Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Of books and philosophy

I have a (bad) habit of picking up a new book to read when I have four or five others stacked on my bedside waiting to be finished. But last night I was glad to do just that because I picked Ayn Rand's Anthem (which I got for a steal at the Bargain Corner in One Utama) and finished it in just one sitting. The last time I did that it was with Amir Muhammad's Yasmin Ahmad's Films.

Soon after I started, I found that its theme is similar to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) and I immediately knew that I would like this story.

In the world Ayn Rand depicts in Anthem, individuals have no identity of their own. They exist only for the sake of the community. There is no "I" (the word literally doesn't exist), but only "the great WE." Anything that might allow individuals to develop their own identity – whether it be a name, a mirror, or the first-person singular – is suppressed. The story's plot follows the main character, Equality 7-2521 (what a name, huh?) , as he slowly discovers his own identity as an individual. Gradually he moves away from thinking himself as a member of the "we" to thinking of himself as an "I" and valuing his own uniqueness. (source:

In short, it is a work of dystopian literature that depicts an oppressive society you'd never want to live in. But what intrigued me more is the philosophy behind Ayn Rand's writing. Besides being a celebrated author, Ayn Rand is also a philosopher in her own right. Her subject of philosophy called 'Objectivism'  holds  that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights. (source: wikipedia)

Often times, I have been snubbed for placing my own priorities on top of everyone else. I've been called selfish and insensitive to the point where I was said to be educated but at the sacrifice of my own heart. It hurt to hear people say that about you. It hurts even more when you feel guilt seeping through your body. I've always thought that it was unfair to feel guilty when I am living and fighting for my own happiness, above all. And then came Ayn Rand.

I first heard of Ayn Rand from a much loved and good friend, who kept telling me to read Atlas Shrugged, another work  from Ayn Rand when I told  about my complete fascination for Russia (the country, people, politics, cultures, literature, arts etc.). Ayn Rand is a Russian-born American, by the way. I was, of course, intrigued but had to put the thought on hold as I had other books to read.

But then I found a 50th Anniversary Edition of Atlas Shrugged at Kinokuniya and at a bargain price! I got it and it is now in one my 'now reading' list. The thing about Atlas Shrugged is, it is one of those books that would take you a lifetime to finish. Mine is a really thick copy with the fonts printed like you need a magnifier to read them. Another example: Leo Tolstoy's War & Peace. I swore to myself that I would finish that book one day because God only knows how much I love Tolstoy having read several of his (readable) stories but this, this one I give up. The next time you go to a bookstore, check it out and you'll know what I mean.

I'm really lucky with Ayn Rand since I also got Anthem at a steal (RM 7!). I guess she isn't that popular in this part of the world. Having read Anthem has also made me want to finish George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. I guess I could just tell people that there was a time when I was into the dystopian literature. Having said this, this is now my 'to read' list:

  1. George Orwell's 1984 (actually this one is more aptly for the 'to finish reading' list)
  2. Franz Kafka's The Trial
  3. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (see comment in no.1)
  4. George Orwell's Animal Farm
  5. Dorris Lessing's Memoirs of a Survivor

This reminds me of the time when I was into books about God, Satan, Hell and Paradise. I even went as far as buying books online so I could get a hold of books that had these characters as the protagonist.These include Dante Alighieri's Inferno and John Milton's Paradise Lost. As you can see, the list for Dante's Divine Comedy is still wanting. I shall need to get Purgatorio and Paradiso soon to complete my collection.

My favourite quote for today shall be, "A house without books is not a home".

Happy Lunar New Year everyone!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Apple is stupid

I got my IPod touch back from Apple and apparently they say that there's nothing wrong with it after having done a thorough check on it on top of restoring and resetting the device. I'm wondering though how they checked the device -  especially when after restoring it for all the music will be gone from it. How do you check if it isn't suddenly playing music on its own when there aren't any music files in the device? I, for one, haven't gotten the chance to confirm that the 'ghost IPod' occurence hasn't happen again as I have yet to upload any music on to the IPod on the account that my office PC can't download the ITunes software. That's another stupid Apple policy - you can only upload stuff onto your IPod via ITunes on your computer. What a load of sh*t, if you ask me. So, tonight I'm going straight back to my mom's place to download all my music via ITunes on my PC and I sure hope to God that the device is repaired. Or else, you know I'm gonna make a big fuss and hassle out of this, Apple Malaysia would wish that I was never their customer in the first place !

A whole lot of Bo(o)sh!

I am looking for a new recipe for my sandwiches. I figured I can't be eating the same chicken sandwich for lunch every single day. I'm sure to get sick of it and wouldn't want that to happen because by then I'd probably swear of chicken sandwiches for the rest of my life! Although I do have a habit of eating the same food everyday if I happen to like it. I remember when I was studying I was crazy about this Yong Tau Foo shop located in Ampang. At that time, I was staying with friends in Kajang but that didn't deter me from having dinner in that shop every night! Can you imagine driving from Kajang to Ampang (that's about a 40-minute drive) and back just to eat the same food. But I did it anyway, coz' I'm crazy. Then after about 2 months or so, I got sick of it I stayed away from that place for about 2 years. I don't want that to happen this time coz' i kinda like eating sandwiches for my lunches on the account that they're easy to prepare and quite cheap. Not to forget, they're quite healthy too. Well, at least healthier than most normal food I consume (i.e; nasi lemak, nasi campur).

On another note, I've been very forgetful lately. I'm wondering is it because of the drastic change in my working environment? It used to be that I'd enter the office and would be seated at my desk for the whole day just trying to clear off my work (which kept piling up more and more). Now with my new job, it is totally different. My work load is bearable, I even have time to surf the net (i.e.; Facebook, Gmail, this blog). Sigh, life is good now.Ngee.

Now what did I want to write about earlier? Oh yes, me being forgetful. (See?). So yesterday evening I went to the gym after work and after changing and running on the treadmill, I decided to call it an early night and just head back home. Just as I was climbing the stairs to head for the changing room, I realised that I didn't have my locker key with me. Gasp!! My first thought was, "My IPod and my handphone and my wallet are all in the bag in the locker!" I sped to the changing room and saw the locker, which I thought was mine, was locked. Immediately, I went down and searched high and low for my key, retracing the steps I took earlier. I was also trying to recall if I did pin it to my track suit (which I usually do) or at least put it in my pocket but I couldn't remember a thing. Then I realised, maybe I didn't take the key out of the locker at all. That is an even worse scenario! But of course, that's just what happened. Apparently, after chucking all my stuff into the locker, I forgot to lock it with the key dangling from the locker. Yes, what the hell was I thinking??! Luckily, I didn't lose anything, phewwww... Sheesh, I gotta get a hold of myself or I'll start losing my valuables. I'm pretty sure that this isn't the first time for this week that I forgot something but like I said earlier, I'm forgetful now, so I really can't remember the other incidences.

Oh it's lunchtime now, gonna eat my chicken sandwich!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two hours can get you to Melaka

I left for work this morning from my mom's house in Shah Alam and it was still dark. The one thing I hate about my commute to work every morning (especially from my mom's place) is the horrendous traffic! This morning it took me 2 hours to reach my office. That's just ridicilous. Absurd. Utterly crazy! Can I just live in the office?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

First step

I broke my credit card into two. That is, my friends, the first step I'm taking to curb my ridiculous extravagant shopping habit. Surprisingly, I didn't feel a thing when I did it. I was expecting to feel sad or at least worried but instead I felt liberated. Am now figuring out the next step to take... Donate all my excess monthly money to charity or maybe invest it on something. We shall see...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I want to go home

As I sat in the board room at our management meeting, I was shaking from the cold temperature against my warm feverish body. I was struggling to hold back my coughing but once or twice it escaped with an unpleasant and unsightly sound. I croaked when it was my turn to present my report but fortunately it went smoothly. I made sure I gulped the whole glass of water before it was my turn to speak. As I went back to my desk, my staff made a passing remark saying I looked terrible. I feel terrible, that is a fact. A friend sent me a message asking why am I in the office and I explained that I had an important meeting that I didn't want to miss. And then he asked, "Which is more important - work or health?". To tell you the truth, I really don't know. No, to tell you the truth, it is and always has been work. I value work more than anything in the world. Only because it keeps my sanity in tact on top of ensuring that my bank account doesn't go zilch every month. I've canceled holidays and broke relationships all in the name of work. In the name of concentrating on work and straightening out my life. Funny that I relate work so much to my life. Oh well, I better damn be somewhere by the time I turn 30 because I ain't going through all this for nothin'!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler

I feel horrible. I caught the flu somewhere between KL and Singapore and was feeling sick the whole time in Singapore. I think I'm also responsible for about ten other Singaporeans who woke up this morning with sore throat and runny nose. There's this joke between my cousin and I that maybe I'm allergic to Singaporeans. Haha. But that's just absurd because I'm half Singaporean. If the statement is true I'd be sneezing for the rest of my life on the account that I'm half allergic to myself. Hihih. Ok, it is obvious I'm talking nonsense now. It's the meds I tell ya. Did I ever tell you that I get high easily on flu and cough meds. Like soooo easy. One time I was sick and was constantly on my cough syrup, I turned on to Mogwai on my stereo in my room and just sort of stared at the ceiling and I swear to God I saw my best friend Rini painting the ceiling in psychedelic colours. Of course I never told anyone this because it'll just freak them out. Shhh... don't tell anyone I told you this. Especially to Rini Hashim. She'll freak out. Although she doesn't believe in ghosts. That woman, sheeezzzz.This one time, one of her friends called up to tell her that a little man was running around in his room. He's foreign and not too familiar with our super natural beings I guess. My guess would be a toyol but another friend of mine said it could have been the 'penunggu'. Anyway, she's really something, this Rini, what she did was she went and shouted "Who's that next to you??!!" into the phone. Just to scare the shit out of her friend. Coz' I mentioned  she doesn't believe in these things. So what her friend did was he said, "Fuck you!" and slammed the phone down. What a piece of s*it. I mean guys who don't pick up their phone. Especially wimpy imbecile scum-of-the-earth peice-of-s*it exes who hide behind their girlfriends to get back to you. C'mon, grow up and be a man! I bet your bottom dollar if I was in a fight with my stupid wimpy of an ex boyfriend I could take him down so easily. I got Muay Thai la! What does he have? He's lame ass Jamiroquai moves ?? pffttt.... He's a jerk. All the time showing that he's this great guy but in actual fact he's a scum. I wonder if scums do this to your women? scums of the earth, they're everywhere. Beware. We scare because we care. Fair, share, mare. My paper, I tear. To wipe the tears of the bear. Into it I went, his lair. And the ceiling I sat and stare. Okie, dokie, time to pack up and prepare for work.