On days that I feel lost, alone or misunderstood, I imagine what life is like in the ancient past. I imagine what my ancestral homes may look like in ancient china. How they would life out their lives in ancient times and the joys they had over the centuries that result in the conjoined fusion DNA of the me today.
Ever so often I would imagine of the karma they had accumulated over successive generations. I would imagine the lives and influence they had over history, rise and fall of kingdoms. Were they peasants, scholars, merchants, dancers. What houses did they live in? What secrets that they had? What did they do for the society?
Ever so often I find solace that my family has accumulated good karma over successive generations. They had contributed to schools and hospitals. They had contributed to associations. They had contributed to the needy. With that knowledge, it protects me, as I know their love for me exists as they did what they can to create a better society and reality for tomorrow with small actions they took over the centuries.
With this knowledge I continue my small actions daily in contributing love and beauty and knowledge to the world. By writing a blog, writing my books and my videos. By meeting people, being there for others, and empowering them to take on big things in life.
Each small action of mine multiplies outwards and reaches to the galaxies and cosmos in the ever expanding universe. I am so small, so insignificant like a speck of dust in the passing time of billions of years. Who knows if the reality we live in may be a hologram.
On days like this I ponder and wonder and reflect if it is my last day today, what will I do today? It powers me and fuels me to live life with no abandon and to pursue life feverishly like there is no tomorrow.
For this I write a question to the world today. If it is your last day today, have you thought about your last moments? Have you said what you wanted to say, and do what you wanted to do? Do you have profound love in your life?
I can confidently say yes to the above questions and I have no regrets to the life I persued to the fullest.
I will not tolerate statements such as “you are a girl so you should just marry a rich guy and you don’t need a degree.” Or “you don’t need a business degree to start your own business.” Women should be able to decide what they want for their own careers, and contrary to popular belief, a business degree or post graduate degree is needed in this modern day and age to do well in the business in the globalised interconnected cross cultural world at top level positions. And if the entrepreneur doesn’t have these qualifications, it is because they are surrounded by partners and employees who have them.
I had been inquiring into the nature of relationships around me to subjectively observe what the nature is about. I realised that most relationships exist in name but not in realness. What I mean by realness is that we hardly meet or have one on one conversations in real life. Most relationships in my observable reality is virtual. It’s by texting mostly. It’s about following feeds or sharing images and videos. There is no realness to it except the interaction between two screens. That itself is not a “real” relationship but a perceived reality of a relationship
Even having a real life relationship does not mean there is a relationship itself. I had observed that even in a real life relationship the topics gravitate towards un-realness. It is mostly gossip, jokes and random trivia. When I read Natsuo Kirino’s novels on Groteseque and Out, there was subjective inquiry into the nature of relationships between the characters who thought they knew each other including a pair of sisters, but in the end, they didn’t really know each other inner, private lives and secrets.
When the nature of subjectivity of what is real and fake comes into question, I realised that most people have a fixed perception of who I am, and the me they think I am is also not exactly the me I am. Hence, my identity is a flux and it changes when I go from one context to another context. From speaking to an elderly, to a young child. There is no fixed identity, but it is perceived identity of what they think I am. Inversely, my impression on others is also filtered by my past experiences. Unless I reinvent a new way of looking at the situation, the situation remains the same or is filtered through my default lenses.
In this inquiry, I realised I have relationships that exist in name but they are not in existence. For example, I had a past lover but actually the ex lover only exists in my head and not in real life. It is internal, and it is not an external thing. Externally there isn’t any lover. It is what I imagine, and if I do see him in real life, it is a projection of my thoughts onto him which isn’t exactly real either.
In this blurring line of reality and unreality, I had gained clarity on where to draw the line on certain relationships and where to stand from. In this sense, the clarity of the inquiry of relationships itself enables me to become sharper on honing down what is unsaid or said, real or not real, and what is authentic or inauthentic. I am not yet a master at this but practicing this inquiry is probably the most powerful exercise I had ever undertaken to date.
I highly recommend taking a subjective look into your life and test the waters on who is, or who isn’t there for you by simply holding an unreasonable event and see who agrees to it. Don’t be shocked at the results, they are unreal after all.
The key to incomes that passively generate is through actions taken to lay the foundation of a structure that creates that flow. It starts with relationships with others. Financial yields are generated by the flow of human connections. The more we invest into establishing relationships, the more flow it generates. Relationships is not limited by geographical location. Intercontinental relationships multiplies generation not only in income streams but in relationship streams. In essence, to be wealthy in life is to be wealthy in relationships.
How do differences start? It starts with us filtering the world through our eyes. There is a spectrum of colours, and on these range of colours, we experience different emotions. Underlying this active act of filtering others through our eyes on a daily basis, differences are made based on distinguishing who is right or wrong, who is this and that. The moment we start to categorize the way things are, the deception starts.
Whatsapp and facebook is likely now sharing the same database. As long a person carries a smart phone, location and data is tracked by GPS. The information updated onto facebook, gmail or any provider is linked. Our web browsing history is also tracked by google. Hence in this interconnected world of almost no privacy, and all movements can be tracked. Our thoughts are now stored in a shared global consciousness when we update our status. In this world of Web 2.0 we experience the inter-connectivity state of convergence.
I believe in Web 3.0, virtual reality will overlap with physical reality (starting with pokemon go and google glasses) and that will be the future the next twenty years. Not only virtual reality convergence will take place, but physical reality convergence will enable us to read thoughts of other people minds without them saying a word. But by them thinking of a sentence, the thought will appear on a feed which feeds to our brains. The immortalising of global consciousness into the cloud will propel the next frontier of human knowledge. Google is now a library of knowledge database, but the next frontier would be to direct Google into our heads like the matrix.
I am really excited at the possibility of downloading information into our memory into shared memories, and the prospect of uniting humans into one world of shared inter-connectivity to end all suffering and wars.
“To be, or not to be– that is the question.” Shakespeare
The world we exist in relies heavily on relationships to make us who we are. Hence the identity of “who I am” is the sum of the characters of our life. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”
A misunderstanding starts when a brand new concept of being is introduced into someone’s world. Suddenly, they are challenged to become a new being to fit into a new status quo of what is “acceptable”. Some people embrace change, others, resist change.
My uncle resisted me studying overseas when he said, “don’t bring back your western ideas.” He has good intentions, but he believes that I should be a housewife as a full time career option. Although I had highlighted to him that it is not possible for modern day women to pursue that, he still firmly believes a woman’s place of happiness is at home and men should be providers.
I do look up to him as a Big Uncle and over the years, over many insistence to him that the lifestyle of staying at home to look after the family and not have a job for my generation of women due to the way society is structured is not an option. After much insistence on my part, he finally agreed that women can do both – work in a career and have a family life.
Hence by overcoming that conversation with my uncle over a period of a few years and few encounters, he now accepts that I am a business woman who also is able to have a family life. This has fundamentally shifted his way of looking at modern day women as probably, his previous conversations with my cousins and aunts had not worked either as he had aspired for us to be happy housewives with a great (interior) family life but all of us ended up working and having ambitious (exterior) goals in life. Now that I had shifted that we can do both (interior) family goals and (exterior) work goals, he now accepts that women do both.
Sometimes all it takes is a continuous stand before the relationship shifts from “unaccepted” to becoming “accepted”. An introduction of a new idea or concept causes an evolution of the mind itself to re-define and re-accept the new state of the way things are. The shift is not about “changing” but it is about “evolving”. Hence resistance sets in when there is an evolution happening.
Consider that your immediate relationships is the key to causing your own evolution and the moment that one stops to listen to other characters on stage, the play stops. There is no ACT 2. Life stops at ACT 1 and stagnates slowly till we die. The moment we start listening to others, life moves on to ACT 2, and it becomes a new state of who we are. Now, my uncle is proud of my business achievements and family achievements and shares with other members of the family they should aspire to have both. He has moved to ACT 2 of life and is now is receptive to my “western” ideas as well and that maybe me going overseas to study has allowed me to converse well with him in a way that he has reconciled that old and new world.
My uncle is indeed a Big Uncle.
An email to my editor who asked about the differences between Chinese and Japanese culture that I thought I should share here as it is quite an interesting breakdown on the cultural differences.
I had been thinking for some time since you asked me what is the difference between these two cultures and if the Japanese took the original Chinese ideas and called it their own.
Yes and no. Here is a breakdown on what I think.
The Japanese based most of their ideas of their current contemporary society by visits by the Japanese ambassadors to the imperial court of China during the Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty was one of the Golden Ages of China’s history. Architecturally, the Tang Dynasty was zen-like with black minimalist finishing as Taoism was very dominant during this era. It influenced writers to pursue a minimalist living and path during this era of Chinese History. The Tang Dynasty was under the Han Chinese, as compared to other historical periods of China which sometimes was ruled by minorities (such as the Manchus and Mongolians).
China usually prospered if the Hans (ethnic Chinese) were ruling the country. After the Tang Dynasty, the country fell into disarray. China is like Europe in the sense there are many different dialect groups and there is inner conflict and struggle for these minorities to take control of the government. Predating Julius Ceaser, China had an Emperor (Qin Shihuang) that unified the whole of China at the expense of millions of lives. Since then, the Dragon Throne has always been hotly contested for as they believed that ancient China was the center of the world (hence the country is called “Central Kingdom” in direct English translation).
What the Japanese learnt from China during the Tang Dynasty is still prevalent in Japanese society today. Shintoism is a modification of Taoism. Chinese Poetry in the Tang Dynasty era is renamed as Haiku. The clothes: kimono and yukata were probably worn during the Tang Dynasty as well. But China fell into control to different rulers over the centuries, and social and fashionable attitudes changed depending on what the Emperor preferred. The contemporary cheongsum is influenced by the Han Chinese women rebelling against the Manchu government.
There is also a distinct difference between the way the Japanese and Chinese approached their foreign policies towards the 1800s. China had a closed door policy, as the Emperor believed that China was self sufficient (they were in the center of the world) and does not need to trade. Japan, on the other hand, was an island, and did not have raw materials to modernise their industry.
The Japanese Emperor issued a verdict to open their doors to trade to modernise their country (army and economy) during the Meiji Era. As a result of opening up trade, Japanese prints influenced western painters like Van Gogh. The Japanese culture captured the imagination of the French and contemporary western culture as they were the first to open their doors to trade and cultural exchanges.
However, China during this period of history had a Confucius philosophy to their actions. In Confucius philosophy, one has to be in harmony with their family, followed by their friends, then country, in order to achieve unity (hence circular dining tables and round objects are auspicious, take note that being “central” and “round” “self contained” are key fundamentals to Chinese thinking in this era).
As China was still facing internal problems during this era (under the minority Manchu government), the Han Chinese were very unhappy and wanted to overthrow the government, let alone trade with the world. Although the Chinese invented gunpowder, they never used it to colonise or conquer other countries. The Emperor simply believed he wanted to unite all Han Chinese under one country, and that’s it.
It is quite hilarious till today that USA thinks China wants to go to war, but historically, China has never attacked another country unless they want to “unite the Han”. The only instances that China sent voyage expeditions to conquer Japan was under the Mongolian government. But both times, the tsunami ate up the war fleet and the mission failed. The current communist government of China consist of majority Han Chinese, so they have no interest to go to war due to the deeply ingrained Confucius teachings in the culture.
If I have to draw a parallel between China and Japan, it would look like something like Quebec Canada and France. Quebec was occupied by the French during the 1600s, as today, they still use the old french (Quebec French) as the evolution of the French language did not reach it’s shores after the French lost control of Quebec to the British. Hence, although Quebec is French, their attitudes, culture and language is more ancient than contemporary France.
After opening up their doors, the Japanese embraced western culture and integrated it with their own culture. Japanese words have a mixture of ancient chinese words (the word knife is the same mandarin character) mixed with modern English words (computer is pronounced as “kom put er” in Japanese).
The Chinese culture on the other hand, is a very proud and self contained culture. When new English words appear, they simply used old Chinese words to join them together to form a new word. The word computer in Chinese is “electric brain”. They still “reject” western influences, and reinforce their own Chinese cultural identity in their contemporary media.
You could see the difference in these two MTV videos by Ayumi Hamasaki (Japanese Superstar) and Jolin Tsai (Taiwanese Superstar).
Ayumi uses western influences and makes it look hip and fashionable.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsyBwgPv51U&index=7&list=PL-xGweAfz4WeByr8zgbHMfsUZP18bIcEt
Jolin uses traditional chinese influences and makes it contemporary and even more seductive in it’s exotic appeal.
Hope this finally answers your question (that I had been thinking throughout my London trip).
A social-cultural in-depth comparison of Singapore and Penang, two former British ports that were governed differently, one governed for prosperity, and the other, governed for simplicity.
In a traditional shophouse in Penang, a middle age man in a singlet is preparing food at the counter, customers walked in to inspect the hanging chickens, pointing to the parts they wanted. The middle age man’s wife recorded the orders on a flimsy paper. The customers sat down, their sons delivered the hot and piping dishes – fresh chicken, fragrant rice and boiled soup. An elderly man was seated at the corner of a shop on a small desk, fanning himself with a straw fan.
Traditional Shop houses in Penang
This is a common sight in Penang, businesses are handed from one generation to the next within the family, a trend that has not changed despite the effects of globalisation. In Singapore, high rents and the social pressure to succeed has lead to the next generation in resenting in taking over their family’s traditional business, opting to work in an air-conditioned MNC with opportunities to advance their career in a nice white collared shirt.
Steven, a Singaporean, shared that his uncle, who operates a successful oyster omelette store, with the original recipe handed down from his grandfather, will be closing down his business this year. His uncle’s only daughter, who is afraid of cooking oil splattering onto her complexion, does not wish to continue the family business, which has been operational for over 80 years.
High cost of living had lead to lower birth rates in Singapore, with fewer people tying the knot, as women in Singapore have almost equal opportunities to men in when it comes to education, health, economic participation.
Singapore – Marina Bay Sands Casino
At the expense of economic advancement in Singapore, couples are delaying marriages, having to work for a longer period of time to put down a deposit and take out a thirty year loan, and staying with their parents after marriage to save cost, and only moving to their own homes after their 30s. The average age of women in Singapore having their first child is at age 29.
and, usually they only have one child, with an average fertility rate at 1.25.
In contrast, the lower cost of living in Penang makes it easily for someone to own their home before the age of 30. Most women have two kids (based on Malaysia fertility rate at 2.1
). 93% of Malaysians
own a car. The lower cost pressures had made it easier for people to live in a more relaxed pace of life – with home, car ownership before age 30, with two kids in the mix.
The cost of modernisation in Singapore is at the expense of livelihoods, resulting in the next generation in delaying home ownership and marriage. Singaporeans had traded their lives, for progress. But in the progress of what? What more is there to be proud of when the basics of the traditional social structures are breaking down in the name of progression?
Singapore can learn a lesson from Penang. To stop, sit back, prioritise, fan oneself with a straw paper fan, and continue the legacy.
In the new world, approaching Web 3.0, I predict the convergence of technology, and accessibility and distribution of information to be widely available at speeds unforeseeable in human history, partially thanks to the big giants – Apple, Google and YouTube for the ability of reaching out globally from their independent platforms to create and disperse information and knowledge.
The convergence of technology and knowledge, will allow humanity to unite and create art forms that are merge the futuristic and advance at levels, never faster before. Our ability to learn multiple languages, dance, and mediums, with globalisation, internet, and social media, has created a new wave of mutual unity and understanding of the human race. The world is turning mobile, and the borders, are melting into borderlessness, with the union of the European Union, we are now living in a new world, that one day, we will become citizens of the world, our cultures and identity unifying as one, that’s when, we as the human race are one and the same… that’s when… wars will end.
The world is converging as I speak, and the playing field is evened out between the strong and weak, in this new world, knowledge and dexterity are the keys to survival. The traditional forms of connections, ties, and inherited titles will disappear as social mobility will depend on meritocracy and ingenuity to survive in the world of change. The world has never changed this fast, as compared to before the invention of the internet, its like everything has speeded up, communications, news, information, the speed of flow has allowed us to connect across borders without being in the same country, to trade and move goods and services smoothly through airplanes and ships. The information age of today, is probably the golden era of human civilisation. Interestingly, the people who will be left behind are those without the knowledge of the internet or computers. More funding is needed to support every child in third world countries with a laptop, so they can be part of this global economy.