The Island Life
Living in an island has its highs and lows.
The highs are definitely the beauty of the island, the interesting places to go to, the eateries (there seems to be always a new hip and happening restaurant opening every month), the culture and the festivals.
The lows are the beauty of the island, the interesting places to go, the culture and the festivals.
Before you go “Wha..?”, let me explain.
Yes, Bali is beautiful. But do you remember what Aldoux Huxley said about paradise? The moment a paradise is found, it immediately turns to hell. And it’s true. It used to be beautiful, until everybody wants a piece of it. Approximately 164 hotels will be opened in 2016 – as if Bali does not have enough hotels already. Water shortage is an ongoing crisis since forever, and yet they keep on building, developing, and the reclamation project in Benoa still lies in the grey area – nobody knows whether it’s going to happen or not. Soon, pictures of rice terrace can only be seen on postcards, as they become extinct and are only there for the sake of decoration.
Yes, there are interesting places to go, some new hip and cool eateries to try – but they are all trying to be unique and different that they end up being the same. The cliche decor, the taste of the food (no doubt adjusted to the Westerners’ tongue which is bland bland bland all the way), the music, the fresh-graduated servers with their bule-worshipping attitude. Not a local patron in sight. I guess I am safe because I am not Balinese, and I carry that non-chalant Jakartan attitude. But you will never find a Balinese family eating in those diners, expensive five-star Michelin-wannabe restaurants. I’ve tried to find out why but I can’t seem to get the proper answer. One of my friends works in an upscale Indonesian-fusion restaurant in Seminyak and he told me that Balinese do not find the whole thing enjoyable. It is not in their culture to dine out and have wine with their dinner. Yes, they will drink alcohol, but together with their friends at the Banjar, or at the comfort of their own home.
And yes, the culture and the festivals are definitely still a magnet to the tourists coming from all parts of the world. It mesmerises me how the Balinese are so dedicated to their rituals, and that the ceremony and the offerings are still the most important aspects of their lives. But it is declining, and slowly losing its spirit. The younger generation do not try to preserve the culture as much as the older generation does. The young Balinese men are more interested in noisy motorcycles, wearing gangsta rapper outfit and showing off chunky, expensive accessories and body art to attract girls. The girls, in return, are interested with men who ride noisy motorcycles, prancing around in hot pants and taking about one-hundred selfies on their iPhones showcasing their pushed up cleavage on the social media. Innocence is gradually losing in the way that they are more interested to the material world, which is in total opposite of what attract people to Bali in the first place. The ritual is there, but so is the overdevelopment, the piles of bin liners full of trash that are thrown into the bushes (as if they will magically be swallowed into the earth!), the stubbornness of the people who demand for jobs because a hotel is built in his village, never mind if he can actually work or not. Somehow, I don’t see the connection of this whole attitude with the rituals and the religions.
But my Italian friend loves it here. He comes from Milan and is deeply fascinated and addicted to the beach, says he can’t get enough and he will definitely come back. I did ask him why he wouldn’t stay in Europe, and he says Bali is much better.
Perhaps my rose-colored glasses have been broken, somewhere between 2013 to 2015.
Reading my previous post, something bad must have happened, but I just can’t remember what and why.
It is a pretty depressing post, I know. But its not like anyone is actually reading my blog anymore. Which is somewhat deliberating, to be honest. Back in the day I used to care so much about who commented, who visited, how many visits per day and so on.
Nowadays I keep looking for ways to remove my digital footprints.
It even amuses me to find out that just recently, Facebook has a new feature that allow their users who have passed away to have “In memory” added under their names. But you need to have your relatives to do it for you, apparently.
A lot of things have happened this year. It was predicted (yes, I googled) that I would be working hard this year. Well it turns out that this prediction is spot on. I thought the hardest months would be over once I got past the initial six-months period of a new job. But apparently with mastering new skills, come new responsibilities, and getting the knack of things don’t really mean your job is getting easier, it just means that you are ready for the next thing, and so on and so on.
But despite the long hours and the time and energy spent dealing and training and managing people and workloads, I am happy that I have met so many different people that keep life fun and interesting; new colleagues that are just so wonderful, I cant ask for anyone better, interns from different countries that remind how beautiful it is to be young and free (I’m not saying I’m old, but when you meet people who are ten years younger than you, you do feel a bit outdated.) and people whom I have been acquainted previously but never really got around to know better and once I have I am full of regrets for not knowing them better earlier.
No matter how beautiful my workplace is, I often forget to appreciate its beauty. It is true that when you see beautiful things everyday, you tend to take them for granted. Sometimes I would be stuck in the office all day and when I step out at six in the evening, the view just simply takes my breath away. Bali is amazing. I am not going to lie – it is beautiful and no matter how many times you have witnessed the most beautiful sunset, there is always a better one the next day.
But there are the people. And this is when things can get difficult. When engineers and technicians say they would rather work on a hundred machines instead of one person, they don’t exaggerate. People are inconsistent, and I found out how undeniably true that is, especially this year. I suppose it is my fault, choosing a career in human resources, but it’s not like I meant to. Water is my element after all, and my life just kind of flows wherever it takes me. I do work hard but I don’t force things to happen, they just do and I just roll with it.
It has taken me one and a half year to understand how things work and find my ways around different people, and I have been feeling pretty confident, until my boss offered me a promotion.
I don’t know what to do.
Some words are meant to be left unsaid, they said.
If you say it out, they can only be forgiven, but not forgotten.
If only they were words.
What I have in my heart, what is hurting me
Makes me want to scream it out loud
Until my lung bleeds and my tears turn to blood.
And even then I know
It won’t make a damn difference
Because these things and these feelings
Can only be felt
But not said
That’s the saddest thing of all
When you are awake at night
Feeling like your heart is about to burst
Your tears about to fall
Your body numb from the emotional pain
You know that only you can feel it all
And yet there is no one out there who can understand
How it feels to feel all the pain
And not knowing what to say
Not knowing what to do
And not knowing how to move on.
It is forever yours to bear.
The Unspoken Truth
It was a rather quiet evening in the café – there were only a couple in their early thirties sitting quietly at the lounge chair waiting for their orders while flicking through magazines from the stack provided in the corner, the menus set aside.
There was a hustle as a small group of people walked in – their noise broke the tranquility and made the couple to look up.
They were a bunch of young, lively youth;, talking animatedly, and upon knowing the café was almost deserted, proceeded to make a big deal out of the table they were going to sit at. They were wrapped in their own bubble and speaking in an accent that was unmistakably metropolitan.
The woman who was reading the magazine looked up and noticed that the girl who was doing most of the talking was in her early twenties, very-average looking, thick-rimmed glasses and wavy undecided hair decorating her head. Her clothes were baggy, giving an impression she didn’t care much about her appearance. She was the one cheerfully trying to decide which table would suffice as their spot.
As soon as they setted down, the average girl started talking about the menu, thinking her thoughts out loud. The girl next to her didn’t say much. She didn’t have to; she was very attractive;, wearing almost no make up on her face, soft, shiny straight hair that she let down and was aware made her look more appealing, so she was always touching it, flicking it this way and that and let it cascade down her shoulders. Her clothes were casual but well-fitted. She held her mobile phone in her hand and sitting nonchalantly with her elbows propped on the table, demanding attention without having to ask for it.
From who? The two guys sitting with them, of course. What they look like is hardly important – same trendy hairstyle that all boys sport these days –full on the top and none on the sides, soft-colored tight-fitting shirts that screamed, “Look, I am a man but I am man enough to wear this baby-pink t-shirt!” and knee-length shorts and moccasins – no socks, you know the rule!
Now it was apparent that one of them was smitten to the pretty girl. He sat right next to her, a bit too close but still normatively acceptable as friends do. The pretty girl knew that she had his attention, so the more he looked at her, the more she would find her mobile phone interesting.
The average girl chatted on, asking the other guy sitting next to her side, whether he would be working this weekend. You can tell she was the friendly one; getting people to talk, as nice people do.
But that’s the thing about nice people isn’t it? They are nice because they are average looking. If they weren’t, she would end up like the pretty girl who was too engrossed with her Instagram. The pretty girl knew she didn’t have to be nice, anyway. It wasn’t a prerequisite, she just never had to make an effort, and you can’t really blame her for that.
The other guy sitting next to the average girl seemed to be interested with the pretty girl too. But he didn’t want to make the average girl felt bad, and he didn’t want people to think he was one of those guys who liked girls only for their looks, even though he did.
And that’s the thing about guys isn’t it? The nice ones choose the nice girls who are average looking because he knows he cannot get the pretty one, and yet he always wonders; what if? But he doesn’t want to be an asshole who only cares about the looks, even though he fancies the idea of having a beautiful girl linking her arm in his and having people stare in awe as he parades his trophy around.
The waitress approached them and started taking their order. The average girl and the two guys made their order as they politely waited for the pretty girl to finish reading the menu and make a decision; the waitress with her pen poised in the air waiting for a response, the two guys starting to get bored, and proceeded to check their notifications on their mobile phones.
After the waitress left, the pretty girl said something – obviously important, since they all responded. Ah, but of course – a group selfie! They all huddled together, trying to be as close as possible to the pretty girl who had her phone extended with one arm, making sure everyone would be in the picture.
The average girl smiled, but her eyes looked anxious. She knew sitting next to her pretty friend was a bad idea. But that’s the thing about nice people isn’t it? Nice people have evil thoughts too. But they don’t show it, because if they do then they lose they only thing that makes people like them.
The pretty girl smiled, loving the way the camera captured her beauty, loving the attention she was getting from the guy sitting next to her, and slightly worried that the other guy wouldn’t find her as attractive, so she shook her head a bit, letting her hair framed her face and made her look more angelic.
But that’s the thing about beautiful people, isn’t it? They are used to getting people’s attention, they worry as soon as one person doesn’t, regardless the importance of this person in their life.
One, two and three shots were taken. The pretty girl couldn’t wait to upload it right away to her Instagram account. Crop, filter, effect, done. It would be one of the many photos of her and her fabulous friends, in which of course, she was the prettiest one. And of course she would tag her average friend – a gentle reminder of who she was and what her position was in their so-called group of close friends.
But that’s the thing about humans, isn’t it? We have the need to put people in positions, by making ourselves more superior – either by wealth, looks or power. We are no different than a pack of dogs – dominating each other to be the leader. Some come out stronger than the others, some just yield to fate and accept that they can never be the superior one.
While the youths were engrossed with their mobile phones, two exotic looking girls walked in, all dressed up to the nines in Uluwatu dresses. They were carrying their helmets with them – odd, but somehow made them looking for eccentric – as they got themselves seated.
The pretty girl noticed those girls from the corner of her eyes, and felt attention slowly being diverted from her. They were tall and strikingly gorgeous, wearing beautiful dresses that would just make her look like a midget in comparison, and riding on motorcycles wearing heels – truly a skill not many women can master! The average girl on the other hand didn’t make a big deal – after all, she was used to being around people who were far more superior looking than her.
But that’s the thing about life isn’t it? Once you feel highly superior, something reminds you that there is always someone out there who is more, much more superior than you are. It’s a never-ending cycle, and it’s a battle we will always lose.
So, my question is – are you the pretty girl? Or the average girl?
As of me, I know who I am. I am the woman who just finished reading the magazine and is now devouring the Carnivore hamburger with her husband.
A Reason To Be
It has been two and a half weeks since I started my new job.
Being the new kid on the block again is always challenging. Suddenly, everybody else seems smarter and more capable than you are.
Even the interns are smarter than me. They are younger, smarter and more capable, and soon they will all be managers by the time they are twenty five. I feel so deeply inadequate and behind. This is all a whole new game for me. I am exhausted almost everyday by the feeling that there’s so much I have to catch up with. I am tired. It’s hard to get up in the morning. I go home past seven every evening to a home that is forty minutes drive. The feeling that there are simply not enough hours in a day and that time goes by so quickly – that feeling, is back.
When people ask me questions you can’t answer, I seem and feel like the biggest idiot. It’s not that I don’t know what the answer is – I probably do – but I get so stunned by being so new and being asked day-to-day questions so quickly, I momentarily forget my brain and a few minutes later I will be slapping my forehead and go, “Duh!”
But am I happy? Is this what I want?
Honestly – I am clueless. All I know is that my passion for teaching and learning is slowly coming back. I feel like I want to give my 110% effort again.
If the reason to give and help others is enough to make me happy, then so be it.
I want to make you happy
But all I do is disappointing you
I want to stop crying
But the tears keep flowing
I want to stop caring
But my mind keeps on thinking
What if, what if, what if
I want to be the one who matters most
But the fact is,
I will always be the one who makes mistakes.
Is there a point of reconciling?
Is there a chance to feel again?
For my hope and dreams are gone.
All I am has amounted to nothing.
I am reminded again not to trust happiness.
In the end, it will always leave me.
Out of the top of my head – here we go:
- Learn to speak French
- Learn to speak Japanese
- Read and understand at least two of William Shakespeare’s works
- Visit London
- See a live football match in London
- Visit Santorini
- Attend Above and Beyond’s concert
- Get a totally rockin’, six-pack lean mean bikini body
- Live in an Asram for a week
- Produce one drawing/painting every week
- Grow my hair past shoulder length!
That is it for now. That’s a lot already. I hope I can achieve them all before I die.
Let’s Talk About It.
Is it normal to think about death at my age?
There are times I do wonder about what will happen when I die. These random thoughts oddly occur when I am on a plane, or a car, or any places that you can think of. A lightning strikes. A random car hits me while walking. Or driving. A plane crash. A slippery floor and I fall and break my neck.
I dare not think that it will happen soon – but I do wonder whether I will be ready for it.
I suppose no one is, come to think of it.
A close friend of mine has his own death decided and planned down to the very details. He knows exactly what he has to do.
He says there is no point of being alive when you know your body cannot support itself any longer. And that is the time that you know you should end your own life before you get to the point of not being able to do it on your own.
Apparently many people have done it. I suppose it is much better to end your life before you wait until your organs have started to fail on you – one by one. Before you become a burden to other people.
When it finally comes the time for me – I am not sure whether I am ready for it.
A famous person once says that you only have two lives – and the other one begins as soon as you realise that this is it – you have only got one life. There is no ‘life after death’. Being alive here on earth really is the only chance you have.
And you shouldn’t really waste any more time.
Perhaps my unreadiness stems from the fact that deep down I feel I haven’t achieved the goals on my mental list. I haven’t been to the places I want to go. I haven’t experienced the things I would love to do.
I feel a homework of a list of things to do coming in.