The Power of Prayer

Why do people even bother praying? Whenever something bad happens to someone, people say send your prayers to X or keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Does it even matter if you do?

I keep hearing all the time that something is ‘God’s plan‘ so why even bother trying to ask for otherwise? If something is going to happen because it’s destined or predetermined, then what are you praying for?

Isn’t trying to change an outcome going against your god’s plan? Why are you not going along with it? Are you saying he/she/it is wrong? Can god be wrong?

Why would god listen to the words from your lips? Unless you’re saying you’re so powerful that god listens to you. If that’s the case, then why can’t you pray for everything you want in life and get it? People say you can’t pray for selfish things – isn’t praying for someone’s health selfish in a way? You want someone to survive so you can spend more time with them. If you didn’t intend on ever seeing that person again, you wouldn’t have bothered.

What if someone else was praying for the same person’s death? Who does god listen to then? Does god even listen? How does god decide who to listen to?

If god doesn’t listen, then why pray? Why aren’t we questioning god’s ‘shitty’ decisions in the first place?

“Oops, I accidentally gave your grandma cancer. Deal with it.”

Does an almighty and powerful god need to listen to people to know what to do? Does god even give a shit?

Pray if it makes you feel better, or if you want to. Just don’t pray and expect anything to happen. If anything does happen, know that it’s because you worked to achieve it, or it was a coincidence. It wasn’t because you prayed for it.

Change things you know you can instead of trying to invoke some mysterious force in the sky. It’s much more effective.


Here’s a wonderful bit by a comedian I came across a few months ago on Netflix:

Check out Daniel Sloss on Netflix

Too Many Choices

Thanks to the advent of fast internet connections, I’ve been spoilt for choice when it comes to things I want to waste my time on when I’m in front of the computer. Previously, I was limited by the amount of space I had in my hard drive. Terrabytes weren’t a thing yet, so I couldn’t store all my favorite MP3s and movies. Then came CD-ROM burners, which helped, but not as much as external hard drives. Those used to cost way more for less storage than you get now, and beyond the occasional thumb drive (to replace the lost ones I got for free from events) I haven’t purchased one in ages.

my local MP3 collection

Now I don’t even back up most of my files on physical media anymore. Thanks to Google Drive and Photos, there isn’t a need. Not to mention, Google does a great job of automatically sorting and tagging your photos (I know people care about their privacy, but I enjoy the convenience of typing noodles in the search bar to remember where I’ve been). Machines have come a long way thanks to all the captchas we’ve been doing.

Google Photos

If you want to watch a movie these days, just load up Netflix, or your favorite streaming site, type in a movie name and click watch. It’s that convenient. If you want to listen to music, just load up Spotify or YouTube, type in a song name and there you go! No more waiting for songs to download to your PC and launching them in a media player to listen to them. I still do the latter for music, but streaming services are great to check out new artists I have not listened to before.

But like with all things, there are good and bad sides to them. While people might see it as a ‘first world problem’, it’s a problem nonetheless – having too many choices makes it difficult to decide what you want to consume. Yes, that’s right. You ever sit down in front of your TV, and browse Netflix endlessly looking for something to watch? I know I’m guilty. I see a show I think I might be interested in but I don’t watch it immediately. I add it to ‘My (neverending) List’, and look for something else that I might want to watch. Repeat this for maybe half an hour and decide that I’d rather do something else instead of watching a show. Come back to Netflix a week later and repeat the same process. It’s the same with Spotify. I have playlists of countless unwatched shows and unlistened music.

my Netflix playlist

While it’s not an issue having large playlists of unconsumed content, it could be a problem one day – when record companies or movie distributors lose the rights to the material, leaving empty spots in your playlists. And then you kick yourself for not checking them out earlier. Fortunately, there’s always the alternative coughpiratebaycough but most of the time you’ll look for something, download it and end up forgetting about it (at least that’s what I do).

I guess it’s more of my consumption habit than a problem of too many choices. I should learn to pick and choose and stick with it. Which is why I’ve been choosing not to finish some games in my Steam library. When I feel a game is more trouble than it’s worth to complete, I uninstall and move on.

my Steam library

I’ve been doing the same thing with music and shows too. If I don’t absolutely enjoy something, I turn it off and jump to the next in line. I don’t have that much time in my life, shouldn’t I spend it on something else that I like instead? This philosophy has helped me to clean up my playlist (it’s still long but I’m getting there) and it is also why I play so much Dota 2.


Also, interesting video about choices:

Elevator Silence

Ever been in this situation? You and your friend are busy chatting in an elevator when the doors open and some strangers enter. Suddenly, all conversations halt and the floor number display is the most interesting object in the container (room?) second to your own shoes. I’ve always found that to be quite interesting – the fact that the lift becomes quieter the more people it holds. However, this rule doesn’t apply when there are more people who know each other than strangers.

It’s not like the conversation was about anything offensive – people just feel compelled to stay quiet in the presence of strangers. Kinda reminded me of the no phone calls in trains in Japan ‘rule’ I’ve read about.

I thought I had more to say about the subject but I didn’t so I googled the topic and found this really interesting article on elevator spaces. Elevators are basically small rooms, and that’s just how people seem to behave in confined places. This bit was hilarious:

 We would be – we would really distress people, though, if we stepped into an elevator and kept staring at the back wall, would we not? I mean, everybody else would get a little bit uncomfortable.

Turns out there’s a lot of material you can read up on about elevators. From the article I linked, I also learned about a magazine called Elevator World. Also, unrelated but related to elevators:

We definitely need some of these shaming elevators here

These Old Bones

After leaving my last job, I kinda figured I was done with working 12+ hours/day events. Turns out, life has a funny way of catching up on you. For the past four days, I’ve been helping out at a company event (a children’s concert), and it really threw me back to my Big Bad Wolf days. Coming home just to shower and crash my aching body into bed, just to wake up the next morning to repeat the cycle. I honestly felt like my bones were sighing with relief every time I laid myself down.

Although it has a lot to do with the fact that I’m nowhere near in shape, it brought to mind the things that I took for granted as a child. I think all the damage I brought unto myself is finally showing itself. Back then, I would read in bed, play games on my GameBoy under covers, fall asleep in funny positions, and I’d be okay (I guess you could say I ruined my eyes). These days, all I have to do is sleep on my side and wake up with neck aches for the rest of the day. It’s crazy.

Which reminds me of this meme I saw a while ago:

While it’s funny to laugh at such images (thanks to whoever created it), I can totally relate. I haven’t stopped using the stuff mentioned for earlier stages of life; yes, baby powder is great – especially for dealing with groin sweat, I never realized it was a thing until not too long ago when it started happening to me; deodorant and cologne is still part of my life.

Look at what’s on my desk at this very moment:

I didn’t plant them there for the sake of this post

Also, I remember people telling me that Poy Sian inhalers were something old people used. I guess I was just ahead of my time.

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my favorite travel companion

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Now that I’m done typing this, I just realized it was a long-winded post to tell the world that I’m an old bag of bones (with loads of belly fat).

Nightmare/Dream

So, I have this recurring dream. It’s the same scenario played out in different ways each time. It’s kinda terrifying, but at this point, I’ve had it so many times that I know it’s a dream while I’m dreaming. But I can never get out of it until I wake up.

Here’s my dream last night: I’m at home, in my old house in Happy Garden. The doorbell rings, I open the door to see who’s outside. It’s a man with a gun. Now the right play would be to quickly shut the door and hide behind a wall – bullets don’t go through walls right? I never do that. Dude outside threatens to shoot me if I don’t let him in. I refuse. More people from his gang show up. They all have weapons. Soon, my front porch is overrun with men with weapons. By this time, I shut the door and try to exit my house through the back door. But these guys somehow surround my house and are waiting for me there too. So I’m stuck in my house, with nowhere to go, panicking, worried about my life. When one of them manages to enter my house and is about to attack me, I wake up.

This dream (nightmare?) has occurred many times in the past. It’s always me, in my Happy Garden home, and the men are trying to get into my home to attack me. The other bits change. It could be day or night time, sometimes they have knives or parangs, the men look different. But I always wake up when one of them enter the house and is about to kill me.

It feels pretty terrifying at times (I wonder if I yell out in my sleep), but I don’t do anything different. I’m not sure if I even have the option to. It’s like a movie that repeats itself now and then. I’ve become accustomed to having it, and have stopped looking for any meaning. But if there is a point to it, I wonder what it could be?

On another note – why do you wake up just before you are attacked or killed in a dream? Is it a coincidence? Do you happen to dream right before you wake up? Does your body know that you’re going to wake up? Or do you only remember bits of the dreams before you wake up? Does dream time work like in Inception (where hours in the dream world could mean only seconds in real life)? What is my mind trying to say?

Don’t Call It a Comeback (Momentum)

If there’s one thing I learned the importance of a long time ago, or something I know very well – it’s that momentum is a real thing. Once you start something, it’s easy to keep going. But when you take a break for whatever reason and you walk away from it – coming back to pick up where you left off is a difficult thing to do.

There are a lot of things I wish I was doing, but I don’t bring myself to do them because it’s so much easier to be lazy and indulge in video games or watching shows. It’s already 7 months into 2019 – and have I accomplished any of my goals for the year?

Nope.

The main issue about taking a break from something for a long time is that it’s difficult to pick up and resume where you left of. Before you say, George, “You’re just being lazy!” Yes, I am aware of that. “There’s no such thing as momentum, it’s just your lack of willpower and discipline!” I wouldn’t argue with you about it. But this is something that I’m not the only one who struggles with. It’s a common thing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s something that I should accept. Regardless, it didn’t stop me thinking about it, after all – momentum is a very real thing (and it exists not just for physical objects, but in the metaphysical world as well).

For example, there have been countless moments in video games like Dota 2, where a team that has been doing poorly at the start of a tournament, picking up steam in the later stages to win the whole thing. On the other end, there have been teams on hot streaks who then have a day off (because they’re in the winner’s bracket) and lose their next match. Even on a lower level, some games are won by momentum because one team keeps its cool under pressure better than the other one. Winning one team fight despite being very far behind turns into winning two, three more, and then the whole game.

Reeling it back in to something more relatable – is this why some bands find it so difficult to follow up their debut albums? After spending so long on their first one and releasing it, they’ve expended all their creativity and energy, they can’t pick it up for the second release? Or is it why some bands churn out hit records after hit? Or maybe it’s a different reason – in that time between the first and second release, you’ve changed as people, and don’t create the same sort of art as before. You don’t have the same thoughts, you’re no longer in the same head space, maybe you no longer have the same struggles, maybe you have a different set of restrictions this time around. Who’s to say? Not me, I haven’t released an EP since A Million Different Weddings (which remains unfinished til this day if you remember my promise of creating album art for it).

I’m sure it’s just my lack of willpower.

Momentum is important. I remember last year when I was blogging on a daily basis – it was easy to keep up. I wrote something everyday, I forced myself to do it. Sure, it hampered the quality of my writing (to be honest, it wasn’t that great to begin with) but at least it was consistent. These days, I find myself looking at the calendar and going – oh, it’s been a week since my last post. I guess it’s time to write a new one.

It’s kinda difficult to write when you’re not doing it everyday (work doesn’t count). Like my comic. Animal Bus – I haven’t been working on it for some time – we’re way past the December launch date I set for myself last year, and I’m nowhere near the state I want the comic to be before I release it. My game – no progress, ideas. Songs – I’ve managed to write something new, but I haven’t branched away from my usual acoustic guitar, 4-chord song structure nonsense.

I guess I’m making excuses for myself when I don’t need to. I’m not even on a deadline, and nobody is holding their breath for my stuff. What I’m trying to say in so many words is that I haven’t accomplished anything this year. What’s new?

The finality of death.

Yesterday, the empty spot next to my grandma’s urn was filled with my grandpa’s. It sucks that he’s no longer around, but I believe it’s better than living tethered to a bed.

Thank you for all the trips to the cinema to watch Jacky Chan movies. Thank you for buying those tapes of Mind Your Language (I think it was Mind Your Language, I’m not 100% sure) so we could enjoy learning English together.

Thank you for all the trips to Genting Highlands, I hope you weren’t too scared when I was behind the wheel for one of the drives. That C Class was a blast to drive. The first time I saw a car phone was in your old ass Mercedes. I wanted to press the buttons but was told not to fuck around with it.

There was one time, we were coming down from Genting and I couldn’t hold my pee in. I remember grandma had to hold a bottle for me to pee in because you didn’t want to stop the car, or there wasn’t a stop nearby – I forgot. All I gotta say is that was one messy trip. Sorry, grandma.

Grandpa’s death reminded me of two stories. One – from a motivational speaker who was saying that everything in life is neutral – it is up to you to place a value onto it. He gave an example about the death of a loved one. It isn’t inherently bad or good – you decide what it means to you. It can be negative in the sense that you’ll miss that person, or in some cases their debts/problems get pushed to you. It can be positive because they no longer have to suffer, and it brings families together. Especially if they don’t meet up very often. This time, I experienced the latter. It was nice catching up. I still don’t agree with trying to convert attendees during a wake, but hey – it wasn’t my say as I didn’t organize it. Also, what’s the point of eternal life? Stay classy, Christians.

The second story was more of a joke/”psychological test” that I heard many years ago about why someone would murder their own family member to go to a funeral again. I wasn’t planning to kill anyone, it was just one of the things that popped into my mind.


I’ve been to way too many funerals recently (they’re not enjoyable even though they contain the word ‘fun’) – hopefully this will be the last post on the topic for a while.

Rest in peace, grandpa.

School for Adults

It’s that time of the year again – where almost every working adult has to allocate time and resources working out how much money they owe to the government for the past year. For the past few years it has been pretty routine for me – doing the same thing I have been doing for the past few years. This year, it’s different. I’m now a contract worker – not part of a full-time workforce (even though my work pretty much takes up all of my time, so it’s like a full-time job without the benefits of a full-time job). So, the taxing process is a bit different. I have to fill in another form (I’m technically working for my own company) – something I haven’t done before. And because I don’t know who to ask for help, I’m figuring stuff out on my own. If I do get in trouble for fraud or mistakes in my tax application, do know it’s because of my ignorance/stupidity not because I’m trying to fuck with the system.

Which reminds me of the first time I ever had to file my taxes. I found the whole process so cumbersome and counter-intuitive. I had people to help me out with it back then, so I managed to figure it out in the end. But now I’m back at step one again, filling out a different form. Back then, I remembered thinking to myself – how come there’s nobody teaching these life skills in school? School and college (AKA daycare) didn’t prepare me for this. In fact, nothing did. I had to learn everything through trial and error.

Then I thought about why wasn’t it taught in school? Was it not relevant to most of the kids who would be growing up? My mind wandered on, and I realized that there were plenty of skills that you need as an adult to survive in today’s world but nobody ever told you what they were. You’d need to figure them out on your own. I guess that’s what makes life interesting – the wealth of new scenarios you’re yet to experience. But for some folks who want the shortcuts and cliff notes, there could be something to help them. Then I realized, there should be a school for adults.

I’m not sure if the demand is there rightaway to start a brand new school, but it could begin as classes/supplementary courses in colleges, universities and offices. If it gained enough traction, it could expand to dedicated centers around the city and eventually country.

We’d teach people the basics of being an adult: how to file taxes, what to look for when buying a home or secondhand car, applying for loans, what to do in the event of a car accident, how to read body language, how to handle interviews, how to write a CV/resume, how to dress up for different occasions, the importance of dressing well, grooming, how to cook, what to do when your wallet is stolen, how to handle a pregnancy, basics of raising a child, handling breakups and divorces, and so on. We’d start with the most important things, but the number of topics relevant to being an adult can go on forever!

It should be only a few days long at max – because adults don’t have much time for anything else. And it could also be something they wouldn’t have to take leave from work to attend. It should also be affordable – since we’re not teaching rocket science, we don’t need to hire professors to educate.

It’s unlikely I’ll start my school for adults in the future, but if anybody decides to run with the idea, feel free to credit me. Or not. In the meantime, I’ll go back to figuring out how to fill up my e-B form.

A Window Into the Soul

When you don’t write constantly, you lose the drive to keep writing – at least that’s what I’ve found.

Which is probably why I play so much Dota 2 – because I keep playing it. I recently finished the space opera Mass Effect, man that was a good game. I finally understand the all the hype surrounding it when it came out. I’m definitely going to play part 2 and 3 eventually. It’s about time I play these classic games while they still run on modern systems. For those of you who haven’t played it yet – it’s like KOTOR but with real-time combat. If you’re a fan, you should check it out. I highly recommend it.

I didn’t do much this Chinese new year – but that’s okay. I think red packets will be replaced by NFC or some other cashless technology in the future. Saves time putting money into red packets, and then removing them when CNY is over. Plus you can easily adjust the amount of money you give to different people, and you could probably do some chargebacks if you regret giving money to some people. Also, you don’t have to worry about getting mugged when you’re carrying all those bank notes in your bag. Muggers are real.

Lost some money gambling, again I’m more of a gamble to be social than gamble to make money kind of guy, so that’s alright.

In terms of personal projects, I’m happy that I’ve managed to record a couple of demos recently, and I’ve been keeping up with my 1 show/month target. Animal Bus has been progressing – not as quick as I’d like, but at least it’s getting somewhere.

Other than that – I made some mods to one of my keyboards recently – the KBDFans HHKB Tofu. I got some holes cut in its sides and spray painted the case purple. Photos on my Instagram.

Oh, I survived a hungry escalator the other day with my foot intact. My super comfortable Miniso flip flops now have a chunk near the top removed. Nothing happened to me, I kicked off my flip flops just in time. I can’t say I wasn’t worried at all, but I knew my foot wasn’t going to get caught. I guess you could say fortunately I wasn’t wearing sandals or shoes. Since that day, I’ve been a bit more careful when using escalators.

Lastly, I set off for Austin, Texas next week. Am really looking forward to it. Barbecue, Dr. Pepper and my sister are waiting for me. Can’t wait.

I’m going to try to get back into the groove of blogging more often. I think it would help me with my work as well. It feels good releasing a stream of thoughts onto a page. Having a nice keyboard to type them out with also helps. And if I don’t blog, how are people who don’t talk to me often going to know about what’s going on in my life?

These posts are like a window into my life – or soul, if I’m being melodramatic.

Thank you very much for reading. <3

Happy New Year, Gig #117

One year ago, I started the journey to clean my room, and one year later – I’m not done. But that’s okay. It’s something I’ll have to eventually get around to, if not my room will turn into a location for a new season of Hoarders. What makes cleaning up your room such a difficult thing to do? I guess I’m just lazy. And I don’t feel like it’s worth enough of my time. I’d rather spend it doing fun stuff and goofing around. Crazy huh?

Writing about it now makes me feel like I need to change my attitude towards having a clutter-free room. There are many cases for having a clean room, and nothing against it. There is no reason why you should have a messy room. I guess it’s more the part of me who likes to hold on to old, useless trash instead of giving it up.

I’ve got tons of stuff in boxes, untouched since the day I moved in to my current home. I haven’t looked at them for the past 10(?) years – there’s no reason to think that I would look at them in the next 10 years. Time for them to go. Stuff for other people to make use of, or even the trash. There’s really no reason for me to hold onto so many things.

Clean room means a healthier environment, which is great. Less stress – since you don’t come home to a messy room, you won’t have to worry about having to pick things up. It also means more storage for me to keep other things in the future. Having a clean room is a benefit, so I shall keep that in mind as I continue clearing out stuff this week.

Happy New Year to everybody, maybe I’ll spend more time updating this blog this year. Once a week feels a bit too little. We’ll see.

In other news, I’ve got my first gig of the year happening this Thursday – at where else, but the KL Journal Poolside Open Mic? Feel free to drop by for some cool tunes and cool beer.

Poolside Open Mic #71 ft. Ash [Facebook Event Page]

Time: 8 PM – 10:30 PM
Date: 10th January 2019
Venue: KL Journal Hotel [Google Maps]

The Poolside Open Mic is our 3rd longest running open mic night which happens every Thursday evening right on TOP of The KL Journal! Each installation features one of our finest musicians, with this one featuring…

***ASH***

Armed with just a guitar and her soothing voice, and her eclectic blend of soul, RnB and bossa nova, Ash is a KL-based singer-songwriter who has just begun her journey into the performing arts. Often spotted at indie haunts such as The Bee, The KL Journal, Merdekarya and PLOY, she uses the stage to sing stories of her personal experiences with a subtle mix of melancholy and sensuality complimented with her delicate guitar playing style. With a decent repertoire of originals and covers under her belt so far, expect to see more of her in the near future as her journey has just begun.

Follow her: https://www.instagram.com/ashneese/

***OPEN MIC***

#1 2storeyheart
#2 Sia Nicholas
#3 Wasif Hyder
#4 Raymond
#5 Adz King
#6 Juan
#7 Nero
#8 Amr Mohsen

To sign up for the open mic, email us@openmicmalaysia.org 😀

~

Open Mic Malaysia is the brainchild of Shaneil Devaser, frontman of The Endleaves. Established in 2012 and currently operating in the Klang Valley, Kota Kinabalu and Johor Bahru, Open Mic Malaysia aims to create sustainable avenues for bedroom musicians, singer-songwriters and professional musicians to share their music and experiences with each other and the public, over evenings of wholesome indie goodness. In partnership with other like-minded musicians from across the country, Open Mic Malaysia aims to… Make Malaysia Great (for indie music) Again.