On reading, TV shows, and being a junkie

I realise I spend a lot of time reading books I don’t really like just because I feel like I should finish books I start. Then I put off reading because who wants to read a book you don’t like? But then I can’t start another book unless I finish reading the one I’ve started. So I don’t read. Tada. Quited retarded logic really.

For the past few months, I’ve been mostly addicted to TV shows. I binged through Seasons 3, 4 and 5 of The Good Wife. After that was done, I said I’ll take a break and read a book. I read maybe one chapter, discovered Orange is the New Black, and binged right through the two seasons in about 2 weeks. If I didn’t have Chinese slitty eyes before, now I definitely do.

Other than that, I just really really need to stop scrolling through useless brain shit on my phone. I seem to spend every waking moment staring at one screen or another. Be it the 12 hours I spend sitting in front of a PC at work; the accumulated minutes of me standing at the bus stop, waiting for the lift, sitting on the tram, waiting for takeout, and eating dinner while reading the news, googling things I will forget, and getting jealous of other people’s lives on Facebook; the hours spent binge watching TV on my computer at home…..it’s crazy. I have no self control. (And it also shows that I don’t have a life?)

Sometimes I think I’ll make the best/worst junkie. When I was reading the Game of Thrones books, I bombed through them one after another. Man, if you’re my dealer, you’re gonna love me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(my own stupid mini) revolution and why I’m a bad employee

I struggle to write here. Because for some egoistic reason, I think I should only write things that are “good”. But I never thought that what I think is “good” is most likely just shite to everybody else. So who cares? From now on, not me.

Hey, have you seen Snowpiercer? It’s this awesome Korean-made film starring Chris Evans – but that’s beside the point. Never been a fan of Chris Evans, or Korean movies for that matter (so there, I’ve just given you the guarantee that my comments aren’t biased), but this was an awesome combination of action, sci-fi, social commentary, class struggle and all that stuff. I’ve always been a sucker for underdogs throwing a revolution and kicking-ass!

Which, in a way, means I make a bad corporate employee. I pointed and laughed when I spotted Naomi Klein’s book No Logo in the company library which is otherwise full of titles like Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; The One Minute Manager; Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In; Management 3.0 and all that sort.

I have no idea how Naomi Klein’s anti-globalisation, anti-corporation, anti-branding manifesto made it into the library of one of the biggest multinational corporations in the world – whether no one knew what it was about and someone just slotted a random donated book in, or it was a brilliant subversive joke, I applaud the person.

I’m a natural rebel. Sometimes, I don’t do things that “aren’t compulsory but should generally be done” especially if they “should be done fast because that pleases the boss” – especially not when I have things to do that actually matter. If pushed, I might do it, but slowly, or an hour before deadline. You get the point.

Basically, I’m digging my own corporate grave and everyone thinks I’m crazy (and/or stupid). But hey, I’m ok with that. I don’t intend to sell my soul.

 

 

Yorkshire Gold and tea-tasting: when you proof yourself wrong

yorkshire goldEver since I was introduced to Yorkshire Gold a few years ago, I compare every tea with milk to Yorkshire Gold. No other black tea (or red tea, if you’re Chinese) is as smooth, thick, and flavoured as Yorkshire Gold with full-cream milk.

Not tea from Starbucks (too watery); not tea from a 5-star hotel lounge (too light); not this famous tea that I must try because it comes in real fancy packaging from the posh supermarket (flavourless).

However, I’m a science person and work in an industry that (purportedly) places the highest regards in data and evidence, so I don’t expect you to take my word for it – I designed a double-blind trial to prove once and for all that Yorkshire Gold is the superior tea.

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Lessons from muay thai – Power from relaxing

Whether I like it or not, there are many ways I take after my mum, and one of them is our stubborn use of strength. The keyword there being “stubborn”. We’re not especially strong, we’re just….not all that feminine and are unafraid to use what strength we have. We just have this stubborn will to heave and punch and kick our way through obstables if need be – and I don’t mean that in just the figurative sense. She once beat down our wooden front door when she was locked out of the house in the middle of the night. I found her eating breakfast nonchalantly in front of the door hanging off its hinges the next morning.She looked up at me like, What?

So this month marks about one year since I put my hockey stick down and took up muay thai as my main sport.

I’ve done muay thai on and off for years before that, as cross training and conditioning during the summer off season while I pursue (the remarkably insignificant) hockey titles in Hong Kong. After we finally achieved all I wanted in hockey here last year, I packed my kit up and that was that.

In learning muay thai, one of the things I did not anticipate was that strength itself really isn’t all that. To me, or most people I dare say, I thought it was about punching and kicking as hard as you can. Sure you need to kick a certain way and punch a certain way, but once you learn the correct form, you just add strength right? But the more I study it, the more I realise brute strength alone only gets you so far. There is so much depth to “correct form” I feel like I’ve just been scraping snowflakes off an ice cube on the tip of an iceberg.

There’s flexibility, balance, and relaxing. When to do which, which part of the body should do what, and how it all comes together. Relaxing gives you the most power. I didn’t know that.

I tense up to fight. Of course I do. And of course that just gets me beat. In an art like this, blind force gets you no where.

A muay thai front kick isn’t about stomping your foot in your opponent’s stomach with all your might. It’s about how you plant your supporting leg, how you balance your weight, how you tilt your torso in the opposite direction, and when you extend your opposite arm. It’s learning that the actual focus should be on lifting your knee up first, then stretching out your entire leg in a way that looks effortless but will be felt with a bring-your-lunch-up kind of force.

Doesn’t that go for everything really? Sometimes you can’t barge your way everywhere. Relax. Take a step back first before going forward and pushing off again. That’s good technique for a nice round kick – and for everything else in life.

 

because i just don’t need more stuff

A few months ago, sat on a bus on the way home, I looked at the scenes of Causeway Bay outside.

A giant busy junction of people, traffic, and neon billboards. Think Times Square in NYC or Picadilly Circus in London but somehow more packed and less glamorous (and I hate both those locations anyway). It suddenly occurred to me that nothing that was being advertised appealed to me.

The latest running shoe with some new bouncy technology. The new phone that’s the same but different. The new eye-lifting-wrinkle-reducing magical serum. The guy in the bear costume holding a big placard pointing to some restaurant up in one of the buildings. I looked at them and realised I was indifferent. I didn’t care for any of those things.

Speaking to someone in the advertising business, I was later told that these large ads try to appeal to as much of the market (aka humans) as possible. They are aiming for the majority. So it just means I’m outside of that majority (and perhaps just a niche that needs to be sold to through other means).

A few days later, while sitting in my room surveying its contents, I suddenly realised that I actually have everything that I need. I have general everyday things like a few pairs of jeans and work shoes and underwear and towels. I have specialty things like hockey sticks and swimming goggles and a ukulele and a hiking backpack.I have things I rarely use like the yoga mat and climbing shoes and that boardgame I bought on sale. I thought: Do I really need anymore stuff? Is there anything that I don’t have that I really need to get?

It was quite a revelation personally – to know to that you have everything that you need. It was liberating! I suddenly felt this sense of freedom to do all these things that I want to do – any limitations I’d placed on myself due to imagined lack of clothing/equipment/gadgets were false. No more excuses of not having the right shoe or the proper shirt or new flexi pants. Unless I’m going to climb Mount Everest or start BASE jumping, I’m equiped and dressed to do most things and go most places.

Since I’ve been trying to save up and pay for things like a possible career change and the various classes I’m taking anyways, I thought maybe I can try and see if I can get away with curbing material spending as much as I can for the rest of this year. (Disclaimer – I’ve bought a Kindle and a winter bobble hat while on holiday in New York earlier this month. But no more buying!) Not that I was a big spender at all to begin with, but I can definitely use more cash in my savings account, so why the hell not. Let’s see what happens!