#OscarsSowhite

Some people do not believe in life after death but practice Feng Shui in their lives. In their opinion, Feng Shui is not about future prediction; rather, serves as a general advisory of the potential bad luck; as well as the careless decision-making that may disturb our peace of mind and cost us dearly on the health, familial, and financial fronts. In shorts, the intention behind the attempt to figure out whether or not there is a life after death or the flow pattern of the so called, Qi, in Feng Shui, is all for the purpose of self-preservation and self-protection.

Why do we feel the need to protect and immortalize ourselves? Because, as vast as the universe is, there is only one of us, though we may share certain cultural values and physical attributes with a number of people, who descend from the same racial lineage as we do. Our individuality makes us uniquely different. In a world, where we are taught the importance of embodying our authentic self and the necessity to speak up for those weak and powerless, who do not have a voice, the innate desire to get our singular voice heard and our hard fought battles recognized is as strong as ever.

There are many spaces, resources and opportunities on this planet earth, but they are not available to all. Our background, social class, and racial privileges, in many ways, have pre-determined our life’s quality, circumstance, influence, and the degree of the abundance. Reality is a sphere, in which dichotomy and contradiction run rampant. Positively forward progression is, at times, more easily achieved in a bed time story, written on the inside pages of a children’s book than within a grown-up system, where deeply ingrained prejudices can hinder the pace of advancement of any kind subtly and efficaciously.

Over the weekend, the topic of #OscarsSowhite was once again heating up the late night radio wave of BBC London, and during which, a counter attack in the name of White Racism was mentioned by some for the purpose of justifying the blinding whiteness among the 2016 Oscars nominees. According to those counter attackers, people, who complained about the lack of racial diversity among the Oscar nominees this year, were using the race card as a tool to discriminate against white people. Some even suggested that there were not any outstanding performances by Black actors and actresses that worth an Oscar nomination, despite the fact that many positive reviews were given by film industry critics to the likes of Idris Elba, Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan.

Racism is a heavy word that is filled with historical sentiments and memories. Having studied and observed human histories of the past and the present, I am not sure that white people are in a position to couple the word, white, with the word, racism, together. In addition, thanks to the global popularity of Western pop culture, white is still perceived and portrayed to be, under majority of the circumstances, the dominant race. For someone white to self-proclaim as the victim of race-based discrimination under this #OscarsSowhite climate, in my opinion, is a little rich.

Perhaps, whoever in the white community feels and thinks being racially discriminated against is due to his or her discomfort of noticing the increasing visibility of the so called, the others, in the mainstream medias, whose presence is previously looked at as exotic, incomprehensible, and foreign. And hence resistance is their natural response to change.

Nature

What is your nature? Decent, good and one of a kind? What is my nature? I would say that generous, timid and sensitive. Mother Nature is all those things and more, because Mother Nature is all encompassing and omnipresent.  Mother Nature is never stagnant. She is always changing. Does this fundamental truth also suggest that our human nature also changes as we go through different phases in life? I am not sure.

What I am sure of is that, collectively speaking, human nature is good. We all have this innate desire to help each other grow and prosper. That being said, we also have a tendency to judge, to stereotype, to be jealous of and to even exclude those that we consider different, foreign and unconventionally normal, whether or not we are brave enough to admit it.

In recent years, I have heard this particular adage countless times. If you can dream it, you can achieve it, because you are in control of your own life. Really? Although I don’t want to underestimate the human optimism embedded in our nature; as uplifting and self-empowering as this claim can be; however, I do, at times, question its feasibility.  Like Mother Nature, life is unpredictable. Just like Mother Nature, life is not always under our control. As seasons change, we may be presented with unforeseen challenges, which have potential to turn our life path into resembling a bumpy roller-coaster ride. As much as we like to get our life mapped out, we all know that, a lot of times, many events in life unfold and blossom on their own terms.

Harry Potter authoress J.K. Rowling once said in her commencement speech, delivered to the Harvard graduates of 2008, ” talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates. Your acquisition, your CV is not your life. Life is difficult, complicated and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”

Just like us, nature is beautiful. Just like us, nature is nurturing. Just like us, nature is serene. And, just like us, nature is moody. Mother Nature is a reflection of us and we are a reflection of Mother Nature; a delicate co-dependency that exists in a mysterious intricacy.

How Are You? Fine…Really???

“How are you?”

“Good! And you?”

“Do you really want to know?”

I haven’t been honest in telling people; in particular with my family, how I truly feel for a while. This is neither due to the reason that I don’t have the desire to share with them my feelings nor due to my impression that I don’t think they are incapable of relating to my experiences. The reason why I have been hesitating, for so long, to let my feelings be known is because I don’t want them to get hurt and saddened by the revelation of my sentimental reality.

It is difficult to be strong and tough when your fate is in the palms of others. A precarious position, which comes with unforeseeable consequences and insurmountable sacrifices that only those, who have been in the similar position can understand profoundly.

I’m sick of hearing sayings, such as “You are the one, who is in charge of your own destiny,” or “You can create your own life.”

This is bullsh**!

No, we are NOT the only one, who is responsible for creating the life we want, because other people, known or unbeknownst to us, also have a role to play in steering the direction of our personal journey.

Virtue=An Endless Waiting Game

What’s with a mother’s instinct? Just by noticing a change of the social media profile picture, It can let the mom know what her child is going through on the inside, all the unspoken setback and frustration that her child is confronting, singlehandedly?

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I wonder often if it is a sound idea to be separated from my family to pursue my dreams. Like anything in life, there are pros and cons to every endeavor and to every decision. As I am made to believe by my constant contemplation, the pros outweigh the cons in my decision to chase my childhood dreams; hence why I am still away from home…away from all the cares, fun and love that I could have received so easily on a daily basis.

I am worried, at times, that my time is running out in chasing my dreams. In making much sacrifice for the realization of my dreams, I have been experiencing the stagnation of life for a long time. Not a pleasant place to be in, when I hear and notice everyday is how far others have moved forward with their lives while, at the meantime, I still don’t have the basic necessities to take the first step.

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Patience is a virtue. That being said, how long it is going to be before a, so-called, virtue, turns into an endless waiting game?

Get Married In Twenties

I just watched Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian entrepreneur, investor, journalist, writer, financial commentator and television personality, express his personal view on marriage on a Canadian talk-show.

Kevin said that one of the regrets that he had in life was that he didn’t get married in his twenties. According to him, if he had had his children in his twenties, he would have had more energies and times to spend on them. He then made a blanketed statement, saying all young men aren’t thinking of marriage in their twenties. To lead an easier life down the road, he urged all young men in their twenties to not fool around, pick a girl and marry her.

On one hand, I do agree with him in the sense that if we have our children in our twenties, we surely will have more time and energies to be with them. On the other hand, painting all young men with the same brush is what causes my disagreement. His blanketed statement about unmarried young men makes getting hitched sound like an unilateral decision. Not only was it an unfair representation of the diverse preferences in the young men’s world, but it also makes picking a spouse and getting married sound like such an easily realizable task.

Most of us are not leading an isolating life. We all know clearly how good our life would be if it unfolds according to our own plans, which are made in accordance to the conventional standard and expectation of conducts. As much as we want our lives to unfold according to our wishes, oftentimes, many things unfold in life on their own terms.

We are told contently that we should get married at this age, become rich at that age, travel around the world at this age, and become a boss at that age, our social influence and collective brainwashing somehow amplify, unrealistically, the human power, making us feel like a failure if we haven’t accomplished what we were brainwashed into supposing at a particular state of our lives. As we grow, we learn that we can’t make Every Single Thing happen in life. Getting married for the sake of getting married, for the purpose of bearing children or for the aim of having more time to be with them down the road is just not the right reason to rush into a new chapter of life, which comes with unpredictable new challenges and immense responsibilities.

We all have different life paths. Hence why we all have different life experiences. Not everyone is lucky enough to encounter the one, with whom they want to spend their lives, intimately, in their twenties. Conscious coupling consummated in twenties may be a thing for some to brag about, but it definitely isn’t a guarantee to creating a life that many fairytale dreamers have dreamt about. Of course, in retrospect, those, who have been in marriage for decades can freely imparts their learned wisdom. As valuable as the wisdom is, it is not applicable to every one’s situation. As young people, we surely feel the urgency to take in and implement the imparted wisdom so that we won’t become those middle-aged couples, who have no trouble voicing their shouda, coulda, woulda, that being said, we should carefully consider the applicability of the imparted wisdom in the context of our own situation so that we won’t have regret for the decisions, hurriedly made by us in future.

Going with the crowd is not always the right path to go down. In a world, where everyone is leading a different life path, every single life experience should be given the same respect and regard, even if it may deviate from the norm.

Media

The late American artist, Andy Warhol once said in 1968, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” As it is often the case, the bold prediction, made by the greats, the likes of Andy Warhol, does become a reality at some point in human history.

The advent of interaction-based digital era, facilitated by the invention of pocket-sized technologies, also by the rise of social media platforms, not only has provided each one of us with the basic tools to potentially create and live that fifteen minutes of fame, but it also has presented to us the possibility of transforming that fifteen minutes of fame into Gangnam Style kind of a worldwide sensation with a dazzling and lucrative career.

Dazzling and lucrative are two adjectives that many people use to describe the media landscape. In this I-generation, though the traditional media corporations still enjoy their prestiges and influence; however, their hard won reputation and strong financial backing can neither minimize the constant threats, posed by emerging new media talents nor delay the imminency of change of time.

Youtuber, Vlogger, Instagrammer, and Facebooker are just some of the new arrivais, whose presence has drastically transformed and diversified the modern media.

In the modern media landscape, not only do we get to go to school, be in awe of the seven wonders of the world, experience the ugly and brutal sides of humanities and have a joke about the media bias and the inherent human imperfections, but we also get to be a bemused spectator, shaking head at the prattling reports of first-world problems and witnessing the consequences and sufferings, caused by not only others’ illusory impression of the overnight success, but also their insatiable pursuit of instant gratification.

Media is a world that revolves around the principles of communication and leadership. Having cultivated proper communication ethics and virtues, the modern media landscape is sure to be gentrified. Being led by responsible and competent leaders, every player in the media landscape is well prepared to inform, to educate, to entertain and to inspire the masses.

A Cookie

Holidays are for indulgence. It’s hard not to indulge a little bit more when our home is decked out in all kinds of deliciousness. One of my all-time favorite treats is shortbread cookie. I surely had indulged in it quite a bit over this past holiday season. Aside from the taste and the texture, what I appreciate the most of a shortbread cookie is its ability to bring joy to the indulgers. I wish to bring as much joy as possible to my life this year. Because of this confession of mine, you may think that I’m aspired to personify a shortbread cookie in my daily life. No, no, as a person, who used to battle with weight gain, the high fat contents of this short, sweet, little cake discourage me completely from having this aspiration. That being said, I am aspired to be a cookie, but a cookie of the different kind.  In this year of the goat, my goal is to be a tough cookie.

A tough cookie is defined as a person, who’s resilient and has the ability to endure both physical and mental hardships. You may wonder why I am so determined to be a tough cookie at a time, when more and more people are encouraged to adopt a softer and more personable approach in dealing with things and with people. Well, unlike those wishy-washy New Year’s resolutions made by those inebriated celebrants, mine came as result of my past personal experiences in knowing what would continue to work for me to have a place to call my own in this ever-changing world.

In this ever-changing world, things are complicated. Many of us may feel lonely at times, rest assured that we are never alone. We all have a great teacher, who is always there to guide us, and who is going to be there till the day we say “Au revoir. A la prochaine”to this three dimensional existence.

This greatest teacher of ours isn’t that lady or gentleman in school or at work; this greatest teacher of ours is neither one of those two lovely individuals at home, who have graciously and unconditionally given us a life; this greatest teacher of ours isn’t that rich lady on TV, who used to shout at her live audience loudly whenever the holiday season was near “ You got a car, you got a car, and you also got a car!” This great teacher of ours is us. You are the great teacher in your life. I am the great teacher in my life.

Mine has taught me many things. He instills in me the values of my lived experiences. Having left home in my teenage years for education, I have witnessed the obstacles that need to be overcome for me to start from zero and hopefully to rise as a phoenix. I have been bruised by the coldness and indifference of others. I have tasted the heart-wrenching bitterness of the reality. I have breathed in the air of sadness and separation, lingering at the international airport terminals, and I have rejoiced in the unexpectedness of success that my hard work has rewarded me. More importantly, I have lived to understand the importance of having inner confidence, when no one else has faith in me, and I also have lived to appreciate the necessity of having self-belief, while charting my own path at a place far away from home. Hence why I am so determined to be a tough cookie in this year of the goat so that I will be able to experience more joy, more disappointments, and more other facets of life.

Being a tough cookie requires both the physical and mental fitness. It is an admirable goal in my opinion, but it’s not happening over night. Daily physical and mental exercises, personal commitment, consistency, dedication, perseverance are needed for this goal to be achieved. Just like indulging in a shortbread cookie, moderation is needed. Having moderation, we don’t have to worry about our weight gain once the shortbread cookie has become a dot in our personal history. Having moderation, we don’t have to worry about coming across as either a bossy individual or an ice-queen in being strong-willed and tough.

Being a tough cookie is my goal of 2015. What is yours? May your goal, set for 2015, help you taste the best bits in life.