0217 – Flight Plight

Normally I don’t really write entries about my recent events, but this is something else. I missed a flight for the first time.

So I finally reached Ann Arbor at around 12.20 am of Sunday August 22nd, 5 hours behind schedule. It was a torturous day, which fueled my hatred for long air rides. They’re convenient, but environmentally wasteful and extremely exhausting. I’m almost falling asleep as I write.

So things started off well and I was right on time for my flight from Bangkok to Tokyo, and from Tokyo to Chicago. I found out that I had to go through customs in Chicago first, collect my luggages and only to check in my luggages back again for my flight to Detroit. A little dumb I thought, but fine. Whatever. So my flight to Chicago was actually ten minutes early, and I had 1 hour and 50 minutes to catch my next flight – plenty of time. Then, the Chicago Customs killed me. I stood in line for about TWO HOURS before I got through. I ran and ran and ran, but, of course, I was ten minutes late. Alas, first missed flight in the life of Chirapon Wangwongwiroj.

What made me angry is that they only opened half of the lanes for the international customs section, even though there are 200 people waiting in line. You would think the US would care more. Well, since everybody wants to come to the US, it’s the price to pay for being one of them I guess.

So Chicago O’Hare will go down as one of my unfavorable airports. I never liked it in the first place; so big, yet so crowded and there’s nothing to do. No free WiFi either! I didn’t enjoy my 6 hours there today. Time to find a new route to fly in from.

This is also another reason why I hate crowded places. It makes things so slow and ineffectual and.. difficult. But the US is huge, so the problem might be mainly at airports, where Chinese dominate the field. You see Chinese everywhere you go. It’s ridiculous.

So, being me, I’m really never satisfied with anything. The US is big, so to get from places sometimes you fly, and I hate flying. Contrastingly, Singapore is so small and dense it’s so crowded there’s people everywhere.

Why do I complain so much?

I know. It’s one of the SIngaporean traits. Singaporeans complain about everything, even when a stall charges a customer 50 cents more for a different type of curry. Complaints can either be constructive and destructive, and I think the government of Singapore has responded in a way to make many complaints constructive. Sometimes, I find that perhaps it is fit to perhaps sacrifice a little bit of profit for the comfort of the whole. Thai politicians won’t recognize this. U.S. politicians should. We’ll see. There’re so many problems, and hence overwhelming amount of complaints, and voices easily get lost in the process. So I’ve learned to not rely on anybody anymore, and just change things on my side.

Maybe I can live on Mars.

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0216 – Get up and go

Well well, flying off in less then 9 hours. I’m always on the move. It’s back to the US of A this time.

Some people are envious of my ‘international’, oft-flying ways, but it’s really nothing to be envious of. When you’re constantly on the move, there is suddenly no homey feeling, and no place of total comfort and familiarity. I frequently feel like there’s nowhere exactly that I fit in, and my life has more or less become a search for a place I can call home and a lifestyle I can be satisfied with. That is not easy.

Some of us are fortunate enough to be born into very happy family, live somewhere we love or discover things that we want to do. I’m not one of them.

I’ve grown more relaxed this year – perhaps influenced by the American easygoing ways. I’m letting myself play more games. I’m letting myself enjoy more interesting things on the internet and I’m hanging out with friends more. Life is not that bad either. Occasionally, I experience the post-fun stress, where I contemplate about life and feel like I’m kinda wasting my life away. As another summer comes to an end, I have kind of wasted my life away again. It really is ridiculous how I would come home with a full list of things that I want to finish but only get half of it done. Every single time.

BUT..

I’m young. and I’m learning. I think I should forgive myself this time, eh? (On a side note, American English gets really boring sometimes. A little British English and Singlish add to life) Yes, I shall forgive myself. Not just gonna be a downer this time round.

I’ll get up and go. Go do what I need to do. Go achieve what I need to achieve. Go search for my home. And go seek the life that I wish to live.

Well.. time to jumpstart the new (academic) year, folks!

0215 – Reactions to my second home of Singapore Part II

I’ve been procrastinating writing this entry for long enough. It’s time to get this straight, before I head off to the USA.

So I still miss Singapore, and I think it was one of my most content times in the past 2 years or so. Not sure if it’s the friends or the culture, or simply the memory.

I’ve spent the four prime years of my life in Singapore.  It was a period of momentous change and defining moments. It was also a period of a more carefree lifestyle – jokes and smiles were abound. Of course, there was the school stress, but that is part and parcel of my life. Now, I’m stuck in an indecisive moment, where I both want to relive the freedom and inchoate nature of youth and also expedite the arrival of being a full-fledged adult. I’ve asked myself where I want to be in the future, and Singapore has, surprisingly, popped up often.

It is a country that I know well. It is not a country that I love, but I don’t mind it. People in that country seem very uptight and competitive. Everything seems so serious and businesslike. In a way, Singapore has progressed so far out of reach of their Asian counterparts due to the aforementioned Singaporean lifestyle. While I do not fancy spending a lifetime under such an environment, I admire it too. Perhaps, I secretly want to be part of it. Seeing it again after two years, I am impressed by the progress and development that are occurring. Really is goddamn impressive.

But..! Singapore really is way too dense. In the government’s effort to raise their competitiveness, it has jam-packed this island of ~700 miles with almost 5 million people. That is 7000 people per square meter. That is ridiculous. I, as an introvert and a thinker, do not like crowded noisy places. That is a major downer. A price to pay for the prosperity I guess. On the flipside, it is amazing how the government has managed to run the country so effectively and smoothly. The transportation system, housing, shopping areas are very very well provided. Somehow, staying in this country with a single-party system, I feel assured that my needs will be taken care of. How I wish Thai politicians can learn from them instead of bickering at each other all the time. Although, nothing beats Thai food. ever. I still have that Thainess in me.

I’ve been spending a lot of thought on this, but perhaps my research is inadequate. It is such a big world, and I have yet to explore them. Switzerland, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Ireland are currently on my list. I need many travel buddies.

Or perhaps a solo journey is in order.

0214 – 'Imagine Peace'

I’ve never imagined myself voluntarily going to an art exhibition, but I somehow did. Imagine Peace’ is an art exhibition showcasing works from artists reflecting on the political upheaval in Thailand. I’ve decided to give it a shot after hearing about this particular piece by Kelvin Wong’s on the news. Overall, I didn’t understand it. lol. There were a lot of exhibits that I can *feel* were good, but I really am not an art person. Never understood the paintings, statues, murals and really deep poems. Contrastingly, words, if used simply enough, speak to me in a very powerful way, so Kelvin Wong’s ‘art’ is something special.

Click below for some of the pictures I took with my flimsy cell phone. Forgive my photography skills.

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All of it seems a little.. idealistic to me – conjured up by people in search of happiness and utopia. I, on the other hand, have established that such thing is not possible, and all I am currently trying to do is seek shelter and guidance from somewhere. Yet, this exhibit was something else. It is simple enough and succinct enough to speak on itself. It was the most interesting wall I’ve witnessed in a long time. It advertizes the seemingly simple concepts that some of us ask for, and that magnifies the extent of decay that the society, especially Thai.

Reading each page I feel that paper is being wasted and he should’ve used recycled paper. oh me. appreciation and hope. Somebody’s broadcasting this to the world, and even though not many eyes are paying much attention to the exhibit, at least I know somebody cares.

0213 – Reactions to my second home of Singapore Part I

Well well well, so I’m in Singapore now. For those in the U.S., it is somewhere in Asia, below Malaysia. It’s dubbed the ‘little red dot’. Tiny but powerful.

In a way, nothing, and everything, has changed.

I have a love-hate relationship with this country. I thought I wouldn’t miss it, but oh how I am wrong. 🙂

As soon as I arrived, the humidity, and stress, filled the air. Everything reminded me of the four prime years I spent here at the beloved Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). It’s been two years since I was last there, and it was weird stepping onto the island again. However, familiarity does breeds comfort and brings back old memories.

Traveling through the roads that I used to pass by every so often, I reminisced about the times I spent playing tennis, having fun, being the fun version of me. I smiled and laughed at the good ol’ times. I recalled the times where life used to be much more about the present and about having the best fun in life and a life that I won’t regret. I want it to still be like that.

I’ve changed a lot as I moved through ‘phases’ in life. Sometimes I wish that I can bring my old self back, but sometimes I wish that things can just fastforward along to a new phase – kinda like in Click (one of my favorites, btw). I’ve always kinda assimilated well to the local culture, and brought over some of the values and behaviors into another. It’s a mixed baggage. Pros and cons. Ups and downs. Just like life.

For a while, I’ve been searching for my true ‘home’; a place where I can settle down, work happily and have kids. It might not be Thailand, for what I know. But it might be Singapore. It just might. More about this later.

0212 – Intervention

I’ve been reminded by a friend of how much I actually know. How much am I suffering, relative to everybody else? Is what I have been saying for the past 3 years sensible? Is Buddhism really ‘the’ way for me?

So many people, so much diversity. We all live our own lives, and we have no way of knowing exactly how others feel. Friends, parents and shrinks try to understand, but that’s all they can do: try. Unless you’re god or some kind of psychic mind reader, you won’t know exactly how I feel, even with the information I’ve divulged right here in my blog.

We don’t know the best way to live either. Buddhism? Christianity? Taoism? Or simply a self-constructed code of ethic? Even better, say wutevs to life? Ha. The last way seems rather appealing, but no. It won’t satisfy me. My life is constantly about not being satisfied, and the search for satisfaction. My friend has said well.. if the same things don’t keep you satisfied anymore, why not find a new one? On the other hand, I think and think. The Buddhist in me has influenced me to feel that letting go is the best option. I may be terribly wrong here – who knows. In any case, that has led ‘not satisfied’ to ‘suffering’. Not good. Not good at all.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that I have chosen not to go all out Buddhism. I’ve put my hands in it once; I was ordained as a novice monk for two weeks. It was  a tremendous experience, but I wasn’t ready for it. It was simply too tough. Furthermore, I’ve been shaped by the society way too much such that the ascetic life is not one of my options. On top of that, I still have my existential mission. I still want to find my purpose in life.

This is indeed true: you can’t choose how you’re born, but you can choose how you live.

I’m born to suffer a lot; more than many others, or so I’d like to believe. Or maybe, like my friend said, I’m not that good at dealing with suffering. This may be a consequence of what I’ve did in my past lives. I have also chosen to believe this.

Still.. nobody knows. Nobody. I chose my life, and I’ll stick by it until changes come.  You stick by yours, and we’ll surely have interesting conversations should the opportunities arrive.

0211 – Tick Tock

Clock’s ticking. Time’s running. There’s no stopping. It doesn’t wait for anybody.

As I get older, I demand more of myself, and more demands are being made of me. I should start to understand life. I should know what I want to do with my life; what I want to study, what kind of job I want, where I want to live, how I am gonna go about life. I should be able to take care of myself. Pressure to accomplish these things keeps increasing as the clock ticks.

Truth is.. life is hard for me, and for most everybody else; just in different ways. For me, it’s the lack of motivation to do anything. Some friends used to ask me how I keep doing so well for classes when I don’t like anything I’m studying. I have to push myself three, or even four, times as hard. Life isn’t as it seems sometimes. The only thing I really care about right now might just be tennis. No other passions. No other motivations.

All I can say is be very grateful if you have a purpose in life, even if all else seems sullen.

What do I live for? What am I supposed to do? Where do I fit in? Tough questions to answer.

Clock’s ticking. Time’s running. I’m suffering.

0210 – New Blog!

I ❤ WordPress. It being able to import my old entries from Livejournal  makes me extremely happy. So this is a new beginning, with the past tagging along dandily.

So I think as I age, I become more of an existentialist, hence the new blog address. The search for answers, for passion, for motivation, intensifies. Indeed, life becomes much more challenging as the day goes by. The lack of answer weighs heavier inside my heart as time slowly runs out. As a Buddhist, I have come to terms with death. I’m not afraid of death no longer. If it is my time to die, it is my time. Although, the horrors and the pain right before death are scary thoughts. I don’t know when I’m going to die. It may be tomorrow. It may be in a decade, or I may live to 120. Who knows. It is the most uncertain of uncertainties. The one thing I’d love to achieve before I die is to find my life’s purpose and at least live it for a while.

This existentialist ‘mission’ has brought great distress. Every single day, I ponder about why I am here and what I am supposed to do. I never get any answers. No divine interventions to uplift my spirit. I don’t know who I am. Why I am here, or why am I suffering so much. But.. I continue to ponder.

Hence I am moving to this new address, perhaps with a shift in focus towards existentialism – if that is at all possible considering how my previous blog was already all about that.

I’m on a journey, one that might not end in this life.

To infinity and beyond.