Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Would You Ever?

1. Would you ever join a sorority?

    No. It's not because I have anything against sororities, or "sisterhood", it's just that I would never be that "sorority girl" type of person. I keep to myself, I prefer staying in than going out to parties, I read more than I dance, and I would never fit the mold of the physiques these girls have. It'll never work, and I think there are many other ways to find meaningful friendships.

2. Would you ever get plastic surgery?

    Another no. Not that I'm completely confident, because I'm one of the most insecure people I know. But in my culture and upbringing, it's considered unethical (I'm not even a big fan of the idea of eyelash extensions.) Also, there was some good advice my stepsister gave me a while ago; she said, "If you ever think about getting cosmetic surgery, go online and find a video of them performing it. I bet you won't really want one anymore."

3. Would you ever adopt a child?

    I'm not gonna all Angelina Jolie here, but I have a feeling that later as an adult, if I were ever given the opportunity, I would definitely consider. I've always admired the people who choose to adopt kids or foster them, regardless of whether or not they're capable of having kids of their own. You get to do some good for the world, while completely changing the life of a child. To me, it's profound.

4. Would you ever consider writing a book?

    Absolutely. It's one of my biggest lifelong dreams to end up writing a book. I'm not sure what it'll be; a memoir consisting photos of my childhood and my sarcastic remarks at every page? A self-help book? A story book? The possibilities are endless, and the thought still scares me, but I definitely wish to write one someday.

5. Would you ever stay in a jungle for a month?

    This depends on the circumstances in which I'll be living, to be honest. If it's some wooden log cabin or a pretty, sturdy treehouse, then hell yeah. But if we're talking 30 nights inside a sleeping bag or nothing else in the middle of a forest like some sort of survival game, I probably wouldn't even last the first two days. It's not even because I hate nature. But those bugs! Dealbreaker.

6. Would you ever go skydiving?

    Crazy, crazy idea, but I totally would. I never had a fear thing against heights, and I've always loved roller coasters and all those crazy rides in the amusement parks. So eh, how bad can it be? It's just the totally typical anecdote where people always go "I'd rather jump off a plane" and I just figured oh yeah I would totally literally do that.

7. Would you ever consider being a farmer?

    Yes!! I remember that in the Divergent movies, my top two favorite factions would've been Erudite (knowledge) and Amity (kindness and harmony). The Amity folks dress up in these loose clothes and in general lead very chill lives! They harvest the crop, garden, paint, and are practically living in peace. I don't get why anyone would choose to shoot guns or become a lawyer instead. For me, I was totally sold. I've always loved seeing people who live on farms or grew up in them, and just how they go about their day and do their chores. It's the ultimate feel-good job and lifestyle! I'd totally forget about any big cities or fast cars. Just give me 10 horses, chicken to feed, and plants to tend to and I'd feel like I'm in a dream.
8. Would you ever become a doctor?
    The thing is, I know that this is the ideal career that'll make my parents proud and my teachers proud and everyone who knows me proud. Like I know there's a certain glow that lights up in people's eyes when they find out you're applying to med school. But in reality, the thing that keeps me from pursuing it is my fear of blood. I am not scared of heights, or spiders, or the dark, but give me a fresh wound with the blood gushing out of the cut, and I can very nearly faint. It's not ideal for an aspiring doctor to lose breath simply by the sight of a little cut, so med school has always been off limits. It makes me somewhat sad, to this day, that this trait of mine gets in my way of pursuing what could be a totally different path for me. But eh, I'm starting to learn that life is sometimes just an array of missed opportunities.

You can get to know me better by visiting my About page, or staying in touch through my social media links below! I'd love to hear from you. Have a great week.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MOVIES | Wonder Woman

"Be careful, Diana,
they do not deserve you."

Aaannddd here she is. Ex-Miss Israel and Fast & Furious side chick Gal Gadot in thigh-high boots and a suit of armour, slaying all of mankind and stomping wars (along with my self esteem) to the ground.

The highly anticipated DC movie, Wonder Woman, finally hit theatres this month, and it got us all shook. There's been a lot of hype revolving around this movie, and it's pretty understandable. With a female director and a female superhero lead, this can easily be called the movie of feminists. And I don't hate it! I got to watch this with my family a few days ago so in this review, you will find all that I have to say about it.

Born as the princess of Themyscira, Diana always wanted to grow up to be a woman capable of defending herself and joining her fellow Amazon "sisters" in battle against any danger that may come their way. At one point, an American soldier-slash-pilot, who's been assigned by the British Intelligence to spy on the Germans in the heat of a world war, Steve Trevor, crashed into the island of Themyscira. Rescued by Diana, the Amazons then learn of the great conflicts and warfare happening in the outside world. Being the noble warrior princess she is, Diana sets out on a mission to find Ares, the god of war, whom she believed was responsible, and to stop the war and to save the world. You know, as all heroes do.

I'll be a bit frank. I loved watching this movie and really did enjoy it, but in retrospect, is it the greatest movie of all time? Not quite. It was awesome, but not necessarily groundbreaking either. Even though I loved the outburst of Girl Power going on here, I still wouldn't name it the best movie ever in general. Although, I think it's already a great leap for females in the film industry, and I admire Patty Jenkins's work and Gal Gadot's performance in this movie regardless. But as much as I'm all for feminism and showing power in women, we'd expected a lot more from the film. Aside from that, though, as always, below is my review in bullet points:

  1. Can we start by talking about that face though? If you haven't watched the movie, you have been warned. All I'll say is Gal Gadot's facial features sent my self-esteem sliding into its grave. She is a stunning female lead, and I suppose it's quite fitting for Wonder Woman to look mystifyingly beautiful from all angles, right? I think the real achievement here is highlighting a female superhero who isn't trying to be "sultry" or "seduce" her way into fighting for justice. She doesn't let anyone stop her, she just goes out and do what she has to. It's an impressive character, and Gal Gadot carried it out wonderfully.
  2. I have soooo so so much love for one of the starting battle scenes where all the Amazon warriors are geared up and fighting against those Germans invading their land. It was even, in a way, moving. The scene showed the remarkable strength these women had, and to witness those gladiator moves with horses and swords and arrows and all that in slow motion? It was legendary, to say the least. Like YES. GO. DEFEAT THE PATRIARCHY. :-)
  3. If I'm being completely honest, the writing and storyline for this movie weren't the best I've seen. Even though there were some pretty nice dashes of humour here and there, some of the lines felt a little forced or dull. The storyline is interesting enough, but didn't quite leave a mark for me. And for the most part, that's what's been keeping people from really loving with this movie.
  4. Also, it was disappointing to see so many fascinating characters, yet a storyline that really doesn't do them justice. What about Steve's secretary? Or that evil villain chemist?? I do wish the movie gave us a much deeper look into the lives of these characters, but instead, it just felt like merely scratching the surface. Give us the background, more details, anything! Because for the most part, aside from some distinctive traits, not much can be taken away from them.
  5. The overall casting is fine. But there is one that I'm a bit on edge with, and that is (SPOILER ALERT) David Thewlis being the "Ares" we were all hearing such frightening things about. Don't get me wrong, he's a brilliant actor, but just- not so much for the role of the Ares. I just don't understand why, out of all people, was Ares the old politics man with a moustache. It's a disappointing decision, and it failed to give us that look and vibe of the "merciless, angry, vengeful god of war." Honestly, it just felt like seeing Professor Lupin in an armour of steel way too big for his size.
  6. I also secretly wish they gave more chances for Gal Gadot to show off her acting. Even though she didn't have to act sultry or anything, it's fair to say that her captivating beauty is a large part of what captured people's attention for this movie. But I just wished we saw more of Diana, like a little vulnerability. She's amazing as it is, but I don't know, the emotions shown in this film just didn't do much for me. It didn't shake me at my core. Maybe it's just me and how I subconsciously compared the vulnerability of Diana to that of Katniss Everdeen, or maybe it is a tiny lack in acting or heart-provoking scenes, but there was just so much more that could have been done.
  7. There was a lot of Greek mythology infused into the storyline of this film. From the start, the main background of the plot, all the way to Diana's save-the-world mission, they all revolved around the gods and her own belief, against what was actually the real world. Again, I don't hate it. I know that DC does tend to lean more to that direction, and it's seen in that Superman movie a while ago too. But I'm pretty sure they didn't bring it up quite as much in Superman. Significantly less than this Wonder Woman movie, where the Greek side was brought up so much that I felt like it was turning a bit too Percy Jackson for me.
So all in all, did I like this movie? Yes I liked it quite a lot. But for now, I only hope that the minor setbacks of the film don't lead people into thinking that this is "the best" that any female filmmaker or any female-superhero-lead film can do. As stunning as it was, I'm sure there'll be a lot more blockbuster films in the future representing this Girl Power essence, and this movie, on behalf of DC, simply paved the way. Despite it feeling much like the DC and female version of Captain America (no joke: Her resemblance to Peggy Carter? Their final encounter just before the guy goes off and dies in a plane? The World War? I have a point), I still got a lot of respect for this movie, and wish for more iconic ones to come.

Did you watch the movie? How did you like it and what are your thoughts?
Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you.
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Thanks for reading. I'll write again soon.

Friday, June 9, 2017

LIFE | Turning Eighteen

My birthday falls on the third day of June. Without even realising it, a week has already passed of me being eighteen. 

I always write a post regarding every birthday of mine (I'd written one for my 16th and 17th birthdays each). It still feels so silly yet heartwarming to look back on those two posts I did back then. Everything from how I presented my pictures to how I wrote; it's crazy how much can change within a person in the length of a year. And it feels daunting to be reading those posts and thinking, Man, I had no idea what was coming. In my seventeenth year that had ended, by God's grace, I've encountered some good achievements. Like graduating high school, and getting accepted into uni. Some achievements are more subtle, like learning self-acceptance.

But anyway, this year's birthday turned out to be quite... different. I didn't get to celebrate my birthday in any way. No dinner, no party. I didn't get to spend it with "loved ones", not even my family, I didn't get to spend it at home. All in all, it wasn't necessarily the best birthday I could ask for. But I guess I can still take what I can get. 

When the day arrived, I was still on my trip in Bali with a bunch of my friends, as part of our "farewell" week, I guess you can call it. It was a pretty cool trip and I'll be writing about it on my next few posts (stay tuned!), but if I'm being completely honest, I didn't fully enjoy the fact that my birthday was right in the middle of it. And no, I'm not whining because of the "loss of attention". But for someone who's leaving to study abroad next year, the ultimate thing I wanted for my birthday this year was to be in the comfort of my own hometown, and the family with whom I will soon part ways. But as it turned out, last week, I had neither of that.

There weren't any surprises waiting at the stroke of midnight. In fact, that midnight, most of the friends I was with were tipsy and red-faced drunk in a hotel room (ha-ha). As the sober introvert in the room, having my drunk friends slurring words of "happy birthday" to me at 1 AM wasn't exactly ideal. But I don't blame them, of course, and we still had fun. I won't talk about most of the things I'd seen that night, but long story short, I went to bed around 2:30 AM, and managed to wake up early in the morning. Being earlier than everyone else, I went down and swam in the hotel pool. Alone. And I didn't mind it. In fact, it was exactly what I needed. Enjoying several extra minutes all to myself helped me erase any disappointment and unwanted negativity away from my head. So for a start of the day (my birthday) which I spent far from home, and away from my family, a chance to breathe certainly helped calm me down.

Nobody knew how I felt about all this, but the rest of my birthday was pretty uneventful. My mom (who happened to be in Bali as well) stopped by my hotel, and I needed to hug her more than anything. My friends surprised me for a bit with some decorations and a hilariously ugly hotel cake before we checked out, and it was a mood booster of sorts, and the day went on as it should've. There wasn't a special dedicated Instagram post, and I didn't get that many birthday wishes compared to the years before. Regardless, I was still partly thankful that I made it this far.

Eighteen is an important age. At this age, I'll spend the first half of it living at home, still sitting quietly in my comfort zone, only bouncing between my internship and my side hustle as a photographer, and the next half I'll spend living in a city thousands of miles away far in Australia, starting off as a university student. I couldn't say much about my "goals" in this new age, because I'm still unsure of them, but I could try mentioning a few things I've learned of to this point.
  • I have learned to let go of toxic friendships and relationships. A bold and scary move, but I know that I'll thank myself one day. Don't force yourself to be inside something that no longer nurtures you, and something that no longer makes you feel comfortable in your own being. We live in a big world and letting go will only give yourself room to receive more of what the future can offer.
  • I have learned that no matter how hard we try, we never have 100% full control over our lives. And we need to make peace with the things that are out of our hands. There's an indescribable power in the sentence: "I can't control this, and this is out of my hands. And that is okay. I accept it, and I will learn to live and try my best, despite the outcome. My life is in good hands, and I still have faith in my own future."
  • I have learned to drive my car. Even though I crashed it at one point, which led to an emotional breakdown one afternoon. But still, I drive now. With a license. And I can only get better from here on out.
  • I have learned to acknowledge my struggles. Healing only begins once you admit to yourself that you are hurting. Struggling with anxiety and other disorders has become increasingly hard for me, especially this year. But I try my best to remain positive, regardless of the many times I fail to. I continue to take small steps on the road to recovery, and it's a complex process, but I know it'll be worth it.
  • I have learned to take better pictures and write better stories. I'm not bragging, but I needed to pat myself on the back for improving in something, even for a little bit.
  • I have learned that while many things in my life may crumble and fall apart, the one thing that I must always try to maintain is a strong and good character. In a life where you may lose friends, or certain aspects of your life, the one thing you should never lose is yourself. At the end of the day, your trust should not be in the branches you're standing on, but in your own wings that will help you soar.
I hope you liked reading this, somehow. And I may have a different tone now compared to my 16th and 17th birthday posts, but that's because I have changed dramatically. Not as much outside, but very much inside. And I am not sorry.

Thanks for sticking by.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What to Do When You Hate Exercise

Some people like to exercise when they're stressed. Others prefer to treat themselves with a cozy blanket, a good cup of tea, and a nice movie playing. If you're reading this, I'm going to assume you're the latter. 

Personally, I'm not a big fan of exercise. Sure, I enjoy it (to an extent), but I don't love it either. Lately, because I have more free time (and motivation overall), I do find myself hating it less and less. But for people who a) are busier than me, b) have issues with being sweaty, or c) simply don't enjoy the act of exercising for any reason, it can be hard to live in a world of gym selfies, SoulCycle memberships, and high-intensity weight-loss workouts (or whatever they call it these days.)

Haven't you ever seen an article titled, "If You Hate Exercise, This Will Change Your Mind." and just thought, Kind sir, I'm flattered, but I'll be honest with you. I just hate exercise, and nothing will change my mind?

"Do it with a friend!" Even though tips like these were written with good intentions, for some, it might not do much. What if all our friends love exercising, while we still hate it with a passion? No amount of jumping jacks ~*done together*~ can fix that. Although I enjoy the company of friends very much, my point is that if you want to do something you don't like, most times, you'll need that drive from within.

Have I mentioned that it's okay to hate exercise? Regardless of the "health-shaming" you're gonna get (I'll write more about that term some other day), it's quite normal to hate it. My limbs burn and I run out of breath and my body is sore and sweaty all over, and you're telling me I'm supposed to like it? Nuh uh.

However, at the end of the day, physical activity is still crucial for your long-term health whether you like it or not. I don't want to corner you into thinking you should "stop being lazy" or whatever, and trust me, I know it sucks to have to go outside or stand up from the couch. But it'll suck a lot more to be stuck in a hospital bed for weeks later on in your life. So if you're still trying to avoid exercise, here are some things you can consider doing that aren't technically "exercising", but are still quite close:
  1. Stand or walk around in your home. | There are plenty of things you can do while standing up or pacing around your living room. I do it after I eat because it helps the body digest properly. You can also do it while you're doing things like studying or memorising something, rehearsing for a presentation, or even brainstorming for ideas.
  2. Learn to like health food. | Ever heard that your health is 20% exercise and 80% diet? Well, there's your good news, fellas, because at least that gives you a maximum of 80/100 on your overall physical health. No, you don't have to throw away your milk or burn your Oreos to the ground, but it'll be beneficial if you can at least learn to like eating healthy every now and then. Aim for balance! Learn to make friends with fruits and vegetables and refreshing salads, so that your body can still be nourished and at its best condition without necessarily working out.

  3. Volunteer to babysit. | If you've experienced having any form of baby/toddler inside your home, you'll know exactly what I mean. If you have a small nephew/niece, or if any of your friends might need someone to look after their children, volunteer to help! Playing with children can be just enough activity that forces yourself into moving, and (sometimes) the fun makes you forget how tiring it is. I swear, chasing after a toddler on sugar rush can feel like it burns just as many calories as a morning jog.
  4. Tidy up your living space frequently. | It wouldn't hurt to start cleaning up your space more frequently than you used to, say, about once a week or so. It can be your apartment, your bedroom, or even your entire home. You have to admit that tidying up isn't always an easy feat. If you're not necessarily a neat person, decluttering and putting things to where they belong will take a lot of time and energy to get done.
  5. Find/buy clothes you can exercise in. | But not too many. (Because let's face it, you're not gonna wear it THAT often anyway.) The truth is, you kiiiind of can trick yourself into thinking that you don't hate exercise a lot. This can be as small as only purchasing one set of activewear, or just one pair of yoga pants. At least when the time comes, or when one of your friends insist you join them for some sporty activity or working out, or if your long-lost motivation suddenly knocks on your door, you'll be prepared. If you wish to slowly get into exercise, stay tuned 'cause I'll have a post on that very soon.
  6. LIFE. | Honestly! Wondering what to do with yourself if you hate exercise? Live! Do you!! I get it, human beings are very capable creatures, and sure, our bodies can do a lot of things, but measuring your body's abilities only by how much exercise it can do isn't entirely an accurate move. It's highly important to keep yourself active, but alongside these tips, you seriously don't have to keep being hard on yourself for not choosing to go to the gym, or for not going on a run each morning. At least you still have time and energy for your other hobbies! Making music? Painting? Reading? If you want to reduce your TV-watching or Instagram-scrolling, there are plenty of other options you can take to start fulfilling your life. Invest in whatever makes you happy.
And that's all I have for you today! I hope you liked it and found it helpful. Don't hesitate to leave a comment below because I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you're reading this, that means I'm currently on vacation in Bali and I'd scheduled this post before departing. I can't wait to share bits and pieces from my trip once I get home so stay tuned! 

As always, I'll see you around.