Monday, May 30, 2016 | By: VenWizard

Heartbeat

I am placing my right hand on my chest, and I can feel my heart beating underneath the ribs. Heartbeats. Irregular heartbeats. It was an overwhelming week for me. Or weeks. I am being very observing of these parts of my body. The organs. The cells. I am observing how they are responding to this chemical substance that is responsible for the sadness I am feeling. It is strange how fleeting images of certain people--certain scenes from my life--flash right before my eyes. When I am clearly digesting that one single line from the book. When I am concentrating on that heart-wrenching murder scene. When I am distractedly gazing at my shaking hand. I keep feeling my heartbeat. I keep noticing my breathing. Is that how a heartache feels like? 
Sunday, April 17, 2016 | By: VenWizard

Jigsaw

My two-day getaway trip just ended, and here I am, all by myself, doing the things I love. I love the fact that Phnom Penh has that laid-back, lazy, holiday-ish mood to it now that people have not returned from their respective destinations. Anyway, I just took great pleasure in reading PM's second post on her private blog, and I was sincerely happy seeing that she made the effort to be active on her second blog (3rd? 4th?). She wrote about friends not having the traits she desired.

I got over that for quite some time now! And I have come to the realisation that these friends are like missing pieces of the jigsaw. You take one piece from this friend and another from that friend to fit everything together to form a complete jigsaw. The important thing is the knowledge of which friend plays his part best in which scenario. There is a saying that goes, "You can't expect a bird to hold and a hand to fly". It is true in every way! A bird can fly, and a hand can hold. But the roles cannot be swapped. I have learnt I cannot expect a quiet friend who enjoys having deep conversations with me to have as much fun drinking and clubbing the nights away. Neither can I vent out my deep dark secrets on someone who has the attention span of a 5-years-old. We all at one point wish that one friend could do both or more, but friendship-wise, there is no crime more barbaric than trying to change a friend, for your very own sake. However, things have been so much better for me when I have finally figured this out, but now that I start thinking about it, my mind is on something else. A relationship. 

Knowing which friend fits in well with which context and therefore taking actions accordingly is healthy for all parties involved since you know where that line is drawn. But then when it comes down to a relationship, it is probably ten times harder. We are talking about finding that needle in the haystack! How could you possibly find someone who could enjoy clubbing as much as sitting down in a quiet coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon, sipping coffee and just thinking about life? Someone who loves the wet, wild crowd on a New Year's Eve as much as the peace and quiet of the countryside? Someone who loves talking as much as staying silent? How could possibly find that someone?

They tell us to love an imperfect person perfectly! That rhymes and it sounds beautiful and everything. But then doesn't it come across as something forced and not natural? We do not set out to find that perfect person, but we do hope to find someone who could connect with us on many different levels. We set out, not to find the pieces, but to find the jigsaw! Don't get wrong! I do not spend all this time alone being bitter and thinking about this and everything. But it's just that it amazes me how someone could bump into his "soulmate" despite the billions of people out there. At other times, I have seen people who are the exact opposites fall in love, and it gets me thinking how that is even possible noting that they can barely connect on anything. Is it as if they had to build everything, including their very own traits, from scratch? Or, is it simply because they are just trying too hard to make it work? Or are they simply oblivious to everything I have just mentioned here and just … live?

Jigsaw, where are you? 

P. S: I am not even trying now. Or possibly EVER.
Sunday, March 27, 2016 | By: VenWizard

Empathy … or not?

Everyday at work is a behavioural experiment to me. I try new persona and observe and see what work in what situations and what don't.

I guess I have always been very observing from the start, and I have that empathy that draws me to people with troubling problems! While a lot of people communicate at ease, others find it hard to just lock eyes and strike a conversation. As a teacher, I did tap into that skill of mine, but not to the point where i myself have to try on new persona. 

I know I have a pair of attentive ears! I am that friend who listens to your problems and makes you feel appreciated. But then that was it! At one point I thought that empathy that was built in me was more of a curse than a blessing because of the long history I had with friends. Not until quite recently did I learn that I could put it to use in the work environment as well--though with caution. 

What I do is I prey upon those with vulnerabilities, those with pressing issues, and you know what it is like to be out there fighting on your own, having no one to even try to understand you? I understand that very well! That is where I step in, singling them out one at a time. I can offer to pay for some coffee and all I need to do is to prick that wound a little and there it goes: all the information I wanna know about the other party, something that would otherwise be withheld from me. I know this sounds pretty negative, but knees-deep in the office politics as I am now, I can turn this empathy as a weapon instead. What I have learnt is just because people come to you during their hard time doesn't mean that they trust you or that you are their best ally. It just simply means: they don't have a choice!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | By: VenWizard

Grieving

Grieving is very important and super healthy. At least, that's how it works for me. That is how I deal with losses, not necessarily only of loved ones, but also of opportunities that I have high hopes for. There is a saying that goes: "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst". The truth is you can never prepare for the worst! And you can never lower your expectations to the point where you don't get disappointed with the results if they turn out to be different from what you want. However, instead of cutting yourself off from the world to grieve--it could be a day or two or a little longer, some manage to put on a smile and try to convince themselves they are okay because they are prepared EMOTIONALLY even though clearly nobody can prepare feelings for anything. Feelings are not items you can put on the shelf for public display once you are happy or pack them back in the box once  your mood swings to the darker thoughts. Admit you feel sad! Admit you feel disappointed! Admit all that! Because the only way you can get a clear head and move on is through your utter honesty with yourself!

This is where grieving comes in! To me, grieving is the process by which you communicate with your inner thoughts, and in this case, it could be your disappointment, your sadness, your dying hope, your sudden drain of mental energy, or the combination of all. Usually I don't talk to people when I am that messed up in my head because I have tried and most of the time, they have made everything worse--with the best intentions at heart, though. Some would be so angry and would push me to give up and move on. Others would try to show more empathy, which somehow would only put me in a place where I would feel so weak and insecure. So I need to be on my own, just me and my thoughts. 

Because my mental and emotional beings are already at stake, I feel the urge to take care of my physical being first. I would normally start off with the super relaxing two-hour oil massage. Trust me it still feels magical despite how sneaky those disappointing thoughts could once in a while squeeze their way through my head. Then I would eat my favourite food: hot wings! The hotter, the better! The wings are so spicy and good at the same time that I almost feel happy at times as some research says spicy foods create endorphins which are the chemical substances in the brain that boost your mood. A massage and hot wings aren't complete without a good laugh at the cinema! 

Depending how huge your disappointment is, these tricks are only distractions, and yes, they are part of the grieving process! I would normally need to have a conversation with my brain. This is the only way i could have closure with myself and with this issue at hand! I would go to a coffee shop, preferably one with see-through glass panes that overlook beautiful scenery, and in this case, the riverside Gloria Jeans' Coffee Shop. People who have been there clearly know the breathtaking view I am talking about! This kind of scenic beauty sort of gives my thoughts freedom to wander. The last thing I want right there is for my mind to be trapped in an enclosed space. Then I would start reflecting on the whole process of what went wrong. I would ask myself a lot of questions until I get to the point where: Do I give up now or is there more I can give? 

In this case, nope, I am not ready to give up just yet! I think if i haven't failed yet … not until I give up, and I am angry and disappointed and sad, but in a way, I am motivated, and I know what areas I have to work on! I'll give it one more shot! I'd love to see how it goes!

I'm done grieving! 
Thursday, February 4, 2016 | By: VenWizard

That One Book That Impacted Me So Much

Let me get this straight: I am not the self-help-book person! I do not go to a bookstore, hurry to the "Self-Help" Section, glimpse through the covers of the new arrivals on the shelf, and buy one home! At least … not before I read "Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success". 

It was one of those days when I was off the hook from work, and as part of my routine, before watching a movie, I would walk into The Monument Bookstore, just one floor below the cinema. I had no particular book in mind then, but even if I did, I would not be willing to spend money on any when I could get access to plenty of free pirated ebooks (thanks for not judging me). The widely-beaming bald man with super white teeth and in a suit-and-tie fashion was staring straight at me from the cover of a book as I took a few steps closer to the shelf. I had known Steve Harvey ever since I started watching those talk shows, and who wouldn't have when his name was always associated with The Family Feud? Just to kill the time, I decided to flip through a few pages, and began reading. I finished one page after another. And before I knew it, I was standing there for almost an hour, and I was already somewhere halfway through the book. There were moments of adrenaline rushing down my spine as I processed some of the things he wrote. It was no doubt I felt empowered. Motivated. Ready. By far, this had been the ONLY self-help book which impressed me to the point where I knew I had to get it from the shelf! So I bought the book. I even went as far as downloading the audio files so that I could listen to him in the car, and during my bicycle ride. 

Okay! Since I have limited experience reading self-help books, I do not know whether other books of the same genre could possibly have that kind of impact that this book has had on me. I would really love to recommend this book to anyone who is at this point in life who feels you are tired with your own routines and you sort of feel you are going in circles. If you are that person, then you might wanna give it a try. But then if you are not at that stage yet, maybe just give it a pass!
Thursday, January 21, 2016 | By: VenWizard

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE

I am turning 28 in three weeks, and I am still single. I am sure you can probably imagine the growing frustration at every dinner table during my catch-up reunion dinners. When a lot of your friends are either married or--at the very least, dating, and you are neither, they probe you like you are some sort of an interesting subject of a life science experiment. They start putting you on the spot and scrutinising you as if there was something quite dangerously wrong about you. At first, I attempt to open up and walk them through the reasons why I am not dating, not that I do not have a chance. But the funny thing is no matter how truthful you are willing to be with them, they still refuse to digest the reasons, and prefer to stick to their own skepticisms. After a while, I just give up on the explanations.

I am dedicating this post to those friends and acquaintances of mine who genuinely want to find out why I am still single. Should this discussion pop up at any dinner tables in the near future, I will just refer them to this blog post. It is important that you TRUST me, or else, do not even bother reading the rest of the entry.

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE:

1. Multiple dates, similar cycles. Let me get one thing straight! I have tons of dates! Because I have so much experience dating around, I realise there is a similar pattern to every dating process. While the process is fun and exciting at first, after a while, I get to the point where I go, "Ahhhhh! She isn't right for me!" Don't judge me just yet! I am not a player! I always start every date with a serious intention! There has got to be some sort of chemistry before I start, but as much as I love it to blossom into something beautiful, it does not end that way. With a lot of those girls, I still remain friends with them, though.

2. Heart breaks. If I have to name one thing that has changed me into the person I am today, it has to be that last relationship. I liked this girl. I chased after her for two years. I finally confessed, but I got rejected. I kept a good distance from her. After a while, we got to hang out again along with other friends. I confessed again because I was not ready to let go. I got rejected again. We lost touch for a while. One day, a friend of hers told me she liked me. I was confused. Mad confused. But again, I was not ready to let go. I asked her again. This time she said she was not sure. So somehow we got into this so-called "three-month-trial" relationship. Things were pretty at first. After a while, even before the deadline, I was sure she was not into me. So we broke up. I spent roughly three years with this girl. Now we are not in touch anymore. I do not see the reasons why we need to be. It is best for us. It is best for me. It was a living hell for me, at first. But because of this relationship, I learnt so much. 

3. Different person. A lot of people raise their eyebrows in scepticism when I give them relationship advice because I am single. What they do not know is I am probably one of the few people they know who has dated so much, reflected so much about dating, tried so much, and given up so much too. So if anything, I am definitely qualified enough. Thanks to all of the experiences, I have become a better person. I do not see the relationship the same way, with so much heart invested. I am more logical. 

4. Different focus. I am at this point in my life where I focus so much on building myself: my career and my business. I have never been so full of myself before. Because every decision I make, and every effort I put in involves leading up towards my goals, anything else such as a relationship is a distraction. I have witnessed how much commitment and effort some of my friends put into maintaining their relationship, and it exhausts me!

5. Miss Right not found. Even my definition of "Miss Right" has changed over the years. I can only date someone who understands me. Yup. It might sound like a cliche but it is very fundamental to my relationship if i am going to be engaged in one. She has to understand I am no longer that man who chases after her, who pleases her, and who cares so much about what she is up to. I need my space, and my time for working towards my goals. That is to say, if she seeks too much of my attention, I gotta say goodbye to her. She has to be mature in the sense that she gotta have goals of her own, and knows how to get there. That way, she is busy pursuing hers too, and that way she does not feel I am the only one doing something about my life. Also, I find that kind of girl very attractive. 

Okay, now you know why! I would be lying if I told you I had never had second thoughts about the whole relationship thing. But I am glad my senses win me over. Besides, I have never been so happy being single in my life like right now. I feel the drive to pursue what I want to do with my future, and the last thing I want to have is a bad relationship that sucks me back into that sink hole!
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 | By: VenWizard

Gaara Sand


I am here today because i just finished reading Gaara's latest post, and as ALWAYS, the sadness and nostalgia are splashed all over. But if there is one thing I can take away from the entry, it has to be the fact that he has always been around here, on the other side of the fence of the writing world. The lengthy, more detailed, but less popular side. Without his dedication and commitment for blogging, I might have given up on blogging too. Yup! You heard me right--though I hate to give him credits for that! Anyways, every time before I blog, I always read his posts. Now imagine having nothing to read EVER from him--no matter how lame he can sometimes get! So yeah, I owe a great deal to him for being that source of blogging inspiration he has always been since Day 1. Because of this, I would like to WASTE this particular entry on him: The Gaara Sand!

Flashing back to 2004, I met this guy! He was a nerd from head to toe. Everything about him screamed "NERD". His glasses. His hairstyle. His shoes. His backpack. Even his way of carrying himself around. You see, I was, too, but cooler! We happened to be in the same class at IFL--not that I could have a choice, and as much as my memory could serve me right, we were not close. Not then. Not now. But we were both huge fans of Harry Potter, and that was probably why I gave him a chance and talked to him in the first place. But let me get one thing straight: between the two of us, I was the smarter one. I OUTPERFORMED him in the class. After one particular grammar practice test, he approached me, to my surprise, but instead of being all nice and friendly, he challenged me to see who would get a better score from the test. The winner would get treated to a bottle of Coke at the school canteen. Well, as you could have, by now, guessed, it was NONE other than me and myself who scored higher than he did! While I took great pleasure in witnessing his sour face as a result of his defeats, this academic rivalry between us did not last long, though, since he left for Malaysia after his freshman year.

Facebook was not a thing back then. Even if it had been, he would not have been the Facebook type either. The only little string of connection we had was this platform: blogging. Given my passion for writing, blogging served my purpose. Also, it was that period of time when a lot of my close friends were active bloggers. I remembered having so much fun reading and commenting and posting entries. But then Facebook came along … one by one, my friends started giving up on blogging EXCEPT Gaara Sand. I got to admit that I, too, became less active as life and Facebook got in the way. So did Skype and other social network sites. However, the problem with Facebook was the limited number of words it allowed and therefore, it was in no way sufficient for all the lengthy and intricate thoughts that winded up their way in my head. So blogging was my last resort I turned to when I felt the need to pour down my thoughts.

Because Gaara was such a dedicated blogger, I got to know him on a deep and personal level. I learnt about his hobbies, his friends, his days, his dreams, and his insecurities. I guess he did learn about me too. I think we have had this level of understanding about each other even some of my close friends and I don't! It is probably because we are very open about our feelings in written forms, and not so much when it comes to speaking. As bookworms and movie geeks, we had the kind of conversations that I did not get to have with my close friends, and because he managed to fill up that space in my life, I always felt great talking to him in that regard. And if there was one thing I would never forget about him, it had to be the fact that he always gave me that little push in the whole authorship direction. In fact, he was the only person, out of my friends, who believed i could actually write a book and get it published! So for that, I thank him!

We both were emotional humans! On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least emotional and 10 being the most, I was 9 and he was 7. But then I went through a lot of things. So did he. Now, if you ask me to rate ourselves on the scale again, I would say I am 5 and he is 8. Yup! Or maybe he has always been 8, but it is just that quite recently he has been very vocal about his emotions. Do I feel happy about it? Nope! I know exactly how it feels like to be fighting for your way through that dark tunnel alone. I was lost. I was confused. I was broken. So if anything, I want happier posts from him, Genuine, happy posts. If I had any rights to say anything about his choices, I would say: he needs to get out of his comfort zone. This is where every dark thought is born and grows.

Good luck, Gaara Sand!