Monday, December 11, 2017

The Skinflint Scrooge Sensibility

I love them dearly but even I have to say that my parents are overly, overly generous. Almost indiscriminately so. Which would certainly explain why no matter how much we try our best to economize in so many ways, there's no way we would ever be a real challenge to the Rockefellers or the Vanderbilts.

But that's alright since I did learn a worthwhile thing or two about generosity from them, though of course my pragmatic brother and I won't ever be quite that ridiculously magnanimous. The occasional spare change charity for the rare stranger who needs it perhaps but not quite the clothes off my back unless I'm donning several layers.

Really, my benevolence only goes so far.

It's different when it comes to my friends and colleagues though since close familiarity does draw some genuine altruism from me. Surely it isn't that difficult to give out the occasional treat or even the infrequent gift to your friends, especially those in far less affluent circumstances?

No doubt Mr Scrooge would beg to differ.

Bah, humbug!
In age, wisdom and work experience in his own milieu, he would probably rank around the same as me so he does have more than his share of subordinates - one of them would be Sober Sam who once interned for him. Unsure how Scrooge performs at work but it's only when we fraternize after work hours that he starts showing his more... undesirable, parsimonious side. Although most of his juniors - who obviously earn so much less than him - have actually brought him out for a meal, I'm starting to notice that he never ever returns the favour.

When given a not unfriendly nudge, he frequently professes to be utterly impoverished. Absolutely preposterous since we can gauge exactly how much your remuneration is from your exalted work position. And seriously, to wail about being penniless in front of your own underlings who earn less than you?

Have you no shame, sir! Thoroughly ungenerous behaviour that I can't quite comprehend since when I'm with my nurses and junior doctors, I generally pick up the tab as a matter of course. Rare enough that we all manage to get together for a meal so why not give them a nice treat? Just a simple meal, not like we're getting them all a huge chunk of Kobe beef steak each.

Paul : It's so weird that he asked Sam to pay for dinner.
Calvin : That's Scrooge after all. 
Paul : Sam used to be his intern. Isn't it quite a shame to ask someone who's just starting work to foot the bill when your pay has to be ten times of his? 
Calvin : Don't think he ever thought of that.
Paul : Gosh I just realized Scrooge is really helluva stingy. 

Unequivocally yes. For Scrooge, 请 is obviously a word entirely foreign to his vocabulary.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Religious Compulsions

Let there be no compulsion in religion. 

Still one of the exemplary tenets that I have always recalled from school way back when and something I've always tried to serve best. Though our generally prejudiced social media occasionally tries to villify missionary schools by claiming they have a hand in miraculously evangelizing students there, I can tell you that's all utterly ridiculous bs since in all my years there, I never saw any such thing.

Unless someone out there can convince me that merely strolling by a cross on a wall can be tantamount to a miraculous conversion.

Religion should be something utterly individual - and personal faith should be something nearly unshakeable otherwise why hold on to it in the first place? State-sanctioned religious conversion aside - something I personally find preposterous, I never can quite understand it when someone I personally know undergoes a conversion just to marry someone else.

If they have been admirably drawn to the new religion because of their love, then I would heartily salute that particular conversion.

Not to mention a baptism would be less a holy sacrament and more an unwelcome dunk in cold water.

But most times, the one being converted is doing it purely because.

Which I find almost sinful.

Paul : So after all the months of religious classes, you have finally come to believe? 
Friend : No. 
Paul : You haven't seen any light? 
Friend : No. 
Paul : You're still converting?
Friend : Yes. 
Paul : Good God. 

Let's not kid ourselves about the entire romanticization of making that ultimate sacrifice for luuuurve. Has anyone wondered why any religion would want a staunch non-believer to even enter their halls to take up vows? Not to mention why anyone would force their loved one, someone they purportedly love above all else, to be a disciple of a religion they don't actually believe in.

Always remember this. The book is holy only to the devout followers because of their intense faith - but to anyone else who doesn't believe, it's not very much different from the entirely fictional Greek myth about their own gods.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Back In The Days

Meeting up with a schoolmate and friend in Tokyo certainly brought back many bittersweet memories, and it wasn't long before Skinny Stacey and I started dredging up funny anecdotes from way, way back then. Seemed so fresh in our minds that it made it hard to grasp the fact that it actually all happened twenty years ago! All those wacky pranksters, smooth talkers and emo youngsters were already relatively grown up parents of their very own children.

And in all likelihood - confirmed and reiterated by many, many of my classmates - I wasn't as much of a shy wallflower as I would like to think. Apparently I had quite a fearsome reputation in school, something that I hadn't been entirely aware of back then.

The looks on my friends' faces when I say I'm a blushing blossom in school. 
Occasionally there are smirks and snorts. 

So drooping daisy I definitely wasn't.

Sometimes I do wonder how Charming Calvin and I would have been like if we'd both been in high school at the same time and place. Though never did it occur to me that Charming Calvin would think I'm some monstrous Venus flytrap with dripping green fangs out to catch the next hapless victim.

Calvin : You know I don't think I would have dated Paul in high school.
Stacey : Why not!
Paul : What the- 
Calvin : You probably wouldn't have seen me also!
Paul : Excuse you! Frankly I'm vaguely insulted.
Calvin : Anyway I'd be a little afraid of you. I mean I'd have admired you from afar but would be too scared to come close.
Paul : Eh.

Wait is this one of those inexplicably paiseh things? Turns out Calvin might be one of those timid Clay Jensens who try their best to discreetly blend into the highschool background, perpetually afraid of making the slightest disturbance in the force? Though I might not crave the spotlight as most would think, I doubt I'd be the kind to shrink back from making my opinions heard.

Loudly. Passionately. From the rafters if need be.

Think I've made quite a ruckus or two in the school canteen that stunned everyone once or twice even.

So yeah, that would probably make me stand out from the crowd - as it probably did according to my classmates. Odd since I always thought I was kinda invisible in school. So believe it when I say how you think of yourself doesn't always match up with the truth.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Doing Nothing At All

Unlike most, I prefer to take my Netflix fix slow - so rather than frantically binge-fest over the newly streamed episodes, I basically drag them out painfully anticipatorily into a couple of weeks. An episode a week basically. Reason why it took me so long to finally see Clay Jensen figure out the entire thirteen reasons given by his tortured paramour on what drove her to put a permanent period to her life.

One specific cause of which is obviously our quietly ineffectual Clay himself. Hardly a spoiler since he received the iconic cassettes right in the beginning of the series. You would think someone like Clay would hardly cause a ripple, no?

Something I've noticed since high school myself; quietly reticent fellows such as Clay who tend to blend unobtrusively into the the general background without causing much of a scene. Unassuming, unpretentious, unnoticeable; till sometimes they don't even seem to be involved in anything that's happening around them.

Or prefer not to be.

Seems very little reason to irrrationally aggravate me but it does.

Maybe I shoulda done something.
Coulda Woulda Shoulda. 

Do they actually think doing nothing actually helps anyone? How many times have we seen people hang back from a potentially ugly situation, trying not to dirty their hands? Not realizing that backing away with their arms folded is almost as bad as causing the incident to happen in the first place.

Oft repeated statement that I've always found inspirational.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.
Sound familiar, David? 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Conservatively straight-laced they might all seem with their perfectly combed hair, impeccably pressed suits and excruciatingly appropriate behaviour ... but when you're a gay man like me, it's near impossible not to have a spectacularly warped idea of Japanese men; what with the dozens of raunchy Japanese gay porn where hitherto absolutely straight, impossibly beautiful college boys are titillated and seduced by a villainous handful of wickedly mustachioed men bent on getting their rocks off.

It's a thing. Really.

All the while the apparently unwilling victims of their pitiless ministrations whimper kimochi repeatedly under their bated breaths, inevitably followed by the final blissful surrender of an ikku. Hard to believe they are all so meekly amenable sometimes. Of course if you're foolhardy enough to try that out with any of the muscular cuties on the streets, I think there would be serious mayhem to follow.

Art by the amazing Silverjow
Doubt all of the boys are as amenable to having their banana played with as the porn suggests.

That's only the miniscule gay subset which is a teeny tiny portion of the entirely too open porn industry here. So you can imagine the thousands of titles available for the horny straight boys drooling wordlessly in the sex shops and computer dens of Akihabara. And we haven't even talked about the more peculiar underground fetishes brought to life by Japanese porn.

Though the majority of Japanese men look perfectly average like anywhere else in the world, still the beautiful boys are around if you keep an eye out; from the sleekly suited salarymen to the hipster collegiates. However one thing they all share, regardless of good looks, would be their tight butts. Really. Perfectly spherical with a dangerously sinuous curve that anyone would just want to slap just to get that wiggle. Easy enough to see where they get it since there's all the endless walking up and down the stairs practically everywhere.

Just like in Korea, they just want everyone to walk.

Makes it quite a pleasure to sit on their trains watching the men pass by.

An odd subset of Japanese boys that I can't quite wrap my head around are the shockingly deeply tanned boys; an oddity in these cool temperate parts. Quite a few to be found working as the amazingly sexy jinrickisha danshi, otherwise known as rickshaw boys, around the historical Asakusa area. Tall, attractive, well-built with friendly smiles and an intense passion for service, is it a wonder they have all become tourist hits. Lean muscular bodies I can understand since part of their job would be dragging the rickshaw around, which has to be a great cardiovascular workout if any, but how would that explain the deep all-over tan?

No tanlines I swear, and I really looked hard for them. Or are they all yankiis?