i sleep with myself

i thought i’ll just blink.

i sleep with myself. my pillow is soft. a valley, a person, usually different, but always soft.

i sleep with myself. the dreams do come. out there. but they haven’t come lately. like a missing period.

i sleep with myself. she tells me. why the anger? no why the lack of it.

do i care? i do but i think. and you don’t?

i sleep with myself. do monsters come? i wish they do. i wish they come. unleash hell, fire balls, and kiss me deadly. like a vampire, i rise only to realize that the blood the blood the blood.

i sleep with myself because death delays. when she does, it is deader than life. i cry. she weeps. we live.

i sleep with myself. there is another who sleeps. where is she? no what is she? she lives? flesh and blood?

does she float? then i want to be light. light. fight. flight.

i sleep with myself. there is no other.

act 2 begins when i sleep the sleep of death, only to rise, again. but why am in act 1?

again, i sleep with myself. but there she lies.

(ok, i just needed to write. doesn’t make sense to you? doesn’t make sense to me either. i’m alright – just needed to write. Peace)

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Blink

This is going to be huge.

Malcolm Gladwell, introduces his new book here:

” It’s a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, Blink is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.”

How do I know it’s going to be huge?

Rapid cognition.

I do make a lot of snappy decisions. Selectively. But I don’t think I make a very conscious choice about what I select. Usually, it just happens.

When it comes to shopping and choosing restaurants or even thinking about where to spend the day, I’m tedious. I go around looking at prices, reading reviews and calling friends to find out more information. But as I have found out recently, such informed decisions still mean I buy a lot of junk I don’t need.

Researching and thinking may still mean we make bad decisions.

The funny thing is, I tend to make snappy judgments about the really important and costly things in life. Like spending $12,000 for self-improvement courses, breaking up, becoming an entrepreneur, choosing a school or field of study and judging people from first impressions.

Not all these judgments have been wise. But all in all, I’m very happy with the majority of the decisions I have made.

One of the snappy judgments that I do real well is with actors. I love having auditions. And frankly, I usually make my mind up in the first couple of minutes. Risky? Yes. Stupid. Probably. Have I let some gems slipped through my grasp? Maybe. But I think I have made some good decisions so far. And what do I based my decisions on? Apart from gut feel, I don’t have any answers.

The title of this book is Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. It reminds me of Edward de Bono in his Thinking Course when he argues that the purpose of thinking is to eliminate thinking. In this fast-changing world, we need answers quicker like never before. More often than not, there is too much information to process in too short a time. We will need to make decisions faster and better.

” One of the stories I tell in “Blink” is about the Emergency Room doctors at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. That’s the big public hospital in Chicago, and a few years ago they changed the way they diagnosed heart attacks. They instructed their doctors to gather less information on their patients: they encouraged them to zero in on just a few critical pieces of information about patients suffering from chest pain–like blood pressure and the ECG–while ignoring everything else, like the patient’s age and weight and medical history. And what happened? Cook County is now one of the best places in the United States at diagnosing chest pain.

Not surprisingly, it was really hard to convince the physicians at Cook County to go along with the plan, because, like all of us, they were committed to the idea that more information is always better. But I describe lots of cases in “Blink” where that simply isn’t true. There’s a wonderful phrase in psychology–“the power of thin slicing”–which says that as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience. I have an entire chapter in “Blink” on how unbelievably powerful our thin-slicing skills are. I have to say that I still find some of the examples in that chapter hard to believe.”

Give it away

During the last few days, I have been busy packing away the things I have no need for. It is actually a painful process, knowing that the thousands of dollars spent in acquiring all these things, could have been saved if there was more self-control and reflection. There were so many things that I was tempted to keep as I struggle with the idea of financial “loss”.

In the end, what I gained was a precious lesson – to buy what I really need and not what I think will come in useful. I don’t think I have fully learned that lesson yet. Nobody will. It is a continual effort to keep yourself in check and requires determination and considerable effort.

It’s not an entirely grim situation. I am glad that many of my possessions can be recycled by giving it to friends who will find them useful and organizations who are in need. My bags for example, some of them brand new, can be meaningful gifts to the poor and destitute.

I believe that the simple life is the grateful life. It is heartening to know how people around the world is rallying like never before to help Asia in her darkest hour. Behind all that generosity and kind will, I suspect, is an attitude of gratefulness that says, “I have so much in life, now it’s time to give to those who desperately need the little that I can give them”.

In my journey to live simply and deeply, I want to own as little as possible. This involves giving things away that I already own and buying and keeping only what I really need. By doing these, I hope that this will put a smile on the faces of people and to free up some of my finances to give more to those in need. This is perhaps what the grateful life is all about.

As Little As Possible

Let me explain my inspiration as to why I’m giving away things and trying to own as little as possible.

Almost all my life, I have been a collector. Books have been there for the longest time, since the time of Bookworm Club tours in primary school. But I probably started with erasers. In Primary 6, a friend of mine introduced me to the world of comics and my first was a West Coast Avengers and Iron Man. There were toys too; Mask, He-Man, Centurions mainly. Later on, I bought Marvel Toys and Spawn, usually at Takashimaya sales and a really special sales at a Alexandria warehouse.

My dad was even a bigger collector than I. He was really into Swarovski Crystal and ivory (which is now banned). And various furniture accessories. He spent many thousands of dollars amassing his collection as well as many man-hours cleaning, displaying and admiring his collection. It must have brought him a measure of happiness. But when he died, his collection meant nothing to me.

All that he collected with so much energy, effort and expenses, I was finding a bother and a major headache.

I remembered that I made a decision to stop collecting things at his wake (except for my monthly fix of BFI’s Sight and Sound).

That was in 2001. Since then, I have occasionally stumbled. Tried to get a Transformers comics and The Ultimates collection going. As well as a frenzy buy of Alan Moore’s works, mainly the ground-breaking Swamp Thing series. And many other trade paperbacks.

Recently in Japan, I went slightly crazy over toy capsules or gashapon. I tried justifying by saying that it’s cheap and occupies little space.

Space is a big consideration for me, in my determination to own little. I believe in this time and age, mobility is a big issue. I want to be able to uproot myself at a moment’s notice. And I don’t want to bring a lot with me, nor do I want to be leave many things behind. Here, I have been inspired by C K Tang’s 2 tin-plated trunks.

Post 9-11, I have been thinking a lot about refugees. As last week’s tsunami disaster has done the same. In the event of a disaster, it will be easier to start over again, psychologically, if you have lost as little as possible.

Having as little things as possible will help me free up space in my apartment. I look forward to a clutter-free, functional and thinking space.

Less mess, less stress, I’m so blessed!

A Simple New Year

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,
to front only the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life….
– Henry David Thoreau

Let me begin by wishing you a Happy New Year.

To live simply and to live deeply. That is how I want to live 2005.

I don’t know about the sucking though.

To tell you the truth, I don’t fully know what living simply and deeply means. (What I want to avoid is joining a “simplicity movement” and take refuge in its structures and ideas.) I’m still defining it but I suspect, at its core, it’s a never-ending journey of discovery.

About life. About myself. About God.

This journey will be a huge learning curve. I’m prepared for failure and ridicule. However, the rewards might be too great for me not to try.

One of my first decisions in this journey is to re-examine my possessions.

Do I have these things or do these things have me?

There are many things I have that do not serve any useful function. Instead of being of use to other indivduals, they take up space in my apartment.

I have started giving some of my books away. In the past, I have the habit of buying books at all kinds of distributor and library sales. So I have amassed a collection, which many have not been touched, and many which seemed a good idea at that time, but now a less enthusiastic undertaking.

Giving away books is easy. It’s my comics and toys and my father’s ivory and crystal collection that will be a struggle.

Which is why I’m giving myself 5 years to give many of these away. Ultimately, I do want to own as little as possible. In truth, I still don’t know what that means.

But I’m learning.

Gaijin Ghost

Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to a fellow Gaijin, whom I met in my Tokyo travels. Read about our misadventures here and here. His blog is a detailed account of his travels so don’t miss it. It helps that he’s cool, a Captain Beefheart fan and a former Apple hired gun. And I’ll have to tell you this before he kills me, that he’s from “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

Gentlemen, place your bets!

For those of you who requested for photos, pls visit http://photos.yahoo.com/isaiah_sg