V for Vendetta

I watched “V for Vendetta” today with a friend. I had, almost entirely due to the movie’s title, expected a kid’s movie.

“V for Vendetta”? How about “V for Vitagen”?

Talk about the power of advertising. Every time I heard “V for Vendetta”, I kept thinking about the Vitagen advertisement, and recalling images of kids playing around, being happy and drinking Vitagen.

The movie, however, dealt with serious issues: the philosophy of Ideas, of Concepts, of the effects and influence of the Mass Media. I had not expected that at all. I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s been ages since I last philosophised about anything. My progress in life has found me going towards the more pragmatic.

My life has moved from “trying to change the world” to “trying to change my world.”

World peace? No. Let’s try to be at peace first; after that, we’ll see how it goes.

I was happy to be reminded of things bigger than myself — that the world doesn’t revolve around me, and that there are things going on in this world impacting billions of people without my knowing it.

In following the theme of the movie, here’s Oscar Wilde’s poem, on justice and prison life, The Ballad of Reading Gaol:

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
“That fellow’s got to swing.”

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought
Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men
Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
Fingering a watch whose little ticks
Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
That sands one’s throat, before
The hangman with his gardener’s gloves
Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
The kiss of Caiaphas.


Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
Its ravelled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look
So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
Had such a debt to pay.

For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer’s collar take
His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
In the black dock’s dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
In God’s sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
We had crossed each other’s way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
Two outcast men were we:
The world had thrust us from its heart,
And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
Had caught us in its snare.


In Debtors’ Yard the stones are hard,
And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
The hangman’s hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher’s doom
Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
Pent up in Murderers’ Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
Could help a brother’s soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
We trod the Fool’s Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
The Devil’s Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
Crawled like a weed-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
Into his numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
Who never yet have wept:
So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
Another’s terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
To feel another’s guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
Mad mourners of a corpse!
The troubled plumes of midnight were
The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
Was the savour of Remorse.

The cock crew, the red cock crew,
But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
Like travellers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
They trod a saraband:
And the damned grotesques made arabesques,
Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and loud they sang,
For they sang to wake the dead.

“Oho!” they cried, “The world is wide,
But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
In the secret House of Shame.”

No things of air these antics were
That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
God’s dreadful dawn was red.

At six o’clock we cleaned our cells,
At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
Had entered in to kill.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
Are all the gallows’ need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
Of filthy darkness grope:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
And what was dead was Hope.

For Man’s grim Justice goes its way,
And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man’s heart beat thick and quick
Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
>From a leper in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman’s snare
Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
None knew so well as I:
For he who live more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.


There is no chapel on the day
On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain’s heart is far too sick,
Or his face is far to wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God’s sweet air we went,
But not in wonted way,
For this man’s face was white with fear,
And that man’s face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
In happy freedom by.

But their were those amongst us all
Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
Rushed like a dreadful wind,
An Horror stalked before each man,
And terror crept behind.

The Warders strutted up and down,
And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were spick and span,
And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer’s heart would taint
Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God’s kindly earth
Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
Bloomed in the great Pope’s sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
A common man’s despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who tramp the yard
That God’s Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
In such unholy ground,

He is at peace—this wretched man—
At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
They did not even toll
A requiem that might have brought
Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
By his dishonoured grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
To Life’s appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.


I know not whether Laws be right,
Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in goal
Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother’s life,
And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
With a most evil fan.

This too I know—and wise it were
If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
In Humanity’s machine.

The brackish water that we drink
Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
Wild-eyed and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
Becomes one’s heart by night.

With midnight always in one’s heart,
And twilight in one’s cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper’s house
With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat.
And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
His soul of his soul’s strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
Became Christ’s snow-white seal.


In Reading gaol by Reading town
There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die.

And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Conversations with Mom

It’s been ages since I last linked to any blog post. The last time possibly in 2003. But sometimes you come across an entry that makes you pause and think, “wow, I wish more people would write like that.”

The entry I would like to highlight is by Laughingcow, in a melancholic entry called Conversations with Mom.

It is about romance, sisterhood (between mother and daughter) and remembrance of things past (her pet who has gone on to a better place). What else can one ask for?

The Mind of a Child Molester

I came across an article called The Mind of a Child Molester on PsychologyToday.com today. It is an article based on letters he (the child molester) wrote to Hammel-Zabin, a music therapist at New York University.

It is strange how introspective and sound-of-mind he seems in his writings, which can make one wonder what “being normal” really is.

Below is an excerpt from that article. What I found most interesting was the last sentence, If nothing else, I am glad that I am tightly confined behind iron bars.

He knows what he did was wrong. But if he was put in the same position once more, he would do it again.

Let me reiterate: he wishes he didn’t want to do it.

It is the same for the millions of overweight people out there. But instead of lust, it is gluttony that is their sin.

When one gives in to these desires, in what way is Man different from animal?

Most of the guys in prison would enjoy nothing more than having the opportunity to get back out into the world, if only briefly. The world remains for me one that I simply can’t handle. As they were taking me from the transport van into the hospital for medical testing I had to walk past a 12-year-old boy. All of the old feelings came crashing down. I felt as if this kid were a magnet pulling me toward him. If nothing else, I am glad that I am tightly confined behind iron bars.

Nurture vs. Nature

In the debate that goes on between nurture vs. nature, we often forget that “culture is a part of reality too“.

As for violence in women, it is not something I have never encountered. Does anyone believe, however, that coincidence alone accounts for the fact that nearly all crimes involving bloodshed are committed by men? That only little boys play at war? And that it is men, almost exclusively, who wage war and sometimes find pleasure in it? This tendency, you will say, is a matter of nurture as much as, or even more than, of nature. Perhaps it is, but what difference does that make? I have never said that feminity and masculinity were exlusively biological. Sexual difference is too important and too ubiquitous to be explainable without reference to both our bodies and our education, to both culture and nature. Culture is a part of reality too.

There is a tendency to think that since it isn’t biological, it is easily changeable. It is perhaps time, for most of us, to think again.

The recent controversy over the cartoons of Muhammad can be used as one such example that nurture can have as tight a grip on how we behave as does nature.

Religion is a product of society. We are not born biologically Islamic, or Christian, or Jewish. A Chinese boy born into a Muslim family will take up the religion of his adopted family.

By the time he is old enough to know what religion is, the demands of his environment make it difficult, if not impossible, to change his religious beliefs.

When God Died

R.I.P, God...

I was born a Catholic; baptised before I knew what baptism was. For four years between 1992 and 1996 I attended Cathecism class. I stopped going when I started secondary school in 1997. My mom was not happy about this.

Why did I stop? Because I was tired. Mondays to Fridays were school days, and Saturdays were taken by my involvement in Scouts. The only day I could sleep-in was Sunday, and God wasn’t going to take that away from me. Surely, He would understand.

Since circa 1997, I always said some form of prayer before I slept. Perhaps it was due to my not attending church. These nightly prayers always made me feel safe. Some nights I skipped my prayers; those nights I would awaken for seemingly no reason, except to pray and go back to sleep.

My prayers had a structure to them. I would greet God; a “hey God”. I would thank Him for the day I had, no matter how bad it was. I would ask Him to bless me, my family, relatives, friends (of whom I might occasionally mention by name, especially if they needed assistance in some form,) as well as “everyone in this world.”

After my grandma died, I included a “and my grandma who is in Heaven, bless her soul” in to my prayers as well. Everytime I said this, I would imagine her with my grandpa whom I had never seen, together in the clouds, walking, talking and laughing. Then I would think to myself, “I hope she’s in Heaven”, and carry on with one “Our Father”, one “Hail Mary” and one “Glory Be”, finally finished off with the sign of the cross.

Then one day, I had a conversation with a Christian. What he said did not fit in at all with that I believed. I thought he was an idiot.

And if I thought that about him, would others not think that about me too, when I spoke about my religion? Granted, I am not pushy about my religious beliefs, and have been open to the fact that there is no such thing as “God”. But that didn’t give me the right to think him an idiot, while believing myself as enlightened. I needed to re-think my spirituality.

Over the next couple of weeks, I had a re-evaluation of what religion meant to me; of what God meant to me. I realised God had died within me, long ago.

My nightly prayers were superstition. I wanted to believe. God gave structure to my life. My prayers allowed me to sleep in peace. But all this at what price? To believe simply out of faith? I cannot buy that, not anymore.

But allow me to clarify: I’m not an atheist. I’m an agnostic. I cannot say I believe in Him, but nor can I say He doesn’t exist.

If you’re going to tell me God exists, show me the proof; until then, don’t ask me to believe in your ghosts.

Keep Our Silence

“I talked to my friend about love today.”


“About relationships, to be exact.”

“About relationships.”

“Yeah. I asked him what he does with his girlfriend.”


“Don’t give me that look. It’s not that. I was just wondering, what is one to do with a girlfriend? Honestly, thinking about it, it seems like one runs out of things pretty fast.”

“So what’d he say?”

“Well, he said there were movies. You could eat out. Visit themeparks. If she’s the sporty type you could play sports or visit the beach, that sort of thing.”

“Sounds like a great deal of things to do to me.”

“Well, sure, it sounds like it. But once that’s done, what then? What comes after the fun and games? My friend did mention that after a while, especially if she’s not the outdoorsy type, as a last resort you’d both be visiting each other’s houses mostly, which is what’s happening to him.”

“Okay. What’s wrong with that?”

“Yeah. But I was wondering, what if you run out of things to say? He told me if that’d happened you’re screwed, but that you’d always have things to say. But I beg to differ. I hate small talk.”

“Then that’s your problem isn’t it?”

“If you put it that way. Anyway, imagine if the both of you lived different lives… very different lives. Separate lives. She talks about what happened to her, and you’re like wondering what the hell she’s talking about. Then you talk about your day, and you realise she in turn doesn’t know what the heck you’re talking about either. In the end talk progresses into common topics like the weather because that’s all you both share, something you both have common knowledge about. And there’s only going to be that much you can talk about that.”

“So what’d you propose then?”



“Yeah, silence. Just shut up and be together.”

“What kind of dumb shit is that?”

“I mean, think about it. If both of you share everything with each other during the honeymoon period, I’m not speaking literally here of course, then when the boredom sets in — maybe in, what, three, four months? — then what? No more words, nothing more to discover. The magic between the both of you would be gone. The curiousity’s gone. You don’t need each other anymore.”

“So you’re saying we should both just shut up.”

“Yeah, something like that.”

“You ever think that we might become estranged? Become strangers to each other? Stop talking and you lose touch with each other’s lives?”

“If you take it too far, yes, it’d become like that. It’s like a yo-yo: give-and-take. At least I think it’s like that. I mean, I haven’t tested it or anything — just a theory.”

“A stupid one.”

“Well, say what you will. Couples don’t quarrel because they have things to talk about. It’s boredom I tell you. Run out of things to say — meaningful things, romantic things — and you’ll find quarrels creeping up when before there were none. When previously you were discussing what life meant to both of you, you’ll move on to small things like keeping the toilet seat down or something.”

“Heh, hasn’t happened to me, and I’ve been with her for years.”

“Ever wished you weren’t?”

“Don’t we all? I mean, I think you’ve got too much of an idealistic look on love. Being in a relationship isn’t as straight-forward as you think. Sure, I do think of other girls once in a while. It’s only natural. I mean, look over there; she’s hot, and I’m thinking of her right now. But at the end of the day, the person I’m thinking about won’t be her. That girl’d be in my head 10 minutes max, but my girlfriend, she’s who I’m thinking about when I’m not thinking about anything.”

“You’re thinking of your girlfriend when you’re not thinking about anything? Heh.”

“Forget it. You don’t get it. It’s not quite that easy to put it into words. It’s like… how do you describe love? You know you feel it, you know you think it, but try telling how you feel to someone who’d never felt it before. People have tried — ‘warm-fuzzy feeling inside’ — but those very words can be used to describe indigestion as well. It’s just… it’s just indescribable.”

“You ever think she doesn’t feel the same about you? My friend, he’s been with his girl for four years now. Long time by most standards. He quarrels with her everyday, shouts at her, curses her, but they’re still together…”

“Wow. They love each other a lot, eh?”

“No, don’t think so. He claims he doesn’t want to break up. But you can see he wants to, only thing he doesn’t want those last four years to be wasted time. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to break. If your girlfriend calls you ten times, and you ignore all of her calls, you think that’s love? And when you finally pick up, you scold her and tell her you’re busy, when you’re not, you think that’s love? Breaking up isn’t easy.”

A Dialogue

“Ever thought about the meaning of life?” he asked.

“No,” she replied.

“No? How can anyone not think about the meaning of life?”

“There’s nothing to think about. You just live, that’s all.”

“Just live? I mean, don’t you ever ask why? Aren’t you curious?”

“I’ll let the philosophers deal with that. I figured a long time ago if there was an answer someone would have figured it out by now.”

“You’re waiting for an answer?”

“No. But if there was one it’d have been found.”

“So you’re saying there isn’t one.”

“Maybe there is. I don’t know,” she said, with a slight shrug of her shoulders. “Does it matter?”

Stocktake on Personality

Every few months or so, I’ll go back to one of my favourite websites SimilarMinds.com to get a “stocktake” on my personality — a regular personality check-up if you will, just to make sure I’m still who I think I am.

According to SimilarMinds, I’m more or less still who I think I am. My results are as follows:

Actualised Type: INFP

“Questor”. High capacity for caring. Emotional face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population

Preferred Type: INFJ

“Author”. Strong drive and enjoyment to help others. Complex personality. 1.5% of total population

Attraction Type: INFP

“Questor”. High capacity for caring. Emotional face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population

The test I took was the Jung Explorer Test.

It seems pretty accurate to me; you might want to try it and see for yourself.

One issue that I have with it is that I believe I’m an INFJ, and not an INFP. Granted, the test gave me a 53% Perceiving score and 47% Judging score, which really is very close.

The differences in these two types are often quite markedly different in real life. But personality tests like those found on SimiliarMinds.com, due to the inherent way they are designed, can often cause people to get one type over the other.

If you are one of those who have either INFP or INFJ, and want to find out their differences, you can check out Jicky Jo’s discussion on INFJ vs INFP.