Author Archives: phantomcyros

Talking to a stranger

We had a quick chat for the first time after living here for 3 months. One of my neighbour.

It used to be normal to live with 5 different people in the house without knowing their names or talked to them. But it’s something one will do here upon seeing someone. A quick, “Hi, how is it going”, or shorter “Hey mate” will do. But sometimes unexpected need for a conversation put me in a very awkward situation. It was nice, he asked a few questions, how was your day, and the sorts. But having not used to small talks, I was left with short answers to the point of “he seems kind of rude”, or unfriendly.

So that’s why I’m gonna write down 3 reasons why Introverts are not meant to be talking to random stranger.

It is Spontaneous

It’s just not a strength of an introvert to things spontaneously especially when it involves more than himself. I can talk to you given enough time to prepare. But bumping into you somewhere unexpected and being asked questions will end up with short uncertain answers. And to quickly think of questions to ask back is another huge tasks.

Should I ask if he has kids, will it be rude, how about the weather, it’s middle of the night for fuck sake, ok just stay cool and wait for his next question.

We process things slower and in more details, looking for patterns, meaningful pieces of information to be delivered, which bring me to the next point.

Lack of meaning

It has to be meaningful else it won’t be done. Even the meaning if not the truth, it’s good enough.

I understand the reasons for small talks. The search for compatibilities, a simple rule that glued our society together. But it changes with every individuals. Introverts see individuals as unique as themselves, avoiding generalizations. So every new people have to register some level of meaning for the chat.

Fine, it’s totally expected to bump into your neighbour, which happen almost everyday. But I’ve registered that we’ve passed the need for a chat, but a simple thumbs up or “howdy” is good enough. So again, walking passed him and being asked questions bring me back to that zone of thinking “what do I want out of this conversation?”

Lack of commitments

Well, he said that we should have a beer someday. I agreed even though that felt like an empty invite. Where is the when, where and why parts?

Introverts, back to our complicated thought process, make little commitments. But once we’ve made one, we’ll make sure it’s delivered.

When it comes to small talks with a random stranger, it boiled down to the question of “where will this conversation lead into?”. Will he become my next best friend, or else, I won’t be investing too much thinking about what to talk to him.

We make few friends, but stronger ones. We don’t know many people, but all the people are know are close friends. And given that it’s very expensive and difficult to be just an acquaintance, it’s almost not worth doing at all.

Having said all that, I apologise that I didn’t give a very good first impression to many of people I’ve met. And to my neighbour, I’ll prepare enough courage and enough meaning and commitments points so that I have a good enough reason to invite you to my kitchen for a beer or two.

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Lost in the cultural translation

There are many differences one can spot upon moving from an East Asian culture to a European ones. I was tempted to say western culture in place of european, but feel that Australia is not exactly geographically western.

I have a friend from Malaysia who’s recently moved to Japan. We’ve had a few great conversations regarding home away from home and how cultural adaptation can be a pain in the arse. It hit me one night that we’ve came from the same place but have ended up in two very different world. I asked her to take a picture of the night life scene of the bar that she’s at, but was quickly turned down that it’s not appropriate to take picture in public. That’s how much Japanese value their privacy. If it’s in Melbourne, everyone will be fighting to be in that picture.

I was struck by the fact that I’ve been adapting slowly without noticing it. Australian’s culture I would say is a very extroverted one. It is encouraged to share your thoughts all the time, and it is kind of ingrained and it’s not natural for one to be reserved. Even the more introverted people I’ve met have shown no drawback in expressing their opinions in a public settings.

I suspect that it all comes from the initial education system. Having none of the data to prove that, but by pure guessing only, I guess the school system in Australia encourage student’s participation from early age, removing the barriers of seniority and layers of authority. In contrast with the ones I’ve came from, students are thought to acknowledge the seniority and authority to the point where the people in charge are almost always right. I’m not arguing which one is better or which is right or wrong, it’s the matter of the results that interest me right now.

Australians talk to their teachers and bosses like a friend ( to some extends ), I couldn’t even look my teachers in their eyes while they were teaching. Their teachers are staffs, hired to teach. Our teachers are worshiped as a hero and are to be respected and their orders followed. Their parents job is to raise the children to be useful to the society. Our parents main priority is to make sure we will take care of them when they are old and useless.

I’ve written this with so much negative biases toward our side of the culture to the point that I need to defend them. Their parents have their government to help support their children, student loans, free educations. My parents have to work hard everyday to save up to my college fees. Their parents have retirements plans. My parents have almost no saving when I started college. One would have said that if our government was better at supporting my parents in the early years, they would not have to burden their children.

Their system have produced a relaxed, cool lots. We’ve grown up to be a fighter that will lose everything when we stop.


I made this


I surprised myself sometimes. I am usually very low key, humble, low confident kind of guy, but every time I read my own blog, I’m impressed on how I actually enjoy reading them.

So does that old profile picture of mine. I drew that on a piece of paper a while ago and I put it up as a profile picture. Few weeks back when I look at it again, I’m still impressed. So I decided to turn it into a painting.

Note: it’s my first painting on a canvas. I painted a few other when I was a kid on big papers. 


Down south to OZ

Is it just me or the last few prompt has been sad? Empty, would I want to be optimistic about this?

It could just be my current mood I guess, also because I’m listening to Damien Rice. That beautiful bastard has a heck of a collection when it comes to sad song. (hint: check out his song “The Greatest Bastard“)

I’ve moved to Melbourne just a couple of months ago and had been wanting to write about the experience about it, but I was probably too empty to make out anything until now. But somehow when I start to write, all I can think about is the past.

I guess I’ll list 10 things about melbourne that I love so far to convince myself that this is a great decision.

Currency

The money is here worth much more than the previous countries I’ve been (Malaysia and Indonesia). The tax can be crazy, but it’s still a pretty good deal. So earning Australian Dollar means more buying power and also I will have more saving to travel especially around SEA where most of my friends and family are.

Weather

I wouldn’t say I loooove the weather, but I’ve started at the wrong time. When I first got here on mid April, it was getting very cold. There were nights as cold as 8 degree Celcius. And colder nights are ahead of me. But it’s great when the sun in shining and when spring comes, it’s will just fine.

Swing Dancing

I’ve started swing dancing last year in KL and have been hooked since. It’s a type of Jazz dance and it’s a lot of fun. Compared with Salsa which is much more popular, I find Salsa is too intimate and I can’t really handle that in public.

KL has like 2 social dance event a week. So I mostly dance once a week and maybe go to classes sometimes. In Melbourne, there are at least 1 event everyday. It’s like heaven.

Service

The service here is much more expensive but it’s much better. I’m so surprised on how easy things are done here. People are very friendly and they understand that they are paid to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. And it’s probably by law that customers are protected in the best way possible.

Arts

It’s amazing how much lively this city can be. Again it sucks because it’s winter,but when the warmer and dryer wheaters come, the city will be alive with live performances on the street, painting, art shows. It’s beautiful.

Ramen

I love Ramen, and it was pretty expensive back then in KL (compared to local food). I can eat Ramen every day in here and it won’t really break my bank account. I’m spending the same amount of money for other types of food anyway.

Coffee!

It’s amazing how much coffee they drink over here. It’s pretty normal to go for coffee break a couple of times a day. I’m not a coffee addict but I do love a good cup of coffee once in awhile. Living in Melbourne means that you’ll always find a coffee shop wherever you are.

Water

You can drink from the tap, which is a luxury back home.

Bicycle

I grew up riding bikes. Having the chance of bringing that back to my life brings back tons of childhood memories. It’s a flood of nostalgia and a couple of near death moments with my bike. Can’t wait to buy a bike and explore the city with it.

Meetup

Meetup here is huge, just like Swing Dancing, there are more options and bigger community. Even though the people can be a bit colder and harder to befriend with, the fact that there are more options makes it a better chance to find friends.

I’m feeling better now. It’s true how setting our mind into positive things can bring us into better mood. But I’m addicted to sadness, what can I say.

More on the KL to Melbourne move stories to come. Let me know what you’d like to read more about. If you are in reading this in Melbourne, tell me what you like the most about this city.


Those left behind

It’s getting boring because every recent posts I’ve made starts with something about haven’t written anything for a while. So is this post.

Many things have changed. The biggest of all is that I’ve moved down south to Australia. I’d like to talk about those I’ve left behind.

I’m a cold person, trying very hard to keep it that way. I can be very friendly with people, which most often do. But I distant myself from commitments and closeness. You can say that most of my friendliness are more of matter a professionalism rather than my style.

However, there are some special people that genuinely like me ( arguable and is subject to the judgment of time ).

These special people aren’t necessarily kind or caring. But these special people are those who are willing to spend the ups and downs with me, those who cracked through my icy wall and leave me out in the open, left me vulnerable.

I miss them.

Now I’m back in my cold shell in this cold world, wandering around hoping to bump into a new special people that I can melt my frozen wall for.


Singles Awareness Day

It has been a while since my last post. It was 4 months ago and it’s time to visit the dentist again soon.

And also, it’s that day of the year again when love is in the air and all the single people are cursed to avoid the public places to avoid the shame of not having someone to spend the Valentine’s day with.

But for me, it is another excuse for me to write something again.

I’ve been going through my blogs and realised that my blog posts are really personal and honest. Things I wouldn’t have told anyone in real life. It’s a relieve to think that I have some place to talk my life through with a bunch of strangers behind this screen. But also it is so damn scary to put yourself out there like that. What if someone I know find this blog and started to read all the honest things I’ve written about them. I think it will be devastating for them.

Back to the Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D) or the Valentine’s day, there are so many ways to write about it, really. I can be positive about it, taking a chance to appreciate single lifestyle, the special day to celebrate the day by myself. Buy a piece of cake, a cup of coffee and take the time to relax and do things that I enjoy doing by myself. It’s so Introverted thing to do, but when life give you a lemon, you make something good out of it, though the “it” could be a total sour and pain in the ass, you learn to enjoy it.

Another way to talk about it is through rage. Really just the opposite way of the above. I can start complaining about the inception of it to begin with. Why would you need a holiday based on something so freaking sad. As if you’re celebrating the death of newborns, bully day, and what not.

“Ok, take a deep breath, cool down.” said the voice in my head. Well, all of these are voices in my head as I type it. “Stop it, stop typing every single thing that I say”, or was I typing what I was thinking or am I reading my words out back to my mind that created the word to start with? *mind blown*

The third way of talking about the S.A.D day is through consolation, like you’re talking to a Shrink. If you are single, it’s the perfect day to find someone. There are plenty of events in the town designed for single people during the V’s day. Go mingle and maybe you’ll meet someone. Or maybe you can think of it in the good way, like saving the money that you’d have spent on a stupid valentine dinner or buying some stupid flowers that die the next day.

Well, I’ve said what I wanted to say. Let’s call it a day.

Oh and lastly, don’t feel too bad if you’re single on Valentine’s day. It’s just another day and you should feel bad everyday instead.


First Dentist Experience

I grew up in a small town where most of the people I know have fake teeth. Often I followed some of these people to the dentist and indirectly interacted with the dentists. I remember how distinctive the smell of every single dentist office I’ve been to. In my family itself, 5 out of 6 of my sisters have detachable teeth. My mother often carry her teeth in a plastic pouch filled with water. Yet, in my 27 years of life, I’ve never been the patient until today.

My dental plaque had been accumulated since the early development of my adult sets of teeth and recently has been getting extra attention after a friend of mine mentioned it. It’s hard to find a dentist in where I live until recently. So I’ve made up my mind a few weeks ago to get the plaques cleaned. Still, I was battling with busy schedule and work.

When I finally find the time to do it, it was today. As I walked into the dental clinic, the awkward encounter begins.

The first awkward encounter is the question “How can I help you?” question. I answered with “removing my plaques”. The nurses (or whatever you call them) didn’t seem to understand me but requested my details anyway for registration. I gave them my IC and waited for a while. A few minutes later, a nurse called me into the room and I couldn’t help but grinned at the idea of me lying on the dentist bed. I smiled when the dentist lowered the chair and started asking questions.

“What do you want to do?” asked the dentist.

I tried my best not to laugh, thinking about the jokes about dentist loving to talk to their patient despite their mouth being occupied with the dentist equipments. “I want to remove my plaques” I said.

Yet, the dentist still look confused, so I flashed out my teeth and point to the bottom gum where the plaques are most visible.

“Oh, scaling” confirmed the dentist. Apparently that’s what it’s called.

The procedure was very uncomfortable. Squeaky and hushing sounds of the equipments in my mouth and the effort to keep my jaw dropped for almost half an hour, with some occasional pain when the plaque is in the deeper part. And the most annoying of all is the constant flow of water sprayed to my mouth in the process where I felt like I’m drowning and trying to control my breathing from my nose only. I choked a few times and had to ask the nice dentist to give me a break.

“It’s just water” said the dentist every time I felt choked and try to clear my throat.

During the entire process, there were moments where I couldn’t do anything but lay there with a tensed up body like I was being tied to a bed and tortured. And I couldn’t help but look around emptily, trying to relax, stare funnily at the dentist and nurses, and making sure I remember to breath from my nose. I wonder, what would you do?