Goodbye, things – Book review

Last book for 2018! I have a mixed feeling for this one. When I first read it, I felt that perhaps this is the solution to a lot of issues.

Minimalism is basically the idealism of not depending on things (either possessions or fame etc) to prove who you are. Living for the “Now”, rather than overly worrying over the future, trying to work hard for the happiness that you might feel at the end of the marathon. Focusing on experiences that produce happiness that is more long lasting than what materials can give.

The book tells you maybe you already have enough, and you don’t need to work so hard to try to earn more money to buy things that you don’t need so that you can impress people you can’t care less. (Yeah Fight club is a reference in the book)

The author only owns a futon bed, 3-4 shirts and trousers, some cookware, a small hand towel, a pair of glasses, an iPhone, a laptop and a wallet. He has disposed of all of his books, CDs, home theatre system, artsy decorations, sophisticated camera and lenses, furniture, TV and excess clothes. When he first bought these items, he did not realise that the subconscious purpose was  to prove to people around him what kind of person he wants to be. He bought those books, CDs, furniture, camera, musical instruments because he wants to be seen as a person who has good sense of art, well-read, good taste in music, a movie connoisseur, a cool guy who plays the guitar etc.  But as these items pile up, he realised that these items only reminded him of all the things that he wanted to be, but could not be. These material items recorded his failure. Hence he sought outlet from lazing around in his apartment, indulging in alcohol etc. He was living a fake life. He kept comparing himself with other people. He was not happy.

Thus, after he got rid of all those items, he was able to become a person who focuses on living in the present. He no longer care about how people view him. He had the time and the courage to try out things that the old him would not dare to try. He also realised that he did not need so many things, which translates to much lower living costs. He just need 200sqf of space, and approx. 100,000 yen ($912) a month to live in one of the most expensive cities on earth – Tokyo. He said that since he only needed $912 a month, and he did not care about people’s views, he could take any jobs, and need not be tied to one job that he could not afford to lose because he needed the money. That is truly an inspirational and liberating view. 

As for me, I never really cared about people’s view first place, so me getting rid of stuff had a different objective than Sasaki’s. It would be more about disposing of things that I have not used for a long time, but still have some emotional attachment that caused me not being able to get rid of. The 80% of clothes in my wardrobe that I do not even wear once in the past 1 year. I would be able to benefit from the additional space once these items are being disposed of. 

Although books might prove to one of the toughest items to remove, but I am already open to this thought, as I can picture several books that I do not mind to donate to a public library.

Overall a very good read, and starts you on a journey of giving the items that you have a serious thought, and stop buying too many things that not only is a hazard to yourself, and even more so for our mother earth. 

Happy 3 years’ anniversary, Lupus!

Tasked as part of the writing committee for our local lupus association (Persatuan SLE Malaysia), I have no worries on the contents for our bulletin next year, because I know that in the event I could not get anyone to share their lupus experience, I will always have a trusted back-up plan: Myself!

Wow, I cannot believe that it is already 3 years since I was diagnosed.

It feels like yesterday, when I wondered why I felt this crippling pain every night, and how one week ago I was climbing walls, and one week later I had problems climbing down the staircase. I recalled the helplessness I felt when my insurance agent told me that eventhough Lupus Nephritis Class IV is part of the 36 critical illnesses, due to an untimely update, it is not covered under my personal insurance policy. I remembered that I felt like crying everytime someone asks me: “How are you?”.

Of course I also remembered the care from my parents and brother, the helping hands of my boss, the patience of my bestie, the warm wishes from my old school mates, the concern of a boy, and the encouraging words from my rheumatologist. Acceptance of the illness was not possible for me, if were not for the inspirational and life changing movie, Meru by Jimmy Chin.

It all made a difference.

My memories associated with lupus has already been stored in a corner of my mind, not something that I could recall instantly. I do not think that I consciously chosen to forget about them. Lupus has changed my life in many ways, most of them for the better.

Before I had lupus, I knew I was working very hard, and I felt like I had no choice but to work hard, just because. After I have lupus, I started to understand the meaning of  the fragility of life. I understood that I am not invincible, and life does not always head towards the direction you wish that it would head to. There are always unexpected twists around the corner. If you can live your life the way you wish to live today, do not wait until tomorrow. If you can talk to your loved ones, give them a few pleasant words, a smile today, do that to them today, and do not postpone it to tomorrow. Would I still have these realisation even if I did not have lupus? I will not know the answer to that question, but I knew that I learnt a lot from lupus.

I do not like the hospital, and I dread the long hours of waiting in the hospital. But I know that I will definitely be able to see the doctor on the same day or one or two days after. I learnt to cope with it. I learnt to see the positive sides of everything. I learnt to appreciate a long wait at the specialist’s clinic. I learnt to appreciate the help that the doctors and the medical staff provide to me. I learnt to appreciate the honesty and directness in the doctor’s communication. I have gotten to know many new friends, people whom provided support, and in return, I provided support to, throughout our lupus journeys. I have started reading a lot more than before I had lupus. Mostly because during the earlier days when I was first diagnosed, I had to be in the hospital on my own, so I had more time to read.

I am now quite comfortable with lupus that sometimes I almost forgotten about it. Medication and keeping track of stress levels are things that I do on a daily basis. When my stress level elevated too much, lupus will give me a gentle tap on my wrist, instead of a violent jolt. I suppose my lupus is a mirror of myself. There is always some quid pro quo arrangement between me and lupus. I do not push it to the edge, and neither will it give a big surprise and push me to the edge. We respect each other just like that.

I had a good one this year, so I would like to toast to my lupus for 2018! Cheers!

 

 

Keep your insecurity in check – Review for Wreck-it Ralph 2

I loved Wreck-it Ralph coz he’s the bad guy. The bad guy who doesn’t mind being bad if it is the only way he can be good. But this time, he appears to evolve into a clingy cry-baby whom shies away from adventures. He has become the boring card-punching 9-5 worker that is afraid of challenges and any disruption to his mundane and stable life. At the meantime Penelope has instead, evolved into the opposite of Ralph, cracked out of her shell and became the real bad ass she has been all this while.

I liked the movie still, love all the quirks of the internet, how they animated and humanized internet as a living organism. Would have taken a lot of technical explanation to describe how the internet works, in words. I also learnt a thing or two about how spam works, and how all that spam could translate into real money. But ultimately someone’s gotta pay. Clicks only pay as much as the real money the sites are going to get from the merchant, and the merchants won’t continue investing in this gig unless it draws real sales. But hey, not a shabby way to earn some moolah, especially if you do have good content.

Oh and the biggest thing that I could resonate with in this film, is the clever wordplay of “insecurity”. The movie has depicted insecurity correctly as a virus that multiplies itself and creates a real havoc. The monster says out the most ridiculous words, describes the most unlikely scenarios amidst of its insecurity, and somehow deep inside, it believes that there might be a hint of truth in it’s prediction. There is no way to break this virus unless the cure came from the source itself. The person must believe that their assumptions are ridiculous and not worth pursuing, and by then only is it possible for the person to be free from the virus of insecurity.

Overall it was a very enjoyable movie, and I think that sight of so many smoky Ralph would be something to remind myself when a seed of insecurity and suspicion arise again in the future.

cof
Wreck-it Ralph – not as badass this time

I hope I’m not pushing myself too much….

Time flies.. and I am in the exact period when I found out that I have a lupus flare-up last year.

Life has been hectic, work has been stressful, and my eyes are getting more and more sore as a result. Sore eyes is normally a direct result of stress. This type of stress arises when I need to conduct courses. I have no issues conducting courses, but I often worry if people would learn during my sessions, and whether my sessions will achieve the intended objectives. I sworn off courses in October due to the high levels of stress caused by my own expectations. Ironically, I had to conduct another two day course again this week. I was supposed to have several colleagues assist me with the instruction of the course, since I prepare most of the materials. And yet, 2 out of the 4 instructors that promised to help did not turn up due to compelling reasons. So I had to be there both days.

After two days, I am glad it is over. I could not help but think: everyone has got their reasons why they fall apart.. What about me? It was inconsiderate for those people who just go ahead told me that they could not make it, and then did not offer to find any replacement. Just because I am still alive, does not mean I need to shoulder the world, no?

This is not the end yet. This is the nature of the job I am in. After you finished saving one fire, there are more fires waiting for you ahead. There will never be real peace of mind, until the day you quit. I have not decided to quit though. I still need the insurance for my lupus. Haha. I could pay for my medical expenses, but if someone else is paying for it, why not?

I am due for another check-up the week after next. I really need to manage my workload for the next two weeks so that my lupus do not flare-up again and cost me another one year of same heavy immunosuppressant dosage again. I am used to eating medication every day, but it would be good if I could taper down slightly.

Everyday is another day. Everyday is a day we fight for our survival. Gods be good and please do not let my good old friend flare-up again.

Lupus erythematosus in an old favourite drama series

cofI was watching this old favourite Japanese series made in 1999 (世纪末之诗,The Last Song), and chanced upon this oh-so-familiar name on the TV screen. Lupus! Back then I wondered what sickness was this episode referring to, it sounded like a vampire disease whereby exposure to sun can cause the little girl to faint or die. How strange is it to know that actually I was gonna get this disease fast forward 16 years later. 😅

The girl in that particular episode had serious photosensitivity issues that minor exposure could cause her lupus to flare. But I am not aware that a flare could kill someone in an hour’s time. But that was 16 years ago. Lupus could have been an extremely dangerous disease back then.

Ah, what a strange feeling.

San Junipero -Heaven is a place on earth

Ok. I am one of those people who thinks that every new thing gets better over time, like wine. I only started to watch Black Mirror this year, this episode – San Junipero from 2016 yesterday. AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Especially the songs. I have been a 80s fan for the longest time, and this movie totally re-ignited my fandom of the genre. You can find the playlist in Spotify under the name San Junipero – Black Mirror – Expanded Playlist. Or an alternative would be this youtube video:

Happy listening! 🙂