How To Send Thoughts And Prayers

15037467-sexy-a-hot-caucasian-girl-wearing-a-nun-outfit-in-sunny-day-outdoor-praying-looking-to-the-skyBilly was taking a stroll down the street when he saw his neighbor, Mr. Wang, struck by lightning. It really came out of nowhere – since it was a sunny forty-degree day and cloudless and why was he walking outside anyway when it’s so hot – so Billy was shocked, though not as shocked as Mr. Wang, who was on the ground and smoking from his ears.

Billy, still recovering from having witnessed such a tragedy, looked about. No one else was out; the houses all seemed empty. It felt as though he should be doing something about this situation, since Mr. Wang was clearly not getting up. Being a responsible citizen, Billy called for an ambulance.

Unfortunately, just as he hung up, Mr. Wang got up. He was completely unhurt even though he was misleadingly smoking from the ears a moment ago, but that just turned out to be a cigarette snuffed in the grass. Embarrassed, Billy told Mr. Wang that he had called an ambulance.

Mr. Wang became agitated, as he did not have ambulance insurance and this singular call out was going to cost 750 bucks. He began raving at Billy for being an idiot and told him that, since he was the one who made the call and left his name, Billy should foot the bill.

Billy was very embarrassed. Who knew Mr. Wang was going to be completely fine after getting hit by lightning; now he was stuck with paying out of his own pocket for a useless ambulance. Fortunately, Mr. Wang did not know which house he lived in, so Billy decided to make a mad dash for the next street over before Mr. Wang could wrangle the money out of him.

As he ran, Billy made a deal with himself: he’s not going to be so stupid next time and embarrass himself by sticking out his neck. And the whole thing was the lightning’s fault to start with – where did it even come from, how did it even get there, and why did it look so intimidating when it didn’t really do anything except making a fool out of him. Billy decided that all lightnings are bad and should be kicked out of the country and go back to where they came from.

When he turned a corner, he saw a bunch of aliens coming out of an UFO and walking into Mrs. Tate’s house with what looked like really long antenna rods. Suspicious looking bunch they were, what with the banner on the UFO (written conveniently in English) declaring EXTERMINATE ALL HUMANS, and loud screams were coming from the house.

Billy felt as if he should do something about it, since Mrs. Tate was clearly in trouble. Then he remembered Mr. Wang. He was already stuck with a 750-dollar bill the last time he tried to be helpful, and that could have been like twelve chicken schnitzels, so this time he decided to be extra careful as to avoid any embarrassments and financial detriments to himself.

Then it came to him – a way to both express his concern yet not actually do anything in case something he did came back to bite him. As he walked pasted Mrs. Tate’s house and the UFO, he gave them some Thoughts and Prayers, to let Mrs. Tate know that he, Billy, really really cared, and to send a firm message to the aliens that what they were doing was really really wrong.

As Billy turned another corner, he did not look on both sides of the street and was hit by the ambulance that was hurrying toward Mr. Wang’s house. Fortunately, the paramedics were unhurt and were prepared to treat him on the spot. With his dying-but-not-really breath, Billy informed them that Mr. Wang was OK, that the lightning didn’t do anything, so the ambulance could just go back to the depot without charging him for the callout.

The paramedics could not refuse the wish of a dying-but-not-really man, so they told Billy that alright, the fee will be waived. Billy was briefly very happy, until they told him that to treat his injuries the ambulance will have to carry him to a hospital, and that would cost 750 bucks.

Billy became very angry. Stupid ambulance, he thought to himself, if they didn’t exist they wouldn’t have ran him over and he wouldn’t have had to worry about paying the callout fee in the first place. He decided that ambulances were all bad and that they should be kicked out of the country and go back to where they came from.

But when he told the paramedics to leave him alone, they refused, since it was literally their job to help him. Angry, Billy told them that yeah, you can help me, but I’m not paying for anything ever. So the paramedics had to think long and hard about what to do. Then they came to a solution.

They left Billy with some Thoughts and Prayers and drove off. Billy, lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the road, felt really good about himself, for he has just saved a bunch of money and no one has made a fool out of him.

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How To Get Over It

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Get Over It, much like lube, can be applied to many things. Here are a few examples of things that should be easy to Get Over – the ‘Just Some Bullshit’ category:

  • No avocado for your toast;
  • Netflix doesn’t have the new season yet;
  • Mild annoyances, like littering or loud tourists.

These are trivial or near-trivial inconveniences: Avocado is not mandatory when eating bread; it takes time, bitch; when you see mild litter, just pick it up; when you see loud tourists, put on earphones. Easy, low-effort, on-the-spot Getting Over It.

One step up is the ‘meh’ category, which might elicit some feels but not that much:

  • The death of David Bowie/Robin Williams;
  • Some dick spouting obviously ignorant bullshit on social media;
  • The toilet is backed up cos some dick threw an entire roll of toilet paper into it.

This is a situational category, as a very small percentage of the population might feel much more strongly about these than other people: someone might be saved from suicide by music or comedy; the post might have engendered personal offense; and you might be desperate to take a dump.

If you find yourself triggered by one of these, remember: no one else cares as much as you.

The ‘meh’ category, much like lube, has its limits. For certain subjects, the percentage of the population that feels strongly about a subject may grow so large that it becomes a sizable minority – the ‘that’s a thing’ category. Examples include:

  • Too many immigrants;
  • Australia Day should be a Day of Mourning;
  • Muslims are bad.

These subjects are tougher to Get Over because of the number of people that feel strongly about them. Whether they are morally right or legally correct have no impact on whether a person feels strongly for one side or the other – a highly educated person can be adamantly opposed to Muslim immigrants, and a white kid who didn’t finish high school can be a champion for Aboriginal rights.

Importantly, it is OK to Not Get Over some of these, since they all have sensitive emotional triggers:

  • The whole point of immigrants is them taking up previously local jobs;
  • bunch of white dudes came over, killed half your family, then squatted in your house for two hundred years and told you to work together with them from now on;
  • Muslims are responsible for many high-profile acts of terrorism in the 21st century, and terrorism, much like lube, is scary.

More importantly, it is OK to argue for Getting Over Them, because many people still don’t care as much as you do about these things, and they react negatively to you acting so dramatic:

  • Meh, I’m employed;
  • Leave it alone we just want to have a day off with the family;
  • Yeah, scary, but you’re a thousand times more likely to die in a car accident, yet cars are not bad and you drive every day.

Most importantly, do not be confused about what is making you feel strongly. Example:

  • If Norwegian immigrants are OK but black and Asian ones are not, then it is not immigrants that you don’t like – it is blacks and Asians. i.e. a confused racist.
  • If your response to Aboriginals protesting Australia Day is ‘they should Get Over It’ instead of ‘it’s just a day off cut me some slack’ or ‘we just want to wave a flag and pretend to be patriotic, doesn’t matter which day’, then it is not them calling it Day of Mourning that is upsetting you – it is the fact that Aboriginals are protesting. i.e. how dare they protest, aka., racism in confusion.
  • If your argument for banning Muslims is not ‘I’m a coward, I don’t drive cos I might get run over, I don’t go outside cos the UV might give me skin cancer, and I don’t want Muslims cos I might die in a terrorist attack,’, but a combination of ‘Statistics show they’re more likely to be terrorists’ or ‘A culture that oppresses women have no place in our society’ or other soundbites that you don’t have strong feelings about, then it is not that Muslims are bad – it is you not liking Muslims, aka., generic racism.

When confronted by people who are upset that you are being racist, you might become confused and mightily offended – ‘wtf how is any of what I just said racist’ – and fortunately, there is an easy solution: just tell yourself what you would tell an Aboriginal person protesting Australia Day.

Get Over It.

How To Talk To Stupid People

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Ever went to a gathering and thought to yourself, ‘holy shit everyone here is dumb as bricks’?

Ever engaged in a conversation, only for the other person to casually mention ‘oh yeah I hate that gays are getting married now’ or ‘these greedy Asians are buying up our country’?

Ever seen people repeatedly fail at something absurd, like failing to insert memes into a business document, or Photoshop their face until it looks like something out of Splice then be dumb enough to post it in public?

So many questions arise – why can’t you insert a picture properly? Why are you putting in memes? Why do you choose pepe over spongebob? Why are you putting hamster filters on your face? Why do you think it makes you look cute when it makes it you look like a Zootopia character that was moulded with runny playdough?

And above all: why do these stupid people even exist? Darwin wtf!

Naturally, you refrain from ever coming in contact with these inferior individuals – ‘talking to them kills my brain cells’, you think to yourself, ‘and I am an intellectual. I am objectively smart and therefore a superior human bean and have no need of them.’

But conversation often cannot be avoided. It could be that they might offer you some benefit, like free gift vouchers or a trillion-dollar trans-Pacific trade agreement. Or it could be that they are insanely attractive, and you simply want to get into their pants.

In any case, you find yourself having to talk to someone extremely stupid.

What do you do?

Here is a simple, step-by-step guide provided for your convenience:

1 – Before engaging in conversation, find a private, out-of-sight area. Then, remove your pants and underwear. Then, carefully as to not cause inflammation of the ego, remove the stick up your ass. Lubricate as needed.

2 – Contrary to popular belief, positive communication is often devoid of self-congratulatory remarks, casual condescension, and/or passive-aggressive overtones. Avoid statements such as:

a. ‘I’m no expert but [insert self-congratulatory remark disguised as facts here]’;

b. ‘I know for a fact that [insert fact here] and the fact that you do not know this fact implies that you are stupid’, and;

c. ‘I think that [insert personal opinion here] and because I am smart, my opinion is legit and not complete bullshit’.

3 – Stay on topic. Remember, the point of the conversation is to discuss an issue, not to compete for the Who-Is-The-Smartest-Out-Of-The-Two-Of-Us prize.

4 – There will come a time when you feel an urge to spout some overcomplicated jargon on a legitimately complex issue. Remember: you are not writing a thesis, and therefore you do not need to talk like a professor. To do so in a casual conversation breaks every tenet in Step-2 of this guide.

5 – Acknowledge that there indeed exist different levels of intellect, and therefore differing levels of understanding on certain topics. To pretend that everyone is capable of understanding everything is fanciful, and will elicit only frustration – i.e. ‘Wtf it’s such a simple issue why can’t you get it like I do?!’ When you feel such a response is imminent, retreat to the nearest private location and check for foreign objects up your ass.

6 – Often – more often than you can imagine – you are the stupid one in the conversation. This fact should be immediately apparent, and to challenge it by engaging in a Who-Is-The-Smartest-Out-Of-The-Two-Of-Us contest only cements your position as stupid. Instead, simply follow Step-3 and stay on topic. The smart person will leave you alone quickly enough – this is what you would do too, after all.

After they are gone, feel free to anal yourself for a feel-good moment. You deserve it.

HOW TO BE RUDE

 

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Chamber music concert, small hall, 400 seats or so, half filled. One piano, one violin, one cello, three Czech musicians playing Suk and Rachmaninov and Dvorak – pretty out-there programming for the mainstream Chinese audience.

Just as the musicians finished tuning, a lady in the front row let out a recording of their tuning sounds on her phone. She was recording the whole thing, but the stupid inconveniencing musicans just had to add two minutes of noise before her music, and so she had to get rid of that bit but ended up pressing the wrong button.

As it turned out, no one cared about some random trio written by some random Czech whose last name is one letter short of Suck. Phones were switched on from minute one, a sea of glittering messenger apps, people showing the backs of their necks as they bent over their tiny keyboards, typing shit, or staring blankly and waiting for the other person to type shit.

At least no one clapped between the movements.

The second item was Rachmaninov’s Trio Elegiaque, which was like riding a stormy sea on a dingy while high on anti-depressants and tackling two sharks at once. It was loud, emotional, tuneful – all appealing traits. A little girl in the second row started crying, which was strange, since the program note said that children under 12 were not supposed to be sold tickets.

People clapped the shit out of that one.

The second half was Dvorak’s trio Opus. 90, which was fairly demanding for the casual listener – weird structure, mood swings at a blink, and a misleading lyricism that makes you go ‘oh that’s kinda ni – wait what?’ about 30 times.

The audience didnt know what to do with their phones. Like attention-deficit little kids, fully grown adults were on – off – on – off their fucking messengers at a whim, furiously typing at the ‘boring bits’, then lifting their heads at the ‘good’ bits.

In this kind of high-freqency usage situation, instead of pockets and bags, people like to shove their phones between their legs, under their butt, to pull it out at a moment’s notice.

Concert chairs have these swingy seats that have large gaps at the back, and six, six, fuckin six times people dropped their bricks on the hardwood floor while music was playing – once at the end of a quiet movement, as the violinist was lingering on a whispering note. The cellist pretended to cough to stop himself from laughing out loud.

Sorry Dvorak. The pinnacle of your life’s work wasn’t enough to entertain this bunch. They’d rather spam emojis. They’d rather record the live music then listen back on tinny speakers than actually paying attention while it was playing. They’d rather tell friends that they were at the concert than listening to one.

This was not a display of ignorance. People don’t just randomly drop a chunk of money to listen to classical pieces no one has heard of – they all knew what they were in for. It was wilful disrespect.

Fancy-dressed women with Gucci handbags and glittering heels, men in suits and flat-as-board slacks – they can’t display the same level of etiquette as a row of music students in baggy jumpers and old sneakers. And when they are warned they just wave it off – the attendants know they’ll raise a scene if the issue is forced, and that’ll irreocably ruin everything for everyone forever.

Imagine spending 10 hours baking a cake for a group of friends, only to see them take a collective shit on it.

So rude.

Wait…this blog is just a rant and doesn’t say anything about how to actually be rude.

Not like anyone really needs instructing.

 

 

 

How To Behave When Surrounded By Asians

Being Asian, walking the streets of a quaint little backwater Australian town that idolizes shiny steel balls and a nightlife that consists of getting drunk in a variety of faux-European settings, has always been an apprehensive experience.

It is hard to put into words what this experience is like, let alone describe it to those who inexplicably enjoy their nightly traipses along the same exact road, visiting the same exact shops, ordering the same exact decaf soy latte. Objectively, there isn’t that much to complain about. Whatever ethnic group one belongs to, it is easy to have a fun night out, quickly forget about the dozen homeless they’ve passed by, and return home at 7am reasonably satisfied.

That is, until one leaves this bubbled sanctuary and walks the streets of Shanghai, where it is not scantily-clad white girls that roam the streets half-pissed, but hot Asian women. It is difficult, then, to pretend that anyone, no matter how socially lubricated, can belong equally to both places.

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Anecdotal evidence suggests it is not easy being a western foreigner in an Asian country. Predatory street-vendors, unnaturally courteous metro assistants, indelible salespersons with unironed shirts and lit cigarettes next to no-smoking signs in a basement store that sells cotton bedding, rude policemen – they flock to non-Asians like empty-skulled 20-something kid-adults flock to memes, trying to legally take your money.

Those confident myths about the ubiquitousness of English is widely overblown; no one speaks English, and even if they do, most will not speak it to you outside a professional setting. And why would they? Come to the country, speak the language – that is what Australians have always maintained. No need to look so confused when they speak Chinese to you in excruciating, childish slowness, oozing condescension – this is what you would’ve done the other way around.

Wherever one goes, any non-Asian skin color is basically a label that reads ‘I’M RICH’ directly above ‘RESPECT ME DAMMIT’, drawing to it all the scammy deals and courteous disrespect one can expect. This labelling has nothing to do with how long one has lived here or how well one can speak the language – it has only to do with skin color.

In casual 2-minute interactions – going to the bank, eating out, getting drunk at a bar, premature ejaculation – who you are, what you are, and what rights and respects are afforded to you are determined according to skin color the moment two people meet.

Again, anecdotal evidence – but then again, no one cares about scientific evidence and opinions are facts.

None of this applies when one is Asian, however. The locals immediately and unconditionally accepts Asians no matter how they dress (four times in a week, women unironically dressed in maid costumes – not for any professional purpose but just casually – have been spotted. Did not take pictures).

It matters not when these camouflaged foreigners can’t speak Chinese, or always get lost the moron-friendly zero-barrier subway system. They rarely get accosted by the various locals, and even if they do, their lack of basic language skill is never met with derision. Somehow, they are spoken to with normal-speed, non-condescending Chinese even though they have the same chance of understanding it as a deaf kookaburra.

This is because these Asian foreigners have already been judged as ‘one of us’, despite them being no less foreign than everyone else. The basis is, of course, appearance alone. Without knowing anything about them, they have been accepted by the locals because they look the same.

Of course, when one is a rational human being with satisfactory intelligence, this sort of judgment rarely applies beyond first-impressions. It’s hard to hold onto one’s prejudice – one way or another – when the Asian guy you thought was a local can’t even use chopsticks and listens to a vaguely homoerotic band called One Direction, whereas the black guy you thought was from Zimbabwe has actually lived here for ten years and speaks fluent Chinese.

But most don’t get past first impressions. People don’t have the time nor the desire to get to know you; most just want your money and be done with it.

Easiest impression to make – the color of one’s skin.

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When an Asian guy walks down an Australian street, despite being as local as anyone could get without losing one’s cultural identity, one cannot escape the sense of constantly being judged from a distance, and whatever caricature that impression would form in the observer’s mind, it will not be ‘one of us’.

Which is cool. After all – as we’ve established – this happens the other way around as well.

Even when people, after forming such misconstrued first impressions, are unwilling to close that distance and properly assess the individual for who they are, it is still cool – they just might not give enough shits to get to know you.

Real social ramifications arise when there is time, and there is a structural need to get to know these ‘different’ people, to close that distance, yet due to fear and anxiety of admitting one’s own mistaken prejudices and/or the simple shyness of approaching a stranger, one does not.

Thus, the prejudices remain forever, cementing into caricatures – the defining of an individual with a few easily perceived visual or auditory traits – which then leads, unceremoniously, to racism.

(to be continued, cos 800 words is stretching it for avid readers of the 21st century)

How to Ignore People

 

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You, looking for friends.

 

Do you have a neckbeard admirer?

Does the success of your once close friends make hair fall out of your scalp before the age of 30?

Want to organize a party, but worried that a few individuals that you hung with in your couch-slumming weed-smoking KFC-eating cat-hoarding years might turn up and eat all your food?

Worry not my friends – just follow these simple steps, and you too can always enjoy the friendly company of people who think and talk and behave exactly like you.

 

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Mmm…stringy.

 

1 – Be like water, not cheese.

Stringing people along is the worst thing you can do.

If you smile amicably and nod when the fat guy with strong BO that you know from your previous place of employment invites himself to your party, chances are he will attend all your subsequent parties for the next 5 years.

On the same note, if someone you don’t give two shits about keeps asking you to attend miscellaneous activities that you typically associate with words such as ‘friends’ or ‘good company’ or ‘yeah sounds fun’, don’t act polite and say yes even though you want to say no.

Instead, just say no. Outright reject them.

When you pour water onto the ground and savagely set fire to it, it wouldn’t mind; it would just evaporate and be gone before you know it; but if you pour hot cheese, not only will it stick to your skin, your underwear, your figurine collection, your precious time, and your tarnished pride, it will also spontaneously combust.

Don’t be stringy cheese. Be like water.

 

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2 – Be a dick and a sadist.

The biggest barrier to saying no is, of course, not wanting to sound like a dick/stuck-up bitch.

What you fail to realize it, if you are a dick, it is much easier to hide the fact in a two-minute Messenger conversation that ends with ‘sorry, I don’t want to’, than having to endure an entire day/night in the same room as them, trying your hardest not to be a dick.

It will be a miserable time for both of you.

Instead, simply make it clear that you don’t want their company – without resorting to personal insults, of course. It is much better to offend them for ten seconds by saying no than it is to clearly express your severe dislike of their presence throughout the entire party/date/time together.

Don’t worry about hurting their feelings. You don’t really care.

In fact, cleanly and respectably rejecting someone will make them feel better in the long run, since you are eliminating their uncertainty, and there is nothing that stresses people out more than waiting for a yes/no that might never come. No one wants to deal with that shit.

So be a dick, and hurt their feelings a little bit.

(Unless they are serial-killer type stalkers, in which case you should purchase an illegal firearm and adopt a bulldog).

 

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Some guy.

3 – Be like Hannibal crossing the Alps, not Justinian I retaking Rome.

If you don’t like someone now, chances are you’ll never like them. Despite what people tell themselves, our impressions of others are formed quickly and firmly and are not likely to change from additional information.

Don’t waste your time thinking, ‘welllll I don’t really want to know this guy, but he might come in useful later, so it might be best to keep him around.’

Remember, Hannibal didn’t terrorize Rome by going ‘welllll I don’t really think I can conquer Italy, so I think I’ll leave a way out, just in case.’ If he did that, not only would he have lost every battle, the Romans would never have respected him.

That’s right, you can hate someone’s guts yet retain the ability to treat them like a capable human being. In fact, it is more likely to get a favor from someone who hates you but respects you, than from one whom you have little respect for yet is always hanging around.

Remember, Justinian I’s Roman Empire was not real. Just because you are sitting on Italy doesn’t mean you own it. In fact, instead of using brute conquest, if he exerted Byzantine’s power through diplomacy, when all the barbarians were fighting amongst themselves, he would’ve achieve the same thing, if not more. Instead, he conquered a piece of nostalgia to make himself feel good, and pushed his prosperous empire into centuries of war.

So the next time you think of going out of your way to get close to someone that you have no reason to, remember: Rome was sacked 12 times in a hundred years. That beautiful utopia exists only in your head.