In the confusion of 2020, I often found myself leaning on Mahatma Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s revered platforms of nonviolence in reaction to the waves of protests against racial injustice. But I did so out of fear, shame, and lack of understanding — and relying on just one point of view is myopic.
Now, in 2021, I was inspired by someone’s suggestion to practice Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day “on" rather than as a day “off", so I set out to learn about the history of civil rights protest. …
I’ve recently curbed an addiction: my phone.
The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the already unhealthy relationship I had with my phone, particularly with two social media apps: Reddit and Instagram.
You may have watched or heard of The Social Dilemma, a documentary about the vast influence of social media and other aspects of our hyper-connected societies. It features interviews with engineers, designers, and executives from the biggest tech organizations, psychologists, ethicists, and business people from in and out of tech, all explaining the dilemma of how a disproportionate amount of our thoughts, actions, and life choices are indirectly influenced by…
Growing up, we are not taught the local language in school because it’s the best language in the world. It’s taught to us because it’s understood by others. Travel far enough and that may not be the case. But for day-to-day life, simply having a common language is sufficient for humans to coexist.
In my case, having grown up in Singapore, that language was Singlish, an English-based creole language that blends Malay, various Chinese dialects including Cantonese and Hokkien, and Tamil. The blended vocabulary and grammar allow Singaporeans to express a common culture despite coming from different ethnic heritages.
Instead of my regular bait-and-switch of song titles and article titles, this article is actually about the titular song.
“715 — CRΣΣKS” is one of the most recognizable songs from one of my all-time favorite albums: 22, A Million, by Bon Iver.
Bon Iver’s frontman, Justin Vernon, makes music that sometimes sounds… scrambled. His style is not created by just applying distortion and layering samples; his lyrics often feel nonsensical and intentionally lacking explain-ability.
My flatmate, Kevin, introduced me to a term: GAS. It stands for “gear acquisition syndrome”. You know, the behavior of purchasing accessories when getting into a new hobby.
GAS can be quick and bursty, or it can happen over a lifetime. Most people who have the benefit of surplus spending power know exactly what I’m talking about.
Right now, I’m having serious coffee GAS. Kevin has stocked our home with a quality grinder, kettle, pour-over cone, and French press. The gear is not top-shelf expensive but it certainly has quality enough to make our coffee brewing rituals particularly enjoyable.
The seasons are changing where I live, and I’m going to use this phenomenon to segue into discussing gatekeeping.
When someone takes it upon themselves to decide who does or does not have access or rights to a community or identity.
Gatekeeping has been on my mind lately. It started with a reddit-hole into r/gatekeeping where redditors meme and mock gatekeepers of all sorts. Now I see gatekeeping everywhere and can’t help but ponder gatekeepers' intentions. Surely there are folks who are simply naïve to their actions, while there are others who intentionally use it for manipulation.
I’m guilty of…
I wrote an article about starting to write articles.
This is yet another.
There’s a laundry list of topics that I’m interested in. 12 random-ish lookups from this list returns:
If these (or any other) are topics you’re interested in my thoughts on, please let me know! I don’t have Jack Sparrow’s supernatural compass so could use your inputs to guide my digital penmanship.
Pairing song titles with article titles is satisfying.
This one comes from the outstanding musical Hamilton. If you…
I’ve been making bad excuses to not write for public viewership for a long time. For example: “It would have been nice to publish my first post at a symbolic time. I just missed 10/10/2020, so let’s wait until the next aesthetic date”. That’s procrastinating at its finest.
I realize that my ego wants to write to share “perfect” ideas with the world. Then my ego doubles down and wants to philosophize on the nature of “perfect” itself because “deep”. But how can I understand perfection without understanding imperfection too? So, embracing wabi-sabi, let’s start now.