Showing posts with label musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label musings. Show all posts
Friday, 5 May 2017


One of my most annoying traits is believing that people actually mean what they say. I suppose it is because I am quite selective in my words, only make promises that I know I can keep and I try to be as genuine as possible. If I have an interaction with someone I don't particularly like the conversation usually goes as follows: They: "We should hang out again", Me: "Yeah sure maybe". What this usually results in is that I say a lot of vague words and sentences. But something I have realised a long time ago is that people say things, simply to say things. You would think that this is something I would have concreted in my mind by now and yet it hasn't. It slightly* upsets / hurts me a lot when I discover that people were just saying empty words.

For context, this is about work. Thinking that I did have some friends from my old work but now discovering who my actual friends are. Ah... life. I quite often feel like people just result in disappointment, but then at the same time I also don't particularly care.

This sounds like something I would write about during my highschool days, but hey, I think life is a lot like highschool at times. * I use the word slightly because it is those situations where it bothers me and it also doesn't (since I know it always happens). 
Monday, 17 April 2017

Thoughts from a Law Graduate Who is Not Working in Law

In the professional world, the most common question I have been asked is: why do you not work in law? For readers who do not know, I attained a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from university. This question is soon becoming the bane of my existence. It is the question that I get asked at job interviews (this is 100% guaranteed right after "so tell me about yourself") and when I introduce myself to colleagues. There are moments where I am bored of the question and then there are moments where I am frustrated to the point where I have seriously contemplated about tattooing my reasons of 'why not' on my forehead. Yno, to make life a little simpler.

In this day and age, I really do not understand why people are so concerned / interested as to why I haven't followed the traditional path of my university degree/s. I thought people loved to encourage others to stray from the beaten path! Why do people not question that I am not an accountant; in my business degree, I majored in accounting. I suppose the question also bothers me as it apparently is the most interesting thing about me! My work experience is not interesting nor the fact that I studied abroad! (I think it is also important to note that those who claimed that studying abroad would boost any CV is a liar. It is such a dime a dozen thing these days and definitely not unique). Or perhaps they (specifically interviewers) think they are asking me a tricky question that will throw me off guard. Ha, keep dreaming.

This post was inspired by my interview recently where, yet again, the question was asked. I have fine tuned my highly rehearsed and almost robotic response now! I am 2 years post graduation, have been in my first 'big girl' job and am applying for similar roles based on my experience from that job and YET people still ask me. Relevance?

P.S For those who are interested, I did not pursue law simply due to lack of opportunities and for the sake of my mental health (read: I was receiving far too many rejections, to the point where my self worth couldn't handle it anymore). But that is not my official reason, I have a better spin-doctor-y answer instead. Do I have regrets that I don't work in law? None at all. I look forward to the day where this insignificant fact is not the most interesting thing about me!
Friday, 3 March 2017

Farewell Summer

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler (for now). Summer is officially over. I have been living a post student life for 2 years now and the only thing I miss about it are the 4 month long university summer holidays. I suppose it is a bit ridiculous for me to lament about the freedom, the adventures I took, summer romances and all other cliches because I spent almost all my summers working full time at my retail job. And yet, I somehow miss it. Perhaps it is attributable to feelings of dissatisfaction that have been creeping up on me. Or perhaps it is the fact that my job has made me quite jaded.

Nonetheless, I welcome autumn. Or should I say marginally cooler weather. Sydney does not do autumn as well as other places. It is less distinctive as a season and simply blurs into winter quite seamlessly as winters here are incredibly mild. I am looking forward to spending time in bed curled up with a good book and a cup of tea. I am looking forward to experiencing the world around me slow down a little. I am looking forward to, hopefully, squeezing in a roadtrip to see the change of leaves. And I am looking forward to spending some more time to figure some things out.

Last ice cream of summer!
Wednesday, 24 August 2016


The journey back home is usually quite bittersweet. I am generally happy to return for the simple luxuries such as my amazing shower and my bed; I did invest in 1000 TC and linen sheets for a reason. This time round, I am quite excited to be heading back home. I have been missing home a lot on this trip which is an unusual feeling. In fact, I don't think I have ever experienced it before this strongly. I started feeling it on my last days in Mongolia and moreso during my stint in Hong Kong.

I have a overnight flight where I am hoping that I will be able to doze and will land in Sydney at 11am. I am somewhat ready to get back to that life, to sort out things and to catch up with a few people that I have missed dearly.

Being the person that I am, 95% of my photos from my trip have been edited and uploaded to my Flickr. All I need to do is write the posts . If you are interested in my photos please follow me on Instagram at natpkho as I will be uploading my photos there in the coming few days.
Friday, 19 August 2016

Ramblings on a Plane

Disclaimer: I am writing this on a flight and this is chattier and more rambl-y than normal.

Hi, I am Natalie and I love to travel. However, something that most people don't know about me is that I experence quite bad plane anxiety. Except for budget airlines - read: European airlines like Ryanair - I will be one of the last to board the plane. Not the very last one but I really don't see the need to be on a plane any longer than what I need to. Now, why am I in the beginning for those budget airlines, purely because I need to carry my large-ish backpack onboard and need to stealthily stow my luggage in the overhead compartments. It starts the moment I walk onto the tunnel and I start to smell the airplane smell which grosses me out a lot. It really annoys me that the smell permeates into all my clothing and into every pore.

Living in Australia definitely has its perks and appeals but the most annoying thing is that it takes a trek and a half to get anywhere. As at the time I am writing this, I am 3 hours into a 9 hour flight to Hong Kong and I am still flying over the Northern Territory in Australia. Hello! But I will shortly be saying adios to Australia and welcoming hours and hours of ocean!

I know that some people use the plane to catch up on movies and things of that nature, but with my anxiety I find it really uncomfortable to be watching a movie. From the numerous flights I have caught since 2012, I honestly cannot recall a single movie that I have watched.

What Does Natalie Do on a Flight?

  • Listen to the music on the flight. I am currently a little disappointed with the selection on Cathay Pacific; Virgin Atlantic has had the best! However they do have Maddie & Tae which I am loving.
  • Reading - I just finished a novel however I find it hard to immediately jump to another novel. I have to be listening to music as I am reading, more for background noise than anything.
  • I take off my shoes. Controversial! Of course, I have clean socks. I like to sit on my feet and for night flights, I do a half assed feotal curl sleeping position. On the topic of feet, the person sitting next to me also has her shoes off and sits on her feet more than I do which is impressive! For a while she was doing this squat on her chair which I believe would feel amazing.
  • I always have my backpack / bag at my feet to elevate. Being short does have its perks on a flight, namely legroom and ability to curl! However it does mean it isn't super comfortable to have my feet on the ground.
  • I try to not pee often / at all / maybe once only. The toilet freaks me out and I try to mentally forget that I am on a plane; I try to stay in my window seat and forget that I am only a few thousand of kms up in the air. Told ya, I have anxiety and my coping mechanism has been music and trying to pretend that I am not on a plane.
  • Think about everything in my life
  • On the topic of my last dot point, I have realised that for almost all my overseas / domestic trips since 2012 - truth be told, I only started travelling in 2012 - I have always had a partner. Each occassion has been a different partner, but there has always been someone waiting at home. Isn't that weird!

I am now off to write a few blog posts, namely Tinder dates.

Ah - I see the ocean now. Almost to Hong Kong now! Not. It kind of concerns me that I want to go to South America and Africa in the next 10 years. How will I survive the flight/s? I do not know.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015

My Biggest Pet Peeve: Lack of Accountability

There is a quote by C.S. Lewis:

'Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.'

I think it describes adulthood perfectly. More often than not, I think that I am the same person that I have always been. But in reality, I am remarkably different to 14 year old Natalie who first started blogging or in fact even 21 year old Natalie. If there is one thing I can say about myself is that I am more sure and confident of who I am, what I want in life and what I want out of the people who are in my life.

People may say that I am quite demanding and aggressive at times. I am largely a very easy going person. However there is one thing that irks me and that is the lack of accountability from people. Over the years, I have cut ties with quite a few people predominately due to their narcissism and their lack of accountability for their own actions. I shall illustrate this in four examples just from this year:

1) Sunbear
I believe that life is a series of choices and it is important to know that. I don't eat out at the trendiest food places in Sydney because I would much rather save that money for travelling. I would much rather spend that $25 for a bus ticket overseas. And that is my choice. This individual has consistently asserted his poor financial situation, which is not the problem. The problem arises when money is spent on studying in Switzerland (a super expensive country), visiting Cambodia, London and roadtrip-ing in Europe and is currently completing a 6 month internship in Atlanta, Georgia. But then claiming that there is no money and that is why 'I would love to visit Australia but I have no money'. That is a poor, poor excuse. Money is not the issue and that excuse always irked me.

I guess the final straw that broke the camel's back happened last night. Sunbear has been absent from my life for the past 3 months due to starting a new life in Atlanta. That was fine. My problem arose when he started messaging me (after a lack of communication when I tried to reach out) and his irritation when I didn't respond promptly. Ridiculous. Absurd. Infuriating.

Now where does the lack of accountability step in? The fact that I was the one who was allegedly overreacting, that it was my incorrect interpretation of the situation and using my feelings and not facts (have you heard of a more sexist comment?). I accept that I may have slightly overreacted but I stand by my principle and to not have accountability for one's actions and rather blame other people. Now that is absurd. It takes two to tango.

2) Fellow Grad
As hinted before, I had a recent issue with my fellow graduate. This person has always irked me but it was fine. Different personality; I find it hard to respect people who have no backbone. Recently for selfish reasons, he extended his defined rotation cycle and only informed me after the fact. Why does this impact me? It means that my rotation cycle is now affected as I was meant to move into the place he is currently at. At a high level, this was only a slight annoyance.

Now where does the lack of accountability step in? This happened when I asked why he didn't inform me when he was seeking the approval rather than telling me after the fact. Excuses. Excuses by the boatload started pouring in, also insinuating that I was overreacting (which I was not as I asked the one question) and in reality, he claims that his actions didn't have an impact. Bull. Shit. I would much rather he have taken ownership and accountability and stated that he did it and 'I thought it was best to tell you after the approval'. Rather, the 'blame' was shifted to his manager, his team blah blah blah and in reality, he had no part to play in the whole thing. Of course, this was consistent with his personality but unfuriating nonetheless.

As it is a colleague I will of course remain cordial and professional. Prior to this, we were half casual friends (the kinda but not really category). I have since cut out the friend component of the equation and we are purely work.

3) Ex
If there are three words to describe my ex it would be: lack of accountability. Lack of accountability for his finances, his education, his studies and everything else under the sun. Not much to elaborate except that is the epitome of someone who has no ownership or accountability for their own life.

4) V
I don't know him at all. Whatsoever. Perhaps it is his own insecurity but when I called him out on being promiscuous he got so offended and upset. Angry even. Why? To me it is as simple as this: you've made your bed, now lie in it. If you don't want people to know that you sleep around? Then don't tell people. Or better yet, don't sleep around. If you do sleep around, then embrace it! Own it!

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Friday, 28 June 2013


26th August 2012
As I flew from Chicago and into Georgia my first thought was: it's so green. The green that I am used to in Sydney/ Australia (though possibly not  Tasmania) is a green that is somewhat muted and more yellow. The green in Georgia was more of a true green. As I flew over cul-de-sac streets, it just seemed so American. And it reminded me of the houses in the Monopoly game; each house was identical to the other, evenly spaced out and then surrounded by green.

Atlanta is the state capital and the most populous city in Georgia and yet compared to LA and Chicago, it seemed so dead. The Hartsfield–Jackson airport is the world's busiest airport and I believe that it is because so many flights fly out from Atlanta (I will comment more on Atlanta itself at a later stage), which in hindsight was great for travelling.

I was picked up by the exchange coordinator, Valerie Molyneaux, who is the loveliest, kindest and funniest person I have met. She commented that I would win the award for the exchange student to have brought the least amount of luggage (my hiking bag and my daypack) which I later realised was true. Everyone seemed to have brought everything but the kitchen sink; I am talking at least 35kg in total. 







All the exchange students weren't living on campus which I was a little bummed about originally, but it was for the best. The school had organised off campus housing in a gated community. In hindsight it was a great idea. I only paid $1900 for accommodation + utilities + internet from August to December whereas I would have needed to pay at least $3600 + $2500 for a meal plan (a meal plan where you eat junk food all day every day!) and wouldn't have had access to a kitchen or laundry facilities easily. The apartment I was staying in was a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 living room, 1 dining room and a balcony, shared between 4 girls in total. I shared a bedroom with a girl from Czech Republic. The other two girls were from: Spain and Italy.

When I was still in Sydney, I was so excited about the idea of having roommates and the like. In the end, I barely spent anytime with them and I didn't know them at all. I guess it didn't really help that I moved out (effectively) into Sunbear's apartment. His roommates became my roommates. It was a very sweet moment when his Swiss roommate was introducing us to his girlfriend and he introduced me and said, "she's also my roommate. Sort of".

Living with other people was an interesting experience. That being said, maybe it is because we are girls but the system of chores was better than the guys apartment. I normally ended up vacumming (mainly because I couldn't stand my roommate's hair near the mirror as she brushed her hair there). Though little things bothered me. I guess I am very conscious of the amount of water I use. Perhaps it's because of the drought and the water shortages previously or maybe just my family, but it irritated me immensely when someone would turn on a tap to full, walk away to get something/ do something and then return to the sink. This wasn't annoying but more amusing, but I also thought that my roommate used enough water to irrigate a small community. Every morning, she would take a bath and after her bath she would shower. Though in the end, I ended up moving out so it wasn't of my concern anymore.

On the topic of my roommate (who was lovely! Make no mistake) I loved how she 'forced' me to make my bed every day. I never make my bed, but she made her bed and ergo I had to (I didn't want to seem as though I was a total slob). Our bed attire was world's apart; I wore an oversized tee and shorts/ sweatpants whilst she wore a sheer-ish black baby doll top and black underwear. There was a sweet moment where we had washed our sheets and I wasn't home all day and when I finally came back at 11pm she had made my bed for me.
Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pancakes on the Rocks (again) + Film Cameras





I went for lunch with two of my co-workers to Pancakes on the Rocks.It was a pretty great day in terms of weather; blues skies though it was chilly in the shadows.

Despite having visited the place numerous times before, I had never tried The Ultimate and it is my favourite now. I am not the biggest fan of pancakes, and, after eating pancakes for 9 days in a row when I was in Toronto, I can't really stomach pancakes anymore. Though I do love crepes and strawberries and cream cheese, so it was the perfect combination.

Chicken and Bacon Pizza

The Ultimate
The Ultimate



It was a good day; I haven't had a girly chat in ... months. Actually, the last chat that I remember was back in September 2012. Also tried out a new colouring, though I am not entirely sure if I like it.

I also brought out my SLR with Kodak Tri-x 400 film which I had loaded over 12 months ago. I actually have another 10 rolls of the same film and it's been struggle bringing myself to use it. The biggest issue is that I haven't found a cheap place to develop my black and white film. Most places are around $25-30 per roll which equates to a lot of money. I did manage to develop and print out one roll when I was living in Atlanta as there was a photography store down the road from where I was staying. It was $15 to print and develop (which is a bargain!) and I loved the shots that came out. I had taken the shots over 12 months prior and had completely forgotten what I had even taken. There is something beautiful about black and white images, especially the shadows. When I get around to it, I will scan and upload my favourite images. I digress. I have been tossing up the idea of developing my own film. I believe it will be around $100 as start up (all equipment and chemicals required). However, I still need to figure out a way to scan the negatives onto the computer. Then again, I am worried that I will ruin all my film. Not only that, I don't know if it's merely a fleeting interest and I will be left with chemicals and equipment that I no longer need.

On a similar vein, I am annoyed at the cost of scanning negatives to film. When I was overseas, I had also developed colour film however the store was too slow and didn't print out the negatives. Back here, it costs the same amount to scan the negatives onto a CD as it does to actually get it developed and scanned. Which baffles me because the hardest part (developing the film) is already done. Baffles me, it really does.
Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Future

I have lost my way.

Though it is arguable if I ever had a way to begin with. I am at the period of my life where I am looking and applying for jobs for the summer, my door for graduate employment. A real job. That is incredibly daunting especially as I do not know what I am doing with my life. When I was younger, I always imagined that I would have figured it all out by now. I would have found my passion, my desire and the path that I wished to pursue. I have to admit that I am no better off than I was as a young 17 year old. When I was a senior at highschool, I always thought to myself, "just two more years and then I will finish the HSC and I will work out what happens next at a later point". During my first 3 years of university, I had the same mentality although I knew that the future was looming in the far horizon. That horizon is here now and I am still as clueless as I ever was. I am studying a degree that is 'safe' and yet I do not enjoy it. I dislike university and I dislike all that I have done.

So what comes next? If I get hired or offered a graduate role, do I then do a job that I am not sure about and is that what the rest of my life will be? The thought of living a life where I am not living but merely existing frightens me.
Saturday, 16 June 2012

Maria Kochetkova

My final exams are finally over and now I have time to finalise all my requisite paperwork for my exchange next semester. During the past week, I stumbled upon an intriguing article in Dance Magazine concerning Maria Kochetkova. I first discovered this San Francisco principal dancer from a video from Anaheim Ballet's YouTube account. From this video she said something that stuck with me:
It's not so much about talent but how much you want to do it and how smart you work. How smart you accept all the difficulties that come on your way because there will be many, but they are there to make you stronger not to push you away from what you love.'
I think that what she said is so inspiring and is not restricted to dance (ballet). The article in question was this one and the quotes that were memorable included:
“Since I was 10, I had to work hard to get everything,” she says. “Nothing came easy to me. I knew there would be no help from other people.”
Kochetkova left the Bolshoi’s school at 18 without an offer from the company, and, in the new post-Soviet world, she looked West for opportunity.
Kochetkova’s contract was not renewed when Monica Mason succeeded Stretton. But, then, Matz Skoog invited her to join ENB.
The article made me reflect. So often in life, we only ever hear about someone's achievements and this is because people end up embellishing and refrain from disclosing certain information. When I am preparing for interviews and I read the partner's resume I feel so intimidated. These people seem to have accomplished so much in such a short period of time and I end up feeling as though I will never be able to achieve even a fraction of what they have achieved. Yet, it was only when I read that article concerning Maria that it made me realise that people present their lives in the best light possible, which of course is understandable. I guess it was eye-opening because I had read a lot of other interviews with Maria and they had all stated 'she left and went to XX' rather than stating that she did not get offered a contract. Hopefully I will be able to remember this when I am applying for clerkships this time next year which seems to be a 'dog-eat-dog' world, a situation where hundreds of applicants apply for 5-15 positions.
Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Annual Day of Reflection and Introspection


Queen Victoria Building

Mango Pancake

It is that time of the year again where reflection and introspection is often undertaken by a lot of individuals. In many respects, New Years Eve celebrations are a bit overrated and yet I do believe that they have a place in life. The presence of a definite cut-off does provide benefits as I feel it almost forces an individual to reflect upon the year in its entirety. Per usual there are a list of questions that I strive to answer this time each year. However rather than answering it question by question, I shall try to merge it into paragraphs, elaborating where I see fit.

2011 has been an unusual year for me as I feel as though my emotional maturity has increased and yet at the same time it is almost as though I have not changed since 2010 or any other earlier year. Perhaps that is what it is meant to be however; growth is subtle and yet is obvious when examined over a longer period of time. This year I have become more self aware and comfortable with myself and have finally passed the stage where I felt the need to conform to the majority's perceived normality.

Consequently I have spent a lot of time alone intentionally and explored new places that I had always wanted to visit by myself. This is not necessarily different to any other year, however what is different is my perspective towards such outings. This year a lot has happened: I went to Hong Kong and saw it as an adult, truly appreciating the differences with my homeland; someone close to me died; and I have become well adjusted into university life.

Without consulting my diary, I cannot remember all of the memorable dates of 2011, however one of them would be Christmas Eve when my friend surprised me at my house with a gift. The gift was not something that I would have necessarily wanted but the thought and effort was all that mattered in the end.

New Year's resolutions are made every year, however for the past 3 years they have been the same 3 resolutions: lose X kg and two other personal goals. I do not feel as though I have made any progress in two of the resolutions however indirectly I am satisfying one due to my gaining maturity. Being the cynical person that I am (although I prefer to refer to myself as a realist) my personal achievements are something that I can never identify; I am definitely my worst critic. I could name internships or gaining job opportunities as my biggest achievement, however I feel more comfortable in naming my increased self contentedness as my greatest achievement of the year. As I am so critical on myself, I have multiple biggest failures such as: exchange application, job application, university result for one subject and one other personal issue.

The biggest pet peeve of this year has definitely been people's opinions, or more correctly, people's reaction to conflicting opinions. There are so many examples that I can think of one of which I shall blog about at a later date, but namely feminism, politics and the creationism. This was recently brought to my attention with the Kelly Clarkson and the Ron Paul tweet a few days ago. Disclaimer: I know nothing about Ron Paul and even more broadly, I know nothing about American politics, hence I have taken each opinion as 'fact'. The 'fact' is that Ron Paul is a homophobe and racist. I personally find it somewhat irrelevant if someone else's view clashes with my own. It is unsettling without a doubt however, I feel that people tend to forget that people are allowed to have opinions and ultimately right and wrong is all subjective, especially when it comes to politics, and it is incredibly childish to send so much hate and insult people for merely having an opinion. Why should the person with the conflicting view conform with what the majority's/ the other person's view? What I believe is that people need to respect other's opinions, no matter how ill-informed, ignorant, stupid or conflicting it may seem because ultimately, it isn't black and white and it is incredibly ignorant to assume otherwise.

Onto lighter matters. The song that will remind me of 2011 would probably be Jewel's What you Are, Adele's Someone Like You and Pink's Who Knew. I wish I'd done less planning and analysing potential activities and actually gone out to do them instead. I did not fall in love per se, but I grew to love myself more. My favourite tv show would definitely be Once Upon a Time and my favourite novel of 2011 is Emma by Jane Austen. I am not a Jane Austen fan; the grammar and writing makes it very difficult for me to fully immerse myself into that world. I first read the book back in 2009 right before my HSC exams and after I watched the BBC miniseries with the beautiful and talented Romola Garai. With book to movie adaptations, I tend to refrain from making too many comparisons as I feel that the movie should be able to stand on it's own without the help of the novel. As it is the visual medium of television, naturally the story moves a lot faster than the novel and I tend to read the novel before watching the miniseries or movie. However Emma was an exception as I had previously failed to appreciate the story beforehand. There is something quite charming about the novel that appeals to me and it would probably be the Emma character herself.

If the year could have been 'immeasurably more satisfying' it would have been completing one, if not all, of my 2011 resolutions. The most valuable life lesson I have learnt in 2011 is to love yourself and be content with yourself (which is not the same as happy) because at the end of the day you are all you have. Also, Ingrid Michaelson's quote is something I try to live by:
As long as you feel like you are doing the right thing then in the long run that’s all that’s gonna matter because, yno, you’re the one lying awake at night alone in bed and thinking about your life. And if you have compromised your life you’ll know.

So here is to the last few fours of 2011 and I shall be sitting on the couch watching the fireworks on the television, hoping that 2012 will be an even greater year.
Saturday, 24 December 2011


Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.
~ Paul Strand


Electronic rubik cube

I am in the process of defragmention; arguably it may be a futile attempt to better the performance of my laptop. I do not like to edit my photos that are more than a week old and yet, the internet is temperamental and my computer is cluttered with mess that I have accummulated over the course of 2.5 years. A few years ago, it seemed I was very dedicated in keeping my photos ordered by year, month and date and scanning through the folders of images I have, memories come flooding back. I have forgotten so many things and yet seeing those images reminded me of the situation, firstly the good moments as photos nearly always capture that and then the not-as-lovely memories.

Hand Quote

I cannot remember what quote I wrote on my hand and Google did not bring forth any useful searches. Nevertheless, the quote still maintains relevance four years down the track.
Saturday, 17 December 2011

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time

I am a dreamer. However, I am also somewhat cynical and a pragmatist, which may appear to be contrary to my previous assertion. A well known fact to some although unbeknownst to others, I am a 'die-hard' fan of old school Disney, in particular the Disney princess movies. As a child, I spent most of my free time sitting in front of the television, watching cartoons or VHS'. We owned most of the Disney Princess movies on VHS (except the Little Mermaid which I bought later as a teenager to complete the collection although in a DVD format) and I cannot begin to fathom the amount of times that I have watched each movie. My favourite was and still is, Beauty and the Beast. The animation, the songs and the story captivated me; as embarrassing as it may be, I used to re-enact the musical sequence from 'Belle'. Subsequently, I am a fan of the appropriations undertaken by Disney of the classic fairytales.

However as I have grown older, I have often felt as though my interest in Disney's fairytales warranted immediate judgement from my peers. On numerous occasions - both in real life and on the cyberspace- I have had people rant, complain and effectively insult me due to my connection to those stories. The most common complaint regarding the old school Disney films (and fairytales in general) was consistent with a feminist perspective. It was always related to the misogynistic nature of the story which objectified the female princess, depicting her as helpless, the damsel in distress, and only achieving happiness when she fell for her prince and lived happily ever after. To some degree, I can understand the disdain that some feel towards the films who perceive that they somehow 'brainwash' children to conform to the traditional and stereotypical gendered roles. I do not deny that the degree of gender equality has vastly improved since the conception of the fairytales (some stemming back to 13th century). However, I believe that it is ignorant for some individuals to assume that that is the only message that children -in particular girls- would draw from the films. It is too superficial and simplistic. Personally, I am a fan of stories as they should impart some message to the reader (assuming that the story was of a relatively high caliber). I think fairytales are not so different from fables as I feel that they teach very important lessons upon closer inspection. Is it so wrong to teach children to not judge an individual by their appearance but by their individual characteristics? Is it so wrong to teach children to not stay where it is safe, to challenge the boundaries if they truly believe that it may result in happiness? Is it so wrong to teach children that by having hope, faith and perseverance, your aspirations may come true? Is it so wrong to teach children that connections to friends and family is integral to your personal satisfaction of life? Is it truly that offensive to modern society where there are films that ultimately teach and show young children on how to be a better person? I do not think so. I do not hope so. Those messages are the ones that I have drawn from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella/ Peter Pan and The Lion King. Apart from Sleeping Beauty, the only fairytale that I truly detest, I never understood the argument that the films were teaching girls to be complacent and subordinate to men, merely waiting for their 'true love' to sweep them off their feet. From memory, falling in love with their prince was subsidiary to their goal. Cinderella wanted to go to the ball, Belle wanted to save her father, Ariel wanted to visit the outside world and their encounters with their prince was a later development. Thus, I find that argument flawed.
What do you think stories are for? These stories are classics. There's a reason we all know them. They're a way for us to deal with our world. A world that doesn't always make sense.
Mary Margaret Blanchard - Once Upon a Time

If anything, I would say that fairytales have the capacity to delude children into believing the binary nature of the world; that there is good and evil and that the perfect significant other exists. As perfectly encapsulated in Taylor Swift's quote,

When I was a little girl I used to read fairy tales. In fairy tales you meet Prince Charming and he’s everything you ever wanted. In fairy tales the bad guy is very easy to spot. The bad guy is always wearing a black cape so you always know who he is. Then you grow up and you realize that Prince Charming is not as easy to find as you thought. You realize the bad guy is not wearing a black cape and he’s not easy to spot; he’s really funny, and he makes you laugh, and he has perfect hair.

Perhaps it is a problem that can be attributed to fairytales. And yet, are they so much different from chick-lit, fantasy or even romance novels? However, I am confident that as people grow older, experience life, they do change their perspective and hence why I am a dreamer and yet cynical. I do not believe in Prince Charming or happily ever after's per se, but what those stories taught me is something I try to live by.

Notwithstanding, I am aware that Disney's appropriation of the fairytales are substantially different to the original fairytales which I believe cannot be justified on similar grounds. However, it was created in a vastly different context and that may be enough justification.
Sunday, 4 September 2011

Keira Knightley

“Yes, I have breasts. So does 50% of the population. Do we really have to waste time talking about mine? I don't think so.”

Keira Knightley is definitely one of my favourite actors. I first became aware of her back in Year 7 during a non sport day where we got to watch Pirates of the Caribbean in a VA room and I was really interested in her. That was a whole 6 years ago back when she was 19 and I was 12. I admit, her acting skills are sometimes a little 'interesting' and there are many moments where I am internally face palming when she over-acts. And yet, despite all that there is something really amazing about Keira which I admire. From her interviews, she seems really funny. And of course, she is so beautiful and I adore her eyebrows and her facial bone structure. And her smile.

Here are some of my favourite photos over the years, ending of course with her recent appearances at the Venice Film Festival where she was absolutely stunning.

Back when I was 12, I thought what she was wearing was so cool. In hindsight, it's a little strange considering it was a red carpet premiere for the massive summer blockbuster. BUT LOOK AT HER BODY.

I hated her dress at the King Arthur premiere and yet her hair and makeup was amazing.

Premiere at Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I remember the controversy because of her 'thin' frame. I think she is deceptively thin. Granted, I do admit she was looking very thin and gaunt 2 years ago but at the premiere, I didn't think she was that thin. The reason she appeared thin was because she is flat. That's the truth, so the absence of fat means you can generally see her rib cage more than the average woman because if you have seen a full body picture, she has a pear shape.  I still get defensive when people call her anorexic; her upper body is a lot smaller than her lower body.

I admit, her style is sometimes questionable but that also adds to her appeal - she doesn't really care if she isn't 'fashionable' in the eyes of the public. On another note, I am thrilled judgding from recent photos that she stopped the ridiculous and 'natural' pout (or so she claimed).

And some of my favourite quotes
Somebody thought it would be a great idea if they brought their teenage daughters along to the set on the day that we did the kissing scene - I thought I was gonna die! I thought they'd stampede me with the evil eyes I was getting from all of them.
I'm a tomboy beanpole? I can't use a computer, so maybe I'm a bit out of the loop. I don't know whether to be flattered or not flattered. The beanpole bit, is that good? Can you be a sexy beanpole?
I think every role I take, I take because I’m not quite sure that I can do it. And there are certain roles that I’ve been offered where I’ve gone, “Oh no, I can definitely do that, that’s easy,” and I don’t tend to think that’s the point; I think that you have to continue to push. It is not as simple as saying, “Oh, well, I’m not very good at this genre, so therefore I should try that,” or “This is what scares me.” It’s much smaller than that. It is reading a script and kind of going, “God, I don’t know if I can be relaxed enough to portray that piece,” or “I don’t know if I can be energetic enough to do that,” you know. But that’s the challenge and that’s what makes my job really interesting. I’ve been really fortunate. I have been in some films that I’m really proud of, and hopefully will continue to do so.

But I think the magic about this industry is that you always have to be ready to fall flat on your face in a very public way, and I have a couple of times. That’s what makes it so exciting, because when it works there is nothing like it, it’s amazing.
Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Demise of Cursive Handwriting

Penmanship and cursive handwriting is an issue that I have seen pop up in the past few years. It is strange that once upon a time (and I know that I am still considered young on relative standards) everyone was taught how to write in cursive and there was this magical licence my Year 4 teacher created titled the Pen Licence which entitled you to write in cursive with a ballpoint pen (I distinctly remember her specifying that it had to be ballpoint). The tedious hours per week spent tracing the letters. I also remember having a race with my fellow classmate; he finished first but the teacher told him to redo it much to my delight. Cursive handwriting. Something that I had always attributed to being a grown up and reading all these US articles about schools removing the requirement from their curriculum is odd. Yes technology has replaced the need to handwrite, but handwriting is a beautiful art and skill that is not replicated elsewhere.

I admit, during my 'rebellious' years late primary school and early high school, I despised writing in cursive and insisted on print but somewhere along the lines I picked up my cursive writing (or my variation of print / cursive) and for the past few months I've been 'training' myself to write in the more vintage and traditional form of cursive because I created my own variation of print which turned into cursive merely because I was too lazy to pick up the pen properly. Although there are some letters I wouldn't write in the 'formal' way purely due to speed issues. But I love the way the 'z' is written in cursive and 'f' although I have issues with 'r' and 's' since mine end up looking different each time I write. But that is purely because I write so fast.

This article is a good read. Reading some of the comments just left me a little flustered. Is it so wrong to teach children to learn to write in cursive even though it may have no value in the future. We mandate that we teach children to have painting lesson and music classes even though it may also eventuate with no practical benefit in the future.

There is something incredibly calming I find in handwriting that isn't replicated in typing. But the issue I find with handwriting is that my thoughts are going faster than my hand can write so I usually end up scrawling a little bit. Perhaps that is merely a reflection upon society these days - fast paced. I guess people back in the day had more time to sit down and write, especially when they used ink/fountain pens, a skill I wish to master one stage in my life.

I leave this entry with my handwriting.
'Now Fight'

Alice in Wonderland Quote