Kim K & Taylor face-offs and the logical fallacy of internet argument

I can’t believe there would be a day I spent time writing about celebrities gossips and fights. However this particular fight between two major celebrities in the USA really caught my attention, not because of the incident itself but the reactions of people revolving around it.

This story showcases a very typical fallacy used by people who appear to lack reasons and evidences to defend themselves and avoid the “heavy lifting” of intellectual thinking in the most convenient way.

Lots of people might already know the story between those two but here is my summary: Kanye mentioned Taylor in his song “Famous” mentioning he could have sex with her and said “I made that b*tch famous”. Taylor said the song offended her and said she didn’t know about this even though Kanye stated he had asked her permission. Kim K is Kanye’s wife and of course she is angry because Taylor called her husband a liar and decided to release a video recording their conversation regarding this issue. Truth to be told, Kanye didn’t lie and he did ask Taylor’s permission.

The video hit the Internet like a storm and it soon is divided by two groups who are on the side with Kim K and who are defending Taylor Swift.

I have checked through several Youtube video comments, Twitters and Tumblr to see the reaction of people. Some use good logic, some use beliefs and said they don’t care what she did and some attack opponents to appeal to general public which is also the logical fallacy I would like to discuss.

First, they praise Taylor as a talented and beautiful musician while calling Kim K a porn star therefore Kim K’s word is not trustworthy.

Second, they attack Kanye because he acts like a jerk many times and he has horrible attitude while Taylor acts like a sweet-heart and therefore people should trust her.

This is a very mediocre and senseless argument.

Even lazy because the statement owners cannot think of any comprehensible arguments.

The fact that Kim K released her porn video and Kanye has huge ego problems doesn’t correlate with the legitimacy of their arguments. Their arguments lie on the claim of Taylor being falsely accuse Kanye of not informing her about the song while in fact he did.

When those people put down Kim K and Kanye as a person instead of addressing the core issue, they divert people’s attention to side-lined trivial matters (public displayed personality, actions and activities in front of fans and press) to call the argument absurd without providing a clear explanation. They also display the state of mind of simply not being overlook the difference and hatred to tackle issues, to get close to the core and try to learn from that. People without reasoning are hard to change and absorb new information which poses a threat into collaboration and progression.

Looking at the work of science, I always adore how scientists work to invent and discover groundbreaking everyday. Whenever they present a finding, they receive many feed backs, negative and positive likewise, sometimes attack and name-calling. However progressive scientists are open to constructive opinions and look beyond their initial beliefs to reach bigger pictures. Old findings get updated and replaced by new knowledge everyday. There we have progress.

Close your mind and ridicule people for what they did instead of pondering on issues lead you to the direction and same result every single time. Closing the gap of differences and accept to discuss with reasons, calmness and maturity require a great awareness and effort, and I hope many of people who argue online will see online discussion as an opportunity to learn rather than strengthening your bias and succumbing to the fallacy of reasoning.

 

 

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Hardship and Growing Up

If behaviors displayed during childhood can be a predictor for success in adulthood, I could have seen myself being a gawky kid who fail at simple tasks from cleaning to running, not to mention constant failing behind at school and cognitive process of human behaviors. But now here I am, still trying to pave off mediocrity, but studying in Europe with scholarship, manage to run after severe damage to backbones, and have finally developed a great sense of empathy towards fellow human.

Hardship is a part of life. Observing wildlife and any species at young age, survival skills have been embedded in young animals since birth, the strategy to survive, to prevail their predators and competitors in the race for food, mate and better livings. Small kittens learn to stay quiet when the mom is not around, young giraffe has to stand the moment it’s out of the womb, barnacle goose chicks have to jump off hundred meters tall cliff at one month old. Life is tough for animals, they have become wiser to deal with harsh changes (the existence of human beings), the survivors are the one who learn to cooperate and live with us.

Life has been more generous to human beings. In most part of the world, child mortality has been declining with astonishing rate and been extremely low in countries with advanced health care and education system. Most of us have grown up without feeling of hunger, having to work days after days without a stint under the scorching sun or freezing cold or being illiterate until adulthood. No. We, me and you, and whoever can use digital devices to read this article is truly lucky, than more than a billion people living with under 1 dollar/ day.

I was born after the American war in Vietnam, after the great famine who killed off 2 millions people, after the depression that left my grandparents and my parents living on the edge of malnutrition. I was born at the time Cocacola and Honda entered the country, bringing in fresh air of Western economics and new money. Our generation and the next generation and the next one have become taller, bigger and stronger than our predecessors had even been.

But our minds are far from being mature. Many on social media have displayed extreme behaviors of bullying, apathy and ignorant of people’s situations and feelings. People are less resilient in the time of changes, being objected to thousands of criticism of being right or wrong, being confused in their journey to become adult, vulnerable and fragile and lack of skills to handle problems in their owns.

I spot the similar patterns in Western young people. There is no doubt that they are more liberated, outgoing and adventurous compared to Asian at the same age, however, we are all the same, kids who have things been so good for them. People get obsessed by materialism, judge themselves and others on the scale of how successful and beautiful they are. People waste foods who are just new and still edible, some don’t know how to live and cater for themselves basic needs without help, some live in mess without direction.

Sometimes I wonder why life is so difficult, why do I have to deal with this, what have I done wrong to deserve this?

I was outraged and crying because of unfairness and things I supposed I deserved.

But then I realize I have overcome some of this before, hardship but with less stringent maybe, but it made me who I am now. I jumped from a smaller pond to a bigger pond, maybe not a sea yet, and then I have encountered with bigger competition, more fierce predators and unfamiliar neighborhood. I am unprepared to survive on this environment.

I need to stack up more skills, knowledge and strength to survive in this environment. I become a smaller fish in a bigger pond. I’ve become less pugnacious toward friends and people who have been struggling to push through like me. We are in the same pit.

I saw people bashing each other online and joined in heated argument with people who yearn for apocalypse to happen. This kind of thoughts sickens me to my stomach. Growing up with parents whom lived in the war and witnessed loved ones die, had to live with less than 500 gram of meat per month and lack of proper hygiene, I treasure every moment I have with family and wish bad things would have never happened to them. The same for old people of earlier generation, they suffered enough to know what is precious to them. Young people, on the other hand, have lived in more comfortable life with proliferating spending to trivial stuffs may not be able to comprehend those hardships.

Hardship is not only for the sake of surviving, it’s for better understanding of fellow human beings and develop empathy that we need to enrich our life. Modernization is unstoppable and constantly transforming the world. There are more new forms of hardship and struggling compared to previous generations. However, we also do have many more means to escape reality and problems than ever. What should we do to prepare ourselves for the life ahead which we don’t know? Should we stay in one place forever and play it safe? Should we advance to a new level, suffer and grow? Or fail while trying?

Whatever struggle and hardship we are going through, it’s bitter and hard, but let be confident that we will make it through. And we will survive, being tougher and more resilient.

 

 

Gender equality – equal opportunities not equal outcomes

Women, in general, have different desire and definition of success than men therefore it’s obvious they achieve different results in life. 

My perspective of gender equality might be greatly influenced by circumstantial factors derived from the fact that I was born and lived in a developing country for nearly most of my life, especially Vietnam where gender equality is a new concept and many initiatives have been invested to reach it, yet the result is insignificant. My upbringing enables me to not only witness but experience gender inequality in asymmetric institutions (formal and informal) first-hand and more transparent than in already developed countries which have passed the first wave of feminism decades ago.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research in the U.S indicates that ‘female full-time workers made only 79 percents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 21 percent’. This statement is roaming famously around the Internet and used constantly in the debate of gender equality. What many fail to address is that this is not a straightforward statistic, but rather a direct consequence of collective resources affecting gender division of labor. In the book Economics After Crisis,the author Irene van Staveren clearly distinguishes six principal roots that link to the inequity income.

  1. Women are more likely to spend hours on unpaid works (such as caring for children, households, chore work) than men.
  2. Girls in general are not encouraged to go to schools or higher education due to social stigmatization.
  3. Women spend less time in labor market due to maternity leave, and time spent for children, etc.
  4. Jobs dominated by women (healthcare, education and secretarial work) earn relatively low wages compared with jobs taken often by men (finance, business, engineering).
  5. Asymmetric formal institutions which give women less rights to inheritance, individual ownership or freedom to buy and own properties in their own rights.
  6. Gender stereotyped about leaderships and women in high-level positions that limit their chances to promote and advance further.

It is evident that there are serious imbalance in social norms and values in developing countries like Vietnam as women are expected to burden most of unpaid works (child and home care) while men are freed from their responsibilities and regard as higher in social hierarchy. Also, I acknowledge the stereotype and common beliefs that prevent many females to enter ‘masculine’ fields such as engineering and electricity or finance. Even when they enter those fields, they have to struggle to balance time for works and families. In Vietnam, they are called ‘Superwomen’ as expected to perform exceptionally well in both fields without much help from families and communities (I think this is absurd and placing too much expectation and stress for female full-time workers).

On the other hand, I believe that the gender imbalance exists also due to the primarily innate differences in biology, in terms of hormone and behaviors. For example, there are extensive evidences showing that men possess stronger tendency to be dominant, aggressive behaviors, to initiate negotiations, to engage in competitive environment and to yearn for power. Back to the day of hunting-gathering, males were the ones who set out to dangerous places to hunt not only because they were protective of their women, children and tribes but because they had better spatial awareness – they can see objects in three dimensions and navigate better. Even now, males are better at directions than women.

Even though we are matched in terms of intelligence and multitasking, men handle lack of sleep better than women while women are better at worrying and locating small objects than men. Also women naturally are better care givers therefore they work the best in healthcare and education.

It’s easily to spot those differences in my surrounding environment. Men are fascinated by machines, cars and complex handicrafts while most women like to go shopping, arts and creative works. Some might argue that it is due to social conditioning that channels girls to like ‘girly’ stuffs. I agree at some extents, human beings are conditioned by their parents and societies’ beliefs into general standards and social norms, nevertheless at a certain age as they gain self-awareness and power over decision-making, they are given freedom to choose. Especially in developed countries, women and men at age of 30s, 40s still can change their career choices and study fields that completely non-related to their previous expertise. And still, I don’t see many women get excited about engineering, electrics, automobiles like men.

In additional, women have different definitions of success than men. Men like to power and dominate and have high social status, women get motivated by affiliation – the desire for acceptance, social inclusive and relationships with others – families and friends. With different core mindset and goals, naturally comes different outcomes and career aspirations.

Overall, we perceive a profound and consistent gender gap in men and women’s core life goals outside external factors that influence overall wage gap. Some might conclude that women are less determined to succeed. But success means different things to different people. Many women when mentioning success don’t narrowly define it as professional achievement, but view it in broad and extensive scope of balance life and meaning outcomes. Women might appear less ambitious to some who value professional ambitious or to people who insist the value of women are not at home. But to me, women are free to choose what suits best for them – advance in prospective field or staying at home more to care for their children, both are equally appreciated. That’s what feminism and gender equality should be about. Women are given equal chances to study, to advance and to choose, not necessarily achieving the same things as men to prove that they are equal. Because individuals have unique abilities and companies and business should give chances to qualified people, not because of affirmative actions or due to quota.

 

Asian kids and the fall from academic greatness to middling Ok

‘Whatever you do, there will be always an Asian kid who does better than you’

The joke has been around in the Internet since I first encountered the digital world. The stereotype that ‘Asian kids are good at math’, for example, is fascinating for me because it’s partly true.  Most of the Asian students admitting at my university study Economics or Business, Finance and Marketing. Finding one in Social Science field like me is a rare gem.

Asian kids always win high places at competitions such as International Mathematician/ Physics Olympiad. Among immigrants in the United States of America or in Europe, Asian migrants or Asian-born people prove to have better life standard, academic performance and employment opportunities compared to other ethnic groups. A 2010 Pew Research study showed that Asian households earning a median $66,000 a year vs. $49,800 for the average US household, a 32% difference. A 2013 Nielsen Research Report found that Asian American households have a median net worth of $89,300 compared to $68,800 for overall US households, a 30% difference. Meanwhile, roughly 49% of Asian Americans have Bachelor’s degrees vs. 28% of the general US population, a 75% difference.

It’s no doubt that the average Asian doing much better than average American in the USA and in many regions in the world. However, looking at the top of those fields, it’s predominantly Whites. This recurring topic has been under scrutiny for decades among Asian mass media and scientists, attempting to debunk the myth of excellence and creativity and what factors set individuals apart.

Why is that?

Continue reading “Asian kids and the fall from academic greatness to middling Ok”

Eyes contact – why is it so hard and how to overcome

We all know the importance of eyes contact.

Eyes contact may be the most important nonverbal cues in conversation and relationship building. People get to know each other by sending signal via making eye contact. Eyes contact reflect our sincerity, integrity and comfort while communicating with other human beings.

Do you why we love dogs so much? What makes them so different from other animals and triggers affection within us? Not so surprise, because of their ability to looking at us straight in the eyes. Many wild animals avoid our looks. Eyes contact create affection.

Eyes contact brings trust. In the book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, professor Sherry Turkle writes that the critical factor an artificial intelligence needs to human acceptance is eye contact. People bond with others – robots or animals as they feel connected to them at the eyes.

The implication of eye contact is act of listening and paying attention. When we talk and others notice us, firstly they turn their gazes to us and if our stories are interesting, their looks are on us. It brings a sense of confident and attention, doesn’t it. Of course, there is another way around. We are in the mid-sentence and suddenly the listener’s eye slide southward or to the sides, to whatever appears to be more important than us. We immediately know they lost interests. The moment of connection has been snapped like a twig. The vague sensation of ‘humiliation’ creeps onto us. We hurriedly finish our sentence or say ‘never mind’ and retreat to our inner world.

Many of us have more trouble than others accepting this bitter situation.

Many have tried to learn to make eye contact but fail to do so many times.

Lots cannot suppress the feeling of scare and nervous whenever they need to make eye contact.

I have been one of those people.

I was worse years ago. I am still bad at it now.

But cannot say I am not improving.

I improve because I am not satisfied.

I tried to analyze my case, my reasons behind my shyness and force my consciousness to wake up and fight against the subconscious fear driving me to run away from social interaction.

I share my story with you and hope it will become helpful in one way or another.

I have grown up being a shy kid, shrieking away from socializing and group gatherings. Starting a conversation, fine. “Hi, How are you? Where do you come from?” Easy. Piece of a cake. Continue from there, uhm, not so easy. Actually, it is a struggling. I struggle to maintain an interesting small talk and keep people entertained.  I have many stories to tell, lots of questions desperately to ask and discuss. However, more than often I found myself submerge in awkward silence with strangers, the words died at the tip of my tongue, or being swallowed half way at the slightest sign of disinterested flared in the eyes of listeners.

Making friends is tricky and puzzling for one who is an only child. Solidarity and loneliness comes hand in hand in a house of an only child. In “South of the Border, West of the Sun”, Haruki Muraki shared a though on people pushing through childhood as an only child – they get a lot of attentions and affection, they are at the center of the world, their lonely world. John Cleece – leader of a world-wide famous comedian group Monty Python – as an only child himself hilariously explained his creativity rooting from his state of aloneness and the need to entertain himself without the presence and help of others. These statements ring a bell to my heart. I am at ease at my own world, an introvert – you may say. Yet I am not content in the perceived boundary separated me from social groups, thus obstructing making friends. The most primal instinct of human beings as animals is following a group. Groupness provide us a sense of security, boost our self-esteem and self-worthiness. Acceptance is what we pursue.

As used to living and playing alone, I was utterly terrible at functioning around people, strangers and so-called friends likewise. I failed to percept the norms of what should or shouldn’t be said in certain scenarios and to whom, what kinds of topics listeners want to hear, how they felt during a conversation. It was all about ME, ME, ME. I put myself at the center and felt repulsed when they didn’t react or correspond to me. ‘They don’t understand me’ ‘They are horrible, selfish and self-centered’. I put the blame on others.

Until no one ever comes to me anymore. I am the problem. I need to change.

Reality hits me, not hard in the face like a splash of cold water in a hot summer day. No, it comes slowly, bit by bit, until my mind is clear of doubt and delusional thoughts of my self-importance and egos.

I asked people what I have done wrong.

What kinds of topics do they like to talk to each other in first meeting? How do they like to be interacted?

One of simple changes that I make sure to be consciously aware of that is to maintain eyes contact.

Eyes contact is important, we get that, we have heard that for years. But why so? I had never questioned the real purpose of this practice. Until a friend told me that I have a tendency of looking away, at the sky, at the floor, at the wall while talking to people. I avert my eyes to the surroundings too often. I read in books and engraved the knowledge of the importance of eyes contact and bring it to practice during meetings and formal events with important people. Nevertheless, in normal daily life, I retreat back to my old, shy self I have built up all those years.

Why do I look away?

Because I get uncomfortable gazing at people’s eyes. I don’t know what to do when I look at their eyes. It is intimidating.

One of famous dating experts said in his website that – ones, who can hold their gazes, win at dating games.

From my perspective, especially since I have a strong urge to escape the eye contest, I will tell you this – people dislike being exposed and examined. They are afraid of being judged. People lie occasionally, pretending to act strong even though they are not, acting without a strong belief inside. Do they afraid someone who can read people will expose their weakness, their insecurity? Yes, they do. I do. When I look at people’s eyes, I get afraid.

The same goes for my listeners. They get afraid as well.

When I look at a person, I get the feeling of becoming knowing this person. I recognize if they are truly interested in my stories or what they are feelings. I can tell when my friends get tired and I will give them a comfort space by shutting my mouth, probably my eyes too.

I learn about people that way.

I learn to discover how amazing human beings are, people around me. I start to love my friends the way they are. I sometimes take few minutes observe their features and remember, truly wonder about their interesting stories they have experienced through. I am interested in everyone though. I have a limited concentration, just like most of people.

When I look at the eyes of people, I remember their faces and their emotions. I see the world around me and not only me anymore.

We exchange our stories, our lives and emotions. They are not faces in the crowd.

I am learning to know the world via knowing their worlds.

I may not find a close friend I need but for now, I know there are many souls in the world, just like me, seeking things they need in their lives, in different ways with different perspectives.

Why do we feel melancholy?

Among five natural human emotions – anger, love, joy, fear and sadness, the last one is hardly talked about, discussed and shared. We spread love and joy, we support each other in fear and discuss when we are angry but we bear sadness alone, in our own bubbles. You will say – excuse you, we empathize and comfort others in the moment of sadness and despair too. I wholeheartedly agree with you. There is nothing better feeling in the world as the time we hit so low, the surrounding world is crumbling and falling apart and knowing that there are people having our backs, caressing and soothing us, wiping our tears and whispering ‘It’s going to be fine’. Even so, who are going to listen to our sobbing stories every day? When the sky is blue but we don’t know why, how many people out there would stop and ‘listen’ to our ‘seem-to-be-nonsense’ plummet of feelings? Sadness is personal and we gnaw at it in our single moment, feel the bitterness of it the most when we are alone and we tend to keep it to ourselves.

Sadness is the definition extending from the extreme of despair, sorrow, grief and depression to the lightest form of melancholy. Today I talk about melancholy.

In the moment of New Year just passing by, I have been struck with melancholy and constant struggle to break through and find the solution to get out. It is not a day in the week or once a month occasion, I have it every day, in the morning when I wake up to the time I lay in bed alone, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Youtube and Tumblr.

Why do we, human beings, have to suffer from melancholy?

It’s nothing serious happened. No one died, I am not homeless, I have enough food to eat for today, tomorrow and many following days, I have a shelter to hide in when it rains and snows. My parents love me. I am deeply grateful.

Many people have a nearly perfect life but they cannot escape from the feeling of hopelessness striking from time to time. It’s not about sorrow, despair of a loss of life or depression that leading to suicide. Melancholy is an emotion with a purpose and consciousness.

Continue reading “Why do we feel melancholy?”

Too much love will kill you (Short story)

“Honey”

She turns around but sees no one. She is standing in the middle of a hallway. Lightning pours down from the center glass dome and paints golden color on the marble floor. The morning warmth caresses her icy skin. Surrounding her is a silence of wakening shopping mall.

She is being watched of something which she fails to draw a line on. It is hiding somewhere, maybe in the dampness darkness or up above in the dome and staring at her – a helpless ant under a magnifying glass.

She urges to run but doubts there would be a place to hide. Darkness is intimidating as she always believes that there is a monster lurking in the dark with claws and acid breath and ready to jump and suck her soul. Don’t be silly, her mom’s voice echoes in her head. 26 years old, but never stop to be a little girl who wet the bed every night because she was so afraid to go to the toilet.

But there is no monster. Her heart tells her. Her hands are not sweating; her muddle jumble paranoid brain seem falling asleep. There is no nagging about a shadow figure standing behind her or behind the door.

There is nothing. A shopping mall in an early morning is eerily the most normal thing in the world.

Except for it.

“Honey”.

A voice. It springs in the dark. Clear and warm.

And her heart skips a beat.

The voice of a man who has stepped out of his teenage phase long time ago, yet not mature. A man whom she has known for a long time. A person who is so close to her heart.

Something cracks. Like a gas filled up inside a beer bottle, being shook and ready to bust the moment the cap is removed. The voice, it opens the cap inside her. Everything pours all over the place.

“Honey”, she whispers softly.

“Where are you? Honey” She calls.

“Honey”, the voice answers, fades and disappears in the thin air.

She calls again, louder.

Silent.

It seems that if there is something there, it’s already gone.

“No, wait”, not wasting any second, she dashes to the adjacent hall, into the shadow she is always afraid of. Seeking tentatively across the room, there only stands dozens of chairs and tables. They huddle under white cloth like, heads lump together like prayers in a church. She looks under the cloth while hoping that this is a joke and someone is just playing hide and seek with her. She creeps into the cafe only to see baked cookies and breads. The door of the building is close and locked with a heavy chain which makes sure no soul can enter or exit.

Not giving up, she runs to the other side, crossing the sun filled hall where she was standing. There she finds nothing with a soul in it.

Mannequins behind the window stores stare at her with their glassy eyes. They tell her nothing as they see nothing. They wear fancy clothes with leather bags hanging idly in their hands. What on Earth could catch their attention and worth their time.

“Hello”.

“Answer me”

“Where are you?”

Silent.

A solitary tear trickles down her cheek.

“No, no, stop” she tells to herself, chants it like a spell.

She is strong and crying is not strong. She strains her eyes but tears keep coming out more and more. It soaks her clothes, streams down her legs and drips on the floor.

A stream of warm water thing runs down her legs which is not normal because it goes down fast and strong. And tears are not that warm. 

She startles.

And there she opens her eyes. She looks into darkness, feels lost of where she is. She is lying down, obviously on the soft bed with smell of washing powder mixed with fragrance of roses. It is warm despite ticking sound of wind and rain hitting the glass of window outside.

“Damn, I peed myself”

The realization hits her hard and fast. It is not a false alarm. A grown up who wets her bed will be a shameful story that lasts for a decade.

And nothing worse to add to her shame situation more than the knowing that she is lying next to someone else. She silently curses to herself and prays to the God that whoever it is, that person will not wake up and see how damp the mattress is now. Not to mention the smell.

A hand reaches out in the dark which makes her jump. Then soon a finger slides on the side of her palm and curls her finger around its own.

No luck for her. Her body stiffs in the dark as the body next to her moves and the person is clearly awake now. She is waiting for a laugh, a surprise cry or ridicule. She can say that she accidentally poured water on the bed or that she opened the window and rain came in.

A soft lip presses on her left ear and speaks out a velvet voice that can melt anything in the world.

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

The voice. The one in her dream. It is here, right next to her.

She turns around to catch the glimpse of the person whom she was desperately searching for in every corner of that shopping mall in her dream. It is you, she wants to say but decides to keep the thought to herself. The room is so dark that she cannot make the outline of the face. She reaches out her hand and touches the face, feel the softness on her hand.

It is real.

The tightness of the hand around her own, the warm of the breath on her face and the curve of the cheek in her hand. She speaks to the darkness and it returns the intimacy and snuggles her further into its embrace.

“I peed myself”, her response muffles under all the cover.

“I know”, the voice cracks a small laugh.

She breaths in the smell of soap and scent of wood fragrance, fills up her nostrils and her lungs. A hand runs up and down her back to calm her down while purposely not go further to her bottom.

She falls asleep quickly while clutching tightly to her love.

The rain outside keeps getting heavier, ceaseless waves of wind hit the window ominously. The house is shaking under the strong force which demands it to surrender. Water splashes into the window strong like a stone hitting the glass as the glass starts to crack. From above, the water starts leaking down the drain and drops into the bed and the floor.

She flicks her eyes open to the scene of the wooden roof being tore apart by the storm and tossed into the high sky. Before she has time to scream, she is swept away by the wind and thrown to the open water outside. She hits the water hard. Shocked and muddle, she moves her hands and legs frantically, trying to rise above the water.  And she sees a boat which might be the place she was sleeping in. But it is moving forward, away from her place.

“Help”, she cries, “I can’t swim. Somebody helps me”

“Honey, swim. Do it. Move your arms, move your legs. Do it” The voice cries out from above the boat.

“No, I can’t do it. Help me”

“Goddammit. Swim, please. Swim”

“Help me. I’m drowning”

Silent.

She screams more and more but the boat already disappears in the dark. Water comes in her nose, her throat and suffocates her. The water blinds her eyes and pulls her down with its tentacles; it locks her arms and her legs in a deathly hold and continues to drag her toward its heart.

“Help”

Her cry dies out in the sea as the water is eating her alive.

She is sinking deep into the blue water. Someone is calling her name but she doesn’t know who. She let it slide as her world turns white and blurry.

Her body hits the bottom in a soft thud.

Her body goes numb and feel cold. Her sensor receptors refuse to work, except her ears. There are voices – she can hear laughs, giggles, chatting sound. Someone is calling her name, telling her to look at them. She can see someone is shaking her.

Yet all those voices soon are pushed to the background into a buzz.

She is lying there on a hard ground, skin being pierced by sharp edges of rocks beneath.  Why is she lying here? Why is she alone? What are they trying to tell her?

She remembers a Fool in Tarot decks – a young man with the brightest smile on his face. He has his cloth bag hanging on a stick.  He is ready to go on an adventure, his eyes are hopeful and looking up at the blue clear sky with sunshine. She guess the light might have blinded his eyesight as he is walking toward a cliff. The painting takes place just a minute before the fall, she’s believed. He would break his neck and crack his bone. Dying all alone at the bottom of a cliff, staring upon the sky forever with his smug grin.

‘A fool’ – that what others might like to call her. She doesn’t need to turn around to see their pity looks. They think she is childish. “She knows nothing” “Just childish”. She thinks they know nothing. ‘A fool’ – they are.

She doesn’t want to listen to them. She knows better herself. She tells them to get lost. There the buzz stops and vanishes into the thin air, leaving behind a silent which soon to prove it’s as scary and protruding as the noise.

As her sense come back, she finds herself on the feet. Walking. On the ground. She sees nothing as everything is pitch dark. Strangely enough, she is not scared as the time when she was in a Dance class and the instructor asked everyone to troll around the room with closed eyes. She was hesitant and constantly checked if she would soon bump into something. What was she scared of? Uncertainty? Probably. So what makes this darkness and silent so certain for her? The answer is pending.

Suddenly, she hears something. A sound, indeed. So soft that it’s leaking from a crack in the eternal darkness. Like a smoke, it emerges softly and slowly but visible for her ears – now replace her eyes as a object sensor – catches on it immediately.

Listen, listen to it. I know this sound.

Faint like a sigh, but it is there. She has the feeling that there is something more. Her heart and her memories fill in the gap her ear sense fail to connect – a voice. It is with the rhythm, it is singing.

I know this song.

 “…Too much love will kill you

If you can’t make up your mind

Torn between the lover and the love you leave behind

You’re headed for disaster ‘cos you never read the signs”

The voice she knows so well, the voice in the hall, the voice in the dark. The voice she loves. The voice is singing a song only for her.

She opens her eye, wipes her tears to the sight of a young man with a guitar in his hand. He is looking down at the string, his hair is swept to the other side revealing the undercut. He looks up to her with his large and dark eyes. His long eyelash flutter as he smiles to her. His thumb wipes the tears off her cheeks. “Don’t cry honey”, he says and continues to sing the song.

She smiles back while holding her knees close to the chest. She didn’t recognize that she is sitting in his bed. The world is shutting off for a moment. She is dry and warm in the bed, the heater is on. Next to her is the man she loves playing his favorite song.

“I love you, honey”

She forgets everything, the sea, the cold, the water. She is here, with him, warm and safe.

Everything is going to be alright.

She leans on him with her head on his shoulder. And once again, she let her tears flow, with relieved and happiness.

Everything is going to be fine. Everything

When she hit the snooze button and goes out of the bed, it is already 7AM. She staggers to the bathroom, turns on the light and look at her sluggish reflection in the mirror. She looks so horrible. Her eyes are all red and traces of tears are visible on her cheeks. It fits well with her red sleeping gown though. Now her friend would say her appearance finally matches her mentality.

She washes her face in a speed movement, brushes her hair and rolls it into an up-do painstakingly.

Her friend swings the bathroom door open in an aggressive manner.

“Hurry up. The place is far away. I still have to go work after this”

“I am ready in a minute”

Her friend walks away while constantly talking loud about how cruel the guy is, throwing people out on the street while they have nowhere to go. Life can be messy sometimes.

She put on a white shirt and a blue dress that barely cover her knees. She put on the brightest smile she can manage, light blush on the cheek and rosy lipstick. She is ready to go.

“Wow, you look so nice. ” her friend says cheerfully. “You always need to look beautiful when meeting the ex. Right?”

They go to the train station, twenty minutes away from home. One hour by train and then barely 40 minutes by bus to the place. Her friend holds her hand in a strong hold and keeps reminding her to smile and be confident.

Today she will go to her ex-boyfriend’s place to take her clothes, bags, books, shoes and more clothes.

Only two of them, can they bring everything without a truck? They cannot afford a truck. Last night, she and her friend only ate two eggs and a cup of yogurt. No way they can afford a truck to move.

“You have to hurry up”, he said, “no, you cannot let it here to pick up later”. A new girl will come tomorrow, the girl he met a week before they broke up and he has been falling in love.

Can they bring all the stuffs to the bus? Then to the train?

I hope that the landlady will not say anything and let me stay for a while, she thinks to herself.

This morning, she received two rejection letters from companies she has hoped to join. She has to find something else soon.

Breath, breath, she inhales and exhales slowly following the rhythm in her memory.

“…Too much love will kill you

If you can’t make up your mind…”

Everything is going to be fine. Yes, everything.