How Did We Wind Up Here?

Latched into the next wave, here we are trying to keep afloat. We abandoned our small dingy, favoring the next underwater current. Easily, easily we are swept away by the next tide that catches us by surprise, or choice. Are we really ourselves if we keep chasing the sea tides that come and go? Why can’t we stay put for awhile?

New trends come and go. With Juuls, new K-Pop songs and a sudden tide of GoT upcoming episodes  are new fads that find its way into college campuses. “Its really hard for me to become excited because of something” I mentioned to my friend who commented that he rarely finds me latched onto new crazes. “Well, I only like something if I find that it will give me more meaning beyond the superficial oh-since-everybody-is-following-this-so-shall-I”, I expressed.

Indeed, I was seen as favoring different interests than the ‘normal’ person.

Regular artists I follow are Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and The Lumineers plus some cello + piano instrumentals. One of my favorite songs is Yellow from Crazy Rich Asians movie. Besides that, I didn’t really enjoy watching any form of TV series but later, I got hooked to Mrs Maisel. The Office was somewhat entertaining, but I still wasn’t keen on it.

Not to say following mainstream trends are wrong, but being caught up with every new trend certainly doesn’t make you a particularly interesting individual. Like the Arizona tumbleweed, your seeds are everywhere and you take off where the winds blow you. Ungrounded, so where do your roots lie?

If you follow the crowd, you will go no further than the crowd. -unknown

Ask yourself, how did you wind up here? By merely following what everyone else is doing? By taking the subjects or doing things you think will get you to better places just because everyone else says so? Do some investigation (but if you need an easy A ask your advisors/friends for easy A subjects).

Do you, unapologetically. Caution certain advices, especially those who don’t have your best interests in mind, they may just be trying to veer you off course.

Do you, always.

Taylor Swift and The Lumineers

This time of the year always brings new surprises; new albums being released. It just so happens that this time some of my most favorite artists are dropping new things for me(and you!) to listen to. Here’s a rundown and throwback of Taylor Swift’s past albums:

  1. Taylor Swift (2006)
  2. Fearless (2008)
  3. Speak Now (2010)
  4. Red (2012)
  5. 1989 (2014)
  6. Reputation (2017)
  7. Coming soon(?)

Leading to the countdown of her suspected new album, Taylor Swift has recently been posting mysterious pictures with no captions whatsoever on all her social media. The pastel pictures at the side of The Lumineers’s album cover are some of the pictures she has released on her Instagram, and her fans are definitely excited (including me). What a way to rile some excitement, posting pictures with no explanations.  Her latest tweet however, has a date, 4.26. This is definitely something to look forward to.

(some other pictures she has been posting on her social media in the past two weeks)

Besides that, The Lumineers too are set on releasing their 3rd album after their last release. The last album they dropped was in 2016 titled, “Cleopatra”. They have also released new tour dates and merchandise. Surprisingly, most of their tickets and merchandise are sold at a very reasonable rate (I suppose they want all sorts of fans to enjoy their music without too heavy of a price tag).

If you don’t really know much about the Lumineers, here’s some pointers:

  • They are an American folk rock band (this is the closest label they can get to but in all honesty, they are a pretty ambiguous/indie genre)
  • They passed up opportunities to sign with major record labels and decided to go with an independent label, Dualtone Records: As one of the member’s commented, “It’s just nice to work with people that are entirely engaged. You know, not just sitting in front of a computer and playing Angry Birds their cell phones all day,” adding that, “with these smaller labels, people work 12 or 15 hour days to ensure our records are in the stores, and that we’re getting played at radio. We want to work with people that are as hungry as we are. “ (Wikipedia).
  • Launchpad comments on their music saying “Where most bands these days look for that new, original sound to enhance the digital revolution, ‘The Lumineers’ do superbly in taking it back to simplicity.” (Wikipedia)

Also, Yuna is set to release a new album soon as well this summer/fall.

Stay tuned to these artists for their fresh hits!

Forever more by Yuna

 

I don’t know how to even contain my excitement over this song. It feels like its spilling over and I just cannot.

This song is the epitome of a perfect pop song reflecting Malaysia by showcasing essential representation of Malaysian people. We see motorbike guys, termed ‘Mat Rempit’ and even though these sub group of people are a somewhat nuisance, here we see them celebrating their culture, togetherness and brotherhood they strive to achieve through riding bikes at night, speeding along highways. We also see different groups of races here, namely the Malays and Chinese. The Indian people are also represented through the elegant Indian dance moves.

My words are not able to convey how fascinating the video is and how Yuna really is an underrated Malaysian pop star staying true to her roots. She symbolizes hope, unity and faith for her people, something unheard of these days.

(Also its on Spotify/what are you waiting for go listen and watch the video!)

The Business Cycle of Emotions

I’m sure we can all relate to this. We plunge into the deepest ravines of our emotions, dragging ourselves through days of homework, commitments and stress. Tangled in vines, our anxiety rises more as the days with endless lists of to-dos confront us, reminding us that they exist. Deadlines give you a brash high five, nearly toppling you over with its weight and its shadows overwhelm you, a little too much for you to handle. Not today, please, you beg. We’re unsure of ourselves, of our capabilities and our potential. “Can we really be more?”, we wonder to ourselves quietly as we lie in bed, staring at the space between the bedsheets and the ceiling.

Maybe, just maybe.

Out of nowhere, life suddenly accelerates into overdrive. All seems good, all seems too good. We write furiously, commit a little too much, are sure of ourselves a little too confidently. It seems like caffeine continues to supply us with energy, nearly steering us off course. We’re tempted by the edge, curious and hungry for the adrenaline thrill we could possibly feel if only we took the leap.

Yet we are so unsure of that steep drop ahead.

The business cycle has never been more meaningful now. It goes up and down, like it always does, like it always will. We crave the adrenaline high, so much but we forget about the grayer days when the snow mounds start to drag our feet. We forget we need motivation when we are least likely to internalize it. Therefore, in foresight of stormy clouds, we must take great care to to weather the coming thunder we heard long ago. To write more in case you don’t feel like writing later. Cook away porridge for days we don’t feel like cooking and do laundry ahead of time. More importantly, we need to ensure we have enough reassurance to get through the tougher days.

But please validate those moments when they come. Stop the “why can’t I get over this” when troubles come. Let yourself feel a little scared. Take smaller steps, nonetheless a step ahead. Buy some Panera soups why won’t you.

From these gaps you will grow. (i.e. trust the process)

Featured song: Spiegel im Spiegel

(Image Credits: Google Images/Japanese Waves)

Afire Love & Supermarket Flowers

In Ed Sheeran’s album titled +, he wrote about his grandfather’s death in the song “Afire Love”. Interestingly enough, he wrote about his maternal grandmother in his next album, Divide. The song is titled, “Supermarket Flowers”.

The lyrics of Afire Love are somber and sad:

Things were all good yesterday

And then the devil took your memory

And if you fell to your death today

I hope that heaven is your resting place

And my father told me “Son 

It’s not his fault he doesn’t know your face

And you’re not the only one”

Although my grandma used to say that he used to sing

Supermarket Flowers too, is hauntingly sorrow and made me tear up a few times:

I took the supermarket flowers from the windowsill

I threw the day old tea from the cup

Packed up the photo album Matthew had made

Memories of a life that’s been loved

Took the get well soon cards and stuffed animals

Poured the old ginger beer down the sink

Dad always told me, “Don’t you cry when you’re down”

But mum, there’s a tear every time that I blink 

The lyrics are vivid, descriptive of the day his grandparents passed away. It’s almost as if you can imagine seeing i unfold through his eyes. Ed Sheeran’s song writing skills truly are top notched and he manages to weave words together with his emotions, creating a wonderful fabric of song.

Last Saturday

Hearing about the terrorist attack that happened in New Zealand was terrible but unsurprising. This time though, it was rather different. I had friends who studied in New Zealand and my mum’s colleagues was present at the mosque there when tragedy struck. My mum’s colleague lost her son. I felt numb when I heard this. Again? Someone I was faintly connected to was killed.

Friday came and I joined the congregation, listening to the sermon we all badly needed during Friday prayers. To say it was deep is an understatement. The imam (person who leads prayers) reminded us that we needed to have courage in these trying times, to hold on to our faiths despite looming threats of Islamophobia. He stated, “Islam began as strange and it will end as strange”. This gave me pause. True, I thought.

Incidentally during the prayer, the imam read a prayer that I had memorized, a prayer inscribed on my whiteboard near my study table. The prayer translates to “Did We not relieve your heart for you, and remove the burden that weighed so heavily on your back, and raise your reputation high? So truly where there is hardship there is ease, truly where there is hardship there is also ease. So when you are free, work on and direct your requests to your Lord”. Within moments of realizing that the imam was reciting this prayer, tears trickled down my face. I had written the translation down to remind me that things are going to be okay when I was stressing out from exams. And here it is, revealing itself when I needed it.

Me and my friend attended the vigil together. The mood was somber but the weather seemed to empathize with us, cloudy one moment, snowy the next. Out of nowhere, a beam of light shone on the crowd while snowflakes fluttered away like the fragile little things they are. Stories were shared and the Quran was recited, casting a solemn aura in the atmosphere. The crowd slowly grew as more people stopped by to give their support for New Zealand’s victims.

My head swiveled at the sound of someone yelling. My eyes averted to see two security guards saying one word, “Run”. There’s someone with a gun amongst us, I thought. Immediately, I grabbed my friend’s arm and ran, fear and adrenaline fueling my sprint. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t think. A sense of danger engulfed me.

The next sequence of events were mostly of distress. I headed to the basement with two friends. When rumors spread that the shooter was headed to the Ugli, I became very scared and started crying in my friends arms whilst shaking. Another friend called me – she had noticed I was distressed – and she told me to get out of the Ugli. “I can’t they already barricaded the doors. Oh okay, its okay just stay in there its going to be okay. I’m so scared, Anis. I know but you’re going to be okay, you’re safe in there”. 

I was uncontrollably crying and shaking at this point that my friend had to physically guide me into a room so we could barricade ourselves inside it. Lots of students poured in and huddled together, some in confusion, some in disbelief. I cycled between periods of being calm and occasional crying. Loud thumps were heard coming from upstairs, making all of us jerk with every thud.

An hour later, we all got out.

People joked about the ’emergency’. “Oh it was just balloons popping” said one. I didn’t think it was funny one bit. “Easy to say if you weren’t the one at the vigil or being barricaded in the targeted area”, I frequently thought. Even if the threat wasn’t real, the fear a lot of us felt was. 

Every time I heard the joke packaged in different ways, I still winced. It hurt me. It hurts me to hear this being joked about because when I went home that day, I couldn’t think. My knees shook from time to time. Joking makes my aftermath stress reactions seem invalid, when they aren’t.

(Featured photo, an example of Islamic tile art: Google Images/ First picture: taken during the vigil/ Second picture: being barricaded inside a small room inside Ugli’s basement)