In Between

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156 articles in category In Between / Subscribe

Some years ago I did something I truly regretted: I upgraded my 2009 MacBook White operating system. I was not an upgrader. In fact, every time a new upgrade system was available, I would always dismiss the notification, because I know it would eventually lead to the slow death of my faithful laptop.

That day, though, I decided to give it a try. And yes, my Mac slowed down immediately. I tried to resurrect it by replacing the RAM, but eventually I have to face the truth: my Mac is never going to be as fast as before.

Thing is, you need to be careful with upgrading, and this lesson is transferrable to life.

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I see myself as a writer, and occasionally I tell others that I am a writer. Or, more precisely, I tell others that I write. I mean, telling others that I write shows I can produce good writing or bad writing. Telling others I’m a writer means that I should have written well, which I probably have not.

Anyway, considering myself a writer, I decided to go to the Melbourne Writers Festival. Last Sunday, I dragged my faithful boyfriend (because Sunday is our date day), and we sat down on one of the seminars titled, ‘The World According to Short Stories’.

One of the speakers, short-story author Paddy O’Reilly, said this:

How we read people tells so much about us than how we behave.

Yes, it does.

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The sink was full of three-day worth of dishes. I had just finished drinking my coffee, so I did the sensible thing: First, rinse the cup slightly. Second, stack it on top of other plates. Third, avoid looking at the sink for the foreseeable future.

Dishes: out of sight, out of mind.

I went back to sit on my sofa, put my laptop on my lap, and hit refresh. Refresh. Refresh. No email came. Again, refresh. I was waiting for a reply from my supervisor regarding my thesis focus, and I couldn’t do anything useful if he didn’t approve the topic. So refresh. Refresh.

After staring blankly at my laptop for ten minutes, I closed it. I went back to the kitchen to make a cup of green tea, and saw the dirty dishes. Ah, might as well clean them. At least, it would take my mind off other things.

Thesis: out of sight, out of mind.

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Despite my physical appearance and my heritage, I don’t speak Chinese. My great-grandparents traveled from China to Indonesia by boat when they were expecting my grandmother (from my Dad’s side), so I’m either the fourth or third generation Chinese Indonesian.

In Melbourne, Chinese people come to me saying things in Chinese. This will be followed by a somewhat ashamed smile and a shake of my head.

‘Sorry,’ I said. ‘I don’t speak Chinese.’

They will then act surprised and withdrew quickly, leaving me standing with my head down, occasionally thinking, ‘Why didn’t I pay more attention to learning Chinese when I was young?’

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When people know that I blog, they usually ask about the topics I write about. I usually just say, ‘Ah, you know, bits and pieces. Here and there. Life, relationship, studies, anything in between.’

Then they’ll go to my blog and read some of my posts. The next time we meet, they’ll ask, ‘I don’t know how you are able to share private details about your life on the internet. I won’t be able to do that.’

Funnily, I’m already used to this comment by now. But it just gets me thinking: do I really share stuff that are that private on the internet? Should I cut back on the stories of my life?

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I feel like my short attention span is killing me slowly.

I was doing my research paper when I decided I’d take a break and read something good. I wasn’t sure how, but I ended up at Mitch Albom’s website and I began to read some of this writings. Then I came across this: Mitch Albom’s advice for journalists and writers on writing.

If you’re like most people, you’d give up after skimming the article. If you’re an aspiring writer or journalist, you might try to actually read the article. After you reach the first subheading, you’ll get the urge to flick through Facebook first before going back to read it again, as there’s a …(1) notification.

I was tempted. So tempted. But I forced myself to stay with the article and read it at my good read pace, not at my skimming’s pace, until the end.

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I think I have known this for a long time: I am a highly sensitive person.

The other day I was browsing Facebook as per usual and I came across this article by Wall Street Journal. It’s titled, Do You Cry Easily? You May be a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’. Seriously, I feel like this article is written for me.

I cry when watching almost every movie. I cried during the first five minutes of Up. I’m pretty sure I cried when watching the latest Avengers movie, although I don’t really remember which part. I cry when reading stories, and every time my sister came home from her palliative care job, telling me about how that patient died and how the patient’s husband had, lovingly, created a pair necklace with ‘forever loving you’ engraved just before she passed away, I cried a river.

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Before anyone gets any fancy idea, I just want to state that no, I’m not doing a PhD. That said, I’m contemplating whether to do a minor thesis for the second half of my Master’s degree.

The reason is simple: I’ve run out of good subjects to do. And between doing a subject that I know I will hate and being in my pyjamas while researching all day long, I think the latter does sound better.

Oh, I’m also attributing this insane idea to my job. Working in a research department where almost all my colleagues are doing PhD does something funny to my poor brain.

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