Thursday, July 15, 2010

Simple Pleasures

I went to the gym yesterday and did weights and today I ran 6 miles in an hour! My t-shirt turned into a wetsuit and you could see through it a mere two-pack that hibernated for the last 6 months is reappearing! Don’t I wish for a six-pack now this summer?

I learned to accept the simple pleasures of life and during the course of much relocation over the years; I started to appreciate the space around my home. A home to me is a space where I can see everything from the same floor level, openness with walls, roof, windows and door that can be opened and closed. It must have a place to cook, a place to eat, a big resting place, and a place to read and go online. Bigger or more doesn’t mean its better. It just says that you need to take care of it and be more responsible. It means more hassle in cleaning unless there’s the cleaning lady where you wouldn’t mind if she invades your privacy. I have stopped collecting things for the house to keep my space free from clutter. It also means I have less things to ship back when I need to move back home or relocate to another country one day. Now what I need is the simple pleasures of life. The best way I’ve found to find inspiration is to not go looking. Need Inspiration? Get out of the home. Go outside and it’s free. But need concentration? Get in, stay at home and focus.

There are times when I wish to have long sabbatical leave and travel. This time I’m taking just a short summer break to Japan where I been visiting so often and a place which I’m never bored. Everything in the land of the rising sun or to the gai-jin (foreigners) it’s the land of wasabi, is just perfect. I love those cool Japanese inspired items. One thing that I love to do when I’m in Japan is to visit the public baths and onsen. An onsen (温泉) is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language. A trip to the public bathhouse or Sento is worth the trip for those who want to experience the local culture. The equation is simple: Sento = cleanliness + nakedness + togetherness, without any of the kinky or shamefaced connotations usually associate with full frontal nudity and communal space. It’s a different and relaxing experience compared to the ones in China. The fast pace life in Tokyo and business trips never allowed me the opportunities to take a break to an onsen for some quiet time to unwind. Tomorrow will be my real break to unwind and I choose not to inform my business associates that I will be there to avoid the social networking and obligations, and entertainments. My blogger friends, the free-spirited individuals like myself are planning to meet me in Osaka, wow, I’ve even have dates all planned. I’m all set and ready to go. My Japanese cousin will be waiting for me at Kansai airport and then to Sakai, a long drive outside Osaka city.

I still have not posted the pictures I took from my last trip to Tokyo. I know it has been a really long time since I have posted anything. Watashi wa Nippon ga daisukidesu (I love Japan).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You are my soul and inspiration

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Maybe it’s not meant to be. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.

Most people define soul mates as who you're meant to be with for the rest of your life. I define soul mates as the one you will never be able to forget for the rest of your life. Just because you've found your soul mate, does not necessarily mean you will have a "happily ever after" scenario. Sometimes you have to live with the fact that you will never have the one that you feel so empty without, and you will continue to yearn for them even after this life is over. The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that maybe in my next life, this person, the one that completes who I am, will appear again.

You know it’s coming when it’s knocking at your door. You just know. You will both recognize the extraordinary bond. Through a stream of unlikely yet obviously beautifully orchestrated circumstances that both were drawn into each other’s world. An experience my buddy discovered that was more like fate. The most beautiful of discoveries, the paramount experience of life. A soul mate, a best friend, a lover, a twin flame.

You're my soul and my heart's inspiration
Without you, what good am I, what good am I?

I must just be overcaffeinated or undercaffeinated. Where are you? My soul is a butterfly.

"She's playing our song, but i don't wanna dance tonight you had to slip away, and i'm caught inside the cage again i'm damned if i do and i'm damned if i don't"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The International Prostitue

My memoir, “The secret life as a prostitute”, as I stood there and saw the whole of myself; deciding if the cover should be abstract or real to life as it was told in the story of my life. Am I going to appear on any talk shows? It’s all conflict and drama that makes high ratings. I find it amusing that a show would even try to get me to appear.

I tried writing but somehow never find the time to pen the thought to paper. Now summer is going to change all that as a result of how I prostitute myself to do a memoir for a beloved buddy. Are there other options besides prostituting yourself? Doubts then don’t even dare think of it. Or just screw it. In such moment of extreme clarity or confusion, I just prostitute myself to know how much I’m still worth. Money is not the motivation for me to write though I wish it was. A friend hinted to me that I could hit the publishing lottery which could change my lifestyle. Yes, it’s true that money motivates us to do remarkable things; like harness our creative forces, the skills and the gifts we inherit, unless we are born with zero talent.

Unlike others with qualifying assets and social approvals; I was only equipped with wits and charms, everything I gain were through my collection of the survival of the fittest. Then my ego started to elevate when I get offers for my professional services and maybe some say it was my mouth, the gap that landed me such offers. Please don’t get me wrong, no social lubricants will allow me these passage way. They are my creative forces that pinned with the badge known as the international prostitute. Patience too rewarded me in a way and my track records have proven that I stayed on course long enough for the worthy offer to tempt me to move further and higher. I was elevated to the international prostitute status that makes me relent to the highest bidder as often said, “The highest bidder gets”. What’s wrong with being a whore, figuratively and with my professional services? For those who know me well enough should know that my stand as a professional whore has created lots of opportunities to travel and relocated to places that I have never been before. I love the fact that when someone offers me for my professional services, it sort of raise my ego, stretches the creative juices, and makes me wonder with fear that it will one day dry up like the drought in China.

I have resigned to the fact that money is everything. Now that I am going to do a memoir for a buddy makes me realize that I have the freedom to unveil the wrappings of the loin or maybe for better decency, the linen cloth to make an interesting story. History or his story and his live, the friendship, love, desires and dreams, I wonder would anyone care to read, the pages and pages about the person I know so well. It’s going to be one satisfying and pleasurable summer, all in good fun of course.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Three-step change to "cha-cha-cha"

I used to have a huge collection of vinyl records till the CDs came and dominated my living room which almost blew it all. On the social contacts, the change resonates so well, maybe it is the reason to my sophisticated Chinese behavior. At home, I grew up with the waltz and the Blue Danube famous waltz by Austrian composer Johann Strauss. Dad just loves to play the vinyl from his gramophone and does his shadow waltzing around the house. My consumption of Strauss's Blue Danube waltz gradually expanded to musicals like Phantom of the Opera.

Ballroom dancing is popular and Chinese have been ballroom dancing in parks and dance halls for decades. It was a time when they didn’t during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 when the government banned things it saw as foreign and bourgeois. After the Cultural Revolution, people continue doing the waltz and tango in the local parks at night and Beijing is no exception. One thing that never fails to delight me is to stroll at the parks after dark. Now is a good time to be out on a cool spring night and see people; older and middle aged couples dancing the foxtrots, waltz, cha cha to the tunes from a huge boom box speaker. I am for one who can never master the three-step change with the verbal beat to "cha-cha-cha". Identifying the beats and rhythmic counts seems to mess with my hearing sense.

A lot of people don’t feel safe in parks but not here in China. It is safe to venture out into the dark without being afraid. People are friendly and you can join the fun if you are not conscious of the crowd watching you. Almost all the men and women are in their prime and still carrying themselves with all the elegance. There are no glitzes and glitters but only people in simple outfits dancing at the park. At the end of each dance, couples bow, hands clasped together when the music ended, then the static noise before the next song is played.

I know Beijing very well, the parks and hutongs (means old alleyways) which are traditional Chinese neighborhood, houses built. There are many parks where the locals relax, take their pets for a walk, do their Tai Chi exercise, and a host or other things. I saw Domino's, Mah Jong being played, heart choirs singing the Jasmine Flower song (Mòlìhuā) and thousands of people practicing martial arts dance or even Wushu. There are so much activities happening at the park, from sunrise to sunset. I have taken Wushu lessons at the park and have been around Wushu for so long that it is sometimes hard to remember how it felt to discover Wushu for the first time. There have been a lot of friends I have met through Wushu over the years. More than I could really list out in any adequate fashion. Some of them have been positive experiences, and some of them have been negative, but all in all my time hanging out and training with Wushu has been one of enjoyable growth.

The peace of the park, the kite pilgrims with kites flying above and gorgeous views on clear days, the sunset stroll; it all contributes to the microcosm of Chinese culture and its role as microcosm of the Chinese experience. The beautiful landscape of the Chinese garden has a place at heart for Chinese including myself to enjoy the positive energies and emotional connection.

There is something so exhilarating about sunshine and warmth after a long cold winter. So, what is the same or different, and are the changes, pluses or minuses. Like the seasons, they are each unique. I don’t know about you, I will keep practicing my beats and do the verbal expressions to synch with the three-counts, “cha-cha-cha".

“What is noteworthy about that moment, beyond its poignancy, is that I did not create it; I merely experienced it and let it unfold.” – Taken from the Cab Ride by Kent Nerburn –

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pain in the ass

Changing passwords is little bit of a pain in the ass. Having many accounts with different passwords is even more painful. To avoid people from cracking the password we have many different passwords that bother the absurd. It appears that most people reuse the same passwords over and over, and often choose easy to remember, insecure phrases. These are ‘Lazy Passwords’ that are open to hacking attacks and unauthorized intrusions. System administrators always suggest using passwords that contain a mix of both numbers and alphabets; at least a capital and the use of a symbol. Here is something which is easy for the fingers but not a very good example: Qwerty8*
Many people have their favorite passwords, and a fear of not being able to remember the new ones. Are you going to change your password after seeing the list of top ten most commonly used passwords?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The voice of a Storyteller

I love to hear the voice of a great storyteller. As a child, I have always love the stage and imagine what I could do if the stage is mine to tell a story. It is not about Shakespeare and his world of actors. Since then it got me focus on things around me that got me interested in people and what goes on inside their mind. It helped me with my first job and created leaps for me to stay in the advertising world.

Storytelling is an art and it is increasingly relevant to our everyday lives and at work if you are in the communication, entertainment or interactive industry. Stories are more real and believable when they come from personal experiences. You can dramatize it with conviction if it is a great story but also a disaster to dress up a bad story, no matter what you do, you are sure to be in the ruins.

Imagine the power and strength when stories are passed from individual to individual, community to community, they grow. Everyone wants to hear a great story; everyone wants to tell a great story and everyone wants to participate in a great story. A brand without a great story is simply generic. The web is a great place, a platform for you to share if you are game in telling your story. The social web let audiences filter their choices with one just one click.

The last 5 years, storytelling has been at the heart of everything I do even at work; create lust and seduction, then dramatize the art of telling a story. The stories I often share are based on the 4 pillars; Lust, Get To Know, Intimacy, and Grow To Love; to drive the emotional connection. Being a good storyteller helps with the art of seduction to attract your audience.

Sometimes when I practice regression in therapy sessions, I get people to recreate stories from their personal memoirs. It is like playing a movie of what goes on your mind and peeling the layers off from the skin. I use different techniques in putting a story together and see from different perspectives. I shift from being the producer to spectator or from the editing room and then take more of the director’s role. I feel their responses like temperamental artists, deeply and emotionally invested.

I have a favorite storyteller, whom I had the privilege to work with; whose work and play of words have won many advertising awards around the world, later years becoming a talented director whose films garnered many awards of international recognition all due to her gifted talent – Yasmin, The Storyteller. Yasmin has created ads and movies that evoked our feelings and views through her openness and boldness in analyzing social issues. I have always loved Yasmin Ahmad’s films and commercials because in many ways they actually tell the story of my life.

Although I do not have the slightest effin clue on the A to Z best practices of making a box office film but I will continue with my journey. I love anything that exists when knowledge can be shared and the broadening of human experience. Storytelling is about an immediate context and connection with people. Film makers are far more experienced in telling stories and I will be happy to stand aside and tell my stories in the hope that at least (a few) others will find something valuable in them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Am I going to be a duck? Or something that rhymes with duck.

I love how food tastes, looks and smells, but I also like how it feels in my mouth, especially under my teeth when I bite it – whatever goes into my mouth has got to be good and edible! If it’s not good food, I rather it goes to ‘waste and not to my waist’. As friends and foodies, we remind ourselves without feeling the guilt. Of course credits should be given to the ‘Amazing Grace’ another ex-pat living in Shanghai.

Texture plays an active, significant part in my enjoyment of food. Mushrooms are a texture thing; I love mushrooms, the nice slightly bouncy texture. The contrast on the other end with peanut butter like other texture food is creamy, while the nutty bits from the chopped peanuts give the flavour. When I feel like having a ‘mouthfeel’ of something creamy I’ll go for yogurts and dips.

Overcooked foods are the worst offenders. Pasta has to be “al dente” and anything less undercooked is gooey without the presence of any textural contrast. Using plenty of salt helps achieve the "al dente" texture. Cooking to the desired texture means "to the tooth". So the next time if you need pleasures from the mouth, as I am orally speaking, please remember to ask for “al dente” and forget about the rare and medium rare. I love crisp-tender broccoli; raw broccoli stems and raw cauliflowers are fine but I dislike anything slimy like Natto (Japanese fermented soya bean) and can you imagine Okra mixed in with Natto? It is sticky and slimy; it makes your skin crawl with the gluey, gooey but unappetizing lumpy texture.

Have you really ever thought about the relationship between food and love? We eat to enjoy till our hearts content. I love food and the reason I cook is because I love to eat. Since I moved to China, I have not been cooking for friends for a long while. My friends would know me for my creative food presentations and the fusion of food that complements the taste buds. I remember one evening when I cooked a Japanese meal which is one of my fortes; I whipped almost every dish with a dash of sake. Many people would not consider a Japanese meal complete without a bottle of sake, the fermented-rice spirit. Soon my guests were soaked with sake and plum wine till their unbelievable secrets were pouring out – the Sake Cruise which I could have rewritten the parts of Memoirs of a Geisha from the stories of these ex-geishas at my home. It is a long story and to cut it short, they were friends living lives with loads of sexual escapades, who think they are geishas. I can link them with the somewhat more romantic word 'courtesan'. This somehow reminds me of Annabel Chong when she was at the age of 22 who became famous by engaging in 251 sex acts with about 70 men over a ten-hour period, setting a world record. But none of my guest from the dinner could beat her world record… what a pain!

I cannot imagine if I were to slut and spend the day in bed with a stranger – limbs entangled, lips locked, and then later, slip under the covers with the real squeeze? How else could that squeeze banish thoughts of those hands groping another? It is weird for everyone. Actors do just that; act; if I were to break Annabel Chong’s record and play the role as an actor; do you think I can do it?

Part of my brain will be screaming: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, am I going to be a duck? Or something that rhymes with duck. I better get back to food which is much better than a porn star - Food turns me on!

Foot note: Of course credits should be given to the ‘Amazing Grace’ another ex-pat living in Shanghai that inspired me to concoct this food for thought.