Change, Expand and Grow

Many construct buildings while I construct villages. Villages grow into towns, into cities; a building will always just “be”.

Buildings are made with strong foundations that take years to build, yet once those foundations are set in stone – literally – there is very little chance of changing it without uprooting everything the building worked towards in the first place. This leaves the building with history, with stability, with fortitude, but without change. To change a building starts from the inside – to renovate, to construct – still, on the outside, nothing except the surface image of a building will be changed. Perhaps new sections can be added: new runways, lifts, an entire wing if need be, but these are merely additions. Regardless of how many improvements are made, however, the foundations of the building still remain unchanged. They remain unaltered, and become archaic over time.

Villages are made with people working together. It is a form of unity, of togetherness, and of learning to live homogeneously with those whose experiences, memories and perceptions are different. It is a way of assimilating to others’ paradigmatic system of functioning as a human being – to incorporate all aspects and thus form new paths. Building villages starts with accepting others and mutually benefiting from them – with trade, farming, agriculture and the basic necessities of life. Building cities comes with diversifying – with travel, open-mindedness and acceptance. Cities built from villages have their traditional value – the foundations are there – but they are not as deep rooted to the point of no return.

Buildings are needed for they exist within and make-up the city; they exist in order for a city to be formed. The city itself is an encompassing of many buildings, but one single building is pointless if it is in the middle of nowhere. Thus, those who build cities start with a perception of homogeneity; those who build buildings strive to achieve. Yet, once that “highest pinnacle” is reached, what more is there to do than admire its architecture or live/work in it? What more is there to it than its basic function and appearance?

Villages grow. Cities expand. Cities change.

And change is necessary for a state, nation, and globe to actually be formed. A building is but nothing without a reason to exist – yet without them, a city cannot be formed. A building on its own will not grow – unless those of the city decide it necessary.

Many construct buildings, but I construct cities.

~Mikavelli~ Click to read “City Lights”

The Monetary Mistake

“Inherited fortunes are a misfortune that can only lead to sloth.”
~Alfred Nobel~

Money is volatile, it comes and goes, and even when it comes, it doesn’t necessarily lower the cost of living. In this generation, combined with growing up in a commercially competitive society, you soon learn that chasing money will get you nowhere. It’s like the leprechaun chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: “enough” just doesn’t exist, right?

 Wrong. Having “enough” money means if you can afford rent, food, bills and still have a little left over to have the occasional night out with your friends once in a while. We are consumed by the commercial mentality of consumerism that having more money means more shopping, more travelling, just more of whatever you have managed to live without for this long.

 Yes, it would be nice to have state of the art technology, to have a nice car, to travel around the world to see your loved ones and what not. But if you’re waiting around until you have “enough” money to do so in the future, I’ll tell you for a fact that unless you win the jackpot, you’re going to spend the next however long it takes to reach that “ideal figure” in your bank account. Why? Because the cost of living continuously grows. People are born, people need places to live, and earth is running out of land. Right?

 Wrong again. Earth is not running out of land, people are just flocking to places which have a stronger economy, which means that places that already have a high cost of living will continue to have a high cost of living. Now I can go on explaining how it’s all a result of colonialism, how colonisers took advantage of poor countries with lots to offer but also lack of resources, but this is the present. Yes, the past played a part, and the future will be impacted, and regardless where the focus is – if it’s on using the past to predict the future, or using the “future” to set ideals and standards for what is now – the present isn’t going to magically make things happen.

 Which brings me back to money. We have convinced ourselves (by way of media and society) that studying hard gets us a good job, good jobs bring good money, good money means raising a stable family. But why bet on the “what ifs?” Yes, education is pertinent to the future of our world, but it doesn’t have to be for money: contrary to the modern educational falacies, education is about knowledge, not status. It is about opening doors into our future by providing tools and skills, but at the end of the day, how you use them determine the level of happiness we gain from the output.

 So what is happiness? Happiness is not about chasing the pot of gold, it’s not about waiting for the day when you will be recognised and paid for your talents. It’s not about having enough money to waste and splurge. It’s about enjoying what you do have now and taking from each experience something that money will never buy. Yes, a new shirt or a new laptop might make you happy for a while, then it gets old. Think about this when you shop, “will this purchase significantly impact my functioning life?”

 Because in all honesty, if you really can’t survive without it, how has the human race not ceased to exist? Someone, somewhere, is still alive without that shirt. You don’t need it. You need happiness, and that shirt ain’t gonna make you happy. You fill your lives with objects that decay, with momentary frivol to keep you distracted, with the latest technology to make life simpler and a little lazier, with plane tickets around the world to “get away from reality.” Well face it, if you need that much reassurance and distraction in life, you’re never going to be happy.

 Just make the most of what you do have, because at the end of the day, people who love you will still be there at your lowest, and if they aren’t, then you were just their latest trend, just as your iPhone is now.

 Shit gets old. And so do humans.

 But at least humans can grow up.

McGordan

My comrades don’t fold, pop ****, get throwed
When it come to politicking all the homies need to know is
Get money, rent money
Get money, food money
Get money, school money
Stop taking shit from me
~Bambu~

Do You Hear The People Sing?

In light of the Umbrella Revolution which started on Friday night, September 26th, 2014, an anthem has been spreading around the networks of Hong Kong. The lyrics are really powerful, and I’ve taken the liberty to translate them to the best of my understanding. If there are any errors, feel free to comment. I will make changes accordingly, thank you.

We are crying to be heard.
We are crying to be heard.

English translation of the anthem:

Ask me who hasn’t spoken up yet
For if not I, then who will defend our city
For we were born with the right to be
So who has the power to play as God?
Who should tolerate their voices being suppressed
Who is ale to remain unaware
Hearing the sounds of freedom echoing all around
Arousing the inevitable fact that you cannot turn your back on such an enlightened response

Why is a beautiful dream still just a dream?
We need grace and mercy to cast its light on the shadow
Why is it only black or white, yes or no?
Why not use right and wrong as a standard?
For the future of our generation
We need to keep our eyes open.

No on has the right to be mundane
And lazily sit there watching the millions around us catch on fire
So ask me again and I’ll raise my hand
To be chosen as one that will help to construct our lives
People are still people with responsibility and freedom to decide our future
For THE FREEDOM OF OUR FUTURE IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Douglas Everett

I really can’t stay
I’ve got to go away
But baby it’s cold outside…
~Dean Martin~

Growing up in the city, one would presume Christmas to be a romantic break from the usual setting of cars and noise. Yet

somehow, even with the reposeful romantic jazz as background music in every shop, around every corner – musically painting portraits of the Christmas spirit – the speed continues as the city soars through its frantic shopping and spending.

Modern Christmas is not what the traditional stereotypes made it out to be – the supposition that Christmas is meant for family and friends is half true… but modern Christmas has evolved into a time of spending, partying, and keeping oneself busy. Rather than taking time out to spend with loved ones, modern Christmas has become a time to spend with everyone you haven’t made the time for throughout the rest of the year. Modern Christmas has become an excuse to see everyone you feel obliged to see because lets face it, living in the city, Christmas is the only time one can really make the effort – Christmas bonuses as work means extra spending on those we’ve failed to keep in contact with; Christmas holidays mean family reunion with family friends you didn’t even know your parents knew; Christmas songs mean hours and hours of practicing performance songs that will only be played once a year…

Traditionally, Christmas was meant to be a time of love and giving – but modern Christmas, not to say that it’s not about love, but perhaps living in a cosmopolitan city such as Hong Kong, the Christmas focus revolves around bonuses and benefits – materialistic means of managing failed relationships and friendships.

There is no Santa – and even from a young age, children have reasoned that fairy tales have an unlikely chance of becoming reality. The dreams of a childhood are replaced with material gifts from parents; the happiness of the child is about the amount of gifts – the latest gadget, the most updated software, the newest cartoon computer game.

The cosmopolitan city leaves no room for dreams, no room for pretense; yet the level of superficiality is as real as it gets… the shallowness of a society so prideful and busy that ones own children don’t even see the fantasy of Christmas… modern Christmas in a city is not like the movies depict. And it takes one to live the reality to see the fantasy of a romantic city-Christmas only happens in the movies of New York city.

Reality is never a fantasy, yet a fantasy is replaced by reality.

I keep my distance
But you still catch my eye
Tell me baby
Do you recognize me?
~Taylor Swift~