throwback tuesday | a mixtape from the past decade

Idk, I guess I was a little nostalgic, but here’s some of my most-played songs from when I was a teenager in secondary school trying not to fit in even though I knew that I didn’t mind conformity as long as people left me alone to do my own shit. Or rather, how I learn to hide my weirdness and attempt to be cool. Nowadays, I find that I don’t give a shit if I’m cool or not, and I’m fine with telling people about my unglam moments. (When I was 13, I’d slit my own throat before owning up that I got a bruise on my face because I banged it against the table while picking up a pen on the floor, but now? I just announced that on the internet where nothing disappears and I don’t feel anything beyond ‘eh, who the fucks cares?’)

01. alice nine. – shunkashuutou (春夏秋冬)
(揺られてた、小さな想いは大空に夢を描くから / この夢は終わらせたくない言葉はもう要らない | we were shaken, but because our tiny feelings etch the dream across the great sky / I don’t want to let this dream end, we don’t need words anymore.)

02. Rentrer en Sol – I Hate Myself and Want to Die
(見つけ出せない / 暴き出せない / 教えろ生きる意味を | I cannot find it / I cannot discover it / please show me the meaning of living)

03. dir en grey – mushi
(心が残した信じる意味の強さを / 私を殺した私心 | my heart has left me with a belief in strength / my own heart killed me)

04. LM.C – Oh My Juliet
(ねぇ神様.. 教えてよ どうすれば願いは叶う? | hey, god, answer me, how can our wishes come true?)

05. An Cafe – Bonds ~ 絆 ~
(理解はいらない共感してくれ | I don’t need you to understand, just sympathize with me)

06. Akeboshi – Wind
(you still are blind, if you see a winding road,’cause there’s always a straight way to the point you see)

07. plastic tree – melancholic
(確かな光に伸ばした手は未来まで届くはず | in the light, my outstretched hands reached the future)

fatalistic

Hitsuzen (必然) meaning something inevitable, almost fate-like/destined, thus a thing that needed to happen so that future things will be set in place.
Guzen (偶然) meaning coincidence, meaningless when you look at the big picture because the event had happened due to chance.

Taken from here:
Once the categories are defined the next question to consider is how to deploy them. Three possibilities immediately present themselves. First everything, or at least everything important might be hitsuzen, i.e. part of some larger plan. Secondly the world could be a mixture of hitsuzen and guzen. Finally, there may only be guzen; with any appearance of hitsuzen being simply a kind of delusion or illusion.

If everything, or everything significant, is hitsuzen then the natural question to ask is: what is the overarching plan? The obvious religious answer is that the overarching plan is a divine one. In fact a religious perspective would seem to necessitate that everything is hitsuzen. If god is omnipotent and interested in what happens in the world then the idea that some things go against god’s intent contradicts his supposed omnipotence (since omnipotence cannot be opposed). Or, if god falls short of being omnipotent because he is opposed by some equally powerful, but evil, divinity, then it would seem that everything is still hitsuzen, although whose plan an event is in accordance with becomes an open question. I don’t, however, think the implicature in the other direction holds; it is not necessary to have a religious perspective in order to believe that hitsuzen dominates. It is possible to look at the natural laws as a kind of hitsuzen, for example. More plausibly, some see large-scale events as being the work of historical, social, or evolutionary forces that are beyond the control of individuals. These forces can be seen as creating a kind of hitsuzen connecting major events.

Of course not everyone finds the idea of universal, or near universal, hitsuzen plausible. There is something undeniably compelling about seeing the natural world as being devoid of hitsuzen. Sure, there are natural laws that determine which events occur, but those laws are devoid of meaning. They don’t appear to stitch together the events into a plan. Meaning, it would seem, is a purely human construction. But the world is not composed simply of things bumping up against one another in the dark. People do exist, and people can impose meaning on the world. Thus under this view the world is naturally all guzen, but in this world of guzen people create hitsuzen though their choices. Naturally this view sparks further questions. What happens when the domains of hitsuzen generated by individual lives come into contact with each other? Do they come together to form a unified hitsuzen, one that structures society as a whole? Or do they conflict, reducing the areas where they rub up against each other to guzen again? Such questions are beyond the scope of this piece.

Finally, we are brought to the third possibility. Like the previous picture it accepts the idea that fundamentally the natural world is nothing more than guzen. However, it rejects the idea that people can create hitsuzen. After all, there is nothing ultimately supernatural about people, and so, if nature cannot create hitsuzen, neither can individuals. Of course people see themselves as living in a world of hitsuzen, but that hitsuzen is not real, it is all in the mind. And this view may seem vindicated when things don’t go as they should or events escape control. Such occurrences may seem to demonstrate that hitsuzen is really an illusion.

I think I belong to the third camp. It feels as though we like to cling on tightly to the notion of synchronicity, that various events are meaningfully connected, even though there is a low probability, because it creates confirmation bias. I mean, just because I see five red cars in a row in the afternoon and get a toothache in the evening doesn’t really mean that there is an cause-and-effect between the two events.

celebrity crush: jam hsiao

Honestly, I’ve never really been into the Chinese pop music scene when I was younger, and even now, I don’t really listen to a lot of Chinese pop songs. But one of the reasons why I developed any interest in Mandopop is because of this one singer: Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰). [okay, I did listen to Mando-pop before him, mostly bands like Sodagreen (because Qing Feng has a gorgeous croon and they write good songs) and Xin Yue Tuan (the lead singer Xin’s voice is explosive and charismatic and his high notes are really solid.) Other than that, I didn’t really pay much attention to other singers.)

Jam Hsiao first appeared on the music scene in 2007, when he appeared as a PK contestant on the Taiwanese singing competition, One Million Star (超级星光大道). His rich and unique voice immediately set him apart from the rest of the contestants and he slowly became a force to be reckoned with.

 This was how he looked like the first time he appeared on the show. Please forgive his terrible hairstyle u_u It’s really quite… scary, haha.

 He looks slightly better here, in the episode where he won over the hot favourite of the show, Aska Yang (杨宗纬).

Unfortunately, he didn’t win in the end, but the brief foray into television meant that his popularity skyrocketed. Despite not having a contract with a music label, he was sought after on other variety shows. His workplace would also be frequently swamped by fans who wanted to hear him sing. (He was working as a restaurant singer at that point.)

So that’s basically how he got started in the music industry. As of now, he has 6 studio albums out, plus 1 live concert recording. He has quite a versatile style, able to sing various genres, like jazz, r&b and slow ballads, but his preferred choice would always be rock.

 This appears to be his latest hairstyle, which honestly, is reaaaaaally bad D: Seriously, I cringed a little the first time I saw it and I was like, ‘who the fuck messed up your hair? I’mma gonna be like Cecil (from Welcome to Night Vale), punishing the barber Tilly for messing with Carlos’ perfect perfect hair’. But Jam’s hair isn’t always perfect… case in point the cringefest posted below, which encapsulated the various hairstyles he had in his earlier days, haha.

 Ah, the days when he wasn’t famous and no hair stylist came near him with a proper comb.

 This one was probably taken in 2008, when he realised his first self-titled album. I’m kind of ambivalent towards this hairstyle. It’s a good preppish kind of look, I suppose, which is a good thing especially when the record companies are trying to push him into the limelight and they needed him to look approachable and friendly…?

 And then he debuted this look on the cover of his second album, 王妃 (Princess). I actually quite like this one, the fringe suited him and his angular-ish face. Plus, he looked cooler and more like a rocker, as compared to the first one.

In between those times we had such exhibits:

 Also: duck butt hair! Reminds me of Sasuke’s hair, haha.


Let’s also not forget this one! I can never unsee this! D: But he’s trying to imitate the auntie with hair rollers look as a joke (at least I hope! XD)


Is this the ‘I just rolled out of bed’ look or the ‘hmm, look at me, I’m so sultry’ look? Idk.


Oh yeah, and this hairstyle apparently cost NT260, 000. Are you fucking kidding me?! D: You’ve been ripped off, bro.


But really, I think I like his best with slightly slicked back, rocker-ish hair~ :D

Now onwards to his awesome voice.


He does fantastic covers, regardless of genres and music styles, he manages to bring in his own unique take. Plus, I really like his hair in this concert!


Two of my favourite Mando-pop singers sharing the same stage, singing beautiful songs!


The cheeky 青峰 telling Jam to request a song composition from him after listening to Jam’s cover of his hit song 小情歌, but not without teasing Jam’s singing style, saying that he changed the atmosphere of his song.


Oh yeah, and he definitely has a kawaii side to him as well~

Things I Love Thursday

This week has been pretty bland overall, so today’s TiLT is going to be a short one and mainly video-focused…

First up, I don’t know why I haven’t really been watching a lot of anime the past few seasons, but now that I’m catching up with things, here’s a few titles that I have been enjoying.


K Project appears to be a mystery with supernatural elements. I’m only 5 episodes into the series, so I am not entirely confident of the genre. But so far, we have a mystery to solve, in which the main character is accused of a crime that we’re not entirely certain he didn’t commit. Most of the characters in the series have supernatural abilities, such as creating fire or manipulating gravity. I’ve actually bought the manga before even embarking on the series, buuut I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet because there’s just too many things on my to-read pile. Also, it’s worth checking out because of the great art – just look at the range of bishounen available! There’s the hotheaded one, the calm and cool one, the honourable samurai one, the sporty looking one! :D Oh yes, shallow indeed. (And, of course I’m totally a shipper on deck!)


Another anime that I really like would be Hozuki no Reitetsu. This one is a comedy portraying the everyday bureaucracy Hell is made of. The main character, Hozuki, is a competent, level-headed demon, who has to troubleshoot the various problems that crop up and keep Hell running smoothly. His superior, Great King Enma, is bumbling and usually bullied by Hozuki. I like this series because of the entertaining little skits, they’re like the daily lives of office people, only they’re demons in charge of punishing the wicked people in Hell. Also, I really like the art style, it’s both tradition and modern at the same time.

 Lately, because of the random things that YouTube recommends me, I’ve started to watch Markiplier, and he’s pretty entertaining, and also pretty dumb. (I’ve watched through his RPG maker gameplays, like Ib, Ao Oni and The Witch’s House, and he is preeeettty bad at them at times, especially because I’ve watched Cry and Pewds play through them before as well. Cry is the smartest, I think. Pewds… well, at least he cuts short the agony by looking it up on the internet…)

 Also, idk how I got sucked back into this, but Taiwanese variety shows are really awesome when you’re feeling exhausted and brain dead and you just want to sit back and laugh yourself sick. My favourite is really 天才冲冲冲 because it has a range of activities, so it’s not always the same thing. Some examples are: (1) the first person has to make an object using plasticine, and the following people are given a short amount of time to replicate it and the last person is expected to guess what the object is. (2) making people guess words by asking one party to translate the words into English while the other party has to give the Chinese answer. (3) singing the right lyrics to a song after they have altered them.

 My other frivolous hobby, other than buying books and watching questionable tv shows, is perfume hunting. And I’m a tad too attracted to Hermes Jour D’Hermes fragrances. While it smells absolutely divine and reminds me of spring in full bloom, Jour D’Hermes doesn’t last beyond an hour or so, which is heartbreaking when you see the price tag. But at a few dollars more, you can get Jour D’Hermes Absolu, which lasts longer and has a stronger fragrance. I haven’t tried the pure parfum because I haven’t seen it around. I assume it’s only available at Hermes boutique, which I haven’t been into because… I doubt I can afford the things in there, hahahahaha. *sad laughter of a pauper*

 I’d also love to get a bottle of Penhaligon’s Sartorial. While it is deemed a masculine scent, who gives a shit when it smells so good, you know.

My work contract is ending soon~ probably the latest I will stay is until mid-Oct, because they still haven’t gotten a replacement for me… D: Yeah, yeah, I’m so indispensable, right? Then gimme a pay raise or something! But anyway, I’m just glad I’ll have some time to rest… though I’ll just be broke because I haven’t got another job lined up at the moment ;_;

non progredi est regredi

Sometimes I am hesitant to call myself a feminist. Not because I don’t agree with the ideas and values that feminism is about, but because some people have taken feminism and women’s rights too far, thus warping the notion of feminism. My own definition of feminism is succinctly put, equality for all humans, regardless of gender identity or biological sex.

 It is sad that some people have decided that feminism is the idea of hating men or being completely biased against one gender instead of being objective. I’ve mainly seen a lot of such posts on Tumblr, which is why I haven’t been active on the site for quite some time because sometimes seeing such posts make me really annoyed, and I end up wishing for a superpower that will allow me to smack the person through the computer screen.

But that’s not the point for today. Today, let’s talk about how the ‘patriarchy’ (defined as ‘a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it’) is just as bad for men. (I mean, we all know how the patriarchy sucks: you have gender inequality through the wage gap, rape culture, sexual objectification of women and their bodies, lack of body autonomy etc.) But what about the repercussions on the other gender?

The patriarchy is bad for men as well because it enforces outdated gender roles. It is commonly expected that men are supposed to suppress their feelings and not show weaknesses, especially in public. They’re expected to be stoic even in tough moments and they’re not allowed to break down, because that would be unmanly. And being unmanly = being like a sissy, which is duh, baaaad. Of course, this is ridiculous because we’re all human beings, capable of strong emotions, be it positive or negative. Why should one gender be expected to suppress these feelings and act as though they’re made of stone, or be labelled with a pejorative term? (Also see the typical bumbling husband who fails at domestic chores versus the super competent wife, seen in quite a number of commercials.)

In addition, men lose out when it comes to domestic issues. We see domestic abuse as an extremely serious issue when it is a man hitting a woman, but when it comes to a woman hitting a man? Well, apparently that’s a possible comedy trope. Plus because of gender stereotypes, men are less likely to seek help or go to a men’s shelter if they’re being abused by their partners. Other forms of inequal domestic issues would include parental leave; men are given less paternity leave in general. Perhaps this is because of the typical social expectation: men are supposed to focus on their careers, staying at home and looking after the kids? Pssh, that’s just so gay, you know. They have to be out in the boardroom, closing deals and smoking cigars with the boys, not making sandwiches or changing diapers, that’s what moms are for.

(You know the wage disparity between men and women? Well, it doesn’t just hurt the women and their bank accounts. Sure, boo-hoo, we can’t splurge on more pairs of shoes or more tubes of lipsticks, but let’s face it, less salary means less household income for the family, whether or not it’s the men or the women who are earning it. That’s probably less tuition fees for your squalling brat or one less family vacation to the Bahamas. Or what happens if the men are laid off? The household income would take a lesser hit if there wasn’t a wage disparity, right?)

Furthermore, in cases of divorces, women usually win custody rights, even if they’re sucky mothers because obviously women are more nurturing, right? *rolls eyes* And they have the ability to withhold visiting rights from the fathers, thus cutting them off from their kids. Plus, let’s face it, men have to pay alimony, even if the women are earning higher pay, because the court still believes that men are earning higher wages and they have a duty to support the kids and the ex-wife.

When it comes to the law, the scales are skewed against men as well. Men usually get heavier sentences, even if the same crime is committed by either gender. Plus, women are less likely to get death penalties, And let’s not forget how rape culture affects men as well. Men are automatically slapped with the label as ‘sex-hungry predator’ who will do whatever to get laid, which can be unfair. And it also means that there’s this notion of guilty until proven otherwise if the woman decides to scream molest or rape.

Oh yeah, there’s also gems like men are most likely to die earlier because of things like conscription and because whenever shit is going down, women and children are sent off first or they get to huddle behind the sidelines while the men get to charge the frontline or investigate whatever that is going on (think home invasions).

I’m only the skimming the barest surface of a very large and very touchy issue, but I think I’m not entirely well-equipped to properly debate this issue, but ultimately, can we just be decent human beings towards one another?

Things I Love Thursday

It’s Thursday! And also yet another temp’s last day~! Because she’s going back to school, haha. I kind of wish I had school to go back to. *sigh*

In honour of her last day, we went for lunch with a couple of the permanent staff, one of whom had the best stories to tell because she seems to have quite a vast amount of life experience. Plus I really like her no-nonsense attitude. Ah, it’d be a lot less interesting without this one temp – she’s the one with the most ridiculous conversations and possibly the funniest person to talk to at times.


Anyway, I went to catch The Maze Runner after work with the fellow temps, and I’m so glad we went together~ Otherwise I’d probably have gone alone to catch it. You guys probably all know that I have a teensy-weensy crush on Dylan O’Brien, so yes, I’m already super biased, but yeah, I did enjoy the film even though I found myself giggling at random serious parts. Inappropriate, but my sense of humour is fucked up nowadays, like I find that I can’t really take a lot of things seriously anymore. I just end up breaking the fourth wall or something. I wanted to compare it to the Hunger Games, but it’s not really that similar other than the ‘dump a bunch of kids in an abandoned area and monitor them because we’re a corrupt organization’. The pacing was a little off for me, like everything just went by too quickly but I guess they had to squeeze a lot of things within two hours. But yeeeah, Dylan O’Brien, so dreamy and damn he has lovely hands… :D


I’ve also managed to catch up with the latest One Piece episodes. I’ve been kind of losing interest in the anime for a few weeks because it’s all progressing so slowly. Like an arc takes over 20+ episodes or something and I just want them to hurry up already. Gintama was awesome because they had shorter arcs and I just don’t have the attention span to sit through five episodes for a long drawn out fight scene. But yeah, the recent One Piece episodes seem to be heating up and to be honest, I’m very fond of Law as a character. He has his ruthless side (from the things he did to become a Shichibukai) but he’s intriguing so far.

 And because Love Stage is a little too risque to watch in public, I’ve been watching Tokyo Ghoul during my daily commute instead. Yeah, I think violence and eating humans is less problematic than watching two boys fall in love, but that’s just society for you, I suppose. So far, Tokyo Ghoul has been pretty entertaining, and at first I thought Kaneki was like Shinji (from Neon Genesis Evangelion) because he was wimpy (kind of?) and doesn’t seem to be accepting his fate. But I think ultimately Shinji still wins at being the most emo main character. The thing about this anime however is the manga ending. I heard that it was pretty shoddy, as if the mangaka didn’t think things through properly, so it felt rushed and incomplete. So I’m kind of hoping that the anime would make it better… but we shall have to wait and see.

Infinite Jukebox is a web app that allows you to upload a song, which it will then generate a never-ending and ever changing version of the song. And hands-down it’s my current favourite music player because it’s so awesome! You get to play around with the tuning, so you can skip around on the song or change how the song repeats. I think it works best with foreign songs because you probably don’t understand the lyrics so the music switching back and forth won’t be too jarring if you don’t know that the lyrics aren’t matching up.

Two perfume orders came in this week! Yay~ First up, there’s Midsummer Dreams Apothecary. They were running a Labour Day sale so I took advantage of the 20% off by making a small sample haul.

 I got a sampler pack of 5, and it came pretty quickly, packed nicely in a bag and individual bubble wrap rolls. The collection seems to be based upon Disney princesses and their princes, and they are pretty decent scents though nothing really jumped out at me as a must-buy or particularly special.

Next up, Wolfpeach Perfumes, originally known as Twyla :D

I got two full sizes which are now in roll-on bottles instead of the old dripper cap style. One of the full bottles is Rose Coloured Glasses, which I had reviewed it a couple of weeks back. I’m not sure if the formula is different or the ingredients have been changed, but my old sample smells completely different from the new one. The old one was creamy and sweet with touches of rose and vanilla, whereas this one seems dominated with jasmine or something… Maybe I just have to wait for the perfume to sit and age a little and maybe the rose notes would come out more prominently?

But yeah, it has been a long day and I’m just glad the week is drawing to a close soon.

clarity

there’s a part of me that wants to pack up and book a one-way ticket to Reykjavik and just wander around until all the money I have runs out and I have to return home reluctantly. I don’t know, but I suspect it would be amazing for my soul but very bad for everything else.

there are days when I step into the office and I ask myself, just what on earth am I doing here and I push such thoughts out of my mind as I trudge over to the table and turn on my laptop. then at lunch I get to sit with people who seem to have their life mapped out, or at least it sounds like they have a clear path ahead of them.

I’m envious of people who know where they’re going in life. they know what they want and they’re moving on the path – it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, because ultimately they’re going to get there on their straight-ish path. whereas it feels as though all I’m doing is turning around in circles or just standing still on my own journey. it feels like I’m just wasting my so-very-finite time on this earth and I’m scared I’ll never be the person I wanted to be.

it’s ridiculous to think this way, but I know that the person I was 10 years ago would be really disappointed in my current self. who is this wishy-washy half-arsed person, what happened to the dreams and the goals? or did I never have any concrete plans in the first place? was I just deluding myself when I thought things would work out in my favour? yeah, that’s probably how it was.