Showing newest 15 of 24 posts from September 2011. Show older posts
Showing newest 15 of 24 posts from September 2011. Show older posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Someone recently told me that I'm not putting enough "effort" into my "looks". The said person goes on to say that I should wear more contact lenses to look "better".


To be honest, I do admit that I may not be the handsome guy that you would normally see on posters or televisions. And I do admit that I do not put as much priority to looks as do other guys do. I wear glasses, for one, instead of contact lenses and I seldom comb my hair or style my hair. I prefer to dress comfortably more than fashionably. But it's not to the extent that I completely forsake how I look. I still shave and use facial products.

There's a period of time when I used to care a lot about my looks. I would spend at least half an hour everyday styling my hair and forcing my mum to buy the clothes that were in trend so that I would look good. I also had facial products that cost over 200 dollars during that time and if contact lenses were readily available then, I guess I would have spend a lot on that too.

But then came a time where I realized that all this concern about how I look, the time and energy and money that I spend to make myself look good is nothing but a waste of time. Sure, good looks make a great first impression but it's not the only thing that sustains that impression. And it's definitely not the most important thing of all in life.

You see, out of every aspect of human characteristics there is, looks is the often one of the first thing to go. No matter how hard you try to keep it, when you reach around 40 or 50, there will be changes to how you look, whether you like it or not. Wrinkles, big belly and greying hair are among the few changes that no matter how hard you try to avoid or fix, will sooner or later be a part of your body. The point is, physical beauty would not last. It's temporary. It's fleeting. And you definitely cannot carry it to your grave.

For me, what matters more is what's inside the person itself. Or the inner beauty, as some would say. Our values, our beliefs, our attitudes and our behavior. Because by the end of the day, it is those that matters. No matter how handsome or pretty you are, the most you can do is give off good first impressions. If you are nothing but a snobbish, selfish person, you wouldn't have many friends either, people would even hate you despite all the good looks.

From what I observe, most of the time, good looking people aren't always the kindest. And the best people that you'll meet in life aren't always the most good looking. If I were to ask you what are the important characteristics of the people that had an profound impact on your life, say your teacher or your best friend, good looks is not gonna be on the top of the list often. Because what matters at the very end, what we treasure about the people who are important to us has nothing to do with whether they look like Angelina Jolie or not. Rather, it's their kindness, love and attitude that matters.

What I'm trying to say is that looks is not the most important thing that we should care about because there's so much more other worthy things that we could invest our energy and time in. Of course, that doesn't mean that you should forsake your looks altogether. On my opinion, as long as you look presentable and do not scare the hell out of small children, it's okay. Moderation is the key. Because deriving your sense of self esteem solely based on how you look is nothing but a false sense of security. Like I said, looks don't last. But your values, beliefs and attitudes do. Instead of spending half an hour everyday just to style your hair, why not focus on making yourself a better person instead?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Me and the MS Paint


I've tried installing CS4, CS3, CS5 and even standalone Adobe Photoshop a few times already but they just don't seem to work. I don't know if it's something to do with Adobe releasing newer versions of installers that make older, torrent downloaded versions obsolete (as per forum suggestions) or is it because my computer is stupid. Honestly, I don't mind buying the Photoshop if it's reasonably priced, it's a worthy investment, but when I checked, the cheapest standalone Photoshop software comes at 500 USD. 500! Even my new chair and monitor combined is still cheaper.

So yeah, as a result of the errors, I gave up on putting my real face in this blog and opted to draw instead using MS Paint. The plain stick figure, drawn using a mouse me. Not as handsome as the real version me, but desperate times call for desperate measures. So what do you think? Can my drawings make it? Or is it better to include my real face? Or no face at all? Or do you all have any software suggestions to be used to edit pictures without the name Adobe in it?

P/s: The above illustrations are drawn using MS Paint with a little help from Microsoft Powerpoint if you want to know. Never knew Microsoft Powerpoint could be used for photo editing purpose lol

Mine, Robot

Robots fascinate me. I think it's because I'm a guy and there's a gene in all human males that makes us go "Wow...", "Ohhhh...." and "Awesome!" it's about robots. Which is why you could see small boys since young already running around with robot toys in their hands, creating their own make believe stories filled with action, shooting and lots of "BOOM!". Which is also why when we're older, robots are still popular with us. Especially if you throw in a smoking hot girl like Megan Fox into the mix.

If given a choice, all guys would want a personal robot too (except those working as fashion designers with tight fitting pants and speaks with a high pitched voice). I would definitely want one. One like Bumblebee or Iron Man perhaps. Wait, Iron Man has Robert Downey Jr. inside it.

Not only would my personal robot make me the envy of every single guy on the planet, it could also help me punch the next professor who dares give me extra assignments or tests. But that wouldn't be the main function of my robot. Being the object of envy isn't such a good thing and punching your professor with your personal robot will most likely result in you ending your university life early, in a bad way. So eliciting envy nor punching the professor is gonna be my robot's primary function. 

Know what's the primary function that my robot must have? The primary function that my robot should have is, wait for it, is to have my face. Yeap, my face. No matter how my robot looks like face-below, no matter what other functions it might have, the primary function is to have my face.

Be it a Iron Man robot...

Or a Bumblebee....

Or even Doraemon.

It must have my face.


Because lukeyishandsome. And a handsome robot would so totally own the stage. Not only it will make the girls go crazy, it would make their boyfriends/admirers support it too as they want to impress the girls. And any opponent robots would so totally crumble on the sheer handsomeness of the lukeyishandsome inspired robot. And like they say, first impression counts right? A handsome robot would so totally make people fall in love with it. And it can just stand there, doing nothing but still look awesome at the same time. Like I said, any opponent robots won't stand a chance.

Speaking of opponent robots, it's not just only me who wants a robot though. If you have read the latest news, another handsome dude going by the name Hugh Jackman wants a robot too.

No, not the Hugh Jackman with the pointy hair that looks like the devil's hairstyle and three claws sticking out of his hand. I meant this Hugh Jackman:

Starring as Charlie Kenton in the upcoming movie Real Steel, Hugh Jackman is now a retired boxing star who earns his living putting robots to fight in the near future. He still kicks a** alright, and this time, he has a robot to help him too. Not to mention a son and a pretty wife. Judging from the trailer, I am so gonna watch this movie alright. I mean, fighting robots and Hugh Jackman? That's totally awesome. Megan Fox would be a nice addition though, but I'm not complaining.

Catch Real Steel in cinemas this 6 October 2011 and like the !

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Today I performed a magic trick. One that I have always seen my father perform and wished that I could one day do the same too. Today, that dream came true for me, amidst blood, sweat and a damn whole of confusion. But I did it. I managed to turn this:

And these:

And turn them into this:

Awesome right?

As a kid, I have always stared in amazement while watching my father assemble and newly bought furniture parts into one complete chair, table, cupboard, shelves, anything. It seemed like a super power to me, being able to put together one awesome piece of furniture from all the tiny tiny parts that doesn't make sense just by reading a paper. And I would secretly wished that when I grow up, I would become super like my dad too!

I achieved that today with my first self assembled chair. And all those work just seem to bring back the nostalgia in me, reminding me of once upon a time where life was so much simpler and innocent. And definitely much easier because I have my dad to assemble everything for me. Ah, the wonders of growing up.

But then again, my newly transformed "workstation" looks pretty awesome now right?

Seeing it just make me wanna go

Things Would Make A University Student Jump

Things that would make a university student rather jump from a building than do:

1. Sleep before 11pm and wake up before 8am

2. Read the textbook/journal article/tutorial when the latest season of How I met Your Mother / Gossip Girl / Naruto is just out.

3. GUYS: Say No to a DOTA Game / GIRLS: Say Yes to a DOTA game

4. Say no to alcohol or a drinking session, and then proceeding to proof read your assignment for the 10th time

5. Finish up all your readings, tutorial questions and syllabus one week before time. And also draft up 10 questions that you want to ask the lecturer for the class next week

6. Your computer wallpaper is a picture of the lecturer to remind you how awesome he is

7. Live in a room without any internet connection, be it WIFI or LAN

8. Study for 10 hours everyday, even weekends, without any Facebook, Twitter or food until the results slip shows A for all subjects

9. Get at least 8 hours of sleep everyday

10. Blog about how exciting studies, assignments and exams are in the university

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Light Is No More The Fastest

Scientists found out that there's something that can move faster than the speed of light today. It's a neutrino fired at CERN or something. I dunno. It sure got the science world abuzz with the this latest discovery. I'm sure light is pretty sad now that it's not the fastest moving thing in the whole wide universe anymore now that a neutrino beat him by a mere 60 nano seconds in speed.

Other implications from the fact that light is no more the fastest:

1. "Traveling faster than the speed of light" is not a cool sentence anymore

2. Einstein finally got something wrong in his formula!

3. The past few years of studying science has been wasted because what you studied cannot be applied anymore. And teachers and textbook publishers alike will curse at the researchers for the impending change in the syllabus

4. Barney for How I Met You Mother will now have a new pick up line. "Hey, you heard about light not being the fastest anymore? Yeah, I beat him in running"

5. Now scientists need to squeeze their brains for juice to figure out how to build more sophisticated tools to measure stuff that travels faster than the speed of light

6. If you travel faster than light? Does it make you go back or go to forward in time?

7. It makes you blog pretty lame stuff about what are the ramifications of something traveling faster than the speed of light are

Friday, September 23, 2011

Get Your Sexy Back!

When it comes to drinking, all of us are sure to have stories of how someone, either ourselves or our friends or our friend's friends, doing some really uncool stuff before. There's there classic "coma out on the sidewalk unable to move" case and there's also the "puke everywhere type". Sometimes, stories may range to the more serious type, the types which unfortunately brings lot of regrets the day tomorrow, like how one end up having sex with someone who looks like Steven Lim.

The picture speaks for itself

But of course, all of us love drinking. Even if we don't, our friends do. At least most of the friends I know do. And to say that you hate alcohol is equivalent to saying you have no life and all you enjoy is to sit in front of the computer and surf the web everyday (ops). At least that's how most people nowadays think, especially people living in university.

So how do you have fun while staying cool at the same time? Drink in moderation, that is! Better still, you may be able to win an awesome trip worth 10 000 dollars to Hong Kong if you're able to drink, have fun and keep your cool!

Come this September 2011, Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore is organizing a campaign called Get Your Sexy Back, or GYSB in short, to combat binge drinking in Singapore. A youth led initiative itself, GYSB is all about getting your sexy back while drinking responsibly! And to throw in some fun in the campaign, like I mentioned just now, there's 4 grand tickets to giveaway for an awesome trip to Hong Kong! Yes, Hong Kong, along with a star treatment which includes limousine, spa relaxation, awesome suite stay and not forgetting outing to the coolest clubs there! Worth 10000 dollars!


If you are, all you need to do is to simply log on to Facebook, like GYSB's page and then share a story of an unsexy moment of either you or your friend drunk . It could be about anything, banging into a tree, puking inside the cab or flirting with a cat. Anything! The funnier and the more unsexy, the better. Next, get your friends to vote for your story!

The top 8 people with the highest voted story, along with 3 of your friends will then get invited to the Ultimate Night Out Challenge where you will get to have loads of fun (caution: lots of drinks involved!) and stand a chance to win the Hong Kong tickets! The only catch? You must maintain your sexiness the whole night! Teams who have even one person who is drunk unsexy will be immediately disqualified from the challenge. There will be tasks along the way for teams to do.

More info about the Ultimate Night Out can be found below:

So what are you waiting for? Head on to and start sharing your story now. Who knows, your unsexy story might just land you in Hong Kong!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stages of Procrastination


And guess why I did not update my blog today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Living With The Tiger

What do  you do when you're born into difficult life circumstances? Do you go around living bitterly blaming everything from your parents, your country, society and even God for this life that was given to you, though you never ask for it, or do you make the best of whatever you have now, and fight for a better life?

That was the question that lingered in my mind as I watched Living With The Tiger, an upcoming documentary from Thailand that is gonna be featured this Thursday (22nd September 2011) as part of the Singapore film festival.

The poster speaks for itself

Described as "hugely empowering and uplifting" (George Lowe, CNNgo) and contains "powerful important messages" (The Nation newspaper), Living With The Tiger follows the story of Baan Gerda, a home which provides care for HIV infected children who were otherwise left to die alone without family nor friends. The film further focuses on the children's participation in an opera production and the story of two children in it, Oy and Bla.

What I liked about this film was instead of painting it with the grim reality of the disease like the ones that you would usually get with heart wrenching stories and statistics, the film instead chose to focus on the positive side of it. It shows the remarkable resilience in these kids that despite all their circumstances, they're able to choose to focus on the bright side of life and make the best out of it.

Content and meaning wise, Living With The Tiger has it. It's a movie that you should watch to understand the negativity surrounding HIV patients, particularly children who never asked to be born with this disease in them. It challenges you in a way to see life from a different perspective, one that isn't that lucky and makes you glad to have what you have now. And perhaps it will move you do give back the blessings that you have to those who are not as fortunate.

What the movie needs now is publicity and awareness. Limited by the budget they have due to it being a non-profit movie, it needs all the help it can get. If you're not persuaded, you can take a look at the movie yourself. It will be premiering this coming 22nd of September, 2011, 9.30pm at Shaw Lido cinemas, Singapore and tickets can be bought from See for yourself the movie and decide whether the message is worth spreading or not. For more info you can visit the film's official website at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Star Trekking

I've been wasting a lot of time lately. Not by the usual activities like Facebook-ing, gaming or sleeping though. Rather, I've been wasting my time Star Trekking. Or more precisely, immersing myself in the Star Trek universe through reading the Star Trek Wikipedia, watching numerous Star Trek episodes and even finding myself on a blog detailing what would happen should aliens made contact with us (if you must know, there's an impartial task force set up on Earth that would deal with them, in a diplomatic manner of course, should the aliens decide not to wipe us out clean).

The four generations of Star Trek

To be honest, I've always been fascinated by what lies beyond our world since young. Space has always been a magnificent and yet mysterious place for me. The vastness of it, along with the countless probabilities of what may lie out there, never fails to spark my curiosity. It also makes you wonder about a lot of philosophical questions like "What is the meaning of life", "Are we really alone" and "Is there really God" when you think in terms of astronomy.

Space is also a beautiful place for me. If you've seen some astronomy photos taken by the Hubble before, you would agree with me. Also, I find the idea of exploring the space an exciting one. You'll never know what awesome stuff you'll find in your journey. Which is why I often fantasize about being a Starship Captain or an explorer sometimes. 

Sadly, fantasy can only remain as a fantasy. As of now, we humans are pretty much still stuck on earth with the prospect of exploring the universe a few hundred years away as our technology has not reach the stage where it's feasible for intergalactic exploration. And even though Stephen Hawking theorized that alien lifeforms are very likely given the statistical figures, we have not yet been officially contacted by aliens yet even though we have been trying for more than five decades already.

So as for now, I can only satisfy the astronomer need in me by immersing myself in fictional universes like Star Trek, Star Wars and Mass Effect 2. Exploring new worlds, imagining how it would be like to interact with completely different species and doing my part in saving humanity. Which then translates to me wasting more time pondering about something that is fictional rather than studying. Yay.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nasi Lemak 2.0 Review

Prior to watching Nasi Lemak 2.0, I've heard a lot about it. Not about the movie but more of the controversy surrounding it particularly. At first it was a video of him wanting to make a movie and how he couldn't because of all the associated red tape procedures, obstacles and stuff. Then came the story that he actually started shooting the movie. And before you knew it, Nasi Lemak 2.0 was born.

Being a fan of Namewee, the first thing that I wanted to do when I heard that his movie was out was to immediately fly back to Malaysia to catch the movie. The urge to watch the movie was even made stronger with all the hype surrounding it. There were people who called the movie racist while there were people who lauded Namewee as the Jack Neo of Malaysia. Which was why I immediately went to JB at the start of recess week. In case someone decides to ban the movie for god knows what reason.

Before I start my review for the movie though, one can't help but admire the effort and willpower that went behind this movie. Although faced with numerous hardships and obstacles that would make most people throw in the towel, Namewee never thought of giving up. In fact, he soldiered on until his dream became reality today. Not only that, he also managed to assemble a star studded cast that included Malaysians famous comedians, singer and even Miss Malaysia. Not an easy task for a budding director surrounded by controversy like Namewee.

It is also worth noting that the entire film was shot using one DSLR camera. One and only one. A near impossible feat if you ask me because one have to make sure all the angles, composition and cinematography is correct when shooting. No matter what you think of Namewee, you have to give it to him for being such an die-hard fella.

A star studded cast

Okay enough about the pre-production. On to the movie.

My general verdict for the movie is that it tries to achieve too many things simultaneously and end up being somewhere in average in most of the aspects (the idiom 'jack of all trade, master of none' comes to mind). From what I see, the movie tries to be funny, political, romantic, thrilling and touching all at the same time. Not to mention some Bollywood-ish and Hong Kong-ish essense too. And for you to cram all those things into a less than 2 hour movie, what you'll end up with is a badly mixed rojak with parts flying out here and there that doesn't make sense.

And for comments about this movie being racist, I can't help but agree that some part does touch on sensitive issue. The scene where he meets the Malay guy with four wives is for example. Besides, I kinda felt like the film is targeted mainly at Chinese audience because of a few references in the movie that touch on whether us Chinese Malaysians should support China or Malaysia. Also, there were references to Hong Kong movie too like the final battle scene that closely resembles one of Stephen Chow's movies.

But still, the cinematography of the movie is commendable. It gives of a vibrant feeling that sort of captures the Malaysian spirit which one can identify when watching the film. The nasi lemak stall, kampung and Rasa Sayang song makes me miss Malaysia in a way.

There are several plotlines that leaves good impression too. The one that involves the baba and nyonya is one for example. Too not give too much spoiler info, Namewee chose to make that plotline that closely resembles Jack Neo's comedy horror and I must say, he really did a great job there. There were times where I was really scared out of my wits.

The movie is funny too! There are a lot of great punchlines throughout the movie regarding about tons of stuff that we Malaysians can identify with that guarantees you would not be bored while watching the movie.

In short, Nasi Lemak 2.0 is a must watch movie. I would say that it marks a great start to Malaysian film industry. And I certainly hope that after this movie Namewee would be making more movies. A 7/10 from me. 

Adibah says "You must watch the movie!"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pictures for a Fried Brain

Okay my brain got fried today. No thanks to the super duper difficult cognitive psychology exam that I spent my whole semester reading the textbook, completely forsaking my other subjects in the meantime. But I shan't talk about it. Nope. What happened in the past stays in the past.

Meanwhile, since my brain is fried today, I would not be able to do any insightful blogging today. Instead, I'm gonna share with you all some funny pictures that I found on the internet. Like they say, laughter is the best medicine after all, especially for fried brains. So enjoy!


And how to sleep in tutorials

"It was suicide!"

We woke up and there I was in his hole

Except fr Spiderman!

Even Batman needs to rest

When we're young...

It's all in the name

I'm gonna do that next time

At least they're honest

I am Lukey and I look like a human

Not funny... but makes you wanna go aww...

Awesome way to hide your liquor!

No matter how I try to decipher this, I just can't come up with the original message

Happy weekends!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Major Headache

I have a major exam in less than 24 hours time. One that requires you to have 270 pages worth of facts, terms and experiments imprinted unto your mind. And it had to be at 8am, a time when most of us students are still busy drooling on our bed (the lecturer has the guts to have 2 such major exams), not to mention for some strange reason he decided to have an open book exam. To make matters worse, I have 2 unfinished chapters of reading. The stress almost makes me want to jump off the building than to handle the uncertainty and panic of flipping open a test paper. 3 essays, 1 hour. FML max.

Never mind, never mind. I have faced tougher situations before and lived to tell the day. Besides, I have already came up with quite some plans to help me score for tomorrows test.

1. Steal Hermione's time turner, go to the test, look at the question and start turning. That way, I would know what question is coming out and have enough time to prepare for it. No need to undergo so much pain to memorize 270 pages of stuff that I wouldn't be using once I graduated anyway.

Situations it will be used: Prevent a poor student from flunking his exams

2. Travel to an alternate universe where I am actually a really genius student, kidnap him, bring him to my universe, make him take my exam and then return him to his universe. I just hope finding an alternate universe where I'm actually smart wouldn't be that hard though. Of course, he must also be stupid enough to let me kidnap him.

3. Kidnap the professor and use mind control on him to make him delay the test until the week after recess week. Alternatively I also can put a lot of laxatives in his drink and make him shit til he cannot come to school. I may need the invisibility cloak for this though.

4. Borrow the bread used by Nobita to stuff facts into his brain. Judging from the 270 pages I have, I think I'll shit bread for the rest of the week. Wait, make that months. And is there a word for fear of eating bread?

5. Stop blogging and start reading

6. Kill myself

7. Invent a machine that allows me to read what people are thinking. That way I can read people's thoughts about the answer. I just need to sit beside the smartest person in the class.

8. Travel back in time and kill the bastard who invented exams. Do humanity a favor at the same time.

9. Pretend that I am sick / Some distant relatives died / Traffic jam in the elevator / My lizard ate my homework / I got abducted by aliens I STILL HAVE TO TAKE THE EXAM

10. Make myself belief that an F isn't such a bad thing after all. I mean, the most used word in our history does start with an F. I should be proud. And I meant Facebook.

Man, do I hate Cognitive Psychology. That Chua Fook Kee (Yes, his name alone makes you wanna go F**K!) really had done me in. CFK my life.

The Problem of Race

Race was never an issue in Malaysia until the British came. It was then further made worse by the Malay ruling class during the 1969 race riots to cement their power. The bumiputra status was created then as one of the ways to solve racial identification according to economic interests. But it never really achieved it's original purpose. From there, it only got worst. At least that's what I learned from my Sociology Race and Ethnic Relations lecture today at NUS.

It's strange you know, because growing up, the idea of race differences has always been like a core belief in my life. Malays are lazy, Indians are violent and Chinese are greedy. Those were the accepted characteristics of the different races that were taught to me. I've always believed it as if it is "natural", written in their genes. Unchangeable. And it's not only me though. All of us, be it Chinese, Indians or Malay are taught from young about racial differences. It's the environment you grew up in.

But it has not always been like that. Once upon a time before the British occupation, race was never the central issue in Malaysia. Chinese married in freely with the Malays, that's where you get your Peranakan from, and adopted their cultures freely. Even if there was any conflict, it was like a Malay royalty allied with a Chinese gang against another Malay royalty allied with another Chinese gang. Seldom was there a Malay against Chinese issue.

In come the British and everything changed.

One prime example is how the Malays are viewed as lazy. For your info, there's no such thing as the lazy gene in the Malay blood, you know. We have the British to thank for that.

You see, when the British came in, along with the rapid industrialization in Europe, they needed a lot of workers. Cheap workers that will endure long hours. And where would they find them? China, of course. Chinese workers who were imported from China had no choice but to slave away long hours in terrible working conditions because when they come in, they have to pay off the debts like their ship fees and stuff. Essentially they are forced into working.

Malays on the other hand, have a choice. Given the minimum wage and terrible working conditions, it was economically logical to stay in the agriculture field instead where working condition is much better and they could earn much more. Why would they want to slave away right? That was one of the back story of how the "Malays is lazy" stereotype came about. It essentially grew to a self-fulfilling prophecy sort of thing which was widely circulated until now. Little did we know that the origins of such belief was from colonialism times.

Of course, British was not only the ones to be blamed for playing the race card. I mean sure, they started it, but for it to continue on to this day, someone has to constantly reinforce it. And that's where our dear UMNO come in.

To be honest, fundamentally, there's not so much difference about race after all. Our skin pigment may look a bit different but ultimately deep down in our genes, there's no such thing as a more superior race than another. There's not such thing as a race being more stupid or another race being more cunning. If there is. scientists would have announce it a long time ago.

In essence, race is more to political than biological. Especially in the case of Malaysia. Day in day out, you have people telling you that your race is in danger and you have to safeguard the interest of your race or risk annihilation and other doomsday scenario. It's always a us vs them mentality. Little did we notice that in our zeal to protect our so called "race", we are living in a poor condition deprived of our basic rights and needs. It's almost saying like, "It's okay to remain poor as long as my race is defended". For what actually? For that false sense of pride you would forsake your family's livelihood?

No wonder some Marxists go on to claim that, race is nothing but a political smokescreen to cover up the exploitation of the poor by the ruling class. Because every time the ruling class sense that they're gonna lose power, they shout about racial identity and the need to protect it. Heck, multiculturalism itself is a racial ideology. It serves nothing but to remind us that there are differences between us and we are not the same.

It's sad to see that even after so many years of independence, whenever an issue crops up, people still relate it to race. Take for example the planned exit of the Lions Group from Malaysia. Instead of viewing it as potential loss of jobs and opportunities for many Malaysians, not to mention Malaysia's economic strength, some racial zealots can go as far to rejoice of the news because to them, it's instead the exit of a cunning and greedy Chinese businessman. Until when can we only stop seeing things from a racial tinted glasses?

I mean, by the end of the day, what can you really achieve by "defending" your race? Will your salary immediately rise up? Your IQ increased by a 100%? And where is the main aim or the final goal anyway?  Why even after 50+ years, none of the races have really "defended" themselves? Why has no race been declared champions yet? Why is the conflict still ongoing?

For me, the answer is really quite simple. There's really no such thing as racial differences. All these terms, about being Malay, Chinese or Indian, are merely created by those in power to rule. I'm sure you've heard of the "divide and rule" strategy which was used by the British before during colonialism. Well guess, what, the whole system is still practiced today by the ruling party.

Racial categorization in a way separates us. It creates boundaries among us. It determines who's in and who's out. Instead of viewing ourselves as Malaysians, it makes us view ourselves as Chinese, Malay or Indian first. And when there's grouping like that, we will naturally want to exclude people who we think are different from us. It's human mentality.

The only way to progress? Shave off all racial categorizations. Throw away the racial mentality. Race is nothing but an arbitrary concept.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Things A Group Would Do To You

As part of our Psychology class about group dynamics today, our lecturer showed us a documentary named Paradise Lost - Jonestown. The documentary details the story of Jim Jones, a charismatic leader of a cult group called the People's Temple, who in his delusional and paranoid beliefs, caused the deaths of 900+ of his followers through mass suicide. Prior to that, he had them move to Gunaya, a south American country all the way from America claiming that he would form paradise there.

Unable to take the pressure that is mounting on him, coupled with his increased paranoia that people are "out to get him", he eventually ordered all of his followers to commit suicide with him rather than be "taken" by the so called enemies. So on November 1978, 900+ People's Temple members committed suicide. Almost 300 were children. It constituted the "greatest single losses of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the incidents of September 11, 2001" (you can know more about the incident by watching the documentary or read about it HERE).

Victims of the mass suicide in Jonestown

A closer view

The first few things that comes into the mind of most people when they read or hear story like this include statements like "Why are they so stupid?", "It's all the fault of Jim Jones" or "This is what religion does to you". Most of the time, we put the blame on either the "stupid-ness" of the people who killed themselves, the leader of the cult or their beliefs, which in this case, happens to be Christianity and Socialism. Rarely do we think that we might be victims ourselves too should the same fate befalls us. I remember shrugging stories like this off thinking I'm rational enough to not do such stupid things.

After three years of studying Psychology, I now know it is not that easy.

You see, as humans, most of the time we want to belong, we want to be associated with a group. And when we're in a group that we like, we would do many things for the sake of the group. Sometimes, we would even violate our own norms and beliefs in order to conform. I'm sure all of us have some sort of experience before where we chose to forsake our own desires and chose to go with the majority in order to please the people in your group. Be it friends, colleagues or the Prefectorial Board. This is the power a group has over you.

Of course, group dynamics is not the only process affecting the people who chose to commit suicide. Cognitive dissonance, for example, is another psychological process that I believed affected almost all of them there. Imagine having to leave home, forsake all your possessions and go live in a totally foreign land with only promises that it will be paradise. Of course, you might think that it is not logical at first but over time, you will form more and more reasons to validate your choice, though it may sound absurd, and in the end, you will hold on tho those reasoning like it's gold. Smoking, for one, is a classic example of classic cognitive dissonance. Though the smokers know it's bad for health, they have form reasons like it helps to destress to validate their behavior. Though we may see it as absurd, the smokes sincerely believes it. Same goes with the temple members.

Also, the lack of other choices that they have at the point is also another factor why they took their lives. Imagine standing there, with the poison in your hand, watching as your friends, your family and everyone you knew in the past few years is now drinking it. And there's nothing left for you back at home. You've left your job, your family disowned you and there's practically nothing left returning to. What would you do?

In a sense, it could be said that no one is to be blamed fully. It's just how the group dynamics worked out that created this tragedy. Of course, you can argue that it was mostly Jim Jones fault but the lack of resistance showed by his followers in a way confirmed his power. One can draw parallels of from here to what is happening in North Korea right now.

The problem is not with the people being stupid, the problem lies with our inherent need to belong and our need for relationships. Taken to the extreme, one can equate undying loyalty of the People's Temple members to a loyalty a father would have for his son. Just as a father would die to save his son, so would a member for a group in which he truly believes in. Dying for your country, for your religion, for your family, all of them are the same thing. All of them stem for your desire to protect the interests of your group and to further its goal. The groups may be different, but the processes involved are the same.

Which is quite scary when you think of it. Where do you draw the line? When do you decide whether a cause is worth dying for? Where do you lose your individuality for the sake of the majority? Does this means that it's better to be alone forever?
Honestly speaking, I have no answers to these questions too. But in a way, I hope that by reading the post, the next time a group make you do something that you don't feel right, you could at least be aware of the harmful processes that goes behind. Would be glad to hear your thoughts on this.

P/s: You know, sometimes I'm glad to be studying Psychology. Else I wouldn't have been able to study about this group processes and be aware of it. In a way, I could say that education in a way helps. When you're familiar with how a group works, you would be more aware of the potential pitfalls and dangers. Lets just hope my knowledge would never be put to the test.

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