as usual, when I'm writing a "preachy" post, it's because I need to remind myself more than I need to remind you. so, good luck to us all!