Rubber Time and Myanmar

Time is linear as what we have been taught.  Time is money.  You can’t get back the time spent on something that should have been spent on doing better things and all that drama.

And then there’s this concept of “Rubber Time”.  In Bali, Indonesia they call this jam karet.  The Balinese just go with the flow and are very easy going.  To most people I know, this would be very nerve racking. Einstein had a comparison to this concept.  He said that if you’re with your crush, time seems to quicken.  But if you’re with someone whom you don’t like it seems like forever.

I had experiences that three seconds seems to be a very long time. (Hint: If you’re a DoTA or LoL player you also feel this. Stun -> Blast -> Slow -> Ulti)

I spent a week in Myanmar to attend a Forum.  The week felt like months and years for me.  Especially because the people whom I was with were all treating me like family.  It was as if we have been friends for a very long time but in truth we just met each other.

It was one of those moments where you feel that time stretched so far.  It was that or maybe it was the fact that I’m in another time zone.  But whatever it was I really enjoyed the camaraderie and friendship that was there.

 

 

More than just photos to remember those moments.  Memories that seemed only yesterday has gone by.  If time is consciousness, would it mean that there is no time at all?  We still have watches. We still have deadlines.  We still have to beat the clock to somewhere to achieve something before this imaginary race stops.  What is it? Or maybe it’s all in our heads.  I don’t know.

I have been staring at the sky while in front of my window as I write this and ponder.

If enjoyment means watching the sun rise and fall.  Will I also feel the same when I stare at a pig?  At a pile of mud? The clock still ticks and that’s all there is to it.  Usually I don’t get to track time that much now that I don’t know the difference between the days of the week or the difference of Wednesday and Saturday for example.

Myanmar for me is the land of golden memories.  In the middle of the dark you still see those memories so vividly shining.  Or maybe “nabitin” lang ako?  Still I have to thank all the people whom I shared those memories there.  Thank you very much!  I won’t mention all your names here but you’re all the reason why my Facebook Home Page became International.  To visit Facebook and see different languages  and beliefs in one home page makes me realise that no matter what culture we have, we still have the same concerns and dreams.  There was this one guy whom I met the first day that treated me to beer and their own version of stewed vegetables in one of the restaurant there.  I didn’t get to repay him back but hopefully I can when I get back there.

So where does rubber time go with this?  I theorise that the concept of time fades away when you’re enjoying yourself alone or sharing moments with others.  Artists and people who are concentrating on what they’re doing know this very well.

What about you? What makes you forget about time?

No, you’re Crazy! No, I am! Wait wut?

I always base decision on what’s fun rather than it being logical. It’s kind of an irony on having a highly left brained source of income.

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In a sea of people sometimes there are those:

1. who try to be different;
2. who wants to be different;
3. who doesn’t care if they’re different;
4. who doesn’t know they’re different.

I have been all of them but in reverse order. You see back then as a kid I didn’t know I was different. Yeah, sure people would often tell me I’m weird but I felt just like everyone else. I even tried to do with things they liked just to prove to them I’m not. Then it got to the point where I realized I was weird. Great, I’m weird what now? I started preferring alternatives to mainstream choices. Music was one of them. The preferences ranged from Beethovens, Mozarts, Bach to Slayer, Dir En Grey, Psyopus to John Cage, Bjork, and Giacinto Scelsi to the Ragas of the East it was a smorgasbord of sounds and it felt so good! As years went by, Heavy and Death Metal was removed because I would often go into fever while listening to it (This is based on a real life experience).

And then I discovered online jobs. I was never disgruntled with employment but was gravitating to working in the comforts of your own choosing from your house, your friends’ house, airport terminals, bus terminals (more on these later), to malls, to mountains, etc… It felt like a liberating idea. I even submitted an essay to our Business Management Professor my preference of working online and not seeing clients face to face. It’s like drug dealing transactions or red tapes but without the illegality.

I worked in an office for around five years and then decided to quit. Luckily four other officemates were on their way out too. So it was like a mini exodus of some sort. To be honest there was no ill feeling towards the company. I felt that it was fun to try out other stuffs too. Although I’d have bouts of panic before handing out the resignation letter. But still I did.

Years went by and mountains, rivers, lakes,and oceans scaled (yes these were all true). Everything felt too real. The freedom became a part of my normal routine along with loads of procrastination (I call this the procrastination routine). Jobs came and went like one night stands. I realized that everything that was happening was written in that essay I did years ago in school. It made me think about success. According to google it is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. So there it was success!

So where do we go from here? I don’t know. Part of me wants to settle in the mountains of Leon. Part of me wants to live in Japan because you know Japan is love. And then there’s part of me that doesn’t know what to do.

I don’t know really. I tried and wanted to be different because I wanted to get noticed in the past. But then I realized that I was different and didn’t cared about what people would say. And then I came into a point where I didn’t even know I was different unless people would point that to me. How’s that possible? Must be the last two years of procrastination routines and solitary days wandering to God knows where and how I got there. The thing is, everything becomes normal once you instinctively revolve your routine around that (or whatever is that).

A typical conversation from friends, family, and acquaintances:

Conversation 1:

FFA: “Where are you now?”
Alvin: “Right here with you.” (naks)
FFA: “I mean, where do you work?”
Alvin: “At home.”
FFA: “Ah, so you’re unemployed. It’s a waste of your potential not working. You can be a teacher or work in the government”
Alvin: *in my head*….”LOLZ!”
FFA: “Ok see you I have to go to a meeting.”
Alvin: “Bye-bye”

Conversation 2:

FFA: “Your life is good compared to most of us here, you get to go wherever you want.”
Alvin: *In my head* “But I chose to be here with you.” (naks)
FFA: “You must be rich now.”
Alvin: *still in my head* “LOLZ!”

You see, I promised myself not to work in the confines of the office ever again unless I liked the office or it is mine (*insert evil grin*). Not because I hated employment but because it was not fun to do anymore. Maybe I’ll go back and maybe not. I compare this to playing DoTA and League of Legends. It was fun at the start and then you get tired of its repetitiveness.

No, this isn’t a speech about quitting your job and pursuing your dreams. I just enjoy pursuing alternatives to what life has to offer. It might not cater to your own consciousness now or maybe ever and I respect that. I talked to a friend about pursuing other things and she said that she was too old to let everything go. The way she said it and the look in her face said, “Don’t lecture me on what to do because when you get at my age you will feel this way too.” The only way to find out is to reach her age and then let’s see from there.

Sometimes we are so used to something that it becomes normal to us.

an excuse to put a picture of a school playground here…or is it?

 

Lost in Translation – The Bath House, Beers, and Peanuts

Making an impression

Making an impression

It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  I set off on a walking spree. Looking at a paper of a bad yet compassionately drawn map to the Onsen. It was like every turn were just weird signs.  And if I ask directions, will we understand each other?  Will I even get there?

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The only thing I can read was the letter “P” and “1000” and “500”.

I was walking aimlessly asking people in my wanna-be Japanese “Onsen wa doku desu ka?”  pointing to the map I was given.

I was having conversations in my mind.

“Hey, they really think I can speak Japanese, COOL!” And then I realized ….

“Yes! They are speaking to me in Japanese! SHIT! I can’t understand them! Just nod, smile and look at the direction they are pointing.”

Being the random guy that I am.  I immediately went to the direction people I asked were pointing.  I still didn’t know where it is and if I would be able to see it.

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Nope this is not the Onsen.

I saw some old men who were just standing around in the house at the photo above.  As by custom I asked them where the Onsen was.  By some stroke of good luck one of the old guys decided to go the Onsen.  So he and I were going to the Onsen!  Just the perfect scenario.

And then strange questions were hovering over my mind.

“Will we actually go there?”

Why did he bring a bike?”

“Why is he not riding his bike?”

“Is this guy a part of the Yakuza where they abduct people and then he will just leave me to them and then go home using his bike while counting money?”

“Will I be able to go back to my home country?”

He was talking to me in broken Enggrisshhh.  His name was Suichiro I think.

 

And so we really got to the Onsen.   No pictures were taken there because of my respect to their culture and to censure the scenery you are supposed to not see. It was just a simple Onsen with boiling hot tub and a bunch of naked old people. They were nice enough to teach me how to clean myself the Japanese way in which I now practice from time to time. After the bath, Suichiro and the owner of the Onsen started talking to each other as I was just fixing my things.   I saw some canned drinks and thought it was iced tea in a can because….errrrr…..because…..I thought it was iced tea.

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The iced tea…or so I thought

To be honest I really didn’t have the slightest idea why I never tried to read the labels.  Must be thirst or must be my confusion. So I bought one and gulp it in a few shots.  The two old men were busy talking and I was just listening.  Then, I felt happy and energetic.  Must be the drink.  I began to talk to them in Enggrrishh of course.  We didn’t really understand each other so we just kept on laughing everytime one of us speaks.

The conversation went like this:

Me: “Japayuki!”

Old Men: “Japayuki!”

All three of us: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Me: “I look like that criminal at the board!”

Old Men: “Japayuki!”

All three of us: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Suichiro gave me another drink.  So I thought yeah we’re on the same page. Still the conversations never stopped.  The drinks came in courtesy now of the owner of the Onsen coupled with peanuts from China. They told me that when I come back I must be able to speak and understand Japanese.  And I said yes!  That’s why I’m studying it now. Suichiro and I left the Onsen all drunk while walking.  We parted ways when we got to his house and then he showed me the way back to the place I was staying.

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I’m in the posting mood today

Facebook has been run amock with selfies, and quotes and the dreaded selfie and quote tandem.  To be honest I also do that.  I find it fun and I feel wise too.  I love ice cream so much that I eat one almost everyday.  You see selfies and quotes are like ice cream.  The look is the selfie and the quote is the taste or should we say the after taste.  Yes it looks good and fuzzy.  And then it tastes good and then you get the after taste.  That dry feeling on your throat.  That bloated feeling.  That inexplicable absence of desire.  You promise yourself to no more ice cream.  No more selfies with quotes.  And then the next hour you’re at it again.  Sometimes a selfie and sometimes just a quote.  You can’t just take a look at an ice cream.  And you can’t just lick anything to get the after taste.  It becomes redundant and empty.  Like my selfie on what I thought to be Petronas Tower.

This is not the Petronas Tower...damn where is it again?

This is not the Petronas Tower…damn where is it again?

This is another moment where you realize your thoughts govern your perception or something like it.  It was two shining buildings!  I should’ve done more research (ehhmmmm I should’ve researched point blank!).

This is an example of a selfie with a quote.  You see it looks good and then tastes good.  And then the after taste leaves you bleh!  Maybe next time we should post selfies with factual data added to it like.

This one!

This one!

See it’s a selfie but it promotes a website.  It’s like an advertisement now! It made me look like a model (hahahaha!).

 

I still would post selfies with quotes.  Its fun, it’s the in thing, it’s….just kidding I’ll post more selfies with advertisements now.

 

 

That exciting feeling

In the blazing heat of the sun, I walked to the store to buy some cellphone load.  Suddenly like a gust of wind my consciousness began to scramble.  It was like woah! I immediately sat on the pavement and leaned my head on the wall.  I was just a stone’s throw away from my house.  But it felt like a big mountain to climb.  I told myself I’ved been through worse and it’s only a couple of steps until I get to our gate.  In loopy steps I made my dash.  And like a drunkard I sat on the chair demanding to turn on the electric fan.  My heart was pounding.  My head was spinning.  And I was hungry.  My mother immediately took the sphygmomanometer and tried to get my blood pressure.  A lol moment was when she didn’t know how to.  I took over and then it read 130/100.  I shrugged it off but still the same result.  I was rushed to the hospital with my head spinning around.  My mother was hell bent on admitting me to the hospital.  And as we were riding the motorcycle I felt excited.  A few weeks ago a neighbour also felt similar symptoms and then he died while being rushed to the hospital.  I thought I was about to suffer the same fate.  And I was so excited to experience it of all the things to think about.  They say your whole life will flash back at you at your end.  Mine didn’t.  And as I was sleeping on the hospital bed I remembered to call a few friends of mine.  We were having a seminar in the afternoon and there I was at the hospital bed calling them.  Even they didn’t know how to feel.  One would say pity, then annoyance, and then pity again, and then get annoyed again.  It was those surreal moments when words aren’t enough to describe your situation.  And then something dawned into me.  Life was too short to chase things that are fleeting.  So I decided to do things that will make me happy.  It wasn’t that hard really.  I didn’t want to sleep at the hospital for two days.  Medical Tests were done to me and then I was prescribed to drink Chocolait and Coke.  The hell that just happened.  And yes it was real.  I didn’t need to be hospitalized.  I didn’t need any medication.  And thank the heavens for Ice Cream and Mountain Dew! So all those thoughts that were going into my head were all a play.  Those realizations in the hospital bed.  Those phone calls.  In the end I was just hungry.

Two things I learned from this experience:

1. When you decide to be happy, life gives you ice cream.

2. New experiences makes you a story teller however mundane they are.

Yes, those life backtracks were a bit too much.  But still, it made me think of when it will actually happen what would I feel?  Would I still feel excited about it? It’s like graduation.  It will actually happen after years in school.  Then when it happens it feels like you’re at the gateway between your past and to something unfamiliar.  It’s an exciting feeling!

A few hours after we left the hospital, I felt the sense of “joke”.  I got the best medication given to me (chocolate and coke wtf it’s heaven!) and to top all that I had one of the most exciting experience without resorting to mountain climbing and spend a lot of money or something.  And it all happened in my head!

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This photo was taken two years ago. Thinking of ice cream maybe.