Tuesday, September 7, 2010

minorandom #7: beauty.

Whew. So it's september already. A few months have passed since the last entry huh?

Again, I am not dead. Neither has there been no inspiration to write. On the contrary, there have been many many insights in this little brain of mine.

It all comes down to the commitmo-phobe I am deep down somewhere in the recesses of my soul *or brain*. A blog is harder to commit to than I thought *big sigh*

However, the 4th monday of the term seem to have sparked the want to write again, however fleeting haha.

My saviour came in the form of women. Well, figuratively speaking. They were the image of beauty for *I might be wrong, I am no expert* Paleolithic European men. Their most prominent features are the phenomenal size of their breasts, bum, stomach, hips and *wait for it*the vulva. You read it right. Exaggerated vulva.

A symbol of fertility? Most probably.

They came from all across Eastern Europe to the Eurasian parts of the world. They usually do not have facial features nor arms. But they were carried everywhere by the then nomadic hunter-gatherers. Maybe even worshipped.

So who are these women I am raving on about?

Why, they are the Venus figurines. Probably the image of an "ideal women" for the society at the time.
How do they look like? Well here's a picture of one of the most famous figurines in the collection:
The Venus of Willendorf. Hardly an ideal in most of today's cultures, huh?

So we were shown a documentary in class which first took a neurological/evolutionary perspective to the development of "art" across the ages, particularly that of human representations, from the Paleolithic age to that of the magnificent ancient Greeks'. The Venus can be seen as one of the earliest evidence of how unrealistic an image people can have of beauty. I mean c'mon... Who in the world can actually look like the Venus of Willendorf?

Fast forward a few thousand years and we go to the most memorable part of the documentary *to me* which shows the stupendous artistry of the ancient Greeks. Their version of distorted beauty: the Riace bronze.

If there were men who had that body, oh my...

However, as pleasing to the eyes they might be, the proportions are just impossible to be imitated by any human man, however athletic.

Personally, I am just in AWE of the ancient Greek artists' sculpting skills. All those thousand of years ago, and such perfection was achieved. It is no wonder to me that the age of Renaissance was modelled after that of the ancient Greek Civilisation. More power to them. Studying ancient Greek history would be heaven. Such intriguing people.

Well this is all well and interesting but how does it related to my post exactly? Well recently I've found that my view of physical beauty is also warped to a certain extent. I've been obsessing over her for the past week:
Daul Kim.

She was a model. A pretty good one. But what's so good about her? Platinum blonde hair and skinny. Hardly realistic *well more so for some than others*. Not many Asians come with blonde hair, if any. Yet I find her inexplicably beautiful. An image of beauty further reinforced by the media and the society at large. I know this, but I'm probably too brainwashed already that I find her the embodiment of feminity, however warped.

Well after getting to know about her, I found out more and the gist is that:

She committed suicide at the age of 20, which was November last year. I preceded to read her blog, and found that she last blogged the day before she was found dead. Judging from her previous blog entries, I'd say she was a pretty interesting woman =)

I find her death tragic though. I hope she's more happy wherever she is *rest in peace*. Her blog:

Okay enough sidetracking. The bottomline for this post is that beauty is subjective, and when we create an image of perfection, it's probably good to remember that it might not be the most realistic =)

So the conclusion from a neurological view?

Well, in the end it all comes down to "the reality is... humans don't like reality." (Spievy, n.d.)

The documentary name is "How Art Made the World", if anyone's interested. Interesting stuff. Educational too.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

minorandom #6: language

oh wow. It's May 30th.

I am not dead.
I am alive *in a sense*.
Even though it might not seem so judging from the lack of recent posts.
I DID mention that I have commitment issues. Even with non-tangible, conceptual things.

Warning: Since I've been feeding my brain with psychology-related stuff these past few months, use of jargon is inevitable >.<..Sorry!

Also, I didn't have the motivation to type my thoughts out for the world to see.
Life has been a lackluster blend of routine and stress spurts.
And sleepless nights.
And research papers.
And peer-reviewed journals.
And knowledge, somewhat. The stress is interfering with the learning, really.

The state of my mind right now can be pictured as a bleak, dry desert after sunset.
Dead. Dark. Cold.
With shadows lurking around the corner threatening to possess.
lol i should've been a bloody poet.

But one thing has been keeping it moving, and that's the occasional thinking.

So I've been bombarded by language lately.
Well, synthesis/opinion/research of language really.
Language, I've been bombarded with since birth. ;)

And all the exposure has given rise to thoughts that I rarely vocalise *in part due to it being lost the very second someone interferes with my musings*. But when I'm alone, I find the thoughts lurking still at the back of my mind somewhere.

When I talk about exposure, I really mean it. Coming from a multi-racial, thus multi-lingual country, of course I'd be exposed to many many different kinds of phonemes, morphemes, syntax and all those things that make up spoken languages. I've always liked to classify exactly which sounds belong to what, and there really is no problem in doing that when I was younger; I was exposed to mainly only 4 types of languages which are very easily distinguishable.

And that was because I was exposed to mainly 4 types of races + English, which is my second language.

So when I was younger (like pre/primary school age ok) and didn't know any better, I thought that a particular language can only be spoken by the race it belonged to. That somehow, magically, i.e. an Indian baby is born with Tamil/Hindi hard-wired into him. Cool eh?

Of course all that is bullshit. But that was really what I thought. I had thoughts like "I'm not Chinese, so that's why I can't understand what the Chinese people say"...The concept of learning a language did not even crossed my mind.

So bottomline is: As a kid, I was so used to segregation, that it became a norm. I breathed it.

I automatically classified people, and their language, into neat little categories: race. And if that wasn't bad enough, my in-group, which is my own race, had certain opinions about the out-group, which are the other races. And I believed it. I believed every single last one of them possessed irreversible traits that my friends and parents told me to be aware of. And that, dear readers, is how we gain stereotypes and prejudice of others.

At least in my case.

Coming back to exposure... So as I grew older, I got exposed to more people. Suddenly, as I looked around, there were Koreans, Japanese, Africans who spoke differently, Europeans who also spoke languages that sounded different from one another, etc. I mean, I knew there were different countries in a continent and all that, but at that time only did I realise that just because you look a certain way, doesn't mean you are tied down to only certain types of languages.

A Scot can always learn Urdu, for example. Random. Yes. I just am.

I started frequenting shopping malls sans parental supervision at the age of 11/12.

Back then, I was free to do whatever I liked during those little pockets of freedom-time and sometimes when I'm alone (waiting for friends to come, waiting for the taxi/train to arrive), I would always find myself listening. To all these foreign conversations.

And I would always feel the NEED to understand what everyone's saying. Call me a busybody, but I was seriously interested in sponging up any languages I can learn. If it was up to me back then, I would've liked to learn all the languages that existed in the world. But of course, being a sensible 12 year old, I squished that desire and was content with the two languages that I understood.

Sensible children make terrible, inexperienced/unskilled/inexperienced adults by the way.

But that didn't stop me from feeling like an alien in my own world. Heck, my own country. My own city, even.

And because of this long-lost thought, recently I've been thinking: What is language? How is it that this communication medium able to simultaneously able to unite and separate people? Wouldn't the world be better off if there was only one, common language that everyone spoke?

Wouldn't it?

It would certainly be handy when one day we find aliens trying to rule the earth. *touchwood*

Well I don't have the answer. It's totally subjective too, really. There are pros and cons to having different languages exist in this world of ours.

Oh ya and it doesn't help that I came across a show about language and its acquisition. One of the case studies was of a child/adolescent who had his brain's left hemisphere removed as a treatment for epilepsy *if I'm not mistaken* but is still able to understand language normally.

It's called hemispherectomy or something like that. But there were some drawbacks on speaking, poor kid :(...I hope one day we'll find better methods as treatment >.<...

I had other, random insights on language as well. Such as written English words: Initially a word is just an amalgamation of letters from the alphabet. But as you keep on using them and familiarise with them, one day they will no longer be just a jumble of letters. They will become a heuristic (mental shortcuts) for concepts and objects.

I think this can be tested easily, too. But writing about it will have to wait. For now, I am happy that I've re-acquainted myself with my blog. Lol. To wrap this up, here are two quotes I have taken an interest in (and taken upon myself to put together):

"But I've often wondered, what if all of us in the world discovered that we were threatened by an outer - a power from outer space, from another planet... Wouldn't we all of a sudden find that we didn't have any differences between us at all, we were all human beings, citizens of the world, and wouldn't we come together to fight that particular threat?"

Ronald Reagan (1985, 1988)

Monday, March 8, 2010

the women i adore =)

Oprah Winfrey: Because of the things she's exposed the world to.

Queen Rania of Jordan: Because of her efforts on trying to set the record straight about the Arab World

Lisa Ray: Because of her stigma-breaking films and willpower to live and blog about her battle against Multiple Myeloma

Anastasia: Because she was one of the most beautiful little girls in the world, who failed to grow up to be the woman people around her knew she would have grown into.

And last but not least:

Iman Azman. You will be great one day, and when that happens, don’t forget that I have always believed in you=)

Minorandom #5: Women's Day!

So today is International Women's Day.
I started writing this at approximately 11pm, one hour left to savour the day.

But let's make the best of it =)

I would like to take the time to reflect on how blessed I am that I live in a place where women are more respecred than they are elsewhere in the world. Not fully. But better to live as a woman here than in Congo, for example.

I was at home and flipping through channels when I saw Oprah's take on women's day. She had guest speakers who were promoting their book: Half the Sky by Kristoff and WuDunn. They didn't really focus too much on the contents of the book during the show, but from what I can gather, it's about women all over the world; their painful experiences and their success stories.

To those women, I can only imagine what they have been through in life. I cried watching
Hotel Rwanda. I cringed watching Born into Brothels. It depressed me to watch things like Aftermath: Remnants of War. But there ARE people, women, out there who are going through it day by day. And I have the choice to cry and forget all about it. I can leave it behind and think of it as a Motion Picture. A damned good one. But just a story nonetheless. But for some, it's their reality.

There are those out there that are sometimes focusing too hard on SURVIVING that they forget to DREAM.

Yes. Forget to dream.

Back to
Half the Sky, it is not only a book but also a movement called the Half the Sky Movement. Their focus is to educate and empower women and girls all over the world.

Bacause they believe that women can make a difference. Economically. Which will make a difference holistically.

And because they believe that some women are wiser than many men are out there.

And I second that.

Think about it:

1.In many universities across the world, the female population exceed that of men (I have heard of this since I was but a secondary school student. So don't shoot me if I'm wrong. I will find references upon request. Yes I shall.).

2. Women have also been known to start some of the most extraordinary movements the world has ever known, among them the
Chipko Movement, which gave rise to the term "Treehugger", becoming the catalyst for awareness on the effects of industrialisation on the world.

Yes. Powerful.

I believe it is wiser to invest in women. Yes I do. The probability of women to spend money on things like firearms or excessive gambling is considerably smaller than men, in my opinion. Instead, depending on the situation of course, we'd spend it on more useful things: nailpolish, clothes, shoes, makeup...

I jest.

Let's not look at the places where even basic needs are sometimes not met. Let's look into my particular demography. A developing city:
Women with money would probably buy things to make her house look nicer. Or clothes. Or shoes. Et cetera. For herself. For her husband/boyfriend/significant other. For her children. For her nieces/nephews.
Men with money would probably buy things like car magazines. Or a new "needed" gadget. Like an ipod. Or modify their cars. Or buy a Nintendo wii.

Is it wiser to give money to men/women, then?

My vote would be on women. Because at least the things we buy are functional *in varying degrees*. And we think of others. Especially if we have children.

But yes, no fact should be presented without proof. I hope researches will be done on this area.

I also believe that women have an inborn mechanism, instinct if you will, to not act violently unless the situation warrants it. It might also be due to societal expectations (i.e. women are nurturers while men are breadwinners, etc). But based on personal experience, I think that yes women are more prone to cat-fights, but they are also less likely to settle things with a fist to the face. Maybe more hair-pulling, but definitely less fists.

But all this bullcrapping about women and what they can do will not amount to anything unless something is done to help them jumpstart their lives. And this is why there are organisations out there which thrive to provide that opportunity.

I salute them. Being so selfless and giving your life to people you don't even know, all to help shape a bigger, better future. I applaud all non-profit organisations that are fighting for a good cause. Any cause. Not only women's plights. May the rule of Karma be true and you be blessed.

For more information on how we little people can help these women, here are a few links *thanks to Oprah*:



So for my personal pleasure, I'd like to pay tribute to some of the women that have and I hope will always, inspire me:

Oprah Winfrey: Because of the things she's exposed the world to.

Queen Rania of Jordan: Because of her efforts on trying to set the record straight about the Arab World

Lisa Ray: Because of her stigma-breaking films and willpower to live and blog about her battle against Multiple Myeloma

Anastasia: Because she was one of the most beautiful little girls in the world, who failed to grow up to be the woman people around her knew she would have grown into.

And last but not least:

Iman Azman. You will be great one day, and when that happens, don’t forget that I have always believed in you=)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Look up!

This isn't an obsession entry. But of course, it's something random.

So I used to be into amateur photography, went photograph-taking around town/out of town sometimes (no,the buildings in kl do NOT look like the ones shown here. The building are all from out of town ^.^)

And I realised that I have this fascination with the sky. Reminds me of happier times. Especially on a good day. It serves as a reminder of infinite possibilities. At least to me =)

Whenever you feel like you don't know where to point and shoot, try looking up.

It really is interesting to see the many many shades of blue our sky can produce. Sunrise/sunsets are even MORE amazing. The colours look like cotton candy. Now you know what I think of when I find something interesting. Food.

So here are some of the photographs that I've taken... Some quite recent, and some not-so.

I hope it will make you feel as good as I do whenever I look at them. It took me around 10 hours to load everything -__-... I hope the effort is worthwhile *sigh*

Don't worry. I'm uploading the photos while studying. I have not abandoned my responsibilities as a student just yet.

Was in a FAST-MOVING car when I took this. Going down Genting Highland with Miki ^.^

The fairy-ness in me was just enchanted by this view in the forest <3
The tree looks like it's splitting the picture in half ^.^
Stairway to heaven =)

p/s: I know some of the pictures are under/over-exposed. That's why I used the term amateur ;). Oh and these are the original photos. No photoshop-ing. I'm too lazy to do all that.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

i lap u chawis

So yesterday my connection was being more uncooperative than usual.

I had to get into my email, and I couldn't for the LONGEST time. *insert curses here*

When I finally got to, there were 2 recent emails that I got. Both from Charis.

The second one was anticipated. It was work-related.

The more recent one read "Nothin interestin". I ignored that at first.

Then Charis texted me saying "But I just sent u something. Try opening it."

Curious, I clicked on it. I thought Charis was playing one of her jokes on me or something.

I waited and waited for the bloody email to open.

Then I saw the attachment icon, it read: to Aliza. *that's me*

I waited and waited for the bloody attachment icon to load. All the while I was staring at the to Aliza icon.

Then finally.

I saw this

Kim Jae Joong. My current MAJOR obsession. His beautiful poster *courtesy of Miki* now adorns my bedroom door.

This gave me the motivation to read journal articles till 2am yesterday.

Thank you Charis!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Minorandom #4: Glee!

So it was Chinese New Year. And we got a few days off.

Most *university* students get the whole week off, but we, being elite psychology students *yeah right*...

...only got classes off till Tuesday. Hoorah.

In a way it was good, cos we get to finish off the course materials in time.

On the other hand, we're relatively normal students.

We like our holidays too ok. *sobs* :(

Also, college was awfully EERIE on Wednseday...
There was nobody hanging out at the foyer.
Nobody eating at the cafeteria.
Also none of the distracting hooligans who usually distracts us during class by howling outside the lecture hall.
Definitely one of the weirdest experiences this year yet.

What a way to celebrate the new year ^.^ *although I'm not Chinese*

So E'a, a friend of mine, gave me a DVD of the show Glee, 1st season.
I've been watching it on tv, in-between assignments. So as anyone can guess, I don't really pay attention.
But I like the songs. I always stop working when it gets to the part where they sing.

Since I found myself with some free time on my hands
that night, I decided to watch it.*There was actually a WHOLE LOT to study, but I wasn't mentally prepared to be studying for finals so soon although it's only a week away now*

I got everyone in the living room, and my family and I watched it. We finished it the next day.

A Glee marathon.

I L.O.V.E the whole concept of the show.

Almost like a musical, but not quite. And nothing so squeaky-clean, like High School Musical. Yegh. Now THAT I found distasteful. *personal opinion here, nobody need to agree*

The characters are weird, not entirely lovable. Every one of them have their own flaws, which make them that much more relate-able to us mere humans. It's good to see normal people on the Telly sometimes.

Even though I agree that everyone's definition of "normal" differs, I think some would agree with me that normal people should have a little weirdness in themselves. There's no such thing as a "perfect" person. At least I think so. If there were, well, they'd be PRETTY. DARNED. BORING.
But then again, we'd have to go back to finding the definition of perfect, and THAT would prove to be a problem. Ok let's leave that debate to another day, shall we? *sigh*

See what I mean by being scatter-brained?

Yes. So. Bottomline is. I'm addicted to the show. Well at least, to some of the songs that were sung in the show. Heheh. *I've been listening to them the whole week. Some are even better than the orignial versions. I'm not kidding*

Especially the song defying gravity. The song is from the musical Wicked, a retelling of the Wizard of Oz from the viewpoint of the Wicked Witch of the West. Not surprisingly, based on a book of the same title ^.^

I should check the book out. Although, I don't think I'm allowed to blog about the book(s)' contents, even if I wanted to. Ah well.

So yes. To all of you who have time to kill/spare,

Check the show out, if you haven't heard about it. Or at least the song(s). ^.^

Currently listening to: Don't Stop Believing- Glee cast.

It's so frustrating to have crappy Internet connection at home. I can't post up videos. Pictures even!

Ergh. I swear one day I'll erupt from all the stress my wireless is giving me.

Last but not least, even though I know it's already a bit late


Notice how I'm using a lot of red-coloured fonts today? Hee ^.^