Monthly Archives: December 2010

After the storm

Well, so here we are again. Another full circle come, another year gone. As I sit here and think about everything that has transpired, I realize I actually do not remember very much about the year, and the memories have all blurred in on one another, this year more than the last, so much so that I don’t even know whether to call this year a good or a bad one. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been so busy shutting out as much noise and dissent as possible that everything else just got tuned out altogether, or because I haven’t spent as much time registering and absorbing everything as I usually do.

So maybe it was a numbing year.

Nevertheless, it is the last day of the year. When I think back (with a great deal of help from my blog archives) to all the highs, lows, the good times, the bad times, the awesome times, the awful times, the mistakes, the milestones, and the many, many lessons, it’s no wonder I’ve become muddled up with everything that has happened this year. With all the people I’ve met, the things I’ve done, and the mistakes and choices I’ve made, it’s amazing I’m still standing, albeit with that many more chips on both my shoulders.

But the new year dawns tomorrow, and with that the hopes for an improved lot in life, for new (and old) dreams to be fulfilled, and for that step closer to what I’ve been hoping to achieve these last few years.

Happy New Year!

Playing the Facebook part

Every few months I do a little cleanup of my Facebook friends list. I go through the list of people and deliberate over whether or not my absence from their friends list would be noticed, as it has been at least 8 years since we spoke and we would have nothing to talk about now. And then I decide that since they have 883 people on their list already they would never know when or how it went down to 882. So I remove them from my list, in an attempt to keep it restricted to people I have personally met and actually spoken to.

Then I wonder, Have I really met that many (current tally: 454) people in my lifetime? And if I get rid of a good 20 people every few months, does that mean I’ve actually met more than 500 people in all my born days? And if, according to TNS Research, I know extremely few people by Malaysian standards, is it really possible for some to have known as many as 3087 (and counting) people in their lives? It’s no wonder they end up developing those bizarre Facebook habits we see and eventually have to hide; it must be exhausting having to keep up with so many other people who are simultaneously promoting the color of their underwear and ingredients of their lunch-hour sandwiches.

After reading the results of the TNS survey, which state that ‘Malaysians have the most buddies in online social networks’ — half of whom I’ll wager they don’t even know, a very disturbing fact in and of itself — I have to wonder if this curious knack for collecting ‘friends’ is somehow related to the same mental disorder/national epidemic that has people excessively self-promoting on Facebook — even going so far as to incriminate themselves when they’re malingering, creating false occupations and engaging in very public warfare. Is this some form of self-validation or self-gratification that makes them feel the need to be known, liked or even taken notice of, thus breeding the insincerity and patronizing behavior that are so often mistaken for friendliness? And is this what fuels the love for partying, dressing up and going out to be seen — channeling the Western culture, so to speak — that this country is so notorious for? It would appear so, if the numerous photo albums splashed across Facebook while nursing hangovers the next day are anything to go by.

The disturbingly unanswerable question is: Why do people do this? In this day and age of staggeringly advanced technology, where whole identities can be conjured online and nobody would be the wiser, are we simply trying to appear better than what we really are, and if so, to what end? When all the adulation has been soaked up and wrung dry, what else is there left to sell but ourselves, just the way we are?

The first resolution

I’ve never subscribed to the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. I always saw it as a way of setting oneself up for failure and disappointment when the resolutions can’t be met, and eventually, when we see that we’ve set a bar for ourselves to do so much that we can’t, we end up not wanting to even do less, and just doing nothing at all.

Last week, a man interviewing me for a job told me that he has been following my blog, and even pointed out that he noticed I’ve been writing since 2004, which puts me in the ‘pioneering’ group of bloggers — a fact I cannot attest to because I don’t know how long bloggers have really been around. He also said that it was a great thing to be writing, to have that level of curiosity which drives a person to pursue a certain issue to such great depths and then present it in their own way — another fact I cannot attest to because I write about mostly personal, and not worldly, issues.

His statements, however flattering, got me thinking about all the writing I’ve been doing and how it has evolved and varied over the years. And I was once again reminded of how little I’ve been writing this year, partly due to the disillusionment of having certain undesirable followers and partly due to the lack of energy to actually chronicle everything that I’ve been thinking, feeling and observing. What I initially passed off as writer’s block had, in fact, become a form of self-reservation. That realization made me wonder why I’ve gone against my principles and held back so much this year, when I used to be as open and opinionated as I liked, and why I’ve turned into this weak, mealy-mouthed ninny who’s taken into account what a few narcissistic nonentities think of what she has to say.

So, for quite possibly the first time in my life, I’m making a sort-of resolution (besides getting a new job, which is something I promise myself all year round) — whether for the new year, old year or anywhere in between — to come back out of this shell and start writing more. If nothing else, I figure that rather than have all my anger, and recently resurfaced bitterness and cynicism, snowball into one long tirade, it’s better to have it more evenly distributed.