bowing down to consumerism

Hello from Paris, the city of lights or as some called it, the city of love. For many, I think it’s the city of shopping, based on the hordes of tourists I see everywhere spending towards the benefit of the French economy. I am not exactly a statistic of that. On Saturday, when the shops are all open in full force, well at least the areas that I was at, walking along Rue St. Honore can be an extremely dangerous affair if you have weak willpower. The cobblerstoned street, flanked by all the various brands that you can think of, luring you in with the glitzy window displays. I don’t know, maybe I have greater priorities in life now but shopping doesn’t seem to factor as high anymore. Despite that everyone’s gushing about shopping in Paris and coming out triumphant from the Chanel flagship at Rue Cambon, I went in, took a short turn and glanced at the accessories, before emerging empty-handed. Walking past the Pradas, Louis Vuittons and so-on, I did a double take on the pieces of leather lining the shelves, and what would have got me really excited and tempted to walk in and swipe my plastic a couple of years back, no longer hold as strong a pull. What’s wrong with me?

Sunday in Paris is a totally different story altogether. Although Champs Elysees still brims with the busloads of tourists with queues forming outside Louis Vuitton, Laduree, Paul and Brioche Doree (yes, even bakeries!), the rest of the shopping activity takes a backseat on this day. The places of interest are abuzz with people still though, with (again) queues and crowds forming at the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Palais museums. I was just walking around and getting baked in the scorching sun. Even though the day started slightly chilly, it got gradually warmer and the merciless sun without the benefit of any shade made my skin burn. And all this was below 30 degrees. Just a few days before the temperature was sliding pretty low close to 10. It’s beautiful weather that we had in the weekend, but today the rain came back and throughout most parts of the day, it was just gloomy and wet.

Maybe I am just sensitive but I do find some Parisiens snooty, even the ones working in the cafes. I would really have liked to sit at a sidewalk cafe and enjoy a coffee and maybe sink my teeth into a tart but these cafes don’t make me feel welcomed at all. The wait-staff seem to look down on you if you are not having a fancy big dinner at their cafes, and so after trying it once, I ended up just ducking into a Starbucks. I don’t suddenly feel all the warm hospitality that I would have received in some Starbucks outlets elsewhere in the world but at least there seem to be less animosity. It’s weird how even in the supermarkets, the cashiers appear judgmental.

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Years ago, someone told me something that I made a joke out of. As I reflect back on those words today, I think maybe there is some truth in it after all. In many areas of my life, I need to change my perspective, but it can be so tough. I’m trying and each day I struggle to remind myself about it. Maybe if I think that this is not going to last much longer it will get easier to steer myself in that direction.

I can’t seem to stop eating. OMG!

chase the rainblown fields away

Last month when I arrived in Zurich, it was raining and chilly. At that point I wished I had brought more warmer clothing. Then a few days into the dreariness, the weather got decidedly sunny and warm and I even complained about it being too warm to be outdoors. It was. In the sun, you feel like your skin burned the moment any part of it was exposed to the sun’s rays.

But sunny weather lends itself to pictures that look wonderful. I hoped for better weather and indeed the weather got better, a bit too good until it got so scorching. Then after that it cooled slightly but it didn’t really matter anymore since I was anyway heading home.

It is amazing that I will ever be thankful to see the sun. In Singapore I will grimace whenever I see sunlight that is too bright because it frequently equates to extremely hot temperatures that coupled with the infamous humidity, are just not best friends with me. Where I am now, whenever I see a glimpse of sunlight I’d be so thankful. I can’t imagine that it is supposed to be summer and the temperatures hover just above 10 deg C. Temperatures aside, the gloominess just kills everything else. I can understand how people get suicidal with extended periods of bad weather.

I got reminded of what someone told me recently about being careful what you wish for. Maybe. Maybe not. I guess there will always be a silver lining somewhere, maybe just not now and not here.

早安!

Good morning from Shanghai!

Getting a bit tired. Getting a bit stale. Getting a bit fatigued. I think that perhaps I really have reached the end of the line for so many things. It feels like on most days, all days, I just am going through the motion, moving like a zombie through the cities, through my life, and not thinking about anything at all. Or maybe there are too many things going through my self-centred mind thinking about myself I don’t have excess capacity to ruminate anything else beyond.

the shrinking world

Who knew that making decisions could be so hard.

When it comes to options, it somehow always happens that I have 2 paths to choose from, and really things aren’t easier when there are choices.

Recently, I have had some rather mind-boggling issues of epic proportions, at least to me, that I was trying to sort out. It isn’t going to be life-changing, though it could eventually be, but still it’s some major decision that I have to make and the stakes are pretty high. Which explained the stress that accompanied the numerous thoughts swirling with the speed of a cyclone in my head, threatening to implode, resulting in a broken sleep pattern that led to nothing short of a migraine.

And things don’t get easier when we talk about it. Because everyone has something to say and everyone’s words are influenced by their own experiences. I am grateful for the concern that you all have shown during this period, the time spent in dishing out advice, suggestions, and what nots. But… I think perhaps I made a mistake. With or without this, I will still make a decision on my own that I will have to be responsible for, and if it turns out bad I will just have to face up to my fate that things sometimes are just not meant to be. For me. I have put myself through too much unnecessary stress by actually talking about it, that at a certain point I felt as though I was caught between the menacing jaws of a hungry pack of wolves and a deep treacherous ravine – either ways it won’t be pretty.

Talked about all these one last time this afternoon, and strangely I felt a little better. Maybe it’s the person we talk to that matters, how the person puts things in perspective for you in an approach that won’t cause you to doubt yourself or berate yourself for the state that you had landed yourself in after all these years.

And yes! The world is shrinking at an amazing speed. Even beyond the usual circle of people that are wont to connections through friends and colleagues, I realised that I have friends who knew certain people who are friends of my other friends, through channels that I won’t really classify as traditional or expected. Everyone seems to know everyone else now!

morning grouses

People who know me well enough probably have heard my umpteen complains about anything and everything under the sun. I think I can get quite passionate about certain things and so the emotions ride high when my feathers get ruffled once every too often.

Just yesterday, I was extremely annoyed that I had to stand outside the doors of the MRT train while inconsiderate people either refused to budge and move inwards or shoved past me to squeeze into the already-packed train despite that I was there first. Hello, queues anyone? If it wasn’t that the weather in our humid little country does not exactly make me not mind body-to-body, or rather fabric-to-fabric contact, I would have done what I was inevitably forced to do on the train in Beijing – just push everyone in while I create a miniscule space for myself.

Other things aside, I just thought of another thing that increased the irritation index lately. I think I am generally a nice person to a lot of people, evidenced just by a simple incident this morning while I was buying my breakfast and the elderly man making my drink toppled this number tag that I had placed on the counter, sending it flying to a corner under a stool. He seemed really apologetic and was rushing to pick it up for me, but I just smiled at him and told him it’s ok, and proceeded to do the deed myself. I suppose when it comes down to things like this, it’s really all about sincerity in treating people, and when there are people who are at best hypocritical, I think they don’t deserve any niceness from me. There are those people who do to others exactly what they don’t like others doing to them. They get upset when someone passes an honest but unsolicited comment about them that to me is rather neutrally meant, but then they go right ahead to remark about someone else’s appearance in a malicious negative way. What’s the deal you think? I don’t know, people like that to me are just childish and perhaps have not woken up to the reality of the world; maybe they are living in their cocooned environment where they get their way despite their bratty behaviour and have not encountered instances to the contrary, and the only thing I can hope for, although this is going to sound bitchy but I don’t really care, is that they get a rude awakening soon enough.

I think it’s enough bitchiness for one morning, I’ll share more about some other things when I get the time to. Have a great mid-week! 🙂