Monday, September 29, 2014 | By: VenWizard

Phobia

Let's talk about phobias! Yes, phobias! I believe everyone has phobias! I do too, but I am not sure whether it is just me or there are actually some others out there who have the phobias I am going to talk about too!

Height? Insects? Defeat?

Nahhhh … not really! I mean, admit it, everyone is afraid of height! Don't you dare tell me you are not! I think everyone is scared of height. I mean, who wouldn't? Just imagine standing on a glass floor of a glass cable car 200 meters above the sea level!!! It scares the poop out of you, i'm sure! And then we have those who are scared of insects? And when I ask them why, they start trying so hard to make insects look scary by talking about how those tiny wiggling things have the ability to squeeze their way through the ear holes!!! Well, to be honest, I am NOT scared of insects!! And admittedly, I find it ridiculous, but well I try not to judge them because it is phobia we are talking about here--it can be stupid and ridiculous, yet it is scary to some. Ok, so what about defeat? Does the prospect of failing or losing something I have been working so hard for scares me? Yes, it does! But living in this world where everyone fails at one thing or another, I have learnt to make peace with defeat. I know at one point i will fail or I already have at something, but instead of seeing it as a scar for life, I view it as a lesson learnt! Yes! A lesson! And I move on from it and live my life because I think just because I fail to get something I desire at one point doesn't define me as a loser unless I give it all up. In fact, you can say whether someone fails or succeeds only at his funeral when you are listening to or reading the eulogy. But even then, it really depends on what area of life we are talking about!

Anyway, the phobia I am going to talk about today is none of the above. It somehow sounds crazy, but it is my phobia!

Ringing phone! Yes! I know some of you go, "Seriously? A phone? A ringing phone?" Exactly! A ringing phone! Let me explain.

People who are close to me and therefore know me better can tell you that I love texting. There are times they call me yet I do not pick the calls, and instead text them back. They come up with all sorts of reasons why calling is a lot easier, yet I still find texting a lot more convenient. Isn't it crazy? I have tried to ask myself why, and I think mostly it has something to do with the fact that I am better at writing than speaking? Because when I talk on the phone, of course, I have to think about topics first before I get to the point. Weather. Well-being. The cliche Hey-how-are-you-? question. When texting, we can just cut to the chase, and say exactly what we want. Also, sometimes there are strange numbers! I hate strange numbers! They keep calling and calling despite my attempt to ignore the calls because I have no idea who it is talking on the other side. And what really annoys me is that they won't stop calling! I mean, isn't it common sense that you text the person after he does not pick up the calls? Because I rarely call strange numbers back and because they do not leave text messages after the missed calls, some information is lost. 

I know it sounds psychotic! But it is my phobia! And when we talk about phobias, we most of the time are not able to explain them.

Do you think I am a psycho or something?
Monday, August 25, 2014 | By: VenWizard

Are you a HATER?

Imagine you are snatched from your dreamland and back into the reality by the most nerve-wracking noise in the world: the alarm clock. You curse the alarm under your breath. You toss and turn a bit in your bed. You stretch your body. Then you extend your arm to reach for your phone, which has apparently been asleep by your side the whole night as well. You scroll here and here, and when you see "Facebook", you give the icon a gentle touch with your index finger. It is just a matter of seconds before your entire phone screen is engulfed by people's statuses, pictures, and videos. You have no idea what you are looking for exactly, but you just keep on scrolling down. At this point, what greet your heavy puppy eyes in the morning are: a very personal status of an old-time high school friend who describes how much she is missing her ex, a video clip of a sassy-looking contestant on The Voice Cambodia, and an "Ice Bucket Challenge" video in which a girl in her pyjamas pours a bucket of iced water over her head in response to the challenge put forth by her best friend. 

The question is: how will you react to the status, and the two videos?

The question could be instrumental in figuring out whether or not you are a HATER!

As far as I am concerned, a number of people tend to subconsciously put negative labels on people and things by basing on their perceived standard norms, which define what is normal and what is desired. As a result, chances are these people love to criticise rather than critique. Also, they retreat into very comfortable assumption that if anything or anybody is perceived to be "weird", there is nothing positive worth mentioning. The truth is they need to embrace differences and learn to accept the differences! Just because people do or say things contrary to their expectations does not necessarily imply the negativity on the part of those people or things. As a matter of fact, I believe there is always a lesson that can be learnt from everyone, no matter how "weird" they are. 

The moment you start updating a status about your personal thoughts or heart-felt experiences, some people will just emerge out of nowhere and stick a label to your forehead: "DRAMATIC". Just because they do not undergo the same experience or have the same way of expressing their thoughts does not make updating personal emotional statuses awful in any ways. They should learn to accept and embrace the fact that their way of dealing with their emotions is not any better. The same goes to people who are negatively critical about The Voice Cambodia. First, it is an international franchise, and therefore along with the licensed TV show comes expectations from the pioneer producers. Second, the fact that the coaches get a little playful with the contestants and a little vocal about trying to have the desired contestants on their team does not make the show or the judges bad. Yes, almost anything about The Voice Cambodia is different from what we normally see on TV: uptight, cold, and old judges; lack of encouraging physical contacts with the contestants in the form of a handshake or a hug; and very boring MCs. It is time they learnt to be more open, or Cambodians in general will be far behind because the first thing we do is to say "NO" to the slightest alteration or change. Then it brings me to the whole talk about "The Ice Bucket Challenge"! I believe there is nothing bad in accepting it as long as you know clearly what it is for or you feel genuine in doing it for a good cause. I was told by a friend that she would never accept the challenge because "it was too mainstream". It got me thinking, "What is wrong with being too mainstream? Does this whole mainstream idea have anything to do with making the speaker any less awesome?

It frustrates me when I am surrounded by a lot of people who react very quickly to new changes just because they are not familiar with them. All I am asking for is for them to be more open to new changes, embrace them, critique if they have to--but don't criticise, and learn to see the good in everything they label as "bad" or "weird".
Friday, August 8, 2014 | By: VenWizard

The Movie~entirely fictional

"Can I have F15, please?" I pointed at the tiny screen displaying the seats for "The Ugly Ghost", which would be screened at 7: 50 PM.

"Just one seat, sir?" The beautiful, pink-bloused counter lady with the ponytail beamed widely.

"Yes, just one! This new place is pretty quiet, isn't it? Apparently, I might be the only one watching this movie at 7: 50PM." I attempted to be a little bit more friendly, strangely feeling sorry for her. After all this place looked almost deserted, and for someone as stunning as she was, with her oval-shaped face, her black silky hair that was tied at the back into a ponytail, and a smile that could virtually melt your heart, it was undeniable that she belonged to a more decent place worthy of being more frequently visited by enthusiastic movie goers.

"Just watch out! It's Pchum Ben, after all! You never know what is in store for you ... in addition to the movie, sir!" She smiled again. My knees almost turned to jelly. 

"I can't wait! Just wish me luck, alright!" I smiled. Before she could get any more flirtatious with me, the man in the black suit, holding a walkie-talkie, marched in our direction, his eyes darting to the smiling counter lady, to me--apparently beaming like an idiot, and then back to the lady again.

Sensing the approaching presence of the man, she quickly typed here and there, and produced a ticket for me.

"3 Dollars, sir! Enjoy your movie!" She smiled again, and I returned the smile, stole a glance at the man, and walked in the direction of Hall 3.

After having my ticket inspected at the entrance of Hall 3, I took slow careful steps on the carpeted floor before my eyes could adjust to the darkness that engulfed the entire hall. F15, I reminded myself as I climbed up the steps, cautiously scrutinising the lighted letter at the beginning of each row. Once I found Row F, it was just a matter of seconds before I spotted my assigned seat. I settled down comfortably, swivelling around to see whether there had been any earlier arrivals. However, I was the only one in the hall. Chill ran down my spine and arms, giving me goosebumps. It was just the air con, I reassured myself, letting my thoughts wander off to the lady's joke. Pchum Ben … You never know what is in store for you. I shook the thought off my head.

The lights of the hall dimmed, and the gigantic canvas screen came into life. First, it was the teaser of Lucy. Then it was Sex Tape. Then … blackout. Dead silence hung over the hall. The only sound I could discern was from my heart that was beating more rapidly than usual. Pitch darkness swallowed up the entire hall. I reached down inside my right pocket for my phone as the source of light, but I found nothing except for some pieces of paper, which I assumed were the money notes. Then I reached down inside the left pocket, only to find nothing was there. I gave a long sigh of frustration in the total darkness and then bent forward, my fingers trying to feel my bag that had been positioned there after I took a seat. My fingers then felt the rough texture of the bag, and continued to run up and down the canvas material until they found the zip. Without further ado, I zipped it open, reached further down inside the bag, and withdrew the phone. I fumbled clumsily on the buttons of the phone, which as a result, projected some light.

I held my phone up in the air so that the light would cast its effect further into the darkness before where I was perching. To my surprise, three rows down, I could make out the outlines of some heads here and there, covered in black hair, some short and some so long that it went cascading down all the way to the waist. My heart was hammering against my chest. My pulses quickened. I swallowed hard. Don't be silly, Vendy, I reassured myself. They were late for the show, and that's why you didn't see them coming in. 

Then my hair stood on end. All of a sudden, I felt … breathing on my neck. It was warm. It smelled like rotten food. The stench stung my nostrils. Despite my inner effort to calm my nerves, my hands started trembling. Without turning around to investigate the source of the breathing, I snatched my half-opened bag forcibly off the floor, and with the little light the phone was shedding onto the carpet, I took to my heels. I ran so fast for my life. I bumped into sharp corners, yet I bolted so quickly for the entrance where I had come in earlier.

<>

The <> sign was flickering green as if waiting to spit me out of the nightmarish experience. With all my might, I ran towards the closed doors without thinking twice about how such an act could land me in a hospital for weeks. It's ok. It's ok. Run for the door and it's all over. Before I could reach the doors, they suddenly flung open from the outside. I came to an abrupt halt, gasping for air, and casting the light from my phone onto the sight before me.

I clutched my phone so tightly as if it was the last hope I had for survival, and raised it up high in the air to get a clearer view of the entire place. I turned around a few times to look for the cinema staff. The counter lady. The walkie-talkie man. Anyone at all.

There was no one!

My heart sank. My knees began shaking. It wasn't the lobby of the cinema! It wasn't the same place! It was … an abandoned building!

My phone shed light on the pile of the rubble before me. I shut my eyes tightly, opened them again, grit my teeth, and took a few shaky steps towards the pile to get a close-up look. Apparently, the pile was the result of the fallen ceiling since the light from my phone revealed a rather uneven hole in the above ceiling.

"Hello?" I cleared my throat and shouted out, attempting to conceal the fear that was creeping its way up and was ready to eat me up alive. The only reply to my question was its echo, reverberating throughout the deserted building. And then I felt something was … moving.

The pile of the rubble started stirring itself, stones at the top rolling down all the way to the bottom. No, no, no! Please, please, please! I wanted to run, yet my feet were rooted to the ground. My entire body was shaking like a leaf. Cold beads of sweat formed over my upper lip. My heart was palpitating so fast I knew it would burst out of my chest any moment. Yet my eyes were fixed on the rumbling rubble. Then I saw … it.

A crooked hand, bashed by the mighty force of the fallen ceiling, made its way out of the rubble pile. Then a head. The blood was gushing out of the hollow skull, streaming down the disfigured face. Slowly the figure rose to its full height. A smashed-up head, attached to the  still-intact body wrapped around in a pink blouse, legless and one arm dangling, swinging lifelessly midair.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, but no voice came out. The figure zoomed towards me until its face was only inches away from mine. Then …

"Just one seat, sir?"

I slowly opened my eyes. The disfigured face was gone. I was back in the same lobby I had once come in. I was still shaking from head to toe, and I was staring into the same eyes of the same beautiful, pink-bloused counter lady.

"What's going on?" I tried to conceal my fear, but my voice faltered.

"Just watch out! It's Pchum Ben, after all! You never know what's in store for you … in addition to the movie, sir!" She smiled at me.

Then the same man with the walkie-talkie walked in our direction, looking first at the counter lady, then at me, and finally back at the counter lady again.

I summoned all my might, and without another word, dashed out of the lobby, down the stairs, and towards my car parked on the ground floor … the only car on the ground floor. I fumbled for my car key in the pocket, and then tried to steady my shaky hand. Once I successfully opened the door, I jumped in, inserted the key, and started the engine. But something in the rear mirror caught my attention.

In the back seat, the beautiful, pink-bloused counter lady was smiling broadly at me, handing me a crumpled sheet of paper in her hand.

"3 Dollars, sir! Enjoy your movie!"

THE END.


Saturday, July 26, 2014 | By: VenWizard

Changes

Charles Darwin's theory on the survival of the fittest has won himself a global acclaim, and even within household confinement, his name and his theory are often referred to.

Am I the most adaptable to changes? NO! Can I adapt to changes eventually? YES!

Well, it is true that moving to a new workplace freaks me out a lot despite how much self-assurance i've practiced on myself over the past weeks. But while it still weighs on my mind quite heavily, it is not the main topic of this entry for the time being!

I am, in fact, going to talk about home! Yes, my very own lovely, cosy, little home. Quite recently my home has become very quiet, so quiet that it makes me wonder what is on everyone's mind. Dad seems to be lost in his own thoughts, and as far as I can tell, he tries to distract himself by lurking behind those plants and little trees he has planted with his bare hands. Mum is quiet too! Most of the time, she will just stare at one of those Hong Kong movies on TV, rapt in some distant thoughts. Well, I try to get them to talk by asking about either what my Dad is up to with the plants or what has happened to the main characters that Mum has been keeping an eye on, but that does not keep the conversations going on very long.

Then there was this one particular night when I was sitting on the swing outside the house observing my parents and trying to figure out the reasons behind the deafening silence, my brother joined me on the swing, and then he told me about the fact that the house would be so quiet after he would be married and he even shared with me his intention of staying over at our house even after his marriage. It was until at that point that I understood the mystery behind all the awkward silence! Apparently, Dad and Mum have been preoccupied with the thought of my brother's leaving. Yes, though it is a typical thing that men are supposed to get married and move away to the bride's side, when you actually come to term with it, it is a little hard, especially when my brother is always the bundle of joy, the bubbly kind, who is talkative to the point where it annoys me sometimes.

The truth is I know my home is gonna be a lot more quiet without my brother around, and yes, it will take some time for us to get used to it. In fact, recently I have tried to get home quite early, and kept mum and dad companied, or at the very least, even if i already have dinner from outside, I still have to make sure to eat my second dinner with them one more time. Also, I try to ask them about whatever they are up to--whether it is the movie they are watching, or the plants they have just brought into the house. I know I can never fill in the big shoes that my brother leaves behind because I myself know that I am going to miss him badly too after he moves out, but I have been trying my best to be involved in tiny little things at home as much as possible.

This is the change that I have to adapt to in addition to the change of workplace and lifestyle that come along the way. If I were to sit down and think about these in details, I would just stress myself out. I know this is definitely a first-world problem, but for a home as closely-knit as ours, losing a member shakes things up a little bit, and before we can find a stable ground and move on with life, we definitely need some time!
Thursday, July 17, 2014 | By: VenWizard

Goodbye

6 30PM, IFL.

This is my last day as a full-timer at IFL, and strangely I am not feeling sad nor happy. A few days ago, I was all overwhelmed by the impending goodbye, but now that it has finally arrived, I am at the complete loss for words to describe my emotions.

Have I enjoyed teaching at IFL? Yes, definitely! Two of my favourite subjects are Literature Studies and Writing Skills. Through both, I managed to flaunt my creativity as a teacher, and also my skills and knowledge. Though over the years I was required to teach pretty much the same subject matters--though with a vast variation of techniques, I still indulged in getting to know my students individually on a more personal level. Of course, I was nowhere near perfection, but I believed I managed to inspire some students in positive ways, and to realize that you could be partly responsible for someone's motivation and growth is definitely a blessing! 

However, I have a dream. Yes, a dream! This dream is so big that IFL will not be able to help me realise. After a while, despite being a happy teacher who enjoys teaching his classes, deep down I feel this is not enough, and therefore, I admit I have to look for an opportunity that can potentially land me where I would love to be. Then with a stroke of luck, this new job comes along. Well, to be very honest with you, it is not all luck! Though as far as I am concerned the new job is more promising, I do have doubts and concerns and insecurities about it. But then I know I can no longer stay put at IFL! I do not feel a sense of belonging anymore. As a matter of fact, there have been a lot of reforms, most of which are so drastic they shock me! Also, lately I have felt discredited on many occasions and little has been said about my contribution to the school. Again, I have never been perfect! But one thing for sure, care deeply for my students' learning, and when this is supposed to be something I get credited for, I don't!

In fact, it has been a bittersweet experience for me. It has enriched me as a person, and though the job I am going to be involved in demands virtually a different set of skills, there is no denying that teaching is my stepping stone! I know what I am doing is a risky investment, but it is worth a shot. Teaching can be fun and easy, but if you lose track of time, before you know it, 15 years will fly past, and as a result, you will be left with nothing but a few choices.
Monday, July 7, 2014 | By: VenWizard

Be NOT Who You Are

"Be yourself." "Be happy with who you are." "Never try to be someone you are not." "People who matter don't judge; people who judge don't matter." And the list goes on.

Well, personally, I think we have subconsciously absorbed the whole be-who-you-are ideology through American movies. 8 out of 10 American movies place a significant emphasis on this ideology, and yes, I think the Americans themselves have done a pretty remarkable job living up to the expectation of "being themselves". They fail a Math test, but it is perfectly okay because they can draw! They leave home at the age of 18 and hate their mom, but it is perfectly okay because they are being themselves and they do not have to worry about what their mom think! They are self-centred, selfish, and egotistic, but it is okay because they are just being themselves!

We, Asians, or more specifically Cambodians, have been exposed to this contagious ideology for so long and so often that it has become an integral part of our lives--especially the teens. And yes, because Cambodians hold onto the misconception that anything European is good and that anything American is better, it is hauntingly true that such quotes about individualism are well put into practice and become an integral part of our everyday life, ranging from daily personal updates of Facebook statuses to major life-changing decisions about relationship breakups.

As far as i'm concerned, quotes are created for the purpose of backing up one's stance in an argument. Chances are that no matter what situation you are in, bad or good, it is likely that you are able to find at least one quote that seems to perfectly add flowers and sunshine to your point. Likewise, the same goes for the whole be-who-you-are concept! In other words, to me, those quotes are apparently just excuses to not being committed to changes for the betterment.

It is ironic that people who stand up and go, "I am not going to change for anyone, because I am the best by being myself" surprisingly change both in appearance and attitude when it comes to striving to win a hot chick's heart and--possibly--body! But when their parents want them to be a little more industrious at home, they will just somehow shrug their shoulders, and go, "I'm sorry. I'm different. Accept me as who I am." How hypocritical! 

The Americans who are responsible for spreading this ideology to every living human being across continents end up labelling some of their people as "psychopath", "stalker", and "slut". Apparently, shouldn't they be offering hands of support to those people too who, obviously, embrace individuality remarkably well. 

My point is I admit I sometimes stick to the ideology too--in the form of those quotes, but that is just my way of finding an excuse for not committing to better changes. So, every time I see people plaster across their social networking sites with those quotes, my blood boils!
Thursday, July 3, 2014 | By: VenWizard

Mines and Gold

Well, it is like reaching the end of one gold field with mines. Naturally, you would feel relieved and thankful that you make it without losing a few arms and legs or even your life even though it means continuing on with your journey, goldless, but little do you realise lying ahead of you is another gold field--and yes with mines again. Would you take the risk and set off on your excursion in search of gold though you might end up getting your head blown off?

Yes, I am stuck there now!