The Bell Jar

I think that I was saving it when I’m nineteen, so that I can “feel” the book better. I just got it today and I’m halfway through. 

Underneath Sylvia Plath’s acerbic humour, a tone of resignation and defeat permeates through the pages … I was trying to pen something yesterday and came up with this catchphrase: “I simultaneously embraced and rejected the modern life, its expectations of me, and my expectations of it. To me, only my choices made a difference; to live my life in any certain way was a political act.” And then to read the same sentiment in Plath’s words, it was such a strange catharsis. I feel like I’d recognized her long ago and that somehow she was speaking for all the girls who couldn’t fit in, who wanted to “dictate their own letters”, yet who were not strong enough to break through.

So much of the old 50s hypocrisy is still true today, and all the faces have changed, but not the pain …

Some Thoughts about Post-Secondary Education

I think that most students (that I know of anyway) live in delusion. They still believe that (and to a large extent, society made us believe that) the map to establishing a career is set out in one of the few high straight narrow paths: MCAT/PCAT/LSAT, then move on to one of the various professional programs or graduate school, and then trying to find a full-time, well paid, stable job that is relevant to their studies.

I don’t have any experience in the labour market, but … think about it. You’re churning out Ph.D’s like sausages on an assembly line. There is a mismatch of skills — the skills that you thought were so important because school told you so (otherwise why would you spend all that time and money) and the skills that employers and profit-seeking firms need because they needs people to do stuff. This grosses me out, because frankly speaking, you would never hear this coming out of anybody of “importance”, like from advisors and faculty. This is why I want to advocate for another kind of learning.

I guess I’m going to risk sounding incredibly full of myself (and full of shit) but I think that it’s important that you learn only for yourself, like the generic advice, but also on a whole other game level. Think of yourself as a firm, with a design and interface and “About Our Company” section and all that. You do not “WORK” for anyone. You “collaborate”. If the other party stinks, bail. You do not have time and precious energy (and youth) to waste on a cause where you do not work for your only motive, which is YOU. I guess all I’m really saying is, even if you do work for someone else, make sure that you learn things for yourself. Once you’ve familiarized yourself in a particular arena and feel confident enough, get out.

I think it’s also important to follow your instincts, because your formal education and training gets you a job, but your instincts and passions will lead you to your vocation (if you have one). I feel like most people I know have more than one interests and that’s great. Because in this day and age we’re in a different game. Back then you could ruminate on a theory for a thousand years and then still get it published, but nowadays everyone is attention hungry and high-efficiency seeking. This is going to sound so sad (and it is, really) but we are in a time of quick telepathic energies. We are expected to churn out content, FAST. You have to compete a lot more to stay afloat and to stay relevant, which means that … that one solitary passion is more unlikely become of substantial use, unless you “synthesize” it or “integrate” that shit with some other skill or asset you possess.

"Find what you love and let it kill you." Charles Bukowski

Gone are the days of Michelangelo. (For the most part.)

4. Louis CK

Watched the entire Chewed Up show from Louis CK. This guy just spews golden shit out of his mouth (lol). His impressions got a little redundant at times but it’s kind of endearing, in the way that a friend would tell you a story. 

One little part from his shpiel really stuck with me: boys fuck things up and girls are fucked up, boys are like Katrinas and Sandys and girls are like genocide or some fucked up shit that people do to each other that ends up in history textbooks. I don’t want to generalize but hoooooly shit brother, dude’s nailed a crux somewhere. Just … if you’re one of our kind, you’ll totally get this. I mean, like, intuitively, we are just FUCKED UP. Not in the way that shrinks can diagnose you as “maniacally depressed” or “schizophrenia” but in this really subtle way of thinking that I can’t even explain. I think maybe girls tend to think too much because we’ve been brought up (since we can take a shit) to be filial and polite and sweet and gorgeous and shit. How the fuck we are supposed to take into account ALL THESE THINGS THAT ALL THESE PEOPLE EXPECT FROM US even when making TINY, TINY DECISIONS like: straight perm or curls? text the dude back - how fast? does this make me look like a conniving bitch if I use my workplace benefits?

It’s just fucked up how when we hit general “perfection”: “right” look, “right” attitude, “right” goals, be sweet to the nastiest asshole, don’t try to engage or dominate in male-centric activies (stand-up of the raunchiest kind) THEN society tells us “Hallelujah you’ve passed the bar and now you can survive.” I mean like, actually, baaaaaaarely survive. 




When I’m not loaded with crap to do, I like to think deep intense thoughts.

Today, I want to think about the implications of being Asian and female. 

Just remember, the future is a direct projection of history (the past). Where you come from, who your parents were, how you were raised, what you were taught to believe … will eventually mold you into what you are. Individuals can never escape their history. No matter how much you try. No matter how much you cut off your ties.

So, what does it mean to be Asian and female? What traits are most specific to this group? 

Help me out here. 

browsing in a chinese self-help book for adolescent girls

First of all, I want to say that this nonsensical bullshit was found in a health/medicine book, you know, like the kind you would look at if you had an ailment or if you wanted to know some basic health facts.

At first the book takes on a normal guise, with tips for health and all that, but then as I flip farther into the book, the content gradually turns into … sort of a … deeply bitchy and awkward manual for teenage girls. I shit you not, this is actually the sort of stuff Chinese scholars and educators write in these self-help books for girls. The text was obviously written in Chinese, but the chapters read on successively into something like this:

How to Avoid Having Romantic Feelings at a Vulnerable Young Age

How to Say No to Strangers

How to Fight Feelings of Attraction of the Opposite Gender

What To Do If Sexually Harassed or If You Garner Unwanted Attention

As if you haven’t noticed all the red flags already, the book then suddenly does a 180 and the next chapter reads like this:

The Truth About AIDS

Friends, I want you do think about this for a second. This is meant to be a practical health guide for adolescent girls in China. Not to mention the content in the previous articles (a whiff of misogyny here and there), I wonder, simply, what was it, what was that thing, that made these writers skip from “Fighting Romantic Feelings” to the logical conclusion of … “THE TRUTH ABOUT AIDS”??? To be honest by the time I got to the AIDS page, I just laughed and threw down the book. 

Nope, no slut-shaming here at all. No misrepresented facts and no misinformation at all. No contorted values for girls at all. 

I wonder, if this is the sort of sentiment and attitude that comes from educators, parents and health professionals … what sort of invisible monsters must be surrounding the average adolescent girl in China. 

what i’ve noticed

Disclaimer: I’m just rambling, will edit this later. 

Western storytelling generally lacks a feeling of connect, or cohesiveness (I think) and pays less attention to details. The narrative usually follows a very linear streamline that doesn’t usually emphasize repetition or variation, or when there are symbols or motifs, they are used quite overtly and are placed in situations where they are obviously symbolic.

The Japanese narrative (or the glimpse that I see of it in anime) is built upon intricacies of plot and by not revealing characters’ motivations. In the earlier frames of story, small nuances and details and built that gradually lays over each other in narrative arcs or subplots. By the time the story reaches denouement, meanings and motivations are revealed, and the reader/viewer gets this satisfying flood of understanding and relief. The story is built upon subtleties such as repetition and variation (much like a music score) and characters’ emotions are almost never tacitly revealed or obsessed over. In this way, we actually understand them more. Characters are brought more so to life. Isn’t that funny lol.

Not to mention, western storytellers seem to like to resort to depravity and all sorts of graphic violence and perverse things to shock the reader into attention.

I feel that the western narrative tends to place too much attention into a character’s or the characters’ psyche, while Japanese storytellers treat their subjects with a disconnect. The characters are merely highly stylized players in a complex world. But somehow, their motivations and emotions seem more real ….


A bit about my philosophy:

The only reason why I believe that a romantic breakup can be painful is in two scenarios: when you’ve deluded that other person into perfection and when you wasted a colossal amount of your time. When the other party does not play up to the image inside your head, you are stricken by reality and it is this contrast, followed by the cold realization, that makes breakups (especially petty teenage relationships) seem so painful.

Also, I believe in investment and reward. By investing my time in you, eventually the relationship should reap rewards.The ideal relationship would be when you are truly friends and companions to each other, caring and giving support. (I do agree with Aristotle’s idea that friendship is the ultimate virtue, not romance). However, I wouldn’t expect that and I definitely wouldn’t take that for granted. In the romantic arena, people play upon the tradeoff and exchange of other goods - mainly attraction and sexuality. Therefore, if I wanted to be genuine companions with you, I wouldn’t be trading off my youth and beauty, I would be giving you my friendship! I am trading for fiscal rewards, for jumps up from the corporate ladder, for a new apartment, etc.  

For example, by investing time together, eventually the two people will want to reach some final result - marriage. Or they may reach some other end - like a breakup. Just remember, if you walked out of a relationship with nothing, not even more understanding of yourself, more skills in the dating arena, or even a good fuck from the guy (lol), then that really is a sorrowful ending. You haven’t learned anything and you didn’t even gain any petty material things. Plus, you wasted a huge amount of your time on the dweeb when you could have spent that time working on you. Not to mention, all that cell-phone data. 

I am not advocating y’all to obsess over financial or material gain, or try to measure a relationship’s worth in petty terms. Love cannot be bought, and if you do attain it, be genuinely grateful for it. Look out for it, and be attentive of the genuine person. But in terms of most other relationships, it’s important to shell out your assets carefully and have a definite goal in mind. 

Y’all probably think that my thinking is somewhat sociopathic and flawed (and definitely Machiavellian), but in this day and age, fuck it! The only haters will be immature boys, poor salty old men, and jealous bitches. lol. 

IF you don’t get ahead, someone else will. Look out for yourself and only love yourself the most.

Alright that’s my lil rant of the day. Ladies, remember to keep your heads and standards high, don’t let flakes and dweebs get you down.


Khatsahlano was one large hipster fest.

It was very hot in the evening. Zulu Records had a huge 20% off sale, and I happened to find two Killers records and a Doors CD (Morrison Hotel is my favourite album, followed by L.A. Woman) for a whooping twenty bucks! I had a hard time deciding whether to invest in a bunch of LPs, since I don’t own a record player (yet). Should have bought that Los Indios Tarabajas record, since it was only 99 cents. I found Algiers from Calexico and The Flying Club Cup from Beirut. And Jim Morrison’s poetry recordings for five bucks. 

I really regret not buying his poetry recording. I love his voice. His ideas flow with mine. It’s like, instant understanding, except we’re half a century and two worlds apart. Anyway, that’s my rant about how much I love Jim Morrison.


Also, Cory from Glee. I have seen about ten minutes of the show in my life, so I am not an attached fan. Nonetheless, it’s quite sad, not only his death in itself, but also in the way the public feeds on it. As a spectator, I am disinterested. But people, fans or haters alike, disgust me in their collective reactions. Fan mail, condolences, tributes, when will people realize that in death, complex social interactions mean nothing? Life and death, it’s the same for everybody. Why not grieve discreetly? Why all the horror show? 

When an individual stops, his information doesn’t not stop.

More and more, I get the unnerving feeling that people don’t really understand death. They can’t digest it wholly; they can only lament, redistribute the wildfire, sing for him in tribute to their own identities. Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V.

[Some] Boys my age are surprisingly innocent

So today when I checked in on the media lab people (because I’m half an Arts Centre coordinator/DJ leader by now) one of the giggling dudes shoved a wrapped present at me. 

"This is a book, right?" I said. They all giggled nonstop, so I knew it was something inappropriate; so this one dude bought another dude a special secret Santa present, which was … a Playboy magazine. Even as I’m typing this I’m laughing. Because dude. That’s SO excessive. SO inappropriate. I thought it would be like Hustler or like some graphic hardcore porn or something like that.

I pulled it out of the wrapping paper and the boys all stared at the cover. Then … there was the plastic wrap. The dude who ripped off the plastic wrap smushed it - literally SMUSHED THE MAGAZINE - against his chest and started blushing profusely. 

Then they opened a random page, which featured a few full-frontal nude photographs of some women. These dudes didn’t even dare to completely flip open the page. They just took peeks, giggled and shut the magazine. Then they started complaining that the magazine featured other things like cars and books. They kept glancing at me, like I was supposed to scream “ew” or freak out or reproach them. But I just think that these dudes who are still giggly over a bunch of pictures of boobs are freaking adorable. Because we’re THE SAME AGE. Like, ALMOST GROWN UP, LEGAL ADULT AGE. 

I think that we all need to step back and re-evaluate our notions of gender stereotypes. Given our day and age, I thought that these boys would have been well versed in Internet porn. Linking it a bit further, I also wonder if these dudes actually KNOW stuff about real sex, like contraception and STDs. In such a hypersexualised age, it’s a little strange (but also a little funny) to see that we’re not actually that much more desensitized, or informed.

In my opinion, it also seems that the available sexual venues for boys are also very limited. There’s porn and then there’s late night cable, and then there are Playboy magazines. Wow! SO many different ways of expressing sexuality for teenage boys. I also think that we need more dialogue and discussion. For example, I could have said to my friends, “I think that it’s okay for you to look at Playboy. There’s nothing to be squeamish about as long as the content doesn’t depict torture or violence, etc. and I want you to know that there’s nothing wrong about wanting to look at naked women.” But I was too busy laughing. 

On the other hand, I think that girls can be even more versatile. I think that there are actually more venues for girls to express their sexuality than boys (see 75% of young adult novels, the whole Japanese manga world, of which my friends are way more qualified to talk about …) But of course, under the stern gaze of patriarchy, there’s a certain tacit sort of agreement that we have to be somehow quieter, more subvert …

This leads to my proposed solution.

I think that we should never assume, just because one is a boy or a girl. There are way more articles and professional talks and stuff like that which are much more qualified to talk about gender roles and our current sexual revolution than me, but this is just my little blurb for today. The disparate gender gap inside my mind definitely narrowed a bit. And if somehow the dudes find out about this tumblr post, I want you guys to know that YOU’RE ALL FREAKING ADORABLE. 

From your unfazed sister.


The problem with writing is that you always have to be feeling something intensely, or you should, if you want to write a good story. You have to feel the worst anger and the worst fear and sadness and when you get to the happy parts you feel like you’ll die from all the joy and celebration. And when you’re done you can only ask yourself: So I’ve done it. It’s like taking off sound-insulating earphones on a crowded street. Or staying up ‘til two in the morning to clean up your house after a party. It’s a strange feeling and you can never get completely comfortable with it, or with yourself. And after a while, even the best parties begin to wear out your body. You implode, or you cease to feel at all …

What I like about independent presses

Gorgeous websites.

Sardonic FAQs.

Small dedicated editorial teams.

Ravenous hunger for ecstatic, dynamic prose.

Open submissions and low reading fees!

Passion for writers, passion for writing, passion for the audience and for the world, which is such a rare thing with behemoths such as Random House …

Openness to experimental styles and formats, openness to all kinds of weird exuberant stories …

General disinclination towards anything generically epic. (ie. a generational saga of mothers and daughters, re-imaginings of historical characters, writing about details of famous writers, World-War II, dysfunctional families …)

Ugh I just I just I just aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!

i just thought about it

What are hippies doing on this world?

They’re not the ones who drive tractors or create job opportunities or invest in projects or operate the X-Ray machines or prescribe medicine or safeguard the community.

You can’t deny that it is fundamentally right for a person to want to pursue his dreams.

I suppose that hippies are the ones who talk of self-actualization and enlightenment and YES, this is awesome, no individual can reach another without knowing himself - yet their fundamental ambitions do not strive beyond themselves.

I find this disconcerting, kind of dumb, and really selfish.

Especially the people who talk and talk about their idiosyncratic quirks and how they can’t express themselves and how they write shitty passive-aggressive love letters and how they just want to go out and make a change in the world.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to own a summer cottage in Lyon of France or want to own the entire Nagisa Oshima collection on Criterion or whatever. It’s all in your personal taste; it’s cool to be cultured and all that shit - but just don’t make your “hipness” your vocation.

Sure, you can go learn hemp-weaving in Mexico or whatever, but it is also in your moral imperative to build upon your knowledge and skills to better your community, not to say that you went to Mexico and you learned hemp-weaving just so that you can brag the shit out of it on your online platforms.

So fuck hippies. I’m done with being called one.

I’m going to learn the own lesson that I’ve taught myself and go shave my imaginary beard.

Let’s be honest …

Who cares about awkward boyfriends and girlfriends.




With regards to speech tags

They’re a little bit like accessories.

If you’re not a fashion expert, don’t put on all your baubles.

No one wants to read this in a dialogue:

"I am speaking some dialogue," he ejaculated.

People complain that the plain old “he said, she said” tag looks incredibly mundane.

That being said, unless you’re a precisionist or minimalist, you shouldn’t add on “he said she said” tags every line either.

But after all, whatever you tag your speech as, it should look as though it belongs with your overall passage.

When I See: A Meditation on Motherhood

When I see a mother with a stroller, I feel a little bit happy for human existence and a little bit sad.

The mother is a mother and will always be a mother. She has brought forth her Child by her free will (hopefully): her love remains infinite and she will care for him until either agent dies.

But the Child’s essence will not remain a Child. His existence will bring him much sadness and pain; at the same time, he must then transcend his existence to find his essence on his own accord.

There is no knowing what the Child will become; if he will become a bitter painter;if he will become ignorant; if he will possess violence; if he will grow to loathe his condition and leave; if he will one day hate his mother for having given him existence and perception, and thus turn on her with violence.

It must be singularly joyful to bring into the world another existence, who may then perceive the world in his choice; this is the joy of the Mother.

It is also singularly joyful to encounter the pleasures of the world, by choosing the path that he himself follows; this is the joy of the Child.

It is great sadness and pain to see sadness and pain in the Child, as such qualities are manifestations of the human experience; this is the Sadness of the Mother.

It is great sadness and pain in the Child’s perception, as he slowly perceives the absurdity of his own existence, and how he did not choose his existence but now must follow his trajectory through to the end; this is the Sadness of the Child.

So when I pass by a mother and her baby in a sunny park, I am also in dilemma:

I am the Child now but I did not choose to bring about my existence; however, my essence cannot precede existence due to the many obstacles of the world.

How do I know, that if I choose to bring about another existence in the world, that he will perceive that his existence will be worthwhile?

Will I bear to see my Child encounter sadness and pain of the human condition?

How will I know that he will combat them successfully and become an essence that he wishes himself to be?

If you are the Mother or Father, what would you choose and why?