Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Year 2014

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It’s time of the year again; to celebrate and welcome another brand new year; to write resolutions that we know that we will never be able to fulfill… So unless you have done everything that you have set for yourself, then here’s a pat to your shoulder from me to you...Congratulation! Now go on and write more resolutions! As for me, I can’t even remember if I have made any resolutions for year 2014 but one thing I know for sure that it has been an interesting ride!

Looking back at what I did in Year 2013, which I have written it here… I couldn’t help to cringe at my own ridiculousness because apart from getting my diving license, what I have achieved in that year has been so insignificant; but I guess I wouldn’t know better at that time. I take it as a good sign though, that I could laugh at my old self for being so childish because it means that I have grown out of it, and probably become wiser now than I was before. And to make sure that I get a good laugh of my own absurdity on every end of another year, I am going to attempt in writing down what I have done before departing to another brand journey ahead.

Year 2014 has been an intriguing ride. For starter, I have read more than 100 books in this year alone! The exact number is actually 106 as of today and if you ask me how do I even know? I have a google sheet specifically to list down all the books I have finished for the year. I must thank my nifty little Kobo Mini for being ever so efficient and convenient. With Kobo Mini, I can bring my books everywhere and can easily steal some time indulging in some wonderful stories anytime, anywhere. And more than ever, I find myself falling in love more and more with books. I have literally turned myself into a book nerd and I don’t regret every second of it. There’s something very therapeutic about reading. It literally opens up your mind, changes your perspectives and teaches you to be more compassionate towards many things in life. And for the coming new year, I hope to come across with more inspiring books that will teach me more things about life itself.

Next, I need to talk about diving in Sipadan. This is one of my most memorable highlights in this year and I believe that it will be in my mind for a very long time. I had always known that we humans are really tiny in the face of nature and after spending 5 days 4 nights around the beautiful islands in West Malaysia, I finally had the chance to see it for myself, just how tiny and unsubstantial our lives are. We are just part of something so huge that many of us are so absorbed in our own self-importance that we forget to pause and think about others. We forget that there are billions of other living things in this world, sharing the same planet and sustaining the entire ecosystem together with us and with our stuck up, ignorant and selfish attitude, we forget that if we don’t protect these living things, they will vanish, the balance will be tipped off and what’s left would be our own extinction. We forget that this planet is shared, we are just one tiny part of it and who gives us the right to claim this Earth as our own and destroy the nature. The beauty of Sipadan islands and the lives around them have humbled me. And if Sipadan is only one itsy-bitsy beautiful thing of this planet, I wonder what else I could discover out there. Will we ever have the time to discover all the magnificent secrets of this world before it perishes due to our negligence? I wonder…

Year 2014 has also taught me to love myself better. For a while I was stuck in a miserable bond, I thought I was doing a favor by sacrificing my own happiness only to find out in the end that a toxic relationship is only going to end up badly and hurting both sides. I should have made the decision to walk away when I could but I did not have the courage to do so. Out of this unpleasant experience, I have learned that your heart knows what you really want and when it is trying to tell you something, you better listen to it. There is also nothing wrong or selfish with self love, you can love yourself without being selfish or arrogant or self absorbed. The difference is only a fine line apart yet distinguishable. And in life, sometimes you have to make that decision for yourself, even if it seems cruel and heartless to the others but when it’s done for the sake of your own love to yourself, you need to do it regardless what the others say or think. You owe that love to yourself, not love from others but the love that comes from you to your ownself. And when you start loving yourself, you will find wonders of what you can accomplish and achieve.

Another thing Year 2014 has given me is quality friendship which I am really grateful for. It’s really important to surround yourself with like-minded friends and people who can truly accept you for who you really are. It is such a blessing that I have found these people whom I can talk about anything in this world and even better that we share many of the same views, beliefs and principles together. And much thanks to this bunch of crazy friends, I have come to learn to accept myself better and be comfortable in my own skin. Out of these 365 days, we have talked about how shallow and close minded a lot of people are when their reasons in going against certain issues don’t even make sense. And we talk about how easily most people are being led by the media or the society they are in that they can’t even think rationally for themselves. While I admit that we are not perfect ourselves or even self righteousness, we accept our flaws, analyze and discuss over many dumbfounded issue that have plaguing our planet. We examine why some groups of people are thinking this way; why do they close up their minds; why do they have to do this and that and at the end of the heated discussions, we all laugh all over about them and vow never to be like them in the future. There are some interesting issues that we have been discussing among us that I would really like to share with the rest… but with these 1000 words essay right here, I will have to put them in another post.

Overall, Year 2014 has taught me many things, plenty of self discoveries and lessons. It's essentially a very good year. I mean what's so bad in a year that many of my OTP(s) come true! What do I hope for the new year? New discoveries, new adventures, good people, good friendship and lotsa love. :)

Happy New Year! :)

In Summary:
1. I changed job, yeah like it's exciting.
2. I read more than 100 books in a year.
3. I visited Sipadan Island and dived there.
4. I made a conscious decision for the sake of my happiness and walked away from things which have been toxic to me.
5. Of course I love my family and friends.
6. Korrasami and so many other of my OTPs come true!
7. Thank you Year 2014. :)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Why Legend of Korra Matters

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We need to talk about Legend of Korra.

If you are a fan, you should already know that LOK has finally reached it end with its marvelous and much talked about finale. The entire fandom and internet are going wild with its courageous ending, and with that leaving its legendary mark in the history of children's television. For many years to come, many people will remember Legend of Korra. And we can all see just why.

When I first came upon Legend of Korra two years ago, I was deeply intrigued by the Korra, the main character, heroin and also as an avatar in the show. Korra is different than a lot of cartoon shows I have come across, especially by the standard of the west.

First off, the heroin is a female, not just some stereotypical female with big boobs, dresses and all the feminine qualities that you could imagine; She is the valiant, slightly masculine, athletic and not-afraid-to-kick-ass type of female and thinking back, I couldn't even remember when she actually wore dresses in the entire 4 seasons. Korra isn't the typical female in many shows that need protection, she fights very well and isn't the type to back down from the taunting of men. And most of all, Korra has dark skin and whatever races she is in, she is not white; in which I feel that this itself is such a bold step. I mean look at all the famous cartoons, which of them actually feature powerful females as the main players and at the same time aren't whites? And it's not just Korra, most of the female characters in the entire series hold roles as important as the males and not just as sidekicks, princesses in distress or trophy wives.

Back to the finale that has stirred up quite a ruckus until the two creators themselves came out and confirmed the ending: that Korra and another female lead are now together, romantically. In short, Korrasami is canon.
I love how the creators are trying to empower the people through this representation instead of making it into just another marketing gimmick or baiting the queer community for the sake of viewership. They genuinely want to challenge the limit and show a positive expression of love to the audiences; that women and men can have platonic friendships that are both inspiring and empowering; just like the relationship between Korra and Mako.

Then there's Asami, who is an equally powerful female lead and whose friendship with Korra has developed into something more throughout the four seasons. Some people think that it's too sudden and as quoted by Bryke (the creator), that's just because you are viewing the entire show with a "hetero-lens". In other words, your mind is so closed up that you are unwilling to accept the existence of non-heterosexual people. The hints of their blossoming relationship may be subtle, but they are definitely there, displayed right in front of your eyes. And the development is gradual, not rushed for the sake of pairing two people together. It is not the major plot; it grows at the side until it reaches the climatic moment. It feels so real. However, what we never expected is that the creators actually pushed it further and make the relationship canon on a children's television! So kudos for their determination!

So why is it such a big deal? Because we are talking about children's television and to actually have queer representation in one is a very progressive move. Our lives are shaped by the society we are in, and while you can say there are many queer movies out there already, but to actually portray one in a kid's show, apart from Legend of Korra, I would say none has made it this obvious or that far. It is so important to teach our children from young that love is never wrong, whether it is happening between two person of different or same sexes so that they can start seeing things with open minds, that non-heterosexual people exist out there and it's okay if you are one of these people because ultimately, it is just two humans falling in love with each other. Love is never wrong.

And here I would like to quote directly from Bryke's tumblr:

“I’ve become skeptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live - if I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love.” - Hayao Miyazaki (a masterful storyteller and co-founder of Studio Ghibli.)

I agree with him wholeheartedly, especially since the majority of the examples in media portray a female character that is little more than a trophy to be won by the male lead for his derring-do. So Mako and Korra break the typical pattern and end up respecting, admiring, and inspiring each other. That is a resolution I am proud of.

However, I think there needs to be a counterpart to Miyazaki’s sentiment: Just because two characters of the same sex appear in the same story, it should not preclude the possibility of a romance between them. No, not everyone is queer, but the other side of that coin is that not everyone is straight. 
Legend of Korra has its flaws, it is not perfect. But what is true is that all big dreams begin with one small tiny step and LOK has certainly make its first mark and hopefully we will begin to witness positive changes in the media, children and mature televisions alike. Thank you Bryke and Michael for the awesomeness.

Did I also mention that Legend of Korra has really cool fighting scenes too?

Go check out what Bryke and Michael have written in their tumblr!

Cheers Korrasami fans!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hangover Happens All The Time

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For those avid readers out there, I am sure you are familiar with this feeling - BOOK HANGOVER.

I kinda get this all the time because I read super a lot thanks to my nifty little eReader- Kobo Mini. And you can read all about it of its awesomeness right here.

Back to being book hangover, the only cure is to read more books. Yeap, and that's what I am going to do - to read more books! There are millions of great books out there waiting for me to explore them all, I can't waste any more time!

While I was browsing around the internet, I found this which practically explains all my book-hangover-feels. - 21 Signs You are suffering a book hangover.

Alright folks, I am off to reading more and more wonderful books.

Monday, December 8, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014

Before A Vacation


After I have started working, I have come to realize that taking vacation isn't easy! Like first, you need to plan your timing properly so that it doesn't clash with some important projects. And then sometimes you don't even know when an important project will come along! And then before you leave for a vacation, you need to either finish up all your responsibilities or hand over to someone and be super worried throughout the entire vacation.

This is serious business.
Working world ain't busy, you have been warned, youngster.
Welcome to working world!

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