Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards Gone...

Am saddened by the news that John Edwards decided to drop out of the POTUS race. He has the best policy proposals of the top three Democratic candidates (see the side-by-side comparison charts prepared by a policy professor over on HuffPo), including actually standing for universal healthcare, with comprehensive measures regarding reducing the costs of malpractice suits (thus laying to rest the extremely unfair smear that he was only an ambulance-chasing trial lawyer going after doctors - when he was nothing of the sort, but joe public in the U.S. doesn't understand there is a world of difference between suing doctors versus suing health insurance or pharma companies), and before the New Hampshire debate he was actually my top candidate choice (the reason I changed my mind was due to his ill-advised bully-boy behaviours against Clinton during the debate, when he chose to side with Obama and accuse Clinton for being the status quo, when Obama's political positions in fact represent far more business-as-usual by including concessions to right-wing policies, whilst Clinton is the one whose espoused policies are actually closest to his own).

However, despite his brilliant ideas, he didn't do himself any favours in debates - going on and on about his textile mill family background did not help counter the right-wing talking points about his expensive haircut or 18,000-square-feet family home, but rather made him sound unrealistically nostalgic for a bygone era, and thus by implication unrealistic about preparing America for the real challenges of globalisation.

More crucially though, his stance as the voice of the disenfranchised lower classes in America is hampered by the fact that he is a stereotypical white well-off middle-aged male and thus unfortunately discriminated against for his (lack of) colour - the recent joke on A Daily Show (ed: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - for a time its name switched to A Daily Show during the writers' strike) about how Edwards would be the only Democratic candidate to get the nomination a hundred years ago because he's neither black nor female is rather telling, in that the situation today is reversed when voters are exhorted to vote for a candidate solely on the basis of race or gender. In comparison to the photogenic succcess story that is Barack Obama chanting slogans of change and invoking MLK legacy in his speeches, combined with his mega-watt media-darling status, and Hillary Clinton's established networks of corporate support, Edwards, through no fault of his own, did not have much of a chance.

Ultimately, Americans will get the President they deserve. If they cannot see past the glitz and talks of substance bore them, they have only themselves to blame for whoever they end up getting. However I do have immense sympathies for the significant sensible minority who despair for their country and feel powerless against the corrupt political process. In fact, one could say that Edwards has seriously failed his supporters - and the democratic process - by quitting at this time rather than wait for another week, when the rest of the country finally gets a chance at the ballot box. But it is a mystery why he quit before Super Tuesday - why not at least go the distance rather than throw in the towel now when the big race has not even begun? Could it really be because he's afraid for his family, as some conspiracy theorists suggest when his daughter got involved in a car accident, which is on top of the strain already placed on him by his terminally-ill but extremely supportive wife? Or his finances finally could not cope with fighting the media blackout against his candidacy? (After all, though Edwards might be rich, but he's no Mitt Romney and does not have the means to bankroll a nationwide campaign). I do sincerely hope Edwards would be offered a VP spot on the Democratic ticket, and that might be more likely to come from Obama than Clinton.

The only plea I'd make as a non-American is that the next POTUS not instigate / incite / inflame terrorism in the world as much as it has already done so in the previous decades... (and before anyone gets hysterical over the above statement, please learn more about Latin American history and Middle-East conflict, and please recognise that I am in no way saying the USA is the only culprit in the rise of global terrorism).

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Comparing Lust | Caution with Lust | Caution... [Spoiler Alert]

[The below is partially written on 21 Jan 2008; I only finished the rest of the post and have this formally published on 20 April, 2008]

Have been meaning to post a review of the much-talked-about Ang Lee film since last Saturday, except that I was foiled by the untimely near-death of my beloved laptop, which meant that I spent the last few days scrambling to recover my life's work rather than leisurely composing my definitive take on one of the most controversial films of 2007 (or 2008, for that matter, since it only opened in Ireland earlier this month - ed: January). Because I have soooo much to say about the film - in spite of ALL that has already been written and talked about it - I'm breaking my temporary blog curfew to post this.

I of course have read all the hullabaloo about this film from the HK blogosphere, and have followed up on all the proper reviews by the major Western newspapers. Yet of all the reviews I've read, there was NOT A ONE of them who could meaningfully compare the movie version of Lust Caution with the short story version of Lust Caution. Yes, I saw the commentary about the real life inspiration behind Eileen Chang's short story; and yes, there was a blogger who did manage to quote 1 line from the original short story in interpreting the importance of sex in the film. But I came out of the cinema feeling like screaming: Did anybody actually bothered to read Eileen Chang's short story AT ALL??? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that nobody is qualified to comment on the film without having first read the story, but after the ocean of ink (virtual or otherwise) that has been spilt commenting on this movie from all four corners of the globe, I found it absolutely incredible that nobody thus far has meaningfully compared the plot and structure of the story to that presented on the silver screen. I mean, Ang Lee's previous effort, Brokeback Mountain (which I've also seen), based also on a short story (which I've also read), generated huge amounts of commentary as well, but these include a thorough dissection of how the short story was interpreted in cinematic form. In contrast, most commentators of Lust Caution focused primarily on the on-screen sex and, tangential to that, sexual politics and the tired does-he/she-love-him/her question. So much so, that another reviewer argued that the film has been completely misread and that the unusual presentation of geo-politics in the film - especially in its painting of the positive role of the KMT in China and yet still passing muster with Mainland Chinese censors - was actually its real achievement.

(ed: The above part was written back on Jan 21st, before news of the official reprimand of Tang Wei was reported. Subsequent to this interpretation of the movie as striking a blow for the KMT, it seems the Chinese authorities decided that the movie is not kosher after all and decided to vent their frustration at their own impotence and lack of foresight on the only person accessible to them, the lead actress from Mainland China, Tang Wei. She was later vilified as a traitor to her country for starring in a film that apparently glorified Chinese spies and the KMT. The whole thing is inherently unfair not only because of the usual Chinese political censorship of films, but for the fact that this was retrospective punishment for something the film censors should have spotted if they are really that politically-sensitive. Why did the mainland Chinese authorities, or the film distributors for that matter, not spotted the nation-betraying potential of this film during either the proposal or production or indeed the distribution of the movie? If they themselves couldn't find anything wrong with the movie when it was being made and indeed when it was finished, how could they blame, a posteri, Tang Wei for taking part in the movie in the first place? Or, indeed, how could the millions of mainland Chinese people joined in the official chorus to vilify an actress when they themselves have shelled out money from their own pocket out of their own free will to watch the movie either at the cinemas or from pirated DVDs? Should all the movie-goers in mainland China be reprimanded also for daring to view such allegedly country-betraying material?).

Anyway, back to comparing Lust Caution the movie with Lust Caution the novella. I read Eileen Chang's short story a few years ago, when I was trying to acquire a full set of her novels through YesAsia.com. So when I heard that Ang Lee's film was based on one of her short stories, I was very excited and took out the book and re-read the story again. I had the same feeling on this second reading of the story as I did when I first read it - I was very depressed by the storyline, by how the young and idealistic heroine was manipulated by those around her into betraying her body and ultimately, being betrayed by the only man whom she trusted in spite of herself. To me, the story was not so much about the love or sex between the heroine and the spy; no, that relationship was only secondary to the central story of how she came to be trapped in her position of being forced to carry on struggling for the "cause" even though she came to realise how she was manipulated into doing so by her so-called friends and compatriots.

I felt physically sick when I read the part where the realization dawned on her that she was being tricked into losing her virginity to a member of her student clique, who had long had designs on her and used the Resistance as simply a grandiose cover for pursuing his own selfish goals. That wasn't the worst betrayal though - it was the dirty looks that she got from her fellow student plotters, especially her girlfriends, who, after helping to trick her into betraying her body in the name of Resistance, looked down on her for being a skanky ho for precisely deigning to make that sacrifice.

That, to me, is the reason why Eileen Chang wrote that the character felt finally at ease with herself when she was with the spy, that being with him felt right, and having sex with him "felt like being in a hot bath". Because finally, the sex that she had with the spy helped cleanse the shame and guilt that she was suffering internally - finally there was a righteous purpose after all to the personal sacrifice that she had made earlier; that she wasn't just a stupid, naive girl who fell for the lies of the unscrupulous members of her gang, who preyed on her innocence and idealism; and that she wasn't a skanky slapper after all but a proper agent doing glorious, country-saving work...

That was the story version, or at least my reading of Eileen's character motivations in her short story. What Ang Lee did with the above storyline though was completely different - Ang gave the poor heroine a genuinely charismatic, good-looking, and well-intentioned leader of the gang in the form of Leehom Wang, in whom she had a secret crush and for whom she would do anything. This character was never in Eileen Chang's story, and its addition to Ang Lee's plot made the personal sacrifice by the heroine a bit more believable than simply the fact that she felt the thrill of successfully executing a role on stage. Secondly, Ang made her sacrifice her body not to a scheming and manipulative slimeball who used her for his own personal gratification, as in the original story, but to a clueless and awkward boy in the gang who only got the honour of deflowering her due to his so-called previous sexual experience. His adolescent awkwardness contrasted sharply with her business-like determination, which presage the beginning of her sexual confidence and power. This was directly contradictory to the plot in the original short story, where the heroine was an ingenue preyed on by her own friends, who could never raise her head high in front of them after the betrayal. Most importantly, Ang gave her a group of well-meaning co-conspirators who actually cared about her, who not only didn't look down on her once she has been sexually "used" by a fellow member of the gang, but who were actually in thrall of her (sexually-generated) power once the intrigue formally started with the spy. Far from feeling superior to the designated "hoar" in the group, the female co-conspirator in the movie felt inferior to the heroine's new-found glamour and beauty, and acted in deference to her, behaving almost like her maid not only because that was what her official role called for, but also because the power in their friendship has shifted, and it was the girl who wielded the sexual power who called the shots. These were all a far cry from the original story penned by Chang.

In fact, when the whole plot was discovered by one of the spy's associates, and that the heroine might have turned out to have sacrificed her body for nothing, Ang Lee made the gang - especially the team leader played by Leehom - avenge her honour through a bloody and long-drawn-out slaughter scene. Ostensibly, the group killed the associate - a distant relative of Leehom's character - because they knew the game was up and they were all in danger of being exposed; but their cringe-worthy amateurish stabbing attempts showed that they really hadn't got it in them to kill anyone, at least not for some abstract cause like nationalism. No, the look that passed between Leehom and Tang Wei's characters when Leehom finally twisted the guy's neck and finished the bloody deed, was one of "See, our struggle is not for nothing; more importantly, your sacrifice was not for nothing. Even though we couldn't catch the big fish, at least we managed to kill a small-time traitor. Even if he was my cousin." Nobody bothered at all with the heroine's feelings in Eileen's original story, much less try to avenge her honour by physically murdering someone.

In short, Ang Lee has rescued the poor heroine from being a stupid and naive footnote in the history of the Nationalist struggle against the Japanese, a person betrayed and pimped out by her own friends in Eileen Chang's original story; to someone who had a legitimate, though misguided, part to play in the struggle to save the country, supported by a cast of loyal (though similarly misguided) friends, whose idealisms matched her own and who stayed with her right up to the end of facing the firing squad. In the original story by Eileen Chang, it was not clear even if the heroine was indeed having the promised back-up that she needed at the jewellery store - none of her co-conspirators actually appeared, nobody tried to apprehend the spy at the end, nobody was seen doing reconnaisance on street-corners beforehand, not to mention actually staying with the heroine to face death together. In Ang Lee's film, it was the heroine who betrayed her friends and fellow conspirators, causing their executions as well as her own through a moment of weakness, a moment of weakness that was the subject of countless speculation in blogs and movie reviews afterwards as to whether or not it demonstrates that she had fallen in love with him because of the sex that they had. In Eileen Chang's story, the heroine was betrayed by her so-called friends from the very beginning, whose moment of weakness could thus be more easily explained in terms of her naive imagination that the spy was the only one who had in any way cared for her, as evidenced by his purchase of that quail-egg sized diamond ring, a ring that she knew he knew was a status symbol among the tai-tai's. That he actually agreed to bestow upon her a concrete symbol of status when she herself was treated like dirt by her fellow co-conspirators, provides another plausible alternative to love as an explanation of her decision to let him go at that crucial moment in Eileen Chang's story.

By redefining the female protagonist's fall from grace as the work not of her fellow co-conspirators, but of the bigger power struggles between different sides with vested interests, Ang Lee simplified the morals of the story as having to do with how individuals - regardless of their gender - might be easily manipulated and turned into mere pawns by groups with bigger agendas. Eileen Chang's original story, though brief, has actually more complex layers than presented on Ang Lee's silver screen: in addition to the theme of how individual ideals might be misplaced and be easily co-opted by groups with vested interests, she touched also on the subject of peer betrayal, especially among women. Furthermore, the original story presented sex not only as a tool of manipulation, but showed how it could have redemptive qualities even when it was with the most unlikely partner and in the most unlikely circumstance. Ang Lee's film touched on the latter too, however this was partially ruined by the speech made by Tang Wei towards the end, when she unapologetically outlined in graphic terms what her sacrifice really entailed to the elderly male Resistance masterminder. Though this added speech helped redefine her character as being fearless and having no illusions about the odious role she was assigned to play; it at the same time reduced the ambiguity of sex and limited its alternative interpretations that were present in Eileen Chang's original short story.

There is also a difference in Chang and Lee's treatment of the spy, the character played by Tony Leung. There isn't that much ink devoted to the spy character in the short story, as most of it was narrated from the perspective of the female central character, and anything related to the spy himself were only portrayed second-hand, as figments of the heroine's own idle imagination and second-guessing, except towards the very end of the story when he appeared as the narrator of the story after the heroine's imminent demise. In the movie, it seems Tony Leung's character had cared for the heroine to a certain degree, that he valued her as a sexual partner par excellence as well as a kindred spirit who underestood the loneliness of someone in his position, and the spy was portrayed as genuinely saddened, if not actually pained, by the fact that he had to order her execution in the end even though he managed to keep a straight face about it in front of his subordinate. In the short story, the Chinese spy character only felt a slight pang of regret, regret that was to do more with the fact that the affair could no longer continue than with the fact that he had to issue her execution order. In fact, what the spy expressed at the end of the original story was perhaps not regret as such, but a tremendous sense of relief and even a tinge of joy, feeling how lucky he was to have escaped the attempt on his life, and reflecting in bemused wonderment as to how he came to have the opportunity to dally with a young and beautiful girl in his twilight years. In contrast, it seems Ang Lee wanted to restore the dignity of the central female character by presenting her in his film as someone who had counted with the spy, whose existence had meant something more than sheer physical gratification to him, rather than as a mere powerless plaything used by her own compatriots as well as her sworn enemy in Eileen Chang's original story.

Indeed, one could argue that, far from desecrating the memory of the young female counter-Japanese operative who apparently inspired Eileen Chang's original story, Ang Lee could be said to have done everything he could in his film to reinstate the young woman as a person of substance who played a dignified role in history, even though the outcome was ultimately futile. Though he might have stripped her of her clothes and portrayed her in one explicit sex scene after another, he has actually restored to her a sexual power that was not at all evident in Eileen Chang's original story.

Such glaring differences in the treatment of the characters and their motivations, and the resultant morals of the story, by Chang and Lee were not mentioned in the huge number of the commentaries on the movie. Almost everyone - be they movie-goers who blogged about the film afterwards or professional film critics - seemed to have been dazzled by the sensationalist camera angles of naked flesh and simulated/real sex scenes and forgot about how the story was told. I was looking for some cogent analysis of the substantive comparisons between the short story and the film and came up with nothing (bar the one blogger who wrote about how a line from the original story, about how "the way to a woman's heart is through her vagina", helped explain the connection between love and sex in the film. While I neither agree nor disagree with her analysis per se - it was a throwaway comment made by the heroine herself who dismissed the idea as soon as it surfaced, for she never felt anything but shame from her sexual experience with the guy from her gang, yet that could simply be because she hadn't learnt to enjoy sex until she met the spy - I found it disappointing that that line was all the blogger was able to draw from in the original story).

When I told the friend that I went to see the movie with about the original story, she said that the film would have been too unbearable if Ang Lee had stuck to Eileen Chang's characterisations - it was sad enough to have one's idealisms and body be misused for nefarious purposes by bigger groups; it would have been unbearable if such sacrifices were not understood, and even used as an excuse to degrade oneself, by those within the immediate circles of one's friends and compatriots. But perhaps that was Eileen Chang's original intention - that absent any external understanding, one could still find redemption in the act of sacrifice itself, which in this case means sex. What Ang Lee did was to reinterpret this sexual redemption as being less about sacrifice, and the vainglory that came with it, but more about two people who somehow managed to find each other through sex even when they were meant to be scheming against one another.

[Sidenote: I went to see this film with a Korean friend, who also read about the reviews of this movie from Korean blogs prior to going to see this movie, so we both had high expectations, although she hadn't read the original story. We were supposed to be joined by a Taiwanese friend, but she didn't make it on the night. It turned out that my friend and I were almost the only Asians in the unusually full theatre - I said unusual, as Asian movies normally don't pack in audiences here; but even more mysterious was the fact that there were so few Chinese / Asians in the audience, as I was expecting a lot more of the recent Mainland Chinese immigrants to be there, especially given how limited the release was in Ireland - both in terms of number of cinemas playing the movie and the length of time it was on. Perhaps they've all already seen it through downloads from the Internet? After all, the movie was only released in late January 2008 here when it was already smashing box office records all over East Asia in the latter part of 2007].

Labels: , , ,

Service temporarily suspended... [and now resumed]

Due to a near-death experience over the weekend, in which my Hewlett Packard laptop of no more than two-and-a-half years' vintage crashed and burned through bluescreen after bluescreen of "unmountable boot volume", I am now without a computer to my name and am already experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky however for surviving my computer death relatively unscathed... I managed to recover all my data and so my PhD is still relatively safe... (But now I must back up my external hard disk in case it too gets a visitation from the blue-screen monster).

Because my only access to computer now is through my work computer, alas I will no longer be able to have the leisure to experience the joys of browsing blogs and blogging in the near future... which is just as well, I guess, as I do have a looming deadline to meet by the end of this month so I might as well get down to it and stop procrastinating online anymore...

p.s. Thanks so much again LCL for being a life-saver, thank you thank you thank you. I can't tell you how much Ubuntu means to me now (and to think all those times you blogged about this OS I was internally stifling a yawn, little did I realise how one day it will save my life in the most dramatic fashion - or as dramatic as computer hard disk rescues could get!)

Update: Wednesday, 30th January, 2008 - Hooray! My laptop came back from the dead! Previously I could only recover data from my hard disk but now I can continue working as I did before, with no need to reisntall or update settings or anything! Thank god I was diligent in keeping all my systems CDs and documentation and thank god I actually had the prescience to shell out for 600 euros worth of insurance when I bought the laptop (which is over a third of the actual cost of the laptop itself - I don't know what came over me to make that decision to commit for 5 years but I am sooo glad I did). I still have to ship it back properly for a re-fit (missing keys and broken power cable that happened before Christmas, and stupid repair policy meant that in the end I had to shell out another hundred euros for a universal adaptor to see me through the year - as I was reluctant to part with my dear laptop with all my precious data... until the above-mentioned hard disk failure happened less than 4 weeks later which nearly puts the whole thing to commission!). I would risk leaving my laptop in the hands of couldn't-care-less-tech-support though only AFTER I've successfully completed my PhD in late autumn... am keeping my fingers crossed that no more drama will happen to my laptop until then...

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tastes from times gone by...

Just read the latest post by ReadandEat about her gastronomic exploits during her recent trip to Hong Kong. All the photos she posted on her blog brought back so many memories from my Hong Kong childhood... Oh I miss the food soooooooooooooooooooooo much! Like her I'm a die-hard fan of street snacks like spicy fish balls and little bowl cakes, public health warnings be damned. Salivating over picture after picture of delicious Hong Kong food is however an absolute torture when it's late and I'm hungry for a midnight snack and when I don't have anything remotely resembling anything like Chinese food in my kitchen (apart from ramen noodles).

[In the event I actually went and baked myself an apple and raspberry crumble - this was in the middle of the night! - thinking that I could combat my cravings for savoury Hong Kong dishes with sweet Anglo-Saxon comfort food (and I have to use up my apples anyhow)... But though now I have sated my growling stomache somewhat, I'm still yearning for something savoury - damn you R&E for making me stay up to almost 3am dreaming about HK food!!! (Ah but actually I now remember that I do actually have frozen fish balls in my freezer!!!!!! And I have curry paste from a jar too!!!! Perhaps I COULD try make my own spicy fish balls even though I've never ever attempted it in my life!). ]

Anyway, I was going to write a nostalgic post about food from my HK childhood... one of the ways my brother and I tried to cure our homesickness when we first moved to Ireland was to share with each other our individual "food fantasies", naming all the foods from Hong Kong that we would like to have a taste again... In addition to all the delicious offerings from the shops and restaurants up and down Hong Kong (my parents loved dining out, with the roast pigeon being the signature dish that we always ordered if it was on the menu), one of the things I miss most about Hong Kong are the authentic "tea fruits" hand-made by my paternal grandma, which are nothing like any of the commercial ones I've come across in HK or NY, and I remember also how she always saved the chicken legs for me and my brother whenever she prepared a brand new chicken for our meal (which was for every single meal, including breakfast, whenever we stayed with them. I remember how she killed those poor things for our meals, knifing their necks and draining their blood, while smiling at us with a toothy grin when we stared at her in awe and, it has to be said, horror). I also remember very well the fragrant coconut-and-chicken soup made by my maternal grandma, and how she, being an early riser, would often go down to the street-corner diner downstairs and bought me back a bag of those "pig gut noodle" ("chu cheung fun", also featured in R&E's photo journal!), with a big dollop of sweet sauce specially for my breakfast, even though she doesn't really like them herself (she would pick at a few of them when I entreat her to), just so that I could be set up for the day before I commute to my summer job, that year when I went back alone for the summer and stayed with her...

My dear grandmas (((((hugs))))))), I hope you're both keeping very well and being taken good care of... Words cannot describe how sorry I am for the fact that I haven't been in touch for so long, but I really long to have the chance to eat with you again... perhaps the next time I manage to come visit, I could make you something that I cook myself? I know that neither of you are fond of Western dishes, but my cookies and mini-quiches are not too bad (or at least my mother told me). I hope you both remain healthy and continue to enjoy your food...

Lots of love from your absent grand-daughter...

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Comeback Girl!

Yay! Hillary just won the New Hampshire primary! This would not have been so remarkable if not for the fact that all the media polls were predicting her to suffer a double-digit defeat by Obama and pronouncing her candidacy to be dead in the water SECONDS before the NH polls closed.

I was flipping between Sky news, CNN and Fox news into the wee hours of the morning, and I can't believe how biased those SOB talking heads were on CNN, who refused to use the word "lead" or "edge" to comment on the margin that Hillary has been able to maintain over Obama throughout the whole night, even though at one point she was polling a whole 7 points ahead of him. (Yes we know it was too early to call the winner but when you refused to describe the fact that one candidate had a lead over another as the votes came in you showed up your bias against the leading candidate for all to see.) Previously one of those stupid talking heads was going on about Obama being a "tidal wave" and NOT a one-trick phenomenon just seconds before the polls closed, and afterwards she literally had to eat her words - ah, what joy it was to see these arrogant pundits humiliated as events overtook them on live TV! Little did I know that news coverage could be the stuff of reality T.V.!

On the Repubs side, John McCain was another comeback kid (even though as he pointed out himself in his victory speech that he's too old to be described as a kid in any way shape or form). But boy, was he the WORST speaker EVER! Geez, if you can't even get fired up about your own victory and have to refer constantly to your notes and don't even bother to look up to your cheering crowds 90% of the time, what hope is there for you when you actually lose and have to make an up-beat concession speech?

In contrast, I love Hillary's line about how "I've listened to you and in the process I've found my own voice". Her victory speech is nowhere near as uplifting and inspirational as the knock-out speech delivered by Obama in Iowa, but it certainly bests McCain's monotonous drone and I'm glad to see the more genuine sides to her that have been displayed lately. Contrary to much of mainstream media's misogynistic spin, getting teared up over something you believe in IS a sign of strength rather than weakness, and I'm glad to see that finally Hillary's showing more courage of her convictions.

Gosh, in spite of the best of my intentions, I would be glued to late night TV for U.S. election coverage in the coming days as the other primaries and caucuses happen... Why oh why does the U.S. election cycle has to chime with my PhD completion cycle??? (More pertinently, why the feck am I being soooo irresistably drawn to U.S. politics even though I'm not a U.S. citizen??? Have a bit more self-discipline girl!)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Make It Count...

“The secret of happiness lies not in what one likes to do, but in what one has to do.”
- J. M. Barrie

In that spirit, may I present my New Year's Resolutions:

1. Finish my Ph.D. on time and to my expected standard (and in the process, re-hone my self-discipline and re-learn to believe in myself). Remember its importance first and foremost as a learning goal (one of many to come), and remain a humble student throughout this journey.

2. Make time for family and friends, and learn to be relaxed with them.

3. Learn to have real courage for my convictions (including all my aspirations in life and love). Put my convictions into practice and continue to rise above those unethical few with axes to grind.

4. Be prudent in my finances and continue to re-build my nest egg after I spent a good chunk of it building and feathering my new nest last year.

5. Continue upgrading my culinary skills, practise the piano for pleasure and go to a dance class in spite of not being able to tell my left foot from my right.

Labels: , ,

Viewfinder...

Where are you from?

Que sera sera...

Feed my pet!

Currently getting stuck in...

Have just finished...

Me, Anime...

A bunch of snowdrops by any other name...

SNOWDROPS
S is for Sweet
N is for Natural
O is for Open-hearted
W is for Worldly
D is for Dedicated
R is for Romantic
O is for Original
P is for Perfectionist
S is for Special
What Does Your Name Mean?