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The last I checked, I was up at 3am — partly contemplating life, partly eating, partly scribbling stuff I can’t actually read in a notebook. Bad idea in the middle of the week. Bad idea. It is extremely difficult to survive an entire workday on merely three hours of sleep.
School has been survivable with no real sleep at all, a normal day at work would arguably have been survivable as well — if played tactically and if fortune was on my side. But it wasn’t. Misfortune works in the strangest of ways — the (in army language:) “most busiest” of days had to strike on the most sleepless, lethargic, moody and zombie of days. Its like having a ginormous dog chase you on the very day you sprained your ankle.
Sleeplessness is almost a transcendental state — everything, good and bad, just whizzes past. I’m hardly even thinking or remembering anymore; it’s all just a flurry of auto-pilot reflexes and a lot of time spent staring into thin air. I could actually use willpower to press on if I had any form of raison d’etre — but I didn’t. It was all pointless.
Fortunately, there’s this strange phenomenon: when the body hits the minimum point of energy, it bounces back up, almost as though its tapping upon some new source of energy — like a new set of batteries, or your stomach starting to digest your own stomach and hence not feel hungry anymore. And it came most conveniently as the day drew to a close, and I was about to prepare to spend an evening out.
But what brightened my day was a rather simple pleasure from the office and…
ah i needa sleep. otherwise i’ll spend tmr – which is arguably busier than today- in a mood as bad, or worse, than today. later.
Up 3am contemplating life– when I realised that i might never have the time and chance to call back in a long while. given how random unexpected events are unfolding, it would be extremely awkward to call back. i actually need to conform to some social expectations, as much as i wouldnt want to.
then i was glad that i did the last time a few weeks back.
Truly truly, I say unto you — there are those who when they say: “I want a Moonstone,” I will go on a quest to get a piece of moonstone.
I will steal, lie, cheat, hire other people to steal-lie-cheat, seduce other women, bribe angels, and heck even work for it and pay an honest day’s wages — all for a moonstone, all without knowing why I feel such a need to.
So ladies, gents and midgets, where can I get this piece of moonstone? Please don’t say “The Moon”; it would make me really angry.
- Frank Tyger.
Yeah I know I used this quote before. But I always thought that I could remain as a satisfied yet motivated worker/individual. I always thought that I was awesome enough to transcend this obvious trade-off. But framing things in the perspective of rationality, it just isn’t possible.
Generally, people need to go through certain events -and how they respond- to find out more about who they are, rather than who they think they are. And thats what it took for me to realise that being satisfied and having improvements really do clash. If you’re dissatisfied, work on it. If you’re satisfied, why carry on?
But things aren’t normally so clear-cut — there are always some in-betweens. i.e. you’re fucking sian but too lazy to improve. It’s a bit like people who hate smoking but can’t quite. With that I present to you a mathematical formula: The Satisfaction Hope Improvement Threshold. If I was famous for being a genius and knew some other genius (who is ambitious, driven etc etc), then I’d give it the nicer sounding lloyd-someoneelse Threshold.
Satisfaction gradient/Hopefulness gradient
x (Current satisfaction + Perceived potential dissatisfaction+Difficulty of change)
/(Current dissatisfaction + Perceived potential satisfaction)
The satisfaction gradient: a reflection of how easily satisfied/unsatisfied a person’s character is. The higher the satisfaction gradient, the higher the threshold before a need for change is felt. This gradient is an internal factor — the same problems experienced by a more tolerant/satisfied person are less impactful. The same cookhouse shit could pass the mark for some, but not others.
At times, this is affected by external factors like ‘ pushes’ from friends, social pressures/stigma. Yet these external factors vary from individual to individual. i.e. everyone is having a mac, therefore you should get one too. or everyone is having a mac, therefore you shouldn’t get one too.
The hopefulness ,or expectations, gradient is the ‘future tense’ version of the satisfaction gradient. Basically, how well you expect changes to go. The more optimistic you are, the higher the gradient. Coupled with the satisfaction gradient, the satisfaction-expectations gradient affects the entire threshold.
Current satisfaction: how satisfied you are now.
Perceived potential dissatisfaction: the risks, fears and perceived downsides of change. The actual downsides aren’t as important as the perceived downsides.
Difficulty of change: the more difficult to change, the less likely it is to change
Current dissatisfaction + Perceived Potential Satisfaction: A shitty present, added to a hope for a better tomorrow, pushes one towards change. Think Starving Russians plus Messiah ideology = go for it!
The higher the threshold, the more it will take to get someone to change. Of course the usual problem is that you can’t even derive the numerical values of satisfaction, hopefulness, dissatisfaction etc etc — like finding out what your MC=MR curve really is in real life -_-.
Why am I writing all these nonsense?
1. I had too much drink. The creativity is supposed to go into essays that might actually affect my future but….ohwell.
2. I broke the threshold FINALLY — I have upgraded my piece of shit to a new proper kickass phone. I’ve been wanting this since last September. Instead of hoping for my old phone to die (or “kill it”), I went on to simply getting a new one.
3. As for some other more important things, I’m still weighing the costs and benefits. I’m still deciding. And my formula comes relevant. That, really is the clash between satisfaction and the probability of potential improvement — and how hopeful I am of either.
well, i can’t/shouldn’t say more. but most of my intellectual energy behind writing are now focused on something less frivolous.
i hate having to brag about myself though — i’m supposed to be humble.
Having observed epic cockups and good examples of how not to run an organisation (plus too much water) all in one morning, I needed to use the toilet desperately.
Some symbolically-high person tried to stop me from leaving the formal ceremony, but I didn’t care really– because man only has three basic primal needs. (actually, i’m not sure which the three are. changes from time to time).
Funnily, some lyrics popped into my head at that moment:
“...I didn’t need the pain/Once or twice was enough and it was all in vain/Time starts to pass before you know it you’re frozen.“
“They tried to pull me away, but they don’t know the truth.”
Nothing short of INCEPTION/SHUTTER ISLAND would have stopped me from making a run for it. (that was one traumatising experience that set in freaking stone my practice of emptying the tank before every movie)
Since I can’t afford the perfume, the poster will do. Will buy dinner for someone who gets me the poster (of sufficient size and quality. terms and conditions apply).
hrm, my this post seems very out of character.
Pardon the double negative. I barely ever take MC: I haven’t at all this year, and I haven’t at all whenever i didn’t have to sleep over. Again, pardon the double negative. But when there is a need to sleep over, taking an MC becomes very very appealing. It becomes worth it — one entire day less of nonsense activities, one entire day of ownership over time to yourself. One less night spent sleeping in a random place with random people, and one more night spent in your comfortable bed. Four straight days is shorter than five straight days.
Many people do it. It’s almost an open secret that people do take time off even when not really ill. But I will not do it — because it is incorrect in principle, and goes against my values of pride, honour, dignity, integrity and honesty.
Yeah yeah yeah. But really, one main reason I am not inclined to take an MC is that I hate doctors, clinics and the whole hassle of waiting in clinics to see doctors. More spectacularly, each and every time I plan to take an MC, I actually fall ill for real. Like Magick.
Overall, it’s probably just because I am unmotivated, so unmotivated, to even take an MC. Some decisions are made with an irrational motivation. It might be fear (for most people), pride and guilt (both for stupid people) and sometimes just because there is stronger enforcement in pushing you back to the bunk, than to the doctors. It’s like there is not enough impetus to break the inertia and alter the original course of events.
With that, I took a potentially worth it day of doing things I want to do — and threw it away. To forgo one more day of my own life belonging to me, that must be irrational.
P.S. going back in about two hours time, including packing time — still no sianness yet. Just trying to figure out my decision making process.
Three days and two nights pass so quickly — the fact that I needed to stay with random people in a random place for such a duration still hasn’t hit me. Fortunately, it never did. There was no on-the-way-there dread, no sianness, and not even a “i wanna go home” feeling of rush. It was a holiday to me. A holiday doesnt have to be luxurious — any (passably comfortable) break away from work counts. And it did help that the preceding week was a rather tiring and annoying one. Heck, I think I had even less travelling dread/sianness/wanting-to-leave than a normal day at work.
A few days back, I was talking about minimal packing. Here’s the outcome: I actually brought one extra set of main clothes, forgot to bring toilet paper (which I had to pay 30 cents for a roll later), and I was down to my final final piece for the most important article of clothing….which dropped on the wet floor after I had finished showering. Such misfortune. The first word that left my mouth when that happened should be quite obvious (Hint: rhymes with Duck, or rather Duck!!! Note your first thought when this happens to you). In that second as I rushed to pick it up, I was actually deciding between wearing a dirty pair and wearing a wet pair.
Fortunately, and by the same fortune that got me to my current workplace, it was still dry despite landing on a freaking layer of water. I have no idea how that happened. Some queer people may say it was the WINGS OF ANGELS that protected my stuffs. Others may say that the eight second rule applies to clothes that fall on wet ground. Or maybe even that I mistakenly brought my swim trunks instead. But whatever the reason, I don’t really care and I really don’t care. I am just glad that I didnt have to spend the day all damp and uncomfortable.
Amazingly, I wouldn’t actually mind another five days of this — I shouldn’t speak too soon though. But if there’s one thing I really miss — it wasnt the comfort of home, or the com and internet, that most people would have missed (I seldom miss things.)– it is that favourite moment of a normal workday: when I am in the pool with my close friends at work. It’s the only thing on my mind while on a afternoon run, a hot afternoon run.
That, and a nice cold can of SUPER “blue mountain” coffee that I always sneak off to get after running.
“As a result of their training, lawyers have selectively morbid imaginations. Professionally, they are concerned with agreements only when they are broken; with marriages only when they have collapsed; with medical treatment only when it has gone disasterously wrong; with factories only when the machinery has injured someone. Their perception of when people do or do not contemplate litigation is distorted by their own knowledge of when litigation occurs.”
- Stephen Hedley
That, and you’re selling morality for money. There is one other job I know that does that.
“So where to now? Knowing that I’m destined to grow old and infirm and eventually die, that I’m to lose everything I ever had or loved, including my own self, why, I sometimes ask, bother to continue living? Why, in a godless universe, should I continue to push this burdenous rock of Sisyphus just one more day? Why not just get it over with and kill myself right here and now? Though during some of the more distressing times in my life, I may sometimes toy with such ideas, I console myself with the realization that if there really is no spiritual real, no soul, and no afterlife, then I’ll have all eternity to not exist, to not have to endure the vagaries of capricious reality. With this in mind, why not make the most of this fleeting experience called life while it’s available to me? Even if I were to procure just one more moment of genuine happiness that would still be one more than nothing.
Perhaps the mere fact that we are cognizant of anything at all is reason enough to celebrate life. How many other combinations of matter can do what we can? What other molecular entity possesses the capacity to laugh; to love; to ponder its own existence; to appreciate works of music, art, literature; to aspire, to hope, to dream? Even if it should turn out that we are just spiritless atoms cavorting in the void, we are still matter’s paramount form, the height of its complexity, its creme de la creme — nature’s chosen macromolecules.
Besides, even if it should turn out what we call happiness is nothing more than the manifestation of strictly physiological processes, do we experience it any less? whether I’m mortal or immortal, a spiritual entity or a spiritless organic machine, are these not my experiences? Either way, am I any less me? Moreover, the mere fact that I can never know what each next moment will bring means that, as mechanical life might be, mine remains a wondrous and beautiful mystery. “
- Matthew Alper
As I pack for my waste-time event of lectures and games (sounds a bit like school doesnt it) and mindless waiting (still a bit like school), let me summarise my packing philosophy for the past two years, and probably even longer than that, with a few sets of platitudes and cliches that can almost be government campaign slogans:
Pack Less — Less packing is less stressing.
Travel Light — Nobody likes an overweight luggage.
Regret Later — LIVE IN THE PRESENT.
No spares? Buy later.
No money? Just borrow.
No shops? Just share.
Just DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT forget your DS charger, phone charger and tidbits — you cannot risk the possibility of someone not lending them to you, or shops not selling those. How the heck do you even realistically expect to spend a night in camp without internet, a game and junk food?
In reality, I still rather use my own soap and shampoo, and most definitely, my own toothpaste. ….and I hope I remember to pack my toothbrush tomorrow :O
I always thought that Indians had an insane level mental capacity. The Chinese are good at math; the Westerner is good at writing. The Indian, I believe, can do both, and much more — even engineering, philosophy etc etc. Probably due to the language — scientific studies show that learning an indian language from young increaes intelligence. Apparently this Pakistani (not indian) guy got 22 A’s for A levels and got into Cambridge. Woah, imba.
Admittedly, Further Maths is probably more important to his course in Computer Science than Tourism and Psychology…but its still a feat nonetheless to even be able to go through this much. If he started of with only six subjects with chem and math included, that would have been below average.
Now this is what I call a market spoiler — now tonnes of all these students in China, India and maybe even Singapore are going to follow suit, by attempting to take a heck lot of papers, and in turn spoiling the market for everyone else. Now the floodgates have been opened and a precedent set. And the market is spoilt because previously these people could have just settled for eleven papers! Now they have to double that.
But few will undoubtedly be able to accomplish such a feat. Maybe this guy will pull a second raid when he takes extra cambridge courses too!
Given that he mentioned he used to be a bad student, there is only one thing that comes to my mind:
and i thought i was awesome for being able to learn in three months an entire new syllabus while juggling two other of my worst subjects ….market stealer.
Maybe I should continue my quest for the Limitless drug…or just learn Urdu.
It was my week of freedom. It was the first week after exams, and the last week before a two week period of idiocy and redundancy. It was my only week of freedom…for now at least.
And like all weeks of freedom, the air seemed different. Your perception changes when your daily routine of activities change. It was almost as if the mind was less fixated on one specific thing.
But by some coincidence, the week at work seemed particularly dreary. Shittiness was like a bell curve — building up till a climax at the Wednesday mark before slackening as the weekends came nearer. For the first time, the thought (that had occured to everyone else already) came upon me — I wanted to get out of here. Although life is good, with more spent on rest-relaxation-recreation than menial tasks, I wanted out. I suppose thats why governments fear idle hands: they bring active minds.
In the mean time, I needed to go out for dinner in the evening. The day would have otherwise felt meaningless. Previously, I would have been too tired. Now I not only felt that it was necessary, but that I almost had a spare battery to go out at night. Because of my relative seclusion for the past two months, I wanted to catch up with quite a number of people and make up for lost time. Of course I couldn’t meet everyone that I wanted to in a single week, I could only meet five. Funnily enough, I managed to meet one from each “category” of friend.
Perhaps I will have yet another perspective change when I come out from my two weeks of redundant turd — because I have yet another single week of freedom before class starts.
Wrote this somewhat lengthy post on contemplating life (while playing a game on the bus home). got lazy to articulate my reasons and refine the coherence after a while. decided to scrap it -_-
But the summarised version is this: Life really isn’t about all these big important plans that we have and the direction that we want to take. Undoubtedly, these are at times important, but they are not necessary. They’re not what life is about. Surprisingly, life isn’t about the important things — it’s about the trivial, the frivolous, the simple. The unimportant things makes life worthwhile.
There’s simply so much more to life. Life isn’t this straight-forward narrative; it is a colourful tapestry.
There’s this book called the Wisdom of Crowds. Wisdom, my ass. I maintain that the majority of people are rather obtuse.
At an examination center, the registration counters don’t open till around 8 and while registration was still closed, some bunch of morons started to queue up at 745.
Soon, peer pressure reared its ugly head. Everyone started queuing….at a queue that didn’t move at all. AT ALL. Even the queue of a ladies room has some rate of movement. This had none at all. There’s no purpose behind queuing. This incident exemplifies the notion of “SPOIL MARKET”. If the first bunch of people didn’t decide to start queuing, everyone could be happily seated. Now everyone is worse off, as they try to compete with each other. Hrm, sounds like a familiar game theory thing.
So I was sitting there comfortably, looking all “im more prepared than all of you people flipping through your notes last minute” and smug (as usual), watching the queue grow longer and longer, and just trying to understand this mass psychology. After all what rush is there? what need is there to spend the time standing with a huge ass book when you could be sitting? In fact, wouldn’t last minute revision be more effective spent sitting down rather than standing?
So after some twenty minutes, the officials finally arrived. The first batch of people who had registered then went on and CLUSTER in front of a locked examination hall. Right, so these people rushed from standing in a queue to….standing in a crowded area.
Okay fine, the examination hall did open eventually — so these people entered the hall to sit there and stone, even though they were going to spend four freaking hours in that same hall.
Most people spent around 15 to 25 minutes in a long queue (with a lot of noisy foreign students left, right, in front and behind). I spent 1 minute to get up, head over to the empty counter, and walk into the hall right before the paper starts. Every minute spent sitting down when someone else is standing is a minute earned. Quite sure Ben Franklin said something along those lines…or something like that.
What a wonderful way to start a paper.
And I saw this girl sitting diagonally in front of me cheat today. Tsk tsk. I would have confronted her and told her that she scores a 550 in Integrity even with a bell curve. I wouldn’t have actually complained (i think bao-tao ing is a sin); i just thought it’d be fun to scare a person and leave the person with feelings of fear, anxiety and regret for a night or two. (for some reason, I think of this as a lesser sin than directly reporting the person.) But four things stopped me:
1. if someone ever confronted me and me that she saw me cheating — the first thing i’ll do is to report the person before she reports me. (note my reasonable gender assumptions.)
2. The person probably won’t do well anyway — by the very fact that she needed to cheat.
3. I spend enough time on weekdays dealing with a lousy liar with little integrity who constantly tries to deny and deny. Saturday is a rest day.
4. she wasn’t pretty.
almost exactly a year ago today, i reached this stage of not wanting to do anymore work, read any more, study anymore and prepare for my ib exams. in fact, i didn’t want to do anything. i merely loafed about for quite a number of days.
Does the world work in annual cycles?
I think not. It’s probably just a standard pre-exam syndrome that I have: as exams approach, I do less and slack more. I mean, my blogposts of nonsense have been increasing, rather than decreasing over the past week. I’m spending more and more idle time in office. I’ve been “appearing offline”, but for other reasons. All these are largely due to the thought of all the things I can do after keep coming.
From one perspective, I should be increasingly prepared as the exam approaches — and hence prepare less as time passes. From another, it’s like having run five rounds around the track — you just want to walk the last round by then.
I will not deny that last minute preparation works. It worked like Popeye’s spinach to my sister (who recently topped english AND chinese). And I recall a very moody me late last year rushing to prepare for a common law paper over my hanis sandwich dinner right before the paper. (amazing how i nevertheless topped the paper then. some mental focus.)
But i refer you to my classic Effort-Results Curve. Last minute preparation only benefits those on the lower end of the curve. For those nearing saturation, last minute preparation does more harm than good, by generating anxiety and over-writing existing knowledge. This may be why some hardworking people do less well when exams come (i can think of quite a number from a few years back) — i have been perpetually trying to find an answer to this seemingly unfair notion.
It’s probably more important to get a good rest and relax the day before. But I’m by no means free — I adhere religiously to strict sleeping patterns (instead of my fuckedup wake up after midnight hours), abstain from alcohol, and eat only LUXURIOUS FOOD.
yeah, only luxurious food.
And I’ve still no idea what to do immediately after. I know the big jumble of things to do over the month or so, but which do i do first? This is bad. My mind is more on all the things I’ll be doing after, rather than the paper to come.
A young man approaches with a file in hand, a rhetorical script waiting behind his lips, and his commission from the amount collected in mind. He doesn’t really give a toss about the plight of needy children; he wants his commission. There are only two words you need to say.
A young schoolgirl approaches with a can in hand. She doesn’t care about cancer patient; she thinks they’re gross — thats why she’d rather collect coins than like…talk to them. She doesn’t get any money; she just has compulsory hours to fulfill, or a nice title of project manager for some service project to embellish her CV. There are only two words you need to say.
Your business company tries to coerce you into buying their performing arts tickets, reminding you that the Heavens favour a ungrudging philanthropist. (Business organisations nowsadays are like churches and educational institutions) – there are only two words you need to say.
A woman hands out flyers advertising armpit hair removal. She doesn’t care about the company or you; she’s paid to give all the papers out. Actually, its hard work standing to give out papers, but there are no freaking dustbins at mrt stations these days — only two words to say.
A credit card salesman approaches you. He’s in it for the money, but it’s okay, he’s doing his job …. nevertheless, there are only two words to say.
A psycho member of the opposite gender tries to proposition– two words.
A crazy member of the SAME gender tries to jump onto you — TWO WORDS.
…but two words here and two words there, makes many words everywhere. Its too much trouble to try to detour as you observe the starved eyes of people trying to approach. Wouldn’t it be easier and more convenient if the lazy person could just take his hand and put it on his chest, and point:
A shirt will send a clear message, probably for the whole night. None of you are going to my money…or anything else in my pants. Eat some food vouchers instead!! (more about this some other time, after my approaching exams)
wait, the FREE SAMPLE — I want my free sample of green tea ice cream/yoghurt/ntuc laksa!! I am interested in those!
For all who are not interested, let me know — we can bulk buy the shirt.
For all who are interested, let me know — we can bulk buy the shirt.