Little Things 145 : Independence


Maria Popova wrote an article on The Psychology of Our Willful Blindness and Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, and in that article, she included a TED session by Margaret Heffernan on the Danger of "Willful Blindness".

During the Merdeka Day holiday I got yesterday, I had several conversations with my siblings on the topic of Independence Day and what it meant to them. Roughly I got the idea that we don't really put much of thought about the freedom that we are having right now because we don't really know how to compare it with 'not-having-it' at all. Simply put, that we are taking it for granted.

From the meaning of freedom to reasoning with boycotting some brands for Gaza crisis. We choose to be ignorant. There was a phase in my life when I chose not to know anything than being emotionally committed by every single crisis in the world, and I understand the ignorance. I needed that, once. Now, I prefer to know and roughly have ideas/thoughts on it. 

Let's educate ourselves.


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Little Things 144 : Wash up



In the organization I worked with, they hire 2-3 cleaners. 
Their work mainly focuses on keeping all things tidy and clean ie: wash all the things in the pantry's sink, clean up the toilet, take the rubbish bags down, etc. For each cleaner, they pay roughly around RM1,500 (based on the innocent bual2 kosong with the cleaners - the amount I was paid when I was a fresh graduate)

So say, they have 3 cleaners, and they get RM1,500 per month :
RM 1,500 x 3 = RM 4,500
RM 4,500 x 12 = RM 54,000 per year 

So those RM 54,000 is used to maintain the working environment to the 'above-decent' standard.

Perhaps, every single people in the office knows how to wash their plates, mugs, spoons and forks after they use it, including the 'big bosses' and seniors. Or they know how to clean up the toilet or their desk, and throw the rubbish bag themselves every day after work.

Situation :
Imagine we have around 50-70 people daily, and most of them use at least 1 mug from the pantry. If 60 people don't wash their own mugs, the sink will be flooded with 60 mugs. 8 from 10 people will wash their own mug, and another 2, wash other people's mugs as well. So those 2 people will wash roughly around +30 mugs if they divide the job. 

Imagine if every single person in the organization knows this basic thing in life.
Wouldn't it be much easier for everyone?

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I always wonder, how can someone who lived so long or learn so much, don't make these little things as their habit? Like having your wife washes the dishes for you when you go watch the television after she cooks, for you. Or putting the very plate you just used for lunch, and let someone else wash it for you?

What possibly went wrong when you grow up?

PS : We used to have a maid. But believe me, my parents taught us how to clean everything up and do it ourselves really good that this mentality stick in my head and become a habit.

Little Things 143 : Life

It's no longer about the evening sky and the sound of leaves rustle in the hot park on random Saturdays. It's no longer about the heavy rain in the afternoon or wrong innocent turns. It's no longer about beautiful excerpts winding up in perfect time-lapse of yesterdays.

I love emotions that make us, human.

Now I understand why I don't have to know everything in life.

Little Things 142 : 100km


I reached my 100km ! 

Another 4 months before the end of 2014, so I'll try to add another 50km in my Runkeeper app. I had my 4th run yesterday, and another 2 to go. Other than Makna, I haven't registered for any run to complete my intended list of 6 runs a year. 

Mom asked me why I am doing this again?
Just for the sake of doing it, somehow it completes me.
Just like some people need to watch movie every week, or some people need to buy a certain car to make them feel complete. For me, I need to run.  

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PS : And oh skinny people should know that when they run constantly, they can gain weight. Probably by having leaner muscle or what-ever the scientific term is. Because ever since I run, I have tendency to eat and I gained weight, in a good way : not as skinny-sekeping as I used to be.

Book : Sputnik Sweetheart


One of the thinnest Murakami's book I've read; Sputnik Sweetheart (229 pages), this took around 3 days of commuting to work. I bought it from Border's discounted book (*2nd book 50% off) with Dance, Dance, Dance - as the second book. Other than guiltily buying his latest "Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage", the hardcover version with free stickers to put on the cover even though I told myself that I'll wait for the paperback version. *failed*

In short, this is a story about a girl, Sumire, who wants to be a novelist, narrated by her best-friend K. She did everything in her life to be a writer but even though how good she was in writing, there was something missing in her work : a work that is just typically 'good' but not 'genius'.
And then she fell in love, with a woman 17 years her senior.

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I love how it connects me to the love of writing, all the metaphors and narration. Simply put, it's another Haruki's work, and everything expected in his writing. Detachment, books, writing, silence thoughts, love, lost, confusion, missing part. Not sure how I can relate to the feelings with an older woman, but how he wrote it was by showing something as pure and innocent as how we fall in love, beyond anyone's control. So it wasn't that all weird and awkward much.

I noticed that I've read 6 of his books and countless short stories over the internet, written by him. None can I possibly recommend to people as something worth read except for "What We Talk About When I Talk About Running". But, what got me hooked with his writings at the first place were the way he writes things, the emotions he puts up in such simple words, and the dreamlike-odd-super-weird storylines. He's too fascinating to be ignored, so I can't stop.

I totally understand if people can't keep up with his works and I don't really recommend you to read them too :D




Some excerpts from the book :

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"At this stage in your life I don't think you're going to write anything worthwhile, no matter how much time you put into your novels,' said Miu, calmly but firmly. "You've got the talent. I'm sure someday you'll be an extraordinary writer. I'm not saying this, I truly believe it. You have that natural ability with you. But now is not the time. The strength you need to open that door isn't quite there. Haven't you ever felt that way? "
*
"And it came to me then. That we were wonderful traveling companions, but in the end no more than lonely lumps of metal on their own separate orbits. From far off they look like beautiful shooting stars, but in reality they're nothing more than prisons, where each of us is locked up alone, going nowhere. When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment. In the next instant we'd be in absolute solitude. Until we burned up and became nothing. "
*
We each have a special something we can get only at a special time of our life. Like a small flame. A careful, fortunate few cherish that flame, nurture it, hold it as a torch to light their way. But once that flame goes out, it's gone for ever. What I'd lost was not just her. I'd lost that precious flame. 
*
So that's how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that's stolen from us - that's snatched right out of our hands - even if we are left completely changed people with only the outer layer of our skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness.