“Be ashamed to die until you have scored a victory for Humanity”

Writing is, personally, extremely difficult. One reason would be that the articulation of words is in itself a form of art. It expresses your capacity to put what you feel and think into words in a way that relates to people. It is also arduous because consistency is not human; we’d be fools to think we can be consistent.

To write well is to be consistent, which is why writing typically takes up an enormous amount of time. It is relatively easy to bring across an idea in one sentence. It is another thing to deliver an entire story and an even harder thing to deliver it well. Even then, you’d be subjected to your own bias. I’ve easily spent a day writing this article because I wanted to write something well, to identify my biases in the way I construct my opinions, to reconstruct them, and then express them.

I wanted to put into writing what I felt was a form of change – I think I’ve grown to become less of a cynic. I admit that I was one of those people who compared people based on intellect and the values they convey. You can get a basis of a person’s intellectual prowess from the way they speak, the opinions they express,and the way they weave conversations. I would size them up in my head and I’ve been quite right most of the time. I truly only made a real effort to start a conversation with people who seemed intelligent. That was my cognitive bias, and I only learned about it recently.

What I’ve recently realized is that the majority of us are limiting and underestimating ourselves without us knowing it. To quickly begin, I would put the question across to anyone who reads this:

What are your biases? (or, what are you ignorant to?)

How are you identifying your biases, and what are you doing about them?

The thing about old age is that to realize you have a bias then is to learn that you have lived your life with a flaw in mental construct. The longer you’ve lived, the longer your actions have in one way or another been influenced by this bias and the harder it becomes to reject it. For example, if I told you that you are intelligent, would you believe me? Would it have mattered had you been told this 20 years ago? And if you do believe that you’re intelligent, how are you intelligent?

In the pursuit of academic success and a brighter future we have discarded real intelligence. Most of us would be familiar with academic discrimination. I can tell you now that the world is a better place to live in now than it was decades ago. One of the reasons is that the average IQ of people has gone up significantly. Yet despite this fact, our lives are governed by the things we read and are told. We don’t even question some of the things we are told anymore.We seek validation from what others think of us more than what we think of ourselves. Get someone to insult you or talk behind your back – how much you care about it is exactly how insecure you are. It doesn’t matter if you mask it or tell yourself it doesn’t matter; what you feel is what’s real.

We’d probably have a rough picture of what we’d like to do in our lives. We have a dream to pursue but never reach. We believe that our current pursuits in life will lead us to a brighter future than those less fortunate and less educated than us. We know what jobs to apply for, what type of person to meet and fall in love with, how we want to bring our families up. We know how we want to treat our family and our loved ones. We want to do great things. Just not now, because we’re not ready. And some day we will be.

Well I say fuck that.

Fuck that, because we will never be ready. Fuck that, because if you KNEW what was good for you, you would be in a better place right now. I thought I did. Fuck that, because we will not be competing with the people we choose not to be like. And fuck that, because you cannot be smarter than the system by learning from the system.

What I’ve learned in the past 2 weeks is that we are all waiting for a good opportunity to come, and we think we’d be able to identify one when it came. Although, chances are, we’d be too busy chasing our own tails to see the opportunity when it comes.

Last week, two great opportunities came knocking on my door. One came in the form of a Ryde driver who offered me to sit in on a private trading session. Another came in the form of someone who offered a chance to make passive income.

I procrastinated taking up the trading session because I thought that having 6 years of relevant Forex trading experience should set me apart from people. I also got offered an opportunity to start creating passive income. For a great deal of time, I despised the people who offered me this opportunity before. My reasons were simple: I either despised their values, despised the things they said, felt that my time was worth more doing something else, or that it was simply too inconvenient for me.

But for some reason I went for both. I spent an enormous amount of time on research up till the point that there was literally nothing stopping me from doing it. It made sense and it had great values, values that I align myself with. That was when I realize that opportunities come to you in all forms of crap, and you really can’t see it sometimes. It has often been said that we will always be too busy to see it what’s good for us when it’s offered by someone else, and I hope that my sharing of this reason would give you a better perspective to your own bias. The reason I didn’t see it is because of my cognitive bias.

We live our lives through colored lenses; we see and perceive and feel and think as we choose to. We think that things happen for a reason, and everything that has happened to us is, to put it easily, because of fate. But what we fail to understand is that our biases were not created by us; it was given to us through our interactions with people as we were growing up because we needed it to learn about the world. All those arguments, abandonment issues, family problems mattered because one way or another, those things taught us how to see the world.

In other words, there is no real need to be thankful or think yourself fortunate for the people in your life; you designed your life in a way that allowed these people to walk in, and you have, by extension, allowed yourself to be where you are now. By the same logic, you will continue to design your life up till your last breath.

Everyone is intelligent, and everyone is capable of something. Our world is no longer about being intelligent and succeeding – it is about using our God given talents to do some good while we are alive. It seems that the only way to do this is to change the way we think, and I hope you now have an idea of how hard it is.

For me, it’s harder than getting an A for Econometrics.

To: Us

Who are we to one another?

To what extent are we defined by our circumstance, and what comes after?

The past week has been revolving around me being in school much more often – catching up and studying with my university friends, except for the one to two perpetually busy ones, and how I’ve missed them. I’ve not spent much time with them over the past 2 months, between my internship and climbing sessions, and I suppose these 2 weeks of break have been pretty incredible. Funny thing, this group of friends. I’m not sure if they know this but we were all (10 of us) sorta put together by design. Even then, I wouldn’t go so far as to give all the credits to design.

I chased after one of them, accosted 2 others, was somehow in the same group with 2 others, and somehow, one by one, we picked each other up through the course of our first year. Now there’re 10 of us. Real relationships have been destroyed, insecurities have been exposed and many truths remain unspoken. And yet, despite these, I think we’re going to be more than university friends.

I don’t think they know that I know things. I suppose we are all barrelled with demons of our past – some more than others – and yet, for some particular reason we’ve made the decision to choose to be friends despite some very strong opposites in character. Which begs the question – how the help is this entire thing working?

There’s one guy who has carried the weight of the expectations of his family of scholars and intellectuals for a great 20+ years He’s in a relationship with someone of different religion, and yet despite his mental and spiritual freedom, there are several impenetrable problems that can only be solved by compromise. Even then, it’s not a compromise to be considered lightly. He’s a genius though; incredibly retarded. He has a problem, though, that is, he lives in between his mind that I think is beautiful, and a harsh reality that he is struggling with.

There are several other people who has gone through things I would probably never have to experience in my life, but their pasts are not mine to share. It’s incredible how little pockets of silent moments that we share with people can tell us so much about each other. And to this extent, the little pockets of moments we have with random people are equally incredible.

To my friends, although you’d probably never see this, I might sometimes behave and indulge myself in unusual mannerisms that come off wrongly, but there is always a bigger picture in our minds and in our hearts. I suppose that is how we generally genuinely care for other people. I apologise that I am extremely self-centred; even the essence of this group of friends that we share many things in common stem from my self-centredness. There is always a bigger picture, and it always starts with someone seeing it, even if that someone isn’t you. Let’s see where we go.

P.S. I really need help with econometrics.

Well I’m home. Was writing this on the way back so I best get to things I need to do. Guess I’ll continue this another time. Work tomorrow, more planning more studying more wushqgsgsushegeufhfieisjcjdifieurhwud and the USD is giving me a headache.

Goodnight.

Class Categorisation (and its subtleties)

Well I’m awake – not wide awake, but just enough to have the drive to write this and nothing more.

I was thinking about today’s job fair and I thought I might write this out just to construct and clear what’s in my head (among many other things that have happened in the past week). So here’s a thought:

The whole point of human categorisation is power, and dialogue is simply an exchange of interpretative viewpoints to assert your dominance.

Imagine how ridiculous it is to be dressed in an office attire, in school, with temperatures ranging from 31 to 34 degrees and humidity at 85%-90%. And then imagine going through all that effort, finding something that fits you nicely from your closet, and if it doesn’t fit then force fit it because you don’t have anything else, and for some reason it is so important that you dress up because… it is a requirement.

It is a requirement because you’d like to be part of an entire batch of graduating students who are either only starting to look for a job, or have had tough luck finding one. And then imagine having a conversation with these professionals only to realise that:

  1. You don’t really want this job
  2. You don’t really know if you’re qualified, either
  3. If you do like it, send in your resume, because you’re the only one out of these few hundred people who attended the same fair, being subjected to the same few professionals who have been talking to people like you the entire day, and then think, even for a moment, that your resume matters.

(If anyone reads this, I apologise if I come across as a condescending pickle – I really am not.)

But here’s the real problem. We pride ourselves on the progress we’ve made in gender/education equality, as well as our political/economical achievements in achieving peace. And despite our efforts to be beyond these problems, violence remains to be the solution to age long issues. Why do we continue to have these problems?

What we’ve done with dialogue is not to make violence obsolete; we have instead increased our tolerance for violence by now exposing ourselves to emotional and psychological violence (through power play and reasonable discussions). Violence is, in fact, still happening. Physical violence is a result of our incapacity to tolerate any further psychological/emotional violence, so we’ve in fact extended our boundaries for violence.

In simpler terms, your inferiority is asserted on to you through your own conviction. Education and intellect has allowed us to tolerate a much higher degree of abuse and violence than before, and yet we see this as maturity, growth, or the capacity to take punches. A relatable example would be the decision for a Malay President to be nominated. You can imagine the enormity in the levels of critical thinking and reasoning required for this decision to come through – some statements floating around these discussions are “qualifying criteria (..) must never be lowered” and “many (..) raise their hands (..)”. If this was a move to ‘further exemplify’ racial equality, then what we have done instead is to show that ‘privilege’ still needs to be given to a community that is seemingly still less privileged so as to ’emphasise’ commitment to a more balanced and equal society. This is a fine example of what dialogue does; it is simply an exchange of interpretative viewpoints to assert individual or collective dominance.

The real danger is, however, not in these macro-level watermelons. I’ve discussed how dialogue or communications in general have stifled communities. The real danger lies in all the micro-instances in our daily lives. History is only written by winners, and we have, for the longest time, been subjected to class categorisation. From classification based on job environment, fashion, and the social media rabbit shit, all the way down to a simple conversation with a potential employer, we are constantly being blasted with inputs on how we should behave or when to speak, to an extent that we are continually seeking for ways to self evaluate and raise our social value. What we fail to see is the psychological impacts of our day to day conversations that continue to affect the way we think of ourselves, as well as the things we do.

The fact remains, however, that you could’ve instead just emailed them instead of going all the way down to school in an attire you’re probably not very comfortable and filling up the foodcourt and school area especially when you’re going to get the same results. OR ### scan around for the company that you’d probably be interested in, then write to them privately because they’re less likely to care about you when they need to talk to 109237124 other people and knowing they’ll have to queue up for lunch.

 

 

 

 

Archaic

Archaic.

Archaic was the word used to describe my speech and writing process. I didn’t exactly know how to reply to that so instead, I gave a thinking expression when my mind was in fact, in my favourite place in the world – the nothing box.

For those of you uneducated about this amazing theory (I think this guy deserves a Nobel Prize), here’s the subject guide: http://mccluresmagazine.com/_featured-2/how-men-and-women-think-differently-the-nothing-box

 

I suppose I’ll start writing again. I’ve missed this, along with the cold and quiet nights in Australia, munching donuts while listening to Explosions in the Sky and The Piano Guys.

I also saw the girl in school today, and beneath all my resistance and supposed self-control (rightfully so) I have this potent desire to get to know. But I suppose all things happen as a result of circumstance, so we’ll see.

 

Freaking rock wall gave me 3 scars today.