Anjadi Kuppeh and Kuthu songs

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This is going to be a really light-hearted post with completely no purpose. Or maybe there is a subtle purpose. It’s actually a lead up to another post but I don’t want to spoil too much for you. Anjadi kuppeh aka Anjack according to Urban Dictionary refers to Tamil male gangsters. From my conversations with expert analysts(I am just referring to my fellow Indians), I hear that back in those days, Tamil male gangsters used to hang out in a place like void deck kind of place which was of five foot(literal translation for Anjadi) height. Kuppeh means rubbish in Tamil. Hence, the word was born to describe these group of gangsters. I am not sure how true that is. But it does make some sense. I am in no way supportive of gangsters and what they do- whatever the race. But the word Anjadi Kuppeh is now commonly used to describe people who engage in a schedule of some things that characterise the new “Anjadis”(but they might not necessarily be gangsters) as stated below:

  • Smokes and/or drinks regularly
  • Hangs out at the void deck or coffee shop regularly
  • Clubs regularly
  • Has tattoo(s)
  • Has multiple piercings
  • Wears coloured contact lenses(especially in blue, or grey)
  • Has hair dyed in striking colours
  • Sports a “tail” hairstyle
  • Member of dance groups(not very common now)/Urumi melam groups
  • Plays soccer
  • Makes remixes of songs and by virtue of just that becomes a DJ XXX
  • Wears bling-bling earrings
  • Wears floating caps
  • Wears skinny pants
  • Wears sunglasses for the head and never for the eyes(even at night)
  • Listens to Kuthu songs
  • Uses words like “sarakku”, “mootai”, “billa billa XXX”, “makkal”, “paaru”, “jokaa”, “jumpah”, “machi”, “mike”, “ponna”, etc.
  • Member of Indian Cultural Society/Group in polytechnic
  • Has a Facebook name with a fictitious last name(E.g. RealName OnliHysGurl)

Obviously, these are generalisations and not every Anjadi does all of the above. And obviously, not everyone who does even one of this is an Anjadi. I DON’T SUPPORT SUCH STEREOTYPES! But that’s how people are being labelled.  Sometimes, these people are also described as “Typical Indians” and a negative connotation is attached to that label. Sometimes, they say Pakka Tamilachi or Tamilan to refer to these Typical Indians too. To be honest, the labelling doesn’t affect me much because I don’t engage in most of the activities except two of it. I shall write about one of it: Listening to Kuthu songs. I love Kuthu songs and I can’t stop myself from dancing to it whenever I hear them. There I said it! I think being in Indian Dance in Sembawang primary school and Yishun secondary school where we danced a lot of folk dance(a nice term for Kuthu dance) was where my love for Kuthu songs began. I think hearing my dad and uncle play the beat of some Kuthu song on the steering wheel of the car when it gets played on the radio are other instances where my love for Kuthu songs continued. But I am so tired of getting judged for listening to them by people who only like AR Rahman songs or English and Hindi songs. Oh God! I have recently learned that I am not alone. There are some others in uni who love Kuthu songs secretly. Kuppeh songs(as what one of my friends called them; literally means rubbish) are a guilty pleasure for us. Hence, here’s a listicle of 15 Kuthu songs that I love. Recently, I started doing a daily routine of Kuthu Therapy to just loosen up a bit. It’s really cool. Go to your room, lock the door, play one of the songs below and dance. Yes, I am pretty sure you would not be able to control yourself when you start listening to all these. Don’t listen to the lyrics. Just listen to the beat. Lol.

1. Kolusu Kadai Orathile(~1980s) by Vijalakshmi Navaneetakrishnan

This is a classic. It turns out that this song is not from a movie. It’s just an authentic Tamil folk song. Yet it has reached so many people and has even sparked off another Malaysian song by the name of Kolusu Shop. The highlight of this song is the Jing-chak! Haha!

2. Maanguyilae Poonguiyilae from Karagaatakkaran(1989) Music: Ilaiyaraaja

3. Vethala Potta from Amaran(1992) Music: Adhityan

4. Mocha Kotta Pallazhagi from Ulavaali(1994) Music: Sirpy

5. Otha Roobayun Tharen from Naattu Purapaatu(1996) Music: Ilaiyaraaja

6. Kanangathey Meenu from Adimai Changli(1997) Music: Deva

7. Kaasu Mela from Kaathala Kaathala(1998) Music: Karthik Raja

8. Aalana Naal Muthalaa from Kaathal Kavithai(1998) Music: Ilaiyaraaja

9. Kaathu Posaposanga from Ethirum Puthirum(1999) Music: Vidyasagar

10. Oothikinu Kadichikavaa from Ninaivirukkum Varai(1999) Music: Deva

11. Malai Malai from Chocolate(2001) Music: Deva

12. Variya from Pudhupettai(2006) Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja

13. Kathala Kannala from Anjathey(2008) Music: Sundar c Babu

14. Madura Kulunga from Subramaniapuram(2008) Music: James Vasanthan

15. Makka Kalanguthappa from

Dharmadurai(2016) Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja

 

I hope you enjoy dancing/listening to these songs.

Thanks for reading and stay curious!

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Kaatru Veliyidai, Ray-bans, and product placements.

I just came back home after watching Kaatru Veliyidai. I liked it very much. I know some people tend to say that they love the movie just because they don’t want to admit that they exercised bad judgment when deciding to spend money to watch that movie in theatre instead of waiting for the TV channels to telecast it for Deepavali. I am not one of them. I say it as it is. Really! I like this kind of cheesy, crazy kind of love where you find yourself in a dilemma as well. I mean I liked Punch-Drunk Love(2002). So it’s as bad as it gets.  Perhaps, I liked how messed up the story was because that’s how real-life romance is. We, humans, are complicated creatures. Maybe because I can understand and have seen that kind of dilemma that Leela is in, I could better appreciate the movie? I don’t know. Regardless, I think each movie gives us a fresh new experience and you should watch the movie to experience it yourself. We need to stop expecting to be spoonfed with all the details and explanations. They need to make us think like how most English movies do. They need to make us discover something new each time we watch that movie. They need to keep us curious(see what I did there? Haha)! This is not supposed to be a proper review; this is just some thoughts after watching the movie. Trying to see why I liked this movie which people find so hard to comprehend. Update: I think this article by Pavitra Selvam does an excellent job summing this movie up. You should give it a read! Oh btw, Ray-bans play an important role. Kind of like the role toothpicks played in Anjaan(2014). Great lead into what I am about to write about. Generally, when a product is featured in a movie with a visible brand name, there’s a chance that it’s a paid “advertisement” called product placements(aka embedded marketing). I am really not sure if that’s the case for this movie. Nevertheless, I think it would be interesting to talk about it. It’s actually a very subtle form of advertising. They do not talk about the product attributes of the sunglasses. Neither do they talk about why you should buy those sunglasses. Instead, they just have Karthi wear it in almost the entire movie. It also took a lot of screen space in some important scenes. So what if Karthi is wearing those Ray-bans? You already think that Karthi is a cool dude, smooth with girls and well-liked by his superior and is even able to joke with him. (He has his issues but let’s not go there now.) Then you notice that Karthi is wearing those Ray-bans. What marketers hope to achieve is that you see Karthi as someone that you want to be. Next, they want you to see that Karthi is all that because of his sunglasses. In marketing, they usually come up with a persona of their target customer and list down their needs which would include being cool and smooth with girls and they personify the product to have those attributes. Then by showing it visually, you’re manipulated into wanting those sunglasses for you see it as a symbol of coolness. Does this all sound like bullshit to you? Maybe you should read this. No one’s denying that there’s a legitimate reason for him to wear them but to show the brand in so many instances is what makes it more like a product placement. Trust me, this is not the first movie to do this. They have been doing this for a while and it makes its appearance more in songs. Perhaps, even Jithu Jiladi could be that. The lyrics say colouru kannadi(coloured glasses) and in the song, even before Vijay makes it appearance, the first thing they show is a Ray-ban. But that’s a bad product placement because I think the way the song is and the way the glasses are shown, it might probably only encourage kids to buy Ray-bans. Maybe that’s just it. There are product offerings for kids and this could be part of their product campaign. There are some older songs with product placements too.

Shakalaka baby in Mudhalvan(1999) is a good example. The lyrics explicitly romanticised the idea of drinking Coca Cola with the partner with two straws. It seems funny and unromantic now but I think back then many would have actually done that. That’s the power of Tamil movies and actually media in general. They play a huge part in shaping perceptions and even values. I am not sure if movies before Mudhalvan had such product placements. But to make sense of things, India’s trade liberalisation was initiated in 1991 and these corporate giants would have started to enter India after that. I wish I could say that I knew this because of my general knowledge but no I actually wrote a paper on Trade Liberalisation in India for one of my modules in NUS and that’s why I know this. Haha! I am not saying that only Multinational companies(MNCs) engage in product/brand placements. That’s not true. However, I think they are the ones who were actively engaging in it and big local companies would have followed them later. This is likely to have changed the way movies make money.

Another song which had too many brands and product placements is “Why this Kolaveri di” from Moonu(2012).

Before you read on, maybe you should watch the video and try to guess how many brand/product placements are there in this video. You can actually see brand placements of Vasanth&Co, AirAsia.com, Aircel, Lawman Pg3, Lalithaa Jewellery. That’s 5. The shirts worn by the dancers in the song are of the Lawman Pg3 brand. Did you see that? Also, the longest product placement was the Audi car which Dhanush and Shruti Hasan were awkwardly lying on. I have never seen anyone do that in real life. Have you? I mean I have seen people sit on the front of the car. But put their face on the car so that they can have a closeup of the logo was funny, to say the least. Surely their backs would have hurt while doing that awkward position. Songs from I(2015) like Ladio and Aila had many brand and product placements but the entire movie was revolving around ad models so that’s understandable. But why did they overkill in this song? Why this kolaveri? Well, this song was named one of the world’s top songs in 2011. Hence, I think all these brands would have jumped at the movie’s director(Aishwarya Dhanush) asking to be featured in this international hit. Or it could have been the other way round where they decided to capitalise on the song by approaching them and asking if they want to be featured in the song. Actually, does that even matter? I actually expected this song to be very fun and interesting but I just found it plain boring and cluttered. I think they should have reduced the number of brands and products featured in this song. It didn’t have the kind of impact that product placements usually have. Oh well.

Another recent song is Senthoora- I like this song for the singer’s voice and the beautiful lyrics. Thamarai(the lyricist) is awesome! Being a woman, I think she brings out the female perspective very well. Did you know that the lyrics for “Injerungo Injerungo” from Thenali(2000) was also written by her? I just found that out today. Did you see the two product placements? First, a Fair and Handsome tube and a box. Second, two rings in a Lalithaa Jewellery box. The message is that if you want a girl like Hansika, you need to be a man like Jeyam Ravi. How does Jeyam Ravi achieve that? By using Fair and Handsome of course. Sigh. The second message is that every beautiful marriage betweeen two beautiful people would be made perfect with rings from Lalithaa Jewellery. While I can see through this, not many people can. They usually fall for it.

Anyway, so what if songs have such product/brand placements? As long as it does not affect the aesthetics of the song, it should be fine? The thing is that these advertising makes us aware of our needs or sometimes creates wants that we did not have in the first place. I think this quote from Fight Club(1999) says very well the problem with advertisements. I read the book by Chuck Palahniuk before watching the movie. You should give it a read too. You would definitely be mind-blown! Even if you don’t read the book itself, you should read some good quotes from it.

“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.”

Such advertisements either manipulate us into believing that if we use a particular product, our love/belonging and esteem needs under the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs would be satisfied. They make profits on our insecurities. They make money by making us feel inadequate. It’s just quite sad that some people don’t see this as an issue. Everyone’s just constantly running after brands after brands, products after products to satisfy their higher level needs. They use these products to seek external validation. Most people are wasting money on brand labels rather than experiences, and are losing themselves while at it. It’s a constant chase for materialistic things or a significant amount of insignificant things. That’s it! You should read more on Book of life.

It’ not too late. Be more skeptical about what you see on TV and movies. Stop overly idolising celebrities and imitating them. Don’t fall for it. Live freely. Don’t burden yourself down with all that products. Be minimalist. Stop chasing for status. You don’t have to show your personality or attitude using things that you own. You are more than that. I should stop the preaching now.

Wait, one last bit from Fight Club again.

“This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.”

Stop scrolling through that online catalogue of products. They are not going to complete you. DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE! IT’S ENDING ONE MOMENT AT A TIME. I should go do something significant too. But before that, I should go study for my tests tomorrow and the day after. Sigh.

Thank you for reading and stay curious!

This one’s for you, Aatha.

In my first post, I talked about two other times where I was reminded that the clock was ticking. I am writing about one of it in this post.

When someone’s heartbeat has stopped, it means that the person is no longer alive. Simple. But when my mom told me over the phone that Aatha’s (grandmother) heartbeat has stopped, I didn’t quite get it. I thought it was a heart attack but she’ll come back alive. She didn’t. I was in denial until I saw everyone in the emergency ward crying. What happened after that seems really vague. I just remember a lot of people flooding her house, paying their final respects. Rituals after rituals. Oil lamps. Incense sticks. Rice. Golden rice. Flowers. Garlands. Sarees. While all that was happening, I remember crying upon every realisation. She wasn’t going to give me wet pecks on my cheeks anymore. She wasn’t going to cook delicious “Kevuru puttu”(not sure if I got the name right) or fish curry or manga patchadi(pickle) anymore. She wasn’t going to talk to me on the phone anymore. She wasn’t going to see me get my first pay. She wasn’t going to be there to see me get married(At that time, I still believed in marriages). She wasn’t going to see me drive her around after I got my driving license. She’s not going to see me graduate with a diploma and subsequently, a degree. She was gone. Just like that. And she had taken with her a huge piece of me.

This was the first time I was experiencing the pain of an unexpected loss of a loved one. Yes, my paternal grandfather had passed away in the prior year(2012) and while I respected him, the truth is I was not really close to him. The only conversations I had with him revolved around what level I was in, whether I have passed and just a reminder for us to study hard. Besides, his death was an expected one and I had had enough time to process it. In contrast, this was really hard for me. But it was at this point where my mind was thinking a lot and I had four thoughts from this:

  1. No project, assignment or work is more important than spending time with your loved ones. You’ll never know when they’ll be gone(or you’ll be gone). And when they are gone, you are going to have an awful lot of should have’s and sorry’s. Get the work done but plan your time wisely such that you’re not neglecting your family and friends.
  2. What is a good life? Is it one where you have accumulated a lot of wealth? Is it one with significant accomplishments? Or is it just one where love and happiness were shared with everyone? I don’t know. Or a bigger question: Does it even matter? What’s the purpose of life?
  3. If you ever need someone, just pretend that you’re dead and they will come.  The people you hated. The people who hated you. The people who ignored you. All of them. And they are going to say good stuff about you. They are going to cry for you. They are going to sing songs of praises for you. One can’t help but wonder where these people were when you were alive. Where were they when you needed them the most?
  4. Funerals are too expensive. Those rituals probably had some meaning when they were first created but I find it hard to make sense of what we do nowadays. This makes it important to talk to your family about how you want your funeral to be so that they don’t spend too much because this is the last time they will be spending for you. But I will reserve this for another post.

I thought I should write this for my Aatha. To recount, remember, and reminisce my good times with her.

She was a dusky-skinned beauty. She always wore a big, red pottu, which was slightly bigger than a ten-cent coin and a gold-rimmed spectacles. Carrying around with her a pleasant smell of dove and the sandal power, she was a divine beauty. Her hair was always neatly put in a bun. She was on the rounder side but that just made her all the more beautiful. I always admired her elegance whenever she donned a saree. She looked good even in her maxis as she would call it. She had a peculiar taste in jewelry. Her nose stud, ring, and the “maatal” earrings that she wore were so unique. She was almost perfection. I remember seeing her toothless smile, whenever she took her dentures out, as genuine as a baby’s. She never wore any make-up. She didn’t need to. She was a karuppu perazhagi.

Actually, I was just recalling how she looked and what made her her. All those little things. But she was all that and more. I am her youngest granddaughter and naturally, you would expect me to be pampered a lot by her. I was. But our relationship was an interesting one. We were both born in the dog year and we would often fight, in a cute way. She would often sing the song, “Delhikku rajanaalum paati solle thattaathe”(Even if you’re the king of Delhi, don’t disobey your grandmother’s words). She had this amazing sense of humor and I was just always laughing whenever I spoke to her. She always wanted the best for me. I remember when I was five or six, she asked me what I had wanted for my birthday. I think I had just learned the word “creative” in school. I asked her to buy me something creative. She told me okay and then later asked my mum what was “something creative” and whether they were sold at Chong Pang. I didn’t get something creative because my mum asked her to just ignore my silly requests, and just get me something else. I got a pretty white halterneck dress with pink polka dots. I was quite irritating as a child huh?! Haha!

It was also from her that I acquired my unhealthy eating habits. Haha! I shouldn’t put all the blame on her. But my love for curry puffs, kueh-kuehs, and kerepok was from her. She would often buy those whenever she came to my house. She also drilled upon the mantra of life: “Go to bed early, Get out of bed late”.  Food and sleep were two very important things. She would say that it is at this age where you can get good undisturbed sleep and when I grow up, I can forget about all that with the burden of duties and responsibilities.

For me, she was extremely important because she believed in me. She loved my name, “Chandralekha” and the 1948 hit movie with that same name. It was a female-centric one with the female protagonist rescuing the male protagonist. It was a Shankar movie of those time with a dramatic drum sequence. She always said that I will make it big in life, just because of my name. Haha! Such unwavering belief may not seem like it’s a big thing now. However, as a kid who was struggling to find the answer to what the sum of 6 and 9 was, this sort of belief that she had in me was very encouraging. When I thought I was useless, she somehow saw some light in me. I would forever be grateful to her for this. Even now, whenever I am feeling down, I look at the picture I have with her and think of what she would have said to me. Probably something along the lines of, “There’s nothing that my granddaughter, Chandralekha can’t do.” She was also there for my brother and I during some tough times. I don’t even want to imagine how things would have been different if she wasn’t there for us.

I really love her a lot and I am greatly indebted to her. I don’t know if I had been a good granddaughter because I rarely visited her with piling work as I started going to poly. The number of times I called her had also decreased drastically. I wish I told her how much I loved her. I wish I visited more often. She has had a lot of influence on me. A lot more than what meets the eye. I don’t know if I would ever be a good mother, grandmother, sister or wife(if I ever do get married). But it is my Aatha that makes me want to be a better person. The only true tribute I could pay to her is in becoming whatever that she envisioned that I will be. I am still working on it. One day I will reach there. I hope you’re having a good time at heaven, Aatha! I still think of you and love you dearly. Do read my blog when you get the time. Haha! I am sounding so weird now.

Thank you for reading this. Till my next post, stay curious! 🙂

Crows can sing too!

This is going to be the most interesting post because this is the first time I am writing somewhere outdoor(I don’t consider trains to be outdoor). I am actually at Khatib waterfront (Lower Seletar Reservoir) with the wind blowing against my face and the sun shining so bright. Well, it’s super hot too. Thank God they have shelters here.
Waters moving
Birds chirping
Aeroplanes flying
But I can still hear the sound of cars going so fast,
Completely oblivious to the little heaven that they are missing
-Chandralekha(2017) 😛
Does that count as a haiku? Haha! Oh well, even if it isn’t, it’s a string of words without any labels or expectations imposed on it. Why am I so drama-mama today?
Anyway, I like it here. I am actually now a real writer because I am writing outdoors. That’s what real writers do, isn’t it? Haha!

Do what you enjoy doing

The first part of this week’s post is about doing what you enjoy doing. Anyone who truly knows me would know that I love to sing. I am not the bathroom singer; I am the “everywhere-singer”; I sing(or hum) literally everywhere. There’s always some song playing in my head. 80s and 90s Tamil songs mostly. A comment that I receive a lot is, ” Do you think you’re சின்ன குயில்(literal translation: small cuckoo) Chitra?” (Chitra is a renowned Tamil playback singer who has bagged many awards for her impeccable singing.) If you haven’t already guessed, according to many, I sing pretty badly. In all honesty, when I sing, I actually sound really good to me. Like in my ears. However, when I actually hear recordings of my singing, I finally understand why they would actually ask me that. I did stop singing in public for a while to prevent the potential suicides, and nausea for people who hear me sing. (BTW There’s insufficient statistics on the effects of my singing on people.) But that’s when I chanced upon this quote:
“The woods would be quiet if no bird sang but the one that sang best.”
― Henry Van Dyke
So often, we are told that we can’t do something unless we’re good at it. It is not limited to singing, it extends to dancing, sketching, and pretty much everything. Further, when we are young itself, they put us into two boxes; the creative and artsy one and the logical and boring one.(haha, oops!) Even when I was considering blogging, I sometimes thought, my English isn’t always on point; my writings aren’t going to be intellectual enough. But what I have realised is:
(1): You can only get better by practicing.
(2): So what if you don’t get better? Singing, dancing, etc are all expressions of self. Why do you have to be good at it to be even doing it?

(3): Who sets the standards for what is good and bad? I mean, are you God? Even if you are God, how can a creation of your creation be anything short of beautiful?

So here’s to every one of you! Don’t let someone’s narrow definitions of what is good and bad restrain you from doing whatever that you enjoy doing. Stop acting to please others. If you haven’t already received the memo, there will always be one person who’s not pleased. I mean even the really good singers will have haters out there. So go out there, be free! Remember, crows sing too! (And Apparently, they really do sing! Not sure if this is a reliable source though)

Be generous with your support.

The second part of this week’s post is about being generous with support. When I wrote my first blog post, I did not know if even one person would read it. And then it happened. Even before sharing it on Facebook or with anyone else, this guy called David Snape liked it and followed me on WordPress. That was all the acknowledgement, appreciation, and recognition that I needed. That pat on the shoulder pushing me to go for it. I have never realised the kind of impact that such a small action could have on someone. Since then I have tried to be more supportive. Just a like or share could really encourage someone so much. If likes or shares sound superficial to you, go out and talk about the great work your friend is doing to others(Word of mouth marketing). It really is that simple. At this point, I need to thank my family, and my NUSTLS girls (and some guys) for supporting me so much. Y’all are almost like my cheerleaders with the pompoms and all.

But that’s just the first level. If you can, go to the second level! If your friend is selling sketches or cookies, or tickets for her performance or really anything that it may be, go and support them! They are just starting up now. Don’t ask for a discount if you’re just buying 1 unit of good. (Asking for bulk discounts may be justified.) You asking for an unjustified discount on the price is a discount of all their effort and artistic talent. Don’t talk about how you can get the same item from a mass producer at a cheaper price. Obviously, you can get it at a cheaper price because the mass producer has economies of scale and what not. Don’t see everything in dollars and cents. Look at the intrinsic value. I feel like a hypocrite writing this as I have declined to support my friends or have been in a position where I can’t support too many times. However, I am no longer in that position(lol, if you get what I mean) and I am more open to supporting my friends as much as I can. On the flipside, just because your friend is willing to support you, don’t rip them off. Create value from them and then capture it.

If you can, you should climb up to the third level. Now you’re not just throwing your money to buy the final product. Join as a volunteer to support them. Help them by lending them your skills. This is what I am trying to do. Even if I can’t help you sketch itself, I can help you in other aspects like (accounts, tax, marketing, etc.) Everyone has some specialised skills which can mean a lot to those who need them. Collaborating with them and supporting them is the highest level of support you can give.

Supporting you

On that note, this is for anyone who needs it. I am willing to help in the following areas for free:

  1. Human Resource Management:I am not expert in this field. I specialise in Management and have taken a few human resource management related modules and I also watch a lot of TED talks related to this topic. I have helped a couple of people in getting that job/internship that they want. No harm trying right?

2. Marketing: Again, not an expert on this, but I read up quite a bit on this and took one module haha!

3. Accounts and Tax: I am supposed to be an expert in this since this is my first specialisation. But I am only open to give brief opinions on enquiries though. Haha!

You can get my email address from my “About”section.

Giving credit where credit is due

Actually, have you wondered why is it giving credit and not giving debit? Well, look at the word due. When someone owes you, that’s a receivable, that is an asset for which increases are debits. On the other hand, when you owe someone, that’s a payable, that is a liability for which increases are credits. So in this case, it’s kind of like saying that their work is so good that you owe them maybe a compliment. You have to record it as a credit to liability. So you “give a credit”. Haha! I sound like a boring accounting nerd.

Anyway, in recent times I feel that I have witnessed some good stuff which requires a credit. So here’s a short non-exhaustive list below.

  1. NUS TLS’ Sports Spectra 2017

I hate sports and physical activities. I shall not go too much into it. But I think I can go on and on, on why I hate them. I actually have some really funny stories to tell but I will leave them for another day. Anyways, having a person like me participate in Sports Spectra is an achievement on its own. Well done, NUS TLS 38th Exco! Haha! Jokes aside, the event was very smooth and well-executed. We got to interact more with people from other teams. With a tagline of இது வேற மாதிரி! (Ithu Vera Mathiri – This Is Different), the entire event was resurrected into an exciting carnival sort of event with four games: (Bubble Soccer, Tchoukball and Dodgeball) and one non-competitive sport (Kabaddi). The carnival games were fun too. I would definitely join next year as  a spectator. Haha! I have hit the age threshold. I am now super excited for NUSTLS’ next event, Yutham 2017!

2. NTU TLS’ Mocha 2017

I was actually doing my assignment, which was due at 2359 that day, as I watched the show. I don’t intend to “give debits” here. Though, I could see all the hard work put into it, I found it hard to say that the whole was more just the sum of its parts.  However, there were two segments which were too good. They’re Dushyasana Within and the band performances. The audio technicals could have been better but nevertheless I was singing along with them especially when Kanne Kalaimane and Vidai Kodu Engal Naade came. Being a feminist myself, Dushyana Witthin was well-relatable and certain portions got me fuming(the rape scene). On the whole, it did make me think about the issues presented even after coming back home.

3. Iruvar drama series

I don’t watch much television nowadays. However, I watched this show enough to know what was happening. I liked the angles from which the shots are taken. They don’t show everything; they show you just enough for you to guess. The storyline is great too. I didn’t quite expect it. I felt that the cast-character fit was pretty good too. But to me, Vishnu stole the show. It’s not just about his Sigappu Rojakkal kind of look but the acting. I liked the way he transitioned in the climax scenes. Oh my! I don’t say this much but this drama was one of the better ones, matching up to classics like Guru Paarvai. On a sidenote, did you know that you can watch Guru Paarvai on Toggle?

With that, I have come to the end of this long, loosely connected post.

Thank you for reading and stay curious! 🙂

P.S. Just for your information, I am not selling anything. Also, this is not a sponsored post. Just honest opinions.

Confession: I can’t accept compliments.

I have realised that I don’t have the time to write two posts a week and y’all probably wouldn’t have the time to read two posts a week too. We’re all busy people, watching videos of clingy pandas, cute dogs, and red velvet pancakes recipes on Facebook. Haha! Or maybe that’s just me. Having completely lost interest in the course that I am taking(Accountancy), I am just slowly counting down to my graduation. I have slightly more than a year for that. It’s never too early to start counting down! Despite all the chaos, this blog has been keeping me sane. Every morning I wake up with a new idea for a post. I now have a whole list of ideas on my Evernote app waiting to be written into 1500-word posts. On most days, I tell myself that if I get this particular task done, then I can get to writing my blog.  On other days when I am extremely busy, I write the post during my 1.5 hour journey back home from school. Today, I am writing this at home before working on all my other work. Oh well.

I have always had this issue. When someone gave me a compliment on something, be it my physical features, my work, my brains, my make-up, my outfit, I have trouble believing it. This should explain why I usually don’t reply to comments on my profile pictures; I like them instead. It’s just easier that way. This is also why I am awkwardly looking at the ceiling when you say that you like how I have done my eyeliner. If they are saying nice things to me, it’s only because they are just trying to be nice(especially my family and friends). They don’t actually mean it. They probably have some favour that they want from me, some ulterior motive. (Afterall, it’s compliments that sparks liking which is one of the factors used in persuasion.)  I am quite skeptical. As a matter of fact, that’s what one of my tutors at poly called me once- Miss Skeptical. “Why can’t you accept that you’re good at something?” Honestly, I don’t know. Perhaps it was because if I accepted the good things that people say, it meant that I would have to give the same weight to the negative comments that people make. But I did try to accept the compliments after a while. My usual response to such compliments is a basic thank you and an awkward change of topic. Oh happy birthday! Like in the image below. Oh, it’s such a nice, sunny day! FreshPaint-27-2017.03.16-07.17.20

The situation only got worse when I came to university. We’re put on a bell curve. Suddenly, it was not about whether I was good; it was whether I was better than the rest. When I received test results, I had to now ask around to see how others have fared. The mean, the median they all became so important. Hey, you might have gotten 80%, but as long as there’s one person out there with a 90%, you’re not good enough. This view was not limited to just academics.It spread to everything else. You might be talented but you’re not the most talented. It has become a toxic competition. In real business, that’s how most companies got thrown out of business. It’s not because the products were not good, but because there were competitors out there which produced higher quality products and/or at cheaper prices. We had become into products neatly shelved competing for market share. Okay there is always going to be competition everywhere unless I go to Himalayas or something. Back to what I was saying, I am finding it even harder to accept compliments. If you find me beautiful, maybe you haven’t noticed that gap in my teeth or my bulbous nose. Maybe if you see someone else you wouldn’t find me pretty anymore. If you like my blog posts, maybe you didn’t see the typos or the grammatical errors. Maybe you haven’t read enough of other pieces to know that mine isn’t good enough. Maybe you would soon lose interest in what I write. Too many maybe’s.

Maybe it’s because of my imposter syndrome. I first got to know about it when I was reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Sometimes I feel like a fraud. They are soon going to find out that I am not that great. They are going to be greatly disappointed. Truth be told, that’s how I felt when I was chosen to be the treasurer for NUS Tamil Language Society or as class monitor in secondary school. This is why I find it hard to accept compliments. I don’t want to eventually disappoint people. Sigh.

I know this isn’t very healthy and it has to change. Well, I have this Jessica Pearson-like alter ego who’s all confident, and sassy. Most people don’t get to see it. Count yourself lucky if you did. Haha!

This is a note to self: I am a strong, confident, beautiful, important and intelligent woman. I do not need someone’s validation for that. But if someone compliments me, I will accept it. If they don’t, so be it. That doesn’t change the fact that I am what I am. Even if there are a thousand people better than me, it doesn’t change the fact that I possess what I possess. Good and bad. There isn’t a rose without a thorn. It comes as a package. You can’t have debit without a credit. Every transaction needs both limbs. Well, debit doesn’t always mean good and credit doesn’t always mean bad. But it shows the duality of things. (Just because I am making accounting references doesn’t mean that I love it. Just trying to apply what I know.) I need to embrace my imperfections because without which I wouldn’t have my strengths too. Do I make sense?

This is for you readers. I would like to say that you’re a beautiful person and you have good taste(because you’re reading this post, duh). Haha! Yes, that was a brief glimpse of my Jessica Pearson.

Thank you for reading. Till my next post, stay curious! 🙂

Men shall eat first and other stories.

The NUS dream.

In the second bite for this week(Yes, if you haven’t realised, I try to write two posts weekly),  I am going to start with my parents’ story. Sorry Mummy and Appa(Father in Tamil)!

My parents’ marriage was an arranged marriage but they did meet a couple of times and got to know each other before actually getting married. It is during one of such initial meetings that my mum told her future husband(my dad) that she wants just two children: a son and a daughter and how she wants both of them to go to NUS. She was having dreams for her kids even before she got married. Do you see where I got the whole over thinking about the future from? Haha! Neither my mum nor my dad had pursued tertiary education. By the way, my dad works in the Singapore Armed Forces. My mum, after the longest post-pregnancy break from work, now works part-time too. She only went to work when I was in polytechnic. She had to make sure we didn’t go astray. That’s probably why they saw the importance of a university education; they have seen the challenges that come with the absence of such paper qualifications.

Flash forward. My brother and I will be graduating from NUS about a year from now. That is if we pass. Haha! Just kidding! We will definitely do well. I am actually the first female in both my paternal and maternal family side to even make it to one of the local universities, let alone NUS or Accountancy. (I had went to a neighbourhood primary and secondary school before making it to SP and then NUS subsequently.) I am not saying this to sing praises of myself. The truth is the other ladies in my family are just as, if not more, intelligent, hard-working and talented as me. I feel there are so many other Indian girls not performing to their fullest potential. Just to be clear, there are many inspiring Indian undergraduate females at NUS. I just feel that there’s a lot more unexploited potential. I feel that they didn’t achieve academic success because of several reasons and I will explain it through my kutty(little in Tamil) stories. This is just my honest opinion.

You are pretty.

Well, this isn’t one specific incident. It’s actually in every other Tamil movie that I have watched, and every other Tamil song that I have heard. To win a girl’s heart, the hero doesn’t say that she’s intelligent, or that she’s a great personality. More often than not, he would start singing a song about her beauty. Great emphasis is placed on being pretty for Indian females. Increasingly, the standard to reach this “pretty” is just insane. Thread your full face and wax your legs and hands,making sure that you look like Kim Possible’s naked mole-rat! Rebond your hair! New fad’s in: perm your hair! Dye your hair! Pamper your nails with manicure and pedicure! If you’re on the darker side, you got to try all those fairness creams and all those secret tricks to becoming fair because you can’t be pretty if you’re not fair right?! Okay, I am being sarcastic here. By the time the girls are done satisfying the requirements to be pretty, they have no time to study or no space to think about studies. I am not saying that these are wrong. I just feel that it’s unfair to the girls. I remember seeing some girl in my secondary school doing almost all of the above except maybe dying because it wasn’t allowed. But while the girls are doing all these during their teenage years itself, what are the guys doing? They don’t even have to worry about being handsome because they don’t have these pressures to look good. In fact, the social expectation of them is to do well in life so that they don’t have trouble finding someone pretty to marry in the future. I know you might be thinking that I am talking as if I didn’t do any of these. Well, I did and that’s how I realised that it’s a waste of time. Now out of all of the above-mentioned activities, I only engage in the first: threading of my eyebrows and that too only if there’s some important event. That’s probably about five or six times in an entire year. I enjoy putting on make-up too but that’s because I love to see colour on my face. Actually doing these is fine but when you do it is very important. It is also important that studies still remains your priority.

Attached.

If wasting time trying to meet the standards to be pretty is not bad enough, these girls usually end up getting into relationships because they’re pretty. I mean why would any guy want to give such a pretty girl amiss? These girls are young and naive and looking for external validation that they’re pretty. The boys are seeking that same validation too. Well, they get distracted from studies but all is still well. Then their parents find out about this relationship. Since getting into a relationship in teenage years is a sin, some Indian parents would put their kids through hell, taking away their phone and stripping away their freedom from them. Some would even decide that their daughter doesn’t need to go to school anymore. I am not sure if this still happens now. I did see such things happening when I was in secondary school. It probably still happens in some neighbourhood secondary schools. I understand the parents’ concerns because things could be much worse. The parents just have their children’s best interests in mind. Some of these relationships result in the girl becoming pregnant. It’s just quite sad sometimes.

How are you going to ever get married if you are successful?

Well, even if the girl wasn’t in a relationship or wasn’t too busy with all that activities to make her pretty, she still doesn’t excel in studies sometimes because of cultural norms. When I was studying in Yishun secondary school, I had this close friend who sat near me. He was a very nice guy. I generally felt that he respected girls. Of course, like every other guy in my class, he sometimes did silly things too. One day after seeing my results for that term in my report book, he asked me a question. “How are you going to ever get married if you are successful? Men find it intimidating to marry a lady who earns more than them.” Maybe he’s right! That’s what the statistics say too! Only 24.6% of brides with university qualification have married a groom with a lower qualification. 26 per cent women between the ages of 35 and 39 who have had university education were single.Even the ones with a lot of potential, sometimes tone themselves down just so that they can get married. After all, marriage is the sole purpose of life, isn’t it?

Men shall eat first.

If the above-mentioned points are not sufficient, there’s one more strong point, the view that Indian men are superior to Indian women which has been ingrained since young. The values were so widespread in almost every other activity. During family dinners, the men would eat before the women. My mum and my aunts would always be the last to eat after serving them. I mean if they wanted an extra serving, they should go and take it themselves. They don’t have to be standing there next to the table asking if the men want some more so that they can quickly go and serve him a second serving. They could have started eating too. As women, they will always be second to men. While men shall eat first, when it comes to cleaning the house or cooking, they go missing because it’s a girl’s thing. It’s okay if the son doesn’t clean the house or help in cooking. Studying should be his priority. What about the girls? The girls have to do it whatever the case. Afterall, she’s going to run her own house one day. These are just two examples of practices that I have seen that irritates me. If the mother herself thinks that her son’s education is more important than her daughter’s, where’s her daughter going to get the motivation to study from? I can see why some people are like that too. A son’s education delivers better yield in the long-term as it’s “wrong” to expect a married daughter to contribute to them. This view has to be changed first. A married daughter can contribute to her parents all she wants without being controlled by her in-laws. The situation at my home is not that bad because my mum doesn’t oppress me but I know some friends who have a clear disparity in treatment at home because of their gender.

It’s not easy to change these things. They are so deep-rooted. You can change one family at a time. I talk about these issues with my mum. She doesn’t agree with everything that I put forth. We do argue quite a bit. Nevertheless, I have been blessed in the sense that my parents try to treat my brother and myself equally. University education was not just something that they wanted for my brother but also for me. I feel that the differences in the kind of circumstances that the people who make it to university and the people who did not make it to university are put through is the reason for all that difference.

Despite all these that I have said, if you have even just one person rooting for you to do well in life, that’s enough to push you forward. I want to be that person for other girls. As a young girl, I did have some pretty good role models that I still look up to. But when I looked around to see successful Indian women who have made their mark in Singapore or the world, I was really clueless. Maybe there were some really successful ladies. Perhaps owing to the fact that they weren’t celebrated much even in the Indian media, I just didn’t know about them. Okay, I am not exactly successful yet. I haven’t accomplished much. But I want to be that role model for such girls especially from neighbourhood secondary schools. So this is for the girls in secondary school. You are in the important years of your life. Don’t waste your time! Focus! If you need someone to talk to about academics, career and life, you can always message me through my Facebook page (You can like and share the page too! Haha! 🙂 ) I don’t know if such young girls read my blog. Well, if you do know someone who could use such a pep talk, feel free to message me too. 🙂

Thank you for reading and stay curious! Haha! 🙂

P.S. Stay curious is my tagline sort of thing that I am going to say at the end of every post hereon. It’s supposed to be like Ellen’s “Be kind to one another”.

So what now?

The past week has been quite exhausting and overwhelming. (Note to self: As tempting as it may be, do not write a blog post when you actually have a midterm test the following week).

I am honestly taken aback by the kindness of strangers and friends. I greatly appreciate all the encouraging words that y’all have taken your time to post as comments and send as private messages on Facebook. I did not reply to all the comments but I promise you that I have read every one of them. They have definitely helped lift my spirits. A big thank you for that! While my post was just a rant, I believe that it has helped to create awareness of the kind of experiences faced by someone from a minority race. Maybe it has even given you the courage to speak up on your own experiences. We need to be talking more about this issue because this isn’t just a minorities’ problem; this is everyone’s problem. I just sounded so cliched. I feel that the media too, needs to do more to get people talking about these issues, especially in a constructive way. At this point, I should also say that I find it upsetting that some websites(online media and forum pages) have actually misrepresented me and written an article that distorts some of the information in my post such that the essence of my post is lost. While it may seem like this pages have created awareness, such misconstrued information does not help in improving the situation. Sigh.

Nevertheless, one good thing that came out of this post was that I met the Assistant Deans of NUS Business School and my concerns were addressed. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Great words of Neil Armstrong. I am exaggerating here but I would be lying if I say that I did not feel like I did something meaningful, important and even historical.

That being said, if you had read my other posts, you would have realised that this blog is actually not strong on activism or creating awareness. With the exception of my last post, the other two posts were rather carefree and personal and that’s how I want my blog to be as well. Hence, I am not going to write intense stuff for a while. Tone it down a bit just to give my mum her peace of mind. Haha! I am putting this out here so that you don’t start having expectations for this blog which I am definitely not going to fulfil.

During this uncomfortable time, one thing that kept me strong(apart from all you kind souls) was music. On a sidenote, Youtube Mix is great. I just had to play one of my favourites and then it just automatically plays all of my other favourites one after another and I just got so nostalgic. That’s when I heard this song. It was my favourite back when I was in sec 1. It always made me happy instantly. The lyrics penned by the late Na. Muthukumar are so beautiful and uplifting. And why doesn’t Yuvan Shankar Raja make the kind of music that he used to? I remember how when I was in secondary school, his songs were pretty much all that I listened to. For my non-Tamil readers, this song(Pesugiren Pesugiren from the movie Satham Podathe) has the girl’s heart telling her to stay strong and that everything is going to be okay. To summarise the scenes in the video, it’s actually about the girl moving on in life(after a traumatic marriage), and overcoming her insecurities and obstacles(she seems to have anxiety related tremors). Everyone is fighting their own battles and I hope that this song gives you the strength to face your problems and come out stronger. 🙂

Have a good day! 🙂