Is There More To Life Than Making Babies?

Do you consider yourself a modern citizen in a modern world?

Enlightened and elevated above the base thoughts and needs of our carnal progenitors? No longer slaves to our lowly instincts and vices and shortfalls of our ancestors?

Were you brought up to believe that you could do anything, achieve anything in life, as long as you put all your heart and soul into it? You could live your childhood dreams, be whoever you choose to be, do what you love for the rest of your life?

And then you wake up twenty years later, groggy, alone, an electronic device dictating your life, your every waking and sleeping moment. Having spent the majority of your life lying on your sides or studying something you were only mildly interested in. And then your basic instincts kick in, creep into the back of your mind – you need to eat, you need to drink, you need to get laid.

Is There More To Life Than Making Babies?

Those around you do not see your plight. Day after day your parents and relatives inquire about your marital status, or if you’ve had the good fortune to shack up with someone permanently then when the 贵子 are going to arrive.

Your friends are “moving on” with their lives, most pairing up into units to continue on the evolutionary necessities and satisfy some societal requirement, signing the contract everyone craves, ticking off the big box of life, preparing to tick the next big item.

When will you tick off the big box of life?

Which one, you ask?

Are there that many to choose from?

And so we toil and slave, and if we’re lucky not so hard because our parents or predecessors saved up some for us. And we continue our hunt – our hunt for meaning, for purpose, for life.

We put our hearts and souls into our careers, into creating things of value, of meaning, into keeping our bodies healthy and fit. All by our own choice, our own cleverness, staving away the primal instincts that gnaw at our minds, either from sheer will or fear of rejection.

But at the end of it, we always come back to the same things: continuing on the family name, the bloodline, under the guise of finding happiness, achieving success.

Of course one cannot deny that happiness is intimately tied to interpersonal relationships of some spread or depth, being the deeply social creatures that we are.

But we have overcome that, have we not?

We are intelligent, able to control our urges, our innermost instincts with rational, logical reasoning!

We can overcome widescale devastation, largely initiated by our own hands, but still avert physical crises through reasoning and communication. We avoid nuclear annihilation, natural disasters, global pandemics with the power of logic and science!

And it’s true, we have adapted and conquered and overcome. And in the madness and chaos, we have sought out our clarity; in our desperate isolation, we have learned the meaning of togetherness; in the darkness we have learned to treasure the light.

And yet, as adversity unites us, as we fight illness and loss with logic, we realise that we are but base animals. When all is said and done, it is the same driving force and motivations that drove our forefathers thousands of years ago.

Are we that different from our ancestors? Have we changed?

Is it hardwired into us?

Making babies. Do people still need to do it?

I mean the process is great and all, but is it still necessary in this day and age?

Well, yes of course, otherwise who is going to take over once the elders pass? Who will care for the aging population of our broken world?

Perhaps procreating has been painted in a negative light with all the recent talk of climate change and overpopulation, of unsustainable living and dwindling resources.

While reproduction is evolutionarily obligatory, and to be fair it is the entire purpose of evolution, where exactly do we see ourselves in the evolutionary scale of things?

What is the point of continuing to spawn and evolve exactly? To populate the earth? Colonise beyond our borders, beyond our planet?

For what exactly?

Are we not akin to drops of bacteria in a petri dish full of nutrients? Akin to a virus let loose within a thriving, healthy host? The world is our oyster, and we will take all we can, multiply as far as we can reach.

Until our resources run out? Then let’s find some more!

Is there an end? Should there be an end?

Like a creeper plant stretching its limbs into the sun, across the soil, growing and growing until it reaches the boundaries? And then…going up, and up, like a beanstalk to the sky?

In the end, is it not all just a circlejerk, a fun little game to keep ourselves busy as our cells reproduce and rupture and return to dust?

So shall we get back to making babies?

So let’s talk about babies.

Say we yield to the fundamental cause of our species, of being alive, our supposed purpose and destiny – of making the babies and keeping the wheels turning. Say we decide we’re DTF and churn out a good one, we lock ourselves in with a bundle of joy with no refunds, no takebacksies.

Congratulations! Now what?

I can honestly say that evolution has not been kind to us sapiens. Seriously, how difficult can babies be?

Ask any parent – they’ll be happy to share with you their processes and their experiences of bringing up a child. Yes, I’m sure the whole thing is fun and full of fulfillment and satisfaction and new lessons in life. But it’s a fucking full time job, mate.

Evolution/intelligent design/the one true deity has not been kind to us humankind. Think about it – have you seen a new parent that is well-rested? Then they’ve clearly got lots of help.

Most new parents do not make a good case for having babies. It is a costly, cumbersome, challenging thing to bring up a baby.

From a business perspective, the ROI on these things is astoundingly low. They’re expensive, they’re time-consuming, they’re fragile, they’re high risk. They require a lot of attention, a lot of training; you don’t get to interview them beforehand, and you certainly can’t fire them from the position.

People tell you kids are an investment, a priceless asset. Well okay, what’s the appreciate rate on kids? You have to sink in at least two decades to get these starving sponges up to speed, not to mention countless dollars and sense, all while maintaining a happy facade lest the darn things develop a sour disposition or take on your bad values.

And once they’ve matured, what do you get? Some may pay you back in cash, buy you some nice things, or sometimes just in gratitude. But can they ever actually repay you for all you’ve done for them, all the sacrifices you’ve made?

Perhaps I’m missing the entire point of parenthood. Yes, parenthood is about pouring yourself into your offspring, so that they may have a better life than you ever did, so they can gain grander, greater things, surpassing all you’ve ever achieved. You shouldn’t care about getting anything in return, because the return is seeing them healthy and happy, right?

You will give your all, expend your time and energy, disburse your dividends all to them, because they deserve the very best, right?

Well what about you? Is it selfish to consider, to think about yourself for even one second? Our genes are selfish, are they not?

Oh, so our genes are alright with us giving all without any expectation for anything in return? Unconditional love, as they call it? That was a pretty clever marketing campaign. Generations of filial piety set in stone.

Well, even if our genes are gladsome and full of glee at the prospect of us popping out a few new ones, what about our logical selves? Our thoughts and feelings? Are we really alright with going through physical and social transformation and turmoil just for the privilege of hearing a little genetic mishmash of ourselves squeak out the words “mama” or “dada”?

What about spiritual children? What about having non-genetically related progeny? Pets? People love pets!

Vote Dog: A Pet Comics Collection by Make That Thing ...

I’m not saying we should all get pets and forego having children. I’m just curious if there are people out there who have found a greater purpose in life than spawning children.

Yes, I’m sure creating pieces of art or music, or an app or software that changes our virtual landscape, or a business that benefits billions is a worthy cause, a righteous reason to fight and live on. But can it truly replace that evolutionary call, that urge deep within our souls, to replace something that we can biologically call our own?

Do I have an answer for you?

There are many, many answers out there, and in this day and age there are many voices and stories vying to be heard and adored.

All I have to offer are questions. Simple questions that you and I will have to answer for ourselves.

What do you believe your life is about?

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A Review of an Ageless Boy Named Adrian Mole

Up until recently I had not heard of this sullen, dry-witted boy named Adrian Mole. He’s not as charismatic or action-packed as other protagonists his age, but Adrian certainly makes up for it in wryness.

It seems like every book is a number one bestseller at some point in time.

So it seems like every book is a number one bestseller at some point in time. And apparently this sequel is no stranger to the spotlight.

Alas, I had not heard of Mr. Mole until his four installment was plonked into my hands by a local admirer of his. Can’t say I feel like I’m missing out on all that much, really. That said, Mr. Mole’s inner thoughts and secret desires are an entertaining read all the same.

This is a teenage book like no other – no sweeping romance or arduous adventure of discovery and life and death. Now that I think about it, does Adrian even make any progress in terms of self-discovery?

Adrian is a boy, a typical coming-of-age boy on the cusp of manhood (or whatever the limbo phase is called after the horrible things called puberty and college take place). A boy finding his way in a bizarre changing world, changing on so many levels, from his relationships to his relatives’ relationships to his countrymen and whirlwind of events that encapsulates them all.

And through it all, Adrian’s stalwart spirit of apathy remains.

Adrian is nothing if not relatable – his story of perceived lower class hardship and mundane working class upbringing is a tune many will sing, albeit with slightly less exciting and embarrassing antics. I mean Adrian’s, not yours.

Surprisingly one should not expect major twists and turns in the book, no wildly embarrassing moments or cathartic revelations.

Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years is a story of a boy wandering through life, trying to find his calling, his dream, and surviving in the meantime. His mind is set on becoming an author, and while his efforts are valiant, they are overpowered by his overwhelming sense of self-delusion.

Is he wrong for trying? Should he be mocked and embarrassed for pursuing what he deems to be his passion in life?

Sure, his methods may be highly humourous and misguided, but I for one applaud his actions and efforts, a creator after my own heart.

I found myself drawing parallels with Adrian’s experiences, strangely coincidental with events in my own life. Perhaps that is the power and the appeal of Mr. Mole – instead of otherworldly occurrences and supernatural savoir-faire, Adrian’s struggles are so very human.

No matter your age and stage in life, you’ve likely gone through or are experiencing something similar to Adrian. Crushing on the opposite gender, secretly judging and making fun of more successful folk, being disillusioned at a world that doesn’t care about one’s existence.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, since you totally did not ask for it, here is a timeline of all the Adrian Mole books!

And voila! Here is the book cover devoid of vandalism.

Right, now on to another book that doesn’t revolve around the annoying inner musings of a dry-witted young man.

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Easing Back In

Boom! I’m back, baby!

Yes I had a brief hiatus. Largely because things started getting rather hectic, but in all honesty colouring everything in was becoming a bit of a chore.

So I’ve figured I’ll start easing myself back into it by keeping it simple and not pressuring myself too much. No point going all perfectionist on it. Not like anybody looks at this stuff, right?

Just a reminder if you’re ever bummed out from doing something or about to give up, don’t worry about it. It’s perfectly normal. Just give yourself time and ease back into it.

Or just give up and find something new. I don’t know – I ain’t some guru, bro.

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飞鸟和蝉 (任然) 吉他乐谱

飞鸟和蝉 (任然) 吉他乐谱 Guitar chords for some Chinese tune, a song about a far away romance, a rare fated encounter.

Capo 3

G – D – C – D








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Australian Dog Party!

This needs to be a real party!

Shiba from the Australian Dog Party

I mean, I don’t imagine immediate sweeping changes to the landscape of the country, but I do imagine if our nation were more dog friendly then many other things would naturally fall into place. Like the economy, for starters.

I’m just dismayed that the Australian Dog Party doesn’t have an adorable (or regal, whichever you like) dog icon in the logo. I mean, that could be New Zealand for all I know! I wonder if New Zealand has a dog party…

What would the Australian Dog Party stand for?

That’s a great question! I’m glad you asked.

The Australian Dog Party will stand for:

  • More dog facilities e.g. parks, paths, drinking trowels
  • More laws to protect dogs from unethical breeding and abuse
  • More jobs for dogs
  • More dog-friendly media
  • More dog translation services
  • Implementation of National Dog Day
  • Rename party to Australian Dog Paw-ty
  • Include a longer item so the bullet points ascend in length

It’s the leash we can do for our furry friends!

Anything is paw-sible!

National Dog Party Day

Vote for the Australian Dog Party!

P.S. They really missed the chance to call to it the Australian Dog Paw-ty.

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Going Down Iconic Hill At Sunrise

As they say, what goes up must come down. And so for every hill we climb, there comes a time when we must eventually come down. Here’s the coming down part of the Iconic Hill trail.

There are at least four alternate routes to reach the peak of Botak Hill (now rebranded by the developer to their name, Iconic), and many more branches and bypasses.

  1. Eastern Trail – Start from Beverly Heights, Ashley Green
  2. Western Trail – Start from Grand View Heights, Paya Terubong
  3. Southern Trail – Start from Bukit Jambul via Bukit Kukus
  4. Northern Trail – Start from Bukit Hijau via Bukit Gambir

Most popular way up appears to be the paved paths along the Western and Eastern trail, but do take note that these paths are now gated and closed at night.

Regardless, it’s a nice place to catch sunrise and sunset, with an unhindered view of the eastern side of Penang Island, about 380-400m above sea level.

Iconic Hill Penang Sunrise
Sunrise over Penang Island

I imagine this place will undergo quite a lot of change over the next few years as the developer is currently widening the access ways up the hill, and we expect lots of construction along these hills. Hopefully nothing too excessive, but it certainly won’t be the same for long.

Enjoy going up and down Iconic Hill while you can!

Botak Hill from Bukit Gambir
Botak Hill from Bukit Gambir
Iconic Hill Sunrise
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Enjoying One’s Company

During this time of lockdown, I’ve come to a realisation: I like being alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy human interaction as much as the next person. Well…maybe not nearly as much as the next person.

Sometimes dealing with people drains you and you’d like some peace and quiet for a change, without people demanding things every other second.

The point is I like my own company and being by myself and bouncing thoughts off myself. I like operating on my own time, in my own space, in my own head.

And perhaps on some level, I can’t stand the complications of engaging and catering to the needs of other people. Some days it just feels like everyone just wants something from you. Boy, I sound like a proper sociopath, don’t I?

Does that make me damaged or deranged? Am I defective in some way?

Or am I just a true introvert?

I used to believe I was an extrovert, feeling alive and energised in the presence of others. But now, after a long day out I just feel drained and depleted like a Vespene Gas mine. Now I relish the thought of spending an evening with just me and my earphones and running shoes, my guitar, the night, the silence.

Does that mean I’ll be forever alone? Let’s not get all reductio ad absurdum now. Of course not – I imagine there will still be room for social activities. But my limit for them might be a lot lower. Perhaps there is a natural order of things that gradually reduces our need or yearning for attention and constant interaction.

Or maybe I’ll just end up a crazy cat person.

Crazy Cat Lady - TV Tropes

My tolerance for people’s bovine faecal matter is waning, and I realise that with age and maturity it’s not your tolerance level that grows, but rather the apathy and ability to not care about things that don’t matter. Discerning what matters.

Is there someone out there who won’t drain me and exhaust me? Someone who matches my energy levels or jives with my flow?

I imagine even in relationships, sometimes people need a hiatus from each other, no matter how brief. I was listening to a discussion recently about how sleeping separately is not necessary a bad sign, but rather a mature move by two people who care about each other enough to accept that being well-rested is more important than trying to maintain the image of traditional love and cramming into the same bed.

That concept resonates with me, the thought that being in a committed relationship doesn’t mean that you’re glued to each other at the waist. Sure, some couples can spend every waking moment staring into each other’s eyes, but realistically most people have their own jobs and activities and lives not intimately linked with their romantic relationship. Hell, it’s probably necessary to keep the relationship alive.

I feel a relationship should be two people committed to growing together, but still with room to develop individually. Perhaps the thought of your counterpart potentially changing into different characters as the days go by scares you. Maybe you cling to the relationship to save and redeem you.

But the fact of the matter is, you don’t have control over other people. Only yourself.

As much as you try to gaslight or manipulate others so they feel like they need you and you alone, your insecurities will consume yourself as well as everyone around you.

So give other people the same freedom, the same space that you would wish for yourself.

Everyone needs their own space, and I have found mine.

Cats. Lots of them.

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Superiority Complex – Problem or Necessary?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the inferiority complex, but have you heard of its self-proclaimed bigger brother the superiority complex?

Those familiar with Adlerian psychology will have heard of the superiority complex, but for those of you who haven’t heard I imagine you can take a guess at what the complex is about. There are numerous articles on the topic already, I’m sure.

Now the question is this: is having a superiority complex a problem?

Or is it a pre-requisite to succeed in this fast-paced, widely-connected social media era?

What Superiority Complex?

So what does a superiority complex look like in this modern day and age?

I mean, aren’t we all trying to gain the upper hand in this world one way or another? To climb the ladder of life, to scramble ever upwards in this rat race we call capitalism and the Malaysian/Singaporen/American Dream?

In that sense most of us are trying to become superior in some form, right? And is that wrong?

The superiority complex lies not in what goals we aim for and how we manage our finances; it has to do with how we regard our fellow man (and woman). Because as Adlerian psychology teaches, life is all about interpersonal relationships.

To think of it from a loftier perspective, is not our very human existence all about finding meaning and purpose? And where do we derive this meaning and purpose? Is it not from our interactions with our fellow human beings and other living and inanimate things in our world around us?

If you boil it down, even higher pursuits like religion and science are about guiding and exploring relationships between humans. It is teaching us how to experience life and togetherness and closeness with each other.

So if life is all about us interacting in harmony with one another, then the superiority complex is about regarding oneself as above our fellow man (or woman). It is the mentality that a certain trait or ability or status makes one greater than everyone else, the belief that one is better.

Basically this dude:

Magneto superiority complex
superiority complex

To be fair, he does have a good reason to believe he is superior.

Now the problem lies not just in the belief, but the actions that result from believing you are God’s gift to mankind for whatever reason.

Ironically enough, the superiority complex tends to arise as a defense mechanism to help a person cope with feelings on inferiority. And this is not something you develop overnight – it is an ingrained habit of thought. Most people don’t even realise they have it.

Those with superiority complexes aren’t that far off from narcissists, and in times of strife (like during, say a pandemic) they may struggle because they cannot do what they do best – exploit others for their own gain.

You see, those with a superiority complex gain their self-worth and esteem from external sources, relying on others to boost their frail ego. During a pandemic, with limited social contact, they’ll need more than some online affirmation to feel validated.

Oh wait, that’s what social media is for!

Got Complex?

Do you think someone might have a superiority complex? Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. They compare themselves to others constantly
  2. They have a strong sense of entitlement
  3. They don’t like it when you don’t act the way they want
  4. They seek validation all the time
  5. They don’t own up to their mistakes

And what does that look like on social media?

I Am Very Smart Bingo : iamverysmart superiority complex

There’s a subreddit (on…Reddit) named r/IAmVerySmart where…people try very hard to look smart.

It’s a fun sub.

r/iamverysmart - One step away from being gandi
superiority complex social media
This one hurts a little

You’ll notice in the above excerpts there are comparisons using age: one implying that they are an underage precocious genius, and the other implying that kids are not smart.

As the saying goes:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

And yet we all still do it, because we need a benchmark or just want to feel good about ourselves. We all have insecurities, but does that mean we all suffer from a superiority complex?

Where do we draw the line? Our self-worth still has to stem from something, some belief that we are enough or we are capable. Or does it?

Is it possible to have a strong sense of self-worth while not looking down upon others? Not needing to compare and measure yourself against other people, just your past self?

It’s easy identifying this in others, but funnily enough if we have it ourselves, our superiority complexes probably wouldn’t allow us to admit that we have one.

At the end of the day, we all need some form of reassurance that we are good at something or have worth in this world. But when that title or object makes you think that you deserve better than others and that you’re better than other people, then that might be a superiority complex on your shoulders.

When you start treating others as beneath yourself due to their upbringing, race, religion or just because you’re in a better position than them, then you might have a complex.

Is it a problem?

That’s for you to decide.

Problem attitude superiority complex

And I’ll leave you with this one final quote:

Sarcastic superiority complex

Oh I’ve known some sarcasm masters in my time.

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Vestiges of Summer

Under my eyelids still reside
The vestiges of summer,
And as I drift across the fields
Upon warm toasted butter
Of the beaming golden sun
In its waning light I wonder
What summer is like where you are.

We used to hold hands upon the pier
As the waves caressed the break,
Sea breeze brings back the memories
As my heart begins to ache,
The clouds fall away to black
And the sun begins to forsake
Reminding me I am standing alone.

And though I know that you go
To a place far better than here,
Inside I can’t help but feel a
Void of terror and fear,
That nothing else and no one
Can ever make me feel this dear,
This poor and shattered upon the pier.

So now I embark on the road
Back the way we came
Back down the pier I go
But it is no longer the same.
I awaken to the fact
That there is no longer the flame
To light the way in the dark of night.

Now the sun has plummeted
Beneath the deep blue sea
Plunged into the depths
Of some aquatic revelry
Like the beat that sways
From within my chest
For freedom does it plea.

As the stars begin to dance
Across the navy waves
And I recall your face
My soul that I thought was saved
Comes crashing down hard
Churned into a ragged foam
Into a million salty graves.

Under my eyelids still reside
The vestiges of summer
That warm and gentle breath
With you in that billowing dress
I know you won’t be back
But still I can’t let go
As my heart yearns for swift death.

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