Soulless

It’s been a frustrating day at work. Rather less eloquently than my last attempt at a post, I’ll just say this much.

I would like my superiors more if:
a) They weren’t so rude to me and treated me as a ‘team member’ as they’ve started calling us (as of today, actually).
b) They weren’t driven by the desire to sell things for profit at the expense of labourers (or team members) such as myself.
c) They acknowledged how hard I worked.

I would like my job more if:
a) I wasn’t expected to do as much work as people who are getting paid approximately five times as much as me.
b) I was allowed to do my job at my own pace, to enjoy it and derive from it the simple pleasure that comes from creation/restoration.

Today there were some teenagers in the store that looked that they were looking for trouble. And they looked right at me for a moment, and while I prepared for a possible thrashing (I didn’t have the strength nor will to fight today), all I could think about what how Michelle might tell me off for not working enough cages. When you fear your boss more than bodily harm, there is something wrong with your boss (or possibly you).

Something else I’ve noticed is that I’ve started walking faster. I don’t have time to waste idling. Even walking to the car or going for a break, I do it quickly so as to enjoy as much time as possible. This is not what Buddha taught. This is not daring to stop and smell the roses. This is life, working a job you hate so you can sustain the pattern of exhaustion and mindlessness.

I do not think I could work every day. I wouldn’t be able to suppress the anguish and would likely stop working altogether for a while.  It would be nice to have enough money to become self-sustaining, but I could go without it if needed. I take some comfort from the fact that if it ever gets too much I can just stop working and live life at my own pace, as a monk, as a hobo or as a martial artist. I hope it doesn’t come to that, that I’ll find a job that I enjoy and allows me to live reasonably comfortably, but at least I have somewhere to go.

Alas. By writing this blog entry (and trying to eat lunch at the same time), it seems I haven’t enough time to watch that episode of Cardcaptor Sakura I was looking forward to. I guess I’ll finish eating and head back over.

I’m not a bad person. And I don’t want to harden myself, to allow hatred or anger or negativity to reside within me. I want to be a harbour of peace, love and kindness. But it’s hard, at Coles, when almost everything I love about myself is disallowed in favour for filling an extra carton of coke.

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The Neoliberalist Manifesto

I am $13.74 an hour.
I am ~45 cartons an hour.
I am a member of the staff, happy, friendly, and willing to help, so long as you’ll keep buying stuff.

In an increasingly homogenesing world, the trend seems to be towards the western market. Ideals of capitalism are manifest in Australia’s economic rationalist regime, and if you have no idea what that means, it essentially means that value is measured by how much you can make off it. Rainforests are measured by the potential profit gained from logging them, versus the cost of preserving them. Companies pretend to care about the environment, but only enough so they can get away with other forms of exploitation. And in all of this, human labour, effort, creativity, is measured by how much money you can make in return. Art is not beautiful unless it will sell. And it is this logic that devalues the nature and purpose of work.

Marx wrote that sooner or later, the working class is going to get pissed off that they’re being exploited by the ruling elite. They’re going to insurrect, to revolt, and create a new social order. The signs of the conflict are becoming increasingly apparent. Jobs, hours and wages are being cut as this ‘global economic crisis’ strikes terror into the hearts of investors everywhere. Pressure from work is messing with family life, and God forbid if family life every tries to interfere with work, because it’s just not showing your dedication to the team. How this insurrection will take place, if ever, I’ve no idea. But I wouldn’t mind if it came sooner rather than later.

I just wanted to say that, all you poor labourers out there, don’t lose faith. Don’t give up. Don’t hate your work because you hate what your boss is doing to it. Because our system sucks. A society based on profit is going to lead to misery and wealth for a select, miserable few. And it was not always like this, and I pray it will not be some day. So be the pioneers of this era and work because it’s beautiful, because it helps people, because you love it, whatever. But don’t do it for the money for Christ’s sake, there’s enough of that going on and you’ll only fuel a system of exploitation and hurt.

I just wanted to get the hurt out of my own system. That said and done, I’m going to bed so I can wake up and be with my girlfriend. Good night all.

A swarovski question

The more I learn about the world, the more I get the impression that there is only a very limited age group between your twenties and early forties where you can live as an adult. After that, you just work and continue the life you have forged before preparing for retirement, and then all that’s left is becoming aged, playing board games and dying. Life, as we have been led to believe it, seems only fertile for a decade or two at the most. The rest of the time… what’s it all for?

-October 31st, 2008.

A swarovski pearl

I still ponder the purpose of life and how one should best live it, but for the moment, I am content not to pursue these questions (questions, perhaps, without answers) and to simply live. In a life full of gray clouds and stressful pressures, sometimes, it’s worth leaving it all behind to spontaneously enjoy the many benefits of being alive.

-Some time during late 2008

Thoumoh

I slept in this morning until 11:30. For anyone who knows me, that’s exceptionally late- my body normally wakes me  up around 8:30am and says "All right, get up you lazy bastard," and kicks me awake every time I protest. Today, I found myself able to go back to sleep despite the kicking and woke up three hours later. I had some messed up dreams while I was at it, too.

Firstly I remember dreaming about getting into a fight. Friends and I were playing basketball, it rolled away, I jogged after it. A huge bunch of teenagers and young adults (18 or so of them?) were hanging out by the docks where the ball rolled and I ducked and weaved past them to retrieve it. As I was leaving, one of them jumped in front of me and pretended to punch me. Everyone laughed (Hahaha, what a great joke, that was hilarious), so against my better judgement, I hit him. The next few seconds involved such a complex array of dream attacks I won’t try and describe exactly what I did. In essence, though, I moved very quickly, very fluidly, very accurately, to attack and defend myself from all of them with a series of kicks, strikes and throws. At one point I was held by about five pairs of hands, and I managed to get out of that by throwing the basketball at the person who was about to attack me, and then wrenching myself free of everyone and decking the guy with a complex armbar-cum-hip throw. When everyone was lying around, unconscious or trying to breathe, I saw one guy running away and so I chased him. I didn’t want any of them to escape, and so I threw him to the floor as well. I later realised he was a civilian, and apologised. I felt very guilty, but explained my reasons to him and he seemed to not want any further trouble.

That segment of the dream was a cross between awesome and guilt-tripping. I remember just how it felt to fight against multiple opponents, to use their confusion and numbers against them, how quickly I had to strike and how, if I didn’t hold back or didn’t allow myself to hesitate, I could floor pretty much any number of people. I also realise this is highly improbable, and if they were to grab me and I didn’t have my trusty basketball at hand, I would be utterly screwed. That said, it felt really good not having to hold back in a fight for once.

From there, the dream warped to a Battle Royale scenario. For those of you unfamiliar with the Japanese manga (and later, movies), it’s about a class of high schoolers who are randomly selected to battle to the death. They are taken to a deserted island, given weapons and rations, and are told to kill each other until there is only one survivor within three days, or they all will die. I dreamed that the Year 12’s of Trinity College last year were chosen, and so there we were, all the Trinity boys, in the college, with guns, supposed to kill either or both each other and the teachers. The teachers I recall were our main enemies, barricaded in the staff building. It was an interesting, disturbing dream, and while I shot many people in the head, none of the bullets seemed to hit or have effect. That’s probably the last time I take movie recommendations from Sanyu and Daniel Jenkins :P

If anyone’s wondering how the dream ended, I told them that Mum was waiting for me in the carpark so I had to go and would come back at 9am tomorrow morning to resume. They let me out and I woke up shortly after.

In other completely unrelated news, I got my results for my second semester of uni. They are as follows:

Unit

Grade

Mark

Unit Title

001973

9

92

Anthropology 112 – Anthropology in a Gl

001638

7

77

Behavioural Science 171

001635

7

71

SW 121 – Introduction to Welfare

001636

8

84

SW 122 – Practice Models 1

That’s 2 Distinctions, 2 High Destinctions. Nice. Really happy about the Anthropology- too bad it’s an elective and doesn’t count for anything. Ah well, at least I’m maintaining the average 70-80% for social work students. I’m told it’s a pretty easy course. Least my marks look good.

In other other news, I think I’m about 70% recovered. Still coughing, but staying at home today and hopefully fully recovered by tomorrow. Every morning when I wake up, I think "Am I well enough to go to Taekwondo tonight?" So far it’s proven elusive. I might have to wait til next week. Man, full health couldn’t come soon enough.

EDIT: Just for fun, I worked out what marks I got in my exams. They are as follows.

Anthropology:                29/30, or 97%
Behavioural Science:      29/40, or 72.5%
Introduction to Welfare: 32/40, or 80%
Practice Models:           26/30, or 87%

Sunday

So here I am at my blog again. To be honest there’s no real reason for this entry, but I felt this rush of creative energy when reading the blog of a friend of mine, who had honed her blogging skills to amazing perfection. She really knows how to put forward a point, that girl, and she’s particularly skilled with metaphors and abstract ideas that could very well shape the world for the better if enough people cottoned on. So, for want of a better topic to blog about, I’m going to talk about my day.

I woke up this morning, as I often do. For the first time in perhaps two or three weeks, it was my alarm that woke me, and I daresay I’ve become somewhat undisciplined since the holidays started. Silencing that noisy pinprick into the deep comfort of my bed it took me another few minutes to force myself up. I realised around then that my throat had possibly worsened rather than improved and after metaphorically pacing for half an hour, I decided not to go to the Edmund Rice Camp for Kids Christmas party. The little tykes, bless their hearts, will have to party on without me. So, reluctantly, I crawled back into bed and pretended I was asleep.

Realising I wasn’t fooling anyone, I crawled back out and stumbled around swearing wildly for a bit. Since then, I’ve occupied myself with either reading, gaming, or mindlessly browsing the internet (most of which was done in my pyjamas). While I might once have considered this the ideal day, it bores me to the soul. Yes, I’m getting some gaming done, and yes I’m getting some reading done, and yes I’m reading that person’s blog or writing about this issue on that site, but… Is that really what life is all about?

I was thinking today that the only reason I could tolerate spending a day like this is because I lack the energy to do anything else with it. I do fear sometimes that my future will be empty. I still doubt whether social work is what I want to do, but assuming I end up as a social worker, it would mean working full time. And in my hours of non-work, I would likely clean, sleep and read. And that’s thirty years of my life with a spice of variation here and there, but essentially, I would work until I could afford to retire, and then… go back to reading, gaming and browsing the internet all day for the rest of my life? While sometimes I think I would very much enjoy a life of staying at home, eating junkfood and playing Fallout 3 or something, it really isn’t all life has to offer. And that worries me- is there some more purposeful way I can spend my time? I think I fear I’m wasting my life.

To be honest, when I got home yesterday, the long-awaited holiday over, I took one look at my calender and struggled not to break down. A month of blank days with barely anything organised. Somehow, I would have to find a way to spend the time. And reading, gaming and surfing is all jolly good sport and whatnot, but it really isn’t very fulfilling when you look back on the day and consider all the accomplishments you’ve made. So, I suppose, I need to find more regular work (to keep the devil from giving me something) or a hobby which can actually take up most of my conscious hours.

In other news, I’m thinking of learning another language or two. At the moment, Japanese has become less appealing because of its vast complexity. Spanish has a nice accent- maybe I’ll try my hand at that? Or something much more practical, like Mandarin. We’ll see in time.

So, for the moment, it seems like I’ll have to spend my time gaming and suchlike, seeing Bethwyn every now and then, and… well… if anyone can help me fill in the blank it would be much appreciated.

Perhaps just a little disconcertedly,

Xin.

Margaret River Recount

All right, so here it is. A more thorough recount of the week I spent at Margaret River, in the delightful company of Bethwyn, Bob, John, Aurora, Nicolette and myself. It seems very sad that the holiday is over now, like there’s not much to look forward to, but that’s rubbish of course. Probably comes from feeling sick and crummy. Anyway, the holiday. I’m feeling rather poor at the moment, and I feel it’s tarnishing the memories to describe them in such a state, but I’ll give it a crack anyway.

My top five happy memories from Margaret River?

5. Soul Calibur tournaments.
4. Starting the days with yoga and meditation.
3. A towel and tea-towel war where I seemed to be the only one who didn’t walk away with a large welt/bruise.
2. Getting slightly drunk for the first time. It was quite sensational noting how my reflexes slowed and my coordination was scrambled.
1. Sharing a bed with Bethwyn. Feeling her warmth, in particular, was one of the most wonderful sensations of my life. And God she’s beautiful when she’s asleep.

Of course that’s only the very small sliver of the pleasures of Margaret River. Let’s see if I can name a few more…

There was doing handstands on the beach and trying to keep my balance
in all sorts of ridiculous ways.
Playing I-Ninja and Soul Calibur and
Naruto on my PS2.
Watching Black Books (Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey-
hilarious).
The berry farm and finding exactly how beautiful a garden
can be- and the most delicious pancakes in the world with a fig of
lavender on the side.
Bethwyn’s incredible beauty, no matter what she
wore or how she looked.
Drunken poker, hide and seek and spoons.
Drunken anything, actually.
Sparring with Aurora.
All the
stupid jokes and noises John and Bob made.
Catching Bethwyn catch me
dancing as I made breakfast for myself.
Giving Bethwyn massages and
getting her food, drinks and ice cream.
Smiling as she asked if she
minded if she shared my toothbrush for a night.
Spaghetti. Always
spaghetti.
Dumplings in soup and fat magpies who ate the leftovers.

Shattering a wine glass with my foot.
Building sand castles on the beach.
The chocolate factory and a certain orange bottle purchased there.
Wine and cheese tastings.
Running playfully down
the street with Bethwyn laughing just as wildly.
Air guitaring.

Discovering I’m pretty decent at Quake 3; Bob thinks I’m better than
him because he saw my score- I didn’t tell him I was camping.
Hell,
just sharing a bed with Bethwyn earns another mention.
Discovering how
awesome Nicolette’s sense of humour is, and her taste in junkfood.

Spending $52 and 35 minutes at Margies Pizza only to walk down the road
to find Eagle Boys were selling theirs for $5.95 and 5 minutes a piece.

Talking skating with John.
Smiling at the moon and having it smile back
at me.
Laughing as Bethwyn "sunk my battleship".
Winning all forty
bottlecaps in poker and deciding to invest them in a mansion for Bethwyn and
myself.
Aurora’s outfits.
Projectors + movies (and Terry Tate).
A surf
shop called "Wet Dreams".
Sitting and reading with Bethwyn. Just sitting, just reading. Enormous levels of pleasure for something so simplistic.
Lychee body butter. Alas!

Hm… Well, that’s all I’ve got for the moment, but I’m sure there’ll be more. Good times indeed, I miss them, but look forward to the future. Maybe another holiday is in order- once I replenish my funds, anyway. Pip pip, and good day!