Homey

I’ve had my fair share of ‘homie’ directed at me and it makes me feel good to have my ethnicity misunderstood again. I like being of an ambiguous race that makes me a true citizen of the world. However, this homey I’m talking about is a bit different. I’m starting to daydream and long for things I never thought I would – this includes owning, adopting, purchasing, fantasising about things I haven’t thought of as a priority before.

I have changed my geographical locations every two years on average, and have managed to fit in a tonne of travel in between those times. I have also managed to live half off a suitcase, being only half unpacked in the two years I have been in this ‘new’ location. And when things got a bit stressful, I’d lose myself into a deep internet rabbit hole of exotic locations I could make my next home in.

Over the past few months, though, I find myself daydreaming of a proper kitchen where the walls aren’t white and you can indulge in a fancy bread tin without worrying where you’d store it. I find myself wanting a shelf to store all of my negligible personal belongings (most of these belongings are in the form of books, letters and postcards). I long for a nice table where I can assemble wind or solar powered robots or do my 3000 piece puzzle. Mostly, I find myself looking at animal shelter websites and going through their portfolio of pets up for adoption.

Is this what adulthood is supposed to be? Have I finally attained that magical phase in my life?

The Subtle Art Of Blending

Bangkok green spaces! #parks #thailand #skytrain

A post shared by AL (@cupitonians) on

If you’ve come here for a makeup tutorial, I’m afraid you’re going to be very disappointed – not just at my serious inability at the art, but also at this post’s lack of anything useful. I’m talking more in terms of our ability, as humans, to blend into whatever situation/geographic location/circumstance we are thrown into.

I’m coming up to two years in Thailand and I walk the roads that once cause me anxiety like its something I’ve always done. I am able to hail a cab and direct the driver without breaking a sweat. I walk past monitor lizards like they are neighbourhood strays. I add P’ (polite prefix that means brother or sister) in front of people’s name and end my  sentences with a ka, even when I’m travelling out of Thailand. I have blended in so much that I don’t even break a sweat at 37 degrees heat, I know the corners of the skytrain to squeeze into during rush hour, and I carry flip flops and an umbrella in my bag because duh, how could you not?

Humans have an ability to adapt to anything, and to do it without even realising it. When I went home for a short break home a few weeks ago, I casually mentioned something funny P’Thor did or that the mister’s favourite student is Boeing. It took me a while figure out that the looks of confusion and the extra jovial laughter was because they still think of Thailand, its quirks and culture, as strange.

I didn’t even bat an eye-lid when I found out that Boeing’s younger sister is called Airbus. I just nodded. It’s now a completely normal name to me. In my new world, evening markets are a norm, mom and pop ramen shops are around every corner, just next to a 7/11. Cats say me-o, trains make a ‘poon poon’ sound, and saying ka does not make you an imitator of crows! I am at ease with people in various stages of transition, and am never confused about what pronoun to use for whom.

Funny this transition from strange to familiar.

A Writing Dilemma

I write for a living. I’ve lost count of how many documents I edit, how many copies I churn out, how many marketing materials, product names, taglines, branding projects I’ve produced.

I’ve lost count of how many documents I edit, how many copies I churn out, how many marketing materials, product names, taglines, branding projects I’ve produced. Don’t get me started on the number of blogs and websites I manage.

And yet, when I stare at the backend of this blog, I draw a blank. It’s not that I don’t have stories to tell. I do. But I’m coming up empty. I have browsed writing prompt lists for 40 minutes now, and I find none of that inspiring.

This is the problem with writing for a living – you get institutionalised. Can a writing job knock the creativity out of you? I’m starting to suspect that it can. Don’t get me wrong, I can tell the difference between practice and practise, I know when to use an Oxford comma, and I know when to use a hyphen instead of an em-dash. I have all the technical aspects of writing down to an art, especially British English. My idea of a rebellion, nowadays, is to start a sentence with a preposition or to leave the period out at the end of a sentence.

But the ease with which I could write fiction is gone. I am no longer a story teller. I don’t know if it’s the TL; DR era we’re living in that has led to this or if I’ve just left my think tank to rust. I read at a ridiculous rate, I devour TV shows at world-record levels, and yet I am lacking the spark.

And yet, here I am typing at 300 words about a nothing sort of subject. So the machine works, how do you get an old beast like this up and running? What do you do when you are uninspired and wordless?

HELP!

2-2-1 revisited

A sinister, end of the world sort of 2-2-1 post! Love it!

Classical Gasbag

While patiently waiting for vaayadipennu to finish publishing the most recent N-N-1, Anju and I decided to revisit our original concept, 2-2-1. We went so far as to try to take our pictures at exactly the same moment. Trying to determine the date and time for this momentous project turned into an “After you Alphonse” routine until I remembered that a gentleman should never argue with a woman. So I decided that we would take our pictures on Thursday, May 4th at 7 p.m. in Penang, Malaysia. Let’s start with Anju. I hope that you enjoy the result.

I came face to face with one of my many scary zombie dreams in real life, as part of my job. As someone who has a ‘cliché’ fear of crowds, I’ve never actually had to face this fear head-on. Living in highly populated cities just means you learn to manoeuvre out of…

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We Live In Trump’s World Now

A few weeks ago I had a run in with an middle-aged American man. I haven’t had any confrontation with anyone here since I moved hear nearly 2 years ago. While there’s always a bit of subtle racism going on in this country, I’ve never felt like I don’t belong here. It is why this incident stood out in my mind.

My partner and I were having a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll down one of the many charming streets in Bangkok, and we could hear Darth Vader huffing and puffing behind us. He took offence to us strolling and wanted to overtake us but didn’t want to waste his breath on an ‘excuse me’. He decided to spend it grumbling instead.

Being the overly sensitive person that I am, I told my partner to give way so Mr Grumpy could walk ahead. When I did that, he loudly threw a few choice expletives at us. I don’t know if he assumed I was Thai and therefore didn’t speak English or if I was another clueless native, but he didn’t seem to care that he was being a complete jerk.

When I reacted with a ‘wow, calm down old man!’, he screamed a few more expletives at us and then said something about Donald Trump and free speech. He did all this without so much as looking at us. He just kept walking ahead of us slow enough for us to hear his opinions.

Funny thing is, we both live in a military run country with a very strong monarchy. The rules of Lèse-majesté are enforced here. Foreigners have to do a 90 day report to immigration in which we mention our place of residence and the details of our social media accounts, doesn’t matter which country you are from. However, Donald Trump winning the American elections somehow means that his ‘no-holds-barred’ rules apply even in this part of the world (at least in the minds of the MAGA clan).

While pondering this as we continued to stroll (ain’t nobody going to ruin our Sunday!), we saw him standing at the shade of a tree, out of breath, red, flustered, I saluted him. He called me a bitch after I walked ahead of where he was. Being the feisty person that I am, I went back and asked him what he said. I thought he would have a heart attack. Suffice it to say, he wasn’t so brave when I asked him to uphold his freedom of speech in front of my face.

Its the debate with no clear answer- do you confront people like this? Or do you just shrug it of? Or will shrugging it off give them more reason to spread their mindset? Or will it be the confrontation that changes them from being moderate to extreme right wing. At the end of the day, in my head, a white man insulted me and thought it was okay to do it because of Donald Trump’s weird version of freedom of speech. In his head, a brown lady (debateable!) got all up in his face.

Anyway, we did manage to get the great views we were hoping to get on our long walk (more on that in the next N-N-1), but we also did run across this ironic graffiti ‘art’ just next to it.