Remember, remember, the 25th of September.

“Don’t break the chain.” – Jerry Seinfeld

To put it in another way, we should do our very best to remain persistent with whatever we choose to commit our time, money and energy to in our everyday life. It could be a hobby, it could be a job, it could be a relationship, anything at all.

Yet a controversial question remains; what if the things that you choose to maintain the chain with are setting you back more than pushing you forward? That collector’s hobby you have, or that game you enjoy playing so much, the plethora of TV shows/movies/dramas on the internet for you to watch, and that 9-5 job which you cannot escape from. Where do you find the balance?

People often bring in time management, which in itself is a reasonable and predictable advice, but it does not solve another problem; how can you be sure if these said things are what you would want to keep as part of your life? Time management can help you find space to engage in your favourite activities and getting the best productivity or enjoyment out of it, and no matter how you look at it, that’s all it does.

It goes without saying that the duty of choosing your activities falls upon your own hands. You make the decisions on how you want to spend the 24 hours given to you, save for the mandatory commitments to your career when the time comes. What you derive joy and satisfaction from is unique to each individual. The problem I’m having is finding the right ones.

You see, I’m at this stage (and age) where I know shit is about to get real. I’ve completed my degree, I’m officially employable, the doors of the future are opened in front of me and theoretically, I’m already qualified to join the ranks of millions of other ass-grinders who work from sun-rise to sun-set just to sustain themselves. Fortunately, and unfortunately, I have one more year of post-grad education before I face the full blow of reality. It’s a double-edged sword for me, because on one hand, I’m given this space and time to actually wake myself up and shape my life into something else in preparation of a new ‘beginning’, as cheesy at it may sound, but on the other hand the more I think about it, the more I become ‘afraid’.

I hate using the word ‘afraid’ here, because I’m not at all distraught by the thought of having to move on and live like how everyone else is. No, it’s not a fear at all.

Instead, I’d rather call it a struggle for change. There are so many things I want to be, and equally many things holding me back. It feels like I am helplessly stuck between the boundaries of 2 different worlds, but wishing to be in both all the same. Not an easy feeling to describe, but I’m sure some of you who are experiencing or had experienced this would know what I’m talking about.

I’ll be a little bit more specific. I’m still financially dependent on my parents. For the last 21 years, this was not an issue which I should burden myself with. I mean, who would pass on the luxury of not having to work and receiving allowance at regular intervals? If you’re a student, education was all that matters. What you spend on, how much you spend on and all that jazz were regulated by your beloved parents, and that’s honestly fair enough. You can’t have the cake and eat it.

Nevertheless, having reached such a stage, I can’t help but feel like it’s a burden. To whom? To both parties. It is a burden to me because there are many things I’d like to have commitment in, but I hold myself back because of this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m not given enough money, but rather, I still have the obligation and the responsibility to restrain myself and make way for more necessary and mandatory expenditure. And it’s a burden to them because inevitably, their little boy’s expenses when he was just in primary school then cannot compare to that of a post-grad now who is still studying and not working.

I’ll be frank from here onwards. I respect my parents enough to think not twice, not thrice but uncountable amount of times when contemplating whether or not to spend their hard-earned money for my own sake and enjoyment. Often, I sit in front of my computer screen, hovering my mouse over the “Check Out” button, checking and re-checking the things I had added into the cart, deciding on which ones I could bear to remove and forgo. All that keeps playing in my head is the money, no matter how small it can be. Item X could be worth RM30, an amount which I would be willing to spend on an occasionaly basis, but due to the fact that I’m still in such a situation, I would refuse because it is not something I need.

Put all that ‘need and want’ discussion aside. I’m not a hopeless compulsive spender, and I know my limitations. The things that I have right now are more than I could ever ask for. I have an amazing computer, a keyboard for me to indulge in my musical interests, all the gadgets I could ever ask for, a study table, a room to call my own, and most importantly a roof over my head. I was given the freedom to choose my own path in education with zero financial burden on my shoulders. Why then am I still feeling trapped/burdened?

The answer is simple, life is just expanding for me. When I was a student, all I ever needed to do was go to school, do my homework, go to tuition, hang out with friends maybe a few times a month. What else? Did I play games as a kid? I sure as hell did. I have a decent computer, a handphone, a Gameboy, plenty of board games. I had everything.

Now, things are just more complicated than that. I may be interested in pursuing a relationship, I may want to buy gifts for people that I care about, I may want to throw some money into some games to support the developers, and get a some cool items to increase my enjoyment in the game. There may be musical artists I’d like to support, some products I might like to buy, and places I would like to go.

And it never feels good having to spend your parents’ money on things which you would, on a personal level, like to spend on because they define your own individual life.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate every single cent my parents have poured into me in order to keep me happy and successful, that is something I would forever be grateful for, but being financially independent is just a whole new level of freedom that I wish to have if I ever have the opportunity. I’m there, but not quite there yet, and it is slowly feeling like a rope being tied around my arms.

Which brings me back to my original point; to be productive is to have persistence and commitment in the things you do best, and in the things you enjoy doing the most, but what you choose to commit to is entirely up to you.

I don’t know how others manage it, but at this point in time, there are just some things in life which I can’t find the space to bring into my life, no matter how much I yearn for them. Being financially dependent is just one of the factors, it is not the be-all and end-all of the conflicts I am facing.

***

There are a few others, one of them being my reluctance to let go of “games and entertainment” and instead spend more time indulging myself with “mature and productive” activities. Personally, I do not agree with anyone who is of the opinion that adults cannot be gamers. I hold firmly to my principle that games are alternative forms of entertainment.

I don’t club on Friday nights, I don’t blow my money on cigarettes, I don’t do drugs and I don’t gamble.

I still go for movies with friends, and hang out for some drinks once in a while. I have non-game related hobbies, and hell I’m doing well in my academics.

Among all those, I’m also a gamer. I don’t see why that should make any difference, but what would the normal reaction be when people were to ask you about yourself, and being a gamer just so happens to be one of them;

“Oh, I play online games.”

“But games are for ki-“

“I also read novels and play the keyboard. I enjoy travelling and learning new languages. History doesn’t amuse me, but philosophy does. I’m selectively social but rather outgoing with the right company. I’m loyal to the people I care about and I despise those who backstab. I can be competitive in some aspects, yet I’ll give respect where due. My desire to share things I personally find interesting or exciting may sometimes come across as arrogance, and my silence mistaken for ignorance. I don’t usually pour out to people even those closest to me, because I’d rather not bother them with my problems, but a simple inquiry is more often that not, sufficient to break the dam.”

Don’t just judge based on one criteria. I enjoy gaming as much as another person enjoys collecting stamps, or gardening, or fishing, or scub-diving, or painting or programming. Stereotyping gamers as being immature or childish is just ridiculous.

What if I say; I’m a lawyer in the making, I’m a K-Pop fanatic and I’m also a gamer. I listen to many types of songs from romantic ballads to eurotrance.

If this mixture is unfathomable to you, then perhaps it’s time for you to broaden up your mind instead.

I can continue ranting, but truth be told, let’s just leave that for another day.

Get Over It.

Hottest news of the day: Tiffany is in a relationship with Nickhun and Hyoyeon actually had a boyfriend for 2 years before recently breaking up!

And the entire Sone fandom went ape-shit like they did during Sooyoung and Yoona’s reveal.

Had it been years ago when I was way too deep in this fandom, I would cry, I would be heartbroken and I would curl myself up in a corner. I’m not saying it’s wrong for anyone to feel as such, but it’s high time we get practical (and real).

If deep down inside you’re sad and shocked, I don’t blame you. Just don’t take things too far and do ridiculous rubbish such as these:

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Just a note: TIFFANY is in a relationship with NICKHUN. Why in the flying magic carpet’s name is TAEYEON involved in this?

Stop. stop. STAHP. I feel like clawing my eyeballs out reading this load of…

Seriously, just stop. Please. They are idols, we are fans. When we say we love them, we don’t technically LOVE them like we would to a significant other. No matter how much you can deny it, we are all merely observers of their lives. Yea sure, we may be the ones that support them and bring them success. We may be the ones who have brought them up to where they are today. And we may be the ones that made their life worth living for. But in the end, their lives don’t belong to us. If we’re all to act like they owe us their ‘love’, then it’s high time for us to look ourselves in the mirror and re-evaluate how far we’re going with this K-Pop fandom.

I’ve been there, done that, and honestly I felt stupid about myself. It’s funny now every time I look back and read through the things I would say and the stupid things I would do, but like everything else, it’s time to move on. Not from the fandom, but from the delusions.

What do we mean when we say we support them? What do we really mean? Staying as 9 forever, and staying loyal to them? Fair enough. Topping the charts with their new albums? Check. Letting them know that Sones always got their backs, like what we did when Sooyoung got into an accident, or when Taeyeon got dragged of stage by that weird man years ago? We’ve done that too.

Spazzing over it is fine. Over-reacting is not.

But this, this nonsensical reaction we’re letting them see, splurging all over Taeyeon’s Instagram and all over Twitter…yea I’m pretty sure she and the others will have a good laugh reading those comments. Have you guys lost your minds? Not only that, on the other extreme, we have people leaving the fandom because of this. I’m not going to even start on this shit.

Call me insensitive, call me loads of bullshit, or even call me judgemental for dictating how other fans should behave, because in the end, I’m not trying to dictate anything. I’m saying that what a bunch of us are doing at the moment is adverse, detrimental and not contributing our so-called ‘love and support’ in any way.

Star Citizen

This is probably the least suitable time for me to talk about games, mainly because my finals are merely a month away, but I’ll proceed anyway. It’ll probably be a bore to hear me moan and groan about the exams, so what better than to have a change in the mood?

In short, I want to share with you guys a new discovery I made while randomly surfing the web. It is regarding a game called “Star Citizen”. To be honest, I cannot for the life of me remember how I managed to come across this indie game, but if I’m not mistaken, I got the news from /r/gaming. Gotta thank reddit for getting me into this mess.

What is interesting to note about this game, is that it is currently in pre-Alpha stage, and its development is purely supported by crowd-funding. As of today, there are no publishers involved in the production of the game, only the developers and us, the consumers.

I instantly got interested in this game because hell, it’s a Space Simulator. I’ve been looking for something new and fresh to play ever since EVE Online dominated the space warfare genre, and amazingly it is still dominating regardless of its monthly subscription model. So you can’t imagine how excited I was when I went through Star Citizen’s Kickstarter page here.

One thing I noted what the stupidly vast amount of information to take in regarding this game at first. Something along the lines of producing a next-gen Space Sim, and…wait a minute…space SIM? Not an MMO? And then there’s something about a single-player campaign called Squadron 42 and the multi-player persistent universe called Star Citizen. Player-driven economy, sandbox progression, ship insurances, organisations…the damn list goes on!

The plethora of information that I was reading made things seemed too good to be true. Everything that producer Chris Roberts aimed to achieve and deliver to players sounded like the perfect Space Sim any fan could ask for. I’ve had my experiences with Firefall, and learnt the hard way that sometimes developers don’t really mean what they said. And the devs in Firefall actually said this!

Hey, we didn’t promise anything from the beginning, circumstances change, objectives change, etc. etc. Well, screw you and your game. I regretted spending money in Firefall. To anyone reading this, I would advise you to stay away for now at least, until the game develops into something resembling what us closed beta testers were promised from the very beginning. Or to put it in other words, wait until the damn game is fully released before thinking of dedicating your time playing it. You wouldn’t know what features the devs would simply scrap away next.

Naturally, these would’ve made me very cautious and apprehensive regarding promises made so early in the game’s development process. I went to the game’s official website, the forums and also the Youtube channel and started scrounging any information I can get with regards to the game’s potential.

A few facts I have noted: firstly, the game has been in development since the end of 2012, with an aim to deliver the game in 2 years. Normally I would add 6 months to a year’s duration to that statement, because that’s how it normally is. This puts the game’s targeted release somewhere in 2015. Sounds good to me.

Crowd-funding is the main method currently supporting the development, with no publishers involved and minimal investors. To date, it has accumulated $41 million just from fans. Forty-one.freaking.million.dollars. If this doesn’t sky-rocket the expectations for this game, I don’t know what will. SC has received a lot of publicity, and is certainly under high pressure to deliver a ‘next-gen space sim’.

With regards to Kickstarter projects, the biggest worry is usually concerning the people behind the project just running away with the money. I too was skeptical about this, as $41 million is not a small amount. However, I discovered that Chris Roberts had developed several other space sims before this, namely Wing Commander, Freelancer and others, before deciding to take a long hiatus from PC game production. This is due to the gaming focus in the recent years being geared towards the newer consoles. Roberts aim is to make a huge comeback with the support of loyal PC fans to prove to the gaming industry that the PC will always remain the superior platform for gaming.

After much speculation, I believed that his objectives are genuine and that the progress of the game’s development since 2012 have been substantive, transparent, and honestly quite promising. Triple A titles like Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 equally took some time to produce, and with the humongous scale that Star Citizen aims to achieve, I’d say its current progress is justified.

Before I knew it, I had ‘pledged’ myself a ship and have fallen amongst the community of followers, eagerly awaiting for news and updates. Nothing major about the game is set to be released any time soon, except for the new upcoming Module in the coming weeks. I was more than happy to support the creation of a game which I had been searching for a long time. If the game ends up being the game of the 21st century, then I’d have no regrets. Even if it fails to deliver everything it has promised, I have no doubts that it would still remain an awesome game. Besides, nothing major would ensue until after my exams in June, making the timing absolutely perfect.

I definitely would recommend any of you to check it out, and if you have at least $40 to spare, get yourself the cheapest ship inclusive with the Alpha/Beta test, along with other perks, and join in the wait for what could possibly be the most ground-breaking game in the coming years. Have a look at their official website which I had linked to above, and spend some time reading the forums and watching their frequent updates on Youtube if you’re interested to know more. You won’t regret it.

The Truth, and nothing but the Truth

Perhaps I may had spoken one too many words. The emotions and feelings that just keep pouring out at every opportunity they can get. But who am I to blame, when I myself had always been the gatekeeper between the inside world and the one outside. The pressure that builds up within is inevitable. It is just a matter of time.

Whatever the consequences may be, I couldn’t care less. These things no longer faze me as much as I thought it would. I’ve seen a lot, I’ve been through a lot, I thought I had enough. But enough is never truly enough. So long as I walk and talk and breathe, nothing escapes this facade of a life, a journey to ultimate paradise, or so they say.

Everything I said was merely the truth. The truth about my emotions, the truth about my judgements and the truth about the consequences that follows. I do admit, that a small portion of my statements were made truly out of spite, anger and disgust,  ultimately clouding the authenticity and the degree of seriousness of such purported words. But in essence, I said as such because I feel as such.

Continue reading

Change

If I was asked to sum up my 2013, there could be no other word than ‘change’. 2013 opened my eyes to more and more truths, things that happened which I thought were impossible, and also unfortunately, things that I had hoped for to occur, never came to existence.

I broke a promise to myself, not once, nor twice, but many times. The greatest anti-thesis of my self-motivation to make a difference is ironically this very being himself. It all began since January itself. I told myself I would always be actively involved in this fandom. I failed to carry that promise. I chose to completely forgo all my SNSD activities back in January, but for the greater good. I had to do it for my studies.

I promised myself I would use my time to its fullest and study hard for my exams. As happy as I was for my results, I know it was not my best. I failed myself yet again. Continue reading