To which I say, “Screw Humility.”

I woke up this morning to a pleasant surprise from urbanmentria and FlorenceT, who have nominated me for this award. I’d also like to thank ramblingcogitation, for doing the same a few weeks back. I apologise for taking this long to do this.

I didn’t complete Writing 101’s prompt on my plausible reaction to something dear to my heart being cancelled – partly because I was really lazy. But mostly because the only thing I could think of, that would affect me that deeply, would be the cancellation of the lease on my life. Besides, the whole point of that prompt was to help the writer find his voice. I guess this post might just be perfect to help me find mine – because who doesn’t love talking about himself? Alright now, let’s get this party started.  


blogging-award

The Rules:

1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.
2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

Seven things to ruin the mystery:

1. I’m not a writer. I cannot, in good faith, proclaim myself to be one of those creative writer types – the starving artists. In fact, being a writer isn’t even one of my aspirations. Yes, sure, I like to write. But, so does half the planet. I do not see myself – 20 years down the road – with published books to my name and a fat cheque to keep me going. I have never written narratives outside the context of a classroom – that is until Writing 101. But then again, we can argue the semantics of ‘Blogging University’. Nevertheless, my not wanting to be an author isn’t going to keep me from penning down my worthless thoughts and rambles.

2. I tend to choose the alternative perspective. I still remember receiving one of my Secondary School essays with a remark that read, “Why are you so cynical and jaded?” I still can’t decide if I was indeed cynical, or just shrewd enough to realise the power of the alternative perspective. Isn’t it just refreshing to read something that takes on a very different approach from the vast majority? There was once, for my examinations, I wrote a descriptive narrative about my travel experience on a bus. There was no storyline whatsoever – I basically just wrote from the view point of a jaded douchebag who had nothing but sarcasm and disdain for everyone around him. Needless to say, I received an ‘A’ for that paper. And then I had to grow up. In College, I was only given the option of expository essays. But even then, my arguments tended to be controversial.

3. I consider myself an ‘All or Nothing’ kind of guy – but I still do not know if it’s a good thing. I am fuelled by passion. If I am passionate about something, I go all out. And more often than not, I get recognised for my performance. There’s a catch of course – I mustn’t lose interest in it. I used to play badminton competitively when I was much younger (not that I am old now). I played the sport for 5 years consecutive years, but haven’t touched a racquet in 7 years. I was an Actor/Director/President of my Secondary School drama club, only to never touch a script since then. I used to teach basic photography and was paid to shoot event photography. I even won 2nd place in a Nat Geo photographic competition. But teaching photography killed my enthusiasm after 2 years – my 7D has been sleeping in my dry cabinet for the past 3 years. It’s scary how I have yet to commit to anything more than 5 years. (Let’s not even talk about the future.)

4. I received an Arts education – because I can’t do science for nuts. I am a visual person. I always rationalise my incompetence in Science and Math, with the fact that I cannot seem to visualise my learning. If you try to explain to me quantum mechanics or organic molecular theory, I will casually walk away from the conversation. Anything that doesn’t form a rational image in head, does not exist in the my world. (Yes, I know they technically do exist, but I’m just choosing to be blissfully ignorant.) Let’s not even get started on Mathematics. Fucking numbers. The only topic in Math I can do with ease is algebra, because, you know – alphabets. That being said, let’s not allow my inability to understand Science undermine the true reason why I’m an Arts person – because I fucking love it. Also, because I’m a professional bullshitter and this skill set is only relevant to the humanities.

5. Books, Books and More Books. I love my personal library of paperbacks (because hardbacks are for the rich). I have decided to share two of my favourite books. The book that has affected me the deepest thus far would be ‘In A Strange Room’ by Damon Galgut. Albeit its beautiful prose, it was initially hard for me to retain my interest in this book. I wasn’t really fond of the characters that were, at most, aloof. It was only after finishing the book, did I realise the immense intimacy that was evoked from that very detachment. It was very unsettling and I’m still affected by it. The second book I would love to talk about is Nine Stories by Salinger. In fact, I love all his books about the Glass family. But specifically, in Nine Stories, his stories are so disjointed and abrupt. At times, I felt like I was brought to a scene with no story whatsoever, yet I was still a little more privy to the affairs of the Glass family. I guess, it would be right to say that I tend to emulate these authors. I remember Mara, commented on one of my posts that ‘nothing much happens in my stories’, and she’s right. But I do hope that even without a story, I am either able to affect you in some way or allow you to be a little more acquainted with my outlook/life.

6. Defying stereotypes – I would like to think that I am one of those people. When I was serving in the army, people tended to judge me by first impressions. The fact that I had tattoos and was a smoker (probably because of my douchebag face too) usually elicited negative impressions. There was once, a fellow course mate, spoke to me with disdain because he thought I was from ITE (vocational training institute for the non textbook-oriented learners). You should have seen the look on his face, when I politely callously informed him that my Pre-University education in one of Singapore’s top Junior Colleges surpassed his Diploma education.

7. I got myself a Summer job. So, I am awaiting the start of the academic year in August to pursue my Bachelor’s. In the meantime, I got a summer job as a Research Assistant – and I hate it. My job scope thus far, as included event planning and execution, report writing, conducting and transcribing interviews, and freaking working on an academic paper. Let’s just hope I continue to write even after I’m done with this gig that has got me writing almost daily.

 

With that, I am done – and damn, I’ve written way too much about myself!

Here are my nominees, who are completely not obliged to do this:

1. Mara Eastern for her humour
2. Amelia Groves for her captivating stories
3. Sharonlee for her inspiring stories
4. tanshilin for just getting it right
5. beholdtheinfintie for her wit and intellect

And 10 other amazing bloggers whom I have stupidly overlooked.

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19 thoughts on “To which I say, “Screw Humility.”

  1. Ha! “Screw humility” is my new motto, if you allow me to steal it from you, I love it!

    I read your answers with a lot of interest and was surprised how much we share. Because come on, based on the circumstances of age, location, experience, etc., you should have theoretically nothing in common with me.

    You can imagine that I was even more surprised when I reached the end of the post and found out that you nominated me for the award 😀 Screw humility, you made me feel proud! Also, Thank You!!

    The last line of your post nails it though. I must come here even more often and steal your humorous lines. Because stealing is the highest form of flattery. :-p

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    • I am truly flattered that you would want to steal words from me. Hahaha. Please carry on!

      I am really intrigued by what we might share in common. I know I said you don’t have to do this, but a small part of me wishes you will at least write about yourself. Perhaps I might even end up stealing some of yours!

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      • Of course I’ll write something about myself, but it’ll probably be boring. I usually fail to be funny when I want to. What we most definitely share are your numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5. And almost 7, I was considering getting this kind of summer job at one point but decided against it and I’m glad. What was offered was menial work that should’ve been done by the researchers themselves because it’s part of their job. Now I’m almost a full-time proofreader/editor and it’s much better than a research assistant 🙂

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      • I am thrilled by number 4. Have you read Damon Galgut? It’s such an uncommon literature. I have yet to meet anyone else who has done so. If you haven’t, I hope you do. But fair warning – it’s pretty disconcerting and depressing.

        And I feel you about my job scope as a RA. I’m writing an academic paper but at this point, I’m really sceptical if it’s going to bear my name. $10 to an hour doesn’t even begin to cover my intellectual integrity. :/

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      • Ha, so you’re ghost writing? Interesting… Which reminds me of the time when my MA thesis supervisor asked me for some help with her book — and eventually she used what I’ve prepared for her as a chapter in the book, with no alterations whatsoever… Well, I got an acknowledgement in the book’s small print.

        USD 10 is not that bad, I guess. I got about USD 7 per hour for doing proofs, which however means I do the bibliography, which is obviously an essential part of any academic paper, from the scratch — there are only two people at the department who are capable of getting the bibliography right. One of them is a professor who is my mentor, another of them is me 🙂

        Sorry, I got a bit passionate about it. What subject are you taking your BA in? I have an MA in English Literature, but I haven’t heard of Damon Galgut, sadly 😦 He looks like my type though, I’m very fond of depressive literature! I wish I had more time to read for pleasure, but I’m not losing my hopes yet and I’m putting this guy on my to-read list! I specialise in Scottish literature, so I read people like Irvine Welsh, James Kelman, Alasdair Gray, etc. Mostly depressive too.

        Cheers to your intellectual integrity 🙂 It’s not you, it’s them to blame!

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      • I probably shouldn’t comment on the first part since this is a public forum. hahaha. But you should frame that portion of the book, no matter how small a print it is!

        And, sorry I meant S$10, which comes to about US$8 per hour. I’m jealous of your biblio skills. I hate doing them!

        I still get to dabble in the various Arts and Social Science modules. Will be declaring a major only in early 2015. I haven’t really decided though. Looking at either Communications or Sociology (for the bullshitter in me).
        And wow, I’m impressed by your MA in English Lit. I would consider doing that, but in this part of the world that’s a one-way ticket to a life in academia!

        Yes, I have learnt a little about your infatuation with the Scottish culture. I have come across Irvine Welsh. Sadly, after perusing the first few pages of Trainspotting, I realise I will never be able to comprehend the Scottish dialect. But I remember the synopsis being rather dark. Mad props for the genre! 😀

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      • It’s very interesting for me to learn about education in your part of the world! I’m always so happy to meet a fellow academic 🙂

        Communications or Sociology look like a good move, if I were deciding what to study now, I’d be considering these too. People and the way people live fascinate me. Here the tertiary education is not very flexible, you choose your subject of study at the beginning and you must stick with it. So it’s really good that you still have some time and space to decide, as you say.

        I’d discourage everyone from studying English Literature though. You’re right, with a degree in this, you can either pursue an academic career — which is quite difficult because vacancies are few — or you are reduced to doing something not really related to what you were educated in. Being a PhD student, I’m somehow half-way — I do the academic work, but as a student of the department, not an actual member.

        Sure, Scottish working-class dialect is hard to read, so no blame if you can’t cope with it! I recommend Trainspotting the film too, it’s a faithful though simplified version of the book.

        Well, long live academia 😀

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    • Thank you and I hope the perspective is keeping it fresh. But just for the record, I hope I only disregard my humility in this post. Or perhaps only once in a while – I don’t want to make a habit of it! 😀

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  2. Thanks for the nomination! This marks the third time I’ve been nominated for this award in a week O_o I’m glad now I decided not to participate, because “fun” or not, 21 facts about myself would be horribly boring!

    Congrats to you! And oh, how I relate to your number (3). Before high school I was an equestrian — rode at a barn, owned a horse named Bob, traveled to hunter/jumper shows. In high school I stopped riding, sold Bob, and tried out for softball, which I’d never played before, and by senior year was the varsity leadoff hitter and center fielder (we won our section championship, too). When I went to college I auditioned for Glee Club (shaking and terrified out of my mind) and over the summer we received a Silver Medal in the World Choir Games. Now that I’m transferring universities, I’ll probably get involved in the mechanical engineering race car building or Engineers Without Borders. Sometimes I feel like my passion for things has an expiration date and I feel bad, other times I embrace how much I love trying and excelling at new things. One blogger says it’s called being a “Scanner” but she prefers the term “Sparkler.” 🙂

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    • It was my pleasure. And here I was thinking that I was the only ‘Sparkler’ around. It really does coin the essence of what we are, doesn’t it? Here’s to brighter and longer-lasting sparklers!

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  3. Woahwoahwoah. I’ve been away for a few days – life, you know, job applications and such? – and I come back to find you declare yourself *not* a writer? This breaks my heart – your prose is so engaging, so special, that you just need to use it. Are you sure I can’t get you to change your mind? I was looking forward to reading your bestseller. 😦

    And then I scroll down and, like Mara, am surprised to see that you nominated me! 😀 I’ve seen this award go around the block so many times now, but never did I believe anyone would want to nominate me. That unfortunately means that I have no one left to nominate, because most people out of my currently small-ish followers list has already done this! But I will do the post anyway as thanks 🙂 I very much enjoyed reading more about you – you’re certainly one of my biggest blogging inspirations right now. Keep it up, and try and stick at this blog for five years and up, okay? 😉

    *big hugs*

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    • I’m really flattered by your kind words. But I guess, it never really crossed my mind to aspire to be an author – probably because of where I live. Singapore (a tiny little country) has a really small market with a populace of only 6 million. And it just seems impossible to break into the vast foreign markets. Perhaps that’s why authors are associated with ‘starving artists’ here.

      Yes, please do the post nonetheless! I cannot wait to read more about Amelia Groves; author-extraordinaire. I’m still waiting for your novels! 😀

      And, oh god, five years seems like a realllllyyyyy long time!! 😉

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  4. G’day KR,
    I am another that has no ambition to become an acclaimed author, although I have been writing for over fifty years, I find that once anything becomes a must do,it becomes a chore and interest is lost, I refuse to allow writing to become a must do, therefore I am happy to keep doing it… by the way I do so enjoy reading your work ☺

    Like

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