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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

I never understand why we place such a big deal on birthdays.  Yes it’s our special day and yes the time and date we were born probably helps determine what our inborn character traits are, depending on what you believe in terms of horoscopes and animal signs.  But then again, it’s just about a 24-hour period, and we are celebrating the day with millions of others who were also born within this period, all over the world.  I just don’t believe I am cloned with this million others whom I hardly know, or care to celebrate with.

Cat's Wedding

Perhaps, we all need to be at the center of attention for a change.  It certainly feels good when you are asked out for dinners, parties, and in the presence of birthday cakes and presents from friends and relatives.  You are supposed to receive undivided attention, and you feel important and treasured that friends gather around just for you despite their hectic schedules.  You are touched by partners making painstaking plans months in advance, friends moving their flights, dressing up, buying classy or tacky gifts, and perhaps the abundance of alcohol and food in fancy restaurants and clubs.  Better yet, you feel pampered being treated a home-cooked meal from someone who add love and kisses as the secret ingredient.

Sounds a bit cliché yet?  Well, this is happening with someone everyday, and chances are, you get invited to such celebrations almost every week, on average, whether you are truly excited about it or not.

No, in case you are wondering, I have been holding this belief even when I was much younger.

So instead of celebrating the same day over and over again, why don’t we be more milestone specific?  There has to be at least one thing worth advertising and celebrating for in a year.  It will be easier to plan themed parties that way, let alone gift ideas.  Aren’t you tired with all the “it’s better to be over the hill than buried under it” theme year after year?

Birthday

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Charming

This colloquial phrase is widely used, perhaps not always in the most flattering way.  You charm someone’s socks off in getting them to do things your way, or you are in need of a favor.  If you successfully charmed someone in a date or hanging out with someone over time, congratulations for a job well done.

That brings to the obvious question which has been bugging me for some time.  What is charming?  I’m told it clearly isn’t just about outlook and appearances, but having a magnetic and chiseled face does not hurt (as always).  It’s the personality, the aura, the demeanor, and most importantly, the substance.  Yes, these are all very open and vague descriptions, but as I’m told, that is exactly why a charming person is so not easy to find.

I’m sure there is no one definition, as charming means different things to different people.  I have come across an article online which lists out the 11 ways to be charming.  Obviously, I’m sure there are hundreds more ideas or criteria in your own minds, but it never hurts to get inspired by the list, before making your own conclusion.

How To Be Charming

  1. Be genuinely interested in people.
  2. Remember people’s names when you meet them for the first time.
  3. Assume rapport
  4. Smile with your eyes
  5. Take into account topics that interest those around you, even if you’re not so keen on them
  6. Control your tone of voice
  7. Watch the way you phrase things
  8. Issue compliments generously; this especially raises others’ self esteem
  9. Be gracious in accepting compliments
  10. Praise others instead of gossiping
  11. Sometimes being charming is about simply being a good listener

For the full narrative including additional tips, check out this link.

One word of advice however, when you decide to charm someone else’s socks off, be prepared of the consequences (provided you have done a good job of it).  That could be the subject of another blog post in the making.

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I have no idea whether it’s because we really have nothing else to say in front of our friends and relatives.  After all we have already shared on Facebook over what marvellous life we have, the trips we have gone on and the mouth-watering food we have inhaled over the weeks.  If you think that we can then finally get down to what’s at stake, and what’s real – our lives, our ups and downs, our struggles and revelations when we finally got time to sit down with our best friends and family, you are wrong.

We are multi-tasking even when we have company.  Our conversations are constantly interrupted by instant messages, texts and up to the minute Facebook uploads and downloads, as well as tweets and weibo.  It feels that everyone else in the virtual world is more important than our companions at hand.  Oh yes, they would understand, since they are doing exactly the same in their virtual friend sphere, at the same time.

And for the few who are not so much into the latest digital gizmos, or the unthinkable catastrophe where your gadgets are either out of power or network coverage, not to worry.  If physical human interaction cannot be avoided, there is always our most loyal friend to the rescue, television sets.

There is nothing more tacky in my opinion than large screen LCD hanging television panels in restaurants in town, and they can be as densely installed as ceiling lights.  I hate it when it’s now considered a must-have item on the restaurant fixture list.  Not only are they in no way aesthetically pleasing, these 60 inches panels just suck the life out of everyone , turning them into chewing zombies.

Call me old-fashioned.   If you want to catch a TV show, stay home for it, or record it for private viewing later.  Please don’t strip away the last bit of enjoyment of actually sitting down for dinner, over a nice long chat.  For me, that latter eye-to-eye interaction is actually what makes a meal memorable.

If it’s up to me, I would really pick some place without the floating TV sets.  Maybe I’m really getting old.

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On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams opened the story of Nora Ephron’s passing as someone who is necessary, indispensable and probably irreplaceable. Filmmaker, screenwriter, humorist and journalist, Nora died this Tuesday at 71 years old. She was both incredibly pointed and funny. Over night, the internet is flooded with her amazing quotes from her books and movies. With that, I am sharing Amy Odell’s compilation of Nora’s most famous quotes on buzzfeed.com.

On Love

1. “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”— Harry, When Harry Met Sally

2. “Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.”— Sam, Sleepless in Seattle

3. “Sometimes I believe that some people are better at love than others, and sometimes I believe that everyone is faking it.”

4. “Beware of men who cry. It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

On Divorce

5. “The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It’s followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.”

6. “Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.”

7. “The divorce has lasted way longer than the marriage, but finally it’s over. Enough about that.The point is that for a long time, the fact that I was divorced was the most important thing about me. And now it’s not.”

On Youth

8. “Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.”— I Feel Bad About My Neck

9. “You can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”— Heartburn

10. “You can’t retrieve you life (unless you’re on Wikipedia, in which case you can retrieve an inaccurate version of it).”― I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections

On Reading and Writing

11. “Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter.”—I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

12. “To state the obvious, romantic comedies have to be funny and they have to be romantic. But one of the most important things, for me anyway, is that they be about two strong people finding their way to love.”

13. “I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”

On People

14. “Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”

15. “I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive.”

16. “American society has a remarkable ability to resist change, or to take whatever change has taken place and attempt to make it go away.”

On Feminism

17. “The Wonderbra is not a step forward for women. Nothing that hurts that much is a step forward for women.”— ’96 Wellesley College commencement address

18. “One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn’t serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you — whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.”— ’96 Wellesley commencement address

19. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”— ’96 Wellesley commencement address

On Cooking

20. “My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.”

21. “Every so often I would look at my women friends who were happily married and didn’t cook, and I would always find myself wondering how they did it. Would anyone love me if I couldn’t cook? I always thought cooking was part of the package: Step right up, it’s Rachel Samstat, she’s bright, she’s funny and she can cook!”—Heartburn

On Parenting

22. “If pregnancy were a book they would cut out the last two chapters.”

23. “When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was. Not better, necessarily; not worse, necessarily; but different.”

24. “[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.”

25. “When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”— I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

On Death

26. “…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”― I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

27. “When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.”

Nora Ephron will be dearly missed.

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Leftovers, anyone?

The latest talk-of-the-town mass media sensation is Hong Kong’s first (at least so on the city’s free longstanding and conservative TV station) reality TV show, “Bride Wannabies“.  Don’t let the show title fool you, it’s nothing like “The Bachelorette” of the States.  5 single ladies allow a TV crew follow their every move in their romantic adventure toward finding their future partners.  The show won’t be nearly as entertaining or captivating to the public without the abundant supply of so-called life coaches, match makers, psychologists, dating strategists, and of course, a variety of makeover stylists and cosmetic surgeons.  Everyone I know have watched the show with at least a comment or two, to say the least.

The show centers around one theme, which is the literal translation of “leftover ladies” in Chinese.  Apparently some also called them “3S” ladies meaning ladies who are single, seventies and stuck.  I think that’s harsh.  Anyway, it generally refers to women who are highly educated, make a good living and certainly have high standards of everything in life, including their choice of men.

Enough has been said about the show itself, the 5 bride wannabies, and the highly controversial experts.  I am rather interested in the social phenomenon and why there is such a difference in treatment between the men and women in this city.

I will never understand why single women are brutally labelled as leftovers as if there is something wrong with them.  What about the men?  Alright, scholars are rationalizing it saying it’s the conservative notion of women looking for men to protect and take care of them, and that there is still this historical belief of female inferiority in our society.  In my opinion, if you have lived through life with enough experience knowing that Prince Charming only exists in fairy tales, you will certainly adapt and adopt a new standard of your significant other as you age.  However, if you feel that you need to be absolutely honest with yourself with what turns you on, both physically and emotionally, by all means keep your faith, look for your Mr. Right,  and embrace and enjoy your single life in the time being.  There is no right or wrong.  You are the owner of your life.

Some people brought in the financial aspect claiming that it’s becoming less and less viable sustaining in this economy without living a coupled life.  Isn’t it better however making your own bucks than looking for a meal ticket somewhere?  It’s harder than winning a lottery really, and you still risk losing it through unexpected breakups or divorce.  It’s not a business transaction.  If you are really committed in setting yourself as a commodity in the market, please, assess your market position and how much bargaining power you have.  That goes for both men and women.  In my line of work, so many buyers and sellers fail to come to an agreement solely because of the absence of such awakening.  My job is to shake some sense into both parties.  I kid you not, I can very well make a career change into a match maker in this booming market.

Some women complain that men are often intimidated over how successful they are.  Well, either these men are not worthy for them to begin with, or the women need to reflect over themselves whether they have actually been sending derogatory remarks all along.  If it was the latter, then they are just digging their own graves by possessing extremely poor social skills.

There is nothing wrong with singles, women or men, at any age.  The key is whether they lead a happy life, and be content with what they already have.  Step out of your comfort zone and expand your circles.  Whinners are losers, if they are not doing anything about it.  Time and time again people report that they are attracted by cheerful, confident guys and gals.  And remember, confidence doesn’t mean cocky.  If you carry yourself well with elegance, humility, confidence and a positive outlook on matters, I really don’t see how you won’t find yourself surrounded by admirers.

So instead of those stupid and meaningless dating strategies that are nothing more than sound bites, you will never go wrong with investing in yourselves, and believing that leading your own life in your own way probably is one of the best blessings of it all.

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I certainly do not belong to any religious cult, nor do I pay any special attention to this doomsday prediction other than having seen the “2012” movie two years ago, purely for entertainment.  Though I can’t keep myself imagining whether I would have done anything differently if we are sure we are left with less than a year to live.

With much temptation to recap and reflect upon the year of 2011, it may be more worthwhile than ever, to think of my new year resolutions.  Regardless of the specifics, the resounding theme is always going to be: following my heart.

Deep down we all know what are the right things to do, but for some reasons we always choose to take a detour due to lack of confidence, obstacles, or worse yet, stupid and meaningless power play.  If we say what’s on our minds, we could save precious time from all the guessing and procrastinating.  Yes, it may appear tactless and reckless, but as I mention time and time again on my blog posts, let yourself be vulnerable at least once in a while.

Who are the ones that you miss the most?  Make sure you reconnect with them in the new year.  Like or even love someone?  What harm does it make to express that without expecting anything in return?  We used to think there is always time, and we know what we would do if the right moment comes around.  But what if there isn’t time anymore? 

Living your life truthfully does not equate to living it irresponsibly or at the expense of others.  I am not saying we should neglect others’ feelings just because they might be in your way.  But you cannot even start to care for others if you aren’t even honest to yourself.  It’s time to ask yourself the hard questions, and demand the straight answers.

Over the past year, I am blessed with lots of opportunities to work and travel, the availability of lifestyle changes, the company of friends and loved ones, and all the new people whom I have met around the world – which certainly is the highlight of my year.  Though I have been clearly less productive in the past few months, I am mighty proud of my blog here since it has given me an outlet to express what I believe in, despite the absence (or presence?) of an audience. 

If this were our last Christmas and countdown, I wouldn’t have any last words since I would have done it all.  All I want to say will be “I Love You” to everyone around me.

Because, there is always room for more love.

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Tell Me, Who Do You Call?

“When you are at your most vulnerable state, who is the one person that you want to be physically by your side?”

I was asked this question today and it kind of struck me hard.  I know a gut reaction is supposed to take effect here, but this question surely cuts through a web of tangled emotions, relationships, and each of their respective priorities in my heart.  It’s a very personal question, and everyone should provide a distinctly different answer that no one else can dispute upon.  No matter what it is, that name or person, and the relationship he or she has with you, tells you what you really want in life.

It may sound totally dark and introverted, but I like thinking about such topics.  Of the hundreds if not thousands of friends and acquaintances we make in life, how many of them are the ones that we truly treasure?  Putting material benefits aside, how many of them offer their genuine care and support to us?  Better yet, how often do we extend that offer to people around us, in the first place?

If I have to calculate my odds of return from every friendship or relationship I am investing in, I don’t deserve happiness.  If I believe I have reached out to the other person with my unreserved commitment, I shouldn’t be bothered if the feeling is not reciprocated.  That’s life. 

So if coming up with a name for the above question is hard enough, try facing the reality if whoever you call on to your death-bed, is indifferent at best.

My advice?  See the good of everyone around us, and be as generous and loyal to them as possible.  You may get thrown under the bus from time to time, but at least you shouldn’t have too many regrets if that unfortunate reality comes.  More often than not, your generosity of spirit is going to create quite an impact on someone else’s heart.  So why not?

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