Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dogs of War

"I am his Highness' dog at Kew. Pray tell me, sir - whose dog are you?" - Alexander Pope, on the collar of a dog.

People always want something from you. Sometimes, it is something innocent, like a smile, or some company. Most of the time, though, it is darker things. Money, power, control, a means to feed their ego.

I am constantly attuned to the darkness in human hearts. I have gazed on their evil and the blackness void that is their soul for far too long that I don't shy away from it anymore.

Some... wiser men have advised me that I was being paranoid, that people are not that evil. These wise men kept on getting screwed over and sabotaged by the evil people they dared to trust.

And yet, the biggest mistake would be to allow yourself to be consumed by the darkness. These evil things wish to make a dog of you, so you make a dog of them.

Lay traps. And then lie in wait. Of course, there are no traps. I simply say that to mess with the evil people. I am not that capable. My connections don't run that deep or go that high.

Nope. The only recourse is to stop playing.

The world dances to whatever tune you tell it to. Our minds hold such power in freedom. I had strings but now I'm free. There are no strings on me.

The Madness of Crowds


I need a vacation. Been a hectic week and it doesn't seem to clear at all next week.

For some reason, I unwisely filled up my schedule last week with lots of assignments. I wanted to do more for the company where I currently ply my trade.

Meanwhile, I just had the urge to start something new. So I started a crowd-funding website for poor people undergoing treatment - currently at proposal stage, touched base with many international comics publishers (one, two, many), hoping to grab some titles and publish it here, started selling the third title under Maple Comics - Taubat Si Tanggang, initiated some comics projects, said yes to a book project and started consulting for something.

I used to be able to do more than this. At one point, I had 10 projects running at the same time. My current health means this is my limit. I have reached a stage in my life when I would need a team to do everything.

I didn't feel the energy drain until I faced so many people at the KL International Book Fair today. I don't like being around many people. My communication is personalised, targeted, focused. I don't do so well when it comes to so many faces. I feel like I have to morph and shift every time I talk to a different person.

I understand that different people communicate in different ways and so they would need different forms of communication. Every time I talk to people, I automatically gauge their disposition, level of knowledge, exposure, and the really crazy social dynamics.

When you talk to a person in a crowd, how they respond to any given information or stimulus depends on their own personality and how they relate to the others around them. As I do my own assessment, so would they. What they say and how they react depends very much on how they anticipate others would react if they say this or that.

I do a short-hand for this with simulations. I imagine myself to be in their shoes, and then try to feel and think how they would.

For example, when you approach someone within a crowd of, say, four. You ask him or her, "Where is the toilet?". Now, he/she would be mindful of the other three. How he/she responds depends very much on what kind of outcome he/she desires from the group. There is also his/her own level of knowledge - whether or not he/she knows where the toilet is.

Social dynamics is by far the most maddening and complex and ultimately determinant component. If he/she were to simply be helpful, it could mean that he/she wishes for the group or the audience to think of her in a certain way. Same goes with mocking the person asking for the info. If her/his group he/she belongs to wishes to share in a tribal/herd bonding by nominating a common enemy or target of scorn, there are several ways this could go down.

I simulate all of this in my head like how people divide the bill at restaurants. It is extremely taxing and exhausting to do more than five simulations at the same time. Imagine this, times a few hundred or a few thousand. Because when I see a sea of faces, I don't see a sea of faces. I see many different individuals.

In a crowd, I create stories for each one. I imagine each person going home, sitting alone on the toilet or in their bedroom, and when all the doors and windows are closed, what do they think about? How would they think?

So when facing lots of people, I get lost in simulations.

Over the years, I have developed coping mechanisms. I realise that I do this mainly because of insecurities about my intelligence. I feel the compulsion to do it because it makes me feel smart, which I don't need. Another reason is paranoia and the desire to control variables in my environment. People are the biggest variables. Without people, a stadium is just a building. Filled with people, it is a bowl filled with emotion, it is an event.

Still - it can be very unhealthy and this weekend, I already feel the strain.

However, these are extremely useful tools when analysing group dynamics, relationships and correlations.

The trick is - balance and automation. Nowadays, I run on autopilot with simulations and I pick and choose which analysis I need to do. Otherwise, I'd be a schizophrenic within months.

For the rest, I would just have to accept and let go. I'd have to accept that humans will be humans, with their silly little games and silly politics even among themselves. And let go, which is still the most difficult thing to learn.

Anyway, knowing is half the battle. Coooobraaaa!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Initiative

Today was a busy day. I went to three places all over town. I even fell asleep in the cab.I used to be able to go to six places and then still have energy to party. It is clear to me that my powers have waned.

And so, as I sat down and listened to a spoken book review at a launch, something clicked inside me and I decided to resurrect yet another save the world project.

Months ago, I conceived an idea to do a Kickstartr-like website to crowd-fund medical treatment for poor people who can't afford it.

Two things happened to make me see this is a need in today's world. First, when I was warded last August, there was a guy who needed an angioplasty. The cost is around RM10,000. He  received RM5,000 from the Welfare Department and was expected to fork out the rest.

He had no insurance, no visible means of income, no sukuk or whatever the fuck. If he didn't have the money, he might have to just walk it off.

Meanwhile, I see a lot of people sharing Facebook postings and Twitter posters on this or that patient requiring financial aid. I always doubt these things and I always wonder whether they are cons. Is there any way of knowing, for sure?


I decided that the best way is to institutionalise these calls for aid. All funds MUST be channeled through the hospital or a foundation. The cases must be reviewed by the hospital and the Welfare Department for fears of paying for some rich guy pretending to be poor's health bills. Everything must be legit and transparent.

I'm putting together a proposal to get the hospital on board - so far I have people inside who can send it through the proper channels. What I need right now is costing - I need to find out how much the website will cost.

After the platform details are sorted, we need to look at continuous implementation. The hospital should take ownership of this. There has to be synergy between the hospital, the Welfare Department and volunteers.

This initiative cannot work without volunteers. We'd need people to take pictures, write the cases on the websites and then publish them on the website.

I already have the online spread thing figured out, more or less.

But now, of utmost importance, is I need to know how much the platform is going to cost. I need to speak to coders and web designers keen to do a charity project. Who wants to listen to my pitch?

Rapid Psychosis

"Chicks really dig people with a lot of mental problems," said a friend. "You're a mess. That's very hot."

I was like, really? I mean, I'm not a mess, psychologically. My awareness of my mental state and other people's mental conditions means it is very difficult for me to feel extreme sadness or be very happy with people.

I understand that ultimately, all that I feel are caused by my own self. This dulls any emotion, except anger and frustration.

My father has only two emotions - angry and angrier. I am fast becoming like him, and I fear if I live long enough, I would know extreme frustration.

But seriously - chicks dig psychosis? I do not tolerate lying, but maybe highlighting some insecurities and potential problems would position me as a more attractive prospect. Of course, the moody and brooding Vincent Valentine, Kyo the Samurai and Gray Fullbuster all have mental problems and they are chick magnets.

For example, I am extremely insecure about my intelligence. A quick assessment at my childhood, growing up as the fat kid made me struggle with the stereotype of the stupid fat kid. Meanwhile, in my household, the attribute that is most coveted is intelligence, outstripping wisdom, strength, defence, magic power, agility, or any other attribute.

Would my insecurities be much more alluring than my strengths and happiness? Because as it is right now, I am quite happy. I don't go skipping around or prancing about in tights or anything, but I am quite sated. Even my heart disease means I will not live for very long - and I loathe living a long life.

I want to die when I should. Around 40-50 or so.

Anyway, long story short, I shared my insecurities and my inability to see anything other than shallowness in human interaction. Because only I see the real truth, and that is a burden rather than a gift.

And so I highlighted my insecurities. These are real - I don't believe in lying. I just omitted the fact that I am fully aware of myself and my insecurities.

"What the fuck?" said the girl.

"Well, you're supposed to fix me."

"I won't fix people," she said.

And so it ends. My insecurities are worthless. Probably because I am not that insecure since I have accepted them long ago.

Perhaps I should be sadder. But I am not. It's really difficult to brood when all my current day-to-day problems are not that dire and all the drama I face are more mellow and inconsequential than any of the stuff I faced before.

I think I'll just enjoy being happy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hell and Back

So I went back to my hometown. Had to do some family stuff.

One of them is to see my father. His condition is deteriorating, though he remains an obstinate old man. I wonder, though, how would I turn out when I'm older?

I hope I have the strength to let go of stuff when the time comes.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Long Intermission

So much has happened in the past few weeks.

I was recommended for another angioplasty, where they put balloons in my heart and then reinforce the damn thing with wires but I got a second opinion from a Wind Elemental Doctor and he told me I shouldn't get it.

Angioplasties have risks - you could die during one due to ruptured arteries or have visible boners that would scare off hot nurses - and there is no clear benefit for me to spend around 22K on the procedure. I have insurance, of course, but I'm saving that in case I come down with something worse.

So, I decided not to. I'm sure the doctors who advised me to get another angioplasty believed that I could benefit from it, but I will go with the recommendation of the second doctor.

I am off Warfarin - the fucking rat poison - so I can now eat green leafy vegetables again, as well as cranberries and soy products. I'm taking my supplements and I find I have more energy at times. Sometimes I do feel fatigued - I often fall asleep in car rides.

I have maintained my weight loss but I need to step it up to lose a further 10kg. I was considering hard drugs but I guess a high fibre diet will do.

Work is progressing and I hope to move forward with some things in April.

Meanwhile, Maple Comics is growing from strength to strength. I spent some time with nerds and found them to be filled with either neutral or good energy. Wait till you get into the corporate world, kids - it will crush your soul!

I am now planning a card game to go with the comics we're publishing. I hope it will be popular and I can focus on selling comics and cards. It will take a year or two to design the mechanics and print the cards and organise tournaments.

Back home in Kuantan, my father's condition is deteriorating. I hope he doesn't suffer, but the old man is tough and he will always decide whether he suffers or not, on his own. He defied science for over 30 years and he continues to beat the odds. Doctors told him he had a few years to live around 34 years ago and he's still alive.

He had four strokes and he's still kicking. The men in my family are extremely hard to kill.

I've also been asked to read the doa for a family event back home. Leaving for that middle of this week. Yeah, I'm THAT old now. I get to do old men stuff, like lead prayers or some shit.

More girls would be sucking my dick if I turned religious, but I will die as I lived - real to the end. I'm not religious at all and I find all religions to be fascinating bunch of stories and tales.

Some people tried to dangle stuff in front of me. Pussy, money, power, position. I find no desire in having any of the things offered. I said no so many times these past few weeks.

What I want, I already have. Freedom. Time. A bunch of real friends.

I don't need much. Just want to pay my bills and live a quiet life, waiting for death. I don't need to prove myself to anyone or anything because what needs to be proven already has.

I am what I am. Perfect. Flawed. Whatever. I no longer feel the need to convince anyone of anything. You are all stupid anyway. In my short life, I have only ever met two guys who are smarter than me. One of them is myself and the other is not you.

So fucking busy these days. My illness is currently manageable and I hope to slowly push forward and get to the level I was before. I need to be able to do 400%, and then relax. Because the point of going 400% capacity is so I would no longer have to.