?

Log in

I'm a terrible perfectionist. I have extremely high expectations of myself, but I do not always follow through. And I get annoyed at myself when I don't. Very rarely do I actually feel sad for myself. Sadness is usually reserved for others. When I put in lots of effort into something but it doesn't pay off, I get angry.

Other than having high expectations of myself, I also have high expectations of others (who have to work with me, doesn't matter if they don't). I get angry with people who don't do their part for groupwork. Rather than confront the said person or report to the tutor, I'll do all the work myself.

I like to be in control. I am a control freak. I get angry when people (relative, friends, etc.) turn up at my place unannouced, regardless of their purpose(s). This is probably why I am a loner. When you're with others, you have to take into account their welfare, their actions. I'm too selfish to consider the welfare of others, unless I really care for them, or if they're significant to me. (So if you think I've shown care for you before, you're significant to me.)

I'm probably a typical Blood Type A. According to this:

'TYPE A'
Type As most often describe themselves in ways related to the following characteristics: sensitive to the needs of others, good listeners, detail oriented, analytical, creative and inventive. Type As may seem calm on the outside, but inside, you’re filled with anxiety and worry. You’re perfectionists and often shy and sensitive. Usually introverted, you’re stable and thoughtful. You make good listeners and are sensitive to color and your surroundings. You like to be fashionable and are up on the latest trends, but never flashy or gaudy. You like romantic settings and often shun reality for fantasy worlds. A is most compatible with A and AB in the love department. Common career choices: accountant, librarian, economist, writer, computer programmer, and gossip columnist.
Blood Type A - Tend to be cooperative, sensitive, clever, passionate and smart. Often bottling up anxiety in order to get along with others, they may hold in their emotions until they explode. Many are tense, impatient and unable to sleep well. While they are capable of leadership positions, they may not take them because the stress is not good for their tightly wired systems.

Other than that striked out bit, it's actually accurate.

Anyway, most days I feel like I've got nothing to live for, other than fulfilling my goals.

正义

I am tired of rambling about inequality. I shall move on to another pet topic of mine.

"We the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people...democratic society, based on justice and equality..."

From a young age, we recite that almost every day, up till we leave uniformed schooling. Equality? Our Gini coefficient is 0.47-0.49. Get real. On to justice.

Justice is something I really believe in. Everyone has a right to it. Lawrence Kohlberg was a dude who came up with a fancy theory about moral development in children and young people. To illustrate, this is one of the dilemmas he came up with, to determine the stage of moral development the respondent is currently in.

"Heinz's wife was near death, and her only hope was a drug that had been discovered by a pharmacist who was selling it for an exorbitant price. The drug cost $20,000 to make, and the pharmacist was selling it for $200,000. Heinz could only raise $50,000 and insurance wouldn't make up the difference. He offered what he had to the pharmacist, and when his offer was rejected, Heinz said he would pay the rest later. Still the pharmacist refused. In desperation, Heinz considered stealing broke into the store and stole the drug.

Should Heinz have broken into the store to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?"

To me, it depends on:

1. Whether there are others with the same disease, and if yes, how many?
2. What the laws of the country are in the first place. Is stealing a crime there, and if so, how prevalent is it?
3. Why, in the first place, the pharmacist raised the price so much.

This is an extremely subjective issue. But we have a general conception that there should be equal rights for all - only then, can we be a gracious society and everyone can be happy. If I follow Machiavelli and Hobbes, society needs someone to exert control and influence, so that order can be maintained.

Who defines what is the law, and what's right? Okay, so this sort of goes back to inequality - the law and constitution are obviously written by those in power. But what's right is a moral thing - we instinctively know what's "right" or "wrong", even when it's not in the law. We know it's wrong to betray, backstab and hurt others; but it's right to provide support, be kind, and help others in need. It's part of moral development, of growing up, of socialization.

Why do people commit crime? Why did Took Leng How murder Huang Na? Why did Constance Chee throw little Sindee Neo off a HBD block? Obviously, you can say it's because they're mad. That's what everyone says about people who kill others for no apparent reason.

I digress again. Nowadays, the legal system simply puts a quantitive tag on the damage the perpetrator did to the victim., and take it that this amount of money can settle everything. Most of the time, the perpetrator gets a jail term, or in the case of homicide, the death sentence. How on earth does that do justice to the victim and his family? Like for Huang Na, even though Took Leng How was sentenced to death, nothing will bring her back.

For one of my modules, I had to watch a film from a list provided by the lecturer. So I watched this ancient Zhang Yimou thing called "The Story of Qiu Ju", which involves a woman (Gong Li) trying to seek justice for her husband, who got kicked in the balls by the village chief. All she wanted was an apology, but the chief refused. So she took it to the village official, and finally the matter got taken to court - and it was still the same verdict: monetary compensation.

I can sort of empathize with Qiu Ju. You think I'm satisfied with the bastard of a bus driver who knocked me down getting away with only a 12-day jail term and a $2400 fine? If I were to meet him, it would be extremely hard not to give him a good beating, and hopefully cause some permanent damage. I would want to knock him don with a bus too and put him through the exact same pain I suffered, am still suffering, and will continue to suffer.

If justice is fairness, then there is no justice, because you can never put a price tag onto the (non-economic) damages suffered by a victim.

In just that split second, the f***ing bastard changed my life. So many times, I wish I'd died. Then I wouldn't have had to suffer, blah blah blah. You know what I mean. In the past, I actually liked life. Now, it's mostly a drag, aside from working towards my goals, I don't really have much pleasure in life.

I digress again. Conclusion: there is no justice in this world (not in my world, at least). I believe in justice (eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth), but sadly, it doesn't exist.

Ah. Now I see why I'm so cynical and pessimistic. It's because I don't think anything good exists in social systems.

abnormal is the new normal.

Spent my entire day revising Abnormal Psychology today. Thanks to a friend (ahem) who was commenting on my status about the DSM-IV-TR, I have inspiration to write yet another rambling, cynical, pessimistic entry.

Diagnoses of psychiatric problems are increasing. Abnormality is becoming more normal. If you think of the population's mental health as a normal distribution, this means that more and more people are getting under the curve at the left tail, which means that the distribution is slowly but surely becoming skewed. Either that, or the entire distribution is shifting leftwards. Now that is actually rather scary, perhaps even more so than income inequality (see previous rambling rant).

As much as abnormality is becoming more normal, society still sanctions those who have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. When you apply for a job, there is a good chance you'll be asked whether you have had any mental disorder. You can lie, yes, and pretend you are perfectly okay, even if you're not. Patients are protected with confidentiality. (Must suck to be a psychiatrist/psychologist, keeping all those things to yourself.) This would probably be no problem with milder cases that aren't apparent and Axis V still remains relatively high and current functioning is not impaired. Unfortunately, the stigma still remains. You can't get rid of it. Obviously, you can choose not to tell people, but it is incredibly hard to just repress it. Trust me on this - I know exactly how it feels. For me, it was over in a relatively short while - less than 1.5 years. I have no idea how some people can just keep silent about it.

The reason why people keep silent is most probably due to the fear of negative reactions and rejection, even by close friends and relatives. Maybe it was easier for me because I'm close to no one, and I felt accountable to my friends and DB teammates about withdrawing from them.

I digress. Back to the topic. Stigma is always attached to psychiatric problems, mild or serious. Is it really that bad to be at the other end of the curve (the left), especially when your Axis V is still fine and you seem quite normal? With things like schizophrenia and severe OCD, I can definitely understand why negative sanctions are applied. My mum's brother and sister have severe schizophrenia and OCD (or so my mother claims, but I think there's more to it) respectively, and even though I am by no means a psychiatrist, I can tell that their Axis V is lower than 40-50, probably 20 for my uncle.

It is apparent some people malinger (ie. fake their symptoms). Those people are really nuts. To not be able to weigh the negative consequences and the short-term gains, maybe they do have a problem. This is such an interesting paradox. There are somatoform disorders like Somatization and Conversion Disorders, and that have to do with physiological symptoms.

But why the heck would you fake mental symptoms just to have a "crazy" tag stuck on you, possibly for the rest of your life?!

I am glad I am not going to be a psychologist or psychiatrist. (Then what am I doing PL as a second major for?? *facepalm*)

I digress again. Why is it that "normal" people impose sanctions (I just love this word) on people with mental disorders, but actually feel sympathy for those with physical disabilities (anything from sight or hearing impairments to those involving the limbs? The brain (and the nervous system) controls your whole f***ing body, dammit. Arguably, the brain is the most important organ in the body.

I admit that I myself would sanction those who are severely mentally ill - even my own relatives (no kidding, it's that bad). If you were a threat to the safety of others due to your mental disorder (like people who go around massacreing others during peacetime; and also my uncle, who once went into a store with a chopper and was arrested), to the hell with ethics, you need to be institutionalized. But for milder forms of mental disorders, I 100% advocate fair treatment for all. It's hard to draw a line between what's acceptable and what's not; in fact, it is actually pretty hard to make a diagnosis.

I believe 人性本恶 - that human nature is intrinsically evil. Adam and Eve were the first sinners, defying what God told them. Cain was the first murderer in human history, killing his brother Abel. It's socialization that balances the evil parts of us and makes us good human beings. The point is, because we are a naturally evil species, we are self-interested and seek to protect our own interests. And one of the ways is to impose sanctions on those who are different. There's a in-group, out-group mentality inherent in all of us - "us" versus "them". In fact, I can argue that the DSM itself is a tool to impose sanctions on those who are qualitatively different. Why does the APA have the authority to define abnormality? Of course, the DSM is not all bad, considering that there are treatment options listed in it to help those who are tagged with the specific illnesses. The whole nosology and nomenclature sucks though. Once you're different, you'll always be different.

There's a whole debate about the social construction of mental illnesses, and Thomas Szasz's "The Myth of Mental Illness". Those things are when psychology and sociology come together. :D

That's the sad/tragic thing about all this is that it's already written in history, and history cannot be changed. The best you can do is to not let it repeat itself.

And one of the downsides of being a SC-PL double major is that you start becoming extremely paranoid, both of yourself and those in your immediate environment; and also increasingly cynical of the world around you. Yep. Yep. I go around diagnosing myself with mental illnesses (I actually have a copy of the DSM-IV-TR on my computer) and bemoaning the sad state of society.

a curve skewed to the left

As I was running in my condo basement carpark as usual today, it struck me just how well-off people in my estate are. All the cars are sparkling and shiny; most have relatively new liscence plates. FDWs can be seen furiously scrubbing the sides of the cars, precariously perched on stools, soapy water splashing everywhere (much to my annoyance). The cleaners and security guards move around in buggies or rubbish carts, or on bicycles. Or they just walk.

People in my estate are so lazy, that even for a trip to the convenience store at the clubhouse can warrant the use of their cars. Or they just ask their FDW to go there. Whenever I'm in the gym using the situp bench, I look out of the window in front of the bench into the courtyard of the block opposite. Without fail, the FDW is always there, collecting the clothes, and if the FDW of the adjoining unit is also there, they'll chat. It somehow disturbed me so much that I had to pull down the blinds over the window so I could no longer see them.

In our estate, residents are allowed to have up to 4 cars per household. Toyotas and Hondas are common, but it is not unusual to see BMWs, Mercedes, and Lexuses, to the extent I can even memorize the exact location of each car. There are lots of those luxury cars, so many that it actually becomes commonplace. Then there are the really high-end ones, the Porsches, Lotuses, Audis, Jaguars, Alfa Romeos. There are a handful of those. Even a Lamborghini. (I am a car geek. I love cars. Looking at them, that is.)

Even though I am comfortably middle-class, or even upper middle-class, I've never felt that way. Money is important, but it's not the most important. I was brought up by my mum to be extremely frugal, and every purchase I make, aside from the necessities like food and stationery, is always made with great thought. Like a typical Singaporean aunty, I have this habit of calculating mentally the value-for-weight of a product. I almost never purchase on impulse, and on the very rare occasions I do, the damage is never a lot. Most of my belongings, from laptop and MP3 player, to textbooks, are second-hand, or they're things that my brother no longer wants, so I adopt them. Unlike my more girly female friends, I never spend on aesthethic products/services - manicures, nail polish, even haircuts. I think I cut my hair once a year or something. Probably the most expensive thing I do splurge on is running shoes - about SGD$150 a pair, and I have to get new ones every 1-2 years because I run so much.

I don't condemn spending on what you like. It's your money, you do what you like with it. However, as you go around buying new clothes or going to expensive restaurants, remember that there are many people worse off than you, not just in the world, but even in Singapore itself. Many of these people are hidden from sight, and we don't see them because there's a social gap between "us", and "them". It's a gap that cannot be eliminated, at least not in the short run. Our Gini coefficient is about 0.47 to 0.49, which is rather high. As my sociology professor likes to tell us all the time, the left tail of the normal curve of income is getting fatter, and the curve is getting increasingly skewed - it's not a bell curve anymore.

Is Singapore progressing too fast for its own good? Possibly. Education levels are increasing exponentially, yet at the same time, the population is fast greying and the dependency ratio is fast increasing. Not cool. The PAP is doing a great job with the economy and all, but even so, inequalities are increasing - and they will continue to do so, until the new nighly-educated batch of youngsters take over the population, and majority of the population would be university-educated.

That's a terrifying thought, in the sense that it really puts a lot of pressure on children in the academic race. If everyone has to be above average, the curve will become so distorted that it'll have a really long and fat left tail, while the mean is shifted further and further right. It also increases the risk of psychological disorders like depression and anxiety disorders, which are often triggered by stress. Are we becoming a nation of paranoid, depressed, crazy over-achievers who are tops in worldwide educational rankings, but suck at being humans? What is becoming of Singapore's future? As the locals become increasingly educated, low-income, labor-instensive jobs like cleaners and hawkers will inevitably be passed on to foreigners, but with the increasing phenomenon of xenophobia, would foreigners still want to come here?

Maybe Karl Marx was right. Society will get divided into two great classes - the burgeoisie, and the proletariat. Scary, isn't it? I take comfort in the fact that by the time that really rolls around, I'll probably be long dead.

Pardon me, I am rambling. All Marx's fault for disillusioning me.
I love both my majors. Really. Until recently, I was in a dilemma over which one to make my main major (oh look, aliteration!). But my sociology professors this semester have totally won me over. Psychology is cool too, especially when there's so much crap in your family and knowing some stuff helps you and your family understand it a little better.

But psychology can only benefit a minority of the population, those who suffer from DSM-defined illnesses. In order to actually prevent these problems, it's actually up to the sociologists to figure out ways of changing societal views, anything from perceptions about beauty (that lead to eating disorders, BDD, etc.), and success (linked to depression), and so on. Granted, culture takes a long time to take root and it's difficult to change it for the better, but actually identifying the root of the problem is the first step in changing the world for the better.

If you think about the bigger picture, psychology benefits only places where people can actually be diagnosed with psychiatric illness - ie. where the healthcare system is sophisticated enough. On the other hand, sociology tries to figure out why some countries are better off than others, and why some people in a particular country is better off than others; in fact, why some healthcare systems are better than others, and why the DSM might not neceessarily be applicable across all cultures. It does not necessarily eliminate this inequality, but by identifying the real causes, the politicians can be given a direction to work towards.

I'm not saying that psychology is useless. I absolutely adore Freud - he's my favorite so far. Psychology's benefited me a lot - to understand my own emotions and cognitions. It's helpful when my mum's side of the family needs some specialized knowledge when it comes to dealing with issues regarding her mentally ill siblings. In fact, you can argue that since individuals are what comprise a society, and psychology is about the individual most of the time, it is actually more useful in helping us understand human nature. However, culture is what binds a society together, and most of the population chooses to adhere to norms, rather than take the risk of deviance, in fear of sanctions. Yeah, we all know about groupthink, but groupthink is born out of a culture, and culture is borne of society.

It's a world we live in, and even though the individual is important, we must not lose sight of the big picture. Perhaps it's just me, because I've always been distrubed by the inequalities I see in this world. Even worse, I am totally powerless to change it.

Hooray for psychology! But hooray even more for sociology! (:

Great. I sound like a geek.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Isn't it scary how our lives are so tightly bound to numbers? Grades. Salary. Prices of things. Taxes. Body measurements.

Time.

Our lives are so regular. It's hard to deviate from routines. We get used to schedules are our minds and bodies know when time is up and we automatically switch gear to the next thing on the agenda. Going to class, taking meals, watching TV, exercise. And exams.

Numbers give us a guide to compare ourselves to others, and our own previous performance. Few people don't try to better themselves each time they do something. Get better grades, earn more money, do something more efficiently, run faster, lose weight. And many more.

Whoever invented numbers (the Romans?) are at the same time geniuses and idiots. Geniuses because numbers let us be more organized. Idiots because numbers make us more acutely aware of ourselves in comparison to others, and gives us unecessary stress.

Or maybe it's just me. I'm a perfectionist (selectively). I have high expectations of myself and get angry at myself when I don't achieve what I wanted to. It's probably got to do with the way my parents bruoght me up. Being caned and screamed at for the smallest things. Always feeling that they favored my brother more. Praise is very rare. I can't even remember when was the last time they complimented me about something. To them, I'm "stupid", and "fat", and I don't know what else. It's not good for my self-esteem, which will always be low.

And yes, me getting anorexia is pretty much a result of perfectionism too. In the past I used to laugh off any thoughts of eaiting disorders since I loved food so much. Chips, fast food, chocolate, all kinds of unhealthy things. At my heaviest I was 55 kg, more than 7 kilos heavier than I am now. I fell in love with running only in JC, and even more so after I really started training during the pre-University break and after I joined dragonboat. It's the one thing that makes me feel somewhat accomplished. It's good to know that I'm at least sort of good at something. Unfortunately, it made me even more aware of my body and the need to make it look "good". It's a vicious cycle, this whole ED thing.

Even now, I can't break completely free from the chains of worrying about food and exercise. About numbers. About myself. About the future.

Numbers.

Our whole lives revolve around them. They complicate things.

But it's impossible to let go if you want to survive in this world.

?

Hmmm. I think I'm getting stressed.

I haven't eaten as much as I did at the same time yesterday but I'm not hungry.

I'm sleepy and spacing out at random points in time.

But I don't feel stressed. At all. Which is weird, considering this is my first time taking major exams in 2 years.

Running gives me endoprhins. Been running faster and more. Yay! I need new shoes soon. This pair has been with me for too long and has covered too great distances. There are holes in the vamp (upper part), in the mesh. HAHAHA I just found out that it's called a vamp via Wikipedia.

On the plus side, I am done with sorting out my SC2211 readings and summarizing them and my lecture notes.

TWO MORE WEEKS TILL THE END OF THIS SEMESTER.

Screw you, stupid bus driver. I will not let this stop me. Fight, not flight.

it's a revival!

Hello LJ and LJ friends. Too much on my mind recently, so I need an outlet for it.

It's been 1.5 years since I almost died. In November 2010, my parents were told I had a 30% chance of survival. My brain was bleeding seriously and a large part of my skull was shattered beyond repair - there was a gaping hole in my head. It's been a long and arduous journey. Now, I'm back in school, sleeping though lectures, slogging over assignments, rushing from class to class, etc. If not for my friends and family, I wouldn't be here now.

1.5 years of many downs and no ups whatsoever. Just two months before the accident, I ran my virgin half-marathon in less than 2 hours, a hell of an achievement. The next thing I knew, I was lying in hospital, unable to move, unable to do anything, so utterly helpless. It was probably more of a torture for friends and family though, since I wasn't quite aware of what was happening - but for them, they heard things like "30% chance of survival" and "might become a vegetable".

I've always been the loner sort, very enigmatic. I just don't like getting too close to anyone. I suspect it's a result of my childhood - my parents only screamed at and caned me, praise was rare and hugs were non-existent. In retrospect, I'm really amazed at how people stood by me through the whole ordeal, even though I'm not exactly very close to any of them.

That was just the beginning. When I recovered well enough to go home and could even exercise, the real torture came. To cut the long story short, I was diagnosed with depression and anorexia nervosa. Having AN and depression is really a bitch. To worry unnecessarily about food and calories and exercise, to feel totally worthless. Life was a total drag. In my irrational mind, exercise was good because of the endorphins, but I was actually destroying my own body. Stupidly, I knew I had an eating disorder, but I didn't want to seek help because I was afraid of what the psychiatrist would make me do. Yeah, I'm a coward who's afraid to change. Nevertheless, I did look for help in the end, a decision which I do not regret, although it can sometimes be very annoying to have to see the psychiatrist regularly. Plus the first few months of treatment was very painful. I'll spare you the details.

Now, I'm well on the road to recovery, back in school, back to my old favorite pastime - running. Running is really a joy - to be able to forget everything else, and just revel in the aches I feel in my joints and muscles. School is pretty cool too - my lecturers are all very caring and understanding. I'm closer now to my parents and some friends. Although I would love to get back the old physical me back, skull and fitness and everything intact and free of seizures and brain injury, I certainly welcome the new psychological/affective me. Previously when I would shut up in class and not talk unless absolutely necessary, I'm saying alot more now, stalking the IVLE forums and even sitting in the second row in SC2211 lectures so I can ask questions.

I am so grateful that I have wonderful friends and family who are willing to sacrifice so much for insignificant little me. Sometimes I wonder, just what is my function in this world? What was I created for? What can I do for other people? Life is unpredictable. I don't want to die with any regrets. Imagine thinking just before you die that you haven't done something you wanted, or told someone something you wanted. You'll lie in your coffin unhappy. That sucks. Everything in life is transient, nothing is permanent (except change).

I vow to treasure life and live without regrets.

O is for out.

I'm still alive and kicking, and I 'm grateful for that. For those who don't know, I was hit by a public bus almost 3 months ago, on November 11th, and part of my skull fell out. I had and operation on Wednesday, 5th January, to cover the hole with a titanium mesh.

I don't remember anything about the accident or when I was in the ICU at NUH. I'm grateful for friends and family for all their sacrifices so far. I'll only be going back to school in August. I'm going to work hard and gain back all that I've lost: full function of my right hand, running, everything. Though its going to be hard and painful, I'm going to try.

This is but a single obstacle and I'm only 20 (21 after February this year). I'm still alive and grateful to God for that, especially since I had a 30% chance of survival, said the doctor at NUH. The doctor at Alvernia said I can be discharged in two das. (: I'm so glad to be out of hospital. I'm totally sick of it. D: it's like a prison. Oh well.

I'm going to stop here and give my brain a break.