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Dealing with Unplanned Frustrations with People.

Sometimes when you’re just doing your own thing and trying to cruise on in life, and then something comes along and derails your concentration and the state of peace that you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Sometimes we consider that as a small bump, but some other times, it is as if someone had wronged you from birth. What defines that differences, and how do you manage or cope with your feelings?

I find myself struggling with that very often. How do I feel, and why do I feel so unjustly treated? There are many other things in the world that are more important, and there are a lot more things for me to feel and be involved about. Yet, if someone texts me in a vague or passive aggressive way, my heart beats as if I’m about to enter a fight. My focus is thrown off for a good half an hour or so, and I get no work done. Does the other person even mean what they say? Maybe not, maybe it was just a passing statement that should be forgotten as quickly as it was mentioned. But it just digs and digs, and the frustrations build.

Point is: when we are struck with a frustrating situation that we can’t do much about, how do we get out of it? I’m testing some range of ways

  1. Writing about it.

I used to write about it a lot more often. I would get bumped on the train, and I would glance at the person to just see how the person looked like, and then I start a fan fiction of this person’s life. I pretend to write prophetically, declaring death and damnation on this bump, and the person might bump me again getting out. Which leads to chapter 2.

But growing older, the writing helps me process what my own thoughts are. What am I really feeling? Should I be feeling this way? And if I should be feeling this way, and everything is truly in the right, then I need to find a resolution with the person somehow. It might not be easy, but it is actually the next step.

  1. Talking to someone about it.

Having another person process through thoughts with you is great. I find myself being greatly relieved when I talk to someone about what I think. I also feel better when my self-righteousness is justified muhaha.

But jokes aside, it does help to know if your emotions were properly placed. Am I really responding or feeling correctly? If I’m not, then I better start doing something internally to change. It wouldn’t hurt, but it would improve me greatly. I could only get better out of this frustration, and it would build me as a person. This is a great point, but you would also need someone who is wise to help you talk through your thoughts and thinking. Asking a random person, or a yes man, would not help, but instead increase your own ego.

  1. Forgetting about it

Sometimes, you just gotta let it go. It was just a bump, it was just a miscommunicated text, it’s just not worth holding on to it. Be as frustrated as you want to be, but you have to just know that there’s more to life than being affected by these things.

It might be cleared up quickly when you actually meet the person face to face, or to talk about it on the phone. But don’t rush things, because perhaps it was really just something misunderstood.


These thoughts are more to help myself think through my own frustrations. And it’s something I’m trying to keep as a reference to myself, so that I remember what I’m going through now. How would I advise myself back in 2 weeks time? And I think most parts of me would say that I could have used that time so much better.

So instead of being angry, and not doing my work properly, I’ve spent an hour writing about how I feel, and how I would want to tell myself how to deal with it. It feels much better than being distracted, wasting my time. Which honestly is my personal biggest frustration with myself.

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Being in School, as an Adult

Trapped in the Metaphorical Elevator of Escalation of Knowledge, in the safety of the Moving elevator, without stopping at a single point of reality, in order to stay relatively comfortable.

There was always this apprehension as we got older that it’s harder to go back into school, especially after working for a few years. I had asked a bunch of people what their thoughts on that were, and they expressed that it was just harder to learn, harder to capture certain ideas as we aged.

I wonder two things:

  1. What were the implications of study? What does studying mean to them?

  2. What were hard ideas that they struggled to understand?

With no intention to sound boastful, or that I know completely everything, which I obviously don’t, I think that it’s an innate fear that we grew up with. I say this from my own experience in the past half a year studying.

When I was younger, and I was told to study, I found myself so afraid, and anxious about studying. I was afraid I wouldn’t learn things well enough to score, I was afraid that the way I was learning would be wrong, and that I would apply my understanding incorrectly. School was not nice about it either, I did not do well, for all the memory regurgitation. On other subjects they needed an argument of sorts, that needed to be written into a British format that made it easier for everyone to read. But guess what, I didn’t do any of that, and I failed horribly at many subjects that I might have actually enjoyed, without the fear.

But when I entered into university, I found myself enjoying the studying process, because I was learning what I wanted to learn. I enjoyed it, I didn’t ask how or why this topic would fall into regular everyday life. And it was all good.

Now entering into bible school, I carried some anxiety, because it wasn’t all I wanted to learn, and I wasn’t sure if I agreed with some of the methodology, or the pedagogy. And yet, here I am, happy to be learning once more. It has been great fun.

So my thoughts on the apprehension of studying older, would be that we’ve wrongly assumed what it meant to study, and studying might not be as tiresome as it could be.


What about hard ideas?

I think ideas are difficult any age we are in. Children struggle with the idea of a mouth and how to place food inside it. Teenagers struggle with the idea of punctuality, and commitment, and just leave everything to chance, as per divine whim and fancy of a emotional god. Adults actually struggle the most, with making the world around them, the world that they were told it should be.

We know that the world never turns out the way that it should, and we know that no matter what our plans are, sometimes things just don’t turn how the way they should. Could that be because of something? Could it be misunderstood? We are always not sure, and we can never really be sure. What our children will be like, will any of our friends leave us tomorrow, will we even wake up tomorrow? We are formed by a lot of what expect, and sometimes learning makes us questions these things that we expect.

So I think hard ideas are ideas that are hard to accept as truths, because we need to relearn about the world around us. It doesn’t mean that we’re not learning, but we’re not agreeing internally about what we learn. And that’s okay.


So is it easy to study when you’re older?

I think it’s important not to assume that we know answers to anything, even the answer to this question. Some people might agree that it is easier, because you know more already. Others would use that exact argument, on the flip side, as I have. It is harder because you need to unlearn so much already.

But in this modern society, we are always given the space to question the teacher now, and we can ask, I know this from real life, why is your answer correct? This would help us to learn, instead of just rejecting a teachers answer straight up.

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Isaiah 6 and Kanye West

I have recently been learning about hermeneutics. I learnt about understanding the original message and how it translates to us today, in our modern understanding. During my classes, I was given a chance to explore a passage of my own choice, and I chose Isaiah 6 to look at.

There is a parallel drawn between Isaiah and King Uzziah. One being a normal person, and another being a King. One claiming to be unworthy, and another claiming to be holy. One was touched by a burning coal, and became cleansed, and another touched by God and became a leper. The parallel lines draw show God’s hand in those who claim their own pride, and those who acknowledge their unworthiness before God.

Kanye West has been a rapper on my mind for the years past. In the early years of Medium, many music writers wrote about Ye’s greatest album, greatest tracks, and what makes his music so great. By the release of The Life of Pablo, I was a fan. I knew the lyrics, and the beats, and I knew the self proclaiming message he stood behind. My question was, would he ever meet God, and what would he say then.

Now, in 2019, Kanye West, along with Justin Bieber, and Shia Lebouf, proclaims about his faith in a loud and passionate way. The difference is that Bieber and Lebouf don’t carry the same cultural creative clout that Kanye does. In his political uncorrectness, he proudly voted for Trump in 2016. He was unfollowed by many friends, all this happening months after Kim’s kidnapping in Paris, and Kanye’s own mental breakdown after that. In this time, Kanye’s search for meaning seemed to have started.

In his Letterman interview, on Netflix, Kanye positions himself as a Christian, or someone aware of who God was. By the release of Jesus is King, Kanye, in multiple interviews states how God is using him. He can’t plan far anymore, because “it’s up to God”. He claims he is like Nebuchadnezzar, being taken down from the height of his own greatness.

For my link between Isaiah, and Kanye, you need to assume yourself as a creative. In my personal view of my own work, everything I have done, I feel is bad, and I feel that I would never touch it again. I might like some of it, but most of it, I dislike, and I wonder how I even came to that. Kanye, on the other hand, could perform his entire album (808’s and Heartbreak) live, and according to album sequencing, years after the album was made. His trust in his own work was sky high, and he knew it was good.

But the “Ye” (I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome)” sits there, as an acknowledgement of his own mental instability. He’s not sure anymore, I feel. He starts Sunday Service some time after that, as a place of healing, through the lights, and through the music. A pastor is placed in, and God speaks to Kanye in this time.

My view is this: for a self righteous artist like Kanye to admit his uncertainty in his music, is his own proclamation of his unworthiness. He does not think he deserves it. I would agree that Nebuchadnezzar would be more fitting an illustration, and Kanye himself stands behind that illustration.

Parallel aside, what is it about Kanye that makes him familiar, likeable, or just someone to pay attention to? To me, it is his honesty in his expression. The artist who speaks to himself, and tells himself what he thinks. The voice in his own head is the one that he speaks aloud, and as people who hide what we feel, we see his actions as bold, daring, and very interesting. We are intrigued because he lives an extensive celebrity life, doing whatever he wishes, and we are wishing to do the same. Could we one day? Perhaps sooner than later, and perhaps we already are living life the way we want to. Safely, away from the public eye. God forbid we become like Kanye, having to deal with the media, and the focus.

But that really drives the question, if the world’s cameras are on us, and tracking our Christian stories, would we be faring better or worse than Kanye? In this very specific story, God has indeed called him to fame, and called him to repentance and salvation. If he shies away from the cameras and media, would he be like the Christian who leaves his job in a bank, or as a doctor, and immediately goes to serve in the missionary service? What kind of expectations have we misinformed ourselves about the celebrities who have become Christians, in their celebrity state?

When a Christian celebrity falls, we talk about it. We wonder why God leads people this way and that. But when a celebrity becomes a Christian, we question it. We wonder if this person even know who God is, and we doubt.

Perhaps the Christian community could reflect on the refrain from Kanye’s song, Hands On:

“What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me”

I’m praying for Kanye, and praying for Christians to be loving in their responses, and for the Church to be ready for God to speak to a lot more people. Let us not be the older brother in the prodigal son parable. Let’s rejoice when our brother returns.

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Life in 2019

The last time I wrote something here was in Dec 2017, and I think with a constant influx of new people clicking through my site, it would be great to update something.

First, I’ve been actively doing Inktobers every year.

Inktober is a month of daily drawing in October, and after the first year of trying to follow the list of suggestions, I’ve just been doing themes that I enjoyed. I’ve done shoes last year, and this year I’m doing Kanye West’s clothing line, Yeezy. It’s not the easiest project to approach, but you would need a lot of time, and a subject or theme with enough pictures to give you some consistency for 31 days.

Secondly, I’ve been having a lot more conversations and interactions on Instagram Stories.

Where previously, Instagram posts were the place for comments and discussions, Instagram stories have been my go to these days. Comments, opinions, thoughts, and random posts from the day, are on my feed, and you could follow me there to see what I’m up to.

Thirdly, my urban sketching has been very low key.

I haven’t had time to join for the range of outings, because of a busy schedule (explained shortly). I’ve also been more intentional in drawing on my iPad, or just for myself and my own appreciation. After reading a lot more about the artists of old, there is a good place to just have art that I would enjoy making on my own.

Fourth, most importantly, I’ve gotten married this year!

I was married in June, to my beautiful wife, Clarice. We went for our honeymoon in Osaka, and Kyoto, and currently we are living on our own, while waiting for our BTO (Built To Order) apartment, that will be ready in 2021.

A lot of these art projects were started with her prompting, and encouragement. She has been a great source of strength for times when my thoughts fight against me. Being newly wed, I’m also learning how to love my wife the best way possible, and at the same time, learning how to express myself as a husband.

Lastly, I’ve been in Singapore Bible College, and will be there for a year.

I wasn’t sure if I would have ever said this out loud, but I thought it would be interesting to see how people would think and react to this. I am studying Intercultural Studies, for a graduate diploma. I picked this course because of the type of things that I would get to learn, about other cultures, about people types. I find myself looking forward to classes, and I am very excited to write more intentionally in the future. Hopefully, if everything goes well, I might be able to share better the aspects of culture that I think more people can be educated about, and what I can update about my views of youth culture and art culture too.

I’ll try my best to update here often, bi-weekly if possible, if not monthly.

Leave a thought for me to reply you about! I would love to hear what any of you think. 🙂

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The Rush to Wait

Christmas rushing is always a thing for the year end. It’s so exciting running around shops, hunting for the best discounts that match your friend or family the best. I lose myself at the shelf of red tags stating a large cut from the original price, picking and repicking the items that I was looking for.

And every year it ends, with me looking at the gift bills, and now with clarice, at least I’ve got her to consider the amounts of money with. Last night we sat down at my table just going throught the costs, and watching the rain on the end of the day and night.

 

Does life always work on that adrenaline high, where we really rush and get something done, and then we wait for the next thing to look forward to? I know I love the rush because of events and work and stuff. I feel this need for consistency, like the daily something that I had just wrote about before this. I don’t like the drop, so I’d rather have the rush all the time. The only thing about that is that my energy would deplete really quickly.

Let’s see how things go in the coming year, and I’ll be looking forward to just writing once a day, or just doing something every day.

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Creative Dilemmas

24 hours in a day is too little. Yes, wildly known fact.

But the hardest part I find is that my passion level in each interest grows or wanes everyday. For example, last week I really wanted to run. And I still kinda do.

But today, I awoke and hey, there’s time for a run but I just didn’t feel like running. Instead I drew, and I was quite happy drawing. I watched videos, arranged and organized things, no running or exercise at all. And it was fine. Then I watched some skate videos and felt the same lack of interest.

The funny thing is that maybe a month or more ago, it was the complete opposite. I was eating up anything skate related at all, and all my efforts were trying to get skateboarding as a priority. Sketching and watercoloring were just things to do so that I could skate around.

So I really wonder, when and at what time will it stabilize itself? Will there always be a passion conflict for all interests? Or will it all work itself out together?

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A daily –

Something.

Anything.

After the daily challenges, of lettering and of sketching/inking, I’m feeling the laziness hit me. It’s like when I stopped running, I could feel myself still able to do a 12k run easy, but the physical toll after would be some effort recovering.

I can draw okay, I just really need to focus. I need to see the shapes and colors and pull them out the same way I did when I did it everyday.

I can letter okay, but to make it really pop and look professionally acceptable, I need to do it slowly or practice 100 more times than if I were doing it everyday.

I can think okay, I can process about right. But it takes effort too. I used to write a lot better especially when presentations are due and I’ve got to be eloquent enough for people to understand.

So something, just anything, everyday.

Hope you’re ready, cause I’m not.

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The Delayed Posts

I keep forgetting to post on this blog often. It’s not really meant to be like a serious thought process, but more to let you know I’m a legit person, thinking through legit things, and the artwork that I do create comes from a place of thought and intentional developement.

 

Some heavy influences over the past year:

Kim Jung Gi  / Virgil Abloh / Paul Heaston / Sinix / Casey Neistat / Tony Chua / Lin Chan / Mateusz Urbanowicz / Jake Parker

Ideas and thoughts usually come from all over the place whenever I’m thinking through, and I’m usually quite apprehensive as I approach the actual artwork and developement. I’m not that confident, and I really need the psyching up.

Just a reflection of the time past, I’ve been stuffing myself with so much art and drawing videos. Video in the morning, some motivational stuff later in the day, and a lot of it just goes through the importance of Practice. It gets you more comfortable, your strokes get more developed and its just generally easier to start whenever you see a blank page. I’m no where near a pro level of just pen to paper and a masterpiece is there. The sponatiety of just doing something in pen straight is something I’ve always enjoyed, so there’s always a need to take some steps back to assess how I’ve drawn so far, and how much more I want to try and learn and get better. The pen kinda forces you to just do it. You need to make a mark, and that mark can’t really fail. Its just what you turn it into next, how do you draw it out, and that’s the part that makes the huge difference.

The practice, practices, sweating under the sun, everything related to rehearsing the line, can’t just be kept as practice. it’s live every time, you’re really doing it. The more leeway you give yourself to think that it’s okay to not do that piece so well, you lose the edge that boosts you to learn and try harder. Or at least thats the mentality that I take with me on the drawings. And thats why my artwork turns out the sketchy way it does, because in my practice, I’m just going ahead with it.

And if I bail, I just hope it looks good.

 

I’ll talk more about influences next time. Hopefully soon, before I forget to again. lol.

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Joel the Illustrator? The Painter? The Lettering Artist?

The past two months of drawing and writing challenges have been quite crazy. I haven’t imagined myself even posting up that much on Instagram, neither have I thought of myself ever painting in front of people. Painting was and is actually something very private to myself, and its something that I do when in deep thought or struggle.

But interestingly enough, drawing, illustrating, creating these sketches on ink and paper is something that draws some attention? Yes, I do the hashtags and all that, Yes I try to understand myself better through the processes. And I think I’ve come to understand some things about myself.

  1. The creative process can be non creative.
    There are some days when I just look at the technical aspect of things, like just taking the lettering and making it better. This doesn’t mean its bad. It means I can just focus on improving technique. I can make a face make more realistic, if I keep practicing drawing faces. You could try one shape over and over and over again, and your eyes would question everything you draw. Your eyes looking at your own drawing and telling yourself, “No, how on earth did you see that? I’m seeing something completely different”. And it could lead you down a road of self doubt in your artistic ability, or you could focus yourself to improve these things instead of saying that you can’t do it. This mindset change isn’t really creative as much as it is discipline, and that discipline is needed for everything.

 

  1. Who are you doing it for?
    With both challenges, I didn’t jump into the project for myself. Bible lettering came into the picture, because of an interest to do some lettered verses for Christmas at the year end. And now I actually have a ready range of lettering to draw from. Inktober was a serious push to do something for a skate brand idea that my friend Mark and I have been trying to do for ages. The aim of not myself kept me producing still.

I don’t think I’m a great person who pushes myself a lot. Yes I like to keep busy, but I enjoy that thrill of managing a schedule. However, what comes out of that schedule is not always quantifiable. Dinners with friends are priceless, I cannot think of any better way to build friendship than time over a meal. But meetings on end, and things that might not happen overnight. My “instant generation” personality kicks in, and sometimes I really want to see something here and now. Maybe not even here and now, but when I look back on my 2017, I’ve made a lot of things this year. Maybe it took me all of 2016 to prepare for, but I’m quite in awe of how God has led me through all this.

  1. God.
    This year I have asked myself and seen myself in a different timeline entirely. What I do, the time, the efforts, the thoughts, everything put together. Do you know what you have in control tomorrow? Because I have come to a good conclusion that I have no clue. Nothing is in my control. My drawings, my paintings; it looks like its going where I want it to go. But there are so many times, I look at a piece, and I wonder why I messed up this part or that. Why was my shading off here? Didn’t I see it before? Am I not in control? And I might just toss the piece immediately.

But God. I don’t have any way to describe what I understand, other than everything is in His time. Will you be able to read these words on a screen tomorrow? Will you be breathing, thinking, trying to defend control ideas, just in 5 minutes time? or are you taking that for granted?

I don’t give up on my plans, I don’t just sit there and hope God would fish me out of earth into heaven. I still do everything as much as I can. I practice my art; I think, I eat, I buy; I exercise, and try to get fit. I don’t let go of things, I’m just realising that I don’t need to get upset, angry about many things, because God’s in charge. He has his time. He has his plan. And man, who are you to demand anything different? We’re not robots, but if you could control food to train a pet to do tricks, you know that giving in too much would spoil a pet. Even tamagotchis teach kid this. Why do we think we deserve our control, when every time we try to control something, it flies so badly out of control. We mess other people up. We make mistakes.

And its a deep thought to draw (pun), but in these months of drawing, lettering, painting, that’s what I realise. Tough.

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The NEXT generation

One question I don’t always ask myself is, who will continue what I’m going to do. How will it continue to the people after me, and be the next thing that people do, or pick up? It’s been a question in my mind after spending time listening to the range of entreprenuer audio books, like Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or currently listening to Steve Jobs by Isaac Walterson.

I found that both of them use very interesting approaches at their early years. Phil Knight, being an athlete himself, held some part of team dynamics and a dependency on the people around him from his intial years. He constantly saw the people around him as the community and the culture of what eventually became Nike. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, seemed to be quite a unique individual, who prided himself on himself. The people that was placed around him seemed to be out of obligation or need. It didn’t seem that he would have thought of having someone else around, until he saw that they could do something better than he did. Both ways, the companies now don’t have their original leader and it left me wondering, does their founders’ legacy remain? I can safely say that Nike still produces in the same vein or heart of Phil Knight’s original team of people, aiming to change the game always. But I don’t know about Jobs, as Apple seems to be declining in its innovation (Lack of an iPod or iPhone in this current generation).

As I considered my own work and my own personality, I related more to Jobs, in my individualistic search for my own meaning in life. I feel that many times, the things I do are things that no one else would do. Remembering the times in Army where I picked up two appointments, I took that responsibility out of need. But at the same time, I knew then and I still know that I had a great team that could balance out the ambition of the bosses. I just needed to keep them in check. In that aspect I related to Phil Knight more. Maybe it was this willingness to try that makes a lot of what I do seem hard to replicate.

I guess the all important question that would affect this post writing the most is, what is my view of God’s leadership/continuity of work? In the writings of Paul to Timothy, there’s a sense of continuing and teaching the next generation. The vision of what happens doesn’t die with Paul or Tim, neither does it die with the people after them. I would like to think that God is the one that continues that work, not the ability or skill of Paul or Timothy, though God did work through them in a mind blowing way. Referencing the older kings of Israel in the Old Testament, someone like King David did an even worse job, as his kids started a revolt against him, and yet God promised him an everlasting kingdom after that.

Does the world we live in now have a space for a King that lasts forever? How do I deal with this concept of doing a good work that someone else can take over, and yet understand that if I choose not to, God will still raise someone to take over me?

At the end of the day, I always feel that if God has placed something in my heart to start doing, I need to do it to the best of my abilities, and teach those near me to do the same. With that, I would have done my part, and I would continue to leave the rest to God to finish. After all, I am just human.