Capitalism in the Long Run

Capitalism grows through consumerism.

To make the economy grow, we have to buy, and buy — to put money back into the economy.

To buy and buy, businesses have to make or create more and more.

From where do they get the raw materials to make what they make?

From nature. Or through chemical processess that kill nature. Landfills are filling up too quickly. Incineration plants throw waste into the atmosphere. Fossil fuels are depleting. We clear forests for small houses, big houses, factories, sky-scrapers or any other architectural miracle we can think of.

Capitalism — let the market decide. We are free now, free to make decisions — and yet, we as laymen, are we really the best people to make decisions? How many times have I seen consumers conned by psychological advertising. They buy things not because they need it, not because it’ll be useful, but because they think it’ll be that. They don’t do research, they don’t think about what they need — but they’re free to make decisions.

Is capitalism really good in the long run?

For those who want to know more about capitalism: Capitalism.org. It’s a general knowledge thing, for everyone who’s even just vaguely interested in politics and economic systems.

You decide if it’s for you. I find it doesn’t fit in on my own philosophy on life. I find that capitalism seems to give the illusion of freedom while really taking it away –or at least how it’s implemented currently. It sure seems a lot like everyman for himself.

You shoud also check out the essay discussing the having mode vs the being mode.

An Eye For an Eye

Marteng and Jenning were great friends, until one fateful day.

That fateful day was the day of their honeymoon. It happened in the morning after, when both were exhausted. First, to the horror of most females, Marteng left the toilet seat up! Not only that, he even splattered a little bit of pee on the floor.

When Jenning went into the toilet she stepped on the pee. She was annoyed, but shrugged it off. Then, sleepily, she sat on the water closet with the toilet seat up! And as you can expect, things got messy.

Jenning stormed out of the toilet and confronted him. She took up a pair of scissors and poked his eye, immediately blinding him. He then took the scissors from her, and poked her eye, blinding her too.

Suddenly, she exploded! Boom!!!! — an extraordinarily bright light illuminated from her, so powerful that it could even go through walls! The light just went on and on, covering the whole earth. The bright light, quite naturally, blinded the whole world.

Moral of the story: An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind — Gandhi

Who Am I?

Personality Tests

The Big Five Personality Test
Extroverted |||||||||| 38%
Introverted |||||||||||||||| 62%
Friendly |||||||||||||||| 68%
Aggressive |||||||||| 32%
Orderly |||||||||||| 46%
Disorderly |||||||||||||| 54%
Relaxed |||||||||| 34%
Emotional |||||||||||||||| 66%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||||| 78%
Practical |||||| 22%

Take Free Big 5 Personality Test

INTJ – “Scientist”. Most self-confident and pragmatic of all the types. Decisions come very easily. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. 1% of the total population.

Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test

INFP – “Questor”. High capacity for caring. Calm and pleasant face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 1% of the total population.

Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Two of the same Myer-Briggs Test?
I know I’m an INFJ, so when I didn’t get INFJ the first time, I took it again; I re-did the test this time choosing alternative answers that I felt could go either way when I took it first time. Still no INFJ, but it’s getting late, and I have one more test to go, the Enneagram, which will be up shortly.

Conscious self
Overall self

Take Free Enneagram Test

There you go. That’s me in a nutshell. God, I love personality tests.

Different Is Good

It’s quite a well known fact that birds of a feather flock together — we tend to seek out people who are like us. But, question is, how much like us?

I’ve had this problem with people like me. I don’t know if it’s a genetics, culture or environment thing, but I tend to like being different. And when somebody I know turns out to be too much like me, I shy away from that person.

It’s like, “hey, don’t compete with me for my niche personality man. Don’t be so much like me, okay?”

I have many friends who are similar, and then there are people I know who are too similar. I think the main reason I hate people who are too-like-me is this: I can practically read their thoughts, I know their motives, I know what they want — because their thoughts will be very similar (if not identical) to mine.

And if their thoughts are similar to mine — that’d be bad.

I’m scheming and manipulative, though I keep it hidden under a very innocent guise. And as such, I can predict that they’ll be similarly manipulative too. Only thing is, it’s not only I who’ll know that they are sheming and manipulative; they too will know that I am as well.

I think that perhaps that’s why best friends and/or lovers tend to have a very loving relationship that can so easily go wrong. They know each other so well because often they’re so similar (and also because they are often together), that when their motives clash, they’ll know exactly what buttons to push to manipulate or to set each other off on a rage.

That, is why I don’t like people too much like me — only those that I know have different needs do I like. This world’s a competitive place, that’s the way it is.

Great Expectations, Great Disappointments

I would like to share with everyone one of my favourite quotations. This has been on my wall for the longest time — I used to look at it everyday, as a reminder that expectations can destroy one’s life as much as a lack of it. I have it memorised, and it sounds so good to me that I sometimes say it out loud without noticing it, even while riding on public transportation.

The following quote was taken from The Great Gatsby, by F.Scott Fitzgerald:

As I went over to say goodbye I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heart.

Then of course, there’s Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, a story that too emphasizes on the disappointment that comes after great expectations. Expectations that have gotten out of hand, will lead to absolute disappointment, no matter what happens in the end, for nothing, nothing, can satisfy it — they are, but illusions — chase your own shadow, you will find that eventually catching up with it is just an illusion, though it seems so plausible. (perhaps a meaningful life is like that too? — just an illusion?)

No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man stores up in his ghostly heart. That, for one, is a reason why I believe I may remain a bachelor my whole life — for in my mind, I have built up a certain lady so high that no reasonable conclusion might lead to any other place but disappointment. Try as I might, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to stop thinking how great she is.

What on Earth is Ezed?

Give me a break already. It’s Easy, not Ezed.

When you’re brought up on International English (British), and not American English, you’ll have learnt that the letter “Z” is pronounced zed and not zee.

Question: When there’s an “E” in front of a “Z”, what sound does the letter “Z” give?
EZ, it’s “easy”.

Apparently, there are countless people whom I know who still go “Ezed”, as in eee-zed, and you’re possibly one of them.

Sure, you might argue that since you’re brought up with International English, EZ should be pronounced like E-Z or “Ezed”. But what does “Ezed” mean? EZ used in this way would be silly, as “Ezed” is a nonsense word. Just take it from me, everytime you see the letters EZ together, chances are it’s an abbreviation (short-form) for the word “easy”.

Freedom Fries?
Anti-American? That’s just too bad. Saying Ezed will make you seem childish instead. Take for example when the Americans renamed their “French fries” to “Freedom fries”. They were trying to prove a point, but ended up making themselve look silly. So come on, say it with me, EZ is easy!

I wrote this mainly because of the countless number of people in my office who keep calling the “SIA EzHolidays” the “SIA Ezed Holidays”. Not that I want to judge, but it just sounds, *cough*, stupid. And of course, the “EZlink” card we have in Singapore, these same people call it the “Ezed Link”.

If you’ve made that mistake before, the world forgives you — just don’t make it again.

Moon Represents My Heart by Teresa Teng – Lyrics and Meaning

Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin (月亮代表我的心)

The Full Song Commentary

There’s this song that I love called (translated): The Moon Represents My Heart or Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin (Hanyu pinyin). It was sung and popularised by the late Teresa Teng.

The Moon in the Chinese Context

Taken out of context, the moon is a moon, and is generally not considered anything special. However, in the Chinese culture the moon is much more than just “a moon”. The moon in the Chinese culture is something like the sun in the Western culture. Not the same in the literal sense, but rather, in terms of its importance and value, it’s really pretty close — e.g. Western culture uses the Sun to tell time, while the Chinese use the moon (without which there will be no Lunar New Year). And time, arguably, is of great importance to man.

Moon Represents My Heart?

But putting these cultural differences aside, was there any significance as to why the moon was used in this way to represent the heart? I’ve been looking for resources on this over the internet, but commentary on this song in English (I don’t know about Chinese) has been non-existent. That’s why I have decided to give some commentary of my own.

The Moon as a Metaphor

The very reason why I took an interest in finding out the meaning of this song was because firstly, the language used is simple — mostly words we use in everyday conversations — and therefore the lyrics are accessible for just about anyone versed in even a little bit of the Chinese language.

Secondly, I was thinking about the fleeting feelings I had for the subjects of my romantic fancy. I’ve been infatuated with girls before, only for the infatuation to steal away for a while, and return with a vengeance. At that time I thought that I was perhaps just being childish and fickle for not holding on to that feeling (of love) forever.

Then one day while thinking about the fickleness of love, this song came to mind: “the moon represents my heart.” Wait a minute… the moon?? “that’s a weird representation of a muscle,” I thought to myself.

I went out to take a look at the moon, hmm… it was a moonless night! Sheesh, some love song. On a moonless night it would be a stupid song for a lover. Then it struck me. On a moonless night, one cannot see the moon, and yet one knows the moon is there — somewhere out there, but out there somewhere. Gosh, there was more to this metaphor than meets the eye.

Night-time’s a Romantic Time

Suddenly it dawned on me why the moon was a great metaphor for love. Firstly, the moon brings to mind night, and all the associations that come with it. Some of these associations include romantic feelings from candle-light meals, feelings when one settles onto the same bed as one’s partner, or when one goes out together with a loved one for slow walks by the sea. With its connotations of night, the moon is inherently romantic.

Then comes the moon as an indicator of love. The feeling of love does not last unwaveringly day in, day out. It comes and goes, and it’s when it goes that determines who the successful couples are. The moon changes all the time, from the full-moon, to the half-moon, to the crescent moon, followed by several moonless nights — then magically, the crescent moon comes back into being, and grows to the half-moon, and finally becomes full again!

The Love Cycle

Like magic, love appears is replenished through time. And like magic, the moon appears to change through time. Bit does the moon really change over time? It’s always the same moon, it’s only how it is viewed that makes it seem different. From certain angles, the moon reflects light in a certain way, from other angles, it reflects light in other ways.

And yet love, though seemingly different, never changes. Underneath the veil of a half-moon, or crescent moon or moonlessness, there is a full moon just waiting to appear. Add to all this the significance of the moon in Chinese culture, and you get a great song.

The Moon Festival

According to a reader of mine, Angela, this song is sung on the moon festival…or autumn festival….and on that night the moon is the fullest in teh whole year [sic]. The festival mentioned here is the mid-autumn festival, or as many Chinese fondly call it, the moon-cake festival (for we all love them! and it is only during this time that they are wildly sold).

If this is so, it would provide another (and possibly originally intended) explanation. Interpret it as you will: for the purposes of practicality, you might want to use the meaning I put forth on this page. But if you do somehow manage to recall this song during the festival, then you can use that meaning instead!

To conclude, the moon metaphor is how I would represent my own feelings for someone. It isn’t that I love or don’t love you, because I do; it’s only that at some times my love is more obvious than at others.

Notes

If you are looking for Teresa Teng’s CDs or DVDs, you can try looking for them on Amazon.com. Just be careful when you purchase them, as many of them are for her Japanese songs (she was fluent in Japanese and Chinese).

If you’re still not satisfied with what you’re looking for, I might be able to source your her CDs in Singapore. Just drop me an e-mail at teresa.teng (at) edonn.com and we might be able to work something out. Happy shopping!

English and Hanyu Pinyin Lyrics

English Translation

You ask me how deep my love for you is,
How much I really love you…
My affection is real.
My love is real.
The moon represents my heart.

You ask me how deep my love for you is,
How much I really love you…
My affection does not waver,
My love will not change.
The moon represents my heart.

* Just one soft kiss
is enough to move my heart.
A period of time when our affection was deep,
Has made me miss you until now.

* You ask me how deep my love for you is,
How much I really love you.

* ** Go think about it.
Go and have a look [at the moon],
The moon represents my heart.

Repeat *

Repeat **

Hanyu Pinyin

ni wen wo ai ni you duo shen
wo ai ni you ji fen
wo de qing ye zhen
wo de ai ye zhen
yue liang dai biao wo de xin

ni wen wo ai ni you duo shen
wo ai ni you ji fen
wo de qing bu yi
wo de ai bu bian
yue liang dai biao wo de xin

* qing qing de yi ge wen
yi jin da dong wo de xin
shen shen de yi duan qing
jiao wo si nian dao ru jin

* ni wen wo ai ni you duo shen
wo ai ni you ji fen

* ** ni qu xiang yi xiang
ni qu kan yi kan
yue liang dai biao wo de xin

Repeat *

Repeat **

Simplified Chinese

Due to the lack of support in many browsers for Chinese characters (including mine!), I have put up the lyrics in Simplified Chinese in an image file:

The moon represents my heart simplified Chinese
The moon represents my heart simplified Chinese

Want to leave a comment on this song? Comment here!

When I Die

If you were in plane that was crashing down, with less than two minutes to live, who would you call, and what would you say? If you knew you had a year to live, what would you do? If you could live life all over again, how would you live it? What are some of the things you would do different?

You know, these questions were asked of me before, all throughout my life, by well-meaning people. I have known them to be considered “motivational” questions, to make one think about what really matters in one’s life. However, I have never really made a commitment on my answer, I don’t know who I would call; in fact, I probably wouldn’t call anyone.

I prefer not to single out anyone in my last hour. Indecision to the end, that’ll be my way.

If I died right now, at this very moment, I would have no regrets. If I could live my life over again, I would not do anything differently.

It’s not that I have never made any bad decisions, no-no… I have. But oddly enough, I don’t regret making them. A blessed life? No, not at all. But a life I don’t regret. What would you choose? A life without regrets, a happy life, a full life, or a joyful life? What word would you choose to describe your life?

It’s Just Business!

I was in the toilet releasing tension in my bowels when something occurred to me. The absurdity of, to put it crudely, shitting. What a taboo subject. No one wants to talk about shitting. You go to the toilet “to do big business”, “to let go”, “to answer nature’s call”. Nice phrases given to a very crude subject.

When one sees a boss, a teacher, a respected one, an elder or almost anyone for that matter, one often forgets just how human they are. When you think Bill Gates, it’s absurdly difficult to picture him having to go the toilet like everyone else. In the computer world, he’s God (or Satan, depending on where you’re coming from), and therefore doesn’t have bowels!

If you see the Pope, you will also forget it. Or Michael Schumacher. Or Tiger Woods. Or Osama bin Laden. Or George W. Bush. Or David Beckham. Or Brad Pitt. Or Jennifer Aniston. They’re human too!

I was reading this book “The Art of Travel”, very good book I might add (written by Alain de Botton), where the Author talks about this philosopher who made his toilet exploits publicly known. He talks about the importance of this daily occurance, about how great it is, how essential it is for our health and well-being. Shitting’s great stuff!

How something so important could become so taboo puzzles me. Just because it’s smelly, looks bad, and downright disgusting doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. Without the process of shitting, we would grow into the things we let go!

I think it’s important we talk about it. Especially over meals, as it’s what goes in that comes out (therefore most appropriate). We should talk about how some vegetables that go through the digestion process still seem identifiable when out the other end, or perhaps how some foods like beans and cabbage make you pass gas, and from there it might lead to the quality of farts, how the louder ones seem to smell less awful than the “silent killers” etc.

It makes for a great conversational piece. So the next time you invite your friend over for dinner and you have no idea what to say, just start by talking about crap!

It's Just Business!

I was in the toilet releasing tension in my bowels when something occurred to me. The absurdity of, to put it crudely, shitting. What a taboo subject. No one wants to talk about shitting. You go to the toilet “to do big business”, “to let go”, “to answer nature’s call”. Nice phrases given to a very crude subject.

When one sees a boss, a teacher, a respected one, an elder or almost anyone for that matter, one often forgets just how human they are. When you think Bill Gates, it’s absurdly difficult to picture him having to go the toilet like everyone else. In the computer world, he’s God (or Satan, depending on where you’re coming from), and therefore doesn’t have bowels!

If you see the Pope, you will also forget it. Or Michael Schumacher. Or Tiger Woods. Or Osama bin Laden. Or George W. Bush. Or David Beckham. Or Brad Pitt. Or Jennifer Aniston. They’re human too!

I was reading this book “The Art of Travel”, very good book I might add (written by Alain de Botton), where the Author talks about this philosopher who made his toilet exploits publicly known. He talks about the importance of this daily occurance, about how great it is, how essential it is for our health and well-being. Shitting’s great stuff!

How something so important could become so taboo puzzles me. Just because it’s smelly, looks bad, and downright disgusting doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. Without the process of shitting, we would grow into the things we let go!

I think it’s important we talk about it. Especially over meals, as it’s what goes in that comes out (therefore most appropriate). We should talk about how some vegetables that go through the digestion process still seem identifiable when out the other end, or perhaps how some foods like beans and cabbage make you pass gas, and from there it might lead to the quality of farts, how the louder ones seem to smell less awful than the “silent killers” etc.

It makes for a great conversational piece. So the next time you invite your friend over for dinner and you have no idea what to say, just start by talking about crap!