winds; relished thoughts
revel like oasis
wounded memories metamorphose
Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022 @ 5:04 p.m.
It is summer. The time of year when anxiety attacks return.
My mind and I know we are breaking the cycle by finally relaxing and slowing down my schedule (after all, workload is less in summer, there is a day off), but we are amateurs in this journey of relaxation.
After three years of major events and one project after another, I suppose I have been conditioned to be on the go everyday, and when I am not doing something, I thought I am not productive and self blame kicks in.
But we are work to live, not live to work right? So why not develop a sustainable routine where I don't burnout and take things slow? I thought.
If ancient poets have the wisdom to drink and chatter before they write, then I should too indulge in this much needed siesta.
But adrenaline flows and so does reflux, but with time, it will be another milestone.
Friday, Apr. 29, 2022 @ 10:09 p.m.
Juxtaposition and cacophony are among the few literary terms I learned in A-Level English classes, but juxtaposition is also how I describe myself in personality and belonging.
INFJs are walking contradictions - I seem aloof with my introversion and logical decision as I analyze transactions or remind enough people to do their tasks, but there are many tears behind doors as I question how to better the world with accountable and sustainable nonprofits and defy cultural expectations in prose or music.
I do not why I complicate myself culturally even further. English literature and Chinese characters are established from different rules, so do their local terrains and religions. However, I gave in when husband from desert lands woo me with rhetoric and physically resourceful abilities. Now I speak and learn fragmented words based on Arabic, am tangled in a forever debate on Israel and Palestine and occasionally get caught in spices. Maybe, I do that so I can wear a 4 lb dress of gold, adorned with bracelets and jewels worth thousands in a walima.
My thought process is clearly laid and visually represented in an organized mess, and my nails will always be bitten despite repeated attempts to look beautiful with moisturizers and nail polish.
All these for a difficult ambition to a leisurely recluse in a place where juxtaposing characters exist.
I can't unburden myself by giving up hobbies or not caring about the world, my brain does not fully embrace the concept of rest, and men's rules do not allow me to achieve this leisurely rich status without some currency, so for now, let me be a juxtaposing word, rich in adjectives and trying to steer away from a melody of cacophony.
Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2022 @ 4:45 p.m.
Since I am down with the cold and experiencing whatever sensations that a cocktail of cold/flu medicine brings me, I may as well write something about Pakistan.
Pakistan has a sweet spot in my heart. Despite the blazing heat and the crossover between night markets and high-rise malls, it is a land of dessert in the midst of the modernization. While I stayed in a well to do area close to hospitals and schools, it reminded me of old times in perhaps 1960s-1970s Hong Kong that my parents described.
Karachi is a bustling metropolis, of street vendors and shops, of emerging high rise condos and constant flow of traffic. As I observed and asked questions, it is like a city and culture in transition, with traditional and modern ideas coexisting with each other. On one hand, young people (men and women) are encouraged to pursue higher education, with some women pursuing work after graduation/marriage, but on the other hand, people also married young (I definitely marry late in their standards), and that may have led people to become full time housewives, or choose more lucrative careers to care for their family.
I wonder how it is in its olden days in Mughal Empire or Maratha Empire, with its courts and trades. Since I learned history mostly through art and leisure reading, while the Qu'ran is widely accessible and Islamic culture is ingrained with its local practices, I always felt I am missing a part of the picture before I piece its history together as a foreigner. As the foreigner, I am grateful for the people's warm hospitality, and it gave me a unique position to ask and ponder questions, but it also invited curious stares from pedestrians who may rarely encounter a foreigner.
With time, I hope I can write a better narrative than this fragmented one conjured by adjectives and short descriptions. But until then, Karachi reminds to be a metropolis in a desert in my mind.
Art & Words
Monday, Feb. 07, 2022 @ 9:27 p.m.
With this year's unexpected snowstorm and fluctuating temperatures between the frozen snows outside and heated underground tunnels inside, I have succumbed to a cold.
But is because of this rest, did I get to stop and reevaluate my creative works.
Thanks to the pandemic, I learned how to compose flute adaptations to anime OSTs, game soundtracks from Chinese & Japanese developers, and Chinese classical music I am happy that besides Debussy and Mozart, I can also confidently play soundtracks and songs from Genshin Impact, Obey Me, Jay Chou and Marblue. I hope to continue expanding my repertoire as I prepare for my music theory and practical exams.
After spending several years writing about scents and flowers (my personal favourites are satsuma and rose), I started writing about historical figures and weaving Asian landscapes/philosophy in poetry. Sometimes, my inspirations are lesser known historical figures in the Western World, such as Yuan Tiangeng and Li Chunfeng or Chinese proverbs, and other times, I fuse Eastern and Western musical influences to string words into poems. So far, I enjoy this process of 'translanguaging', where I read and research into Chinese sources and novels, and introduce readers to East Asian culture and history in English poetry and stories. (On a non-creative front, I also translate Chinese & English texts so maybe that counts?)
While I am proud of all my works, I am most proud of my short stories. I felt I grew my craft as by writing about Chinese women who were infamous (because they were highly educated courtesans who challenged gender stereotypes of Confucian values?), shared my heritage with my grandparents' stories and experiences in pre and post-war China, and introduced readers to the complex world of Dream of Red Chamber (or corrupted rich families) through characters' points of views.
When I looked at various authors' journey to publishing, I found that many of them attended writer's workshops or had formal training in creative writing. I am sure that these workshops and courses provide a deep understanding in the craft of creative writing, but I always feel I am both an artist and a writer when it comes to my creative process.
My creative process is never methodological. Like art, it always evolves and grows in the infinite realm of creativity. Sometimes I write a poem spontaneously , and sometimes I perfect a melody through days of practice.
However, because my creative medium is words, I also take time to choose and refine my words in poetry and prose, and find inspiration in novels and non-fiction books. When I write about an East Asian individual or concept, I ensure that it is easy to read, but also beautiful and meaningful in diction and style.
When I was younger, I only play my games with words. Now, I talk to both art and words. Perhaps this is why I will always be both the wild artist/writer who writes about different cultures and histories spontaneously, but also the meticulous conservator of words who tries to restore my artistic mediums with beauty and meaning.
I have vented long enough, it is time to rest and think about new works...
Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 @ 12:11 p.m.
Have to let a bit of my brain energy out, if not it will be whirl in my mind and give me an acidic dose of reflux or haunting sleeps
As my mind wandered on the bus from Quebec to Montreal, I saw that my mind always notices the finer details in some unknown architecture, and find solace in sturdy structures that are not beautiful, but will weather the storms and snow that flood the city. (so much so I now have to reexamine my possibly worn out winter gear)
When I am in hostels, people often ask if I am an East Asian ethnicity. While I am knowledgeable in Chinese history, literature and some politics, local Hong Kongers will never deem me a local, I barely know Canadian history and British will never really call me one of their own either. Such versatility and adaptability are the gifts of third culture children, and their burdens.
My life has always been about venturing outside the box and viewing the world as a watcher. My love of art and words are constant and globalized, but they are infinite and can evolve. To unearth it, it has to go back to my unorthodox upbringing.
I was born in Vancouver and raised in Hong Kong since I was 1. Perhaps because of their North American influences, instead of watching TV shows, my parents always brought us to bookstores and museums. My mother would point to me, character by character, the abbreviated illustrations of the four Chinese classics. My brothers gravitated towards commerce and sciences, but I dove into art museums long ago.
I am not sure about how kids are now, but having like minded elementary classmates and teachers who also quiz about English and Chinese literature solidified my dedication to this quest for aesthetics.
I used to adore Italian Renaissance art with its vibrant colours and texture, and life size murals. It will take some time for me to go full circle.
British school matured this love into a craft. The eventual journey to understand English literature in an analytical lens, and dedicated teachers who guided me to the basics of Chinese literature and translation paved the artistic way. Complimented with European history, orchestra practices, British and Asian geography (shopping geography was the best) and a much loved ESL teacher who helped us break down these complex concepts, I was able to survive and know the predominant European culture. Thankfully, a lot of classmates are also third culture kids with expat parents so all of us are in it together.
But my brushstrokes remained blunt and wordy. I experimented with poetic styles, took classes and debated left and right with former writing partners. Yet, this path is to be forged and refined in time.
Sugaring with fancy words won't do.
Because my path of aesthetics is not about delicate superficial beauty, or contemporary fancies, but rather, meaning and beauty brewed in capsules of time.
Art history and Shakespearean English in university did exactly that. After years of European art, seeing how Chinese art expresses essence in deliberate brushstrokes in calligraphy, and innovate in art forms of shadow puppets and lanterns were revelations. It is time to reclaim the Asian part of me.
Hanging scrolls and calligraphy can be fragile and ink can wander, but no avail, there is architecture in grounded Romanesque, individualized Gothic, enlightened Renaissance and experimental modern styles to keep me in place. Kick in studies of medicine in Shakespearean and Marlow's works, and a practical writing and rhetoric program prepped for the real world and I am almost done.
I will skip the adulthood reflections before it becomes a long winded story. However, Montessori tenets of peace education and learning through materials, returning to HK to teach and my accidental start in freelance side gigs were all useful. I am not alone in this world that likes labels, and rushes for the creative product than the process.
When I am in Quebec City, I was in awe of beautiful structures in Citadel, Notre Dame church and Ursuline Monastery. Sturdy, timeless, delicate.Yet a cup of wintermelon bubble tea from Enchanthe also soothes the mind and unpacks thoughts. And of course, my South Asian husband and travelling companion whose craft shines in the plethora of his intentional, yet experimental photos and videos, and whose navigation and kindness shine through this trip from less noticed to large acts.
I expanded my craft into music, comics (my fun art form that requires little thought) and prose/poetry. I trans-culture more as I hope to fuse and bridge gaps between Chinese and European art, sometimes with music melodies. It will undergo another cleanup when I understand more of Pakistani and Islamic history and arts. But the path to beauty and meaning is constant, yet evolving.
Or as my grandmother's story goes, we are simply ones following her quest.
During the Japanese war, the Japanese would ransack houses and bomb ruthlessly. Children would be killed, and if you look pretty as a woman, you, would be raped and then join the massacre, then to be wrapped as dumplings to be eaten.
Every day, I would put on charcoal. One day, the Japanese asked if there were anyone was in the house and I replied no. A few days later, I left.
Grandmother walked from Guangzhou to Hong Kong and Macao.
After hearing repeated versions of this story, my father pursued social sciences to understand relations of Pearl River Delta. He and I discussed about history at times, but his interests lie more in 20th century. We still have a subtle art debate about whether Italian or Dutch art is better. (I am on Dutch side, riddle are irreplaceable).
By the time this story is passed down to me, after reading history and failing historiography, I focused and fought my uphill battle to be and embrace as an artist. My canvas is poetry, prose and flute. Because I am culturally Chinese and British, ethnically Chinese, with Canadian nationality and have rare access to Pakistani culture through my husband, I am relishing my time in this unique spot.
And now, back to decomposing my thoughts and bickering with some letters!
Friday, Dec. 24, 2021 @ 10:49 a.m.
Since my brain is super active and will brainstorm ideas overtime, good to jot down these ideas and refine so I can rest and embrace the reflections that streetscapes can bring:
Storywrite & Allpoetry.com
- Edit Rose
- Write piece on Jia Xichun (a scope of the demise)
- Write piece on Li Wan (small characters are interesting)
- Or maybe I will write about Lin Daiyu
I really got inspired by Marblue's music, may trickle to Allpoetry.
- Gradually read through grade 2 and 3
- Take grade 3 exam
- How to play Genshin Impact Music for Keqing, Childe, Ganyu, Albedo and Xiao for now. Refine Zhongli. Maybe do a concert because Obey Me + Genshin is a lot of work.
Try a reformer class
- Understand finance system
- Understand so can create query for uploading marks and avoid errors
- Dig it and implement agile process for self, probably a 1-person scrum run and kanban for everyone else
- Play with LMS
- Continue with certificate program
- Web accessibility is fun
Probably need to hire a VA for myself
Walk on street, lay on mat, enjoy game and contemplate
Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 @ 9:54 p.m.
I re-read Cao Xueqin's Dream of Red Mansion lately. While I am not able to fully understand and savour the rich symbolism of the novel and often find the study guide more appealing than the book, it's a goal achieved.
While this year's reading challenge focuses more on foreign literature, I also want to try reading a Chinese novel each year so to not miss out good fantasy novels and classics that are all "rule breakers" and banned books.
Sometimes, my life of breaking rules gets lonely. But I am not the startup guy who can be comfy with so much risk, I break and refine structures/thoughts to innovate, but need a blueprint. Or...I was thrust into it, but the long term impact was good.
Being a creative with a family of non creative people was the start of it. I create and preserve a space for myself while exploring creativity forms. There were a lot of misunderstandings and tears, but free museum exhibition and blood do hold us together. As my mother says, I inherit the best of her admin abilities. But I digress that I am an artist who learn to survive and refine practicality with agile thinking by day, and still need my dose of art at night.
I just treat poetry and prose as month-long art work, and add a flair to corporate communications. A surprise is that I also get to do some instructional and elearning design which are my cups of tea.
It's the same with faith and cultural experiences. This fight can get lonely. This journey can be tiring. But it upcycles.
It reminded me of Jia Tanchun and Lin Daiyu from Dream of Red Mansion. Jia Tanchun established well to be equal to sisters who were born of noble birth with her words and had the intelligence, and ended up marrying far (because the book was meant to be a tragedy about confines of tradition). Lin Daiyu was a free, sensitive and intelligent poet ahead of her times, but her fragile health and traditions led to an early death.
This journey has its ebbs and flows, but to think that it satisfies my active brain and the impact it will be, I am ok with it.
Silk and Pen
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 @ 11:43 p.m.
When I get compliments about my more youthful appearance, I credit it to natural products. However, I can't deny my art history education may have influenced this aesthete tendency across music and poetry into my appearances.
Or I just don't want more chemicals.
I read my poetry and music from the past 10 years and as scattered as the themes can be, it is a lifelong experimentation and conservation that shows how my self evolves. From the teenager who observes society and sees literature as a haven/relief, to aspiring aesthete who finally accepts my multicultural upbringing and make it art.
Poetry takes more time though. Maybe because I got diverted with flute, or it just takes time for inspiration to churn and brew. Or I expand into different mediums.
Accepting myself takes time with my life experience, but the tender sensitivity and calm confidence certainly shine as this journey ventures.
Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 @ 5:27 p.m.
Since 2002, I probably create this diaryland thing to vent and discover myself. Overtime, I feel a bit comfortable divulging my real self now.
As the artist/writer/musician and sensitive person in a household of non-creatives, I realize I can't not cry and not stay in tune or feel emotions. Thanks to poetry, I protect my real self and thought I would follow rules to split the two selves because adult figures and society tell me that creativity cannot make money (but I can study art history), so it split into the rational and creativity selves.
It was great for a while, but I wanted to integrate them into one. The creativity doesn't always have inspiration, but brews like wine and got sick of being displaced at night.
To be creative is to be misunderstood. To be creative is to think out of the box and in my case, enjoy the freedom. It's getting better to accept and love this real self, and I get to do my 1.5 jobs and create a poetry haven, expand into music and wander in art.
I am excited and nervous for jobs and in the future, motherhood. Maybe I get to raise another creative so we can paint flowers with brushstrokes of words or compose wuxia music, or maybe I have someone more like the dad (the dad is still creative though), But to continue to heal and free are what I savor now.
Silk and Canva
Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 @ 9:49 p.m.
My real self is a never ending silk that wraps and protects, usually white but with a canva as a package. To create across times and depths, to heal and protect this sensitive soul in the journey of art, word and music making. It is always calming and when I describe to counsellor, she told me it was calm and confident.
To integrate my school/work self with real self is an upward journey. Adult figures told teenage me that creativity should be a hobby and brushed off my entertaining thoughts of being a sports writer, but directed to something practical in law or marketing. Until I found linguistics in university more of a science than art, and fell in love with art history courses at first sight. The memories of writing A Protest to Banning of Bookstores met with comments to study harder. Creativity to them, was a fleeting long term passion, never a reality.
To protect this self from losing, I split into two selves. The school/work self that meets or exceeds what is expected, and the real self that appears at night to relish inspirational lights or once in a while, dab onto pen and paper. Eventually they became one self, but this shifting game goes on for I don't know how real self will fare in world of boxes and expectations.
I learn how me and others perceive my work is varied, and not many can peel into the core of this deep, insightful, vulnerable soul. But to resolve the root of insecurity and anxiety disorder is to shed all these tears that were held, to travel across time to hug the young me who don't understand the shackles of this world, and now, to integrate real self with its energy.
People often say I am self aware, but maybe because multi cultural and multi faith upbringing means I have to define, and define what I am. And after too many times of being told not to cry and failing to do so, I delve and find the real self.
They say to be creative is to be misunderstood, to feel differently and it is true, but it is also to free the shackles that bound everyone in their boxes and heal with a splash of words.
Time to wrap myself in soft silk and dissolve in every emotion.
Friday, Sept. 03, 2021 @ 2:31 p.m.
The cure to anxiety disorder to embrace it and slow down.
My lifelong quest in life is to understand I am always, always the rule breaker that shatters conventions of different realms so I can heal, and to express/support through creativity in words or music or art. Perhaps, this is the cultivation of years of literary indulgence, or perhaps, like the adventurous dragon I am, I cultivate into a silent keeper of stories.
I get frustrated when I see others promoted before me and sometimes sigh when I teach/connect others with different cultures/faith/mental illnesses so they understand. Yet it is also time to self-soothe and self-parent, because who knows how many times my words/forms have been shut down by a society's conventions.
Looking back, I am never one who fame adores or successfully captures the power. I am a third culture kid who embrace 3 cultures, had my faith shift and catapulted into a progressive Christian wilderness (while being married to a Muslim), dissolved most my tears into words and formed some underground poetry and music community group while dabbling in gig work and microfinance.
Being on the fringes is not easy, but so isn't the shackles of convention because someone got to explore something new. For me, the remedy is to slow and meditate and trust that God will be there with pilates as a weapon to calm and wind.
And let sakura petals to sprinkle love and reflections in this solitary pavilion, where knowledge and art remind me hard-won understandings of red lotus, and look forward to the day to write poetry and dance with a sip of wine.
Read My Heart
Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021 @ 5:15 p.m.
Slightly better now but took home with another cocktail of medicine.
Not that I will slurp them as if a pleasurable drink of evasion, after enough first and second hand experiences, addiction will only write your death.
After an anxiety attack, I once had a list of accomplishments and saw that it never fit into the conventional society's criteria. Really, it has been an uphill battle since birth. No wonder I want to retreat/retire so I can spend all the time healing scars.
My personal achievements were dates of books published, being able to compose flute melodies for Chinese/Japanese music, embracing my diverse identity (probably belong in the airport), defying rules to become the interracial and interfaith few and still swimming after too many injuries
What I liked most career wise was establishing my freelance realm. I have main jobs but to start this with 0 knowledge of freelancing and payment systems, and broach out to various industries. That, and somehow cultivating 9000+ people on Allpoetry fb group (not a paid thing). Even though writing partner disappeared years ago, I still felt like I am extending the gesture that he did when he became a reader and partner.
After 30+ years of this, the calling of words and flute are increasingly coming, so much I bleed back into Euclidean Square to time travel and heal these issues, so I will see how it is with the pursuit of remote work and healing.
Thursday, Aug. 05, 2021 @ 11:56 a.m.
After a 6-week run of anxiety attack and panic attacks, I am a shell of myself, still recovering and recuperating.
It is work-related, but I understand why I have turned from confident to fearful. From creative/curious to waking up with fast heartbeats and clinging onto meds.
Words carry a lot of power. Constant intimidation and (stress/anxiety errors) will wreck anyone long term. It is to the point I was watching every episode of Netflix's Skin Decisions and somewhat relate to one another.
I too have scars on my back and uses peels to eliminate it so I can have a second chance wearing tank tops. My skin has become porcelain and is so easily wrecked with a scratch or a cut. However, at this moment, my mental scars are much larger than my physical ones, as we embark on the battle to calm and restore one another. It's like the pomade and peels and gels I put on my skin are fading and you see my scars, and here I am, too vulnerable after too many botched makeup attempts.
It will take an unknown amount of time but I am thankful for my safe haven in freelancing. It reminded me what I like and the love-hate ride I have with clients.
Sunday, Jul. 25, 2021 @ 4:22 p.m.
When I post poetry now, I think about flow and the quality of words - it is very different from how I first started, but this is what happens when I have expectations beyond satin stanzas and a perfume diffusing into layers of the world
Obey Me soundtracks have provided tremendous inspiration. After 4 otome games, I understand how tsunderes and yanderes appeal to me due to insecurity and scars of being me (defying society expectations all the time since birth). I do admire the overprotective warlords/sect leaders/demons in the game who intrigued me with their vulnerabilities, or tsunderes who covered up the same scars in another way.
Appropriately, my porcelain skin meant that a scratch becomes a wound or mark easily and years of doing is similar to a physical representation of the journey of transformation. I don't think that life is hard is an appropriate description, even though it took me a lifelong journey and a bombing to say this, but rather a cyclical quest to attain wisdom. I develop anxiety out of this, but it lead me to be more compassionate.
My keys dries and expires on words because I love to explore and seduce on canvas like a pomade that enchants and stings, while I smoke a kiseru to feel and watch, though that is an eternal craving to sip on.
In carpe diem, let me shower with allegros and fortes and string a broken concerto to bring something to life.
Monday, Jul. 19, 2021 @ 10:00 p.m.
The fog beyond the anxiety haunt at its different intervals, and despite reading whilst playing puzzles and mobile games, I am slowly drifting away from society.
My high school friends are surprised at my next long-term goal to retire, maybe because they have their slew of goals to retire and the mounting list of bills to pay. Most of them are surprised by my long-term thinking or ambition.
But psychotherapists and friends can only do so much when it is clear that I am in too deep of a path of society's expectations. I realize inspiration comes and goes and gets divergent on too many topics (marketing, history, finance and art etc) and whilst writing poetry and blogs don't result in tears, my soul is as scarred as the impatient scars on my back. Unlike my back that can be healed gradually by paying money for green peel (yet breed its scars because I am a battle at night), my soul will take its sweet, indefinite time to heal.
My birthplace has its mountain of taxes (and benefits), and where I was raised is brewing with political turmoils, so Europe it is - in its moderate climate and crossover of cultures where I belong.
There are tinges for the occasional temptation of fame and the lust for money will not end as I await and create this arcadia.
Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2021 @ 3:40 p.m.
Mental note to self:
June/July is my traumaversary because it was where errors (major/minor) and big stuff - hiring/firing/relationships happened.
You will need to take higher dose of celexa.
You will also be prone for more errors.
Monday, Apr. 12, 2021 @ 1:45 p.m.
I remember young me wanted to make a living as a writer and poet, and I would soak up various forms of literature and art from various English speaking countries, hoping to borrow words from famous authors.
Then I got razzle dazzled into art and teaching.
I did achieve that writer dream many years later, but they are nothing exciting and can be mundane as I type and translate words on my laptop.
My translations are mostly financial (bank statements, remittance slips), health (patient leaflets, hospital receipts, instructions) and other oddities (leases, property announcements that someone got Covid-19). On the odd day I get to translate good Chinese literature my heart will skip a beat and secretly laugh that my ancient Chinese is put into use.
My writing ends up being 50% graphic design (on Canva) and 50% writing. They are mostly worksheets and now finally an ebook about making remote learning work. I probably become pickier on graphics and have a format for worksheet design, but again, nothing where I can make readers flow on satin stanzas or sneak in a Shakespeare line, but very concise and clear writing.
Or maybe, those times I make suggestions to new hire about word choices in email. (Because I know how troublesome it is to decipher wordy replies, and how I have to find a way to talk to international learners.)
I used to resist marketing and PR, but now I will take up on copywriting and editing, and go into data of marketing. I suppose, this writer dream is partially achieved?
Dummy's Guide to Investing
Tuesday, Mar. 09, 2021 @ 2:04 p.m.
*This is only based on investing in Canada. I will update when I finally retrieve my HK bank account so I can invest in HK Stock Exchange.
Back in the day, my mother told me that side jobs were great ways to earn extra money. However, once you take on too many side jobs, you realize that there is not enough time in the world to earn money.
Since I do not have enough funds to invest in property, investing in ETFS/index funds are affordable ways to invest in companies and earn dividends. I will share how I transition from investing in index-funds to stockbroker, and now building my own socially responsible portfolio and US funds portofilo as someone with little finance background.
I started off investing with Tangerine's investment funds after researching into Couch Potato style investing. At that time, I have less than $10,000 of funds to invest, dont' want to check share prices every day and have no idea how to rebalance my portfolios. Despite paying a higher % of management expense ratio (MER), Tangerine does the rebalancing for me and I can select risk levels while sitting back and doing other things.
In case investments go awry, I also invested in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) with Home Trust so I know that after 1 year, I will at least earn 2% interest from GIC. One year later, Tangerine funds yield 5% so I opt not to renew my GIC, but I also want more than 5% returns.
I had a short stine with wealthsimple's robo-advisor and am still not a fan of robo investing after losing a few hundred dollars. Wealthsimple was in its early days and I don't like that I don't have a personalized experience and that it is not one size fits all. I transferred my funds to a stock broker who yields around 8-10% returns over 2-3 years period. Stock broker was communicative and was helpful when I opted to transfer all my company retirement savings funds (I had to stick with bank that company chose, and RRSP plans that bank provided, which earned $5 in 2 years 0_0) into investing account when I changed jobs, with admin fees waived.
My stock broker has since then focus on his business as an alternative lender, which prompted me to explore other investment options. Because of SO's referral bonus, this led me back to wealthsimple, but this time I opened a trading account where I can buy shares from companies instead of forced into an investment portfolio.
Wealthsimple has since then developed a socially responsible portfolio which I liked (they also have halal investing, but I am not interested in that one). As such, I put a nominal amount of money into that SRI portfolio, but also build my investments around socially responsible companies in my trades.
Now that I earn more $$$ in US dollars, I will also open another Questrade account so I can buy shares on NASDAQ and NYSE. We shall see how that progresses, but profit of $20 a day is not too bad for now.
Thursday, Jan. 07, 2021 @ 4:53 p.m.
2021 is another year without New Year resolutions, because time is a different trajectory in the world of creativity.
I thrive on Kanban approach to be productive so I can spend time to fill my endless curiosity with knowledge. After 10+ years in education industry, what keeps me in this field is the possibility to innovate and translate knowledge. (My favourite online learning remains to be Tim Horton's, but knowledge check continues to be another story)
Other ambitions include being a full member of FC Barcelona and fulfilling my dreams to retire in Malaga/Sevilla in earlier than anticipated time, maybe publish a book etc
Why Barca? Manchester United always have a special place in my heart as my childhood club and introduction to football. 7 years of fast-paced and entertaining English football was a dream to my younger years as an example of how ambitions and goals can be fulfilled. But now I relish the slower pace of Spanish football, with a heavier focus on ball control. That said, RVN, EVS and a few other players will always be special and it is refreshing to see them as coaches.
Or simply, any clubs with 'Real' indicates patronage from monarchy, and coincidentally, Barca is as diverse as it is in its founding and free of politics. (I still think it can be the only place that will thrive being independent)
Beauty and Aesthetics
Sunday, Dec. 06, 2020 @ 11:01 p.m.
Ah, beauty, aesthetics and probably trade are issues that I write in my undergraduate thesis for art history. That said, I took my dad's advice that one should not pursue PhD unless one is willing to not to anything relevant afterwards in their studies, and become a jack of all trades or master of words.
But I do ponder about beauty and aesthetics. Because high school art program is highly visual, my poetry journey is influenced by my cynical thoughts and exploration on society and influences from English literature I read. Shakespeare, Marlow and various scholars are still impactful, but once I study art history, my idea of beauty and aesthetics are challenged.
I long to write "roughly", have my words trempled in dirt, ridden with war and blood and the ugly, but it is not my style. I tried. My palette evolves into art, infused with art history ideas and the essence to enrapture. Seduce on satin stanzas. Divulge or spit meaning in a word. Once I wrote about how Takashi Murakami and his team of artists challenge "high art" into commercialization and make it accessible, and I admire the work that museums pour into make art accessible, but at my core, my euphoric medium is poetry. When I can spill more words, we have prose. When inspiration needs brewing, I head to my flute and browse at art. Art is infinite. Beauty is subjective.
The society ramblings evolved into relationships with words and music, stampeded through scents and flowers and now I am translanguaging my Chinese and Japanese history into English.
In my carefree artistic nights roaming as a sage, I await a duet with Rajor, as I sip rich wine or tea like poets in Luoyang, and ponder like Cao Zhi who wrote Rhapsody of Goddess Luo.
Except I saw through the fickle desires of the world, and embrace my sensuous ambitions to be a sage/artist in artistic haven, to enrapture with bursting bubbles of beauty and ever changing aesthetics.
Friday, Nov. 27, 2020 @ 11:45 p.m.
Playing Memories in Luoyang and Yearn of East Wind made me inspired, but my body is too tired to write the prose/story I wanted, and poetry in Allpoetry can get repetitive
But I do have goals - to be carefree poet/flutist who can spend days crafting, refining and relishing my arts. Perhaps, drunk with caffeine/cocktails while dancing in the woods and scribbling poems on trees. If ancient poets willed and did it, perhaps it would be an euphoric state of mind too.
Those who don't understand will say this is a hobby and we must have jobs, but those who do will know that this is a lifeblood. When one has seen through the worldly dusts, the aspirations to such euphoric is an indescribable state.
Ah, Memories of Luoyang, how Li Bai and Du Fu bought me into another state..
Thursday, Nov. 05, 2020 @ 12:15 p.m.
There are so many important things to do, to think - USA Elections, HK National Security Law, Covid-19 etc etc
They are important. We should vote, fight for social justice, model positive behavior etc. However, there is also a point when we remind ourselves of our purposes, and relax and let God come in. (Or whatever name you call)
All of the US Election posts remind me of my youth. I always wanted to be on the frontline to fight this injustice, to better this world and make things right. Power was surprisingly not attractive to me. Maybe because when I learn that when I try to argue and show my opinion to family, there are 4 voices that are louder than mine. May as well save my breath than driving myself insane to bicker with 4 more people.
So much that my mother called me "our cute little dragon (other half says it is cute little dragon in a pink tutu -_-, my real dragon title is misled by those two ...)
That said, I always want to right things. I also liked that attention. But being a fighter isn't my purpose, and after seeing the horror of Bangkok protests, Lebanon Civil War and Hong Kong protests, I saw that it is important to try and shape and right the world, but immediate results can be two folded. It can work or fail, now or later. You have to calculate well to make the right decision.
Since I saw that politics isn't my foray and had my attention satisfied with creations of artistry, I retreat into healing and creativity. After all, we are in a mortal world, we are human and politics can be twisted into something, but healing and creativity ...I can save and nurture my self, strut that visionary mind and share haven with others.
That is much more fun to me.
But this realization takes time, I had to understand myself and satisfy my own ambitions and goals first for 5-10 years first before I flick fans and dab in flute and pens like a true literati.
Recently, I came across 20 or so songs specially composed for Bilibili and each represents a piece of Chinese history. I love it so much that I slowly compose my adaptation for flute for ones I like, but the one I love most is about two Taoist masters.
They were each commissioned by the Emperor to produce divinations for the future, and one went berserk to produce the results for next 2000 years, so the other one had to stop him and tell him not to leak all the secrets of heaven!
Reminded me how we all want to rush and get things our way, but have to be reminded to not look at it in a mortal, human and short-term perspective.
I suppose I really should figure out what fans I should flick next time..
Sunday, Nov. 01, 2020 @ 9:01 p.m.
Breaking rules was not what I was taught to do, but breaking out of boxes and tasting freedom are what I have been doing for the past decade. It is painful, it is bittersweet, but definitely worth it.
The bias to judge and intervene is easy. We all have bias. Doers will want to step in. But everyone has their journey and their steps to conquer. I always remember how poetry friend's opposite views lead to endless bicker, but because we are accepting of our differences, we learn. I thrive and become a sage in a poetry euphoria.
Rule-breaking is bittersweet. I take my sweet time exploring churches because I am so tired and scarred from unhealthy communities. I respect those who thrive, it works! But questions and shifts happen, and stuffing more prayers or volunteerism or fear wil make it worse. Then you have to go and do what you can to find yourself and thrive, whether this be work or spiritual or family communities that is not working. Easier said than done though. I have lost friends, left a country, unlearn perfectionism. It is painful, but totally worth it for me. Now onto budgeting $$ better so I can sage my way in life lol!
Then again, third culture kids like us do learn to adapt early. There are friends and fam who tilt towards one culture, I choose to incorporate 4. For me, bringing Chinese & English to novels and poetry is sexy. YouTube channel is a possible casual project bc flute needs more love and diversity than classical music.
Anyhow, that is my journey of rulebreaker since I don't want to disclose anyone elses. 14-year-old me loved vampire novels because Anne Rice made them look special, and wanted to be the hero. But I end up as healer/strategist for very good reasons.
I so look forward to levelling up to sage level and living xianxia life as dragon lady with my love.
Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 @ 2:38 p.m.
I normally don't binge write because inspiration takes time to brew, but when stress takes a toll, unburdening is much needed.
It's always a gift and a burden to have this insight of creativity and feeling, it has taken me to so many worlds that I can reach the depths of it. I probably address myself as artist too, because I think that after studying art history, I no longer write or play flute only in a literature or musical standpoint, but I incorporate my own twist and art into it. Art is also great to draw and explore philosophies and other difficult, harder to probe issues.
My favourite is contemporary Chinese art's satire and Medieval Islamic, Jewish and Europlean books, it reminds me the dual reality that we often wear and how the world is interconnected. That, and 5 years into writing, I realize that my writing style is tilting towards going for aesthetically beautiful and meaningful, tried to be "rough" but it was a total fail :P
Of course, being a blend of cultures and insights have its challenges. The conficts, the very deep emotions, the rule breaking and the crazy fun, but I suppose breaking the glass ceiling is another title to go for before hitting home run?
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 @ 12:25 p.m.
Oh Diaryland, 12+ years of growing up, venting and whatnot..but I am glad I preserve imprints of my life on remnants of the internet and find my real self in creativity.
I am sure everyone's branch of creativity and art/music/words are different and for me, it is the unexpected inspirations and intense emotions. Those times playing soundtracks for 30 times are something, but beautiful, beautiful work got done.
Growing up as the sole creative person, I encounter parents/society trying to tough us up and see that cycle repeated in students or friends. I tried very hard to tough us because it is the portrait of a success, but at the end, tears still come, emotions still surge, impactful work still gets done, so I think we are just rare people who get to appreciate and create things from another perspective.
The downside is that we do get misunderstood. We have pressures to fit in or adapt. My journey has given me the insight towards dysfunction and codependency. Faith shifting happens (But I will tell you that I am still drawn to God, just not organization where fear or same-sie behavior is enforced, then becomes a cultish mess)
And thanks to that, I guess Allpoetry facebook group becomes an introverted-ish but wonderful group in its way, there are different views, there are those hard discussions, but I get touched everytime I see poetry nurtured and those honest-hard convos turn into something good.
Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 @ 6:26 p.m.
Because retail therapy won't work and no matter how much food or coffee I munch on, I can only offload my overwhelmed state in words or drawn in flute.
I get overwhelmed. I get anxious. I am a high functioning aware child of dysfunctional family, and I get my anxiety from faith shifts and new country, but it really all wounds up at home. Perhaps dysfunctional environments breed empathy or I was born with creativity, but for so many years home and society will tell me to squish this, repress and follow. But at my core lays a wounded inner child who is accepting this overwhelmed vulinerability, somehow becomes an excellent healer and have to spit out whatever she learns.
I get why I get anxious from overachiever and burnout tendacies and craziness. I also try to embrace vulnerability and not open 5 browsers when fearful or anxious.
SO gets what I am. But SO is also similar product of dysfunction. Except there is the internalization process and overdawning fear. And a warp of concern and doubt and shame and then fear and anxiety collide and bam...
Kick into mum's (narc) strong view and double wham....
Then of course my brain overthinks, overwhelms, comes undone and it is time for anxiety button..
I don't think i want to say control, but rather embracing the highs and lows of my volatile emotion and creativity is a better bet. There is light in the end of the tunnel but for now, let me splash this tsunami of words.
Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 @ 11:35 a.m.
Years go by, and I am still the creative who do not have the luxury of spilling art into what I do, with a lot of scars and sadness in between, so venting probably the best option.
I was brought up in a society where status triumphs over life, and I was born into a household where I am the sole creative, over-sensitive soul so misunderstanding is very, very common. Family is filled with museum tours and novels that makes my soul learned and well-read and I finally start playing with essences of words into poetry in high school.
Somehow my high school teacher knows, and I made special friends on poetry community. I am always thankful for creative partner/husband figure who bestow me the gift of agree to disagree in the banters and let me know I am a writer in my own right. Years later, art history, poetry and xianxia tilt me to create a style that reeks of beauty, perhaps meaning and maybe heal you in between. (Tried to write rough, realize I am healer for life and there is no escape towards it)
Years later, I know I don't have the luxury to be in a job of creativity, and have long put status past me. Years later, words preserve myself amidst dysfunction and gave me insight towards abuse/dysfunction generation dynamics so I can point and dabble. I relearn the flute to compliment writer blocks and build chinese xianxia music out of it, but the scars and tears of uphill battle is still here.
I know I have achieved 90% of what I wanted, I know I get the privilege to create safe creative space online, but I will tell you 110% what I crave is the day to become drunken literati in the woods, because the gift of art and third culture are sometimes heavy to carry.
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020 @ 9:55 p.m.
10 years ago I graduated from university and was in the process of achievng my teacher dream. I met a prof who took me as her Research Assistant and that experience made me acclimated with crafting papers/emails and being very tech savvy. Being on that gap year, I still like to take credit for editing bro's grade in East Studies Course since I read and edited.
10 years now, I have visited 11 countries (15+ trips without SO), learned golfing, pilates and paddleboarding, transitioned to adult learning after the classroom fun with a 1.5x worklife (freelance empire is something), went to Old Trafford and Camp Nou and fall in love with anime and wuxia because of a certain Pakistani guy.
Oh, and I take back admin duties of Allpoetry fb and make into a 6000+ person group. Got 2 godsons, financed 5+ microfinance loans and sponsored child #1 became better so now have sponsored child #2.
Birthdays were big deals 10 years ago, but with 90% of goals done, life is better spent reinventing xianxia melodies on flute and scheming the next move in secluded sage clothes. (I know change happens, but 16 year old me's plans worked out for 23-ish me..)
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 @ 9:32 a.m.
Overtime after I relocated to North America, I have transitioned within the Education industry, established a freelance business and still complain about bills.
But since Covid-19 is making everyone rethink their careers, relocate and lose jobs, here is my pent up thoughts for 5 years.
Get in touch with friends in that country, figure out how resume/CV for that country would be and if you need any licenses, additional qualifications and climate for your industry. Oh, and prepare to work for something unrelated to what you did in your old country before.
I started emailing schools 6 months ago but still got rejected for every Montessori school, but since I had administrative experience, I got a part time job, which led me to a full time job 8 months later in adult learning.
I have edited over 50 resumes and cover letters, and 95% of people only list what they do, but not so much of their accomplishments and results. You can borrow the phrases from that of performance reviews. Phrases like teamwork and hardworking should be eliminated because that is what expected of you, but then again, don't inflate yourself into the likes of "astonshing communication skills."
I do wonder what it is like to have the luxury to explore industries sometimes. Maybe that is because my mum asked everyone what they wanted to do when we were 16 and no was not an acceptable answer, or I still love being in the learning/education field and explore every other gig in the freelance world.
One baseline that still reasonated with me was in a relocation, be prepared to work in a coffee shop. That said, to transition is to look into your network and ask, take courses to upgrade and have that experience necessary.
One day, just one day, I may actually make a resume writing course...
Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2020 @ 10:54 p.m.
Many times I forgot that I already achieved almost all I wanted in life and needed a pat on the back. But if I air it to friends, it will be too much gloating, so it is better to compose a list here:
- Already achieved my childhood ambition to become a teacher and surpassed it by being the Head of the Department
- Started freelancing 5 years ago, still active and working for me by my own terms
- Appeared in career conferences, academic conferences and second language acquisition conferences as a speaker.
- Unexpected, but successfully transitioned out of teaching
As an artist/writer
- Published in over 5 magazines, books, anthropology before the thirties
- Found and had a creative partner/husband figure for 10 years who made me notice my art is worth more than I thought, and probably influenced how I choose partners (love my opposites, refuse to be with anyone who has similar personalities)
- Recovered and healed out of emotional abuse through words
- Have dedicated readers without knowing
- Write poems and prose based on my own timeline after 10+ years, accidentally end up managing a 6K+ poetry community group so others can heal/grow
- Found haven in Chinese xianxia world and fusing cultures, don't think I am going back to conventional poetry now
- Sponsor child outgrown program
- Maintain both cultures from my upbringing, even add a third
- Made peace with faith shift, at times surprise Muslim and Christian friends with knowledge on their histories.
- Pick up the flute - if not writing, likely playing the flute.
This is probably why I can flick my fan and just save enough $$ so I can retire in Spain.
Thursday, Jul. 23, 2020 @ 10:42 p.m.
To remind myself that my mental health and sanity is worth everything, even if it means to defy expectations and detach partially to people that I consider close.
Because after 28 years of understanding and healing myself out of emotional abuse, I can either set my expectations and perceptions so I can liveor to give away the sense of self, independence and mental health for someone else.
I borrowed quite a lot of words from Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, but edited it to reflect the situation. Rough translation as follows:
I have been hiding my feelings, avoiding the masses to follow the rules
All alone in the world, with nowhere to cry
I had gave up my sense of self, but who is swallowing her own tears?
All alone on this path, what is there to envy?
If a sect cannot accept me
why would it matter to give up to return the favours?
now to follow mhy heart, to be this carefree person
Monday, Jul. 20, 2020 @ 3:28 p.m.
3 months after my grandma passed away, I am still grieving.
It is particularly hard to grieve for my grandma because she is a woman of a few words. For my grandmother who has repeatedly told me her experience in Sino-Japanese war, it was much easier to pen a story as a momentum and to pass it.
But for my grandma who would rather act than speak, this process was harder, for there was no inspiration to pen on it. No words to unearth the grieve inside.
There were well-intended friends who said I could write whatever, but to me, writing is an art. If what I wrote were a scramble, it wouldn't be a poem, a story or a prose, it would just be a messy piece of ill-thought out writing. This would not serve as a memento unless I have sufficient inspiration for it. Yet, this inspiration is so few and so nameless.
Perhaps, because I am the only person who had the experience of being raised by my grandparents, I feel a lot more than relatives, siblings and parents. I am sure everyone had their share of grieve, but my grieveis isolated because nobody can experience the gravity of it. Nor can anyone relate to that depth of pain that is always choked inside my lips, but constantly stinging my heart.
Overtime, I may come up with a memento, but until then, I would cut a part of myself in this blog entry.
Monday, Jun. 22, 2020 @ 12:18 p.m.
Ambitions in 2006/2010
- Publish poems
- Get a good job
- Get raises and promotions
- Learn how to invest
Ambitions in 2020
- Have lazy occupation
- So I can devote more time to read xianxia novels, translate them and practice flute-
- Write poems as I please
- Bicker at insurance/financial institutions on how to get the most of pension plans
Yup, ambition continues to go downhill every year now that I achieved everything that younger self wants. I should continue to count down when I can devote full time to wuxia, xianxia and good anime..
Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2020 @ 8:46 a.m.
My inbox is flooded with COVID-19 precautions and store closings but as 2002/2003 entries showed, we were already trained with SARS during our high school years.
Working from home is always a dream come true for me and now I get to taste more of it. I look forward to the day when I am fully remote so I can continue to live the sage dream (A lot of people mention pursuit of happiness to be their goal, I think I have done that with creating and evolving life with poetry/prose)
I look at past life as a teacher. It was something that I wanted at that time, but I never quite fit into the chatter about how Montessori can cure almost everything, and I am just too curious to try out all technologies offered. They probably assign me to special needs for good reasons though, because we can be with each other and grow. (Student reminded that the substitute immediately quashed the continuation of business plan that we work on -_-)
Perhaps that is why the transition to non teaching and adult education role is much smoother for me. As more of my friends want to move into administrative roles or struggle to find work in public school boards, perhaps they may need to just as curious. I was fortunate to explore Zoom and taught online years ago, and learn from a former manager who constantly learns to be a marketing x learning hybrid. But it will take some time to adjust and think that technology is possible and tinker with it.
It seemed that technology and virtual work will continue and expand seemed a rather accurate depiction.
And now, being a drunk sage writing poetry sounds like a very good career option :D
Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 @ 10:25 p.m.
It has been a while since I splash some words on diaryland.
Faith shift version two is not as painful but perhaps it is a larger scope. The first shift was shifting from mainstream Christianity to progressive Christianity, and this time, perhaps because I see how religion and conservative culture can do, I bask among Abrahamic realms. I still attribute to the Abrahamic God but decide I may as well truly understand what each three faiths are about, now that I have this luxury to do it.
After all, Christianity was what my kindergarten taught and godmother lovingly expose me to, Judaism was what almost half of my previous workplace practiced (if not by race) and Islam has always been in my life creatively and personally. This is the luxury and burden to be raised and be across cultures.
I still attempt to balance myself as the creativity calls with her tears, but I felt i am ready to bask in literati and sage ways of life. As always, to love and embrace myself remains my assignment. But a life well lived and well done, remains the goal.
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 @ 4:50 p.m.
Because I made a speech about vulnerability and ended up crying myself (oops, but oh well), I thought I can shred a few words here and there.
Last year was a lot of changes for me. I would like to sum up as transition or overcoming. I understood why I was fired at my last position and was grateful that there was freelance to help me with that one month, but I was able to reflect and figure what I could have done better and why it was not a good fit for both of us. It also made me realize that remote work or partial remote work is a dream for me, hence my continual quests for freelance stuff here and there when I see fit.
I am so grateful to practice my vulnerability when my engagement was broken. I would have hid and pretended to be "fine" in previous times, but it made me be real. If I did not opt for trying again, I felt I was stuffed in something. I am glad that we tried, because even though it did not work out, I had a voice, and it transition well. I never lost the knowledge and understanding I gained from Islamic world, and it reinforces me that I still have to understand these politics better to world in my own ways. Gotta admit that I realize there were issues with self blame and rejection with childhood upbringing. But what I was glad was that it was 5 amazing years of growing and learning, and to have former fiance and current partner agree to meet when I am all ready for a LAN party, that is a gift.
As for current partner, I like to think he is my law of surprise in Witcher. However, there are no deeds involved. But I am ready to talk to therapist on Thursday on rejection and merging my two selves that have chained for so long.
Friday, Jan. 03, 2020 @ 9:47 p.m.
I have heard friends said I am strong, I am not, I just happen to experience a lot. Resilience is a better word.
I wish, faith shift is easier, but it is not. I know I travel across Abrahamic faiths even though former fiance and I had a second shot and it did not work out, but I like the idea in Islam that it accepts all three holy books. With my understanding of Christian-Judeo texts, Quran seems to summarize it all. But I wouldn't call myself a Muslim despite eating halal meat for years, I just have the experience and privilege and wounds across Abrahamic worlds. Or what I cringe and shred were boxes that can be toxic and fearful. I do wonder what will come out of faith shift round 2.
Or the flashbacks, and the photos that I never delete and simply immortalize on Mega. Wiser now, and because of the forced circumstances that sparked, I acknowledge the emotions and be kinder. I don't force to repress or forget, but rather see it as a point where it led up here, and take great lengths to be mindful for self-care and care. Vulnerability is hard to practice, but I enjoy the times I can shred out of it, and the hope to be more myself.
I am grateful I get to build and love and transition with former fiance. I do keep reminding self that my Pakistani knowledge and extended family won't be gone out of this. I am also grateful for current partner who understands the gravity and weight of these happenings and let me be. I can't wait to grow and learn and be with you.
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 @ 9:29 a.m.
I come into previous relationship as what I thought to be a whole person, but I come out as a healer.
In an alternate reality, we would have been married, but life/God has its flow.
I was given life. We tried for a second time.
I am in a second faith shift. The first time, I tilt to progressive Christianity but the second time, I will tell you I love the social justice of progressive Christianity, but also the idea that God is through Jesus, Moses and Mohammed in Islam. I am so weary of man-made systems of fear, but not to my current partner's ideas that all faiths lead to God. After all, the masjid protect me. [Sorry, I didn't get to have mixed babies, but I truly inherit the stereotypical hot-blooded Pakistani personality.]
I am not strong, simply resilient and wise. I outgrown my mother's expectations and was led to be a rulebreaker, healer and sage by choice. My former partner will be my writer partner for there is so much love, my current partner will understand that creativity that roam and be impactful.
Thursday, Nov. 07, 2019 @ 7:56 p.m.
My heart is heavy because there are uncertainties and traumas.
Throughout my life, I question why I am wired this way - to feel so much and to be so vulnerable, and act resilient while simultaneously hurting.
I do not know why I get so upset whenever there is a disaster striking somewhere in the world. I remember how heart breaking it is to see the Syria war happening, the gang rapes in India and the cases of microfinance gone wrong.
I do not know why I am the only one out of the family or my group of friends crying after we watched Argo, Coco or other movies. I certainly felt a lot more than everyone.
I do not know how or why I was the only one crying and feeling the pain when we paid respects to my late grandfather that I never met. I would have loved to know him.
I do not know how I found words and music and art. It was the only realm that understood and embraced all of me without pretenses, and guide me through to the understanding that creativity is constantly infinite and evolving.
There were many times I wish I did not have this fertile imagination and emotions, for it causes so much pain and speculation, and so much misunderstanding from others.
However, as my mother said, we will continue to encounter the same incidents again and again until we learn, this is perhaps the moment for me to plunge into fissures of uncertainty and be. To bleed into words and relish the frustrated concerto. To breathe into oblivion, and become a sage whilst balancing all this imagination and emotions.
Monday, Oct. 07, 2019 @ 3:00 a.m.
Throughout my 20s, I often encountered (meaningful) silences.
I often blamed myself for not being able to write and press myself to complete my hurdle of wishes and goals, and of course, burned myself out.
Now I understand my craft evolves, and I have to give into patience as inspirations bloom under its own timed journeys.
I reminiscence the 20s when I was passionate about freedom and Middle East politics and war, I missed that hot-blooded young adult who wanted to almost anything and everything to alleviate poverty, stop wars and tear over the world's affairs (but somehow don't want to find a non-profit because there are already so many people doing it already)
But instead, I morphed a corporate self out of everyday life - to learn the logic and wisdom to navigate in a workplace, to educate myself every bit of Islamic and Christianity history so I can understand and do something one day, and now so numbed by protests. I am now a cynic at the game of politics - one who understands the difference between politician's talks and the reality of a city, one who sees that the time is needed for change and not everyone can be myself who is pushed out of the box, but one who now shrugs off politics and protests as if is everyday.
I miss that passion.
Or maybe I have achieved my latest purpose so I need to think of new ones (the last one being creating a poetry community for poets/writers to express their work).
I will transform.
Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019 @ 10:47 a.m.
In the midst of the political chaos, let me quip about Hong Kong in this domain where I won't be face with a backlash. However, I am not sure if I can keep up with my aesthete self and express the complex history behind the protests so eloquently. After all, trans-languaging between Chinese and English is not an easy task.
When Chief Superintendent of State, Charles Elliott negotiated with Qishan during the First Opium Law, Hong Kong and its Harbour was handed over to British control, it was humiliating for the citizens. There were rebellions, but all was worst with the Sino-Japanese invasion before the British restored control. I would not say the British did the best job, but they made Hong Kong taste a glimpse of freedom with the introduction of British law structure, and the rampant building of museums at the end of the British reign.
When Deng Xiaoping spoke of the handover in 1980s, China re-opened to the world after Manchu Qing and Communist eras not long ago, and I like to think his statements implied his hopes that by the time of the handover, China would exceed or be on par with Hong Kong's modernity in terms of laws, trade and perhaps autonomy.
But of course, that did not happen.
China rules its many provinces through control, from censorship of media outlets, to armed conflicts with Uyghurs and Tibetans. And Hong Kong, who tasted democracy with its adaptation of British laws and exposure to international trade and cultures, could not immediately tolerate this style of governance. This led to Hong Kong as a special administrative state.
Because Hong Kong, as a special administrative state, provide much more in terms of education, health and trade, it became a melting pot, with North America/European expats who relocated as per their company or to seek their fortunes in the East, to mainland China and other ethnic minorities in South Asia who migrated in rags in hopes for a better life. Amidst of this disparity, there were mainlanders who assimilated into the Hong Kong way of things, those who saw Hong Kong as a way to wash their money and Hong Kongers who overtime, establish their own culture.
In the beginning of the handover, the Chinese government rewarded Hong Kong with trading and other perks such as protests, but these rewards were revoked, in part because China could outdo Hong Kong with its other cities, and in part, because Hong Kong would not "obey" to the parent with its protests and demands, such as autonomy to elect its chief executive.
Initially, I thought the extradition law protest would only go as bad as the Umbrella Movement in 2014. But having been through Lebanon civil war in 2006, I knew it could go as bad as that level. The cause of the protest was no one's fault, but a large difference in governance and our perspectives.
Protesters need to know that they cannot win, even with violence, because China government operates with an iron fist and democratic or violent protests would only be cracked down. All they would open up to would be some compromise.
Of course, there were horrible police officers who would take this opportunity to assault others who should be brought to justice, but they were also forced to do their jobs with tear gases when protesters stepped up with weapons. As my mother said, right now is the best time to rob in Hong Kong, because the 5000 police officers not only had their reputation tarnished, but were on call everyday to settle protests and disputes all around Hong Kong.
The HK government chose not to do anything and I would say they were the culprit of this fiasco. While we could call them incompetent, not all the officials were, and some were limited by their powers. However, what I am certain was that the Chinese government would certainty punish Hong Kong for this fiasco, and a demise is imminent.
But of course, you could all discredit me as a "true" Hong Konger. After all, I was brought up in a mix of Hong Kong and North American culture at home, went to a British school with extended families in Lebanon and Pakistan. But for now, I could only sorrowfully smile that I made the right choice to seek my aslyum in Canada.
Sunday, Aug. 04, 2019 @ 10:35 a.m.
I wanted to spill seductive words into a canvas but it takes a while to rein in, and what better way than to flex a bit of these words into the blog-sphere as a refresher?
I am grateful that after 15 years, I can retreat in the poetry and look in the world like a grain of sand. To achieve beyond my career ambitions before 30 was a miracle and it leaves me more time to devote into my passion in art and social betterment. Society will say that we should always strive for more status and power, but I have discovered my purpose in art and healing and gladly retreat as a sage.
To survive and understand wars and protests were beyond my imagination, but these events were precisely why I can be resilient and advocate for this sanctuary for writers and sensitive souls. I created/preserved this sacred pavilion for myself when I play my game with words years ago, yet I did not envision that a Facebook group I created also became an inclusive and nurturing space for other writers.
To stumble into wuxia and understand my art comes and go are my blessings in life - it made my art reach a new stage, and let me understand that my sacred space is an organic, vulnerable and compassionate duality that constantly evolves and heals. I cannot wait to see how intercultural texts will flourish with this pen.
Sunday, Jul. 28, 2019 @ 7:32 a.m.
I am vulnerable, and I am always happy that there is this place to vent and retreat.
In fact, I think this is my writer self - vulnerable, emotional, but rather reflective and wise after. I just neglect this space because of work commitments.
In April, it was bad being fired. It was a lot of hurt. In June, I got a part time job at an office and online learning freelance that paid me sufficiently. However, there were no class renewals in August so I will depend on other tutoring and office job. The shortage of a couple hundred dollars made me anxious, vulnerable and fearful. How will things be? How can I pay all the bills? (Actually, I am fine, but I will fret because it breaks me out of my comfort zone).
I know online learning is freelance so I have been looking for other part times. Or perhaps a full time when I know it is time. However, this takes time. I talked to my therapist and we talked about my destructive pattern when dealing with rejections and uncertainty.
As my mother said that when God closes a door, another will open. I believe this is the case. But I am human, I have been toiling many battles where I am vulnerable and had to go on, and I would rather release and be heal before making the next move. Unlike SO that bottles up, I had to release and bleed words, talk to multiple people and breeze it through. Eventually, I will be set on the right path again.
But for now, I will release this melancholia and bleed words, and indulge in the moments where I am retreated into my sanctuary and can spill all these emotions free again.
Friday, Jun. 21, 2019 @ 9:20 a.m.
I have long to pen something but because of new job and various gigs, often times I am sipping tea early at 6am in the mornings, or writing away for another paid project.
The freelance month and cycle of interviews in May was something - I spitted work from medical invoices to powerpoint slides online, and somehow manage the feat of landing 20+ interviews.It reminded me there was a lot more out there than former workplace and various cultures as I vetted about flexibility, position roles and support. Contrary to the popular saying where jobs were found in networking, I only landed 1 interview from a referral, perhaps in the nonprofit and arts and culture worlds, networking will get you somewhere (especially in higher Ed or fundraising since mum probably provided references to 3 of her staff that went elsewhere), but a lot is also about crafting your resume and cover letter, and following application instructions.
Or perhaps I am just a collection of resources.
In the education world, I have saw former teachers promoted to Vice Principals, Principals or Directors of Education who supervise staff and train curriculum, some colleagues who became part of academia and entrepreneurial ones who started their businesses. But as of now, I am still the one who intersect teaching & learning management as I teach online and offline, coordinate a LMS and moderate discussions while doing administrative stuff like project management.
June was refreshing as I propel into LMS and survey management at new work which was right down my alley from previous work. What amazed me was how learning had change from traditional classroom settings to virtual and blended learning.
Today there are still adults in classroom but we then want to pay for an instructor who will offer interactive and fun experience where our questions will be answered quickly, and where we will not get bored and fall asleep even with coffee. And then online, we demand the same interaction, be it a poll or chat at a live webinar, or a discussion.
Technology will only get more interesting..
Wednesday, May. 01, 2019 @ 5:12 a.m.
Let me decompress here - at times, when I walk near one of the former workplaces, I get overwhelmed and feel stressed out (but have to admit that nearby mall has almost everything I need, so I make a point of appearing after office hours), partly because I am not that brave as a self employed person yet, partly because I do wonder what other thinks.
But I believe awareness and enlightenment are always great as they lead to little discoveries here and there :)
Just like how this self employed status started out as something on a whim! I knew I was bored and wanted to do some side gigs, but had done minimal research and signed up on Upwork. Years later, I met and worked with very interesting people in translation industry, teach a wide variety of learners and get to write blogs too! I would have 0 idea what freelancing is aside from having a PayPal account and creating a profile on Upwork.
I am always grateful for this eclectic community because I believe one day, we will all be virtual and outsourcing/offshoring will continue to happen. I have stumbled onto translation, taught online, learned 5 platforms and get to sleep. But there is still healing and so let it heal.
Friday, Apr. 26, 2019 @ 9:58 a.m.
I just need some mental decompression after a long day churning words for wuxia and browsing some ancient poetry.
When I look upon my current life, it is a journey to be a dragon sage. I say dragon because I am born in the year of the dragon, and do inherit the risk taking, ambition, versatility and spending (unfortunately so) aspects of it. Then again, DD and everyone are also dragons so I do get curious if they truly believe they belong in that year.
The ambition of me took me to be a straight B student with a load of activities on the side and to reach new heights before many milestones. After all, it makes wonderful stories to be published before 18, presented in a conference before university graduation, achieved my childhood ambition before 25 and have a side business before 30, right? But of course, I will have to include the many rejections to fully spread y dragon wings. (Or to vet the scammers, tell my dad PayPal is not a scam etc)
In the past year and once I got into wuxia, I have felt a stronger urge to retreat as a sage in this self. There is healing to be done. There have been enough issues to go through. Of course, there is still a journey but I believe I am finally more or less likely at peace.
Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019 @ 12:07 a.m.
Washington was healing and was every bit of my town - filled with museums that stretched across streets and coffee shops here and there (Blue Bottle! Paul! Kintsugi!), against the backdrop of Capitol Hill and government buildings.
I was sick of New York when I went there the second time - yes, there were gems with The Cloisters and MET revisited, but it was becoming poorer with mascots and choirs desperate for money, and tourists taking photos in front of Trump Tower with inauguration.
America has its disparity and I can go on about my questions on their health, education and governance policy, despite how the Presidency has entertained me over the years. But DC was calming with its government buildings and museums anchored aside the Potomac River and memorials.
I saw the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial with names engraved on black blocks. It was the way I remember my late grandmother, no explicit visual statues, but forever carved in my mind and evoking its own powerful messages. It is how art is for me.
Of course, there were Sackler galleries and I marvel how the OxyContin magnates cover up with art, or Freer and Bliss who donated their collections in their diplomatic careers (Smithsonian Freer/Sackler galleries and cherry blossoms that fill my heart with wholeness.
Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019 @ 8:43 a.m.
5 years ago, I was in Taichung, burnt from a bad breakup, wondering the next steps.
5 years later, I am in Washington, re-living the childhood memories. Let go from a place due to transitions and not quite the fit, but within a week, got a gig as a team member at martial arts translations three times my first experience (with some TLC from the master)
I remember the 5 year faith shift that finally has its beautiful end. I was raised interfaith and my mother was at the learning stage absorbing as I deconstruct. The Episcopalian/ Anglican was a middle ground for me and in midst of breaks, toxicity, relocation and relationships, I found online resources for healing. I learn that I cannot write always because inspiration soaks, but when I do, I will be engrossed in this infinite sanctuary.
I learn I need causes and I am the balance of reason and ideals. The avid reader of business articles and spits into strange tales. But because I burn out so much, I need to heal. I found my next love in wuxia, and next job will be there to pay the bills.
So I recharge at Washington, not so frightening from the Angkor Wat exhibits when I first visited as an 8 year old, but a plethora of Qing dynasty and rose gardens. Of course, there was Vietnam War Veterans memorial that will always tear me as this was the way I process and remember my late grandmother's death (too many poems and stories written, but an etching would be a good description), and to saokin art without scanning for meaning.
To be art without meaning
To jump into art and to be a dragon...
Monday, Apr. 15, 2019 @ 10:51 p.m.
Ah, one week. I have projects 1, 2, and 3 to do, coffee shop interview (because meeting people for me after trauma will always start in a coffee shop) and teaching demos.
The shakiness of meeting strangers is still there, it persists perhaps because trauma is like exposing vulnerability to everyone, except, your wounds are visible scars. How my parents half-dragged and half-persuaded me to go to Toastmasters award ceremony, I do not know.
However, vulnerability will linger and become an imperfect scar to remember and to be.
Saturday, Apr. 06, 2019 @ 12:40 a.m.
It is good to begin with a blog everyday. This may go on for sometime.
Calmer now, but still healing. Words clear me and transform me always
All I think of is one of the art pieces that I studied during university, something along the period of Donald Judd and Eva Hesse, where there was a scar in front of the white background. It reminds me to embrace my imperfect scars and experiences and who I really am.
So here unleashes my long diatribe. After all, words are the cheapest and best therapy, right?
I love and start writing officially since 16 - always sensitive, always imaginative. But of course, I get shot down and was told to do a real world thing. I was also very type A until a breakup. I did become a teacher later after a stint as a research assistant (best remote job, and I realize early I can do remote!). The students and staff are great but management was always expanding and then a campus shut down so I relocated, wanting to be a class teacher. I never got it. I went to a call centre but that did not work out due to scheduling. Then I landed my gig in customer service/workshop coordination and it was good despite extended probation initially.
I left for fired position due to higher paid. At first it was good, and I do realize I can continue to improve on documenting everything and making sure of deadlines but communication was vague. I felt I could not succeed and later on put on extended probation and then after errors of a list I was terminated. Shock, hurt but relieved. I did not have the anxiety attack last time. I see things to improve, but also that environment would not work for me if it is a big brother environment. I was actually looking for freelancing gigs a month before that!
So I will heal, write and continue to apply for remote things (what I want to do). I may start with part time because I need time to get over this and have the self esteem back again. Going to Washington will also be awesome! But to the road ahead, I will need the faith.
What I am grateful for is that i learn I have been suppressing this real self for years. I want to be somewhere that I can say I am bad when asked how are you and not mold into a pretzel. Of course, there are insecurity issues, and hey, remote has always been my plan as I do plan to have a child in the near future
So I appreciate all the hugs, kisses and support. Thank you for b