Korean food for my Lioness and yummylicious Angelica herb duck from 店小二 for me as we dine at home tonight, bidding year 2015 goodbye as it's coming to a close while year 2016 closes in.
Now that our stomachs are satisfied, we take to the neighbourhood street just in front of our nearest shopping center, where they've cordoned off all vehicle traffic from the long stretch of road for the purpose of celebrating the approaching new year.
Pasar Malam (night bazaar) stalls line almost the entire length of one side of the stretch of cordoned road and it's crowded at the stalls, just like how it's meant to be; It would be worrisome otherwise. We are keeping our eyes peeled for the Malay fried jackfruits that my Lioness loves as we browse the Pasar Malam wares.
Visiting Pasar Malams always bring back memories of my growing up years when they were more common. Mum used to bring me to them then, and now, I visit them with my sweetheart. It would be really nice if the three of us could visit one together some day - me and the two women of my life I am most grateful for, without whom I wouldn't be today. They are my 贵人.
The new year Pasar Malam has an open air section dedicated to screening an ongoing movie in progress for the neighbourhood folks, but what's really catching my eye is the roadside band playing at this bus stop with the singers standing right smack in the middle of the road singing in turns, microphone in hand. This is the first time I'm seeing a drummer using a bus stop bench as his drumming seat. How quaint but how refreshing. I'm actually finding myself smiling at the sight of this makeshift musical innovation.
The sight of the band makes me feel like I've been transported to some alternate reality; you see, I know this part of the neighbourhood really well since I pass by here often and every time I do, there would be no such thing as a band playing at the bus stop and a singer singing in the middle of the busy road where vehicles do their daily and nightly hustle and bustle. So it feels pleasantly weird and out-of-place what we're witnessing in front of us now, which is a far cry from the norm I've never imagined happening.
Such an unexpected kind of a break from the norm is a good thing for me, since it reminds me to always keep an open mind and make room in the realm of my imagination for new things to happen, which can be unanticipated deviations far removed from the conditioned norms of common everyday reality. To earn that, I have to get caught with my reality pants down by this makeshift band for the moment, though. God bless the musicians, my heart goes out to them. I just reminded myself to practice guitar more.
Looking back at year 2015 from the vantage point of its final dayWhere do I even begin? It's hard to find a start point from a free-wheeling roller coaster ride, which 2015 has been for me. There have been a great deal of things to really worry about, sometimes almost to the point of helplessness. But there were lots of moments of hope and good things that happened too.
I had to deal with this one thing that I regretted losing, regrettably. But I always turn towards the brighter side after facing my own abyss and studying my areas of pain and losses squarely in their faces - not that I have much of a choice anyway since I've gotta move on somehow. We all have to. I guess 2015 has been a year of self-realisation when life has taught me to hang on to the will and the resilience to reach deep down inside of myself to not only pluck out my courage, but also to realise that when things go out of your life, you are making room for new things to come in.
I cannot make myself pretend that my losses didn't happen, since who would I be kidding if I did that? I owe it to myself when it comes to my own life. It's painful to face your pain and losses, no doubt, but if you acknowledge their reality and learn from them, only then, can you move on much wiser. 2015 has also been a year where I've uttered lots of prayers, which should come as no surprise thus far.
Prayers help. When you pray about your life, you are looking at the minute details of your own life at the same time - you open your own eyes to your own life, so to speak. You cannot present something to God which you choose to be blind to. Perhaps this is what they mean when they say that God helps those who help themselves. Those who have eyes, let them see and all that. Sounds easier than it actually is, though.
Even if you don't believe in God, having the courage to face your losses and pain will do more good in the long run than you just ignoring everything in denial and pretending they didn't happen, or downscaling their actual magnitude just to make yourself feel deceptively better. If you see where the traps and sinkholes in your life are and acknowledge their presences, you will learn and know where and how to avoid them from thereon. Turn a blind eye and chances are, you will blindly fall into them again. It's like History - those who forget their own are doomed to repeat their own mistakes and predicaments.
Pain can be a teacher, just make sure that each pain you experience in your life only has the chance to teach you just once. It's akin to: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Life's a mixed bag, so 2015 has not been all doom and gloom in its entirety, I'm glad to say. I broke my own running distance record during the second last day of the year. Earlier during March, I got my wonderful Galaxy Note 4, which I absolutely love and which has proven to be a trusty daily driver I'm really very happy with till this day. In fact, I consider it to be the best Note Samsung has ever made thus far, which is something I can't say for the detestable (in my opinion) Note 5 (or Nerfed 5, as I prefer to call it) from the standpoint of one who loved what the Note series had always stood for, which the Note 5 has deviated away from.
I can imagine you rolling your eyes at this point and muttering: "It's just a phone, what's he so happy about for?" LoL. Well, for one, I'm a mobile tech geek and practical mobile tech gives me nerdgasms. We are all happy when we come, no? Note that the key word here is 'practical'. That doesn't mean that newer toys like the Note 5 with seriously nerfed features (thus, making it impractical) is gonna make me ascend to cloud 9. The latest is not necessarily the greatest if they take away more than they give and charge you more money for it.
If being a geek equates to being a sucker, then they wouldn't have labelled the two by different terms. I'm a geek but I'm not your bitch, Samsung. Since you're courting after my money from me the consumer, I should make you my bitch instead and no cookies for you this time, Uncle Sammy. Flip the previous sentence around entirely to the opposite end of the scale in reverse-interpretation and you get a blind fanboy's perspective.
Secondly, your mobile phone (that's always on you) runs a huge part of your life if you hadn't realised it by now, so a capable phone that caters to your needs well means you run your life more efficiently and productively. That, my friends, is not to be underestimated or taken lightly for.
Just try living your life without your mobile for a couple of days and let's see how well you can cope. Heck, how easy or hard your work life can be and whether you keep yourself in the current loop of things, what with all the company WhatsApp group chats going on, all depend on your mobile device and your proficiency in mobile tech. I don't think I need to get into the online researches, social and play side of things outside of work, which we all manage huge chunks of with our mobile phones. This is why a good phone is so important in modern times - own a capable phone, know what you're doing and how you should go about doing it, and you manage your life capably. ♪Ta-da♪
Self-realisation. That's one of life's holy grails. I believe that self-realisation comes in a series of parts, since there are so many different aspects of a person's life - like the different parts of a machine that constitute the whole entire machinery.
If life's machinery is functioning well, we'll think nothing much of it since we'll be too busy enjoying our lives. But when a part of our life's machinery breaks down and grinds to a halt, we'll then be forced to take pause, look at the fault and figure out just how we should go about fixing it.
It sometimes takes pain to wake us up so that we can start fixing what's going wrong with our lives for the betterment of ourselves. 2015 has been kinda like that for me. I'm not complaining, since despite it all, I still think that life has been rather gentle with me and whatever issues that have happened, have happened within the limits I could still put up with. People across the globe have had it much much worse than me.
My ultimate conclusion on 2015: It has been a memorable year for me with lots of self-reflection. Heck, sometimes, it even felt magical. Despite the losses, I'm glad I could still manage to smile through it all (and there are such things as painful smiles) and survive to greet another new coming year as the clock ticks 2015 to a close. And there is always a humourous side to things; even if they should be cynical views that make you thumb your nose grudgingly at the situation, they can still be cynically funny still.
And being grateful for all the good things that have happened within the mix, I keep getting reminded that you gotta take the good along with the bad as a whole complete package of life and don't bitch so much. Man up. Afterall, I'm still alive and therein is where my chances lay in and therein, is my chance to better my life. We just gotta be willing to learn from it all. I gotta appreciate that I have the chance for that. Such is life. Such was 2015.
Happy new year, dear gentle reader. Go forth into year 2016 with the heart of a lion.