Full Accountablility


Close an eye or
Turn one blind
Filter out and summarize
Normal natural inevitable
Like the way vision and attention works
Like the way neurons refresh and
Some information gets left behind.

Conveniently forget.
Let it go.

In the big scheme of things
It’s easier to say, ‘Well, it doesn’t really matter.’
‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’
‘No one will know.’
‘No one will remember by tomorrow.’
And just breeze by
Imaginary blinders on
Carelessly skipping, knocking, stepping
While carefully avoiding eye contact.

Live in the moment, in the present, what’s past is past.
There’s that twinge of guilt, which you crush, and say
I can’t be devoting all my timemoneyeffort to that
Even if I think it’s a good cause or is the right thing to do
It’s a small thing
It doesn’t make a difference
I have other commitments.

Besides
Everyone else does what I’m doing
This is socially acceptable.
I’m doing fine.
It’s not me
Not my job
Not my problem
Not my responsibility
I’ll mind my own business
Do my own thing.

“If you know it’s wrong, why do you still do it?”
I demand of those in my charge.
“If you know this is what you should do,
and you know why you should do it,
why don’t you do it?”
Easy questions, not so easy answers.
Easy to say, easy to think, less easy to do.

But why?
Perhaps it’s just a habit, living carelessly.
Carelessly, thoughtlessly, lazily.
Just a habit.
Perhaps we can break that habit.

It’s kind of true that in the larger scheme of things
A lot of it doesn’t seem to matter
People forget, don’t notice
No one really knows or cares or remembers
You can get by with doing the minimum.
Work smart, ignore the inconsequential.
Relax; y so serious?

Yet every action has its reaction
And every reaction a subsequent reaction
Chain reactions
And every word you say and thing you do
Has the potential
To uplift or cut someone else down
To help make the world a better place
Or not.

Your lack of action seems inconsequential
Only because you neglect
To compare it with
what it could be.

Religion’s got the right idea;
You’re always, all the time
Everywhere and everywhen
Fully accountable to god.
Fully. Accountable.
To someone who will notice and will and can call you out on it.

Let’s be fully accountable to ourselves.
Break that habit.

Let’s go.

What if money didn’t matter?


How would you really enjoy spending your life?

If you say that getting the money is the most important thing… you’ll be doing things you don’t like doing, in order to go on living, that is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid!

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

I really like this video.

Really like it.

And yet real life isn’t that simple, is it. These chase-your-dreams sentiments all paint a one-sided, black-and-white picture; if you’re not chasing your dreams,  you’ve betrayed yourself and succumbed to society’s expectation.

Of course that’s part of the story. Too often we’re too afraid to do what we’d really love because we’re afraid of, or have been convinced by, what society says to us.  Too often we erect unnecessary barriers.

But that’s just part of the story. Here’s the other part: we make personal sacrifices for the things we think are worth it. We make personal sacrifices in our life choices for the people around us.

Sure, I can spend my life riding horses or writing poems and that would make me happy. But riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to buy a laptop or internet access or books or music or a camera or a motorbike or the luxury of travelling overseas.  And all those are things that would make me happy too.

More importantly. Riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to… help pay for my sister’s education. Help take care of my parents in their old age. Pay for my parents’ medical fees. Riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to… support my partner, buy my own home, start a family and give my children the best upbringing I can. And these are the things that, if I can’t do, would make me really upset with myself and take away all the pleasure from riding horses or writing poems. It’s difficult to enjoy even the thing you enjoy most if you’re worrying about where your next meal is going to come from, or worse, your loved ones’ next meal. Or whether your mum is going to live another few years or not, because you can’t afford treatment. Money may not be the most important, but it sure can buy a lot, including security and a peace of mind.

So make the call; where along the spectrum are you willing to stand, how much sacrifice are you willing to make? Opportunity costs between your day to day personal dreams and enjoyment and the other things that money can buy. Just make sure you’re not sacrificing the wrong things for the things that aren’t worth it.

If money didn’t matter?
Wildlife photographer, please. 

Swim against the current, run against the wind.


Stay strong, stay true.

I’ve just finished watching the season finale of series 6 of this UK television drama Waterloo Road, which centres around a school and it’s students and teachers.

One of the larger story arcs that has been taking place involved one of the teachers, Francesca, getting involved with a student, Jonah. Since it is not just taboo but illegal for a teacher to ‘take advantage’ of a student in this way, you can imagine there was a lot of sneaking around, being paranoid and alternating between ‘I/we can’t do this. It’s wrong. It’s too difficult, too risky. It’s not possible.” and “It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. I love you and all’s fine as long as we have each other.” All this cumulated in ep19 and 20 with (SPOILER ALERT!) them being found out, Francesca being suspended and charged along with pending imprisonment, and then the two of them running away to get married (before being arrested and brought back). Makes for great TV drama indeed!

The whole thing could easily parallel a closeted gay relationship; constantly watching your back and being afraid of being found out; the way you act around each other in public, a necessary facade; the lies that come with keeping a secret; and huge secrets, even from those closest to you; the conviction that you’ll be ostracised and worse if anyone knew; knowing that no one will understand; all that negativity, risk and adverse concequences being offset by the joy you feel when you’re together…

To be honest, most of the arc made me really dislike both characters, possibly precisely because I could see myself in a similar situation so easily. They were being retarded and brainless! Too careless and impulsive and immature! C’mon guys, it’s hard but not impossible! Can’t you sacrifice some short term pleasures for the long term happiness!?

At the very first signs of it, when Francesca was still trying to stop it from even starting, and then stop it from progressing… To me she didn’t try nearly hard enough. Later on, when they were well into it; Acting so suspicious, doing really stupid/risky things, not taking enough or proper precautions, and not planning or talking about things seriously… why couldn’t they have kept it a secret until Jonah graduated? Like I said, it’s difficult, (in the sense of being mentally and emotionally draining,) but not impossible, (like I cannot NOT speak to you during school hours.) I’ve been there! …or maybe I haven’t, since we didn’t share a working/schooling physical space and weren’t closeted with most mutual friends.

But these last two episodes really brought me over to their side. What was once blind, stupid impulsiveness has become an inspiration: If i were in a similar situation, with hostility and disapproval on all fronts with no sign of respite in sight, would I be so brave to continue to stand firm for what I believe in, and do what I think is right?

To lose your family, your friends, your job, your community, you life and still stand strong?

At least they can get married. Part of me thought. Even if gay people were to run off to some other country to get married, that piece of paper would have absolutely no power back home. We’d still have absolutely nothing. And in time, when the scandal has blown over, they will become just any other couple, blending in. They can rebuild. Gay will always be gay, and will always stand out. 

What would you do? What would I do? Would I be willing to give up my family, my home and friends if it came down to it, for the person I love? Would “giving up” your family, home and friends even be the ‘Right’ decision to make?

Here’s my stab at it:

You’re not ‘giving up’ anything. You’re merely standing by what you believe in, you’re merely staying true to yourself. And if, because of that, other people fall away, that’s hardly your doing, your choice, nor your fault. And if they should, in time, change their minds about accepting who you are, you’d more than welcome them back with open arms. The only ‘giving up’ would be if you gave up on your dreams, your beliefs, your values and yourself.

The only choice you should be making is to stand by what you believe in, and to stay true to yourself. Leave judging and rejecting of people to someone else, that’s not your choice to make.
—-

I guess this is the follow up to my Charles and Erik post that I’ve been meaning to do for the longest time, but hadn’t truly reached the conclusion in my mind and heart. I knew where it was heading all along; It just took me a while to get there. Am I there yet? Maybe I still have a little way to go… maybe we’ll always have a little way to go. You always have something to better, something to work towards. That’s life.

To recap my entry, I was envisioning Charles Xavier as someone holding a belief (presumably the Right one): that mutants should ultimately live in harmony with humans ie humans are friends, and Erick (Magneto) holding a differing belief (presumably the Wrong one): that mutants and humans can’t be in harmony ie humans are the enemy. And these differing beliefs, while not directly pitting them against each other, were different and serious enough to change them from friends to enemies. And I wondered where such a line would be drawn? What kind of differing beliefs would make turning against a friend justifiable, and inevitable?

Specifically, I was using this fictitious example to help me think about these these differing beliefs: homosexually is morally wrong / homosexuality is NOT morally wrong; religious beliefs in general.

Soon after I wrote the post, a friend pointed this out to me: If i insist on alienating or cutting ties with people who think homosexuality is Wrong, I would have turned into Magneto. It’s not, as I was envisioning, Xavier vs Magneto representing pro-gay and anti-gay. But rather, mutants as homosexuals, humans as heterosexuals and Magneto the one who has turned evil, hating all humans for the evil deeds of a few. So the right answer, according to X-Men? Be Charles, and not lose hope. Be Charles, and reach out even to the ones kicking you down. Be Charles, for how else would humans be able to know that mutants aren’t all bad?

And I also realized: neither Charles nor Eric ever rejects each other? They never said, “You’re not with me? Then you’re against me. From this day forth you are my sworn enemy and I hate your guts and nothing will change that.” Wasn’t it more like, “Friend, join me. No? Well, I’m sorry, friend, I have to go. But the invitation stands.”? Being ‘enemies’ only as a technicality of finding themselves on opposite sides.

Well, I’m not an X-men fanboy or fanatic, so forgive me if I’m straying from canon and projecting my own ideas onto the characters.

But… the lesson never seems to change does it? Be a Gandhi. Be a Jesus (ok tbh I’m still feeling slightly sore about Jesus/christianity). Be a Charles.

That is… hold on to what you know is true. Stand up for what you know is right. And most of all, love and accept everyone. Leave the judging and rejecting to the one who has all the answers (or thinks he has all the answers, anyway.)

We all have super powers!


Inspiring article and a great reminder of how powerful little things can be. :)

Take a read, it’s not long :) “How to use your super powers for good

Then, like magic, my morning changed.

“Hi! You must be Peter. Welcome!” Lisa*, the receptionist, sang as she opened the door. She smiled, and then looked worried. “Why did you come up in the freight?”

I explained my morning and she frowned empathetically. “I’m so sorry, That’s terrible. Here, let me take your bike.”

I could have cried from happiness. In one second, Lisa turned my emotions around, from the negative spiral of anger, frustration, and despair to the positive spiral of relief, appreciation, and happiness.

And that’s when I realized: We all have super powers.

– Peter Bregman

We all have super powers!! Use yours for GOOD!! HAVE YOU MADE SOMEONE SMILE TODAY??? 8D 8D 8D

… okay, that’s probably going from buoyant and upbeat into maniacal and scary territory. XD

But seriously. As long as you have life, and as long as you have hope, you have the power. You have the power to change yourself, change your life, and affect those around. An oft repeated sentiment: if you want to change the world, you’ve got to start with yourself.

So as long as you have yourself, you have the power to change the world. :)

Not simply in terms of cheering someone else up, but for anything and everything! The actions of people count, and you’re a person. Your actions count. The beach is made out of individual grains of sand.

You can save the world. :)

Stop taking sides


Stop taking sides, we’re all in this together.

When I taught philosophy, I began the course by walking into the room after the students were seated and announcing, “We are now going to play musical chairs.” The only further instruction was, “Please arrange your chairs and get ready to play.”

No student ever asked why. Ever. And no student ever asked how to play.
They knew the rules as surely as they knew hide-and-seek.
Always the same response– the students enthusiastically arranged the chairs in a line with the seats alternating directions, then stood encircling the row of chairs. Read, ready, ready!
All I had to do was punch up “Stars and Stripes Forever” on the tape machine, and the students marched around the chairs. Mind you, these were seniors in high school. They hadn’t played musical chairs since second grade. But they still knew how, and jumped into the game without heisitation. Musical chairs! All right!
After removing a few chairs, I stopped the music. There was a mad scramble for the remaining chairs. Those without chairs were stunned. They knew how this game worked–music stops, get a chair– how could they not have a chair so soon? They had “how dumb can I be?” written on their faces.

Too bad. But they were losers. Out. Over against the wall. Only a game.
Music continues, students march around, chairs removed, STOP!
Students go crazy trying to get a chair this time.
As the game goes on, the quest for chairs turn serious. Then rough.
Girls are not going to fight jocks for chairs. Losers to the wall.
Down to two members of the wrestling team, who are willing to push, knee, kick or bite to be the last person in a chair. This is war! STOP! And by jerking the chair out from under his opponent, one guy slams down into the last chair– a look of triumph on his face– hands raised high with forefingers signaling NUMBER ONE, NUMBER ONE.

The last student in the last chair always acted as if the class admired him and his accomplishment. He got the CHAIR! “I’m a WINNER!” Wrong.
Those losers lined up against the wall thought he was a jerk.
Admiration? Hardly. Contempt is what they felt.
This was not a game. Games were supposed to be fun.
This got too serious too fast– like high school life– and real life.
Did they want to play again? A few of the jocks did. But not the rest of the class. It all came back to them now. Big deal.

I insisted. Play one more time. With one rule change. Musical chairs as before, but this time, if you don’t have a chair, sit down in someone’s lap. Everybody stays in the game– it’s only a matter of where you sit.
The students are thinking– well…OK.

Chairs are reset. Students stand ready. Music starts and they march. Chairs are removed. STOP! There is a pause in the action. The students are really thinking it over now. (Do I want a chair to myself? Do I want to sit on someone’s lap or have someone sit in mine? And who?) The class gets seated, but the mood has changed. There is laughter– giggling. When the game begins again, there is a change of pace. Who’s in a hurry?
When the number of chairs is sufficiently reduced to force two to a chair, a dimension of grace enters in as the role of sittee or sitter is clarified– “Oh, no, please, after you.” Some advance planning is evident as the opportunity to sit in the lap of a particular person is anticipated.
As the game continues, and more and more people must share one chair, a kind of gymnastic dance form develops. It becomes a group accomplishment to get everybody branched out onto knees. Students with organisational skills come to the fore– it’s a people puzzle to solve now — “big people on the bottom first– put your arms around him — sit back– easy, easy.”

When there is one chair left, the class laughs and shouts in delight as they all manage to use one chair for support now that they know the weight can be evenly distributed. Almost always, if they tumbled over, they’d get up and try again until everyone was sitting down. A triumphant moment for all, teacher included.

The only person who had a hard time with this paradigm shift was the guy who won the first time under the old rules. He lost his bearings–didn’t know what winning was now.

As a final step to the process, I would tell the class we would push on one more round. “The music will play, you will march, and I will take away the last chair. When the music stops, you will all sit down in a lap.
“Can’t be done,” they say.
“Yes, it can,” say I.
So once more they marched and stopped–what now?
“Everyone stand in a perfect circle
“All turn sideways in place, as if you were going to walk together in a circle.
“Take a single step into the middle so as to have a tight circle now, with each person in the group bellyside to backside with the person ahead of them
“Place your hands on the hips of the person in front of you.
“On the count of three, very carefully guide the person onto your knees at the same time as you very carefully sit down on the knees of the person behind you.
“Ready. One. Two. Three. Sit.”
They all sat. No chair.

I have played the chair game in this way with many groups of many ages in varied settings. The experience is always the same. It’s a problem of sharing diminishing resources. This really isn’t kid stuff. And the question raised by musical chairs is always the same:
Is it always to be a winners-losers world, or can we keep everyone in the game?
Do we still have what it takes to find a better way?

– Robert Fulghum, “Maybe (Maybe Not)” (1993)

Stop taking sides, we’re all in this together.

In the process of re-learning and re-internalising a value I’ve always believed in.

Gandhi: Merely human. But also so much more.


I just finished watching the 3-hour, 1982 biographical film ‘Gandhi’.

Reading about Gandhi and watching that film really leaves one awe-struck. And inspired, so inspired. You’re just speechless that a person like that can really exist, especially in a world like ours. Yet… it also finds me in two minds about him and his beliefs.

There’s this part of me — the cynical, jaded part; the part that likes to think itself a realist — that thinks, are you for real? Sure, his message is inspiring but… is that really the best way to do things? Maybe some things are worth fighting for. Maybe if they had fought–physically fought– in the right way, it wouldn’t have taken so long to achieve their goals. And maybe the factors for such methods just happened to be right in those situations…maybe trying to bring them elsewhere– the holocaust for example– would have resulted in even worse harm and atrocities! I mean, you can’t stand up for your principles by saying ‘I’m willing to die for this cause!’ when that’s exactly what the enemy wants? Hitler wasn’t interested in keeping Jews oppressed, he just wanted them exterminated!

And… it just seems naive to think you can have no conflict all the time. Fighting seems so… ingrained. People seem primed to fight, especially in the face of injustice. Wouldn’t it seem wiser? more practical? to take that fact into consideration and work around it or try to prevent it rather than just tell them not to fight and expect them to obey?

He also has this quote about how history reads like it’s all fighting, but in reality fights are just interruptions from peace. Its just that only the fights tend to get recorded. In truth, peace is the default.

Yet too often, it really seems the other way around. That conflict is a core part of us and our society. Just the way the world works.

The parts depicting the riots and beatings and killings made me feel all that. And I cried at how evil man can be and wondered how those people could live with themselves.

Still, the idealistic part of me really wants to believe it. It echos his sentiment that love and truth always wins out in the end. It argues that it’s not this kind of thinking that’s too idealistic, it’s the world that’s too cynical and jaded. If everyone could see the truth in such statements and lived their life by them… it would work

And still, he’s only human. He has no magic answers. He just sticks to the simple truths that he does know.

“There is no such thing as “Gandhism,” and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems…The opinions I have formed and the conclusions I have arrived at are not final. I may change them tomorrow. I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Regardless of what you think of his methods, you have to respect and admire him for being able to stay so true to his principles and not lose hope in love and truth. How did he do it? How did he not get angry, discouraged and jaded at the stupidity and evilness of men? He saw it all first hand and he never lost hope.

Hears to hoping that I, and all of us, can be just a little bit more like him. The world could be a much better place.

We have nothing to lose


If my views are wrong, I have nothing to lose in everything to gain in further searching for the truth.

If my views are right, I have nothing to lose and much to gain in further refining, strengthening and deepening my understanding of my views and the reason why people think otherwise.

If your belief is wrong, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain in searching and finding out more.
If your belief is right, you have nothing to lose and much to gain in clarifying the details, confirming your position and understanding why people hold different views.

Perhaps you could say, the devil is a master deceiver; what if one strong in faith starts to question, and ends up deceived? …what’s to convince you you AREN’T being deceived right now?

Don’t assume what you think or know is necessarily the truth. Don’t be afraid to discard old ideas if new (and valid) information becomes available. Be open and always searching. What do you have to lose?

All easier said than done, so don’t stop trying.

Unconditional Love


I love you
No matter what you say or do.
I love you
Even if you don’t want to receive it.

Your love is not mine to have,
not mine to demand or pled or beg for.
Your attentions are not mine to vie for
to capture and hold down.
Your actions aren’t mine to control,
Your decisions aren’t mine to make.
Even your heart was never mine,
and you were never mine either.

These things aren’t for possessing.
These things can’t be possessed.
If you feel otherwise, it is but an illusion,
That will be shattered eventually.

These things,
They are meant for giving.

Like a song sung,
A poem, or dance,
Or a breeze felt,
Or even the sun on your skin.
Given freely
For you to receive, enjoy,
appreciate, cherish

but not to possess.

My love is mine to give
And I hope I’ll give it freely
My love is mine to give
and you can’t take that away from me.